Tuesday, January 10, 2017


That was fast!  The makeover is done and our website is back in action!  Take a look and let us know what you think.  If you should find any broken links or dysfunction please shoot us an email, PM or leave a comment here so we can fix it.  The site should display properly on all platforms including mobile devices.  

When I realized our Windows Vista operating system wasn't going to get updates from Explorer or Chrome anymore it became clear we needed a new computer. Lots of sites were becoming unavailable with any browser or displayed so strangely they were unusable.  Problem was, our old site was built and edited on software that would not be compatible with the newer operating systems.   So a new site that could be managed on a new computer was necessary.  Darn that fast-moving technology!

Giant thanks to the oh-so-patient Scott at DSD Webworks for creating the site in 2003 and now updating it. We can't say enough good things about his technical abilities, eye for good design and patience when it comes to someone (OK... it's me) who's more comfortable working with animals than computers.

Here's hoping it lasts as long as we do!!

We Temporarily Interrupt This Program

In case anyone has tried to reach our website in the last 24 hours, don't worry - we haven't gone away or dropped off the face of the earth.  Our trusty website, in operation since 2003 (!) has been getting a much-needed update and yesterday our webmaster began the process of turning each 'under construction' page into a functional model that the world can find.  Our web address will remain the same and we should be back online very soon!

Stay tuned!

Friday, December 16, 2016

Winter Wardrobe

One of the our seasonal tasks is coating the sheep once full time hay feeding starts in late fall.  We were lucky this year with the weather and were able to keep the flock out on pasture up until deer season began.  Because our feeders are designed to minimize chaff contamination we held off a bit more to get other things done and the fleeces didn't suffer but we finally took the time to get at it.  It's not a fast job that we can do in one day, it's more of a process.

Having washed and mended all the coats after the spring shearing (OK, the washing and mending dragged through the summer and into fall) we pulled them back out of storage and put them in piles by size from smallest to largest.  Then we started penning small groups of sheep and put coats on all the non-Cotswolds first.  Their fleeces are such that chaff falls in and stays in so getting them coated first was the priority.

Minnie and Flower in their clean clothes.  

Coating the non-Cots took us a full day.  Handling each ewe was a chance to trim hooves if needed, clip off a felty lump from under a chin, check eye scores and body condition, and then put on the coat.  Sometimes the size that looked right was too big or too small so we'd switch..... it took a while.  

When we did another round of coats a few days later it became apparent that we were going to run out of sizes 37 to 41.  We had decided to coat all the sheep in the flock this year.  The Cotswolds that we coated last year did fine with no felting and minimal distortion of their curl character so we're going all in this year and doing everybody.  The cleanliness makes for a better product and it's easier for me to get a fleece skirted, too.  It was no surprise we would need more of some sizes but you don't know for sure which ones until you get into it.  We've been using Rocky Sheep Suits for years and will continue to do so but they are behind in production right now so while our order of sizes 37 and 39 and 41 is in their queue I also went over to The Wool Tinker and ordered intermediate sizes 38 and 40.  I hope to see them this coming week.  

Right now the Cotswolds are still quite clean but just sitting in the bedding will attract contamination when your friends drop hay bits on you or walk by and kick bedding on you.

So while we wait for coats to arrive the sheep go about their winter routine - walking back and forth from one side of the barn to the other, checking to be sure there isn't some better hay somewhere that they're missing out on.

And of course doing some recreational cat sniffing whenever the opportunity arises, in this case it's Clem passing through on his way to the sunny ledge above the hay manger.

The ventilation fan isn't really this loud - guess the phone just has a good microphone.

Hopefully we've ordered enough of all the sizes to get the job done this time.  And in a month we'll be changing everyone up a size to accommodate the growing fleece.  I hope we catch a warm spell by then!

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Walking By The Woods

...on a snowy evening.  So quiet all you can hear is the snow falling.

Holly's more enthused about snow than I am but knowing I was headed home made it almost pleasant.  If only I could hold on to that peaceful, snow globe feeling all winter.

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Wait For It.....

"Mom's so busy this time of year that it just doesn't pay to stand around waiting for her to put something in my Kong.  But I'm patient.  I can wait...lying down and comfy........ sigh....."

Don't let her fool you - she's not nearly as neglected as she makes out.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Yarn Along - Yarn Carnage

First, a bit of good news. The blue roving I had been working on is spun and plied.  It was a painted roving and I tried to split it into equal strips so I could match up the colors when they were plied.... It seems to have worked for the most part.  It came to 190 yards of 2 ply and I like it lots.  I'm working on the more somber shades of blue and purple now.

Next, a reassurance that the Yarn referred to in the title was no. where. near. any of the fiber or yarn or roving or anything that we have for sale.  This debacle happened in the house, in a bedroom, in a cupboard that housed only a part of my personal, spun-loong-ago (and ignored) stash.   To say I'm disgusted with myself is an understatement.  It's also a sad commentary on my housecleaning skills but there is some redemption to be had in that department at the end of this story.  Fiber people out there have already guessed......moths.  (Picture the figure in The Scream)

Family was coming to visit for a weekend and I needed to return a bedroom to its intended purpose (instead of catch-all/storage room).  With the door shut against feline mischief the room had received minimal attention for *coughyearscough*. Approaching the cabinet I saw a little white coccoon on the floor under the door......nooooooo......   I won't repeat the X rated language I used but between that and the vacuum cleaner nothing came out of that room alive.

Everything got hauled outside and assessed.  Anything with angora in it was a total loss and went into the trash.  Since those skeins were disintegrating as I touched them it was a sad but easy decision.  Other skeins seemed to have been ignored but the majority had varying amounts of damage.  They all got shaken out, retied where necessary and washed.

Some seem to have escaped damage completely.

The rest are sad.  I *should* probably toss them but I can't quite bring myself to since I know there is some good sound yarn in there.  Sorting it out will be my self-imposed penance for having let it get damaged, I guess.  I'm especially upset about the camel/silk skeins, the llama/Border Leicester and the 2+ pounds of purple/pink which was an early satisfying dye experiment.

Now that I know the yarn is inert and de-bugged I can store it PROPERLY and plan some projects to use it.  I'm thinking fulled items, maybe some rug hooking and incorporating the shortest pieces into decoration on felted wool balls.

The best news on the whole situation is that I now have a pristine bedroom for guests and I can finally reach and maybe USE my loom again!  I'll have to teach myself all over again but I'm looking forward to getting back to it.

While working in the wool shop lately I've listened to 'Fevre Dream'  (yes, that's the correct spelling) and now am into 'Windhaven', both by George R.R. Martin (he of 'Game of Thrones' fame).  Both are quite engaging.  'Fevre Dream' puts vampires on Mississippi steamboats (sounds goofy, but it works) and had a satisfying end.  'Windhaven' is rather like 'Dragonriders of Pern' without the dragons.  There's a good bit of social and political wrangling but it's not as dark and mean as the 'Game of Thrones' series and the story moves along at a good clip.  Two thumbs up if you'd like some popcorn for your mind while you're doing something mundane.

Joining in with Ginny......

Monday, November 21, 2016

With A Vengeance

It had to end sooner or later and when winter arrived it did so suddenly and in no uncertain terms.  Friday was sunny and about 70 degrees and the sheep were still enjoying pasture time although pickings out there were getting pretty slim and we had been feeding hay in the barn at night too.  You know the grass is pretty well gone when the flock spreads out in all the pastures and does a lot of walking (but the exercise is good for them).

A glowing pink sunrise.  The air itself looked pink - it was so pretty.

Meandering about.....

Clear, warm, dry fall days.  So rare.

Saturday started out sunny but the forecast was for deteriorating weather with snow by nightfall.  Gee, maybe it won't be that bad.

Ugh.  Sunday morning saw four inches of wet snow, icy roads and more coming.

Now the pastures are really, really, really done.

Andy had just finished picking corn and closed up the cribs on Friday.  WHEW!

The wind began to pick up and visibility dropped as the drifting began.

 The wind built up knife-edged banks right next to blown bare ground.

The sheep are cozy in the barn and we're cozy in the house.  After the beautiful fall the roaring wind and this sudden decent into winter makes things look pretty desolate out there.

Time to really be thankful!