Here is Cousin It with her new son that was born today. Peggy Sue had twin black lambs with big white spots on their heads yesterday. They would not hold still long enough to take their picture. We will try again. Thanks to all of you that have dropped names by our booths at the markets or on facebook. All these little ones need names. Our themes are Soda Fountain type music of the 50′s-60′s and the Adams Family for the Churros. “It’s ” baby last year was “Wednesday” and “Morticia’s” baby was” Pugsly”. Keep sending us your ideas:)
Winners of the goat naming contest last week were the names “Pickles”, “E-Harmony (her mom is Dot Com), and “Tator Tot”. Remember that I have to go out into the pasture and holler for them so it can not be to embarrassing of a name!
Not just the leaves are changing color around here…we dyed a bunch this month. Here are some of the lovely colors we got from vats of woad, logwood, and Navajo Tea. Let the carding begin…
Prickly Pear Cactus is bearing beautiful fruit this time of year and I read that you could dye wool with it. The problem is handling the “tunas” or fruits without getting full of stickers. I picked them off with a long pair of kitchen tongs. I was told by some folks to burn off the needles but I was afraid that might change the color in some way.
Then I thought of cactus jelly. If making cactus jelly was like other jellies I made it would seem that all I needed to do was squish and strain the fruit for the juice.
Since we make cheese we have cheese cloth to strain the pulp through. I used ultra fine so that perhaps the little needles would not incorporate in the dye bath.
Recipes I read called for fermenting of the yarn in the pot of juice. I set it in the bathtub with a lid on it and stirred it gently for 10 days. Let us just say that I think in addition to the dye bath I created some sort of “hooch” or pink lightening. Wow! You could smell the alcohol and naturally occuring yeast. If I try this again I will wait until winter so it can sit outside. Of course the mold floating on the top was not attractive either.
As you can see the color is very much worth it! I made a cute hat out of this yarn after washing it several times of course!
All of you who came to our shearing knew that the time was nearing for lambs. We crossed our fingers that it would be soon and Jimmie watched the herd each time the rest of us went to market. Easter eve when feeding the sheep I gave the girls a pep talk. I wondered if it was just too much to ask if I could have an Easter lamb. They watched me between bites of grass and grain and seemed to be listening.
I hurried out of bed this morning to see if I got my Easter wish. Rhiannon and Manawydan had a baby girl lamb! In keeping with Celtic myth and our heritage we have named her Eostre after the goddess of Spring. Happy Easter to all of you.
Thanks to all of the friends and families that came out for sheep shearing! Carrots were devoured along with freshly pulled weeds and many new friends were made by 2 and four legged alike. We now have oodles of lovely locks to process and a few embarrassed and newly naked sheep!
We’re having another sheep sheering day, come join us!
It’ll be in the morning, at the farm on March 23rd.
Please call us to talk about getting a spot reserved for you and your family.
All questions to Celia or Jimmie at 623.341.0869 or 623.341.0868
Have a great day!
Here is our needle felted rug that Celia made and entered in the fair this year. All the wool is either natural color or dyed with plants. She looked at sunsets for inspiration out here on the farm.
This rug was displayed in the best of the fair area! A crocheted and beaded headband and a woven scarf also won first place in their categories. Celia also won the natural dye class with her mini skeins and techniques. We are proud of all of the hard work and of our wonderful Navajo Churro and Cheviot Sheep. We are only limited by our imaginations.
One of my favorite vendors at the Farmer’s Markets we work at is Erik the Creme Bro-lee chef. He saw me working on Sock Monkey Hats made from the handspun and handyed wool from our sheep and asked about making a moose hat for Christmas.
As a recently retired teacher I thought about the great book “If You Give a Moose a Muffin” for inspiration and using felting and crochet techniques came up with this little moose for a 16 month old infant. It was lots of fun and I hope the little guy wears it and enjoys many muffins in the coming year.
Our students played with vats of indigo, cochineal, and osage during dye class. It was fun to observe them pondering which dye vat(s) to put their first handspun yarns into. They had worked so hard to get to this point and were a little nervous at first.
Once they saw the color results of their first skein all bets were off. Everyone loosened up and tried dye over with multiple vats and playing with the timing in vats. Here are some examples. Nice job ladies!!
Jerry the shearer in action. Jerry is so kind to the sheep and so knowledgeable as a spinner himself that he was the perfect person to have out for our shearing day. Jerry answered all of the visitors questions about sheep, taught some of our guests to wrangle the sheep, and even gave some shearing lessons.