Thursday, March 24, 2011

One Day at a Time...

i am being well cared for...

and lovef...

adn protectd...


I'm teasing!  That's a good sign, right?
I am getting a little better each day and the pain is finally reaching a more bearable level.  Of course I am now on the maximum dose of oxycoden.  I will see my surgeon next tuesday to check on how the prosthetic and my arm are getting along.  I can't use my left hand or arm for ANYTHING until the doctor gives me the go-ahead.  I am SO   grateful for all of the help and support (both physically and emotionally.  I still need 24 hour care and if it wasn't for the selfless love of my daughter, Pam, and my baby sister, Penny, who have taken numerous days off work to be at my side.  I am also grateful for the dear friends who are 'taking shifts' or 'having slumber parties' at Nancy's house  this weekend and until the doctor gives the OK for me to be alone, so that I can stay in my home during this difficult part of my recovery.  I can't go out by the sheep but as you can see in the photos, my dogs and cats are a great comfrt to me...

DREAM says...

"I sure hope you're better in time for lambing, Mom.  Pam told me she doesn't know the first thing about helping a sheep have a baby!  I told pam that we pretty well know what to do and take care of things ourselves anyway"

"Since there wasn't any interesting SHEEPY NEWS in the blog (again!) today, you might as well hop on over to Verde Farms, "FARM FRIENDS FRIDAY" event.  Heck!  I'm so bored that I  may go check things out!

  "Oh yes, that's right.  I cant't go any where.  Mom needs me to hang around and be in charge of things!"

Wednesday, March 16, 2011


I've been washing fleece.  No, I have not had my flock sheared yet.  I'll wait until the end of May to do that again this year.  As much as I used to be a staunch believer in shearing before  lambing, I am most definitely a convert to the "wait longer and you'll get a nicer fleece that comes off much easier" camp.  For years, I was convinced that  having lambs would destroy the fleece and it would be so dirty that one could never get it clean.  The reality is, I've found it to be just the opposite.  By waiting until  the end of May to have the flock sheared, they have all been off of hay for a month.  Which means that all (well, at least many) of those bits of chafe have worked their way out of the fleece.  They've also been rained on (and then shook the water off) which certainly helps to clean the fleece!  Only  the wool directly under the ewe's external genitalia,  does  get dirtier from lambing. I clean that us with a bucket of soapy water.  I know my girls well enough that I have no problem telling who is getting close to lambing.    Anyway!  I was saying that I've been washing fleece.  LAST year's fleece!  And in the case of one, white fleece:  2009's fleece!  I know.  Isn't it terrible?    I found a big, plastic bag (with holes punched in it for air circulation) in my basement, the other day.  I looked inside and there was a big, white ~ or what had at one time been a white ~ fleece in it.  The entire cut side of the fleece was a deep, dark, yellowish gold.  Lanolin.  Yuck.  This was Flash Flood's 2009 fleece.  It had been a gorgeous fleece.  Now it looks ruined.  I know from past experience that no amount of hot water and detergent is going to remove that yellow crud.  I wish I had taken a picture of it so that you could see how the who fleece was discolored...

But, I didn't.  I did, however, decide to try another method of cleaning the fleece.  I filled a Rubbermaid tub with cold  water, in my back yard, and put the fleece into it:

Then,  I remembered my camera!  The water instantly turned a dark golden brown.  It was like the yellow stuff was just sucked out of the fleece.

I let the fleece soak for an hour or two.

Then I put the hose into one corner of the tub, under the fleece and let more cold water trickle slowly into the tub.  I didn't want to let the fleece soak in that dark water for TOO long!

After about a half-hour of the rinse water trickling into the tub, most of the dirty water had run out.  Flash's Fleece was white again!

And I didn't use a drop of hot water or detergent!  I'll probably do one wash with detergent & hot water, just to make sure all the dirt is out but I am absolutely amazed and thrilled at what a wonderful  job cold water soaking did on this fleece!

I now have one, lovely, "fawn" fleece (Chance's) drying on my skirting table in the backyard:

I love the soft, fluffy, silvery taupe color of fawn fleece!  It's a good thing too because I have plenty of them!

I also have more fleece soaking in buckets:

This is from Hunter!  How long ago did I sell him??? 

I've also got two more buckets of fleece soaking in cold water, in the back yard, one in the washer and several more bags of nasty stuff to go...

DREAM says...

"How come I look so green in this picture, Mom?"

I'm sorry Dreamer.  You were standing in the door to the barn and the light was behind you.   I know that my camera tends to give things a slightly yellow tint and I guess I overcompensated, trying to correct it.   I'll try to do better this afternoon...

Thursday, March 10, 2011

I got a Face Lift!!!

Well, not really "I", as in "me". 
More like my Blog.
My Blog got a Face lift!
Do you like it?

My regularly scheduled readers may remember a few weeks ago when I declared winter officially over in the Bluff Country.   Lately, I've been dying a lot of yarn

and roving 

and mohair locks into bright, cheery colors.

I am so sick of dull, drab gray and brown that I could scream!
So I decided to change the background of my Blog.  I didn't want to go too  crazy.
It's not like there are flowers blooming or green grass in my peaceful, little valley in SE Minnesota. 

At least not YET!    But soon.

DREAM says...

"Oh, I HOPE  it's soon, Mom!
I'm really sick of the drab colors too and some fresh grass would taste mighty good, right about now!"

Don't forget to hop on over to Verde Farm's blog to link up with lots of other FARM FRIEND FRIDAY bloggers!

P.S.  I wish I could get a face lift that easily!

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

I didn't tell a "lie"...
I was making: LOTS more color!!!

I had planned on doing another post, yesterday, showing how my latest batches of tri-dyed, mohair locks turned out.  Unfortunately, I was up until TWO O'CLOCK IN THE MORNING rinsing the suckers  said locks!  It takes a long time when one has to separate each color from the others and rinse each one individually!

The photo above shows plates of separated locks, waiting to be rinsed.
Below is a batch of "rust" in the rinse water:

Each color was hand rinsed in that colander in my sink!

Although the colors weren't necessarily what I expected, I love them all!

I got more than three shades from each jar because the areas where the colors blended often created a lovely layer of locks.

Above is the 'buttercup yellow' with some 'copenhagen blue' and a bit of 'rose' blended during the dying process.

This is the 'cophenhagen blue'

Below is the layer where the 'voiolet' and 'apricot' blended.

I actually like some of the blended areas better than the main color areas!

The 'Egyptian red' was dyed by itself, in the bottom of the roaster.

When the Egyptian red was done, I removed the locks and put a ball of white, Shetland /Angora rabbit blend roving, into the exhausted dye bath.

There was a little, loose roving, but most of it was still wound in a ball.  I turned the ball about every fifteen minutes and kept the temp at 250 in the roaster.  I really didn't think much color would take as I'd forgotten to presoak the ball of roving in hot water with dish soap added...

But it turned out beautiful!

The layer nearest the center of the ball took less color and the outer layer and loose roving took much more, giving me a beautiful bunch of graduated pink roving.  I can't wait to spin this up.  (unless, of course, I might sell it before I get the chance to spin it!)

DREAM says...

"I'm dreaming about beautiful colors too, Mom.  Can I  come in the house???"

Sorry Dreamer.  It's bad enough with two dogs and three cats in here!  Not to mention the mess that I've been making with all my spinning and dying lately.  I bet the grass will start turning green for you in just a couple more weeks.  I sure hope so ~ I'm running out of room to put brightly colored yarn, locks and roving!


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