Tuesday, July 31, 2007

My beautiful mom and her wonderful neighbor!

Thought I would update you about my mom, who is currently working through chemo to battle her breast cancer. She has a good prognosis and is doing well--she is half way there! yey mom! She will be done with all the chemo and radiation by the end of February and I can't tell you how proud I am of her courage and grace. She is amazing.

That said, I also want to say how wonderful someone I do not even know is-- my mom and dad's neighbor Beth, who has decided to walk the SIXTY MILE breast cancer walk in my mom's name. It was the most amazing phone call from my mom telling me how touched she was by Beth's effort--and Beth, I hope you know how much we all appreciate what you are doing! I know you did not make the decision lightly (ask my sisters how long the 30 mile walk felt in June!) and we will all be there in spirit cheering you on--and it would not surprise me if my parents showed up to cheer you on in person....

I also wanted to thank all the people who are 'friends of the Homestead sheep' who donated items and participated in our raffles this summer. Together with my sisters, we raised close to $10,000 toward Breast Cancer research. If you would like to help support Beth's effort, her check out her website. Thank you again for your support, it means the world to us as a family--and my beautiful mom!

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Almost done updating--for now! ha!

Another weekend, another update--and still working on that! Have the new yarns on today (alternative AND wool) and will be working on even more fiber, hoping to be done by tomorrow--Sunday. But am I ever 'caught up'? Nope! Have gray Corriedale dyed up and outside drying, and have more to dye up--better get to work!

The sheep are summer hibernating to avoid the blasted humidity--we did finally get some rain the other night, so keep your fingers crossed we get more soon--or the hay field is toast for the year. We switched the two bigger groups of sheep (Dalai's and Bobbi/Andrew's) pastures so Steeler would stop banging up the foundation of our old stone dairy barn--hopefully he will not take out his boredom in the heat on the other newer barn, at least the foundation of THAT barn will not be at his mercy since it is newer! Stinker. The girls are not sure they like the other side of the farm but are adjusting--as are Bobbi and Andrew. Dalai is enjoying the new digs, he likes a change--the sheep take after me--change is not always appreciated! ha!

Hope you are all enjoying your weekend and keep an eye out for more fiber, including white llama, mohair and more to follow all this weekend!

Friday, July 20, 2007

What's new sheepy sheep, wo wo wo oh!

Hello all! Here is what is new on the wheel these days! It is tempting to take the wheel and sit outside to spin it is SO nice out! BUT, back to this beauteous wool! This little sheep's name is Lucky and it fits him to a 't'! His friend is Lela and she adopted Lucky as a very sick lamb--and look at him today! She loves him dearly and I am working on spinning his soft fleece, then will be weaving it into a pretty throw to keep Lela warm this winter. Lucky still has a few health issues but thanks to Lela's love and hard work, he is happy, healthy and loving life!

Here is what has been going on at my parents' house! This tree was growing up over the roof of their house, leading them to have it topped off so it would not fall in on them. They were sad to have to do that but left the stump--and for mom's birthday, we all 'chipped' in and had a carver come out and carve the tree for her! It is just amazing and I think she enjoyed the process as much as the outcome! The carver is truly talented and everyone that sees this is amazed! Mom spends her summers as a wildlife rehabilitation volunteer--helping orphan babies grow up just enough to be released into the wild again safely.... lots of little squirrels!!!

Working on a fiber and yarn update--hope to have it done today so keep an eye out and will post again later on! Happy fiber art and sheep!

Friday, July 13, 2007

Answering some questions and Friday the 13th.... bwaahahahaha

Hello all! Hope things are great, and COOLER for you!! We have some nicer days here for the moment and the sheep are enjoying romps in the 'big' pasture--although we have a few who cannot bring themselves to behave and stay home! Ugh. We are SO close to being done with the outer fence replacement and the grass is SO nice out there--think that would keep them home? Nope, they like to gallop the neighbor's place so we spend extra time with them all day shepherding them away from their escape places, til we get panels out there this evening. It is very peaceful out there, no traffic, just the sheep and Dalai Llama.... Maybe I need to head out there again! ha!

Now, question number one was from a reader who was curious about our 'poodle' story yarn mentioned in a previous post. We do not raise our poodles for their fiber, although they would be an awesome fiber to spin! Thor has little bitty curlies and Chaz has banana curls--unfortunately for the spinner in me, they are both aging, are quite elderly and impatient with grooming now. SO, for their sake (coolness and happiness), I tend to keep them shaved up pretty short. Spinning a pet's hair is something I do quite often though, poodle hair that is over 3 inches long would be perfect for spinning alone--it would resemble a pretty mohair yarn in type. There is no 'dog smell' in the yarn either, even if it gets wet later during use or wear. Many times to give the yarn more versatility, I will add a percentage of wool to the dog fiber to give it more 'memory' and bounce.

Next, the ethical properties of our farm. First let me say that I know there are many sides to this type of operation but we have strict philosophy regarding our critters' quality of life. I agree that there ARE times when keeping an animal or pet is inhumane-- but most times, when we get a neglected animal, what strikes us most is their ability to bond again with a human being and put their trust in us. If an animal is eating, drinking, comfortable and free of pain, I see no reason to put them to sleep. I do not believe in horrifically heroic measures but am not above a tremendous vet bill with our wonderful vet each year. Mainly for wellness checks I might add.

Most animals will tell you when they are ready to quit trying and it is painfully obvious. They are stoic and trust in you to be the best person to care for them. If you check our 'angel' page, you will see just a few of the times we have had to make those decisions, no matter how they hurt US, because it was the best for the critter involved. Each case here is evaluated on its own merits, along with our vet so I have no doubt in the fact that he would not allow me to be selfish and make an animal continue if it is not humane--even if I was tempted.

That brings me to the subject of Bandit-our new deaf Border Collie puppy. There is no reason a deaf dog cannot function and have a happy life--if they have training that is appropriate to their disability. Libby (pictured above) is now 3 and knows scores of sign language and is learning to work with me with a dog whistle since she can hear loud noises. Bandit already knows 5 signs, tricks and is only 11 weeks old now. Dogs adapt to life with out sight, limbs and hearing quite well, generally it is their owners that are more distressed over it than the dog. There are always exceptions to the rule though and I am not making light of anyone else's decision regarding their pet. Letting a loved pet move on with out us is one of the worst decisions I have ever had to make and it will never be easy--if it ever gets easy, I will then know I am in the wrong line of work. What you do not see on our site is the number of abused and neglected animals/sheep that arrive here and sadly we know they need to be released from their pain immediately. THAT is the story you don't see because we choose not to share that portion--maybe we should...but it can be very depressing.

The deaf dog has a place in the world and I am glad to be able to provide a place for both Libby and Bandit. I am sure of my path with them, and the critters I have come to care for. As long as the sheep and others here want to try, I am happy to help them succeed in a healthy and appropriate manner--case by case--loving each with my whole heart as long as I am lucky enough to have them with me. Even if it is only a day or two....

SO, that said, please be patient with our site--again-- we seem to have a problem with our pictures that will be fixed SOON! Ugh! More new fiber and yarn will be added to the site this weekend so keep an eye out--and hope everyone has a fibery weekend planned!

Friday, July 06, 2007

Progress--lots of it!!

And here we have the newest 'Bandit' in our little pack of pooches! She is a blue merle Border Collie with beautiful bright blue eyes--however, she cannot hear. SO, when our friend offered her to us, we snapped her up to become a high energy friend to our Libby--our 3 year old deaf Border Collie.

Libby was not sure at first about her little 'friend' but now the two are pretty inseperable--although Libby can still outrun her, a fact she likes to rub Bandit's nose in often! Libby is helping me teach Bandit sign language and how to be a good deaf dog. Bandit's 'job' will be to help teach Libby to walk on a leash. Libby has an aversion to collars, if we put one on her, she hides in the closet for days--really! Nothing bad has ever happened to Libby, we have had her since she was 6 weeks old but somehow, the collar thing has just been too much for her to 'grasp'..... Hard to chat with a deaf dog to tell them something is 'ok' when they are scared! Still a silly thing to be scared of huh? :0)

We are working on enclosing our back porch--a little space that will let me have at least a three season room for carding wool, picking wool and relaxing with out being eaten by bugs at night--yey and thank you mom, dad, Barbara and Dennis--the ones behind all the toughest work! We have almost got the outside done, have to get the wiring today and the ceiling fan--more pictures in our next post--promise!

Otherwise, been washing through about 200 pounds of Corriedale wool (white and natural) so watch for that to appear on the site soon!
Hope all is well and that you have a happy fibery weekend!!

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Remember the 'poodle' challenge???

Happy Sunday everyone! A while back a customer contacted me and was so sad because she had felted several pounds of Targhee wool while washing--something we have all done, probably more often than we care to admit!! I asked her to send it to me. When she took the fiber to the UPS store, they made her prove the felted blob of fiber was not actually something d-e-a-d-! eek!

SO the fiber arrived and I popped it into the dyepot and the first picture is what 'happened' there. I then happened to have a roving here that was Homestead mystery wool from our sheep--and it was a perfect match! I spun one ply of the roving with random bits of felted locks and fleece into it, then plyed it up with some pretty copper sparkle thread (my current fav) and some fluffy novelty yarn. Ended up with a boucle style yarn that is soft and fun to knit--which of course I had to do!

I used the odd yardage to create a swatch, that went on to become a purse--complete with a vintage beaded earing for a button closure, AND while I rummaged for the perfect fun items, I found a POODLE applique! Now how much karma can I stand??? ha! I sent a skein of the poodle yarn and a matching skein with out the baubles back with some baubles for our customer to try out--see what can happen with a felted bit of wool??? :0)

You can find more pictures of this yarn and purse--both for sale on our site on the 'more crazy quilt yarn' page....

I just finished up an update that includes unwashed fiber, alpaca, wool, and lots and lots of new yarn! Be sure to come visit our site and happy weekend to all!