Archive for the ‘Environment’ Category

Winter – Will it Ever End?

Mid-April snowstorm - about 8 inches on the ground with plenty of mud underneath

Mid-April snowstorm – about 8 inches on the ground with plenty of mud underneath

 

This is a photo of our dismal April.  We have received more snow this April than the previous 10 April’s combined.  We have had continuous snow, ice or mud on the ground with very few dry days.  The temperature has been mostly in the 30’s-40’s with freezing temps at night.  It is depressing and the fields are behind on greening up.

For fiber folks that have asked when I will get to skirting the spring shearing?  Sorry, but it will be awhile.   I do  not jacket my sheep so the spring fleeces have VM.  We still have some lovely fall 2012 fleeces available on the Fleece page.

 

 

LAMBING UPDATE – We are in full swing of lambing on the farm.  I will get photos loaded for the next post.  ALL LAMBS THIS YEAR WILL BE FOR SALE!

Our grandchildren holding a single 3/4 Finn black piebald ewe lamb

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Happy Earth Day!

Spring is limping along, our little patch of earth is trying to awaken, grass is slowly turning green.  The birds have returned and are busy building nests with a treasure-trove of materials our little farm has to offer – straw, hay, and warm, cozy bits of wool and llama fiber.  Spring planting for local farmers is behind schedule as the fields have been too wet.  The weather forecast is supposed to be in the 60’s next week.  I hope so!  Yesterday we woke to snow but it melted away within a few hours.

Winter Returns

This photo is from our front window.  TH (Trophy Husband) is removing a patch of Boxelder trees in front of the house.  Boxelder is a hard-to-kill “weed tree” in the maple family.  It has very hard wood (tough to cut) so it makes for better firewood than a shade tree.  I counted 14 trees in this area.  The trees monopolize the landscape and are in different stages of growth or decay.  I’ve wanted them removed for five years but TH has resisted because they are on the west side of the house; they do give afternoon shade.  TH has finally relented and agreed to remove the trees.  We will replace them with poplar, maple, evergreen trees, shrubs and flowers.  On this Earth Day I have no worries about losing the weed trees; we have already planted well over 100 new trees on our property!

I promise updated lamb photos in the next post.  Enjoy the day!

Formaldehyde in your fabrics

I have been thinking about learning to weave fabric.   Now, I have more motivation than ever!  Curious?  Click on the link below to find out more.

Formaldehyde in your fabrics.

 

Do you think I can learn to weave bed linens – today – before I go to sleep?

A Thought Provoking Blog

I stumbled across this blog on WordPress tonight.  It was a very interesting read.

The Fiber Shed Challenge

In 2010, I was hoping to “eat local” but didn’t make a very genuine effort.  I hope to do better this year.  The Fiber Shed Challenge goes another step toward becoming a “locavore” – in a different way.  I will give this some thought.  Perhaps it will be a good challenge for 2011.  But first, I think I will check out a few local farmer’s markets…

Friday Farm Photo #8 – the Good, the Bad & the Mucky

Oops.  I’m late.  Actually, I have not been motivated to blog the last few weeks.  Can you tell?  The posts have slowed down.  Between the sick lambs, and record heat, humidity, and thunderstorms we try to get work done in the barnyard.  The muck seems like it is knee deep (but not really) and the llama dung piles continue to grow.  (It’s hard to clean the barnyard when it is in a constant state of mud…)  We have the fans running in the barn and plenty of fresh water and shade for the critters.  As I fill the water trough, I spray several of the llamas with the cold water from the hose.  Karma, Nessa, and Minah enjoy having their neck, legs and undersides sprayed.  After that they roll in the dirt; water + dirt = mud.  Caked mud in their fleece – is good to help discourage flies – but bad for the Shepherdess who has to wash it out!

In this photo, the weeds at the left are about eight feet tall.  They are in an area which has not been reclaimed yet.  The grass is much greener than shown in the photo.  This lane leads to a back pasture of about eight acres.  The good news about all the rain is that we will have forage for the flock well into October or November.

I thought of taking a photo of the rain gauge.  But, quite honestly, I am sick of looking at it.  It has another two inches of rain in it from Thursday’s storms.

On a good note – Australian Shepherd pup Molly is doing great!  Here’s a photo of her lying low in the heat.

Friday Farm Photo #6

I posted this photo last year after an eagle flew LOW over the barnyard (and my head.)  He rested in a tree in our backyard for about 10 minutes.  I was able to get some great photos of this awesome raptor and his prey.

I GROW WOOL but There IS A USE for Man-made Synthetic Fibers (via O ECOTEXTILES)

I love wool even though I am sensitive to the “itch” factor. I have learned to love the smell of lanolin when washing fleece. My hands like that soft feeling of the grease in the water when a fleece is soaking. And picking, carding, spinning, plying, weaving or knitting are lovely tactile pleasures.

BFL X NCC Mule fiber

Happily, we knitters and spinners have a wealth of natural, renewable fiber to choose from – the many types of sheep’s wool, llama, alpaca, mohair, yak, bison, cotton, linen, silk, qiviut, even dog hair! So many fibers — so little time.  Sigh…

Having said that, I have happy for a lightweight, rip-stop nylon tent that sheds water when camping in a rainstorm. Also, a breathable rain jacket is a vast improvement over the inexpensive plastic raincoats that leave me more drenched in sweat than rain! And thankfully, our police officers and troops are protected daily by Kevlar vests which will stop a bullet.  Having said that, if set on fire, wool will self-extinguish;  synthetic fibers will melt onto one’s skin.

So there is a place and use for synthetic fibers. But production of any fiber comes at a cost to the environment. Scouring natural fiber involves water, soap/detergent and vinegar. With synthetic fibers, I never really thought about the oil and chemicals involved in the manufacturing process. Thank you again to the ladies of O Ecotextiles for their excellent information!

Man-made synthetic fibers For millennia mankind depended on the natural world to supply its fiber needs.  But scientists, as a result of extensive research, were able to replicate naturally occurring animal and plant fibers by creating fibers from synthetic chemicals. In the literature, it is often noted that there are three kinds of man-made fibers: those made by “transformation of natural polymers” (also called regenerated cellulosics), those made from synthetic polymer … Read More

via O ECOTEXTILES

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