Posts Tagged ‘Environment’

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.

The Knitting Clock

I found myself blog surfing tonight. I stumbled upon some pretty neat websites to share!  The first is the Dudecraft blog.  He has a sidebar of links to other crafty blogs.  This very, very cool knitting clock caught my eye.  Click on the link below to see more about the clock.  It’s worth it.  Very cool.

The Knitting Clock.

Then I stumbled upon another neat blog called DollarStoreCrafts.  Who knew one could be so creative with miscellaneous items from the local $1 store?  Click on over to the site and you, too, can learn how to make your very own Alien Abduction Lamp!  I think I will put a llama in mine…

And last, but not least, an inspirational post by another WordPress blogger Yes, David is Here.  Actually, I found the other sites through this blog.  This particular post is about the work of artist Guerra De La Paz.  I haven’t heard of this artist but I am now a fan!  After enjoying the photos of his work, I checked out his website and found more amazing art!

His use of color and recycled clothing is inspiring but I found myself drawn to his works which used camouflage clothing.  Very provocative and thought provoking!

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



Life has been busy (as usual) on the farm. Spring is a time for barn clean-up, lambing, vaccinations, mending fences, planting a garden, and tree planting. Actually, the list goes on and on. A few days ago, I washed Eino’s brown Finn fleece (ooh-la-la!) and set it to dry. I often am asked how I wash my fleeces. I decided to document the steps with my camera and I will post the photos in a few days.

Today, I wanted to link you to a blog which is a fascinating glimpse into the world of textiles. To quote from their blog, the two sisters of O Ecotextiles “… began a world-wide search for manufacturing partners interested in a cradle-to-cradle process of creating no-impact, perfectly safe, incredibly luxurious fabrics.” I read four of the posts and took away the feeling that our textile choices can have a disastrous effect on the environment.

As people drawn to wool, readers of this blog have an innate interest and love for all things fiber. We creatively use it – spinning, weaving, felting, knitting, hooking – even growing our own! In my effort to make each of my actions more environmentally safe, I now realize that I need to ensure that my wool washing techniques are eco-safe.

Following is the post from OEcotextiles.  Enjoy!

Wool When we talk about wool, we almost always mean the fiber from sheep, although the term “wool” can be applied to the hair of other mammals including cashmere and mohair from goats, vicuna, alpaca and camel from animals in the camel family and angora from rabbits. As with many discoveries of early man, anthropologists believe the use of wool came out of the challenge to survive – Neolithic man used pelts from animals to keep warm. Sheep (Ovis aries … Read More


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