“Strut Your Stuff” art show local news article….

“Strut your Stuff” art show at Fremont Art center opened on June 5th and they chose Charlie and I for an article in our local paper. I thought it was to be an article on the show, but it turned out to be an article on Charlie and I. you can see the article here but know that there are a few misquotes. We do not have 29 sheep. We have 9 sheep and 20 goats! haha but she did get the number correct! The yarns that I have available in the show are NOT handspun this time, these were sent off to a mill to be spun very evenly, strongly and finely into lace weight that I could use for warping and weft on the loom.

See the Article Here

Little April, Monty, Ringo, Blue, Star and all the others are still with us. Some are in varying stages of recovery but no one has given up the fight. I hope to sell a few more angora goats this weekend a local shop as I have to make room for some of my lambs next spring. I didn’t keep any lambs this year except one, but I sold her mom so we did not increase in sheep size at all. We actually went down numerous sheep as I culled the meat herd and put them in the freezer.

Hope to have hay in the next few weeks and that will be us started on the way for getting ready for winter already. funny saying that as it is 81 degrees outside right now but winter IS coming!! 🙁

Recently we have been selling a lot of the fleeces and rovings from the online store. www.albaranch.etsy.com in case you forgot the link. hope to see you there buying up fiber and photographs. we are having a clearance sale on many items in the shop, so go have a look and see what bargains you might be able to score! 🙂

4 Seasons and premature Doeling

Since my last posting,  Emma did finally kid.  She had a very lovely marked bouncing boy!  we named him Monty and he literally bounces around.  He can be seen at times catapulting through the air, and landing in his favorite spot…on the broad back of Brownie the sheep!  He has attempted it on various other smaller sheep with varying results. 🙂

The little premature doe, April, is sitll with us.  she has not been feeling well so we don’t know how she will go.  she has scours and we have no clue why.  Tried various medicines and so far she seems to be determined to keep the scours.  I did wean Jet, Ringo and Blue and put them in the big boy pen a while ago.  The weaning may not have been too premature, but the big boy pen I think may have been.  I do not think they got enough food even though I thought they were.  Ringo was down in the pen at the beginning of this week and than his brother Jet was.  Charlie just said that Jet died during the night.  They were weak from lack of food, so we made them a special pen out of alfalfa hay bales and have had them separate with unlimited food for days…I thougth they were coming on, but Jet gave up the fight.  When Ringo got knocked at the beginning of the week, I thought he was injured internally and would not make it.  He has however still been with us for another FIVE days..so there is hope with him.  We took Blue out of the big boy pen even though he was thin but not as weak as the others.  he has been having fun in the doe pen but he is so close to that age where he could be too fertile.  When we remove the last of our sale animals this week, we are going to separate the really big boys into that far pen and leave the smaller boys in the middle pen so that they can be separate from the girls but still be safe from being in with the big boys until they grow a lot more.  I hope this helps the issues.  sometimes the angora goats just grow so slowly.  Monty is at least a month younger than them and is probalby twice their size and 4 times more energetic!!

After working night and day on my fiber entry for the show, they cancelled it!  🙁  so it won’t be displayed but here is it.  Four Seasons:

It starts at the left with the white one as winter, than spring, than summer and than fall going clockwise.  I used Wensleydale, Lincoln Long Wool (coloured and white), alapaca, mohair (coloured and white) throught out the weavings.  there is raw fleece tied in, rovings, hand spun yarn, mill spun yarn from my rovings, but there is no synthetic yarns from any shops or anything other than pure fiber as even the hooks to hang it were braided from left over warps.

I listed six different listings last night on www.albaranch.etsy.com so go have a look and enjoy! it is a great collection of fine yarns that I had got back from the mill.  Mohair, Merino, and some merino/mohair blends.  some white and some colours.  I finally listed some of the red yarns, a medium and a dark fawn mohair yarns!

I have been making goat cheese every week recently, and boy it is certainly nice to have it again.  Sales are starting up on the etsy shop again, go stop in and buy something!! 🙂

Fusion Art Show and April is born

I have been a bit behind in posting anything as I have been busy weaving up a storm for the “Fusion a Convergence of Fiber Artists” gallery show that is coming up.  I have my main entry done and we are hoping to get it photographed today and I can post a pic when we do.  I am also putting in a few smaller things that I made earlier this year.

I just got my newest order of yarns and rovings back so I have plenty to weave with and of course we just sheared again about 2 weeks ago.  since this time they were all mostly covered, the fleece is fantastic and so much better.  It is clean, brigther colours, and softer without wind damage.  I plan on hand processing the 3 lincoln, 1 teeswater and 1 wensleydale fleece that I have.  I will send the rest off to the mill to have some stronger, thicker warp yarns made up for weaving since everything recently has been fine light weight yarns.

Rachel had a new baby doeling premature.  It was touch and go for a while there, but she is now 10 days old and running around the pen.  her legs were not strong enough to stand or walk at first, and than later she could be was effectively walking on the backside of her knees but she is stronger now and up on her hooves like a proper little goatie and jumping around like they do.  she is still very tiny, maybe all of THREE pounds now, but she is just goregous.  she is going to be staying.  Emma has still NOT kidded, I swear her knees must be superglued together. ahah  will keep you updated 🙂

Washing Raw Fleece, Blue Angora Goats

I haven’t gotten anywhere with my list of items that I wanted to accomplish today.  I have instead baked bread, listed items on www.albaranch.etsy.com and wrote in my blog.  oh well, I guess I had better get busy!!

I was explaining what equipment that you may need to wash and card your raw fleece at home by hand.  It really is simple.  The items in my list are probably not even essential but I have found they do make my life easier.

1. a few or as many as you want of the cheap plastic 99cent 2-3 gallon buckets from walmart

2. set of good rubber maid gloves as you will be working with dirty fleece in really hot water

3. liquid laundry detergent as most dish soaps are too harsh on the actual fleece

4. dash of fabric softener to help your wool soften and smell wonderful

5.  a few of those white zippered lingerie washing bags to put your fleece into thereby avoiding it going down the sink drain and plugging it.  I usually get the ones that are about the size of 1-2 quarts, where you can put about a pound of fleece in it max as that way it is easier to wash by hand.

6. you can get a set of carding combs from a spinning place or you can go to the local pet shop and buy two of the same size brushes that are the square wire mesh brushes.  they can be used for carding just the same but on a smaller and much cheaper scale.

7.  get 1 or 2 of the silver metal wide tooth combs to also do some combing of your fleece

There you have the basics for washing and carding your fleece at home in your own easy to size batches.  You dinna have to be posh with your carding combs as the doggie ones will do just fin!

Having said all that, I not only have the dog ones, I have the special large carding combs, a set of small carding combs that came free with my big drum carder from louetts that I have used maybe 3 times in about 5 years.  so there you have it, I send mine out to the mill these days!! haha I hate carding but I can do it if necessary.

Blue Angora Goats

I am skirting, picking by hand, washing and drying my fleeces this weekend as I need them for a new project in their long ringlet lock form.  so at least I don’t have to card anything!!

We have had a few additions to our family in the last week, if you have been over to the hubby’s blog, you will have seen a pic of our new BLUE angora twins.  I think that the boy’s name is definitely going to be BLUE, but the verdict is still out on the girl’s name.  I can’t decide between Stella or Star.  any suggestions?


9 Year Anniversary!!

Today is my 9th anniversary of being married…to my husband!!  good thing that it is to him, otherwise he might be confused.  However, he is on his blasted boat again and I am alone.  Well, if you count all the critters I suppose not REALLY alone. hahah  BJ says that it is good that he was with me on the most important one..the getting married one…or there wouldn’t be any anniversary..she has a point!

Ok I am back. had to rescue my “fried bread sandwich” as my husband calls my grilled ham and cheese.  Not feeling the best today, sore throat, beginnings of a head ache, bags under my eye..or rather my bags have luggage and they are over their luggage limit.  and my neck hurts where my ear tubes are under the surface.  Been fighting for weeks now that I have gold fish swimming in my ears… it is what I call when I move and my head sloshes.  normally it is only there, not really any sinus stuff.  But it can be interesting when I get dizzy, try falling over in the barn yard because you cock your head a little in any direction!  almost fell into the trough!

I have been weaving so much these days.  I have all my things up now on our shop except raw fleeces, and clean rovings.  starting on some of the rovings today.  you can see a link to the right of my postings for the Etsy shop.  We are listed as albaranch ….go check us out and buy something.  I have had rather good luck selling things there, loads better than awful ebay.  they suck with all their new policies.  Unfortunately I sill have all my belly dancing things to sell, maybe I will sell them in the local shopper, probably be cheaper than ebay.

Been so focused on getting the art up on etsy.com that I have forgone sleep a lot these days.  Sleep is overrated you know.  it is a major inconvenience when I am in the middle of something, and than I just ignore and find myself face down on the computer.  Blast!

I think my next weaving with be with a yarn that I have not tried nor do I have any critters of these variety out in the barnyard.  Romney/CVM cross. it has a nice soft handle to it with a lot of loft, not all that dissimilar to my merino, just not as soft.  so we will see.  I have some merino off at the mill being processed as we speak.  they are going to be doing merino for me for the first time, and than doing some in blends with mohair and alpaca as well.  so will be really interesting to see what we get back.

Found a new seamstress as well.  She has some of my favourite items, the lining disintegrated on my favourite Cerise skirt, so she is putting a new one in.  I hope that she does well as I really miss my skirt.  funny how you get attached to an item like that.  Well I should go do the morning chores, since I maybe starting them before 2 pm today, I am doing much better than last night which was more like 6 pm.  Morning chores.  Denise asks me why I don’t just call them chores as I only have to do them once a day and I said I call them MORNING chores just for her. 🙂

I am considering rejoining the land of living…..

I can not believe how long it has been since I have blogged. I also can hardly remember what has happened in the last year.

Over the last 2.5 years that I have been back in the USA in Colorado working on trying to do our homestead, there has been an unbelievable amount of snags that have hit. 4 court cases with our supposed builder. 3 directly with him that we won and one that was against us because of him which we lost. We have finally recovered that money which pays us back for the one law suit that we lost that was against our land because of him, and paid us back for the car we never got from him and the other two cases effectively paid for our legal fees to do all this. So we are essentially still in the hole the $30,000 that he stole originally and all the damage to our land.

I wanted to sell the land and move to a different part of Colorado, a different county entirely. OR I wanted to sell and move back to Scotland. I had begun to hate our land, hate Colorado, and hate the HOA and everything around me. Well I don’t want to be like that and have made a decision to stay here, make peace with the land and hopefully the HOA and myself as well.

To that end, we had our HOA meeting yesterday and there are 2 of the 3 board members are new. I had an opportunity to speak with the 2 new ones, as well as listen to them in the meeting and was pleasantly surprised that they seem like reasonable REAL people. I thought everyone that was on the board of a HOA had to be a bit crackers!! 😉 So to that end, we shared our protest site to them and if they like it, we plan on taking the protest info off and maybe being the web master and mistress of the HOA site. at least that was what I was proposing and volunteering hubby and self for. Since that time, I did actually tell hubby about it and he has agreed. Good thing I know my husband’s mind and can make it up for him before he knows about it 😆 I do hope that they like it and that we can host the site and render the protest site obsolete as I do believe that the only way to make an HOA work is for folks to be involved and work together. The new board seems to want to work with the people in the HOA rather than control them, patronize them, and talk down to them. This sincerely warms my heart. I feel that part of my road to recovering from the lost of our original dream is to heal this riff and create a new dream and to that end, I think this website could be a great part of the package. I am actually excited about the prospect of being able to contribute to the HOA in this manner when previously all I thought of them was good target practice with my new gun ❗

We have also decided to completely throw out or old house designs, and dream up new ones that work with the site the way that it is as that was another thing that the builder did. He destroyed our house site, did it his way where he wanted it and even with that only half ass did it so there was a large amount of remedial work to be done. We have had a new excavator in that has been a life saver to our property and has fixed it as best as it can ever be done. So we have come up with a new house design that I just love, as it incorporates solar passive heat design, high thermal mass and can be done by one or two inexperienced folks like hubby and myself. so that is on the board to finish those new drawings which are half done and turn them in for approval with the HOA and than get busy in the spring. The next few years with this building might mean only a blog or two again. haha kidding, going to try to be here more. I have decided to cut back from my one career which is my massage to only one day a week effective the first of September. I am going to give it until the end of the year at the one day a week before deciding if I want to come back more or not. at the moment I am too tired to really be able to decide and after a few weeks of deliberation, have decided that the reason that I can’t decide is that I am NOT supposed to decide right and can’t because I am still too tired. In reality, the only thing that has changed in the last two weeks is that I have had a different mind set. I have however still been at the office at least three days per week. so my partner and I have decided that other than ONE day literally a week, where we trade massages for each other and I do other clients that I will not go to work. I will stop my synergy treatments for the next month and restart in October. I am stuck on a plateau with the treatments anyways, and need a break so that my body can reset and that will stop me going to work two more days a week.

What will I do with this time? I think I may go to the mountains. I have so much work that needs to be done on the ranch before winter with securing pens, finishing the water lines for winter and insulating things, and securing more panels and gates and sorting out all the fleece and getting it ready to send off to the mill and using the bad fleece for insulation and order my new loom and start weaving again….that I can more than fill ONE month. 😯 I am going to go on an herb walk in Guffey at the beginning of September. I have always wanted to get into herbs and such much more and this might be a good introduction for me to get my feet wet and see what I think of it. Also I get to meet a local herbalist that will be conducting the tour. I have started to get into herding with the border collies, another of the things on my list for years and have met numerous people with that. There is supposed to be a herding seminar locally done by Carol Lucero in September that I am looking forward to as well so that I may also learn more and meet more local herding folks. I have just picked up a bunch of sheep with a different type of wool so that will be great to work with and I managed to get my sheep lady to sell me her old merino gals that I buy their fleece from her each year. Now I will just care for them their least 3-4 years here, and raise a few of their daughters for my future fleece growing. I got my first batch of kid mohair yarn back from the mill last month and it is to die for. so I am going to add another one or two angoras as I had always planned on keeping about 3-4 of them. I had 3, but one was recently killed so that only leaves me one old gal and her wether grandson. I have added in some wonderfully new Nubian does for milk and have been playing with making some soft cheeses. That has been a total great time, and now I want to start to progress into more hard cheeses, and maybe some butter and yogurts. I still want to make goat milk soap but still a bit scared of the lye. Have to work through that.

I have recently found out also that the Natural Animal Centre in the UK has started to do their Bach Flower Remedy animal courses in the USA. They held them last year in Boston. I am waiting to hear from them the dates and times and location, to see if I might be able to do the three courses this next year. I also saw that they have been busy writing some more books specifically for animals, dogs and cats, as all their books originally were aimed at horses and ponies. I had ordered the books and am awaiting their arrival. I plan on still finishing my intuitive crystal healing diploma, and doing the animal BFR courses. I want to continue with my therapies but be more herbal, and more animal focuses so that it can be done from the ranch and not require going to town with an office ect. I know that many BFR do phone consults for both animals and people. I am hoping to do some advertising and go that way a bit. It will not grow fast as there will be resistance to this locally, but the adverts are to reach the folks that would be interested that may be a few hours from me, more like Denver and Boulder. There is nothing to say that I can not be a travelling BFR animal person 1 or 2 times per month, with the rest of the time doing things via phone or they come to me.

I stopped in last week to my belly dancing group and confirmed they were still there and the times. I want to go back to that and can probalby start in September as this next week I am in the office all day that day as my partner is on vacation. so belly dancing, sheep and goat herding, herbal work, Bach Flower Remedies for animals, sorting and processing fleece, starting to weave again, crocheting again, felting again, making hard and soft cheeses, and maybe even getting around to making some goat milk soap…along with winterizing the ranch, finishing pens, reinforcing fences, finishing the water lines, insulating, and general ranch work…I think that I can stay busy without being in an office. 😯 In Fact, I am very much looking forward to this all. And to think that I have done all this research and starting of things just in the last two weeks. 😆