Friday, May 30, 2014

Late May Garden

The weather has been very funky this spring, but the garden seems to be doing well for the weather we've had. Here's an update on some of the crops.

My potato towers are growing like crazy.  It's a love/hate relationship with them.  I love how they're growing, but I hate having to fill in the cage with compost, because it's hard on the arms!

I started by lining the cages with straw, but as I went higher it got harder to keep the straw in place without the compost smashing it down.  I decided instead to try newspaper. The paper works well, but looks pretty ugly.  I guess soon, the main garden crops will be big enough that people from the road won't be able to see them.  I guess I shouldn't really care what people think, either!

It's time to fill in again, since the plants have grown so much. Luckily, the Colorado Potato Beetles haven't found the potatoes in the cages, but they have found the ones in the ground.

For a while, I was going out every day and smashing all the adult beetles and the eggs I'd find, but then we went away for the weekend and I sort of forgot about it.

Here's a volunteer borage plant, growing near the potato rows. I think it's in a place where it's not in the way, so I'll leave it there instead of transplanting it.

I am loving my cabbage patch.  These pictures are about a week old, and I feel like things have grown so much more since then.  The cabbage and broccoli are doing really well, and I'm excited that I may actually get a decent onion crop! (onions on the right)

Here's one of my lacinato kale plants.  It's such a pretty plant. I got my first harvest yesterday..enough for me for lunch.

Here's a patch where I planted tomatoes. I always end up with way more tomatoes than space, so I had to squeeze them in anywhere I could.  I planted 43 plants, but I think some of them have died.  I'm not heartbroken.

It'll be a late year getting tomatoes, but that's ok.  I planted lots of marigolds around the garden.  The pic below shows a marigold seedling next to a tomato seedling.

Here's part of my pea, spinach, and kale bed.  The peas are being so.slow. this year!  The spinach and kale will be ready to harvest soon.  This picture looks even older than a week...I guess I need to actually blog about the pictures the day I take them!

And my favorite veggie of all beans!  They're up, but being eaten by something.

So that's it for now. I'll get new pictures this weekend so I can do an early May post. It's fun to look back at pictures of the garden each year and see where everything was and how it was doing.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

For Sale!

Nessarose is for sale. She's a registered Oberhasli dairy doe, a yearling.  She is in milk.  She's CAE and Johnnes negative, and very easy to hand milk!

We are also selling our "Goat Tote", since we have bought a cap for our truck.  This works very well to haul livestock.  It'd be great for sheep, goats, hogs, dogs, and calves.  It fits in a shortbed Chevy or Ford with the tailgate down. It's VERY sturdy and well built.

Please email me if you're interested in either Nessa or the "Goat Tote".  If you click on my picture to the right, you'll see a link to email me.  Thanks!

Monday, May 26, 2014

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Spinning in Circles

I got my first 4-H lamb when I was 10, and I've been raising sheep ever since (except for a short 3 year break in my 20's), and I started knitting (sporadically) when I was in college.  For some reason I never quite combined the two and did any spinning or knitting with wool produced by my own sheep.  I guess this is mostly because for a while I raised meat sheep, and while they grow wool it's not as nice quality wool as that from breeds specifically raised for their wool.

I've had Romneys, and now I have Romney crossbred ewes, so I have been saving fleeces for a while now, planning on learning to spin "one day".   I decided that day has come, so I got one of my drop spindles and found some roving and decided to jump right in and try!

I have spun before, just briefly, during our first annual MLK (Must Love Knitting) Weekend.  That was several years ago, so I watched a few ton of Youtube videos on spinning with a drop spindle.  Then I tried it...and it was much harder than it looks in videos!   I tried to not get discouraged, and I kept practicing.

I picked a really pretty color roving, so it would make the learning process more interesting and fun.  Isn't it pretty?  I'm not sure what kind of wool it is.

Here's a picture of the 3 spindles I have.  I first tried with the metal spindle with the hook, but I just wasn't loving it.

Then I switched to the wooden bottom-whorl spindle, and it felt better to me.  The picture above was a picture of my first attempts at spinning.  The picture below is a picture I took last night.  I can see major improvement!

There are some discrepancies in thickness still, but over all it's much more even.  And now that I'm getting better at drafting (pulling the fibers from the roving out so I can spin them), it's going quicker!  Now I'm ready to wind this yarn into a ball off of the spindle, and start a new strand of yarn.

Hopefully soon I'll have some yarn I can use for a project!  Maybe a hat?  And soon I'll start trying to spin a fleece from my own sheep!

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Busy Weekend!

Snapped this pic of the moon the other night, and I was surprised I can actually make out some of the craters!  I wish I had a bigger zoom lens!

Egg wash...the other meaning.

Devin planted his peach tree and watered it in well with some fish gut fertilizer.  That stuff stinks, but the plants love it. 

Kylee's blueberry bushes are loaded with fruit!

The potato towers are ready for another level of compost. I just need to get a bale of straw so I can line the sides (so the compost won't fall out). 

Onions on the right, then broccoli and cabbage, then the dark row of soil is where the green beans are planted.

Baby spinach

Baby peas

I didn't start many seeds this year, but I did start some tomatoes, basil, marigold, and nasturtiums.

Why are basil seedlings so darned cute?

 Here's Nessarose.  She was one of June's doe kids last year, and she was leased out over the winter to a neighbor. She kidded in April and is now back here.  Since I don't *need* 3 does in milk, I'm going to sell her, but I'll be sad to see her go. 

June spent some time with the horsey tire swing.  Then she nibbled it. 

I taught Kylee how to play Solitaire. 

I've been practicing spinning (yarn) on the drop spindle.  It's harder than it looks on youtube!  My first attempt was on the spindle to the right, then I switched to the one on the left. 

We went on a picnic for Mother's Day.  We had a blast!

Tuesday, May 6, 2014


The sheep got sheared about a week and a half ago, only I didn't get pictures of the actual shearing this time.  I mean, you've seen one shearing, you've seen them all...right?  But here are some pics of the naked sheep.  

Below are Darla and Dixie.  They're my purebred Southdown girls and a little thin after raising their lambs.  

The black faced ewe below is Barley, and the one behind her is Dixie.  Dixie doesn't look too bad for being a yearling and raising a lamb.  I'm hoping she'll fill out well this summer now that her lamb is weaned.

Here's a picture of Barley, one of my Romney/Southdown ewes (Darla's 3 yo daughter).  I think she looks pretty good after weaning her 2 lambs.   

And here is Bean, Barley's twin sister.  She looks great, to me.  She's in great condition, and that's after carrying triplets and raising twins.  She's a keeper for sure.  These Romney cross girls are easier keepers than the Southdowns.  

Here's a fleece being skirted.  Skirting is when all of the poor quality wool is removed, either because it's too dirty, or too short.  

I got brave and split up half of Barley's fleece and washed it the other day.  I put it in the tub and soaked it.  It was very dirty, and the water from the first soak/rinse was like chocolate milk.  

I think this was the third and final rinse.  

Then I put it out on the deck to dry.  I laid it flat for a little while, to get most of the water out.  

Then I put it in this wire basket off the wood so it could dry further.  Tucker found it pretty quickly and loved his new bed.

Now it's dry and waiting to be used!  I'm going to re-learn how to spin it on my drop spindle and hopefully make something with it!

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