Lovin' time at Coon Hollow Farm

Lovin' time at Coon Hollow Farm
Our Olde English "Babydoll" Sheep and their lambs

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Opening the Hives...

 The weekend here was beautiful and the bees were flying in and out, perfect time for an inspection. I tried to get some shots of them bringing in pollen but was quickly being watched by the guard bees sooooo, I got out of there and decided to suit up....
 During the inspection it was clear that hive "A" was fine, but soon realized that there was no activity in"B" which was active just a few weeks ago. I soon learned that we had lost them. It seems they died from too much moisture in the hive. There were over 2000 bees dead, very sad. We knew we had lost "C" early in the winter.
 If you see the bigger bee with the yellow dot on her back, that is the queen! She is checking for cells that are empty and worthy of laying her eggs. In the upper cells you can see where she has already laid and they will cap it in a few days. The workers were busy cleaning and bringing in pollen. It is officially spring, the bees are back to work...
 In this picture, you can see the queen, workers and pollen in the cells. Just after I took this picture she dropped her abdomen in the cell and laid an egg! So our plan for the next coming weeks is to watch this hive. When we get into the next few weeks we will make a split from this hive to re-stock hive "B" and make a split from the Observation Hive at the Nature Center and re-hive both these hives. The is how hive "A" was produced last year which happened to be the only hive other than the Observation Hive to come through this brutal winter that we had.
The feeder was added to the hive with sugar, water and Honey-B-Healthy to boosts their immune systems as well as getting them fed while they are waking up and getting to the business of living!

Friday, March 29, 2013

Boys will be Boys!

 Look at that face! So cute but so mischievous! Now take a look at that wool coat he has on...ruined! It's barely holding on with a string!
 These coats were so cute and perfect when I put them on. They play so hard, running back and forth, humping each other and even playing with Autumn.
 I guess I can wash them and felt something really cool out of them.
The other lamb has ripped his from the base and is barely holding on. I am yet to get one into the next season. Well the weather is getting warmer and it's time to take them off before they fall off!

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Planting the Greenhouse and Coldframe

 The winter here in Connecticut has held on with a vengeance! It seems like it is never going to be Spring around here. Even today it is cold and over cast. I was looking at the calender and realized I need to get planting! So I did...
 I have been readying the Cold Frame with Alpaca manure and compost. It was left to warm and ready the plants. Many types of lettuce are planted, mesculin, black seeded simpson and iceberg (for Tim!).
 This year I am trying something new in the greenhouse. I got these seed starting pellets from Home Depot yesterday...
 Placed them on an old cafeteria tray and put a heating pad underneath. I have been in deep talk with my garden guru friend Pat and the secret is keeping them warm on these cold Spring nights.
 So I went to planting some new seeds and some that I had over wintered as well. Tomato, peppers, and many types of herbs. Even 5 different basils as well.
The Bay plants that were over wintered in the house went back out to the Greenhouse, the dead leaves were picked and they were re-potted with some nice fresh soil.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

More Corespun softness...

 No it's not a black and white picture, it's black, white and gray roving layed over on a core! It is made of alpaca, "babydoll" sheep wool and llama. It just bounces with the "Babydoll" in it, so soft and fun!
Once again I laid over a triple layer of white pearl metallic thread. It is such a fun yarn, I may have to make something with it! I am just loving this new wheel! You can do so much with it, spin large quantities and not have to stop to change the spool. It would be problematic if you were doing a large core spun and the metallic thread, not sure how I would join them. I am looking around the wool room trying to get inspiration for my next project!

Saturday, March 23, 2013

The Art of over dyeing...

 When you dye fiber or anything for that matter it depends on the medium of which you are dyeing to get the acquired results. In the picture to the left, there is grey wool roving on the top, which came from my darker sheep and white wool roving on the bottom from my white sheep. The possibilities are endless when you explore and experiment with color, dyes and textures...
Here are the results after dyeing just a basic yellow. The ball of roving on the left is the grey and the ball on the right is the white. The grey blended with the yellow in an almost olive color! Beautiful!

 This ball of roving was supposed to be olive. That is what the bottle of dye said when I bought it. I tried numerous ways to get the dye to take on simple white. I used a mordant and then I tried without. I contacted the company and they gave me tips but I still got the same results. Personally I think their product is a major fail but they won't admit to that! I have never had any problems with their dyes but am switching my supplier and am going to explore some other choices. However, I now have a few balls of this lovely rust colored with an occasional olive here and there, so nothing is a failure, when you have lemons you make lemonade right!? I already have some ideas on what I am going to do with this :)

Monday, March 18, 2013

Healing Naturally...

 I am a bit behind on this post, but an update on "Big Red" and his badly infected leg. He came down to the house on Thursday and I have been nursing his leg ever since. Every anti-biotic has been resistant to his spur wound. I have packed it, cleaned it and still no change. He had stopped eating and drinking.
 It was time to change my direction and consult a book that Tim had bought me for the Holidays. I also started thinking about some healing techniques I had learned while working at a Vet with a Vet from Venezuela. He taught us to heal with sugar and natural methods.

 So with some sugar and some of our own honey I went to work healing my beloved rooster. He may look like a tough guy but me and him have an understanding.





So I gathered some bandage material, gauze, tape and Vaseline to make a barrier so the sugar would stay in place and went to work on healing the big guy.

 This is the wound before I started treating it. Puss filled and completely resistant to anything I was using. I was flushing it, packing it with a couple of kinds of triple anti-biotic creams, I had him on Baytril and nothing was helping. I believe they become resistant because of the antibiotics in their food.

After each application, the leg is carefully bandaged which he is not too fond of. I will take another photo tomorrow of the amazing healing process. When I returned home today he was actually standing up in his crate and eating and drinking. The healing power of what Nature provides for us!

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Happy Irish Day inspired fiber!

 All week I have been working on some Irish, or should I say Kelly green dyed wool, inspired for our Irish heritage...
 It has Kelly green dyed "babydoll", white alpaca, and the grey is from my friend Mickey's Black Faced sheep.
 I've been carding these batts all week. I may just throw it on the wheel later or list it, not sure yet. It is like a beautiful pillow!
Still carding away on this beautiful day where I celebrate my Irish roots!

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Another lamb born...

Well as fast as lambing season started around here we are done! With just two ewes bred and each one giving birth to a single black ram lamb. I was off to a wildlife meeting last night when "Daisy" our lamb from last year was pacing and acting panicked. I went in to see what was upsetting her and her mom, "Ophelia" had just given birth to this little guy.
All is well, mom and baby are bonded so well that after I got home last night and went to check on them, "Ophelia" dropped her head and rammed me! She was not all to happy with me holding her baby! I have never seen a ewe behave like that. "Daisy" has her nose of of joint because her mom has another. All in a day at the farm!

Friday, March 15, 2013

Core Spun Art Yarn fun!



I have been having so much fun with my new wheel. If you missed the post, Tim bought me a new Ashford Country Spinner II for the holidays. My friend Pam Blasco (available on my side bar if you want to order one!), who is a dealer got me a second spool for it and I ran over on Tuesday, picked it up and went right to work on this Art Yarn I had envisioned. It actually took 5 trips on the wheel. It was spun three times and back spun two times. The last three trips was plying on the rainbow metallic thread. The colored locks are a combo of kid mohair, wensleydale, corriedale and whatever else I had dyed. I just used so much color! The white is some "babydoll" wool which wrapped very nicely around the core which was a yarn I had made a long time ago that I was not proud of! Well it's back to the wheel for some more spinning fun!

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Oh my goodness, how do you say love?

 To say that an animal does not know love is one of the most incorrect statements made by man kind. A mothers bond is everything, it is life, it is love...
 Lily has bonded with this little boy so much, he is never out of her sight, never far from her touch.
Our signs of spring on the farm are life and love and peace...

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Look what we found this morning!

 Well this morning we woke up to do the feeding chores and Tim found this little guy just born. His mom "Lily" had just shown signs of a milk bag yesterday and showed no signs of labor. She did that last year so now I know her pattern.
We got the towels, dried him off and checked mom for milk. Her colostrum was right there so we set him in the direction and he took to nursing like a sport!
We are keeping an eye on everything up at the house via the "lamb cam". This lets mom get to the business of taking care of her baby without the stress of people being around. She can bond with her happy healthy baby boy!

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Poor "Big Red"!

 Sometimes it's just not easy being a rooster! The spurs that grow out from the side of their legs are commonly known as spurs. They can grow to be quite long. Here are "Big Reds" after about an inch has been cut off of them. I just couldn't get thru them anymore with a pair of dog clippers. We will have to break out the big clippers for tomorrow.
Sadly for him, they had become so overgrown that he had injured himself on them. I noticed him for the past several days extending his leg. Today he was limping so I decided to grab him and take a look. He had a dime size gash in his upper leg. I packed it with triple anti-biotic and started him on meds. It's so sad to see this big tough guy hurting! He'll be on the mend in no time!

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Lamb watch!

It's official, we are on lamb watch! "Lily" on the left and "Ophelia" on the right are due pretty soon for their lambs. It looks like they both may be only caring one baby each but we have been surprised before! Hoping for another white ewe but we will hope for easy births and healthy lambs!

Sunday, March 3, 2013

It's finally finshed!!! My new wheel!

Tim bought me a new Ashford Country Spinning Wheel II for Christmas from my friend Pam who is a dealer. I have been waiting for it to be stained...