Our sign in peace

Our sign in peace
Our sign in peace

Friday, October 11, 2019

The honey harvest is in!

When you see that little bottle of honey you are about to purchase, you have no idea the process that it goes through to get it into that bottle! After a hot and grooling summer in the bee suit with the bees working themselves to death, ,making sure they are okay, fed and healthy, the next step is harvesting. We only have a two frame extractor that hand cranks. It can take some time to spin down numerous frames. Lets not even mention the amount that gets all over the kitchen! There is nothing like walking through your kitchen and your slipper staying where it is as you walk out of it~!

Our bees gifted us with countless frames that look like this! Capped and full of honey, some of them so heavy it was hard to lift them!

First things first is de-capping the waxy coating the bees put over the honey when it's just right and ready! This is a hot knife that melts it away quickly and allows you to cut through the wax. Known as a de-capping knife.

The extractor has a trap door at the bottom that allows you to elevate it and drip into a strainer startled over a bottling bucket that we place below. This strainer has two levels of straining in it. It strains just the wax but does allow some beneficial pollen to pass through making the honey taste amazing and also allowing all the beneficial good stuff in the honey to stay.

Once it's strained into the bottling bucket, the bottling begins! Then the labels are applied and we now have honey available! One pound jars are $10, 1/2 pound jars are $5 and we will also have the plastic bear jars available for $5.00 as well! Now to wash the kitchen floor!!!

Sunday, October 6, 2019

Honey Harvest and Winter Prep

Today we fired up the smoker, pulled all the tools and supplies we needed...

loaded up the quad and headed to the hives.

As we began to inspect the hives we realized that hive #5 didn't make it but had a lot of honey still in it. Last time I inspected it, it was iffy if the hive had a queen. As we opened the other hives, we saw frame after frame in the honey Supers that looked like this, just loaded with honey.

Just another frame chock full of honey!

After the honey was removed, mite treatments were applied for the winter prep. The feeders were filled...
and the hives are ready for winter. We will be wrapping them this year as well. Next is cleaning up the bee yard! 


Wednesday, October 2, 2019

Welcome October from Maddie and Pru!

Welcome October from Maddie (on the left) and Pru (on the right)! October is our favorite month around here! A time to go back inward, sit by the fire, spin, knit, watch football and most of all no heat! The turning of the leaves and the sense of peace that the fall brings in New England is priceless.

The girls got their fall haircut last week so they are not wishing for the cooler weather to come too fast! We just love these girls! We took them in a few years back with no history of how old they are or if they are even related. Their ear tags had been removed so there is no way to tell. Maddie is more outgoing while Pru is aloof. They produced some nice mohair this time around that I am looking forward to working with. 

These inseparable girls on the hill. I think they are telling Tim to get these logs out of here!

Sunday, September 29, 2019

A Rainbow of an idea

Have you ever had an idea that you just had to put into something real? Well I did in tbis one of a kind rainbow yarn! It was a concept that I had and wasn't even sure it would work, so I set out to dye 7 batts of alpaca the 7 colors of the rainbow. Red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and violet. Then i got busy...
I spun each color in order of the rainbow, putting on about a foot and a half at a time. Each color in order until I filled the spool.


I then plyed it with white alpaca and the results were rather great! As it was coming along the colors were beginning to remind me of the fruit gum we had as kids. My concept was real.

The finised product and I must say it was out of my comfort zone with color but not the concept. This year has been the year of the rainbow for me, who doesn't wish for the promise of what a rainbow holds? 

All 7 colors in a row! 

Saturday, September 21, 2019

We're going Eco Friendlier!

We're going eco-friendlier by switching over to new packaging! These new bags will contain our dryer balls and eventually our felting kits too! They are paper bags with a biodegradable window that is earth friendlier than plastic. They are reuseable too!

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Alpaca Dryer Balls!



                                                 
Making Alpaca Dryer Balls is not only time intensive, hard on the hands but also takes a lot of raw material to make them. The cost of the dryer balls is more than worth the time, the materials and the effectiveness they have on your clothes. Dryer balls are a chemical free way to dry clothes, remove static cling and leave your clothes super soft. When I make them I wash our second cut alpaca and allow to partly dry. I weigh up about 2 ounces of the fiber. This is the part of the animal we can't spin but it becomes very useful for this project. 
Using Dawn Dishwashing Detergent I place a small amount in a bowl and add the hotest water I can tolerate to the bowl. 

I then dunk it into the hot water and work it into a ball, squeezing and rotating in my hand. Often I will put just a small drop of detergent directly onto the fiber as I am woking it into a ball. This really helps tame the fibers and get them to work with you.

Our shearers in the past have made felted sheets that I have had laying around forever so I cut some up, wrapped them around the ball of already worked fiber. This is then dunked into the bowl of hot water and aggitated and squeezed over and over until it begins to cover. You get a nice squishy ball this way. I place it into a sock, tying it off and adding more as I go. This is then placed into the wash with several others and then into the dryer.

When done they are these lovely natural colors of our alpacas! We have had so many request to bring back our alpaca balls, have had numerous request for them at shows so they will be ready to go soon! Stay tuned for our new eco friendly packaging change we are making too!



Thursday, September 12, 2019

Getting to task...

With just 7 weeks until our biggest show of the year ahead of us, it's time to sort fleeces, wash them, dye and get them spun! It's important for our customers to know we sell products that are hand made here, not in a mill, not bought and resold, it happens here! Last weekend I took a leap and did a local Harvest Festival. I broke my rule of doing Fiber Festivals exclusively which was my first mistake. I spent the weekend watching other vendors selling products and items they had bought from suppliers and resold. In some cases they repackaged and sold the product as theirs. I was dumbfounded! 

But enough of that, I am in love with this fleece. I lost the tag but I know it was a lamb fleece. I love the sun bleached tips and can't wait to get this spun up! 

I cleaned up this Corriedale fleece and when I went to dye it I was going for some early fall colors but the dyes took on a mind of their own and I got this. I positively love the combination of color here. As per the course, the camera doesn't do it justice. Some of the tips took on dark shades, just beautiful. One thing I have learned all these years in dyeing is the fleece, dyes and colors will do what they want.

Here I used a combination of nutmeg, salmon, and some other dyes. I was going for some fall colors here too, but well same old story but I love it!
I dyed some Merino the colors of the rainbow and have an idea for a yarn in my head. 


So this is the state of the back deck right now, drying and getting ready for some lined up projects soon to come as we get ready to gear up for the New England Fiber Festival!

Tuesday, September 3, 2019

Some Felting fun and upcoming event!

With the cooler weather upon us, I have been working day and night when I can getting ready for fall show season. We picked up a new one we are going to try out this year. We went last year and were quite impressed and noticed no one was doing what we had. We will be at the Monroe Apple Festival this year, Saturday Sept 7 from 10-5 and Sunday Sept 8 from 10-4. Above I felted these gourds for display as we will be selling felting supplies along with other items. 

I got this idea from seeing it at a Spring Fair. I had an extra flower pot, queued up some pictures of cactuses and came up with this. Can you imagine? A plant you don't have to water or kill?! It's for display only, we will not be selling this.

This little pumpkin was made as a prototype for a kit we will be offering at the fair along with an expanded variety of new kits as well. So if you are looking for something to do this weekend, stop by the show and say hi!

Friday, August 23, 2019

Wildlife Woes

Animal husbandry cannot be easy without a few issues. We have a goldfish pond that provides water for our bees while the goldfish eat the mosquito larvae. It's a great little place where we will often have coffee in the morning. I went out a couple of days ago and my fish didn't come up to the top of the water. They were terrified by something, and then I saw these fresh wet prints pond side! The tracks of a Great Blue Heron I suspected!

We quickly placed a netting layer tight over the pond to protect of fish. 

This afternoon, I stepped out front just in time to see the biggest Great Blue Heron I have ever seen quickly take flight up and over the gate. Just look at the size of these tracks!  Autumn freaked out as well and it set off a two hour alarm call from the alpacas! I guess it could be worse, so we'll continue to fend off our goldfish hunter and hope for the best! 

Saturday, August 10, 2019

My Yarns are in a twist...

At the end of last year I received 3 years of processed alpaca from my shearers. With so much fiber I had a lot of spinning to do! One of my most requested yarns at shows are dyed yarns in a twist. This was much of my winter and spring project as I sat next to the wood burning stove to keep warm. However, a certain husband has decided he likes my spinning chair so there is a fight for the seat!

I got onto pastels and went from there!

Lots and lots of plying happened here!

The next few weeks will be all about getting ready for the fall shows! These yarns are just the start!

Thursday, August 8, 2019

Egg Sale!

We are in egg overload here! Our girls are producing at an unbelievable rate that we and our regular customers cant keep up with! For a limited time until the madness stops, we will be offering 2 dozen for $5.00! Our fridge is packed! 

Sunday, July 14, 2019

Poor Frankie

Poor Frankie hasn't been feeling so well. Last week I noticed him sitting in his litter box. I took him out and noticed he had fly strike on his side! I quickly put my skills to work cleaning it out, flushing his side and checking him over. I was not too late! He was given antibiotics as well as something to treat the area. The only thing I could think was I may have accidently clipped him during grooming or he got a scratch while in the outside exercising pen. He has spent a week now in our bathroom which he has thoroughly enjoyed and seen things he cannot unsee! We are not quite sure how his face got like this! He got cleaned up and clipped and is doing great. This is the sweetest boy! 

Friday, July 12, 2019

The Class of 2019 graduate chicks!

Our chicks are growing so fast and becoming so beautiful! We added some new breeds to our flock and they are coming along just fine. This year we had lost a few to failure to survive as well as two being trampled. I was not too pleased about that and learned that placement of the water bottle and a tight corner was the reason. 
Above is a Cuckoo Maran pullet. They look much like a Barred Rock but their pattern is not a continuous barred pattern and it gives them somewhat of a smoky look to them. 

This chick is a stunner! A blue Americana, but I am suspicious this is a rooster, not a hen. I could be wrong but those tail feathers have me thinking!

A Lavender Orpington! These chicks are not only stunning as they give off the appearance of lavender coloring but are a super friendly breed! I believe this one will be a rooster. I bought these as straight runs and it appears this may be the only roo!

This Golden Laced Wyandotte is a pretty little up and coming hen. Their patterns are coming along nicely.

Another rare colored Americana, this one too I believe may be a roo but it's still out for debate.

My only Buff Orpington. I call her "honkie". She has this uncanny honk sound she makes all the time when she gets excited. She's a sweet in your face chick who when I come in, she's all over me and what I am doing.

This sweety is an Olive Egger, yet a very rare blue.

I was so excited when they offered this breed tis year! The gorgeous Welsummer! 

Just look at the color pattern here. This is beautiful bird and I am looking forward to seeing them grow into their beauty!

Our only Speckled Sussex who is in a very awkward stage right now, her speckles are coming in but taking their time!

One last glance of the Lavender Orpingtons. He in foreground and I am thinking roo in front. They are till growing and changing but I am so pleased with theis birds and adding them to our flock!