The Good and The Bad

Life is moving along here. Texas summer heat and humidity is here in spades, and boy, does one sweat when out doing chores. But it is a good time all the same.

I did sell three more sheep. Two of this years lambs and a year old ewe. So I have sold 6 sheep so far and need to sell some more. So hopefully will find some more people who want to fall down this rabbit hole and love them or else someone who has small acreage and would love a couple of wethers to take care of the mowing needs. Sheep do love to mow your yard for you.

I’ve been working on my Copperplate and Spencerian penmanship. Now when you start from where I am in handwriting this is a long slog, but I’m quite enjoying it and am getting better. Or so I keep telling myself.

Next, the judge in our county finally joined everyone else on the bandwagon of people having to wear masks when in any business in the county. Yikes! I hate masks. I don’t have full breathing as it is and to hinder it further would be just wrong. I did manage to make me a version of one that Mark has where it is like a cowl around the neck then you just pull it up over your nose. That worked well last night for work as I could quickly pull it up and down and could still breath with air from underneath as it was not tight at the bottom. At least I had it easier than others at work who never did get comfortable wearing one and breathing.

But really, worse than having to wear a mask came yesterday. Sweet little Elizabeth broke her leg sometime since last I was out there. It was heartbreaking to see her. But we got her fixed up and she is doing well today. Thankfully. It isn’t slowing her up too much now. I tell more of this story on the Bent Oak Site. So yeah, that is worse than having to wear a mask now if I go out to town. And no I wasn’t the only one getting as much done in town as they could before 12 noon yesterday when it went in play.

So this is just a quick recap. I do need to record some real craft or work here beyond sheep. So must get back to busy. I do have a project going that needs to be finished. Maybe I’ll get to it sooner than later.

But to close here is a picture from a couple weeks ago of three babies (I call all my sheep my babies) enjoying there afternoon ruminations a bit much. I got a short video of their jaws just a working on what they had eaten that morning. So cute and who is enjoying it more than the lamb behind Miriam. It is a girl and Miriam had twin boys so not hers. I am thinking it just might be Elizabeth. That white face is the clue. She really looks like she should have been Sarah’s daughter as Sarah has always stayed so white in face and legs compared to any of the others.

Categories: Gulf Coast Sheep | Tags: | Leave a comment

What is a Wether?

So you love animals and you want lots of sheep and lambs. But once you head down this road you realize what you have heard is really true. What do you do with all the boys that are born? Yes, it seems that in the human world many want their sons though they don’t begrudge their daughters. But in the animal world it is the other way around. We want girls as they are more useful. Boys on the other hand are problems.

Do you know what it is like to have four intact rams trying to vie for King of the Mountain or Top of the Totem Pole? Not very good spot to be caught in the middle. Ask me how I know. So most boys end up going to freezer camp, whatever the farm animal.

But what if you don’t want to send them all to freezer camp? Sheep boys have an added benefit – they produce wool. So if I want to keep the boys for their wool, but I don’t want all the wild male testosterone flowing and running rampant in the pasture, what do I do?

I am going to go into more detail about this on the farm blog. So if you are interested in what happens to these boys and why they may be the perfect fit for you, you may go to the longer blog What is a Wether? on my Bent Oak Farm site. See many more pictures. Read about my wethers. What they are. What they are wonderful for.

Categories: Bent Oak Farm, Fiber, Gulf Coast Sheep, sheep | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

Dyeing, Felting, Sewing

So, have I been quiet and still all this time that I am not posting reminders of my doings? Actually, no but it seems hard to find interest in memories that aren’t that exciting. But here goes with a couple of things that have happened.

So I took some of my wool that I had sent off and did a quick Kool-aid dye to it. Well, not really Kool-aid, I picked the cheaper brands but picked ones high in blue dye tones.

This is a project though that is not working out as envisioned. I have woven the two colors alternating weft and the white for warp. Then I went to felt it and it did somewhat, but I guess I didn’t rinse them very well as some of the color went walk about. So then put in other pieces to cover it and discovered that my felting needles that are old need replaced. I actually broke them. Oops. Probably my fault. So back to felting it as a big flat piece. Alas, it isn’t going as wonderfully as I had hoped and I doubt I use it as intended. I may just have a “thing” when I’m done. But will say, as with all disasters, you do learn and in trying this again, I know what I’d do differently. There are no pictures of its current state.

One job I started a bit ago but finally finished was a skirt with 96 squares in it. I saw the pattern for this skirt on Heidi’s Youtube Channel at Rain Country. She came up with this skirt and has shared how she does it but it is for personal use as she does sell these on her Etsy store and they go fast.

I had some blue jean skirts that all had holes in them. So decided to save the good fabric of them in this skirt. So I cut many and many a square out of skirts. Not as easy as she makes it look in the video when just using plain simple cotton yardage or sheets. In the beginning, I was careful not to cut over seams but later squares I cut right over the seams. The advantage there was that I got more squares out of a skirt. But still by the end I didn’t have enough. So it was off to the stash and I found a dark blue cotton that I could get four squares from and then a couple brown plaids that would work. The number I ended up with each fabric came out so well, that I could have a pattern with them around the bottom. Then it was fold over for a gathered waistband and found a tie out of a gathered skirt that was well past its prime.

I will have to say that I do love the skirt. Being out of denim, it is rather heavy but I do tend to like that. It would be wonderful done out of light cotton fabric for summer and would go faster than what I did here. But all in all, I wear it often as it is so quick and easy to put on.

And Dinah would like to wish you all a lovely day. Remember you can follow the farm website for more lamb photos. We have wool, lambs, and sheep for sale at this time. Check out Bent Oak Farm.

Categories: dyeing, Fiber, Sewing, sheep | Tags: , , | 2 Comments

One More Surprise

So Abby marches to her own drummer. Like she doesn’t do anything like the rest. That may be the wrong way to put it, or at least very exaggerated. But despite others thinking that spring lambing was over, I knew that the girl that didn’t have her lamb till a full month after everyone else last year was finished – hadn’t had a lamb. She didn’t look very fat, but well, I still wasn’t going to be surprised.

So Sunday morning after the last lamb was about 22 days ago, I go out and Abby presents me with this sweet little one. Was I surprised? Not really. Although I was not specifically going out to check and see if she was to ever have a lamb this year.

This is always a joy to see new little ones. How quickly we forget how little they are when newborns. She has made Judah look huge all of a sudden.

One note to add here. I have a longer post on Hadassah on my new site I started for Bent Oak Farm. I will be posting most all animal happenings over there. So if you are interested in the sheep and want to continue following them, you can go to www.bentoakfarm.wordpress.com and sign up to receive emails on them there. There is a static first page at that site so if you want to see the blog roll, it is under What’s Happening on the Farm tab. I hope to do better at posting there as I really need to sell some sheep and wool, as well as just share them more. This site will then be more of what it was intended to be when I started it – my journey in fiber and history. I do have projects going and need to post to my memories of working on them.

Categories: Bent Oak Farm, Gulf Coast Sheep, sheep | Tags: | Leave a comment

In Times Like These

That old hymn just popped in my mind while sitting here thinking of a title for this piece. In times like these you need a Saviour, In times like these you need an anchor, be very sure, be very sure, your anchor holds and grips the solid rock. This rock is Jesus, yes, He’s the one, This rock is Jesus, the only One, be very sure, be very sure, your anchor holds and grips the solid rock. 

These times we live in are a bit strange to say the least, but I’m thankful for the Solid Rock.

But not only that, but how much Scriptures give us the picture of God in sheep and the shepherd. Below is a bit I posted on Facebook yesterday, although here I have lengthened it some.

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Storm clouds rolling in and sheep grazing

So do you go ahead and do afternoon chores when a storm is coming in? I had decided not to. Then decided to. Then…. yep, bad decision making. Sometimes it is hard to make a decision when you just don’t know what is best. So Mark went out with me, and it was fun watching the ones out grazing, and storm clouds moving in, and little care showing. But then I decided that I would deal with sheep. Thankfully, that decision was made late enough that we got to the barn and then … in short order … lets just say the heavens opened up and the winds blew. Interesting time.

Now our barn isn’t tight to the outside weather. Though this is the first time we have noticed that the wind blown rain really got inside. The main sliding door doesn’t close all the way but it is under a sort of shelter and hasn’t been a problem. So glad that we waited and got trapped in there as my job quickly became one of getting wool and anything out of the way of those gusts coming through the gap.

We went ahead and took care of the boys as they were at the back of the barn and we could safely and dryly check on them. But the girls and lambs were in the west pasture and not for us to reach.

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A picture from two years ago, but what I’m talking about with the sheep shed.

Now I don’t have a picture of it as I was too far away for a good one. But looking across to the sheep shed from the protected overhang of the boys, you could see all the mothers lined up protecting their lambs. Mark built a loafing shed in the west pasture that is the sheep shed. Some protection from the hot sun of summer, the rains of winter, generally just a shelter. But no protection from this particular storm.

The rain was coming down with the wind to definitely get it very wet inside the shed. A mad crazy wind that was driving this rain. What were the poor girls to do. Well, what any mother worth her salt would do. The babies were all at the back wall farthest from open front. Then the mothers were in a line with their backs to the storm. Standing together as a shield wall to the storm for their little ones. I wish now I had even attempted to get a picture of it despite knowing it wouldn’t have been clear or good. No one was moving up there. Just this wall of motherhood protecting their little ones from the storm raging outside.

My mind often goes to Scriptures when out with the sheep. It is quite no wonder that the Lord used sheep so often as illustrations in Scripture. At this time of the year we remember the Lamb of God which taketh away the sin of the world. Without which sin could never be conquered. But also the Good Shepherd who watches over his beloved ones.

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He shall feed his flock like a shepherd: he shall gather the lambs with his arm, and carry them in his bosom, and shall gently lead those that are with young.  Isaiah 40:11

So just remember that in times like these – like those mothers, if we let Him, if we stay where it is safe in Him, if we keep between Him and the safe back wall, God will stand between the storm and us. He will be our shelter, shield, defense, guard, and so much more. Psalm 59:16 But I will sing of thy power; yea, I will sing aloud of thy mercy in the morning: for thou God hast been my defense and refuge in the day of my trouble.

Categories: Fiber, Gulf Coast Sheep, sheep | Tags: , | 3 Comments

Babies and More Babies

Did I say that I only wanted a few baby lambs this year? You need a few to just make springtime an incredible nice time of the year. There is nothing like lambs frolicking together to make any dreariness in your mind to vanish and a smile to come on your face.

Alas, the short time Aaron was with the girls, he had a gay ole time and hit everyone it seems. We are up to 2 singles, 3 sets of twins, and one set of triplets. The only sad bit is that one twin didn’t make it. But that is to come.

Just checked and we are behind in logging in these sweet little babies. So here goes.

After Rahab joined us, little Jael came along in all her black, brown, white delight. Her mother was Rachel who had to be happy to have a girl this year after her two boys the previous years. And yes, Jael is a favorite Bible lady of mine.

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Rachel checking if Jael is ok with me around

Next came a morning with a big surprise. I went outside and Hannah had a little girl. Yeah, another girl. Last years long run of boys was being beat so far this year. I had to leave and when I came back. What? Not just one lamb but a second one. Ok, Hannah has two this year. Good girl. Not that I’m wanting twins. I’m wanting just a few lambs. Right? So I left to get Sally’s cream and came back. Was rubbing Sally when out of the corner of my eye I noticed WHAT??!?!?!?! There are THREE over there. Needless to say, I was afraid to leave and come back again. But all were in good health and she had a girl, a boy, and then another girl half the size of the first two. So what to name them? Well, first thoughts was Mary, Martha, and Lazarus. So I named the first one Martha as she was more of a go-getter from the time she was born, and the littlest of all was Mary. But boy is that little bit of a girl cheeky. Thankfully, Hannah is proving able to take care of all three though by the time we’re done with this, I think a lot of bumming off of whatever mama is around is actually happening.

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Hannah with her three in tow.

In less than 24 hours of Hannah’s three, I noticed that Miriam was finding a spot off alone. She was up and down. Hmm… I think we may have a baby soon. Why don’t I go get a quick breakfast. So inside I went and before hardly started, Mark informs me that he thinks there’s a baby out there. So ran back out and Miriam ups and has twins as well. Oh dear. Two little boys. Now I let my sister know whenever there is a lamb birth and she shares with her class, so I offered that they could name these two. By the end of the day the class of fourth graders had settled on Paul and Silas. I liked their choice.

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To tell the brothers apart. Silas has the spot on his neck and their tails are different.

Who would next surprise me? Ok, I have yet to see anyone born and this still runs true, I go out and there is Phoebe with two little ones awaiting me. Two again? We are running long on extra babies. Could it be that their father was also a twin? But still I did have three sets of twins last year. Now I have a cute as pie boy and girl. So after some thought I named them Aquila and Priscilla. A great couple in the book of Acts. Again such sweetness in all whiteness with just some touches of color on the forehead. How is a girl to learn who’s who? Thankfully I can at least tell boys from girls. Ha!

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Priscilla on the left and Aquila on the right.

But then this good run had to come to an end. Yesterday when I went out, I noticed a new lamb again. But again it was a twin but this time one didn’t make it. Not sure what happened in his birth, but something didn’t go well. He looked full term and quite well. His umbilical cord was still attached to the placenta lying under him. Poor baby. It had to have happened in the wee hours of the night as brother was up and dry and getting around well. Mama wasn’t moving far from her lost boy, but had given up on trying to get him up. Alas, as Rebekah lost a boy last year to tetanus and last saw him being taken to the truck to never return, she is being a bit of a helicopter mom to Simeon the Second (his older brother who had died) and boy woe to the boy if he gets out of mother’s eye shot.

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Rebekah with her second Simeon looking like she’s giving me the evil eye

So yes there are still pregnant ewes. We have matched last years number of births. Yes, we are still expecting some twins. So yes, we will beat last years number. But even though it is more than I wanted, who can really deny all the cuteness.

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Mamas grazing so we are playing and exploring.

And one last fun one.

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And yes a bit late I notice that the apostrophe is all wrong. Oops.

Categories: Fiber, Gulf Coast Sheep, sheep | Tags: , | 2 Comments

First Baby Lamb 2020

Is there anything more fun than going outside to see a new lamb? I doubt too much can beat the feeling. We almost didn’t breed any sheep at all this season as life and the farm were a bit of a mess last fall. But in the end, we did leave Aaron with the girls for a short time and it is looking like a crop of babies are on the way.

But I’m expecting lambs about the middle of March and what happens last week? Yep, while I’m working early voting, Mark sends a picture of a new lamb on the pasture.

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First look of the new member of the farm

Mark and his mom discovered the new little one after she was born, and mother had her cleaned up, and she was already finding her new source of nourishment. Now I had to wait till I could get home around 7:30 pm.

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Little One in her coat

Little One was born on a descent weather day for winter, but the next day was to be a windy, blustery, cold one for our neck of the woods. So her human mother decided she needed a coat. I went to get the one I used with Moses last year, but it was way too small. So despite the fact she seems so small, she isn’t near as small as he was. I then went and made her a new coat. Not my best work, done quickly, but it made me feel better that she wouldn’t be just out in the cold with nothing and only a day old. Now of course, these sheep are tough and she probably didn’t need it.

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Waiting patiently

One thing I will say for her is that she is quite photogenic. I have loved getting pictures of her and she looks so sweet in all of them.

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Maybe that grin and eye can be a bit mischievous.

I love getting mother and baby pictures with the sheep that are ever so loving. This is one in a series I got at one moment.It is amazing that I got these pictures, because I was heading out and saw them. Decided to risk going back to the house for the camera and making it back and getting close enough for a good picture. All of that was accomplished with a series of pictures of Ruth moving her head around and looking at her little baby.

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Ruth with a loving look at her baby.

So what have I named this newest member of the farm. Well, they all have Bible names, and I have tried to get an association somehow between mother and child for most. (Such as Rachel is Joseph and Benjamin’s mother.) But with Ruth what was there to pick? We know her son, grandson, great grandson, and more but not a girl’s name close by. But Ruth was married to Boaz and Boaz’s mother was Rahab. Now I like Rahab. Here is a gal who has had a hard lot in life, but when confronted with the truth goes above and beyond to help those in need at the risk of her own life. As a result God richly blesses her with a good marriage and a son that was beyond a gentleman and gracious. I believe one reason that Boaz was so good to Ruth is the example of his mother. An outsider who found the grace of God. And then Ruth and Rahab both are privileged to be in the line of Christ. How blessed they were.

Now Mark thinks Rahab is a big name for such a wee one so we are still calling her Little One for the most part.

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Aren’t I the cutest thing?

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Out strolling together.

I hope to add all the new ones here to remember, but may not as each year it is the same with them as with us. The firstborn gets the most attention and then it dwindles down in pictures for the rest. But here’s hoping that the girls that look past ready to pop, do so soon and we have many more blessings to add here.

Rahab

born 25 March 2020

Categories: Fiber, Gulf Coast Sheep, sheep | Tags: , | 3 Comments

Shearing 2020

Just as last year, shearing didn’t come about smoothly this year. The weather and the unknowns, to me, got in the way.

Sheep need to be dry to shear. And yes, it rained all the week before. Now was this the good kind of rain that we actually need? Of course not. Just the light rain that soaks right in, doesn’t amount to much, and doesn’t do anything about filling your tank. But what it does mean is that sheep wool is wet and that is not a good thing.

So once again, I was cleaning out the barn and setting up corral panels inside to create a sheep world for the girls out of the weather. Once their new home was set up, Wednesday morning I went about the job of convincing them that they really did want to go inside.

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Last years picture in the barn. But the same set up for keeping dry sheep.

One thing that made this definitely easier than last year (which also rained the week before, and we had to do the same thing) is that I have read Temple Grandin’s book on dealing with grazing animals. Once you put it in practice, a lot of things become easier. So I set out to gently, quietly move sheep from pasture to concrete to inside a door line that they were not sure of. We covered the lines between the changes with hay so that they were not so noticeable to the sheep. Then used feed time to convince them to follow the bucket. It worked on all but a couple. Happy dance.

After a bit more patience and gently backing up, everyone was in the barn in record time. Alas, what was that record time? I don’t know. I thought it was quick, but I didn’t have any time keeper with me so I don’t know.  It was much quicker than last year though. I definitely can vouch for that.

So Saturday arrived and was a lovely day for shearing and we got to work.

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Sarah, my third bottle baby and lamb, got to be first

So we started as we did last year, but after doing Sarah, it was decided to move to the back into the small pen to do the girls. Alas, Sarah got the spend the rest of the day out on her own. She wasn’t about to go back in with the rest, but she also wasn’t going to get too far away. She was a good girl for a long haul.

I didn’t accomplish all I wanted to for the day as there were many, many people showing up to watch that I didn’t know were invited. That slowed my work down quite a bit. But in the end we got the shearing done and a little of the other.

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Another girl looses her coat.

I was outside trying to skirt some fleeces when Kathryn came out with a fleece and said it was the best one to drool over. Ok, not her exact words, but the gist of it. She wasn’t lying. It was Lydia’s and to dream over. And to think I offered Lydia for sale back last year for not much, and the gal didn’t take her in the end. Now if anyone wants Lydia they will have to pay much more than I was asking for last year. This fleece was so luscious and lovely to touch. I can’t wait to do something with it.

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Lydia’s fleece

Another wonder was that our twin black boys from last year had great fleece as well. It was fun to see their fleece as it came off. Joshua’s had some interesting color in it that Mark brought me out a piece to see. Oh me oh my!

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Caleb loosing his coat and being a fairly good boy about it

I could remind myself of many stories about the day but will add just a couple more pictures.

My first sheep were two bottle baby twin brothers. James has a knack for ruining his fleece each year. But not totally this year. We have some quite crimpy wool from his back.

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James’ fleece

Then at the end everyone looked so naked and slim after they lost their fleece. And if you have horns, your whole proportion goes out the window and you just look funny. Can’t wait for Joshua to get some wool growing again to balance his horns. Ok, he doesn’t look as bad as Aaron does without wool, but he is the boy I got a picture of naked.

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Joshua without his fleece. Head on looks funnier.

So at the end of the day, I must admit that having the free ranging chickens come in and help with cleanup is rather nice. It is amazing what you can’t see but they do and go to town on cleaning up for you. They thought we had provided them a feast on that floor.

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Chickens help with the cleanup.

Categories: Fiber, Gulf Coast Sheep, sheep, Wool | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

Wool, Wool, and more Wool

So I finally took the plunge. It took time to do it my way. I went out on the limb anyway. I went painstakingly through several bags of wool from my babies and pulled out the worse for the compost pile. Pulled out any VM that I could. Only sorted out what I thought was the best of the fleeces into a new pile. Boy, did all that take time. But I settled on a processor and sent off wool to be cleaned and made into roving. It takes time on their end as well. But then yesterday, a day earlier than my email said it would happen, a large box was noticed out by the gate. We both looked at it and wondered as all we were expecting for Christmas was here. Who wanted to walk to the gate and try to carry that box back up to the house? But then I remembered –  the wool.

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My very large box open in the kitchen.

So I did bring it up with the car after I ran to town and sat it in the house. I will happily say that they package as well as I do. There was tape everywhere. Not a drop of moisture or dirt was getting inside that box. So it took a good knife to open up the sides to see inside.

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Bumps of roving in masses.

I had mailed off two boxes of wool jammed in as tight as I could. Now came back a much  larger box of nicely processed wool ready for whatever. I think it all came out quite well. I didn’t send my crimpiest wool. a couple of my babies are full of crimp. It was just good standard Gulf Coast wool from my flock. It will make some great items over time. Although I have no intentions or think that I will ever work through all of these wonderful balls on my lonesome. I am smart enough to know that would never happen.

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One pound bump

So I weighed a couple of the bumps to see what we were looking at and they are approximately 16 ounces. So roughly a pound each. I haven’t counted how many all together and if I had the paperwork with me I could see what the pounds were that came back. Well, you didn’t expect me to be that organized did you? I certainly did not.

So if anyone is interested in some Gulf Coast wool, let me know. I can send a sample as well as let you know which sheep’s wool went into these balls. You could get to know my babies that you are spinning or weaving or felting. I am looking at what would be a fair price to charge. I know that will be a tough one for me. But I’m also sure that Mark would appreciate something back on the feed that goes into them in our dry spells. Selling some of this for others to try would help as I still have quite a bit unprocessed and shearing time will be upon us again soon. Yikes! the years do seem to fly each time. Where do they go? Better get to spinning. My first project with this will be crocheting little sheep. Anyone surprised?

 

Categories: Fiber, Gulf Coast Sheep, sheep, Wool | Tags: , | Leave a comment

San Felipe de Austin & an Indigo Vat

If you live in Texas and haven’t been to San Felipe in a few years, you are late visiting it again … or for the first time. But then I will also tell you that in a couple years, it will be beyond exciting to go visit the site of Stephen F. Austin’s town and the center of the Austin Colony.

Last Saturday in commemoration of Austin’s birthday, I had the privilege of volunteering in the area that soon will be a recreation of one block of the original town. It was one of those events where you’re a little nervous to go but at the same time know that it should all go well. I really thought I took more pictures than I did but here are a few of the day and the results.

So a quick look at other setups before my own.

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Lathe that I got to try out

I love this style of lathe. It dates back almost forever and does the job so simply without electricity and loud noisy machinery. It was fun to talk to the gentleman, and he offered me a chance to try it out. Who could give up a chance like that? I even managed to do it proper like. The lathe is built out of reclaimed lumber and hence its rustic thrown together look.

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Cutting timber for framing

I don’t know if you admire men that can do brute strength work like I do, but this is a guy that one has to admire. You take a round log and stabilize it (iron pointed rod that is run into the log and the log underneath) and then stand on it and with your own power chop it till you have a smooth side and then move on to the next side. There is a system and it was amazing to watch.

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Photos being created

Now I don’t know and understand all this magic, but I love magical things. Old photography is magical. There was a young man who had taught himself how to take photos on glass plates with silver and process them. Yep, that didn’t sound so knowledgeable and no I don’t know what is going on here. But to watch him take a plain glass plate (so it seemed) and then after snapping a picture and working magic in his dark set up and then drop these in the liquid to set them. Boy, it is magic and fun to watch. Many of the volunteers got their picture done. That is a couple at the right end. The one on the left end are people around the stagecoach.

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My little world in front

But that all wasn’t why I was there. I was giving a try at an indigo vat and seeing if I was smart enough to help dye some things for the park later. So as it was a bit cool of a morning, I did not set up the vat till just after noon. Lots of prayer and fingers crossed. Maybe even toes. I waited in anticipation – “would it work?” Then came the time to drop in the first piece of cloth. The vat was very green, and I was in high hopes.

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First cloth dropped in

The vat was to be yellow or green, I think I achieved that quite well. Next came waiting as it sat in there under the water. I covered it and waited till I could wait no more and peaked in.

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Ok, this isn’t cloth, but yarn, but we are seeing some after being in some time

It was great to see a bit of change and then to pull the cloth out. Now I mentioned above that I love magical things. Indigo is pure magic. I can get as giddy as a five year old when I pull out a piece of cloth or yarn and it looks all yellow green, but wait – as the oxygen in the air reacts with it … drum roll … the fibers all start turning blue right before your eyes. OK, I know that there is a lot of chemistry and science behind it, but tell me that isn’t magic.

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Cotton cloth. One took one trip in the dye. The second two trips and still a bit wet.

I was a new puppy in excitement as I put yarn or cloth in the vat and pulled them out and waited to hang them on the line till after they had turned. At first it took them a bit of time. Not sure exactly why, but we assumed that maybe it could be that the temperature outside wasn’t quite optimum.

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My favorite was this apron. Alas, if you could see it for real.

But I must admit there was a price to pay for my fun. I didn’t have an apron that covered up my front from waist to ground. As the ladies started pointing out what was happening to my skirt … What should my response be? Thankfully as it was a sad affair, I think that the success of the day overtook the despair that could have come with the bottom of my skirt.

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Dye dribbles all over my special skirt.

A couple of ladies had asked about the history of my outfit. They knew it was special. So we discussed my predicament. Right below the red, I had created what looks like a false hem but in reality isn’t. Now these were where you would sew on a few inches of cloth to the bottom of a skirt so that when that area got beyond messed up, you could easily pick it off and put a new one on. So if I had more of this cloth in my room, I could just cut it off at that line and sew it on and end up with a real false hem. Alas, after going through all my handwoven, I can’t find any of this. I knew I cut it close making it. So second thought is that I could just dye the area below if someone helped to hold it carefully in the dye bath. Not sure if it could be done perfectly so will mull that over some. It would be different than the rest of the outfit but then back in the day that wasn’t uncommon, especially on the frontier. And the third option is that we can just leave it as a sign of life and success.

So I had a grand day at the park. I brought some of the dye home with more and gave some to Katrina to use. She had been doing some natural dyeing near me. She had great success with goldenrod that was picked that morning.

If you haven’t been to San Felipe lately, you should go out and see the museum and park and learn what is envisioned over the next couple years. Its exciting.

 

Categories: dyeing, Fiber | Tags: , , | 5 Comments

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