My Lena Dress – Not Forgotten

I just realized that I hadn’t recorded about the progress on my dress. I began this way too long ago, Lena’s Dress is on the Loom, but here we sit still with an unfinished dress. The cloth has been all woven and off the loom and the eternal wet finishing of a long piece completed. But, then things didn’t go so well. Not that they started so well – either.

There were problems with the beginning and some of it was broken warp threads and … well just a bunch of boogery things to drive a soul crazy.

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One reason we cut off and started over again. What is going on with that white warp thread?

Yep, I ended up cutting off and rechecking the threading and starting over again. This time things looked much better alas was it “let’s drive her crazy” free? No, not even.

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CHT goody bag gifts come in handy in this loom room

But we were moving and getting cloth that was working out pretty well. There were lots of little bits that made the wet finishing go longer as I fixed problem areas, but considering the start, we were happy.

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A favorite sight. A cloth beam filling up.

Then we were getting near the end and I was hoping for another half yard at least but then things went really wonky and one bout on the back beam broke free. Not sure why they were so unhappy back there, but they decided being tense was too much and thus put a stop to my weaving. I wasn’t about to try and fix that for just an half yard more, when I should really have enough for the dress.

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The end in sight! Alas, right before the freedom lovers broke loose.

So what next? The scissors came out and it was cut off. All that cloth was done with this first bit of the journey.

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Off the loom!

What Next? Well, to make the dress like the original, I needed to weave a solid blue piece for piping, buttons, and false buttons for adornment. But I had enough of this battle so the decision was made to just use the same fabric for these other jobs as well. I knew it wouldn’t look as nice but I was tired of this project, and, for me, the worse was yet to come as I really don’t enjoy sewing. Alas, every time I tried to work on a mock up of the dress before cutting into this cloth, I got frustrated and then said to self, “I can weave better than work on this.” So slowly a solid warp ended up on the loom to weave the extra bits I needed. Now it went rough as well, but it took my husband walking past, me complaining, to come up with the simple reason for some trouble and soon that was fixed. So we got some length for the accent cloth.

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Done as well.

So once I finished this, I was happy I went ahead with it. But now it is time to get back to that mockup. Yikes! Still not feeling confident about it, but I did talk to a lady who knows a bit about sewing, and so I have some idea of what I need to do next. I have a pattern that will work for most of the dress but really need to change up the sleeve a bit, so must go and work on it. Today! Maybe typing those words will help me get out there and at it. I can really put off a job that I’m not enjoying. I will head out into the heat and hopefully get something accomplished.

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Fiddling with the mockup. Close but no award yet.

 

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Categories: Fiber, Fiber Arts, Weaving | Tags: , , | 1 Comment

Fourth Child Syndrome

I realized when I posted my last memory that I had never made a post for Abigail. We did have a fourth baby born here on April 28th. So per the fourth child truth – fewer pictures and forgetful to do what was done for the rest. But alas she is the sweetest one. Her parents were Rebekah and Peter. So coming up with a name was hard and I had a couple and despite thinking that Abigail was too big of a name for such a wee thing, I decided she could grow into it, and I do like Abigail in the Bible.

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Not an hour or a bit more old. The afterbirth is to the left.

So I went out to see how everyone was doing on that April day and these two greeted me. Thankfully, Abby didn’t get all sandy like Phoebe did before getting cleaned up. She was quite the wee little thing and so very precious with a pretty sweet face. So reminded me of when we got Sarah.

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Posing after getting things done after her baby’s birth.

They looked so cute together and Rebekah stayed right with her new little one. Taking so much care of her. She is the smallest of the lambs. But how to pick pictures? You see she was the fourth, and I didn’t get as many pictures of her as Samuel who was first. No one has as many pictures as Samuel. But she is cute in about all that I do have of her. And her mother and me pictures are just precious.

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How many times can I use precious before it gets old?

But I did find this interesting. In going out and checking on everyone when Abby was five days old, I found Little One in the extra bowl that is under the barn overhang. All curled up. Fast asleep. Mama laying closely by.

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Don’t you dare wake up my sleeping baby!

Now as cute as that was and as hard to get a good picture under there, two days later I go out and what do I find? Abby in the bowl again. Wide awake this time. But mama and daddy are on each side of her keeping close guard. So sweet and lovely.

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Sarah checking in with the new one but then looking at me.

So now just shy of a month old she is out and bouncing everywhere. She can get that lamb bounce going quite well. A Lively little girl. Still smallish but eating well. Oh, if you need to have a calming moment. A time to just relax. Nothing like a baby lamb to do it for you.

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Shall I test this plant for eating?

Categories: Bent Oak Farm, Fiber, Gulf Coast Native Sheep | Tags: , | 2 Comments

Shearing Day

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Jacob with his new haircut and forgotten tail. Yep a lot was going on with him.

So Mark wanted to try and shear the sheep. We did end up with one looking ok, but then it didn’t go well even with some advice. So next step? Check out to see if you can find a shearer to come and do it for you and watch. Mark emailed a contact he found that wasn’t too far away, and she was able to come out yesterday.

We were sure nervous about the whole ordeal. What to expect. What would happen. Were we set up like they would like. Too much to worry about for first timers. Especially when we needed to pen them up and not let them eat from noon the day before. Oops. We both forgot that one till about 4pm. They did end up with less than what they would normally eat from then on but still a bit much. Especially when we had a system we thought would work set up to pen them without food but some water. And the way it was done would make it easy to move them to be sheared.

Oh dear, I looked out the window at 7:20am (they were to arrive at 8am) and the sheep had escaped and were happily grazing away. We ran out so very fast and tried to get them penned back up without feed. Yeah! Right! So a bit of feed helped with the ordeal. But then we only got a little over half in the pen that they couldn’t get out of. So shut them up and then tried again with the rest at a less secure spot. Thankfully, they followed in, and Mark stayed guard.

Kathryn and her boyfriend arrived and got set up, and we got to the job. They have just started in the business and got their certifications this year. So we were their tenth farm to visit. What was nice is that they like doing small flocks yet as they aren’t fast and don’t like to rush it as they are still newish at it. They take their time and are very careful of cutting the sheep and actually are quite sorry when it happens, as it will happen. We all got along well, and it went smoothly. Well, smoothly for dealing with animals who aren’t happy with what is up.

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The group to end up in the less secure area

Above, can you see, not so little, Samuel with his tiny horns to the left of Sarah? He ended up with this lot while his mother was in the other pen. He decided he didn’t like this idea and needed his mother and the two of them held a loud conversation across the yard. Now, he could escape easily but wasn’t trying, and I tried to get him out which he wasn’t having any of. Life was just a bit stressful in the moment. He did finally make a break for it under the panel and got over to mom which had one side that the babies could get through Finally he felt safe with mom. Sarah, staring at us, wasn’t getting sheared today as we deemed her pretty good from when Mark tried her a few weeks before. Alas, she wasn’t sure why she was imprisoned with the rest this time. But it was much easier to have them all together than to sort them.

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Rebekah getting sheared again as she needed touched up from Mark’s job.

In the end, we had 9 sheep sheared. Three we declared good enough form Mark’s try. Above Rebekah had been attempted before but needed a new cut. So she is getting a second go in one season. I’m sure she didn’t appreciate that.

If you look at the pen behind. You can see that Samuel has made it over to mom. He is the brown littler one with his horns. All was now well for him. The four babies did all eventually get out and just go play. It is one the greatest joys on this small farm to watch the four of them playing together. They get along well.

And what is all this trouble for?

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Don’t remember whose fleece this is but I’m excited.

I had made a makeshift table to put the fleece on and do a quick sort of it and pull out the nasty bits and short bits and toss them to the side for the compost. Then I had some cloth bags I had made to stuff the fleece in for storage and wrote on each whose fleece it was.

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Getting on with it however it can be done for everyone’s ease

So in the picture above, There are three bags over the fence of fleece. I had already taken some to the house. The pile of what would go to the compost is beside the sawhorse. Little, or not so little, Joseph is out of focus by the water trough. Oh, and with their eating that shouldn’t have happened? We only had one, Peter, who pooped in the process of being sheared. Oops.

When all was done, we went up to my fiber room as they were interested in the Great Wheel Mark had made me. When they left, Mark wanted to run to Tractor Supply so we went to Giddings and had lunch at Whataburger and then hit the store. At this point the shearing day was over but not the farm work day by a long shot. Lots more sweating (90F before we finished shearing) and work followed when home again.

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

Too Much Cuteness to Keep on the Farm

So life is pretty nice this spring. But of course, if you can just go outside and see new babies having fun, how can one be down or depressed. Nothing like sweet lamb smiles and hopping, and playing, and nursing, and … to put a smile on your face.

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Joseph and his very serious face

The boys are growing so fast Samuel is 25 days old today and Joseph is 18 days old. They are both full of life and fun. They spend a lot of time playing together which makes me happy they were born a week apart and have each other as companion. You can’t get too much of those sweet brown faces.

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Samuel standing tall

They still need their little boy rests and side by side is where you will find them. One would think they were twins. Really, it is only when they need their respective mothers that they are apart. And though they are such fun and a joy. They aren’t alone anymore as the only littles on this farm.

Tuesday morning doing chores I thought that Naomi was acting quite beyond weird. She didn’t run up for their treat (they get a little  each morning and late afternoon but hard to count it as feed as they don’t get a lot). In fact, she stayed by the trees with the two boys. Why did Samuel and Joseph hang out with Naomi? She isn’t either of theirs mother.

After chores I went to check on her and though everyone had moved to the upper pasture, Naomi was laying down by the fence with guess who? Yep, Samuel and Joseph were right there with her. This part of the story still puzzles me as this was not, nor is, the norm.

Then I went out later again to see about her and what greeted me?

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A brand new baby Phoebe

Naomi had a baby girl in the sand. This was fairly recent as Phoebe’s (took a long time to name her so she was Little One for a day) cord was still wet and somewhat red. Naomi still had placenta hanging out her rear that soon finished coming out so got it taken cared of quickly. But having a baby in a sandy area does present a bit of a problem. Though Phoebe was cleaned up on her head and legs, who wanted to lick all that sand off her back? Not mom. Boy was I wishing I had brought a towel out with me. But who knew.

Now despite a nice very thin girl, Naomi seemed very tired and over-done. I was wishing I had come out just a bit earlier to check on her, as I am assuming the birth wasn’t as easy as the boy’s were. I gave her extra feed which she gobbled down. But still little movement or care.

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Mommy and daughter enjoying a good lie down

I then remembered about molasses water for new mom’s to help bring back their energy (all the time I spend watching homestead vlogs does come in handy – thanks Rose). Ran in the house and got the molasses and ran back to the barn (now “ran” is the wrong word here as this kid runs for nothing except real emergencies, a good hurry would be a better term) poured a glug into a bucket then ran water in it till it was dissolved and set it by Naomi. She downed the whole thing in no time.

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In the upper pasture eating and exploring

Having to leave, I texted Mark an hour later asking how all were doing. He said they had gone up to the upper pasture and Naomi was grazing and Phoebe laying nearby. I was so happy at that point. They are both doing well despite how thin Phoebe looked or tired Naomi was. Today most of Phoebe’s sand is worn off. I am giving her some electrolytes to help her along as she needed an extra boost. But all in all, they are wonderful and out having a good day today.

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Found mom after a short separation

It is a wonder to watch the mother’s and their babies. They can get a bit apart and one or the other will call. Then the other responds, and they call back and forth. Then you can see the joy when they find each other and all is well again with the world. I would love to know the baas as they hear them. Sometimes the mom’s just ignore them and sometimes they immediately jump up and go searching. Same with the babies listening to mom. One day, the boys were ignoring both their mom’s as they played. Then with just one baa from each of the moms, both boys jumped and were across the pasture in a second and at the moms’ side. I wonder if that last baa was the, “If you don’t get your bottom over her this second, you will grounded till you graduate from high school!!!!!”

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

Another New Member to the Farm

Ok, so maybe one can have too many baby pictures … nope, I doubt it. Samuel was born mid-day Palm Sunday, and only Mark got to see him brand new. I missed out that Sunday. But the next Sunday, and Resurrection day no less, I got to be the first to meet a new little.

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Joseph and mama Rachel

I headed out to do my normal morning chores and on Sundays it is generally a quick job in order to get ready and off to church. Alas this morning we were almost late.

I thought I saw something strange in the pasture as Rachel was a little ways out and a hollering. Not normal. But the odd bit was that her legs looked brown. They aren’t. Now just the afternoon before I commented that she looked about to pop. Her udder was full and all looked ready for a baby. Turns out she was, as sometime well before 7am Sunday morning, she gave birth to Joseph.

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Exploring his brave new world

I hurried out to the pasture and got to meet another little boy. So sweet. Spent a bit of time with him and his mother. All looked very well. His cord was dry, and he was clean and dry. I’m thinking he was born a good bit before. I went hunting for any remnants and found the afterbirth in the sheep shed. The odd bit is that it was partially under the wall. Not sure how Rachel managed that.

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Joseph with his white spot

Needless to say, if there was a doubt, there is none as to who is his father. Just like Samuel they got their father’s color gene. Although they were darker when born and are fading some now, it is good to see it there. I will say that Joseph, to me, always looks like he is crying as he has that white spot between his right eye and nose. Always makes me think of a tear drop.

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Following mama around the pasture

Can you imagine finding a new lamb in the pasture on Resurrection morning? The day we celebrate that Christ, The Lamb of God, came to cover all our sins with his shed blood. But that wasn’t all. He was buried and rose again three days and nights later. Triumphing over the grave and death. No more need of the sacrifice of lambs. I must admit, I had a bit of communion with just myself the Lord before heading to get ready for church.

And although I did manage to get there before the service started, I was late enough for Mark to call and see if there was a problem. Then I had to tell everyone. Even those who really didn’t care. Too bad. They got my bubbly joy anyway.

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

Newest Member of the Farm

So this weekend I went to the Contemporary Handweavers of Texas Art Camp. Had a great time learning about making pine needle baskets and other crafts.

But the best part of the Weekend?

When just getting back in class Sunday afternoon, I heard my phone vibrating and decided to check it. It was Mark wanting to let me know that we had a new lamb. Hannah had probably just birthed a little dark boy just minutes before Mark discovered them. Mark did a video that he sent and then we FaceTimed so I could watch them. No doubt at all who the little feller’s father was. The Herd Ram we bought is a Gulf Coast Native that has the color gene. His legs and head are dark brown but not his wool. Well, Jacob sent more than a little color on to his little offspring that looks to have it all over and even in the little wool he’s born with. Here’s hoping that it doesn’t all fade away.

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Samuel almost 48 hours old

 

But on the farm, the event started when Mark heard Candy, his horse, having an apoplectic fit out by the fence. He went out to see what the trouble was and there was Hannah and her baby. Must have just been born. As in just been born. After a quick check all seemed well. Candy must have seen what was up and decided someone needed to check in on her sheep. She does watch over them carefully.

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“My little baby boy. So sweet.”

So what do you name a new little one? When we picked up the twin bottle babies, it became natural that they be named James and John. After that all the sheep were named from the Bible. So if you have a sweet mama who is carefully watching over her baby, and her name is Hannah – it rather is a no-brainer that her little boy should be named Samuel, and Samuel he became.

James was butting poor lil’ Samuel, so Mark moved he and his mother to the backyard. Also we could keep an eye on them and make sure that he was nursing well and she was doing well as a first time mama. Well, it is a plus on both accounts. She keeps such a watch over him, and he keeps a close watch on her. They aren’t ever too far apart. He drinks frequently. Hops all around and checks on what mother is eating. Then there are breaks to just lay down and rest and maybe take a quick nap before trying to find that never ending milk supply. I’ve seen him wet and poop and all seems well.

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“Mama, who are these people, and why are they taking pictures of me?”

So Palm Sunday we receive a new baby lamb. The day that commemorates the Lamb of God willingly entering Jerusalem knowing that before the week is out he will die on a cross but three days later that glorious morning would come when Mary Magdalene and other women would come to the tomb at sunrise and hear an angel tell them the great news of a Savior who died for all our sins but that death could not hold Him. He had power over death and rose again bringing life to all who believe.

The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto Him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world. John 1:29

“He is not here: for He is Risen, as He said.” Matthew 28:6

O death, where is thy sting? O grave where is thy victory? The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law. BUT thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. I Corinthians 15:55-57

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

Keeping My Ears Warm this Winter

So I’m outside at dawn each and every morning (farmers do not get snow days, rain days, weekends, holidays, or even sick days off) This winter has had some right cold mornings for this kid as those temperatures have plummeted to a wind chill of the high teens and 20s some days. Now I can bundle up pretty well, but whatever I did my ears were still cold. What is a girl to do? Well, first be thankful she is a fiber lover and has a stash.

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A few hours work and dilemma solved.

I remembered one day that I had some alpaca from Starry Knight that I had spun and was just sitting, waiting for the perfect job. I had at last found that perfect place for it. So I gathered up the skeins and then went looking for a headband pattern. Now I crochet and do not knit. And after perusing patterns decided that just thick and basic was the way to go. But being me, of course, I changed it and ended up crocheting a longer first row than the simple pattern suggested. You see, I wanted to be sure that it would cover my ears and do the job at hand. Then it was just a double crochet in the back loop along each row. After going so long, I decided that maybe I had made it too wide after all so then needed to decrease for the area at the back of the neck, at least. Now I may say that I crochet, that doesn’t mean I am a spectacular wonderful crocheter. I do some nice things but all in all I crochet like many things in my life. I call my method “By the Seat of My Pants”. So I didn’t go looking for proper way to decrease and then increase again, but I did my own thing. It all worked in the end and can I say, I haven’t had a single cold ear since. Actually, I have even had a sweaty forehead some mornings before I got back inside.

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What better way to show it off than with my other morning friend – tea.

So now with these cold mornings, I get a pot of tea going and under a cozy before heading out. When I get back inside I can take off my headband with my warm ears still intact and drink a warming cup of tea and then a second cup and then… Yep, tea is a great friend in this weather as well.

A problem solved without having to go to a store, spend money, and solved in a way that has worked so well. Nothing commercial could be as good. Well, except maybe that hat Mark bought at Housestead Roman Fort on Hadrian’s Wall that day that was so incredibly miserable, rainy, cold, windy, miserable. If anyone knows where it ended up in our move, we’d appreciate you letting us know. That aside, I’m a happy camper.

Categories: Fiber, Spinning | Tags: | 1 Comment

A finished Apron

So last August I was able to attend the Stepping Back Accurately Civil War Era Ladies event in Washington, Arkansas. It was a new adventure for me that I didn’t know what I was getting into. All in all, it went well and the next time I go, I will be better prepared for what is happening.

But to this apron. One of our classes was the making of a Gathering Apron. Now you could take a sewing machine with you and all pertinences but being me, I didn’t want to go to that trouble and my machine is older and decrepit and in our last move was very mistreated by the movers. Wonder it actually still works, but it does. Sort of. Well, more than sort of, but her better days are well behind her.

I began my apron at the meeting by hand stitching the binding on the main panel of the apron. I will have to say that I was pretty pleased with how it came out.

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Binding to the apron

I even was even more happy with how the join I made with the binding looked. I would say it almost looks sewing machine sewn, but no it was just me.

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Join on binding

With such an auspicious start, you would think that the journey would have finished rapidly and well. Alas, should I admit that by the time I got home and things in the house, I spent a few months not even knowing where it ended up. Sad to say but true. Well, I did find it and what else I was missing, and finally this week got back to finishing it in the hopes it would help me to get on with another project. So it was time for the pockets.

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The poor pockets

This I did on the sewing machine. I took the perceived easy route. Well, for most people. That doesn’t mean it is for me. I still think they look like ruffles and the picture upside down, but this is as close as I came to the directions. Which I might add I thought I did pretty well on that point. Well, it would look a lot better if I had gone by what was back in 1860s Texas. You see the sewing machine didn’t make it here till after the war so no apron like this would have been made with one inside of Texas as far as we know. Now just maybe someone in Galveston got one before the war and brought it over from New Orleans, but then the story of Galveston and the war isn’t pretty, and I doubt they were using it at all – if it happened to be there.

But back to my apron. I did get the pocket on but don’t you dare look at the backside. Yes, the bobbin decided to rebel for a moment and though we were working again, I didn’t look at the previous sewing and well it does have those bunches of threads in an area. May cut them out yet and if it falls apart hand sew it back. I must admit though that I like the seams to be hidden and they show quite well. Or maybe not quite well if you aren’t looking for them. This is a bit of business in a plaid to be looking for matching color in thread.

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The waistband

After doing the quick easy way for the pockets, I decided to go back to the old way for me. There were two options for putting on the ties and waistband that included a major stressed point that one must realize the one way was faster and easier than the other. Well, it didn’t take two seconds to know I was going the slow and easier route for myself. I did use a machine on part of it. I sewed the two pieces together for the center and then folded it wrong side out and sewed up the ties on the two ends. Then turned it right side out and hand stitched the ends closed. Next was pinning it over the top of the waistband and sitting down with Time Team to sew tiny stitches on both sides to get it attached. I didn’t get the gathers all nicely spaced but it did go on and after ironing it again, I believe it doesn’t look half bad and would have looked worse with my sewn seams showing from the machine.

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The finished apron

So this day, I have finished the apron started last August. It really isn’t too badly done. Well, except for that sewing machine. So just remember that no matter if a project gets lost or well past the time most have theirs done or whatever excuse we can come up with, it is better to go ahead and finish it. Learn while your doing.

And now maybe I’ll get back to my BIG project that scares me.

Categories: Fiber, Sewing | Tags: | 1 Comment

The Next Morning

Despite the little sleep I got last night, it seems everyone else on this little farm did well. We still live in our little bubble that seems that most weather goes north or south of us. Thankfully, the worse of this did the same. During the night it was mostly north and this morning mostly south. That doesn’t mean that we didn’t get anything. We did get some icy rain, high winds, and cold. But when compared to the prediction, not bad at all.

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The horses chowing down

We have three horses right now. Candy is actually ours in the far right stall, and who you can’t hardly see. In the middle is Poppy’s Red. We are fostering her and she is quite the old lady. Well into her 20s. After fostering a couple of horses that moved on quickly, Candy was not a happy girl, so we are fostering Poppy as a long term friend for Candy as few people want to adopt 20+ year old horses that can’t be ridden. Then Mark received Brooklyn, on the left, as a foster as she is just a sweet girl and can be ridden. We did get all their coats on before this began. Candy is not a coat liking girl but was actually easy last night. Must have known she would need it. They did get extra this morning as I don’t know how much grazing they will get out of this day. This part of the barn is well protected from about all weather we get so they will probably hang out here the whole day.

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Sheep and their ice shield

The sheep started the night out, laying out in the pasture near the gate where they like to sleep. I was hoping, as I heard the storm, that they had all moved in to the sheep shed quickly. This morning they were all there and dry. The tarp on the corral panel is a sheet of ice. It is permanently in that position till it thaws out. After being out there, I learned that it did its job well. It was dry and much warmer inside behind it than on the outside. I think the babies must have appreciated it. Ruth, our spunky girl who had a bout of being sick and blew off her whole fleece as a result, is even doing well. We wonder if she didn’t get her growth stunted as a result of being sick or if it is because she just doesn’t have the wool that the others have, she looks so much smaller. She has gotten used to her dog coat and mom constantly pushing it back up where it belongs. Her fleece is growing back in but mom still worries over her being warm in this weather so she keeps on her coat.

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A cold dreary morning

I think the above picture best shows what the morning looked like out there. These four did not head out with the others to graze. James often hollers at me. I really think he’d prefer being a house sheep, if I would give him the option. So anyway, I often end up going out and leading him out to where the other sheep are grazing and leaving him with them. This time I lead the four out and everyone thought they needed to follow me back out. Couldn’t sneak away when every step you take crunches under you feet. So they all ended back up at the shed but are out grazing once again at this time.

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So what about the chickens?

If ever there was an animal that points to a Creator, it is the chicken. A most marvelous creature that beggars belief that anyone would believe they came about just by chance. These girls were all ready for the chilly outdoors this morning. When I opened the coop, I put in their food and thought only a wise bird would stay in where it was warm rather than head out. But these girls are tough. God gave them down and feathers that when they puff them up they can keep cozy when out and about. And for them foraging is so much more fun than eating out of a dish. So off they went hunting for bugs. I’m sure they are spending time back under their favorite bushes as well. They have their spots out there to get out of the weather.

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Pullets didn’t take long to learn where to hang out

And the young pullets? Nope. Not staying in the coop. But they didn’t take long at all, when they were allowed to roam free, to figure out the best place to hang out whether it is cold or hot. Yep, the patio. So back in the protected corner with food mom brought for them, they hung out at first. Though they have also learned that if you really like to eat living bugs, the other side of the patio is the wood pile and if you just stand and peck all day you will get a belly full.

So I’m thanking the Lord we are all well and this weather hasn’t taken anyone down yet. The wind has picked up again and looking out the window I can see the sheep have come back to their shed. Glad that it is a shelter for them. Reminds one of the hymn A Shelter in a Time of Storm by Vernon Charlesworth.

The Lord’s our Rock, in Him we hide,

A shelter in the time of storm;

Secure whatever ill betide,

A shelter in the time of storm.

The raging storms may round us beat,

A shelter in the time of storm;

We’ll never leave our safe retreat,

A shelter in the time of storm.

chorus:

O, Jesus is a Rock in a weary land,

A weary land, a weary land;

O, Jesus is a Rock in a weary land,

A shelter in the time of storm.

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

Day Before the Storm

I know when I read this years hence, I will wonder that nothing has happened in so much time. Stuff has happened but nothing that I’ve recorded here. But this morning I decided to take some pictures.

I married a Texan. I learned later that Texas is a Siren that calls all her boys that wander away, to come home at some point and then they will never wander again. So yes, I live in Texas and after 14 and half years here, we are actually having close to a real winter. We’ve had snow, high winds, and cold weather. Of course, this is the winter that I have animals to worry about as well.

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Working on the coop

We have a big, wet storm coming in late tonight. It is headed our way from the Hill Country of Texas. It is to get down in the 20s (which has happened already this winter), but it is also to have sleet and rain with it. Not fun for those of us safe in houses, let alone the animals. So I have been busy making their homes a bit warmer. Here is the first load of hay coming to the chicken coop. Needless to say, the girls were quite interested in what mom was up too, and what they could find in that hay. They were all over it and checking out the work being done.

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Thesis II checking out what mom’s done with the new decorating

Yesterday afternoon,while it was somewhat warm (relative to other temperatures of late), I redid the sheep shed. I worried about the sheep and the sleet. During an earlier storm that came in with such high cold winds right out of the north, I had fixed a barrier in the shed for them. We had set up some corral panels which enable us to close off an area if needed to keep some in or some out. I had covered the outside of the panel for them but being sheep they really didn’t like going in there through a small opening. They like a bit more open area and easier escape if the need were to arise. So this time, I cleaned and sorted and worked my tail off for my babies.

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New look to the sheep shed

Well, we shifted lots of hay, cleaned out poop, and moved the panels to the other end, and tied on the tarp again. Would they be happier with a more open feel and mom happier that they could still get inside and relatively out of the sleety rain that is coming? Actually, it seems that it did win last night. This morning, they were all inside and seem to have slept inside the shed all night. Something they don’t do often. I think it was a win for a cold night as I did have quite a bit of manure to get out this morning so it doesn’t pile up too quickly. I’m hoping to have it fairly in good shape so if it is downright nasty out, I can do a quick check on them, give them some feed, and head back into my warm house. Lots of hay in there. I think it will work. Of course, being sheep and a landrace breed, they probably won’t care or need half of what I did but they won’t be left out under the trees, finding which side of the land to lay down. On the high wind day, they spent a good bit of their time on the low side of the tank where it was sheltered some. Hopefully they will like their home better for not getting all wet and cold. This storm is coming in from the right side of the shed so it shouldn’t come in the front like the high wind did.

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Early morning the day before

So this morning was a foggy wintery morning. If it wasn’t that the sun rose and her light could penetrate it easily, it would have been quite dreary. But what will we wake up to tomorrow? What will a picture from in front of the sheep shed look like then? We will know soon enough. Oh, and I know it barely shows but the bridge was a project this vacation that was completed. The rails were treated and painted black and new boards put down to walk across. Interestingly, the sheep will step up on it but won’t walk out farther than there is land underneath it. I’m happy as I worried they would walk out on it and fall in the tank. But it seems they’re smart enough to not do that.

Categories: Bent Oak Farm, Gulf Coast Native Sheep | Tags: , | 3 Comments

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