Baby, it’s cold outside…


I Do Not Mind You, Winter Wind

(Jack Prelutsky)

I do not mind you, Winter Wind
when you come whirling by,
to tickle me with snowflakes
drifting softly from the sky.

I do not even mind you
when you nibble at my skin,
scrambling over all of me
attempting to get in.

But when you bowl me over
and I land on my behind,
then I must tell you, Winter Wind,
I mind . . . I really mind!

The wood furnace is dancing with flames, hardly struggling to keep our little cottage farmhouse warm. But boy, is it cold outside; it was -17 in the pre-dawn hours and up to a brisk -5 as I headed out to do morning chores, and check on the chicks and ducks, needed to be sure I didn’t have any “chooksicles”. All was as it should have been; animals in their nests of hay. It even looked as though Syria, our oldest llama had made her own nest of hay; though it was supposed to be her and everyone else’s breakfast..silly girl.

After the chores were done, both outside and in..I settled in to sip hot tea and knit. I am trying to finish a lacy patterned brushed suri, ear warming, head band for Jenn. Then a bit of spinning,I have finished a skein of llama/merino blend yarn(I am not sure what I am going to make that into).

Funny how each season sets it’s own rhythm on a farm. Nature eases you from one season to the next, each with it’s own flurry of activity. Reminding us to enjoy, if you wish, the comfort of home on a cold winter’s day, the refreshing nip of the wind in October, and the warmth of the sun’s rays in May. ( May plantings,oh shivers xoxox)

Time to warm the Earl Grey…

spinnings
A blend of llama and merino…

Chet
Chester, is grateful for his spring shearing…He would be way too hot in his fiberluscious coat all summer.

LLaLLa
Thank you for the fiber LLala..(Shangrala)

llama rovings
Llama rovings…

rovings
Merino rovings purchased at the Rhinebeck Sheep & Wool festival.

kromski My Favorite wheel…a Kromski castle style single treadle.

my wheel 2
..such a pretty wheel,they make.

wheels 2
flyer, whorl, and maidens…

Kromski wheel 2.0
:)

lazy kate
The lazy kate…used when plying the fiber.

Be well, stay warm.
Jess

Learning to Tame the Clouds


Let me explain…I have had an inexplicable urge to spin; to tame the billowing clouds of fiber stuffed in every corner. I am compelled by the love of texture, of color, the sheer serendipity, and pleasure of making something from a cloud.

Louet drum carder

Now that I am the proud owner of a Louet drum carder…things can move along at a much faster pace. Hand carding took lots of time (well, at least for me). Batts, rovings, and tops, oh my! I have lots and lots of llama fiber, a bag of Merino rovings, and I just agreed to purchase 3 bags of alpaca top! I am up to my ears in fiber…I am in heaven’s clouds.

clouds...

You see, fine wools blend well with other fine wools; so I am able to create even more new and exciting possibilities…adding the wool to alpaca and llama gives it an elasticity without sacrificing the sensuous softness inherent to the camelid fiber. Just think of the limitless possibilities and the projects to create.

sweet duo

Knowing that the winter days are short; I can be happy I have more evenings in which to indulge my fiber love. And maybe more tea too.

turnings..of my Kromski Wheel

Not only is spinnig a fantastic creative outlet; there is a connection to the past, when women spun out of necessity,for survival. I, however, just spin for the love of it.

Lilia's fiber...<3

What is the difference in Llamas and alpacas, you ask? They are both from the camelid family. Their inclusion in this family is based upon their characteristic traits of being hornless, cud-chewing ruminants with an even number of toes and padded feet. But unlike cattle,(another ruminant)llamas have only one stomach but it is divided into three parts.

Our Bandit (now Dr. Cohen's) ...the first cria born on our farm.

Llamas have front teeth only on the bottom jaw and a toothless upper jaw, like a gum. Their gentle disposition, need for minimal care, and ability to adapt to a variety of climates makes them an easy species for which to care.
Llamas are larger than alpacas, standing 40–45 inches at the withers and 5.5 to 6 feet or taller at the head. They can weigh between 280 and 450 pounds and the average lifespan is 15 to 30 years. Females usually begin breeding at 15–18 months and males at two and a half years. A llama’s normal gestation is 350 days, giving birth to a single cria (pronounced creeah). Crias are usually born during daylight hours and weigh between 20–35 pounds. Within an hour post-parturition, the cria is standing and nursing from its dam. Average weaning age is 4–6 months.

Alpaca

Alpacas weigh about 100 to 175 pounds and stand about three feet at the withers. Their life span is about 15–25 years. A female alpaca is usually bred at 14–16 months and a male reaches full maturity in two to three years. The average gestation is 335 days and a cria may weigh 15–19 pounds. Alpacas generally have little trouble during parturition and the cria is usually found nursing after the first hour. Twins are rare and there is a low infant mortality rate. Alpaca mothers are very devoted and protective towards their young.

Llamas and alpacas share some characteristics. They both communicate through their posture and through ear and tail movements. Aggressive modes of communication are foot stamping, kicking, and spitting. Both have two toes on each foot, with a leathery pad on the bottom. They are social creatures and do best when pastured together. Both llamas and alpacas are induced ovulators, exhibiting no heat cycle. Ovulation occurs approximately 24–36 hours post-breeding, enabling them to be bred at any time during the year. Heat stress may be a problem… so ours are bred during cooler months for this reason.

Maeve and Andy

KatDoll...strike a pose

Syria

There are a few differences between llamas and alpacas, including size, ear shape, hair, fleece, and back curvature. The alpacas have shorter noses and more symmetrical, pearshaped ears, while llamas’ ears are longer and banana shaped. Most alpacas have a full “top knot” or “hair-do.” Their fleece is dense over all parts of their body and the alpaca’s back has a slight upward curve, while the llama’s back is straight.

Kat Doll on action...at a fair

Be well,
Jessica

I have so much that I want to explore…next blog: There are many reasons to dye; but one should not fear to enter the realm.(Organic dyes of course); or perhaps..Show your true colors.