Monday, May 23, 2016

Finally, Skirting the Fleeces

I have vacation this week and next and a long list of things to get done. Number one on the list is getting the fleeces skirted and taken to the mill. The fleeces were skirted yesterday and today and we have an appointment for Wednesday at the mill. I am really looking forward to the consultation part of the fiber drop off.
My make-do skirting table worked fine. Alan has two 36 inch high saw horses and I placed a 4X7 sheep and goat panel on top then a hog panel on top of the sheep panel. The sheep panel has 4x4 openings so the hog panel just made the openings a bit smaller. Other then sagging a little in the middle this set up got the job done.
Above is Hazel's fleece. After skirting her fleece weighed 5 pounds. Now here is Mercer's fleece below:
His fleece covered every bit of my skirting table and I could have used a little more room. After skirting his fleece weighed 11 pounds! Mercer's fleece has the tightest crimp but Elwood has the prettiest color. Just look at those locks:
All this sheep wool feeling had me wanting to watch the sheep shearing episode of Tales From the Green Valley. After shearing they mention cleaning the odd bits and using them to stuff pillows. Alan is making a new bed for our reenacting camp, to be more 17th century, and I am making linen sheets. So now we will have real wool-stuffed pillows! The bits I skirted off are now soaking. I'll wash them and pick out as much of the vegetable matter as I can then stuff them into a thick linen cover.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Elwood v Mercer

About a week ago my daughter told me she found Mercer, our bigger ram, stuck in the calf hutch with the door up against the fence. Saturday afternoon I found him again stuck in the calf hutch. He was making a very soft, deep baa (more of a growl) and standing, very patiently, looking out.
Once I pulled the hutch away from the fence he still kept looking out the back window.
I have to blame Elwood for Mercer's predicament. Elwood loves to head butt the calf hutch and must have been bashing it with Mercer inside. Hopefully, Mercer has learned to stay out of the hutch when Elwood is being "rammy."

Friday, May 13, 2016


We have finally decided on a color for the house. It took a while since I had a whole list of parameters that needed to be met with this color. First, the color had to help the house look old (like 18th century old.) Second, I felt that one of the best ways to help make the house look old would be having the trim and windows match the color of the walls. Third, that meant I needed good samples of modern window exterior colors. Fourth, we had to decide on a window company to get their colors. Then to make matters more complicated, the Pella window store told me Sherwin Williams paints has the codes to all their colors. But a call to the Sherwin Williams store taught me that they knew nothing about Pella window colors. Ah, but Lowes has the codes. But not in a solid stain, just a paint. I really wanted to treat all the new wood with a solid stain rather than a paint. But Lowes did have a decent sized sample of Pella window trim in the color, Portobello, I was thinking of using. Using their color match system this is what we have come up with:
 And it looks nice on the new garage doors too. I love a color that changes colors in different light. This color can look gray, tan, brown, and greenish. And is a pretty close match to stink bug poop brown!
Eventually the whole front of the house will get new wood clapboard siding painted Portobello. This is my inspiration house from Colonial Williamsburg:
I think we came pretty close with the parameters I was using. We have the garage side door painted the darker color to see how it would look. I think the whole house will look more settled and a part of the land with the new color scheme.

Thursday, May 5, 2016

The Manure Fork

The best thing we bought this year is the manure fork. It attaches to the front bucket of the tractor and does an incredible job raking and scooping up manure and bedding. My least favorite job in the barn is raking up soiled bedding, especially if is packed down for a while.
The fork in action, lining up for a scoop:
then picking up nearly half of the bedding in an 8x8 stall.
And taking it away.
And onto the manure pile.
We cleaned out a 16x16 area in about two hours; a job that would have taken three people all day if done by hand. A well spent $260 dollars!

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Meanwhile...Back in the Pasture

Just taking a nap.

"What? It's hard work running around after my big brothers and sisters. You know I'm only a week old."

We both have vacation this week and are trying to get some pasture work done between the rain drops. This section of pasture doesn't get much sunlight so we cleared back a bunch of brush.
Looks much better.

And the sheep had fun hanging out with us too.