Friday, October 25, 2013

Rhinebeck (aka NY Sheep & Wool Festival) 2013!

I had a pretty busy weekend last week...spent most of the day Saturday spinning at the Hamilton Farmer's market (unfortunately didn't sell a whole lot), and then spent ALL day Sunday at Rhinebeck (aka the NY Sheep and Wool Festival)!

I've always wanted to take a spinning class at a fiber festival, and I figured Rhinebeck was the place to do it!  I found 2 spinning classes that looked interesting, and ended up signing up for the one about spinning different thicknesses in yarn (I think it was called "Spin it Thick, Spin it Thin").  The class started at 9am, and Rhinebeck is almost 3 hours from Norwich, so it was quite the early morning.  The class was very interesting, but I didn't get as much out of it as I was hoping.  (I'm hoping that means I know more about spinning than I originally thought!)  It was still a great experience though.

After the spinning class, I went to check out my competition entries.  About a month ago, I sent 4 items to be judged: a felted bag with flowers, a handspun Polwarth skein, a handspun alpaca/silk skein, and a handknit cowl.  As it turns out, I can't read directions and the festival management can't write directions!  I had the cowl disqualified because I used yarn with bamboo, which apparently isn't a "natural" fiber.  I also had the alpaca/silk skein disqualified because I forgot to write the fiber content on the information card, even though the directions didn't say to do so!  I was bummed, but my other 2 items placed well so I can't be too upset.  My Polwarth skein got 3rd in the 2-ply natural wool class, and the felted bag got 2nd in the felted class!

My Polwarth skein is the white one in the middle with a ribbon!

My felted bag!

Another picture with better lighting.

And of course the most important part of the day was shopping!  I had 2 Christmas presents to shop for (one was yarn for a cowl, the other can't be mentioned), and found exactly what I was looking for.  I also splurged and bought some roving for myself...8oz of dyed Cormo pencil roving, 1 pound of natural Cormo roving, and 4oz of dyed silk!  I have no idea what I'm going to do with any of it, but it was too gorgeous to pass up!  I'm actually thinking about knitting something for myself out of the dyed Cormo!  (Shame on me for not taking pictures of my loot!)

Rhinebeck is also great because of all the entertainment they have!  They once again had frisbee and flyball demos from a dog rescue group, as well as sheep herding!


Border collie herding sheep.

She was really good!

Gotta love the border collie crouch!

I miss flyball so much!

It was a long weekend, but all in all a great one!  I have one more long day tomorrow (another farmer's market day in Hamilton), but I'm going to sleep in on Sunday!

Friday, October 11, 2013

Almost Done (Unpacking)!

I promise that I will eventually get the hang of posting here on a regular basis!  But in my defense, things have been quite busy around the farm for the past few weeks.  First was a week-long trip back to Indiana to pick up the llama trailer and (most of) the llama stuff, and since then I've been busy unpacking!

The most important thing to unpack was the stall panels!  The llamas have quickly eaten most of the grass in their pasture, so I wanted to set up the stall panels in some taller grass outside the pasture and let them graze in the afternoons.  I've let them in the pen for the past 4 days, and they seem to love it!  Hopefully it will help the pasture recover too.

The herd enjoying a beautiful fall day.

Also very important to unpack were the hay feeders.  I decided to stick the outside hay feeder in the grass just outside the barn...that way I don't have to shovel too much snow this winter!  We have to do a bit more rearranging before we can put the indoor hay feeder in place in the barn, so for now the llamas are still eating hay out of big buckets.

Hay feeder in place!

The biggest chore though was to unpack all of the little supplies and put them in my newly-cleaned storage room!  I spent several days before our trip cleaning out the dirt and sand in this little room, and cleaning the cabinet so I could paint it.

Feed bins, medical supplies, and heated water buckets in the storage room.

I primed and painted the cabinet this week, and it perfectly dry today and ready to be filled!

My beautiful painted cabinet, as well as a bunch of llama supplies.

I even got to "steal" this nice little vanity cabinet (from my parents' house) to store halters in!  It was installed today, but I still need to screw in the hooks.

Halter cabinet ready for use!

Now for some of the other random things I did today...  First was to fix the gate latch!  I had locked all the animals in the barn this afternoon so I could halter them one by one and collect fecal samples to process tomorrow.  I stepped out of the barn to re-arrange their stall panel pen in the yard and came back to the gate wide open and a broken latch board!  No idea what happened, but luckily it was easily fixed.

Somehow the board got broken right in half!

New board in place with the latch.  This one will be a lot harder to break!

The best thing that happened today...I figured out how to turn the lights on in the barn!  There are a million switches and plugs in this old barn, and somehow I had overlooked the one that turns on the lights!  I'm so glad I will have lights this winter, even if I have to walk half-way into the barn to turn them on!

We have light!!!

And last but not least, my "fecal station" countertops!  I've decided to use an old laundry sink to run fecals, but there isn't any table/counter space to set the centrifuge.  So I bought some plywood at Lowes last week and plan to set the pieces on top of the sink to create a temporary counter top.  They can also be removed when I need to use the sink to wash things after running fecals!  I wanted something that was fairly water-proof and easy to clean, so I primed and painted the plywood pieces (just like the cabinet), and then applied 3 coats of polyurethane.  Hopefully they will be dry tomorrow so I can run fecals!

Painted "countertops" ready for the spray coat.

So that was my day today...and the past few days have looked about the same!  Now that the trailer is unpacked I hope to go get another load of hay next week.  We also have to unload all the rubber mats from the back of the truck (as well as some of the obstacles), and get those in place in the barn!  It will be so nice to have everything done!