Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Let me spin you a yarn...

So one of our neighbors built Peanut a top whorl drop spindle. For those of you who aren't in the know, a drop spindle is a small hand tool used to spin yarn. So of cours, since he made it for my daughter, I had to play with it, so last night, I walked over and begged some roving from the neighbor. (I'll explain the whole process in another post, settle down, Sparky!) Here is a picture from my first attempt with the drop spindle.

Eh, not bad, but definitely not great. I wouldn't want to try to knit, or crochet, with it at this point, but give me a chance and I think I will be able to do this halfway decent. Then if I can teach everyone else in the family, we might be able to spin enough for all our winter projects.

So of course, looking at spinning and making yarn... in my typical head-first attitude, what do you think was my next thought? Hmmm, we are looking to put up a barn (as soon as it is delivered and I have the ground prepped). Now, I had been leaning more towards goats, but a couple sheep should give us enough for our winter projects, right? I dunno, buy why not give it a whirl?

Here's one other picture of my first attempt:

Enjoy and I will talk to you again soon!

Monday, April 19, 2010

Yarns and Barns...

Its another week and I realize that I have been neglecting to write anything up here for a while. Life has been keeping me occupied. We ordered a Backyard Barn kit from a local lumber yard, but they have yet to call to make a delivery appointment.

I have started working to dig out the new barn's location, but it is slow going. I am not sure if I ever mentioned it, but there used to be a small barn where we are going to put the new one. This is the perfect location because it is sheltered from some of our wind, is on a good flat spot, can be dug out for drainage, and has a water pipe and electrical lines run to it. However, one of the yahoo sons decided to go ahead and just burn down the barn. He didn't dismantle anything, or even empty it out before he set fire to it. This includes leaving a stack of shingles inside, parts for a tractor cutting deck, pieces of an umbrella, parts of a fox skeleton, and a huge amount of nails. Also, since he didn't pull any of the wires back down through the conduit before he started his blaze, the wires melted inside of their conduit. I get that dug out and pull some new wire through and then I will have electrical and water run straight to the barn! w00t!

So I am hoping that I will be able to get a few inches dug out this week, along with two lengths of french pipe for drainage. Then I can get a load of sand and a load of gravel for the base. Of course, all of this work just sets me up for the actual building of the barn... Anyone want to stop over for a barn raising in a few weekends? We will provide food and drink!

On the yarn note, a woman's whose kid is in sunday school at church is willing to teach me how to turn a heel. I started working on learning double-ended needles this winter, but the books describing turning a heel are a bit confusing to me.

On top of that, it seems that Peanut has decided that I should get some Fiddle lessons. Of course, I would need to find a fiddle on the cheap. There was one on Craigslist... $150 with 3 bows, rosin, 3 learn to play books, a music stand, shoulder rest, volume damper, and an electronic tuner. But y'know, that is $150 more than I currently have available. Of course, that would have to go on top of my working on my skills on the Bass and trying to teach myself guitar. Who came up with some of these chord fingerings?

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

It's Always Something...

Raise your hand if you know what Free Time is.

/me looks around looking for any raised hands.

Yeah, me either. I have always said that I will run out of time before I run out of things to do. There are so many things that I want to do, but part of the problem is that certain things can only be done in order and in the proper season. Seeds must be started, birds must be fed/watered/bedding changed/etc., ground to be prepared. etc. And that is only some of the homesteading work, there is also the daily job that I need to get to, kids to raise and guide, a house to keep clean and tidied, etc. Now, that is not to say that all of these projects and jobs rest only on me, they are things that the whole family helps with. Then there are the jobs that rest solely on me. The oil change, brake jobs, auto body work, then there is the tiller that needs an engine replacement, the Gravely that needs its transmission set screw replaced/hood welded/painted, the Deere that needs to be started up, oiled, tires filled, and prepared for the grass cutting season, etc.

But there are the days that I just want to sit and zone out and relax. Read some books, drink some coffee or iced tea. Every once in a while we all need to take some time to just relax and stop the rushing and the stress.

Someday soon I hope to take my relaxing day. But until I do, I hope all of you take your own day off.

Friday, April 2, 2010

The Perils of New Life

Well, the rest of our little birdies are here now. So in the basement we currently have 2 goslings, 2 turklings, 2 ducklings, 10 chicklings (yeah, I made up that word, what of it? (-: ), and 6 two week old chicks. Well, for now.

One of our two week olds most likely will not make it. I walked down into the basement a day or two ago and I found it with one of its legs stuck out to the side. It wouldn't get up and walk or hobble anywhere. Then later in the day it was on its side with both legs sticking out , but it was in a different place than it was earlier. Maybe it could hobble some and just had a sprain. One of the Muscovies survived a broken foot and now you can't even tell it was ever broken.

It almost looks like the birds body grew faster than its legs, but it could also be a broken leg or two. Is it a growing issue? Did someone pick the bird up and put it down wrong? Did I do it? I just don't know. I hate to cull it if it will be able to get better, but then again I hate to let it suffer. To make it even worse, this is the chick that Peanut chose from Tractor Supply. Even though she has the 10 Cayuga ducklings, it still sucks that this is the one that she picked out. Especially since this was the first time she got to pick out a chick.

It may be the coward's way out, but I hope that nature takes the decision from me. Rock meet Hard Place.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Busy busy busy...

"Spring is here, spring is here. Life is skittles and life is beer." - Tom Lehrer

Springtime brings all of the thoughts of the new garden, the upcoming summer projects, the summer chores, and of course, the new baby birds at the house. A week ago last Friday, the family had to stop at Tractor Supply Co. because we were not going to be able to stop at the actual feed shop the next day. Do you know what TSC has in the store come springtime? That's right, baby chicks. So of course, we had to pick up 6 of those little boogers. This doesn't count the order that had been placed with McMurray Hatchery the week before.

Since Peanut is participating in 4-H, she had decided that she wanted to do the duck project, so we had to order her the ducks she wanted to raise. We ordered her 10 Cayuga ducks. That's right 10 of those little buggers was cheaper than just buying 5 or 6 because of shipping costs. She will raise them for a bit and then pick out a few for her project. The rest will either go into the general population or be sold on craiglist/at auction.

Then for the family we got the Homsteaders Delight. This package is 16 birds total: 10 brown egg laying hens, 2 ducks, 2 turkeys, and 2 geese. We get no say in the breeds of any of these birds. Surprise! Unfortunately, we also get no say in the genders of the turkeys, ducks, or geese. Boy do I hope that we don't get Muscovy or Cayuga ducks. We already have the Muscovy and the Cayuga are the second part of that order.

These new birdies would overfill the current coop. I think I mentioned that a local company has what they call the "Backyard Barn". Well, that will hopefully be going up soon (Ok, within the next three weeks or so), and that will house all of these birds plus the birds in the current coop. I just have to get the Health Department out first so that they can verify that we are putting this up farther than 20 feet from the septic tank, there goes another 60 bucks. Woo...

This is all on top of the seedlings in the basement, and trying to wait till the ground gets dry enough to work, and getting a spot ready so the onions can go in ASAP, and and and... well, you get the idea. Hopefully I will be able to get some pictures up of the new birds when they arrive this week, plus a picture or two of the chickies already in the basement.

Well, I think that's enough for right now.