Friday, November 21, 2008

The 4-Ply Cable Yarn

The blue yarn pictured is very soft, 100% merino from Ashland Bay in Baltic.

This is the yarn I am using for one of the sweaters I am making. To create it, you first spin 2 full bobbins of singles in one direction (S). You then ply them in the opposite direction (Z). Then you ply your 2 bobbins of 2 ply in the original direction (S). There it is, S or Z makes no difference, as long as you alter the direction of spin as I stated. It is pretty simple.
My singles are very fine here. I can spin 5-10' of one-ply this fine in 1 minute. Each bobbin has a little more than 4 oz on it and about 1700 yards. At a rate of 100-200 yards an hour 4 ounces of that one ply takes me 9-17 hours. The plying takes hardly any time, though. Thankfully!
This is the prime reason hand spun yarns are so expensive. They are great to work with if done correctly, but the cost of labor is high. I would charge $10 an hour plus the cost of the fiber (about $3-$4 an ounce). A lot of handspun is bulky weight for this reason as well. Bulky takes less time to spin. I have a difficult time spinning fiber in different diameters than it "wants" to be spun, however. Each type of fiber has different characteristics that call your hands to spin in a different way. The handspun from Kodiak (picutered in the banner) is about 1/3 as fine as this yarn. If I try and spin contrary to what the fiber wants my yarn gets uneaven.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Just sanded and sealed

Now we need 3 more coats of poly.

Geneva Metal Kitchen Cabinets

I am thinking of selling my kitchen cabinets. I love them, but I can not find them to complete the kitchen. They are highly collectable so many get snatched up pretty quickly. I will take a couple of photos and share them when I get the camera out of the kitchen. I can not walk in there to get it and it is killing me because I want to take some pictures of the floor for you all. It is amazing. Now our kitchen has the nicest floor in the house. How is that for a turn around?

Mary, Button, and vaccines

Mary and Button were both bred in early July.

In September we vaccinated the ewes for Campylobacter fetus. C. fetus is a bacteria the lives in the gallbladder and intestines of ewes. When the ewe gets pregnant, the bacteria goes into her uterus, into the placenta, and then kills the fetus. 90% of ewes who have this problem will abort their fetus, but, it is like chicken pox in that they will be immune from this after they have had it once. They can be carriers and infect other ewes, though. This shot protects them from aborting. It is given at the beginning of breeding as well for new ewes and then just an annual booster. The vaccine is also to protect against late-term abortions caused by Chlamydia psittaci. Once there is an outbreak of C. psittaci the vaccine will not cure it. It comes from infected fetal membranes, a dead fetus, and uterine discharges. If the flock becomes infected; abortion rates can get as high as 60%.

We also vaccinated them with CD&T. The T stands for tetanus. "Enterotoxemia type C, also called hemorrhagic enteritis or "bloody scours," mostly affects lambs during their first few weeks of life, causing a bloody infection in the small intestine. It is often related to indigestion and is predisposed by a change in feed, such as beginning creep feeding or a sudden increase in milk supply, perhaps caused by the loss of a littermate. Enterotoxemia type D, also called overeating disease or "pulpy kidney disease," usually affects lambs over one month of age, usually the largest, fastest growing lamb(s) in the flock. It is precipitated by a sudden change in feed that causes the bacteria, already present in the lamb's gut, to proliferate, resulting in a toxic reaction. Type D is most commonly observed in lambs that are consuming high concentrate diets, but can also occur in lambs nursing heavy milking dams." To protect the lambs, we vaccinate the ewes late in their pregnancy (yesterday for Mary and Button). The vaccine will be in the ewe's milk and protect the lambs for about 10 weeks. We will vaccinate the lambs in January again.
We also wormed Mary and Button yesterday. We did that because pregnancy and nursing is very stressful on ewes and if they are sick with a bunch of worms they will not get the nutrients they need. We will probably move them into a new enlosure in the barn in a few days after the worm eggs pass so they are on clean straw with their lambs.
The whole worm issue is not a fun one for me. I do not like giving the sheep too many pharmaceuticals. So, I purchased artemesia seeds (wormwood) to plant in the pasture. Sheep do not like wormwood and will probably avoid it even though it does a decent job in reducing worms in their intestnes. So, if they do not eat it, I will dry it and add it to their hay. If they refuse that, I will powder it and add it to their water. We will still need to use wormers, but if we use natural defenses and rotational grazing we should not need to do it as often.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Laugh out loud

I love a good joke and there is a place I visit for clean jokes periodically. Here is a small sampling:

A college class was told they had to write a short story in as few words as possible. The instructions stated the short story had to contain the following three things:
1. Religion
2. Sexuality
3. Mystery
Below is the only A+ short story in the class:
"Good God, I’m pregnant, I wonder who did it?"

An elderly man in Chicago calls his son in New York and says, “I hate to ruin your day, but I have to tell you that your mother and I are divorcing; 45 years of misery is more than I can stand.”
“Dad, what are you talking about?” the son screams.
“We can’t stand the sight of each other any longer,” the old man says. “We’re sick of each other, and I’m sick of talking about this, so you call your sister in Los Angeles and you tell her.”
Frantic, the son calls his sister. She explodes on the phone. “Baloney. We’re not letting them get divorced,” she screams, “we’re going to take care of this.”
She calls Chicago immediately, and screams at her father, “You are NOT getting divorced. Don’t do a single thing until I get there. I’m calling my brother back, and we’ll both be there tomorrow. Until then, don’t do a thing, DO YOU HEAR ME?” and she hangs up.
The old man hangs up his phone, turns to his wife, and says. “Okay, they’re coming for Thanksgiving and they’re paying their own what do we do for Christmas?”

When I was younger, I hated going to weddings ... it seemed that all of my aunts and the grandmotherly types used to come up to me, poking me in the ribs and cackling, telling me, “You’re next. You’re next.”
They stopped that stuff after I started doing the same thing to them at funerals.

A priest is walking down the street one day when he sees a small boy trying to press a doorbell on a house across the street. But the doorbell is just out of his reach.
He watches the boy’s efforts for some time, until finally he crosses the street, walks up behind the little fellow and, placing his hand kindly on the child’s shoulder leans over and gives the doorbell a ring.
Crouching down to the child’s level, the priest smiles benevolently and asks, “And now what, my little man?”
To which the boy turns and yells, “NOW WE RUN!”

For more, go here.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Prelude to winter

It is finally starting to melt.
The kids are having a blast in it.

The air we breathe

AHHH! Breathe in, Breath out.
I had some terrible lung problems. Pluerisy in both sides of my lungs, near collapse of both sides of my lungs, and a growth in the left side. Geee, I wonder why. This wall used to be white. The build-up on the wall is soot and other icky debrise from our old furnace. I am shocked everytime I come across evidence of our old furnace. This little piece was behind some cabinets we had put in that we just took out to work on the floor. I am so glad we got rid of that thing. It sure could heat the house, but it was really bad for our health. I have not had issues since we stopped using it and switched to corn 2 years ago.

What's under there????

Every time some show has on "The Ugliest Kitchen Contest" I laugh at the entrants. Well, here is one reason hideous cobblestone linoleum, over faux brick disgusting linolium, over faux silestone linolium, over masonite, over plywood. We were wondering if we had wood floors in the kitchen so we could remedy this eyesore, but no, we ran into plywood.....or so we thought.
Well, we had to remove the cabinet and broken range to make room for the new range when what should we find?

1" maple flooring, like the rest of our downstairs. The dark spots are a buildp of something and not stained. Yipee!!! Bub bye ugly green coblestone, hello maple.

Way up high in the sky beds

The kids needed more space in their room, so the "twins" (not really) got matching loft beds from IKEA. They love them.
We also took all of their toys out of their room and went through their clothes. We told them that they will get a little bit of their toys back at a time so they learn how to organize them and keep their room clean. So far, without toys, the room is staying pretty clean. Next week they will get to take one box of toys back. They have bins to help them organize. I am also making them get rid of at least 10% of the toys in each box. We will see......