Friday, September 30, 2011

Adventure Of The Day

Ahem, the other thought that has been going around my head this past week was the thought of getting rabbits again. I missed my Americans something fierce, and decided to get a couple rabbits and ease my way back into the rabbit world. After some hunting on Craiglist, I found someone who had some Purebred Californians for sale. One buck, and two does. So, I packed three traveling cages into the mini van, and we went to go rabbit hunting today...

 It all seemed so simple on my end of the computer, as I told the gentleman that I was interested in purchasing the buck, and a doe or two. I thought I made myself pretty clear. But upon arriving, and being show some lovely animals, he broke the news: He would only sell me the buck and does if I bought the does babies as well, making quite the whopping price tag that I was not prepared for. So I ended up just buying a junior (2 month old) New Zealand doe, and a Junior (4 month old) Beveren/New Zealand cross buck. The whole way back to the van, the gentleman continued to pressure me into buying his entire herd (14 rabbits total). But I couldn't afford it. We left, and not even five minutes later, he called me on the cell phone and tried once more to convince me to buy all of his rabbits. He wouldn't give in!!

 Finally, after making it quite clear to him that I couldn't afford to buy his herd, he made a deal. $60, and the entire herd was mine. That caught my attention. He tried to get me to buy his cages (for $30 to $50 each! Ow!) but I told him I was only interested in the rabbits. His entire herd consisted of two Senior does, one senior buck, two junior bucks, one junior doe, and 9 babies that were only 3 weeks old.

And I only brought three cages with me. Fun, fun fun.

Feeling a little like Noah and his ark, we somehow managed to get every single one of those rabbits in the van, amidst our Costco groceries and car seats. I thought that poor vehicle was going to burst. But, we made it home, on all four wheels (and it's none the worse for the wear), and now all 14 of my rabbits are resting quietly in their new digs. Hurray!! I'm a rabbit owner again!! :)

So, without further ado, my rabbits:

Here's doe #1, whom I have yet to name. Purebred Californian, with 4 kits (babies).


Her babies... Aren't they the sweetest things!? Their almost as cute as goat kids! ;)




Doe #2. Exactly the same as doe #1, but she facing the other direction! [wink]. She has 5 kits.



This is my junior, New Zealand doe. I have to admit that she's already a favorite. She's very sweet tempered.


And she has big ears... Gotta' love that!


Next up is the senior buck, whom we dubbed "Basil Stag Hare". This fella' is absolutely massive!


But he's a big sweetie. A real, gentle giant. :)


This is junior buck #1. He got named Felix for his cat-like looks and behavior. I like his white nose. :)


Junior buck #2. Solid black and larger than his littermate brother. I haven't named him yet...


So there you have it! I went out to buy two rabbits today, and came home with fourteen. Sheesh. 

But I'm happy.

I've missed having rabbits around.


Thursday, September 29, 2011

Announcing... A Yarn CSA!


This would be the answer (well, one of them anyway...) to all of my thoughtfulness, and wheels-in-head-turning that has been going on. I am offering five shares to my yarn CSA!!

In the past, I have always relied on selling raw goat's milk to get me and the animals through the winter. This year however, all of my does are dry (not lactating), so I am forced to start getting creative! I think this CSA will be a fun, if not challenging, experience. I can't even remember the last time I needed to push myself to make a skein a day (and for the record, it takes 5-6 hours to make 1 skein of yarn)! But, if I can get all five shares sold, I do believe it would hold us quite comfortably through the winter. Last year, I had to make some hard cuts due to lack of funds, and ended up selling my rabbits, and some goat kids that I wanted to keep (I still regret selling them!). I am hoping to not have to repeat that winter!!

 If you are a knitter, crocheter, or just a yarn lover in general, and you have yet to try using hand spun yarn, well, I think you would like it. ;)

 But, enough talk! If you would like more information on a CSA share, or if you would like to buy one, simply click HERE.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Waiting For Seagulls

It was cold outside this morning... The chill penetrated both my fleece sweater, and my Carharrt coat, as I walked to the barn. The goats looked like dragons, with their breath spiraling in front of them. The pumpkin plants were edged with frost, looking like something from 'Cinderella', and even the birds seemed reluctant to start their morning songs. October is quickly sneaking up on us, and with it, it is bringing vivid colored leaves, cold snaps, and azure colored skies. There is only one thing left to wait for...

The seagulls. I await the arrival of the seagulls now...


Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Wheels Are Turning In My Head


 Thus my silence of the late...

When I start thinking about something, I get really, really quiet. Ideas can take days for me mull over, and during that time, I have a tendency to withdraw from everything, and go silent... It's often mistaken as grumpiness, which always takes me by surprise; I'm not grumpy at all, I'm just thinking hard about something.

 I'll try to hurry up this thought process, and get back into my blogging groove, but there are quite a few different ideas vying for attention this week. The wheels are in motion... Ideas are being born. Things can get scary around here when I start getting ideas...

Hint: the main idea I'm brainstorming right now, has something to do with the above picture.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

The 2011 OFFF

Okay, I have half a skein spun; I do believe I can sit still and relate the festival now. :)

As usual, the OFFF was awesome! A little smaller perhaps, but still quite overwhelming to the senses...


The 80 degree weather felt good yesterday, and the pungent smell of livestock mingled with that of caramel corn and coffee as we wandered the fairgrounds, enjoying all that the festival had to offer.


There was a LOT of yarn. A lot of it... I was attracted to the designer/art yarns mostly. What with their vibrant colors, amazing textures, and creativity behind their making, I find them nothing short of inspiring. :)


[Sigh], Yeah... Here's me. Grinning like a dork. What can I say, I was ecstatic to be there! The green shawl was hand-knit by a friend of mine, and she graciously let me wear it for the day. 80 degree weather and an alpaca shawl makes for a really warm person, I learned... LOL.




For some reason, there is always a Wolfhound show being held at the other side of the Canby Fairgrounds, during the OFFF. Not sure why, but we sure enjoy seeing the huge dogs every year as a bonus! ;)


They were huge dogs...


I was very tempted to buy a lot of stuff yesterday. But I think I did relatively well.


I almost bought a rabbit yesterday. She was a lovely, chocolate brown, pedigreed, French Angora doe. And she was in my price range. But in the end, I turned her down. The timing isn't right to start my rabbitry back up. Soon though. Soon I will have rabbits again. :) What I DID buy though, was some English angora fiber, some kid mohair that's been dyed in brilliant colors, some autumn colored silk noil, and an absolutely beautiful, dark brown Romney lamb fleece. For the grand price of $15 too. Whoohoo! 


Oh yeah, and my friends who accompanied me also sent me home with three alpaca fleeces of my choice. Score! I think my Etsy shop is going to be stocked once again, very soon!

The livestock barns were divided into 5 different parts. Sheep, goats, rabbits, alpacas, and llamas. It always amazes me just how big those llamas are...

I really liked the hairdo on this fella.



I was absolutely delighted to see this lady wandering around the grounds in her llama-drawn cart! The entire place was abuzz with people and noise, but the llama wasn't fazed in the least. I learned that the pair had been carting for 8 years together. I can't wait until I can say the same about me and Heidi. :)


It was a long day overall. We got to the fair at about 10AM, and left at 4PM. But it was so fun... I almost got a huge, 10 lb. bag of jet black Border Leicester wool, in trade for two skeins that I made, but alas, the gal's husband didn't want her to. He offered to sell it to me for $100 though. As if I could afford that! Oh well, I have enough fiber to keep me busy for awhile, so I'm happy. :) I dearly wanted to bring home some Scottish Blackface ewes, but they wouldn't fit in the cat carrier I had brought (in case I bought a rabbit), so I reluctantly left them behind. Next year. Next year, I'll drive my own vehicle, and then I'll bring some sheep home!

All photo credit goes to my sister, Emily. 

Soon


Cross my heart, I will give y'all the whole scoop on the OFFF soon. I sat down to do it now, but my poor brain is still too foggy to think up any words to go with the pictures. And *ahem*, my fingers want to be spinning delicious art yarn right now. Not typing. So, once my fingers have gotten their workout from playing with angora fiber, Romney fleeces, and dyed mohair, then I will sit down and tell y'all about it. ;)

But I must needs go now... I hear the angora fiber calling my name....

Saturday, September 24, 2011

15 Hours Later...

I think it's safe to say that I'm exhausted. I left for the OFFF at 6AM, and got home at 9PM. Oy. Today was a blast though, and I have around 120 pictures to share with y'all, and many stories.

 But not tonight.

 Tonight, I shall sleep. Stories are for tomorrow...

 Goodnight everyone!

Friday, September 23, 2011

Tomorrow!!

I. AM. SO. EXCITED! Tomorrow, at 6AM, I'll be on my way to the Oregon Flock and Fiber Festival with a sister, and some friends! HURRAH!!! :D

 The OFFF is more than just a yearly event to me... It's a "family" reunion. I always bump into a ton of people whom I know, but haven't seen since last year's event, students whom I've taught to spin (about 25 now!), I meet new people.... Oh man... If you're in the area, you should go to it! But if you go tomorrow, please don't be alarmed if you find me in the sheep barn having a lively conversation with some ewes, or a stately ram. I can't help myself...

 I had a firm talk with myself this afternoon, on just what I could or could not bring home. This year, I'm hunting for kid mohair fleeces, pygora fiber, angora fluff, and of course any sheep fleeces that I feel sure I have to have. LOL. I did give myself permission to bring a rabbit or two home, but ONLY if they are 1) A French, or German Angora. 2) They're top quality and papered. And 3) They're in my budget. I doubt I'll find any rabbits of that sort this year, which could be a good thing. One thing that I really, really, really want to bring home, are sheep. Buuut, they won't fit in my friend's car, methinks. Humph. I've got some handspun skeins of yarn packed in my bag, all ready for trading, as well as a few other goodies. I'm going to try to not spend more than $20 tomorrow.... Goals are good, right?

Toodle pip and cheerio! 


Stylin'

Heidi's rope halter came in the mail today! Made by a friend, who's website you can view HERE. :)

Heidi seems to like the vibrant yellow and orange colors that she now gets to sport during training sessions. Sure wish I could look that good in yellows and oranges... ;)






Another bit of today's news, is that I'm eyeing a nice, albeit used, cart for Heidi to pull!! Not sure if I'll get it, but if I do, it'll probably happen sometime next week. [big smile]

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Training Day #6

I don't know how often I'll do training updates, but I thought I would at least do today's session. :) Today, Heidi and I did a really simple obstacle course while on the line (as in lead rope). She did really well, although she got bored with it before I grabbed the camera (we did it twice around, and then filmed on the third round), so next time I'll have to amp up the difficulty level.


You can see in the video, that I'm not kidding when I say a "simple" course. I wasn't sure how Heidi would react, so I kept everything really simple, and non-threatening. The bells and whistles can come later. ;)

Getting Closer To The Goal

Yet another surprise arrived today...

Only this time, it was found in the mailbox. ;)

It's a.... Hmm, come to think of it, what exactly is that jumble of straps supposed to be? ;)


Okay, for reals this time. It's a harness for Heidi!


When put together it looks like this:

This is just a practice rig; not meant to actually pull anything. Just so Heidi and I can practice our "gee's", "haw's", and "whoas", before getting some serious leather on. :) But it's exciting to see that we're actually getting somewhere!! Next up is Heidi's special, handmade rope halter, which should come on Saturday! Hurrah!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

It's Here!!!

I am fairly hopping up and down right now! My secret is here!!

Truth be told, I got a new goat today!!! :D

But not just any goat... Oh no... I got a Guernsey Nubian cross doeling! Whoohoo!

Please meet: Kiwi


Now, to unravel the riddle I gave y'all.


I said it was something I've had for years, but have never had before.


And it's true! I've had goats for years, but this is my first time to have a goat with Guernsey blood. For those of you who aren't so goat savvy, Guernseys are a very rare breed here in the USA, and there are only about 200 in the entire Nation. And I just got a half blood!! When an animal is 7/8 Guernsey (4 generations basically), they can be registered as "British Guernseys", and are considered as close to the real deal as you can get.


Guernseys are the color of ripe wheat, and are standard sized at about 120 lbs. They're excellent milkers, and have a butterfat % of 4 to 7! Nubians have 4% butterfat; Nigerians have 6% to 10%. So Guernsey milk is sweet


Next I said that she was coming from  a distance I had been to, but could not go to now.


I first saw Kiwi on Craigslist, back in the beginning of August. The problem though, was that she was 5 hours north of me, in Washington. I've been up in that area before, and I remembered just how loooooong the drive was. There was no way we could possibly make the drive up there again just to pick a goat up. At first, I was going to pay a professional livestock hauler to bring her down to me, but that was going to cost $200! Oy! Then, by happenstance, one of the ladies who came to my goat workshop, was also from the same town up in WA. She wouldn't hear of me spending that much to bring a little goat down, so she brought Kiwi herself, today, and only charged me $60. Gotta' love friends in high places!


Riddle #3: It's been coveted by more than just myself.


Kiwi had the special honor of being a show goat for a little girl, and accompanied her all the way up to State Fair. The pair did well, bringing back blues, reserve champions, and I think even a grand champion. At the end, the little girl asked to buy Kiwi. I felt so bad... Taking some little girl's beloved goat!


Riddle #4, "Considering all things, places such as New Zealand, Africa, England, and the USA come to mind with this purchase.


Hehe... Her name 'Kiwi', makes me think of NZ. She's part Nubian, which denotes African/middle eastern origin, The Guernsey side is English, but she lives here in the USA! I know.. Either I'm really sneaky, or I'm just flat out terrible at thinking up riddles. ;)


Kiwi is an absolute sweetheart! I was not prepared for how cute she would be, either!


I mean, come on, how can you not like something that has ears like this!?




The other goats are all ignoring her for the most part. Heidi is giving me "the look", for allowing a newcomer into the herd. 


 I think Kiwi is going to do really well, here at Goat Song...