Wednesday, July 31, 2013

it's gettin' ugly out there

This is today's sunrise ........... I am getting the smoke from the Aspen Fire, a forest fire about 50 miles northeast of here, in the Sierras between Yosemite and Kings Canyon National Parks.  Current stats are it is at 14,000 acres and growing.  The tab for fighting this fire is running at a Million Dollars a Day.  The good thing is it is not in a area with much population, mostly very steep heavy wooded terrain.  But we have a lot of firefighters on the ground and in the air in harms way.  This fire was one of several started by lightning and has been burning for 9 or 10 days now.

I can't even see the mountains beyond these.

And what is worse, we won't get any significant rain until maybe October if we are lucky.

If you have rain and are tired of it, move to California and suffer with us.

This summer there have also been several large wildfires in both Riverside and San Diego County as well as other smaller wildfires around the state.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Crossing the Tour de Fleece finish line

Well the last 3 weeks have been interesting.  Participating in the Tour de Fleece in 100+ degree weather, I did manage to commit to spinning every day required (there were 2 rest days at the beginning).  This was a good experience, and gave me the needed time and commitment to spend time on my wheel every day and practice, practice, practice.  I finished spinning and plying one whole yearling fleece and most of the fleece from my 2 year old ram.  Also did my first attempt at plying on some black fleece I had spun.

First batch of washed yarn 

and the rest now drying 

Now to find a project to knit or crochet with 255 yards of yarn.

Friday, July 19, 2013


I was trying to remember what green grass looks like here, after seeing everyone with lush green grass and still getting rain.  I went back thru  a few pictures.

This year's rainfall total, yes total for the year, was less than 7 inches, I just saw a post where someone got that more than that so far this month, and more than that in June.

Didn't even have enough rain to sprout the grass until January this year, and then it snowed in February and it froze.  Didn't have any snow here but that is close, real close.

I use a lot of this stuff.
Dollar does not ride up there, she rides shotgun up front, she was up there thinking she might find a mouse.  I import them from the feed store in the hay and for some reason I don't have to pay extra for them.

In 2010 I think we got 18 inches of rain for the year, in December the creek filled up and overflowed into the pasture.  Good for the grass not so good for the ground squirrels, the dogs and I found at least 15 that had drowned.

and more water in the east pasture.

One thing about living here, if it is raining and you need to do chores, wait and hour or so 
and it will stop raining.  

Hoping I don't have to wait until January to see green grass again.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Tour de Fleece update

2 skeins on the left are from Alan's fleece that I am now spinning, the 5 on the right are Blain's fleece I just finished ... but in my haste to empty bobbins to start spinning Alan's fleece I forgot to ply the 2 tubes I have left of Blain's fleece, oops I will ply those today.  I have an additional 3 bobbins full of Alan's fleece also.  The black skein on the bottom of the rack is from Ollie, that I washed again.  There are some serious lumps and bumps in Blain's fleece but hey, that should make it more interesting when I felt whatever I decide it will become.  Love the variety of colors of the Shetland fleeces.

Yesterday was our 19th straight day of temps over 100, record is 21 days set in 2005, I was here that year and survived so guess I should make it thru this heat way.  Weatherman said today was going to cool down, ha ha, is 99 really a break in the heat wave?  I have news for him my thermometer already is at 101 and it is not even the hottest part of the day yet.

Monday, July 15, 2013


Tour de Fleece Update

Finished spinning and plying Blain's fleece, that bag is now empty.

8 bobbins of wool from my wheel, 
8 bobbins of wool,
Take 2 down ply them around,
6 bobbins of wool from my wheel,
6 bobbins of wool,
Take 2 down ply them around,
4 bobbins of wool .......

Now I have that running thru your head???

Actually I had 8 and a half but decided to drop the half out of my lyrics.
So now I have 4 and a half skeins of yarn to wash.

Louet replacement part
Louet wheel is repaired.

Plied yarn from the Ashford bobbins onto the Louet's much larger bobbins.
The nice thing about a dedicated wheel to ply on, I don't have to keep taking the bobbin off and having to readjust the brake.  Once I get  a set up that works for me I don't have to change anything.

My Ashford is a double treadle, the Louet is a single, felt like for part of this tour I was working with a scooter, riding with one foot, pushing with the other.

Definitely prefer the double treadle, more relaxing and easier to get into a rhythm with the double treadle.

Next on my agenda is spinning Alan's fleece, 3  bobbins full so far, and hopefully I will be up to trying to spin an Angora fleece for Thursday's challenge.

It's still hot, hot and hot, now in the 18th consecutive day of temps over 100, many over 105 and several highs of 113.  That's not counting all the other days we have had so far this summer over 100.
Wonderful time of year to be playing with wool.


Another job I would not want to do in the summer time, 
Wednesday the county was out oiling and graveling the roads.  
The building in the middle of the background is the old neighborhood schoolhouse from years ago.
Did I mention my pastures are dry.

This is one of the Fruitless Mulberry trees I planted in the sheep pasture to provide some shade, could not figure out what kind of bugs were eating the leaves and breaking the branches.
Big, big, bugs .... AKA Squirrels.

I have now sprayed the tree with some lemon and dish soap and water, hopefully it will not taste as good.

Back to the spinning wheel ........... more bobbins of wool on my wheel, more bobbins of wool.

Monday, July 8, 2013

I have an Idea !!!!!!

If you ever watched Wife Swap or now Celebrity Wife Swap I think we should start a new TV show called Shepherd Swap.

On Shepherd Swap we could trade places for a 2 week period, that way anyone tired of the Rain, Rain, Rain could go tend sheep where it is Hot, Hot, Hot.

It would solve the problem of never being able to go anywhere due to the fact these darn critters need attention, such a  2x a day feeding, watering sometimes 3x a day.  Removing head stuck in fences, and other situations critters can get into.  If your a Shepherd, hey, your used to that.  Also you would have to be able to deal with the occasional rattlesnake lurking behind the house.

Maybe not such a good idea after all .... I would have to clean house and put away laundry.

By the way .... this pasture that was brown in April no longer exists, just did not feel it was worthwhile to take a picture of nothing but dry cracked dirt.

If it is raining where you are ... enjoy your lush green pastures and cooler weather, 
even 90 feels cool after 110 -113.  I would love a 20 degree or so drop in temperature..

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Major Crash on my Tour de Fleece

It's really not pretty ......  So far in the heat I had been making some progress, with 5 bobbins filled, whoops no more empty bobbins to spin on today.  So tonight I decided at 9:30 to go out on the porch and spin in front of the fan.  Temps here are still hot at night, like 79 / 80 degrees is the coolest.  About halfway thru plying two bobbins, CRASH, THUD, Screeching Halt.  The treadle attachment broke.  Now I have to see if I can find a fast repair for Louet S10.  I sent an email to local yarn shop that sells Ashfords, her husband assembles and repairs wheels, maybe he can come up with some sort of fix to get me back on track.

Now I know I should be saving those empty paper towel tubes.

Dinner ... when it's hot who wants to cook.  I try to keep a bag of cooked shrimp and hard boiled eggs around just for this reason.

Wish I could send all this sunshine and hot air to everyone out there that is still getting rain.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

4th of July already?

Wishing everyone a safe and sane Holiday

As a beginning spinner I bought a used Ashford Traveler spinning wheel, it came with 4 bobbins, every time I filled a bobbin I bought a couple more.  This had to change, so to participate in the Tour de Fleece I had to have some empty bobbins.  Time to learn to ply, this is some of my first spinning attempts and my second try at plying.  You could dock a boat with this rope.  But, I am going to use it to Tunisian Crochet a pillow cover and felt it.

And here it is on the Louet, bought it used and it only has 3 bobbins, so I cannot keep filling them up.

I have 4 full bobbins for my TdF stash so far.

I am wondering how high my digital thermometer will go, so far it has 
topped out at 113 degrees 4 times so far.

Monday, July 1, 2013

TdF, 113 degrees, and the reason I have sheep ..........

First off thoughts and prayers to the families of the 19 smoke jumpers that lost their lives in the Arizona fires.

This is the first year that this creek never had any water flowing thru it.  Did see one small puddle once after it rained.  The sheep do a great job of minimizing the fire danger.  Anywhere there are still clumps of grass I spread out small amounts of hay.  What they don't eat they will wear it down just walking in the area.

Anyone need any large boulders, there used to be a lot more but I gave some of the smaller ones to a neighbor for landscaping around his pool.   In exchange I got a 120 bass accordion, which is sitting in the closet in it's case, LOL, I played a 12 bass in grammer school eons ago, 120 is a lot of buttons.

I rigged up some misters using hand sprinklers, then Saturday I found some really neat brass fittings that connect to the end of my hoses with 3 nozzles on each fitting.  I forgot to take a picture of them.   They come in 2 and 4 gallons a minute, I used the 2 gallon fittings so far.  We will see how my well holds up, I think today since I am going to be putting more out I will run them for few hours this morning, then turn them off for a while and turn back on later about 3 during the hottest part of the afternoon.

I bought some fruitless mulberry trees to plant around the pens, Dollar thinks this is a good place to stop and rest and wait for me.    With this heat, I think I will put up the fencing and at least get the trees out there in the pots til I get some more holes dug.  

I signed up for the 2103 Tour de Fleece on Team My Favorite Sheep, hopefully I will get thru this back of wool from Blain's fleece, and maybe finish a few others.  For my challenge I think I will try spinning some of my angora fiber.

Here is my very, very, first skein of yarn, lumpy, bumpy, kept falling off the niddy noddy yarn, I think I will do a pillow after I do Tunisian crochet and felt it.  I have this black and a white yarn with grey, maybe stripes would look good.
11:30 am and it is already 103 degrees, it is only cooling down into the mid 80's at night.  Think I will go blog hopping and see how many are whining about all they have is rain and green grass.
Stay cool and say a prayer for the firefighters out there where ever they are.