Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Vol. 3 A Sneak Peak

We have a new set of Equinox Farm note cards - just in time for the wool festival. Here's a sneak peak.

I really like these photos.

They say a picture is worth a thousand words. I agree, but also think sometimes a little one or two sentence story on the back can provide even more. I think you can biggify and read a few of them.

The yarn in the lazy kate picture is Punkin's.


This all started with one sheep.

If you are in the area, come see us. Click here for directions. If you let me know you are a blog reader, I have a gift for you :-).

Monday, September 28, 2009

Yet Another Sign Of Fall

Getting ready for the Wool Festival.

That explosion of wool is now neatly contained and lookin' good!

Twelve different sheep all lined up and behaving. That doesn't happen in real life. White, silver, light gray, medium gray, dark gray. Lamb fleeces, brown fleeces, fuzzy fleeces, crimpy fleeces. Something for everyone.

Here they are outside - to show the true colors. The wind was incredible though and I was chasing sheep all over the yard.

Much more like real life ;-).

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Sunday Stills - Signs Of Fall

It's a tough call as to which is more of a sign of fall, changing leaves or goldenrod.

A chance to hit three Sunday Stills challenges in one picture - (wal)nuts, silhouettes and fall ;-).

Recognize this character?

I ended up standing right next to these two. Now I might live in the country, but believe you me I can scream like a city girl. Actually, I didn't, but you can believe I did curse Ed under my breath after I jumped back and caught it (my breath, not the snakes!)

These last two pictures look more like Christmas, but are definitely signs of much needed fall preparations for winter.

And a reminder for those of us who enjoy making Christmas gifts that time is flying by.

Did you just jump back and scream like a girl? ;-)

For more Sunday Stills...

Friday, September 25, 2009

In Case There Were Any Doubts...

...that this is a farm based operation.

I believe "learn to spin" drop spindles drying on our manure spreader ought to clear it up.

And here's what my lovely wool house looks like. My friend Julie came by today and we weighed out one ounce bundles of roving - they're everywhere.

Do this too often in the real house and that's how you get a separate building - an insider secret ;-).

So what's going on? We're getting ready for the Kentucky Wool Festival in Falmouth, Kentucky, next weekend. Keep in mind that it's more of a wool festival in name, but we've managed to fill a 100' tent this year - 19 fiber vendors! We are all really excited about that.

If you are interested in finding out more about the sheep and wool tent, check out our blog. We just started it in response to several complaints about the main festival not responding to inquiries. Hopefully this will help - spread the word.

And if you are in the area, please come by and say "hay".

Another insider tip...the festival food is outstanding.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009


Hank has officially entered high school. No more sitting at the short desks!

I'd been putting off rotating everyone out to the back field. While I'm no longer as worried about coyotes coming around, the fence back there is simple electric throughout the middle with simple plank fencing on each side. This translates as no diamond mesh wire to enforce the boundaries.

Hank, while doing a great job so far, is still just a puppy. And the buddies he has to hang out with are pretty boring - eat, sleep, eat, sleep, go get a drink, eat some more, go back to sleep... Plus, the paddocks he's been in are boring - no tempting ponds or creeks, no rabbit runs to investigate, no chickens walking through, no cats.

I walked out with everyone this morning to supervise their first venture out in the "wilds". Hank promptly began checking his boundaries. The sheep ate for awhile then decided to head back to the barn. He followed right with them. So far, so good.

I had to be gone for a good part of the day, so I left Stella to watch from her hill. The sheep went out and Hank followed. The sheep came in and Hank followed. The sheep went back out... Pretty boring stuff. Exactly what I wanted to hear. Quick head count - still 10 chickens. Rats. Just kidding ;-).

"Don't worry lady. I gots it covered."

Monday, September 21, 2009

Uh oh

Some pretty spring flowers...





Um, all are blooming currently on the farm. This is probably a sign of something, maybe weather related?

Or poor care on my part somehow.

As this is a current view of (the top half of) our green house, I'm voting for lack of care.

Because that surely beats a hard winter.

"Feed me!"

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Sunday Stills - The Color Purple

A purple tour of the yard...

A bumble bee working the purple flowers on our monkey grass out front.

Doesn't she make you just want to go out and bury your face in a flower? As always, click to biggify.

Not too much outstanding purple color, but look closely - a forsythia bloom! These are some of my favorite flowers, these renegade yellow blooms that periodically show up throughout the summer. Late for the party? That's me :-).

Purple basil in the dye garden behind the new wool house.

One of "our" honey bees enjoying the concord grapes out by the pool. I've had my fair share as well.

Here's some purple you won't be seeing in our yard. I wish I could say I was this clever, but I have to give that credit to the folks at Packer Palace.

For more Sunday Stills...

Bird(s) On A Wire

Bird(s) Off A Wire.

Gotta love those power lines. Sigh. Without them though I guess I would not have been able to get these pictures...or have power.

We sure have had some beautiful sunrises this fall.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Those Dirty Boys

I've had several requests for a picture of Keebler's face. I completely understand. If he didn't still act like my little baby, begging for cookies and wanting to take naps with me, I'd never know he was the same sheep either.

This also brings up issue of the dirt on these two boys. The difference is amazing, isn't it? Why are my lambs so dirty? We have good grass, clean straw in the stalls, no dirt patches anywhere.

Is it the type of wool? Are these longwools greasier than my other sheep? I don't think so - well maybe Buddy - he's pretty greasy. But so is Henrietta and she washes sparkly white. There are no super dirty tips on either Peabody or PeePee.

Is there anything I can do to get them clean?

At least it all blends together. And I guess antique ivory is technically a color. And it could be purple (and I'd take a picture of it for Sunday Stills this week!) and I'd still think it was fabulous...because it's Keebler's ;-).

By the way, I'm going to spin this thin - fingering weight-ish - and Stella and I are going to start a lace scarf knitalong this winter. Stay tuned.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Keebs And His Big Boy Haircut

"Yikes, Keebs, what did they do to you?"

I guess Keebler's all grown up now.

He did a good job at the barber shop. The tips from the shearer at the Wisconsin Sheep and Wool Festival really helped. I tried to flip him over to do his tummy, but barely got that done. Stella and I decided it wasn't worth the physical trouble and also the worry about having them upside down. Besides, if I can't flip Keebs, how the heck am I going to flip Boudreaux, Buddy or Peabody? I know there's a technique, but we've gotten along pretty well so far...

In case you are wondering about the wavy lines, those are his curls. Aren't they neat?

They'll be even neater when they all grow back. I miss my shaggy baby :-/.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Who Does This Look Like?

I couldn't help myself ;-).

We went to the Wisconsin Sheep and Wool Festival over the weekend. What a nice festival! Lots of nice vendors, lots of good classes (that were all filled to capacity), lots of sheep. I had hoped to meet up with Nancy K., but she had to get back to her chickens.

We watched an excellent shearing demonstration and the highlight of the trip was the shearing a standing sheep workshop in the afternoon. Dave Kier did an outstanding teaching job and I learned as much in one hour as I've "figured out" over the last five years. If you ever get a chance to watch and listen to him, do it!

And if you get a chance to make a trip to Wisconsin Sheep and Wool, do that as well.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

The Truth About (our) Cats And Dogs

This cat has actually earned this nap. You will notice Claire Bear is sleeping on hay. Mostly you would only find hay in our barn. Where the barn cats are supposed to live.

This cat looks like he might be working. He's not. Eli's only thinking about fishing.

Or taking a nap with Comby. On the porch.

Me and the boys (Keebs and GL) and Hank were laying out in the pasture the other night. Graham Lamb and I can only find two constellations, but we keep trying. Hank was completely cashed out. I assumed he was sleeping so sound because he knew I was out there covering his shift. However, I heard the smallest strange noise off in the distance and WHAM, he was up and giving it 'what for'.

I'm glad that Hank is on duty around here. And thanks to (only) Claire Bear, there are no mice in our barn.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Early Fall

This is my favorite time of year. I love these cool, foggy mornings.

Ewen McTeagle and Boudreaux the Biter. Boudreaux is so dressing up as a fancy dinner table this year for Halloween. That is one big, flat, fat back. Some bordeaux on Boudreaux ;-).

Little baby Keebler. Looking all grown up and ready for his big boy haircut. Snif.

Hangin' with his best bud - who won't be getting a haircut this fall - different wool type, thickness, amount...

And what they're eating. I don't often see a variegated four (or five) leaf clover. Maybe it's some extra luck.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

The Verdict

I recently tested the product Power Scour. My fleeces weren't getting as clean as I wanted (I've never let them sit this long before washing), so some internet searching and recommendations from friends led me to the popular Unicorn products.

I called the company and ordered some free samples. They also carry leather cleaner and conditioner (which I'll be able to try as soon as I get my fleece washing caught up ;-). The representative I spoke with was very helpful and she rushed out a sample box and price sheet. In the meantime, a friend ordered a box set for me as well. What a nice gift (nicely packaged, too, I might add).

I washed a couple of fleeces. I was pretty happy with the results and will admit the wool house wash room smelled wonderful. I started doing the math to see how everything added up though and have to say there was some sticker shock. Is it worth that much extra money? Keep in mind we have 30 fleeces to wash each year. And even though you don't need nearly as much of the PS, that's still a lot of soap.

I decided to split a fleece in half and wash one half in Power Scour and the other half in my traditional Dawn. Peabody (Border Cheviot) was an ideal choice as his fleece is solid white. Well, as white as Peabody gets.

Spread out on the skirting table. How 'bout that for a lot of wool?

Heavily skirted, split down the middle and headed to the wash room.

I tried to get a picture of the two halves drying side by side, but couldn't figure the lighting out. There were two distinctly different halves though - one whiter than the other.

Which one is which?

Under natural light outside.

Surprisingly, the Dawn fleece was cleaner. I grabbed two separate chunks of each fleece to card and spin. Consistent throughout. In fact, even with the Fiber Rinse on the one half, there was no real difference in feel between the two.

I had enough left for one more test, so pulled out a nicer Jacob fleece for contrast - Billy Belly. Again, the whites were a bit whiter with Dawn. The Fiber Rinsed half might have been a hair nicer to work with, but honestly, the difference was slight.

Keep in mind though that these are only my results. I tried to be consistent between fleeces and even gave the Power Scour an extra soap bath soak (two washes and two rinses each). Also, remember I washed a Border Cheviot fleece and a Jacob fleece. I did not try any other fibers (I've got enough of my own to worry about ;-). Also, these fleeces had been sitting (dirty) for over four months.

So, the final verdict? For dirty fleeces, between 66 cents per ounce (not counting shipping) for the Power Scour (and not counting the cost of the fiber rinse either) and 9.6 cents per ounce for the Dawn I can get locally, I'm going to have to say I'm sticking with Dawn. However, it is a nice product and I love the smell. I wouldn't be too surprised to see it on my shelf for finished goods.


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