Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Tough Decisions

It is hard to let go. Even when I know it is the right thing to do.

They are cute, but cute doesn’t cut it when times are tough. The goats are seeking employment elsewhere. A place where Daisy can find a new hunk of burnin’ love to make babies with and where Bo and Luke can, well, um, eat cookies and scratch themselves. Given the drought situation we have to make the decision to focus on fiber producing animals only.


Then there is the even tougher decision.


My sweet Willa has had yet another chicken dinner. She also refuses to stop chasing the goats, sheep and sometimes even the alpacas. She has no desire whatsoever to be a livestock guardian dog. She tries and tries, but she just can’t resist the chase. She doesn’t want to harm them, she just wants to PLAY. She wants so desperately to be someone’s pet. She is such a sweet, smart dog she really deserves it. If we didn’t already have two other porch dogs I’d keep her but my old Beagle isn’t too keen on sharing her space. She’s a grouchy old thing. So, we are looking for a good home for Willa.

If anyone out there in blog land is interested or knows of someone who might be, please let me know. I love them all dearly and would like to make sure to get them good homes.


Tuesday, August 30, 2011

The Cupboards are Bare

Yet another drought this year. That makes four out of the five we’ve lived here.


It is hard to sustain anything on a pasture that looks like this. We’ve already been feeding hay for weeks now even though I asked the boys to ease up on the snacking.


“Did you eat all the grass, Dino?”

“No, it was Frankie.”


“Sammy, did you eat all the grass?”

“No, it was Frankie.”


“What about you, Peter? Did you eat the grass?”

“No it was Frankie.”


“Well Frankie, what do you have to say for yourself?”

“What? Who me? Why no it wasn’t me, I never ate any of it. Not a single blade.”


“I’m innocent. Those guys are trying to set me up.”


“Then what is that hanging out of your mouth?”


“I uh, I uh, I was flossing?”


Sunday, August 28, 2011

Inside the Log Cabin

It is coming along. We are almost ready for the big festival next weekend. Some more cleaning and a few new curtains and we’ll be good to go. It is a spacious cabin considering it was built in 1830. The door on the far right leads to a narrow stairway. The other door next to it is a small, under the stairs type closet.


Of course, the fireplace is the kitchen. Just a few cast iron pots and utensils, a bowl, a few cups and a plate or two. How many cabinets do you have in your kitchen? This one doesn’t have any.


The other side of the room is where the looms are. One in each corner.


Notice the completed rug!  A visitor today asked how long I had been making rugs. I had to admit it was my first day and this was my first rug. I don’t’ think  he believed me but he and his wife were there while I finished it and helped give me a “woo hoo” when it was done.


Most visitors stick to touring the downstairs only. The steps being narrow and steep. Some are brave enough to climb the steps though.


The upstairs seems huge with it’s open ceiling compared to the 6 foot ceilings downstairs.


It needs a serious cleaning. I left the broom there but nobody has gotten the hint. I’m afraid I’m going to have to do it myself.


That trick probably didn’t work for the farmwife 180 years ago either.


Thursday, August 25, 2011

Llamas Need Your Help!

Folks, there will be 250 llamas sold at auction this Saturday in Nebraska. They can be seen at Llama Auction. Not all of them will be sold to loving homes. Lisa, of Llama Reserve is heading out there right now to save as many of the unregistered or aged from slaughter as possible. This is the exact same situation as my Thelma and Louise came from. If you have a few bucks to spare, would you mind? There's a Paypal link on the Llama Reserve website. Even a donation of $25 will help SAVE a llama. Of course, if you have room in your pasture, we’ll need homes for them, even temporary ones. Bless you all, I know you’ll do whatever you can.

Thelma and Louise thank you, too. (I can tell because they’re smiling.)



Monday, August 22, 2011

Well Now Ain’t that Somethin’?

I put on my big girl panties and went back to the cabin today. I’m not going to let some silly snake skin scare me away from my plans. I have to admit I did stop and buy a couple lottery tickets on the way though. There’s just got to be a way to raise enough money to seal those cracks!

Anyhoo, I set to giving the cabin a good cleaning when I got there (after a quick snake hidey-hole inspection.) It had been a very long time since it has seen a good cleaning. I know there was at least 1o pounds of dirt in the braided rug alone. Anyway, it was a good thing I cleaned because we had some special visitors today.


That would be the sixth, seventh and eighth generation descendants of the original owners of the cabin. Visiting all the way from Chautauqua, New York. I would have been awful embarrassed had I not cleaned.

They didn’t want to keep the snake skin as a souvenir. Go figure.


Sunday, August 21, 2011

If You Build It, They Will Come

This was NOT the kind of visitor I was hoping for.


I’m telling myself someone put it there yesterday while I wasn’t around.


And that it didn’t slither in through one of the 14 million holes in the cabin walls and leave its calling card. It makes me feel better to think that.


However I am immediately throwing a wish out there in the universe that some generous persons will soon feel compelled to pay to repair the chinking in the cabin at Billie Creek.


The cabin needs a fairy godmother or a sugar daddy.


Er, wait.  Are snakes attracted to sugar?


One thing is for sure. I’ll never go into the potting shed or the outhouse.



Not me.

Not now.


Saturday, August 20, 2011

Always Doing it the Hard Way

It is the story of my life.

A normal person would go out, take a weaving class, buy a new loom and start weaving.

Not me.

I drag home a pile of pine and cherry wood that someone claims is a loom. Then try to assemble it without any instructions. It was like putting together a jigsaw puzzle without knowing what the picture is.

Once I got it assembled I needed to start refurbishing it. I first had to sand off  the paint overspray.


Then replace all the worn out yarn heddles, which meant completely disassembling the loom and putting it back together three times. (It seems I’m a slow learner.)


Finally, the wood soaked up a coat of tung oil like a camel in the desert.  After a sufficient drying time I started adding the warp for my first project. I’m half way there.


All this led to a feeling of loom knowledge superiority even though I haven’t finished a single project. Given that I was now an expert I decided to dive into warping the looms at Billie Creek Village.


This is a picture of Karen my trusty spotter, telling Charlie I don’t have a clue what I am doing. She was “spotting” me to make sure I didn’t tie myself up in the loom as I could have ended up stranded there for days before anyone noticed.


She was right. I had no idea what I was doing. It is completely different than the loom at home. I managed to get the sectional warp beam loaded but couldn’t figure out what the next step was. We quit and decided to go home and consult the internet. Baby steps. The goal is to set up a rug weaving studio in the log cabin to sell rugs in the General Store.

Clearly, it’s not going to happen over night.


Before we left we toured the wood carving studio and the pottery shop for inspiration.


Attendance at the Village is way down, just like everywhere else these days. But we are continuing to plug forward with the motto, “If we build it, they will come.”

You’ll come, right?


Just say yes to humor me.


Thursday, August 11, 2011

Creative Farming Practices

Farmers have always been problem solvers. From the very beginning back when they cleared the land of trees and pulled rocks out of the fields to modern day situations such as how to prevent a goat getting their horns stuck in a fence.


I conducted a facility check of a farm today for Southeast Llama Rescue. The potential adoptive parents had an interesting solution for the notorious goat/fence problem. That is a piece of PVC pipe and some pink duct tape (it’s a girl).  I thought if only they used one of those giant dog bones instead of the PVC she’d look just like Pebbles on the Flintstones.


Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Feeding Teenagers

No matter what species, can be a bit of a challenge to keep up with.


If it doesn’t rain soon we’re going to have to start feeding hay.


“Hay? Did I hear you say hay?” asked Louise.


“Wait for me!”


“Here I come!”


“Where’s the hay?”

“I didn’t mean now, Louise,” I said.

“Well phooey.”


Anyway, back to what I was saying. If it doesn’t rain soon there won’t be enough growing in the pastures to feed these hungry alpaca boys.


“Did you hear that, guys?” asked Frankie. “You need to ease up on the snackage.”


“But not me right? There will still be plenty for me?”



Friday, August 5, 2011

The Village Looms

They are Union rug looms. The first one has some serious rust issues going on. I think I’ll set this one up for display only unless I can find somewhere to buy a new reed.
The other one is in much more usable condition. But it is shoved into a corner. It weighs a ton so my weenie muscles can’t move it. I’ll have to convince a few strong men to move it for me.
Because of that I didn’t get any warping done today but I did fix the spinning wheel while I was there. Amazing how much better they work with a drive band.
I didn’t accomplish much but I at least know what we need to get started. There are no tools at all other than the looms so I’ll need to track down a warping board and shuttle. If anyone local knows where we can get some cheap (or better yet free) let me know.
Speaking of free…
I’ve never been one to pass up a free elephant. This one is, um, a bit of a fixer upper. I’m not even sure all the parts are there. No manual. No pictures of what it should look like on the interwebs.
It might just be a fancy looking pile of kindling.
But with any luck, I’ll be making rugs like those in the Governor’s house someday before I die.
If not, the Governor had a lovely quilt I could copy instead…
Edited to add:
We’re getting there.

But does anyone know where this thing goes?

Edited to add again: 
Nevermind, I figured it out. It’s the break! Woo hoo! I got this sucker together!