Saturday, December 27, 2014

Winter Gear

I'm four fifths of the way through my five days off work for the holidays and starting to panic about not having time to finish all the things I wanted (needed) to get done. 
Some people have the impression that things slow down on the farm in the winter. The work doesn't, we just change gears. Each season has its own jobs, demands, workflow and pace. 
In the winter, I dye fleeces and yarns, because in spring we are too busy with lambing, kidding and planting and in the summer, it's too doggone hot to heat up the house with simmering dye kettles. Yesterday, I dyed turquioise all day, maybe trying to fill the need for a sunny sky that has been long absent. So, with that in mind, I started with yellow today. I'll run the yellow, orange, red, brown spectrum today. 
The new porches, under the new metal roof on the house, are nice dry places for drying fleece. But everytime I go out, it's a reminder that we need to put up porch rails, and I want to screen in one of them before summer. Front, back, we're still debating. At least painting can wait until its warmer.
We mostly have the critters in dry shelters now, though the bred angora does are not sharing well. We'll add another hoop house to their pen today, giving added shelter and a extra space for when kidding starts in March.
Hay is under cover and supply seems to be holding out well. I need to catch up on registrations for the Jacob sheep and dairy goats. That's a winter chore that I haven't tackled yet this year. 
I like to get ahead on my rug weaving in the winter, too. Weaving rugs is much more fun in the winter, when wool is warm and comforting, rather than in the summer when its hot. Two nice new mohair rugs done this week and I'll tackle finishing the beast of an all-farm rug today.
I've been spinning through Mo's alpaca fleece most of the year, off-and-on. I want to get it done. The bag is almost empty now, and I did get the warp on the loom this week for the blanket I'm weaving from the the fleece. Almost through the first 20" of natural, then I'll weave 6" of turquiose and recreate that band on the other end. 
Winter is the time of year when we are most optimistic about our gardens. The plans, research and dreams take up our evening conversations, but much of the stuctural work is done in the winter, too. Yesterday my folks came over and my dad helped put up the framework for our hoop house cold frame. We'll plastic it on the next sunny day... which I hope is soon. We are going to start greens, maybe cabbages right now. The baby plants under lights in February. In the summer, we'll strip off the plastic and use the hoop to grow green beans.
Lena and I tight fenced a little area in front to do a flower garden. I'm thinking herbs and dye plants, along with strawberries, but we are also looking at flowers just for pretty. We both want climbing roses for the front porch and are researching fragrant, disease resistant, drought and shade tolerant hardy climbing roses. She likes the peach and yellow, I like dusty purple.
But right now, I need to take mohair out of the dyebath and go fix the angora does shelter before the next round of rain.
Maybe I'll even find time this season to do some more blog updates. If you want to follow what's happening here on Havencroft farm, like the Common Threads Facebook page. I update that off my phone on the run. Happy winter!