Remember: Naked Gardening Day Is This Saturday

Please use some discretion when sending selfies this year.  I had retinal damage from them last year!  LOL!

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Back On Track

The ground is relatively dry, the parts for the nine new beds are done and moved into the garden, so it’s time to get the man in here with his semi and dump me some planter’s mix.  Thank goodness for tractors.  All that lumber is durned heavy!  This is the first day in a long time that I haven’t driven a single screw.  I forgot what it was like to not be all scratched and bloody at the end of the day.  There’s always tomorrow though!  Zina and I put on all the other hail guards this past weekend and they look great.  Just in time for spring thaw!  Looks like we will be in the upper sixties for the next 10 days.  Melt off shall commence.

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The boys are loving the warmer weather too!  Donkeys LOVE to play tug-o-war.  Pretty spry for a couple of old farts!

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Finally Weaving Again

8BAFAB57-E66F-4EBC-8C1D-EF5E8EA32D34So the winter weather “pre-spring” is the usual fare here in Colorado.  In the past week there have been 350 sighted Avalanches in the high country; closing down highways and byways.  One was clocked at 108 mph.  Several were right up the road from my old office.  I guess we don’t have to worry too much about snowpack this year.  Out at our place we have been getting a snow fall every week.  The temps plummet to below zero (last week we awoke to -18 and  I am continually amazed at the resiliency that the farm critters show to such cold weather).  The temps drop, the snow falls, and two days later we are in the high 50’s and everything becomes a mud hole.  Our puppy loves it!  There is nothing better than chasing a ball through mud puddles!  She never tires out!

Today was a lazy day.  After breakfast and chores, we just went out to the barn and hung out with the animals.  Spring is coming so everyone is, um, happy.  If we get some respite from the weather, the boy and girl goats will get together.  We could have put Cumin in with one of the bucks last week, but we had one of the snow cycles I just described.  The turkeys are finally laying eggs, and we have been getting an education in heritage breed turkey mating rituals.

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In between snow and ice storms, building the remaining parts to the additional garden beds, teaching gardening classes, my retreat from mostly everything and everyone (that will actually leave me alone), I was finally able to get the napkins I designed onto the loom.  It’s a huge project that goes along with my last set of placemats and table runners.  It’s a 14 yard long wind on (42 feet).  The pattern is a twill.  Each napkin will be approximately a 24×24 square before shrinkage.  The yarn is very thin so it had a seriously frustrating desire to snarl.  But!  After 3 popped threads, some farmer cussing, and a lot of patience, I got it all under tension and ready to go.

 

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This is the first pattern I “made up” and designed on my new fancy weaving software.  Nothing too complicated, but I think it will turn out just peachy.  It feels good to be throwing the shuttle again.

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She Gets Me

So as one does after making it around the sun again, I got another year older in September.  My birthday present and Christmas presents for the next 10 years will be my loom, but Zina surprised me with a great birthday gift.  Plastic gas cans, especially with their infernal safety valves are one of the worst inventions ever conceived.  You can’t get the top off to fill them and then when you use them to fill a tank, they spill everywhere and make you smell like gas!  I had a plastic one for diesel fuel for the tractor and replaced it with a steel one for the same reason.

So Zina got me a steel gasoline can!  YAY!  I detest plastic Chinese manufactured crap!  I never buy junk and these plastic “cans” were way grumping me out.  Now how many of you can say you got a gas can for your birthday!?  Woohoo!!

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The Weaving Game

With entertaining the mother and my sister in for a few days along with all the other farm duties, its been awhile.  We have had the worst gardening year in the 15 years we’ve been at this.  We had a horrific drought and the temperatures climbed in the 90’s and 100’s right out of the shoot.  The drip irrigations did their thing but because it was so dry the plants just respired the moisture into the air.  We had a few stand outs but we got completely skunked in many other areas.  Once we got a reprieve in the temperatures and the plants looked like we might eek out a harvest, we got hit with a major hail storm.  Done.  Oh well, I’ve got ideas in store for next year.  If you can’t keep looking forward, you should NOT be a farmer.

So the last post I put up showed the initial stages of making my first set of kitchen towels.  While I don’t have a picture of them all cut and hemmed, this is what they looked like fresh off the loom (Makes ya want to come over and do our dishes!):

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My second experiment after having my weaving class end was a set of placemats, table runner and napkins.  I learned a lot but I think they turned out pretty nice.  Slowly starting to understand what happens on the loom when threaded for different patterns.  I am having a lot of fun with it.  Bathroom hand towels are up next.

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I also had a chance to get over to the yarn store and pick up some cotton yarn for the Christmas project I’m going to attempt.  It is a type of pattern called “Overshot”.  My loom is an 8 shaft set up and so far I have only used four.  This next one will use all 8 and will be pretty involved.  Its a table runner and placemat and napkin set.  If I can find a picture I’ll post it later, otherwise I’ll put it up when its completed if I’m not too embarrassed to show it!  But these are the colors of course:

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The Towels Are Threaded

My first weaving project that isn’t class related.  I am making my first set of kitchen towels.  They are made from unmercerized organic cotton using a “Waffle” weave pattern.  Actually there will be four towels all threaded the same.  The difference in texture will be in how the treadles are tied up.  It’s all about which threads get lifted and in what order.  Weaving isn’t just the back and forth of yarn that you are likely most accustomed to seeing.  A good 80% is in the design, the warping process and then getting all those threads on the loom without turning it into a rat’s nest.  These are just about ready to go.  493 threads all in their own individual heddles.  This is such a fun hobby.  I’m eager to keep going (Of course, tomorrow I’m going to be on the tractor mowing for 5 hours, so maybe I’ll get it all wound and tensioned).  One thing for certain is that one does not rush the set up.  It leads to mistakes, which leads to cussing, which leads to…..

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