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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The Weaving Studio

My loom arrived this past week!  It is so beautiful and I can’t wait to get started on it.  We are currently working on “blocks” and “Summer and Winter” patterns in class so I haven’t had time to try it out yet.  But, I took a day off yesterday and headed to Boulder and put together some yarn and patterns so I am ready to go!  This thing is an amazing piece of wood working.  We’ve ordered our share of furniture and this is easily as well built as our Amish stuff.  it is all solid maple and I didn’t have any part of it not fit as advertised.  Time to go full on hermit!

The new toy!

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The beginning of the studio.  The dogs checking things out. Very well camouflaged.  They are the same color as the loom!

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The first yarn for the first project on the floor loom.

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The latest project for class:  block design with Summer and Winter pattern.

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The new “Pixar” light.  The loom has holes drilled for lights.  This will help with threading immensely!

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Did I Mention That I HATE PC’S?

Regardless of what I will do with work going forward, I needed to dispose of one of my work computers as it was getting outdated for company specs.  I detest computers and see them as a necessary evil, along with “smart” phones.  The one thing I will give them credit for is the ability they afforded me to not have to work day in and day out in an office.  Between having an office high in the mountains and being able to work from the farm I loved my commute.  But these work computers are completely encrypted for security purposes which made them really slow and really buggy.  So when it came time to go dark, my Dell met my Smith and Wesson.  I had some fun blowing the thing to smithereens!  IMG_0880IMG_0881IMG_1771IMG_1773

Happy 4th of July!!

The relatives have come and gone.  The house is quiet again.  We had great fun with the Olsen family and hope they return again to play with the critters.  The chickens got fed and held, the pigs got extra treats and ear rubs, and the garden, of course, got weeded again. They heard coyotes yipping for the first time, saw birds, goats, cows, heard Meadowlark song, saw some fireworks, and even encountered a small bull snake while out for a walk.  The coyotes must have been in pretty close last night because out by the corral fence lay a not so “lively” rabbit.  It looked like it had not been dead for very long either. It is always such fun to show farm life to people who really haven’t been exposed to it.  It makes answering the questions all that much more fun.  I think that if niece Jessica could have smuggled one of the teenage chicks into her suitcase we would be minus one birdie right now!

Zina shot two videos of the garden progress; one of the big storage garden and one of the greenhouse.  She did forget that it is ok to speak but the footage speaks for itself!  The cucumbers are looking a little droopy but that’s because she did the video at 3:30 in the afternoon in 95 degree heat.  We even have cucumbers ready to be picked!

Next weekend is freezer camp time for the broiler chickens.  For some strange reason we couldn’t get the niece and her folks to stick around for that…. weird.

Happy 4th of July everyone!

 

The Tractor Is Coming To Save Us On Taxes!

So the neighbor farmer across the road lived up to his billing.  Today after we sent my mom and sister back from whence they came, we got home to see the big John Deere discing up our back thirty.  What a relief.  We have enough to concern ourselves with than having to wonder what to do with the big back field in order to not have to pay residential taxes on 40 acres.  We are also going to use the proceeds of the land lease and pay it back to them so they will mow our front 10 acres in order to have some fire suppression when all of the “cheat” grass dries up.  That stuff turns to a flash fire hazard as soon as their seeds dry.

So thanks again to my mother for all of her help planting, especially when I hurt my back.  Note to self:  one need not rake and till the compost in on the big garden all in one day.  Sincerely, your smarter self…. idiot.

It was so great to have my sister here to see the farm for the first time as well.  We had to be very watchful of her to make sure she didn’t steal my dog!  They hit it off pretty good and Basil is now looking around wondering where everyone went.

So the field is plowed, the gardens are planted, the animals are all doing quite well too.  I’ll post a picture later but we hooked up our fifth wheel’s solar charger to an inverter out by the broiler’s chicken tractor and plugged in a fan to help keep them cool.  As I type it is around 90 degrees.  Gotta keep the critters comfortable!