Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Warm, Cold, Black, White

Just a few pictures from the past week.

We had some cool winter days....

These are the older girls sharing some breakfast on a chilly day...

This is a picture of Quincy, settling in for a little nap after breakfast.
Quincy was part of our original herd that we brought in from Double E Alpacas in Saskatchewan back in 2002.
She was definitely the grand matriarch back then...she used to put her ears back, her tail up and gurgle (her cud) as a warning that she was going to spit any minute. This, while standing atop the frozen straw\poop pile while clucking at the other girls to get behind her.
We soon found out that she would tolerate being scratched along the jaw line and that in the summer, she loved to be cooled down with the water hose or a kiddie pool.
She'll be 15 this summer. Over the years, she has welcomed the new herd additions with varying degrees of tolerance. She no longer challenges the younger females for top position in her herd. She's given us a few good cria, the last one is a black female that looks just like her. Even though Quincy is a senior citizen, she's the first one to run with the cria in the twilight and dances on her hind legs when the fresh hay is brought out. She's earned a little rest.
She's the foundation of excellent breeding females with lots of milk, easy breeding and birthing.

Vivaldi is still my most photogenic little guy.

And we had a bit of January thaw....

Beautiful days to be outside. We heat our house with a Heatmor outdoor wood furnace. Although we can put large logs in...we do split our wood to make it easier for us to manage.
Usually we cut all the wood into lengths and then rent a log-splitter. However, this year, Gary is using an axe.
We usually have all the wood done in the fall, but this year, we are doing a little bit every week. It's a nice reason to be outside on a nice winter day. I won't show you the pile still to be cut and split. We'll just get to the end of it and it will be time to get next year's wood delivered!

January is a nice time, even though it's often cold and snowy here. My yarn events and farm work starts in the spring. The farm work carries into the late fall when my Christmas yarn and garment shop is busy.
I like January to March for catching up on personal jobs and fibre-related things that I want to try.

I am currently spinning a blend of alpaca\kid mohair\merino that I carded up last year. The kid mohair comes from Lee Resmer's angora goat kids at Elmlea Farm in Ontario.
The blend is very silky. It's easy to spin quite fine, although if I get distracted it slips apart quite easily.

This is kid mohair in washed locks form.
The kid mohair is silky, bright and soft with a long staple length.
I am in the process of blending the rest of it for sale.
Although I like the process, I find the locks a bit tedious to use as I have to tease the fibres prior to putting them into the carder. Perhaps, I need more knowledge about processing these mohair locks. I'll likely buy pre-carded mohair tops to blend instead.

Regardless of the process challenges, I am making a lovely white yarn from it. I think I will handpaint it and then knit it into a triangular scarf\shawl. Stay tuned.

I am spending a lot of time thinking of the yarns that I will make from this year's fleece harvest. I find myself checking out the fleeces on my alpacas and formulating a plan for my 2010 yarns. We shear in early June, then I sort\skirt and transport to the mill. The mill usually has a 4 to 6 month waiting period. That's before dyeing, labelling, etc. It may be that I have to buy another farm's 2009 fleece to get another run of yarn in and back prior to September.
This is Aurelia's fine fleece....yummy...will likely become 2 ply 100% fingering weight once more.

What is this?

This is the top down view of two pen mates...Aurelia who is brilliant white and Raven, who is true black. Raven is the youngest (and likely last) offspring of Quincy, pictured above).

Thanks for popping by.
Have a good week.


Wooly Knits n Bits said...

Life on an alpaca farm sounds like heaven to me! Thanks for sharing!

Azure Islands Designs said...

A wonderful post is so interesting for me to hear about what goes on, on a daily at your farm!!! Quincy is quit the old girl...sounds as though she is bordering on being a bit of a pet?

We had a wood stove in our rec room about 20 years ago and I wasn't fond of it, it was dirty, messy, and so darn hot it would put me to sleep in no time...that was how my husband wanted it so it had to I know a wood stove is nothing like what you use but could you explain how it works for people like me who aren't familiar? Does it work on the same premise as a regular furnace?
Talk to you later...
PS...I laughed out loud when I read your comment about my nose!!!

Norma from Misty Haven Alpacas said...

Thanks for dropping in Wooly Knits n Bits. Now I've found YOUR blog to read...this is addictive, isn't it?

Hi Heather,
We had a wood stove when we first built our house...I felt the same, it was dirty, we often got back drafts of smoke, all that stuff.
No - this Heatmor is a big outdoor furnace that heats water that is piped into the house (underground) and then from there it is hot water heat. Unfortunately, since our house was built when electric rads was the best heat on the market, we had to retrofit the house for this. You know how it goes...I have a huge silver pipe running from the basement through the family room up to the bedroom. It's been like that for 4 years...other priorities.
These things are efficient though and since we are out to the barn at least twice a day, it's no extra work for us to stop by the wood furnace.
I'm glad you laughed about my comment about your art class nose!
Take care.

Val said...

Lovely animals and fibres! I like the looks of the feeder in the top photo. I don't have any rooves on mine and always wish when the snow and rain come down that they were covered.
Enjoying your blog.

Norma from Misty Haven Alpacas said...

Thanks Val!