I am starting to feel like every week I say, "well that week didn't go as planned." After taking a couple of months off from fostering Speckles the cat and her 5 amazing kittens, I decided over the last week that I was probably ready to take on a new batch of fosters. Fostering takes up a lot of time. They have their own room in our house and in addition to feeding and cleaning, I want to ensure the animals in our care are getting enough human socialization.
So I sent an email in to our local Humane Society over the weekend saying I was ready if they needed my help. I got a call Monday evening and picked up this latest batch of kittens on Tuesday - 2 Siamese mix boys and 1 black girl. We don't know this crews story but they were definitely outside for a bit. They were flea infested and are underweight, the girl being the most severe at about half the weight she should be for the three weeks we believe them to be. But man do they have spunk! And the more food they get in their belly's the more spunk they have. They are playing, testing the limits and being absolutely adorable while they do it.
But don't you have enough animals to take care of Kim? A logical question I have asked myself a lot. And especially before taking on more fosters again. I have worked with animals since about 2002, the year I got my first dog as an adult. I fell hard and ended up getting a job as a veterinary assistant, leaving the office jobs of the past to embark on a totally new path. That lead to my first petsitting/dogwalking business, Waggin' Wagon, which lead to the dog hotel business. After selling that It was only natural that I would end up with animals once we moved down south to the farm. I mean there is so much room for them right? We have the domestic animals, the farm animals and now the fosters in and out as I have the energy for them. It's a lot, and it is a TON of work. But here is what I love. I love making animals happy. I derive joy from getting to know them, getting to figure out their needs and likes and doing all I can to ensure they live their best lives. The goal is the same with the fosters except in short stints. And of course then passing them on to their forever homes! I have been looking for a good volunteering fit for me. Fostering is a way to use my years of animal experience to give back just a little bit.
Reality, there are still plenty of days where I just don't want to do it. I get tired thinking about how I have to put the chickens to bed, or wake up early to feed kittens, or brush out a horse, or scoop what is seemingly endless poop. But they are fleeting moments and the second I see the animals and start the routine, I feel better as they always put a smile on my face and the routine itself is something I enjoy. All of our animals and fosters bring me joy so in reality I get from them as much as I give.
Oh yeah, and I had a tooth pulled this week! Phew. It's been a problem for a couple months and most likely the tooth was damaged from way back when I had braces. So the tooth is out and we start the process to an implant. I didn't post this pic on social media but all you blog readers get a treat (?) at my new toothless smile on surgery night!!! And if you ever find yourself in need of an awesome Oral Surgeon, let me know!
As always thank you for reading, stay safe, stay healthy, care for all your neighbors, please wear a mask, and craft on!!!
Don't worry, I didn't disappear for too long! I apologize for not getting a post in last week. If you follow us on social media, you'll have seen that my car got shot up. Literally! No one was injured and we were not actually present when the damaged occurred. A random act and the end result is that person in jail and my car being totaled by the insurance company. It was a crazy week and as always unexpected. I couldn't quite get my thoughts in order. But I'm back this week and ready!
In the craziness of the week one thing did stay normal and that was my knitting and spinning. In fact I turned to them more than ever during the week as a way to settle my mind and body. While making I've was thinking a lot about sustainability in our lives and even in our crafts. Losing our car seemed to play right into the theme. How do we simplify our lives a bit (and maybe our finances too) and start to make better choices about the items we purchase.
Lately I've become overwhelmed by all the things. The endless amount of items and belongings we have of which so many we do not need. But since I work with and write a lot about fiber, I'll narrow in a bit and talk about my clothes. I used to go into Target, American Eagle or the like and grab items. Inexpensive cute tee's, shorts, pants, etc. Most of the time I would get them home, wash them once and they would become misshapen. Super frustrating. So about a year ago I said that's it. No more cheap "fast fashion" clothes that are being made in China, India or elsewhere and where we know the workers are getting severely underpaid. Since then I have been striving to be more aware of where I purchase my clothes. Knowing about the company, who owns it and what their manufacturing values are. Of course this comes with a price tag, which means I haven't bought a lot of clothes this year. Ha! But that's ok. I already had a fair amount of clothes and the reality is, how many clothes do I really need? The few items I did purchase, I love!
So of course this attempt at changing my patterns in clothes trickled into my knitting. I have already made a pretty big shift out of superwash and commercial yarns. I also don't just buy yarn to enhance my stash. I think this circles back into sustainability and how much do we really need? I strive to know my yarns - whether I have spun them myself or they come from a farm or yarn shop that supports local farms. But the real shift has come in what I am making. I wanted to make a concerted effort not to just knit shawls and hats but to contribute to my wardrobe in a bigger way. Sweaters! Now don't get me wrong, I still knit hats and shawls, and I use and love them. But at the same time I am trying to always be working on spinning or knitting for a sweater. I pick out sweater patterns that will be timeless and that I can imagine wearing on a regular basis. Then I pick out fiber that I will love to spin, because as you know or can figure out, there is a lot of spinning that goes into a sweater. And then I enjoy the process. No rushing. No pressure. Making not only for the sake of making (which is a good enough reason!) but making in a sustainable way. The very definition of "Slow Fashion."
"Slow fashion, is a concept describing the opposite to fast fashion and part of the 'slow movement', which advocates for manufacturing in respect to people, environment and animals. As such, contrary to industrial fashion practices, slow fashion involves local artisans and the use of eco-friendly materials, with the goal of preserving crafts and the environment and, ultimately, provide value to both consumers and producers." - Wikipedia
I first wrote about this topic back in March of 2019 as I had just embarked on my first handspun knitted sweater project. I finished that sweater, a second sweater and just last week my third sweater is off the needles. To add to the fun, these are all fiber from my own animals.
So I am curious to hear about how you all are feeling about the Slow Fashion and sustainability movements. Has it impacted how you shop and craft? If so, who are some of your favorite companies to buy from in light of you making shifts?
As always, thank you for sharing and commenting!!! Stay healthy.
If you have been following me on Instagram or Facebook for awhile you may already know that we moved in March of 2018. It seems like no time at all and so long ago all at the same time. We hadn't planned on moving but life is what it is and so we did! It was overwhelming to say the least. We not only had to move us but all our house pets and farm animals. I couldn't even fathom how we would do it even as it was happening. All of this and it hadn't even been a year since I had opened the Mill.
Homes around here with property go pretty quickly and at a higher price than what we were prepared for. So with the help of Mitch's parents, when we found this "project home" we jumped at both the potential and the price that was doable for us and still close enough to the farm and Mill. Had we known then... story as old as time. But we love our place and while it still has a long way to go, we wouldn't have it any other way. We are so lucky in so many ways and grateful every day we get to live here.
I used to share a bit more of the pictures and its been a long time so I thought I'd start to keep you all a bit more updated on the progress. In addition the more I post and talk about it, the more it keeps me moving to get back to work on the inside! We both love restoring vs. renovating so as much as possible in both the house and mill we try to keep the original character of the buildings.
Our house has a long history here in the area and started out among prominent farming families like so many of the older houses do. She was a gem in her day with a huge addition added on in the 1980s that made her a shining star. Then she was foreclosed on and the property was left to disintegrate... for 7 years. It had been so badly neglected that we moved into a trailer on the property before moving into the house. A lot of people had moved thru the home in the meantime and she weathered a lot of damage and theft. If these walls would talk, they would say "paint me so I can forget about those 7 years!"
Turns out we had no water (the well was no good), no septic, and a lack of windows among the damage. What we did have was good bones on the house, a whole lot of boarded up windows, a lot of missing floors and mounds of mouse poop. Oh the mouse poop. Mitch and I have gone thru a lot of highs and lows in our 9 years, and this house was definitely not an easy road to travel. We pushed ourselves to the limits that first spring to make the house live-able before harvest started. The first time we could shower inside was monumental and also the time we moved in from the trailer. Water is everything! Then came the day we could flush the toilets (this day came after we moved in!) and we knew we were going to make it.
I was going to run thru the whole property but as it turns out, it is still a bit overwhelming. Ha! So let's just start with the outside this time.
Reality is as I sit picking out pictures to show you all, Mitch and I keep seeing all the work left to go. And all the things that people could pick apart or wonder why we haven't gotten further. As you can imagine (or if you are thinking of buying a project home, I urge you to imagine) this has cost us way more than we ever thought. So we have to take breaks to keep our finances in check. We spent more money than we had the first year to make it comfortable and now we are very careful about where the money goes when we have it. I have to admit looking thru all of this had made this particular post harder to write than I though. But I'm to tucking away my anxiety for now and trying to just enjoy where we have come. This is home and we are so happy everyday that she is ours. She will be a gem again!
Mitch is busy with harvest, so projects are pretty much on hold for him until Fall. My next project is to paint the living room. I've picked out the paint color and will prep and prime this weekend. Here are the befores...
Thank you for reading along and joining us on all our journeys thru farm life, mill life and now home restoration life. I'll be sure to keep you updated on this room and maybe you can help pick out the next project room for me?
Stay healthy and thank you for reading, supporting, and commenting!
I am Kim Biegler, the owner and operator of Ewethful Fiber Farm & Mill. I create hand spinning fibers from locally sourced wool and teach others online how to hand spin their own yarn.