I meant to post on Sunday, but then realized, wait, I'm not supposed to be working Sundays! Ha! I always manage to sneak a little work in. I was recently watching American Pickers, probably while knitting, and one of the old farmer collectors was asked when he was going to retire. His response was that when you love what you do, why would you retire?! Aaaah, yes!!! Agreed. Sometimes it is really hard to keep myself away from the mill, but then I remember... on a Sunday afternoon, when I tuck into the house with Mitch and we both settle in to do our hobbies, a day off is good!
But back to the topic at hand, farm chores! They are an everyday occurence and how I start every morning. The below explains why I can never seem to get anywhere before 10am.
So this is what an average morning looks like,...
We have some of our animals down the road at a local farmer's barn so my days usually start down there, after having fed the dogs that is! I run down the road to let the newest hens out for the day, collect eggs and deliver a couple scratches and maybe some treats to the ram lambs. Always doing a head count to ensure everyone is up and moving around as they should be. These hens are determined layers. We have 7 and the lowest egg count we've had since we brought them home is 4. Generally we are up to 5-6 a day. Wow!!!
Next up I head back home, grab Elsiemae and Norman and we head out back to check in on the animals around the house. First up are the chickens here. These are a mix of older hens and younger, but all have decided that they are molting and taking the winter off from laying. I fill their feeder, check waters and throw out whatever treats I may have for them, sometimes food scraps from the house, sometimes dehydrated worms. Yum. I always take a peak in their boxes to see if anyone worked yet, usually not these months.
Heading to the barn is up next. Elsiemae and Norman's favorite part! They tear into the barn to see what sort of animals have moved around in there overnight. It's a big job, but someone has to do it. Between the barn cats and the myriad of animals (a skunk for sure) that wander thru the barn in the night, they stay busy for a few minutes while I get the alpaca pellets ready. The alpaca get their pellets each morning, and they wait anxiously. They actually start waiting about an hour earlier when I let the dogs out to potty in the morning. The alpaca see this as the trigger for breakfast so head to the top pasture and wait. And of course the sheep in the next pasture head up too because well, you never know!
The sheep are next to be fed. During the winter months there isn't really much feeding to be done as they have plenty of pasture to keep them fed. But who doesn't like a treat? So a couple times a week I take them some hay or alfalfa pellets which they literally come run far and wide for. A sight to see!
And that is my morning routine. Sundays are generally a bit more work as it is the day of the week I tend to do more extensive cleaning. Chicken coops get cleaned every two weeks or so depending on the weather, the alpaca pasture gets scooped at least once per week, and then filling mineral bowls and giving extra scratches to those who will take them. Laborious work, but gratifying once its done. And realistically, all these farm chores are still less work than our dogs!!!
So if you show up to the shop one day at 10:03am and I'm just pulling up, don't be too surprised!
During the harvest season (grass seed harvesting) around here, August is the longest month. It's dry, its hot, dirt is everywhere and the long long days have been going for too long and it feels like it will never end. I can't tell you all how many times Mitch and I said to each other, "seriously, is it still August?!"
Well we made it thru August and now we keep saying to each other in disbelief, oh my gosh, how is it October, November... Time is flying by now! The reason I bring this all up is because, what the heck? I haven't blogged in several weeks. I apologize and promise I am back and much calmer and more centered. The only festival left this year is a fun craft fair at Peoria Road Farm Market this Saturday. So I feel like I can relax a little bit!
All of that said, where do I start? Vogue Knitting Seattle has come and gone. As has the 3 days we had to hole away and rest afterward. We had an eye opening experience really getting a chance to see the inside world of knitting and fashion. It was so fun to be a part of and we are so glad we went. We met some really great people who loved what Ewethful is about! We also made some good connections and most importantly, sold yarn and fiber to the world. In addition the experience helped me to realize the path I would like to go not only with the business, but with the yarn and fiber we create. I think I always had a good idea of where I wanted to go, but the week away helped me gain some clarity. The reality is I think smaller fiber festivals are more our market, at this point anyway. I feel more at home amongst the smaller festivals and I think a smaller sense of community fits what we are doing at Ewethful. So now I am faced with starting to calendar out next years events. Anyone have any suggestions of events that you love and I should look into vending at???!
While we were gone I should make mention of the yarn shop we visited while away. Now I know, I was at a yarn event for 3 days, but I'll admit I held off on buying yarn so that I could be focused for this shop trip. We went to Tolt Yarn and Wool in Carnation, WA. If you are ever out that way it is definitely worth the stop in. There is an amazingly large selection of yarn, lots of it naturals and earthy colors. And a lot lot lot of it made in the United States or just really cool yarns that you don't see in a lot of shops. My haul was very focused. I have shifted for obvious reasons to locally grown, specific project yarn, and/or something different. I found all 3 at Tolt. I ended up with Snoqualamie Farms natural dyed yarn, Jamieson Shetland which will become a Ba'able hat, and some really amazing lopi yarn that is so different that it has me excited. What a great haul!
I'm happily back at the mill now. Picking up the pieces of being gone, and also of being so focused on making yarn for the past 2 months. I am doing some custom processing for clients which consists of a lot of Shetland right now! Works for me! I will also be gearing up to start the next batch of yarn and get some of it out to our various dyers. In general, I'm breathing, planning and making.
I've of course attached a couple of my favorite pictures from the past couple weeks, because what is a blog post without pictures?
Enjoy and I'll be back soon. Happy making until then! And if you need any Ewethful yarn, please go to our online shop!
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.