Thursday, August 28, 2014

It's Official, I'm a Nerd!

So, just the other day, I dyed some yarn!  It wasn't just any yarn, it was yarn from my very own Leicester Longwool Ram named Boo.  You remember him.  He's the ram that hurt his back earlier this summer.  I'm proud to report that he is doing well now and is back with all his friends taking his role at the top of the pecking order.  

I am working with this yarn to prepare for the Pennsylvania Make It With Wool Contest.  In that contest, you need to construct garments made from wool.  Since our fiber mill is now fully functional, I decided that I would work with Boo's fleece to raise awareness for the Leicester Longwool breed of sheep for my project.  There are very few of them in the country and they are amazing sheep.  To prepare for my project, my brother sheared Boo.  I then washed his fleece, ran it through our picker in the mill, and then carded the wool into roving.  Our pin drafter then prepared the wool for the spinning frame.  I chose to make a two-ply and a three-ply yarn.  I am using a two ply yarn to hand knit a cabled sweater and the three ply yarn to weave fabric I am using to make lined dress shorts.  I hope to also finish a matching knit slouch hat too.  

Before I put the yarn onto the loom, I hand dyed it.  I was very happy with how it turned out.  I then chose my pattern to use on the loom, but I'm going to save pictures of that until after the contest.  Wish me luck.  I can't wait to see and model the finished product in October.

Off to heat set my yarn!

Check that out!  Boo makes wonderful yarn!

Tuesday, August 26, 2014


Dear summer,
Where are you? Are you hiding? I need you to come back. You were here, then you were gone! I started school yesterday and let me just say I miss you already! When you were here, I enjoyed your visit as much as I could. The following is a list of some of the stuff I did while you were here: went to the Wolf Sanctuary, Ashley graduated college, Tyler graduated high school, went to the beach, bought Peek-A-Boo, saved Boo, attended shooting sports, participated in multiple demonstrations, competed in fashion review, worked in the fiber mill a lot, celebrated my 13th birthday, enjoyed 4-H exchange, drove Journey at 4-H fair AND Districts, participated 4-H fair, attended and volunteered at Ag Progress Days, sang in my recital, and so much more!  I don't think that anyone was ready for you to leave yet. Before I know it, I am going to be 14 and you will be here and gone again! Next time you come, stay for a little longer, please.
See you next year! Your friend,
P.S. Here are some photos of your visit.

Peek-A-Boo after getting a bath on a hot day...
A demo with friends...
Journey driving at fair!
Me and dad at shooting sports for shotgun...

Me carding in the mill!
Me and my friend Ashley Dobbin after large animal clover contest 4H fair
Singing at my recital - "The House of the Rising Sun"

One of the wolves at the Wolf Sanctuary...


Sunday, August 17, 2014

My Goal...

For the past three years, I have had one special goal.  This is one goal that a lot of people thought wasn't going to happen for a long, long time!  But, before I begin talking about this goal, I need to start from the beginning.  When I was four years old, I am now thirteen, we started volunteering at a local horse farm run by Ben and Shirley Nolt.  This farm is called CATRA, Capital Area Therapeutic Riding Association.  They work hard with therapeutic events for people with disabilities.  When we began volunteering at CATRA, they had a pregnant, Miniature horse that needed to be worked with! Without any hesitation, we took that offer.  Of course I didn't understand much of what I was just told, but I did hear the words horse and needed to be worked with, so I was very excited!  Anyway, this mini's name was Merri-legs and we walked her outside to her pasture, with other goats and minis. Merri-legs wasn't due to have her foal yet so we took her outside for the day.  We had been walking her for a few weeks now and we were very excited because her due-date was coming soon!  

One early spring day, after volunteering at CATRA, we went home to eat lunch. When we arrived home, we received a phone call from CATRA saying, "The foal was born and he needs to be warmed!"  We raced down to CATRA, again, to find a CATRA volunteer holding the foal in several towels because, this foal was found in the pond!  Keep in mind this was March 28th so it wasn't warm out!  After the foal was warm, we worked on standing him up. He still wasn't strong  enough to hold his weight.  He needed a name, somebody suggested the name Journey, and we loved that name so we called him that from that day on.  A few weeks later, Journey was happy and healthy!  Our family really loved Journey so we asked if he would ever be sold and they said that it would depend on who is buying him. So what did we do? Well, we bought him!  He was as tall as me at the time, so I couldn't do much with him.  Ashley, my sister, worked with Journey until Tyler, my brother didn't want Bumble any more.  Bumble is another mini we own because we wanted a horse but we could afford the space for a mini.  So after begging mom for one, Tyler finally was able to get Bumble. But that is a whole nother story.  So Ashley started working with Bumble, then BJ came along.  BJ was a foal out of Bumble and Journey!  I worked with BJ and I loved him, then Ashley didn't like him because he was fighting with the sheep so BJ left.  

Now, since Tyler started with cows and Ashley had Bumble, I started working with Journey.  Honestly, at first I wasn't a fan of Journey but then I realized how much Journey could do!  About a year after working with Journey, I made a goal.  My goal was to drive Journey at my 4-H fair.  I worked with Journey for three years after making that goal and in that time Journey and I built a lot of trust!  I worked on line driving him and desensitizing him so he isn't scared of a cart being behind him.  I was finally able to put a cart behind him and drive him this year!  The best part is, I drove him at my 4-H fair!  I even qualified for Districts!  Districts is a horse show that if you do well at your county fair you can show again at Districts and if you do well there you can show at States! I received a third place ribbon at Districts and the top two go on to states, so close!  So my goal was to drive Journey at 4-H fair and I did it!  I am very proud of him and with how far we came in the time that I have been working with him!   


Districts last year... We have come a long way since then...

Journey and all of his awesomeness...

Goal succeeded!

Driving at fair, it felt good!
Waiting to drive at Districts...

Friday, August 1, 2014

Boo the sheep...

Hi everyone! Hope you all are well. We have all been working hard! The Mill is almost there, we're making yarn, and able to start receiving fleeces from others.  We see the light! 

Recently, My Leceister Longwool sheep Boo had an accident when he fell though the floor of the run-in shed in his pen! Coincidentally, this happened when our vet was here to check my goats for 4-H fair.  Boo wasn't getting up! Our vet said, "give him a shot of Flunixin and hopefully he'll get up in a bit."  I gave him three cc. of Flunixin and he still couldn't get up anymore! Cindy, the vet, came back and checked him again. His back was actually twisted out of place from his fall so he couldn't move his legs.  She suggested to make a sling for him or take him swimming! Needless to say, we spent that night making a sling.  I'm really lucky that my family is able to make just about anything. 

Well, with a lot of persistence, Boo is now able to stand up and use all of his legs.  Don't get me wrong, he still has a bit of healing to do yet, but he is up, moving, and getting stronger every day!  I'm really hopeful that he will make a full recovery and be back to himself real soon.

Boo right after his accident.  I covered him because it was raining.

When we found him, we had to work very hard and carefully to move him to the barn.  Since it was raining and taking us a while, I covered him up until my brother could get the wagon to help us.

This is Boo in his sling. 
We actually put him in his sling several times a day to help him.  It must have helped because he is now standing and doing much better.  I'm still keeping him in the barn for a few more weeks until he has his strength back.  I don't want him to get hurt again.  In case you're wondering, we've fixed the flooring on the goat house so that it won't happen again.

Here's Boo now
This picture is of Boo this morning.  Don't you just love that face?  And, look, he's standing on all 4 legs!  Wait-a-go Boo.