2013 Garden Journal: only thyme will tell

Inside: Although I am planning for many avenues, I have managed to nail down a plan in detail for my 'three sisters' garden. Choosing this option for space and it's historical growing value, I'm using Floriani Flint for the corn, Kentucky Pole for the green beans and Turks Cap for my squash. This will be my first year at attempting this, should we be required to spend another growing season here.

I have also begun to plan for my sweet potato bed, and where I live... it shall be a minor feet. But I truly think I can give it a good run and I am eager to see what happens. We are also thinking as 'verticle' as possible, especially if we choose to add chickens to the back yard again. Another new crop this year is our Mennonite Sorghum, but this will have to be a small planting, unless hubby and I can get really creative.

Outside: It's March and the weather interesting... one day it snows, and the next day it is sunny and sixty. Ah life in the west I suppose. Our cold frame was broken, some one jump our fence in the middle of the night and landed right in our cold frame. This person went through the glass top and all... so it looks like we will have build a new one.

Also the baby chicks are in town, although we went to look at them we decided we will not be purchasing them locally. They raised the price of the chicks to almost double from last year... insane!

Beloved cleaned the shed last Sunday and went through our useable lumber, he also made a couple of piles of things that we will need to get rid of no matter what happens. You couldn't even walk though the shed safely, because it was filled with 'possibly going to use' and a whole lot more of 'really, we are not going to use it this year' stuff. We had to make some decisions... and some times you just have to pitch it, and start over!

Next week we leave for our camping trip, so anything gardening will have wait until we return... by that time we hope to have a better direction of our days as well. Who knows what April will bring...

 Except the Lord build the house, they labour in vain that build it: except the Lord keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain.
~ Psalm 127:1 ~

~ Blessings.

The Local Wool Mill :: mama's field trip

Home 'schooling' days are never really over, they just seem to change a little... recently I had the honor of accompanying another family to our local wool mill, and what a honor it truly was!

There was so much to learn, and to see:

The wool comes into the mill in large bales, full of everything that you would think would be in the fiber straight off the sheep. Including feces and blood...

There is also paint and other more natural particles in the wool fibers too. The blood is often from a poor sheering job, or a new sheerer learning the ropes. The paint is what is used for tagging or marking the sheep for sheering and/or other identification purposes. After the fibers are checked and sorted they enter into the washing process...

See the length of the fibers in my hand, they are all one length... this is something that is also looked for because often times a sheerer will not be getting close enough to the skin and back up the sheers to take another second swipe. This second swipe is not a good thing, as it often leaves fibers of different lengths and these fibers can effect the processing quality in many ways, including the little fiber balls you get on your sweaters after washing.

After the fiber has been washed and dried, it is then carded and stretched into roving...

The roving is then spun into yarn. Sometimes the roving is spun with another type of fiber, or another natural color, or even another 'same' fiber to make up the various ply's we are use to seeing in the stores.

Then the wool is dyed, this mill uses a chemical dye that is set by heat... they had originally tried using plant based dyes, however these colors fade rather quickly and the process is very time consuming for a growing business. They do dye their wool yarn via custom colors and orders as a standard.

After the dying process is complete, the wool yarn is left to dry... then it is shipped to the local markets and to those outside orders at greater distances. One the things I thought was neat was this particular wool mill is that the yarn is identifiable to a specific rancher. Something you definitely do not get from big box yarn carriers.

A Fiber Rainbow

Fiber Show Display

We also learned how to care for our wool fibers and some other amazing facts about this heavenly blessing...

  • Wool is naturally resistant to mold and mildew.
  • It naturally wicks away moisture.
  • Doesn't need to be laundered after each use... air drying does wonders.
  • Wool is actually non-allergenic for the most part, there are some who are allergic to lanolin, however most wood be allergies stem from the chemical processing verses the actual wool.
  • Some studies indicate that wool helps to lower your heart rate and may help relieve minor pain. (I personally have not read these studies)

Did you know:
  • That the average rancher only makes about $1.00 to $3.00 a pound for their wool fibers. The amount of wool produced is very dependent on the breed of sheep, but typically each sheep produces about fifteen pounds of wool each year.

I will close my post with this very poor, indoor shot of a table top loom that is available for purchase. I thought this little guy was adorable and really it wasn't to difficult to to use.

Maybe a possibility for the future...

Trip Resource:

~ Blessings!