Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Our First Spring Baby

It's a boy! 
Humo del Fuego, II
We had an excellent day at the farm on Saturday! We had one female that was due any day and when I came back in from the morning barn chores, I told my husband that Joy was probably going to go that day or the next. It was pouring rain and our grandchildren were coming for a visit so I was busily cleaning the house. We have a great view of the upper barn from my husband's studio and I was getting ready to vacuum and just happened to glance up the hill and I noticed all the other girls seemed really interest in something that was on the ground just inside the barn. I looked and blinked and looked again and then I saw it. A little black form standing up with a shocking white patch on its head.

Joy had just given birth and this little one stood up almost immediately! We have never had one get up that fast and that strong and I called out to my husband that we had a new baby. We quickly headed up to the barn because he had walked just outside and fallen into the mess where the others go to the bathroom and we set about getting him checked over wiped off, temperature taken and into a cria coat fro warmth. He was a feisty and fought the coat but once on he quickly set about exploring. It was an amazing day!

We named him Humo del Fuego, II in honor of his father, our deceased gentle giant herdsire.  He came out strong, jet black, 17.8 lbs. and up and walking around within minutes.

This is little Humo at about an hour old. From the first, he was very curious about his surroundings.

Sticking close by his Momma.

Already curious about the water bucket.

He looks like he is thinking "What's out there and can we go?"

Finally stopping to take a rest and all this activity was before nursing for the first time.

We left Mom and cria alone for a several hours and after the grandchildren arrived went back up to the barn to check in. It had been raining quite heavily that day, so immediately after Joy delivered the afterbirth, we put her and the cria into a stall in the barn to allow them time to settle in and bond. Joy is one of our VAOBA Blue Ribbon winners, but she is particularly stand-offish, so she doesn't like to be confined or touched. Every time he went to nurse, she would kick at him and we were very close to delivering his first does of colostrum via tube when we decided maybe we should just let them out. As soon as they went out into the rain, Joy did her business, little Humo went for a little run in the rain and mud and then he nursed and nursed! It was a very joyous event and the best part about it was that our grandchildren who are 6 and 4 were there to witness the whole thing and they fully understood just how special it was.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Originally submitted at Alpaca Direct

100% Superfine Baby Alpaca 5.5 sts = 1" US 6 Needle size Approx. 125 yds/50 g Hand Wash / Lay Flat to Dry

Very nice and great service!

By TheBea'sKnees from Charlottesville, VA on 10/16/2013


5out of 5

Pros: Dyed Evenly, Soft, Good Weight, Knits Quickly, Nice Texture

Best Uses: Scarves, Gloves, Hats

Describe Yourself: Artist

Was this a gift?: No

I bought two skeins and used two strands to make a custom order men's hat that went to Canada. It was the perfect weight and was very nice to work with.

Baby Alpaca Hat Blocking



Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Spinning for a Challenge

Have you ever been Magic Linked? Do you even know what a Magic Link is. Magic Linking is a mechanism on Ravelry to make someones ears burn by linking them up in a message. It is where you put someones name in brackets and then a subject in parenthesis and when you post, it magic links that person to a message. For instance, I was Magic Linked on June 05 from Moonfire Handknits about a spinning challenge. The message said " Are your ears burning? You've been magic linked in Moonfire HandKnits."

That ear burn was an invitation to a spinning challenge to be completed by June 27and it was June 05 so I figured sure, why not! I have plenty of time. Well, I got ear burned again on Friday, June 21 and below is all I had completed! I needed to get cracking or miss out!



This is what I started with, 4 ounces of hand painted 85% Polwarth wool and 15% Tussah silk. I had purchased this back in late April from Capistrano Fiber Arts on Etsy and I can't wait to get more! It spun beautifully and I just love the sheen.

I spun all day on Sunday. Here is the finished product from the first 2 ounces.Then we had a big summer storm move through, so I decided to move out to the front porch for some spinning in the rain and on to the 2nd 2 ounces of roving. The colors were so lovely. I had purchased 6 ounces, but decided to reserve 2 ounces to spin later and do a Navajo ply as an experiment to see how it would look in a 3 ply.


 Ready to ply on the left and plyed and moved to the niddy noddy on the right. Then it was time to wash and rinse.

Next it was time to roll it out and hang it to dry and set the twist. I was especially happy with this skein because the twist was perfect and I didn't need to weight it to straighten it out. Before I left for work I hung it on the front porch to dry. I sure was glad I hung it on the front porch and not out back on the pergola like I normally do because we had another whopper of a storm yesterday and it would have gotten soaked. I really wanted a dry skein so I could twist it up and get a good look.

 So here is my finished product. 180 luscious yards of DK weight yarn. Tell me what you think?

 I personally couldn't be more thrilled with the results!

Friday, June 14, 2013


To continue the conversation about Google Reader, I wanted to talk today about Feedly. It was getting close to the deadline for the disappearance of Google Reader so I have been researching alternatives and I think I found one I really like. It is called Feedly.

Feedly allows you to organize all your favorite blogs, news sites, podcasts and Youtube channels and access them all in one place and you can or migrate your Google Reader account. I haven't added a lot of new items since I made the switch, but for the few I have added, I am very happy with the simple ease with which this program works.

Another pleasant surprise about Feedly is how fast it works. Photos in the blogs I follow load lightening fast and it gives you 4 options for how you want your items to load.

The Basic Title View
The Magazine View which is great for my iPad
The Cards View -  which is kinda cool

And the Full Article View
I generally use the Full Article View because I read the blogs I follow at night on my laptop and this view allows me to fly through every last one of them on a nightly basis without a lot of opening and closing and I still feel like I ma getting the full effect of all the lovely photos that you all share.

Another great feature is the many Preferences that you can easily set to customize how you view the world from your Feedly.



Start Page
Which page would you like feedly to load when you start feedly ? Tips: You can also bookmark any feedly page and jump back to that page directly.

Default View
Change the view setting of all category and feed pages at once.

Categories With No Updates
Use this knob to hide the categories with no updates in the left navigation panel.

Featured Articles
Feedly can curate and feature articles based on how popular they are on Google+ and Facebook. Do you want to see featured articles at the top of the magazine view?

Giant Mark As Read
Should feedly show a giant mark as read button at the end of each list to make it easier to mark content as read?

Auto-Mark As Read On Scroll
Should feedly automatically mark articles as read when you scroll through them

Header font
Which font should feedly use for the header of articles?

What should be the default language for the Explore and Essentials pages?
Should feedly try to optimize featured articles?

Read Links Color
What should be the color of the links for read articles?
Unread Links Color
What should be the color of the links for unread articles?


Comma delimited list of tags you would like to be able to assign to articles when you collect them for later


Pinterest Integration
Make it easy to pin images you are reading in feedly in your Pinterest boards.

Twitter Postfix
Message added to the articles you tweet in feedly.

mini toolbar

Mini Enabled?
Should feedly mini (tiny sharing toolbar located at the bottom right of the browser window) be enabled ?

Exclude List
Comma delimited list of sites you would like feedly mini to not display on. Based on URL pattern matching. Example: facebook,my space !important: no space before or after the commas
Bottom Spacing
At how many pixels of the bottom of the page should the feedly mini toolbar be located? The default value is 14.

side area

Facebook Newsfeed
Should feedly include a facebook newsfeed module on the homepage?

Twitter Module
Should feedly include a Twitter module on your Highlights page?

Finance Module
Which stocks would you like to track in your feed? Comma-delimited list of symbols. Empty to disable.


Confirm Mark As Read
Should we show a mark as read confirmation dialog ?

Confirm Unsubscribe
Should we show the Google Reader confirmation message when unsubscribing from feeds ?


Contextual Menu
Should feedly display a contextual menu when you select some text while reading an article? The default value is yes.

Customization Key
Special key used to customize feedly for some media organizations.

Look at all these preference and I am no longer a No Reply Blogger! I can also easily connect this to all of my social media accounts. Between all of these and the fact that you can set an individual background color, I think Feedly will work out just fine.

Have you tried a new reader and if so, which one do you prefer?

Monday, June 10, 2013

A New Alpaca Cria and No Reply Bloggers

Have you become disenfranchised with Google and all that used to be great? I know I have. I love Google iReader and now that is going away. I also love the convenience of iGoogle and now that is going away too! I am finding that there will soon be no reason to use Google at all. I haven't cared much for Google+ since it came out and I see no benefits to using it for my business and it also causes issues for anyone that has a Blogger hosted blog. They push and push for you to connect your Blogger blog to your Google+ account and when you do, you become a No Reply Blogger! This has been going on for quite some time now, so it would seem that Google has lost touch with its users and they have lost their focus! I guess they feel we are no longer needed because they have made the big move to cell phones and they think we all want to use our cell phones to blog, etc. Well, I for one do not! How about you?

On to happier thoughts....

Two weeks before Mother's Day we had our first cria born on the farm.

Charity's Angel wearing an XL cria coat.
The two boys born before her were born on the farm where we were agisting our little herd before they came home to live at Old Cedar Knoll. And I have to tell you that it was a real roller coaster ride! Our Dam Charity was the expectant mother and this baby came out at a whopping 21 lbs., which is large by Alpaca standards. She was weak because she was so tall, but she soon gained the strength she would need for the next three weeks of her early life. Charity's Angel - that was my husband's pick - was born without a vaginal opening so we quickly became old hats at all things Cria; hand expressing urine (doesn't that sound like a load of fun) administering twice daily antibiotic shots and trips to the vet's office with an Alpaca in the back of my Explorer. We have a farm vet that comes out to the farm, but this little girl needed surgery to create a vaginal opening so she could urinate on her own and there was no other way to get her there because our trailer was much too large for her to travel in all alone.

Mama was very unhappy the day we took her, but thank goodness the surgery went well and she was back in a few hours and she is thriving! So much so that she is already half the size of our yearling Ice Star and she is already grazing, eating Orchard Grass and a little grain in the mornings when I feed. And she is quite the little bugger. She loves to run and pronk and tease you into thinking she is going to come see you, but just at that split second that you reach out to touch her, she takes off!
A proud Mama eating some grass for energy.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Zipper Pouch Sweet Swap Follow-up

I know, I have been a terrible blogger of late, but hey, a job and farm animals trump a blog every time!

Last month I told you about The Sewing Loft zipper pouch swap I entered and today I will share the picture tutorial for the pouch I made and a picture of the one I received from Jane Not So Plain's Tori Thompson.

What I purchased for this swap. I had no idea what I would make!

My final selection of fabrics.

Making the calculations!

Cutting the pieces for the front and lining.

Sewing the front center panel.

Making the wristlet loop.

Fusible fleece was added to the front & back panels for stability.

Setting the zipper.

Adding the lining.

I decided to add an inside pocket and a label.

Adding the wrist loop to the right side front.

The pocket and label have been added to the liner.

I finished it so it would stand nicely on its own!

Front - hmm, still needs something.


Inside label - my sister Amy gave me these!

Bottom view.

To finish, I added an amethyst and turquoise zipper pull.

The finished product!

So now I think I should reveal what I got back from my swap partner. As soon as I opened my package, I knew exactly what I would use it for - a knitting project bag! It is the perfect size for most of the smaller projects I work on and is perfect fro taking my work along with me anywhere I go! Thanks Tori, I love it!
Great colors in this butterfly print fabric!
This shows four 100+ yard balls of hand-spun and some needles ready to go!

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