Wednesday, January 28, 2015

You Knit Me Together

"Elohim" ~ God our Creator

I started a book study this week, with some woman from my church, on the many names of God (LORD, I Want to Know You, by Kay Arthur). Chapter 2 speaks fondly to my heart- "Elohim", creator of heaven and earth, and all that is in it. 

Each time I pick up my knitting needles, I am reminded of my creator.

Psalm 139:13  For you created my inmost being;  you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.

And these two precious babies, magnify His glory.
(Mama dressed them in the sweaters I knit for them and took a picture so I could share them with all of you on Ginny's Yarn Along and Keep Calm Craft On.)


Monday, January 26, 2015

Llama Ears

Ears Up-Happy Llama
Much to the surprise of many, I loved it when my children entered their second year. I did not buy into the "terrible twos" mentality. A two year old puts their emotions out in front, no one ever needs to guess how a toddling two feels and I see this as a good thing. They have extreme highs with shrill giggles and extreme lows with clenched fits and sobs. Knowing their emotions, allowed me to tend to their needs minus the guess work.

Llamas can be compared to a two year old, in that they too display their emotions for all to see. They use the position of their banana shaped ears to reveal their thoughts. Seldom do I question the mood of our guard llama, Alaska. A quick look at her ears, tells it all.

Stand back sometime and watch-you will see how Alaska uses her ears to get across a clear message:

Ears straight up: "I'm just hanging out in perfect contentment."
Ears curved forward: "Shh, I'm on duty, and being attentive to what is happening and listening."
Ears held straight back: "Ok, I am slightly unhappy with the situation, but I can deal with it."
Ears pinned flat against the back of the neck and nose pointed up: "You better take cover. I am extremely agitated, and I am about to spit!"

Ears Forward-Attentive Llama

Ears Back-Slightly Irritated

Ears Pinned Back-Highly Agitated!
 More fun llama facts and tidbits:
Do Llamas Spit? The truth about llamas and spitting.
Llama Shopping A llama farm from heaven!

Friday, January 23, 2015

Gotland Ewes of Vermont

Now that you have met our Gotland rams, let's take a peek at the ewes! Our five Gotland ewes came from two different farms. You have already met Izzy and Mariana, in our settling in post, and then some of you met them at the VT Sheep and Wool Festival. I will say, that Izzy is the culprit who caused the new Gotland ewes to have to stay in quarantine longer. Every time I tried turning them out, Izzy could not contain her happiness and overwhelmed them by a game of chase. The other ewes, not sure what to think of this, were very frightened by her antics. Still the instigator, Izzy seems to always want to play a game of chase, but now, the new "Gotgirls" as I call them, join in on her fun. If you missed the post about playing in the snow, you should take a peek to see one of their games!


 The other three ewes took a very long, cross-country road trip, traveling for three weeks in the back of a trailer, to get to our farm. By the time they arrived, they were pretty skittish and unsure of their surroundings.

Carie, the most confident, seems to rule. Her sturdy size gives her the advantage. My Romney ewes seemed to sense Carie's position of authority. When we turned them out with the whole flock, my Romney girls made sure she knew her place in the flock-and that was not at the top of the pecking order. Carie has accepted this with grace, allowing the Romney ewes to rule. Inside, she still knows she rules over all the Gotlands.

Ema and Iris both have sweet, timid personalities. They look to Carie for protection, but have learned to trust me. Iris, at 93.5, has the highest percentage Gotland of all the ewes, and Ema comes in second highest at 90.6%. They exhibit beautiful Gotland characteristics of lovely curly fleeces, and clean black faces. All three of these ewes, Carie, Ema, and Iris, have been bred and we look forward to baby lambs in the spring!



Please join me in welcoming our new Gotland ewes to Vermont!!

More Gotland Posts:
Gotland Sheep Love the Snow-A cute video of the ewes playing in the snow.
Gotland Ram Seen Running Down Main Street-Yes! This really did happen!

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Twin Baby Sweaters-Yarn Along

Joining in on Ginny's Yarn Along with an update on the twin baby boys and preemie sweaters I knit for them. 

A couple of weeks ago, I posted a preemie sweater I was knitting for twin grand-nephews. These little boys entered the world a month early and so spent the first 10 days in the NICU. Both boys are home now, and mom and dad are adjusting to life with two little ones in the house. I finished knitting sweater number two, and mailed them to the new mom. Now if I can just get her to take a picture of the boys wearing the sweaters~ I would be most happy!

Twin Sweaters

Sweater Pattern~Felipe
Yarn~Debbie Bliss Babe Cashmerino

Aaron and Asa

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Felted Wool Purse

Wet Felted Wool Purse

Joining in on KCCO and sharing my love of felt making.

Felting~the process of taking disconnected fibers, and turning them into a strong, smooth piece of fabric.

The felting process begins with a web of fibers. The web consists of individual strands of wool. Each piece of fiber has scales, which open when warm water is applied. Through applying pressure, the scales on each strand lock together forming a strong bond and fabric.

In the felting workshops I hold on the farm, I see this same bonding process occur among the participants in my classes. As we work together, hands moving in unison to create- our minds and hearts unite, and we become interconnected. The act of felt making becomes one of healing and renewal. I have seen families reunite after months of living fragmented lives, I have seen grieving women pour their hearts out, while others surround them with love, I have seen active boys and girls redirect their energies into the creative process, and I have seen alienated children invited in to play with their peers-all through the felting process.

This week, I share a felted wool purse, made with a friend creating on the other side of the table from me, chatting, sharing our lives and our passions as our hands worked.

Would you like to come to the farm to learn how to make a wool felted purse?

More stories of felting on the farm:
Felting Memories
Farmstays and Fiber Classes
Open Studio at VT Grand View Farm
Wet Felted Using a Resist

Wet Felted Purse
Beads Added for Embellishment

Monday, January 19, 2015

Vermont's First Flock of Gotland Sheep-The Rams

I thought it time to properly introduce you to Vermont's first flock of Gotland sheep! We will start with the rams, Franz and Evret. You may recall that Evret was the sheep who took a tour of our little village of Washington before arriving to our farm. The transporter, who delivered the sheep to our farm, could not make it up the mountain to the farm due to snow, and so we had to shuttle them up in our truck. Evret got away from us, and made a grand tour of the sleepy New England town before we caught him. Not only does Everett enjoy sprinting down Main Street, he can also jump and clear a 4 foot panel from a standing position.

Though Evret clearly has the upper hand in the ram's shelter, Franz can hold his own. Franz seems to have a gentler spirit, but an insatiable desire to be with the ewes. We have had to quickly fortify our fence line between the rams and ewes as Franz came close to climbing over. Once we blocked him from being able to see the ewes, Franz settled in and now seems content to live on his side of the fence.

Both rams are high percentage Gotlands, Franz at 94.5% and Evret at 95.3%. They each have lovely fleeces characteristic of the Gotland breed with distinct curls- Franz, a light silver gray, and Evret a medium steel blue gray. They will grow to about 160-170 pounds. We will use Franz and Evret in our breeding program along with occasional artificial insemination, in order to continue to breed for higher percentage Gotland sheep.  This spring, we hope to welcome our first Gotland lambs to the farm!

Franz 94.5% Gotland Ram

Evret 95.3% Gotland Ram

Gotland Rams
 More posts about our Gotland rams:
Gotland Ram Seen Running Down Main Street
New Digs for the Gotland Rams

Please join me in welcoming these handsome boys to Grand View Farm!

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Farm Photography

Farm life presents many photo opportunities-from new lambs, to catching llamas with an attitude, to barn kitties basking in the sun. Cuteness and the wonder of God's creation abounds in my life, and I want to capture it all. My daughter gifted me with her "old" DSLR camera this Christmas and I have set out to learn how to use it. I will try not to overwhelm you with photographs in the process.

I purchased a book on photography, hoping that it would guide me through figuring out all the dials and numbers on my camera. Instead, I found it speaking an unfamiliar language. So I began searching for online classes. I finally found, what I think must be the best online photography course at SLR Photography Guide. The course guides you through a series of lessons full of visuals, and simple terminology. Each lesson has an assignment and "cheat sheets" to print and take along in your camera bag. With enrollment into the course, you gain access for a facebook group where you can ask questions and post your photographs for feedback. Members from all over the world with varying degrees of experience, encourage and teach one another. You also have access to the teacher through several channels as well. 

Yesterday, while out shooting photographs, the girls were enjoying eating snow.

Gotlands on VT Grand View Farm eating snow
Gotlands Eating Snow