Wow, can you believe it, 2020 is here! A beautiful start to a new year. Our first Spin/Knit/Crochet In for the New Year is January 18, 2020 from 10-3 in the Red Barn Studio here on our farm. We look forward to seeing everyone and enjoying a fibery start to the new year.
So much is happening on the farm right now. Repairing feed troughs and hay racks seem to be high on the list. Our garden is producing well when we can get in there. The rain makes it a challenge. Sinking in the mud to get vegetables is not fun. We did get a picture of the beautiful carrots of many colors from the garden. They are delicious.
We checked the sheep and found we could not wait to shear until March which is when the shearer was scheduled to come to this area. So we are shearing the sheep ourselves. It is a daunting task. We are far slower than the professionals. We look to do 5-7 sheep a day where the shearer can do 30. The fleeces were very heavy and trying to clot or felt so it needed to be done. The sheep all have shelter from the elements. We try to leave a coating so they are not too cold. Their wool grows back surprisingly quickly. It is good to shear your own sheep sometimes so that you can check them first hand. When the professionals come you are mostly a bystander even though the shearer watches for signs of trouble with each sheep. Our sheep also get a pedicure and their vaccines. Then they are set for a long time. It is hard to catch them after they have been sheared.
Lambing will begin in February so everyone and everything needs to be ready. The farmer cleaned the outside sheep shelter ( a bobcat really helps that process ). Next we put pine mulch on the floor of the barn with straw over that and get the stalls ready for lambs. This method seems to make it easier to clean after lambing is over. We have a number of first time moms this year so we have to be on the mark.
The mama chicken ( Speckled Sussex) and biddies that we pictured several months ago are in the chicken pen now and growing like weeds. They get big bags of greens from the garden as well as grain.
Here are a few pics from the farm.
A colorful grouping of carrots
Feeding the ewe lambs.
Join us for a break in the holiday rush at the Red Barn Studio for our December Knit/Spin/Crochet In from 10-3 on December 21st. Come join the fiber fun and relax with the fiber friends at our farm. If you wish to participate in the Secret Santa exchange just bring a gift. Or just come and join the fiber fun!
We often take pictures as we see lovely sights on the farm. Our son snapped this sunset picture as it was too lovely to pass up. Enjoy!
Sunset reflections on a great day.
We have our first batch of wool back from one of the mills. Lovely. It is a blend of gray and white Cormo wool with 20% bamboo added. A great handle and sheen, worsted weight!
We will be open for Small Business Saturday on November 30th at the Red Barn Studio from 10-4. Some yarn, roving and needle kits will be featured specials. Join the fun. Wherever you are support your local businesses. Their survival is our hope in the creative world.
We had a great time at SAFF. Lisa Incognito brought the Reyna shawl she knitted from one of our kits to show off. She is a great knitter! Thank you for bringing it for us to see. Love It!
December 21st is out next Spin/Knit/Crochet In at the Red Barn Studio on our farm from 10-3. A fiber respite in the middle of the holidays. Our fiber friends decided at last weeks’ event that a Secret Santa exchange would be fun. If you would like to participate just bring a gift. See you then!
December 7th the NC Sheep Producers will be having their semi-annual educational and membership meeting. It is from 9 – 2 in Asheboro, N.C. More information is available at www.NCSHEEP.com. All sheep producers and prospective sheep producers are welcome.
Cormo and Bamboo yarn worsted weight
Lisa Incognito with her shawl at SAFF
SAFF has been move to the McGough Arena and the adjoining barn area ( with a covered walkway) at the same site..The Western NC Fairgrounds in Fletcher, N.C. just outside of Asheville. The Davis bldg has been closed due to the illness issues. Saff used to be in the McGough Arena so for many it will be a trip down memory lane. Loving it! Hope to see everyone there. New event and vendor maps will be out shortly. Their website is www.saffsite.org. Their Ravelry site will also have information. It is a fun Fiber event.
Here are our new rovings. Delicious!
Toil and Trouble
That 70’s Wool
Loving the break in the weather. Our animals are loving it as well. The hay has been baled and is already being inhaled by our animals. We are thrilled to have some of our own hay, although we still purchase some hay to finish feeding everyone. The bees are busy with the fall blooms. The garden is slowing down as well. The farmer spread the manure pile on the garden so it can break down and fertilize our plants next spring. It is a more relaxed time of year….or so we think. There is always plenty to do on the farm.
Our October Spin/Knit/Crochet In will be held on Saturday the 19th from 10-3 at the Red Barn Studio on our farm. Bring your projects to show off and share your fiber love. All that fiber energy is contagious. With the weather cooling off wool can become a staple in your wardrobe and in your project bag. Wool is always front and center on our farm and in my project bag.
Southeastern Animal Fiber Festival will be happening this month in Fletcher, N.C. ( near Asheville, N.C.) at the Western North Carolina Fairgrounds October 25-27, 2019. Their website is www.saffsite.org. An app available to help you get the most out of the event.
We have new rovings for your enjoyment. Here is a picture of the yarns spun from them. Lovely to look at, a soft touch and even better to spin! See you soon. The small skein was a leftover which I plyed with Lydia one of our Cormo top selections. You can alter your yarn by plying it with a different fiber. There are so many creative options in the fiber world!
The Farm is a busy place right now. Preparing for a hurricane helps us prepare for the winter weather as well. For those wondering about our work lists…. Getting in supplies for the winter months is a priority. We have our own hay field now so we have some hay of our own, but we still purchase hay to have plenty for the animals. The farmer has been working on the beehives to have them ready for winter as well. We do not use chemicals for parasite issues with the bees. The farmer makes his own, all natural, repellent and sprinkles it in the hives. He has also added supers ( another level of wax for the bees to fill). The equipment is being winterized. Just because we are in the South does not mean we can neglect that .
We began shearing the lambs to get them clean and tidy for the winter. They get a pedicure and checked for any other issues we might have missed. Lambs are very sweet. Love my babies.
The apple trees have been picked. There were not enough for cider this year but plenty for apple butter and eating. We plant trees just about every year. We planted four horse apple trees. It is an old variety which does well in North Carolina. Trying to get everything picked before the wind blows them off.
The Fall garden has been planted. It will provide blooms to help keep the bees at home and out of other people’s chemicals. The produce it supplies is so fresh and continues until frost. We have cane this year and are hoping to make sorghum syrup. That is usually a late Fall event.
Two hens have hatched chicks in the last week. We like to raise our own laying hens. We did purchase a few chicks from Tractor Supply as well. It will be many months until they are laying, but fun to watch them grow up. We have Speckled Sussex and Partridge Rock hens now. They are very calm and good mothers. The Speckled Sussex are a heritage breed and so lay a smaller egg. We like them anyway.
Speckled Sussex hen and chicks
Our next Knit/Spin/Crochet In at the Red Barn Studio will be held on our farm September 21st from 10-3. We welcome you to join the fiber fun. Although we are wool lovers, all fibers and fiberistas are welcome. Hope to see you then!
Wow…August is here, lambs are growing, ladies are rested and ready for the Fall. We are enjoying the beautiful weather and keeping everyone happy. Our sheep and cows are getting fat on their lovely pasture. The fowl are everywhere eating bugs!
We will host our Spin/Knit/Crochet In on August 17th from 10-3 at the Red Barn Studio. The fiber fanatics will be here sharing their many ideas and love of fiber. We hope you can join us. Get your fiber on..and creative juices going!
We have been washing our sheep fleeces getting them clean to go to the mill for processing. Our sheep provided lovely fleeces this year in many colors. It will be fun to see what the mills can do for us. Roving and yarn are on the agenda, soft and warm for those cool days and night
The bees are happy and buzzing with their new supers full of wax to fill with honey. A super is an upper level apartment added to the hive which has wax for the bees to fill. Most counties have Bee clubs so if you are interested in learning about beekeeping call your local extension agent for information.
Enjoy the rest of the summer. It is on the wane now.
Love to Spin? Are you part of Tour de Fleece, a spinning event that is happening now as the Tour de France cycling event is taking place. Spinning every day that the cycling event is happening. It is a wonderful way to bring your spinning up to speed. Haha.
Heelside Farms July Spin/Knit/Crochet In is scheduled for July 20th from 10-3 in the Red Barn Studio here on our farm. We will have a ” Christmas in July ” sale of our products to celebrate the middle of the summer. Are you ready to get started on projects for cooler weather? What is your cool weather fiber plan? A new sweater? Warm gloves, mitts, cowls, scarves, hats, socks, slippers………for you, gifts, non profit donations? Some of our fiber lists carry us far into the future. Dreaming is okay too. We hope our fiber products are in your dreams. Our wool is from our beautiful sheep. It is a renewable resource. They are growing it even as we go about our daily routine.
We are washing our fleeces now to have everything ready for processing at the fiber mills. It is labor intensive but satisfying as you are able to see that your sheep are healthy. Great fleeces come from healthy sheep.
Our lambs are so beautiful. Is a spinning flock in your dreams? Our Finn sheep, Cormo crosses, and Icelandic sheep are available for your flock dream. Having sheep is a rewarding and satisfying hobby.
The beekeeper has been capturing swarms of bees and putting them in new hives. Soon it will be time to rob the hives of their honey for this year. So much is happening on the farm in the spring. It seems as if the farmer runs from one job to another all of the time.
Our lambs are weaned and their mothers are getting a well earned rest. We have a lovely crop of lambs and calves this year. It is a joy to watch them. A reminder of God’s goodness.
We had our Knit/ Spin/ Crochet In on the 18th of May. It was a relaxing and revitalizing day. Thanks to all of those who came. We had spinners, knitters, and fiber processors busy at their creations.
The June Knit/Spin/Crochet In will be from 10-3 on June 15th at the Red Barn Studio on our farm. Looking forward to seeing your projects.
Carolina Fiber Fest was a great event. We were thrilled to meet fiberistas of all types. It was also a joy to see friends and catch up on all the news. The fiber world is warm and joyful. The craft-a-long for the event had a knitted shawl pattern and a crocheted cowl pattern. Loved seeing all of the different versions of those two designs.
On the Farmfront we have new rovings, plenty of lambs and Spring exploding in flowers. Our next Spin/Knit/Crochet In at the Red Barn Studio on Heelside Farms is April 20, 2019 from 10-3. Join the fun and relax with other fiberistas. Bring your project and something to show and tell about.
Mark your calendars for Carolina FiberFest for next year. March 13 and 14, 2020 at the Expo Building at the NC State Fairgrounds in Raleigh, N.C. We have moved to the Expo Building (more room), Classes and all under one roof. It is also a week earlier on the calendar. Plan ahead and reserve your rooms now at the FourPoints by Sheraton or at the Ramada Inn Blue Ridge Rd. Both near the event.
Our rovings are often inspired by pictures with interesting stories or color combinations. Here are two of our newest rovings each connected to a picture for inspiration.
The Nile River in Egypt
The Nile roving ..a cormo finn cross
Cleopatra Queen of Egypt
Cleopatra Roving .. Cormo Finn cross