Donkey Photos

So many blog posts to write now that maybe I’ll have time…The show is up at the Artery, Hug a Sheep Day was yesterday, lots of natural dyeing, lots of weaving, trip to Tahoe. But I’ll start with Amaryllis because I’m going to the Donkey Welfare Symposium next weekend and they have a photo contest. They asked for “cute” donkey photos and I think they will make up categories for prizes as they go along. Here are some contenders.


“She’s at it again.”


“Let’s pretend we don’t notice.”DSC_4481

I love this photo but the announcement said 8 x 10 and this is square. I don’t know if it matters.


I like this one. I will crop it to remove that sliver of tree on the right.


This is the most recent. I wish that I had a little more of her head in it but it’s cute.

What do you think?



Lambtown 2017–Showing Sheep

I wrote a post about teaching and vendoring (a new word?) at Lambtown. Dona send me several photos of our sheep and Farm Club members that I can also share.


Buster had his own pen. The ewes are Cindy and Vanna.


Mary having a conversation with Buster.


Mary and Lisa in the barn.


Sumi, also in the barn. A lot of the Farm Club members were also on the Spinzilla team and were working to increase their yardage spun.


Lisa rode the train back and forth from the barn to the vendor hall.

The sheep show was Sunday afternoon. Yearling rams were up first.


Buster was the only one in his class.


He didn’t want to cooperate.


Do I really want to be dancing with a ram.


I think not.


He was better behaved on a halter…


…and especially when tied to the fence after his turn.


This is the rest of the sheep waiting their turns.


Vicki helped with the ram lambs.


We showed against Shetlands in the Primitive Breeds Division.


Doris helped with the yearling ewes.


Everyone was a winner. Thanks!

Lambtown 2017

Lambtown was last weekend. A lot has happened since then–I’ve been on a little get-away to Lake Tahoe while at the same time there are still terrible fires raging to the west of us. But this post is to share some photos from Lambtown.

This is one reason that I looked forward so much to my Lake Tahoe trip. The Lambtown weekend was non-stop and those of you who go to shows as vendors know that it’s not just the event, but the time leading up to it and the time trying to get organized afterwards. One vendor described it to someone by saying, “Imagine packing up everything from your living room, loading it into a trailer, setting it up in a new location, two days later taking it all down and loading the trailer, then unloading and setting up your living room again.”


The morning of the vendor set-up day I taught a class, “Getting Fancy with the Rigid Heddle Loom”.


This is the booth, taken by Dona the next day. The wall to the left showcases the yarn that I’ve been dyeing for the last couple of months along with some of the finished pieces.


This is some of that yarn. I’m still amazed that the peachy looking yarn is the second batch through the coreopsis pot that produced that rust colored yarn next to it.

I don’t have many photos of anything else at Lambtown because I was so busy either in the booth or teaching or at the end of Sunday, in the barn showing sheep.


On the second morning I taught a class called Warping Your Loom at Warp Speed. I didn’t want to teach longer than an hour Saturday morning because the point of having a vendor booth is to be there and sell things. In the class showed how I can wind a 5-yard chenille warp, get it on the loom and ready to weave in a short time. At home I can do it in 50 minutes. In this case it was about an hour and a quarter and I hadn’t tied it on to the front bar. But I had been talking and teaching through that time. I think that wasn’t bad. The one thing that I forgot to bring (after remembering at 11:30 the night before that I should have packed the warping frame) were the ties to secure the warp chain. I used up what extra thread was around and then someone pointed out that I had baling twine hanging out of my pocket. That worked.


I had also brought a few things to enter in the fiber arts show. That is one of the ponchos that will be in the Artery show.


Sunday morning I brought a sign for Buster’s pen.


Then I taught a three-hour class on learning to use the rigid heddle room and learning to work with rags (fabric strips) at the same time. IMG_2657


It’s fun to see how the fabric looks when it is cut and woven.



Don’t you love how this fabric works up in a woven piece?

I’ll do another post about the sheep show.

Breeding Season Starts

October 1 – breeding season starts. Count 148 days more or less and there will be lambs. I know where I’ll be February 26. Farm Club came to help sort sheep.


There were four breeding groups to sort–ewes that would go to three Jacob rams and Peyton, the BFL. There is also a non-breeding group. I juggled which ewe lambs to not breed–I want to have some to show next spring (maybe take to MSWF to sell?) and to show at State Fair. I debated which ewes to put with Peyton. Obviously those won’t produce purebred Jacob lambs, but the crossbred lambs grow fast and are valuable for market lambs. IMG_2484

We got the rams out and trimmed their feet.


We got the marking harnesses ready. I use the same color in all of the harnesses. The breeding groups are all in separate places so I’m not trying to sort which ram bred which ewes. If they were all together I’d have fighting rams and still wouldn’t know the sires because there would be multiple breedings. I will change the color in about two weeks. Then I’ll know that all the blue marks are from the first two weeks of breeding and if the ewes are marked with the next color they were bred in the next two weeks.17008 head

This is ewe lamb, Hollyhock. The dirty face and dirty wool is a result of the tall dallisgrass that is now sticky. As a result the sheep are covered with dirt and with dallisgrass seeds.

17059 left horn

I this opportunity to take close-up photos of the ewe lambs that I need to register.


Here is the main event. Rams working working overtime with their mouths open and tongues out. Uh, Peyton, that’s a wether.


The ewes that are in heat will hang around the ram. Sheena and Shelby were the two who were interested in Catalyst. If Catalyst showed interest in one the other started beating him up.


This gives new meaning to Fall Colors.

More Farm Views

I have dozens of blog posts in my head and I’m determined to catch up with them.


Look back at the post before this one to see the dallisgrass in the paddock where I put the sheep a couple of days ago. There comes a point after they have grazed it for five days or so when I want to move them. The plants I prefer (clover, trefoil) have been eaten to the round and I know that they will never finish off this grass. Besides, while they are in one paddock the dallisgrass in the next is just growing more. After I move them, then we mow. This is what the paddock looks like after mowing. I’d really like to rake up all that leftover grass and get it off the field, but the only way that happens is if I go out and do it by hand.


This is Trista, also known as the Velcro Sheep.


Do you see why? When she was a lamb she actually got herself stuck in the blackberries. Is this a the sheep way to always have a snack with you?


Cattle egrets in the eucalyptus tree.


Take off.



Amaryllis looking slim(mer).


As I go through this batch of photos, here is another dallisgrass one. This is in the horse pasture (so called because when we had horses that is where they grazed–no horses now).


Yes, there are sheep there.


This is at the end of Dixon Avenue on our way to town. I am amused that someone added a tail. I’ll be at this festival in Dixon next weekend. I’m teaching three weaving classes, will have a vendor booth, and will have sheep there for the show.


Last random photo for this post. That’s Chris with his unexpectedly large pumpkin!

Keeping Busy on the Farm

I’m keeping busy.


Most of the photos are from yesterday but this was a few days ago. I like this view.


Morning chores. Do you see the grass on this ewe’s back? The dallisgrass is tall right now and it’s sticky. (From the web: Once dallisgrass seed heads ripen they can be infected with an ergot fungus. Infected seed heads are black and sticky.”) It is so strong that it trips me up when I walk and get my feet stuck under it. The sheep are coming in with it draped around their necks. They are dirty because all the dust sticks to the dirt. We’ll need rain to get them clean again.


The sheep were going into this paddock on the right. I pulled the net fence out of the dallisgrass and put it back in so that it tipped the other way so hopefully they don’t get their horns in the fence.


There is a 3-wire electric fence here that you can barely see. I stomped down the dallisgrass on the side of the paddock they’ll be in so that the fenceline is more visible. The only way this fence works when the grass is so tall is that the flock is used to the configuration of the paddocks.


The ewes don’t even want to venture in when it’s that tall. They walked in and then came back to this part in the lane where they could graze normally.


The rams spend most of their time right now at this fence looking for the ewes. At night there are always a few ewes hanging around here. Tomorrow is the day, boys.


A good contrast of lilac and black and white coloring. Also typical 2-horn and 4-horn contrast. That’s Catalyst on the left and Buster on the right.

1019-dyed yarn

This photo is from a few days ago. These are yarns I used as the warp for two shawls that I just finished weaving. There will be photos of them after they are washed. These are dyed with weeping willow and hollyhock. IMG_2324

More recent dyed yarn.  Weeping willow on the left and coreopsis on the right. The three shades are successive runs through the same dyebath. All that color from 8 ounces of flowers!


I set up this pot outside. Eucalyptus getting ready to add yarn.


I am moving onto plans for a sunflower series of chenille scarves for my upcoming show. I finally got to the warp dyeing part.


There will be more photos as I progress with these.


Warp chains–two scarves each.


While I was dyeing yesterday we got a hay delivery. Eighty more bales to go in the barn.

Redbud leaf

Color inspiration next to my dye table. Redbud leaf. It is incredible what you can see when you look closely.


Ginny in her usual behavior. He’s not going to throw it, Ginny.

Fibershed Fashion Show

Saturday was the day of the long-awaited Climate Beneficial Fashion Gala presented by Fibershed. The first year there was a Fashion Show was in 2011. What a long way Fibershed has come since then. There was a second celebration in 2013 but I don’t find a blog post about that one. The third fashion show in 2015, Grow Your Jeans, featured jeans grown and sewn in California accessorized with “grassfed” tops.

I look forward to these celebrations. I only wish that my photos were better. Intense mid-day sun didn’t help and once the event started I was too busy at my booth to take more photos.


This year’s fashion show celebrated the production of the cloth grown by sheep on the Bare Ranch in northern California and sold by Lani’s Lana.


I was there as a vendor and the first thing to do was to unload the truck and set up my booth.


Other than all the weaving I have been doing (to be seen later) my newest products are wool wreaths. After setting up I took a little time to wander around and see other vendors.


The event was held at Big Mesa Farm in Bolinas. They are an organic farm and also rent 4 “glamping” spaces on .

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While I was wandering around the rest of the venue was being arranged.


Seating for dinner. The tent on the right is where the models changed and the garments were displayed and sold in a silent auction.

FS Gala-9

Chefs worked in this outdoor kitchen.


Food was set out.


Tables and chairs were arranged in front of the stage.


Models listened to instructions and practiced.

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This is where the public entered the venue.

FS Gala-10

FS Gala-8

Huston Textile Company in Rancho Cordova wove the cloth that was grown by Lani’s sheep.


That’s Carol peeking out from behind her leather and felt hats and bags.




Wool sponges.


Cotton goods.


There was a natural dyeing demonstration going on.


As the main event started Rebecca welcomed everyone and spoke about the Fibershed concepts.


Lani spoke about her part in this project.


It was getting late (low light) and I was standing in the back, so I did not get good photos of the show itself. This is an enlargement of part of an iPhone photo that shows the shawl that I wove for the show. That shawl features Anderson Ranch yarn dyed with coreopsis and dahlia.


The colors range from rust to gold, the wool is soft, and the piece has fabulous drape. It was sold in the silent auction but I have one that is similar that will be in my show at the Artery in November.

The next Fibershed event is the Wool Symposium in November. That is one of my favorite events each year. If you want to go get your tickets early as this event sells out.