Every morning I feed the lamb some grain. It gives them some extra energy on these winter days. This is Merricat, Scotty, and Constance leaving the barn after finishing their grain.
The wind blew Pumpkins hay right out of his mouth this morning. Must have been in between chews. It didn’t seem to faze him.
I spent the day packing up my Bedlam Farm Dryer Balls for the mail.
I put them in paper bags and tied one of my I’m Not a Ghost cards onto each with a “Thank you”. Then they went into my compostable shipping envelopes. I’ll bring them to the post office tomorrow.
After selling two more 8oz balls of Issachar’s roving over the weekend, I had just enough left over to make a few more Dryer Balls which are already spoken for. One of the women who bought the roving is going to make her own dryer balls, the other is planning on felting some woodland animals.
I already have a list of people who want Dryer Balls next fall. It won’t be until then that I have more roving to make them with.
If you’d like to get on the list, you can email me at [email protected].
This morning Constance was the first one to come running into the barn, baaing the whole time, to get her grain. Merricat was close behind, but it took Scotty a little longer. He was a little more reluctant to leave the hay already in the feeder.
They share well, each getting their fill of grain without trying to push each other away. When it’s gone they run out of the barn joining the older sheep leisurely eating their hay.
I couldn’t help but notice when I looked at the photo of Suzy’s new shawl that in it I saw the same colors as the ones outside her window.
Autumn colors, yes, but look at the green grass and how the ground, beyond it, is the same shades of rust, pale orange, and rich maroons. Suzy calls the chartreuse “hopeful spring grass” but I see that as her interpretation. It’s even speckled with the yellow locks as seen in the gradations of color in the field.
That’s what made me think to call it Winter Fields.
Suzy’s son told her that she has style. “You put colors together that really shouldn’t go together but end up working”, he said.
I think he’s right.
Suzy hand-spins and hand-knits all her shawls. Each one is a unique combination of colors and patterns, no two are exactly alike. She gets her wool from her mohair goats, Lucy, Ruth, April, Alice and Larry. She also supplements it with wool from her favorite fiber artists.
Her shawls are as soft as they look. She washes each one in a natural softening solution.
Or you can email me at [email protected].
Between yesterday and today, I made 44 Dryer Balls. Now they sold out.
But I still have a list of people who wanted them. So I’m going to use what I have left of Issachar’s wool to make more.
I found a bit of roving from Zelda, so I made a few white Dryer Balls from her wool. And I had some of Griselle’s roving too, but I have other plans for that.
So next week I’ll be making more Bedlam Farm Dryer Balls.
I don’t know if I have enough for everyone on my list, but I’m already thinking of having roving made from the next batch of wool for Dryer Balls. Karakul wool is great for felting, so I’m thinking of designating Kim’s wool for Dryer Balls.
I’ve gotten pretty good at making the Dryer Balls. The first couple I made were bigger because I wasn’t winding them as tightly. Now they’re close to the size of a tennis ball which is how I read about them being described.
Carol, who bought three Bedlam Farm Dryer Balls, wrote to me and said “I love…the idea that a mini flock of sheep, in a small way, are part of my home”.
I thought that was pretty sweet.
I tossed a little of the new hay on the ground before feeding the sheep and donkeys this afternoon. They all gobbled most of it up then went to the feeder for their regular hay. But Suzy and Biddy came back to finish off the small pieces.
Seems they really like it.
We sat at the dining room table, warmed by the woodstove winding Asher’s roving into small balls.
For Jon it was the first time he ever wound a ball of anything, string, yarn or wool. I showed him how to wind it around two fingers then slip the roving off his fingers and wind it around the other way. Then back the other way again to make a ball.
Ahser’s roving was soft, springy and thick. It didn’t pull apart easily which made winding it easy. I had weighed out four 1 oz portions of the roving.
Jon and I were experimenting making dryer ball.
I had some white roving left over from a few years back and some colorful roving that someone gave me. So I strung it through the top of each ball to add a little color and variety.
After they were all rolled up, I put them in a leg of pantyhose and tied each ball in with a bit of yarn.
Then I threw them in the wash, added some of Mrs. Meyers Clean Day soap and washed them in hot water.
When they were washed, I put them in the dryer on “high”.
Twenty minutes later the dryer balls were done. One of the balls didn’t quite stick together, so I’m going to run that one through the wash again. And as you can see in the photo one is more of a dryer egg than ball.
I still have to try them out in the dryer, I have a load of clothes in the washer now that I’ll use them on.
It was Emily who gave me the idea of make dryer balls during one of our weekly Zoom Studio Chats. She uses them all the time. I come to see, many people do.
Dryer balls are used instead of dryer sheets. But even if, like me, you don’t use dryer sheets, they still have benefits.
They separate your clothes in the dryer so they eliminate static cling and take out the wrinkles. They also cut down on drying time by absorbing the water so you save electricity. They are fragrant free, but you can add essential oils to them if have a favorite scent for your clothes. (I’m thinking for me that would be lavender or cinnamon.) And of course, you’re not dousing your clothes in the chemicals that dryer sheets emit. And you’re adding used dryer sheets to the landfill.
Now that I know how it’s done, I’m going to spend the day making dryer ball.
I still have to figure out a price for them and how I’ll sell them. I’ve read it best to use 6 dryer balls in a load of laundry. But I’ve also read that you can use three for smaller loads.
I’m thinking I’ll sell them quantities of three and people can make up their own minds about how many to get and use.
Well, my laundry must be done washing by now. I’ll let you know how the dryer balls work.
This time of year, I begin to notice how the wood and hay we stored up over the summer starts to dwindle.
The amount of wood we used so far seemed right to me, but the amount of hay made me nervous. It seemed like less than in the past this time of year. When we got the hay we had less sheep, and I am guilty of sometimes giving the animals more than they need.
So I figured out how long a bale lasts and calculated that we had about 90 days of hay in the barn. That would get us to the middle of April and grass usually doesn’t start coming up till sometime in May.
I’m not sure what happened, we’ve never been caught short of hay before.
Jon got right on the phone and called Sandy, who we get our hay from. She always has extra, but not this year. It rained so much in the spring the first cutting was later than usual and so they harvested less. And she didn’t know anyone else who had hay either.
When Jon called around to some of the other hay and sheep farmers he knows, they all said the same.
No one had hay.
We knew if it was hard to find hay now it would be even more difficult and more expensive if we tried in the early spring. So I put a message up on the Front Porch Forum, a local online email exchange where people can sell or give things away or ask for help finding what they need or inform others of a service they offer.
But Jon was quicker.
Getting on the phone, calling around, and getting information is something he’s a natural at. I guess it goes back to his reporter day. Following a lead.
If it was me, I’d have been discouraged after the first call. I’m not good with rejection. But for Jon, it becomes a challenge. He just keeps at it.
By the time I got back from feeding the animals, he got us 30 bales of hay to be delivered tomorrow. As we expected it cost more than we usually pay, and that’s fine.
We’re just glad to have it.