Monday, November 24, 2008

Lotza Llamas!

Hey you guys! Since you are out cruising around on the internet anyway, why not take a look at another link on my page? It belongs to two wonderful people from Heron Lake, just south of us here on Good Shepherd Farm. Bill and Shirley Fisher raise Miniature Llamas, NOT ALPACAS or REGULAR SIZED LLAMAS! Yes! These sweet little creatures are as gentle as little doggies, and they did not even SPIT at me when I played with them! Take a look in my archive section at "Miniature Llama Play Day." These are the folks that I mentioned in that blog. I did a little research about Miniature Llamas, and this is what I found out:

The miniature llama has been developed from various llama bloodlines from Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Peru, Canada and North America. In llamas’ native climate of South America it is believed that small llamas may have been products of surviving harsh natural climates. However, today with the knowledge of genetics it has made the possibility of breeding specifically for size a reality. Some of the most well known herdsires in the llama industry from years past continue on in miniature llama’s genes today.

Miniature llamas were bred from many different small llamas with various types of fiber. Today in the miniature llama industry you will still find minis of all fiber types including suri, light, medium, heavy and silky fiber. Miniature llamas can be found in a rainbow of colors.For the last couple of decades breeders have been selecting for llamas that resemble a standard-size llama in every way, but remain small in size. In 1999, several breeders across the United States decided to come together and form the American Miniature Llama Association (AMLA).

Currently, I am washing and combing some Llama fiber from Bill and Shirley. I hope to be able to spin it and do it some justice! The llama that I am working on is from their "Toby" and it is gray, white, and chestnut. The fiber is so soft, and so beautiful. When I am done with all the Christmas rush, I will try and get it done. AND, I will have pictures of the work in progress on my blog.

I hope that you enjoyed learning about Miature Llamas! They are so cute! And so friendly! Drop in on Bill and Shirley on thier blog! They EVEN HAVE SOME FOR SALE!!!!!

Friday, November 21, 2008

Something To Be Thankful For

About this time every year, we look around us and note all of the things that we may be thankful for. Our health, our home, food to eat, bills getting paid, clean air to breathe, room to run, the list goes on and on.

But this year, we have even more things to be thankful for. Last Saturday, November 15th, some very good friends came over and helped us with some projects here on the farm.

Friends/neighbors Norm and Connie came over to help out with making wood for the winter…we keep our home warm by supplementing the electric heat by using the wood burner in the basement. Connie donated her wonderful homemade French bread and helped by setting up the food situation in the basement. Meanwhile, Norm helped cut the lengths of wood into more managable pieces and ran the wood splitter. He also helped pile the wood onto the tractor loader and haul it into the basement and stack it.

Norm running the wood splitter.

Norm and Don stacking the wood.Photobucket
The growing stack in the basement.Photobucket
Connie sets up the serving table.

Look at that lasagna! JO made it! Read on...

ALSO, Darrell and Harry, both former teachers and coworkers of Don’s, installed the kitchen floor tile. Yes, folks, I am no longer walking on a TAR FLOOR! It has been such a source of embarrassment for me all summer long. And it has been a tiresome task, scouring tar off of all the other floors, washing the floor itself, the chair legs, ripping the chairs up off the floor when they attach themselves, etc. And I need to mention a great big THANKS to Darrel's wife Jo for donating a huge, DELICIOUS pan of lasagna for our dinner. I don't know how she knew, but lasagna is my most favorite food on earth. God bless you, Jo!

Darrell and Harry mix the mortar.Photobucket

The tar is covered with the cement board, the 'underlayment.'Photobucket

Darrell and Harry start laying down the tiles. Photobucket

The finished product: My kitchen floor. I used Mocha colored grout. Photobucket

Even Gretchie likes the floor!Photobucket

Aunt Lorraine, age 88 supervised the whole thing! Photobucket

Yes, this year we have two more things to be thankful for: wood in the wood room and a new floor in the kitchen. But more importantly, we have good friends that we are very thankful for. When you think about the BIG picture, it all boils down to family and friends. For these things, we are very grateful.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

What An Exciting Day!

Today, Saturday November 8, 2008 I discovered that I had a special talent! I spent the entire day – from 10.00 until 5:30 - at a painting class in Windom. The painting we created was a copy of an original by Bob Ross of PBS fame. He had a show called “The Joy of Painting.” He developed a technique called “Wet on Wet” which allows you to complete a painting by adding layers on top of layers, without needing to let the painting dry in between. The painting that we studied today is entitled “Bright Autumn Leaves.”


We had nine people in our class, with ages ranging from a 10th grader (whose work was awesome) all the way up to a lady in her 80’s. Although we all copied the same painting, every completed painting was different from all the others. And they were all very beautiful.


When we completed our paintings, the teacher pulled out a box of beautiful frames. They were all different colors. And she would match a frame to every one’s work, which would actually pull you right into that painting. When I saw my picture up on her easel in that special frame, I almost cried! I could not believe that it was mine!


The teacher told everyone that I had not painted since 10th grade, and everyone applauded. I was so pleased with my painting. And the teacher hugged me and said I gave her GOOSEBUMPS because she loved my excitement over my work. I like her so much and I will take other classes from her. We have one coming up in January!
But, in the meantime, THIS painting is TOP SECRET. Because… It is Don’s Christmas present. I told ya I was making all my presents this year!!!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Claire and Matilda

I want to introduce you to two of my very close friends, Claire and Matilda.

Matilda Ashford came to live with us earlier this year. I just call her Waltzing Matilda.


She was born in New Zealand. Actually, her family was created in Christchurch New Zealand, and she is made out of New Zealand Silver Birch hardwood. Her family history dates back to 1938 and a man named Walter Ashford. She is my Traveller Single Drive Classic Castle Spinning Wheel. One of her unique features is called the Scotch Tension Flyer, which is an idea that Walter came up with. This allows her drive-belt to be left on her flyer whorl whenever her bobbin needs to be changed. She folds down with ease, allowing her to be placed in a vehicle and carted off to a friends house, where one can spend a lovely winter’s afternoon sipping Earl Grey and spinning away. Matilda and I have had great difficulty learning how to dance together properly, but I think that I am finally catching on. She has been patient with me: at least, she doesn’t yell at me when I mess up!

And this is my newest friend, Claire. Claire d’ Loom. ;)


Her maiden name was Claire Leclerc. Her family history dates back to 1876 and a man named Nilus Leclerc. She was created in I’ Islet, Quebec, Canada. The modern loom which may be used in individual homes (vs. a factory) was designed in 1924. Claire’s family line was created in 1936. She is crafted of kiln dried, Hard Maple (Canada-go figure!). She is a tabletop model. So far, she is a TV-tray top model, but as soon as I get the card table up here, she will be sort-of a tabletop model at last.

Claire is helping me make my Christmas presents this year. She and I have gotten to know one another quite week over this past week, thanks to my friend, Connie. I will have to check with Connie’s mother, but I believe that Connie may have been born with a spinning wheel in one hand, and a loom in the other. Probably had a bunch of handspun wool outfits and blankets, as well!

When Claire, Matilda, and I perfect our skills, we will show you some of our craftsmanship. But for now, everything is ‘under wraps’ ‘till Christmas. Shhhh!