Naturally Colored and Naturally Plant Dyed Wool, Fiber and Fur

“Only he can understand what a farm is, what a country is, who shall have sacrificed part of himself to his farm or country, fought to save it, struggled to make it beautiful. Only then will the love of farm or country fill his heart.“ Antoine de Sainte-Exupery (1900-1944);(1900 1944); Aviator, Writer

Monday, February 4, 2013

Yarn Magic Mitts Pattern

These unisex mitts magically transform three colors of natural colored yarn into the perfect mitt. These are very warm and extra sturdy. I originally designed these in varying shades of handspun shetland or merino choosing one light, one medium and one dark shade - approximately 1/2 oz of each - natural colored fleeces and tops for spinning available at I expanded it to include two complete patterns producing three styles - a three color and a two color version in which the yarn works the magic for completely different results and hundreds of possibilities. These have interesting textures so are equally beautiful in solid colored yarn for yet another version. I designed these as a gift for my dear friend yarnmagic who likes practical things and natural colors. I have named the pattern in her honor. The pattern is intermediate, does not require much yarn, is a quick knit and makes a great gift.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

The Water Woes Are Over

Thanks to everyone who supported our fundraiser. We have raised enough funds and our water meter is installed and we have constant rural water.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Fund Raiser for a Water Meter

There are a few updates to the water situation (not good) and I have edited the post below to reflect the new issues rather than add a new post.

We have started a fund raising campaign for a rural water meter. We only have well water and the last two years of extreme weather here has left us with a frozen pump or dried up well most of the time (7 months out of the last 12) We have had temperatures over 100 degrees in about 25 of the last 30 days so this increases the water use severely considering consumption as well as evaporation. Hauling water is getting really expensive with the current gas prices (most of the cost is the gas) and the weather problems are hard on the equipment so the pump has gone out several times and now we have other problems with the pipes down inside the well that we can't fix ourselves anymore, and we no longer have running water again. We have been waiting sixteen days for someone to come out and try to fix what we can't fix ourselves (we call and they say they will come and then they don't show up) and in the mean time, its back to five gallon buckets and working out of the water tank rather than from the pump or faucets. This is not just for our stock tanks, this is for running water in our house as well. Its something we all take for granted until its not working. Since 75% of my income is from dyed wool and fiber, the lack of running water and the time involved in hauling and carrying it in, severely inhibits my ability to make a living and sustain the ranch.

You can easily and safely donate through paypal from the donation box at the top of the blog at or if you would like to help us spread the word click on the "Add to Site" link in the donation box and you can share our donation box with your friends on your own blog or website and all proceeds will go directly to our water meter fund. You will also show up as a supporter and anyone that donates through your box on your site will show under your name as funds raised as a supporter.

For those that are unable to view the box you can just go to paypal at http://www.paypal.comand click on send money, then chose personal gift and send to and it will go into the fund, but it won't show up on the ticker.

Ipad users that are unable to view the donation box because its flash, can get an app called Photon (not free) that is supposed to be able to work with flash - I believe its a kind of browser and you click the lightning bolt (these are instructions from someone else so hopefully I haven't messed them up). But of course that is up to whether you might want the app, otherwise you can just donate through paypal as above.

We now have a separate ticker going on facebook - you can click on the Give folder to view it and share or you can view the posts to find the one that works directly on facebook and is easily shared on that network - just visit our facebook page at

The first picture shows our creek bed and dried up pasture in its current state, the second pix shows what it is supposed to look like. Both pictures are standing in the same spot, one is looking up the creek to the left and normal one is looking straight across the creek.


Since the well is what you would call dried up now (as well as the creeks and most of the ponds) we have to haul water from town a couple of times a day and since the well system is broken, we can't even use the well as a holding area or the pump to get the water running at all now.

While we don't pay a monthly fee for water now like we would if we were to get rural water, the hauling of the water costs between $70-150 per week now depending on how many trips into town we have to make per day and how much the price of gas is on any given day (that would be the equivalent of your water bill being $280-$600 a month.) Crazy right? The water fee is minimal, the gas is the major part of this expense. If we were able to hook up to rural water, we would no longer have the continual freezing problems in winter and would not run out of water unless the whole town did during these horrible droughts. And would not have to spend hours upon hours hauling water and working on the pump system as well as exhorbitant utility prices for space heaters to keep the wellhouse heated on those below freezing days which even fails at subzero conditions. A monthly bill of $50-150 (closer to what we are spending per week now) would be doable and would be nothing compared to the costs we are currently piling up that we really can't afford.

The rural water meter cost is $5500 just for the meter (quite shocking for me!!), thats just to put the meter in--the water is already going across my front yard underground (I know because when we were digging fence poles, we had to call to check the lines) plus $75 for the engineers to see if the system can handle another customer which I thought was a deposit but its just another fee. We would need to hire a plumber and trencher to get from the meter to the house as well so I have estimated this cost at about $1500, not sure if this is enough but I hope it will be in the neighborhood, but we should be able to do most of it for that. These costs are way out of our reach and with the other increased costs resulting from higher feed and fuel costs as well as the current drought situation and the soon to come price increases for hay which we will need about twice the normal amount of this year and everything farm related going sky high, I don't know how else to come up with this much money other than to start a fundraiser. Its a really good cause!!

These two pictures show one of my neighbors dried up corn crop and is typical of all the fields around here. This is a scary sight for anyone.


Thanks to any and all for your support. No contribution is too small and any contribution is greatly appreciated.


Somebody just snapped up the last of Trooper - the cutest tri-color merino lamb you have ever seen and his fleece is awesome!!

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Sophie Update

Sweet Sophie is integrating wonderfully into the flock family. Several sheep love her and let her lick their face. Several lay next to her, some of the alpacas still give her the evil eye, but a couple of them lay down next to her too. I think they already sense that she is my stand-in shepherdess. She has instantly learned every word and command that I have taught her and she has been off leash several times and comes immediately when I call her. She learned instantly to load in the car so that I could take her to be spayed and she was very well behaved for the hour long trip each way. She will still get in the car even though the visit to be fixed was very scary indeed. Quite remarkable for a pup this young especially when I have not had her very long, every day she amazes me.

I am very proud of her progress and soon she will be able to guard the flock on her own I believe. I already trust her 75%, the other 25% is just a little bit of that puppy mentality that has to be there somewhere in her psyche (although she doesn't really show it) and I am still worried to let her be 100% on her own and in charge of her own destiny and her flock, but I have confidence she is intelligent enough and mature enough to handle herself very well in most situations already. I am so thankful to have been blessed with such a beautiful and intelligent puppy who will watch over all the animals here.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Twitter Back Up and Running

I finally got ahold of my Twitter account again so follow me for the latest fresh stuff

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Here is your Team Natch International Ravatar

Here is your Team Ravatar

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Brooks Dances and Screams

This is so cute I just had to share it. This is my grandson Brooks learning to dance and scream. In no way fiber related but may make you smile. This must go viral.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

SOPHIE - My Newest Resident

As usual I am up to my ears (or is it Sophie's ears?) and this time it is training the newest resident here at the ranch - a brand new livestock guard dog. Sophie is a six month old Anatolian Pyrenees and the smartest dog I have ever encountered - thank goodness because that means I will be able to get her trained fast. It is very time consuming to train a young guard dog with no mentors to show her the ropes. Both breeds are very instinctual to the job, but must be socialized not only with the animals but with family and neighbors, because she will be a very very large dog, that can be agressive if not socialized properly since it is her job to protect her flock family. I have to monitor her constantly while the training is going on. She has been trialed with ewes and lambs, the main flock and finally the rams and male alpacas and all have accepted her so far. She is so young that I have to be extremely careful that she does not chase the lambs or the small shetland ewes. Now we just have to be sure she stays with the flock and within the fences. Since its such a large area, that is a bit of a challenge for training but she is so smart that it won't take long and she is very well behaved so far, smart as a whip and very sweet.

In the long run, she will be an invaluable protector for the flock as well as me. She is a very beautiful girl that I am trying desperately not to spoil too much so that she keeps her mind on her business, but its very hard - look at that sweet face!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Winemakerssister - awesome stuff

Winemakerssister is one of my VERY favorite phatties - Jessie at Phatfiber is giving away one of her SteamPunk bracelets and it is amazing and I would just cry if I win it!!! The steampunk stitch markers are So cool, the pumpkin bracelet is very cute and I love all her stamps. Someday when i am rich I want her to do several custom stamps I have been dreaming about. I have purchased several sets of stitch markers and my favorites are the alpacas and I love love love the little rams. awwww so cute - they look just like Benny.

Just a little add on information - my secret santa from the PhatFiber swap GAVE me this amazing bracelet in my package - ROO you are awesome!!