Sunday, July 31, 2011

Year Of The Toad

As you can see, I am
Surrounded by toads this
year! And frogs. It
might be because of all
the standing flood water
down here this year, I'm
just not sure. I just know
that they are almost as
plentiful as the mosquitoes
are. And that is saying alot!
I need to watch where I walk,
too. They like to sit outside
my workshop door. They are all
over in the grass. If I step on
one accidentally, they will squeal
like a little girl. Not a good
sound. So I try to avoid them.

This is my life. Its a Toad Life.

Talk to you soon,  Tammy

Sunday, July 24, 2011


Yes, the WIP's! Works In Progress. I have several of them now. So much for the New Years' Resolution. This heat wave we have been having, the heat index has been over 110 each day for over a week, has been taking all my time and sapping my energy. I am also in a production (with the rest of my family) of Guys and Dolls that opens this weekend. So to speak, I'm burning the candle at both ends right now!

I have 3 WIP's going on. All three were started on our Seattle vacation. I started the top one and ran out of yarn. I recently spun some more so I can finish it. It is another vest.

The next one is a slouchy hat. I ran out of sparkly yarn on vacation for that one, too! I've been getting 20 minutes here, 20 there to work on spinning more yarn to finish it. The blue alpaca was natural dyed in a indigo dye vat.

The third, which I am working on presently, is a merino/angora blend I spun a couple of years ago. I took the yarn as my 'back-up' project on vacation. I have one of the frilly cuffs done and about halfway on the second. I've been working on them on my downtime at rehearsals.

A project I started yesterday was a felted fedora for my lovely husband, Darrell, to wear as Big Jule in Guys and Dolls. I expect that will be done first as it has a deadline of this week. I'll post about it when its finished.

I have had some help in my workshop lately. This is a picture of Roxy, an orphan kitten I've been nursing along. She is going to be very small, but very lovable. So lovable that recently a different mother cat has adopted her, too, and been letting her nurse. It has helped her get over the 'hump' and start to thrive.  I've been letting her come into the shop to cool off a little every day. She loves to find a bag of unwashed alpaca for a nap. Its too cute to move her!

Talk to you soon, 


Saturday, July 16, 2011

Drinkin' Out Of The Hose

Remember drinking out of the hose
when you were a kid? Oh heck! I'll
admit I did it this morning! When you
are outside and its hot, like it has been
here and will be all next week, when you
are thirsty--its right there. Well, the alpacas
must think the same thing. When I am
hosing them off on these 100 plus degree
days, some of them get a quick drink from
the hose. I'd thought I'd share these summer
fun pictures with you.
The first one is Georgie, the self-appointed
guard of the girl herd. She loves her hose
time! She will dance around and jump in the
air and grap a quick drink.

This is Apollo. He is a rose grey male in my boy herd.
I affectionately call him my 'wool covered water buffalo'. He is not happy until his entire body is covered in water. I know-I know! "They say" (whoever 'they' is, I'm still not sure) not to get an alpacas back wet. But unless I am paying strict attention to what I'm doing, he puts his back under the sprayer. I figure, makes him happy!

 This one is Yahtzee, he is another one that likes to put his whole face in the sprayer. And grab a drink.
He ends up looking like a little drowned mouse.

All the alpacas like the water, with the exception of Tricksee. She is new this year and still not sure about the sprayer. After she gets initially wet she is fine. But the sprayer still  spooks her a little. In time, I am sure she will get over it.

So go outside, travel back to your childhood and play in the hose and grab yourself a drink!

Talk to you soon, Tammy

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Washing Wool

I have been trying to de-clutter my workshop
lately and decided to start washing wool
again. Its no small job once I get started on
a roll. Its like I get obsessed with it and have
to do it every day. I came across a couple of
sheep fleeces I forgot I had. I also had
forgotten how different they are to wash than
alpaca fleeces.

The pictures to the right are of the water after the
first wash and the wool is taken out. It has an almost
caramel color to it from the lanolin. It has a distinct
smell, too. After having sheep for so many years, I
realized I missed the smell! But my son didn't. lol

Then after a couple of sheep fleeces, I decided to go
back to washing some alpaca. The picture to the left
is the water after the first wash of an alpaca fleece. It
is definitely a different color!

 So I took another, closer view of the wash water. Yes, as clean as an alpaca
fleece may 'appear' to be, it has alot of dirt in it.

 One of my favorite sayings to people when they comment on some dirt in a fleece or a hay seed or two, I say, "well, they do live outside you know!"



 I even took a picture of the bottom of the sink after
the water drained out. Doesn't the silt look digusting?!
And there is alot of sand in there, too. But you ask yourself, 'they look so cute, how do they get that dirty?'

Well, let me show you!

 After they get hosed off, or immerse themselves in the water trough,

 they roll in the dust pile and get mudded up! But that is what a happy, healthy animal does. I can't imagine what I would look like if I lived outside. I know what I look like after one day out there with them. Can you imagine

 the dirt ring these feet leave in the bathtub?! LOL
Yes, its quite a silt ring. I've got a fleece to go rinse in the workshop.

Talk to you soon,  Tammy

Monday, July 11, 2011

The Heat Is On!

Man, its hot! The heat index is
supposed to reach about 115 degrees
today. Actual temp: 102. I have spent
the majority of the day outside attached
to a hose. So far the animals are doing
ok. But they are drinking alot of water.
And that's ok, too. The younger
animals are starting to have fun with
the water. Yachtzee, as you can see
from the photos, likes to put his whole
head in the sprayer! It is a nice bonding
time with the alpacas, spraying them
with the hose. They depend on me to
take care of them and I do. Gaining the
trust of the animals in your care is a
wonderful thing and beneficial later if
a health condition comes up. They know
you aren't going to hurt them. They may
not like what you are doing to them but
they deal with it better! Stay cool, my friends,
in this horrible heat. I didn't get enough of
it today and tonight I'm off to the Muny in
Forest Park to see the musical 'The Little
Mermaid'. At least I won't be sitting in the

Talk to you soon,  Tammy

Friday, July 8, 2011

The Chronicles of Little John, part 3

Lately I've been feeling like I'm getting
nowhere. I work and work, never seeming
to have enough hours in the day and at the
end of it I feel as if I have accomplished
nothing. Yeah, sometimes I get in this funk.
And then I'm outside doing some of the
regular daily chores and a little thing happens
that puts a smile on my face. Little things. Simple
things. I have bug zappers around the house and
the barn. I was banging on one of them, like I do
every day to clean out the 'zapped' bugs and
Little John and his/her (?) family came running
and peeping at me. It was like Pavlov's Dog or
something. I then realized what they were so
excited about: the bugs falling out of the zapper!
So I guess at least they pay attention to what I'm doing every day. And they look forward to my
doing it. Appreciation!

Here is a better pic of Little John. They really aren't
chicks anymore. They are little chickens. I'm a proud

Talk to you soon,  Tammy

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Steamy Summer Days

We are already about
halfway through the
summer, can you believe
it? The alpacas are
settling into their
summer routine: get
hosed off, then lay
in front of the fan
for awhile. Then impatiently
wait for lunch. Such a life!
Me? I've got a farmer's tan
and muddy, dirty feet every
day. But I, too, love the

Here is a picture of the wet girls
hanging out in front of a fan in the
afternoon. Maybe I'll go out and
hang in front of a fan too!

Talk to you soon,  Tammy

Monday, July 4, 2011

Knitting Through Seattle

After we took our alpaca shearing seminar, my hubby and I spent a few days sightseeing in Seattle and the surrounding islands. The first day we took the ferry across to Bainbridge Island and while there I stopped by Churchmouse Yarns and Teas. What a cool shop! Lots of inspiration there. Darrell patiently waited reading outside while I shopped inside.

We went up to the top of the Space Needle. We had some time to kill so while Darrell was walking around reading everything there was to read and looking through the telescopes, I got in a bit of knitting.

When our reservation came due, we had dinner in the restaurant in the Space Needle. That was alot of fun! The restaurant revolves around so you can get a good look at the whole city. And do a little knitting.

We took the Underground Tour. What a story! I didn't do any knitting but took a picture of my scarf on a huge cog. The first picture of this blog is from the tour, also.

I love Sci-Fi, so we went to the Science Fiction Museum and this is my knitting on a prop from the Battlestar Galactica series. I have been a big fan of that show and so has my knitting, as you can see.

This isn't knitting, just a fun picture I took of a telephone pole outside the museum of my adding my paid sticker to the 'wallpaper' already there.

The last day, we went whale watching. We took a seaplane out to San Juan Island and spent the day there doing tourist-y things and went out in Canadian waters to see the Orcas. That was fantabulous! The weather is so different there from here at home. I wore my alpaca scarf almost every day and it was June!

We did have one glitch, though. Taking my knitting everywhere as I did and giving it such an important voice in our trip, made her a little arrogant. She got full of herself and decided she could fly the plane back to Seattle from San Juan Island! I scolder her, gave her a good talking to, and made her sit in my bag for the rest of the trip home. Give 'em an inch...............

But all and all it was a wonderful trip! I worked on three different alpaca projects, running out of yarn on each one so starting a new one. I now have 3 WIP's (work in progress) which isn't helping my New Year's Resolution average but keeps me busy. Now that I'm home I am back to spinning so I can finish them. Now to just catch up on the barn chores.....

Talk to you soon,  Tammy

Friday, July 1, 2011

As The Mercury Rises,

I spend more and more of my time outside. Not because I love to sweat and love the heat, but because the animals need me to. I spend more time outside with the hose on spraying them off and we play in the water. I will admit that part is alot of fun!

Little Aries has taken to the water
like a little duck! It was kinda hard getting this picture--what with the hose spraying in one hand and the camera in the other and juggling both trying not to get the camera wet!
It is a strange sight in the bottoms now. It is very dry in the pastures and the gardens but when you look around on each side of us, well, all you see if flood water. The road has been closed just past our house for several months due to flooding. It is a high water year. I put up extra bug zappers to try to control the extra bugs and it seems to be working.

Alegra, the amazing velcro alpaca, has now turned into the Amazing Mudball Alegra! She loves the water and will let me spray her forever, I think. But I think it is more of a game with her rather than cooling off. She gets wet, then runs to the dust pile to roll a couple of times, then runs back to get sprayed again! She is hysterical!

And check out Little John perched on the bar! The babies are growing up so quickly! The black chick to the left is a rooster. The next one is a hen. The one to the far right with the fluff on the head is--well--I'm not sure what that is! lol  And it looks like I might be calling Little John, ummm, Little Johnnie? Johnette? And suggestions?

 Talk to you soon,  Tammy