FARM PRODUCT INFO

Raising Finnish Landrace, Cotswold, Border Leicester, and Romeldales, in the Heart of Illinois, as well as working with rescue llamas.

Monday, December 17, 2012

A Quick mid December check in~


We are knee deep in creating fiber Christmas presents here, unfortunately I can't put photos on because some of the recipients would then see their presents! So Christmas present photos will have to wait.  I can share this recent project a needle felted headband which was a birthday gift for a wonderful friend of ours. Her dark hair shows off the blue, purple, and green magnificently!

Lambing is coming soon, the earliest is about 8 weeks away! Reserve your 2013 lambs now!!
made with layers of needle felted hearts.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

November happenings

We have ice on tanks this morning and a thick frost every where, winter is definitely on its way!! Yipee!! Time to prep for the coming winter!!

We've fixed a couple fencing issues that needed tending, packed up the portable electric poles and hot wires. We've packed away all the outdoor yard gear that needs to be put in storage during the cold months. Clean garden beds and tilled rabbitry cleanings into them that we are trying establish and build up, the rabbitry cleanings will continue to go on this bed over the winter, then will cease about 6 weeks before planting time. This is a definite advantage of using peat moss in pans, straight onto the garden with it, it really enriches the garden soil nicely.  We've planted 100 tulip bulbs along the edge of that new garden bed, thanks to Big R having a nice sale.  I can't wait to see them pop up en masse. If I find another bunch of bulbs on clearance we'll plant more in other locations, but we must be mindful of planting where the deer will be sure to devour them before we get a chance to enjoy them. The barn loafing stall is about half through the process of being deep cleaned, so it can be set up into lambing stalls. The rams are ready to come out of breeding pastures, as they are now making just twits of themselves. They are ready to go into our winter ram/whether companion pens. The lambs went to the butcher this morning, we are looking forward to a full freezer.

 I've signed up for breed specific fiber study class in 2013 for Bishop Hill Fiber guild members. (www.bishophillfiberguild) Each participant will do a short presentation on a breed that they will draw, receive a 2 ounce sample of each fiber, and learn about employing it. I was told I couldn't have any breed of sheep that we raise, wonder what I'll draw next month when we draw breeds. I am completely cool with this as it will keep me learning!

Winter fiber projects are beginning to percolate. Hats, mittens, and sock are high on the immediate list. I do so love winter!!

Friday, October 19, 2012

A Few Recent Projects

 
Here are a few projects recent couple of weeks, for some reason probabaly induced by making so many new baby blankets this summer. I have been craving felting. The more I felt the more I want to felt, I wonder if this felting fascination will wear off.
 
I started off this felt craze by dying some of my white Finn roving.


Then I made a few little wallets that I plan stuff with
 flavored teas and use for christmas presents.

My old pickle jar now used for dyeing modeling wet
felted beret/side
slouch hat.


 

 

.

A wet felted pot.


Another wet felted pot. 

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Now that it is Fall ...

Since summer is now a memory, I thought I would share my score of the summer, a lovely Ashford traditional spinning wheel that I found on craigslist while goofing off over the 4th of July week..  Now I will never get rid of my Babe double treadle production, as I love it dearly due it the amazing portability of it but this opportunity just jumped out at me. Why a second wheel? My eldest daughter occasionly spins and my younger daughter is wanting to learn. (Hey, I can't hog the hobby, can I?)

It was a drive to pick up the Ashford, but well worth it.  This traddy is a single treadle with 4 bobbins and a lazy kate. She had sat in a living room for the last 25 years as decoration. She came home with some raw spun wool on her lazy kate, that I took off. Research I have done on the Ashford website indicates this is a 1970's model, more than likely mid 1970's. She is in great condition, all she needed was a brake band and a bit of light oil. An easy remedy, for such a sweet spinning wheel.

The little Traddy was in awesome condition, didn't even need dusting!


Tuesday, September 4, 2012

We are excited....

 To announce we have been invited to host a booth at the Bishop Hill Fiber Guild's Spin-in in October 2012. http://www.bishophillfiberguild.org/Spin-In%20News.htm This will be our first venture into the other side of the booth so it will be small, simple, and we will have a small offering but we'll be there. We will be featuring our Finn sheep and Commercial rovings both processed at Frankenmuth Fiber mill this year.  A few select  raw fleeces will also be available. I believe my sister will be displaying a few of her custom memory quilts as well.  Come on out and see us!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

A Couple Recent Projects

 Here are a few projects that have been finished in the last couple of months.

A baby blanket for our newest niece.  The colors are showing up dark on my monitor. But it was really more of a mellow salmon pink with a sage green stripe, the ruffle was a creamy vanilla.

This is what you do when you need to cover a logo..... Needlefelt a new one!

And another baby blanket for our dear friend and karate sensei's new baby boy. The rainbow stripes are in order of Central Illinois Shotokan Karate Association's belts. Another friend found a karate bear at the local Build a Bear Workshop and we paired them together for a Karate themed gift.


Happy Creating!!!

Friday, July 6, 2012

Kernal

SAY, It has been really quiet around here lately. What's been going on??

  Summer! Grass is growing, ever needing mowing, weeds need pulling, children swimming, running, and jumping, and some getting sewn up. Special anniversaries. Llamas dustbathing then snoozing in the sun. Birthdays and fiber washing. Lambs are growing, some going off to their new homes. Board games and days off for special projects. And the "Kernal" (above), all the while wandering to and from her little swimming pool, calling to her grazing, scratching flock of chickens warning of unseen dangers. Ahh, Summer!

Happy 60th Mom and Dad!!! You're awesome!!

Monday, June 25, 2012

Last call!

 This is the last call for ram lambs.  If you are interested in a Finnsheep ram lamb thru us, you need to contact us before June 30, 2012. On that date they will be whethered for abattoir lambs. Contact us soon at: walnutspringsfarm@hughes.net

Monday, May 7, 2012

C'est Fini!

The last of the 2012 lambs was born 3 weeks ago and are thriving. All are out in pasture rotation with their Mamas and the first group of lambs are being weaned already. All the lambs are thriving this year, we have been very blessed.
Let us know if you are looking for lambs!!! Walnutspringsfarm@hughes.net

 A nice group of Finnsheep triplets, born to Ivy. Sweet dispositions, luscious fleeces, and fast growing bodies .

 A delightful pair of FinnShetland ewe lambs, born to Bella, a Shetland with an awesome fleece. I can't get over their little white hats markings!  You sure can see them across the pasture. I can hardly wait to play with these fleeces!!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

The end of the lambing drought!

 Our lambing drought is over! Check out our new lambing entries, photos coming soon. Just 2 ewes left to lamb, both are bred to our Finn ram.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Lambing is....

Taking forever!  There is nothing like having no control over an event to make one learn patience. We seem to be getting a lesson in patience.  We have 10 beautiful healthy lambs on the ground,  yet we wait and watch for we have 7 ewes left to go and they seem to have decided that they'd prefer to wait a while. I am hoping they don't all decide to lamb en mass in one day. Last year that is precisely what 4 of them did, we wound up with 4 sets of quads, one set of triplets, and a single commercial making for one very busy lamb filled 12 hours. While this definitely speaks to our Finn ram's abilities, it was more than a bit nerve racking for the shepherds, and they ewes always seem choose a day when I am supposed to be out of town.
Perhaps they are waiting on a good low front? 

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Lambing log has been updated

Our 2012 lamb log is up to date as of 3/15/2012.  All but the last 2 lambs born are out enjoying the wonderful weather. We have the Finnsheep and Shetland left to lamb, so please feel free to follow along!

Happy St. Patrick's Day!! May the luck of the Irish be with you all!!

Saturday, March 10, 2012

New lamb photos!

I have updated to 2012 lamb page with current photos and information on all lambs born to date.
Check it out!

 Happy Spring!

Friday, March 9, 2012

Available French Angoras

We have 4 nice french angoras available. 3 does and a VERY nice Buck.
AVAILABLE Junior is a Senior Buck, age days over a year. He has 1 leg toward his Grand Championship. I have to let him go because I haven't any does not related. As much as I love him and want to keep him he needs to be a herd sire. $75.
Annabella, is going to have ear tassels!! I love frenchies
with ear tassels!!


AVAILABLE Annabella is just one of those bunnies that screams potential. She is Junior's, the buck listed above, biological sibling but not littermate. She gets beaten by him on the show table, hence the no legs. She is mellow in personality. Sr Doe, age 9 months, $50.
 SOLD Icing was born at Thanksgiving, she is a sweet little junior doe. She has a very very nice body under her fleece and a sweet personality!!   Jr doe: age 4 months, $50.

SOLD!! This is Arrabella, she is a litter mate to Annabella.
She is being sold as a wooler with out pedigree, I don't think
she has enough guard hair for a show rabbit, That however makes her
 great for wooling. She is extraordinarly docile. $25/wooler.

Happy Spring!!!

I thought you might all enjoy this short video I took last Wednesday afternoon plus a few of this week's lamb photos. Normally we do not pasture lamb, I saw this ewe at chore time in the morning and thought I should have put her in a stall but ignored my instinct. By the time I saw what she was doing a couple hours later, it was too late to move her to the barn for lambing. Our brown and white llama, Buster, paced in the woods about 50 feet away during the whole birth like an expectant father. Before the second lamb was able to get up he had rushed over to greet them. Buster is our bonded llama meaning he is bonded to the flock, while Dot is the guard, meaning she handles any intruders. You can see how Buster loves on the babies while Dot sets up an immediate guard over the Mama and babies. We are soooo loving these llamas! Both Mama sheep and daughters are doing great!

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

LAMBING 2012 has begun!!!!!

 We had our first 2012 lamb born!!  Hop and skip on over to the 2012 lamb page to see how lambing is going.

Friday, February 17, 2012

New lambing jugs

 The flock is doing well and lambs are due very soon. I started this entry in January and since then we have tweaked to original design of our new lambing jugs... here is where we are on the project. Lambing jug walls done, first version of the jug doors discarded  on several of the jugs and kept on others, version 2 in the installation phase, aka got one up, while we left version 1 up in one jug, still discussing swapping the third jug door.

 JUG WALLS
 Since we didn't want our jugs to stay up all year round due to wanting to provide the entire flock with a safe place to be if needed, we created our own easy to put up and tear down jug walls that are stable while up. Thanks to a long needed retaining wall project finally getting built here on the farm we wound up with several very sturdy pallets in good condition. We covered each of those with a 1/4 inch plywood to provide privacy a wind block since our barn is open one the side.  We pounded in 2 Tposts in spaced about 10 inches in from the ends of each pallet then slid the plywood dressed pallets down over the Tposts. Voila! Lambing jug walls that will stay up and will be easy to remove when lambing is over, thus allowing us to retain the loafing stall for the rest of the year. We'll simply slide the dressed pallets up and off and remove the Tposts with either the small tractor or if we splurge and get the T post puller bracket that fits on a deadman jack.

JUG DOORS
Our original design was to create plywood doors on hinges. We wanted something solid to keep drafts off newborn lambs who might get easily chilled. Plywood fit the bill, hanging was easy with just a couple hinges screwed onto the end of the pallets, it was latches that became the issue. We needed latches that are Finnsheep proof (clever vixens!) so originally hook and eyes were suggested but then the worry became could they accidentally cut or gouge an animal. That certainly isn't wanted. The more we looked at the plywood doors the more we didn't like them. Somehow chain link gates kept popping into mind. Drafts on newborn lambs now became an issue. We settled on a typical blue tarp trimmed to size, and bought a cheap grommet kit and affixed the customized tarp to the chain link with zip ties. Now to affix the gate. We hung the gate with " pipe holders" that we found in the plumbing aisle, screwed into the wood on the pallet, latches are a simple chain and clip.


 Voila, bring on the lambs!!

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Neat article

Hey all,

I just read a neat article posted in the Shetland yahoo group this week regarding tea tree oil and some tests that have been done in Australia. The results look very encouraging for tea tree oil as a deterrant. While we haven't had fly strike or keds in our flock I think the concept the article presents is one that could be applied perhaps to a farmer made premise spray.

Thoughts or experiences using tea tree oil in your flocks? Anyone already have recipes that use use for your farm?
http://sl.farmonline.com.au/news/state/livestock/sheep/tea-tree-oil-beats-fly-strike-and-sheep-lice/2430626.aspx?storypage=1

 I am pondering researching and creating a tea tree oil premise spray and testing it on non animal contact areas this coming spring and summer. Worst case is I return to what I currently use, best case it works and I get rid of a few flies (hopefully spiders!).

Blessings to all.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Happy 2012...a few days late!!

Well, thanks to a wild schedule, the passing of a very beloved and treasured family member, and my mother being hospitalized for a prolonged illness. I have completely missed the holidays and the New Year here online. I've wanted to start new tradition, a Walnut Springs Farm gallery of the previous year's projects at the end of 2011 but life got in the way. So here we are.  While the beginning of last year was dominated by 2 of the most delightful bottle lambs ever, we still did get projects done. Here is a bit of what we created:

I wouldn't be a good lamb parent, if I didn't put the project we are most proud of on here, Blizzard and Snowstorm!!! They have really blessed us all in 2011.
On to handmade items.;)

The kids made felted wool eggs and a felted loom knit hat. These were gifts for their respective donors thru the American Livestock Conservancy's Youth for Preservation of Rare Breed of Sheep Program.



100% success!!!! This is 100% French Angora handspun yarn made by me with fleece from our herd of French Angoras.  This is a major triumph, after 2 years of wheel spinning, I could spin angora wool mixed with sheep wool but I couldn't get an all angora yarn spun. I finally got a 100% angora to work for me!! This bit is destined to trim out a knitting loom roving hat as the brim.

My homemade PVC Niddy Noddy (adjustable from 1 yard to 2 yards) with some of my bulky Navajo plied handspun. Blue- merino, White- cormo, Black- Finnsheep. This made an open faced ski mask.
 I invested in a pair of Valkyrie combs fall of 2011, it was love at first comb. Here is some of our Black Border Leicester combed.
We processed quite a few homegrown pumpkins..  This is amazing variety called Blue Moon, an heirloom that will defintetly grow here again. You can see the difference between the variety New England Pie , the orange one on top as compared to the variety Blue Moon. There were few seeds and massive pumpkin flesh in the Blue Moon, and it tastes great!
  We canned 36 Quarts of applesauce, about 1/2 of those were black raspberry sauce which although it was an experiment is now a family favorite. The blueberry applesauce is a popular second.
Another loomed open faced ski mask. This one was done with store bought yarn while on vacation The hat turned out ok exactly as the sensitive skin son who requested it desired, the yarn is super soft and it looks like chain mail. But I am never triple wrapping with this yarn ever ever again, it was a giant  headache. I like the look and texture, just not working with the yarn.
 My daughter and I took a dying silk scarves class at the Bishop Hill Fiber Guild's 2011 Spin-In. Little did we know that we would fall in love with the process. This is my scarf #1.
 My scarf #2.. not my favorite.
 My daughter's scarf #1


 My daughter's scarf #2... My all time favorite.. how she got copper and teal is anybody's guess as they weren't dye options.  Turned out awesome!!
 
We took what we learned in the class and from Ravelry and dyed silk hankies for the ladies on our christmas list. We used Wiltons icing dyes and had a blast!

While my Mom has been in the hospital I have had plenty of idle hours to sit nearby. As I need something to do with my hands when I am sitting at a hospital I cranked out the washclothes and a few frilly hair scrunchies. I got the pattern for the hair scrunchie at www.caron.com/projects/ss_party/sspar_scrunchie.html This isn't a very good photo of it, it makes the whole thing look rather chunky but it isn't it is very feminine and lacy looking.

 I hated the yarn from the 2nd ski mask above so much I decided to use it in a project that has been lurking in my mind for a while now. I created a simple loom of pvc for weaving of small rugs.(more on that later) I don't know how well the rug will hold up since it is made from a yucky yarn but I'll give it a try, if the dog winds up with an new bed then so be it.. either way I won't have to knitting loom or crochet with that yarn again.
 HAPPY CREATING in 2012!!!!!