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

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?

 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 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!!!!!