Pine Needle Farm

  (Kila, Montana)
The adventures of raising cashmere goats.
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The Perfection in Silence

This evening after I was done feeding all the animals, I just stopped and listened for a few minutes.  It was absolutely still and quiet out.  I just stood there and absorbed the silence.  The snow on the trees and ground was muffling all sound, and it was so beautiful out, that I just had to stop and feel it.  A special moment indeed.

 

   The goats are all well.  They are in full fleece and so soft now!  I love just going out there and petting them and burying my hands in their cashmere.  I really am a lucky person to live where I do and have all these wonderful creatures around me.  Working with cashmere is so great!

  There are 14 does that are pregnant now, so there will be lots of babies come Spring.  

  This fall I had some helpxers up here helping me get things ready for winter.  They were all great, and sure were a huge help!  I look forward to next year and more of them coming and staying for a week or so at a time and helping me get the things accomplished that I want to.  

  I'm hoping to get a little guest cabin built, so people can stay in a more comfortable place than my little camper.  Although the bed in the camper is comfortable, there just isn't much room in it.  I really want to start a farm stay here, which will grow into a fiber arts retreat center in a few years.  I would love to have a space to hold classes, have informal spin-ins, knit-ins, etc. The land around us is perfect for hiking, so outdoor activities will be featured, too.  That is the dream, and I am starting to seriously work towards that in 2013.   Summer will be spent building the cabin to get started.  I have a vision for this place that is pretty neat.  

Well, have a great Holiday Season everyone! 

 
 

Cashmere everywhere!

The cashmere I'm dehairing is starting to take over the house! Pretty soon I'll be asking my husband what he'd like for dinner with his cashmere. :-) I am really going to build a "real" dehairing room next year for sure. There will be lots of room for fiber storage in there, too. My tulip bed is amost ready to start blooming. There are going to be around 200 blooms this year! The daffodils are looking really pretty now, too. My goats are so bored having to stay in their pens now! The grass and other forage is just starting to grow well. We had a nice rain today, so if the sun comes out and it warms up, everything will really take off. I have promised the goats they get to go out on June 1st. It's not helping that we have four to seven deer that have decided to live on our place. They are eating the grass as soon as it starts to come up. The four kids are doing great. Growing fast. Astrid's two are just as full of it as she is. Always getting into something they aren't supposed to. They are the only two that go through the fence into the other pens, too. Mariah and Luna stay in the pen with their moms like good little kids. We had our first meal of asparagus the other night. Boy was that good! Yummm!!! I cheated and bought some lettuce starts, and some cabbage starts at the FM on Saturday. They are growing already, and I just planted them three days ago. I'm also going to plant some seeds in the next couple of days. We haven't eaten lettuce all winter, except at friends' houses. We like to try and eat locally grown food (mostly our own) as much as possible. So lettuce in the winter is not on the menu. The strawbale wall in the greenhouse is now stuccoed, so DH has planted his tomatoes, peppers and eggplants. He still has some work to do in there, but at least the important stuff is in the ground now. I've finally figured out a work schedule that is really working. I was trying to do a little of everything every day, and that just wasn't working very well. So now I have decided to focus only on cashmere four days a week, and do all the farm stuff the other three days. Of course the feeding is every day, twice a day. But gardening, cleaning, fencing , all that good stuff only happens on the three days away from cashmere. I'll get a lot more done on both fronts now. Well, that's it for now....
 
 

Happy New Year!

Well, it's hard to believe 2011 is here already.  2010 went by in the blink of an eye, it seems.  Lots of things happened last year.  Not the least, me getting my dream come true, a cashmere dehairing machine!

  I am out there almost every day, weather permitting, dehairing cashmere.  I have a nice little room built around the machine, but it isn't really well insulated, so if it gets below about 14 degrees outside, it's too cold to work in there, even with the Buddy heater going full blast.  We are having a real winter this year.  Lots and lots of snow, and cold temperatures.  Haven't had this much snow in years, especially this early.  

    The goats are all doing well.  I did the first-of-the-year hoof trimming and all of that good stuff on the dairy goats Sunday.  Now they are ready for the rest of the winter.  Finally got Belle bred, she didn't take the first two times I put her in with a buck.  Now she seems to be pregnant, so I hope she carries it full-term, and it's a girl this time, or girls.  She usually has twins.  I was looking back in her records, and she has had 15 kids over the years.  Dottie has had 17!  A whole herd of goats from just those two.  I don't even have any of their off-spring any more, except for Jared, Belle's kid from last year, who I kept as a buck.  But, he's a mixture of all the dairy breeds, so he's not pure-bred, so nobody wants to buy him. He's related to all the dairy does, so I'll put him in the freezer one of these days.  I should have "wetherized" him when he was little, but I wanted to see what kind of kids he'd throw.  He did throw three nice looking kids this last year.  Nice markings and conformation.  Oh well...Hopefully someone will come along and want him.... 

   

 
 

An interesting week-end

  I had an interesting week-end up at the Eureka!  Fiber Festival in Eureka, MT.  They have a nice, relaxed, laid-back atmosphere up there, and it is a fun festival to go to.  There are classes on most things fiber related.  Vendors to buy lovely fibery things from, contests to enter, and even things for kids to do.  I took a "Needlefelted Pixie" class form Laurel Orthmeyer that was fun, and my "pixie" turned out pretty good.  If I knew how to upload pictures on here, I'd put one up, but I don't .  I haven't figured that out yet. :-)  I entered a skein of handspun cashmere yarn that took second place, and a farm photo of my goats that got reserve grand champion, so that was a bonus.  I got to see my fibery friends that I only see at these events.  A fun time was had by all!

   Back on the homefront, everything is going pretty good.  Just waiting for my cashmere to be dehaired so I can get to spinning it up.  I have two local stores that want to carry it now!   All my hard work is finally starting to pay off.  This is exciting!

   The goats are all doing quite well.  Their cashmere is coming in pretty good on all but the does with kids on them still.  They won't sprout their cashmere till the kids are weaned in October.  Right now I have 61 goats.  There are 18 for sale on my website.  I don't really want to part with any of them, but I can't keep them all.  I don't have enough land for that.  There are some pet quality ones, and some breeding stock ones.

   The garden is doing pretty good.  The strawberries are all but done now, the zuchini is almost ready, and the beans and other veggies are growing.    We got such a late start to the season this year, I hope we get a good harvest.

   The four or five baby chicks are growing.  I'm not getting many eggs now since there are a few broody hens that insist on setting instead of laying.  There is one guinea setting on a nest, we'll see if anything hatches out of it.  There are still 5 baby turkeys, they are growing well.  Getting into the garden and eating bugs.

  

 
 
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