Pine Needle Farm

  (Kila, Montana)
The adventures of raising cashmere goats.
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My Dream Come True!

My dream has come true after 9 years!  I have my own cashmere dehairing machine!!!  Now I can process mine and other people's cashmere into cloud ready to spin, or process further at another mill.  This has been a dream of mine ever since I got into raising these wonderful creatures.

   Since there aren't many of these machines in use in this country, and I am the only one concentrating exclusively on cashmere, that I know of anyway, I expect to be happily buried in cashmere for the rest of my life. 

  I am getting everything all set up and organized gradually.  The machine came a month early, so I don't have a building built for it, it is in the corner of the hayshed now.   I was trying to get a little loan to build a real dehairing room for it, but no one will loan me any money without collateral, so I am going to have to build walls around the machine where it sits now, dehair like crazy all winter, and get something built next year.  Not the ideal situation, but I can make it work.  I am feeding mostly round bales of hay this year, so I don't need every inch of space in the shed, I think this will be okay for this winter.  As long as I am warm and dry while working on the cashmere, that is all that matters.  It will be tight quarters, but it will work.  I am just so excited to have the machine here!

     Now that I am dehairing cashmere full-time, I won't be doing the Farmers' Market anymore.  I'll kind of miss the interaction with people.  I've met a lot of nice, interesting people through there.  But, one door closes, another one opens.  Onward and upward I go! :-)

 
 

It's still raining!

It is still raining.  We did have two nice days over the week-end, especially Saturday.  The Farmers' Market went well.  I sold a couple of cashmere scarves, goat milk soap, and met some interesting people.  Lots of people were interested in my spinning.  I take my spinning wheel so I can get some spinning done, and it really helps pass the time between customers.  It also gives people the opportunity to see a spinning wheel in action.  Very few people have actually seen someone spinning.  They read about it in books, but never see a real one.  Hopefully I've inspired at least one child to take it up at some point in their life, and also to get an adult or two back into it. 

   While the sun was shining yesterday, I got the beans planted finally.  I'm re-doing all the garden beds into Square Foot beds.  It's amazing how much one can actually get into a four foot by four foot bed!  I planted 134 onions, and 38 carrots in one bed.  Since the soil is nice and fluffy, and you don't ever step in it, or compact it in any way, the plants can be put closer together.  It's easier to weed, water and take care of.

   We have had over four inches of rain in the last week or so.  The ground is saturated now.  The goats are in a mud pie in their pen, at least around the gate.  I'm finding big flat rocks and making a pathway for them, and me, to get through the mud.  At least with all the rain, I'm not having to water anything.  I'm also getting in some good spinning time in the house, since I can't be outside doing things.

 Well, back to work..... 

 
 

More rain

It just keeps on raining.  We have an inch now, and it's still coming down.  It let up for a couple of hours this afternoon, so I let the goats out for a while. 

   Since I was inside, I did some spinning, crocheting and cheese making.  It's good to have an "inside" day to get things done.

  Yesterday I was out in the garden most of the day.  The strawberry/asparagus bed is finally completely weeded, at least for the time being.  It was pretty bad.  There was enough vegetation that came out of it to feed all the goats a good amount.  They enjoyed that!

   We are getting a good amount of asparagus this year.  It is so good.  I made my first "cream of asparagus" soup tonight.  It was okay.  Next time I'm going to make my own version, now that I know the basics. 

  We are going back to the Square Foot gardening method.  I've made six beds so far.  Got 134 onions planted in one, plus two squares of carrots.  You can get a lot of veggies in one bed!  I planted potatoes in two others.  Peas along the back of three of them.  It will be interesting to see how it all goes this year.  This spring has been slow, so the garden is just now getting planted.  Thankfully, we usually have a late autumn, so we should still get a good harvest.

  Well, that's it for now.  More as it happens.....

 
 
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