Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Arkansas Fiber Extravaganza

This event was moved to Hot Springs from Mt Magazine to grow the event. The venue (convention center) was big and well lit; and the city itself is nice. Winter is the off season, but I really enjoy that more.

This originated as a retreat, but with growth comes change and this is more of a festival now were you come for an hour or so to shop and then leave. There were classes to enjoy from some fine teachers so you could hang out for a few extra hours. Unfortunately, there was a $15.00 door charge, ouch! It included one admission to the Vendor Room for the weekend with the opening cocktail hour and opening remarks / meet and greet with Annie Modesitt plus a complimentary tote bag.

Here are a few pics of my booth from the show...

Here is my new line, Tree Silk Batts. I'll be adding handspun Tree Silk Yarns as well at a later date.


New Kits

Well when I bred 3 does a month ago I completely forgot about going to Arkansas for the Fiber Extravaganza in Hot Springs. Let this be a lesson for others....check your calender before breeding anything. They started gathering hay right before we were scheduled to leave and to top it off 2 of the 3 are new mothers and freezing temps were expected. Couldn't change anything so we left instructions for various "go wrong" senarios and hoped for the best.

As it happened 2 waited to have their litters until we returned, giving birth on Monday afternoon. The 3rd, and oldest doe, did not take so no litter from her. I'll try her again latter.
The black doe had 7 kits.
The choclate doe had 7 as well, but lost 2 to the cold when they didn't get into the nest quickly enough. I tried reviving them in my shirt, but I was too late.

I was really pleased with both does, making good nests and pulling enough fur to keep the kits warm. 1st time does don't go well at times. I did bring them in for the night and took them out the does in the morning to feed them. We'll keep that schedule up until the kits have fur and open their eyes. I'm concerned the high winds combined with the cold will be too much for the kits at this age.


Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Texas Wildfires

I've had a couple of inquires if I was safe from the fires so I want to assure everybody that I am and we currently have no fires in our county. We do have smoke blowing in from the fires, but it isn't too bad.

As a precaution 2 trees were cut down in the yard we thought would be a hazard. The winds have died down, but it is still bone dry here and still no rain in the forecast.

So far we have 68 days at 100 or above with a real chance of adding more.

The temps moderated with a cold front that came in and the rabbits are very happy, but it will go back up shortly. We are enjoying the short respite even if it has no rain to go with it.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

The Heat

It has been a very long time since I last posted. Not a great deal has changed with the rabbits. They are all happy and healthy (considering the heat) and I'm doing the best I can to bring them through the current heat wave.

I have bred them to be hardy with the heat, and have been giving them ice bottles several times a day and frosty water bottles to drink from. The fans are running 24 hours a day. Some are really smart, drinking the cold water and laying on the ice bottles, but sometimes they just won't co-operate.

My oldest herd sire was one of the those. I was outside working when I heard a rabbit cry out. It is rarely a good thing when they vocalize. He was in distress so I carried him inside and put him in the refrigerator to try and cool him down without sending him into shock. Unfortunately, he passed away.

Everyone I know with livestock is experiencing similar losses. Temperatures have been above 100 for a month and are expected to continue. Yesterday 110 and it will be 110 today. And to top it off, it is still and quiet; not a breath of air at times.

It is so hot that a squirrel was lying on the soaker hose that I have in my yard. I really wish I had been able to get a picture.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Shearing sheep

On Monday, Presidents Day, I drove out to a friends' farm, Fancy Fibers Farm, to help out with the shearing day for the sheep and goats. Mary Berry, owner, has an assortment of cashmere and cashgora goats, shetland sheep and a border leister sheep. She also has suri alpaca, but those won't be done till March.

I had a great time! I worked with the shearer doing sweeping, bagging, minor skirting, etc.... He was very good and very fast so I really concentrated on keeping out of his way.

photo credits Copyright All rights reserved by iteachdigital

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Homestead and homesteading is now a four letter word

I just learned of this and was shocked! Don't use homestead or homesteading as a noun or verb or you will be subject to a cease and desist letter from the family of Dervae. I hadn't heard of them before this news came out. They have managed to trademark a common everyday term.

They've sent cease and desist letters to the Santa Monica Public Library for hosting a free event on urban homesteading and have forced Facebook to shut down several groups with "urban homesteading" in the title. This is priceless.

They were denied Dec 9, 2008, on several counts, but managed to get it on appeal from the US Patent and Trademark Office.

Comments given to the Bay Citizen, reported by Twilight Greenaway (full article):

On the phone this afternoon Jules Dervaes acknowledged sending the letter to 16 organizations and businesses (including two publishers), and requesting that the Facebook pages be taken down. He did want to clarify that – contrary to some rumors – he has not gone after blogs or individuals. “They're all commercial ventures that rival us,” he said. Because the Dervaeses travel often for workshops and talks, he says, the trademark is applicable outside of their hometown of Los Angeles.

Mr. Dervaes is concerned that his intent has been blown out of proportion by challengers, and says “We didn’t come up the name but we came up with the application.” He says his family spent three years convincing the United States Patent and Trademark Office that their use of the term was unique, and had to appeal several times because it was so similar to “urban home,” a previously trademarked term.

“If someone else would have done it first, all my work of ten years would be in jeopardy,” he adds. “We didn’t mean to bully anyone. These marks are what people do to make sure no one infringes on their ideas – they’re to give people who develop something protection. That’s why people like Apple and Nike do it. We did what other normal people would have done.”

The last paragraph clearly indicates that the idea of urban homestead and urban homesteading was his idea and his alone. Really?

This article probably sums things up best. The Dervae clan clearly want to promote themselves rather than the ideal of urban homesteading.

The inevitable result is donation monies going toward defending a phrase. How useful is that? Who is benefiting?

If you've linked to any of their sites in the past (urbanhomestead.org, dervaesgardens.com, peddlerswagon.com, freedomgardens.org, barnyardsandbackyards.org, and homegrownrevolutionfilm.com), I recommend you take down the links.

Maybe we just hand the P&T Office a dictionary and tell them to have at it and put a trademark on every word and just be done with it.


From an interview given to the Telegraph, a British publication, the goal of their business is to establish a village of 60 families in South America on several hundred acres. Jules Dervae indicated that he was offering for 600 acres at the time the article was written in July '09, and that it was somewhere safe and isolated.

The moment I read that Jones Town was my next thought.

The adult children talk about putting their personal love lives on hold for their fathers' ideals and goals. Why is that necessary?

IMHO this is a cult mentality.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Winter yoyo

We had a 3rd winter blast early this week. It was some snow and ice, but really just super cold. We weathered it well and now we are heading into the 70's by next week. One extreme to the other really doesn't make it easy on people or plants.

This weekend I am shooting to get the fruit trees and roses trimmed up for the year. The rabbits could use a grooming.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Icey Roads

A rant:

North Texas gets ice on the roads for a certain time each winter. It will stay from 1 day to 5+ in each hit. The major roads are somewhat de-iced with sand and chemicals. No snow plows.

If you get on the roads you are taking a big risk from people who don't understand that you should only travel in these conditions for real reasons, such as work. Going for donuts is not a necessary trip! And for Gods sakes get off your *((&(((* cell phone.

During a recent week of ice I watched 2 people, on icey roads, on CELL PHONES, run through 2 different stop signs. And not because it would be safer to roll through them; they didn't see them. The arrogance is exasperating. Are you really that important?! Will the world stop turning because you couldn't talk while driving?! It didn't for 100,000 years before the cell phone came into being. And I am 100% positive the world will stay on it's axis if you don't talk while driving.

It has been demonstrated that we can't even walk and operate a cell phone at the same time so what in the world makes up think it is better to do it while driving!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Friday, February 4, 2011

More winter

Overnight 4 inches of snow came down. It is the perfect, light, powdery, fluff.

I was afraid we weren't going to get enough chill hours for the fruit trees to set properly. I don't think that is going to be an issue anymore.

Last Saturday my chocolate doe gave birth to 4 healthy kits, 3 chocolates, and 1 white. I decided to bring them in to raise them since the wind chill was below zero the day after their birth. Mom is brought in in the morning and she feeds them. She is an experienced mother so she is easy to work with.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Winter with a vengence

Well the time has flown and I have been incredibly busy. I thought we were going to get away with our usual cold, if over dry, winter. That changed in a heart beat. We had wind chills 5-10 below 0.

The snow was blown into the rabbit hutch. The expression on the little faces as they looked at me, each huddled in a corner of their cage, snow covered backs to the wind, was priceless. You could visualize them with a cross expression, tapping foot, and crossed arms. They were so unhappy with me and the weather.

I went to each one and brushed out the snow, gave them warm water in their bowls, fresh hay, and hugs. They were much more relaxed after that.

We also had a visitor to the hutch. The big, bad, wolf,
came by, really coyote. He/she looks healthy. He didn't stay long and went back into the woods without going any closer to the rabbits.

I got bad news from a farm I buy Shetland fleece from every year. Lael, owner of Maple Wood North, let me know that Cricket had passed away in her sleep, age 10. I have been buying Cricket's fleece for 8 years.

She had warned me last year that Cricket was looking and feeling her age. Cricket was my standing order. I feel I have lost a friend.

I'll be at Mary Berry's Winter Retreat February 19 to vend, teach, and relax. I'm doing a class, Hand Cards vs Combs. It should be fun!