Sunrise Haven Farm

“Broken ground, open and beckoning to the spring; black dirt live again”

Archive for the ‘Farm Life’ Category

Apr
24

Three More Fleeces

Posted by Sharon

I have three more fleeces available for sale (the fleeces I posted last month for sale have all been sold)! These three  fleeces were held back from the initial sale, so that I could have them tested for fineness.

The softness of wool fibers is determined by their diameter, which is measured in microns. Merino sheep, for example, produce fiber that is in the 10-24 micron range (the lower the number, the finer the fiber). I had read and been told that the average fiber diameter for California Red sheep is in the low 30s – still very soft, but I wouldn’t recommend knitting baby clothes out of it.

So here they are the details on the fleeces for sale. I will try to get some pictures up shortly but I’m going to be unavailable during the most of May so if you’re interested please contact me THIS WEEK!!

Fleeces for sale:

Trinidad – 3.5lbs, average fiber diameter 28.6 microns

Tobago – 4.5lbs, average fiber diameter 29.9 microns

Princess – 6lbs, average fiber diameter 30.1 microns

Mar
18

Fresh Fleeces

Posted by Sharon

Here are a four of the skirted fleeces I have available! There is a tips-up and cut ends-up picture of each. Well-skirted fleeces are priced at $20/lb ($1.25/oz)

SOLD -Violet (5 year old ewe), 5.5lbs skirted

Tara (5 year old ewe), 2lbs skirted

SOLD -Megadeth (1 year old wether, first shearing/hogget fleece), 3.2lbs skirted
NOTE: this is my darkest/reddest fleece of the year!

Motorhead (1 year old wether, first shearing/hogget fleece), 3.9lbs skirted

Mar
15

Shearing Day!

Posted by Sharon

The flock will be sheared (shorn?) tomorrow, March 16th! I am looking forward to playing with this year’s fleeces. If you are interested in purchasing raw fleece please drop me a note. It feels so strange to not have lambs bouncing around at this time of year, but I didn’t breed any of the ewes last fall so no spring lambs this year. However I do plan to begin breeding some of the ewes very soon for fall lambs! So the new batch of bouncing babies should arrive late August/September 2012.

Dec
08

YARN!

Posted by Sharon

So exciting, I have yarn again! My latest batch of California Red wool yarn has arrived home after being spun at the mill. I can’t keep my fingers off of it and anticipate many joyous hours dyeing, knitting and fondling it in my future. And you can too!  Try some pure undyed California Red wool yarn for $15/skein (approx 3.75oz/160yds) plus shipping.

For those that prefer to spin their own, I also have roving available in ‘light’ and ‘dark’ varieties, priced at $2/oz.

Aug
29

Yarnbombing

Posted by Sharon

I’ve been so busy this month! I really should get out of the habit of saying that I’ve been really busy, and that I’m going to write here more often – but I do mean it every time. My main motivation for this post is, as the title says, yarnbombing! I love this concept and have admired others’ work for years now, but had never tried it myself. Well now I have! I yarnbombed the ugly bent black metal railing in my stairway, and I think it’s just lovely. OK maybe it’s not technically yarnbombing since it’s inside my own home, but it was good practice – though it was quite a bit more work than I had anticipated – and I do love the results. I think I may do some outdoor yarnbombings around the property in the future. Ta Da!

Jul
14

The dog days of summer

Posted by Sharon

Yes, it’s hot out there, but I don’t think we can blame it on the star Sirius being too close to the sun as the ancient Greeks and Romans did.  The pond is really low again, almost back down to drought levels. My list of outdoor chores to be accomplished keeps growing and growing, while I hide out in the basement or in the kiddie pool trying not to melt. Sigh. But I have been accomplishing some of my summer tasks.  The berries have all been picked and made into jams; I have many many jars of blackberry and raspberry jam to get us through another year. We have only one lonely patio tomato plant (due to the garden construction and deer invasion issues) but it is producing a few nice red edible tomatos.  The farmer down the street has started harvesting a bumper crop so I think I’m going to get a bunch of hers to use for canning sauce and paste and such this year.

The sheep are doing well, though I’m sure they are hot too. Not much work to do with them at this time of year, they graze, and lie in the shade, and pant. My most important task for them during this season is to ensure they have constant access to fresh clean water. But not too cold – they don’t like it very cold the way it comes up from the well.  They wait for it to warm up a bit to lukewarm/room temp before drinking. I think it’s kind of funny.

July is also the Tour de Fleece month!  The Tour de Fleece is a challenge for handspinners that follows the Tour de France bike tournament.  Spinners are challenged to spin every day the bikers are pedaling in the Tour de France.  “The concept is simple; when they spin, we spin.”  This year the tour runs from July 2nd through July 24th, with two rest days on July 11th and 18th.  I’ve been doing pretty well, and have spun every day that I’ve been home during the Tour. However I had to travel for a few days and I don’t know how to spin on a spindle yet, so I spent that time trying to learn to use a spindle since I can’t take my wheel with me traveling. I’m going to say that counts. I spent the beginning of the tour spinning my California Red roving. This was roving produced from the lightest/whitest of my sheep, and was my first time making a three-ply yarn. I’m very excited. It took a long time and is very inconsistent and pilly and slubby and overtwisted in many spots… but I love it.

Jun
10

June is for berries

Posted by Sharon

Hot hot hot. I suppose I should be thankful that the floods of spring have ended. The ground did indeed dry out a few weeks ago, enough for me to till up the garden and plant the first of the tomato and pepper seedlings that I’d started indoors.  Brave (stupid?) soul that I am, I planted the seedlings the day before we planned to install the deer fence, hoping the deer wouldn’t notice them for one night. But of course they did, and yes, most of the seedlings were eaten by deer before I awoke the next day. Sigh. This led me to procrastinate and not rush on finishing the deer fence, which I expect to finish this coming weekend. I am hoping to still get some late summer and fall veggies planted, but worst case, I’ll have a nice big garden bed all ready to start early next spring!

In the meantime, I have been blackberry picking every day this week! We have far more raspberries than blackberries here (most of them are wild, not cultivated) and I usually don’t notice the berries ripening until it’s the raspberries turn. But not this year! I have already made a few pints of blackberry sorbet, and my first batch of blackberry jam is cooling as I write this.  The raspberries should start ripening in another couple weeks. I think I might even try to make my own raspberry liquor or wine this year… I’ve always wanted to try that.

The sheep are hot too, not moving around too much. Two of the lambs have been sold, and I have four beautiful wethered lambs still available for sale.  I’ve also decided to sell my two yearling rams. If anyone is interested please email me – info@sunrisehavenfarm.com

Next up on the fiber-crafting front is homemade felt! I saved some of this year’s raw fleece for felting experiments and I’m going to try to make some old-style hand-rolled sheets of felt out of it as soon as I can block off the time to start the project. I love trying new things, which is much of why I love my job/life – there’s always a new adventure waiting right around the haybale!

May
06

I Love California Reds!

Posted by Sharon

I am embarrassed to say that I forgot to mention in my last post that I was recently elected to the Board of Directors of the California Red Sheep Registry! I adore my Reds and I’m looking forward to becoming more active in the Registry. As a part of my never-ending quest to promote this amazing breed, I knit a little example California Red sheep to use as an education aid.  I knit the majority of it using my undyed California Red yarn, and dyed some of my yarn that lovely cinnamon color (using cutch, a natural dye). And it’s stuffed with California Red roving! So really the only part of my knit Red that wasn’t produced by my Reds is the plastic craftstore eyes. I think she’s lovely and will help me explain and describe Reds to potential customers.  I plan to make a Red lamb or two out of the rest of the dyed yarn as well (at least its on the enormous projects-to-do list).

As for the REAL sheep, they are doing wonderfully. The lambs are weaning, and I have FIVE beautiful wethers weaned and available for sale now. They are gorgeous fiber animals, and from 100% registered California Red stock. However they cannot be registered themselves (the Registry does not allow the registration of wethers). I have STILL not been able to till the garden bed due to floods on top of floods. There’s still hope for getting some vegetables into the ground though, I suspect the rain will lessen from here on through the summer. Dreaming of canning tomato sauce already… I’ve got to stop getting ahead of myself like this. So I will focus my thoughts and attention on the always amazing and checkbook-breaking Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival – at least until Monday!

Apr
24

Fiber fun!

Posted by Sharon

It’s been a busy month here! The lambs are growing, fat and bouncy. They are a joy to watch bounding across the fields at play.  It has been a VERY wet spring and parts of the pasture are very swampy so I’ve been keeping a close eye on their hooves, but so far everyone seems to be doing just fine. They are smart enough to avoid the swampy areas on their own, for the most part.  However the extreme wetness has kept me from progressing as far as I’d like on the gardens. I was able to make a first pass on tilling the garden space before we were hit with the floods, and I’m now waiting for it to dry out enough to complete the tilling and get to planting! In the meantime I have planted some radishes in the front garden and started tomato and pepper seedlings as well as basil, oregano and parsley indoors.

And… fiber fiber everywhere! I built myself a new skirting table, and I’m in the process of painting it.

But I couldn’t wait to finish skirting the fleeces! They are now all done for the season and I can get back to painting the skirting table at my leisure. I’ll be using this for drying fleeces after washing also. I designed it to so that it can be folded in half with ample space (32″x36″x4″ interior when folded) to hold washed fleece for drying outdoors.

I have also been dyeing new yarn colors whenever the weather permits. I’m very happy with the way these have turned out.  As if I wasn’t busy enough, I couldn’t resist starting some new knitting projects with the new colors.

Mar
22

Finished with shearing

Posted by Sharon

Up bright and early today to prepare for shearing the remainder of the flock! When I got to the barn this morning, the moon was preparing to set over the trees to the west, and the sun was just beginning to peek over the mountains to the east – I just had to take a couple of picture to share. Believe it or not, these two were taken seconds after each other; I took one, turned around, and took the other:


And, shearing is finished! I now have bags and bags of fleeces to sort through, very exciting! If anyone is interested in purchasing raw fleece please contact me as soon as possible, because I will be otherwise processing all of these into roving and yarn.