Thursday, May 26, 2016

Big Sad News

       The days of summer have turned warm and life on the farm has changed forever.  We don't often think things can change in the blink of and eye but they sure have here. Two week ago I noticed my husband Dave was jaundice. He went in for blood tests and we now know he has Pancreatic cancer. The last two weeks have been back and forth to the hospital as we sort through this tragic new element in our lives.
          We were planning a move late this summer to oregon to be much nearer our adult children. We are even more determined than ever to make this move this summer. Dave is home now but not very comfortable. He sleep a lot.I am just keeping up with daily farm chores, but it is a day to day struggle. I have canceled my August natural dye retreat. Just tooooo much gong on. I  still plan to attend the Iowa Sheep and Wool festival  In Colfax Ia on June 11th and 12th. I have ordered extra Hia Hia needles will have a full both.
     I am at a loss for words so will sign off for now. I hope I can find the energy to get down to the studio and paint some skeins for the wool festival. I am thankful  every day for the amazing community arround us helping out in so many amazing ways.   Janette


Friday, May 6, 2016

              So many summer birds are back the feeders outside my window are the best show in town.   White-Throated sparrows, Baltimore Orioles, Rose-Breasted Grosbeaks, and Chipping Sparrows are all back in force. I have seen a few Towhees but they stick to the ground for their feeding. Today I need to weed and mulch the sage bed that sits next to the feeders. It will be a perfect way to spend a few hours and get a tedious job done. 
            Tomorrow is Shepherd Market. This show has been on my spring fiber events for several years now. It is always  a fun event with lots of vendors and  everything from  fresh fleeces to spinning wheels.  This year it will be held at the Kirkwood Center at 3375 Armar drive in Marion Ia. Doors open at 9:00 AM.  I hope it is once again a good turn out for this show.  I will have a booth and have my new fiber and skein club signup sheets on hand. I will have to go run those off when I sing off here and remember to stick them in my tightly packed truck.  I have one copy taped to the door  so I can not forget this important task.  I had better go get started on  running copies and weeding the sage bed.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016


It has been way to long since I came here with an update. I am going to set a goal of blogging once a week as my  life is filled with major changes. Over the past few years I have been feeling burdened by all the work here at the farm. The time has come to simplify our lives.  We are now planning a move to Oregon later this year. Our oldest son lives in Portland and our other son is living in Seattle. We will be listing our farm for sale in the next few weeks. This is an amazing opportunity for someone looking to start a fiber/ vegetable form in the Iowa City area. 
            As I plan a new life on a 1/4 acre I am both terrified and trilled depending on the moment and the day. I have only lived a few short years of my entire life in town. I will be taking all my studio equipment with me, a LOT of fine fleeces and my flock of angora rabbits.I trust my animals, my spinning and my passion for color will  help me through this transition.  
          I can not even begin to express how much I will miss my community here. To continue my connection with the Iowa City fiber world I will be offering two Fae Ridge Farm clubs.
         Spinners club: each member will pay $100.00 and will get a delightful 4 oz bag of fiber 4 times a year. These will be my signature blends that many of you have been punching for 20 years. I will also include a tiny surprise gift. This could be everything from stitch markers to a free pattern. Members can let me know any colors they refuse to let into their stash and any fiber they are allergic to.  I will  be making  large batches of these fibers, so  if you love a blend I have sent out you can order more for a big project. I will be working up a sign up sheet and hope to have it  ready for my next two fiber shows.
                I will also be offering a skein club for my knitting and crocheting friends.  This club will be set up much like the spinners club. I will create skeins by a variety of creative methods including dyeing,painting, natural dyes, and spinning.  Members will pay $100.00 for a year if skeins. They will get 4 shipment of fun yarn plus a tiny gift in each shipment.Yarn club members  should let me know  what type of yarn they like to work with:worsted, sock yarn lace weight ect.   
               I am trying to keep in mind that western Oregon is a fiber rich world. Lots of amazing fiber festivals and a great variety of  flocks. I am already in touch with a spinner group out there. It will be a whole new creative life searching for new fleeces in a region filled with new and exciting breed of sheep. 

Monday, October 19, 2015

I just got back from the 2015 Bishop Hill Spin In. I want to thank Juliana, Gail and Gaylene for all the help on Saturday. I do not know what I would do without all the great help. Juliana won best of show for her lace shawl, and Gail won best skein once again for her amazing lace.  I am so  lucky to be surrounded by such talented people.
         I had my new green purple blend for this show and will also have it for Shepherds Market at the Amana Woolen Mill on Nov 14th.  I am calling this one "Lilacs in the Vineyard" It is a blend of Blueface , Coopworth, yearling mohair, silk and Angelina.

 I have a large list of fall clean up and winter prep tasks, but I  am glad things will be slowing down a bit soon. I will be doing the Johnson County Fairgrounds Winter Farmers Market. I will have lots of felted creations, natural dyed silk scarves,  hand woven items and all my herbal body products.  I am off to put windows back in the chicken house for the coming winter. Hope to see you soon at the store or the market.

Saturday, August 15, 2015

August Heat is Here

Temps promise to be dangerously high again today. Day of the hot weather take a tole on all the animals. All the critters here at the farm have fans running on them. The quail and rabbits have ice packs are in their space to lay on and help get them through the  nasty heat wave. At morning chores today there were signs of coons snooping around last night. Digging in the compost and water tubs spilled all pointed to visiting coons. Once agin I am so thankful to have Ruby the best guard dog in the world on patrol every night here at the farm. 
        The baby bunnies are growing so fast it is shocking.  I swear they double in a weeks time. I spent last sunday "baby proofing" part of the outside run. They are all having a great time playing outside in the cool of the day.  Hazel (the brown bunny in this shot) and Bluebell one of the white ones in the batch will  be staying here at the farm to help me produce some great angora fiber.  So many spinners have ask about buying baby bunnies and Violet has been such a great mom that I am planning on breeding her again  in a few months.  I found a male french angora who is a tortoise shell. This is the color of our wild rabbits, and color I would love to add to my bunny fiber .  I am planning to divide the bunny house so thatViolet will have her own room and outside run when she is ready to birth her next litter. Time to sign off and go open the store.  

Friday, August 7, 2015

August at the farm

Gardens and bunnies are growing like mad and the weather in Iowa is absolutly perfect. On Tuesday we filled the barn with hay. A barn of sweet smelling hay is food security and one of the greatest feelings for a farmer this time of year.  The prairie plant that were tiny plugs in 2013 are thriving and in bloom.
I can't wait to see the switch grass as it turns to the tawny color of autumn. 
   The last two weekends the baby bunnies have been in the store for their socialization.  They get bigger every day now. Violet is the best mother bunny in the world. She loves her babies so much  and is teaching them all the important life lessons, what is the bet to eat, how to keep yourself clean and even where to poop to keep the bunny house all clean and fresh. They are eating lots of lambs quarters and dandyloins these days.

Sara has picked the two babies that will get to be going home with her soon. They will get to be house bunnies  to pet and a fiber source for her spinning soon.
 Lots more bunny petting on saturdays until the weather turns so cold the bunnies move to their winter home on the north end of the farm.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

       There are still a couple of spots left in the July 19th dye class. I have Birch bark and walnut simmering for the class.   Indigo, and weld are looking great and the dyers coreopsis is  beginning to bloom just in time. I will harvest and dry these stunning little flowers this week, and we can pick on Sunday for a beautiful peachy red.
          As many of you know I have been down sizing my flock of sheep to lighten my work load. As I  look down the road to a life without sheep I know I will need  fiber animals in  my day to day life. With this in mind I had my angora rabbit Violet  breed by a beautiful white fresh bunny a bit over a month ago. On wednesday she gave birth to  8 babe bunnies! I am leaving them alone but have peeked into the nest box to see what is happening.  Violet has turned out to be a great mom all 8 seem to be doing well at 48 hours. Here is a pic of the new fiber  animals at the farm.
In a few weeks these little sweeties will need to  be held so they are used to being handled and make good lap spinning bunnies.