Sunday 27 June 2010

Woolfest 2010

Well that's Woolfest over for another year and despite the debacle over the tables for every one's stalls! Someone in their infinite wisdom had decided that we could all have our tables at 0900 Friday morning and we would all be ready when the public came in at 1000!!! Thankfully common sense prevailed and the tables finally arrived at 4pm on the Thursday, but this still meant for the larger stallholders a very late night.

I had a good event even though it was felt that the numbers were down on last year, but my sales figures tell a different tale. The one fibre that went really well was Seacell, I think it was the novelty factor as quite a few people couldn't quite get their heads round the fact that this beautifully soft and smooth fibre came from seaweed!!!
This year I decided to take a tent to sleep in rather than the back seat of the truck so I was glad of the very warm weather

Thankfully Freylynn and Mark had saved me a flat spot for me to pitch my tent. The facilities are not great at the auction mart, (no showers, but there are loos and a great canteen) but for 2 nights who cares, when it's free. Bil and Lunil (Freylynn and Mark's dogs) were not speaking to me as I'd left Deefa and Holly at home. How could I!!!
It took me over and hour to pack all my fibre in to the back of the truck. I'd packed my tent up before breakfast and that was already in the back of the truck, instead of the cab as it had been on the way over to Woolfest. Even with the tent, fibre and sales table I could see out of the back of the truck, a sign of good sales! I finally arrived home at 10pm last night. I unloaded the truck this morning, with the help of Deefa and Holly. (Deefa has missed me, he'd insisted that Tim look round the farm for me at 1am on Friday morning as he was convinced I was outside!!!!) I've sold over 30kg of fibre and the only thing I forgot was my knitting!!! Other stallholders are not going to let me forget this in a hurry as I'm renowned for always having my knitting on the go!!!!
Whilst I was away Tim has not been idle!!

As you can see from the above photo, he's got the sides of the barn re sheeted, and in this heat he's absolutely shattered. But we could do with the dry weather to last for another week, as the sheep shearer is here next Sunday.
Now that Woolfest is over I can now spend some time in the veg garden, as the weeds have taken over and the high winds of last week have played havoc with the canes supporting, or not supporting my peas.

Wednesday 23 June 2010


I've had all my fibre packed and ready for Woolfest for a week now, trouble is, I've had to raid the bags this week to fulfill 2 on-line orders!!! But I'm still taking over 100kgs of fibre.
I've done a dummy pitch of my tent, and the shop was correct, I can pitch a tunnel tent on my own, if it's not windy, so hopefully I'll be able to find a flat spot to pitch at the back of the mart.
The plan for tomorrow is to start and pack the truck after the dogs have been walked, sheep, alpacas and chickens fed and watered. Tim has given the truck a quick service (oil, water, tyre pressures) and even cleaned some of the hay out of the back!!!!!
This is the first year that I will have a stall on my own, which should be fun and scary at the same time. Hopefully the promised help will materialise, even if it's just to let me have a quick cup of tea and a sandwich.
I've packed my camera so hopefully I will be able to get some photos of not only my stall, but some of the other stalls and displays.
Now I'm just going to chill with a glass of home made Bramble wine and some knitting.

The Alpaca Shearer arrives

At long last we have a reliable Alpaca Shearer, I won't go into all the hassle and aggro I had last year over trying to get my boys sheared!!! Steve, arrived on Saturday, as arranged, to 50mile gusts of wind and rain showers. Fortunately we had fastened Ghilli and Grommet in their shelter first thing in the morning, so their fleeces were kept dry.
Because of the work on the barn, Steve sheared Ghilli and Grommet in the field outside their shelter, with me running round catching the best of their fleeces to put into bins ready for spinning. Steve was great with the boys, he and his partner were so calm with them and considering they had 2 years worth of fleece on them it all came off relatively easily.

Here are the boys after their "hair cut" and you can see some of their fibre on the grass, this is after Steve had taken up the big rubber shearing mat he uses.
Needless to say he's booked to do the boys next year.

It was a long week with the barn

For Tim and the Resident Vandal, last week was a very long week working on the barn, and the new roof didn't get put on either! In fairness to everyone the job was more demanding than either of them thought it would be, basically because the original barn was so badly framed!
Removing the old roof and sides Tim discovered that the original roof joists around the edge of the barn were not attached to anything, it was only the tin sheets that were keeping them in place. He decided to replace ALL of the roof joists as the weight of the winter snow had done more damage than we realised and the walls had to be properly supported. A telegraph pole at each corner and two in the middle are not sufficient for a barn 30ft+ wide.

This was the state of the barn on Sunday morning, all now properly framed, but the back wall (the one in the picture still with sheets on) has to have it's sheets removed and reframed to match the rest of the barn. More work, yes, but silly to leave it as it is, because knowing our luck no sooner had we got the new roof on, than the back wall would collapse!
The front and the sides now have the bottom sheets on, Tim recycled the best ones from the roof for the job, to save some money and he's hoping that by the end of the week, the whole of the barn will have at least the bottom sheets on, so at a pinch we could run the sheep in to shear them on the 4th July.

Sunday 13 June 2010

Who every asked for rain......

can you now please stop and ask for some sun instead. We have spent the last week in "clag" or low wet cloud. It's worse than rain, as it gets everywhere and seeps into every building. On Tuesday the sun managed to break through for a short while and I was able to get some cabbages planted out.
On Wednesday I had a trip over to Barnard Castle to do a handover with the retiring Teeswater Sheep Breeders Association Secretary, as I'm now the Teeswater Breeds new secretary! Thankfully the old secretary had done a great "cull" on all the paperwork, so I've not got a lot of paperwork to store, just years and years of flock books!!!! Also the old secretary and I will be working in tandem for a couple of months before I officially take over on the 1st August. It will give us both chance to ensure that all the relevant people have been informed of my name and address etc. I've started to get this year's sheep registration forms and request for breed ear tags.
Yesterday I was at Saltburn Farmer's Market. I wasn't looking forward to the market as I knew that the main car park in Saltburn had been taken over by Sainsburys as storage for the contractor who are working on the new store, also it was the start of the World Cup! So we were all not sure if many people would attend the market. As it was I had a good day. I think the partners of football fans were out looking for something new to do, or stacking up their existing stash of fibre. Well we all need something to do instead of watch the football!!!!
I'm now on count down to Woolfest, in 2 weeks time it will all be over!! Thanks to the wet weather all my fibre is now weighed out, balled up and priced. Stall signs are finished. All I've got left to do is sort out the boxes to display my fibre, put the fibre I'm taking into large carry bags and make sure I've got a goodly selection of coinage and notes in my petty cash. I'm so organised and ready for Woolfest I'm worried, I've surely forgotten to do something! Whilst I've been packing my fibre, I decided to do a mini stock take and I will do the same on my return from Woolfest so I know exactly what I've sold. Well that's the theory anyway.
On Monday the Resident Vandal arrives to help Tim repair the lambing barn roof, so please everyone start asking for some fine weather, not necessarily sun, just no rain. Hopefully I will be able to get some photos of the barn as they work on it.

Monday 7 June 2010

A day late....

The blog is a day late, for no other reason than I'd forgotten it was Sunday.
After my unexpected day at home, Thursday was spent wrapping 130 fleeces for one of the local farmers as well as worming his 300 lambs. Thankfully I was inside whilst the shearing was carried out, but had to endure the hot mid day sun for worming the lambs! Boy was glad when I'd finished. My face was red with the heat and the warm work.
On Friday my sister and the hobbits came to visit and we had a great day on Saltburn beech, despite the occasional freezing wind that blew off the sea. It was good to be out enjoying the sun.
But now the weather is totally the opposite, we've had 2 days of low cloud and rain, the grass needs the rain, but it has hindered Tim taking the sides of the little barn down. He's getting on really well with the part demolition of the barn, let's hope the replacement of the roof joists goes as well.
My main priority at the moment is getting ready for Woolfest, so I'm glad that the weather is wet as I don't feel too bad about working inside as I have a load of veg that needs planting out and yet more seeds to sow etc. How did I have time to work!!!!

Wednesday 2 June 2010

An unexpected day at home

I was booked to sit at the Employment Tribunal today, but as the case was a discrimination one, I had to be stood down as I've not had enough tribunal experience. Though the money would have been nice I was able to get the following done:-
4 loads of washing
Compost spread on half a deep bed
Planted out some Dwarf runner beans to replace the ones that have been caught by the frost
6 kgs of fibre banded up in readiness for Woolfest
Spot weed sprayed the fields that the sheep have been in.
A busy and productive day