More from Cordero Farms!

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Nanc and Sue told us about this “running of the lambs” but we didn’t get to see it while we were at the farm. I’m thrilled they caught it on film so we can all enjoy watching the lambs in action!
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Lambing season at Cordero Farms!

Spring is coming and many of our farmer friends are the in frenzy of lambing or kidding season. Last week we trekked across Oklahoma from the foothills of the Ozarks where we live to Tryon, which is the Red Dirt part of our state. Our friends Nanc and Sue at Cordero Farms are one of our fiber sources and all around wonderful people. They wanted us to visit during lambing season and what fun it was!
As of Saturday evening February 26th, there are 61 new lambs at Cordero!

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These are movable shelters for the sheep allowing them a place to escape the sun and wind.

It’s a parade!

Clearly Nanc loves her flock!
Sometimes the sheep posed absolutely still. Or maybe they’re staring me down.

This one found a nice soft pillow to rest his/her head upon…

…while this sheep looked bored with the visitors.

Three adorable baby lambs!

This photo should be placed in the dictionary beside the word cute!

Or maybe this one.

These twins were born just minutes before we headed back down from the house to the sheep pens.

Look at that crimp! This fleece is from a sheep named Brooklyn and you may just be knitting with Brooklyn come summer when the fleeces below come back from the mill as yarn!

We’re estimating about 200 pounds of raw wool in the two bags that we brought back to our farm to wash and send to the mill.
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Monday Progress Report!

Last night I took a few minutes to knit a couple rows on my Very Girly Pretty Rose Thing. It’s coming along wonderful! I really like the pattern – yarn combination on this project. The softness of the merino/lambswool/angora is perfect for a cowl that will cozy up to your neck with incredible softness. There’s a KAL starting on the LCK Ravelry Forum – come join us!

I’ve also been working away on my Cloisters (MimKnits) in the Oak Barn Merino colorway of Salsa Dancing. It’s hard to catch the color on this because it’s so warm and bright! This is my “take along” project. The rows are simple enough that it makes for good car knitting and even public knitting.

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Just to give you a hint of what’s to come….

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Introducing the newest kid in the shop Merino/Lambswool/Angora!

I’m really excited about this new offering of Merino/Lambswool/Angora yarn. The fibers all come from Oklahoma farm animals. The first colorways are up in the online shop and several more colorways will be added next week.

220 yards is a small skein but that little amount of yarn cozied up around your neck in a soft cowl or scarf will make you feel like a million! In fact, I snagged a skein of the Wine and Roses for myself and printed a copy of Pretty Thing, the lovely cowl design by Stephanie Pearl McPhee, the Yarn Harlot. There is plenty of yarn in the Merino/Lambswool/Angora for the delicate Pretty Thing.

And if you’re as taken with the combination of Pretty Thing knit up in our Merino/Lambswool/Angora as several of us are – there is talk behind the scenes of a KAL (knit along) that will take place on the Fans of Lost City Knits Ravelry group. 

I’ve already cast on my Pretty Thing just to see how it fits the flow and oooh la la it looks lovely! I’m setting it aside for the moment (I may have to hide it from myself for a few days just to keep from knitting “just one more row”) until the KAL starts.

Want to see the colorways? I thought so…

Also I’ll be in Tulsa on Saturday morning and will have a few skeins of this yarn with me if you’d like to pick one up without shipping costs. Cafe Cubana – 9ish – come out and do some public knitting!
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Three tubs at a time

Last Saturday I trudged through the snow to the studio to do some much needed tidying up.  It’s rare that my studio is empty enough to work on rearranging a few racks and clearing off shelves of unused clutter that somehow accumulates during the busy season. I wanted to tackle these tasks before I once again did a high dive into the creative sea that swells and buoys me along much of the year in the studio.

Shearing time has passed for some of my farmer fiber sources and there are fleeces waiting to be picked up. I also knew the mill order from fleeces shipped back in December was due to arrive soon. Most of the yarn on hand was already dyed and soap making hasn’t commenced, although it is high on my schedule as well. The window of opportunity was open. Bitter cold and blizzard aside, I needed to be at work.

Because the porch to the studio was covered in snow and the dutch door often sticks in wet weather I entered through the back door that opens out to the drive through. It’d be much too civilized to call what we have a driveway. It’s not paved or even gravel lined, it’s the path the vehicles take from the lane to the studio and house. When I opened the door, I was surprised to find extra boxes in the hallway that leads to the studio. The UPS man had made a delivery! All the bells and whistles jangled and blew – I gasped and did a little dance right there in the darkened hallway. My mill order had arrived!

Although I don’t get to keep all of this lovely local yarn to myself (and sometimes I really wish I could) I’m always jubilant when I open the boxes from the mill! I knew I still had to do the clean up in the studio so I tore into the boxes to remove the bags within. Because really – those boxes were in the way and I certainly couldn’t clean and rearrange around them sitting in the middle of the floor. That’s the excuse I used anyway just so I could see what glorious yarns the mill spun with the fleeces I’d cleaned three months ago.

Each bag was opened and I peeked inside then stuck my hand in to feel the softness within. Then – with regret and a promise to return for more fondling and inspection, I taped the bags back closed and placed them on the shelf that lines one wall.

In record speed I tackled my job of clearing clutter and within a few hours I was pulling skeins of yarn from the waiting bags – inspecting and admiring the fibers, the colors and the weights. A few skeins quickly made their way into a sudsy wash.

Sudsing – three tubs at a time.

Everything that comes from the mill, regardless of whether it is going to be left natural or dyed, gets washed in a gentle fiber-friendly soap. This process helps the fiber, which is slightly oily from the milling process, to bloom to a natural fullness and softness.

Each skein gets at least two sudsy soaks…

…before being hung to dry, regardless of whether it will be left naked or dyed.

Once a skein is washed it can take on a whole new look. Like this merino/lambswool/angora, a single ply fingering weight that appeared very proper in its bag but once washed shows such bounce and softness!

Oklahoma raised merino/lambswool/angora – about as feminine as you can get.

Alpaca with tussah silk in lace weight – perfect against the skin.
Llama with bamboo lace weight

 Skeins like these llama bamboo lace weight in a pale gray are perfect for dyeing deep shades of blue, green and purple.

Llama bamboo in sport weight

 And others, are so deep and lush in their natural color that they’re best left naked.

More llama bamboo sport weight.

I see these llama bamboo skeins dyed in shades of wine, red, orange and rust. 

For the next few weeks my days will be spent standing over soaking yarn, just dyed yarn, and raw fleeces being washed — all three tubs at a time.

Visitors on a cold and snowy day

Here on Clear Creek we were blasted by transplanted arctic weather last night and this morning, apparently it’s warmer on the North Pole than it was here last night. Chris checked the outdoor thermometer when he brought in wood for the morning fire and it read a startling -20F. That’s a Minus Twenty Degrees Fahrenheit or Minus Twenty-eight Celsius.

Shortly after breakfast we lost water pressure. Chris called his father and the old farmhouse had lost pressure as well, so he loaded an ash bucket half full of glowing coals and trekked down to the well house in near knee deep powdered snow and frigid cold. I stayed inside fretted and wondered why I hadn’t showered and washed my hair before breakfast.

As I stared out the back window across to the lower pasture where Chris had gone, I saw a parade, a parade of horses! Our neighbors horses must have gotten out during the early hours and were looking for food. There are rolls of hay in the lower pasture and the horses must have known where to find them. Maybe they have that kind of instinct, or maybe they can smell it. I’m not knowledgeable on the equine science of food foraging. But they came, and they came to eat.

The hot coals did the trick and our water pressure returned to normal. But instead of jumping immediately into the shower I shrugged into my barn coat, donned cap, scarf and wellies, thrust my camera in a deep pocket and pulled on my mittens. The dogs were all inside the farmhouse, probably snoozing by the fire, so I could greet our visitors without the dogs trying to scare them off with barking, herding maneuvers and tail pulling.

It’s been a few years since we’ve had any horses here on the farm and I miss having having them around. Usually when any visit the dogs keep me from getting to pet and talk to the horses.

These guys were hungry and didn’t mind my presence too much, although a few gave me the gimlet eye…

…but still they munched the hay.

I love this life!
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Feeding the small, feathered and hungry…

With another snow storm predicted for today, I stopped at the grocery store before leaving Tulsa yesterday. One of the first things I noticed was the packed parking lot, then the absence of shopping carts. Not a problem, I thought to myself. I’ll buy only as much as I can carry. When I rounded the corner I could see the far wall frozen food section. The last freezer was empty. Tulsa residents must be having frozen pizza for dinner every night this week. Again – no problem for me. I wasn’t at the store for pizza. Only one thing was on my list and it wasn’t Tombstone, DiGiorno, or Totinos.

I’m stocked up on human food, but our last trip to the store only yielded a few days worth of food for our feathered friends. Generally I buy the big bags of birdseed and have plenty of options…wild bird blend, black oil sunflower, song bird, thistle…

Many people are feeding birds right now in Oklahoma, and that’s a very good thing. Between last night and this morning we’ve got another six inches on top of what was left from last week’s blizzard, which means natural foraging for seeds and berries is dang difficult.

I can’t name all of the birds we have on our farm or even on our winter feeders. The usual visitors include cardinals, robins, nuthatches, finches, chickadees, woodpeckers, and even the occasional squirrel. Chris moved the feeder that is visible from the kitchen window further down the tree branch thinking it would be more difficult for the squirrel to reach. For a week, the squirrel scampered down the trunk level to the feed and debated whether it was within reach, decided no, then scuttled back up the tree. I thought the fuzzy tail thief was foiled for sure.

Bird feeders are not supposed to look like this!


Then this morning I spied the little beast while I was making breakfast. I yelled. I banged on the glass. I called him foul names. He didn’t budge. Chris finally went outside and chased the fiend away. It’s strange to see how polite the birds are while the squirrel eats all of their breakfast. See how many are patiently waiting their turn? I’m not sure I’d be this polite if someone dumped me from my chair and sat down to eat what was on my plate. 

The grocery store had, again, been out of big bags of seed. They were also out of my usual preference, wild bird blend. I came home with four smallish slippery bags of black oil sunflower seeds. It was all I could carry in my arms.

After we finished pancakes and bacon this morning I went out to fill feeders. It was cold. Just carrying one bag was hard enough while wearing gloves in freezing temps this morning. I almost dropped the entire contents. I’m certain the fluffy tailed thief would have loved it.

The Buffalo Gal mitts didn’t have much of a grip!

The wind was whipping up a frenzy. Maybe I should have tied a knot in my Fiore di Melanzana.

I waited until last to fill the feeder the squirrel had been dangling from. For the first time in a week I didn’t have to bring it inside to thaw by the fire so I could get the top off and pour the seeds inside. I’m not giving that crazy squirrel any credit for keeping the feeder warm with his fuzzy body though, not one smidge of credit.

With another snow storm predicted for today, I stopped at the grocery store before leaving Tulsa yesterday. One of the first things I noticed was the packed parking lot, then the absence of shopping carts. Not a problem, I thought to myself. I’ll buy only as much as I can carry. When I rounded the corner I could see the far wall frozen food section. The last freezer was empty. Tulsa residents must be having frozen pizza for dinner every night this week. Again – no problem for me. I wasn’t at the store for pizza. Only one thing was on my list and it wasn’t Tombstone, DiGiorno, or Totinos. I’m stocked up on human food, but our last trip to the store only yielded a few days worth of food for our feathered friends. Generally I buy the big bags of birdseed and have plenty of options…wild bird blend, black oil sunflower, song bird, thistle… Many people are feeding birds right now in Oklahoma, and that’s a very good thing. Between last night and this morning we’ve got another six inches on top of what was left from last week’s blizzard, which means natural foraging for seeds and berries is dang difficult. I can’t name all of the birds we have on our farm or even on our winter feeders. The usual visitors include cardinals, robins, nuthatches, finches, chickadees, woodpeckers, and even the occasional squirrel. Chris moved the feeder that is visible from the kitchen window further down the tree branch thinking it would be more difficult for the squirrel to reach. For a week, the squirrel scampered down the trunk level to the feed and debated whether it was within reach, decided no, then scuttled back up the tree. I thought the fuzzy tail thief was foiled for sure. Then this morning I spied the little beast while I was making breakfast. I yelled, I banged on the glass. He didn’t budge. Chris finally went outside and chased the fiend away. The  squirrel couldn’t have eaten much though since the feeders were low. The grocery store had, again, been out of big bags of seed. They were also out of my usual preference, wild bird blend. I came home with four smallish bags of black oil sunflower seeds. It was all I could carry in my arms. After the human consumption was completed this morning I went out to fill feeders, which thankfully weren’t frozen closed this time. I’m not giving that crazy squirrel any credit for keeping the feeder warm with his fuzzy body though. var gaJsHost = ((“https:” == document.location.protocol) ? “https://ssl.” : “http://www.”);document.write(unescape(“%3Cscript src='” + gaJsHost + “google-analytics.com/ga.js’ type=’text/javascript’%3E%3C/script%3E”)); var pageTracker = _gat._getTracker(“UA-xxxxxx-x”);pageTracker._trackPageview();