I've worked with alpaca for quite a few years now, but the silk, that's new. It came in a long roving:
I had to break it down so that it didn't spin too bulky:
I spun it with the alpaca fiber:
I considered spinning one strand silk and one alpaca and them ply them together. That would have been the easier choice. They spin a little different, and doing one separate from the other would mean just adjusting to one at a time. Spinning them together meant I had to keep adjusting throughout to each of them.
But - I wanted that look. I wanted it to be a fun mix with inconsistent color and size and shape. I wanted it to be fun and funky:
Whenever we have bad weather,I always look outside and count faces. I want to make sure all my animals are accounted for. Like much of the county we have had a brutal storm. First snow (we actually did not get that much) and then bitter cold. So this morning, I looked out to count faces. They were hidden in their shed, but when I let our house dogs outside, the sheep came out. I counted faces, 5 ewes, then the 2 boys (rammy and chocolate).
The ewes once I threw some hay on the ground for them:
The boys eating hay in their shelter:
Temps are dropping today, when I headed outside it was a whopping 3* F outside:
We got maybe 4 or so inches of snow. So I had to dig a path to get the hay out. Our hay is now in our garage so I started a path there:
The hay in the garage - I grabbed a bale and put it in the wagon to haul out to the sheep:
It started out a few years back. We put up this canvas tent for a "hay tent" knowing full well that these tents only last a couple of years. Add on that we use this tent everyday. When we had alpacas on our farm, I was in this tent twice a day (we fed them morning and night). Now with the sheep we only go in once a day, but still, daily use. Plus the days we bring in the hay. Also it's where our farm cats live. We use it a ton and knew average life span is only about 2 to 3 years.
Well, we put up this hay tent in March of 2010, almost 4 years ago (link to that blog post here). We never expected it to last this long. The last time we were stacking bales of hay in it, I said, I didn't think it would be much longer and the tent would cave in. We decided then that if that does happen, we'll move the hay back into our garage (where we have had it before, there is just a lot less room in there. However, with only 7 sheep, we aren't going through that much hay at this point).
We were out of town over Christmas and New Years this year. While we were away, our farm helper told us the hay tent collapsed. We were not surprised. Though I do have to say I almost moved the hay before we left and at that point I really wish I had!
We came home to this:
There was snow, then it sort of melted, then refroze, so layers of snow, ice and what not on top. It was very heavy!
Unfortunately, there were also several bales of hay (we counted 17), and all our pallets to stack the hay on still inside:
The force of the collapse actually bent the metal frame:
What was standing of the tent was held up by the stack of hay:
If we moved the hay, the whole thing would collapse, and the weight of all that snow and ice could trap anyone inside that tent.
So we had to be creative. First we got everything we could out of the tent, except that one stack of hay holding the whole thing up. The whole time thinking if it does start to cave in more, we need to get out fast. Then we ripped open the side to extract the bales of hay.
While it looks like it might have been fun to do, it actually was a lot of really hard work. We had to clear off the frozen snow/ice mess, then dig, then pull the metal braces off the hay stack, then get the hay. This all took us a couple of hours to do. And left behind a nasty mess :(