Monday, March 25, 2013

Naked Llamas and Fat Cows

Last week we sheared the llamas.  They had not been shorn in so long it was almost a new experience for them.  The "baby" had never been shorn.  I gave the wool a good dip in bleach water to kill any bugs and eggs and then laid it out on fences, chicken netting and empty cages to dry.  The llamas, visibly taken aback at being suddenly naked, kept coming over to look at their former coats.  They seemed to be trying to figure out what on earth we crazy humans were planning to do with all that wool.

Meanwhile, Mabel the Marvelous Dancing Jersey Milk Cow, has finally acquiesced to breeding and is once again with calf.  I think she got wind of a little conversation I had with the butcher, but it seems to have worked.  Now to feed her for the next 9 months until the calf gets here and she starts giving her rich, creamy milk again.  Sigh.

The llamas have proceeded to soil their new coats by rolling in the dirt.  I wonder if the neighbors will do a double take when they drive by and see them without all that fluffy hair.  Now I just need to get some wool cards and parts for the spinning wheel.  I've got four 30 gallon bags of llama wool to clean, sort and spin.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Simplifying The Homestead

The Homestead is entering a new phase.  We are preparing to be more mobile for a while and so are downsizing.  How can one accumulate so much stuff?!  Especially when one is trying to live a simple lifestyle?  Once again, it is time to weed out the excess in a big way.  Where to start?  

First, the books.  We have cases of books.  I had intended to sell them online, but with Amazon selling for less than a penny, it's costing me more in gas to ship an odd book here and there than I'm putting in my pocket.  So several cases of books are going to the VA hospital, Goodwill and other various donation dropoffs.  Next up, I went to use an antique, non-electric juicer the other day and found it required more muscle than I possess to operate it.  I washed it up and will be listing it on E-Bay, along with a chocolate fountain we've never used (sniff, sniff).  As for the piles of bottles and cans we were going to recycle, since the nearest facility that takes them is over 100 miles away, they are going to be bagged up and put in the trash.  Since we do reuse a limited number of bottles and cans, we will keep a maximum of a dozen on hand.  That number will take up far less space than is currently being cluttered up.

Broken pumps, bicycles and rusty fencing are being sold to scrap metal collectors and put in the trash.  Stuff stored for grown children and friends is being relocated, shipped off to them and consolidated.  Stuff from my mom, who died last year, is replacing makeshift storage and furniture and the old stuff is being disposed of.  

This is a long term project, so I don't expect to get it all done in the next few weeks, but it sure feels good to lighten the load.  Now if we can just keep the weight off...