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Frankly speaking…..no one is perfect not even me!

So,   It’s been a while since I’ve published a blog post.  In case you forgot about me, here is my pretty face image  This photo was taken during my favorite activity – getting scratched.

So, about the not being perfect part….. I planned to post once a month in 2015 in order to keep y’all updated about the farm, but I got distracted this fall – my wench went through some medical challenges and we were rather pre-occupied.  However, all is well now, so it’s back to business as usual.

Our flerd continues to grow and evolve, and we have recently begun experimenting with new yarns.  The new blend for 2015 was….. 35% kid mohair, 35% angora rabbit, 20% merino and 10% silk.  This was a limited run, (which we plan to recreate) and is available on line at our partners over in Yarnthology dot com.  They are also carrying the 2014 blend we did of angora/mohair/merino.   That blend is almost gone, but there are a few skeins left here which wench will use to make things for the 2016  fall craft shows, and a few are over at Purl’s Yarn Emporium in Asheville for you locals.

We are still hoping for more fiber opportunities – maybe a mill, maybe some cooperative yarns with other farmers, etc.,  and of course baby goats will be coming in the spring (watch our facebook page for updates there).  Speaking of baby goats, today is the birthday for Neptune and Hera.  They were born a year ago.

That was then: January 2015 135and this is now:

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where’s the cookies?

They are spoiled, I’ll tell ya.  (like the rest of us).

In other news, we have begun to build our rabbit (meat) business, so that’s another reason why I’ve been scarce.  They are serving our rabbit in some of the nicest restaurants in North Carolina and Virginia, and this keeps wench on the road quite a bit.  It’s ok.  Sometimes she still finds time to participate in my favorite activity…

imagescratching me.

Smidge is beginning to fill out a little (no, she is not getting pudgy) and is becoming a beautiful cat.  She surveys her kingdom and keeps the mice at bay, all while consuming a can or two of fancy feast daily and all the dry kibble she can eat.  Who has it better than her?  She also has us and rockstar to play with all day long.

imageSpeaking of rockstar, he has become quite the fixture around here.  He knows his way around pretty good, and goes out any door that’s open, hanging out with us in the pasture, out by the sawmill, up on the 2nd floor where all the does live, etc.  We are careful to make sure he is in the barn every night and secured behind closed doors, due to the owl population around here, but he has food and water and his hay cup stationed in various places around the barn.  (he’s not spoiled either)

imageSo in a couple of weeks, wench will travel to PaSRBA for a rabbit show and I will post any good results after that.  I have to get more photos of the bunnies, as we now have our first Giant Angora baby, Clems Jubilee.  She is still in with her momma, and hopefully will become a brood doe (she’s not showable now because she is black, and only whites are showable in Giants  that sounds rather racist, doesn’t it?)  and also travel some for exhibition.  The spring breedings are being planned .

Oh, and wench is going to be the “rabbit superintendent” at SAFF this year, so be on the lookout for more information about that.  Like she doesn’t have enough to do, but the angora rabbit breeds will be displayed in force at SAFF in 2016.  yay!  I’ll probably send a few of our goats, too, for the show.  How FUN!

Well, that’s about it for now.  Thanks for reading Frankly speaking!

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SMOOCH!

Frankly speaking……………..hemp, hemp, horray!

Ok, so, as you know, I’m a goat.  A special goat to be sure, but still, as a goat, I’m limited as to my options with regard to world politics and economic impact studies, etc.  My world pretty much revolves around a couple of people, a bunch of goats and rabbits, and food.  I appreciate that I live in a beautiful world in a nice safe barn with lots of good food and people that love me.  I understand that there are starving goats in Biafra (or that’s what they tell me when I don’t want to eat my dinner, which hardly ever happens) but good news is good news, and I just heard some.

I heard that North Carolina, where we live, has just legalized industrial hemp.  Now, I’m not too sure what that is, but I’m pretty sure this is good for North Carolina and for small farmers.  Big hemp farms are not expected to spring up every place, but the hemp folks are interested in small farms and farmers.  We like small farms and farmers.   I wonder if the hemp plant is good for goats to eat?  Do you think it would make our fleece even lovelier?  (hard to imagine)  I know that hemp is used to make cloth, which means some of the industrial mills might be coming back. HOW EXCITING.  We really want a fiber mill in the neighborhood, so we can promote locale yarns and fibers, and this might just be a stepping stone.

So that’s just a little snippet of my opinion for this post.  In the news department, little Warbucks is doing great, bouncing all over being a cutie patootie, but it’s been raining so we don’t let him outside to play.  We heard of the passing of our old friend Faith, and we are sad about that.  She was a great goat and we’ve missed her since she went to live at the Mansfields house.  Now Faith and Hope are together again, in goat heaven.  They gave us our start and we are grateful.

a flerd at rest tends to stay at rest

a flerd at rest tends to stay at rest

This is not the best photo of faith that we have, but as USUAL, my technically-challenged wench can’t find the right photo.  I don’t know what to do about her…. she needs help.

Lots of new stuff on the horizon… be looking for an announcement soon regarding retailing of our yarns – which is pretty exciting stuff.  Also, wench is looking into a trailer for us so maybe we could go to shows…. I hear SAFF is quite improved and expanding, so we might have to send representatives in future years.  Of course the most use of the trailer will be for the meat rabbit side of the business, which also is exploding and growing by leaps and bounds.  That’s one reason I’ve been rather quiet on this blog of late – it’s hard to pin down that wench and get her to do any typing.  My hooves do not do well on a keyboard, and I am reduced to dictation.  She doesn’t do that well.  It’s a throwback to her former career.  Speaking of which, that OTHER Frank had a birthday the other day, and wench was happy to catch up on the phone with the Judge.  Makes her thankful for her former career and her new career.  She tries not to compare the Frankies in her life, but sometimes, especially around November 1st, it just can’t be helped.

Thanks for reading, Frankly speaking…. I’ll try to keep you updated if I can catch that wench and make her do my work!

6283e375-b388-4b05-80a1-ad1cc17318eckiss kiss!

Frankly speaking….. wha keen? I’m not amused

Hey everyone, Frankie here, reporting from INSIDE the barn where I’ve been for the past week, with just one day outside and maybe a few hours here and there, seeing some daylight.  The rains we have been experiencing I guess are miniscule in comparison to what might be coming, compliments of Hurricane Joaquin.  Wench was supposed to be selling the shirt off my back at the Floyd Art Festival this weekend, but it has been cancelled due to the threat of flood.

So, here we are, being amused by the antics of Smidge and Rockstar.  I must say these two really play nice together.

Rockstar enjoying his freedom

Rockstar enjoying his freedom

friends

friends

In any event… once we are treated to the Rockstar/Smidge show, we settle down to munch on hay and grow our fleece.  Which, I hear tell will be coming off soon.  Wench has a new hot water tank, so she plans to wash the fleeces herself before they go off to the mill.

Neptune and Hera are missing their mom (Hope) but their level of cute just doesn’t quit, and wench has been sneaking them extra cookies every morning.

where's the cookies?

where’s the cookies?

So, not a lot going on right now, except……. if you write a draft of your blog post, and then leave it for 19 days, a lot happens in that time frame.  My secretary (wench) does not take direction very well (as the previous frank will tell you, but he’s retired now, so we don’t hear from him much… ah-hem) and so, trying to get her to publish a blog posting is like pulling teeth.  but I digress

In the past 19 days, the weather has straightened up, with the rain anyway, but it got COLD brrr.rrr.rr!  So, of course, what happens when it gets really really cold around here?  Of course the shearing team kicks it into high gear and off comes our coats!

I did ok, actually it was  relief to get all that hair off of me, but the smaller does, like Carmella and Gracie were shivering!  It’s nice out now, even reaching up to 65 or 70 during the day, so no worries, we will be fine.

Also, Annie had a little one.  A baby boy (her third boy in three years) and we are trying to figure out a name.  Spot and star have been thrown out there, but we are looking for something a little more original.  Like how much more original can FRANK get?  hello?   Pictures will be forthcoming on the facebook page of the new little guy.

Didn’t want to keep you hanging out there… it’s been about 7 weeks since my last post and I hate falling behind.  When wench was more active as a Mary Kay consultant, she would make this list daily called “the six most important things to do today” which kept her on track.  We need to reinstitute this list making idea.  The first thing on the list every single day will be…………………….feed your goat!

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till next time!

Frankly speaking……………….is autumn in the air?

Autumn always signals change.  Back to school for the kids, a fresh start.  Two of our kids got a change this fall, too.  Neptune and Hera lost their momma, Hope.  Hope was at least 14 years old, which is like 115 for a person, and she was having trouble getting around lately.  The summer wasn’t easy on her.  Saturday night, she needed help getting into the barn.  By Sunday morning she was down and unable to get up.  Wench did everything she could, but by Wednesday it was evident there was no help for her.  After consulting with the folks at Twin Oaks Veterinary Hospital, the decision was made and Hope crossed over that rainbow bridge.  Now she is no longer in pain.

hey mom, how about a ride?

hey mom, how about a ride?

this is one of my favorite photos of Hope.  She came to us back in the day when we lived in New York, and we later found out she was born here, in North Carolina, so she returned to her homeland.  She gave us Pinky and Gary and a few other wonderful kids, and Neptune and Hera will of course stay on here.  Neptune will be wethered (like me!) to maintain his wonderfully sweet personality, just like his momma.  They are still on the small side, side effects of being born to an elderly mom.

In other news, the first floor of the barn has a new resident.  Stevens’ Rockstar, the American Chinchilla buck, has been liberated from his cage and now has the run of the barn.  He has been hanging out with Smidge and with us, and having a really good time.  There is a photo, but of course my techno-phobe wench is unable to access it (I don’t know what I’m going to do with her, really)

Builder, doing what he does best, is installing a hot water tank (albeit a small one) in the barn.  That’ll be nice for winter… and a bigger hotter water tank in the garage, so wench can wash our fleeces before sending them off for making into yarn.  My fleece was first (of course) and it came out really nice.

This is just a snipet of what’s been going on around here.  I’ll post more later, but want to keep the “Hope Post” short for today.  I promise – maybe wench will figure out that camera after all.  Thanks for reading, Frankly speaking!

Frankly speaking…… change is never easy

Autumn is supposed to be all about change – school starts, a fresh new world is promised for spring as the earth goes to sleep for the winter.  We’ve had a lot of changes here on the farm in July, and I’m having a little difficulty reporting them all  – I hate to sound negative or be the bearer of bad news.  So, we’ll get it over with quickly and then move on.

In July we lost our treasured bunnies Layla and Julianna.  Mother and daughter, this team really put our rabbitry on the map.  Julianna took best colored senior doe at Nationals in Iowa in 2013 which is huge for us; plus a best in show, etc., and was trying to have a litter when she passed away.  Wench was pretty devastated.  Just a couple of weeks later, her momma, Layla, laid down and died, for no apparent reason other than she was about 5 years old or better. Layla was the foundation of our french angora herd, and the mother or grandmother of most all our grand champions.

Also in July, wench came to the difficult decision to not send Hope up to Pennsylvania.  Hope is becoming more frail as the weeks go by, and she is unlikely to make the trip north with ease.  For this reason, her twin kids, Neptune and Hera will most likely stay here, to comfort her as we think the end is near.  She moves slowly and can’t keep up with the herd.  It is a beautiful thing to see her babies (especially Neptune) stay by his momma to make sure she’s ok.  Quality of life is still good, she eats and enjoys her family, but you can see she is an ancient goat.

Everyone ages, and our Hunter is having difficulty with his eyesight.  He’ll be going to the vet this week to determine if something can be done to help him, but his cataracts may have gotten the best of him for now, as he bumps into things and is being careful to stay in familiar places.  It’s hard to watch, but we are hopeful there is a supplement or something to help him.

In happier news, our litters of bunnies continue to be cute and grow up; trying to adjust to being groomed regularly and all that – it’s looking like three bucks and four does for the KerryMegan/Aramis pointed litter (one buck is REW); two bucks and three does for the Mikimoto/D;Artangnan litter; three bucks and four does for the Ultana/Casse Noir litter; and three bucks and two does for the Bronwen/Angus litter.  We now have another litter, Duncan’s Delanna x Clems Aramis.  Delanna is a seal doe and Aramis is, of course, pointed.  We expected to get really dark pointed babies, but instead got two sables and three seals.  It’s ok.  We like those colors, too.

Four pointed does.  Kerry Megan x Aramis

Four pointed does. Kerry Megan x Aramis

so, if you are in need of a french angora, these should be ready for new homes in a few weeks.  We won’t let them go before 12 weeks, so get in touch with wench or see her at a show, and we’ll hook you up!

In other news, the chickens are all grown up now and are beginning to lay eggs.  Pullet eggs are pretty small, but every day we get bigger ones.  Not everyone is laying yet, but they are on their way.  One day we’ll get 9 eggs, the next 12 or 13… our two roosters are keeping a good eye on the girls.

stash of eggs

stash of eggs

all grown up!

all grown up!

As you know, builder has been working on a new pasture for us.  This one is rather depleted:

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and this one is rather lush:afa1da6d-4cfc-4f2d-980f-ae819f8d6214

however, it is down the driveway and across the access road, which, for goats, can be a challenge when there is no bridge to cross.  (wench tried to convince builder to make a bridge, but he wasn’t falling for that – although it might be fun).  Anyway, some of the flerd didn’t get the memo, and besides there was great grass on the way to the new place, so we had to try it!

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we will make quick work of the areas around the barn and then be on to the new place… yummy.  We appreciate the variety in our diet.  Speaking of variety in our diet, wench came home from the store the other day with three cases of swiss chard, which was not restaurant quality any longer, but goat quality for sure.  Me and Geronimo made pigs of ourselves. oink oink

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(Willis tries to get in there, too, but he just isn’t big enough sometimes).

We were glad to see the staff photog this month, Dan and his family came down for a little vacation.  We like it when Dan comes for several reasons – #1 being that it keeps wench out of our hair for a few days.  She’s busy with them and so takes care of us but doesn’t bug us much.  Of course one day we had to stay in the barn while they all went off to Asheville for the day.  I heard they had fun talking to some of the brass farm animals in Pack Square – how silly!

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Hailey, who is the same age as me, is my new girlfriend.  She fed me animal crackers, and told wench I could have as many as I wanted.  That’s because I’m the boss.  and we don’t let anyone forget that fact.

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thanks for reading Frankly speaking.  I have more to tell you, but I’ll save it for later…

Frankly speaking….. I’m speachless

I understand that I am a goat.  (well, sort of, I’m a special goat, but more on that later)  Goats are livestock.  We are virtually SLAVES to people and go where they tell us.  Sometimes, the people are the slaves, and that’s usually the case around here, but… I digress.  In this month’s news I have a disturbing announcement.  My sister, MISS MAE has gone to live over in Elk Creek.  I can’t believe it.  Well, yes I can believe it, for several reasons:

This is not a 1000 acre farm.  So that means that not everyone can be born and live here forever (like me).  When babies are born, they grow up and move on to start herds for other fiber artists.  It’s what we do.  So, this year, a fiber farm over in Elk Creek needed a couple of does, to go with the buckling they got from us last year.  We had four doelings born this year:  Bluebell (a/k/a Sapphire)

Sapphire - although we are calling her bluebell these days

Sapphire – although we are calling her bluebell these days

and Ruby:

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and Hope’s little Hera:

Hope with Neptune and Hera

Hope with Neptune and Hera

and Venus:

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Venus

Ruby and Sapphire are destined to stay here, replacement does (if you will) for Hope and Faith.  So that left Venus and Hera.  Hera, who is the daughter of Hope, is so TINY that Wench won’t let her go without her brother, Neptune.  These two could start a new line of angora goats called miniatures, they are so small.  We think it is because their momma, Hope, is rather elderly, and this is her last hurrah for the motherhood department.  She’ll be moving to Pennsylvania next month to join her babies from previous years, Pinky and Gary, at the farm of our friend Charlotte, where she will live in the lap of luxury for her golden years.

ANYWAY, so that left us a new dilemma.  Wench is pretty particular about where we go and how we live, and one doe on her own never leaves here… we are very family oriented so we have to go with a buddy.  (bucks are the exception because they have one mission in life, and can stand alone, although a friend is nice)  So Mae was it.  She went with her daughter Venus to live in Elk Creek and start a new fiber farm over there.  The folks that bought them are very nice, and they have four little girls to love my sister and niece, so, I’m ok with it, but I’ll miss them.  So long, Miss Mae and Venus….. you are already missed:

6ea0fc22-7fb8-4e81-a1da-a1e5101363d1but probably not by Hope, because you never really liked Hope, and were always trying to boss her around.  hehehe.

Speaking of Hope, her two little monsters have discovered what cookies are.  The problem is that they are so tiny they can still fit between the gate and the barn door, so, now they can come looking for cookies whenever they feel like it.

got any cookies?

got any cookies?

So Jupiter is now on his own, and hopefully he’ll be going to live on an alpaca farm over in Dobson, with Hera and Neptune.  We’ll see.  If not, the three of them will be for sale.  Wench wants to keep Moondancer, and make him a wether (like ME) but she and builder are continuing to discuss this.  Builder, you see, is rather opposed to castration (can you blame him?) but wench is trying to convince him that the fiber stays so nice for so long….. just look at my fleece.  You don’t get much better than what I’ve got.  just sayin.

 

In bunny news, we have four litters of french angoras now about 3 weeks old.  Bronwen has five torts, Kerry Megan has seven whites, some pointed, some REW, Ultana has some torts, some brokens and one solid; and Mikimoto has five as well, one sable, one blue and three pointed.  Up next is Julianna (yeah, I know, fat chance), Duncan’s Delanna and Clems Sophia; they get nestboxes on July 5th.  Then we have Sparkle, Tolinka and miss Daisy on the July 11th nestbox date.  So, we’ll see.

 

With any luck, my August report will be FILLED with rabbit pictures – babies!  yay.

 

Until then, stay cool, and thanks for reading Frankly speaking!

SWAK!

SWAK!

 

Frankly speaking………………….slow down, you move too fast

got to make the mornin last?  old song I seem to remember.  A more appropriate theme for us, around here on the mountaintop.  The people that is, not the goats.  Goats have one speed.  Their own.  Unless there is food involved, then all bets are off.

Let’s see…………………It is time for the first of the month report.  I contributed 20% toward a blend of fibers recently made into yarn (laceweight) which has been nicely received for it’s luxurious properties.  This started a little something going on in wench’s head (not again) that there should be a fiber co-operative around here, where farmers could contribute toward a blend which would make a unique and local yarn.

We are working on a logo, business plan, etc. to make a fiber mill here a reality, along with the ten billion other projects we have.  So, be on the lookout for some new announcements, probably this fall.

In the meantime, and as the full moon comes about again, we welcome new litters of bunnies.  Clems Bronwen (lilac tort french angora) x AC Angus (black tort, french angora [and her son]) produced a litter of mostly torts, with a pearl or two in there on the 29th of May.  This is line breeding at it’s height, so we’ll see what comes of these little ones.  No two headed rabbits, don’t worry.  There are seven all together.  Momma Bronwen is pretty particular and very protective.  She didn’t like the nestbox she was provided, so she made it clear and flipped the box over spilling the babies all over the wire.  Wench zip tied the box to the cage, but that didn’t stop her, she chewed through the zippy and did it again.  Once the kits were deposited in the nestbox she wanted, all was right with the world (according to Bron – what a diva).

On a sad note, Clems Lennox, American Chinchilla doe extraordinaire, delivered a healthy litter of six, a few not quite right and then she laid down and died right there.  Len was a great doe, raising some satin angoras for aunt June a while back, and so her kits were farmed out – two to Amanda, two to Hesper and two to Bronwen.  Won’t Bron be surprised when they come out of the nest.  They are already twice the size of her own.

Speaking of babies, our goat babies are doing well, growing up and will soon get their first haircut.

Sapphire - although we are calling her bluebell these days

Sapphire – although we are calling her bluebell these days

In a day or so, wench is driving up to NY to see our staff photographer.  She is going to be back on Saturday or Sunday, and then will go up again in a few weeks when she can stay a little longer.

In May, our enhanced fleece was displayed at the Middle Tennessee Fiber Festival and everyone there had a good time.  It seems as Geronimo will be saying good bye this month, which will make me sad.  Moondancer and Klondike will be put up for sale too.  Wish we lived on a thousand acres so everyone who is born here never had to leave. sniff.

So, a mid-month report in June maybe, but until then – thanks for reading Frankly speaking!

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