Monday, July 22, 2013

Greenhouse Frame, Carrying Water

The homestead project is continuing, even though I'm putting myself through a slight diversion right now. Yes, the yurt needs to be insulated. Yes, I need the second yurt erected, covered, and insulated. But, the plants are speaking to me and my body so I'm building them a greenhouse.

You see, my ideal diet consists of fresh greens, vegetables, meat, nuts, and eggs. And what's the best way to store greens until you're ready to eat them? That's right! Growing in the ground.

The sooner I get food in the ground, the sooner I can be eating it.

Here's how one person can put up a tall frame. I assembled one side while the parts were low enough to reach.

Then I hoisted it up and snapped a photo so I could remember how many joints and pipes I needed to add the third span to it.

Finally, here is the whole frame, roughly in place.

The next garden-related task is to build a water tower to get enough gravity-based pressure to run a stable irrigation system. Why, you ask? Well, there's no source of water in operation on the land. When I travel I need to ask friends to stay at the house and hand water all of the plants every day, twice if it's hot.

Here's where water comes from - the Wolf Creek Community Well.

To get it to the house, I burn gas.

Here's my shower.

And when I want a hot shower I leave this black 3-quart jug in the sun for a couple of hours. (I took this photo because I liked the way the yurt lattice reflected off of the surface. Isn't it pretty?)

So, yeah, I really want an elevated water storage solution. Then I can truck in 100 gallons at a time, pump it up there with my stored solar electricity, and leave a little timer running to water the garden for me. It's a pretty major project, though, and needs to be paid for out-of-pocket because it was not included in the homestead setup budget. We'll see how quickly I can make it a priority...

Sunday, July 21, 2013

New Blue Sample Blanket, Ready For Preorders

It's that time again! Time to let me know if you're interested in getting a garment from the latest batch of cloth.

I have made a decision about these special orders, though. You can decide which shade you'd like, and that's the only customization I can offer. I will only weave finished items that I make already: ruanas, short ruanas, and shawls. No more yardage or custom sizes. It's just too much administrative overhead.

Enough on that... On to the sample blanket!

Here are the bobbins that went into it.

And here's the result. Notice that I added one extra stripe all the way to the left. I had to try crossing the blue with yellow.

Chrome Yellow. I hate it. The light value saps the warp of its color and the hue flattens anything that would be left. Ah, well, I had to try it once, right?




Varsity Green


Dark Green

Sky Blue


Denim Blue

Ultramarine Purple

Navy Blue/Black

And here's how to order: send me an email.
1. Tell me which color swatch is most attractive to you
2. Tell me which garment style you are interested in.
3. Give me the email address that you use with PayPal and I'll send you an invoice or give me your phone number and I'll call you to get credit card info.
4. Give me your shipping address. Shipping is free.

Ruanas: $420
Small Ruanas: $315
Square Shawls: $210

Your order will ship out in about three weeks after I've woven your piece and stitched it up.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

New Little Garden

Today's blog entry is a photo essay about the new little deer-proof garden.

And, lest you think that I am a miracle worker, able to design and weave cloth while simultaneously building a garden, I need to come clean. I hired a friend to put in the raised beds for me. There really are just so many hours in a day and the business is requiring all of them and then some right now. Yes, I helped a little, but Chad did most of the real work...

Before: lots of brush

Clearing the site

Building the boxes, complete with weed barrier and chicken wire to keep gophers out. Chad did this at his house where there are tools and electricity.

Boxes leveled and filled within a temporary deer fence.

Finally! The indigo plants will be much happier in a real box of soil. Tonight I'll plant the dahlias and tomorrow I leave for a week with another friend coming over to hand water the garden. I really hopes this all works out.

I'll eventually be building a water tower for off-grid pressurized storage to run an automatic drip irrigation system. But that's not now. For now, it all needs to be watered by hand every day.

Friday, July 5, 2013

Sleying The Blue

I'm sinking an awful lot of "startup time" into the business right now. After sleying this reed I'll have three sets of weaving in play at once: purple, blue, with just a little bit of white left.

I'm also awaiting delivery of another reed so I can put a fourth beam in the pipeline. Yes, there are more beams than looms, and it's good. It means that I can have more colors in my booth at once. This is especially important with the high capacity beam. That's about 4 months of weaving on its own, and could easily turn my booth into "the land of blue" if all the other colors sell out before its done. This way I can weave enough blue to hold me over and then switch to weaving some other colors for a while.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Setting Up The Blue

Notice any difference between these two shots?

I've got enough purple in my inventory for now so that batch of weaving has been shuffled to the "back burner". And now I'm working extra long days getting the main loom set up for a big, big batch of blue. Just 600 more knots before I'm ready to sley the reed.

I still expect to have the first few pieces woven and sewn in time for the Oregon Country Fair in 10 days. Back to work!