Archive for March, 2007

Worth a small chuckle…

Friday, March 30th, 2007

There is now a bumper sticker that can be used by both parties…”RUN HILLARY RUN”
Democrats put it on the rear bumper. Republicans put it on the front bumper.

The Great Fiber Road Trip of ’07

Monday, March 26th, 2007

The (first??) Great Fiber Road Trip of ’07 started at 6:30am on March 22nd (of 2007 – duh). Allena, William and I hit the road and were off to Nebraska to buy more wool roving and yarn than you can shake a stick at.

I really gotta say that William (about 5 1/2 months old) is an OUTSTANDING traveler. Out of three very long days of driving (not quite 1700 miles) he was cranky about being in the car for maybe an hour at most.

Day 1 –

We drove from our home in Humansville, MO to my Mom’s house in Highlands Ranch, CO – a Denver suburb. We got there in time to have dinner with Mom, chat for a while and go to bed. This was the first she’d ever seen William in person, so even though it was brief, it was nice to be able to stop at her house. Day 1 was pretty much all driving, and nothing really eventful happened. We did take a “scenic route” down to Highlands Ranch though. We cut off of I-70 about 60 miles shy of Denver and took a Colorado state highway. This shaved probably 50 miles off of the trip, since I-70 takes you north up to Denver, and then you have to head South to Highlands Ranch. The state highway went pretty much straight there. It was a very pretty drive – hilly with trees and intermittent views of the mountains.

Day 2 –

Another early morning. William does not care about Central time and Mountain time. He lives on Tummy time, and when the tummy says it’s time to eat, well then it’s time to eat. Tummy time says it’s time to eat at around 4:00am Central time. It worked out ok – he ate, and I went out to get coffee for Allena and myself, since my Mom only has a miniature coffee pot (two cups I think). We went over to my brother’s house and ate some Mc Donald’s breakfast there. We hung out for about an hour and a half or so, but it was back on the road by about 9:00am Central time.

We reached our destination – The Brown Sheep Co. in Mitchell Nebraska – at around 2:00pm. To get there we ended up cutting across the South East corner of Wyoming. Wyoming is a beautiful state, but I’ve never seen anything that empty since driving across the desert in California. At one point you could litterally see 10 miles in every direction, and there was NOTHING. Not even another car. It was a little sureal.

Once we were at The Brown Sheep Co., we were given a tour by a very nice lady named Sherry. As an aside, one of the first things she told us about was hysterical. If you follow the link to The Brown Sheep Co., you’ll see a picture that has a bunch of sheep running around in the back ground. The sheep are all different colors – pink, green, yellow, etc. It seems they were contacted by an animal rights group and were told that the absolutely could not dye the sheep like that. Apparently the animal rights folks have never heard of Photoshop. :)

The tour was really cool. These folks make a LOT of yarn. Sherry told us that in their peak week last year they sold over 15,000 lbs of yarn! Another thing I found very interesting about the tour is the new yarn dryer they recently acquired for the bargin price of $750,00. This thing is basically a giant microwave with an 8-foot-wide conveyor belt running through it. It dries yarn in 45 minutes as opposed to the 8 hours it took the old dryer.

After the tour we got to pick out our roving. We bought two “bumps” of white roving. A bump is a 30 lb ball of roving. This was top-of-the-line stuff, and we got a great price on it. It’ll be great for people who want to dye their own yarn. We also bought 25 lbs of mill ends. This is when they combine multiple colors for a particular yarn, and they’ve got a little left over at the end of the run. Not useful to them, but more than enough to be useful to a hobbyist. We got an even better price on that. We also bought some already spun yarn – mostly for Allena’s personal use (and I get a sweater in the deal), but we also got some white yarn to dye and sell.

We left The Brown Sheep Co. at around 5:00pm and made it to Ogallala, Nebraska before we decided to call it a night. Ogallala is right on I-80, and the drive down to it from Mitchell is very scenic – lots of bluffs and valleys.

Day 3 –

Once again, William awoke us nice and early. We ate a continental breakfast at the hotel (which was fairly descent) and were on the road by 6:30am. I think we were a little slap-happy by then. Before we left, I got about 4 1/2 hours of sleep. Then I got about 5 the night we stayed with my Mom. About 5 – 5 1/2 hours the night we stayed in Ogallala. We managed to make it home alive though by about 8:30pm Central time. We got home with 85 lbs of wool roving to re-sell, and probably another 5 lbs of yarn. It was really a great trip despite the looooooong drive. We also have a lot of motivation to get our shopping cart up so we can start selling this stuff…’cause 85 lbs of roving costs a lot of money ;)

Yet another update

Tuesday, March 20th, 2007

Ok – so I haven’t found time to post much that’s all that interesting, but there are all sorts of things going on just now.

William got his first tooth last night!  They grow up fast.  He’ll be wanting a car before you know it.

Dominic is in 4H now.  Who knew that 4H did stuff besides agriculture?  He’s in three different projects – Robotics, Outdoor adventures (aka Camping), and Shooting sports (with a .22).  I’m actually teaching the robotics project.  So far it’s just him, but the club leader said there might be a couple of more that wanted to join.  I’m going to make him maintain a blog/journal as part of the project so he’ll be posting pictures of his progress.  I’m really looking forward to it – very father/son, but also geeky.

The hogs are (finally!) getting butchered tomorrow.  I’m glad for this, because they’ve escaped their pen enough times that I was ready to do them in weeks ago.  On the other hand, it’s kind of wierd have a day scheduled for it.  It kind of makes if feel like an exectution.  I’m sure I’ll get over it with the first pork chop. :)

We’re starting a road trip on Thursday morning.  We’re heading out to Nebraska to buy a LOT of yarn.  Crazy?  Maybe.  But, we think we can make money with it by dyeing it and re-selling it on our Spindle and Wheel website.  Anybody out there have friends/family that knit or crochet?  We’re going to have a shopping cart up soon with lots of quality 100% wool yarn for sale.  Spread the word.

Once we’ve got this yarn, I guess we’re “officially” in business.  I’m going to make an appointment with the small business resource center in Springfield when we get back so we’ve got all the bases covered for taxes and licenses and what not.  It’s kind of exciting really.  This trip is the point of no return.  After we make the trip we’ll have about $1000 invested in starting up the company, so we really need to make it official, and hopefully make some money in the bargain.

We’ll take pictures on the road trip.  And not just of the grass, I promise ;).  That way I’ll have a more interesting post when I get back.


Wednesday, March 7th, 2007

Irony is a wonderful thing.  A few days ago, I posted a comment on Richard’s blog, wondering what had become of him, since he hadn’t posted anything in a looong time.  Today, I received a similar post on my own blog.  Let me assure everyone that the Flying Pigs did not get me, and that I’m safe and sound.  Well, safe.  My soundness is questionable.

So what’s been going on lately?  Been busy at work.  We’ve got a pretty aggressive release cycle for our software, so I get home at night and pretty much want to leave the computer alone.

I finally got the garden plowed last night (yes, plowed.  With a tractor.  Roto-tillers are for wussies!).  I need to disc it up too – helps to level it out, the plow leaves it pretty rough.  Sadly, the hydraulics on my tractor are not working well, so I may get to replace a bunch of hydraulic hoses (whoopee.  not.) before I can do that or the other tractor work that needs doing – brush hogging, etc.

I’m writing a little piece of software – primarily for my own use, but I may distribute it eventually.  It’s for keeping track of all the things that need to be done for the various critters here on the ranch.  Shots, sheering, shoeing, etc.  You get more than a couple of pets and you start thinking “now when was the last time animal ‘X’ had a vaccination…?”  I think it would be a handy tool for anyone that has more than a few animals.  It’s occurred to me that you could use it for other things too as it’s essentially a reminder program, with some built in historical logging, so you can see what things got done when, as well as when they need to be done again.  It’d work as well for kids activities, automobile maintenance, etc.

We put together a website for Ozark Carding Mill.  We’ve got a few little finishing touches to put on it, but it’s essentially done.  We’ll be doing a shopping cart for them too.  We’re also going to be putting up a shopping cart on our Spindle and Wheel site as we’ve been getting our processed fleeces back and we have some stuff to sell now.  We’ve been doing some changes to the theme of the site too, and we’re probably going to be re-doing it altogether before long.  The logo stays, ’cause it’s a great logo, but the overall feel of the site will change with the current articles moving into a tutorials section, and new articles getting posted that are more informative than instructive.

Anyhow, that’s most of it in a nutshell.  Should be getting some lambs here before long, so we’ll definitely be doing some posting when they come along.