30 Days Without Social Media!

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And. . . we're back! Miss us? We've missed you guys! So much has happened these past 30 days, yet it's been life as usual too. The bindery is always hopping with fun restoration projects, and our homestead has grown by leaps and bounds. We kept up with blogging, so if you've followed along with our blog you're pretty much up to date with the happenings of the homestead. We've been saving our restoration and binding projects though, mostly because it's nice to keep special projects to ourselves for a while, even though we enjoy sharing so much of our bindery life with y'all.  

While on our break several people asked us if it was a good idea to take a social media break since it's become such a huge marketing tool for businesses. All the books and blogs say post constantly and often too; so thinking about that question we couldn't help but answer:  Yes, 30 days of not sharing our day-to-day life isn't going to be a big deal, and here's why we came to that conclusion:  So much of our business is creative and personal, and it's all housed and run directly out of our home which makes it even more personal with a huge sense of propriety and protection. Not to mention factoring in how special the rare books are that we are trusted with to care for; they're not only special because of their rarity, they also have great personal value to their owners—our clients—which in of it's self is a huge responsibility we don't take lightly. But here's the thing; we shaped our business this way on purpose.  

Restoration work on books is pretty straightforward, but all of our bindings and enclosures are custom designs and handmade in our home studio, and that feels really personal, and it also feels really special which helps keep the creative juices flowing. The more of ourselves we can put into our custom work, the better the outcome for the end product and for our clients. When working in a creative field one's environment and surroundings are extremely important, and that's where our homestead living and animals come into play.  Being surrounded by nature, sweet farm animals, and the work we've put into building our homestead adds a whole other layer of just how much of us we put into our work. Then we move on to the fiber arts side of our home business.  Spinning yarn using the fiber given to us from our rabbits and sheep is an amazing experience, and another layer of something special we pass on to our work, which all adds up to how we find inspiration, creativity, humility, refine our craft, and become innovative. Maintaining the balance of these layers can be tricky and requires a lot of effort, and social media, while great for sharing, can be very disruptive. Pulling back from the outside world every once in a while is never a bad idea in our opinion, in fact it's required.  

Here is what happened in the 30 days:

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Hettie had twins! We're pretty excited to have more bouncing (literally) lambs. She had a boy, Finn, who is a cuddly one, and a sweet little girl, Tilly. They are so fun and never far away from each other. They had a rough beginning as Hettie got sick the day after giving birth, but we were able to take care of Hettie and her lambs, and everyone is healthy and happy.  Read more about Hettie's incident with Milk Fever HERE.  

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We decided to get a livestock dog since we now have all these sheep and other animals around the yard. She is just a pup, but will grow up to be a good guardian. Her name is Brina, and she is a mix Anatolian Shepherd /Great Pyrenees.

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We got her from a farm near Tyler Texas and when we put her in the car we noticed she had fleas, so she is quite wet in this photo after we scrubbed her with medicated shampoo and other such medicines to help her feel better and clean. Silly us to think we could just pick up an animal and not have additional issues to take care of.  After her bath the color of her fur changed from a beautiful reddish cream color to a lovely soft white.  I think she's happy to be here and we're happy to have her.  She is already so fun with a calm temperament and a member of our family. 

We know it's Spring in Texas as soon as we see the wild flowers bloom.  Every year we take a drive on "Bluebonnet Trail" and soak in all the beautiful scenery.  We take about a million photos too!  See more HERE

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Y'all remember last Fall when two kittens appeared on our front porch, they never left our front porch by the way; well their mother had another litter! Mamma cat got in a fight with something and got hurt with a bad cut from her lip to below her chin, we couldn't just leave her hurt like that, so we took her to the vet to get a few stitches.  Later that same night she gave birth to three little cuties. Anyone looking for a kitty? Anyone?! 

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We have not let mamma cat outside since having her kittens so we can have her fixed and hopefully stop the kitten making machine! But seriously, anyone want a kitten?  

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We've been making beautiful historical bindings, and restoring pretty special books, with a few enclosures and facsimiles thrown in for good measure. A couple of these bindings have become our favorites!

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But, we're working on a few more bindings that could end up our favorites.  Who are we kidding, It's impossible to name just one favorite binding we've done in recent years; there have been too many awesome books that have crossed our work bench that we'd call our favorites. 

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We built a chicken coop for our chicks, and we can't wait for fresh eggs this summer after our hens grow up and begin laying! 

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Over all our social media break was good; disconnecting from our highly connected culture now days felt refreshing some how.  But, like after any good vacation it's good to be back!

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Also, anyone else obsessed with Ed Sheeran's new album! 

When Hettie Got Sick With Milk Fever.

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Just over two weeks ago our sweet Hettie gave birth to twin lambs, Finn and Tilly, and the day after she got terribly sick. She stopped nursing, she stopped eating and drinking, and she couldn't stand or walk on her own. After speaking to our vet we thought Hettie was just exhausted after giving birth to twins. As the day went on she started getting worse, and we realized something else had to be going on. After scouring the internet, referring to our Story's "Raising Sheep" book, and lots of prayer we thought she might have Milk Fever, which is technically exhaustion, but the ewe specifically needs calcium in addition to nutrients and electrolytes, and a lot of it quickly.

Our local Tractor Supply had a great calcium and nutrient supplement drink we force fed her using a drench gun. We also force fed her electrolytes. After two days, Hettie started feeling better, and back to grazing a week later. While she was getting better we bottle fed the lambs so Hettie could use what little energy she had to get well, not to mention that while she was down she stopped producing as much milk. We didn't want to break the bond Hettie had with her lambs, so we watched closely to only feed the lambs when Hettie didn't feed them, and as Hettie began to feed them more and more we would back off our interference. 

This whole experience was incredibly stressful and emotional as our animals mean a lot to us, and we couldn't bare the thought of loosing either a lamb or Hettie. It took Hettie about 7 days to get back to 100%, but once she felt better she was back to mothering and her bellwether duties. The other sheep depend on Hettie and missed her while she was away from the flock.  

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Hettie Had Her Lambs!

Our sweet bellwether, Hettie, had her lambs this morning! We're so happy for two new additions to the flock, a boy and a girl.  Hettie is a good mamma, and the lambs so sweet and brand new.  

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Welcome Eidolon House babies! 

Stormy Skies & Sheep of Course.

In the evenings, before the sun sets we like to take a break from the bindery and go outside to visit our animals. Spring storms in Texas are both scary and beautiful; dramatic skies and our favorite sheep always help rejuvenate us to finish a long night in the bindery. 

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Our neighbor's Black Angus cows like to visit once in awhile too.

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Making Yarn: An Ancient Craft.

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If someone were to ask me a couple years ago if I wanted to make yarn I would've something like "sounds fun, but not really" . I'm the type of person who definitely appreciates traditional hand crafts and I love to learn new things, so the idea of making yarn would have been intriguing to me. Fast forward to today, and I'm pretty much obsessed with spinning wool and making yarn. Fiber is such an amazing thing, and participating in an ancient craft just to make the material needed to then make a finished product is truly amazing and facilitating.

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