Saturday, January 18, 2020

What's Fiberton Acres Up to in 2020?

First and foremost, Happy New Year everyone!  I am excited for 2020...which has already been quite exciting!

The new year finds me in Colorado for a couple months or so for shearing bison hides.  Bison fiber has unique qualities and is crazy warm (as it is their winter coat that we shear) and makes for some awesome gloves, hats and socks.  And it is a great way for me to become more adept at shearing!

Which brings me to....

What's Fiberton Acres Up to in 2020?

I don't like making resolutions.  But I do like making goals.  These are my goals for 2020!

1) Shearing, baby!
  • The next 5-6 months are going to be filled with shearing!  I am shearing bison hides for the next couple months, and then on to assisting Shorn Shearing Service in alpaca shearing.  I help hold the animal while it is shorn, and this year my goal is to get better at shearing myself.  I am feeling more confident all the time (thanks to great training from Shorn) and hope to be semi-fluent in alpaca shearing by the end of the shearing season!

2) Do a freakin' pull-up and train for a run...
  • Shearing has gotten me into the best shape of my life.  With that, my goal is to be able to do a pull-up!  I am hitting the gym fairly frequently and hope to hit the one pull-up mark by mid-year! I've also been thinking that learning to rock climb may help me reach that goal, too...  It has also been too long since I have trained for a decent length run.  So that is gonna happen this year, too!

3) More travel!
  • This year I have a goal to visit a new country.  I plan on taking the ol' van to new places, checking out cool new places with shearing, and checking out a new country.  I have been lucky to go to Australia...the next one I really want to visit is a South American country, but I also have never been to Canada, so I have a good back up plan. 

4) But also more gardening...
  • I realize though that I also need something that grounds me, and putting my hands in the dirt and getting to grow something is a big deal for me.  So this year I will be begging friends to let me come play in their yards in return for some veggies. :)

5) Revamp the Etsy Shop...
  • And the Etsy Shop will be undergoing a bit of a ravamp!  It will focus on products and tools for yarn crafters, including organizing solutions, knitting needles and crochet hooks, drop spindles, yarn bowls, kits, new yarn packs and more!  These changes will happen over the next few months, and I will make sure to let you know as they happen.  I will still do custom handmade knit and crochet items but they will be by custom order only.  Just contact me through the Etsy Shop with your ideas!

What are your goals in 2020?  I love sharing my goals, as it makes me feel more accountable.  I would love to hear what you will be working toward in 2020!

I leave you with this.  I can't find who to give credit to for this awesome quote/image.  But it is pretty much my fav.

- Ash

Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Next stop...Australia! (Who says you can't shear alpacas for 24 hours?)

It is almost here!  Here are a few quick updates on the upcoming trip and our shop!

In less than a month the following awesome and craziness will happen....

1) The Etsy Shop will go on Vacay...

On November 4th, Fiberton Acres online shop will go on "vacation" while I head to Australia for about a month.  It will open back up on Dec 8th, so if you need a lovely little handmade item prior to that, make sure to get your order in prior to Nov 4th.  Oh! And if you are in need of a special order, you can message me while I am on the road and I will work hard to accommodate the order for the holidays!  Check out the Etsy shop here!

2) I will be one of the roustabouts for an epic and important record breaking fundraising event...

At 4pm, Friday, November 22nd in Australia (so 11pm, Thursday, Nov 21st in the U.S.) I get the honor to help Pete and Nigel, two of the best alpaca shearers in the world break an incredible record for shearing alpacas for 24hrs.  What could make it cooler, you ask?  How about making it for mental health awareness and suicide prevention all over the world?  Pete and Nigel are raising funds for organizations all over the world.  If you are in the US, funds will go to the Montana Chapter of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.  If you are in New Zealand, Australia or the UK, we have charities set up as well!

I will be the roustabout for a large chunk of the 24hrs (the person helping wrangle and hold the alpacas during shearing) and we will have a live feed set up for you to see how it's going!  More info on the event, how to help and how to watch the live stream can be found at at as we get closer!

And if you want to donate directly in the US to this awesome event, click here!

3) Follow Fiberton Acres on Instagram or FB for any updates while I am in Oz...

I will not be able to blog much (or at all) while I am in Australia, but if you are on social media, I will work to put up a few updates there!  Find me on Instagram or Facebook!


Friday, October 18, 2019

Van Life So Far as a Solo Woman and Other Observations...

It has been several months living the van life now.  I get little questions from friends and family from time to time, and I see a lot of discussion around the subject of being a lady living in her van.

There is a lot of great women who have a lot of cool insight into this subject for sure.  But here are a few observations I've made so far!

My Take On Van Life So Far...

I have done the whole van life thing for about 4 months or so. Full disclosure... there was a whole month I lived indoors in a house, trying out renting a room from a friend.  And it is nuts...I realized I really, truly missed my van.  And here is why: it's mine.  I may not have a lot, but it gives me a place to call my own, do my own thing, and save up for future goals.  I find that my new career is all about being flexible and able to travel at any given moment, so my van makes this happen without a lot of added expense.

But, of course, there are tons of things I have had to come to terms with. Everything takes longer. You often have to have a bathroom plan, because I don't have room for one.  Showers are a thing.  Oh, it snowed last night - Is that why it's so f'ing cold? did all these mosquitos get in here?!  Hold on, I need to put this item away before I can get to and use that one...

None of these are bad things for me I am learning (well except for mosquitoes.)  I know it is definitely not for everyone, but I like having a small routine. I (mostly) like pushing myself a bit and not being complacent.  I like that it makes me workout to get a shower. ask...what does that routine look like?  

It all depends on where I stayed the night before.  My preferred place is a campsite that is secluded and free (which often means without amenities) but this lends itself to comfortably making coffee and breakfast and getting ready without feeling weird and not really worrying about the morning routine.

Morning routine + no power = foam rollers!

Other times, I may stealth camp in town.  If I stay at a truck stop or parking lot, I skip the morning routine almost all together, throw on clothes and run in to buy a coffee.

And if I stay at a campground with amenities, you better believe I take my time, as I probably paid for that shiz.

I also have a gym membership so I workout in the evenings when it is quiet and can take showers there.

Which all that brings me to observations of being a solo-woman living in her van...

First and foremost, I always listen to my gut feelings of a spot.  If I feel weird about it, I just leave.  Honestly, I also had to feel out what I was comfy with and what I wasn't.  And I have become more comfortable with a lot, actually.  Less than a year ago, going camping by myself freaked me out- quite a bit, actually.  It was a combo of being a woman and being newly single.  I'd gone straight from living with my parents to living with my husband.  I'm not saying it because it is a bad thing, but for me, I realized doing things alone was a tough new experience.  I just had to learn I could do it. And now I find that I am pretty cozy in my little van wherever my gut says is cool.

First solo camping trip!

In addition to gut feeling is defense. An awesome friend bought me a badass knife and some bear mace, and that helped me feel much more in control.  I know some ladies keep a gun, or a bat, but basically I think you should choose some kind of defense that makes you feel comfortable and helps alleviate concerns.  Hopefully you never have to use it, but it sure feels good to know I have something I can use if I felt the need.

However, I also realize that all I can do is take precautions, and I can't control everything that happens.  That drives me a bit crazy but is also freeing.

Here are my go to precautions...I park the van to where I could easily drive off if I need. I keep all doors locked all the time I am in the van, and if I am sitting outside the van (campfire, picnic table, etc) then I keep the front of the van locked and my rear door unlocked for quick access. I keep the aforementioned mace and knife within reach.  (Last night my knife doubled as a fire poker. Think about how that would smart! haha) I put up my blackout window covers even when camping in a secluded spot.  If stealth camping, I make a strong effort to only exit and enter from the driver side door and not the back doors (which are my access doors) so it isn't obvious I am living in there. And I wear leggings to sleep in, because it's what all the cool kids wear now. Oh, and mostly because they are not obviously PJ's.

I am also lucky in that my dad made sure I knew how to do basic mechanics, and I am now pretty good at changing a tire, jumping my vehicles, etc.  But I also have roadside assistance just in case.

Other observations...

At first I really hated saying I was living in my van.  It felt weird to say what I was doing.  And to be fair, if my gut feels weird about stating it, I don't say anything.  But I have some super cool people in my life that not only have had faith in me, they know I can handle my shit and have really bolstered my confidence. I kind of love it now when my friend's daughter tells her friends I live in my van. I love how at the moment it makes me a bit unique.

Also, it actually wasn't my first choice.  I wanted to find a little place of my own.  However, life pushed me in this direction, and I am so glad it did. I am now pretty close to self sufficiency.  And it is my long term goal to pay off debts and save my money over the next year and then decide what I do. I think the only way I would live in a stick built place is if I have a yard where I can play outside as much as I can.

All I know for sure right now is that I try my hardest to take each day as it comes.  And (most of the time) that is actually a pretty cool feeling.

What questions do you have about living in a super tiny place?

- Ash