‘Tis the Season

No, not that season (though it is coming faster than I want to admit. I am referring to fire burning season. Started the first fire of the season this afternoon. Feels good! This is with the door of the woodstove open, just to get a better picture.

I was good last night and sat at the drum carder for about an hour and a half, weighing out a pound of superwash in black, white and red, separated into 2 ounce sets and running 4 sets thru the machine. I’m calling these “Dying Embers”. They all look a bit different, just because of how they went thru the carder, and the pic is way brighter than they look in real life. I may make an extra batt to spin up as an example. I like the idea of having a pound worth of batts to sell. One of the best things I learned at SOAR last year (thanks to Abby Franquemont) is this way of packaging the batts, which can take a huge amount of space otherwise. You gather one end of the batt in one hand, then twist it tightly, twirling the batt around itself until it’s twisted along the whole length. Hold both ends in one hand and let the batt twist around itself and tuck the ends into the fold at the center. It’s a lot like what I do with finished skeins of yarn. It really compacts the batt, so they take up a lot less space, and are less susceptible to damage from the resident kitties. What’s not to love? The picture actually shows 5 batts, since I did another one this morning (and just finished #6 a few minutes ago)

I also got a sheep sheared this afternoon. Marge moved slower than Amber when I got the ewes penned in the barn, so that’s who I did today.

Before: 

  

and After: 

 

I tried taking a picture of her fleece so you could see the crimpy goodness, but there just wasn’t enough light to do it justice. Marge may not be my favorite ewe (she isn’t very friendly, has a tendency to bite if I’m not quick enough when I’m handing out treats, and can be very stubborn), but she does have a lovely, easily sheared fleece. Clean face, no leg wool, and very little belly wool – so little waste. She was given to me because she had a really bad case of mastitis a few years back and her previous owner wasn’t sure that she would be able to raise a lamb on her own again. Her first year with me her udder was definitely lopsided. She had twins that year, a CVM ewe and a white ram. She rejected the ewe lamb (her first colored lamb ever), so I had a bottle baby, but the ram lamb was a very vigorous nurser, and went at both sides of the udder. The next year her udder filled out much more evenly. She only had a single (big) ram lamb, again a very vigorous eater. Her udder is a little lumpy now, but not much more than any other older ewe. That CVM ewe lamb is the only one I’ve ever had to help with. She has gotten used to the idea of colored lambs. She does her job – healthy lambs without help and a beautiful fleece. I can deal with the attitude.

When I came in for lunch I happened to see a coyote trotting by outside my living room window. Now, I know that I have 2 bands of coyotes near me. I hear them almost every night. I know that they successfully raise pups every year, because I can hear the pups yipping when meals get delivered. But in 15 years on this property this is the first time I have seen one on the grounds. I’ve never lost anything to them, not a bird, not a cat, not a lamb. I count myself very lucky on all counts. I hope nothing happens to the resident coyotes because so far they have respected my beasties. The picture isn’t very good. By the time I got outside he’d moved on across the street. You can just pick him out near the white irrigation pipe, to the right of the center tree. He looked to be in good condition. I was glad to see him, but really glad when both my cats came back in for a bit a short while later.

 All in all, a good and productive day. Hope yours was too.

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