Friday, July 31, 2009

Rain, glorious rain!

Until the past few days, we'd only had 1/2 inch of rainfall the entire month of July. This is bad - because Ohio should see 4-5 inches of rain in July. The lawn had not been mowed the entire month! The sheep pastures were looking droopy, although the grass was not dying. Recently, we had two nice rainy days with a long soaking shower, both of which accumulated around 1/2." Yesterday, we got 1.1" of rain, and it's raining again this morning.
Now the view out my window is completely different. Everything is green, green, green.

And of course, the lawn needs mowing..............

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Fiber Exchange

I got in the UARC fiber exchange recently, and these are skeins I've done from the roving that was sent out. My contribution was some of the Tropical Punch roving. Each person sent 2 oz bags of roving to the organizer, and she sent all the bags out to each of the participants.
This first roving is exquisite! Its Romney wool with some angora and silk noil added. The colors are silvery blues and lilacs, with multicolored noils. It spun up like a dream. I see it as a lacey shawl.
This is Jacob sheep wool. It was very nice to spin, and has a pretty sheen to it. It makes a springy sort of yarn. It would make a nice outer sweater, or spun finer, sox.
This was not in roving form, but had simply been washed and dyed. Its a Corriedale type wool. Since I do not have a drum carder, and did not feel like handcarding, I decided it would be fun to spin as it came. I left it lumpy, bumpy with little curls sticking out of the yarn. It would make a nice, soft hat.
This is a llama, Columbia sheep, and angora blend. The llama gives it a heavy feel, and very smooth, non-elastic yarn. Maybe a woven scarf?
This came in a cloud form. Its Icelandic with a touch of angora. I thought Icelandic would be long stapled, but this was very short, with lots of short, black hair in it. I spun it lumpy, bumpy, too - which was what it wanted to do. My misgivings about it aside - it turned out to be a really cool yarn. I think it would be great as part of a felted purse.
This is not from the exchange, but I spun it up last night, too. Its some of my friend, Denise's crazy batts. I think there is llama, silk, glitz in it, and then locks of blue, pink, green, purple, yellow BFL. Its soft - maybe it wants to be a hat?

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

I can spin again

I started spinning again yesterday, which is a break from reading during my convalescence. This is what Atlantic looks like spun up. I like it - nice lustre, and very soft against the skin.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Don't Forget Tropical Punch!

I still have about 4# of Tropical Punch. Its also pure BFL from our flock, and is $32 per pound or $2 per ounce plus shipping by USPS Priority. Click on the picture to get a closer look at the colors. Pink & orange with touches of yellow and magenta.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Here it is - Atlantic!

The UPS truck brought me 2 more boxes today, filled with this BFL roving. Its a deep ocean blue/green, made of a subtle blend of several dye colors: teal, spruce, kelly green, sapphire blue. Its $32 per pound plus actual shipping - or $2 per ounce.
Contact info - somerhill@earthlink.net

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

New White BFL roving is available now

Two big boxes of white BFL roving arrived back from the processor today! There is a picture on my website here. Price is $26 per pound, plus actual shipping costs.

I anxiously await the delivery of 2 more boxes that will contain the green/teal roving I sent to be processed at the same time. I'll get pictures posted here and on the website as soon as it arrives.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Good News

I got a call from the Doctor's office today, saying the CT Scan showed a simple compression fracture. Since it already shows signs of knitting together, and my doctor knows from experience that my bones heal quickly, he said to stay home, stay on crutches, no weight on leg, and he will see me again in 2 weeks. I plan to be a very good patient and do exactly as he says. I have enough sick leave built up to stay home that long (and another 4 months if needed!) so that is my plan.

I've been calling into the office trying to do some minor things from my recliner. My main concern is the planning and preparations for a 2 day conservation day camp that I normally organize and oversee. Most of the plans are already made and volunteers contacted- its the purchase of supplies and looking for missed details that I'm concerned about.

Sure miss seeing all the new bunnies growing and changing. Chuck says Vignette and Voodoo's litters are opening their eyes. And from the sounds of it, all the BFL lambs are eating well and growing, too.

Thanks to all for your notes of concern!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Ram lamb for sale

I've got a nice ram lamb for sale now at $350, which includes registration and transfer fees. He is a blend of CH R1, Loyalty, Laird, Jamie, and Ebony Boy and is 64% UK breeding. His sire is Lanark and dam is Hannelore. You can find pictures of both of them on our website
http://www.somerhillfarm.com/BluefacedLeicesters
Lanark is on the flock sires page, and Hannelore is on page 3 of the ewe pages.

I cannot get a picture of him right now (see previous post - haha) but if you look at the post before that and see McDuff, they are similar, sharing the same sire. The ram lamb for sale is a little taller and has more blue coloring. I think he will grow up to look a lot like Hannelore, but with a better earset. He was born April 10th, our first lamb of 2009. Check the blog post for April 10th for his baby picture.

OOPS!

You may not hear from me a lot for a while. On Sunday night(a week ago), I was dumping some stuff in the compost bin outside the rabbitry, and ZAP. ZAP! A stupid wasp dropped down and stung me twice. This is the third time this has happened in recent weeks, and I finally saw what was actually stinging me. This one got my wrist a good one, and it swelled more and more during the night.

So Monday AM, I found a new litter in Mandalay's nestbox, which was wet and very messy with a couple dead kits, too. So I went to dump her nest material and fill it with clean. Being very wary around the compost bin, and hurried in and out of the door. Bad decision........ My feet were wet, and one slid on the concrete and my left heel fell and wedged into the drain. Falling sideways, against the gate, which was unhooked and gave way, I wrenched my right knee. It took me a while to work my foot free from the drain, and then I flailed around and finally got up. Oh, did I mention I had two baby SA bunnies in my hand? They went flying......but landed safely, and I quickly gathered them up and got them into the clean nestbox. Meanwhile, all the bunnies are thumping from all the noise!

Feeling something was definitely wrong with my knee, I went ahead to work to attend an important staff meeting. Then home, and a trip to the ER. 6 hours later, I was home with 2 prescriptions - 1 for antibiotics for my swollen arm, and the other for pain for my fractured tibia. Hey, 2 injuries for the price of one! (I'm not taking the pain drug)

So I am on strict orders to stay off my feet. I spend 23.5 hours a day in my recliner, so I'm being good. Getting around on crutches. I've read a 650 page book on the western theatre of the Civil War called Nothing But Victory. (very good, btw)

Oh - Mandalay has two fat, healthy kits. They looked like a red and a chocolate. Wish I could see them :^( Chuck is feeding the rabbits for me and watching over all three new litters.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

"Bye, McDuff!

He's headed for his new home with Anne and Gordon Bisdorf. He is a blend - his sire is CH R1/Loyalty, and his dam is Laird/Ebony Boy/Jamie. He definitely takes after his sire, Lanark's stylish looks and fine fleece.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

New babies pictures

These are Voodoo's remaining five babies. One has completely disappeared without a trace.
Three of them are starting to look suspiciously white........
These are Vignette's. 6 black, a fawn, and a blue tort. I'd forgotten how black the black are!

Thursday, July 9, 2009

The continuing saga of Vignette's kindling

Last night, I found 1 black kit on the wire in Vignette's(Vinnie) cage, and four in her nestbox. (one DOA, 3 live) When I left that morning, she had none in her cage with her. I had placed the 4 kits she already had in Voodoo's nestbox to warm them up and keep them safe during the day while I am at work.
So I put all 8 live babies in Vinnie's box. She was acting all "macho" with stiff legs and tail way up - you know that pose that makes you think you're going to get a big urine stream in the face? She settled down when I petted her and gave her treat mix. Anyway, I was pretty sure she was done having kits at this point - her attitude was completely changed and in full mommy mode. There was a little blood in her nest, but no sign that she was having problems kindling, and all the kits are the same size and smallish - what you'd expect for a litter of nine. Vinnie never showed any signs of being in distress - she just kept having kits show up here and there. So I have no idea why it took 2 days to get them all out. :^) Even after 12 years of breeding rabbits, they still can do some surprising things.

So this morning, we still have 8 nice clean chubby kits. There are 6 black and 2 fawns.

Voodoo's 6 kits are doing just fine. One is darkening and looks like a fawn, but the others are still very pale colored. I can see dark eyes through their lids on at least some of them, so I am still hopeful that some will be creams.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

New baby French Angoras!!!

GC SHF Vignette has 4 kits this morning, and GC SHF Voodoo, her sister, has 6. Vinnie has 2 blacks, a fawn, and something light I'm hoping will be a cream. Voodoo has 6 pale babies - could they all be creams????? Time will tell. This is Voodoo's second litter, and she did everything right. Vinnie got the steps in the wrong order: Lets see - have kits, get in box, then pull wool.
So I found the 2 black kits crawling around the cage floor, and the two light colored ones were on the concrete floor! OH NO!! Everyone got put in the box and the nest straightened up to my satisfaction.
I had to rush off to work, and figured I'd be working later, so on second thought, I put a black stripe from a sharpie marker on the 2 light ones, and popped all four into Voodoo's nest to get them warmed up. I'll give them back to mama Vinnie when I get home tonight.

My SA doe, GC SHF Mandalay is due this weekend. She's an old pro at this mama stuff, tho'.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

This is another fun thing I did yesterday. I had save some of the tiny pencil locks from the fleeces I've been skirting for roving, and did three dye batches. One is blue/purple/teal; one is hot pink/violet/turquoise; and this one, which is yellow/coral/gold/orange/russet. They are drying on my rack, and then I'll bag them up in one oz baggies for sale. I've got several versions of greens, blues, and teals already bagged up for A Wool Gathering this fall.
I love doing casserole dyeing - its so simple. I just wet the wool, put it in a turkey roaster, splash some vinegar on it, put dots of dye powder here and there, then use my sprayer on the sink to wet it down. Not enough water to float, but enough that when pushed down with a plastic spoon, it just covers the wool. Then I squish around to make sure all the wool gets in contact with the dye, and pop it in the oven at 350 for about 35-40 minutes. Once its steaming, I test to see if the dye is all taken up. If so, just dump it out, rinse once (or until water is clear) and then I drain it and spread it out on my drying rack.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

This is what I did this afternoon. Around here, many of the farms that don't have a good spring end up buying and hauling water to fill cisterns. There are large areas of our county that do not have a public water system. We pay for our remote, private and very beautiful farm by not having some of the things other people take for granted. Much of the time, we get enough water from our dug well, but its been a dry spring here in southern Ohio. We've gotten enough rain to keep the grass green, but not enough to really keep creeks, wells and springs running well. The town of Caldwell has a building where we go to fill our tanks. Its 50 cents per 100 gallons, and this tank holds 210 gallons. I made 3 trips today, and topped off the cistern. Now we can do laundry, take showers, flush - without worrying if the well will go dry.
While I was driving back and forth to Caldwell, I was enjoying the flowers all along the route.
There is a lot of birdsfoot trefoil growing in this area. The coal company uses it to fix nitrogen in soils after the mineland is reclaimed, and its naturalized. The roadsides and especially the median on the freeway (I-77) are bright yellow this time of year. Below is a closeup.

Peas are another plant used to set nitrogen and also as a groundcover along cuts made in the hills to help level out highways. The bright pink flowers in the foreground are peas, and in the background is another groundcover/nitrogen source, crownvetch.
I thought these flox are pretty. They are pink rather than the purple we see on the edge of the woods earlier in the spring. I'm not sure if these are wild flowers, or some escapees of a flower bed that have started to naturalize along the road. There are several patches on Chapel Drive.

Its Independence Day!

We, the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect Union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

Have a wonderful and safe 4th, and don't forget what we are celebrating!