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Saturday, May 30, 2009

Goings On

It has been a rather cool and north-windy type of weekend so far...scattered rainshowers too. This is not condusive to either shearing sheep or washing wool, but I managed to sneak in washing half of Nala's fleece today. She has a bit of an odd fleece- quite dense and curly in some spots which makes her a bit of a pain to shear (by hand anyway). She is the biggest sweetheart though so she is definately worth the trouble! I was quite happy with the way her fleece washed up- so white and bright and very soft. I will put some of it through the drum carder soon and get some up on the Etsy site- it is a pretty soft white and would take dye very nicely.
Nala's fleece- before washing
Nala's fleece- post washing
Mocha's English Angora kits are causing her all sorts of grief...they aren't much for staying in the nest box anymore! They are eating small amounts of hay and rolled oats, and Lila told me "Taffy" (the brown kit) was sitting in the food dish eating pellets. I witnessed Jellybean (the black kit) taking a drink out of the water bottle!

They will be three weeks old on Monday. Here is Taffy sleeping with reckless abandon...

Yup, three buns here. Two faces and a bum!

Buffy has been mated to Wensledale and we are expecting another nestbox of kits around June 23. Buffy has also had small litters in the past. She is a lovely fawn tort and is vienna marked. Wensleydale is a BEW (Blue Eyed White) so the mating should produce a 50-50 chance at BEW's and vienna marked kits. Vienna marks are basically a white patch on the nose that signifies that the rabbit carries the BEW gene and has the ability to have BEW kits. Most white rabbits have red eyes, so the BEW gene is "special".

Will spent several hours in Manistique at "Rainbow Ronnie's"- a rather bizarre homebuilders salvage store searching for chicken coop construction materials. My brother donated three windows and an exterior door to the project which saved us a bundle...the cost of the coop materials was rather ridiculous...though it wil be a spacious10 x 12 feet.
See how big they are getting? They are still in that awkward "tweener" stage...still naked in spots and fully feathered in others. This Barred rock is one of my favorites- she follows me around and jumps up on my shoulder when she can.

The polish chicks are getting big too! I love their coloration.

The sheep don't want me to forget about them. Here is little Beltane- his horns are growing nicely and he is such a sweet boy.... Soon to be banded and wethered!
Gaia doesn't want to be left out of the post either and says "come on, lets play!" She always looks like she is smiling.

Lastly, the kids constructed "Cherry Blossom Castle" using some Cherry brush that Will cleared (at the site of our new compost pile) and their wooden swing set. It is pretty neat- only wish the greenery and flowers would last longer!

While Will was off doing good deeds in Manistique, the kids and I made butter. I bought a quart of heavy cream for $4.47. We put it in a big jar and took turns shaking it and within 8 minutes the butter was floating in the buttermilk! Duncan and I drained off the buttermilk and he has a small glass which he said was good. So, we ended up with about a pound of butter (which is AWESOME!) and perhaps a pint of buttermilk. Probably not very economical, but it was fun. I have a friend in spinning group that has dairy cows so I will be getting a few gallons of milk from her to try some hard cheese making and will likely make more butter. Tomorrows pancake and waffle breakfast will use the buttermilk in the batter. Good chance at a frost tonight- Will is out covering up the tomato plants and the hanging baskets have been brought in.

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