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Thursday, September 30, 2010

Mulling it over....

 This is a twenty week old english angora buck that is for sale at a farm down by my Mom's place.  I was thinking it would be nice to have an unrelated buck to mate to a few of our does.  I think what I'd like is a tort (ee gene) or a dilute bunny (dd) to get some "interesting" colors into our bunnies.  The lady that has the buck said she didn't know what color to call him so that got me thinking.  I asked to see some photos of his mum and dad.  His mother is a pearl- her parents were both torts so she must carry the ee or tort gene.  However, she doesn't look like a tort! Digging back into her pedigree a bit I found that one of her grandparents was a chinchilla, so evidently she inherited the chl gene.  The wee bucks father is a blue tort.  From a long line of torts...but wait- there is a pearl in there as well. 
I emailed Betty Chu and asked for her opinion...she says he is a chocolate tort.  She was reticent on all my other questions however.  I'm assuming that the chl gene has lightened things up a bit - he isn't a very dark chocolate and his body fiber is almost white instead of the creamy tort color.  Would he pass along his chl gene and lighten all his offsprings coats without passing on the dd or dilute gene that he likely carries (there are blues and lilacs on both sides of his lineage)?  He's cute isn't he??

Monday, September 27, 2010

Purely Pygora Post

The apples are falling off the trees here in the Eastern U.P.  I brought this bucket of drops over to the fence in order to pitch them in to the woolies.  Twizzler says that everything on the other of the fence tastes better.

 I wanted to get some full-in-fiber photos because later this week both Tea the bearded wonder and Twizzler will be shorn!  You might notice some windows in the barn in the background, but don't look too close because they haven't been painted yet.  They will all be that pretty red .
 Tea poses pretty for photos.  She knows exactly what is expected of her and as long as there are some head scratches in it for her she gives it to you.
 Twizz on the other hand would just like all of your unconditional love thank you very much.  When she finally decided to leave me alone I had to follow her around to try and get a full body picture.
 "See my pretty curls?  I think they will keep me warm all winter...but that lady with the camera said something about a haircut and she kept running her fingers through my long silky curls with a glazed look on her face..."
 Look!  They even have lots of curls on their heinies!

Oh I can't wait!  More bags of fiber.... I didn't pick a very curly spot to take a picture though...this is a photo of Tea's rump.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Yarn for Susan

This yarn is going to a lovely home in Washington D.C.  Susan is one of my yarn CSA shareholders for 2010.  Starting at the in your face six o'clock position is yarn spun from Sheltering Pines Fallon.  She is a double coated shetland that I would describe as crazy "Independent".  Her fleece is quite lovely- a dark silvery taupe.  I enjoy spinning those long fibers mixed in with the softer undercoat- this fiber flies from your fingers under the wheel!  Going widdershins (or counter clockwise) is yarn spun from Triple R Ranch Cameo.  Her fleece is more intermediate in type.  She is a white sheep with large patches of fawn/mioget.  Carded all together they blend into a lovely dark oatmeal color.  Cameo's fiber is very soft and a dream to spin.  The white yarn is from Firth of Fifth Nala.  She has a very springy fleece- lots of crimping at the base that ends in tight curled tips on some areas of the body.  When I bought her she was described as having a great personality but not a very nice fleece.  She DOES have a great personality and loves to get pats and hugs and wags her tail in appreciation.  I also like her fleece- it may not be the finest fleece available but it is very springy and soft and shorter in length than the other two sheep described above.  I blended Nala with some Jersey Wooley fiber from Pipkin- a bunny that was in need of a new home.  I wasn't looking for a Jersey Wooley but she is the cutest little thing...and she was going to end up in someones stew pot...  But I digress.  The resulting lovely white yarn is very soft!  I enjoy the variety of types we have in our keeps spinning interesting!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

More and More Barn

This post is overdue, but each day when I come home there is more and more barn there.
The front and side walls are on, and you can see that the sides are completely closed in too!
Closing in the sides meant putting on two large doors on each side; one big wood barn door and the other a dutch door which will be nice for ventilation.  The reason I said the post was overdue is because I was out of town for three days this week and when I came home not only were the barn doors on, but all the square holes were filled in with windows!  The front door hole is still vacant- it will hold a set of french doors (which will be closed off from the animals since they are glass).  The windows and doors came from a circa 1920 cabin on the South Manistique Lake that was being remodeled and we bought them cheap- $125 for all four windows and the door.  This weekend I need to scrape and paint the window mullions and the frames...they are a pretty dark red color and I was able to color match some paint.  I'll post pics after painting, or maybe some before and after pictures.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Cowboy Hot Tub

Our friends Gail and Mike were married on Friday afternoon.  Gail is a potter here in Curtis and Mike is a harbor master in Florida (where Gail spends her October-June).This was our wedding gift to them.  It is a
"Cowboy Hot Tub".  They had one already but a hole wore through the bottom.  It is sitting elevated on large flat rocks in a fire pit.  When they want a relaxing soak a fire is built underneath the stock tank and voila! Instant hot tub.  It was hard to figure out what to buy them so it worked out great that theirs had sprung a leak.
Lila had one more childhood dream come true...she was the flower girl at the wedding.

The wedding was held on the shores of the South Manistique Lake.  Gail and Mike exchanged vows there and then rowed off in a boat for some quiet contemplative time before heading back to the reception.

There were opportunities for the kids to collect some of natures treasures while out and about at the lake.

One of the wedding activities was "chicken poker".  There is a grid laid out in the enclosure and a card in each grid.  Everyone places a bet on a square and whichever square the chicken poops in, that person wins the pot of money.  That is my favorite barred rock hen Alice helping out.  Sam was quite excited about the poker game...he has to stay away from casinos!
For the reception, Gail made a mess of cups so that each guest could take one home as a momento.  We got to take home Five!  Oh joy! There was a mess of good dips (Skordalia, smoked fish, apricot bean dip), Conch salad, stuffed grape leaves, fresh corn and seafood gumbo.  Before dinner, a few people toasted the bride and groom, recited poetry and sang songs.  Lila created a poem for them:  "  Two swans on a lake, a perfect pair. Like two wings on a bird, they must work together".  She stole the floor with that was quite touching.  Not to be outdone by our own daughter, Will and I sang "My Husband's got No courage in him" to the couple.  Maddy Prior and June Tabor sing this song.  Look it up- it has great lyrics!  The night rounded out with a camp fire and more singing.  It was a great evening with great people.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Beet Dye

Last weekend we cooked up a big pot of beets...some were pickled and a few quarts frozen for mid-winter bliss.  It seemed a shame to waste that pretty purple water so I added a few teaspoons of alum and a couple of mini-skeins of yarn to experiment with.  The skein to the left is white cormo and the skein to the right is light gray Shetland.  I simmered the yarn for about fifteen minutes and then let it soak for a couple of hours in the beet juice.  After dumping the juice out I rinsed the yarn until it ran clear-ish, and then soaked the skeins in some water with a bit of vinegar in it.  I then rinsed the yarn until it ran clear.  The skeins turned out pretty cool- I really like the dusty rose the gray turned.  I'm not sure how color fast they might be so I think I'll hang a strand of each in a sunny window to test that out....  The next pot of beet juice I'll be freezing and saving for a later date!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

First day of School

This only happens on the first day of school, but the kids were ready and waiting for the bus 20 minutes early.  The rest of the school year is spent by us "grups" constantly haranguing the kids to hurry up and do something (putting on your undies, finding your shoes, going to the bathroom, eating breakfast...).
Lila had her clothes all laid out the night before and there were no moments of angst this morning about her choices.  She did get up at 5:30 this morning because she heard me get up and let one of the dogs out.  I heard a commotion in the room above ours and headed up to find her light on and her half dressed...she wasn't happy that I made her get back in bed but she really needed the extra hour of sleep!
I think they stood at the end of the driveway for ten minutes waiting after slowly walking up the drive.
And the bus did eventually show up.