Shop at Spinner's End Farm

Monday, July 27, 2009

These guys are just too darn cute.

Over the weekend I groomed all six of the Buns that have hair long enough to tangle- the four adults and the two ten week old "babies". I was pretty shocked to pluck over an ounce apiece from Taffy and Jellybean. I was able to fill six plus bags of fuzz with more plucking to do later this week. We are now up to six different shades of English Angora fiber!

The list of things to do before heading east ebbs and flows...need an oil change, clean out the van, pack the clothes, give a presentation to sixty kids on "the language of color" (animal coloration) on Wednesday, go to a Piping Plover meeting at the UM Biological Station on Thursday, and assorted other work stuff, finish plucking bunnies, put out the salt block for the woolies, buy snacks for the road...hmmm. I 'm pretty sure the list was longer. Good thing I wrote it down.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

All things wool...and some feathers too.

Lila wren and Miss Frizz- a bantam cochin frizzle...aren't they beautiful?

This was a weekend of accomplishments...Fallon the crazy shetland was finally FINALLY shorn. It took a bit to get her to trust going into the sheep shed and then WHAM! The gate was shut. She'll probably never go in there again even for treats. I truely wish that we had the camera in there because there were some funny photos to be had of Will wrestling sheep. She pinned him once, honest! I wish I had some idea what the heck to call her color. It is a dark silvery there a dark musket?? It is awesome whatever it is. So now everyone is shorn and has some nice short toes as well.

We moved the mother ewes and thier babes out of the maternity ward and in with the rest of the gang. Those four were getting pretty fat out back I'm embarrassed to say! They are so very sweet, and of course, the rest of the sheep had to have their say using their skulls- even the most mild mannered. sigh. I probably shouldn't worry, since they are so chubby, that they aren't getting enough hay yet. The interesting part was getting the cozy double shed out of the maternity ward and into the pasture. It was four by eight and fairly solid. We had to put it on its roof and put some small diameter long logs underneath it and roll it all the way there, constantly picking up the logs from the back and running them out to the was kinda fun!

To top it all off, Pikachu the white llama needed her toes trimmed. This is a major chore because of course, she does not like such things done to herself and won't stand nice and calm like a horse to have her toes trimmed. And no, at this point we don't have a chute to restrain her...Mom?! Need your wood working skills now that we have all those 2x4's!! Anyway...the way this goes is you suggest to her you'd like to trim her feet- she lays down. ON her legs. Then the good husband (laying on his belly in the dirt (that isn't really dirt but dried llama and sheep beans))tries to pull her leg to the side- it moves about two inches. BUT- I can see them when I push aside all the long belly hair (while on my knees contorting upside down with my hair dragging in the aforementioned dirt). Yup, I can feel the toes and the nail. Now, I have to reach under her with the clippers get the long horny nail in them and really, really reaf on the bloody things, and then out pops a long nail bonking off your forehead (if you are lucky). Those are the front feet- the back feet are even worse.... It is done though and that felt great!

Duncan and his favorite white crested polish

Jellybean and Taffy the nine week old english angoras were moved to their own individual pens...they seemed a little sad or shocked to be away from Mom, but she immediately stretched out and I swear you could see her say "Whew"! I actually had to pluck fiber from them and it is SOOOOOOO beautiful...Taffy's is a dark brownish grey, and Jellybeans a bluish grey tipped with black. Incredible.

The three week old babies are popping in and out of the box like popcorn in a pan. All the whites do have blue eyes, but I think the black gets all the attention from the kids because it looks so different from the rest!

Sam's eyes are hazel and the bunnies blue despite the red-eye flash

The chickens are also awesome. We could all spend hours just sitting there watching them- I don't miss having TV at all. Sirius Black, our black australorp rooster, crowed for the first time when I let them out of the coop on Thursday. It was so inspired, but all the chickens ran back into the coop when he did it the first time...he has repeated it everymorning since then. The other rooster just looks at him like "whats up with that Dude??" He hasn't even tried. It's okay though because he is so handsome...

Another notable mention for today was the harvest of our Inchillium Red Garlic...just in the nick of time...I used the last clove at dinner. It is so beautiful. Two more varieties to harvest in the next couple of days- German Red and Musik.

As I'm sitting here I'm having some decaf green tea and spinning up some of the white shetland (Nala) and cream angora (Buffy) blend . It spins wonderfully. It takes about ten minutes to upload a photo using our dial you know why I don't post too often! It should be another busy week ahead of us...two more soccer games for the season (YEAH!!), hay to help put in the barn (someone elses barn for now...), trim the chicken coop, go to the farm to get milk (Yup, no more store bought milk for us! AND when the chickens start laying we can TRADE eggs for milk!!), harvest the rest of the garlic, go the work (oh crap!), etc...Friday is an unpaid furlough day so it is a short week. A money short week too! Oh well. It has been nice having an extra day off anyway. The kids are in bed, Will is in the green chair reading Tolkein, and soon I will have to go shut the chicken coop door and put them to bed too.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Busy Busy Busy

Yesterday, on the fourth of July, we attended the annual "Mills party Gala" replete with plenty of good food and imbibements. The kids favorite visitor "Tickle Doug" was up from southern Michigan to vist and brought many microbrews for us to enjoy. There was plenty of tickling going on too....none caught on camera this year however!

Today is the Curtis fourth of July celebration- we were roped in to being in charge of a food tent that the Chamber of Commerce generally runs, as a fund raiser for the charter school. We had no idea what a huge committment it would turn out to be and how little help we would actually have...poor Will has left already to start setting things up and to run repeated trips for heavy things. I will have to roust the kids out of bed soon so we can go help too. The parade starts at 12:30 and Lila is riding the school float. The boys are excited about the parade and collecting all the candy that is thrown. Between Easter, the fourth of July, Halloween and Christmas we are constantly in candy. Except for Duncan. He runs out between times!

The list is going down though....the ram lamb (Beltane) has been banded, the last sheep will be shorn tomorrow (and hey, we are getting good at it!), the chicken coop is done (except for winterizing which will happen later this fall), all the chickens are in the coop so we can clean out the garage, we have a house sitter/animal watchers for our trip east (Big relief there!!), and I am in the process of washing all the wool we have shorn. My goal is to have it all washed and ready to card up by the time we leave for NH. Next on the list: trimming LLama toes, shearing llamas, cleaning out the garage, moving the mamas and lambs to the big pasture with everyone else, starting the barn.... oh dear. It never seems to get smaller does it?

We have procrastinated on passports- mostly in protest for such a ridiculous thing for crossing the Canadian border, but we are procrastinators by nature. Getting photos taken on tuesday- all five of us and it will cost $55.00 just for pictures for the passports! I think with proof that we have applied for the bloody things we can still cross the border. Otherwise, it will be a long drive south around the Great Lakes to go to NH...but whose fault will that be???

I will make sure there are photos in the next post- honest.