dimanche 27 décembre 2009

Sunday Dec. 27th. Spinning and animal care day

This is a cat bed.....?  Frida the hunting dog adopted the bed as soon as she came to live with us.  The following month Spitty the cat and her three tiny kittens moved in.  The cat above is Marmy, one of those kittens, he has always been bold and the first of these wild kittens to venture into the house.  He has always made a fuss of Frida and often lays along the dog's back on the sofa.  Frida was in the cat bed asleep and Marmy just pushed his way into a tiny corner, there are never any complaints from Frida, she never growls, and lets the cats sit all over her.

Today has been wonderfully sunny and a heady 11 degrees, so we have been out cleaning chicken coops and making some urgent repairs.  Termites or ants have softened one of the big oak posts that hold up the roof to the llama and goat shelter, and the goats have eaten all the wood, so there is just the outline of the post now!!  Fortunately we made the shelter on 'earthship' principles, using old car tyres filled with drink cans and sand, covered with soil.  This goes up to roof level and protects the whole structure from wind.  Some of the soil has erroded away now and of course the llama and goats have trodden paths all over it now, and perch on various levels in the evening sun.  We had to clean out the remains of the old oak beam and tidy up a little to prepare for a new post.

Dennis Hopper the actor has a fantastic home in California built in 'earthship' style, check it out on the internet.



We also 'liberated our 3 latest chicks.  They are about 6 weeks old, hatched very late by BTM a silly chicken who hid in the canal for 3 weeks to brood them, we did not find them until they all trooped out behind her one day and it was a race to get to them and catch them before the cats heard them, we managed it and put them into a cage with the mother inside the chicken coop.  Today as it was warm and sunny we let them out into the coop and waited.  It was ages until one of them, a black bantam hen, ventured out and she was completely stunned by the pea fowl in the next enclosure, and the pea hen was mesmerised by her and displayed her tail feathers to her, I have only seen peacocks do this.  We stayed close to the chicks for a while as we were recovering some of our hay from the hay stack which had got wet in the extreme weather we have been having.  We put it in the sun out of the reach of the goats.

The next job was to trim the hoof of one of the goats, he limps because of arthritis and the hoof or nail on this leg always grows faster than the others as he does not put enough pressure on the leg to wear the nail down quick enough.

It is 3pm now and will only be warm for about another hour so time for a cup of tea, then before we realise it it will be time to shut all the animals away for the night.  We will need to so this early tonight as soon as it is dusk to make sure the new chicks go in safely, we will probably have to put them up on a perch this evening unless they go back in their cage.

I have been wanting to spin some yarn for a few days now and yesterday evening I prepared a batch of turquoise, magenta and pink merino with some pink banana fibres and some silk, by combing the colours together on my hand carders.  I was able to do this quite quickly as all the fibres we already bought as prepared rovings.  I divided the colours and brushed them together to make about 14 rolags ready to spin.

I had also bought some pink and orange rovings from Etsy (www.etsy.com) in the US which had arrived just before Christmas.  It had been hand dyed by the seller and I was a little disappointed in the colour and it seemed to be slightly felted, but it may have been just because it had been squashed and packed for a week or so. Anyway I decided not to recomb it and spit it into finger-width pencil rovings instead, something I have never done before.  I will spin this as thick and thin and experiment with it as I am not too keen on the fibre.

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