Sven likes to sit on a fence post to watch for possible mice and/or voles to eradicate. He is a great mouser!Sven.jpg

Latest project

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I learned how to wet-felt last week at Susan Myers' house. Susan is a great teacher, as you can see from my felted piece, above.

VIckie Hover, another fiber friend, who makes whimsical felted dolls with stories, was also there. The three of us had a good time making a mess in Susan's felting studio. I think I'll have to do this in my kitchen, as I don't have extra room for doing this, but it's okay. I gained a lot of confidence doing this, and I am going to make something out of it, just not sure what.

Kids will be Kids

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We had 4 kids born this spring here at Castle Argghhh! Two doelings and two bucklings. Last fall, John and I drove out to Leavenworth Jefferson Electric Co-op to get some cable spools that were going into the trash, and set them up as a playground for the goats.

The goats had little interest in playgrounds, to our disappointment. But this morning, after I fed goats, bunnies and farmyard fowl, I noticed that there is finally interest in the spools. The big goat is Boomer, our wether, and he is having a grand time playing king of the mountain with the little kids.

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All around update

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It's been a cold few days. On the farm, that means I need to make sure water is not frozen several times a day and hauling water because the hoses invariably freeze up on me.

I go out and check the bunnies' water 3 or more times a day. In the winter, I use crocks for their water because the water bottles just freeze up, and it is much easier to knock ice out of the hard plastic crocks, though my fingers tend to get a bit cold when I'm doing that.

The dogs... oh, the dogs, they have been dragging all kinds of deer bones and even a skin up the front yard. Poachers have killed some deer either deep in our woods ( unlikely, I think, unless they are crossing fences from another farm) or on someone else's land. Naturally, they also kill squirrels and leave them at the front door. (yuck) They don't eat the squirrels, they just kill them and leave them for us. (Double yuck).

Pat, the confused peahen who was born here last summer, has finally grown out the feathers she needs to be able to fly up to the rafters in the barn at night. One day last summer, I looked outside, and Gunner had poor, petrified Pat between his feet, plucking out some feathers, very gently, one by one. Well, I rescued Pat by running outside and yelling at Gunner, who knew he was doing something very bad, and he let her go immediately. I was afraid she was dead, so I ran over and picked her up, and she was literally frozen with fear for about an hour. So I carried her around with me until she started moving and then I moved her to the old chicken coop (which is fenced all around and over it) with the baby guineas and the little banty chick I found in the barn. She has recovered nicely, and know, finally flies.

Now, peafowl don't fly a lot, but they do like to roost up in high trees or in the rafters of the big barn at night, and if a predator is stalking them, they need to be able to fly away. They are pretty big birds, and they look really funny when they are flying, very awkward, but they get the job done.

He was born earlier today. His mama is Morgan La Fey. John took the photo.64morgan and buckling.JPG

I spent most of Saturday spinning a beautiful skein of angora yarn - from the Bunnies of Argghhh!, of course. I plied it, and ended up with over 150 yards. I dyed it and left it in the dye pot to cool overnight.

When I woke up on Sunday, I immediately took the pretty yarn out of the pot, gently squeezed the water out, washed it, squeezed the water out again and blotted it with towels and hung it to dry on the shower rod in my bathroom.

An hour or so later, I walked into the bathroom to find Suellen in the middle of that yarn. She had pulled it down. I thought, well, darn, I'll have to untangle it, but as I lifted the yarn, I realized that there were more than two ends to it.

Uh oh.

She bit into the yarn several times with her sharp puppy teeth and what was one long continuous piece of yarn is now a whole bunch of much shorter pieces of yarn.

I'm thinking there has to be something I can do with it. I will let you know!

The Chickens of Argghhh!

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Even though it's cold outside, our girls are still wandering around, eating grass and weeds and seeds in the pasture. This morning, I gave them some leftover Christmas cookies, and they really liked them.

Here is one of my girls: chicken.jpg

And another, outside the baby peafowl and baby guinea fowl coop - looking for treats. (Guineas and my little peachick need more shelter, they are too young and too dumb to return to safety before dark!)

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You can see a couple of the young guineas in their coop - it ain't pretty, but it works!

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Also, I was really happy to read that there are real people out there who appreciate eggs from happy, free range hens! Thanks!

Today's yarn

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Since I've been working with the French Angora rabbits, I thought it was fitting to get some yarn spun up from plucked Angora fiber that had been sitting in a basket in my studio for some time.

First, I used my wonderful Fancy Kitty Kitten electric drum carder to make this roving from the bunny hair:

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I ended up with 70 yards (a wee bit over 1 ounce) of this yarn: 100-percent-angora-from-Jod.jpg

Black French Angora yarn will bloom quite a bit when knitted or crocheted.

Back when this house was built in 1971, the rural electric cooperative was very frugal. They strung the lines through our hayfield and woods using just three posts - that's close to 1/4 of a mile.

Things have gotten better these days, and our rural electric cooperative is upgrading the electrical infrastructure. A couple of months ago, they actually put in new utility poles along the road to our house to replace those poles in the middle of the hayfield and at the corner of the woods. Instead of just 3 poles, there are now 6!

Yesterday, they actually hooked us up to the new, stronger, better in all ways wires. We have a new electrical meter that is out on the closest pole instead of on the house. We were without power for a couple of hours as they made the change over.

The only remaining chore is to take down the old poles. Well, I got to thinking, those old poles would make some fine corner fence posts, and I need to run more fencing. So, I asked the foreman if I could have them - and yes! They are going to give me all the old poles. So next spring, John and I can cut the poles into 8 foot sections, get out the post hole digger and attach it to the tractor, and we can sink some good posts -- and they will cost us not a thing!

The foreman told me that I'd need to cover the tops of the posts so they won't rot in the weather. A neighbor has used tin pie plates, nailed down on the top of his posts, so I guess I'll be looking for some tin pie plates at garage sales.

Freshly plucked Angora wool

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Clarice, a very pretty chocolate French Angora bunny, started shedding the other day. That normally means it's time to gently pluck her beautiful Angora wool out. Now, French Angora bunnies shed naturally, every 3 to 4 months or so. They usually grow about an inch of hair a month. Well, Clarice has been busy growing her beautiful wool, and I realized that she has some really long, very prime wool. Some of it as much as 6 inches long - great stuff for a spinner!

Now, when you pluck a French Angora, there is already a second coat that has been growing in before the first coat lets go, so you don't typically end up with a nekkid rabbit. She still has hair that is at least 2 inches long left, so she won't get cold out in the barn.

Here is a photo of the prime Angora I plucked from her today:

Clarice's-plucked-angora.jpg I should weigh it and start tracking how productive she is, it will help me decide if she should be bred and with which buck.