December 2010 Archives

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!)

rooster-and-hen.jpg

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

guinea-coop.jpg

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:

roving-from-French-Angora.jpg

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.

John bought me a motor for my Fancy Kitty Kitten drum carder for Christmas and a Fancy Kitty Bench Wool Picker. I got them all assembled last week and immediately started picking mohair and blending and carding a combination of my hand-dyed roving, angora and mohair. I then used my handy diz to pull the fiber off my wonderful Electric Fancy Kitty Kitten drum carder.

It spun up pretty quickly and I am now plying the single yarn into what I think is a pretty two-ply yarn. It's going to end up being a bit fatter than worsted, I think. Here is a picture of it on my wheel:

angorawoolmohair.jpg

I attended a meeting on Wednesday night way down in Fairway, Kansas. It took almost an hour to get there, but boy, was it worth it!

The women who were at this meeting were extremely friendly and welcoming, and fun people. I had met two of the members, Vickie and Susan, last summer when I had a booth at the First Annual (at least I hope)Fiber Festival of Leavenworth, Kansas.

Susan makes beautiful glass jewelry and also spins and dyes and knits. And she has a great sense of humor.

Vickie Hoover needle felts gnomes, fairies, animals ... all kinds of wonderful creatures! She makes the faces with Sculpy clay and comes up with all kinds of props for her creations. I wish she would get her website going so I could link to her!

Everyone is happy to share their knowledge and even seem to think that I can teach them some things (specially my method of dyeing roving).

Anyway, I'm excited. I am inspired. I am energized.

All of these are good things for me.

http://kansascityfiberguild.org/

Organized in 1975, The Fiber Guild of Greater Kansas City promotes Creative Fiber arts and supports the local fiber arts community.  Our members include weavers, spinners, knitters, quilters, bead artists and others with a  diverse fiber interest. Members have a wide range of backgrounds as well as skill levels and are generally located in the Kansas City area.

Update

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Jodie's (the Black Angora Rabbit Doe) 5 kits are now 6 weeks old and are ready to be separated from their mama. I'm so embarrassed to say that I'm still not sure how many males and how many females there are - it is so hard to sex rabbits until the boys are old enough for those balls to appear.

Anyway, I put one of the pearls and one of the blacks into a cage today. They looked worried for about - oh - 1 minute. Then, they saw the crock full of water and the other crock full of feed. They appear to be adapting quite well.

Tomorrow, I will assemble another bunny cage and more two more out.

That leaves one with mama. I think I may need to start selling the bunnies. Either that, or I need to significantly increase the size of the current bunny habitat!

Help Beth feed all those chickens via PayPal!

I Took The Handmade Pledge! BuyHandmade.org

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About this Archive

This page is an archive of entries from December 2010 listed from newest to oldest.

November 2010 is the previous archive.

January 2011 is the next archive.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.


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