Time for a break!

It’s been a mad winter! Woolfest in January (I have to brag about my awesome booth that I totally neglected to photograph), then mass book knitting and a bit of photography, then a fucking TORNADO at the end of February that threw the town into chaos. Then I accidentally agreed to a bit more recovery volunteering than I was prepared to handle and was in a bit of a panicked frenzy for a week and a half. Then a much needed and super-awesome Spinsters-y MO Fiber Retreat in which I learned locker hooking, basket weaving, Tunisian crochet, and wagon wheel rug weaving, peppered with much Spinsters hilarity. This week, Vicki & Susan in Burlingame volunteered to man/organize the Donation Center and suddenly my volunteer duties became manageable again! And I’m only 2 weeks behind on my final deadlines and another couple months behind on my life!

We had some uninsured damage to the roof (I don’t think anything our insurance actually covered was damaged) and lost a good 20 feet of our quirky handmade fence. While it will definitely hurt to fork out the money for the roof, the bid didn’t make me burst into tears. And considering the catastrophic damage in Harveyville, we were very, very lucky.

Except for the 4 days of Woolfest & MO Fiber, my life has been all about my book and the tornado and pretty much ignoring everything else. But shearing’s coming up in a few weeks and I decided I need to finally get last year’s clip in the hopper. I skirted and bagged it all up. Now I just have to figure out what I want it made into.

I was originally thinking all yarn this year, except that I have Agnes’ ruined fleece from last year, so if I get her made into combed top, they can comb all my neppy roving into something worthwhile. And the Shetlands are so small and so fun to spin… And I love spinning Fudgy… I love spinning all of them. The plan was to start a CSA and let the subscribers dictate what got made into what, but I didn’t TCB in time and now… tick, tock. I’d like to at least have it ready for Yarn School.

Uncle Honeybunch (Shetland). The Shetlands are great fun to spin but not as impressive raw. He’s about 3# skirted.

Fudgy the Whale (Romney). Her fleece I just love. It’s enormous and shiny and just falls apart in your hands. About 8# skirted.

Jayne Cobb (either Romney or Merino x Romney–not sure of his pops). Another lovely fall-apart fleece. About 7# skirted.

Agnes (Merino). Cottony fine, snowy white. This is after sitting for a year and it’s still pretty damn creamy. 8.5# skirted

Hokey Pokey (Merino), not quite as fine as Agnes, but still dense and buttery. 7# skirted.

So here’s the real puzzler. These are both Ronnie. The bottom one is the bulk of her coat, much crimpier than the Romeny fleece, for instance, but way less crimpy than the other Merinos. And that top sample, which is what covers her thighs and rump, looks just like Shetland.

Here’s Ronnie with Uncle Honeybunch & Mr. Shivers, who’s light gray, though you can’t tell with all the old lanolin . It’s harder to tell on the light fleeces–and these are center back samples, so they have more undercoat–but the Shetland has the longer fibers that you can pull out by the tips and the wuzzier undercoat plumping up the rest of the loc. And her fleece is much more open and less greasy overall than her mom’s or brothers.

And Ronnie also looks more like a Shetland from behind. She’s got that square shape and those shaggy breeches that the Shetlands have. But then she has a wooly face and legs and that ridgy Merino nose, and although she was tiny at birth, now she’s about the same size as her brother. I don’t know if it would seem so Shetlandy to me if I didn’t have Shetlands, or if I had a wider representation of Merinos.

I took a little break and shot Cupcake Ranch a little:

Peggy, one of the new girls.

Joan and Betty, the other two new girls. All 3 are laying pretty little green eggs.

Of the old girls, Faith’s still laying like a champ.

Bridgette and Cathy have retired, but Faith was a slow starter so I suspect they’re still way ahead in overall eggs.

Georgie, the newest addition to Cupcake Ranch, is right at home these days. After a few run-ins with the Shetlands, he generally keeps a respectful distance, and I think I’ve taught him that the chickens are to be left alone. They pop into his area and drink from his water bowl unmolested, and he doesn’t chase them when he’s out in the main property running around like a madman.

Had to include Freddy, who was looking particularly kitteny today. Sugarfoot was hiding.

Mr. Shivers was being a little shit today. First he was all lovey-dovey, then when I quit scratching him, he gave me a quick butt and then kept following me around annoyingly, threatening to butt me if ever I let down my guard (I did not; I know better). He even followed me into the hay shed. I couldn’t finish my chores without turning around every three seconds to ward him off. It got so annoying that I had to throw a couple buckets of water at him to get him to beat it. But he was quick and wily at avoiding them, and I kept accidentally hurling them at other hapless sheep instead. Uncle Honeybunch was all “Hey, lady! What did I do?” Eventually I got a couple right in his face and he acted very put out and haughty and skulked off and shunned me when I tried to get a picture of his dripping face. Served him right, though. I’m glad they’re getting sheared soon. That always puts him in his place.

Before I get back to work, a few of my book projects, cleverly photographed so you can’t tell what the hell they are:

(inside-out, so as not to give away the pattern)

  • Lisa says:

    So sorry to hear about the tornado issues. It sounds like you had a lot on your plate. I’m glad you made it through. I really enjoyed reading this post, your animals are so amazing! I have never seen skirted wool before, so that was interesting. Also, nice way of being clever with your photos, I think it is very cool that you are working on a book.

  • Christy says:

    Glad to see that the farm wasn’t hurt too badly by the tornado!

  • Jovette says:

    Hello! Beautiful yarn, colors are wonderful. You are one smart cookie with your knitting photos. Love the photos of your gang. Your post is fun to read.

  • TreasureGoddess Christine says:

    SO GLAD that Cupcake Ranch and all its inhabitants survived the Tornado!! YAY for YARN SCHOOL! Good luck with everything.

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