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Showing posts from May, 2017

From Sheep to Shawl to wrist splints!

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Whenever a new batch of fleece turns up I get really excited to see how it will knit up. My first ever exploits in preparing a raw fleece for spinning were quite disappointing and I blamed the fleece. Since then I have realised that it's me, not the fleece.



Washing, picking, carding or combing are all preparations that at first glance seem easy to do and pretty straightforward to boot. But there are opportunities to ruin a fleece at every stage and it has been, and still is, my goal to get the best out of the local wool.  This quest has added hours to the preparation process already and I foresee a few more time consuming changes to be made.


The local sheep are a merino cross, but mostly merino so in theory should produce a next to the skin soft yarn. I'm getting there, although this latest project still falls a bit short on the softness side. It certainly is wearable next to my skin but I know others who would disagree.


I also made tentative steps into the world of dying. Tea…

Garden-ing!

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I have put a hyphen between Garden and Ing because to spell it as one word, gardening, would seem to imply that I know what I'm doing. Which, quite frankly, I don't. If I push a rake around the soil for a while, pull the odd weed while totally missing others until they sprout huge blousy blooms, pile earth into mini mountains around the base of plants for no other reason than I think they need the support, or simply just the act of being in the garden waving around some random garden implement, all this falls under the term garden-ing.





In spite of my incompetence with the veggie plot we are getting produce. I seem to be one of those people who learn by experience more than by reading of others experiences. I find books and the web excellent resources for putting you in the right direction but nothing beats hands on learning on the job!



For example I have recently come to realise that I have a very contrary approach to the garden in general. For example, when growing from seed …

Chicken Matters

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I bet most of you think that we have an easy life here in rural Spain. With very little to worry about, no stress etc. Whatever the truth of that, it seems that no matter where you are you bring your worries with you and if you are of a worrying nature, where you live is not going to make very much difference at all.



We have a Broody hen she has been broody for quite some time, about two months now. During this time we really didn't feel able to let her sit and incubate the eggs, it was just too much extra hassle and we don't need any more chickens. However she will not give up. She hoggs the nest and the other hens can't get in which means they've started laying in other places. Usually unsuitable places - as in they are difficult to get at. They queue up for the nest, sometimes one after the other all the way up the ladder complaining loudly.



We can't let them out of their run so that they can be free range on the finca until after we know they have laid their eg…

The Suint Bath Update

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My fleece cleaning experiment has come to fruition. I checked on the bucket every couple of days and apart from the water turning brown nothing much seemed to be happening. On day six there was a white-ish film on top of the water but still no bubbles that I had been told to expect. I decided to leave it an extra day, after all, we had some rain and dull days with temperatures below 20C and arguably, just like with sour dough, the fermentation is temperature driven.



On day 8 the bath was smelly, not overpowering but enough to attract the flies when the lid was off, what my father used to call 'a good fresh farmyard smell' all the while smiling and holding his nose. It still had the white scum on the top and no bubbles. I thought I would extract a small amount of fleece and rinse it to test if it's ready or not.



Oh my, what a surprise. I know the science behind it but it feels like magic all the same. Here I have placed the little scrap of clean fleece on top of the bag of …