Author: denisemor

To Hatch, or Not To Hatch

That is the question.

The girls are still sitting. I didn’t mark the calendar, but I’m pretty sure that 21 days should be this weekend……

They haven’t given up yet, so I’ll let them be for now. And keep the hope alive for a few more little peeps.

The “First Five” are all doing well. Now just over 4 weeks old, and very cute and perky, but not quite ready for the big leagues quite yet (and I have to figure out how to reinforce the shed in order to keep them penned in with the grownups (would be easy for them to pop through the current fencing).

In knitting news, I’m making slow but steady progress on Forest. Now about 8 inches into the back.

And over the last couple of days my roses have all burst into bloom! A few of my “English Rose” friends. Lady Emma Hamilton-

Jude the Obscure

And St. Cecilia

This time of year I can’t help but take time to stop and smell the roses! These guys are amazingly fragrant.

As the Compost Turns

Today’s big accomplishment

That’s about 2 yards of finished compost. Black gold. Many thanks to chickens and sheep who make most of the ingredients 🙂

Then we turned the next batch to aerate it so it will keep on cooking.

Thankfully I got some tractor help from The Man to make this happen.

Feels good to have the compost managed and back under control. It had been taken over by weeds and hadn’t been turned probably since last fall sometime, so it was definitely due.

In other news, it feels like I’ve got a broody chicken epidemic.

These three girls are all trying to sit on the same bunch of eggs

Pretty sure that these eggs have been set upon continuously for about two weeks now by one, two or three of these girls, so we might be in for another hatch next weekend.

Welsie’s brood of five babies are getting bigger by the day- but it might be a bit before they are ready to get transitioned into the shed with the gen pop.

And I’m still spinning up the best of Frank and Felix- about another 300 yards this week- pictured drying out by the raspberries this afternoon.

Looks like maybe I didn’t get quite as much ply twist into this batch, but it’s hard to tell for sure until it’s completely dry. Hmmm.

And I’m afraid I might have spoken too soon about knitting up “Forest” without any mods. I read ahead in the pattern , and realized that as written, the sweater has armholes that are only about 5.75″ deep. That’s not going to work for these thick, compost shoveling shoulders, but hopefully won’t be too big a deal to alter. 🙂

I’ll sign off with a picture of today’s peony harvest- I’ll be taking these in to work tomorrow to share with friends and coworkers.

The Next Sweater (Vest)

This week I finally settled on what I’m going to make with the yarn I spun from Chone’s last fleece. What a relief!

I’ve swatched, (amazingly) got gauge, and (even more amazingly) am planning on knitting it up without really modifying anything. 🙂

Doesn’t look like much yet,

But I’m really enjoying working with my Chone yarn, and doing a little cabling- seems like a long time since I’ve done any cabling- so I think it will go pretty fast

And- I’m really pleased with how my “best of Frank and Felix” yarn is coming along. approximately 300 yards so far.

The boys cleaned up pretty nicely- And it’s so springy!

Think I can probably get another 450 yards out of the rest of the Grade A F&F. The rest of it will likely get dyed later on this summer. Would really like to try my hand at some madder dyeing….

And in the garden- peonys

And roses

Ahhhh- June.

F Words

Last week I shared the story of getting Frank and Felix sheared with a co-worker. A few days later, she presented me with this poem, which I think is sweet and hilarious

Since then I’ve been getting fleece sorted and washed, and couldn’t help but notice that Frank and Felix have added to their alliterative accomplishments one very unfortunate F word: Flakes.

It’s hard to get a good picture of it against the white wool,, but there, my friends, is the dreaded Scurf. Ugh

So prepping their wool for spinning has gotten a little more labor-intensive.

I’ve decided that the most efficient way to get it out is to just cut it out. So once the fleece is washed and dried, I’m examining the cut side, and using scissors to trim about 1/8 to 1/4 inch off the butt ends of the locks where the scurf is located, before it is disturbed and gets jumbled up in the fleece.

Once it’s mostly out, I pick the heck out of it, and drum card it a few times, which will fling out a little bit of debris, and spin it fairly finely, hopefully letting any remaining crud fall out while fibers are fanned out in the drafting zone. I have done this pretty successfully in a smallish sample skein-

I think I’m going to prep and spin the best of F&F all this way and reserve it for a sweater project for this fall.

In other news, I got inspired by some folks on instagram yesterday to do something with my rhubarb this year! (last couple years it has gone to flower before I got around to harvesting) I’d not ever made rhubarb syrup, but it looked so pretty and sounded so tasty I decided I had to try. And it turns out it’s super easy.

4 parts rhubarb, 1 part water, 1 part sugar. Cook it down, bring to boiling, let simmer until slightly thickened (20, 30 minutes?)

Then drain it through a cheesecloth, and you have rhubarb syrup

now, you might be thinking, “Gee, the syrup looks pinker than the cooked rhubarb…” and you’d be right. 🙂 My rhubarb isn’t the really red variety, so I added about a half a cup of frozen raspberries to the rhubarb mixture for extra pink color. I’m thinking that it would be awesome drizzled over poundcake, in lemonade- or would make some amazing cocktails.

And I had all that partially drained rhubarb pulp left (which still tasted amazing), so I pulled the frozen raspberries back out and baked it into a pie with them.

And last but not least, the baby chicken update-

Welsie seems to be a pretty attentive mama, and they are growing fast- I’ve taken to calling them my little “poppers”, because of the way they pop around. Have a great week!