Monday, 4 July 2016

This year's wool harvest.....

The sheep were sheared a couple of days ago. Normally I would take the worst of the daggy bits off, then store the rest, but this year I was quite disciplined and only kept about a third of the available fleece.

No photos because I forgot to take any. Normally the fleece is left on the tarpaulins for several days before I get round to sorting it out, but this time I sorted it as it was given to me. So I kept parts of the fleeces which had good colouration (greys, dark and mid browns), a couple of complete fleeces one of which had a lovely golden top to it, and the ram's gorgeous cream and brown fleece.

I was quite disappointed with the quality of the fleece though, having thought that because the flock was now almost pure Jacob that the length of the fleece hair would be more substantial than when we had mixed breed sheep, but apart from the ram's fleece and the brown with golden top fleece, I couldn't see much difference between the pure bred and the mixed breed sheep. Not to worry, I still have some of last year's fleece to spin, and because I haven't kept as much back this year I would think that I shall be able to get all my stock of fleece spun. I also kept back a bag of fleece to use for dusting the house....with the lanolin still in the fibres a handful of fleece does a grand job when used for dusting. I think the actual construction of the fibres also helps to pick up the dust.

I still have not got round to ordering the loom, so my wool stash is still packed away waiting for washing, dying and weaving. I am looking forward to getting to that stage. I have had a yearning to have a go at weaving on a table loom for a long time.

Lester got the last of the bean poles up today, and now all that is required is for me to do some stringing up. We tried this method last year, and it worked well.......

... we are not using this fence line this year, but are using the next paddock along.
The poly tunnel still remains a point of debate, but I refuse to order it until the Chicken Project is sorted out.

The little bat......well, I think it survived, only when we walked through the hallway to let the dogs out for their late evening pee and poo I could not see it on the wall, where it had been all day. The light was on, so I didn't think it would be aware that it was night time outside, but perhaps it had heard other bats calling out for it. Anyway, it was just by sheer luck that I managed not to stand on it and squash it dead flat, because for some reason it had put itself on the floor slap bang in the middle of the doorway, where all, including the dogs, could have done it unto death by inadvertently treading on it.
So Lester picked the little creature up, and put it outside on the flower pot by the front door, convinced that it was dead. But, as I watched, the little bat seemed to start moving, perhaps encouraged to do so by the darkness of the night, and maybe by the calling of other bats. I could not see it this morning, so hopefully it is back where it should be.

One of our rottweiller girls, Blue, has started continuously licking a particular spot on her leg, which irritates me no end as she seems to know that it gets on my nerves, and will not stop until I yell at her.
Upon examination of the spot, we could see that she is making quite a raw patch on her leg, so on to the internet to have a look at why she is doing this, and apparently it is due to wanting attention. So.....when she wants to be noticed she has discovered that continual lick, lick, licking will eventually get attention, although it is negative attention because I am cross at her. A change in plan, then. She licks, she gets put in the other room away from me, this done in silence, so she does not get the attention and I don't yell. It seems to be working. The wound looks more closed over, so she is not licking so much, and I make a fuss of her when she is not licking herself. It looks like the change of behaviour on my part is making her change her behaviour as well.

Yesterday me and Lester had a family pow wow on the bed. We used to do that a lot in the UK before we came here, and our conversation would mostly be about what animals we would have, what veg we would grow. Of course we are now doing that, but we were both feeling a little tired with things, so we headed off into a fantasy about R Vs (motor homing), as in living in a rig full time, heading off into the sunset to roam wherever the fancy took us, this being fuelled by the YouTube videos about people doing just that in America. It was quite a strong conversation that we had.....Lester wanting to buy a motor home and just have several weeks away at a time, and me wanting to sell up and just go do.
Then we had a sleep. Then we woke up. 'Would you like a motorhome or a poly tunnel?' Lester said. And without hesitation I said 'Poly tunnel'. We smiled at each other. Silly talk time was over, and we were back in the saddle again with carrying on with our smallholding life. Of course we would not want to go travelling all over the place in a motor home. For one thing, we could get bored within a few days, and for another, how would I be able to stock our larder with DIY food if we did not have a smallholding to provide the harvests. So no, we shall keep the motorhome subject in the back closet of our minds, and only bring it out for an airing when we feel the need to do have a patch of silly indulgence!

It is getting late,
so bye for now,


Dawn McHugh said...

phew for a moment I thought you were going to hit the road, I still have the Alpaca fleeces to sort and last years are still calling, was just telling my son next year when Martin is here full time I will have a bit more free time to do these things, our bat has come in three nights on the trot and seems to like the bathroom.

PioneerPreppy said...

I have so much wool I need to learn to clean it myself and sell it or something since its obvious my om isn't going to ever do it. I finally threw a bunch away this Spring.

You made a wise choice going with the poly tunnel !!!

Vera said...

DAWN, nooo...I was keen on the idea about leaving home to go travelling for all of ten minutes, then I fell asleep, and woke up ever so keen NOT to go travelling because it seemed like hard work in comparison to running a smallholding.
You must be looking forward to having Martin with you all the time, then at least you should be able to have more time to do other things. We haven't seen out little bat although I think the wagtails are back indoors again!

PIONEER PREPPY, so Mum does not spin much of the fleece? But you do have a lot more sheep than we have, so perhaps she can't keep up, bless her!
I think I made a wise choice about going for the poly and not the motor home!

Kev Alviti said...

There's always something appealing about travelling but since we got this plot here I've not wanted to leave it very often and my wanderlust of my early 20's seems to have completely gone!
I need to get rid of my fleeces!

Horst in Edmonton said...

Hi Vera, I was just wondering how the British Exit from the EU, will effect you. Will you become a French Citizen or will you be able to hold both passports. Hope everything is good in your part of the world and it stays that way.

Cottontail Farm said...

You can have both :) I'm restoring an old camper so that the husband and baby and I can travel in the summer and see some out of the way places. I hope it will be both a fun and thrifty way to vacation for a long weekend or so. Then we will return to the cats, the gardens and poultry and other obligations. Check out my camper photos if you feel the need to wander!

Cro Magnon said...

A wise decision. We occasionally discuss the idea of returning to England for the winters, but I would miss my garden, the fire, the wood fired oven, sawing logs, etc. It's the inconvenience that keeps me going.

Vera said...

KEV, we were more in the mindset of wanting to drive off into the sunset rather than go travelling, but it was only because we were feeling overwhelmed by things, which is something that most smallholders will be feeling at this time of year! It passed very quickly though!

HORST, we do not know how Brexit will affect us, but I am sure we shall be alright. Germany and France are thinking about offering dual passports to the English who are already living and working in their countries. It is the English who are still living in the UK and want to leave to come to Europe who will be affected most as they will have to probably go on a visa system eventually.
Hope you are well and in good spirits.

COTTONTAIL FARM. we did have a small camper van when we came to France but sadly could not keep it because it did not conform to French standards. I think we shall probably get another camping van later on, but it would have to be when the farm is running more efficiently and we have afforded someone to come in and help us, and even then we would probably not go far.
Am off to visit your site and have a look see at your camper van photos.

CRO MAGNON, when we had our sensibly hats on we realised that driving around in a camper van would be alright for a day or two, and then we would miss the life that living on a smallholding gives us and we would get bored!

Lisa @ Two Bears Farm said...

I always shave those areas so the dogs can't get hot spots.

Very interested by your bean set up. Looks nice!