Friday, 5 November 2010

With legs a-trembling

I am all of a wobble. My heart is pitter-pattering, and from the waist down my muscles feel as weak as if I have run a marathon. And what have I been doing? Spinning, that's what. And I have spun for an hour, having spent a couple of days trying to get the yarn to stay put on the spindle. Endless Internet viewing, and the solution was to tighten the tension. Which makes it harder to paddle those paddles, which drive the wheel which turns the whorls which rotates the spindle which makes the yarn. And all driven by my two feet powered by  my calf muscles attached to my creaky knees powered by thighs which have seen better days, which fetch up hung from my botty. From my toes to my waist, that is the area needed to power that wheel. Oh and then there is the air bellows system of my lungs, which are needed to pump that air into those various muscles to drive those various parts of the spinning wheel.

Crikey!  What effort! But I did it! I have made yarn.

The Tamworth Project:

On the piggy front, is she or is she not? That is the question we keep asking ourselves as we view Tess's rear end to see if it is looking fetchingly pink signalling that she is getting ready to receive the attention of Max who, if you recall, was seen completely on board under the moonlight three weeks ago. Twenty one days. That is the interval between her coming into season. It is the twenty first day today.

And doesn't Max know it! Strewth  but he is being a pain in the proverbial butt. Keeps on trying to tangle with Hubs. Not sure why he is doing that. Worried in case we have a mad piggy on our hands. And Internet search fetched up the info that male pigs apparently go through a temperamental and difficult patch about eighteen months to two years old. Like teenagers I suppose. Or he could be getting a whiff of Tess's imminent season if she is going to have one and doesn't want Hubs to take his place on board his lady love, so is protecting his patch. Or he might be getting frustrated because he is having to wait for his moment of trying to procreate. Or he could be sensing she is with piglet and gone all protective. Or he might be just being an ***e.

To give the Tams more room to stretch their legs, Hubs and moi organised a new paddock for day use:

God bless electric fencing! Although the ground looks just bare earth, it is actually covered in acorns, which the Tams love.

They love it. Race through the passageway with great enthusiasm. Or rather, they did. Now Max grumbles and growls his way along, with ears back, and all foamy mouthed. Something is going on with him. And they keep cuddling up with each other, all lovey-dovey. As if they want the world to go away and leave them in peace. Will let you know how they get on over the next few days.

The Sheep Project:

Ah, the lambs!

Fed by hand, they are big boys, now minus their male accoutrements thanks to Ron of Team Val and Ron, friends of ours who came and helped us out a few weeks ago. And they brought with them these two:

Not the two in front! They are the lambs. Its the young sheep to the right and the spotty one lying down, which is our new ram. Team V & R collected him for us, and donated one of her own lambs as well. He is  a Jacob. Lovely little chappie.

But uno problemo possiblement. He is quite a short boy. Our sheep have long legs, and are therefore quite tall. Wondering how he is going to manage the making of the babies. But have been reassured that sheep will be quite obliging and crouch down if the male is having difficulties reaching. 

Both are settling down, and he has been having a sniff around the hind quarters of a couple of our girls, so he looks as if he will be keen to do his job when the time comes.

One of our ewes is looking like a tank at the moment, being as wide as she is tall. Obviously going to have a lamb soon. As are a couple of others. Not a good time of year to be having lambs but flock management went out the window this year, but then they must have come to us pregnant anyway so it was out of our hands really. Hope she manages to get that lamb born while the weather is relatively mild. 

Otherwise, the flock is doing well. All very tubby  through eating the Autumn grass, but looking good. 

The Chicken Project:

These little ones:

Who were looked after by Hubs when the mum-hen chucked them out the nest, are also doing well:

Bools sees it as his mission in life to clean up the botties of all the young animals, so has licked the bums clean of the sheep, and now is intent on doing the same for the chicks. Gus remains aloof. Even today, when one of the hens had a go at him, he remained aloof. But Bools wants to get involved.

Unfortunately we are now down to two chicks because one of them got deceased by a piece of wood falling down on it. But the other two are getting along fine. They are always to be found hanging around the front door, as are all the rest of the flock of late. Might be something to do with the daylight hours shortening, but they are definitely not as energetic as they have been. Still getting eggs, although having to do a search for them every day. One of their favourite places is under the rabbit cages. I have to almost lie down to reach the day's offerings. And one of the hens has taken it upon herself to take those eggs as her own clutch. But no! Off I take her. We already have one hen sitting on eggs in the dustbin-nestbox, and that is enough:

She is only allowed to have six eggs to sit on, all numbered. Sometimes one of the other hens squeezes in beside her and lays another one. But six is enough, so I take the other one away. And will any of those eggs hatch? Three weeks is supposed to be the incubation time, and three weeks is now up.

Ah, feel the need for another work-out. Think I will go pedal my treadle and make me some yarn. Bye for now.....

Things I have learnt: That there is a lot of making babies with this smallholding lark! And that animals have off days as well.


Diane said...

I just wrote a long comment (twice) and then Google said it could not find the page!! In short I said I hope Bools does not come and kiss you after his cleaning episodes!
And I want to know how much weight you are loosing, should I go and buy a spinning wheel?
Have a good weekend. Diane

Vera said...

Oh dear, Diane, that is probably because I was busy looking at your site and making a comment on it! Must have confused dear old Google! Will let you know about the weight loss. Have only just done my first hour, and Hubs has just given me a handful of peanuts, which offset the calories I have lost by my treadling! But you go cycling! That must keep you fit! By the way, read about your cycling adventure, and am well impressed. What a long way to cycle, and uphill as well! South to north! I would have done north to south to make it easier on my legs.

The Accidental Author said...

Vera, I've obviously been back in the UK too long. When you said spinning I thought you meant on a static bike in a gym! Yours sound much more fun! It so lovely to keep up with the tales of your animals. Labartere is truly flourishing.

DUTA said...

I'm looking forward to your posts. I find it that it fascinates me all this animal world you describe with so much wit. Now, the protagonists of this world are the pigs Tess and Max, and I'm curious about them.

It seems you've found a new work-out opportunity with that spinning thing. Good for you! It is 'catching two birds in one hand': making yarn and shaping the body.

Vera said...

Previously Lost: Yep, treadling a spinning wheel is loads more fun than sitting on a bike in a gym. My way, and you fetch up with yards of yarn. How I use that yarn is awaiting inspiration.

Vera said...

Duta: Making yarn and shaping the bod! Well the bottom half of me should shape up with treadling at least! And then there is the satisfaction of seeing the yarn, and the mental quietening effect of the actual process of spinning. Max and Tess were calmer yesterday, but still no signs of her coming in season.

Land of shimp said...

Vera, it's like you're in training to be able to invade the past! Seriously, you'll be so capable soon you'll have no need of the modern age. Farming, raising livestock, spinning? If you next take up churning I shall know for certain you've got a portal into 1892 in your basement that you plan on slipping through one day. Taking Hubs, Bools, and all the non-crushed chickens with you ;-)

Vera said...

L of S: I sometimes think that I was born in the wrong era, but then what would I have done without the blessings of the Internet! Churning. If Hubs has his way we will be having a go at doing that next year! But 'portals in the basement'? Don't have a basement, but could go stand under the bridge which is to one side of our property. That is quite an oddly spooky place, and would serve well as a possible site for a time machine! Now onto the Internet to research 'How to build a time machine!' Hope you are well, and life is treating you good.

Anonymous said...

Hello Vera,
Gosh! what a lot of exciting possibilities you have got developing there in your Ark.
Your spinning wheel seems to work a bit like the old treadle sewing machines, which could be very hard going. I like the idea of crochet squares as they have lots of possibilities such as kimono shaped jackets etc.

Vera said...

Ondine: My spinning wheel has two foot paddles, so my feet do not work together like they would a treadle sewing machine. This means that they get more exercise!
Have made a huge woollen shawl using squares, which are good way of making something big. Also made a jacket, but have not finished off as have lost the wool for the moment - it was put somewhere when we moved the office into the house, and I haven't got the foggiest idea where it has gone.