Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Piggie Walk

The pigs joined us for a leisurely walk around the pond yesterday.   I get the dogs up the hill for our "spa session" every day after school.  After being locked inside all day they are raring to go.  The pigs are locked in the barnyard with the sheep and are feeling very energetic when I let them all out to graze, too.  The weather is fantastic, just a tad cool, with no flies in or around the barn yet.   We started up the hill and the piggies followed us.  They joined in our little groups just like two more dogs.  They grazed on the green grass and drank out of the pond.  When we started back down they started running and split apart to go around me.  It was a tad scary but so much fun.  We diverted to the apple orchard where Sue Ellen lay down in the cool dirt.  The blossoms are so beautiful right now and I'm hopeful for apples, as long as the temperature doesn't dip too much lower.  It's been 26 - 28 F. the last couple of mornings and I'm a little worried.  We walked around the Hidden Pond.  I've discovered where the water is leaking out of the pond, leaving it a big mud puddle that's perfect for deer, wild critters and the turtles I save from the middle of the roads.  Planning on getting that fixed to we have another proper pond to play in.   Back to the house and I have some time to turn on the box before dinner. I check out the news, the weather, and the movies I might like to watch after chores are over.  I'm working hard on fiber and got another 26 pounds out to the carding mill after school.  I've found a few more buttery soft black fleeces from last year.  Oh, what a nice surprise.  They've been languishing in plastic bags but are none the worse for wear.  Some are slightly felted, requiring pulling apart the locks, one by one.  Most have some VM - sheep speak for vegetable matter, the hay and dirt that naturally wants to stick to wool, and that has to be all picked out, every burdock, every speck of dirt and every strand of hay.  I then wash the fleece in hot soapy water while preparing the dye pots.  The wet fiber is added to the dye bath and enough water is added to allow the wool to move around.  I add vinegar, or citric acid if I have it (has to be ordered in) and bring the pot to a simmer for an hour or so.  The pot is turned off and the dye is allowed to cool down overnight before being turned into the washer again.  The tub is filled and I swish the wool around, drain the tub, fill it again, and drain it again.  I try to make all my fiber color safe, with no dye residue left in the wool.  It doesn't always end up that way but I try.  I have some dye pots simmering right now.  Better go check on them.

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