One of the things important to complete before winter is cleaning and storing your wool. The first steps for wool processing are shearing it from the animal and once it's off, skirting or removing the filthiest parts of the wool from what you'll retain. This year we have over 20 lbs of alpaca fiber most from a friend that has asked us to clean, spin and knit/crochet into gifts for her family. Fiber prep from animals that enjoy rolling in the dirt and rustling through bushes can be a lengthy task and our first step is to remove as much of that dust, dirt, vegetation and second cuts (those shorter pieces that are accidentally cut twice and too short to use) from the fiber before we wash it.
We've had questions regarding accessories for angora care. Today, while grooming 'Coal' we thought it would be great to show what we use!
First we'll introduce 'Coal', he is a beautiful English Angora with a lot to offer. His coat is dense, fine fibered and he joined our rabbitry from a very colorful litter in northern Washington where his Dad took top local awards. He's fathered his first litter and we hope to have a colorful result.
In our previous post we mentioned Lil Miss' German/Satin/English Angora "Honey" that she retained for her fantastic fiber, and we thought we ought to show you this bunny! Taking advantage of some excellent lighting we set up a little photo shoot with her today. It was sunny and beautiful so we set up the fan, turned on some music and let her get comfortable with the camera....this is what we captured!
Practice makes perfect....she'll get there.
In whose hand is the soul of every living thing, and the breath of all mankind.
We're prepping to participate in our local Farmer's Market by demonstrating our spinning, weaving, knitting, crochet and dyeing...you'll find us doing the same at the upcoming Buckley Logger's Rodeo. Of course, we'll also be showing how amazing the angoras are in person... This is something the children have been asking to do again for several years - the Lord has opened the doors!
We're busy as bees and these photos really speak for themselves...a handsome buck with lots of gorgeous fiber, enjoying some play time with his younger pals in a new 'Romper Room' Lil Farmer built this month. It is a true joyful pleasure to watch them at play - they are relaxed and feel comfortable flopping down after a romp, having been raised in a secure environment with daily interaction. It's a time to thank the Lord Jesus Christ, for the blessing of His wonderful creation, our beautiful, loving animals and a peaceful place to raise them. Please enjoy the photos of 'Rocky'!
But ask now the beasts, and they shall teach thee; and the fowls of the air, and they shall tell thee: Or speak to the earth, and it shall teach thee: and the fishes of the sea shall declare unto thee.
Yes, some of these photos show him with Silver's babies from our last post. Take note, he looked nearly identical to those little ones when he was a few months younger...oh, how beautiful they become!
Note: He is not for sale, we just wanted you to see how gorgeous these crosses can be. His fiber is really 'easy care' and he is such a happy, loving part of the homestead!
A few days of sun and intermittent rain make an interesting opportunity for rabbit fun time. Just when we think they'll have some time to work their legs and nibble amongst the herbal variety, a down pour sneaks up and we're running to get everyone back under cover. The favorite hiding spot is the 'Tree House'. Flanked by native berry leaves they can nibble, they love to crawl in, around, and all over this unique living root structure. It's fun to watch them literally play 'Hide and Seek' then take off like a dart down a walking row between the beds.
While some are running and sunning, other are being groomed - brushed, blown out and combed. It's important to use the blower because it helps move out extra dander than can accumulate and keeps their skin breathing better. It's a much used tool in the show scene because you can really bring out the beauty, sheen and fullness in those angora coats! As we're grooming, we typically include a bit of massage to enhance circulation and it's most often welcomed and appreciated as they sit happily.
We spent a lot of time trying to cover the entire perimeter fencing with rabbit proof borders. We tested and retested it and had to close many holes they find so easily! Remember those scent trails I told you about? They are effective and it's fun to watch them go back to a spot, only to realize it no longer leads to 'the outside world', guarded by the "Big Red Dog'.
Yes, those trails are still quickly found even after much rain. We've had some heavy winds and rain that ripped the plastic off our hoop house three times now and the extra rain has certainly made it harder for things to grow even in our raised beds. Seeds planted a month ago aren't doing nearly as well as last year...but we'll just be replanting through the next couple of months.
And the LORD shall guide thee continually, and satisfy thy soul in drought, and make fat thy bones: and thou shalt be like a watered garden, and like a spring of water, whose waters fail not. Isaiah 58:11
Today we were able to circulate a number of rabbits through the 'Fun Run' today. Nutmeg and Sampson were hilarious to watch. You'd think Nutmeg, who is much larger, was trying to dominate Sampson and chase him away, over and over...only to find that once they wore themselves out, they'd flop down together under the shade of a comfrey plant.
We even brought out some little ones that had just begun nibbling their mom's greens while in their house. Lil Farmer had a lot of fun snuggling with them once they tuckered out. It's a great treat to enjoy so many hopping fiber puffs in the continually growing garden. We're so grateful for springs warmth and growth!
For as the earth bringeth forth her bud, and as the garden causeth the things that are sown in it to spring forth; so the Lord GOD will cause righteousness and praise to spring forth before all the nations. Isaiah 61:11
You'll also notice, where we don't have wood chip mulch, we put down used straw or hay from the animals. This has been an additional blessing because any left over whole grains have sprouted and as they run around, they nibble all those nutrient dense sprouts and grasses.
We harvested over 4 ounces of primarily 7" long, scrumptiously soft fiber that more than filled a gallon sized freezer bag. That's not all of his fiber (it was his 'saddle') but it gives you an idea of how wonderful the fiber from one rabbit can be! With one rabbit you can actually make a sweater from the year's harvest. You can do more than that if you add another rabbit so you have a pair to bond and romp with each other, as they are happier with family.
There is a reason some have called angoras
'Apartment Sheep'. Many have litterbox trained them to keep as the perfect, quiet, indoor fiber pet.
This is our journey.