Saturday, May 28, 2005

Baby update

Dumpling and her babies continue to frustrate me. She wasn't feeding them enough, and when my DH pointed out a rat - yes, a RAT! - hanging out around the cages I thought perhaps Dumpling was scared and that was why she wasn't feeding them. Poor scrawny little things! So I brought them inside the house and placed the nest in a larger pet carrier and put it inside the cage with her. Viola! Full tummies for 2 days straight! Then suddenly scrawny again. I took her out and held her while they nursed this morning. They went frantically from teat to teat, apparently not getting much. The teats did not have pink tips like they do when they've been nursed on. So I put them back in the nest and got Dumpling some fresh timothy and dandelions from the yard and left her munching while I went to the Great Lakes Fiber Festival in Wooster, OH. When I came back, I checked the 2 babies and their tummies did seem fuller, so I got more greens for Dumpling and left them be.

I'm going to breed her back on Wednesday, I sure hope the second litter goes better than this one!

Meanwhile, at the fiber fest I bought a set of Denise interchangeable knitting needles, an extension for them, and 8 oz of tussah silk fiber. Now, to get that other yarn plied so I can start on a new batch!

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Interesting...

I don't plan on putting much political, religious, or philosophical content in this blog, but here is some interesting information about choosing the Pope that I got from a friend.

As I understand it, Ratzinger was not the Cardinals' first choice. That was Cardinal Hans Grapje. Grapje was educated in a Catholic school in The Hague and, as a young man, aspired to become a priest. But was drafted into the Army during WWII and spent two years co-piloting B17s until his aircraft was shot down in 1943 and he lost his left arm. Captain Grapje spent the rest of the war as a chaplain, giving spiritual aid to soldiers, both allies and enemy. After the war, he became a priest, serving as a missionary in Africa, piloting his own plane (in spite of his handicap) to villages across the continent.

In 1997, Father Grapje was serving in Zimbabwe when an explosion in a silver mine caused a cave-in. Archbishop Grapje went down into the mine to administer last rights to those too severely injured to move. Another shaft collapsed, and he was buried for three days, suffering multiple injuries, including the loss of his right eye. The high silver content in the mine's air gave him Purpura, a life-long condition characterized by purplish skin blotches.

Although Cardinal Grapje devoted his life to the service of God as a scholar, mentor, and holy man, church leaders felt that he should never ascend to the Papacy.

They felt that the Church would never accept a One-Eyed, One-Armed, Flying, Purple Papal Leader.

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BTW, Dumpling and her 2 babies are doing much better since I moved them inside. :)

Sunday, May 22, 2005

Baby update

Dumpling's babies seem to be doing OK. I found wool wrapped around one today, I quickly cut the wool off and, since the baby looked like it needed a drink, convinced Brat to nurse it for a few minutes. She was happy to oblige. Dumpling's belly only has one teat that appears to be nursed on. Odd. Which I why I got Brat involved, as she seems to have loads of milk supply. Later I took another look at the two bunnies, both seem fat and happy at the moment:

Dumpling babies


Meanwhile, Brat and her babies are doing just great:

Example

There always seems to be at least one camera-shy baby, LOL!

DH and I spent a restful, if unsuccessful, weekend at camp hoping to bag a spring gobbler. We got 12 Leyland Cypress trees planted, burned a bunch of cardboard boxes and old feed bags that have accumulated around here, fed the fish in the pond, and I spun some of the angora mixed fiber that I got from Terry Kunst. I decided to spin two different colors and ply them together. I'll post a picture when I've plied them. I'm happy that I got this bunch spun finer than I've managed before. I can't wait to see how it turns out!

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

New babies!

Abundant Fastnacht (aka Dumpling) has FINALLY produced a litter! Billy Goat's Gruff, my 100% German buck (sired by Wiley's Zeigenbock, my late 100% import buck), is the proud father. Unfortunately, like many first-time moms, Dumpling made a mistake - she had the 7 babies in the front of her nestbox, and not in the nest she'd built in the back. Only 2 made it into the warmth of the wool she lined the nest with, and lived. They seem to be fine, and well fed, so I am going to let Nature take its course and leave them there tonight. I had considered bringing them in for the night, but we are going hunting this weekend so they're going to have to get used to the cool nights anyway. I did fill the front of the nestbox with hay, so if they clung to Mom when she was finished feeding them, they'd roll back into the wool. I also added more wool. The 2 did OK the night they were born, so they should be OK. If not, MOM will get bred back and we'll try again in another 31 days...

Meanwhile, my sweetheart has decided to buy me the Kromski Polanaise wheel my friend Chris from Woolybuns had for sale. Awesome! I can't wait to get it!

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Brat's Babies at 3 weeks


Well, here are two of them, anyway. The other three, feeling apparently a bit camera-shy, are hiding behind Mom:



Brat is showing excellent condition, I think she's actually filled out a bit, good constitution for a nursing Mom! I like to give my does a month off after weaning a litter, in the meantime I am considering whom I will breed her to next. I am considering her full brother, but I'm not crazy about that idea. However, I would like to breed her to a relative of her sire, Wiley's Zeigenbock, out of S├╝mmchen by Heinks. Since "Billy" only sired one litter while he was alive, my choices are extremely limited. Since I have a couple of months yet to find the right sire, I will continue trying to locate such a buck, and buy him or at least borrow his services. A brother or half-brother of Billy would be ideal.

Sunday, May 15, 2005

I have a STASH!!!!

Someone made a joke to me awhile ago that you aren't really a serious handspinner until you have a stash. Until now, besides the angora I had stuffed in bags, I didn't really feel like I had a "stash". Well, thanks to a trade I made with Terry Kunst, I have one, and here it is:

Stash

There is Shetland, Border Leicester, Blue-Faced Leicester, some Lincoln-Merino cross, some Mohair, some Border Leicester-Rambouillet cross, some blends, one with flax, another with Alpaca, a bunch of angora-merino, YUM!!!! A good bit of it is in the grease, so I get to learn to wash it. This will be interesting!

I think I'll be pretty busy, LOL!

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

It came today...

... Alden Amos' Big Book of Handspinning. Funny, Alden's pic on the back doesn't look anything like I imagined. I had envisioned a slim, rather scholarly, kind of bookish guy, not a cross between a grizzly and a teddy bear! LOL!

So I'm learning a whole lot of technical terms for what I've been doing so far. Good to know! Eventually I will buy a traditional wheel, and from reviewing the table of contents, I think once I hit those chapters I'll be going to the Great Lakes Fiber Festival much better prepared to be trying out wheels. My DH has his heart set on a Kromski Polanaise my internet buddy Chris from Woolybuns has for sale. He just loves the way it looks, as do I. It would look great in our livingroom, although I'd really like one better for traveling. Can't do both right now - we have some serious remodeling to do to the house, so the budget just won't do it.

Decisions, decisions!

Monday, May 09, 2005

Turkeys and bunnies

I am a hunter, and it often conflicts with my other interests. Last weekend was no exception, I went hunting for Spring Gobbler instead of going to Maryland Sheep & Wool. We did hear some gobbling while we were out hunting, but could not entice a gobbler in to get a shot. But DH and I spent quality time alone in the woods together, and that is always a good thing. We did see turkey later, when we weren't hunting, of course! At any rate, the dogs got to run free all they wanted, we got the logging trails seeded, and it was a good weekend. There's always the Great Lakes fiber show at the end of the month...

...And on to bunnies! They won't be 2 weeks old until tomorrow, but I couldn't resist snapping a shot of the little cuties:

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

One week old!

Here are the 5 surviving babies at one week of age. I had a heck of a time getting them to hold still, they're very lively! No idea of sexes at this point, I've trained myself to not even look until the age of 6 weeks or so, otherwise I come up with different results every time!

babiesat1week

Sometime over the weekend they should all open their eyes and really start looking like baby bunnies. Over the following week, they'll creep out and start to explore their surroundings, driving their mom nuts, and their personalities will really start to show. I can't wait! :D

Sunday, May 01, 2005

Spinning

I finally worked up the courage yesterday to spin up a bag of multicolor roving given to me by Terry Kunst. It weighed nearly half a pound, I forget what blend of fiber? Angora and merino perhaps? At any rate, it was dyed a delicious combination of orange, grape, and lime pastels, with a hint of white here and there. As I was spinning it, I wanted a Creamsicle in the worst way, LOL! I was waiting until I felt confident enough in my spinning to not ruin it. Here it is:

Creamsicle yarn