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Showing posts from October, 2013

Happy Halloween

Make do and mend

Our pigs are destructive, each group that spends time in an enclosure add their bit of destructiveness. They love to dig and dig and dig this is sometimes under their huts, they don't understand about foundations or when digging inside a hut can cause a pool of water to collect when it rains in the winter. Often digging causes mud to cover the electric fence, it fills their water and food containers and makes huge holes in the ground but they are so happy digging, a natural instinct that is stopped when a ring is placed in their nose (this along with tail docking and teeth cutting is not allowed in organic farming but is routine in intensive indoor production) and is something that we would never endorse.

A favourite past time of dismantling huts by knocking out planks of wood is enjoyed as much as pulling at the plastic covering that farmer J used to cover the backs of huts last year that was left over from building work. Strips were torn off with pig in chase games as one ran a…

Laguepie chestnut fair

Yesturday was he annual chestnut fair at Laguepie, a small village in the Tarn et Garonne. The sun shone which made for an enjoyable time amberling round the market stalls, drinking coffee and eating hot chestnuts. Traditional dances and muscicians put on a display. In previous years there has been a mushroom display showing edible, toxic and fatal fungi in appropriate coloured boxes of green , red and black (leathel ones). I imagine no mushrooms could be found as it has been dry here for a while.

The many varieties of apples grown locally along with walnuts and chestnuts were laid out on tressel tables, so many different types of apples were displayed. As well as chestnuts for sale there was apple juice being made, which at this time of year many villages and organisations invite you to take your non treated apples along to have them pressed into juice for a small fee. We didn't stay for the set menu lunch, each course is chestnut based so you really have to love your chestnuts.

The past week

We have woken up each morning to amazing coloured skies

Have enjoyed amazing weather mid 20's each day and ate lunch outside all week.

Enjoyed seeing changes of the season on dog walks.

                                              Collected chestnuts for us and the pigs.

Dug up the artichokes in the veggie patch for Gorgon to enjoy.

The sheep were moved to new pasture.

Saturday morning was spent moving the cattle to ear tag the new calf who turns out to be VERY lively, this involved temporary electric fencing, herding whole herd into hanger, getting them in, locked down to eat hay (especially mum) while calf was lassoed to have ear tags put in place. 

                                                     Pig hut rearranging commenced.

I downloaded patterns and sponsor form for SPANA big knit for vet kit and have nearly finished my first donkey. Anyone want to sponsor me?

Finished my hand spun cardi come shrug, just needs to be washed now.

Saturday happy photo

How hard can this knitting lark be?

Little pig, little pig let me in

Not by the hair on your chinny chin chin. THEN I WILL HUFF AND PUFF AND BLOW YOUR HOUSE IN. oh no you won't cause farmer J made this one and it ain't moving a bit.
After our young sow had a rendez vous with Champion the boar we are pretty sure she is now pregnant. As we want all the sows to be kept in their own enclosures it was time for a  new cabin to be built.

After an afternoon of collecting hardcore cement was laid with a reinforced ramp (in the hope that it will dissuade the new tenant from digging the entrance up.

First wall going in.

                                 Walls bolted in place making them extra strong (hopefully)

A window in case we need to get piglets out.

Wooden rails to give piglets a safe sleeping area and to stop mum getting to their food.

Roof and extra large sleeping area.

                     Surrounded by field and and shady trees to the back and nice neighbours.

Amazing view to the front with good sized electric fenced area (for keeping in pigs)


The past week

I finished my wall hanging project for my show and tell at the spinners and weavers group I belong to. I tweaked  this pattern adding more stitches and rows and a pair of ears. The only animal eyes i could find were  €4,60, a tad expensive so I opted two black buttons. The frame was found at the recycle shop , material needs to be tweaked a bit to make it tighter but I am pretty pleased at the way he has turned out.

On the farm sadly disabled chicken passed away in her sleep, she was pretty old and had a free range life so a nice way to go in the end. Three of the cattle went down with foot rot, caused by a bacteria found in the soil which enters via a cut. Makeing their feet painful to walk on and swell so a course of two antibiotic injections for each has cleared it up. Being organic antibiotics is not what we normally use, the last being back in Dec 2012 so we are pretty lucky to have a healthy herd. To stop more cases they were moved to a new field and touch wood no more foot rot…

Saturday happy photo

Waiting for her friend inside the old chicken house Miss Fatty contemplated her next diet, for one day she to will squash herself inside the round house.

Spinning a yarn

I am a bad weather spinner, spring and summer months are outside working months. It feels right to spin wool in the cooler, darker evenings whilst sitting by the far and multi tasking by watching TV. As a part time spinner it takes me a while to get back into the flow. My wheel is an Ashford Joy, being a travel wheel it folds into its on bag - very portable to carry around and spin at friends.

My skeins (wool that has been spun, plied and tied in a loose knot ) started very chunky and bumpy.It felt spinning was completely out of my control, the wool sped itself into the wheel in one great lump, gradually the coordination of controlling the pedal and feeding the wool came to me.

This is the start of my wall hanging project.

Any ideas? hopefully it will be finished tomorrow after I can find some eyes.

The carding bit

Pre washed fleece was finishing being dried in the sun bearing a resemblance to one shaggy dog. Glancing quickly it had farmer J thinking he was on the table.

After my fleeces have dried and before mice make a cosy nest for winter I am going to try and prepare the wool for spinning. This means carding the wool to untangle and open up the fibre - but not the cat who seems to enjoy it as much as the dogs who go bonkers over a fleece, the dirtier the better.

An Ashford drum carder does the job well, a little extravagant treat to myself making the process a lot quicker or you can use hand carders. Small pieces of fleece are feed into the feed tray catching the fibres through the small roller by turning the handle on the side then wrapping around the larger drum, both have metal teeth to tease the fibre into a long batt.

Bits of unwanted debris like hay and plant seeds as well as rubbishy bits of fleece are suppose to be removed from the wool  first but I must be a bit of a lazy fleece cl…