Thursday, October 18, 2007

There's just no reasoning with them.

Say “hello” to our birds. Many people look at them & think they’re doves, but they’re actually homing pigeons. The woman who used to live in our house has a business, taking her lovely white homing pigeons to weddings and funerals, releasing them, and then they fly home. When we bought her house, she explained to us that the best way to re-home the birds (convince them to move) was to build them a better coop than the one they were living in before. So despite the fact that she built for them, at her new family home in town, the Taj Mahal of Pigeon Palaces, about half of the birds determinedly and repeatedly returned to us. There’s just no reasoning with them. We had about 20 birds after the move.

The birds have been very contented with us, and we with them, since we enjoy seeing them fly together across the sky, with the mountain in the background. Really, it’s a Little Bit of Heaven here at the Aquarian Hamster farm. And the birds showed their contentment by beginning to lay eggs. This, right about the time that a mutual friend expressed the desire to have some of her own white pigeons. We let the 10 eggs develop and got 8 new babies, who were relocated to their new home as soon as they became capable of eating & flying. I hope they’ll stay with her, and I do believe they were pretty young to have become “homed” to our place already. In the meantime, our birds continue to lay eggs, and I’m pitching them. It did cross my mind to try making wee little omelettes with them, but I hear they’re rather gamey.

The only downside to this situation is that the birds seem to think they own the place - including the sheep stall - so they often invade, leaving droppings in the sheeps’ water and supplies, and sometimes on the girls’ lovely fleece, which does not make me happy. I also worry about parasites and/or diseases. The sheeple do get wormed at regular intervals, but I still worry. Soon, the sheep will have their own personal barn. And the birds can have the old barn. But really, there is no reasoning with them. We’ll see how that works.

On the knitting front, I have finished the seed stitch jacket and a companion hat. They fit perfectly and I’m very happy with the style. I began with Ann Norling’s “Adult Basic: Drop Shoulder Cardigan” pattern but made a few modifications. I’ll try to post a photo next time.

Anemarie says “Hello”.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Mmmmmmm Cashmere!

A friend of mine casually remarked that she had some cashmere from one of her goats, and wondered if I’d be able to use it at all. I had no idea that she had these beasties. I knew about her chickens & had been greeted by her donkey on occasion, but never met the goats. Oh My Gosh. When I opened the bag and saw the contents, my heart raced. I took it home and washed it, and came up with this.

There were a lot of guard hairs so I’ve been removing them at every phase of my wee little project. After washing & picking out hairs, I had 20 grams of white fluff. Not quite enough for what I had in mind. . . but close! I just happened to have, in my stash of “treasures”, some white yak down. It was a purchase made last winter at Madrona Fiber Arts Festival. I pulled some out of the bag & weighed it - 15 grams. I carded the two together by hand, and came out with oh-so-softly-scrumptious rolags which were the envy of my Knit Night buddies. I spun it long-draw into a lace weight two ply yarn.

The pattern I chose was from the book HOMESPUN HANDKNIT, the Baby’s Lace Set designed by Carol Rhoades. I opted for little socks instead of mitts, and had just a few yards of yarn left when I finished. These will go to a charity auction, and I hope will inspire bidding among the many aspiring grandmothers that I know. :-)