All of the animals get nicknames around here, most of the people do, too. The Muppets are the Angora Goats and it comes from their Muppety-mugs which, of late, are slightly less Muppety.
Now their dreads, their Samson-locks, are shorn and they’re clean and white and light and dainty.
Their locks are in bags and baskets all over my kitchen and family room, awaiting skirting. I have already heard back from one of the mills I employ to help process our fiber. The owner and I have been discussing doing a blend with a bit of Shetland (from our sheep) to make a nice two ply fingering weight that could be used in socks, mitts, shawls, etc.. If we spin it into 100% mohair, it tends to be too fuzzy and needs to be combined in knitting.
I like to have our yarn be pure Wing & A Prayer Farm, so I’m not likely to go with a processing that means it needs to combine with bamboo or silk or some-such other fiber that isn’t native to Vermont or our farm.
Another use will be to combine the mohair with Shetland to make a nice roving for spinners. I have had it processed at another mill into “bumps” of pin-drafted roving that spins up so beautifully -and I had sold out. So that will be something nice to have in the shop again.
And lastly, there will be fleeces that will be sold as is, some skirting done, for hand spinners that like to enjoy it on their own. I washed up some locks this morning and spun them because I was too impatient to wait till next week, when I am scheduling to skirt the mohair fleeces.
How do the Muppets feel about all of this? They seem fine. They’ve all integrated, for the moment, with Night, the wethered-buck, and are housing comfortably in & out of their stall & paddock. We’re having a short stretch of sunny days, which really helps. Poor babies don’t do well when you shear them and then the temps go down. So I’m grateful we have a good shelter and we’re going to have a little warmer weather.
Lambs have been happening here. Last weekend we had two sets of Registered Shetland ewe lambs born to Nessa & Paisley, both first time moms, and they are delightful and robust. Mamas and babies are doing great. We’re waiting on Wendy, Padme, Leia, Darcy in the Shetland ewe-department, Hester, the Cotswold ewe, Laurel, the Merino & Martha the Cormo, all due soon.
Meanwhile, the chicks are hatching and the house is full of a delightful chick-murmur as long as their needs are met. If their needs are not met, instead, there is a delightful chick-cacophony.
For all of you who were so supportive and tuned in last week for the LambCam LIVE Chat, thank you. My friend Kerry came to co-host with me. She is a musician and so we had the treat of her singing a beautiful Scottish folk song, “Ca’ the Yowes Tae the Knowes“, to the ewes in the stall with us. We chatted and answered questions and shared the latest lambs to have been born, Polka Dot & Poppy. We drew the winners of our LambCam LIVE Chat Giveaway, sponsored by Ellen Mason of Odacier. The winners of the Odacier Giveaway were Aara Suksi & Erin Bennett & Joan Nichols won the Wing & A Prayer Farm Guess-the-Weight Giveaway that was an add-on on Social Media that day. The question was “how much do the new lambs weigh?” and Joan guessed closest. The new lambs, Polka Dot & Poppy, were 5.6 lbs & 5.9 lbs.
Last, but not least, save the date! The farm will be hosting a Mothers’ Day Open Farm on Mothers’ Day from noon to 3:00, there’ll be more to come on that in another post.
In other news, there are 8 bales of hay left in our loft. And it’s mid-April. That’s enough for dinner tonight and partial breakfast tomorrow morning.
Well, the timing is perfect, in a way. I headed up north for a bit to shear Shetland sheep that were born here on the farm but now live on another farm, and they have TOO much hay so the folks told me I’m welcome to it! I helped to shear, vaccinate and deworm and cuddled all of those wethers, oh I love them and miss them so. Do you know they remember me though I see them but 2 or 4 times a year? I give them all of their vaccinations, still, their dewormer if necessary, lots of cuddles. They come right up to me and perk up as soon as they hear me. It is incredible. After a catch-up, I get to go home with their fleeces and, this time, a truck full of hay to unload.
I’ll need to make a plan to get more hay, somehow, because it’ll be a few weeks before my pastures are long enough for grazing. Yesterday, guests from Waitsfield came to visit the farm and we chatted about the grace of providence, how much more beautiful life is when you’re open to working with the blowing wind instead of being consumed with how to build a shelter against it.
I’ve been moving ewes around to make lambing jugs here and lambing jugs there. Trying to keep those shorn Muppets warm till it warms up for good. Mucking when I can without breaking my back.
The ducklings that were in the incubator did not successfully hatch out. Sadly. But the Muscovy duck, Ginger, and the Bourbon Red Turkey, Talulah Mae, are sharing custody on a nest full of eggs in the chicken coop. The nest is so large it requires the two of them. I like the way they co-parent the nest, allowing for one or another to go get a drink or bite to eat, but keeping those eggs covered. Poor Talulah Mae will not have one little turkey poult to call her own, as she has no mate, but she’ll likely mother just as well.
My head is spinning with the to-do list, but I’m trying to trust that what’s important will get done. Transplanted 131 Beefsteak Tomato seedlings that Char & I started in March and I consider that a real accomplishment.