On our walks, the daffodils, crocus, pussy willow, and a low purple daisy like flower I can’t ID are blooming. The forsythia, even in our hollow is beginning to bloom and yesterday, the white blooms of our plum began opening. This is good for the early bees, though I have no active hives at the moment, but it will be terrible for fruit production if we have a freeze which is inevitable this early in the season.
The longer days are upping the egg supply. At least 9 of the 11 hens are laying as I got 7 on Saturday and 9 yesterday. There will be fewer today and tomorrow, but last week there were more than 3.5 dozen which delights daughter and a friend who benefit from overabundance. Three or four hens would likely produce way more eggs than I would use in a week, but there is safety in numbers and as long as there are folks that want the extra, I will keep the larger flock.
And the variety of color is a treat in a bowl or basket on the counter top.
The coop needs exterior maintenance come consistent warmer, drier weather. The hens have pecked a small hole in the siding that is not large enough for most predators, but large enough for a snake or mouse. It needs to be filled with wood putty or a framing strip nailed over it. The exterior needs to be stained again, a job I abhor as it requires a lot of over my head reaching which my shoulders object to strongly. Maybe a sprayer would solve that problem or a long handled roller instead of trying to brush it on like I did summer before last.
The spinning challenge for February was to “Dare” yourself to a challenge of your choice. Some chose to try to spin a different weight or style of yarn than they usually do, some to just commit to a daily amount of time if they had not been spinning as much. I want to knit a real Shetland Hap, the traditional shawl of the Shetland Islands, usually square with a simple center and a lace edge. But I also want to spindle spin all of the Shetland wool necessary for it. My challenge was to spin enough yarn for the center square. About 10 days into the challenge, I changed the pattern which made deciding how much yarn was needed a difficult calculation. The original pattern had a solid color center square and concentric bands of lace of different colors around it. The new pattern is a solid color, but knit from the center out with eyelet lace bands that then create the concentric bands for the outer bands. My math skills were never great and disuse of more than basic calculations make it even more difficult to figure it out. I ended up spinning about 43% of the yarn needed for the entire shawl, and since I am not knitting it in a single natural color, using two other naturals for the outer bands, concluded that my goal was met. I succeeded in spinning and plying 409.5 yards of fine Shetland for the month. I had purchased 200 grams of the Moorit color for the shawl and used just about 100 grams to spin the skein.
Last night, I began the knitting, which wasn’t part of my challenge and will continue to spin more of the Shetland Moorit, White, and dark Brown. At this point, I am unsure how many bands will be the other colors, and if the Moorit is enough to do all but the Birch Lace outer most band, it may be done in the dark brown and the white saved for another day and another project.
Since ending the cottage business, any spinning being done is being done with a specific project in mind for me, for the household, or as a gift for a family member or friend. And with that in mind, only spindles are being used for spinning. With 6 Turkish spindles in 3 sizes, there is always one available and they are so portable with a few grams of wool roving or combed top to carry in my bag in a small tin or zip case to have when there is time away from home to spin or to pull out when sitting in my chair at home.
Life goes on one day at a time, seasons change, though this year not in a normal average pattern. Perhaps hoarding some of last year’s apple sauce, apple pear sauce, peach Sriracha sauce, and pear marmalade might be in order. There may be no fruit this year except figs and grapes (I hope).