Olio: a miscellaneous collection of things.
This past week has been bitter and sweet. A Redtailed Hawk discovered my pullet pen and early in the week, killed and took one of my Mottled Javas. The pullets are about 11 or 12 weeks old now and have some size on them, but not enough to fight off a hawk. Because of the cold, I left them cooped up the next day and spent an afternoon building a bird net cage using the 4 foot high fence and 7 foot poles, rope, and zip ties to secure it. Last night when I went out to close up the coop for the night, the hawk was inside the net and a second Java was dead. In the hawk’s panic to escape me, it flew through the net and out, leaving the pullet. I considered going out today and getting a 10′ by 10′ dog run that is 6′ high that I could put a tarp or wire top on, but they are hard to come by this time of year and weigh almost 300 lbs. A friend with a stock trailer and truck offered to help bring it here if I could find one. Instead, some of the unused garden fencing was cut to 8′ long panels and secured across the top of the existing fence with a garden pole in the middle to help support it. The panels were overlapped by about 8 inches and zipped tied together every foot. When the last panel nearest the coop was ready to secure, it was tied to the previous panel then folded up to give me enough room to get to the pop door. An arch of fencing was stapled to the side of the coop and the front of the coop and secured to the fence on the side and the last panel. That gives me room to get in and around the coop, but will require crawling under the low part if necessary. My hands and feet are frozen, but hopefully, the littles are safe from the hawk now.
It isn’t pretty, but hopefully it will keep them safe.
They were glad to be released to the sun. Maybe this spring, a proper, secure run can be built.
The sweet side of the week involves crafting. There is a project called Shave ‘Em to Save ‘Em to support the conservation of threatened breeds of sheep. Fiber raisers and fiber artists are encouraged to participate. This week, I have ordered and received 4 packages of roving from different breeders, 4 ounces each of Jacob, Navajo Churro, Shetland, and Romeldale CVM, and arranged to get 4 ounces of Leicester Longwool from a breeder friend who is participating.
Two of the breeders have provided extras, like samples of other sheep or a pen with their farm info on it.
Fiber has to be spun, photographed and submitted, yarn must be knitted, crocheted, or needle felted, photographed and submitted. It is a three year project and once you have 5 breeds done, you can submit for a prize. After I finish spinning mine, I plan to knit a log cabin blanket with my 15 breeds.
Though I started collecting my breeds, I had some other spinning projects to finish before I could begin. I had a 2 ounce braid I was spinning on drop spindles that I wanted to finish. It was plyed and produced 166 yards of fingering weight yarn that is a very soft wool and silk. There was some Alpaca and Merino that needed to be finished and I got it done as well.
The week was also used to dye some fiber for sale in my shop.
And finally beginning to spin one of conservation breeds, starting with the Jacob.
The past week has been very cold and the forecast is for potential record breaking cold this week and possibly another light snow. I need day that is mild and dry to finish trimming some of the fence edges.
Winter is not the time to take care of the outdoor tasks, but they need to be done. I’d rather be indoors, cooking and baking bread like I got to do yesterday before realizing that my pullet run was not as secure as I had hoped. Tomorrow, I am fixing dinner for family and will make more bread for them to enjoy with dinner and take home for the week.