Tag Archives: spinning wool

Olio 6/18/2019

Olio: a miscellaneous collection of things.

Summer is nearly here, the hay stands tall, the ground wet, rain forecast nearly every day preventing the cutting, raking, and baling.  A few fields near us were done several weeks ago, others that will be done before they get to us are still standing too.  Since our brush hog mower fell apart last fall, areas that the riding mower can’t handle and that won’t be hayed due to trees they don’t want to work around, we can’t even mow those areas.  I can’t get to the berry patches as they are scattered along the edge of the woods by the hayfields.

Last week was spent helping daughter out with two of our grands.  With school out, babysitting help, camps, and trips keep the kids busy are needed for a working Mom.  Half of two of those days, there were activities that had been scheduled using my spinning and fiber history skills, and granddad had the kiddos.  The first morning was not in costume, about 25 camp kids rotated to try candle dipping, see spinning on a wheel and spindles and get a length of handspun yarn to take, watch the blacksmith, and see mini balls made on an open fire and then an old flintlock rifle fired without a ball.  Friday was Flag Day at Wilderness Road Regional Museum.  We had the same activities, minus the blacksmith, but with a Bobbin Lace maker in attendance and all in costumes.

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At events, I have been spinning some of the Jacob from one of the fleeces that I washed.  It has to be combed to spin which fascinates observers.
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With three fleeces, there will be plenty to knit a sweater when it is all done, but since it mostly gets done at events, that might be a while.

Because of the rain and not being at home, the garden hasn’t been getting the attention it needs.  About 10 days ago, I took the weed eater to the paths so I could get in to see what else was going on.  The asparagus are tall ferns now, and too many weeds in there, but too hard to get to.  Once the ferns are cut in the fall, it will be weeded and mulched with straw for the winter.  The tomatillos were planted through a thick straw mulch and are doing well.  The tomatoes and peppers were weeded and staked after the paths were done and need weeding again.  They need straw put down around them, but it doesn’t seem to be available in the area right now.  I can’t go rake leaves from the woods to use because I can’t get to the woods for the standing hay.  This afternoon, I went out to pick peas for dinner and realized that for the first time ever, the blueberries were heavy with fruit.  The bushes are still fairly small.  Though they are about 4 or 5 years old, they were not being kept weeded and last year, they were moved to a 4 x 8′ box on the edge of the garden, given a good layer of new soil, a sprinkle of bone meal, a layer of newspaper covered with several inches of wood chip mulch.  Though they have required some weeding, the weeds are mostly just in the mulch and the berries are thriving.

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After sorting the basket and shelling the peas, it looks like berries for cereal, muffins or quick bread, and a couple meals of peas.  There are many more peas to pick over the next few weeks.  The bush beans are blooming, and that bed got weeded as well this afternnon.  A second planting of them should be done soon.  I would have stayed out longer and worked, but the thunder storms started again.  The cucumbers are climbing the fence, the sunflowers are more than knee high, there are green Roma tomatoes, pumpkins vines developing.  The garden is small this year, some produce will come from the Farmers’ Market, but that has been the routine for several years now.  I hope the peppers begin to grow soon.  One that was planted is gone, none of them much larger than the transplants that I put in the ground.  I’ll have to check what is available for transplanting when I go to the Farmers’ Market next.

Olio, October 12, 2017

Olio: a miscellaneous collection of things

It has been a while since an Olio was posted, actually been a while since much of anything has been posted.

Spinzilla, the TNNA (The National Needle Arts Assoc.) team spinning competition ended Sunday night.  Our team had 25 spinners from across the US, sponsored by The Knotty Ladies and Strauch Fiber Equipment Company.  Most of our team has reported their yardage with a photo, it was due to our team leader yesterday, but mine was turned in before the official end of the competition by about 3 hours.  I was worn out, beat up, and generally over it by then and had finished plying a bobbin full of wool, so I quit.  During the course of the competition as my spinning wheel only has 4 bobbins and 1 of them has some pre Spinzilla alpaca on it that didn’t get finished prior to the start time, I plyed off every bobbin or two bobbins together, wound them off the plying bobbin, measured the yardage, and banded them with fiber, yardage, and weight and put the info in a spreadsheet to make the total tally easier to do.  In the end, spinning every spare minute I could on my wheel and everywhere we went on one of my drop spindles, I spun 5000.57 yards of wool, 2.84 miles in 7 days.

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Though we have often had our first frost by now, we are still experiencing daytime tempertures as high as 90, but the light drought we have been experiencing has finally broken and we have had some rain in the past week, greening up the browned grasses.  The trees are turning orange, red, and gold, some having already shed their leaves.

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The pullets seem to all be laying now, often getting up to 13 eggs from the 16 on a good day.  Only one of the old girls is still laying, though the molt seems to be winding down, it no longer looks like a chicken exploded in their coop and run.

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Normally in the autumn, we spend about 23 hours taking turns mowing our 30 acres with a 5 foot brush hog and our little tractor, but this year, we turned the task over to our retired postman and his helper and let them mow and bale the 3 big fields.  That leaves only from the house to the road to mow and that often gets done monthly anyway.  That was a big relief to not have to face that many hours on the tractor.

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He got 20 large round bales, not too bad for a second cutting of hay after weeks of really dry weather.  His cattle will appreciate it this winter if we get any bad weather.

Each day hubby and I try to get in a good brisk walk.  Even with the rain we have managed most days.  Between our house and Blacksburg, there is a large pond in the  National Forest and it has a nice path around it.  If we park in the upper parking lot, walk down to the pond and around it and then turn around and back track, we get about 2.3 miles.  From the library in Blacksburg to the rec center in Christiansburg is an asphalt trail on an old rail grade, mostly through wooded areas, behind residential areas, and some open fields and it has several access points.  There are two that we choose, from the library to Airport Road and back which is about the same 2.3 miles and from behind the hospital toward Christiansburg, a 2.5 section.  Our 4th walk choice is to go to Radford when we are over in that direction and walk 2.7 miles of Bisset Park on an asphalt trail along the New River.  As we are still seeing various specialists nearly weekly trying to determine what is going on with hubby, we have avoided steep climbs or walks that take us out of civilization where getting help if needed would be difficult.  There is another trail along the New River that we want to check out, but it is one that will probably involve taking along a picnic and making a day trip of it as it is a bit of a drive.

My crafting since the end of Spinzilla has been minimal, but I did get my studio corner cleaned up and mostly organized and used some of my hand spun, hand dyed yarn to repair my favorite pair of jeans.

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And I have read.  The Orphan’s Tale is an excellent historical fiction set during WWII set in Germany and France and set around the circus.  A really interesting read, highly recommended.