Day 4 — Circles. Here’s

Day 4 -- Circles. Here's a literal interpretation for you! Lots of circles in the morning. I've also been thinking of the metaphorical meaning and the cycles of our days. Especially with little kids, there's a lot of "starting again" every morning -- the same meals, the same routine. Luckily, it doesn't often feel too repetitive. I don't know if it's because we actually change up our days in small ways or because we're just settled into the kind of routine that's agreeable to the brain. Maybe a little of both. Today, I have to make several clinic appointments for the girls (regular check-up type stuff). Whee, fun!

Day 4 — Circles. Here’s a literal interpretation for you! Lots of circles in the morning. I’ve also been thinking of the metaphorical meaning and the cycles of our days. Especially with little kids, there’s a lot of “starting again” every morning — the same meals, the same routine. Luckily, it doesn’t often feel too repetitive. I don’t know if it’s because we actually change up our days in small ways or because we’re just settled into the kind of routine that’s agreeable to the brain. Maybe a little of both. Today, I have to make several clinic appointments for the girls (regular check-up type stuff). Whee, fun! #decemberreflections #twelve22org

Day 3 — Best Day

Day 3 -- Best Day of 2017. This wasn't a year with huge milestones, so there's nothing obvious. But we had a lot of wonderful days. This was one of them -- a warm trip up to Duluth in September. The girls love the lakeshore so much, and we just had a lovely time going here and there. None of us wanted to go home that day!

Day 3 — Best Day of 2017. This wasn’t a year with huge milestones, so there’s nothing obvious. But we had a lot of wonderful days. This was one of them — a warm trip up to Duluth in September. The girls love the lakeshore so much, and we just had a lovely time going here and there. None of us wanted to go home that day! #decemberreflections #twelve22org

I’m going to try doing

I'm going to try doing this thing -- I have a couple of days to catch up on! Day 1 -- Early. The girls wake up around 6:00am, but my alarm goes off at 4:50am. I like having the time to myself, so I can be ready to go by the time the girls are up. This time of year, I get to enjoy all the glowy lights, since everything else is dark. Here's a trio of tree ornaments this morning. The snowman came from Target a couple of weeks ago. The handprint was M's when she was just over a year old. And the glass bulb was one of my grandma's, which she passed on to me several years back.

I’m going to try doing this #decemberreflections thing — I have a couple of days to catch up on! Day 1 — Early. The girls wake up around 6:00am, but my alarm goes off at 4:50am. I like having the time to myself, so I can be ready to go by the time the girls are up. This time of year, I get to enjoy all the glowy lights, since everything else is dark. Here’s a trio of tree ornaments this morning. The snowman came from Target a couple of weeks ago. The handprint was M’s when she was just over a year old. And the glass bulb was one of my grandma’s, which she passed on to me several years back. #twelve22org

Bunny Greens

One of the things I LOVE about bunnies is that they’re vegetarian. Everything they eat is really pleasant, and what comes out the other end is fairly inoffensive, too. They definitely score higher than the cats and dogs in that regard!

They eat hay and pellets and get a salad every morning. I try to give them three different kinds of greens — lettuce, kale, and bok choy are the staples, and I switch those up with some greens they’re not supposed to have quite as often (spinach, parsley, etc.). Basically whatever is good for them and the least expensive! I also bought a nice grow light to grow some of this stuff at home. So far, the leaf lettuce (cut-and-come-again varieties) is doing amazing. I cut the first harvest this morning and sowed another half tray, so that should be a good renewable source of greens soon. I repotted a few Cos lettuce plants this morning — also looking good, but growing more slowly than the leaf lettuce. My kale got off to a good start and then died, so I have to figure out what went wrong there. Too much light? Too wet? I’d really like to grow kale indoors for both the bunnies and ME, since it’s hard to find organic kale around here.

I also need to figure out the ideal conditions for growing cans of dog food. Hmmm…

I wish I spoke chicken.

I wish I spoke chicken. These three -- Jellybean (boy), Beatrice (Boy), and Sally (girl) -- are buddies. They hang out together all the time and seem to be at the bottom of the pecking order. They wait for everybody else to go outside and then jump down to gobble up food. It's interesting to see a hen who hangs out with two roos, and they seem to leave her alone. (She lays, so it's not like she's not fertile.) As far as roosters go, they pretty good boys. 
I've put them in the barn with Charlie (who is still mostly featherless on her back and who gets harassed by Red) and Iris (who's in there as company for Charlie). Even bedraggled Charlie is higher in the pecking order than these guys, so I'm hoping it'll be a peaceful mix. Charlie has shown *some* progress with her feather growth, so I'm hoping she'll return to normal eventually and will be able to re-join the rest of the flock.

I wish I spoke chicken. These three — Jellybean (boy), Beatrice (Boy), and Sally (girl) — are buddies. They hang out together all the time and seem to be at the bottom of the pecking order. They wait for everybody else to go outside and then jump down to gobble up food. It’s interesting to see a hen who hangs out with two roos, and they seem to leave her alone. (She lays, so it’s not like she’s not fertile.) As far as roosters go, they pretty good boys.
I’ve put them in the barn with Charlie (who is still mostly featherless on her back and who gets harassed by Red) and Iris (who’s in there as company for Charlie). Even bedraggled Charlie is higher in the pecking order than these guys, so I’m hoping it’ll be a peaceful mix. Charlie has shown *some* progress with her feather growth, so I’m hoping she’ll return to normal eventually and will be able to re-join the rest of the flock. #twelve22org

Bunny Boys

We love our bunnies! They’re still a little shy, but that’s okay. They’re slowly warming up to us, and while it would be fun if they were super cuddly, I’m not too bothered if they decide to keep their distance most of the time. As long as I can groom them and collect the wool! The novelty hasn’t worn off for the girls yet, and M gets a kick out of feeding them a piece of kale and trying to get them to hold still for a pet.

Litter box training has gone amazingly well. There are always a scattering of droppings on their ground floor in the morning, but almost everything goes in their litter box — and they’ve not left a single wet patch anywhere outside the box. So now when they come out, they’re allowed access to the full family room. The photo of Birch and the doll’s stroller above gives you a good sense of how big they are. Like living Muppets!

They’re so curious about everything, especially the cats and dogs. That introduction/integration is something else that’s been much easier than I expected. It really helps that the bunnies are the biggest of the crowd! I’ve been cautious about Beany hanging out around the rabbits, but she seems to know her limits. If anything, I’ve gotten the sense that she wants the bunnies to play with her. I’ve still had to preemptively stop that, as cats and bunnies don’t really play the same way! But Bear-Bear loves to go in the bunnies’ house to sniff around, and they don’t even pause what they’re doing to keep an eye on her. Any time a rabbit hops toward one of the cats or dogs, it’s the cat or dog that suddenly gets nervous and has to move away!

Making Yarn

I was recently given a raw fleece (the shorn wool off a sheep) to do with as I pleased. So I washed it, carded it, spun it, dyed it, and plied it. I’ve been borrowing a friend’s spinning wheel, and this is only the second skein of yarn that I’ve spun, so I’m really happy with how it came out. I love making things from scratch — and the challenge of going back as far in the process as possible — so the only thing better would have been making yarn from the wool of my own sheep! Someday, maybe…

The first photo shows 2oz of carded wool, and each of the singles in the second photo were about 2oz, as well. I dyed them separately (using regular food coloring and citric acid and the microwave — I’ve used that method with a lot of success on wool, silk, and our own chicken feathers) and then plied them together to make a self-striping, sort of variegated-y yarn.

Now I have to decide what to make with it! There’s about 215-225yds in the finished skein, which is enough for something small, and I’ve decided I want a cowl. I looked at about a hundred different patterns before settling on a simple, not-too-delicate lace, but I started doubting myself when I began knitting it up. It’s a very lofty yarn (light and fluffy), and I’m not sure it will have enough drape to pull off a lace pattern. I think the colors would look really cool in a linen-stitch pattern, so I’m trying to talk myself into row after row of moving the yarn back and forth (*K1, Sl1 wyif* repeat until forever). I think it would really suit the yarn, though. Decisions!

Bunnies!

We added two new members to the clan yesterday, a pair of young angora rabbits! I named them Birch and Aspen, as they’re hard to tell apart at a glance. (Both the photos above are Aspen, but Birch looks more or less the same.) They’re big boys!

I’ve wanted rabbits for years and years but, for some reason, have never made the plunge. But I’ve been thinking about having a small fiber farm for a while now, and getting two angora bunnies is like dipping my toe into those waters. I’ve done so much reading on what they need and rabbit behavior, etc — it’s hard to believe they’re finally here! And they’re so big and fluffy that it’s like watching two stuffed animals come to life.

I’m sure it will be a while before I collect enough wool to spin, but I’ll make sure to show you when I do!

LOL, I didn’t think this

LOL, I didn't think this through! The chair legs are wider at the "top", so the yarn wouldn't slide off. I had to undo one leg so I could free the yarn. The good news: there's about 240yds here, enough to actually make something (small) with. I've already spun the second single, so now I just have to wind that into a hank, dye them, wind them back into balls, ply them, then wind them up one last time. I'm rethinking that "just".

LOL, I didn’t think this through! The chair legs are wider at the “top”, so the yarn wouldn’t slide off. I had to undo one leg so I could free the yarn. The good news: there’s about 240yds here, enough to actually make something (small) with. I’ve already spun the second single, so now I just have to wind that into a hank, dye them, wind them back into balls, ply them, then wind them up one last time. I’m rethinking that “just”. #twelve22org