3 October, 2010

I am a productive beast. In other news, winter is coming.

Yesterday Daniel and I met up with Christine and a couple other people at the Fall Fiber Festival at Montpelier, the former home of James Madison (the founding father and former president). We got to watch Border Collies move sheep around, and shop fiber! Daniel, who toils not with fiber neither does he spin, was along to make sure I did not come home with an angora bunny. I want one so badly. Apparently you do not have to comb the fiber off them, but can instead just shear them every three months. Since the fiber goes for $9/oz, roughly, it is extremely economical to have your own bunny if you want angora fiber. But, y’know, I do not need more critters, or at least not a bunny who requires keeping clean and some minimal grooming to avoid mats.

Anyway, I managed to get out of there with merely eight ounces of Blueface Leicester wool top for spinning, in mixed white and brown which should produce a lovely yarn in a manly color that I could conceivably use to knit something for my beloved if I were the kind of person who ever finished a knitting project. But given that I had just acquired eight ounces of alpaca fiber (also in mixed browns and greys) the week before at the state fair, bringing me to a total of one pound of spinning fiber in the last week, I thought I’d better actually get back to spinning, with the end result that I finished two bobbins of purply stuf that Mom likes and plied them for my first ever two-strand plied yarn. Go me! It’s currently drying in the bathroom along with a skein of single-spun white wool which I will dye at some point.

Fall is approaching rapidly. Jeremiah Swakhammer is still awake and moving around, but we shoveled a lot more leaves into his pen to give him a nice insulating blanket for when he decides to go down for the winter. The possums and the raccoon or raccoons (it’s hard to tell if we have more than one coon) are snarfing down dry food in massive quantities on a nightly basis. Romeo and the Patriarch, two of the local toms, have been spotted, and Dreadnought continues to come back. The girls are still the only ones we see in person; Briar Rose has yet to bring us any kittens although the Havahart trap is standing ready.

We’ve decided on a general area for next year’s garden and picked out a chicken coop that we just need to order, Daniel has started a compost pile, and we’re working towards readiness for spring planting and spring chickens. Wood has been split and stacked for winter, the days are noticeably shorter and cooler now.

There will be pictures of all this busy-ness at some point I’m sure, but for the moment I’m too lazy to even do lazyblogging. Which is pretty damn lazy.

6 May, 2010

Two Manor Cats

I actually managed to get pics of two of the non-approachable Manor Cats this past week! Go me. They’re both tabby and white toms. ETA: Little Tabby let me get close enough to pet and examine and turns out to be a female. Whoops! Also she’s quite skinny and I suspect wormy, but while I may stroke her back now, I am not allowed to grab her yet. We’re working on it.

The first one is the one I think of as The Patriarch:
An adult cat, tabby with a white underside, lounges regally on his side.  You can tell he's an intact tom by his muscle tone and huge jowly cheeks.

The Patriarch is the most frequent full-grown visitor to my feeding station, and as you can see he hangs around the property a bit, too. His flight distance is about 20′, though, and this picture was taken in the dusk, from behind the fence, from a pretty good ways away, which is why it sucks. He’s OK with me and the dogs looking at him, as long as we don’t come too close.

The second one is Little Tabby TomGirl:
A young tabby and white cat peers over a step at the photographer.

Little Tabby TomGirl is, I suspect, going to be the next one I bring inside, if I can convince himher to come in before disease, predators, or cars get himher. HeShe started with a flight distance of 15-20 feet, but with the judicious and timely application of wet food and treats, I have worked himher down to 6-7′. Even better than that, heshe shows signs of wanting to approach me, but not being quite sure heshe can:
Little Tabby Girl pretends to ignore the photographer entirely and be fascinated with some foliage.
There heshe is doing that thing cats do, where they come to the edge of their comfort zone and then pretend they were about to do something else entirely, like sniff this here blade of grass. HeShe will also sit at the edge of hisher comfort zone and talk to me. Notice the tail up and tall posture, heshe’s dubious but not terrified!

One more, of himher nomming hisher wet food:
In this picture, Little Tabby Girl would quite clearly like the strange lady to stop moving around with the box on her face, and let her nom her wet food in peace.

Fingers crossed that I can get Little Tabby Tom in before something gets himher. HeShe so clearly wants to come up to me, wandering at that 6′ circle like heshe’s rubbing on something other than air, making blinky eyes at me, talking in hisher little voice. It’s so hard to be patient, but I’m trying.