Friday, March 30, 2012

Lambing, sun, chunky gloves and Karen's alpaca

No Tai Chi last Monday. An ewe decided to threaten delivering her lambs about 6 days before her due date, by going around nesting - staying apart from the flock in her special area of the paddock, being restless and pawing the ground - so had to stay around that morning. However, she took her time and didn't deliver the twins until evening.
Here she be:
This all looks very mangey in the dark photo but she is a shedding sheep i.e. I don't have to shear her so she doesn't look her best this time of year - in fact she is a star - very good mother who delivers and minds her twins each year with no assistance from me. By contrast, another ewe had triplets and this did require assistance from me. One of the lambs was not getting born so had to be extracted by me with some force and it turned out he had an imperforate anus (i.e. no ear hole, just a cul de sac) which led to a swollen belly making it very difficult for the ewe. Sadly, there is no reasonable treatment other than fairly major surgery for this condition so the little ram had to be put down humanely to avoid his suffering unnecessarily. After him came the third lamb and she was and is fine.
So by now just 5 of my little flock have had lambs in the nice weather - 4 with twins and one a single.

I finished off a pair of fingerless mitts made from some fairly coarse fiber I dyed and spun some time ago.
It seemed a bit weird having these winter warmers drying in the hot sun:

Also spent some time making a light spindle (with the help of OH) which I like a lot as it spins well when rolled on the leg but is very light.

Karen's Alpaca.
A very nice and generous lady who lived for some time in the west of Ireland returned to the US last year , leaving me with a great kitchen appliance (magimix) and a bag of black alpaca. The alpaca was the result of her combing or carding some fleece she got here in Ireland and I think she spun the longer fibers. Although there was much VM and neps and the fibers are short, I could see why she didn't want to discard these left-overs as it is exceptionally soft and silky. I wasn't sure what to do with it - so I drum carded it into a batt - but it still had lots of neps etc. I was going to blend or felt it but somehow found myself spinning it on the Ashford traveller - making a fairly thin single and then Navajo plying it into a bulky (8 - 9 wpi ) yarn.
 Ashford Traveller 12:1 ratio from drum carded batt and Navajo played
 Removed more neps as I spun.

3 oz.

Must out to the filed to see if there is any further lamb progress.


Friday, March 23, 2012

New MacBook and bracelets

Well, after the misery of administering intensive care to my two old computers I now really appreciate this new MacBook Pro. So nice to look at and running so smoothly. Luminous keyboard is also appreciated. So I expect an easy time at the keyboard for some time to come, 'though the old iMac ows me nothing after 15 years, the Dell laptop - -- as my Border Collie would say "Grrr".
Another birthday gift - and possibly an even better one - is this pair of beaded bracelets, made by my daughter Jen's own hands:

I Love these !

Monday, March 12, 2012

Between computers.. waiting for an update.

I've a backlog of photos to add to my blog - but there's no point attempting to add them as my current computers are - well, out of date. Time has at last caught up with my old iMac (10 years old +) and the piece of s... that is my Dell laptop didn't get any better for it's 4 years either. The latter is like an ailing patient that needs constant attention - with backups and updates and chasing malware and sorting the registry. It simmers in the background now as it does "no one knows what" in the background as I type.
Actually, after copying all the files I wanted to keep, cleaning the hard drive out and reinstalling Vista (not worth going to system7) it did zing along for a short time like it hadn't done before - I suppose it was freed for the first time of the burdensome proprietary stuff it was obliged to carry - but sadly this didn't last for, as the system and application updates came in, things went west and all the remedial tasks began again.

Hoping to acquire a new machine in a week or so and fingers crossed it will just work obediently - for a while anyway.
Meanwhile, here's a bird sanctuary I visited recently in Wicklow, sent from my aged phone camera: