Monday 26 January 2009

Take 2 Hobbits - the secret to Rainbow dyeing

Seriously, the Hobbits initially helped me to create all the colours. Two small boys armed with large syringes full of dye could have been a recipe for disaster, but no, they squirted the dye onto the fleece with amazing results and so I approach rainbow dying with the same "gun ho" approach. Works for me!!!!

Sunday 25 January 2009

Dyeing fibre

It's been quite wet this weekend, so I've made use of the time inside by washing a fleece, Yellow Neck's to be precise and dyeing some alpaca fibre.

This is supposed to be "Hot Pink" - I had to add some more purple to the dye as the original colour was very red, more scarlet than pink.
This is purple, you can see that some of the fibre has more red or blue in it, depending on where it was in the dye bath.

I had some yellow and blue dye left, so I mixed them together and I'm quite pleased with the resulting green colour

Finally I did some of my favourite dyeing, rainbow dyeing, or "magic dyeing" as the Hobbit's call it. As you can see by just using red, yellow and blue, you end up with such a myriad of colours and no two dye baths are the same. It's great fun. Now all I've got to do is weigh out the 2.5kg into 50g balls and label them up. At least I can get Tim to help, all I have to do is put the correct paper into the printer and then get Tim to print out the labels!!!!

Sucessful worm count

On Monday I took some more ram lambs poo samples to the vet, for it to be analysed for a worm egg count to see if the wormer we have used has worked. Well it has. I spoke to the vet on Friday and the results are pretty impressive.
Strongyloids - before wormer was 600+, after wormer 0
Trichostrongyle - before wormer 3400, after wormer 50
This proves that we do not have any resistant types of worms on our land at the moment, but we will have to be very careful how much wormer we use.
Talking to the vet we will be using 2 wormers, one we inject called Dectomax just before the ewes lamb and the drench cydectin in the autumn, as well as a yearly worm count to make sure we are still on top of the worms as they can take such a tole on the sheep, especially the lambs.

Sunday 18 January 2009

Good news from the consultant for Tim

Tim saw the consultant about his hand this week and the news is very positive. The bones have started to heal together nicely, despite all the damage and how little bone there was for the consultant to work with. Hopefully he will be able to get rid of his splint by the next time he sees the consultant in 4 weeks time. Tim still has to visit the hand therapist every week to work on the flexibility in his hand.
As well as going backwards and forwards to Middlesbrough Hospital, we've taken Isaac back home. The ewes are now enjoying the long grass on the common land and the ram lambs are busy eating the grass in Ghilli and Grommet's summer paddock, and thanks to the Hand wash programme on my washing machine, I've managed to get 3 fleeces washed ready for either dying or carding into batts in readiness for Woolfest.
Just a "run of the mill" week, this week and so far with the high winds nothing has blown away!!!

Sunday 11 January 2009

The Resdent Vandel arrives to help out

The Resident Vandal and KD arrived in the snow on Monday morning and he too had the same problem as Scooby, he couldn't get his car up the slope in our yard, so he had to abandon his car near the house. The rest of the week was dry but very cold so the snow froze and the yard became a great skating ring, so the RV and I spread a morning spreading grit sand around so that we could walk to and from the barns without trying to impersonate Tovell & Dean. Holly and Deefa are used to the snow and ice and the fact that dogs do not have 4 paw drive. KD is not used to this weather and on more than one occasion she seemed to be re enacting the frozen lake scene from the Disney film Bambi, legs in all directions.
So that we know what wants doing, we've done something we normally don't do and that is write a list of jobs, so far it's 1 1/2 A4 pages long. Some of the jobs are not urgent, are to be done later in the year. But it gives me an idea of what wants doing and when people ask if there is any help we need, I can give a quick answer.
The Resident Vandal managed to cross off a dozen jobs from the list, four of which were very urgent, repair the fence line on the common land, check and repair the fence line in the back field, help me worm the ewes and rams, and finally chop some wood, ready for me to split. As he was doing the fencing on the common land with Scooby, RV decided to give the tractor the once over. All I will say is that the tractor is working, but it's had some serious re-wiring work done and it still needs some more work doing on it. But for the time being it's working.
The dogs have had a great time, the weather has been cold, but dry for once so Deefa and KD have spent most of the day outside chasing each other and just generally having a great deal of fun. Holly has been out quite a bit, but it's been a bit too cold for the "old lady", she's been doing a very important job of nursing Tim.
Tim has been discharged from the dressings clinic and has had an X-ray on his hand and is now waiting for an appointment to see Mr Cody again in a week's time on how the bones in his hand are healing. The hand therapist is again happy with this hand and the movement he's getting in his fingers. Again the splint has been altered so that he can bend his fingers further and stop his knuckles from seizing up. It's 6 weeks today since I had that mad dash with Tim to James Cook A&E.
Now that the RV has gone home, our eldest Godson was to arrive later in the week and help, but he's got a full time job, which is great for him, but it means he won't be coming, such is life!!!!
Not sure what's happening next week it will depend on the weather, Tim and the animals.

Delivering sheep in the snow

Early Monday morning Scooby delivered some sheep to the abattoir for us. Nothing unusual in that, apart from it had snowed overnight and though there was only an inch of snow, it seemed to have caught everyone unawares. Scooby's car could not get up the slope in our yard to the barn where the sheep were now penned up in our small animal trainer. Thankfully his insurance covers him to drive our 4 x 4 truck, so a quick change on the transport licence and he and Tim were away. By the time they got to Slights the snow had gone and it was an easy drive over to Brompton and the abattoir.
When I went to pick the meat up on Friday it was a lovely bright sunny day, but when I got to Slights it was thick fog over the moors to Brompton!!!!!
The lambs came back at a good weight and most of them are sold. We may be lucky and be able to keep some for ourselves. This doesn't happen very often, but we do like to do quality control from time to time.

Sunday 4 January 2009

A busy week

Tuesday saw Pete here to help out with Missy, who had a bad limp. Turned out to be a small stone which had become stuck in the side of her hoof, which had caused a small abscess, hence her limp. A quick toe trim and she was as good as new. We had the usual trip to the hospital with Tim, then Scooby called to help me worm the ram lambs.
Wednesday, we saw the New Year in with friends in the village. We finally got to bed at 1.30
Thursday, after a not too late start, the ram lambs were moved into the small veg paddock, the 5 ewe lambs that are to go to the abattoir on Monday, moved into the barn, after I'd spread fresh straw and disinfectant powder. We'd just got all the water troughs topped up when the Savage family arrived. We had a great afternoon catching up with everyone.
Friday, a trip to our fellow smallholding friends in Teesdale, the Proud's. It was colder in Teesdale than here and we'd had our first snow of the New Year. After the usual look round their smallholding, it was back into the farmhouse for some home made soup and a catch up on how the last year had gone and plans for this year. Some of the discussion was around what tup to use in November. We are hoping that the Proud's texel ewe which has been covered by a Shropshire tup, produces a nice tup lamb that we can use later this year.
Needless to say this active social life has made Tim very tired and he spent most of Saturday catching up on his sleep with nurse Holly Dog by his side.
Today we put the trailer in place ready for Scooby to take the ewe lambs to the abattoir early tomorrow morning, and that is also the day the Resident Vandal and KD arrive.

Some photos of the animals

As this is the first blog of 2009 I thought I would publish some photos of our animals.
Two of the little ram lambs
Some more of the ram lambs
Ghilli and Grommet posing for the camera in their field
Cecil and Isaac
Archie, with his head in the hay rack, as usual, and Hector
The ewes watching me from their field
As you can see from the photos, it's dry for once here at Ugthorpe, and the moles are going mad.