Thursday 25 April 2013

All packed up and rearing to go.....

Tomorrow morning I will be taking the camper van and the trailer packed with 92kgs of fibre, all the way to Wonderwool Wales held at the Royal Welsh Showground. It's a 239 mile journey, so with the trailer on the back of the camper van, I'm allowing myself about 6 hours.
This is the first of the big fibre shows of the year, so it will be interesting to see how sales go, compared to last year, especially as I'm taking some of my hand dyed knitting wool as well as my fibre. I have also added some new lines to interest some of last year's customers.
So if you are going to Wonderwool, come and see me and say "Hello". My stall in is row D, just look for Willo Fibres.

Wednesday 24 April 2013

Latest on the veg garden

We've made a start on sorting out where the veg garden is going
We found these met posts at the back of one of the sheds, so we're reusing them to support the fence posts for the chicken wire to go around my veg garden to keep the dogs from running all over my plants.
I'm also getting some Quail from my friend Jayne, who hatched them in her incubator, (they were a batch of test eggs in readiness for raising partridges) and the the first lot are now starting to lay. My plastic hen hut is going to be given a good clean out and with the run attached to it, we think it will take around 24 quail. So as Jayne has 2 different batches of quail, a mixed batch and a traditional batch, which is to be followed next month by another mixed batch of quail, I'm going to have 6 from the first mixed batch, 6 from the traditional batch and hopefully 12 from the next batch of mixed quail. I'm hoping this 2nd batch will have a few more ginger/fawn females in it as I like the look of them. But we will see.
The Quail house and run will go on the grass behind the fencing, again to keep the dogs, especially Holly, from scaring them.
Hopefully the Quail will arrive in a couple of weeks time and of course I'll post photos.

Sunday 14 April 2013

Fleece Washing

I decided it was time I washed Hermionie's fleece, well at least start on it. I'd forgotten how big it is! Her mum was a Corriedale and Dad was a Kerry Hill x Oxford Down, so her fleece is something special.
Here is half the fleece drying in the fleece store
a close up of some of the staples, note the length and crimp
and a slightly closer look at the staple.
Don't think I will have to card this fleece, just comb out the locks and they will be ready to spin.

Where to find me this year

Yesterday we were at our regular Saltburn Farmer's Market and as I was setting up the stall I realised that I had the brochures for the shows I'm going to this year, but I haven't really told anyone what I'm doing. So here's the list:-
27th & 28th April - Wonderwool Wales
11th May - Saltburn Farmer's Market
18th May - Tynedale Guild Spinners Gathering, Stocksfield
8th June - Saltburn Farmer's Market
28th & 29th June - Woolfest, Cockermouth
13th July - Saltburn Farmer's Market
27th & 28th July - Fibre East, Bedfordshire
7th & 8th September - The British Wool Weekend, Harrogate
14th September - Saltburn Farmer's Market
28th & 29th September - Yarndale, Skipton
12th October - Saltburn Farmer's Market
9th November - Saltburn Farmer's Market
14th December - Saltburn Farmer's Market
As you can see we're pretty busy. I have been asked if we would consider doing other markets, but to be honest, I think less is more. You have to sell goods to the value of at least 3 times your stall fee and I feel that if we go to every market there is in the area, we won't take much more than by just doing the ones we are doing.
That aside, the sun shone for the first time in ages on Saturday, which makes for a more enjoyable market and it certainly brings the shoppers out, though it was a little slow to start off with. I think everyone was in shock at seeing the sun shining!!!! We had a good market, and I'm so glad that I'd ordered 3 dozen more yarn bowls from Jill (Wold Pottery) as I sold 5 on Saturday and there is no way just 6 yarn bowls will be sufficient for Wonderwool.
And for everyone who saw me knitting the hat, and I had run out of wool, and had started another colour, well guess what! I've pulled the hat back to the rib and I'm now knitting it in the two colours. Though I say so myself, it does look very effective the two colour honeycomb stitch, and yes, I bet you are all saying to yourselves "I just knew she would have to pull it out!"

Sunday 7 April 2013

Hollidaying Hobbits

It's Easter, so the Hobbits are here for one of their holidays with us. They arrived on Easter Monday and quickly disappeared up into the Batt Box and at times only appearing to come down for meals!!!!!
But I did get them to do some work, well at least the youngest Hobbit.
One day we baked bread buns and made Carrot and Fennel bread, a lovely combination.
which much to youngest Hobbit's delight the bread buns were twice their size by the time I came to cook them at tea time.
We also dyed 2kgs of British Falklands Merino and Tencel sock knitting yarn.
Here is the yarn drying on the line
 A close-up of some of the hanks
and another colour combination.
I did manage to get another 2kgs of British Falklands Merino and Silk sock yarn dyed up. All this yarn has now been labelled and priced up ready for Wonderwool in Wales at the end of this month. It's hard to believe that in less than 2 weeks time I will be packing the Bongo and trailer and driving over to Wales.
We did manage to extradite the Hobbits from their room for a trip to the James Cook Museum in Stewart Park, just up the road from us. I think they liked it, but they are now at an age where it's difficult to tell (Kevin the teenager springs to mind), Also a visit to Mrs H's smallholding to look at the Quails she is raising and to let her know that we are keen to have a dozen females of mixed colours, once the weather warms up a bit.

Wednesday 3 April 2013

It's been a cold week!!!!

Last Monday our plumber, Craig arrived to replace our rather ancient central heating system. We were hoping for warmer weather, and snow was definitely not ordered. To his credit Craig also arrived with 3 heaters to help us through the coming few days and for most of the week there was 3 of them working very hard to get everything ready for the Easter Weekend.
Firstly they had to remove all the old pipework from the existing heating system and trying to work out where half of it went was one of the problems they faced, as a lot of the pipework had been either buried in the walls or buried under the kitchen floor, which it was decided to leave where it was.
Holly does feel the cold now and has not enjoyed there being no heat at all in the house, though I have to say that the Halogen heaters certain do through out some heat.
Here is Holly hogging one of the heaters.
Not only have we got new radiators and boiler, but a big hot water tank, 210 litres to be precise, and the system is pressure fed, which has enabled us to get rid of the very silly powered pump to the shower in the bathroom, which, we have discovered was incorrectly fitted, so that why it soon used up all the hot water and you ended up with acold shower if you weren't quick !!
Holly under her blanket, keeping warm.
Everything was finally working by Thursday night, but we had to run the system at quite a high temperature to  ensure that the cleaning substance that Craig had put in the system worked, so that when he came back on the Friday morning he could drain the heating system, refill it, add an inhibitor, balance all the radiators etc. It will take about a week before the whole system is fully clear of air and we have got all 3 levels of the house set to the right temperature.
It is so nice to have a house that is now at a comfortable temperature rather than either very cold or very warm. The one thing we have discovered about our house is that it is well insulated because when we had the electric heater on, the rooms we were in, soon quite comfortable to sit in. So it will interesting to see what effect this has on our fuel bills.