Thursday, June 17, 2010

Oh, to be Young and Fuzzy

Everywhere I looked today, I saw young fuzzy growing things...
baby squash...

Baby "lemon" cukes...

...Angora bunny fiber...

Alright, the fiber isn't growing, or young, but it really is fuzzy. And it has a wonderful story...

A very sweet lady in Allen called me Sunday and explained that she'd seen the magazine story about JRF, and it prompted her to revisit a beloved era of her life. Seems about 25 years ago, she raised lots and lots of angora bunnies and learned to spin their fiber. She did well in the show ring with her bunnies, and enjoyed everything about it. Except the competition got pretty fierce, and she worried about losing all her friends. So she sold her bunnies and slowly quit spinning on her beautiful Wee Peggy wheel. She put the wheel in the closet and the fiber in a cedar chest and put the whole thing out of her mind. Until a few weeks ago.

She pulled the wheel out of the closet and the fiber out of the cedar chest. She couldn't get the wheel to spin, and she found where a couple of bugs had gotten into her old cedar chest. She wanted to know if I could use the fiber, and if I could get her wheel spinning again. Well.... of course I could! She lovingly pulled out some examples of her hand spun angora yarn, and some beautiful Christmas stockings she had made with the fiber. These were clearly family treasures.

Her pretty little Wee Peggy just needed its brake band reattached, and it was back to spinning like a dream. She handed me a large black trash bag filled with smaller paper bags of angora fiber, stapled shut with notes on the front of each one. On my way out the door, I encouraged her to get back to spinning, and offered to come spin with her anytime.

Today, I pulled out each bag, transferred the notes (dates, weights, and the names of the bunny) and the fiber to quart-sized zip lock bags. There were a few visible bugs, but they were all dead, and the dates on the fiber bags were all 1985 and 1986. This is "old" fiber, but it's still prime plucked fiber. There were 22 bags in all, with colors ranging from white, to fawn, agouti, lynx, chocolate and black. Quite a treasure.

Our processor, Lynn, suggested not freezing, which I had heard about, but rather solarization. She suggested putting the fiber in a black trash bag in the sun for several days. This time of year, that will be some serious heat. Then it should be safe to spin as is, or blend with our other fiber. Thank you, Ms. Leah - your bunnies will live on in our yarns and projects!

Today, pal Gail brought by a jar of blackberries she collected from the side of the road. These are much bigger and tastier than the wild ones we picked in the north pasture. My guess is that these are hybrid berries that escaped from someone's garden. Thank you, someone. Yum. And thanks, Gail, for sharing your bounty!

And today's final young and fuzzy - six new guinea keets (chicks)!

I'm sick and tired of killing snakes. I need some back up. Guineas are well known for their ability to rid property of snakes and nuisance bugs like ticks. They make a good deal of noise, but the din can serve as a good warning that strangers have approached, or something else is out of order. On the downside, they have a reputation for just taking off for greener pastures, or getting eaten by predators. So, my attitude is casual toward them; my expectations are low, and my guiding motto is "what the heck, it's worth a try."

We'll enjoy the "cute factor" while we can. It doesn't last long.

1 comment:

  1. I think guineas are a good idea. Unless of course you know of someone with a mongoose they are willing to give up.

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