Sunday, April 29, 2012

Flower Seedlings

 Got a 60 foot bed of stocks planted today.  There'll be one more type planted down the very middle but those plants aren't quite ready to go in the ground.  These 4 rows are the single stemmed florist type of stocks, probably my all time favorite flower if I were ever forced to choose a favorite. The middle row will have the branching sort.  The latter doesn't make as nice flowers or stems but last longer into the season so I plant some of them for when the single stemmed ones are all gone.
In the cold frames are small flats of more flowers just waiting for the soil to dry out enough to be tilled so they can be planted.  Oh, I love this time of year.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Variegated Sheep

This winter we got a bunch of commercially prepared roving from friends on San Juan Island who also have Cotswold sheep. In fact we got our most recent ram from them. Joel said the roving spun up beautifully and today I started weaving a rug from the resulting yarn. It is a lovely soft grey color but as I was watching the fabric grow on the loom I realized that the gorgeous variegations of the Cotswold wool has been homogenized in the commercial carding. You can see a bit of it if you look close but it is very subtle.Joel has always spun up our wool right from the fleece. We don't card it first and I wash it after it is spun into yarn. We've never sent it off to be commercially carded or spun because well, we are the do-it-yourself sort of people who like to avoid paying someone to do something we can do ourselves. But I hadn't realized this aesthetic value of doing it that way. The yarn from the commercial roving is lovely and so are the rugs but I miss those stripes of light and dark wool that come from spinning the yarn directly from the fleece. I'm not sure it would be possible to do this on a commercial scale.
Colored Cotswold sheep have variegated fleeces as you can see in this picture. An individual fleece can vary from dark brown to very light grey. I'm sure it makes the wool useless in a commercial sense as you need a more consistent color particularly if you are going to dye it. But for our uses this is special.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012


First lettuces are ready to go into the ground. These were planted on February 26. They went from the greenhouse to the cold frames out to the hoophouse to harden off.
And yesterday Joel put them into the ground. He chose a bed between two hoophouses as it is a little more sheltered there and our spring is continuing to be cold and wet.