Thursday, December 01, 2005

Getting Ready for Cold Days

Getting up to sunshine yesterday morning was inspiring. I did the usual chores of tending rabbits, cats, feeding wild birds and a few household necessities before diving into pricing some jewelry for the shop and web page. Then, as the sun grew warmer I went out to the bunny house to catch up on much needed work there.

I sheared a sweet old buck that started blowing his coat while we were gone this weekend. Not sure what triggered that. He hasn't been here long and the change might have affected him; he wasn't due for shearing for another month. But he didn't eat his pellets Tuesday, so I decided I should get the coat off, just in case he was headed for wool block trouble. He doesn't like hay but nibbled a little when I offered it yesterday. And he cleaned up his green stuff and carrot, so I'll just keep an eye on him.

I cleaned some trays and messy spots in cages. The glamorous part of taking care of rabbits. But it is satisfying to get things clean, in spite of the fact that it is work! I got a little behind with the weather and other stuff going on, so a few messy spots had built up. Next week isn't so busy, so I should be able to catch up with the chores.

As always, it was pleasant sitting in the barn as I sheared a cooperative rabbit. The wind was blowing a little, so I brought my chair in with the rabbits to work. The black cat, Malachi, rolled in the sun and chatted a little, then draped himself across the wood pile to bask in the warmth. A bird came and sang on the rafters. I couldn't really see what it was with the sun behind it; something small with a curved beak. Malachi twitched a tail at it but was too lazy to make any effort to catch it.

I also sheared a young buck that was way overdue for it. I'm pretty good at keeping the older rabbits sheared on time, but sometimes I let the younger ones go too long. Not good, really. But I always hope that they will sell before I have to do it, or I want to hold them a little longer to get pictures. This fellow was in good shape despite living with his brother and not being sheared on time. A little dirty but his coat wasn't matted anywhere. Even if I don't sell him, he'll be a good one to keep, although he's an albino and I don't really have the cage space for him.

After cleaning up from chores Dad and I headed out to the grocery store. As we were leaving an old friend stopped by on his way to a trade show in Charlotte. He's a sales representative for a couple of vendors I used to work with and it was nice that he thought to visit a minute! After he left we headed for Floyd along a pleasant road in appreciated sunshine. Even Dad commented on how beautiful it is in Floyd; there should be a registry for wonderful counties somewhere to protect them. Floyd is so special, and it's lovely to wander the roads there. When we came back I packed the groceries away, thinking how nice it was to have a full larder with cold weather approaching.

After packing away groceries and fixing a little dinner, I settled in to work on the Shetland shawl. It's starting to shape up nicely, and I'm hoping I have enough yarn done already to finish it. I wound another skein last night so I'll have plenty for today. We have another meeting, and during the drive I should be able to get a lot done.

And I've been peeling the hulls from black walnuts. On Thanksgiving day I went out to feed the birds and noticed a few walnuts lying under the apple tree. Then I realized that there were lots of them, especially under the forsythia. So I crawled around and gathered a five gallon bucket full. The hulls are black and soft, so it's not very hard to get them off the nuts. I've been bagging them; I found a recipe for using black walnut hulls for dyeing. Most people seem to use them when they're green, but this recipe calls for using them at this black stage. I'll see how it works!

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