All posts by Niele

Hoppy Birthday Dozer

It’s Dozer’s Birthday!  He is now seven years old, not sure what that would be in human years but in bunny years that’s quite elderly.

Grinlow's Dozer

Grinlow’s DozerDoze is one of the foundation bucks for the herd here, he is one of the three who were imported from the mainland.  So, Hoppy Birthday Dozer!  He’s enjoying a birthday carrot and ti leaves.

We’re hoping for some new fuzzy faces here hopefully around the first week of April.  Dozer’s son, Phineus Phogge, has met up with Ginger and there should be baby bunnies in April.  Ginger isn’t the best mom, though, she’s lost litters before by not taking care of them.  In hopes of having surrogate mums if necessary, Sandy Storm and Cocoa met up with Sydney.

That was a week ago, I’m thinking maybe Myste wants to meet up with Phineus and maybe Suzie as well.  We need more white bunnies and Suzie meeting up with Phin may produce a white baby, if they meet up, maybe we will find out.

“Varietal sole source” yarn

What is it they call a type of wine made by the vineyard that grows the grapes?  There’s so many wine terms it’s hard to keep track of them, but wine and yarn may have some things in common.  There’s the common wines in cardboard boxes and then there’s the good stuff made in small batches?  Well, in any case, today’s effort is making a ‘varietal’ yarn of one type of fiber and it is ‘sole sourced’ from one individual bunny.  Ha!  Maybe we can now make yarn labels about as confusing as an exotic wine label?

For Hula Bunny Yarn, the bunnies get haircuts and all their wool is in one big group sorted by color.  Then it’s sent to a small family run mill, blended with some of the softest Merino sheep’s wool for elasticity and with some silk for shine.  Then it’s spun into fingering weight yarn.  The next batch will hopefully be three ply, so far it’s all been two ply, we will see if the mill was able to do a three ply when it gets back from the mill hopefully sometime this month.

However, there’s also Hillside Farm Yarn which is the handspun yarns made from whatever is produced here and whatever I feel like spinning up at the time.  Consistency isn’t exactly what I’m known for so most of the Hillside Farm yarn has a run of maybe four skeins at most of any one type.  Usually ‘one skein wonders’ type of patterns are best for Hillside Farm yarn, but maybe consistency will be something to work on this year.

Phineus Pogge

So we start out with one bunny.  In this case, it’s Phineus Phogge.  He got a haircut the day before yesterday so now he doesn’t look like his picture anymore.

This is Phineus’ fluff becoming a ‘sole source varietal’ yarn.  Woot!

Yarn on spinning wheel
100% Phineus Fiber

It’s not been processed in any fashion other than clipping it off of Phineus.  I may card it a bit or I may not, depends on how it looks at the time.  It will be washed after it’s spun to set the twist.  Then measured, weighed and labeled.  I haven’t had much Hillside Farm Yarn available for awhile, it doesn’t last long once it’s made although hopefully there will be some for me to knit with this year.  I knit a lot with Hula Bunny yarn so patterns can be made, but there’s not as much Hillside Farm yarn so when it sells, there’s usually not any left for me.

The main difference between the two yarns is the elasticity of Hula Bunny verses the non-elasticity of the Hillside Farm yarn.  Also, the Hillside Farm yarn is even softer than Hula Bunny.  Hmm, Hillside Farm yarn would make an excellent blanket!  That would be a lot of bunny fluff, though.  Maybe I’ll make some and try weaving it, I don’t think I’ve ever woven Hillside Farm yarn.  That would make an excellent weft yarn, not sure if it would be a good warp yarn, though.  Hmm, maybe spin up some cotton for the warp and angora for the weft?  Well, I’ll think about that project some more.

See, that’s the thing, when you make your own yarn you can sit there and think about exactly which fibers you want in it and exactly what characteristics you want your yarn to have.  I find yarn stores really limiting when all they have is a zillion colors of the exact same yarn.

I’d been spinning the Bleak Hall Sea Island white fiber yesterday and now today the bunny fluff feels much slicker than usual.  It doesn’t have the same amount of ‘catch’ that the cotton has.  Both fibers are somewhat similar lengths.  Both fibers are approximately the same diameter, both being fine fibers.  Neither fiber has much elasticity at all.  Yet the cotton has a lot more ‘catch’ to it and can spin finer without falling apart in the process.

I’d started with the same setup for yesterday’s cotton spinning and immediately noticed that the tension was set way too high for the angora.  Really lowering the tension helped and now we’re spinning up Phineus into a “Varietal” yarn.  Maybe I’ll have to think up a better term for yarn made from one specific fiber source?  Do wine terms work with yarn?  “Single Source” for yarn from one sheep or one bunny?  Anyone else know what the terminology would be?

First yarn for 2017

skein of white yarn
January 1st, 2017 Yarn

Bleak Hall Sea Island White cotton yarn.  Yay!  It’s a three ply thick fingering weight, haven’t a clue how many yards are in the skein nor how much the skein weighs.  It’s a soft and almost silky feeling yarn, not sure what I’ll make with it yet.  Cotton yarn doesn’t have much elasticity to it, so something that drapes instead of clings would be best.

The yarn in the back of the picture was a test skein made with Navajo ply.  That essentially creates a three ply yarn, but the lack of stretch in the cotton made the Navajo ply a bit tricky.  A true three ply was easier to do with this fiber.

Now I just have to wait for the plant to grow more bolls.  Fortunately Sea Island cotton seems to be a perennial cotton and just keeps making more cotton all the time after it gets started.  Of course, we’re in the dead of winter right now so there’s a little less sun light so the bolls are slowing down.  But, this is Hawaii, so there’s not all that much difference between daylight hours or temperatures throughout the year.

 

Bleak Hall Sea Island White

The fiber from yesterday has been spun into yarn.  Kinda a sport or even a worsted weight somewhat rustic yarn.  It’s soft but has almost no stretch to it at all.  Not sure what to make from it.

It was Navajo plied since I didn’t have two or three bobbins full of cotton to ply from.  The lack of any elasticity at all made the Navajo ply a bit more tricky than normal.  I’d never really thought about how the elasticity of the fibers changes how it’s spun.

It’s very soft, much softer than you’d expect a cotton to be.  I think the next skein will be a bit thinner and probably a three ply from bobbins instead of the psuedo-three ply from Navajo ply.

Maybe I’ll make a shirt from it, it would be a comfortable shirt, perhaps?  Something that can drape, it doesn’t have any ‘cling’ to it at all.  Since it’s 100% cotton, it’s not a particularly warm fiber so a scarf may not be the best use of it.

We’re really advanced with the cotton fiber prep so far.  Basically, it’s the kitchen table, a book in a reader, a cup of tea (although in the picture the cup is empty) and the cotton to have the seeds picked out of it.  Ginned, I think the word is ‘ginned’ but we have no cotton gin so it’s cotton picking, I guess?

Sea Island white cotton

Well, tis the season, I guess.  For cotton, anyway.  😉

It’s going on just over 506 days since the Bleak Hall Sea Island white cotton was planted and it’s still out there making bolls.   The first bolls showed up long ago, somewhere around day 148, I think it was.  Since then, it’s just kinda been making bolls.  Never a lot of them but usually a few here and there.  This is how much was out there today.

Bleak Hall Sea Island white cotton

I didn’t count how many, maybe eight bolls or so.  The seeds are still inside so it’s still densely packed in the photo above.

It gets fluffy when the seeds are picked out.  It has a shine to it, too, even though it’s cotton.  It’s also almost got a bit of crimp to it, but not much of that.  It’s very soft and almost silky.  I don’t know if that’s from it being freshly picked or if it’s because it’s Sea Island cotton.

These are how clean the seeds are when they’re picked out.   Each boll has three lobes and there’s multiple seeds in each lobe so there’s quite a few seeds in cotton.

Well, I’ll go spin it up now and see how it goes.

Early morning excavators

DSCN9223Well, it may not actually have been that much ‘early morning’ but it’s later in the year and the sun gets up later so I do, too.  Around 8:30 this morning, though, there was a diesel burring sound near to the front bedroom.  Not a loud diesel noise, a nice quiet burrrrr.  Well, that wasn’t too bad until there was a back up beeper.  Ick!   So with the annoying sound of back up beepers before morning coffee, I awoke.

 

DSCN9244
Dec. 12, 2016

This is three and a half hours of Mark & Excavator.  There used to be a hillside covered with trees and brush where the boys are standing.

DSCN9248

This is the view from the other direction.  There’s still thirty or forty feet of uncleared area behind and the excavator is near the front.  It’s rather a bit of a hillside, but hey, we’re Hillside Farm, after all.  Although, this wasn’t the hillside we started on, the original hillside was rather a bit bigger.  But, even though we’ve gone townside & residential, we’re still sticking to our Hillside roots.

A grapefruit tree and a macadamia nut tree were found, along with a lot of jacaranda, although the jacaranda are not going to be able to stay.  I would have liked one for the back yard, but they’re pretty much where we have to put the house.  Residential lots are pretty small and with only a third of an acre, there’s not much leeway on where things can go.

The bunnies can live up under the macadamia nut tree, though.  Eventually, it will take awhile before they have to move, probably a year or two.  The new hutches are movable, though, not like last move where we had to rebuild from the beginning.  I’ll draw in the place for the bunny hutches when drawing up the new house.  Not sure what that’s gonna look like just yet.  Once Mark gets done with the excavation, it will probably be easier to see how it should go.

We’re hoping for a lot of baby bunnies this upcoming January.  There have been six girls who have or are visiting Joey & Phineus.  Sydney has come down mountain for a Christmas vacation, although we don’t know if he’s going to visit with any girls over his vacation or not.  With six possible litters, if they all happened and if each one had six babies, that would be thirty new baby bunnies!  I’m not expecting more than one or maybe two litters of four to maybe six babies each, but with bunnies, you never know.

Let’s see, who met up with whom?  There’s only two of the bucks who met up with girls.  Phineus Phogge, our newest young buck met up with Suzie, Myste and Sirocco.

Since three of them have ‘atmospheric’ names, they were all born earlier this year.  This is the year of names that have something to do with weather or atmospheric conditions.  Joey and Suzie were from the year before where the bunnies were named after famous people, although I’m the one who gets to choose who is famous or not.  Joey is named for a friend on Maui who does some background acting in Hawaii 5-0 and other movies so he’s a famous movie star – at least, the bunnies think so but they don’t watch much TV.  Suzie is named after the Suzie who wrote ‘The Nervous New Owners Guide to Angora Rabbits’, a very famous person indeed!  Well, at least, if you’re an angora bunny.  Next year we may name them after textures or soft things.  Fluffy, Squooshie, Silky, Crimpy, Charmin; hmm, maybe we won’t.  Well, some sort of name theme will pop up, no doubt.

Other than Phineus, the other buck who met up with girl bunnies is Joey.  He’s a Ruby Eyed White with really nice shoulders and a cocky attitude.  An angora with an attitude somewhat reminds me of an angry butterfly, but it’s hard to be a tough guy when you’re soft and fluffy.  Joey met up with Cocoa Puff, Ginger & Sandy Storm.

We are hoping for more than one or two litters, but we will have to see how things go.  Sometimes the litters don’t show up in the late summer and early winter.

 

 

 

Three new ones

Ginger & Sydney babies
Ginger & Sydney babies

They don’t look like much yet, but there’s three new bunnies!  Ginger & Sydney had three babies today.  There’s a blue one (the lighter gray), a black one and what is either a tortoiseshell or a Ruby Eyed White, it’s hard to tell at this stage with the pink ones.

Hopefully she will feed them and they will survive, we will know within the next two days if they are likely to survive or not.

Sirocco and Sandy were also bred at the same time in hopes of having multiple mum bunnies available to take in unfed little ones, but neither one of them had a litter.   At least, not yet, anyway.

I don’t know if these will be the last three bunnies born here this year or not, it’s getting kinda close that the bunnies should have been out on dates if they were gonna have a litter this year.  Of course, they could always start in on next year’s babies, but then they will be on a different name theme.  Not sure what next year’s name theme will be, this year was atmospheric conditions.  Last  year was people names, the year before that was qualities of light.  Maybe we will do flower or spice names or something?  Rocks or jewels, maybe?

New Bunny Hutches Delivered!
New Bunny Hutches Delivered!

We may not be able to get pizza deliveries at our house, but today we got some bunny hutches delivered!  Woot!  Room for more bunnies!  Not sure where they are going to go yet,  maybe they will be for more bucks.  It’s been drizzly rainy today so thrashing about in the side of the yard underbrush hasn’t been  high on my list.  Maybe in the next several days there will be time to organize the new bunny space.