Autumn feels like it's in the air. When I wake up to let the chickens out there's often been dew. After a stressful summer it also feel like the trees are starting to turn early this year. Fingers crossed for some crisp cold nights so we get some stunning colours.
Speaking of chickens, there have been additions to the menagerie. Three new Pekins, as we've said goodbye to quite a few in the past 6 months. Noddy was taken by rats, probably whilst sitting on a clutch of eggs. Kate has simply disappeared, we suspect a feral cat who lives in the barn behind the house. Wiggo was as outrageous death as she was in live, she walked up to my brother whilst he was digging our new pond, sqwarked, and fell over dead. Both Big Bird and Dusty went in to a bit of a decline, had a day in a cardboard box in the house, and then just fell asleep and didn't wakeup. Finally Froome spent the summer pottering around the place, occasionally falling over but still enjoying life, when the day came that he could no longer walk he was taken down to the vets and put to sleep.
So with all those departures it's been nice to have some fresh blood in the garden.
They were meant to be 3 new ladies... however I had my doubts about one, and then whilst feeding them breakfast there was a crow. So it's actually 2 new ladies, and a new Pekin cockerel. It was my turn to pick names this time, so they're all cyclists. The black and white boy is called Tommy after Geraint Thomas, the fetching brown bird behind him is called Pippa after Phillippa York, and there's also a pretty blonde girl called Trotty after Laura Kenny ( nee Trott).
As an aside, the Seramas I adopted last summer are slowly acquiring cricket commentator names. So far we have Tuffers, Aggers, Blowers and Ebony. If I can ever get to the point where I can tell apart the white chickens, and the brown and white ones I might be able to add to that! We named the boys Percy and Bob but given how much a pain they are I'm starting to wish we'd gone with Geoffrey.
We've also added these pair to the menagerie. Quentin and Clarissa are Miniature Appleyard Ducks. They're still not quite fully grown, Quentin will get more colourful and get the more typical mallard colours as he grows up.
They've cause much hilarity over the past month, mostly around bedtime, and their lack of belief in the need for one.
On the bee front it's been an ok summer for the bees, despite the hot sunny weather it's been a good honey harvest, but not an outstanding one. The cold spring meant the colonies were slow to build up numbers. However, we have 4 healthy hives to take in to winter, and may be able to take a few more frames off before leaving the hives alone to make their winter stores.
On the work front September is going to be busy!
I've just added the first shop update of the month to the online shop but am not sure how many more updates I'll be able to fit in. Next weekend I am up at Bradford Guild of Weaver Spinners and Dyers teaching an art yarn workshop.
The following weekend in September I'll be heading out of Wales again, because my little brother is getting married. Then the following weekend we'll be back up at Yarndale.
All that means that time in the dye studio might get a bit tight, particularly as there are 2 fibre clubs to send out. However, as a rough plan I am hoping to dye some more Romney, Silk & Linen, and there will be some Rambouillet and I also have a stock of BFL, Cashmere & Silk to dye. There probably won't be any special edition, non-standard base fibre this month, but I have finally managed to get some more of the double sorted, very special BFL & Silk out of John Arbon! It's not with me yet, but I have been promised it will be ready at some point in September, so I should be able to dye it in October. I need to have a think about how I want to dye it as there will only be 10kg....
On the workshop front the AGWSD Summer School brochure has just been released, which means I can now properly tell everyone that I will be teaching!
It will be a full week based around spinning hand dyed fibre. If you're not a guild member you can still apply to attend.