I went out to feed the chickens this morning and did a double-take when I opened the coop door. This is the time each year when the turtles come up around the yard to lay their eggs. I rarely see if the eggs actually hatch or get dug up and eaten by raccoons, although I once did find a baby snapping turtle out at the pond.
I went about my business, rather than disturb Mrs. Snapper. I know how strong those jaws can be and I did not want to have her turn around and chomp me. I mused that nesting under the coop might be a really good choice, well protected, warm, and dry. She may not quite fit under the door, though.
I fed the animals and went to check on my fiber collection. I have dried it all, stuffed it back into the three pillow cases, and set up my drum carder to begin making batts for spinning. I am marveling at the differences between Shetland wool and mohair. The mohair is what I am accustomed to – silky and fluffy. The wool is much longer, probably because it is over a year of growth instead of just six months’ worth for the goat. The wool is also white and fluffy, but it definitely has different properties from the mohair. It doesn’t have the silky sheen, and from what I have read, the colors will not sparkle and pop the way mohair does. On the other hand, wool should be softer against the skin than mohair, which sometimes feels a little scratchy because it has some stiffer hairs mixed in.
I have carded about half of Dot’s wool already and am debating what to do with it. I normally wash and dye the fiber all on the same day and then let it dry. This year, I am going to card and spin it all in its natural colors and then dye the spun yarn when I know what I want to make. This seems a little more practical, because I will figure out in advance how much I need for a project and then will always have plenty of the color I want. If I have plied the yarn already, I won’t have multi-color skeins, but I can always do some creative dying to make it more interesting than just solid colors.
As with everything I create, it is an experiment. I may later regret it but how else will I ever know what works and what doesn’t?
So, after an hour of carding fiber I went to say goodbye to the animals and back to the house. The turtle had turned around and buried herself into a good position for laying her eggs undisturbed. I hope her brood hatches safely and maybe I will even get to see some of the babies later in the summer.