Another week done....tomatoes are still prolific. We had a U-Pick night on Thursday that I worked and sadly we only had about eight groups/families come out for it. We had gotten some much needed rain Thursday morning so it may have scared some of the CSA folks off, thinking that it would be muddy in the tomato patch but it really wasn't that bad. Not like early in the week when the drip irrigation system sprang a leak or got left on....it looked like a rice paddy that day. We were walking through several inches of water in some places. Glad I had my work boots on that day. It was pretty sloppy.
I got Friday off because I had worked last Saturday for the farmer's market so I spent the day working on fiber. I'm working on Chauncay's blanket. This fiber is from the neck and leg areas so it's not the prime stuff. It's 2nds and 3rds and needs to be skirted. The 3rds have to be sorted out and the 2nds are used to do felting with.
I'm looking for fiber that is 2" long so thumb length;otherwise it goes in the can of 3rds. There is quite a bit of stretch to alpaca fiber due to the crimp so if you pull it, you'll get a little more length out it than if you didn't pull on it. Seems this whole bag of fiber is borderline in the necessary length so I'm tugging at each tuff to see if it qualifies for the 2nds bag. I also have to check for "vegetable matter" (poop, hay, foreign objects) and pull off any frizzy hairs. See how it tapers down to a point....that's the part where it was attached to the alpaca. Thank goodness for that little "handle" to gather up tufts of it to check for length. The pile on the table probably covers a 2' x 4' area...it seems really daunting and seems like the pile never gets any smaller. After I get all of this done, then Sister Mo will show me how to card it and then it can be felted. On Friday, Sister Ruth showed me how to do dry felting (she rescued me from the skirting process because they need to stock up on some items for the upcoming Alpaca Open House). I am making ornaments that can be hung on a tree or put on a keychain or whatever. There is a machine that does felting but we do it by hand. You use a felting needle that is about 4" long and has tiny little barbs on the tip of it. The fiber that has gone through the carder is used and you just take little tufts of it and place it in a mold of sorts. They look like cookie cutters but they had these made just for doing this. We place the form that we are using on top of a piece of foam. By poking the loose fiber with the needle (short strokes that don't go into the foam padding), it starts to bind the fibers together till you finally get a densely matted object. You keep turning the form over and poking each side till the object is uniform in density. If you get a weak area (like the neck on my one alpaca needed a little shoring up), you just take a little tuft of fiber and poke it into the weak area. It's really quite fun. I'm trying to help them get a bunch made for the Open House. I brought all the supplies back to my room and I've made 6 since yesterday afternoon. I work on it a little while, do some reading and then go back to it. Sister Mo does wet felting, which is used for hats, slippers and other stuff. I will learn that at some point. Sister Ruth, who taught me to do the dry felting is really artistic. She does wall hangings with the fiber, beautiful drawings on note cards and other fancy stuff. Since I don't consider myself to be an artsy person, this is something I can do and hope that there are other things I'm able to get the hang of.
Meanwhile back in the garden: In the older high tunnel, we've planted lettuce, carrots, beets and spinach for the fall CSA program. The new high tunnel is still under construction. That will be used to plant items for the winter CSA program. Fresh, local veggies all year round....Yum ! Guess that's all the news from the farm. Cooler temps are here. It was 43 degrees when I went for my walk this morning. 70 during the day. Oh yeah, I've got a new to me computer ordered. It should be here by the end of next week. My computer is doing the same thing it did before....black screen of death. It finally started for me yesterday so I could work on my project and do this post. It has to stay open 24/7 now till the new one gets here. The new one will be a Dell Business Edition. My computer guy says that the business models are built so much better to take hard use. He's got a 6 month warranty on it so if I don't like it for any reason, I can return it to him. It's a 2011 model with Windows 7 and Excel and Word installed. He said it will be fast so hoping he is right. $280 so nothing to lose at this point. I hated the thought of paying big bucks for a new laptop. Seems the price keeps going up with all the new fandangled gadgets on them. That's it from Indiana....Windows Live Tags: felting, fiber, CSA, White Violet Center