Sunday, August 24, 2008

Oh where has the wool gone?

I was grooming rabbits today, trying to decide what to enter in next week endend's show. Photo #1 shows one of my bucks, Camden. Oh my, I am so proud! Are your rabbits doing the same thing? I touched him and handfuls of wool came out. Photo #2 shows Camden when grooming was complete (no I did't enter him in the show). His head is particularly attractive, isn't it? Camden isn't alone is his "beauty". Check out, Cadet, in Photo #3. He isn't quite as bare, although his head is similar, and his wool is terribly uneven.

I have always wondered how long it takes to get wool from that awful state to a fresh, even, lovely coat of wool (see Purdue in Photo #4. Now that is more like it!). I will take pictures of these three bucks and post them to the blog every 1 to 2 weeks, and we will watch them change together. All three were groomed using a blower and comb today. All three bucks were also treated with ivermectin this weekend. What do you think? How long will be required for Camden and Cadet get good wool? And in that time will Purdue's wool go down hill?

If you want to take part in this experiment, then get our your camera and start recording. Let me know what you discover, since I expect the time to primed coat to be different, depending on genetics, as well as the environment.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Stuffed with animals

If you like animals, then Alaska is the place for you. Below is a musk ox. These are some odd looking critters. They are raised now in farms in Alaska. The musk ox are combed to collect the underwool which is spun into yarn that is softer than cashmere (and more expensive too).

We saw a bear who was busy eating berries. Alaska in the summer is bear paradise. Not only are there wild berries everywhere, the salmon fill the streams. I read that bears may catch and eat 8 or more salmon per hour!
Not to be outdone, the bays are full of animals too. This is a Stellar sea lion. While on a cruise of Prince William Sound we saw an area with more than 100 young males, just hanging out, sort of a fraternity house for sea lions.
Don't forget the whales. I saw a mother and her calf in Prince William Sound (mom's fluke is below). While Jim was kayaking, he had a whale come within 10 ft of his boat, then dive and swim underneath. In case, you don't realize, a humpback whale is more than 40 ft in length, and Jim is quite a bit shorter than that.
I love this shot of Prince William Sound from the salmon hatchery. There are so many gorgeous mountains and water views in Alaska!
Hope you enjoyed my summer vacation.

Not just waterfalls, but also ice

Maybe we didn't travel to somewhere warm. Check out the ice! I don't think Hawaii or Tahiti have glaciers that come down to the waters edge,

or huge ice flows in any of the bays.
Here is Jim G kayaking up to the edge of Columbia Glacier, the second largest tidewater glacier in...
Alaska! What a gorgeous place. We traveled about 900 mi over 8 days and saw just a tiny slice of the 49th state.
I didn't kayak (water, yuck), but loved the ferry ride through Prince William Sound from Valdez to Whittier.

What I Did on my Summer Vacation

One guess--where have I been for the past week? There are totem poles,

water falls running into rivers,
more water falls running into bays,
more water falls.
What do you think? Is it Hawaii? Tahiti? Definitely somewhere hot, right?

Wool Galore

Rabbit shows are generally held as stand-alone events, but some times they are combined with fairs. In July, we had another option when we held three specialty shows for Angoras, Jersey Woolys, and American Fuzzy Lops at a fiber festival, Lambtown USA in Dixon, CA. In case you aren't familiar with fiber festivals, its an event for all things wooly--lots of lamb to eat, sheep to admire (while being judged), fleece to buy, spinning contests and more. Other wooled animals are usually included too like alpacas, angora goats (that produce mohair) and of course, wooled rabbits.

Setting up the rabbits in the coops for judging.

You may know Allen M and Randy S for their rabbits and judging, but they are equally accomplished with their angora goats, which produce mohair. Here is Allen carding mohair locks at his booth where he is selling his fleece. Some potential buyers are examining sheep fleece and considering a purchase. These are hard core fiber addicts who will wash the fleece, process and hand spin it into wool for knitting or weaving.

Ah yes, and Tausha demonstrates one more aspect of the fiber festival--eating! There was great food ranging from the traditional corn dog to rice bowls with lamb in teriyaki sauce. Yum!

Show results:

Randy S, judge: BOB, Broken sr buck, A & C Green; BOSB, Solid sr doe, A & C Green

Allen M, judge: BOB, Solid sr doe, A & C Green; BOSB, Broken sr buck, A & C Green

Carol G, judge: BOB, Broken sr buck, J Henderson; BOSB, Solid jr doe, B & K Tapp