Tuesday, 6 July 2010

In flight

Last week when Mum and I went to Powis Castle we spent ages walking round the gardens. The gardens themselves are on a steep slope with terraces and beautiful flower beds that lead down in to some more formal gardens, with lots of yes hedges, and apple trees planted in avenues.
Whilst we were admiring the flowers we spotted a bee going from flower to flower who was laden with pollen. This is where I'm very grateful I have my new camera because I actually managed to snap a shot of him.


It's really encouraging to see bees about, they're not doing very well right now because of the cold winters,wet summers, illnesses and other reasons we don't entirely know about. Gardens are really important for bees because they provide flowers with lots of the nectar that they need!

Sunday, 4 July 2010

An experiment

Mum and I bought some fleeces at Woolfest, we both spin, and I've experimented with carders before but this is the first time we've ventured in to doing things with a whole fleece. Now a small 1 bedroom flat in Sheffield is not the place to be doing things with a whole fleece so out of necessity all of the prep work is going to happen at my parents cottage in WAles.
However they are not on mains water so in the summer water can be a bit of a problem, when we had a very dry spell a few weeks back they did actually run their storage tank empty with the help of a hidden leaking pipe so washing 3 fleeces takes up rather more of the water supply than is ideal.
The hot water is also only heated by an immersion heater, so again producing large amounts of hot water to wash fleeces in is not economical.
This is where the Fermented Suint Method comes in. Basically you lob your fleece in to a barrel of rain water, the dissolved salts in the water make an alkali solution which reacts with the lanolin (fat) in the fleece and you make your own soap in the barrel the fleece is soaking in. The idea being it cleans out any dirt and also breaks down all the greece so at the end of a week you have a nice clean fleece. You can then use the same fluid to keep cleaning any other fleeces you have in a smaller amount of time. Good for the environment, and low work load!

Anyway, here's day 1.


Lots of dirt already has come out, but it is still greasy. No photo today (day 2) because it's pouring down, and I'm heading home after that but Mum has promised to take photos.