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Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Working on the Fleece

The day after the first fiber-spinning group almost two weeks ago, I put a big fat fleece in a black tub purchased especially for the purpose of cleaning fleeces. I have several fleeces on hand. I believe this is the merino one.

My process was to set one end of the tub on a 2x4 piece to help level it, then filled it with water from the outdoor water hose.  When the tub was full, I put in the fleece and carefully pushed it down into the water to submerge it completely.  Since the fleece kept rising to the top, I brought out our cookie cooling rack which was almost exactly the right size to place on top. I thought it would hold the fleece down.  It did.  Sort of.

Merino fleece in tub with cookie cooling rack and bridal veiling on top.  It DID keep out the bugs!

Next part of the process was to put a double thickness of bridal veiling I found at Joann's over the top and tied some 1/4-inch elastic around it.  I thought this would keep bugs from  getting into the soaking fleece.

Today I went out to see if the "organic fertilizer" had dissolved and the vegetable matter changed its situation. WELL...there were several things I noticed.  Number one:  the cooling rack had added some rust to the fleece.  Number two: there was some green material...perhaps algae...along one edge.  I decided it was a good thing I worked on this today!

Note the rust and green slime.  Not things you want on a beautiful fleece.  We will see how it turns out.

In the cellar I found a 5-gallon bucket.  In the kitchen I found my one-quart Revere Ware saucepan. I took the both out to the fleece tub and started dipping out the "fertilizer water".  All the plants in the front garden and in the side garden received one quart of fertilizer each.  I filled the bucket more than half full and carried it out to the hay bale garden in the field.

WHAT A DISAPPOINTMENT!!!! when I got to the hay bales to water those plants I found that EVERY SINGLE WAX BEAN PLANT had been sheered off.  On Saturday evening when I was out there the beans were looking fabulous. I was expecting by the end of this week to find blossoms coming. In just a few more days there would be string beans.  Yum.

Every wax bean plant shorn off.  Drat that deer.

 Early yesterday evening I saw a lovely white-tailed doe deer out eating in the field.  This is near the hay bale garden.  Now, I do not want to point fingers but...who else would have had the nerve to eat every one of those plants?!  I know, I know!  Daughter-in-law A always sticks up for the animals and reminds me that they need to eat, too.  I agree, so I am really not mad, BUT there is nothing like eating fresh produce for lunch that twenty minutes ago was in the garden.

Well, back to the fleece cleaning project:  After removing several gallons of fertilizer water I then started dipping out the fiber and laying on the hood of the car on top of a black plastic contractor bag to drain.  It made quite a nice pile.  When I was down to the last of the water, I dumped it where it was to water part of the lawn, well, and part of the driveway since it was too heavy to do anything else with.

Last thing I re-filled the tub with clean water, added back the fiber, and replaced the bridal veiling and elastic but NOT the cookie rack!  I will give it another day to soak then see if the water is mostly clean.  If so, I will go on to the next part of the plan to clean the fiber.

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