my girl at the mule farm

you might remember how back in march i was concerned about my donkeys while they were being boarded. the mule man assured me that they were getting great care and putting on weight, and that they had just lost weight due to the excitement of being with a herd and the extra exercise from having more land. well, i finally was able to make arrangements to get them picked up and brought home when mule man, after being "friends" for more than ten years, decided to get nasty with me.

it's a long story - aren't they always? i bought a mule from him sometime in the late 1990s. she was a gaited saddle mule, a beautiful mule. but i was still working at a law firm and didn't have as much time as i needed, and he convinced me to let her stay there for some additional saddle work. as time passed, it didn't seem like she was a great mule for me - she was still too green and i wasn't as great a rider as when i was a kid. when he called me wanting to sell her, and give me instead two grand canyon mules in return, i went out to meet them. these mules were older but so easy to deal with and ride. their names were elderberry and blueberry. i felt kind of pushed into it, but figured it might be best so i said ok.

a week or two after we made this trade, blueberry dropped dead (or so he said). but elderberry continued to live out on his farm. that was at least five years ago. a number of times i told him that i needed to either bring elderberry home or he should find her another home, but he always said she was really just fine and no problem and she had more room there, blah blah blah. i hardly knew this mule and found that i didn't really want her, but was busy and mule man seemed so accommodating that i just went along with the arrangement he seemed to want. i wondered if it was a some kind of scam (he is, after all, a mule trader) but i thought better of it. in the meantime, i did endless free legal work for him related to various mule disputes, but he always had a good story.

so at the end of last year when i got in a bind, mule man agreed to board my donkeys temporarily for a tidy sum. he had bugged me for years to take them so he could breed to modestine, my spotted mammoth jenny. i didn't want to send them away, but didn't have much choice (also a very long story). i paid him what he asked, and then paid him more later just because he said he needed it. but when i made arrangements to pick up my girls, mule man suddenly demanded back board for at least three years of mule care. i said that wasn't the agreement, but that we could try to work something out. but he quickly became as mean as a snake, saying that he had bent over backwards to help me, and all kinds of other meanness, and that he needed money and now or else he would not give me back my donkeys.

it was a very nasty series of phone calls, and this with a man who i regarded as something like an uncle. a few threats and days later, i have my donkeys, who look like shit, a very old mule, and a broken friendship, if it ever was. i didn't pay him though, and somehow i still feel guilty about it.


i got these red german clippers used from someone on the angora listserv. this was just my first time giving these clippers a go and i am totally converted. i would not have wanted to pay retail, but damn are they awesome. they stay cool, are low-maintenance, light, easy, and so quiet that my little junior didn't seem to mind them. there may be more second cuts than with scissors, but i'm not sure of that, and i'll get more proficient using them in time. now cosset and junior are all clipped and staying cool, while prissy and butch are already growing out again.


bunny paws

i made these wrist warmers with yarn from mr. butch. they only took a few hours. it's a simple garter stitch pattern knit side to side. one turned out a little bigger than the other, but that's ok i think. they feel so soft and furry, i just love em.


tortured bunny yarn

getting a bath

I've been messing around with this skein of angora for a couple of days. I spun it from Junior's first haircut, which was all his baby fluff, and other matts and combings of agouti from various times that I stuck in that tupperware. I wanted something a little more durable than my last skein of (single) angora, so I figured I'd ply it with something, and I tried some vintage thread. I did all kinds of different wrapping - autowrapping, candy-striping, just wrapping the hell out of long sections, and also a lot of just plain wiggly plying. It worked ok except that with the shorter fibers, where there was some slippage when the angora would unwrap with the plying. And I just wasn't that thrilled with the overall (very grey) result - I am addicted to putting stuff in my yarn! So tonight I plied again, with more colorful threads, and added some vintage pearls and rhinestones. I made it way thick in sections with supercoils and granny stacks. So even though I tortured this poor yarn, it's cool-looking since in places it looks like bunny and in others kind of like chenille, plus it'll be a lot stronger than even two-plied angora. I'm glad to find a good use for all those little bits of fur that are flying around the house!

before setting


I finished these legwarmers quickly - they were super easy even for the noob knitter - but not quick enough for the heat! I can still wear them late at night while I knit and watch the hub play video games. Not handspun, but I finally get what all the Rowan love is about. It's mild today, but with the few heat waves we've had, I've started knitting things for the house - dishcloths and curtains! and searching Ravelry for some other summer projects. Oh, and I have to give a shoutout to Alpaca Farm Girl. It's so easy to feel isolated on a farm, and I just love how she's bringing farmers and fiber artists together with the Fiber Arts Friday blog carnival!