The first weekend of October marked the county fair this year. It began on the first and ran until the fourth when everything so laboriously set up was torn down and exhausted fair goers and entrants alike made their journeys home.
The first marked my mother’s birthday as well; she would have been 67 had she still been alive. It seemed fitting that I would find out the fate of my fiber arts entries on her birthday, after all she is the one who taught me the love for domestic arts.
My entries were turned in the weekend before, and I waited anxiously to see the judges’ decisions on the quality of my work. I am very hard on myself but I was sure they would be even harder, and although I always learn from criticism, I dread, like anyone else, seeing it applied to my own work.
This is what I found when we made our way to the Home Making Arts area:
I can’t tell you how shocked I was, especially when I saw some of the other entries! And the comments were actually only good ones. So I guess my work is better than I thought. Maybe I CAN make a go of selling some of my stuff. (and sorry about the photo, black socks are impossible to photograph!)
And besides my prize winning entries, THESE are what I brought home from the fair:
Angora Bunnies! They both are show bunnies but I don’t plan to show them. I plan to spin their wool. They did have fancy names a half page long, but for us they’re George and Gracie. Mr. TF says they look like shnauzers, which they actually do in a strange sort of way. Much less yippy than schnauzers though. 😉
I got a breeding pair because although I got a killer deal on these two (the former owner is getting out of angoras entirely to concentrate on a different, rare breed) I would like to at least make my money and expenses back. As with my chickens, if they pay for themselves it’s fabulous. And I really think that’s all one can expect from most small livestock — that they cover their expenses. That still makes them cheaper than purchasing finished product from a commercial enterprise, which is after all covering expenses AND making a profit. I can see that, within reason, but I just can’t justify for myself losing the personal connection with my animals that would entail.
George is kind of a pain. He is not as friendly, and loses patience with being brushed very quickly, and squirms and bites. So he’s already been shorn, even though his coat wasn’t as long or as thick as it should have been. Gracie on the other hand is a true cuddle bunny. She loves to be held, is very patient, and hasn’t ever even tried to bite even when I know I hurt her (accidentally, of course).
George is however best friends already with my spinning assistant Barry (one of our cats). They tear all over the house and play slap and tickle — under supervision of course; they are after all predator and prey. That has been a huge side benefit I didn’t think of — Barry can be very co dependent because our other cat really can’t stand him most of the time. She’s old and crochety, he’s young and full of energy, and you can imagine the results of that combo. So a playmate for him is great for all of us.
I didn’t pick the bunnies up until the last day of the fair, when I picked up my entries; George didn’t win a prize but Gracie won best of show. He’s won in previous shows, he has two legs of three whatever that means. I did get pedigrees for them both so I can add to that if I sell any babies.
Now, yes, I DID get them for their fiber. But I also had a secondary intent in mind. Manure!! Rabbits are prodigious poopers, and their manure is the only manure you can directly place on plants without burning the roots. I plan to compost their manure along with the chicken manure for my garden beds. That alone will save me money in the long run; manure is the best fertilizer, and I get my own fertility as a side benefit from my animals. Yay!