Things are hotting up now, especially for our Jacob sheep with their incredible thick fleeces. If we do not shear them, they will be susceptible to fly strike which can be fatal.
So it was with luck that our crucial shearer came on Saturday. Admittedly we have a small flock, enough to keep us busy but not big enough to be commercial.
Jacobs with their horns and their conformation (animal shape) means there is little meat in comparison to commercial breeds such as Texel and Suffolk, but nevertheless the quality of their fleeces is well known.
So at the end of the hot day we ended up with several builders bags of lovely brown white and grey fleeces.
Fortunately the lovely Katy was staying with us at Golden Grove, and listening to what a fabulous weaver she is, we have given her the challenge of transforming our raw freshly shaun fleece into bedspreads.
It will be satisfying to recall the fleece’s journey from field to bed. Hopefully will be able to post pictures of Katy’s work in a few months time.
Braintree Textile Fair is a one day event celebrating all things textiles. With stallholders, exhibitions, talks, demonstrations, Braintree's Big Stitch and Archive Collections.
Sunday 12th May 2019
10am – 4pm
An event not to be missed.
Braintree Town Hall
Warner Textile Archive
£7pp in advance
£10pp on the day
Under 16's free
Over 30 different stalls selling a variety of wares including antique, vintage and silk fabrics, haberdashery, homewares, Asian and African textiles, printing blocks, books, dressmaking fabrics and more!
'Horsehair Tales' - A history of John Boyd Textile, the only remaining haircloth weavers in the UK by John Miners
'19th & 20th Century Embroidery' by Sarah Sheahadeh complete with examples and patterns
'Denise Hoyle: an artist at her kitchen table' book launch and talk by Emma Mason
'Power of Stitch' with artists from East Anglian Stitch Textiles talking about their latest work
Yarn Dyeing – dye your own calico tote bag using a variety of colours and dyeing techniques, only £5 per person
Saori Weaving – try your hand at this freestyle weaving technique, in out special activity with Kim from the Saori Shed
Braintree's Big Stitch – come and contribute to this community and schools sewing project
Weaving with East Anglian Stitch Textiles – the artists invite you to contribute to their latest weaving project
'The Power of Stitch' by East Anglian Stitch Textiles
'Reel for Life' by the groups Stitchers Inc and Lost The Thread
'Warner's in Colour: A Tool for Design'
Also on the Day
- Warner Textile Archive Collection Store Visits
- Pop up Cafe selling a selection of cakes and hot drinks
With the blossoms bursting and the warm weather balming our days, look out for the humble bees. They are essential to life as we know it and much of the food that we grow here would not be possible without our most vital pollinators.
Here are six things you might not know about bees:
- Bees have been producing honey in the same way for over 150 million years, and the first record of people keeping bees was in Spain about 6000BC
- A hive needs 20-30lbs of honey to survive an average winter, but the bees are capable of collecting up to 60lbs, given the space – which is what beekeepers encourage.
- Honeybees have five eyes in the centre of their head: two large compound eyes and three smaller ocelli eyes. They can see in colour and are sensitive more to the blue end of the light spectrum and into ultraviolet. Flowers reflect large amounts of ultraviolet light and will appear very bright to a bee.
- The type of honey made by the bees changes according to the type of foliage and flowers available to the bees in the area near their hives. Honey can be hard-set, clear and liquid or have a jelly consistency depending on the crops that have been pollinated.
- Bees will fly up to three miles from their hives to collect pollen from hedgerows, fruit trees and wildflowers.
- A honeybee only stings under two conditions: to protect the colony or when frightened.
Winter is departing and spring magic is in the air. These are some signs that you should look out for when you come to visit or stay with us in the Essex countryside.
Birdsong: The Great Tit
From the start of warmer days in February, great tits tentatively sound out mates and neighbours with a clear two note call: tee-cher, tee-cher, tee-cher.
It’s a spirited, hopeful call that grows stronger in March until late April as the bird leaves the stage to feed its first brood of young. In its place, other species, especially woodland birds such as willow warblers and chiffchaffs, fill the airwaves alongside native blackbirds, songthrushes and robins.
Emerging animals: The March Hare
The new growth of grasses, herbs and wildflowers is a huge boost for hares in spring.
They do not hibernate so, being large and active mammals, they need a constant supply of food throughout the year which is something that only habitats rich in native flora can provide.
As these habitats become rarer, so have hares. But now is one of the best times to see them, before the vegetation has grown high enough to hide them.
Hedgerow blossoms: White flowers of Blackthorn
These tiny frosty white flowers cover the hedgerows from early March and are an important early source of nectar for bees and other insects.
As the insects forage, they pollinate the flowers and by autumn these will have developed into sloes.
The blackthorn fiercely protects its wares with sharp spines up to 3 cm long. Blackthorn leaves are feasted on through the summer by a number of butterfly and moth caterpillars, including black and brown hairstreaks.
Amanda: 07850 870237
Monday - Friday
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Louise: 07917 592 310
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