Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Last Day of the Fiber Workshop!

Today was our last day of our fiber unit!  We wrapped up this workshop with a quick lesson in sheep and sheep terminology.  They learned more funny words such as ewe, yearling, and mutton.  They agreed that it was very confusing for each type of animal to have its own specific words for males, females, babies, etc!

The group spent some time learning about crochet from our guest speaker, Laura Rook from Kagooli Handmade!  The class was able to see and feel batt and roving, and then they could see different types of crochet.  Of course, the students knew all about crochet hats, blankets, shawls, etc., but they were completely surprised to learn that you could crochet dolls and toys, as well!  Laura brought in some fun dolls and items to show the class, and even brought in a hamburger made of yarn!  I am so glad that the group was able to learn that the sky is the limit when it comes to creativity!

The groups shared their alpaca stories today.  This week, they could either write an alpaca story that uses terms that they learned in class, or they could write an alpaca poem.  Although the writing assignments for class are very laid back, I was a little disappointed that very few students in the afternoon class had time to work on one this week.  I am encouraging them with a prize for any class that has 100% participation for our next writing assignment!

I shared the story, "A New Coat for Anna".  The students were able to follow along as I read the story of how Anna's mother bartered for her daughter to get a much needed wool coat.  It took almost a year, but once the farmer sheared the sheep, the wool was taken to the local spinner, the berries were ripe and collected, the yarn was dyed red, and the tailor cut and sewed the material, the coat was ready for Anna to wear.  This was a great story to wrap up the unit!

For art, the younger class searched the yard for the perfect sticks for a mobile activity.  They used different colors and textures of yarn to wrap their sticks, and then we worked on balance as we hung them as a mobile.  The older class had a weaving project.  They created woven bookmarks!  This was tricky for some, and others were getting very creative with these!

We will NOT have class next week, as workshop #3 will not begin until 11/15.  We will not have a writing assignment during the gap!  See you on the 15th!

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Fiber Workshop Day 3

Brrr!  It was a little chilly today, but we learned indoors until things warmed up.  The class began with Farm News.  Tootsie the goat had her baby on Sunday!  I explained the signs that I looked for to know when to separate her from the herd.  I also gave an update on the guinea keets that are warning around with their momma guinea hen and her little flock.  They are doing great, and all eight are still alive!  

After Farm News (and a LOT of questions and comments!), we had a review of what we have learned so far in our fiber classes.  Then, the classes learned about alpacas!  Although we don't have alpacas here on the farm, I am hoping for a furry visitor next month!  

The students learned different terms used in alpaca farming.  Then, the class learned the steps involved in turning fiber from angora rabbits, sheep, goats, or alpacas into yarn.  They should be able to tell you about scouring, combing, dying, and spinning!

For art today, the class worked with felt.  We talked about the difference between natural and synthetic fiber, and the kids enjoyed working with mixed medium!  Ms. Gina taught the class about an artist named Kandinsky.  He is a Russian artist, and the founder of abstract art.  The class recreated one of his famous pieces using construction paper and felt cut-outs.  The older class continued to work on their yarn spiral projects.  Although some finished it in class today, others decided to take it home to finish it.  It was really interesting to me to hear the different reactions on this project.  Some preferred painting and sketching, but others really loved the opportunity to work with their hands and wrap the yarn!  I love that they were given the opportunity to try something new!

We will be back next week for our last day of the fiber workshop! 

This week's writing options:

  1. Write an alpaca story.  Try to use some of the terms that we talked about in class, such as cria (baby alpaca under 1 year old), maiden (female that hasn't had a baby yet),  A female is called a "hembra" and a male is called a "macho".  A mother is a dam and a father is a sire.... just like with goats!
  2. Write a poem about an alpaca.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Fiber Workshop - Day 2

Today was packed!  Farm News consisted of some happy stories and sad stories this week.  We discussed coccidiosis, which often affects young poultry.  When introducing young chicks, poults, keets, or ducklings to an area where others have been raised, it is important to thoroughly sanitize the waterer, feeders, and everything they come into contact with.  Coccidiosis is always present.  Most of the time, older animals can just fight off the issue.  Young or weak animals cannot fight off the naturally occurring parasite, and need help!  We talked about the medication used to treat this issue.  In other news, the class learned that the vet came out and determined that the sore spots on the mini horse are signs of a fly bite allergy.  This year has been an awful year for flies, and it seems our little girl is allergic to their bites.  We will continue to work hard to eliminate flies from her area, and to use repellent to keep them off of her as best we can. The good news is that, in a few weeks, the flies here in Georgia will start to die off! 

The classes continued their lesson today as we talked about different breeds of goats and rabbits that give us fiber to spin into yarn.  The groups were able to spend time with Vincent VanGora, our angora rabbit.  He was recently shorn, so the students were able to see how much fiber one bunny can give!  Of course, we spent some time giving sweet Vincent some love.

In art, the younger class worked with yarn as they created yarn “paintings” using contact paper.  They cut their yarn to the lengths they needed, and carefully made designs and pictures across the sticky surface.  The older class had a more intricate project that will take more than one week to complete.  They covered cord with yarn, and then wrapped it in a way to create a coil.  This coil will eventually become a trivet.  It took some practice, but they are getting the hang of it!  We will work next week to keep wrapping the design. 

Our story today was about an angora goat named Kidd.  Kidd didn’t want to be sheared, so he left his Texas farm and ran away.  The story was a great fit for our lesson!  In the end, Kidd realized that being sheared wasn’t a bad thing at all.  As a group, we talked about times where we don’t want to do things that we actually need to do.  We talked about little siblings refusing to get their haircut, times we didn’t want to go to the dentist, etc.  Kidd was a very relatable character!

We checked out the animals outside, and it looks like Tootsie, one of our Nigerian Dwarf does, is about two weeks away from kidding.  I love this part of class, where kids can slowly walk through the year on a farm!  Right now, the guinea keets are following their mommas through the pasture, the turkeys are strutting in the cool air, and the Nigerian Dwarves are getting ready for their fall kids! 

This week's writing assignment will be all about descriptive words!  Come up with any farm story that you would like.... but be sure to use adjectives and adverbs to make your story vivid and descriptive.  We will be talking about adverbs and adjectives in class, as we work together to describe the different animals on the farm and their unique behaviors.