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There are a clever new duo in Pets Corner. Have you met Elsa and Anna? These two adorable youngsters are our Dumbo Rats, a breed of fancy rat known named for their large, low-set ears. The two sisters are settling in well to Pets Corner and can often be seen greeting visitors (between naps!). Despite a reputation to the contrary, rats are extremely clean animals and have been domesticated for hundreds of years. Clever, curious and extremely sociable, rats make wonderful pets and a group of rats is called a mischief! You can find out more about Dumbo Rats and other fancy varieties from the National Fancy Rat Society.

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A bit of summer and autumn. A common blue butterfly on fallen leaves.

A bit of summer and autumn. A common blue butterfly on fallen leaves.

Today, the fields are bathed in warm sunshine and you could be forgiven for thinking it was still summer. As we begin October, we’re holding onto the mild weather, but there’s an autumnal feel creeping in. Shadows grow longer (as do those fleeces!) and the summer’s glut of flowers and early fruit have given way to the last of the bright red rose hips and rowan berries. Our deciduous trees are just starting to lose their leaves in bold displays of golds and reds. There’s a chill to the air in the mornings and evenings and forecasters tell us colder, blusterier and wetter weather is on its way. But for now, the early days of Autumn are looking beautiful. Get outdoors and make the most of them!

Sheep in the sunshine!

Sheep in the sunshine!

Drafgonflies can still be seen hunting on warm days.

Drafgonflies can still be seen hunting on warm days.

Our alpacas are dwarfed by their lengthening shadows.

Our alpacas are dwarfed by their lengthening shadows.

As the trees lose their leaves, birds like the monk parakeet can be seen high on their perches.

As the trees lose their leaves, birds like the monk parakeet can be seen high on their perches.

Across the farm, leaves are turning red and gold.

Across the farm, leaves are turning red and gold.

The ponies in their new paddock.

The ponies in their new paddock.

Lime leaves are beginning to turn bright yellow.

Lime leaves are beginning to turn bright yellow.

Grey squirrels are busy across the farm, scuffling through leaf litter as they cache fruits and nuts.

Grey squirrels are busy across the farm, scuffling through leaf litter as they cache fruits and nuts.

The first leaves are starting to fall.

The first leaves are starting to fall.


An array of handspun yarns and fibre.

On Saturday, our monthly wool crafting meetup tried their hand at spinning fibre and fleece into yarn! With the guidance of handspinner Alison, we practised carding fibres until they lay untangled in the same direction (think a good brushing!) into tidy rolls called rolags. We then set to work spinning these into yarns using drop spindles. We worked with some of our lovely Mudchute alpaca fibre as well as wool, drawing out and spinning fibres together to form yarn!

It was great fun and something that you can try yourself using everyday materials. It is even possible to make your own drop spindle from an apple or potato and a pencil and you can purchase fleeces and fibre from our very own flock.

Interested in finding out more? Visit Handspinner.co.uk, join our group on ravelry and come craft with us next month on September 27th. We craft together with wool and fibre (including knitting, crochet, felting, weaving, spinning and more!) on the last Saturday of the month and you can get in touch with us at farm_office@mudchute.org.

Chunky yarn spun from one of our own Jacob sheep fleeces!

Tools of the trade: a drop spindle, hand carders and a lazy kate.