Suint bath and lovely locks

I’ve been running a suint bath for washing fleeces this summer. Whilst the temperatures are reasonably good the suint has worked well. I’ve actually finished washing all the fleeces now so we’ll probably use the diluted suint bath as fertilizer.

Suint is explained it chemical terms by other people far better than me, but basically it means that the fleece soaks in a liquor composed of the sweat and dirt and developing microbes. The bath is built up from other fleeces. I use the dirtiest fleece first as that made the best base for the suint and have worked through 5 fleeces weighing about 1-2 kg each before going into the bath. I skirt and sort the fleece first because I don’t see the point in washing really dirty stuff that’s never going to come clean, but I equally try to preserve as much of the fleece as possible. I’ve got a bucket of the really unsalvageable stuff soaking so that I can use that liquid as a fertiliser as well.

I didn’t take a photograph of the locks of this Scoth Mule fleece before the suint bath so can’t make a comparison but it has come up beautifully clean.

My process was as follows. I laid The fleece out on a mesh grid cleaned as much of the dirt out as I could by shaking it and then skirted it. Next I sorted it into qualities, picked out as much vegetable matter as I could. Each quality was put into several smallish mesh laundry bags and then into the suint in manageable quantities. The suint bath really stinks, which I think must be caused by ammonia, as it makes my eyes water!

I left the fleece in the suint for 5 to 7-days then using rubber gloves and, with a peg on my nose, I removed it and left it to drain. Once it was drained, I rinsed it in a couple of changes of clean, cold water. Because I didn’t want to put the stinky mess in spin dryer I swung and it around to remove excess water.

Next I washed the fleece in batches in hot water with Eurolana wool wash. This is good as it cleans well without loads of suds so rinses out easily. The smell was slowly fading, but even after two rinses it lingered.

A final spin and then the fleece was emptied out of the mesh bags into a two-tiered flat mesh dryer. This goes outside and by the time the fleeces are dry the smell has gone. Phew.

One of the clean and gorgeous locks

Water kefir experiment

Having found I had excess milk kefir grains I thought I’d see if they would convert to water grains. After a bit of reading up I decided to give it a try.

I put the excess grains (2 tbsp?) In a jar and added about 1.5 cups of tap water and 1/8 cup Demerara sugar, oh and a tiny pinch of salt. That seemed about right based on my reading.

I left them, with occasional swirls, for 4 days on the worktop. Then I drained the grains, re made the sugar solution and did it again, but for 3 days. And so it went on until it was down to 24 hours.

I started a second batch the day after, as the first ones went a weird brown colour. Both seem OK though.

The first, smaller jar had started to go cloudy, so I think I need a bigger jar and more solution.

I started the second, bigger jar of as flavoured ‘pop’. I strained the liquid from larger jar and put the same amount of cold ginger and lemon tea into a Grolsch bottle. It’s sitting fermenting right now. Hope it works. I tasted it before sealing the bottle and it was good but not bubbly.

Let’s hope it tastes good in a day or so!