Monday, December 22, 2003

a christmas bunny

I am very excited to report that I got an email from Claudia at Countrywool telling me that I have a shot at owning one of the new born bunnies! I am very happy about this, as I have had my name on a waiting list and had almost forgotten about the possibility of getting one of these. The bunny will be able to come home with me after the 2nd of February (yet another reason to look forward to groundhogs day!) I told my two does that they will be having a new beau around to impress soon...they cannot wait either!

I am trying to resist the last minute urges I have to start a pair of mittens or a scarf or something. I still have wrapping to do, so it would be foolish of me to put the pressure on now....still it has me wondering why I feel compelled to do this! It must be that I have no current projects going on the needles. I could always finish the weaving that is on the loom, but that would not scratch the itch to start something NEW!

The chickens had a wonderful day out strolling around. The temps went above freezing for a change, and the girls came out to stretch their legs and get some fresh air. You would never know that today was the first day of winter (arriving at 2:04 am), or the December solstice. It is also the shortest day of the year. One of my aracuna hens thought it was so nice today that she decided to come out of her molt, and laid me a pretty blue egg! Tomorrow, they forcast temps in the 50's...time to break out a Hawaiian shirt!

Sunday, December 14, 2003

local show

Just time to make a quick note about the show yesterday. I had a better time than I expected. After my nerves settled down, I had fun talking to folks that were interested in watching me spin. It is amazing how many people have never seen a spinning wheel in action. It is equally amazing how many people think that no one does this anymore! The best part of the day was showing the kids how it works. I must have had twice as many boys watching me (and the wheel with fascination) than girls. Overall, it was a good day. I didn't clean up (I did not expect to)..but I did ok and made a few good contacts and received positive feedback.
Now it is time to kick into over drive and put the petal to the metal on last minute x-mas stuff!
Oh, here is a link to a site for handmade soaps. I have never purchased any, but I am sure to do so very soon, as I met the personable and talented Lori Sickley. I hope to meet with her again soon.

Friday, December 12, 2003

Apple tree is full

When I said that deer season had come to an end, I meant for the people in this house. The season officially ends tomorrow. Last evening there was a knock at the door and a very good neighbor, friend, (and hunter) had a beautiful buck for us. Guess the freezer won't be empty after all!
I am so busy getting ready for the craft show that is being held tomorrow. I have a very bad case of cold feet. I really like making things, but dislike peddling my wares. I will be spinning at the show/sale, so maybe I will just hide behind the table and my wheel!

Monday, December 08, 2003

Apple tree is empty

The apple tree is empty-translation-the guys didn't tag a deer-translation-my freezer has a cold wind whipping through it. So, deer season has come to an end, and my apple tree is empty. Well, I don't actually have an apple tree, but around here the really good hunters I know hang their deer in the apple tree before they get to the freezer. (This is not to ward off other deer from stealing apple from the tree next year.) We hang ours in the maple, but either way...the tree is empty this year. Next year they guys will get a doe license and fill the freezer. From what I hear, most people have an empty apple tree this year. It kind of reminds me of the part in the christmas story movie, where the Bumpasses dogs eat the turkey and the old man says..."no turkey, no turkey leftovers, no gallons of turkey soup...."...we are saying, no venison deer venison stew...and worst of JERKEY! Many thanks to Spaide who shared a bag of his famous homemade jerkey! The advertisements on the top of this page have changed from yarn to hunting! That is an example of life along the riverrim!

Friday, December 05, 2003

now that is a lot of bear

The numbers are starting to roll in and it looks like they will top three thousand! The biggest one I heard of weighed in at 864 lbs! Tomorrow is the last day, so we will see who holds the record. My neighbor took a small male off our mountain yesterday afternoon around 4:10pm. He had to call for help dragging him out (must be around 150-200lbs) and finally got him down and over the stone walls by moonlight. Still not much going on the guys went out on opening day but did not even get a shot off. Its the same story all over, I suspect the deer are bedding down in preparation for this storm that is coming in.

I have been very busy preparing for the craft show, which I come to find out today has been cancelled on account of the storm. In some ways this is good as I have more time to do fibery things. ..however...I should be getting out the christmas decorations! Looks like this storm could be a doosey...I got the shovels out and tucked the chickens in! (sent them to bed with the Halloween pumpkin to nibble on tomorrow) Anyone care to tag in with snow totals??

Friday, November 28, 2003

2003 bear harvest

The 2003 Bear Harvest appears to have been a great success. I did not hear of anyone taking a bear around our mountain. The closest was a few miles away, where a 14 yr. old took one that was about 150lbs. When he was asked if his heart was pounding when he took it, he answered, "it did not have time to pound, the bear came up behind me and I shot it!" I say, "Well done, young man!" The scuttlebutt at the local weigh station was the biggest weighed in at 450lbs (still waiting for the stats to see if this is rumor or not)
Opening day for the deer season is Monday... and there is a nice 4 pointer that has been roaming around. He has such a nice rack, I would think at first glance he is a 6 pointer. We don't normally see buck around here. Mostly I see doe and their fawn. Naturally, we are all worried for Sweet Pea. If anyone shot her she would be missed.
I have been busy making the felted bags (that I should have started long ago) I have also been asked to attend a Craft Fair and feel ashamed of myself because I do not have a larger inventory to offer. Oh well, there are only so many hours in the day and I have not figured out how to do without sleep yet.
There is snow in the forecast (with the A word in it :o!). I am torn between pulling all the carrots and the beets and storing them in the basement, or leaving them out there with a heavy layer of straw. I have started to harvest the purple carrots (as pretty as they are tasty). I always get a kick out of the fact that purple carrots have been around since about 900AD.
The kale is still hanging in there, but I am starting to lose the battle where the parsley and sage and other herbs are concerned, so I have been clipping as much as I can to dry or freeze. The rest of the garden is in good shape with the winter rye and the garlic coming up nicely. I cannot remember a year when I have had every bed ready for winter this early. It is a good feeling. So, SNOW??? BRING IT ON.....or not....

Tuesday, November 18, 2003

when eagles dare

Today I heard my rooster putting out the alarm call. It was not at the best time, as I had just stepped out of the shower. I quickly dressed and put a cap on my head so I could go outside to see what was the trouble. He had all the girls held up inside of the big forsythia bush. I tried to tempt them out with some sunflower seeds, but they weren't having any of it. Now I know something is wrong! Just then I heard something that sounded like a fox, wait a minute, maybe it is a raccoon. I go walking down the hillside in search of the sound...looking under bushes and behind trees...nothing. Oh well....I start up the road on my way back to the house when suddenly about 8 foot over my head swoops an eagle! I was so startled that I almost hit the dirt! (Now I know how the chickens feel!) His wingspan was larger than my windshield! What a beauty!

This afternoon I had the opportunity to visit with two fellow spinners. What a delight! I think I am going to join the local guild of spinners and weavers. One of the women I met knows how to spin flax. She offered to teach me if I would teach her how to needle felt! Sounds like a deal to me!

Saturday, November 15, 2003

to blog or not to blog

Anyone here listen to Scott Simon on NPR ? He is one of those people who think that blogs are inane. In some ways they are. I guess it depends on the blog, or blogger for that matter.
Today was still cold and blustery. The black stars are becoming good layers and are picking up the pace....however...there is one drawback. They have discovered the bird feeder on the deck and fly up there and eat all the seed and then poop on the deck. This has to stop.
I spun a good amount of Finn wool today and will ply it tomorrow to exhaust the butternut dyebath. I really really like the color. It is a purplish (extremely faint purple almost rose) brown. I read that the confederate army used butternuts to dye the wool for the uniforms. That is why they called the soldiers "butternuts." I would love to see what they looked like in their time. I think the color has changed over time and now looks grey.
I had moved the triloom into the basement until after Christmas. Trouble with that was I got too cranky, so I brought it back upstairs and started a November loom. I am using a nice cardinal red colour against a grey tweed. Reminds me of the cardinals against the grey november landscape. It be winter folks!
If you like the blog, please tag my board so I know you stopped by.Thanks!

Monday, November 10, 2003

crossing things off

FINALLY finished the October Triloom Weaving. Now I just have to full the shawl. This is only the 3rd shawl I have completed, and the 1st one on the new loom. I do like the larger loom much better. The size of the finished shawl is generous and cozy, however, it uses much more yarn and takes longer to weave. I did not fringe it while it was on the loom (I was much to anxious to take it off)...I have not decided if I will fringe it, perhaps I will just add a crochet edge.....humm...I guess I am not really FINISHED after all!
On the other hand, the pontiac safari now has a "new to you" radiator. Mark removed the old one, and put in the new old one. Works like a charm! Figured with the temps going into the teens lately that it was time. Thanks to Curt for looking out for us!

Saturday, November 08, 2003

fall is leaving

This past week, the big old oak tree out back dropped all of it leaves inside of 2 days! It was snowing leaves. They covered everything. They are so big and heavy that the leaf blower hardly works, and one must resort to raking them. I have been raking all week and now I am starting to see the ground again. Schwew! I have been wondering why the tree decided to drop all of its leaves at once. It reminded me of one of my chickens (Freckles). Freckles is a silver spangled hamberg. About 2 weeks ago she started laying these mini eggs....the smallest one sits in a a jellybean...anywey...I researched why she would be laying these mini eggs and I found out that sometimes this happens when a chicken is preparing to molt. Sure enough, she went into a molt, but it was not gradual like most of my other hens...she was like the mighty oak, and she dropped all her feathers at once! The feathers were everywhere inside the coop, and she looked pitiful. Now she just looks like a porcupine, as her feathers are just beginning to come in. Yes, I am reminded that it is fall...and with the forecasted temp for tomorrow, I would say that fall is leaving (would you believe they are telling us it will go into the teens?!) One more reminder! Oh, and speaking of reminders...tonight is the full lunar find a good seat, light the barbecue one last time and enjoy the show!

Thursday, October 30, 2003

to kraut or not to kraut

Thanks to the generosity of my good neighbor and friend and gardener extrodinaire, I found myself with a counter full of fresh picked cabbages! (There were potatoes to go with it too!) Now I had a I or do I not turn them into sauerkraut? I knew that I had trouble, as I have not replaced my old crock that has a crack in it. I tried messing around with lining it with plastic...but had visions of gallons of sauerkraut and broken pottery pieces on my kitchen floor. I opted out, and packed them in zip lock bags. We will eat fresh cabbage every Wed. for weeks to come! The river is running high and fast. It looks beautiful and sparkling against the blue skies we had today. It sounds so nice to fall asleep to these days. I am almost finished with my October Triloom Weaving.

Sunday, October 26, 2003

garden chores

With heavy rains expected tonight and tomorrow, today seemed like as good a day as any to get some garden chores accomplished. The garlic is in (that was easy)...and then I turned my hand to heavier work. Hubby helped me get the bonfire going, and we heaped up big piles of weed and spent morning glory vines on top of it. I cleared the tomato beds, and the bean beds, I lifted the cornstalk roots and raked up what was left of the peppers. Then I planted the winter rye. There are still a few more beds that will need doing. We are still harvesting broccoli and kale and cabbage, but the hard freeze will come eventually. The chickens really enjoyed the Quinoa...I was disappointed in it. As the sun started to set (all to early today), I raked around the outside garden path where the chickens had been kicking up the bark chips. I saw a beautiful walking stick...the biggest I have ever seen. It was on the fence post. It must have measured at least 9 inches! It was a grey brown color. A lady bug was walking all around it, but it did not move. I thought about catching it and bringing it indoors to show everyone, but was to busy. While I was researching it online, I was glad that I chose to let it be. Come to find out they can give you a defense spray that can cause temporary blindness!! WoW!

Friday, October 24, 2003

bear raid

Early one morning this past week, I peeked outside at dawn only to discover that the bear had been here. My Octoberfest Decorations had been torn down and thrown all over the place! My cornstalk had been ripped apart, my pumpkins tossed around. If I did not know better, I would have thought the neighborhood kids were up to mischief night pranks! At the dawns early light, I ventured out to see what else had been rifled through. My rabbits and chickens were all still tucked in tight, but the trash cans had been raided, and the trash was carried up the hillside and into the woods. I put on my work gloves, and followed the trail with my plastic glad bag in tow. The footprints of the bear are large and deep. Suddenly, I don't feel so safe. The thought occurs to me that perhaps the bear is watching me from afar, and I am picking up "his food". I decide to leave this chore for mid-afternoon when the bear might be "sleeping it off". He/ or she is not a dummy. The bear raid was just another sign of the changing seasons. The very next night our temps dropped to 26 degrees and the very next day we had our first snowfall of the season.

Tuesday, October 21, 2003

harvesting wool

I managed to get many fibery tasks completed over the weekend, one of which was harvesting the wool off the back of my gray doe. She was very tolerant of the plucking, and I think she is getting used to the schedule. I should have started a few weeks ago when I noticed the hair starting to shed and blow around the hutch. I worked with her for almost 2 hours and got a large basket full of top grade angora. After 2 hours we had both reached our limit (although she still has more wool to be pulled), so I returned her to the hutch with a reward and sat myself in front of the wheel to promptly spin what I had just taken off my bun. I spun it as fine as I could- about 22wpi-(needs improvement) and filled approximately 1/2 of my smaller bobbins. I will be able to harvest more wool this week and possible next and I hope to have enough to ply. She has so much wool around her neck ( I believe they call this area the dewlap?), however, she does not like it when I try to remove it, hence, I don't do the dewlap. She has wool that is a grey color that is so soft that it looks exactly like the fog that sits on top of the river each morning. It really is so beautiful.

Friday, October 17, 2003

foiled fall foliage

I have tried to jazz up this blog with some beautiful pictures of the riverrim, however, the powers that be have seen to it that I cannot. The leaf peepers have been coming in droves. The train is full of them, providing two trips per day. Due to the heavy winds we had, most of the color we had is currently on the forest floor! Time to don the rake!

Thursday, October 16, 2003

Tuesday, October 14, 2003

chicken alarm

On Sunday, we were working on the Pontiac Safari in the driveway, when suddenly, I saw several chickens run by. They were really hauling a--! A second later Mark yelled to me to look up the road. There was a black bear (approx. 350-400lbs)coming our way. We hollered at him (her) to get lost and he turned up mountain and waddled into the woods. Never underestimate the brain of a chicken. When you see one hauling a--, there is a good reason for it! PS....The Pontiac Safari had the break line replaced and is now back on the road...this weekend...we shall attempt the radiator.

Saturday, October 11, 2003

raven moon

Enquiring minds want to know, "What is the name of this months full moon?" So far, I have heard several different names...making me wonder why there is a discrepancy. I have learned that most names of full moons have their origin in Native American or European folklore-as the naming of astronomical items do, even into pre-history! Take for instance the names of most of the northern constellations. They can be traced back as far as the Greeks! As far as I know, it is impossible to prove the definitive origin of these names, but it is fun to wonder. I prefer the Algonquin Tribe Moon Names,(gee I wonder why) so I will call this months beauty "Raven Moon"

Saturday, October 04, 2003

stocking the river we had a freeze. The temp. on the "how low did it go" thermometer logged in at 28 degrees. There are still a few flowers hanging on for a slow death....mostly marigolds and a few sunflowers. They stocked the river with trout on Friday. This always causes a traffic jam on the towpath. People follow the fish truck around and watch them set the trout free. I remember the days when this was a thrill for me too. Now, I wonder where the fish came from, and the level of PCB'S in them. Guess what? The sales for 2003 fish licenses are WAY down. Could the pcb's have anything to do with that? I for one lost all interest as soon as they posted the consumption warnings. Still, the trout stamps are just a beautiful as they ever were. 2003 STAMP Subject Trout Fishing Artist Christopher Leeper Medium Acrylic 2nd Place Susan Bankey Yoder 3rd Place of 48 Paul Fenwick More about the 2003 contest...

Thursday, October 02, 2003

the ice man cometh

The forecast for tonight is calling for a FREEZE...nothing like a quick death! Just get it over with fast! Drove M home from work today (the pontiac safari is off the road)...came over the mountain because the bridge is still out, and drove right into a snow and sleet squall! We have the stove cranked tonight...and so ends another summer.

Wednesday, October 01, 2003

Black Walnuts

I was just outside putting the chickens away, and I could see my breath! I glanced skyward and saw a bit of a cloud cover, so tonight will most likely NOT be the night of the frost. In some ways this is good (still have some black-eyed susans to try in the dye pot). The cabbages and broccoli are still coming in, and there are still flowers on the green peppers. But the frost will come, and then the big garden cleanup bonfire. The pile is already growing, as I have been "frogging". Frogging is a knitting word that means to tear out (or rip...hence rip it...ribbit..frog, get it?) Anyway, I was ripping out the morning glories (grandpa ott's) that grew on the fence. They were really pretty, but hurricane Isabel blew so hard on them that they took part of the fence down. Good thing it is autumn, we will have some time to mend it. Worked on jarring apples and pears today, also, filled the galvanized tub with black walnuts and water for a dye bath. A squirrel came along and was bobbing for them. He looked so amusing, I let him take a few. Tomorrow I will have to rig up some sort of cover for the tub before he steals them all.

Sunday, September 28, 2003

Well, I had an entire post up here for today, but lost it due to tech problems. Still trying to figure this blogging stuff out. Today we cleaned the chimney and started the first fire in the wood stove. I was trying to wait for October, but, alas, I woosed out. Currently working on new 7 foot loom and loving it! Harvesting green peppers (finally) and broccoli (still). Ate all the cabbage (yum) and picked the last of the red tomatoes. And what is new in your world??

Saturday, September 20, 2003

All is well after the storm, thank God. Now it is back to work! I had been scurrying around in the garden before the big winds, and managed to pull the flax. I did not get as high a yield as I had hoped for, but it still looks pretty hanging over the window. I will let it dry there and then try to figure out what else to do with it! I also picked the Hopi Black Dye sunflower and made a nice dye bath! I was very excited about this and it made a soft shade of purple. I was able to get about 250 yards out of the bath. I wish I had a camera to show off the results. Other spinning news (can you tell I have been working during the storm?)...I finally got the jumbo flyer kit all waxed and assembled on the wheel. It was worth it! Thanks again mom!! I have started to spin on it, but the bobbin is so big I have not finished it yet. Still figuring out the math on how to pound the nails for the new loom. (more on this later) The river is still flowing quite high and fast. It has been like this for weeks. I cannot remember a time when it has run so high for so long. I am getting used to the sight and sound of it, and will miss it when it goes back to normal. When it does subside, I plan a long hike along the rim to find good drift wood. I have a specific piece in mind, one that will fit on the spinning wheel that I can use as a distaff. As for chicken news, they did not know what to make of the high wind that we had yesterday. I let them out with a warning not to stray to far from the coop, and at first they blew around this way and that. After they settled down a bit, they decided to hide in the bushes. Every time the wind would slow, they ventured out for a look around, only to go running back into the bush when the wind would kick up. They kept looking at the clouds and running all around as if to say, "the sky is falling, the sky is falling"

Tuesday, September 16, 2003

We are busy making preparations for the storm. Mark is digging new drainage around the side of the house so the water will have a new path on its way to the river. Speaking about the river, she is high and muddy. I am concerned because the ground is already saturated and the river is already 5 to 6 feet above normal. The rain that will fall concerns me more than the wind that will be with it. Time will tell.

Saturday, September 13, 2003

A rainy morning starts with a parade of wild turkeys down the hillside. I was surprised to see such a small flock, and it consisted almost entirely of Toms. Usually we see a healthy harem of 16 to 18 hens with one or two Toms...but today there were only 7 turkeys and over half of them were males. Humm....what could this mean? I finished painting the trim on the house (finally) and picked the tomatoes yesterday, so today I will be making sauce and freezing it. I decided not to jar it up because I do not have the quanity to make it worth it. This was not the best summer for the tomatoes. I have started to spin the llama wool that I purchased a year ago at the Woodstock Fair Grounds. It is really very nice to work with. I wish I had purchased more! I am also in the process of finishing a shawl on the tri-loom. It is almost ready to come off the loom, just have to finish the fringe. I am trying to complete this as soon as possible, as I am anxious to use the new loom that Mark made for me. It is larger than the first one, but I still have to pound the nails in before I can try it out. We brought hay for the winter so we had to find a nice dry storage area to stack it. This is a challenge around here (as the shed is not finished). You should have seen the chickens- they discovered the fresh bales in the back of the stationwagon, and hopped right in! It would have made a great picture! Anyway, it is all stacked and covered up tight so it is nice and dry even though we are in for a few rainy days.

Wednesday, September 10, 2003

Another beautiful sunny dry day around here. I spent a good deal of the day doing more garden chores, and hanging loads of wash on the line. The National Park Service started work on the bridge, so Marks drive to work is a little longer. Now he drives over the mountain instead of next to the river. One of the Black Stars laid her first egg! Only she did not lay the egg in a nest box. She laid it up on the roosting shelf! I hope she figures it out soon! Curt stopped by with a radiator for the Pontiac...lets hope it fits....guess what we will be working on this weekend? The radiator in the Pontiac has been leaking since the deer hit it this spring, so its about time to get it fixed!
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