Wednesday, October 31, 2007

cucurbitas and

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When I planted my pumpkin seeds this year, I planted 2 types. One was the Amish Pie pumpkin, I only planted 2 vines and had a total yield of 9 very large pumpkins that weighed on the average of 15lbs.

I also took a chance and planted some seeds that I had saved from a Kakai pumpkin that I had grown from seed produced (in 2003 I think) by Johnnys Select Seed. I took a chance, because I figured it would have cross pollinated, and it did. From the outside it looked like a Kakai, but was rather tall in shape. The inside told the truth, the seeds were white.

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The true Kakai pumpkin is really worth growing for a Halloween Jack-O-Lantern. The skin is dark green with yellow and orange stripes. If you carve the inside of the pumpkin rather deeply, you can get a nice luminous glow of stripes when you light the Jack...

The flesh is not really that tasty (the chickens will enjoy it), but the seeds are dark green, hulless and full of good vitamins and minerals known to have medicinal value. They are tasty raw or toasted...and may also be pressed to make oil...I will toast mine. First the seeds will be simmered in salt water for about 10 minutes, then drained and popped into the oven till they "pop" or "puff".

I will be saving the seed from this pumpkin/squash...Queensland Blue is the name I was told. Easy to remember, it looks to me like a Pumpkin Queens crown.

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I didn't grow this one, it was given to me (thanks Grace!)...and I cannot wait to taste it.

If you knock on my door to trick or treat, you will see this:

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It is an antique brass bridle ornament. My sister gave it to me for my birthday one year. She purchased it from ebay. It came from England.

There was only one of them. I wonder who has the other one. When it arrived (a few years ago), I decided to mount it on my front door, directly under the door knocker. There have been a few people who ask me why I have a witch riding a spinning wheel on my front door. Well, I explain that I believe it is a woman wearing the Welsh National Costume and they give me a blank look. If you have not been trick or treating at Marcy's blog yet, stop by. In answer to her "what say you" about witches riding their brooms with the bristles in front or behind...or on distaves...this one looks to be riding with the wheel in front...

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Pendulum Wheel Spinning

Every once in awhile, life allows for a rare experience...And so it was for me at Rhinebeck, when I had the opportunity to try my hands at a Pendulum Spinning Wheel.

On Sunday, I met up with Judy and Marcy (thank goodness for cell phones) over at the Merlin Tree booth, where David Paul had restored a Pendulum Wheel and was offering it for sale. It is a beautiful wheel. Just look at it:

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Very beautiful. The three of us put our heads and hands together, and with the help of a little oil, and some fiddling around with the drive band...the wheel was spinning.

The kinetics: I had never spun on a Pendulum Wheel it took me a few minutes to figure out what I needed to do, and when I needed to do it. It is basically, a "sitting walking wheel" (as David called it) and being a spindle wheel, the method for drafting is pretty much the same. However, it did present it's own set of challenges....a bit like, well, when you can pat your head, rub your tummy, and someone says, "now hop on one foot".

The esthetics: There is an energy and a connection to the past that one experiences when spinning on a rare wheel like this. I quietly, and to myself, admire the inventor of this style of wheel, and his idea to have the spindle move away from the spinner, rather than the spinner move from the spindle. If a spinning wheel can be beautiful and graceful in its operation, then surely this must be, when a person who has mastered it is spinning on it.

I imagine, that when a spinner is proficient on this type of wheel, a length of yarn measuring approx 8-10 foot could be produced during the long draw. On the Great Wheel, I can comfortably produce a 6 foot length before winding on. Anything longer than that could be accomplished with the aid of a wool finger, or stick.

And so, it was great fun and a terrific experience to have a chance to spin on a Pendulum Wheel. It made me glad for Fiber Festivals, because they provide a place for us to come together and celebrate so many of the different aspects and facets of textiles. Oh, and then there is the shopping...

Saturday, October 20, 2007

save it

The color of autumn is vivid now...except for the oaks, deliberately waiting to turn. I stand in awe of the color. It is magnificent. It is brilliant. It is...only sugar and acid...leftovers in the leaves....In a few weeks from now, the canopy will be on the ground, the color will be gone, and the forest floor will be brown. I want to save the color.

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I save the seeds. The broccoli has been making nice seed. I will not plant this seed, rather, I will use it for sprouting and eat it over the winter. Broccoli sprouts are yummy.

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The nasturtium seeds are everywhere. The have a faint peppery or pungent odor. I will save them for next years flowers. They need to dry first. I let them sit on the sieve, and roll them around from time to time.

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We went to pick up the fresh hay for the rabbits and chickens. It smelled great. They think so too. Ten bales this year, should take us through.

My husband called me to the garden yesterday evening..."bring the camera!"...he called. I found him with this on his thumb.

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She is full, ready to lay eggs.

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It is another sign, another message, a note from autumn. They are there, and whenever you see them, they are special and you want to save them.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Nice things, because Nice Matters.

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A wonderfully nice thing happened to me yesterday. I didn't have my camera to record it. The camera was left on the shelf. Sometimes I do that, to make myself pay attention to other things like sounds and smells. I have a hard time leaving the camera behind. I always worry that the perfect situation will present itself, and I will not have the camera to record it. It did, and I did not.

There was big flock of chickadees in the wood. About 30 of them by my count. There were also about 4 titmice in the mix. They noticed me, and were making that familiar chickadee buzzing call. They gathered all around me so I stood very still. It was amazing. Mesmerizing. I could hear the fluttering of their wings as they approached even closer, looking at me, surrounding me. I stretched out my arm and opened my hand. Three of them came within grasp, looking to see if I was offering something. If only I had offered some seed, I do think they would have perched on my fingertips. After a time, I began to walk again, and their buzzing quickly changed to a chipping. Bird talk. What were they saying about me, I wonder. Do they think I am nice? Does it matter? Apparently so.

Earlier in the week I was named as a recipient of the Nice Matters award by Cathy. I read her Catena blog on a regular basis. It is through Cathy's blog, that I have discovered so many other Nice blogs. It is fitting that she should get a Nice Blog Award. When I visit the Catena blog, her creativity, intellect, and energy inspire and motivate me. When I saw my name selected among the others, I was humbled to be in their company!

Nice does matter to some of us. It is recognized and cultivated by those that appreciate it. It can also be looked at by some, as a sign of weakness. I know. That is why you hear things like, "Nice guys finish last."

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But I am happy to be named with a Nice Matters Award..and according to instruction I name seven others.

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According to the originator of the Nice Matters award it is intended for “those that are just nice people, good blog friends, and those that inspire good feelings and inspiration! Those that care about others, that are there to lend support, or those that are just a positive influence in our blogging world!” For those receiving the award, you may like to pass on the award to 7 whom you think deserves it.

Yarnspinners Tales - Cindy was one of my very first blogging friends. We have kept in touch even when our blogs have been on hiatus. Now is a good time to mention that Cindy is starting up a podcast for spinners! Hooray!

FiberJoy - Wanda's blog is rather new to me. I found Wanda through Smatterings and the Walk with Me Wed. Fiberjoy is a good name for Wanda's blog...she finds joy in many things, in many ways.

Smatterings - Judy, who started Walk with me Wed. ..a kindred spirit, with a special way of seeing things. She translates that to her yarn through her dyepots.

Habetrot - I've never seen a meme or award on Marcy's blog. But that is Ok...Marcy's blog is great just the way it is. She probably has had tons of nominations...her blog is very unique.

Leigh's fiberjournal- Leigh has a gift for explaining what she does and how she does it. I enjoy every word and every detail of the projects that she shares.

Knitagarden - Judith has not kept this blog for a while. In fact, if you try to link to it, you cannot access it anymore. I miss reading Judith, and I miss seeing through her lens. It is deserving of an honorable mention for a Nice Blog Award...even if it no longer exists. If you ever read it, you will know what I mean.

Clothesknit - Amanda ended her blog in August. You can still read it, but she will be missed too. Thanks Amanda, for all of your's been nice!

Monday, October 15, 2007

phenological events October 2007

phenological events October 07

1st Maples and Birch drop leaf
4th Harvest pumpkins build corn shock
12th White Pine needles drop
14th warblers migrate
18th stacked hay
19th harvest garden seed
28th first frost
29th first fire in stove

soup and scarves

The days are starting out cool and takes a few hours for the sun to come out. It is starting to feel like autumn, but we still have not had a frost, and when I went to investigate things in the garden, I am amazed at what is still blooming this far into October. Even the sunspot squash plants are blooming and producing! The basil is going strong, and that is usually the first to give it up.

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It is soup weather. I made some sunspot squash soup. The hardest part about the recipe for me was cutting the squash open. The chickens love to eat the seeds and pulp from the insides, so I scooped it out and saved it for them. I roasted the halves with garlic, simmered some onions and celery on the stove, and added the roasted combo to the pot with a little bit of chicken stock. I packed most of it for lunches. I will add the yogurt and spices just before serving.

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Found a pattern on ravelry that I wanted to try out. It is a neck warmer from Yarn Abuse. Easy, quick...and it "requires one cool button". I made two.

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this first one I made from some handspun Alpaca...which I had spun rather thin and then Navajo plied. I carried 2 stands on size 13 needles. The button I made from padauk wood.

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this second one, I made from the handspun angora from Lakota. This is a 2 ply that I also carried 2 strands over size 13's.. and finished it off with a button made of ...hummm..can't remember the wood type...I really need to take better notes... one thing for certain, the angora is extremely soft. I am tempted to turn the right side in, and wear the halo next to the skin. It will certainly be warm and soft.

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It is a fun pattern and knits up quickly on those large needles. I would make some adjustments next time...because I am finding that the edges are curling, even when I blocked it. On the Alpaca, I blocked it so brutally, that the yarn was flattened in the process! And still the edges curl.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

walk with me wed, wool thoughts

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The color starts slowly. The cold front moved in last night and brought with it some much needed rain. The rain washed the dryness away and everything appears clean, crisp and sharp.

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the cooler air is welcome, the overcast sky makes for interesting light. Each morning when I wake, I am noticing the darkness. I don't mind the passing of summer, just the loss of light. I've been washing windows...

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I am not inspired by my walk today. I cannot seem to stop thinking about the yarn I am spinning. A finn/alpaca blend. See it inside the window on the niddy noddy? Seeing it makes me want to go inside and do some more's on the Canadian's (Quebec) beckons...

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The other night when I could not sleep, I came downstairs to spin this wool. I spun for over an hour. It was better than sleep. No plans for it, no project awaits...I just want to spin it...all of it...

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316 yards to date...

Tuesday, October 09, 2007


We interrupt this regularly scheduled blog to post a book meme. Fiberjoy Wanda has tagged me. Book meme's are hard to answer...there are oh- so- many choices.

1.Hardcover or paperback, and why?
Either one...except for picture books. Picture books must be hardcover.

2.If I were to own a book shop, I would call it…
84 Charing Cross Road...oh wait, that's been done before... :-)

3. My favorite quote from a book (mention the title) is…
"If I wait long enough, if I'm patient and cool, who knows what I'll catch in McElligot's pool?"

4. The author (alive or deceased) I would love to have lunch with would be…
K. Gibran or Dr. Seuss or both.

5. If I was going to a deserted island and could only bring one book, except for the SAS survival guide, it would be… The Bible

6. I would love someone to invent a bookish gadget that…
has the words printed on the inside of a pair of that when you put the glasses on, you could read the book...of course the pages would scroll by at the same speed that you would read. When you get tired of reading and you close your eyes, the auto reader would come on and read to you.

7. The smell of an old book reminds me of…
nothing particular...just other old books. Now-- the smell of a new library book with a crisp new jacket reminds me of the first time I set foot in a library, which happened to be a bookmobile.

8. If I could be the lead character in a book (mention the title), it would be…
Alice, from Alice in Wonderland...I could fall down a real rabbit hole.

9. The most overestimated book of all times is…
sorry..this one is making me think tooo much..over all times covers a lot of ground!

10. I hate it when a book…
is....thrown away. For some reason, I cannot bear to see people throw books into the trash. I once saw this at my public library and I was dismayed. I tag... Greenberry Leslie,

Cathy Catena,

Wandering Dawn,

Happyacres Judy,

and you (but only if you want to)! We now return you to the regularly scheduled blog...

Monday, October 08, 2007

harvesting wool

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A glance to the calendar tells me that it is October. I keep looking at it to remind myself of that, because the weather feels so warm ...and although some of us (grasshoppers) decided to go swimming this past weekend, preparations still need to be made for the coming winter. Harvesting continues, even when it comes to wool!

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Lakota, shown here on my lap, is getting better and better at having her wool harvested..much to my delight! It is an enjoyable experience for both of us, now that she is not so shy and worried. Because of her small size, it takes me less than an hour to clip her. Her coat is not as long as some rabbits that I have owned, but it is thick, and the color is lovely. She has a bit of luster that shows in the guard hairs....

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snip, snip, snip..."what a sweet creature you are to give me such soft warm wool" (I tell her this in a calm low voice...she likes it when you talk to her)..."such silky warm softness... that will be a delight to spin. No scouring carding...just spinning! Thank you Lakota!"

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snip, snip, snip.....

Thursday, October 04, 2007

how many sheaves does it take to make a shock?

I missed my walk on Wednesday this week. I had to go and get tires for the car. I sat in a waiting room for 4 hours. It was a good thing that I brought some knitting to do while I was waiting.

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We have been without rain for a very long time. The river is low and still. At times, you cannot even hear the water flowing by. The color just starts to show, a little bit more every day. I am tempted to play the grasshopper, and wile away the hours...but I know full well that I need to get the corn cut so I can plant my winter rye.

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And so the afternoon was spent bending over and cutting the sheaves. They were laid into bundles of 50 and carried out of the garden. Eight time over. Now this may seem like a lot of corn, but almost half of the ears did not develop fully, and that is due to poor pollination. All is not lost, the chickens will get the dried cobs to munch on when the snow flies this winter, and when they have picked the cobs clean, I will save them to make bobbins for the Great Wheel. This is something I have read about, but have yet to try.

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Once I had the all the sheaves together, I built a shock. I made 3 bundles first, and lashed them together tepee style (so the wind or perhaps a hungry whitetail won't knock it over.) Then I laid the rest of the sheaves all around and in between the original 3 bundles. When I was finished, I braided leaves from the stalks, to make a tie to bind the center of the shock. It was my favorite part.

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Before I forget, I have finished spinning the Merino that I purchased from Misty Mountain Fiber Workshop. There was only 8 ounces, a quick spin on the Ashford...resulting in a double ply of about plans for it yet. BTW, has anyone seen my Cushings Acid Dyes? I have over 25$ worth of them that I seem to have misplaced... grrrrrr....

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

zimmermans bsj


I have finished knitting my first baby surprise jacket by E. Zimmerman. I say first because I will make another was a fun project. Next time around I will not need help (thanks Judy!) The yarn is from my handspun stash...Finn/Alpaca blend, processed by Woolly Knob. I brought the roving and spun the yarn a few years ago. I have finally used up every strand of the pound that I spun. Thankfully, Judy had some in her stash...she gave me a skein so that I could finish the booties. I have used all of this yarn for baby projects. The color is a soft, blue green grey...nice for a boy or a girl.


The buttons came from my stash. Happily, they match perfectly. I made a pair of booties (Saartje's Bootees) to go with the sweater. The garter stitch on the booties seemed like a good way to make it look like a set. The bootie pattern calls for buttons, but I just couldn't make myself sew the buttons on the booties. I kept having worried thoughts about baby's and choking on buttons. So I crocheted some buttons.

saartje's booties

This set is a gift for someone who is expecting her first baby this month. She decided, with her husband, not to know the sex of the baby until it's birthday...the "baby surprise" jacket was the perfect pattern!

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