Tuesday, December 29, 2009

open letter to erethizon dorsatum


Dear Sir Porcupine, (or perhaps I should call you Madam Porcupine)--


Kindly refrain from eating my Hemlock Tree.

Last winter, I did not complain when you spent most of your time lounging in my tree.

I didn't even complain when I watched you throw branch after branch down to your friends (the deer) below. I understand completely that Hemlock is your favorite food, and that porcupines and whitetail need a meal just as much as we all do.


I admit that I was extremely annoyed at you this past spring as I raked up the branches of half of my Hemlock Tree and carted them off to the burn pile. It is true, you may have heard me muttering to myself about all the extra work you caused me, and how unsightly you have made my yard and my Hemlock Tree.

In spite of everything, I defended your existence to my neighbor, who has shot your kin in cold blood, and advised me to dispose of you in the same fashion.


I thought you would get the idea that you should move on when I constructed a blockade around my Hemlock tree. Your blatant disregard for my protective measures indicates that you do not realize that I mean business. I will not let you kill my Hemlock Tree.

btw, I am not afraid of your quills.


I work with fiber and I have a few sharp bits of my own..see?


(Not that I would ever use them on you.... I just want to make a point, ahem.)

In closing, I appreciate all the photos and the quills that you have donated to my art projects. I will miss seeing your silhouette against the sky, the funny way you use your tail to climb the trees and your adorable round button eyes.


But I love my Hemlocks as much as you do--and it is time for you to go. There are other Hemlock Trees in the forest. I suggest you chew on one of those and do not return to this one.

signed, caretaker of your favorite pair of Hemlocks near the ledges by the riverrim

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

soliloquy -center stage-

I have completed the first project using the fiber from Allspice.

Allspice is a huacaya alpaca who lives at Finca Alta Vista Farm. According to the Alpaca registry of colors, Allspice would be classified as beige.


The individual locks of her fiber reveal exceptional crimp with good architecture and a staple length of 4 inches. This translates to a yarn with loft, memory and an overall silky, soft handle.

For this project, the locks were washed individually, and hand combed, then pulled through a diz and spun and plied on a Canadian Production Spinning Wheel.

Finca Alta Vista commissioned this stole for sale through the Paco Fino collection. Listed below, are the project details.

"Centre Stage Stole"

64 inches long 25 inches wide


approx 800 yards handspun Alpaca

one ounce of spindle spun and plied natural tussah silk.


Copper, Silver and Gold tone seed beads



The simplicity of design and the luxurious silk and alpaca yarns combine in subtle harmony.


A center panel of feather lace stitch is flanked by 2 panels of modified cell and garter stitch.


The panels are joined together with a three-needle bind-off and trimmed with picot beaded edging in tones of copper, silver and gold.


The shimmer of silk, the softness of alpaca and the subtle sparkle of tiny beads: this elegant stole takes center stage.


Sunday, December 20, 2009

winter moments

Cold weather, snow and wind blown days bring the wild ones in from the wood.


Early in the morning hours, I count the hens. Most days I count 36 of them.

Their feet point the way. Can you tell if they are coming or going?


The whitetail come looking near the hen house and rabbit hutch for any dropped pieces of hay or corn.


The porcupine sits up high in the Hemlock, and drops branches to the deer below.


Movements are slow, now that the cold and ice are here.

Mostly, they don't mind when I use my camera.


But there are those moments when we startle each other.

Back inside -loose ends are being tied together as the clock begins to wind down on 2009.


Tomorrow brings the winter solstice, the shortest day will show the longest shadows.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

last haul

Photobucket Sweet Alyssum still blooms in the grow house

Winter has suddenly arrived! Not without warning. We knew a storm was coming. There was enough time to get out to the garden and pull the last of the harvest. There was not much..but enough to make it worth the effort.

Photobucket Brussel Sprouts stored on the stems

The soil was not frozen a few days ago when I pulled these carrots, but tonight the temperatures are expected to drop into the teens. This comes after the storm that dropped about 6 inches of snow/sleet/rain. The kind of storms the forecasters like to call "a wintry mix".

Photobucket a colander full of carrots

This last harvest is a late one. Are you ready for winter? I'm not. I just started to wear my hat and mittens.

Photobucket onions cleaned and stored in an open basket

Ready or not, winter is here. Meteorological winter, that is. Astronomical winter arrives on Dec. 21st this year. Do you know the difference?

Photobucket Axe or Maul?

The sound of the axe has already been replaced by the sound of coal buckets being filled.


Staying warm and cozy becomes a daily chore now. Oh yes, there are pictures of snow to show you...but I have a feeling that it is going to be around for awhile, and right now I'd rather sit by fire and warm up to winter..


..and finish up a few projects...

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