Sunday, February 28, 2010

feb 2010 phenological events

Here are the notes for February of 2010

2nd six more weeks
3rd snow cover returns
12th porcupine returns
15th egg avalanche begins
23rd-26th big snowfall 20+ inches
28th-flock of bluebirds near bank

I've been collecting phenological notes for a few years now. It is interesting to go back over them and compare the results.

Here are the notes from February of 2009

6th- flocks of bluebirds
8th- 4 hens laying
9th- turkeys strut in the morning
20th- woodpeckers drilling
24th- porcupine still in hemlock
25th- snow cover off the garden
28th- frogs wake up

And the notes for February of 2008

1st - ice storm
11th - observed 26 eagles
in one area, 10-20 feet above
the river 13th - ice storm
23rd - 8" snow
25th - cutting blackberry canes
26th - observed 29 eagles
along river towpath

Saturday, February 27, 2010

digging out


Opening the door in the morning to size up my situation.


Looking up, it appears the snow has stopped for now.

There is a lot of snow to be moved.

It was a good old fashioned type of storm.


Limbs from the old white pines could not withstand the weight of the snow. They broke free and were deposited in a neat pile in the middle of the road, and elsewhere.

Thankfully we didn't loose electricity.


On average it is said that a cubic foot of snow may weigh 15 pounds.

I have my work cut out for me.


And there are others who decide to find a cozy spot and wait for spring.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

5 reasons

1. The snow is melting and mud season is starting.

2. The skunk cabbage is showing its hood.

3. The buds are looking less than deliberate, and it is time to set the spiles.

4. My rooster crowed for the very first time today. He is the same rooster chick that I took a picture of last October. You can see how much he has grown. And how much he looks like his father!


And this is one of the new hens.


Notice her muddy feet. I keep telling them to wipe their feet because it's mud season, but for some reason they don't listen to me.

5. The sun sank behind the mountain at 5:05 pm today and that is precisely one minute later than yesterday.


No matter the forecast for the next 5 days shows 5 cancels them out.

Friday, February 19, 2010

for reel


My CPW had a full bobbin of Jacob singles on it, and I wanted to clear it off, and ready my wheel for some flax.

I decided that I would set the singles aside for trying a "dyed THEN plied" technique.

So I reached for my reel, and started winding off. I have disconnected my "hammer" mechanism because the gears are a bit, um sticky, so I had to keep count of my turns.


This reel may be European, perhaps German in origin, and it does not measure in conventional yards. If I measure the entire distance of one pass, I wind up with about 90 inches.


Grace suggested to me that my reel could be measuring in ells. One ell is equal to 45 inches (or 1.25 yards), so one complete pass would give me the 90 inches and equal 2 ells (or 2.50 yards) I counted my turns and did the math...and wound up (or off) with approximately 392 yards...(give or take an inch or two....)and I haven't yet measured wpi.


The word ell is from the Latin ulna which originally meant the elbow and is now the name of the bone on the outside of the forearm.

Photobucket My yarn has been on the bobbin for a time and my singles seem to have a permanent wave.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

half past february


yes,'s still snowing....

cheer up, at least we are half past february....

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

the narrows


Valerie left me a comment -inquiring about how my support spindling has been coming along. I'm so glad that she did! I have been enjoying it. The Kingwood Russian style support spindle is exactly what I have been needing to spin the short and lofty fibers from my bunny, Lakota.


So, after finishing up the sample, which worked up to be something like 37 yards of a 2 ply with 20 wpi, I opened a bag of Lakota's angora clippings that I harvested last spring. The wool is very soft, and silky. Lakota's locks do not have a long staple length. On average, they measure 2 to 3 inches (some areas are an inch at best). These short silky fibers are perfect for spinning on the support spindle. To prepare the fiber, I simply take a pinch or two of fiber in one hand and draw the comb through the ends. I'm getting more confidence as the days go by. My fingers are feeling relaxed with the flick and have settled into a nice rhythm of drafting and twisting. Support spindles seem to be a good way to slow down and study the way that twist runs into the draft. I usually spend a few moments with my spindle in the morning after I pour my coffee and open the stove draw to kick up the heat - there have been some very cold mornings of late.


The drive into town for chicken feed took me past beautiful ice forms. The waterfall is running beneath the frozen exterior shell. Underneath the ice, the rush of water over rocks makes a soft shushing sound. There are some areas where the ice is thin, you are able to see the water flowing.


It is a curious thing to watch the frozen water at the Narrows, large slabs of ice are jutting up out of the river, jamming up and sometimes breaking off and joining the fast open waters. I stand and watch for as long as I can, but the winds are high and the cold bites at my skin.


Wednesday, February 03, 2010

it comes as no surprise


That is what I thought you said.

Six more weeks.

Then again, maybe I don't understand Groundhogease. Things can get lost in translation, you know.

There is more daylight happening. I have proof.


Most of my hens are laying again. These eggs are so shiny because they are still wet. I washed the bloom off. The bloom is a thin membrane (also called the cuticle). It is the natural covering of the egg and helps to keep bacteria out because it seals off the pores in the shell. When I wash the bloom off, I always make sure the running water is warmer than the egg temperature. Colder water would force any surface bacteria into the egg. The eggs you buy in the grocery store usually have the bloom removed..and they replace it with a coat of mineral oil.


A few finished Great Wheel spun cops hang around waiting to be plied together. What kind of yardage am I getting, I wonder....


Leftover corn husk quills can (sometimes) be reused. These are getting worse for the wear...


Wound off onto the nod...I know I counted the yardage and wrote it on a note is floating around here somewhere ?

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