Tuesday, January 22, 2013

melts, markings and marsupials

The winter waters are flowing during the day, but at night they freeze again. There is a pattern to the pace. It repeats itself.

slowly and steadily the melting snow travels down to the river each day. At night it trickles underneath the film of ice that covers it, contouring around the rocks ...while the smoke from our chimney curls upwards into the night sky. Are we half way to spring yet?

As per a special request, I had my woodturning friends (Debbie with help from Fred) make a couple of reproductions from my Bulgarian Spindle. I decided I wanted to use the spindle with the Bulgarian Distaff (more on that later), but didn't want to risk damaging it. I burned the same markings or pattern that appears on the staff, into the wood of the spindle. The design on the staff, I am fairly certain, was chip carved...and since I lack those skills, I turned to pyrographing the pattern.

The finished spindle works well! A superb ergonomic design! It is so comfortable to use! A pure delight! The tip on the shaft makes all the difference to my fingers. Such a delicate thing...I hardly feel it in my hands. Thanks, Fred! And I am working with the Wallachian wool sample that my kind friend Vlad'ka sent to me ...all the way from the Czech Republic! Thank you, Vlad'ka! I am learning!

Last night, a marsupial came to call. A knock at the window. And when I turned on the lights...there were eyes looking back at me! The eyes of Didelphis virginiana..or the common Virginia Opossum...

The Algonquin Indians named them apasums..(white animals). Since it is mid winter, I wondered if there were any little opossums in the pouch. It is late January, their breeding season, and young are born a couple of weeks after that. I once found a tiny opossum in the snow, it was no bigger than my finger.

Opossums don't live very long, but as I think back on things, we usually see one or two of them in the winter. There was the time I was collecting the eggs from the hens nest boxes, and put my hand on a opossum that was curled up fast asleep...and the other time that one climbed way up high onto the post and then fell off backwards into the snow drift!

His/ or her pink fingers and ears tell the tale of cold weather. I suspect the critter was in search of some suet it smelled, my husband had recently filled the cages at the bird feeders. I took a few photos and then shooed the opossum off into the night.


Vlaďka said...

Hello Cyndy :-)
I am really curious what you will make with wool. I look forward to it. Your new spindle is a very nice piece.

Opossum - this is so lovable animal. I have never seen it before. It isn´t timid? You have got very interesting nature in your area. Thank you for these pictures.

thecrazysheeplady said...

You are always up to something super interesting. Thanks for sharing!

Judy said...

Beautiful work on the spindle from all of ya's. Love all your visitors

Valerie said...

That possum looks so young!! I shudder at the thought of reaching in a nest for an egg and unexpectedly finding a baby possum.

Temps are in the single digits here and the birds are all fluffed up at the feeders. Imagine puffy cardinals and chickadees. One brave little chickadee came to tap at me on the kitchen window while I was washing up after breakfast...a rare and brave occurrence. (Usually the squirrels come over and give me "what for" if they don't think there's enough corn out there for them.)

The spindle is lovely. I've not seen one with such a grip at the top and can imagine the advantage. Beautiful work with the markings! What type of wood was used?

knitmearchive said...

Well, he/she is much cuter in your photos than I think I'd find him in person! Not the same animal as a "possum", right? This one is smaller?

cyndy said...

Good question! Had to consult the Grammer Wizard for that one ;o)

Short answer, Yes and No !

In general some people call an opossum a possum...but in the world of science, a true opossum would be the species of the Western world, and a possum is the species found in Austrailia.

Cathy said...

Lovely spindles - so much fun to read what you are up to.

Opossums at the farm were a nuisance... under the house, getting into the house, falling into the dogs' water bowl and almost drowning... didn't make good pets and their fur wasn't at all soft.

Yet, I sort of missing seeing them scurry around at night!

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