Saturday, February 28, 2004

happy birthday Frederic

Nothing like an early morning spar with a spunky rooster to get your heart pumping! I am really getting annoyed with the way my roo is acting lately. I need a rear view mirror keep an eye on him while he is preparing to ambush me. (seems I am not the only one with this trouble) This morning I was lucky that I was carrying the scratch pail and managed to use it to block off the attack (breaking a few eggs in the process). I guess since the temps are going above freezing in the daytime, he is feeling good and wants a little action. Next time it will be in the form of my boot. Anyway, my rooster's name is Frederic after the pirate in the Pirates of Penzance, so happy birthday!

There are signs of spring all over the place now. The slow melt has brought all sorts of activity. One look at the river is enough-you'll notice a flock of mergansers on the river daily, diving down and popping up, working their way up river as they feast. And I have a pair of mourning doves that have decided to nest in the hemlock trees...(humm..wonder if they have met the porcupine). They startle me every time I walk over in that direction to take care of the rabbits. Their wings make a whistling noise as they take flight. I must remember to approach slowly so that I don't disturb them. I enjoy waking up to their cooing at is a soft sound that slowly draws one out of a dream instead of the buzz of the alarm clock. They are the first birds to nest, as they are capable of rearing their young on their milk crop, and do not need to wait for the warmer weather that brings the green food and insects that most other songbirds need. I see the chickadees looking into old nest boxes, house shopping early. And a sure fire sign of spring was an email that arrived from that farmer who lives down river...a picture of daffodil spears! Mine are still under the snow, but just knowing that those buds are there is like spring tonic is a promise that will show itself in April..the miracle WILL happen.."unrevealed until its season, something God alone can see". Yes, it is still winter, but the sun was out a few minutes longer today and that is enough for me.

I practiced Navaho Plying on my wheel with the Targhee I spun on Wed. Freda taught me how to do it, and I really prefer it to the regular method. Now if I can spin a finer yarn, so that the finished product is something better than 12wpi! Worked on grooming my grey doe and got a nice basketfull of beautiful combings and handplucked wool. She seemed to enjoy the attention more than usual. Maybe she was a bit jealous of the time I have been spending with the little guy?

Wednesday, February 25, 2004

three inches of snow fell

yesterday, just enough to whiten up the dirty snow that has been slowly melting. The river is starting to break up now too by the signs of this iceflow. I am ready for spring! Worked on the merino/mohair that I brought at Countrywool, and took the Targhee from Judy to the library to work on today.

Saturday, February 21, 2004

growing up

it is a marvel for me to watch the growing process. so many changes can take place in a short amount of time. it is a good thing that i do not know how to take time lapse photography, i would be playing with it all the time. Jack continues to grow fast, he is loosing his baby face! and spring is on the way, a weeks worth of sunshine on the hillside and presto! i knew it was there all along!

Saturday, February 14, 2004

Little Black Jack Rabbit

Well my new little bunny has been here a week now, and he seems to be adjusting to riverrim life just fine. He has a very nice personality, a little shy, but very gentle. We had a very nice day last Sat. when we went to go get him. The ride to Hudson was quite scenic. We traveled all along the Delaware for the first leg of the trip, and enjoyed seeing all of the ice jams. In some spots, it was jutting out of the water like icebergs! The ice was 3 to 4 feet thick in these spots. The view from the Hawks Nest was beautiful as always. Here is a shot that was taken last Jan.

Looking at all the ice had us thinking about the days of old, and how they used to harvest the ice for the ice boxes in the city. I have seen some wonderful pictures from around here, where the men are cutting the ice into chunks and loading it onto the sleds for the horses to cart it to the ice houses. They used to pack it in sawdust and store it until they needed it in the summer. Just amazing to think about. I have an old pair of those giant cast iron ice tongs that they used to use to handle the ice with. I use them to weight my yarn sometimes when I am setting the twist.

After about a two hour drive, we approached the Rip Van Winkle Bridge that crosses the Hudson River. Now the scenery was really getting beautiful. The Catskill mountains were so pretty with the snow all over them. They make the Pocono's Mountains look like little foothills. Finally we arrived at Countrywool. I had a chance to meet with Claudia and the other new bunny owners. We were all talking about where we lived and how far we had driven to pick up our "wee ones". I was sorry that I could not attend the shearing clinic that had been going on that morning, but perhaps another time. I had a chance to walk around the shop and see all of the beautiful yarns for sale. I brought some roving, a 50% mohair & 50% merino in a soft raspberry sherbert pink....not sure what I am going to make with it, but wanted it for Valentines Day! Then Claudia brought my little guy out, and gave me a pouch of his favorite oats blend and a bag of hay (comfort food) for the transition period. She also gave me a nice folder with papers that include his lineage on both sides, as well as instruction on feeding and caring for Angoras. All in all, it is a nice packet of information that she puts out.

On the way home we stopped to see cousins that live in the Hyde Park area. We had not seen them in a long time, so we had a wonderful visit over dinner. So nice to see everyone again..where does the time go? We drove home in the dark, and the little bunny slept in the car in his cage the first night.

And so, his full name is CW Black Jack Haslein (which means little rabbit in German). He is only 67% German, but he is a beautiful animal with a long staple. I will get pictures when I get a chance.

This week was topped off with a surprise gift of some beautiful rhomney roving and a double lucet. Judy gifted me with the roving for showing her how to weave on a tri loom...and Curt made the double lucet, just because he is such a nice guy (and talented). How blessed I am to have these kind friends. Here is a picture of the single lucet in front of the square loom sample that I made. Can hardly wait to try the double lucet....Already started spinning that rhomney!

Friday, February 06, 2004

of skunks and skunk cabbages

Both are harbingers of spring, and so it is not unusual that I would be writing about them on this icy snowy rainy day, when all I want to dream about is spring. Early this morning before the ice started falling, I trudged out into the snow that had fallen last night, to the chicken coop to look in on the girls. On my way past the rabbit hutches, I noticed little footprints in the snow. The little footprints that look like little troll toes. They can only mean one thing...a skunk has been around. I don't mind the skunk too much. After all, they were around here before we were, so I guess it is their home before ours. As long as you keep your garbage locked up, and the compost lid on tight they leave you alone. A few years ago, before I got my garden fence, I was having a feud with one because he was eating my winter sown spinach, but hey, he was hungry too.

So thoughts of the skunk (and a whiff of him) get me to thinking about the skunk cabbages that are growing below the inches of snow and ice on the ground. The sight of skunk cabbage in February can make my heart flutter. I know, a bit strange here, but until you study this fascinating plant, you may not appreciate it fully. Symplocarpus is the only plant I know of that generates it own heat, enough to melt snow around it! That is why I look for it in the Feb. snow- it is as if spring itself is pushing its way to the surface of the earth. I know from marking my calendar in years past, that the skunk cabbage is up already..only I cannot see it yet, it is still buried beneath all the snow, but it won't be here to read more about skunk cabbage

I am trying to find information about the age of a spinning wheel. I believe it is a Saxony wheel. It belongs to a friend of mine. It belonged to his mother, and was purchased somewhere around the Carolinas. The treadle is not working as it was glued down and the glue has lifted off. Also, the mother of all is broken and needs repair. I do not know if I should attempt to fix it, I do not want to de-value it if it has worth. The footman is a piece of string that attaches to a bent nail. I wish it had some sort of markings to go by. I am pretty much a novice about spinning wheels, but like learning about the history of them. I told my friend that I would try to find out about how old it was, and if it can be fixed. In addition to bringing me the spinning wheel to check out, he also gifted me with a little tri-loom and a Lucet that he had made. I have finished the first neckerchief/scarf that I made on it, using the "pinecone" shetland that I spun. I used the cording that I made on the Lucet for a loop to pass the edge of the scarf through, and hold it in place while wearing it. What fun it was to make! And so fast! Only a few hours. Will be sure to make more of these.

Sunday, February 01, 2004

outdoor chores

We finally got a break in the weather today, and I spent a good bit of time doing outdoor chores. It was nice to have a respite from the icy winds and I actually enjoyed the time in the sunshine. We cleaned out the coop and got down another few bales of fresh hay. The stream is starting to thaw and there was a little trickle of water going down the hillside under the ice.The river was beautiful today, and eagles are everywhere. With the eagles, are the eagle watchers. The towpath is becoming congested with tourists and their video equipment. I saw a pair of eagles flying into each other with their talons up, and wondered what the tussel was all about.
Still spinning and plying the angora. I will most likely start another triloom weaving soon.
Next weekend, I go to pick up my new bunny. I was busy getting his hutch all ready for him. We are due for another major storm mid week, so I figured today would be the day to be outside making the preparations.
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