Sunday, January 29, 2006

what?? no furnishings?

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When I made the change from water bottles to crocks, I noticed Jack starting to "wash" his face more often.  I tried keeping up with combing his furnishings out, but I noticed they were starting to matt.  Finally, I trimmed them off because I couldn't stand it anymore!  He does not look as distinguished as usual, but I think he is more comfortable....and I feel better about trimming those wads off!
This winter has been sorta weird with the warm spells, followed by freeze snaps.  I have wanted to clip Jack because it seems he is dropping coat like crazy.  I am afraid if I clip him, he will be too I have been making sure I comb, and comb, and comb some more.
Here is a basket full of combings.
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I also spent some time trimming off other areas where he was starting to matt (around his back end and on top of his back feet.)  He is such a good bunny with a tender and trusting heart.
Jack is two years old already.  He was born on Dec 9, 2003.  My husband brought him for me for Christmas, but we didn't bring him home until February of the following year.  I searched through some old photos to find this one of him.  It was his first day living along the riverrim.
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Claudia has a picture of Jack's mother (Liebchen) on her Bare Hare blog....(as well as a beautiful rabbit named Merry).  Maybe it is just me, but when I look at Liebchen, I see so much of Jack.  It is something in the eyes and face.  I never realized that rabbits could look so much like their kin...sorta like people.
There are many eagles along the river these days.  There are many "eagle watchers" as well.  I understand that the National Park shut work down on one of the local bridges, due to the fact that the eagles are pairing up for the breeding season.  I tried to get some good pictures today...but it started to rain, and they came out rather dark.  I noticed may immature eagles today...they do not have the white head yet.
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It is interesting to me that there are several groups tracking eagles with radio telemetry.
There have also been lots of seagulls flying over the river this week.  I think they are ringed-billed gulls that are feeding on Alewife.

Friday, January 27, 2006

Leicester Locks

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I have been finishing up what is left of the Border Leicester Fleece that I brought from Betty Levin at the MSW this past spring.  Every morning, I wash up another batch of locks for that evenings spinning.  I sort the locks as carefully as possible, arranging them neatly, and then floating them on the hot soapy water.  When the water cools, I gently lift them out and place them on terry.  They are rolled, and then placed on the screen to dry.  This fleece has wonderful luster.
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When I am ready to spin, I take a handful of the locks...
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I use a dog slicker to flick the ends out.  I start with the butt end, grasping the middle, and then turn the locks over and do the same to the tips.  These locks are the prettiest shade of pewter at the butt, and they turn golden blonde at the tips.
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While spinning, I do a long draw, starting from the butt end (always) and the bottom of the fanned lock, and working my way up to the top right corner of the fan.  This process is very systematic...but has lately become part of my daily (and nightly) routine.  I am trying to stick with it until I have finished the fleece.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006


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Yikes, I have been tagged by Judith!
It's a meme of fours....
Four jobs I've had
1. private airport secretary
2. book store
3. mortgage company
4. gallery/picture framer
Four movies I could watch over and over
1. The wizard of Oz
2. Fantasia
3. Waking Ned Devine
4. Marx Brothers Duck Soup
Four places I have lived
1. in the mountains
2. by the bay
3. in the city
4. in the suburbs
Four favorite t.v. shows
1. 24
2. Frontline
3. JH Stargazer
4. Modern Marvels
Four places I've been on Vacation
(vacation??  What's that??)
1. Niagara Falls
2. Kentucky (to see the moonbow's)
3. Grand Canyon
4. The Bahamian Islands
Four favorite foods
1. fresh picked peas
2. fresh picked corn
3. the first lettuce of the season
4. pie (any pie at all)
Four places I'd rather be right now
1. There's
2. no place
3. like
4. home
Four sites I visit daily
1. yahoo
2. google
3. weather
4. space weather
Four people to tag
2. Judy

Monday, January 23, 2006


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1.The act or an instance of diverting or turning aside; deviation.
2.Something that distracts the mind and relaxes or entertains
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Lately I find myself being diverted from what I intend to do.  This fun yarn was a quick diversion from shawl I have been working on.
Even the forsythia blossom on my window sill provides diversion from the winter landscape.  They stand in stark contrast to the bush outside, still sleeping in the bud.
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The melodic sounds of my son's guitar take my mind to a different time and place...and thoughts are diverted.
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The January thaw is over, and the snow cover returns.  Time to get things back on track.Image hosting by Photobucket

Thursday, January 19, 2006

blue sky, smiling on me

The blue sky this morning is beautiful, and the rains of yesterday have washed away all of our snow!
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This little chickadee follows me around while I tend to chores.  One of my daily chores involves a trip to the coal bin, where I fill two buckets of coal for the stove.  My weather man informs me that we are 1/3 of the way through the winter now.  I am pleased with the amount of coal left in our bin at this point.  Each day when I shovel the coal into the buckets, my mind shifts to thoughts of the coal miners in WV, and the recent accident.  I still keep the families of the coalminers in my prayers, and think of how hard people have to work sometimes.
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Back in the house, I kick off my old boots.  I notice the new Yak Tracks (thanks mom!) on my beat up old boots.
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I have been needing new boots for some time.  I don't know what it says about me that I have not gone out to buy any...
a.  it will take time
b.  it will take money
c.  the new ones will feel "different"
d.  all of the above
I am comfortable in my old beat up boots, but it will soon be time to chuck them. I take off the new Yak Tracks, as all the ice and snow is gone, and I don't want to wear the Yak Tracks out.  My old pair broke, and I was lost without them!
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Here are the finished felted footies before felting.  They are big and cushy on my feet.  The pattern calls for the fulling process to be done in the washing machine.  I always get nervous at that prospect, and may do this pair by hand so that I can keep a careful watch on the size.  The Finnsheep wool has a tendency to felt quickly, and the same may not be true of the angora.

Saturday, January 14, 2006


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It is good to be back home.  I always get very homesick whenever I go away from here.  I miss the family, but I miss the river too.  I am so very accustomed to the sounds and sights and smells of its many moods, and seasons, that I feel like a part of me is missing when I am not around it.
Yesterday was a very mild day.  It seems to early for a January thaw, but I will take it if that is what is happening.  The recent rainfall and high temperatures cause the snow melt on the cliffs.  Fog and mist hang on the evergreens, and make the forest smell of fresh pine.  Here and there, patches of dark earth and green grass start to show where the snow has melted off.
I have managed to get quite a bit of knitting done in the past days spent at my mothers side while she was on the mend in hospital.  She caught a "very, very, very bad" virus over the Holiday.  Thank goodness she is home now too.
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I started on this shawl. It is a very simple rib pattern done in multiples of 3, on size 11 needles out of Mohair that I spun with purchased roving from Tintagel Farm.  I found the pattern in last years January edition of Creative Knitting.  There was a nice article about a book called "Knitting into the Mystery" which deals with the concept of contemplative knitting- and what happens to the knitter as she/he knits.  The pattern can be accomplished without focusing on it.  This allows the knitter to meditate according to her own spiritual traditions, or hold a specific loved one, (perhaps the recipient of the shawl) in mind while knitting.  I figured it was just the sort of project I needed to work on while helping my mother get better.  The finished size will be approx. 28 x 60.
Finally, from the "what does this mean?" department...
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I have noticed that most of the eggs collected from the henhouse in the past few days, are pyriform.  When one collects eggs from a hen day after day, one recognizes these subtle changes.  I have been collecting eggs daily for more years than I care to admit, but I have come to know which eggs belong to which hen.  Therefore, I notice when there is a change in size or shape or color of the egg.  I try to note changes in food or weather that would account for these differences.
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I have read that the hen determines the shape of the egg (internal structure of her organs etc.)  I have also read that if an egg is pointed the chick would be a rooster, and if it were round it would be a hen.  (credit Aristotle with that one)...but it seems to me that my hens lay these pointed shaped eggs when there is a full moon.  It has happened enough times for me to notice that, so now I will start charting the month that it happens with a full moon.
More reading and pretty pictures about eggs can be found at this link.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

beginnings and endings

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The beginning of this year marks the end of a really nice old tree that used to live outside my front door.  It was one of a pair of grand old White Spruce trees, that stood on either side of the entrance to our home.  I have often wondered if the first owners of the cabin planted them as "Man and Wife Trees", a custom that I read about in an Eric Sloane book.
At any rate, a few years ago a big storm came to our area, and blew over many white pine trees.  As they lay rotting, they attracted the white pine sawyer...which is an interesting looking beetle with antenna that measure three times the length of their body.  The adults feed on pine needles, but they lay their eggs under the bark.  Herein, lies the danger to the tree.  The larva and subsequent pupae, chew into the wood.  I have heard them munching away,and have seen the sawdust float down and form a pile at the base of the tree.
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The pine sawyer beetles made their way to one of our white spruce trees.  Although the beetle does not kill the tree, the holes that it leaves behind provide an environment for pathogenic fungi to develop.  This is what killed our tree.
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The tree stood close enough to the house to make it necessary to take it down.  All that remains of the tree now, is a pile of mulch that will serve as pathways through the garden this summer.  Many thanks to MK and his sons for doing a remarkable job for us.
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I am still working on knitting up several different types of slippers to felt.  They are great for using up leftover bits of handspun because I carry several strands of yarn at a time.  This pair is being made from a blend of Finnsheep (that I spun during demonstration this past summer)...and handspun Angora, from Jack.
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They are quite cozy in my hands as I knit them.  I intend to give them to my mother, and will be taking some time away for a visit.
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