Thursday, November 30, 2006

hang up the hoes

It is time that I hang the hoes for the year. With the wonderful weather we have been having, it would be possible to keep working, but it is time, the ground will soon freeze and the soil sleep.

The winter rye has germinated...spotty at best. No wonder, the seed is over a year old, purchased from Cornell, remember?

A few beets still linger down in lower bed...left there for "experimentation purposes".

Meanwhile, work begins on another project, which cannot be disclosed because it shall become a gift eventually. I overdyed some of the alpaca/finn and the color is what I call "purple oxalis".

events for November Nov 1st - golden crowned kinglets Nov 2nd - dug dahlia, 4oclocks

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

walk with me wednesday

Over at Smatterings, if it is Wednesday there will be walking. I look forward to checking in on the participants of Walk with me Wednesday. It is fun to read about their walks, and see the photos that they post. I have asked to be added to the list, and hope that I can keep up the pace because I really enjoy walking.

You can always find a good excuse to get out for a walk...fresh air, exercise, time out etc...but there are times when one feels the NEED to walk ...just to keep in touch with the elements. Actually, it is when I am walking that I am IN my element!

Walks, for me, are seldom long enough. Sometimes, the pace is fast, today it was not. Some days, an object of interest will present itself, and find its way into my pocket, or onto a shelf for closer observation. Today there were no such objects.

Today the things that caught my eye did not fit in my pocket...!

Sunday, November 26, 2006


She showed up early this morning. She was hanging around all day. Does she know that tomorrow is opening day of deer season?

I have mixed feelings about deer season. They are beautiful animals and I enjoy watching them year round. I get to recognize certain deer that live around me. They have distinct personalities, like most of us. They get to know me too. There are a few deer that watch me daily, from the woods, as I do my chores and feed my chickens and rabbits. They are my friends, and I like to talk to them. They keep their distance and watch.

I could not do it. I know that it is important to manage a herd. I know that venison is better to eat than beef from the grocery store. The deer have a wild a varied diet, without any antibiotics. Their meat is lower in fat and higher in iron content. I eat venison. If I had to shoot the deer to eat it, I would go hungry. There is just no way that I could pull a trigger while looking into these eyes. I chase her away...I want her to be afraid of me, for her own good...but maybe she will stay close to the house tomorrow, and maybe my friend will stick around for another day....

Tuesday, November 21, 2006


These past few months have been some of the hardest months I have ever had to face in my life. I found myself dealing with situations that I never would have imagined, and had no idea of how I was to cope with them.

At the approach of the Thanksgiving Holiday, I review, quietly and deeply, and recall so many things that we have to be thankful for. And I find myself being grateful for the adversities. How can this be? Why should I be thankful for the difficulties and challenges and hardships? I am reminded of the words, "The deeper that sorrow carves into your being, the more joy you can contain". gibran

How to express my gratitude to those who have helped us through these difficult times is also something that I have been thinking about. I am used to being on the giving side of a situation. It is harder for me to be on the receiving end, but I am learning. I am reminded of more words..

"And you receivers---and you are all receivers---assume no weight of gratitude, lest you lay a yoke upon yourself and upon him who gives. Rather rise together with the giver on his gifts as on wings; For to be overmindful of your debt, is to doubt his generosity ..." gibran

And so I am thankful.

May you enjoy the thanksgiving holiday! We're going over the river and through the woods...see you next week!

Friday, November 17, 2006

w is for water x is for xylem

We have had lots of water in the form of rainfall over the past week. I have had the good fortune to have lived most of my life, (since the second grade) on or near a body of water. More years than not, I have been able to glance out a window and look at a lake or a bay or river. I love the water...I think about water a lot. It is essential. We are composed of 60 to 70 % of water... it takes many different forms...over two thirds of our planet is covered in is what tears are made of and it melted the wicked witch of the west. It is powerful stuff...

Yesterday, amidst the rain, I noticed a pine tree, with sap at its base. I have seen this before, usually in the spring... the water was mixing with the sap and forming bubbles.

It made me think of the phloem and the xylem- the transport tissue... the closer my lens got to the sap, the more it looked like xylem tissue under the microscope.

or maybe a piece of lace knitting....

Tuesday, November 14, 2006


This past weekend, I decided to finish the mohair/angora shawl that I had completed weaving on the triloom. After fulling it, I wanted to try brushing the mohair to see if I could achieve a nice fluffy halo.

It brushed up well enough. However, it did have some fiber that came loose completely, but I continued to brush it until it stopped "shedding". It is now very fuzzy and full. You can see a subtle difference in the nap from the outside of the shawl to the inside. I was happy about this effect because I intended the shawl to have a collar that would show the contrast.

Since my inspiration for this project was the stone wall on the hillside, I wanted a shawl pin to convey this idea, but one that would blend in and not call to much attention to itself...

I really wanted the pin to be an extension of the shawl. I had lots of fun thinking about how to create the pin, and I think I like the pin more than the shawl!

Project notes Date started -Oct. 18 Date completed -Nov. 12 Fiber Content: Mohair/Border Leicester from Judy and my blend of Angora/finn 2 ply wpi 6 size before fulling (62 x 42) size after fulling (60 x 40) Total weight~ 11 ounces of thick- plush -fuzzy warmth....

Monday, November 13, 2006

abc along V is for Vole

We have many voles around the riverrim. They reproduce easily, and can start when they are only one month old, and then have several litters a year. Voles typically have a litter of 6 to seven young, and the female can breed immediately after giving birth. It is a good thing that they have a short life span, and normally do not survive in the wild for more than a year.

I see them frequently, and this one was in the garden. I assume that it had tunneled under the fence, and needed to be relocated. Voles can do a lot of damage to the roots and tubers of certain plants. When we had the chance, we caught it while it was wedged next to a raised bed. I say "we" because it was a joint effort between two humans and a cat.

This was not the first time we have caught a vole. Many years ago while shoveling snow, we shoveled several voles...setting them aside in a wash tub for the toddler to observe ...only to be horrified when they attacked each other. It was at that time that I discovered that voles are cannibalistic.

Voles are different from moles and shrews. Moles have prominent front feet with claws to help them dig. Shrews have more of a pointed nose.

The vole, Microtus pennsylvanicus, was observed and photographed in the jar before relocating to the wooded area. We have enough predators in the way of owls, snakes, fox coyote and cat to keep the vole population in check, so that I don't have to...

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

barberry and bluebirds

Years ago, a few barberry bushes appeared in the side yard. They were about as big as a bushel basket. I decided to transplant them along the roadside, so that one day, they would become a hedgerow. That day has come.

There is barberry growing all over the place around here, so it is not anything unusual. I think some may even say it is invasive. It was brought to America a long time ago. There was a time when it was unlawful to grow barberry in certain states. However, it is beautiful this time of year, and many different animals enjoy the berries on it. I saw a flock of blue birds all over it yesterday...they were so beautiful, but so full of motion I could not focus long enough to get a decent photograph of them.

I once made a jelly from the barberry. I painstakingly picked the berries, avoiding the thorns...I didn't think the flavor was worth doing that again. As I recall, it tasted better used as a glaze on ham, than it did on toast or a biscuit.

Not much time to work on fiber these past few days...but I did finish the "fetching" mitts from Knitty. I squeaked out a pair from some silk that I had spun up a long time ago. When I tied off the last end, there was 3 inches leftover. Barely enough to save as a sample for the old project notebook!... but I liked the pattern quite a bit. It is worked with multiples of 5 and falls into a nice quick rhythm that I didn't have to pay much mind to. Sometimes, I like a project that I don't have to think about when I am doing it. That way, I can talk to someone while I knit and not loose my place. (I'm one of those, "can't walk and chew gum at the same time" sort of people...)

Saturday, November 04, 2006

shearing the buck

No, I didn't shear this handsome fellow...he showed up the other morning, nibbling on the forsythia bushes.

Contrary to what some may think, I cannot tell the how old this buck is by the antlers. The only way to really know his age is to look at his teeth, and he wasn't showing any. But his antlers do impress me, and I think about how he must have started growing them this past spring, and then how he shed the velvet to have them ready for the rut- typically late Oct to mid November around these parts. Yes indeed, they are impressive.

Anyway, I did shear the buck...

and he is a handsome fellow too. This is the last clip before the weather gets too awfully cold.

I was able to get about 6 or 7 ounces off of him, with a nice staple length of 4-5 inches. Lovely! I plan to blend it with the black Finn that I just picked up.

I have spun up some of this blend before, and have used it up as the darker wool in this shawl..which I have recently taken off the loom. Shown above, it is reclining in the rocker whilst waiting for its fulling bath and brushing....

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