Tuesday, February 27, 2007

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We had a few more inches of snow fall, just enough to freshen the dirty snow look, and just enough to shovel. It was heavy and wet, like spring snow. When walking on it, one is aware of the crunching noise, and the lumps it makes from sticking to the bottom of the boots.

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Now that the order has been filled for the production spinning, I can do some for myself, and set to work on the black Finnsheep. I am starting to feel more confident about the consistency of the singles that I can spin on the Great Wheel. I scoured and carded the Finn myself, so I would have more control over the roving. Once I fill the spindle, I am sliding the yarn package off and onto a double pointed needle.

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From there I will begin plying it with the Angora/Finn blend. Usually I ply on the Ashford, so I decided to try and ply on the Great Wheel. My biggest problem stemmed from the fact that I don't have a suitable lazy kate to hold the yarn packages.

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I tried using the Ashford Lazy Kate. That worked for just a little while, until the packages started to snarl. It was time consuming to stop and unsnarl every so often. The cops are to long and don't fit into the kate without being squeezed together at both ends. I think what I need is a different lazy kate for the yarn packages produced on the Great wheel.

phenological events Feb 07

2nd Groundhog NO shadow
3rd Mergansers on river
14th blizzard
22nd Buffleheads arrive

Saturday, February 24, 2007

staying on track

I was up and out early today, before the deer got up. I often see them sleeping up there. In the evening, you can shine a flashlight up there, and see their glowing eyes looking back. Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting I had a chance to look around to see if I could find a better photograph of the tracks. I even took the tape measure, to try and get an idea of what might have been walking around after dark. I was not very successful at finding a clear track. Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting The snow has melted, and tracks have been made on top of more tracks. It is interesting to me to see how many animals share the paths. Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting I think these tracks were made by a raccoon, or maybe opossum...they were near the chickens too! Not having much luck with the tracks, I made a small movie of the whitetail

Friday, February 23, 2007

security breech

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Before the snowfall, we had a security breech on the chicken run. The fence was broken into on the garden side. It was difficult to tell how the predator entered and exited. I was afraid of what I might find when I opened the door to the hen house. But all of the chickens were accounted for. I could only assume, therefore, that whatever predator had broken into the chicken run, was to large to enter the small door to the hen house.

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After the snow, it took us a few days to shovel our way to the hen house. I had set things up nicely, so I was not worried about anything. They had at least a weeks worth of food and water, and I even gave them a pumpkin and some winter squash and millet sprays to keep them busy. The plastic tarp that we hung in December, seems to be making a nice green house effect. The "how low did it go" thermometer shows that the high has been in the 50's, with the lows around 2 degrees. The temp's inside the hen house are around 35 to 40. The tarp also helped to protect an area from the snow, so the hens can come out and wander around a portion of the yard without having to stand in the snow.

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After I had shoveled the path to the hen house so I could collect the eggs, I noticed these tracks in the snow ...coming from the ledges, and leading down to the chicken run. The path is traveled several times over the course of as many days. I followed it as far as I could, looking for a track with a clean outline to help me determine what animal had made them. I was not successful.

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They were about as big around as a tennis ball, but that could be due to snow melt making them larger. The tracks also went under the fallen trees, where the head space was only about a foot or so high. I am uncomfortable leaving the run door open now. It could be a fox or a bobcat, but I don't think it is a coyote. Whatever it is, it is hungry and looking for free meal....

Wednesday, February 21, 2007


So I have finished up a yarn order that I have been working on...after two pounds of it, I am ready to move on.

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I discovered that for speed, pre-drafting the roving made it easier to work up a nice rhythm and fill the bobbin faster. ..the downside of this was that it made for some pretty rote spinning....

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The project was challenging for me, as I did set a deadline for myself, one that I did not meet. Maybe I set the bar a little high, but I did learn what I can expect myself to achieve. Sometimes it is hard to accept my own limitations and shortcomings. ...

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Where will this yarn eventually go? What will it grow up to become? I will never know. Silly me, wondering about what will happen to the yarn I spin, as if I had some sort of connection to it.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

digging out

"hey dude, where's my car?" Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting the snowfall totals were all different, ranging from a foot to 16 inches. it was a brutal storm....dumping snow, sleet and then snow again. Yesterday when we started to dig out, it was easier to shovel. It was heavy, and seemed as if you were shoveling sand. Trying to walk around in it was like walking on the sandy beach! Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting Today it was much more difficult to shovel. It turned into a snow sandwich, and the easiest way to deal with it was to slice it up like a big piece of sheet cake, and then serve up the individual pieces. The Mr. made a new wall next to the driveway. My body hurts all over from moving this snow. Otherwise, I would have been tempted to build an igloo. Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting Down at the confluence, the ice is starting to jam up. The river is still open and flowing behind our cabin, but the farther down river you travel, the more packed with ice it becomes. The eagles look for open water. Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting The air is cold and windy, bitter- icy air. Does the cold bother this bird? Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting He sat pretty still for me, so I think he just didn't want to expend any energy to fly away. Oh how I wish I could look through those eyes and see how the world looks from where he sits....

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

walk with me wed valentine

oh, are you going out for a walk today?? well, first you will need a pair of these...

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thanks mom!! (Isn't just like a mom to buy you something to keep you safe??)

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oh, and you will need these also...and don't forget the gaiters... while you are out there, would you mind shoveling the walk and putting some 'ice melt' down...then you can shovel over to the critters and make sure they have fresh water ...on the way back you can clean off the cars...oh and before you come inside, would you be a dear and take the ashes out and bring in a bucket of coal?

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thanks so much.... while you were out, I made you brunch, and put on a pot of coffee, extra strong (come to think of it ...you may want to add a nip of something good in there). Take off your gear and hang it by the fire to dry...but don't get to comfy..you will have to go out later on today and do it all over again.

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...happy valentines day!

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Monday, February 12, 2007

gunnister man

Last summer while reading my Spin Off magazine, I had noticed the article about the Gunnister Man's pouch, and made a mental note to go back to it someday after I had taught myself to do some stranded colorwork. Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Several weeks ago, I started knitting it and as I worked on it, I could not help but wonder about who designed and knit the bag originally. Did the man knit it for himself? Did he have a woman who knit for him? Did he find or buy the bag?

I started to read as much as I could find out about the clothing and other articles from the late 17th century grave at Gunnister.Pretty soon, there was more reading being done than knitting, but the information gathered in the process enriched the knitting experience. I have listed below, just a few points that I found to be of interest.

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The Gunnister man's pouch is thought to be the earliest existing example of stranded two color knitting in Shetland.

The purse was found at the man's left side in his breeches, and contained 3 coins and a folded length of silk ribbon that measured one and one half inches wide and 24 inches long. I really wonder why he carried the ribbon. Was it to measure things?

Reading about the coins really took me off on some tangents. Two of them were silver from the Netherlands (dated 1690 and 1681). The other was copper from Sweden, dated 1683. There was a deposit on the coins that was examined under a microscope and "revealed that the brownish fibers which constituted the material of the purse penetrated the deposit completely and were not merely adhering to its surface. Hence the deposit was formed while the coins were in contact with the interior of the purse"-A.A. Woodham B.Sc, PHD., F.S.A.SCOT

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A chemical analysis of the deposit on the coins indicated that the copper for the one coin had been deposited on the silver coins by electrolytic action. This was suggested to have occurred by the acid medium of the peat bogs. OK , so now I want to go and read about the peat bogs...which by the way, need to be preserved. Funny, isn't it ...peat bogs which preserve things, need to be preserved.

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So, what happened to this Gunnister Man anyway? How did he meet his end, that his remains should be found so many years later, and spinners and knitters and fibery enthusiasts, look at his garments and attempt to learn from them? Well, one theory is that he perished whilst trying to steal a sheep...presumably on his shoulders... perhaps the added weight caused the ice to brake..

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Now that the bag is finished, I want to go and find a piece of silk ribbon that measures 1 and 1/2" wide by 24" long...and carefully fold it and place it inside, just because.

Friday, February 09, 2007

knitting revisited

This morning, I found this in my inbox...

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"Oooohhh! Thankyou thankyou thankyou!!!I don't know what I'd have done without these since the cold began here.I wear them constantly.I think of you every time I look at them. Thank you again!"

I made them and gave them as a gift over a year ago, and had forgotten all about them. It is a good feeling to know that you can make something with your hands and keep another persons feet warm.

Old FO project notes as I remember them...

Felted Footies pattern from Countrywool. One strand handspun Finn carried with one strand handspun Alpaca. Fairly quick and easy pattern, the hard part is trying to figure out what size to knit for the recipient, as the fulling process is sometimes difficult to control.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

wanting to walk

I didn't really want to go for a walk today. Oh, I wanted to take a brake, get some fresh air and exercise, even if it IS cold. My reasons for not wanting to go all centered around time. Finding the time in the day for a walk. There are so many other responsibilities, that a walk seems frivolous, a dalliance that I cannot afford. It is times like this that I realize taking a small walking break is EXACTLY what I need. Somehow, a small walk can clear the mind from the burdens and tasks that must be completed. They are all waiting, they do not go anywhere, but one returns to them refreshed. So I put on my gear, you need "gear" to go outside these days. And I went for my walk. I want to thank Judy for starting her Walk with me Wednesday. I probably wouldn't have walked today if it were not Wednesday. And I would have missed the sun. Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting The sounds of birds and rushing water would not have been near my ears. The icy cold air wouldn't have become part of my breath.... Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting And I would have missed a visit with the woodland creatures. They were surprised to see me, I think. Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting The mother gave me a sharp snort, and was not willing to stick around for a photo shoot. Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting Her twin fawns, now only slightly smaller than she is and in nice coat, are a bit more curious, Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting but finally decide they had better follow mama.

Monday, February 05, 2007

ice blooms

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting A few days of single digit temperatures bring the ice into bloom. It starts out slowly, thin, brittle and clear as glass. Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting Within a few days it becomes a dazzling presence. The sheer weight of it is a force that can split rocks. It is, simply water, forced into a solid state by the cold air that surrounds it. And it is, simply beautiful. Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting The waterfall is frozen, but still runs beneath the ice.When you stand next to it, you can hear it, and in some spots there appears a thin veil of ice, and you can look right through it and see the water rushing by. Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting Button up your overcoat, and don't forget your hat!

Saturday, February 03, 2007

seed order

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Have you ever wondered about the history of seed distribution? What did the first seed catalog look like anyway? There is a terrific online historical Horitculture reference library at http://www.saveseeds.org. If you are interested, there is much useful information to be gleaned!

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Finally finished putting together my seed order this year. I will order by telephone. I like talking to the folks I am ordering from, I have learned a lot by doing this too. I am ordering from 2 different sources this year.

A new addition this year is the edamame soybean. I have selected a "good northern exposure" variety. Also, I have given up any hope of trying the Lisianthus after I read it wanted a 140 days! .....Some relationships just aren't to be.

So here is the list:

green bean baby gourmet/ nickel

Be sweet/ edamame soybean

cylinder beet/ rodina

windsor/ broccoli

imperator type carrot/ purple haze

Bak Strain carrot/ coreless amsterdam

sweet corn /trinity

kale/ winterbore

pea/ norli

radish /cherry belle

millet/ highlander

potato /french fingerling

tomato /Amish paste

winter squash/ sunspot (kabocha)

pumpkin /Amish pie Quaker

wizard mix /coleus

Gladiolus/ mix Centennial

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I have so many other seeds on hand that I will be growing, and starting in the greenhouse within weeks. The next step is to make my garden plot plan.

letting go

Many thanks to everyone for the kind and comforting comments that you left for me concerning the loss of my angora rabbit, Jack. I appreciate your words and thoughts.

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I have had several dreams of Jack. And I saw a wild rabbit running on the hill a few days ago. We never have wild rabbits around here.

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A friend of mine who happens to be an accomplished art therapist, once suggested to me that it is good to work through grief or loss by making something. So I did.The construction and the medium have symbolism known only to me. But I found this exercise to be helpful.

I wove Sikuli to remind me that only God has "the power to see and understand things unknown". I hope it will help me to accept what I cannot change.

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