Monday, April 30, 2007

march and april phenological notes

phenological events March 07

8th Wood Thrush
10th Fox Sparrow
18th Robins arrive
23rd Phoebe arrives
25th Redwing blackbirds
26th Tree Swallows

phenological events April 07

2nd first wasp
8th sycamore seeds disperse
15th warbler migration begins
19th coltsfoot, marshmarigolds
21st horsetail
24th yellow warbler
25th ruby crowned kinglet

Friday, April 27, 2007

Estonian sheep puppet

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I have been working on a puppet, from the Spin Off article on Estonian Sheep Puppets (summer 06). He still needs an ear, eyes and a mouth.

I feel a bit like Geppetto. What a demanding little puppet!!!..I've not yet finished making him, and already he is disrespectful...telling me exactly how I must fashion his eyes so that he may see clearly! Why is it that the eyes are the most difficult?

He has also become a cohort of the kitty...nagging me to fill kitty's bowl should it become the least bit empty...and never missing an opportunity to curl up and take a nap.

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As this puppet is to be a gift to a newborn, I shudder to think what bad habits it may inflict on the innocence. Still, he is quite entertaining.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

walk with me wednesday, under the big red umbrella

My weather man advised me to get my walk in before 3 pm. I made a mental note of that, try as I might, it didn't happen for me.

But that is OK, because I have this..

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket big red umbrella. I have had my big red umbrella for many years. Jackie T. gave it to us on the day we were married. It has served us well. I think of Jackie T. whenever I open the big red umbrella. He was a very good friend, who didn't walk this earth for as many years as we would have wished. Big Jack. I smile whenever I think of him.

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I like to walk in the rain....especially a spring rain.

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It smells so fresh. It sounds so gentle. It is a sound that relaxes me. Each rain drop echos under the big red umbrella. I am not aware of how long I stand and watch and listen to the rain under my big red umbrella. Suddenly, I am aware that there is a frog who is singing, I know that he is very close, right next to me, but I cannot find him. "Show yourself", I ask him..."so that I may admire you!" He stops singing. Oh well.

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The forsythia and the magnolia are just beginning to open their petals. No wonder the words, "spring" and "sublime" often appear in the same sentence.

thinking blogs

This riverrim blog has been nominated for the Thinking Blog Award by Cathy from Catena Expressions. thank you Cathy- I am really happy to receive it, and I appreciate your kind words-and btw..thanks for thinking of me!

As a recipient of this award, I must agree to pass the award to 5 other blogs that make me think. Since I like to think about a myriad of subjects...I picked according to things I like to think about-

  • rivers- the rivergeek keeps me up to date on the rivers in my area.

  • rabbits- Leslie provides great photos and description of her rabbits and their habitat.

  • farm life- Maggie is working her farm!

  • spinning wheels- Grace and Fred are always finding and restoring beautiful wheels and assorted fiber equipment...

  • plants- Rebsie passes along her knowledge and experience in plant breeding along with great information on heirloom varieties.

I congratulate these bloggers for making me think! Should you choose to participate please include: "The rules are if (and only if) you are nominated for this award, you must pass the Thinking Blogger Award to five others and describe why." You can find the code for the button here

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Plethodon cinereus

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Redback salamander- was under the rotten wood that I was cleaning up near the greenhouse. We see them often around here, and I suppose he was feeding on some of the ant eggs that were also in the rotten wood. I was very careful not to touch him with my hands when I moved him to a new location near the stream bed in the rock wall. He breathes through his skin and the roof of his mouth..he has no lungs

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The catkins on the River Birch are blooming...and spring has finally arrived along the riverrim. The evenings have been especially pleasant. The air is mild and filled with the first smell of spring. The sound of spring peepers resonates from the pools where they gather. I have only seen a spring peeper once. It was very small, smaller than a quarter. And it was almost white. For something so small it has a very large voice.

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The waxing crescent or fingernail moon is beautiful just after sunset. I watch the evening fall, and notice the tiny buds of the maple. All of the trees are now in bud, holding their summer secrets. And I am reminded of how much I love this time of year.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

breakfast anyone?

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Breakfast anyone? We can slow down and have a tête-à-tête over some coddled eggs. (did you notice the true tête-à-tête in the vase?... it has a double bloom on a single stem, hence the name.) The egg avalanche of 2007 has far, no broody hens to speak of, so the eggs are free for the taking!

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Last week I got to thinking about a question that had been posted to the triloom group concerning the use of the triangle loom for tapestry weaving. I decided to experiment. I was able warp, somewhat, in a vertical fashion...but I did bring the warp thread around two nails on the sides of the loom in order for it to work. I have been wondering if the same would work if I string the warp threads horizontally.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

walk with me wednesday...with respect

As the mother of a young man whose teen years are on the wax, I talk to him repeatedly about the importance of the word "respect". It is not that I haven't had the discussion before, but sometimes teens need reminding, nagging, lecturing even- to get an idea or a concept to stick. I probably talk more than I should, but I think this world would be a better place if we had more respect for each other, and for the laws that govern us, and for the land on which we live, and the other plants and creatures that share the land. We had to have this talk about "respect" again earlier this week. R-E-S-P-E-C-T....Aretha sang about it....everyone appreciates it, why is it so difficult for some to understand? I was looking forward to my walk today...a chance to get out ...sort things out...refresh my spirit with a little bit of natural beauty. I wanted to go looking for the marsh marigolds and the coltsfoot.

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The runoff from the recent storm was still rushing from the mountain tops on the way down to the river. I needed to walk down on the river road to get to the place where I know the marsh marigolds grow. And I found them...but I also found something else that made me think about that word "respect" again.

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I had a plastic bag garbage bag in the pocket of my barn jacket, and my garden gloves were still in the back pocket of my jeans, so I picked up the can and put it in the bag. The closer I got to the river road, the more trash I saw...I continue to pick it up. It breaks my heart.

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The pools of clean water that the frog lay their eggs in - full of litter

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...litter I cannot pick up unless I go back to house and put on my hip waders...I think of all the people who do not respect the land...

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or the laws that are in place...or, most importantly, each other. It makes me very sad. It makes me feel helpless..and it even makes me feel angry. But sometimes-- you just have to put on your hip waders to pick up all the garbage that others leave behind. There was enough to fill 3 bags in the little area that I cleaned up. But there will be more...there will always be more...because some of us understand respect...and some of us just don't get it. OK, rant over...we now return you to your regularly scheduled blog....

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

what a difference a nor easter makes

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Even the spiders seek the higher ground when the water rises. Luckily for this one, he was on the catch and release plan, and had an escort to the woodpile early this morning.

I have added a link to my sidebar, at the top, where I can review the river levels.

Look at what a difference a storm makes in the river's mood...

before... Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket and after...

Monday, April 16, 2007

wet hen

It has been raining or snowing since Saturday. The river is high and muddy with run off from the surrounding mountains.

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Even the chickens have had enough. (Does this wet hen look mad?) Normally, they don't mind the spring rains, today, they just stand under the rabbit hutches and wait it out like the rest of us.

The river is expected to crest later this afternoon, thank goodness. If the rain were not so bone chilling, I would venture out to get a closer look. Maybe, tomorrow. Yesterday and today, I have managed to find a few hours to do some spinning at the Great Wheel. I am still working on the Finn/Angora blend. The Black Finnsheep wool is from my friend Grace Hatton. She just finished knitting a beautiful sweater, that you can go take a look at on her blog.

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Grace recently wrote a terrific article, dealing with the topic of Organic Fiber, that appears in the current issue of "The Shepherd". She raises some interesting and valid points, concerning the choices that those who raise sheep have to consider. The title of the article is "Organic ...or Humane?" ...and it is quite thought provoking.

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While not "organic wool" this Finnsheep fleece has been a real pleasure to work with. My progress is slow because I have started with the raw fleece and have done all the processing by hand. I don't mind the time involved. When I am finished, I will have a product that has been completely hand made. Think of it...touched by human hands, from the shearing, to scouring, to the carding and spinning, and the knitting. That is a lot of handling. How many garments do people own that have been constructed in this fashion? I venture to guess ~ not many....

If you would like to read more about how I prepared what I am spinning, visit the Weekend Whirls

Friday, April 13, 2007


If you happen to be a gardener or farmer, it is important that you surround yourself with other like minded individuals at this time of the year. That way, if you just happen to blurt out, "Is your Lovage up?", they will know exactly what you are talking about. Leslie knows about Lovage, hers is up and open already! Mine is just starting to show.

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The Latin name is Levisticum officinale, common folk names include Sea Parsley, and Love Root, Italian Parsley, Love Parsley and Love Rod. But who put the love in Lovage? According to my copy of RD Magic and Medicine of Plants, "the name goes back to a Latin word meaning "Ligurian", because the herb flourished in ancient times in Liguria, a region that includes the Italian Riviera". Over time the name has been, shall we say, lost in translation...and somehow became lovache or love parsley. Lovage has a special place of its own in my garden. I look for it to return each spring, larger than it was the year before. ...and I await the celery like aroma that the leaves give off when I brush past it.

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Rhubarb is among the other things that are presently up around the riverrim, the list includes but is not limited to:

  • Angelica
  • Bloodroot
  • Black Cohosh
  • comfry
  • chive
  • Dicentra
  • Hellebore
  • Violets
  • Lungwort
  • Lady's mantle
  • Mayapple
  • Sweet Cicely
  • Santolina
  • Rhubarb
  • Marsh Marigold
  • Monarda

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

a project finished

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The internet is a wonderful way to learn. Ten years ago, if I needed to learn how to do an alteration on a knitting pattern, I would have found myself driving to a LYS (not that it would have been a bad thing)...but the internet is a real time saver.

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A few weeks back when I started the Boogie Vest pattern, I became aware of the fact that I wanted a different neckline. While google-ing the vest, I came upon a blog that goes by the name of KnittingJones. I really liked the way KnittingJones finished her vest, so I simply emailed her with a few questions on how she altered the pattern for the neckline. She graciously replied with instructions...(twice!...because I didn't quite "get it" the first time.) I was able to finish my Boogie vest (complete with alterations) with the help of another blogger. Thanks Susan!

Blogging has enriched my world! It started for me as a way to record projects and plantings, notations etc. an avenue to store my memory and the bits of knowledge one accumulates. I didn't have a single link on my sidebar when I started. But the list has grown. Other bloggers have enriched my world! I email bloggers, and they email me... with questions, comments simply as if we were chatting over a fence in the daily blogrolls read like a book full of the most interesting people, doing the most interesting thing...when I stop to think about really is a remarkably fun thing.

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  • Finished Boogie vest project notes:

  • Started beginning of March and finished early April.

  • Yarn: Handspun Border Leicester Fleece P29 from Betty Levin, purchased MS&W 'O5

  • Needles: size 10 (one circular and 2 dpnts) cable needle

  • *would most likely not use the backstitch for the side seams in the future...the mattress stitch would have been a better choice.

Friday, April 06, 2007

happy hunting

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Happy Easter...

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sometimes, you just have to search in the obvious places, for the most extraordinary thing....

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

walk with me on a wet wednesday

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It rained today, and I was a bit "under the weather". I really didn't walk very far at all. It was so chilly. The air was moist, full of fog...

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the buds are suspended, held in readiness, for the bloom. Soon they will come into their own...and their trumpets will herald the arrival...

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I hope there will be bees.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

share the road

Last night when I went down to put the chickens away, a few of them weren't in the run when I went looking for them, I walked up on what appeared to be a stand off. Two hens, a black star and an aracuna, didn't seem to mind the white tail....

Sunday, April 01, 2007

sunday spinning

I have a lot of this:

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This is Farmer Dave's special blend.It was given to me some time ago, but it has just been sitting around waiting to become something. It is somewhat uninteresting to spin plain white wool, but it gives you lots of time to get up close and personal with the wool, and listen to it tell you what it wants to become. This wool isn't bad. But it isn't the finest fiber either. It has some VM or vegetable matter in it. As I am spinning it, I notice that it isn't especially soft. I won't use it to make anything that will be worn next to the skin.

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I think I just heard it tell me that it wants to be woven and not knit with...something about a handbag maybe...and it wants a dye bath, definately wants to take a bath...and it reminds me that I have those Cushing Dyes that I have not had time to use yet.

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Yup, sometimes you just have to listen to the wool. For more details on this wool, head over to The Weekend Whirls can use the link button on my sidebar.

the assessment

it starts with an assessment...a looking..while all the time, noticing the changes in the earth, the smells in the air, the sounds of the wood, and the feeling of the warmth of the sun.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket repairs made to the growhouse

it starts with standing at the edge of the plot and staring, with hands on hips, noticing...what the winter has done, what repairs need doing and what decay need to be swept up.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket some things you will need

it starts with the decision of when. When to plant. Where to plant. What to plant. And how to plant it.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket Thornless Blackberry Bushes Before

It is not so much that the ground is not ready, rather, I am not ready. The garden and I need to ready ourselves together. Get reacquainted...notice the changes we have experienced since last we were together.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket Topping, tying and trellising

Just as the bud opens slowly, I ease into the routine. My garden teaches me how to exercise patience. How to appreciate abundance. How to accept loss. How to nurture life, but mostly, it teaches me to look for the beauty in all things.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket Compost on the hillside

Sometimes, it is dirty- hard back- breaking work. But it is soooo worth it.

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