Sunday, September 30, 2007

my Goldie is gone

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It has been a week since my favorite hen "Goldie Girl" died. We were blaming the red tailed hawk that has been hanging around. We didn't see it happen, we didn't find any remains. She just disappeared. I miss her. She was a wonderful gentle bird. She would follow me into the garden and work alongside of me. She would let you pick her up and pet her. She would talk to me. She laid green eggs. Poor Goldie. I hate to think of her being attacked by something. I searched through my photos to find a picture of her.

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On Friday afternoon, I returned home from an afternoon of spinning at the library. I had not let the chickens out to browse that morning, because it was a very cloudy day, and I feared that if the hawk came by, the hens wouldn't see the shadow and they would be easy prey. When I got out of my car, I heard the chickens squawking. They were very upset. I decided to sneak up on the hen house to see if I could spot the hawk. I was walking very quietly, looking up into the trees, when suddenly, about 4 feet in front of me...out of the weeds walks a bob cat! He (or she) didn't see me, he was looking at the chickens. I stood very still and after about 6 seconds, he turned his head to look at me. Our eyes locked briefly, he lowered his head to the ground, and slowly backed up into the weeds until I could no longer see him. Poor chooks. They will have to be locked up for a very long time.

phenological events September 07

phenological events September 07

1st mushroom harvest winter squash sunspot harvest
12th catbirds linger
14th harvest pumpkin amish pie
15th chickens molt
25th maple leaves drop, hummers migrate

Thursday, September 27, 2007

walk with me wednesday, gleaning

Are you enjoying the harvest moon that is upon us? Does the full harvest moon still help the farmer reap? Or is that just a story from a time past ...

I notice the moon and think of the farmer. The moon prompts me into is time to harvest.

Now there is fulfillment. There is finishing. You can smell it in the air. The grapes are ready, you don't even have to look at them to know. The fragrance of concord floats down from the tree tops and mixes with the scent of ripe apples. Just look around and you will notice the completion is everywhere. The trees with their nuts, the flowers gone to seed, everything has reached it's full natural growth.

I have been busy with reaping, and gleaning the last yields.... Wednesday found me walking in and out of the garden. Baskets were filled, carried into the house, packed into the fridge, and then back out for more.

Pick the last of the stringbeans....

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and tomatoes...

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and potatoes...digging potatoes is like finding a nest of eggs underground....

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Pull the beets, pick the broccoli..and haul winter squash and pumpkins in the wheelbarrow.

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In some ways, it is a rather humbling experience to receive so much bounty from nature. I am appreciative and thankful.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

cleaning a spinning wheel

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I've been taking advantage of the dry spell we are having by washing fleece and cleaning up my wheels.

A few days ago, I spent some time with the Canadian Production Wheel, giving it a good going over. The bobbins and flyer have been reproduced by Fred Hatton. He does such nice work, I just needed to seal the wood. I used tung oil.

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The rest of the wheel was pretty grimy and dirty. I used a 50/50 of linseed oil and turps to scrub her down. It is a good job to do outside because the fumes from this mixture tend to be rather pungent!

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But oh, it makes a difference in the look of the wood!

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When I finished up, I replaced the drive band (which was nylon), with cotton. This (30 inch diameter) wheel is a double drive type. I decided to make a driveband that didn't have any knots, so first I tried splicing it. I didn't have much luck with wound up overlapping the band and stitching it together. It made a world of difference! Before, where the knot was, the wheel was skipping and suddenly pulling my drafted fiber right out of my it is smoooooothhhhhh like it was built for ---production ---ah!

Sunday, September 23, 2007


All summer long I have had two little green frogs sitting together on the rocks beside the little pool in the side yard. I noticed them - almost daily- worried the chickens might eat them. I was always cheered by the sight of them..cute, slim little green frogs.

Last night, we were driving home from an event...and the roads were wet from a passing shower. We noticed many frogs on the road. We commented that the frogs were on the move.

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This morning, on my way to let the hens out, I noticed my two little frogs were gone, but one big frog with a smug look of having breakfasted on green frogs, sat in their place. He looks guilty to me. Bully Frog.

Friday, September 21, 2007

good things come in large packages

...or black plastic bags...

A couple of months ago, I received a big box in the post. Inside of the box was a big plastic bag. Inside of the bag was a Shetland Fleece, from Cathy.

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(insert your best Westminster Dog show voice here- "This is Shetland #16 white/silver").

I've never had the opportunity to work with Shetland wool before, so this is a first for me. What's that? You want to have a closer look...

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The fleece appears to be in good shape, there is some VM (that is Vegetative Matter for all you non spinners), and there are some short cuts (places where the shears cut twice) and it appears to have been well skirted. Oh good... What's that you say? You want to examine a lock?

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I pulled out a handful from one of the cleaner areas. The staple length is at least 7 inches. At times like this, it comes in handy if you know the exact measurement from the wrist to the tip of your middle my case this is precisely 7 inches. Yummy...I love a long staple. It also passes the tug test..the tips are strong and sound...

I spent a good portion of the day scouring the fleece. I use several large washtubs, because I like to discard the dirty water in the compost pile rather than down my drain. I set the dirtiest portion of the fleece aside for an experiment, that I will make note of at a later date. I scoured the fleece in hot water and my favorite shampoo...not cost effective, but I love my fleece to smell good when I spin it.

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Soaking up the last bits of summer sun, the first batch of the clean fleece lounges on the deck to dry. It only had one dunk in the water and it looks pretty white and fluffy. I tease some of it through my fingers...oh, it is nice. I'm going to have to do some test driving to see which wheel will get to know the Shetland Fleece. I'm hoping it is destined for the Great Wheel, I think it would spin a nice woolen yarn...but that will have to wait until another day...a day when I get a chance to do some sampling. It's all part of the process.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

walk with me wed, shedding velvet

I didn't take a regular walk today...I have a cold or allergy or somethingorother that has me feeling under the weather. However, I did get a video of a young buck that is in the process of shedding the velvet from his antlers. He was here early in the morning. I started to get quite close to him, and when he looked at me, I decided I didn't want to get too close...his new antlers looked rather sharp.

sorry about the truck noises in the was rush hour in the river valley. Lately, we have had these big trucks transporting large boulders to gosh knows where. They are taking a mountain apart and sending the pieces elsewhere, what a world....

Sunday, September 16, 2007

repairing a sweater with a felting needle

Yesterday afternoon we drove up to Albany and went to the Irish 2000 at the Altamont Fairgrounds. We saw one of our favorite bands, and enjoyed a new one we had not yet heard. They play in the traditional genre and do it extremely well. They go by the name of teada.

The weather turned cooler in the evening and I found myself wanting my earflap hat. My thoughts also turned to an old Aran sweater that we found the other day whilst cleaning out some old steamer trunks.

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This particular sweater was knit for my husband by his mother. She made it for him when he was in high school, so it's a little bit old. His mother passed away suddenly, not long after we were married, and I often wonder what kind of things she could have taught me about knitting. She was very good at it.

Anyway, the sweater has been packed away, not seeing the light of day for a long time. When my husband found it, he said I could have it. He also pointed out that it had several holes. I'm not sure what caused them, maybe moths at some point in it's life. After the chilly night spent at the outdoor festival, while we were driving home, I contemplated using my felting needle to repair the holes in the Aran sweater.

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Today, I gave it a try. First I lightly tacked down the area to close the hole, working from the right side of the sweater.

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Then, I flipped it over to the wrong side and reinforced it with some loose wool...luckily I had something in my stash that matched it fairly well.

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After I had "bonded" the wool sufficiently, I flipped it over again to the right side and went back into it "sculpting" and "stitching" the outline of the knit stitches.

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I did this method in all of the area's that had holes, including the twisted stitches of a cable. It worked out OK, I think. After I wear it a few times, I'll know for sure if it is a "proven" method of repair.

I feel good about restoring the sweater. I keep thinking about how much time his mother must have spent working on it...I wonder where she brought the wool (it is really nice wool). I think of the love locked into those stitches. Yep, I am glad I repaired it. I think the sweater is happy too.....

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here it is relaxing in the bubble's first bath in, ahem, years. I think I heard it mummer "ahhhh" as I eased it into the warm water....

Saturday, September 15, 2007


I'm having a blogiversary. When I started blogging, I had no idea I would be doing it for so long. I've decided to celebrate by republishing a few pictures from years past. I hope you enjoy them, as much as I enjoy hearing from you. Thanks for stopping by... I like keeping the riverrim updated for many different reasons, so I will continue and enter into my 5th year...

....keeping track of thoughts and observations from life around the riverrim...

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... including spinning and weaving,

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and whatever wildlife wanders by....

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Wednesday, September 12, 2007

wwmw around the rim

today I just walked around the rim...doing things...

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My maple tree is dying. The recent rain brought down some more limbs.

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...the fragrance is thick. I pick some to take indoors and enjoy.

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the vines show signs of slowing down...

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Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket the fawn has lost all of her spots

....the summer is passing....

Monday, September 10, 2007

Endless Mountains Fiber Festival

My weekend at the Endless Mountains Fiber Festival was very enjoyable. The weather was a little bit warm and humid, but it didn't get in the way of having a good time.

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When I first arrived, I did a quick scope of the area. It was nice to see that the number of vendors had increased since the last time I attended. I was helping out at Fred Hatton's Antique Spinning Wheels booth. I had few offerings, so it was easy to set up. I looked around to say hello to our booth neighbors...

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This guy was very well behaved and gregarious...besides, he had wonderful eyes. Deep black- brown pools with long black lashes. I loved his "milk mustache".

On the other side, I saw Greta and her beautiful display...

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I took a quick walk around and saw Annie's booth...I just love to see the Great Wheels and wonder about where they came from, and where they will go....

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Back at the booth, things were already getting busy. One of the signed wheels that Fred had restored had been sold to someone who had a collection of over 100 spinning wheels. I've never seen so many old spinning wheels together in one place like that, and imagined what it would look like to view them all lined up together. As the day went on, occasionally a person would wander in, holding an old wheel, (sometimes in pieces) need of help....looking for consultation from "the wheel doctor"....Is there hope? Can it be fixed?? Is it valuable?

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket "the spinning wheel whisperer"

It is so interesting to see some of these old wheels and hear the stories about how they came into a person's hands. Sometimes, they have been handed down and belonged to a distant relative, others have been purchased for peanuts at a barn or yard sale. But always, they carry with them a bit of the past that we can never know many miles of yarn have they spun? How many hands have had the pleasure of spinning on them...what types of fiber have they known...wool, flax, silk? I wonder....

On Sunday, I was behind the Great Wheel spinning, when a woman ran up to the wheel, got down on her hands and knees and looked up at the underside of the bench! I was startled by the urgency of this behavior, and was careful not to step on her! She rose to her feet and explained her actions to me. It seems that her family used to own a Great Wheel that belonged to a relative, and somehow it had been sold. She knew that it was dated 18?? and signed with the name "Lydia". She told me that she has been on a quest, checking the underside of the bench of every Great Wheel that she can....until she finds her Lydia.

One of the highlights of my weekend was meeting Phiala of string page fame. She has wonderful information and instructions that I have learned a lot from. It was nice to meet her in person, and be able to tell her how much I appreciate the page.

I also taught a 6 year old boy how to spindle spin. I hope he is practicing.

Fiber festivals always amaze and delight me. There are so many creative people, with so many different talents and abilities all under one roof. I like seeing all the vendors and their wares...and I love watching what people walk away with, the treasures they carry home. It is fun being around so many people with a love for fiber...a common thread...

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

walk with me wed, I dare you

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Yes, I dare you!

Come will be easy! I'll go first...its all about balance- don't look down, focus on the next 3 feet in front of you, and soon we will be at the bottom of the hill...that is unless the bark tears off and we slip,and fall off onto the rocks risking broken bones and who knows what else!!?

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Yes, it is all about balance sometimes. You can hold your arms out to help maintain your equilibrium. If only it was that easy in other areas of my life!

Often, achieving balance in my life seems just as difficult and challenging as walking a fallen tree on a cliff side. But challenges can be good too, even if they appear in the form of a dare. Now, double dog dares or worse, are out of the question..I do have my limits. First one to fall off buys dinner....

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

languid river

My spinning wheels are quiet. There has not been much spinning going on around here this past week. There are other tasks which require attention...mostly garden and sale related doings. Somehow it became September. I was several days into it before I even changed the calendar. Things are busy, and I want to savor the last taste of summer.

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The river is lazy and beckons to me. We have not had rain for 12 days, and the water flows gently, the grass along the riverrim waves to me as the water laps against it. I can get lost in the sound of the water flowing by.

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There has been some knitting going on. I am working on the BSJ from E. Zimmerman. This will be a gift. I'm knitting a gift with a gift. Notice the needles.

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These are a pair of Bolivian Rosewood Needles from Ed and Wanda Jenkins. I won them by entering a contest on the Weekend Whirls --you can join the fun if you are a spinner, just click on the link in the sidebar.

I love these needles. They came personalized, with the name "riverrim" hand lettered on them. They are so very smooth, and sharp. Thanks Ed! Thanks Wanda! I am really enjoying Ed's fine craftsmanship.

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The PA Endless Mountains Fiber Festival is this coming weekend. I will be with Fred and Grace Hatton at their booth. My offerings will include some buttons and bags... Stop by and say hello if you happen to find yourself in the Endless is quite beautiful there this time of year. Speaking of saying hello, my Ralvery invite has arrived. I am finding my way around the site, trying to compile my notebook, and finding friends. If you see me, say hello so I can find you!

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My name is riverrim, my icon is a whitetail deer.

Saturday, September 01, 2007

tomatoes, turkeys and sunspots

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The last sink full of tomatoes, thank goodness. It was not my best year for the tomatoes, but we still had a nice harvest. I have canned, frozen and dried them. I was disappointed with the seed I brought from Jung. It was labeled Amish Paste, but it was not the oxheart Amish Paste that I have grown in the past. The Bellstar was an all out winner once again....and the Riesentraube has become a favorite. The Yellow Tangerine looks pretty, but the flavor was nothing to write I don't think I will grow it again.

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The Sunspot Winter Squash is starting to roll in now. When I pick it, it is yellow, but a few days on the windowsill, and it turns a nice dark orange. We have not eaten any of this yet, but the yields are fantastic. This is a nice Kabocha variety that has decided to grow up and over the fence, making it easy to pick! Lots of little sun globes hanging around are very pretty to look at! I would consider growing this again, assuming the taste is as great as the growing habits.

The Turkeys were here early this morning. Just a few of them passing through...makes me wonder if they are poults....

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