Friday, January 30, 2009

Friday Feature - And Yet More Snow

If you look closely at the start of this video clip, you'll see little Sunshine peeking through the ice fence. I started filming this morning hoping she'd do her "I need a cookie. Hey! I need a cookie! Wah - really want a COOOOOKIE!", but ended up catching Comby walking around Aria's feet. I love to watch animals interact. Look how careful she is, not stepping on him.

We are on again/off again with our power, but we're staying warm, the animals are well fed and I've really enjoyed watching the beautiful snow pile up. Now if we could just get everyone's power back on.

Stay warm and keep your chin up!

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Partridges In A Pear Tree

Or more like feeder pillaging grackles in an apple tree.

And after a very. traumatic. spell. of. no. power and hence no heated beds, the cats are finally much happier.

Claire Bear and Brushy



Wiwi, in front of the fire all day, never even knew the power was out.

And that's all that really matters, right?

Yeesh ;-)

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Making Lemonade

We have been popped by a bad winter storm. Six or so inches of snow yesterday morning and then I don't know how many inches of rain. Everything is flooded and about an inch of it froze on the trees, power lines...

We have two very old friends (white pines) that have once again taken a big hit. I don't know how much more they can withstand and I can't imagine hanging my hammock anywhere else. Now at least the rain has stopped, but it's snowing again.

They are predicting four inches more and we've gotten almost three now, so it looks like they are correct. Sigh. If it weren't for the flooding, lack of power (thankfully we have a generator!), tree damage and animal stress, I'd really be enjoying myself - I LOVE winter most of the time.

We've done what we can to keep everyone comfortable, except the cats, who are wearing Saint Tim down and will probably have their heated beds plugged into the generator by nightfall. It is dropping down into the teens by late evening. The birds are stocking up and look who I caught at the feeder!

(I apologize for the video quality - using the little camera and shooting through a window - so basically the bigger of the bird blobs)

I can't prove it, but who else could it be?

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Rebecca Boone

It's all there!

And here she is. She came already named Rebecca Boone, in honor of Daniel Boone's wife and her frontier trip to Kentucky.

"They told me it was going to be warm here!"

Rebecca Boone, Ewen McTeagle and Buddy

If she looks a bit familiar, it might be because you've already seen her fleece.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Great Wheel

I love the new wheel. It's commonly called a Great or Walking wheel, but is also known as a Wool or High wheel. This particular wheel is not only beautiful, but is completely functional and I'm really looking forward to learning how to use it - it requires a slightly different spinning technique.

Can you believe we got this five foot tall wheel AND a sheep in the car (Honda CR-V)?

How Saint Tim Spent His Winter Vacation

We went to New York, east of Rochester and about one mile from Lake Ontario, over the weekend to pick up an antique spinning wheel. Single digit temps with blowing lake effect snow. I tried to take some video, but my hands were so cold that I couldn't make it more than 20 seconds without them hurting so bad that I had to quit. What did Saint Tim do?

Okay... looks fun...but nothing to really write home (or the blog) about.

Let's get a better view.

And y'all thought I was crazy!

Monday, January 19, 2009

A Long Winter's Nap

If they weren't out by the road where my neighbors would think I was either hurt or completely daft, I'd be tempted to go out there and lie down with my head resting on Handy's (purple blanket) neck and soak up some sun too.

Aria (on the right) is still steaming mad about the whole blanket issue, so I'm staying out of her way for now.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Freeze Dried

Well, that's what it would be if I used my normal drying rack. As it is though, I am quite happy with the new fancy inside drying rack and I didn't even need to use any duct tape or bailing twine to rig it up! (On a farm, if it can't be fixed with baling twine or duct tape... ;-)

The gray yarn in the center was spun from some of Billy Belly's (Jacob) core roving. Core roving is where they take two separate colored rovings - in BB's case, gray and white - and run them together so that one color wraps around the other. His was a gray core with white on the outside. Spun, it looks like tweed. Very pretty.

The fawn colored yarn on the right and the white yarn on the left is some very nice Shetland that I got from Michelle at Boulderneigh in a fiber swap. I spun most of it as a worsted weight yarn, but the sparkling white had such a neat fuzziness that it inspired me to play around and I spun some thick and thin and then plied that with a super thin strand. It is so fun to try different fibers and different techniques and I always learn something new. Thanks Michelle!

Well, it's cold here, but we're all doing okay. Saint Tim built another insulated cat box so everyone has their own private warm place to sleep. The horses are all blanketed up (even Aria - I had the best of intentions to honor her wish to not wear a blanket ever again, but she's just too old to be out in below zero weather nekkid if she doesn't have to be) and the sheep told me if I fed them extra hay that they'd be okay too. Weaslie is currently cashed out in the hallway and Iris comes in to warm up, but then wants back out so she doesn't miss anything.

Stay warm and thank goodness for Carhartt!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Cold Feet

I wish I'd had my camera with me this morning while I was feeding. I had decided to let the chickens out even though it was cold and snowy. I figured they could go out for awhile if they felt like it and then come back in when they get too cold. Some chose to make a run for the horse stalls and some decided to stay in with the heat lamp.

From my phone - better than nothing...

This bossy hen grabbed the first flake of hay she came to and staked her claim. Even though it would surely be warmer if she let the others snuggle on there with her, I guess chickens (or cats!) don't think that way.

I was hoping when I ran back out with the camera that she'd still be there, but the horses had other ideas and had chased her off so they could eat her foot warmer. I did grab a few pictures of the sheep.

Boudreaux the Biter

Jester - the golden eyed sheep who moo's like a cow and who's fleece practically spins itself. I saved it this year for myself because he's getting some age on him and as he's one of my very favorites, I want to make sure I get a chance to knit a special Jester sweater - a fair isle design from one of the Zimmerman books I believe :-).

Anyway, just enough snow to get you excited, thinking about sledding and snow ice cream, but not enough to actually do anything about it.

Saturday, January 10, 2009


n. Any great upheaval that causes sudden and violent changes.

Not the kind of story you'd usually expect me to tell here, eh?

It appears, following the loss of his trusted friend Boo, that the king of the condo has fallen. He was allowed to spend that one super cold night sharing his old cubby with Eli and at the time I was very happy, thinking all was going to be well and that Comby, Brushy, Eli and Claire Bear would all be friends and live happily ever after.

I'm not exactly sure what's going on, but for the last couple of weeks Comby has no longer been sleeping in his insulated and heated cave, but has been sleeping out on one of the wicker chairs. It too is heated (and surrounded by the lovely plastic) and he's seemed happy enough out there until the last few days.

Now he's moved to the other chair, with no heater, and even when the heated chair is empty, he doesn't seem to be "allowed" over there. I feel bad for him and it can't be just a coincidence that this started after Boo's passing. The odd thing though is all the cats liked Boo at the end and he seemed to enjoy their company as well. I can't imagine that he played the role of protector or "back up" for Comby, but maybe in some sort of emotional way he was.

I know that eventually they'll all get things worked out, but in the meantime, I feel almost guilty watching Wiwi sleeping in her cave. She's a crotchety old cat though and there is no chance she's sharing anything with anyone.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

St. Distaff's Day

I wish I could claim that I knew that January 7th was Saint Distaff's Day and that I knew the "directions" apparently were...

"Partly work and partly play
You must on St. Distaffs Day:"
From The Book of Days

...when I wrote my post "All Work And No Play?" yesterday, but I didn't. Just a happy cosmic coincidence.

Have a great day and enjoy it like it was yesterday!

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

All Work And No Play?

No way!

Remember the Christmas colored Cotswold fleece? Well, Saturday I took some to our Appalachian Fiber Guild meeting and flick carded (like a small dog brush) the ends to open (or fluff up) the fibers up a little.

Sunday I started running it through the Louet drum carder (the carder on the right if you click to follow that link) to blend the colors. Here it is after the first pass through.

This is after the second trip - each time blends the colors a little more. Don't you just want to bury your hands in there?

Here is a comparison of three runs through versus two. You can still see a little striation in the darker batt on the top as compared to the more smoothly colored batt on the bottom.

Monday and Tuesday I spun these small sample yarns. I used my Jensen Production wheel and I believe the darker yarn is a fingering weight and the lighter gray is lace weight. I was very happy with both (Cotswold has got to be one of the best beginner fibers to learn to spin thin) and can't wait to do some test knitting.

Also, I spent a little time over the last few days perusing patterns on Ravelry and today I downloaded the pattern to make this scarf. Click the scarf photo to link to more information on the pattern and designer.

You can see that the reason I went to extra "trouble" to super blend the colors is to make sure there wouldn't be any color distractions to take away from the beautiful pattern.

Now if I can just follow directions....and try not to work too hard ;-).


I've been up to my eyeballs in all sorts of projects. One big one is involving the computer and internet (setting up an etsy shop!) so, as always, I am getting it figured out (albeit slowly) and learning a lot (quickly), but not getting much else done.

As I was working along just now though I received a new email, which was nice as I needed a break. What to my wondering eyes should appear, but a comment on my post about the Holiday Mail For Heroes. From the folks at Pitney Bowes and the Red Cross! Huh? How'd they find me? I'm sure it's just by the magic of the intertubes, but still, how nice to be not only noticed, but THANKED!

Go check it out! We made a difference! :-D

Friday, January 2, 2009

Friday Feature - Goofing Off

Test video from the new camera - don't panic, folks, I'll get better...I swear.

The four punks are Handy and T-Bone (chestnuts), Attie (bay paint) and Ace (black paint). You can see Aria up on the hill. She has better things to do than run around like a fool. T-Bone can always be counted on to ham it up and that's him sticking his eye up to the camera at the end - a little gift for everyone who followed his serious foot problem last year.

Boy, what I wouldn't give for some green out there - ugh.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

A Walk In The Woods

It is tradition that we spend some time on New Year's Day hiking with our friends Jay, Judy and Rachel. We've missed a year here and there due to bad weather, but today dawned cold, yet dry, and off we traipsed.

How fun would it be to be able to build a seven acre lake with your very own island! (It's bigger than it looks - I should have changed camera lenses.)

A little splash of winter color.

Iris, the police no matter where she is.

A pair of herons gave us a grand "fly-by" as we ended our walk. A fabulous gift and good omen for the new year I think.

And stolen from the Yarn Harlot a few days ago...

"Andy said "....there is one thing I know is true. Things will be better if we all take care of each other than they will be if we don't take care of each other.""

Here's to taking good care of each other this year!


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