Sunday, July 12, 2015

Well-It Is July Again!

This has been a most peculiar summer.  After our most peculiar Spring, here comes peculiar summer.  We have had a LOT of rain, thunder boomers, floods, and HIGH grass.  Everything is LUSH and GREEN.  Normally by this time things are beginning to get browner and drier.  Mowing slows down.  It is unbearably HOT and HUMID.  So along comes the rain this year and cooler temps.  But now-July has returned.  HOT and HUMID has returned.  AC is turned on.  Fans are circulating the air. 

I have gone completely off my rocker this time.  I found a wonderful Leclerc Tissart Tapestry Loom on the internet.  These looms are no longer being made.  I emailed the lady and asked if it was still available, etc.  She replied it was and that there was one other person interested.  I told her to invoice me through PayPal and that I would drive up to Kansas City and pick it up.  I never heard another word from her.  I tried three times-no response.  So I decided it was the universe telling me I didn't really need this new complication in my life. 

I continued to look at tapestries on Pinterest; I lurked around looking at tapestry weaver's blogs; I read about techniques.  It has been MANY years since I have done anything like this.  I became a little bit obsessive, but realistic that my skills are really rusty. 

Suddenly another Tissart loom was offered through one of my groups on Facebook.  I emailed the guy, and we discussed a price and I said I would come on Wednesday to pick it up.  Tuesday my friend CJE and I drove through a horrible flood and thunderstorm to get out of Arkansas.  We drove to Lawrence and spent some time at the Yarn Barn in Lawrence KS.  We spent the night and the next morning we toodled over to the yarn shop in Holton, KS to pick up the new loom. 

CJE drove over on Thursday to help me put it together.  It took a little bit of puzzle making, but it actually went together pretty easily.  I have rubbed it down with Howards Wax and Oil and cleaned it  up.  I have tied up the treadles.  Now I am waiting for the warp thread to arrive.  I am playing with ideas for a design.  I put it in my spinning room because that room has a higher ceiling than any other room.  It is pretty large.

I am plying my redbud leaf colored yarn on the treadle wheel.  I am spinning the tansy leaf colored yarn on the electric spinner.  Lovely greens.  So pretty.  Green is all around us right now. 

Noodles has really slowed down lately.  He is showing his age.  He is inside more than normal enjoying less humidity in the house.  He is really hanging onto me more since he is the only fur person now.

Last night a raccoon decided to investigate the recycle box.  I finally opened the door and told it to go away.  It just looked at me, blinked and waddled a little bit away.  I finally had to step out on the deck and shoo it away.  I am sure it came back to finish its forage plan.

The goats were to arrive this week, but the rain last week has delayed things.  I cannot believe how thick my honeysuckle jungle has gotten with all the rain.  I hope these goats can give me some relief from the thickness and the encroachment on the yard.

I got my yard mowed, but it looks like a hay field.  It is pretty sad looking this year.  The grass is very thick and it holds water a long time after a rain.  I had frogs running like crazy when I was mowing next to the fence on the east side.  It was very swampy there.

I am still knitting on my handspun shawl.  I love the colors in this piece.  I am also knitting on the Sanquhar scarf sampler.  I decided to knit a hexagon last night and see if I like the pattern.  I don't want to start a new project, but I was bored.  I also have some new sock yarns that are gorgeous.  I haven't been knitting so many socks as before, but these yarns are great colors.

My dyeing has slowed to nothing.  I haven't been feeding the indigo pot.  I have been busy making quick trips to Kansas and doing crazy things.

Yesterday was RC's birthday.  He is 42 years old this year.  It is so hard for me to imagine that.

I guess that is all for this little start of July.  Hot has returned.  Things are starting to dry up.  AC on. Staying in except early morning and late,late evening.  Reading, knitting, spinning to fill up time.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Just Chugging Along!

I had to make a decision on Monday that I did not want to make.  I am now without my little Patty-Cakes.  She never recuperated from whatever her medical issues were, and by Monday she was so much worse.  She was unable to walk, she was wobbly on her feet, and she had nystagmus and other eye symptoms of neurological issues.  It is still a very raw thing for me to talk about, so I will not say anything more.

On some good news, I am hiring some goats to come out and eat away at the honeysuckle jungle on the west side of my property.  Since I bought the house I have been looking for some goats.  I finally found some.  It is going to be expensive, but not nearly as expensive as hiring people to clear it out.  Not only is there honeysuckle, but there is poison ivy, briars, and blackberry brambles.  Among all that is more trash that the previous owner threw out there.  I will get to clean that up eventually.

Every day I have been trying to do some art project.  I am ashamed that I cannot paint or even draw as I once did.  I have tried many times, and I get frustrated at myself.  So I decided that every day I will dedicate some time to do something.  Last week with Patty's illness, I photocopied a mandala that a friend had sent me for New Moon, and I colored with my colored pencils.  I enjoyed that.  It seems that coloring is a good thing to do.

Last night I was thinking I wanted to do some sun printing on fabric.  So I hunted for my supplies and my instructions.  I realized why I haven't done it in a long, long while.  I needed some foam board to pin the fabric to.  So tomorrow I will do the printing while it is cooler.

I had to go into town to question my bill for my recycling.  I live in a small town that is working really hard to prevent the big cities from swallowing it up.  I pay the local utility company $4.06/month for recycling.  My trash pickup is free as long as I purchase the yellow bags.  The yellow bags are HUGE, so I put the trash out every three-four weeks.  I recycle weekly.

As happens in small business worlds, it has just been found out that an employee of the utility company embezzled a lot of money.  She was ciphering the cash paid some way.  I don't know how to do it, so I don't try to figure it out.  Of course, I paid my $4.06 in cash-why write a check?  So now they will only take checks.  If I use a credit card or debit card, they charge a fee because they are charged a fee.  Remember small business.  I refuse to pay a fee that is almost as much as the bill.

So in May I wrote a check for multiple months instead of the one month.  Simple math-x amount of months times $4.06.  Ten days ago I went in to purchase yellow bags, and wrote a check and got my receipt.  Then I get a bill the other day for $4.69.  I couldn't fathom where this came from.

The two ladies in the office today could not figure out why I got the bill, and they found a credit on my account in the computer.  So they are going to check out the whole thing and get it straight.

So while I am out and about, I drove to our local farm store.  They did not have the foam board I was looking for.  So reluctantly I had to go to Lowes.  I got my board, I got some other things, and I left.
The wind kept trying to blow the foam board out of my hands.  Suddenly this nice man got out of his truck and offered to help me.  When I got the car opened , he told me the board would not fit in the car.  I told him I was going to get a knife out of the car and cut it smaller.  He got his pocket knife out and cut it for me.  After loading it up, he said, "Have a good day, Ma'am."  He got in his truck and drove off.

So that left me feeling pretty good about the world today.  None of those other men in their trucks tried to help.  Here was this man who wore bib overalls, had a long white beard, and longish white hair.  He got out of his truck and helped me.  Bless him for being so nice.

Now that I am rested, it is time to tackle vacuuming my bedroom.  I want to shampoo it today and get it freshened.  I got my spinning room shampooed the other day and it feels good to be clean.  I did battle with a spider this morning.  I opened the cabinet to put cups away.  As I pulled the door open, a big black house spider plopped onto the counter and scurried away.  I peered into the cabinet looking for others.  Somehow I looked up and there was her nest.  It was stuck to the upper part of the cabinet frame and the door.  I got her sucked off the counter with the vacuum, and I got the nest cleared out.  I hate to mean.  If she had chosen some location that I don't use regularly, I would have left her alone.

So I am really going to get up now and go do some work.  Ugh.  I just don't feel like cleaning, but it feels good when it is done.

Happy weekend everyone!

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Hot Again!

Well, we have had torrential rains for over a week-around ten days.  This has been the strangest June! It seems I say that about every month.  We started out with the usual HOT days and drying out from May rains.  Then it started all over again.  Rain, rain, rain, rain.  The ground is soggy.  My neighbors are all out mowing.  I am waiting until cooler this evening and give the ground more time to dry.

With the sunshine comes HEAT and HUMIDITY!  Of course, we expect the humidity to be there because of all the moisture around. 

I just now threw some fleece and a bit of handspun yarn into the indigo bath.  I tried something new that I haven't used.  I saw a picture of a dye workshop on Navajo land and I wanted to know more about the pink that they got.  I found a picture of them pouring something into the pot.  I managed to separate the picture and saw that it was prickly pear puree.  I've never used that, and thought how fun that would be.  Well, to get prickly pear puree costs a fortune.  I did find some place on EBay that sold it cheaper than anyone else. 

While I was waiting for it, I read through my booklet on Navajo dyes.  I read it through several times.  The most important thing - I thought- was that it has to ferment in the pot for at least two weeks.  It did say you cannot heat it like other dyes or you get tan.  You also cannot use a metal pan because that creates a tan also.  I wanted pink, and I guess letting it ferment wouldn't kill me.

Well, happy day when the stuff arrived.  I soaked my fleece and my bit of handspun.  I put it in the container, and I joyfully opened the container and poured it all over the stuff in the pan.  It was a yucky tannish icky looking stuff.  I was not happy.  I was expecting it to be pink like in the picture.

Well, I let it ferment for a week, and I wasn't going to like this.  It was a pale, pale, yellowy tan color.  So today it is in the indigo bath hoping to salvage this mess.

It took me a little while to analyze my problem.  The cheaper stuff I bought on EBay was supposedly a health drink.  (I wouldn't drink that stuff, even if I held my nose tight)  To make a health drink I suppose they would have to pasteurize it.  DUH!  It had been heated.  Heating makes it tan.  Boo-hoo!

So now I am going to make it into something else.  We will see.

Patty has now been diagnosed with seizures.  She did this weird little thing last Monday.  Her back legs collapsed and her front legs splayed out.  She looked confused and scared.  She would try to get up and when she could wobble up on her legs it was scary looking.  The vet worked her in and we got the diagnosis of seizures.  I thought since last October that she was having little TIA's that were leading up to the BIG ONE.  And Monday I thought she was having the BIG ONE.  By the time we got seen in the office, she was over her little episode.  Of course.

The roadrunner has been over at my neighbor's house mostly.  He or she goes from door to door to window and looks in to see them.  He or she still comes over here and jumps up on the railing of the screened porch.  I get the eye stare and the head turns as I talk to him.  It is too cute.  I never knew them to be such social folks.

I have been trying every day to do something with my art work.  I get discouraged and chastise myself badly.  I know intellectually that it takes practice and I know that I am not going to paint the masterpiece of the year.  But I get mad at myself for not being able to do things again.  So now I have this thing to do a little bit every day.  Just a while-about an hour.  I seem to be enjoying the piddling part of it.

Last night I got tired of the Sanquhar scarf.  I petted it, and I smoothed it out.  I announced, "This may become a pillow instead of a scarf."  I don't want to give up, but I am so over knitting this thing.  I did start a pretty simple shawl with some of my handspun.  I love how the colors are coming out with that.  I know that this is the time of year that I don't knit a lot.  I am not going to give up just yet.

I finished another skein of purple.  I think I can now say I will have enough for a sweater when I finish up what I have.  I have that to look forward to this next winter.  Yay!

Well, I am going to don my gloves and go squeeze the fleece and skein and hopefully will have a much prettier color than what went into the bucket of indigo.  Fingers crossed.

Happy Weekend for everyone!

Friday, June 12, 2015

Blogger Is Maybe Working

I have been using Blogger for a long time now.  Sometimes it gets a glitch from somewhere.  Hopefully today it will go through. 

I have been busy this week dyeing with my indigo pot.  The dress is an old one of mine that I normally just wear around the house.  It has been overdyed twice before.  The dye before this one was orange, and it shows through the indigo.  I have mended the holes and it is ready for around the house wear again.

The two cloths were single dipped.  I wanted some more moons, and some of them are perfect.  Some are a little blurry.  When I ironed the dried finished pieces, it appears that some of the blue skies are snowy and there are clouds around the moons.  So there is hope for this piece.  The other was accordion folded and then folded like a flag.  It came out an odd pattern.  I could redo another pattern or leave it to fussy cut from.  I don't know yet.
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I don't know why the cursor keeps going to the middle.  I am having some struggles with this post.
 
It has turned seasonably hot and muggy.  We had a drizzle the other morning, but it lasted less than an hour and made it more humid.  I am watering my new flower bed.  I don't know how established the plants are.  They seem happy and are blooming.  The new milkweed lost three of its branches.  Hopefully I won't lose all of them.  The one from last year that I transplanted is doing okay.  No sign of butterfly eggs.  The bumblebees are happy anyway.  Not too many honey bees.  Sigh!
 
I did find a box turtle by the step the other night.  Hopefully the concrete blocks will act as a deterrent.  It can munch all it wants to on other things.
 
The roadrunner is mostly at my neighbor's house now.  It strangely goes from door to door and pecks at the doors and low windows.  It has visited me  a few times and sits on the rail of the screened porch. It looks me in the eyes when I talk to it.  Some scrawny looking hummingbirds are feeding at the feeder. My friend has a Carolina wren nest in her asparagus fern basket.  She moved it away from cat availability. 
 
The Mugwort is blooming nicely.  The bachelor buttons didn't do as well this year as years past.  I ended up with patches in the yard that I mow around.  Only one hollyhock rose to glory.  I found new sprouts when I was weedeating.  Maybe next year we will have a great show.  The Echinacea is blooming.  The Brown-eyed Susan's are blooming.  The Black-eyed Susan's are big and lush, but no blooms yet.  So the garden is slowly doing it's thing.   I am waiting for the Tansy to bloom so I can use the flowers for a dye.  I like the color that the leaves produced.  I am spinning that right now on the electric spinner.
 
I am trying ever so hard to walk every day.  It means I have to get up early and go somewhere.  Today it wasn't going to happen.  Instead I am going to a sale at the Junk Ranch.  It is a two-day sale outside a rural town near here.  Vendors bring vintage and repurposed and refurbished stuff.  And some things are still junk, but one never knows if it is just the junk one needs.  I am looking for storage ideas, but either wall mounted or small, small, small. 
 
Yesterday the plumber came to check out the leak in the back shower.  He said it was the drain; he crawled under the house (ick!); confirmed it was the drain; gave me an estimate; went off to buy a new drain; came back an hour later; fixed it in about an hour with his helper (his son); and now supposedly I do not have a leak.  I have a fan blowing on the floor hopefully to dry that out.  I don't want to replace the board unless I really, really have to.  I was concerned about the mold, and a friend said to bleach it.  So I have sprayed a lot of bleach on the board.  I think after it dries more I will really scrub the corners and edge with a brush and bleach.  When it is all dry I can decide what to do. If I don't replace it, I will have to seal it with that white stuff.  I can't remember the name.  I used it on the sub floor before the installation of my bamboo floors in living room and hallway. 
 
I finished the sock carry-along project, so now I only have the scarf.  I tried taking it to knit night last week, but I had to rip out one row when I got home.  So yesterday I wound off the two balls of turquoise/multi color handspun and started a shawl.  It is a very simple 8 row pattern, and I almost have it memorized.  It is a pattern that I used for a shawl for a fiber show. 
 
The shawl sold in the last hour of the show, and I did discount it because the woman really, really wanted it.  She had on a green shirt with her jeans, and the green matched the shawl.  She tried it on and pranced around.  Everyone told her it looked like her.  So the sucker that I am, I would rather have someone really happy with my knitwear than be rich and have someone give it to Goodwill after one wearing.  I have an idea that this new one is going to be a Christmas gift. 
 
I am spinning on the treadle wheel and the electric spinner.  I mentioned that the tansy green is on the electric spinner and I am still spinning some purple on the treadle wheel.  I was looking for some white fleece to dye with the tansy.  I happily re-found a pound of the purple that I had stuck away for later.  Hopefully I will have enough for a sweater when all done.  I don't know yet what my annual winter sweater will be.  I am leaning towards one of Anne Hanson's patterns.  It will depend on the yardage.
 
I made the muslin for the new top I want to make.  I have hips and now I have to accommodate for those hips.  Sigh!  This sagging business is ruining my memory of my figure.  I have a new scale that tells me the BMI and the percentage of body fat.  Not a comforting thing to find out.  I know that I am 67 years old, but inside me still hides that athlete I once was.  Oh, well, I will keep on walking.
 
So off to shower and clean myself from top to bottom.  I have to get ready to go sweat and look for junk at the big sale.  It is kinda exciting.  A treasure hunt.  Happy Friday everyone!


Monday, May 25, 2015

The Interminable Rain

Yes, it is still raining.  We have had so much now that the ground is saturated.  It just runs off into the ravine-down the hill it goes. 

Yesterday was my birthday.  My grandmother always told me that I was born in a thunderstorm.  I love storms-it excites me; it energizes me; I get jazzed.  I am somehow not excited about the weatherman staying on the t.v. all the time, giving minute by minute reports.  I have a wonderful APP on my IPad that my brother recommended to me.  I look at the location of the storm cell, I calculate how long it will take to arrive, and I calculate how long it will take to go through.  That is all I need to know.

My poor flowers look ragged, forlorn, and soggy.  A good day or two of sunshine would perk them up tremendously.

I am sick to death of discussing my health issues, and I am not thinking about it any more.  What I can do is walk.  I can get into some kind of regular walking, exercise mode and just do it.  Today I tried a section of the new Razorback Greenway.  The first part was really lovely.  It is a wide expanse of concrete that runs along the edge of a creek.  If you listen to the sound of the rushing water and the bird sounds, you can almost tune out the sounds of urban life. Especially the sound of traffic on a nearby roadway. 

Since CJE gave me a FitBit, I can now calculate the distance I am walking, the time, of course, and mainly to monitor my heart rate.  I try to keep my heart rate at 135 when I am climbing a little hill, and I push to walk faster.  Somewhere inside this slug is the old body that used to ride bicycles every day and row three times a week.  This is the same physical shell that used to be a master rower and race in regattas.  I figure within three months I should be doing much better. 

I have repairmen coming on Thursday to do some simple repairs that are necessary for maintenance of the homestead.  I do have one major repair job, but I will ask for an estimate and save up for that.  I was thinking today I might ask how much it would cost to put two ceiling fans in the kitchen and one in the guest bedroom.  I would also like to replace the outside lights, but it isn't a necessary thing.  Just a "maybe" job.

I listened to a Joe Gray cozy mystery on audio book yesterday and today.  I finished up my small skein of purple BFL and got it wound onto the skein winder.  I haven't blocked it yet, because it surely won't dry with all the wet and humid air.  I love that I can download a book from the library and listen while I get something done.  All for free!  Free is good!

My birthday was uneventful, but it was heartwarming to have so many people think of me.  I have a lot of gratitude for the messages I get.  I even got a card from CF, and she and I just don't do that.  We have known each other 25 years, and we never give birthday or Christmas stuff.  We give each other things all year whenever we think of it.  When I called her to ask, she said she was looking for a card for her daughter, and found this one that made her think of me.  Funny. 

I think I am going to go to bed and read for a while.  There isn't a thing on t.v., and I am not going to go through Facebook again.  I don't want to get on Pinterest and get lost.

Check your toes and make sure there are no webs there.  At least we will get a good crop of mosquitoes out of this.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Well-It Is Soon To Be Another Birthday!

Isn't it funny?  Years ago I would celebrate my birthday month.  Now it is just another day.  I have gotten cards in the mail from friends.  And my friend CJE gave me a FitBit to track my Heart Rate.  She is concerned with my health issues.  So now I can track my activity level from slug to pushing it.  I monitored my sleep last night.  As I already know that I never sleep well or completely through a night, the graph showed I was up or roused 28 times last night.  I am not sure I need to know this.

I tried taking Patty on a walk today, but she balked all along the route.  She did not want the harness on.  When I first got her, I only put the harness on to indicate we were going for a walk.  She did not want that thing on, but I prevailed and snugged it up.  We would be walking along quite well, and suddenly she would stop.  She wouldn't budge.  Finally what I had to do was click and snap the lead a couple flicks, and say "Let's go."  And she would for a while.  She kept looking around like she was trying to figure out where we were.  I was too busy trying to dodge the goose and duck poop.

CJE came over yesterday and gave me the new toy.  She also made me a pattern for a simple tank top that she created.  I am thinking I could sew a few summer tops out of some cute fabric and have some nice tops.  Unfortunately we are in a cool snap.  Right now I have on a sweatshirt and socks.  I cannot remember when was the last time I was still wearing cool weather clothes in late May.

I went to the doctor this a.m. and now I am stable and seem to be accepting the meds without complications.  I don't have to go back for three months, unless, of course, I have some weird symptoms.  What a relief.

I did come straight home and got the riding mower out to mow the majority of the yard.  It was wet down close to the ground, so the mower wasn't happy.  I haven't done any weedeating or trip mowing with the push mower.  It started to rain and I was glad to not do anything for a while.

I am going to get some minor chores done for house maintenance next week.  Unfortunately I did find my floor is soft in the back bathroom.  Sigh!  I did not want to do any major repairs this year.  I told the company I need an estimate, so I can plan when to have the work done.

Noodles caught a mid-size rabbit the other evening.  It seems I have a large population of rabbits this year.  They are always in the yard, and I have walked right past them without them running off.  I only hope that he doesn't get some disease from eating them.  He did get something when we lived out near Devil's Den.  A tick fever the vet said probably came from rabbits.  It is better than Bobcat Fever.  That kills domestic cats within 24 hours.

My flowers are starting to grow well in the little bed I made out back.  Noodles keeps the catnip trimmed, so it is really getting thick.  Hopefully he will allow it to flower.  The butterflies and bees really like catnip flowers.  The coreopsis is blooming.  The milkweed flowers are reddish, but they haven't opened fully.

I have been spinning the purple yarn, but now I am wanting to spin up the green that I just dyed.  With the electric spinner I am spinning some white merino.  I am thinking that I might just dye the skein when I finish that.  I got a coupon from Paradise Fibers for my birthday, so I think I will order some more white fiber.  I haven't set up an indigo pot, but surely it will be getting warm soon.

So Jeopardy is coming on.  Time to try to outwit the smart folks there.  Sometimes I yell at them, and it frustrating why they can't get it.  The pleasures of living alone. Ha!

Have a safe holiday weekend.  Surely we will soon have sunshine and warmth.  

Friday, May 15, 2015

It's Still Raining!

 Today I picked a few stems and leaves from my tansy out back.  It has flourished this year due to the excessive rain we have had.  It hasn't begun to set flowers, so this is perfect timing.

I am really, really pleased with the pretty soft green I got.  I used copper sulfate as my mordant.  The wool is Polworth.  There is 8 oz drying and waiting to become yarn.

Yes, it appears that we are in for a very wet May.  This is extremely unusual, since May is the first month to get hot.  Not the oppressive heat of June and July and August, but a blessing from the cold.  Now we have had some cooler mornings and a lot of wet.

Patty has been sick twice this week.  We got very little sleep two nights in a row.  I finally tried a low-dose aspirin, and she slept.  Who knows?  It's a shame dogs can't give us a hint.

I am desperately trying to keep up with the mowing.  It is difficult.  If the ground and grass is too wet, it can clog up the mower. 

My bachelor buttons did not do so well this year.  They are scraggly and not really blossoming into a beautiful carpet of flowers.  This may be my last year to promote them.  My hollyhocks did not return as well, either.  There is only one plant where there were three last year.  I don't know why it is so hard for me to grow them.

My weigeilias did exceptionally well.  They were covered in flowers all over.  The two are thick bushes grown together now.  I trimmed the pink azalea this morning, getting it ready for next year's blooms.

My friend CJE is finally getting her new doors and she now has new flooring in her bathroom and in the kitchen.  The pictures look good.

My friend BBR is not coming in November.  It is too expensive for her to come from Vermont.  We exchanged emails this morning, catching up on news.

I don't have a lot going on.  Just wanted to post the pictures of my afternoon's work.