Thursday, May 31, 2007

Let's Try This Again!

I was almost finished writing my post, when BLOOP! the electricity was gone. I am always never sure if it is just my place or everywhere. So I went to the closet and reset the breaker several times. So it had to be everywhere. So no electricity-what to do? So I picked up my mess in the living room, straightened out the table stuff, swept and washed the floor, dusted, and then what. I couldn't vacuum. I could spin. Nah! I could wash wool. Nah! So I took a tepid shower and washed my hair. Still no electricity.

I saw the most incredible show on PBS last night. It was called Craft in America. It was so wonderful. They showed three shows back to back. My friend called me afterward and said, "I feel like I have eaten a HUGE Thanksgiving meal." We were both enthralled.

Sorry, there were no knitters. But there were weavers and quilters. Some of the older shots at Penland showed spinners too. But it just made me want to CREATE! I want to spin, I want to dye, I want to sew on my quilt top, I want to weave some baskets, I want to finish the woodcarving I never finished, I want to DO. Yet as I reported above, I didn't DO when I could have this morning.

We both discussed the community aspect of the craft world. She is a wonderful oil painter, but in the 70's she designed needlework designs for needlepoint and cross stitch. Not with a company, but independently by word of mouth. I miss the community part of what they discussed last night. I never seem to live anywhere where there is a community that supports fiber art. When I was a weaver, it was really bad. Now there is interest again in knitting, and a few folks want to learn spinning. But I have lost my interest in being the dog-and-pony show or to be the instructor for a few folks who are curious about spinning. They do not want to spin badly, they do not want to prepare their own fiber, they want to dye perfectly like in the magazines. And they find spindles tedious.

I have a friend that just bought a wheel. She used to be a weaver in her hippy days. She became a famous folk singer in between years. Now she and her husband have their not-so-well mothers living with them. And she decided to go back to knitting again. And then that wasn't enough, she bought a wheel. I told her I will be happy to help her in any way and will work with her whenever she needs me. She knows I have been spinning for 30 years. Today she calls me; about 8 or 9 people are coming to her house next week to talk about spinning. But I told her I do not do crowds well. She understood, but she is still in the enchantment part of learning to spin. This almost sounds like I am discouraging the community part of this. But my friend is a serious spinner-to-be, and I do not know the other people. But I have been burned out by folks who are not as serious as she is in learning.

I'm not sure if this makes any sense to anyone. I did talk to a lady at a knitting retreat in March. I was sitting by her talking while she was spinning. We were visiting a friend of hers that is a vendor. It appears this spinning lady used to have sheep. Used to process and sell fiber. But she said, "One day I just decided I could not help one more sheep give birth at o'dark thirty in the morning in a freezing barn. I just want to spin and enjoy my yarn." So she supports her friends who are vendors and buys roving or processed wool. Some times she dyes, and sometimes she buys it dyed. This showed me that someone else got burned out, and now she found her peace by supporting her friends' sheep.

This is a jumbled up ramble of nothing. I think I need to stop and vacuum. I decided to do a load of clothes too. Friday afternoon I have neighbors coming for potluck in our "share our gardens" plan for this year. I normally wouldn't have straightened up, but one of them may bring an elderly couple that live down the road. For them, I hid the bags of raw fleece that were sitting in the kitchen floor, the pile of winter sweaters that need to be washed before putting away, and I picked up the stuff piled on the futon-sofa. We will be outside, but people do come and go in the house. I even washed the kitchen floor! Well, quick before the electricity goes again-here's the post.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Happy Monday on a Tuesday!

Well, no knitting except in spurts and pieces. I did get all my quilt pieces cut out, and now the fun begins. I listened to podcasts and cut and cut and cut. I did put one block together last night to be sure that I remember the process of doing that. So now, I will start sewing.

I saw some movement in the tall grass behind the barn Sunday evening. I have a window near the ceiling in the east bathroom. If I stand on the vanity I can look out this window. That is usually how I do my wildlife watching. So I stood there watching little baby foxes (kits) playing, and Mama was real close by. I go to the barn daily to take care of Buddy, and have not seen any signs that this is the den. I think Mama just took them on a little jaunt and let them work off some energy. Like we take our kids to the park. They look like little puppies, but I refuse to let my emotions go wild. They do grow up to be big foxes.

I am really thinking about my next project in knitting. But I refuse to start anything until I finish the pink top and at least one sock. The socks are for winter use anyway. I have put the wool shrug aside until later, too, since it is obviously not wool weather.

It is still raining, and raining, and raining. It looks like every day this week into the weekend. It does put a crimp in the lawn care, and I hope my potatoes do not rot. All my potatoe plants are blooming. Lettuce is pretty well gone. Spinach is little bitty leaves, but still there. Oh, well, I guess I won't be mowing any time soon. Darn!

I found this little line without a name to attribute it, so I apologize if this is yours:

"I count the stitches row by row, and watch the thread record the time."

May your life be recorded by each colorful thread.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Llama wool makes the best pillow!

I found Noodles asleep this morning face down in the llama wool. I couldn't pass this up. He was worn out after killing the frog that I found in the floor. It is too cute!

It has been trying to be sunny, but occasionally the clouds overcome. With the sun comes the humidity!

I bought a salt/mineral block for Buddy. Well, the deer are enjoying it also. That I expected. But this morning I saw three crows around the block. I never thought of birds needing a salt block. How do birds maintain their electrolytes? Do they eat mud? It is a puzzle that needs to be explored.

I saw that the American Museum of Natural History is running an exhibit on mythical creatures, specifically dragons, unicorns, and mermaids. What? You mean these creatures are mythical? What about dragons- aren't they real? Well, maybe to some people they aren't real.

I started knitting on the pink tank top. I decided to be accurate and measure it again! I put it on the end of the ironing board, since it is being knit in the round. Laying it on the floor or table does not give me an accurate measurement. Well, the accurate measurement is depressing. Am I ever going to finish this thing? It makes me determined to knit, knit, knit, and get the damn thing finished. Whew!

I mentioned I started the socks again. Sock #1 is coming along well. I am happier with this new sock than I was with the old sock. I am happy I ripped it out and started over. Sometimes it needs to be done. It feels good to me - that this is going to be the right sock.

I am also thinking about another sewing project. And another felting project. We will see. If the sun will stay out for a coupla days, I can wash wool. Or I can dye some wool. Wow! The possibilities are endless. Isn't it fun to be involved in too many projects all at once?

It is Memorial Day weekend. Which means zilch to me since I am still unemployed. It is a time I used to go places. But you know, the price of gas sucks! It really puts a crimp in my style. But I can stay home and do stuff. I mean- I do not have to go somewhere to be entertained.

Speaking of entertainment- have we decided to not have TV any more? All my fav shows are over for the season. I keep hearing Jericho was not renewed. Then someone else says the network renewed them. Then another person says not. I have a while to wait until History Detectives comes on for the summer. So this is a time to get things done. I WILL NOT watch the stupid pirate reality show. Can we please do away with the reality shows? What will people do for greed? Maybe we could have a knitting reality show. Let's see. Turn knitters loose in a big yarn shop. Give them a project. See who can figure out what yarn they can use, how much to use, what gauge to use, what kind of needles to use, whoops! that knitter got a deduction because they decided to knit a pair of socks in addition to the project chosen, oh-let's take this outside and let the whole world watch the knitter's knit in the park, this could be an interesting show!

Well, have a good weekend! Off to knit-or wash wool-or dye-or sew-or something!

Thursday, May 24, 2007


Well, today is my birthday. I am sure this is thrilling to so many people. I treated myself to a quilt class- a log cabin pattern- and I bought Buddy the horse a salt/mineral block for my birthday. I got a CARE package from one friend with chocolate, a t-shirt, 2 sleeveless tees for very hot days, and two books. And two other friends called and wished congratulations. So a good day all the way around.

I will mention some interesting things I saw today on the way to the quilt class. I took a different route to the small town where the class was held and then home a different route. Of course, the obligatory road improvement. Kudzu seems to be spreading even more than before. I saw more cows than I've seen in a while. On the way home I saw three roadside places with a BUNCH of echinacea. It seems that large patches of that herb were wiped out by BAD people who robbed the mother lode to sell the herb. They did not respect the fact that one has to leave some to grow in the future. So when I see large clumps of it like today, I usually keep the location to myself.

The best thing I saw was a turkey vulture on a fence post with wings spread out to dry them from the rain. I have seen them in high places-like trees or cliff facings- never on a regular fence post with wings outstretched. At first glance I thought someone had placed a sculpture on the fence post. It took 2-3 seconds for me to realize that it was not a sculpture, but a real bird. Then I almost ran off the curve in the road. I love to see them at dawn in what I call a prayer stance. They face East as the sun rises. They place the wings in front of them in "prayer fashion". Then as the sun heats up, they spread them out to the side and each wing feather appears to get warmed up. It is really neat. But I've never seen one on a fence post.

I am really sleepy, and I need to close the gate and go to bed. I think I will read a while, but will probably fall asleep reading.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007


I should never jinx the rain. We always have such a drought in the mid-late summer, and we are always complaining about -No Rain! But here it is-3rd week in May- and it is 65 degrees and raining- again! Time to make soup!

Anyway-the foxes have moved to taking over everything, except in the house-yet! The cats are spooked again. Yesterday Baby did not come home until very late evening. I, of course, had spent the day looking for kitty bodies on the road, calling, and calling. This morning I heard her using the litter box. My two cats NEVER use the litter box, unless it is snow up to their bellies or icy or really, pouring, soaking rain. So she is spooked. I saw her watching out the bedroom window, and I got down to her level and looked out. There was a fox eating what I guessed to be a rabbit. Right close by the window.

My friend came over Sunday to try on the sock that I had stopped knitting on until he came by. I was just not feeling right about this sock. Sure enough-it did not fit right. He kept telling me not to rip it out since I had done so much on it. Obviously this is not a knitter. So after he left, I ripped it out and started over. I actually found my old booklet from the 1940's for socks, and I am using a basic pattern in there. I think sometimes we have to go back to the basic things and do it right. No fancy sock here. Just plain ole sock. Luckily, I am using a very good sock yarn that is forgiving that I had to rip it out. It just goes to show why it is so important to use good yarn. I LOVE good yarn! Especially wool.

I have been having visions again of ideas for sewing. I think it is because I know it is going to get HOT soon, and I do not knit very much when I am HOT! I never use my air conditioner unless it is really, really, unbearable. That is usually from about 11a.m. to 5 p.m.

I just got two rejections for the jobs I applied for. It really puts me in a mood. I could not go to the knit group last night. I went by the LYS and talked to Joy and Colleen. But I could not stay for the group meeting. I stayed home and watched Dancing With the Stars. It will finally be over tonight. It is a show that I can knit and watch. Tonight there is a Tom Selleck movie. I can probably catch up the sock tonight.

So I am going to make a pot of soup. I am going to fill out more applications. And on and on and on.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

My Brain is Mush!

I have been applying for employment the last few days, and my brain is mush! I cannot think at all. I have taken such comprehensive tests that I became obsessive in every stroke of the keyboard.

It has been really cool here lately. I look at this picture of the orchid and remember that it was HOT, MUGGY, and BUGGY in the bogs. Remember that I went orchid hunting a coupla weeks ago with a friend, and I promised a picture of one of them. Isn't it incredible?!? It makes me happy.

This blurry picture proves that my spiderwort has come back after the April freeze. It isn't as prolific as it should be, but is surviving.

I have been knitting on the pink tank top in between applications. But it is slow going. I am a slow knitter, but only because I am in no rush any more like I was when I was young. There was a time in my long-ago past that I sold my handspun, my hand knits, and taught classes. It was a tough way to make a living. I carried knitting everywhere. I was constantly knitting. I knit while I stood in lines, even at the grocery store. It was insane. I prefer that I do not need any more sweaters, although I occasionally see one I think I would like to have. I never have enough socks. And friends always want those. I have plenty of scarves, plenty of everything. But I still knit.

A friend called up in February and asked if I still had any baby hats. I told her I given them all away to charity before Christmas. "Can you just whip one up for me to take to a baby shower?" Don't you just love it! Well, of course, I "whipped one up" in a few days and sent it on. I actually got a thank you note hand written from the new mother. My friend told me that my hat was the only handmade gift she got. I was appalled; everyone in the Monday Knit Group was appalled. We just cannot fathom a baby without handmade gifts. I even sent some washcloths in the box, but my friend kept those.

I have a box of "stuff" that are give-aways. I like to try out new washcloth patterns, or I sometimes make a washcloth out of a swatch when I want to try out a pattern. I have socks. I have scarves. I have "stuff". Luckily the younger girls like the retro thing. I have retro that is really retro from grandmother "stuff". Remember those afghans that were made on a plastic loom-like thing that made a daisy? Well, I still have mine in the blanket chest. I never liked it, but my father's mother made it for me in the 70's. I think Linda Jo is getting that. I have to get it out and air it and check it over for yucky places.

My favorite give-away lately was this scarf I made. I was trying to do a dye experiment that was in Spin-Off where you measure the yarn on a jig you make. It is supposed to give you the fair-isle patterning, but it didn't work. It was AWFUL! The dye was ugly, it ran, it was AWFUL! I knit it up anyway. It was AWFUL! I loved the pattern I used, because it gave a waffle feel- in other words, it had a nice smooshy texture. But the color was AWFUL! So in desperation I overydyed it. Well, it actually was do-able with the overdye. I took it to a funeral, and my cousin's wife oohed and aahed over the sage color with the mauve and lavender colors. I took it off and said, "Here. It's yours." She was elated beyond words. My cousin just beamed. I told her that sometimes things just have to find the right owners. She loved it. I didn't.

Anyway, it is Saturday! Thank goodness! I submitted the last application early this am. Now I have to just wait. I will continue to apply come Monday, but for now, it is time to do something else. Happy Weekend!

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

I Don't Give Up Easily!

I have been having a little bit of trouble with the Fox family since they moved into the neighborhood. What do you do with bad neighbors? I kept thinking it was not that bad on the cats. Then Noodles started staying out all night long instead of only a short time. Baby would finally get up her nerve to go out the cat door, and wham! in she would fly! The problem is I put the cat door in a hallway window on the back side that faces the woods. At the time there was no problem, other than an especially lengthy ramp to get to the window. I am on a hillside. I thought that maybe this would encourage the cats to stay away from the road side of the property. Well, now we have new neighbors on the back side that do not like the intrusion.

So after waking up twice with poor Baby slamming in and out of the door, I was ready to try something different. I cannot put the cat door into a door. I rent, and the doors are metal. So my only window on the yard side of the property that I could use is to a storage room that is really junked up. The window will not open, I was told, and that meant to me no air, no other use for room other than storage. So I pulled everything piled up in front of that window. Examined window. Went after the window with a screwdriver, and the sucker finally opened a little bit. So encouraged, I set about making a new cat entrance. I have some portable screens that you buy at the home stores that fit into windows. They are adjustable by sliding them back and forth sideways. So I fitted the cat door into the portable screen, and then proceeded to pack foam insulation all around the opening. I am thinking ahead for winter time, since now the window will be open all the time. I duct-taped the entire process. It is really tacky and looks awful. But if it works, I don't care. I went outside to put plastic sheeting over the screened area, and suddenly it started raining. Not a little bit of rain-pouring rain! So later on when it dries out some, I'll finish the plastic sheeting bit.

We had such a bad storm that power kept flickering. I did not want to be on the computer with that going on. We got 1 inch of rain in about an hour and a half! The ground is already saturated, so an inch just makes the yard mushy.

Last night at the Monday Night Knit Group I found out that Carrie (untangle) is going to leave with her husband on Sunday to go to Maryland. She was going to wait until June, but has decided to just leave with him. Linda Jo (as for me and my hands) brought a chocolate cake with chocolate roses and rosebuds on top. Our little group seems to be dwindling. Summer time is always low attendance, but last night seemed such a small group. There was a class going on upstairs in the LYS, and they were quite noisy.

Well, I guess I better try to get some work done. I need to finish vacuuming the mess I made, but that can wait a while. At least now I am not worried about the cats as much. The foxes can just have the space back there. They actually bark kinda like a dog. I have heard chirples and low sounds, but not a bark. Until last night just before Baby slammed through the door, and she was mad. She was growling and muttering under her breath. So now peace can reign in the kingdom again. HA! HA! HA!

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Beautiful Days Are to Be Cherished!

What a glorious day this has started out to be! I tried to watch my quilt shows on PBS, but kinda dozed through them. I then went outside to start my outdoor chores. It has been raining all week, and when not raining, cloudy. Today the SUN is shining! And it is humid. The ground is totally saturated to the stage of mushy. The grass and weeds are very wet. So first, I decided to make a little woven string trellis for my gourds. They are up and starting to get big. They have not put out their runners yet, but it's better to be prepared. I went to the old compost pile and sifted compost to put around the potato plants, which are HUGE! I took inventory of everything, and it looks like we weathered the storms pretty well. The trees are leafing out again. The salvia is blooming and making Ms. Bumblebee very happy. The Solomon's Seal is blooming. The foxglove has a flower stalk. The comfrey is blooming. The deer clover is starting to bloom. I guess I am going to be ruthless and pull out some of my mint. It has decided to crowd out the chives and garlic. That's very naughty.

While I was weaving the string trellis, I heard the roadrunner cooing. I know he/she can see me, but I could not see him/her. I did notice a turkey at the cattle guard by the road. My friend that owns Buddy had a wild turkey that wandered up to his chicken yard one day and never left. When he left, the people that took the chickens could not catch Giblet. Then he disappeared and I assumed he went back to being wild again. Then my friend up the road said his new neighbors were ecstatic that a wild turkey came up to their chicken yard and seemed to stay put. That was some months ago. So I think the turkey I saw today was Giblet. I occasionally see him at the end of the pasture when the neighbor's Guinea hens go out there.

Today was my first bear smell. Normally I don't smell her until berry season. I wondered if I would have a visit this year since the berries are doing so poorly after the freeze. So- there you go. She is an old sow that lives down in my holler behind the house. Everyone on this road within 2 miles either way know her and about her. No one has tried to harm her in any way. I was very angry when a relative of someone came onto this property and killed our very old stag- known affectionately as The Bull of the Woods. Everyone up and down the road was incensed. He had 14 points! All I said, that person deserves to have the toughest meat around. It cannot taste good at that age and size.

Last night I got a lot of knitting done. I now have 10 inches on the pink tank top and I am halfway through with the foot of the #1 sock. I like to watch certain shows on Friday nights, and it is a great opportunity to knit. I don't have to actually watch every minute. It is the same with mystery books. You don't have to actually read every page. I have been known to skip a few pages and continue on the story. Especially if you have an author that has the same style in every book. I have tried the audio books thing while knitting. I tend to not listen and miss something in the reading. The only time I could actually listen and knit was when I had an eye problem for 8 months. I could not tolerate strong light. So I would sit in a darkened room and knit tube socks. To keep from screaming, I listened to audio books. This was WAY before IPOD days.

Well, on to chores. I need to put the laundry out on the line while there is sun. I also need to blanch some of the spinach and put in the freezer. Have a good weekend!

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Wool is .... well, wool!

I just love wool. I found the perfect quote from Elizabeth Zimmerman: For people allergic to wool, one's heart can only bleed. It is truly marvelous how many different kinds of wool there are, and how breeder's are constantly changing the quality and quantity of the wool. I just got an email from Knitter's Review. The story is about a sheep farmer in New Zealand who imported some sheep, bred them over a period of ten years, and now has his own breed of sheep that carries the farms name- Stansborough Grey. Evidently they are born black, and as they age they turn grey. They separate the colors at shearing to light, medium, and dark. Not only do they sell the fiber, but the yarn and yardage from their own weaving mill. Well, I am impressed! You have seen the yardage if you have seen The Lord of the Rings trilogy. Their yardage made the elven cloaks, and I think one of the hobbits had on some cloak, too. I have three bags of fleece sitting in my kitchen waiting to be washed. If it ever stops raining again. I just love touching the stuff. My husband could never understand how I could stand the smell. Farm smells are a bit overwhelming for the faint of heart. I love to smell Buddy the horse. It is such a distinct "horse smell". I love to lay my head on his side and just pat him. I use aged horse manure for fertilizer for the gardens. A friend of mine has Arabian horses, and he is good each Spring and Fall for a truck load of aged horse manure. He always piles it near the road, so whoever comes by can easily load it in. But the aged manure has a distinct smell from fresh. It is the "good" smell of compost.

Well, needless to say, I am being very poetic this morning about smells. But I love all the senses. The feel of handspun after it is washed and blocked. It is so springy, spongy, or something. It blooms to something unimaginable. I remember my first experience of buffalo. I was not in love with this. It was dry, dusty, short fibers, hard to spin, yucky! But I persevered. When washed, and blocked, it still didn't look like anything. As soon as I released the tension from the blocker- SPRONG! It was magic! Literally! It bloomed into this light, airy, bit of fluffy stuff. Yet yarn! It was gorgeous!

I love to lay in my bed and suddenly hear Buddy running in the pasture. He is old, and does not have many spontaneous, kick-up-your heels, buck-around, feel-good, runs. But when he does, he reminds me of Snoopy doing the Spring dance! I will run to the window and just watch him.

So it is good to have all five senses working when you are knitting, spinning, or working with fiber. I mentioned the other day about the feel of this Fortissima yarn I am knitting into a sock. I have begun the foot now, and I just stop and smush the sock together. It feels really good. I think the person that wears this will like this sock.

Well, speaking of smells, I need to get ready and go into town for my weekly grocery run. Shower and put on fresh clothes. What a novel idea! I think I will eat lunch out today. That would be a treat!

Have a happy feely, smelly, heary, seey, and tasty day!

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

New Neighbors Seen

I told you that the sock thing is not exciting. But the yarn is! I love the feel of this yarn, and I am squeezing it regularly. It has a thick feeling, yet is light and easy to handle. Once knitted, it has a cushy feel. I think these will feel really good on the feet. Don't you just love the little flecky colors in it? The color is a grey blue, and is pretty true in this picture. Almost done with the ribbing; then on to the heel!

Last night my new neighbors came through the back yard. My back yard is a wooded bluff within 30 feet of my back door. This blurry picture gives you the general idea. Beyond the edge of the trees is a sharp decline to small bluff. You have to know where to get over the bluff to drop to the table below that. Then it declines to a small creek. In our neighborhood, we call this a holler (vernacular for hollow). This creek runs west to east and is a connection for all creatures big and small that do not want to go through the farms or the road. So I can hear animals running the creek and "talking" during the night. It echoes loudly up the hill, and always is louder when the weather is right. We are in a rainy, cooler pattern, and the clouds are low and heavy. Perfect.

So last night around 12:15 a.m. one of my cats-probably the bigger of the two-SLAMMED through the cat door and woke me up in his haste to get in and safe. I immediately grabbed the flashlight and opened the door facing the woods. I picked up two yellow eyes-good- mammal-probably canine. I do not like coyotes. Then it trotted right up within 10 feet of me. A gray fox! Actually canid-not canine. They have a different set of genes. I told him or her to go on back into the woods. That I didn't think it needed to be so curious about me or the cats. It trotted over to the edge of the woods near the briar patch. Then it did the little meerkat thing of raising up on its hind legs and peering. I prayed it was not the other cat. And off it went. I heard a chirpling kind of noise, and turned. There were two more foxes, and one of them came up to see me. They finally went off. I did a head count as I turned back into the room. Noodles, the door slammer, was hunkered down under the computer table. Baby, the nosy one, was on a table and trying to see everything from a safe distance from the intruders.

I did an internet search. They will chase cats to protect their territory. Especially if the cat has human scent on it. So I guess now I have to go out and scent my territory. I want to make sure the cats can get to their ramp and safety, so I am going to scent all around that within 5-10 feet. Isn't this just wonderful! I am happy to have new wildlife move in, but really, curious foxes!

We are in a rainy period. I am happy to have the moisture. It has helped the trees recuperate from the freeze. Finally the oaks have some little bitty leaves. I feels a little cooler because of the dampness.

Well, I guess I better get busy and do something productive. I will close with a picture of Baby sleeping. She likes to sleep with her head tucked down and her feet under her. I always wondered how she breathes. But this is the way she has done this since little bitty. You can see she guards the cat door. Dragons and beasties beware! Baby is on guard!

Sunday, May 6, 2007

Off in Space!

I just saw the weirdest thing on t.v. No comments on that line please! I watch Sunday Morning most Sunday mornings. Today was a report about sending your ashes in a tiny capsule (it looked to be about the size of a test tube) into space. This company will send your ashes to orbit the earth, to the moon, or to space beyond. Well, I cringed when they interviewed this woman who talked about the baby boomers and how they wanted to do something beyond the box in the ground thing. Well, number 1: what do you do with the other ashes? A human body, even a sick, shriveled up one, has more ashes than a test tube can hold. And number 2: Why would you do such a silly thing? I mean, pollute outer space with all these little test tubes floating around. I remember when my mother died around 23 years ago! I told my brothers that I wanted to be cremated and my ashes mixed into my compost pile. They were horrified! I mean, really freaked! My husband and I discussed this in detail. He wanted to be cremated, but unsure of where to put the ashes. The rose bushes were appealing. But instead, his ashes were scattered into the river at his favorite fishing spot.

I have thoughts about what happens to your stuff after you die. I mean, what is going to happen to the yarn, the fleece, my spinning wheel, my stuff? I don't care about the furniture, the pots and pans, the house crap. I worry about my important stuff. My close friend and I have made efforts to use the "good" napkins, tablecloths, etc. One of my grandmothers never wore the underwear I gave her regularly. I ended up throwing all that out. I think she saved every girdle that anyone wore in my family. Younger girls can never know the obsession with girdles. I mean there was the panty-type of girdle that you wore under slacks (assuming you did not have thunder thighs at age 13). Side note: No one wore jeans when I was 13; very few wore slacks, but occasionally you needed slacks. Not pants. Slacks. There was the long-line girdle that smoothed things down with straight skirts. Also, be aware that the girdles had these things on them that you hooked your hose on. The pantyhose had not been introduced yet.

Anyway, I digress. All that from seeing this stupid show on t.v.

Yesterday, I spent the day borrowing my neighbor's lawn mower, mowing the yard, cleaning up before the next rain event. Buddy the horse thinks this is so nice of me to clean the yard for him. He did eat some of the high stuff I could not get to with the mower. He is so funny drinking out of the bird bath. I am not sure how horses drink water. But he puts his muzzle down into it, and then there is water flying everywhere. It looks like a kid playing in water and splashing it everywhere. I know cats curl their tongues around the water and bring it into their mouths. Buddy has such big lips that I am not sure what he is doing. He found a big muddy place, and rubbed his lips all over that. In my heart I think he was getting the minerals from the mud. His lips and tongue were coated with mud.

After the clean-up, there were 7 Indigo Buntings in the dirt. I only noticed after I saw the cats watching them. Not a good thing! But I want to know how to get color like that. It is not just turquoise, but iridescence, and some dark blue mixed in.

No knitting for 2 days. Something is wrong with this picture. I have been reading a lot. I have been having my occasional arthritis pain in my right hand. So I generally take a rest spell. I usually save my dishwashing until morning so I can start my day with a hot water bath and functional hand movements to rev up my hands. But I washed my dishes last night; and after my hands had dried well, I smeared arthritis cream on my hand. So this morning I was able to spin for a little while without much pain.

More stories tomorrow. Have a good Sunday!

Friday, May 4, 2007

Friday Night Crazy!

There are at least three different types of frogs right now outside my window in a weird symphony. There is a steady crrking, a long trill, and the little peep-peeps. There were pileated woodpeckers outside right at sundown.

No news on the knitting. Still working on the pink thing. I did a crazy thing today. I signed up for a quilt class on May 24. I wasn't too sure about the pattern, but I decided the only way I would every get a finished top right now is to take a class. I have never worked with jelly rolls, so this will be my first. I told my quilting and sock knitting buddy in Prairie Grove that I think it would be heavenly if someone would offer me a quilt top with the pieces already cut out. It would be like putting a jigsaw puzzle together. She, of course, told me there are kits like that. But the PRICE! My God! Do these people think all of us are just RICH or something!?! Anyway, I am pleased with my colorway. Some colors I normally wouldn't pick out myself, but are in the jelly roll. So, we will see. I am the only one, so far, that shows an interest in the class. If the class doesn't happen, I have plan B already picked out. Not a lot to report today.

Another friend called up to ask me what disaster happened yesterday. On her way out of her office, she saw a newspaper headline on someone's desk that said,"Thursday's disasters, something something, something". I couldn't think of a thing. I told her all I knew is that the Queen of England was here. Like-do I really want to celebrate the first English colony? Of course, we are assured that Powhatan kept them alive so he could get the weapons. That seems fair, huh?

I am finishing a Joe Grey mystery, and it is an old one I had not read. If you have not read these, you must. The author is Shirley Rousseau Murphy. Joe Grey is a grey kitty that can talk. He lives with a man named Clyde. Joe Grey solves mysteries with his sidekicks, Dulcie, his lady love, and the kitten, called Kit. Kit was feral, and was rescued. They solve the mysteries, and they make anonymous phone calls to the police. They open doors, dial the phone themselves, and manage to keep their abilities secret from everyone but their owners. Dulcie has a habit of stealing lacy undergarments and silky teddies from neighbor's drawers. She likes to roll on them. Oh-she likes cashmere! Joe reports he just doesn't try to understand a female's mind. These are different from the Mrs. Murphy mysteries, where Mrs. Murphy and all the animals talk to themselves and solve the mysteries. I like the Mrs. Murphy one where there is a fox hunt. She and the others go talk to the foxes, and it is a silly game the foxes do to confuse the humans and the stupid dogs. But Mrs. Murphy's owner catches the new fox kits each year and get them vaccinated for distemper and rabies. She even takes the possum that lives in the barn to get his rabies shots every year. Oh- I forgot. There was one where a friend of Harry (a woman)-Mrs. Murphy's human owner- get shot in his Porsche. So Mrs. Murphy, Pewter (a cat) and Tucker (a dog) drive the car to Harry's house to save the friend. They had to push him over, shift with a clutch, and drive. Pewter is the fattest, so she sat on the clutch. Mrs. Murphy pushed the gear shift. And Tucker sat on the gas pedal while Mrs. Murphy steered the wheel.

Well, as I said before. A dull day around here. Have a good evening!

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Will This Ever End!

I am listening to Leonard Cohen, and the rain is falling, and my cats have their noses covered up. I think I can use a line from the song, "There ain't no cure, there ain't no cure...." Why is it that I can plant some itty bitty seeds, and I never pay attention to how long it takes to germinate these seeds? When I see the little leaves first poke through, my heart soars. I am so excited! I watch them daily to see the little leaves. But I am never, ever aware of the time it takes to make a little plant. But this damn pink thing is driving me insane! It is going to be a tank top for this summer. It gets very HOT and humid here. I would never, ever go out in public with this on at my age. But I wear as few clothes as I can at home. It is knit in the round of knit 3, purl 2, and it goes on and on. Yesterday I knit as much as I could. I resisted checking the length. I have to have 15 inches before changing the pattern. Any fool can see that it is not 15 inches! But finally, I grab the tape measure, and damn! only 2 inches since I last checked! Will it ever grow?!?

I am also knitting a pair of socks for a male friend. I made him a pair of socks approximately 10 years ago. He still wears them, darning them, and taking care of him. He still has a pair of wool socks he wore in college! Which was a long time ago! The ones I knit before were heavy wool boot socks, which now are relegated to being house socks at night. He saw a pair of my thinner weight wool socks and admired them. They were of handpainted wool, and you know how wild that can look. He asked if I could knit him a pair that he could wear as dress socks. So I showed him the yarn in my sock basket. He picked out a grey blue Fortissima yarn that has flecks of pink, yellow, and black in it. It is a good choice since it is 75% wool, 25% nylon. It is really going to be pretty. No reason to show a picture right now. How exciting can a rib be in the beginning of a sock?

I am also knitting a Newport shrug from Manos Simple Style. I already had some beautiful variegated turquoise blue yarn, and I was able to match some Manos pink, sage, and lavender for the contrast colors. Obviously I never finished it before Spring, so it is put aside for a Fall shrug.

I am also doing other things. I am working on one of my flannel blankies. I learned a quick way to sew two strips of fabric with batting between. When you get through, you only have to add a binding. I have bought gobs and gobs of flannel shirts and flannel sheets at yard sales and thrift shops. The flannel I buy is in good condition, but washed and soft. Most everyone comments on the softness of the finished blankie. I showed a friend how to do this, and she only buys new fabric. I can't see that hers last any longer than mine do. But everyone is different- thank goodness!

I have been listening to whippoorwills at night! How good it is to hear them again. The barred owls were talking the other night, too. During the day, I am so used to hearing the roadrunner clacking its bill, but now it is cooing. Must be LOVE in the air! There were 2 ducks on the pond Monday. Since the rain yesterday, the frogs have really been singing. There must be a tree frog right outside my bedroom window. There is a big bullfrog in the pond this year. I don't remember him last year. So all signs of a new season are here. At least some of the trees are coming back after the killing frost.

Well, I guess it is back to knitting the pink thing!

Little by little, one travels far. -J.R.R. Tolkien

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Happy May Day!

The web of our life is of a mingled yarn, good and ill together. -Shakespeare
The LYS sponsored a Knit Out this past Saturday at the Farmer's Market. We had so much fun. There was a huge turnout, and
there were all kinds of things going on. I carried my usual socks. They are portable and easy to manage in public. But some people brought large projects to work on. Jane finished her "holey" thing that she is wearing in San Antonio this week. Another lady brought a ruana that she was making. It was chilly and I was wishing for something that big to cover my legs. I met two older ladies from Virginia visiting a relative here. They are originally from Munich, Germany, and still had very distinct accents. The one came up to me and announced she did not knit the same way I did. I showed her that I can knit both ways, especially on a sock. So we started talking. Neither of them uses patterns, they have them in their heads. It is a marvelous thing to know how to knit without patterns. Americans, I find, want something dazzling, new, exciting, bling-bling, kow-pow, and they need designers and patterns to do that. A lot of older Europeans I have met know the basic, traditional ways of knitting a sock, a cardigan, a pullover, a hat, etc. They don't need patterns.
Sunday I went to the Ouachita Mountains to look for yellow lady slipper orchids. It is a little bit early, but we chanced it. I went with a friend who knows where every species of wild orchids are hidden in the state. We stopped at a tiny little original prairie on the way. It is a little early for the show there. There were the usual phlox, blue-eyed grass, false dandelions, and something I could not identify since the flowers had not opened. To get to the orchids, you have to know where the bogs are. Then you muck through green briars, poison ivy, and all kinds of deterrents (like snakes, ticks, etc.). The flowers are so spectacular. I tried to post a picture, but somehow it goes up to the top of the post. I am new to this, so forgive me. I haven't figured this out yet. There were also jack-in-the-pulpit and false solomon seal blooming.
I did take my traveling sock with me and got several rows knit while on the interstate and through towns. But once we were out in the woods, back in the bag goes sock-y.
We had a small group at our Monday Night Knit Club. Sue brought her new little puppy, Cedar. She is a golden retriever, and looks like the camp puppy on the ad that sings for Frontline or Advantage. One of those. Cedar is precious-what more can you say.
If anyone actually finds this post, can you tell me why I cannot find my post by typing in my name on Blog Search? I emailed google, but no reply. I found the first one by hitting Last Hour yesterday. It is a mystery. I am still trying to figure out the picture thing. I will have to ask some of my knitting buddies about this.