Sunday, October 28, 2007

Happy Anniversary Mirkwood!

In 1980 5 families bought an inholding in the middle of the National Forest Wilderness Area in the Ozark Mountains in Arkansas. It is very REMOTE, and you have to cross a creek 9 times to get to the location. In 1982 they began bringing this pre-Civil War cabin in log by log. There wasn't a real road-a track of sorts. So a road had to be made. Even today, only very old, beat up, 4 wheel drive vehicles can get into the cabin. So with friends and family members, this cabin was completed eventually. It has become tradition that people come often and regularly to camp out, eat, and have fun. There are specific days that are always known that there will be BIG gatherings, and the last weekend in October is one of them. And this was the 25th anniversary, which means there were over 30 people there this weekend!There was half of a pig that was roasted. The rest of the evening meal was potlucked with enough food for an army!
There was music played and sung in the late evening by lantern light and fireplace light. My friend CJ and I spun facing each other right in front of the fireplace.

This was a faux gingerbread cabin created by one of the group of the cabin. The kids ate it all night long. She duplicated the front and back exactly, and included a stained glass window with melted lifesavers in the window over the loft.
It was Halloween weekend-so there were ghostly ghoulies everywhere. There were even ghosts on the pathway to the outhouse. The kids decorated Friday night before most everyone got there on Saturday.The kids trick or treated and dressed up.
And this young lady was estatic to find other knitters there! She was working on a scarf and hood combo, and brought it along to work on. She was so happy to see the two spinning wheels and knitting bags. So we had four knitters and that is enough to have our very own first knitting group meeting at Mirkwood.
So we all crawled into our tents last night, exhausted from the day and the food. Some from the drink. And I listened to owls, coyotes, snores from other tents, and all kinds of sounds. The dew was so heavy this morning that some of us thought it was raining. And this morning we all crawled out, some more slowly than the others, and we built the campfire, brewed the coffee, snacked on various cakes, and then cooked a HUGE breakfast to feed everyone. It was another successful, fun, and family-oriented weekend in the woods. After breakfast, groups broke up into hiking groups, sleeping groups, clean-up groups, and just talking groups. It was just like a family reunion. It was another successful Mirkwood reunion.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Hooray! Hooray! It's A Beautiful Day! It's Saturday!

This has got to be the prettiest little tree in the parking lot! It is a bright, bright red!

This is what I saw driving to the spinning group meeting this morning! I used to paint, and my favorite subject was old, old barns. I began taking pictures of them as I would find them. Sadly, many of them are gone now. Only memories. As you can tell, the road has expanded to almost touching it. There is another outbuilding that I didn't get to snap. Maybe next time. These are at the bottom of the hill, the house is on top of the hill. The road down is very, very steep. I would have hated to be the one who had to go down to the barn to milk the cow(s), feed the livestock, and put the chickens up for the night. Those were the days, huh? Lot of work to do by lantern light.

This is the inspector general making sure that the quality of fleece that goes into the house is up to par. And Boy-oh-Boy! This is fine alpaca. I bought it from Bill Shaddox of Ozark Mountain Alpaca Farm. I meant to get a link. You can find them by going to Alpaca Nation, and then linking to them. They are the only one who has Ozark in the name. The name of the alpaca is Evening Sonata. He told me there are two kinds of black in alpacas- bayblack and trueblack. This is bayblack. But it sure is PURTY! He had his vehicle loaded with fleeces-it's another name in alpaca language, but I can't remember. Is it prime something? I can't remember. They don't call them fleeces-that's sheep. Boy! I am tired when I ramble!
Anyway, I went to the spinning group meeting and it was nice. I am not a group person, and it was okay. I did re-acquaint myself with someone that I haven't seen in twenty-something years. My friend CJ was there with her mother and a friend of her mother's . Afterwards the four of us went to a little tiny restaurant to eat Mexican food.
But the day has been windy and warm. Sunny all day. I mentioned in the last entry that there were tornado warnings. I know everyone has seen the news of the storms. Boy! It was something. I have a friend in California who emailed me immediately after she saw the news. The weather guys all say a major cold front is coming next week-highs in the 50's. And wet! So I guess I will put the storm doors up.
I mentioned that my girlfriend's daughter bought a house. Well, I went over there yesterday after work. It is gorgeous! It is fun to see how proud my girlfriend is of everything. She was showing off the closets and cabinets and showing me the washer and dryer. I guess children never have any privacy from their parents. But this young woman is one of those who line up everything in the closet, and has everything organized. She is just moving in. Nothing out of place. I guess I would have a neat house if I didn't do any crafty stuff. But I like my stuff spread out and accessible. Not that I need to make excuses for the mess. I am not a neat person.
Got to find something to eat. Later.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Is It Spring? It Feels Like It!

Well-here's the wool I dyed, and it did not come out this blue. It is more a light green turquoise color. I am thinking of blending it with another color-maybe golden yellow-maybe something else. Any ideas?

Here are my little bird ornament and my pincushion from the new book. Easy, Easy, Easy.

And here is a beautiful yellow angel trumpet bush. I was driving through a neighborhood, jumped out of the van, snapped a shot, and quickly sped away. I didn't see the one next to it until a few days later. It is a pale pink, white, heathery color. Beautiful is the only adjective that comes to mind right now.

It has been Spring-like all day. Weird weather. We have had tornado threats around us. Some rain. Lots of threats of bad weather.

Just wanted to brighten up the blog some with these photos. News later.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Good Friends, Good Food, Good Fun!

Friendship arises out of mere Companionship when two or more of the companions discover that they have in common some insight or interest or even taste which the others do not share and which, till that moment, each believed to be his own unique treasure (or burden). The typical expression of opening Friendship would be something like, "What? You too? I thought I was the only one." . . . . It is when two such persons discover one another,when, whether with immense difficulties and semi-articulate fumblings or with what would seem to us amazing and elliptical speed, they share their vision - it is then that Friendship is born. And instantly they stand together in an immense solitude.- C.S. Lewis, The Four Loves, paragraph 16

Yesterday my friend CJ, her mother, her friend L, and L's daughter H came to visit. CJ has been teaching H how to knit, and H has been going on her own with a knitting book. She lives several hours away. We oohed and ahhed over show and tell, we talked knitting, we talked spinning, we looked through my stash of fibers. We chose some stuff for CJ's Latvian patterned socks she is planning. After eating some soup and stuff, I set up the drum carder for CJ to card some fleece. I then showed H how to spin with a drop spindle. Which, of course, she immediately took off on. She had been spinning on CJ's spinning wheel one weekend, and now, she wants to spin. She is 11. I gave her my little spindle that I had made, and some roving. She is ecstatic. She even said as they were leaving, "Are you sure I can have this?" I said, "Only if you want it, and that you would like to have it." It instantly went into the little knitting bag I had felted and knew it should go home with her. I told her every knitter needs her own knitting bag. Isn't it good to have friends around for a whole day?

CJ's mother took a nap on my couch. So we got to talk a lot. It was then that we realized that she had "known" me for years, but didn't really "know" me. She cannot remember that I was spinning and knitting and weaving from the beginning. She was a professional singer/songwriter and was focused on her work. She did some tatting when she had her year of chemo for breast cancer.

But suddenly she is spinning and knitting and learning all kinds of things fast. We have a group of mutual friends that all go to this cabin way out in the boonies, nine creek crossings to an inholding in the middle of a national forest. The last meeting of friends is always the last weekend in October. I told her I had a picture somewhere of me knitting a pair of socks on the back porch while visiting with another friend's mother. I know it is Autumn because of the leaves on the trees. She does not remember that at all. And I told her I had taken my spinning wheel once. She remarked, "Maybe it was a weekend that I was on a gig." I told her that it was not; that she was there.

But now we have our new friendship. Which is nice at our later age and experience. We both have a lot in common, but she has a very busy life with her mother, her husband's mother, and her writing. And, of course, her fiber art.

I enjoyed the day because it was a chance for me to share and teach and to have companionship in things I love. It was a glorious day with a definite Autumn tinge. Cool, windy, bright sun that is not so warming. We have been having lows in the low 40's. I have put a blanket on the bed. I finally closed the windows. I have not put the storm doors on the screen doors yet. Baby has been sleeping up tight and personal at night. I get pinned against the wall because in my sleep I move away, she moves up close, I move away, she moves up close, etc.

So today is a day of rest. No cooking, no cleaning, no nothing. I am going to sew today. I have plans, but may not stick to plans. I guess I should mention that I got my copy of Last-Minute Patchwork and Quilted Gifts by Joelle Hoverson. I ordered it from Purl. They are so cool. I ripped open the box and there was a little wrapped package in green tissue paper. And there is a little note inside the cover with a receipt and thank you. I thought it was special that I got a present to myself.

I want to make some bird ornaments right now, so that will be on my plan list today. I also like the pin cushions and pin books. Nice gifts for friends.

So gotta go try to relax, and have some fun. Later.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Please Tell Me It's The Weekend!!

I have had it this week. I told you about the goofy Wednesday. Yesterday I looked everywhere in my truck for my house keys. I keep them separate from the vehicle keys. No where. I let myself into the back door, after going through all the head high weed patches and briers. I had more stick tights on me than I ever have had. And right there on the washing machine was my ring of house keys. Now-I have to admit in public that I am obsessively methodical about keys, knives, and other such items. I keep them in the same place all the time. I keep the keys on a little thing right at the door. So when I grab one, I grab the other. I do not ever, ever, lay them on the washing machine.

O.K. Today is Friday-at last. I run into the grocery store while I am waiting on my client to finish her shopping. I open my little zippered pouch to get my debit card. No debit card. I am also very methodical (although not as obsessively) about how I handle my debit card, my credit card, and my driver's license. I did not panic. But as soon as I returned to my place of employment, I tore up my purse and my truck looking for both my debit card and my driver's license. I was doing mental subtraction to the time last used, etc. I found them in the bottom of my tote bag I carry when I work. I don't carry my purse; it is locked in my vehicle (yes, out of sight). Now how did they get to the bottom of the tote bag?

Sigh! It has been a week of weird things!

Tomorrow my friend CJ is coming over and her new little protege and her mom will drive up from down south of us. We are going to knit and spin and eat and have fiber fun! I can hardly wait. It is just nice to have someone to talk fiber stuff to. Will report all that on Monday.

I am going to bed, providing I can find the bed after all I have been through. I hope the Little People didn't booby trap it somehow. I am very sleepy.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

You Mean It's Only Wednesday? Are You Sure?

I woke up this morning and was sure it was Thursday. I was discombobulated all day. I missed two turn offs while driving, and had to go a long way around to get back to where I needed to be. And I decided to try a different route out of one clinic, and ended up behind the hospital at the loading docks on a very narrow curved drive with vehicles parked on the side. I had to back a 12 passenger van all the way out of the mess I had gotten myself into. Whew! I was still sure at the end of the day it was Thursday. Wahhahh! Enough whining.

Okay, this is gross. I have periodically smelled that cat smell that I can't stand in other people's houses in my house. I attributed it to visiting feral cats under the house spraying, and the smell comes up into the house. Well......tonight I caught Mz. Baby backing up to a doorway, lifting her tail, and shaking her booty! Boy! I swatted her hard enough to knock a little sense into her. Then I scrubbed the door, walls, carpeting, and furniture nearby. It made me really mad! I have seen Noodles spraying outside on bushes, etc. I was not expecting Ms. Twit to do it in the house. Boy! What a deal.

I once had a female cat that hated me so badly that she would pee into my shoes, filling them to the brim. My husband thought that was so funny, and laughed. I, of course, threw the shoes out. I once got home from work, and she immediately sprayed each of the four tires. My vet thought it was funny, too, and assured me female cats do spray and there is nothing wrong with their bladders-like an infection. I was really mad then, too!

So now I am going to rent a steam cleaner and do the carpets really good before the close-the-window time comes. Then I guess I am going to do a sniff test around different places. This is just way beyond my patience.

And after all the drama of cleaning and yelling, etc., I turn around and Noodles had brought me a dead mouse and placed it right behind me. Some peace-maker, huh?

I was really proud of my Monday night student. At work she brought her wash cloth she is making-all knit stitches. She is really doing well, and only made one little boo-boo that I could see. Next week-onward to purl stitch and learning how to read a pattern.

I am yawning. I guess tomorrow really is Thursday. Finally.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Arggh! I Hate Blogspot Some Days!

I tried and tried to upload my photos. No go. I tried different discs; still no go. ARGGHH! However you spell that without using profanity!

Anyway, I dyed 4 ozs of wool roving with my blue. Yeah! I was so excited. You know how I have been wanting to do this-right? Well, it is not robin's egg blue, or sky blue in the wintertime blue, or any shade of blue. It is a pale green turquoise. Weird! Really weird! I think it will be luscious when spun, but I think I am going to blend it with some other colors. But not sure what. I have some natural dyed yellows and golds. Hmm! Maybe.

So that's gotten that out of my system. Even Kool Aid is not a predictable dye that can be duplicated easily. Weird! Really weird!

Last night a woman from my job and her granddaughter came to the LYS for me to show them how to knit. I taught them how to do the knit stitch. I told them I show them the basic stitches and how to read a pattern. But I really encouraged them to take a class. I have to promote the classes.

I am really bummed out about my stupid transportation device. My poor pickup truck needed new brakes-badly. But I was unable to do anything about it last week. I had to do something yesterday, not tomorrow. So today I paid really big bucks to get new front brakes and rotors. I was not a happy camper. And when I handed him the credit card, he said, "You really need to get new front tires immediately." Sigh! Immediately. Evidently there is a problem that has wires coming through on the inside where I can't see it. I don't mean the inside of the tire, but on the inside of the car next to the engine. As opposed to the outside where the valve stem, etc is. Just great! Just frigging great! And- then he tells me I should get new shocks also. His professional opinion is the yucky shocks are what caused the uneven wearing on the tires. SIGH!

So on a happier note-it is really cool at night. With the windows open, I am able to wear my light-weight flannel jammie bottoms. This morning was a beautiful foggy morning. It was so gorgeous! And as the fog lifted, all the spider webs were coated in moisture. It was just visually exciting! I cannot seem to get decent pictures, but I did try. And anyway, I can't upload any pics on this stupid blog.

Well-time to go to bed. Baby is already there and asleep. She will have to move, but she will only do so reluctantly.

Saturday, October 6, 2007

What a Beautiful Day This Saturday Is!!

Well, these are Men's Plain Socks in the 1940's sock booklet I used. I never really use a pattern on plain socks, but I refer to it. They were boring because I took way too long to knit them. Instead of just getting it done, I put them away for some time during the summer heat. Then I would work a little bit more. Then I would put them away.

What I've noticed in the podcasts and in scanning the blogs - people are getting into knitting after the summer slump. Maybe we should just have a moratorium on knitting in the summer months. In my knitting group there is a frenzy of people trying to get Christmas projects going and finished. I always need a carry-along something, so I started a washcloth out of EuroFlax. That's part of my Christmas knitting, plus I don't have to think about it. It's small enough to just stick in my purse. I want to start the red socks for my friend's grandson, but I need to measure his footies. My friend supposedly measured and said his foot was 7" long. Well, that's pretty HUGE for a 3 year old!

The hawks have been really vocal in the early a.m. Of course, we have a lot of crows here, and they were calling in the rain. So I went to investigate the one bird noise I did not recognize easily. It was a Gray Catbird hopping around the briar patch outside the back door. It looked as if he had on a bad black toupee. The bluebirds are really active in the birdbath in the late afternoon. They have a heirarchy of who gets there first, and please don't take so long in the water! They are lined up waiting.

Nothing else to report. I refused to do anything today. I did some writing, but that's it. I did not work on any job type activities. I did not knit. I did not read. I rested. I wanted to really clean my house, but I still haven't done that.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Show Me The Money!

For some stupid reason my employer cannot direct deposit my pay check. Which means I have to wait until it is delivered by mail. And you know I live in a rural area on a dirt road in the middle of nowhere? OK, I do exaggerate, but seriously, my postman sometimes does not deliver on Saturdays. So finally I got my paycheck today. I was really considering being ugly at work tomorrow, but darn! now I just have to be myself! This whole job has a lot of negativity, and I am trying not to focus on it. But I do want to get a paycheck!

I tried to get a sunset picture the other day as I came home. It was so gorgeous. We finally got a tiny little rain this past weekend, and last night a HUGE front moved through with a LOT of rain. It is so pretty in the mountains with the fog and mist moving through the trees. I have to come out of the mountains and get to a freeway to go into the city to work. I turned the corner and there was a huge fog covering the little town I live near and above it was clear sky. Really bizarre. I guess Stephen King gets his ideas from moments like this. My little dinky camera cannot capture visions like that!

I am decreasing the toe on sock #2. I really piddled along this summer on this pair of socks. I actually got tired of them because I took too long to finish them. I am going to finish the shrug next. I am casting on for the sleeves now. I am really into thinking about Christmas knitting now. I have to finish the shrug before it really gets cold. I will be truly pleased to have finished projects.

I found a cute book at the library, Stupid Sock Creatures by John Murphy. He uses store bought socks to make really weird, ugly, cute sock creatures. I see a potential for some of my felted sweaters I bought at thrift stores.

Well, I am yawning really big. Time to stretch, read, and sleep, sleep, sleep. I have to get up an hour early tomorrow to help serve breakfast to stupid bikers in town for Bikes, Blues, and Bar-b-que. Our center is offering breakfast as a fund-raiser. I hate crowds, I hate noise, I hate stupid things like biker events. Of course, I do make exceptions for wool festivals. But even then, I go in quickly, look around quickly, make my purchases, and get out quickly. I never linger too long. I can stand for extremely long times in a yarn store, but if there is a crowd, I'm outa there. Miss Sociable 2007, that's me!