Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Seed Bandits!

I am waging a war this winter with seed bandits! I used to have my bird feeders in the back yard. I could sit at my spinning wheel and watch them while I worked. Well, this year the raccoons found the seed hordes. So....

I moved the bird feeders to the front of the house. I put the standing one in the middle of the flower bed and the little one on a shorter wire hanging on the front porch. I don't like the mess on the porch railing, but it was a solution.

The first day I found out the squirrels could flat foot jump up to the standing feeder.

The second night I hear a strange noise on the porch. I looked out and a HUGE raccoon was standing tippy toe on the railing and could barely reach the smaller feeder that is placed high for a reason.

With all the rain we've had, the ground is soggy soft. Twice now, the alleged bandits have pushed the standing pole over and robbed all the seed. Except for the tiny round seed that no one likes. Even the birds don't like that stuff.


Oh! Two nights ago I am watching something stupid on t.v. and knitting on the blanket. Baby is fast asleep in my lap. Noodles was asleep on the chaise lounge. I heard a weird noise, but ignored it. Then a lot of noise happened and both cats went into guarding mode. Noodles growled in a low voice. I turned on the porch light, thinking that would scare away the boogers. No.... I had three baby raccoons that were not afraid of me at all. I guess I was their first human sighting. I got the broom and pushed them off the porch. SIGH!

It is very frustrating to be respectful of the wildlife, but wanting them to go away.

Oh! I also had some difficulty with possums and raccoons getting into the recycling bin on the deck. So I moved it to the screened porch. They all look fat to me, so I don't know why they are being beggars.

I have been working on the blanket quite steadily. I have a goal of a minimum of two squares a day. I usually do about four or five. I worked on the handspun alpaca vest last night. It is so soft and drapey. I hope I like the way it fits. I did put the piece I have begun on the dress form last night. So far okay. I am just not inspired right now. I am saving my socks for a portable project. They are heavier socks anyway, and it isn't cold enough yet. I am almost finished with the plying of my yak/merino yarn. I was working on that some last night. I wanted to finish it so I could wash and block it today. But I didn't finish it.

This is our one day of sun. I washed the heavy bedspread and put it on the clothesline to dry as much as it can today. Everything is soggy and wet and mushy outside. I can't really do any yard work. I am trying to get things done that need to get done today. Tomorrow there is a prediction of thunderstorms and poss. tornadoes. Yuck! Tomorrow will be the 12th Thursday in a row of rain on Thursdays. We have had record rainfall for October this year. I just don't like the gray, cloudy, gloomy days.

I was amazed at the smell of the three little raccoons the other night. They were really stinky. I guess I have never identified the smell of raccoon in my memory banks. I know the smell of deer, bear, snake, possum, and some other animals. But this was a different musk smell the other night. Maybe it will be placed in the memory banks. A friend and I had a conversation the other day about smell. It is one of our first memories and our last. I told her how I used to use scents with dementia patients. Especially during the holidays. I could bring up memories that are lost sometimes to the dementia. Once I got them talking about memories, the flood gates are open. We would then talk about colors and sights. That is another primitive memory.

My first color memory is red. I cannot tell you my first smell memory. There are certain smells that evoke memories of family or events. I remember coming home from Florida once in my trusty VW Lulu. As soon as I crossed the Mississippi bridge in Memphis, I would smell the delta smell of dirt and farmland. I knew I was coming home. Going to Taos, it is always the sage smell that hits me first. Then the smell of Ponderosa pines once I got to that elevation. Then I knew I was on the way there.

Gotta go do some chores while the sun is shining. Have a good rest of the week!

Monday, October 26, 2009

My Trees Are Almost Naked!

It is hard to believe that the trees are losing their leaves so quickly. This has been a long month of rain, rain, rain, and a coupla little frosts so far. The few sunny days brought beautiful leaf shows, but it was so brief.

Is it just me, or is everyone on a Rhinebeck overload? I know that it is one of the biggest Fall events, especially in the Northeast, but really, in the scheme of things, how can it take so much precedence over everything else?

Our sock club, SSK, met yesterday. It is just a little group of folks, but we do just a lot of stuff. I am so amazed every month when we do show and tell. I think that we are all talented knitters and fiber artists.

I am almost finished with skein #1 of the yak and mohair blend. Because it is so fine, it takes a long time to do it. So I tricked myself by weighing it and dividing it in half. That gives me a finite goal to reach. And it worked, I guess. Or I am persistent and I just want to get it done. It is tough to be a monogamous spinner, but I am limited to the one spinning wheel. I have been blending some yummy wools together, mostly merino, in some really loud colors. I think that is next. Maybe. I will put the second batch of yak/merino on hold and do something that is faster.
Then I can go back to tedious and fine again.

I am getting into hibernation mode again. I am stocking the pantry and the freezer. I have a tendency to not leave the house for days. I just hibernate. I make myself go out when I feel I have to have some socialization. But that can be just a quick trip to the grocery store, or even the convenience store. I don't require much. It really is too much to ask me to go anywhere in a group of people for more than one hour. And there is that flu thing to think about.

I read in yesterday's paper about dog flu. It is some kind of mutation from equine flu. I read they even have a shot for that to give to dogs. My Gosh! is there never an end to all this? It gives me the creeps to see all the little kids faces as they squirt that stuff up their noses! I feel like the 1950's again when my mother made us get booster shots-yes, booster shots- for everything there was to give a booster shot! I had smallpox vaccinations every year because I never got a scar. Fast forward 20 years and a doctor told me my mother could have killed me with all these shots. I even got tetanus boosters every year! I think I am set for life on that one.

Anyway, don't get me started on this! I can rant for days. I am going to hibernate instead.

No new pics to show anyone. Just a rant and a rave. Have a good week. Stay safe and dry and warm.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

I'm Knittin' As Fast As I Can

Well-these are done! This is before I washed and blocked them. They are a tad bit big-so likely they will become a Christmas gift. This is the Bijou Basin pattern for yak/wool. My brown is a 50/50 alpaca/bison blend. The white is merino wool. All handspun and handknitted. I joined the cuff after knitting the cables. The pattern has you cast on the flat piece, join, and knit in the round. Then join the cabled ends after it is over with. This didn't make sense to me.
So yesterday I could have easily picked up the two big projects that have been set aside so I can do the stranded hat and these mitts. But I didn't. I mulled over several things, looked at many pictures, and just moped around. Then I started a stranded sock with my handspun yarn. Oh, well. I have been consistent with working on the Lifetime Blanket in the evening. My eyes are tired and I am tired by then. So it is easier to do mindless knitting.
I had a most productive weekend. I had company on Saturday night, so I actually picked up mess, rearranged mess, vacuumed, and cleaned the bathrooms. I did two loads of laundry, but now I have that much again. You know the drill.
Sunday after cooking breakfast for my guest, I showered and headed north to CJE's house. She has just purchased a Schact eight-harness loom. She has been working on cleaning out her studio space to make room for both looms. I took my Howards Feed and Wax to clean the loom, and it is so pretty now. And it is so soft! If you can imagine wood being soft. I guess that sounds dumb.
We had a fun afternoon. JE came over and the three of us talked and JE knitted. CJE sat in the floor dragging out boxes and containers of stash yarn. So we helped sort that out into piles by fiber content. The biggest-no surprise- is her alpaca stash that is mostly handspun. I put the knitting yarns in two baskets by the chairs. It is going to be a special haven for her to get away from the house and others. She has dreams of weavings she wants to do.
So after a yucky week last week, we have had two glorious days of 70's weather. Rain is forecast for Thursday, but I am too busy enjoying the sun and heat. It is so nice. After all this rain and chill we have had, it is about time to enjoy a real Arkie Fall day.
Not much else to report. I did some baking for my guest, and that was fun. It is getting to be time to bake. I am really wanting to get the 5 minute artisan bread book. I don't know why I need that, since I live alone. But.......
I also have been lusting after the Book of Wool that is out now. Temptations!
Have a good rest of the week. I will be out of town for a coupla days, and then a busy weekend.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Another Cloudy Monday!

When I find the perfect yarn and the perfect pattern, knitting is blissful, it is cozy, it is fulfilling. And it is Finished! This is The Diamond Hat and Mitten Set by Elizabeth Morrison. It is worth the cost of downloading the pattern. I used JoSharp Silk Road-85% Wool, 10% Silk, 5% Cashmere. It was on sale at my LYS. And yes, I did not follow the pattern for the braid because I was watching a show on T.V. But it looks okay to me. Also, after tinking around and ripping out, I finally found the perfect weight of handspun merino yarn to finish my fingerless mitts. I am now almost finished with the thumb gusset for the first one. I finished the cuff on the second one, so just have to pick up and knit the mitt part on that one.

It is surprisingly cool, misty, wet, and yucky all in one day! What else does one do but bake brownies! When in doubt, bake! The cats go outside, come in soaking wet, and then sit in my lap to warm up. Not a pleasant thing when one is knitting away.

"Mom! I can't get the lid off this catnip. What do you mean, quit that? I love's me some catnip."

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Taos-I Miss You Already!

Needless to say, I did most of the driving on this trip. We took JE's car, and she started the trip. Her back started hurting, and I did most of the driving from that point on. I got really tired of the hot, windy, really windy, panhandle of Oklahoma. I kinda zoned out at Woodward, and forgot to turn right. I went straight instead and found this town called Shattuck. It is one of those immigrant towns like they have in Kansas. Well, they had a little park that was FULL of windmills. These were heritage windmills that had been collected in and around that part of Oklahoma and into Texas and Kansas. They had restored them, and they were wonderful. They had placards attached telling where they came from and the age of the windmill. I won't bore you with all the pics I took, but I loved the windmills.

They had constructed a soddy, complete with prickly pear cactus growing on the roof. A nice man from Kansas took our picture. It was unbelievably cool inside this little house. the walls were rocks and hillside, the floor was hard-packed soil, and the roof was sod. There was a sign inside telling about the history of the soddy in the area.
We detoured on Day 2 and went to Santa Fe. This was not planned, but one member of our entourage had never been there, and we struck out for the city. After some maneuvering, we parked the car, and walked. Two members of the group went through the Palace of the Governors; but since CJE and I had seen that, we sat in the park and knit and people watched. Afterwards we ate at the Plaza Restaurant, my standard eating place on the square. We actually got to our timeshare condo late in the evening, and collapsed. I was really tired.
Day 3 we got up leisurely, and off to Espanola and Chimayo. These were my only request when we planned the trip. In Espanola we went to the Espanola Valley Fiber Arts Center. It is a central hub for revival of the weaving and textile arts in this part of New Mexico. They are a 301C non-profit membership and they are very inspiring to every one of us. After that we headed for Chimayo. I wanted everyone to see the historical weaving community. We did two stops there, and then off to find Leona's Tamale stand. It was unbelievably good! I sent everyone into the Sancturia to see the historical church. Then back home again.
But we got up early on Saturday-Day 4- to go to Taos for the Wool Festival. I have been several times before, and I only took two pics there. I did not know there was an unofficial Ravelry tent set up until there was an announcement. Oh well! I was good. I tried to pace myself and rest some. I only bought a little bit of fiber. I found some really pretty Teasewater/Coopworth roving blend of three natural colors. I did buy 2 1oz gorgeous merino rovings in deep saturated colors. They will get blended with something else.
After the festival we went to LaLana Wools, of course, and down to Southwest Weaving, of course. There was a special thing going on that evening to honor Rachel Brown, but we were all too tired to hang around town. After making a coupla of stops on the way back to Red River, we ate dinner and crashed.

One of the stops on the way was a set of three shops. I was shopped out and wandered around the gardens. I found this wonderful display of wind sculptures, and was so intrigued. Again, I will not bore you with all the shots I took. They were wonderful!

JE and her mother went off to do more tourist stuff on Sunday-Day5. CJE and I chose to stay in Red River at the condo and rest. We talked, we knit, we sat in the sun, we went for a walk, and we each took a spot and read and were quiet for a while. We walked to a nice little restaurant for lunch. A nice down time for us.
Monday-day 6- we had to get an early start and go home. This was the beginning of the "pile" of loot. It was a little bit scary.

But it ALL fit without a problem. There was room for more!

Just past Bobcat Pass, I stopped for picture taking. I love this scenic route!

Normally, when I drive out to Taos, this is my first stop in the mountains. It is near Cimarron, depending on which direction you are driving. Since none of my traveling companions had ever seen this, I had to stop and take some pics. This is JE complying with my request to stand near the sign. Somewhere I have a few of me standing near the sign, but not this trip.

And here are the Palisades. When I see these, I know I am going to Taos. I am finally out of the dry desert. In this case, we were leaving the mountains! SIGH! And we had the dry desert to look forward to. YUCK!

It was a long, windy, dry drive home. It threatened to rain on Monday, but I think we were following it. We got home on Tuesday afternoon. Of course, I had one day of dry weather to mow my yard before we had more storms here. It has been a tiresome catch-up with chores and getting unpacked and laundry completed, etc.
Today was our weaving guild meeting. I am almost finished with the stranded knit hat, and I have completed the cuffs on the cabled-cuff mitts. I just cannot decide what to do with the mitt part. The merino seems a little wimpy, but the double thread is too heavy. Will deal with this after the hat is completed. Tomorrow!
I got lots of dye stuff, and that is a plan for the future. I have to put the binding on the quilt that is completed. And soon winter will be here. It is time to hibernate with all my projects. I will be happy without outside chores.
Enjoy the weekend. More rain is on the way!