Sunday, November 29, 2009

ACK! I've Been Kissed By An Alpaca!

Just a quick little photo of some bittersweet that was growing near my friend's house in Newton County. I love the color of it. I thought the birds would flock all over it, but so far they haven't. I kinda folded it into a wreath and hung it on the porch.
Ah! Alpacas. This is the spinning guild's annual trek to the local alpaca show. We sit in the foyer and spin. Of course, we have to walk around and look at the animals and watch their cute little antics. They hum, they sing, they look cute, and they are very pretty. Except for that Suri one that rolled in poop and was covered in little dung balls in its curly locks.

I don't have a picture of the one alpaca that is a "kissing alpaca". A young lady was walking her pet around to just get her some exercise and to prepare her to walk into the arena. I talked to her briefly, and petted the sweet young alpaca on the muzzle. The young woman said, "She likes to kiss people." I leaned into the alpaca's face, expecting to be nuzzled on the cheek or neck. The little thing kissed me on the lips! I've never been kissed on the lips before by an alpaca. Horses, yes. But an alpaca. After the kiss, she nuzzled my cheek and neck. It was a very soft brush of fur.

This one is called a calico. It is a little bit rare to get this color pattern. There are four different colors on its little body. It kinda looks like a paint job gone bad with splatters.

This year the person in charge of promotions did not promote the show. There was nothing in the local papers. There were more animals than before, and there were far less vendors. There was never a horde of folks coming in. A few family groups, but never a large group around us. We ended up having a very relaxed day of visiting, spinning, walking around, eating, and just hanging out.
Ray farms donated two lovely fleeces of alpaca for us to spin. The owner is a spinner, and she raises her fleeces for the softness and spin-ability of the fiber. So I got some really pretty white alpaca yarn finished. Thanks!
So nothing is too new. Going to the Fiber Extravaganza next weekend at Mt. Magazine state park. I am planning to stay overnight Friday night, hang out with fiber folks, walk around the vendors, just chill out with people that speak the same language, and then drive home Saturday afternoon. This is a big event that is advertised all year on Ravelry. I think it will be fun.
Well, time for some breakfast, check my newest dye experiment, and see what the day will bring. It has been a good weekend.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Thank You!

For each new morning with its light,For rest and shelter of the night,For health and food, for love and friends,For everything Thy goodness sends.~Ralph Waldo Emerson

Gratitude is one of the many things I try to practise daily. I am so thankful for all my many blessings I have received. This is the time of year I try to focus on that thought, especially during this month of plenty. My heart swells with emotion when I watch the shows that are meant to bring the t.v. people more money. I saw a wonderful story of a man who lost everything, turned to drugs, and was so far down he was contemplating suicide. You know the story-it is a common one now. He went to the Salvation Army for help, because a friend took him there. He got into the drug rehab program, took their lessons on cooking, and now is the head chef at the Salvation Army that saved him. He is now teaching other drug rehab people the same skills that saved him.

Take time today to forget that feeling that there is not enough time to finish all the things that need to be done. Take time today to just sit and count your blessings.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Thankful Tuesday!

These are a few snaps from our impromptu, fast and dirty, Kool-Aid dye mess at the sock club meeting on Sunday. We had so much fun. It was hard to think of all the stuff we might need, but I had plenty of stuff. We just ran out of Lemonade for yellow, but everyone was amenable to that.

I am very thankful for friends that I can play with, and friends I can just enjoy messing in dye with. No one used gloves, we all had pink and dark stains on our fingers, and we just made a mess. It was fun.
I am very thankful I lead a very simple, uncomplicated life right now. I don't have to worry about parties, cooking large meals, getting gussied up to go somewhere, and I don't have to worry about being somewhere I don't want to be because it is necessary to do that. I sound a little bit like Madge right now. I don't smoke, tho'.
I am very thankful for having enough food to eat, enough Orange and Tangerine Zinger herbal tea to see me through, enough shelter, and two cats that are great companions. I just have to worry whether I am going to knit, sew, weave, or spin. And I only fret because there is nothing on t.v. to watch.
I am thankful I have a computer to lurk around on when I am bored, and that will give me Hulu to watch movies or t.v. shows.
I am thankful that I have so many good and long-lasting friends. They are my tribe and my clan.
I am thankful that I have warm sweaters and socks that are wool, and that I don't itch when I wear them.
I can sit at my window and watch the birds feeding. Or-as I am now-watch Baby stalking a mole that has evidently come too close to surface. She digs a little, then tracks where it has moved to. She is a little huntress! This is good entertainment.
I am thankful that I still have flowers blooming in the garden. At Thanksgiving! But when it is warmer and the sun is out, the bees are out. So I leave the flowers there for any nourishment they might give.
Yesterday I took a quick trip to the mountains. I had to go to the quilt shop to pick up my quilt that was quilted. Then I drove South and Southeast to my girlfriend's house for a visit. We went to Harrison for shopping, and then back to her house. We had a good visit, and enjoyed ourselves immensely. On the way home, I looked for the elk and swans in Boxley Valley. I did not see any. I did see a HUGE flock of wild turkey that were feeding.
Then as I was almost to the turn-off road to leave Boxley Valley this is what I saw:

This is only the portion I could photo from my car window. To the left there were over a hundred more! I have never ever in my life seen so many elk! In the Rocky Mountains I normally will see a family-mama, daddy, babies. But never anything like this. I mean-there were over 150 head of elk out there! In the bottom photo, there is a speck that is lighter right in the middle. That was the BIG DADDY. He had a huge rack of antlers! And he was just watching his girls!
So, yes, I am thankful that I was able to see such a marvelous sight as this!
So much to be thankful for. If we could only say one prayer every day, it should be a gratitude prayer for all the blessings we do have.
As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them." ~ John Fitzgerald Kennedy

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Another Pair of Sockies!

These photos were taken just after bind off-before they were washed and blocked. They are handspun mill ends-merino with some mohair in them. They are dyed with Kool-Aid. They are fraternal twins, but heavy and warm. They are "tough as nails" socks in a plain pattern that is in my head.

They fit perfectly, and they feel great. I will love them a lot. I only have three pairs of "heavy" socks for the toughest winter days. I usually have the lightweight wool that is comfy when it is cooler, but don't make your feet sweat.
Today is a day that I have been dreading-the real return of cold weather. My arthritis in my hand is hurting, and I got a wool sweater out of the closet. Brenda Dayne's podcast always ends with "Remember-if you are cold, put on a sweater. That's what they are made for." I love my wool sweaters, because they breathe.
The weather men have been predicting snow showers today, but I don't think so. We had a rain move in for a coupla days. You know- the wet, cold, dreary, cloudy kind of days. I did check my blog from last year, and I did post the first snowfall on the ground was December 1. So we will see what happens. The warm weather fooled a lot of folks, I think.
In a macabre kind of sense that only a cat-person can understand, Noodles has a hidey place in the dying weeds around the standing bird feeder. He jumps up to the feeder, latches one front paw on the feeder, and lashes out with the other one to snag a bird. Sometimes it works. Now Baby, just this morning, hunkers down near the feeder, chatters a little bit, and just jumps up in the air as if she could catch a flying bird. It never works. Only occasionally does she ever get a bird. Now with mice, chipmunks, some field rats, she is a killer kitty. Noodles brings his prey in and dumps it unceremoniously on the floor, may try to play with it some, but mostly just eats it. Baby comes in prancing with her head up, and looking like a lioness on the hunt. She then plays with it a long, long time. If I get there first with either one, it is out the door and back outside where it belongs.
I am winding my warp now to make some kitchen towels out of cotton. So back to the drudgery of counting. Have a good week.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Update on Veteran's Day Cactus!

On Wednesday-as expected-two blossoms opened up. I now have more open blossoms. Isn't that the prettiest pink?
What is this? This is what I removed from inside my handknit socks the other day. I have always been so proud that I care for my socks very carefully, washing by hand, and baby-ing them along to expand the lifespan. I very seldom turn them inside out, so this has accumulated for a while-I guess. I pulled off my sock the other night, and it turned inside out. That's when I noticed this covering that is sorta like moleskin. I know enough to realize that I had felted it a tad bit with friction and heat and probably some moisture.
Why is this important? It means that our socks wear out from the inside instead of the outside. I have always illogically assumed that men wear out socks quicker because they rub them against shoes that are heavier than most women's shoes. But perhaps this is because they sweat more with their feet and they have more friction inside the shoe from the inside. So go look inside your sock now and see if you can find the moleskin.
I went to Oklahoma on Friday, and my friend just wears me out. She is so focused on her mother's passing, and she just goes on and on with the same stories that I have already heard over and over. Also another friend of hers is having some problems with grown-up children. Why is it that almost everyone I know has grown-up children with problems?
My friend CJE has located an old wringer washer. I am really happy that she has found that. She has been looking for some time.
I listened to an interesting interview with Anne Rice this a.m. on NPR. She rejoined the Catholic Church, and does not write about vampires any more. She is just releasing a book about angels. It sounded like an interesting plot. I think I will watch for that one. She had some interesting thoughts about the current books and shows about vampires. And she did not have too many kind words about current angel movies. She does like Clarence in It's A Wonderful Life. But that is an old movie.
Nothing else new. I am almost finished with the foot part of the second sock. I will try to finish this pair this week, and I will post photos when I get it done.
Have a good week.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

One Year Later-A Mystery Solved!

One year ago-actually November 11, 2008- I posted that my Christmas cactus was blooming! I really didn't know why. I moved into the house in August 2008, and I kept the cactus plants and the aloe vera on the front porch. When it was time to move indoors, I put them in good sunny locations to make them okay with the transition. Then this thing bloomed. I thought perhaps it was just the adjustment to new lighting, maybe the heat inside the house, etc. One year later, it is blooming on the exact date! So now I have a November cactus blooming. Maybe it is a Veteran. Who knows? It is one of those mysteries of Life, I guess. It is creamy white with a tinge of yellow in it. It will probably be in full bloom tomorrow-it's anniversary!

I also finished two skeins of yarn. This is the yak/merino blend. It is too hard to get a good picture of this. It is soft and scrumptious. I still have two more ozs to spin. I had to break it into two tasks, or I was going to go nuts. It is very tedious, fine spinning.
So to give myself a break, I gathered a lot of little samples and batches of dyed merino. I mixed hot pinks, light pinks, purples, lavenders, a little green, a little orange, and I got this odd-looking little skein. I love it. It is a great blend-a one-of-a-kind. It is only 149 yards, and weighs two ozs. But I think it could be used in some gloves or something simple.

On Saturday I watched a movie called Wooly Boys with Kris Kristofferson and Peter Fonda. I can turn on and watch stuff like that. I started this little skein. So Sunday I needed to ply it, and I again turned on Hulu. I watched a very OLD version of Sherlock Holmes shows in black and white. They lasted about 30 mins each. And viola! a skein is completed.
Not much else going on. I made yeast rolls yesterday, and actually cooked a good meal. So leftovers tonight. I have a tendency to cook a good meal and put leftovers in the freezer. Then I don't have to cook that often. Just pull out the frozen stuff, heat it up, and dinner is done. I am always amazed when friends tell me their spouse-or their families-don't like leftovers like that. It just seems like a gimmick to make someone cook more often. And who wants to do that when there is knitting and spinning to do.
Actually there is sewing to do. I haven't got the binding on my quilt yet. And I have a little sewing project I am working on besides that. So I think I will not spin for a while. Just sew.
The weather is still warmish during the day. The doors are open and the clothes are still able to dry on the clothesline. Isn't this a strange November? I did check and we had our first little snow on December 1 last year. We'll see.
Well, I guess it is time to head to the back room to sew. Have a good week. I am going to Oklahoma for a few days at the end of the week. Will catch up later.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Is It April Already?

I seem to remember this is November, but Gosh! it feels like April or May. It is SUPER WINDY! It is warm. It is really warm. Just a month ago we had the promise of a long, nasty, yucky winter. Then it's Spring again!

I have been investigating Windspires. I like the idea of a vertical tower that generates energy. But the cost is rather steep-$10,000. I am sure I can get a tax credit or something, but that's a rather high price right now. A day like today I am sure I would be selling energy back to the electric company.

I found a company that sells windmills, but they just produce supplemental energy in a battery pack. I like the idea of having something hooked up to the grid. That way if we have a lot of days like today, I can sell it back to them.

Yesterday was a complete day of sloth. I was so tired after my visitor I just couldn't get past the sweats and t-shirt without a bra thing. I didn't even comb my hair. I was yawning by 6:30 p.m. The cats just laid around with me, or on me, whichever way they flow.

My neighbor took me to a garage sale. She found it yesterday, and it was a good deal. A lady died, and her family was trying to get rid of stuff to clean the house for the market. The lady evidently did "retail therapy" because most of the clothes still had the tags on them. They were brand new! I got a pair of DearFoam slippers, a nice tencel shirt, and a chamois shirt from L.L. Bean- all for $3.00! At another sale on the way home I bought a long-sleeve t-shirt and a sweatshirt for $.75! So I am set now.

I thought this morning I would get out and work in the yard some today. I went to the Wal-Mart Neighborhood store instead for groceries. Then when I got home, the neighbor and I went to this garage sale. Now I am ready for a nap. I don't think I could do yard work now.

I guess that's all since the other day. Have a good weekend.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Socks Can Be Worn To Death!

These are the first pair of socks my girlfriend in California got from me. I think she said when she got them, she wore them one month straight without taking them off. That is except to bathe,of course. She has been visiting me, and she has been wearing her little sassy socks I made her the second time around. This morning she brought these in and said, "Is there anything that can be done to them?" I just shook my head and said, "We could give them a decent funeral." I was appalled that she put them on and wore them anyway. She said she will wear them until they become anklet warmers. I have repaired them a coupla times, but this time there is nothing left to repair! She said she feels one of the most important things she has inherited after her mom's recent passing were the socks I sent to her mom last winter.
As much as I am pleased to see this friend, she wears me out. She takes a lot of energy to be around. I do more cooking, although neither of us are big eaters. She is not picky about food, thank goodness. But her mother passed two months ago, and she is still grieving. So I had to be patient and listen to her long discussions of everything about the final months, and the funeral, and all that stuff. As you can guess, she has left already. So-whew!
Sunday CJE and I did a coupla dye pots of marigold dyeing. I felt this was an appropriate activity to do on All Soul's Day. How else should we honor our ancestors than to do a big dye mess on the deck?

I really couldn't get a good picture of the final colors. We used some light gray Rambouillet and a white Romney. Of course, the white is a brighter color, but the gray has a heather tone to it. I thought it was pretty anyway.
Yes, we are still having the most glorious Fall days ever. It has been in the high 60's, windy, and SUNNY! I think the rain is supposed to return next week. SIGH! It should have been like this all through October. But no, we had to have 22 days of rain and a coupla cool days there.
I actually did a load of towels this morning and they are out on the clothesline. I did some jeans with them, and they are dry already. I really like these sunny days.
I had the Sears repairman over this morning to do a maintenance on my riding mower. I have a real thing about plopping out the money for things like this. If I don't do this, it will come back to bite me in the butt later. The joys of being a single female that does not know how to do this work on the machine herself. I just know I have to take care of these things so it does not cost me an arm and a leg later on. The guy did tell me he had to replace the blades. One was bent really bad, and the other one had been chewed up by rocks. Whatever!
I look forward to my t.v. programs tonight. My friend from California has been mad because she cannot get t.v. reception in her cabin in Oklahoma. She bought one of those converter boxes, but does not have the proper antenna in place. So she was missing her t.v. stuff. Yet the whole time we had the t.v. on the last two nights, she talked through it all. I just sat in my chair and knit. I just let her ramble. I usually turn on the shows I like on low volume, knit away, and I don't have to interact much with anything. Occasionally I will look up to see what is going on. Last night I went to my bedroom and laid in bed reading. I left her to the t.v. and she told me she fell asleep during one of the shows. I think that's what she needed more than anything. To just sleep and rest.
Well, I am going to go back outside and try to get a little yard work done. It is so pleasant outside. I love wearing short sleeves in November! I have to get as much Vitamin D as I can before the Dark Days arrive again.
I hope you are having glorious days this week. I wish I could share all the gratitude that I have at this moment.