Friday, October 29, 2010

Wow! The First Frost!

Yep! There was actually frost this a.m. I can't believe it. It is actually Fall now! And in that case, it is time to go camping! Yeah!

It is time for our annual trek to Mirkwood. Remember in past loggings I mentioned our annual trek to Mirkwood, and how our "family" gets together at this remote-I mean nine creek crossings remote-place in the middle of the national forest. Well, my friends JE, CJE, and I are heading out this afternoon to actually work in one extra day of camping. Someone will meet us at the first crossing since we do not have a vehicle capable of getting into the location.

Right now I am baking cookies, and I have most of the food ready in the food box. Yesterday while I was at our Thursday Night Knit Night, Patty got into the food box and ate all of her treats. I mean a sack full of treats. I am surprised that she wasn't throwing up all night. She bypassed her food sacks I had prepared. I guess the treats are more better.

This will be Patty's first camping trip, and her first sleeping in a tent trip. I am actually carrying a small blanket for her. Since I am not backpacking, I am not so concerned about the extra weight. I can't wait for her to realize that we cannot go inside the house to get warm. It will be a shock for her, I am sure.

I am not sure what knitting I will be taking. I know the mitts, since they are just a rib stitch. I want to take the fair-isle socks, but that will require some concentration. I finally dug out the handspun sweater that I had thrown aside in disgust about a month ago. I have almost tinked down to a spot that I can study the pattern and try to get back on track. That's about 4 inches of unknitting. It will require some concentration, too. I thought of baby socks, since my friend GAK wants me to knit a pair for her new baby grandson-of course, in green.

I will be carrying my Kindle, of course. I have a great book light that I clip onto my clothes and I can knit or read or whatever. I have my lantern/flashlight, of course. If I am sitting in a group, it isn't polite to have a bright light just to do my thing. My book light is a small LED light that I can direct down to my lap. It works great for this sort of thing.

There will be no phone service either, so everyone is out there without communication. You will not see anyone with a cell phone in hand, texting, talking, or other rude behavior. There will not be any computers anywhere, either. My Kindle is about as tech-ie as it gets.

I haven't replaced my camera yet, so there will be no pictures. Sorry! It is totally gorgeous in the forest, and the creek will be pretty high.

So off to get last minute things done. I have to get the ice chest out of the shed, clean it up, and then I have to check my list of camping gear one more time. Then I guess I better clean myself up and make sure I have all my activities lined up. Off to the woods! Yeah! First Frost! Yeah!

Monday, October 25, 2010

It's Spring Again!

My camera is dead. I got the new battery, installed it, and the same error message came on again. I talked to a friend that knows a little bit about cameras and he told me immediately it is a wiring problem that is probably connected to the lens opening mechanism. So it is cheaper to go out shopping for a new camera at this time. I am not ready to do that, but will add it to my to-do list.

Yesterday was our sock group meeting. We met at someone's home instead of at the LYS. It was a very relaxed and happy group. One of our friends had some knitted garments in a fashion art show, and the people that attended gave us a report on that. We ate a lot of sugar, but it was all good.

My son and his lady friend are on their vacation. They will have some news to give us when they get back. My older brother called at 8 am to tell me he saw them last night. They were in Atlanta staying overnight with his daughter, and he came into town on a swing through to Mobile. He said they seem really good together, and that his daughter now has a boyfriend that is settling her down some. So I guess all the kids are settling down. His son is engaged to be married next year.

I finished the feather/fan scarf. It is really pretty, and it blocked out really nice. I used Noro sock yarn that was gifted to me. I don't like single ply yarn for socks, so it was destined to be something else.

I am almost finished with one of the ribbed fingerless mitts. I tried a cable pattern, but it got lost in the colorway. The yarn is very nice. It feels good, and I think it will be soft once washed.

I put everything on hold last week to get the alpaca spun for the judging deal. I got lazy about Friday, and did not push myself to finish by the end of the week. I set goals and push myself to meet goals. I get grumpy and I get mad. So I backed off, gave myself permission to not finish, and I have just a little more to do. Last night I got out the fiber I had carded, and spun up my single. Today I will ply it and card the last one. I will get it done, but it will take me longer than planned.

We are having the weirdest weather. I know I have been saying that a lot this year. But it is the fourth week of October and it is in the high 70's! Maybe close to 80 degrees today. It is muggy with humidity from the rain we just had over the weekend. It feels very Spring-like. Yesterday there were tornado warnings out for the southern part of the state up towards Little Rock. They say we are going to have a cold front this week, and that the low will drop to the 30's. Really! We are not getting a good Fall color season this year. It has just been too warm and dry.

My friend CJE spent the afternoon yesterday dyeing some more fiber. She found a tree had gone down over the driveway when she walked out to get the newspaper. So she just spent the day putzing around and decided to dye. I think she has finally gotten the dye-bug.

My computer just froze and I am hoping all this is working now. I had to go back and correct a few things, but I better quit while I am ahead. Have a good week!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

$500 Socks! Yeah! Right!

I tried to copy/paste the article today on Shine at Yahoo about the $500 socks that were ugly as sin and were not washable. Okay! What's the deal? I hope that my homely homemade socks are not going to be the ugly step-child in the closet. I like my warm woolies on my feet, I like that I can wash them, I like that they are handmade, and I like to make them. The joy of homemade socks is boundless.

It just doesn't seem right. Sock people have tried to tread on the surface for some time. We like socks, we like making socks, we like wearing socks. Despite the prejudice from What Not To Wear that threw out all the ladies socks she wore, I have persevered with making socks. I dare Clinton or Stacy to touch my socks.

Now this ridiculous parade down the runway with ugly tights and ugly socks. Huh! Sock people have more class. And cuter feet!

I believe it is daytime, although the fog has set in for a little stay. We had an unusual hot and dry spell for some weeks, and we finally got the rain we needed. With that rainfall, we got a cold front, so we had lots of thunder-boomers and lightening. Patty does not do well with that show of fireworks, and pitter-pattered up and down the hallway until I yelled at her to just get in bed and go to sleep.

I am waiting for the battery for my camera. I had to order it and it should be delivered today by UPS. Then I will find out if that error message was for the battery or is the camera DOA. I hope this works, because I have lots of things I want to take pics of .

Saturday my friend CJE came over and we spent a blissful day in and out of the kitchen dyeing and experimenting. We got the most luscious blue alpaca, some really lovely blue wool, some pretty pink wool, and she had faux cashmere from Paradise Fibers. I had never heard of it, but let me tell you, it sucks up the dye within minutes and sucks all the dye out of the water. We did several batches of that with just fun kind of dyeing. I also did one skein of blue that I consider to be a denim blue that looks like indigo. The sock yarn is an alpaca/merino blend. Unfortunately the alpaca rebelled and frizzed. I didn't do a second one because of that. It was very exhausting (what a pun). CJE took a nap late in the afternoon, and when she woke we went to eat. A rather busy, busy day.

Right now I have the handyman doing some essential repairs that have to be done now, rather than later. It is terribly distracting. But I am glad to find someone who really is doing the work, and not someone who will call me back later-then never does.

I got up early this a.m. to get ready for the repairs. Poor Patty. I had to make her go outside and then afterwards she went back to bed to sleep. She keeps yawning and stretching. I am seeing an older dog in her more and more as it gets cooler. I don't think she is as young as 5 years old. She moans and groans as she goes to lay down. And the snoring!

Noodles insisted that he wanted the lap every time I tried to sit down yesterday. It is hard to knit around a big ole cat in your lap. I finally gave up and put my feet up on the recliner. Then he eventually spreads out on my legs, and that gives me more room.

I have been working on the alpaca for the spinning guild work. I am not too happy with it, since I want to play with the stuff we just dyed.

The finches are definitely in their Fall coats. I miss seeing the bright gold and black flashes outside. Now everyone just blends in. They haven't started a feeding frenzy yet. There are too many seed sources still, and we haven't had a freeze yet. My cosmos is gorgeous. I hope the camera works so I show them.

Well, I will stop now so I pay attention to the handyman and what he is doing. Keep knitting socks, and don't expect to get $500 a pair for them either!

Friday, October 15, 2010

The Simple Life

Most folks are about as happy as they make up their minds to be. - Abraham Lincoln

My life is very simple, and for most days it is equivalent to watching paint dry. A lot of people ask me what I do all day, since now I consider myself retired. It sounds rather dull and boring, except to me. I get up, I open the back door, greet the back yard and scan around, walk Patty for her first little walk, and then I begin my day. I may spin a little, I may dye a little, I knit a little bit, I read, I do all those things and more. I check my emails, I might visit Ravelry once a week, and I do read other people's blogs.
This past week has been out of my comfort zone. I have had strange people in checking out the furnace system, and a new handyman that hopefully will do the priority things that will make it through another winter. I have been making appointments for winterizing the house and my riding mower. All these things are not part of my simple life, except they have to be done so I can have my simple life.

I am letting Patty's hair grow, and hopefully it will help her get through the winter okay. She is already groaning and moaning, so I think she is maybe a little bit arthritic. Everyone last weekend thought she was older than 5 years old. I can't tell. She's just a little dog to me. I now am calling her granny lady when she groans and moans. Right now she is in deep, deep sleep and is snoring loudly.

I could not find a manual online for my camera, but I did find a q&a section that mentioned some other error message for a different camera. It was suggested that they take out the battery, wipe it clean, reinsert it, then try that. When I was in Taos one of the vendors I know from the times I go there told me it was my battery. I tried the taking it out, wiping it, reinserting it, and it still was giving me the error message, and the black screen. So I tried recharging it. It would not recharge. So I took it out and I have tried every place I can think of in this town to get one. No one has that size battery. Everyone suggested the priciest camera shop in town. I am not going there because that store scares me. I am going to the Internet first. I will try to track it down. It is beginning to look like I may have to spring for a new camera if this becomes any more of a hassle.

I finally broke down and turned on the heat last night. It has been around 40 degrees, but yesterday morning when I got up my indoor thermometer said my house was 61 degrees. I was cold. I did not put on a wool sweater, but the sweatshirt was not all that warm. I did put a child's flannel shirt on Patty. It was good to just sit in the sun on the deck. Last night I turned it on and it was pleasant all night and this morning. I am one spoiled puppy when it turns cold.

So I am off to run a few errands. Then I will return to my simple little house and live my simple little life that is probably boring to most folks. But I am happy, and my birds are happy, and my pets are happy. What else could one ask for?

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Yep! It's Fall!

My assistant is looking for warm places lately. This seemed the best place at the time, even though it wasn't really the best.

I spent two days cleaning and sorting through things getting ready to go again on another quick trip. My son and his lady friend spent Friday night with me, and they left early on Saturday morning.

Then I rushed to take a shower, pack my bag, get the food together, and pack the car. I threw Patty and her stuff into the car and away we went on a trip to south Oklahoma. I have another friend that I used to go on trips all the time, and now just an occasional trip or two. So I guess this trip was in honor of those trips. I knew I needed to go west and south. So I held the map in my lap, and when I got to a road I would glance to see what direction it would go. I zig-zagged west and south and it took forever. At least one hour longer than was necessary. Coming home I took a direct east and north route and was home in much faster time.

I am now dead tired from all this traveling. I emailed my cousin and talked to my brother last night. They both have to travel all the time for their jobs. I cannot understand how they do it. I am truly worn out.

This morning I awoke to a heavy fog outside the window. It really and truly feels like Fall. It is chilly enough to wear a sweat shirt while I have the back door open. I have started feeding the birds.

Another sign of Fall are Fall chores. I have had the furnace inspected. The lawnmower man should be here today to service the riding mower for post-season stuff. And the handyman is lined up tomorrow to give me an estimate on all the chores I need done before winter. The furnace man assured me that my furnace and air conditioner are old and decrepit. I knew that already, but I am not ready for a reality check. I do have a sales person coming today to discuss all the options I have and I can do some more studying.

Yesterday evening I went online for the umpteenth time to study hvac issues, and I found an energy stick on one website. After I plugged in one year of utilities, I found out on a scale of 1-10 I am at 10 already with my old, decrepit units. I have a 0% footprint at the moment. But I think that is because I live alone, and that I am very,very conscious of my actions. I am insulating the windows and doors more this year than last. I put on more clothes or socks or a sweater or something. I was raised in a drafty old house with little insulation, and I know how to dress for the colder weather. It isn't pretty or sometimes comfortable, but it's do-able.

How do people manage without savings to prepare for these emergencies? I don't like to write big checks. It pains me in a way that is hard to explain. Maybe it is because it takes so long to get some savings, and I don't want to give it away. Maybe I have enough Scots-Irish in me to genetically say I am frugal. Maybe it's because I was raised by grandmothers and a grandfather that went through the depression. I don't know. But I hate to tap into my savings account.

Patty is still hunting for grasshoppers. I am hoping that soon she will forget them. If she eats too many of them, she throws up. Since she has no teeth to chew them, she gums them into small enough pieces to swallow. So when she throws up, there are grasshopper parts that are pretty recognizable.

Well, I am going to go back to winding off this skein onto the skein winder. I need to get the spinning off the wheel. It is hard to get back into my normal routine after all this chaos.

Have a good week. I hope all goes well. It feels like time to get the woolies out.

The universe is full of magical things patiently waiting for our wits to grow sharper. -Eden Phillpotts

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Fiber, Food, and Fun!

This is a HUGE pumpkin patch on the road to Taos through Kansas! This is in Granada, CO. It was after this picture that my camera screen went black and a message that said, "Error 45. Please see your user manual." So I was only able to get three photos the whole trip. I tried several times.

My girlfriend and I got up early Thursday morning, loaded up her stuff, and away we went across southwestern Kansas. I will not try to explain about the feedlots that hold huge amounts of cows waiting to be slaughtered. You smell them miles away and there is only that aroma that comes from a feedlot.

We stayed in Trinidad, CO, which is near the New Mexico border. Then after a stop at WalMart to get cold medicine for my friend, we crossed over to New Mexico. We saw tons and tons of antelope and one bison farm in the grassland before the mountains.

Once we arrived in Taos, we drove around a while so I could orient myself to the town again. We had a very hard time finding the alley that led to the bed and breakfast we were going to stay in.

This is the door to our room. I am pretty sure that this at one time must have been the maid's room. It was up three flights of very, very steep spiral stairs. It was located over the kitchen area.

This is only a part of the stairs we climbed up and down to and from the room. I think it was perhaps two feet wide. But I loved it. It was really a little bit isolated from the rest of the rented rooms, and I guarantee that no one would climb those stairs unless they wanted to. The door was not secure and we had a wide window in the bedroom that was open to the roof. We left that open most all the time. There was a skylight in the bathroom that allowed a cross ventilation.
What do I have to say about the Wool Festival? It was wonderful. There were 60 vendors this year. Some were new and some were old and familiar. The weather was hot during the day, and I got a little red burn in the face. I went to a class on how to start a business on etsy. That was very good.
Sunday we went to Espanola and Chimayo and returned to Taos on the High Road. They now have a brochure to promote the artisans and galleries on the High Road called The Art Tour of the High Road. Of course, most everything was closed since it was Sunday, and many of the studio require prior notification. We just enjoyed the twisting mountain road, and the coolness up at higher elevation.
Then we left our fantasies behind and returned to the real world.
Food was wonderful. We tried to eat outside as much as possible. We tried all kinds of stuff, but I don't do as well with strange food as I used to. My friend can eat peppers and hot stuff better than I can.
On the way home we stopped in Granada to buy some produce. My friend bought 50#s-yes, 50#s- of onions. I bought some melons. There is a town called Rocky Ford that has a reputation for melons. This is the last crop and they are smaller than previous crops. They smell wonderful.
So now I am back home, trying to get several things done before I have things to do this weekend. I have a load of clothes on the line outside, and I did a small permanent press wash that is in the dryer. I ran some errands in town earlier. I need to wash and vacuum the car, but I haven't done that yet.
Patty and Noodles were ecstatic to see me, needless to say. Noodles brought me a live rat sometime in the evening. I made him take it outside to eat it. When we went to bed, he got under the covers up close to me. Patty slept with her head on my feet.
I got up early and spent a lot of time in my studio. I love to brainstorm with other people about problems with different dye jobs or spinning problems. One lady gave me an idea this past weekend, and I wanted to try it out.
So now I must buckle down and get back to work. I need to finish some sewing. But I am still tired from my trip. It will take a while, I am sure.
More details later. Just to let you know I am back!