Friday, January 29, 2010

Let's Look At Pretty Pictures!

This is the wool I dyed with brazilwood. I try not to tell my environmental friends that I use this wood. But isn't it totally different than using a plant dye? I think it is beautiful. The reddish brown is a merino/English angora blend. The orangey is Romney fleece.
This is after the rain/freezing rain/ice/sleet fell at about 8 a.m. this morning.

This is while the snow is still falling. I have filled the bird feeders twice today, and they are all in a frenzy to get as much as they can. It is totally amazing how fast they are eating. I would say visibility is really limited to my yard. There have been few cars passing on the road. Believe it or not, my mailwoman delivered the mail!
So thank God, we did not get a power outage last night. I kept waking up in the night and listening for the furnace to come on. And to hear the refrigerator humming. The poor people in Oklahoma got slammed like last year. I can only shake my head. Some silly weather person says this is normal El Nino weather patterns, but I cannot ever recall a swath of red across a map of the U.S. showing ice from New Mexico to Kentucky and further east into the mountains. I have seen pockets of ice-like we had last year-but never a complete pathway of ice that moved from west to east.
Anyway-just wanted y'all to see that we do get bad weather here. I guess it is close to 4 inches of snow on top of the ice right now. But it is still snowing heavily. Keep warm!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Yes, We Are Having A Problem!

My computer is having a major nervous breakdown. It is time to go back to the computer doctor. Unfortunately, we are having a major icy, messy, storm tomorrow, and I don't know if I should take her now. He normally has it back within 24 hours-which is tomorrow-but I don't know if I can get to his house to pick it up. So I may be a little bit slow in writing this week.

I have dyed a dab of wool with the brazilwood. It is gorgeous. I did a blend of merino/angora and it came out a browny red color. And since there seemed to be a little color left in the pot, I threw in some of my Romney, and it came out a pretty peachy, orangey color. I think it is gorgeous. It is a different color with wood than with plants, for sure.

I have started working feverishly on completing my second sock. I would like to have it finished this week. Which means I have to get busy. I am on the foot, but the pattern slows me down. I am also knitting on the stocking that our sock club is working on now.

Yesterday I went by SH's house to catch her up on the stocking project. She missed the sock club meeting, and I took the pattern by and went over everything with her. She was almost finished with the lace bit when I left. She was babysitting the newest baby and she was fussing a lot during the whole time. SH's husband kept picking her up and walking her so we could spend more time with the project. After we ate lunch, he gave me a software program to install on the computer that will organize all my genealogy stuff. That's one of his jobs is doing genealogies. So another project to get busy on.

My son called me last night to catch up on stuff. I told him about the software, and he thought that was an excellent idea. I am the last person in the family to know all about the family stories and who people are. I think I need to explore how to record some of the stories and then they will be preserved.

So I am getting ready for the ice mess. I am not emotionally ready to handle what we went through last year. I am hoping this will not be so severe, and that it won't last so long. At least according to last night's weather report, it appears that we are only going to be below freezing two days. We are going to have single digits at night and 20's during the day. It may get into the 30's on Sunday-for sure by Monday. I hope they are right.

So I may not be on the computer much in the next week. With the possible power outage, and bad roads, I will not be going into town to take the computer to the doctor. We will see.

So keep warm, keep busy, and be sure you have extra water and canned goods in the pantry.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Round Two!

Yes, this Christmas cactus bloomed in November-in fact, Veteran's Day! But last year it bloomed a second time in February. So it is a tad bit early this year for the second blooming!
So go little cactus! Bloom whenever you feel like it! I love the structure of the double flowers! It is really gorgeous!

Do you recognize this? It is a rusty pipe that I saw that has lichens growing on it. I love the colors and the patterns.
Tonight our LYS is sponsoring a kit-making class for the Haiti relief. A local church is collecting "health" kits that include items like a wash cloth, soap, a hand towel, nail files, etc. They will send them over there for personal hygiene needs. This is our regular Knit Night, so a perfect time for us to do this.
Sunday we resume our monthly Sock Club meetings. I am kinda looking forward to this. We haven't met since November. So it will be nice to get back into the routine.
My friends CJE and AE are having a tough time with one of the moms. It is a really hard time emotionally for them, and some tough decisions are being made. Also my friend CF has been helping a friend out that needed some nursing care at home. He ended up in the hospital over the weekend and surgery on Sunday morning. He is not recuperating well. So my energy is sent to my friends to help with all their needs. Keep good thoughts for them, and send positive energy their way.
The rain has started and the cooler weather may be returning. I have certainly enjoyed having the warmer weather to do some clean up tasks in the yard. My neighbor came over on his tractor to scrape my driveway. It just seems to be an endless, bottomless pit of picking up, pulling out, scraping, piling up, straightening, and making things tidy. But some day I plan the yard to be less care and maintenance friendly.
Of course, I got an email that it is time to order potatoes. My back aches too much to think about that now.
Well, I guess I will get dressed and go into town to do some shopping for the hygiene kits for tonight. I think I will swing by Hastings and look at magazines while I am at it. Actually, I really just want to take a nap. But I will go out in the yuck. I got things to do.

Monday, January 18, 2010

January Thaw!

Isn't this the craziest weather? Now we are having a thaw, which is a mucky mess! But it is delicious compared to single digit weather.

As predicted, I have come out of the well in good spirits. I actually got the Christmas pine planted yesterday. The ground is certainly soft enough, but there were tons of rocks in the soil. I planted it on the south side of the back yard, and I think she will be most happy there. It is on the edge of the "jungle" that I can never keep cleaned out of undergrowth. I worked really hard last winter to clean it all out, and then last summer the vines grew back in and the place looks like it did before I cleaned it out. So it has been designated as critter habitat. I did get most of all the human trash cleaned out, so now let the animals be happy and blessed.

I also got my car cleaned up really well. I went to CJE's house on Saturday. Her mother-in-law is not doing well. She lives with them, and I did not want her to be at the house alone in case of emergency. AE had to go to Little Rock for continuing ed, and would come home late on Saturday night.

Unfortunately I could not get to her house. The mud is so bad that my little car would have been swallowed alive. So she came down the hill to get me, and we went the back road to her house. That was bad, too, but not as bad as her hill.

Today I am going to go a friend's house to get horse manure. We are going to shovel it into his pickup truck, and then he will deliver it. Things can get done in a thaw, but be realistic and know that a freeze will come again a few times before Spring comes.

I am baking biscuits, and it smells so good. I love hot biscuits with honey drizzled over the buttered halves. Sometimes I eat biscuits with sorghum molasses, but right now honey will do.

My friend CF just came by for a quick cup of tea. She is visiting a friend at the hospital intensive care unit. They actually enforced the visitation rules. He had surgery yesterday, and is not tracking too well today. She wouldn't stay until the biscuits are out of the oven. Too bad-more for me.

The vet's appointment receptionist just called to remind me the "kids" have appointments to have their teeth cleaned tomorrow. That means I will be up all night tonight with them. I have to lock the cat doors to keep them inside. They have to be NPO from 8 p.m. until tomorrow. Lately with the warmer weather they have been in hunting mode. Baby killed another mole. Yeah! One less hill to mow over next summer. Noodles has been on field rats lately. And we do get an occasional bird to snack on. I always do a body count in the mornings in the usual places-by my bed, under my bed, and the hallway. Isn't that gruesome? Change the subject quick!

I spent most of the morning yesterday spinning away. I am determined to get this blue/green/turquoise yarn finished this week. I am on a mission now. CJE found a Debbie Bliss pattern that we both love. I want to make it out of my Jacob fleece that I started last year. I have two skeins finished, and knew it would be a sweater some day. I think this is it! I love the sweater. So I have got to spin the rest of this fleece. I need 1,624 yards, and I have about 647 yds now. One thousand more to go! Whew!

I also found a basic, stockinette vest that I like a lot that I think I am going to use the yarn I am now spinning. So once this sock is finished, I am going to do a swatch of that to see if I can get gauge with it.

So away we go! Hang on! I gotta go shovel some s..t. Oh-excuse me-horse manure!

Friday, January 15, 2010

New Moon Madness!

As you can tell by the monitor to the right, it is the New Moon for this month. I remember a long, long time ago someone wrote about how this person felt at different times of the month. Nothing to do with menstrual cycles, or anything, although they do correspond with the moon cycles. She described the New Moon as being down in the well. It was okay for her, because she could always get out of the well-she wasn't "trapped". She used the time in the well as a time of reflection, meditation, and just "being". She did not try to force herself to do the things she usually did, and did not try to do things she did not want to do.

Well, for some reason I am down in the well. I can't find any food that seems interesting to eat, and last night I craved chocolate. I didn't stop and get some chocolate, but the urge was there. I really think people call this "depression", but I call it being in the well. I am not really interested in knitting, but crocheting right now is enticing. The one day that it was warm and sunny, I did a little yard work. I just wanted to be outside in the sun. I finally gave up, and Noodles and I just sat in the sun. My husband used to call me a lizard that seeks the warmth in the cold. I turn my face to the sun and soak up as much warmth as I can get.

The reason I don't call this depression is that it is cyclical. I don't always get this deep in the well, but this time I am. But I don't panic. Because soon I will climb out and go about my normal insane life. I will want to do this project, or this one, or this one. I will have stuff scattered all over the house. I will sew, I will crochet, I will spin, I will dye, I will knit, etc. etc.

I am also going through a very dreaming period. My family has always been one to talk about dreams since I can remember. I even found a letter that my great-grandmother wrote to my grandmother and she told her about a dream she had had. I know we always discussed them first thing in the morning in my family.

Last night was our first Thursday Night Knit Night this year. It seems like years since we all got together. It was really nice to hear everyone's stories. It was funny-no one discussed the holidays. They just talked like we all do every Thursday. Which was nice. JF did mention she got all her Christmas knitting done. It was fun to see what every one is doing now. We discussed books and recommended books. We discussed movies. So a good time to see old friends.

I guess I will sign off for this week. I apologize to anyone who reads this. The next entry will be more upbeat, I promise.

Please send loving energy towards the poor people in need right now. I am not sure everyone can afford to send money, so I just ask that prayers and love be sent.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Is This a Joke?

I think there is some sort of cosmic joke going on. Why is it warmer in Sitka, Alaska than here? We have been in the deep freeze until today. We finally hit 33 degrees! It is above freezing. The sun is shining brightly. And the wind is blowing cold, cold, cold air that freezes you when you walk outside. I have never seen so many people out as today. A huge gaggle of bicyclists went by my house a while ago!

We had our annual ROC Day celebration at HandHeld today. Only three or four folks showed up. It was very strange. The last two years we have had as many as 12 or 13 folks show up with wheels. Not today. My friend CF went with me and sat and knit on her socks. CP brought a yummy ginger preserves that she served over cream cheese. It was really good. I brought some homemade bread, and that cream cheese/ginger jelly tasted really good on the bread.

I have a very old bread cookbook that is separated by months. It has bread recipes that are appropriate for that month. This bread I made is called Fay's Spicy Batter Bread. It was pretty good. It will be good toasted. I gave CF a loaf to take home. She is my bread eater friend. I was just trying to get the kitchen warm yesterday, and that was a way to heat it up for a cause.

I guess nothing else is new. I picked up the Adult Surprise Jacket again and started on that again. I am determined to finish it, even though the love is gone. I am still working on a pair of socks. And the Lifetime Blanket continues to grow.

I am stalled out on the warping of the loom. The back beam is dressed, and I am now threading the heddles. Only there are 490 threads, and I got tired. Some day it will get done too.

I guess nothing else is new. Just the weather is finally breaking. I thought I would never be so happy to see 40 degrees. Our normal weather is supposed to be here next week. I hope so. I am tired of feeding the blackbirds and starlings.

I promise to be in a better mood next writing. Until then, keep warm.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

How to Trick Your Mind!

The color of springtime is in the flowers, the color of winter is in the imagination. ~Ward Elliot Hour

It is that time of year when I start getting the garden catalogs. "Oh-wow! I want to plant some of those. Oh! Look at this one!" You know the feeling. It is not even 20 degrees outside, and you are looking at beautiful flowers in a stupid catalog. And there is more snow predicted. You can't even see the ground, much less plant in the ground.

So realistically, it is impossible to mess with the visual cues. But looking at garden catalogs kinda messes with the brain. "Remember when you had such pretty things growing outside." Of course, I can be a pain and start with, "Yeah, I remember the weeding, the mowing, the weedeating." And the rain last summer.

But does this stuff ever end? I am tired of complaining. Just now I watched a video on Yahoo that shows some town in New York that has had 55 inches of snow, and the prediction for the next several days is more snow to come. Well, you would just have to shoot me and get it over with. I went out yesterday for a short little run to the grocery store. But tonight more snow!

I will be a good girl and announce that the Perennial of the Year is..........

Baptista australis (blue wild indigo or blue false indigo)

Well, it is not the successful dye plant we all love, but it is an indigo none-the-less. They are finally getting the idea that some of us use these silly plants for something besides eye candy.

If you need to know the Herb of the Year is Dill. Well, I don't grow dill, but some people love it. The pickle makers of the world rejoice, I'm sure.

So excuse me-I have to decide how many different varieties of sunflowers I am going to plant this summer.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Wow! More Snow!

January brings the snow, makes our feet and fingers glow. Sara Coleridge
Yep! I woke up at 4 am and looked out the window! There was a good snow covering. I went back to bed, and woke up with even more snow. Sigh! I think it is pretty, but I ache in certain joints and I don't like being cold any more. I just have to make sure the bird feeders are filled. The cats are using their kitty potty now, so that has to be cleaned. They are in warm, toasty places right now, and do not want to be bothered.

So to more fun topics. This lovely yarn started out in a HUGE hank of roving that I bought in Tacoma last February. This is just the first skein. There are 398 yards in this skein. It weighs right at 4 ozs. I still have one more skein to do. Isn't it lovely? I love the greens, the turquoises, the blues, and the bits of white.
The blobby white spots are reflections of the flash. The white is very subtle and is often barber-poled with another color.

It takes a leap of faith to see the good in this mottled bit of roving. I just liked the colors, and I felt it would be pretty when it is spun. Truly-how can one mess up on merino? And I was right.
Another excitement is I started a jar of brazilwood soaking in denatured alcohol. I have this urge to use wood for some reason. I hesitate to even tell anyone what wood this is. The woman at LaLana Wools in Taos says it is getting to be difficult to get some of these exotic woods with the environmental concerns of the rainforest. I bought all they had. So I just put half in the alcohol, and it is soaking away. I have no idea what color I will get, but it will be pretty.
I also finished washing and blocking the alpaca. It is the gifted fleece at the regional alpaca show Thanksgiving weekend. It was really dirty, but it is nice now.
I am on the heel flap of the first sock. I am working on the lifetime blanket. Nothing else new. I have to get back to the Adult Surprise Jacket that was abandoned in the Fall. I think I am going to sew today. I have to finish the bindings on the two quilts before I start another one.
Next week is ROC Day. HandHeld is opening their doors on the 10th for us to celebrate. I kinda think more people come on the weekends rather than during the week nights. So Sunday it is. If it doesn't snow again. I know we are heading for single digits at the end of the week. YUCK!
So get excited about going back to normal schedule tomorrow. The holidays are over. It is time to just move on. If I put my blinders on, all this weather will be over soon.
Wow! Two cars have gone down the road while I am typing this. They are 4-wheel drive, but they are trying.
Happy Snow Day!