Thursday, June 25, 2015

Just Chugging Along!

I had to make a decision on Monday that I did not want to make.  I am now without my little Patty-Cakes.  She never recuperated from whatever her medical issues were, and by Monday she was so much worse.  She was unable to walk, she was wobbly on her feet, and she had nystagmus and other eye symptoms of neurological issues.  It is still a very raw thing for me to talk about, so I will not say anything more.

On some good news, I am hiring some goats to come out and eat away at the honeysuckle jungle on the west side of my property.  Since I bought the house I have been looking for some goats.  I finally found some.  It is going to be expensive, but not nearly as expensive as hiring people to clear it out.  Not only is there honeysuckle, but there is poison ivy, briars, and blackberry brambles.  Among all that is more trash that the previous owner threw out there.  I will get to clean that up eventually.

Every day I have been trying to do some art project.  I am ashamed that I cannot paint or even draw as I once did.  I have tried many times, and I get frustrated at myself.  So I decided that every day I will dedicate some time to do something.  Last week with Patty's illness, I photocopied a mandala that a friend had sent me for New Moon, and I colored with my colored pencils.  I enjoyed that.  It seems that coloring is a good thing to do.

Last night I was thinking I wanted to do some sun printing on fabric.  So I hunted for my supplies and my instructions.  I realized why I haven't done it in a long, long while.  I needed some foam board to pin the fabric to.  So tomorrow I will do the printing while it is cooler.

I had to go into town to question my bill for my recycling.  I live in a small town that is working really hard to prevent the big cities from swallowing it up.  I pay the local utility company $4.06/month for recycling.  My trash pickup is free as long as I purchase the yellow bags.  The yellow bags are HUGE, so I put the trash out every three-four weeks.  I recycle weekly.

As happens in small business worlds, it has just been found out that an employee of the utility company embezzled a lot of money.  She was ciphering the cash paid some way.  I don't know how to do it, so I don't try to figure it out.  Of course, I paid my $4.06 in cash-why write a check?  So now they will only take checks.  If I use a credit card or debit card, they charge a fee because they are charged a fee.  Remember small business.  I refuse to pay a fee that is almost as much as the bill.

So in May I wrote a check for multiple months instead of the one month.  Simple math-x amount of months times $4.06.  Ten days ago I went in to purchase yellow bags, and wrote a check and got my receipt.  Then I get a bill the other day for $4.69.  I couldn't fathom where this came from.

The two ladies in the office today could not figure out why I got the bill, and they found a credit on my account in the computer.  So they are going to check out the whole thing and get it straight.

So while I am out and about, I drove to our local farm store.  They did not have the foam board I was looking for.  So reluctantly I had to go to Lowes.  I got my board, I got some other things, and I left.
The wind kept trying to blow the foam board out of my hands.  Suddenly this nice man got out of his truck and offered to help me.  When I got the car opened , he told me the board would not fit in the car.  I told him I was going to get a knife out of the car and cut it smaller.  He got his pocket knife out and cut it for me.  After loading it up, he said, "Have a good day, Ma'am."  He got in his truck and drove off.

So that left me feeling pretty good about the world today.  None of those other men in their trucks tried to help.  Here was this man who wore bib overalls, had a long white beard, and longish white hair.  He got out of his truck and helped me.  Bless him for being so nice.

Now that I am rested, it is time to tackle vacuuming my bedroom.  I want to shampoo it today and get it freshened.  I got my spinning room shampooed the other day and it feels good to be clean.  I did battle with a spider this morning.  I opened the cabinet to put cups away.  As I pulled the door open, a big black house spider plopped onto the counter and scurried away.  I peered into the cabinet looking for others.  Somehow I looked up and there was her nest.  It was stuck to the upper part of the cabinet frame and the door.  I got her sucked off the counter with the vacuum, and I got the nest cleared out.  I hate to mean.  If she had chosen some location that I don't use regularly, I would have left her alone.

So I am really going to get up now and go do some work.  Ugh.  I just don't feel like cleaning, but it feels good when it is done.

Happy weekend everyone!

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Hot Again!

Well, we have had torrential rains for over a week-around ten days.  This has been the strangest June! It seems I say that about every month.  We started out with the usual HOT days and drying out from May rains.  Then it started all over again.  Rain, rain, rain, rain.  The ground is soggy.  My neighbors are all out mowing.  I am waiting until cooler this evening and give the ground more time to dry.

With the sunshine comes HEAT and HUMIDITY!  Of course, we expect the humidity to be there because of all the moisture around. 

I just now threw some fleece and a bit of handspun yarn into the indigo bath.  I tried something new that I haven't used.  I saw a picture of a dye workshop on Navajo land and I wanted to know more about the pink that they got.  I found a picture of them pouring something into the pot.  I managed to separate the picture and saw that it was prickly pear puree.  I've never used that, and thought how fun that would be.  Well, to get prickly pear puree costs a fortune.  I did find some place on EBay that sold it cheaper than anyone else. 

While I was waiting for it, I read through my booklet on Navajo dyes.  I read it through several times.  The most important thing - I thought- was that it has to ferment in the pot for at least two weeks.  It did say you cannot heat it like other dyes or you get tan.  You also cannot use a metal pan because that creates a tan also.  I wanted pink, and I guess letting it ferment wouldn't kill me.

Well, happy day when the stuff arrived.  I soaked my fleece and my bit of handspun.  I put it in the container, and I joyfully opened the container and poured it all over the stuff in the pan.  It was a yucky tannish icky looking stuff.  I was not happy.  I was expecting it to be pink like in the picture.

Well, I let it ferment for a week, and I wasn't going to like this.  It was a pale, pale, yellowy tan color.  So today it is in the indigo bath hoping to salvage this mess.

It took me a little while to analyze my problem.  The cheaper stuff I bought on EBay was supposedly a health drink.  (I wouldn't drink that stuff, even if I held my nose tight)  To make a health drink I suppose they would have to pasteurize it.  DUH!  It had been heated.  Heating makes it tan.  Boo-hoo!

So now I am going to make it into something else.  We will see.

Patty has now been diagnosed with seizures.  She did this weird little thing last Monday.  Her back legs collapsed and her front legs splayed out.  She looked confused and scared.  She would try to get up and when she could wobble up on her legs it was scary looking.  The vet worked her in and we got the diagnosis of seizures.  I thought since last October that she was having little TIA's that were leading up to the BIG ONE.  And Monday I thought she was having the BIG ONE.  By the time we got seen in the office, she was over her little episode.  Of course.

The roadrunner has been over at my neighbor's house mostly.  He or she goes from door to door to window and looks in to see them.  He or she still comes over here and jumps up on the railing of the screened porch.  I get the eye stare and the head turns as I talk to him.  It is too cute.  I never knew them to be such social folks.

I have been trying every day to do something with my art work.  I get discouraged and chastise myself badly.  I know intellectually that it takes practice and I know that I am not going to paint the masterpiece of the year.  But I get mad at myself for not being able to do things again.  So now I have this thing to do a little bit every day.  Just a while-about an hour.  I seem to be enjoying the piddling part of it.

Last night I got tired of the Sanquhar scarf.  I petted it, and I smoothed it out.  I announced, "This may become a pillow instead of a scarf."  I don't want to give up, but I am so over knitting this thing.  I did start a pretty simple shawl with some of my handspun.  I love how the colors are coming out with that.  I know that this is the time of year that I don't knit a lot.  I am not going to give up just yet.

I finished another skein of purple.  I think I can now say I will have enough for a sweater when I finish up what I have.  I have that to look forward to this next winter.  Yay!

Well, I am going to don my gloves and go squeeze the fleece and skein and hopefully will have a much prettier color than what went into the bucket of indigo.  Fingers crossed.

Happy Weekend for everyone!

Friday, June 12, 2015

Blogger Is Maybe Working

I have been using Blogger for a long time now.  Sometimes it gets a glitch from somewhere.  Hopefully today it will go through. 

I have been busy this week dyeing with my indigo pot.  The dress is an old one of mine that I normally just wear around the house.  It has been overdyed twice before.  The dye before this one was orange, and it shows through the indigo.  I have mended the holes and it is ready for around the house wear again.

The two cloths were single dipped.  I wanted some more moons, and some of them are perfect.  Some are a little blurry.  When I ironed the dried finished pieces, it appears that some of the blue skies are snowy and there are clouds around the moons.  So there is hope for this piece.  The other was accordion folded and then folded like a flag.  It came out an odd pattern.  I could redo another pattern or leave it to fussy cut from.  I don't know yet.
I don't know why the cursor keeps going to the middle.  I am having some struggles with this post.
It has turned seasonably hot and muggy.  We had a drizzle the other morning, but it lasted less than an hour and made it more humid.  I am watering my new flower bed.  I don't know how established the plants are.  They seem happy and are blooming.  The new milkweed lost three of its branches.  Hopefully I won't lose all of them.  The one from last year that I transplanted is doing okay.  No sign of butterfly eggs.  The bumblebees are happy anyway.  Not too many honey bees.  Sigh!
I did find a box turtle by the step the other night.  Hopefully the concrete blocks will act as a deterrent.  It can munch all it wants to on other things.
The roadrunner is mostly at my neighbor's house now.  It strangely goes from door to door and pecks at the doors and low windows.  It has visited me  a few times and sits on the rail of the screened porch. It looks me in the eyes when I talk to it.  Some scrawny looking hummingbirds are feeding at the feeder. My friend has a Carolina wren nest in her asparagus fern basket.  She moved it away from cat availability. 
The Mugwort is blooming nicely.  The bachelor buttons didn't do as well this year as years past.  I ended up with patches in the yard that I mow around.  Only one hollyhock rose to glory.  I found new sprouts when I was weedeating.  Maybe next year we will have a great show.  The Echinacea is blooming.  The Brown-eyed Susan's are blooming.  The Black-eyed Susan's are big and lush, but no blooms yet.  So the garden is slowly doing it's thing.   I am waiting for the Tansy to bloom so I can use the flowers for a dye.  I like the color that the leaves produced.  I am spinning that right now on the electric spinner.
I am trying ever so hard to walk every day.  It means I have to get up early and go somewhere.  Today it wasn't going to happen.  Instead I am going to a sale at the Junk Ranch.  It is a two-day sale outside a rural town near here.  Vendors bring vintage and repurposed and refurbished stuff.  And some things are still junk, but one never knows if it is just the junk one needs.  I am looking for storage ideas, but either wall mounted or small, small, small. 
Yesterday the plumber came to check out the leak in the back shower.  He said it was the drain; he crawled under the house (ick!); confirmed it was the drain; gave me an estimate; went off to buy a new drain; came back an hour later; fixed it in about an hour with his helper (his son); and now supposedly I do not have a leak.  I have a fan blowing on the floor hopefully to dry that out.  I don't want to replace the board unless I really, really have to.  I was concerned about the mold, and a friend said to bleach it.  So I have sprayed a lot of bleach on the board.  I think after it dries more I will really scrub the corners and edge with a brush and bleach.  When it is all dry I can decide what to do. If I don't replace it, I will have to seal it with that white stuff.  I can't remember the name.  I used it on the sub floor before the installation of my bamboo floors in living room and hallway. 
I finished the sock carry-along project, so now I only have the scarf.  I tried taking it to knit night last week, but I had to rip out one row when I got home.  So yesterday I wound off the two balls of turquoise/multi color handspun and started a shawl.  It is a very simple 8 row pattern, and I almost have it memorized.  It is a pattern that I used for a shawl for a fiber show. 
The shawl sold in the last hour of the show, and I did discount it because the woman really, really wanted it.  She had on a green shirt with her jeans, and the green matched the shawl.  She tried it on and pranced around.  Everyone told her it looked like her.  So the sucker that I am, I would rather have someone really happy with my knitwear than be rich and have someone give it to Goodwill after one wearing.  I have an idea that this new one is going to be a Christmas gift. 
I am spinning on the treadle wheel and the electric spinner.  I mentioned that the tansy green is on the electric spinner and I am still spinning some purple on the treadle wheel.  I was looking for some white fleece to dye with the tansy.  I happily re-found a pound of the purple that I had stuck away for later.  Hopefully I will have enough for a sweater when all done.  I don't know yet what my annual winter sweater will be.  I am leaning towards one of Anne Hanson's patterns.  It will depend on the yardage.
I made the muslin for the new top I want to make.  I have hips and now I have to accommodate for those hips.  Sigh!  This sagging business is ruining my memory of my figure.  I have a new scale that tells me the BMI and the percentage of body fat.  Not a comforting thing to find out.  I know that I am 67 years old, but inside me still hides that athlete I once was.  Oh, well, I will keep on walking.
So off to shower and clean myself from top to bottom.  I have to get ready to go sweat and look for junk at the big sale.  It is kinda exciting.  A treasure hunt.  Happy Friday everyone!