Monday, January 31, 2011

A Catastrophic Ice Event? *gulp*

That’s what the weatherman said, “catastrophic ice event”. Not ice storm. Not a wintery mix. Catastrophic. My first instinct was to see how many sheep, goats and chickens I could fit into my blazer (think clown car) and head to Michelle’s or Dani’s house in the Pacific Northwest and never look back. Then I realized it was too late for that.


We have everything we need to survive it. No problem there. Sure it will be rather inconvenient to keep water available for the animals when the power goes out.


I have plenty of carding, spinning, knitting, sewing  and reading to keep me entertained. None of those things require power.


It’s the men folk who live here that I’m worried about. What on Earth are they going to do without computers, internet, video games or power tools? They are going to drive me stark raving mad.

I may have to lock myself in Sheville and barricade the door.


Saturday, January 29, 2011

Hello, My Name is Christine

The Wikipedia article regarding addictions starts out,

“Historically, addiction has been defined as physical and psychological dependence on psychoactive substances (for example alcohol, tobacco, heroin and other drugs) which cross the blood-brain barrier once ingested, temporarily altering the chemical milieu of the brain.

Addiction can also be viewed as a continued involvement with a substance or activity despite the negative consequences associated with it. Pleasure and enjoyment would have originally been sought, however over a period of time involvement with the substance or activity is needed to feel normal.

I’m starting to suspect I might have a fiber addiction. It draws me like a bug to a zapper.  To me the smell is intoxicating. Touching it certainly brings pleasure and enjoyment.  I want to cuddle up and take a nap with this Shetland/BFL lamb fleece.


I put Dorothy’s fleece out for display so I can walk past it, see it and touch it every day.


After a quick run through the drum carder even her britch wool is soft and has been making wonderful felted projects. She got an extra cookie last night because of it.


I even like washing the fleeces. I can’t wait to see what Rose’s lamb fleece looks like under all that dirt.


And then there is the actual act of spinning it into yarn. And knitting it into something useful.


I definitely have a problem. I’m starting to need it to feel normal.


Friday, January 28, 2011

Hand Painting Yarn

Some gals got together last night at Under the Son Farm for a yarn painting class. Theresa’s basement is a moth’s idea of heaven. I mean can you imagine being able to just go shop your own basement when you’re ready to start a new project. *sigh*


The dye process is really quite simple. The most difficult part is choosing which colors to work with. We played around with methods of applying the dye to the yarn. Some preferred the slosh and smoosh method.


While others preferred a more controlled spooning application.


The best part of doing it in a group like this is to watch and learn by what everyone else does. DSC_7216

After applying the dye the yarn gets cooked in the microwave for a few minutes then allowed to cool completely. It is surprising how the color changes and blends. DSC_7226

It is also interesting to see how the dye looks on colored yarn. The skein below started as a grey yarn giving it a heathered look.


A good time was had by all, so much so we considered making this a regular event.


I came home with two skeins of  dyed sock yarn. One with my favorite harvest colors with a very blended look. Then another with colors outside of my comfort zone with more defined stripes to allow me to understand better how the colors will look once they are knitted up.


I have to say, I learned a lot during this class.  The most important thing being that I need more sheep. Lots more sheep.  White ones. Lots of white ones.


Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Finding Buried Treasure

I’m still working on that whole Mission Organization 2011 thing. We’ve moved the desk and all the office supplies out of the guest room and into the parlor. We intend for the parlor to become the office/library/man cave and the guest room to be just a guest room. Novel concept, yes?

It’s been a major chore. I spent most of Monday filing away a year’s worth of paperwork that somehow escaped my attention. Easy to do when it is hidden away in a closet where nobody can see it.  It is a pain, but getting organized does have it’s benefits. Just this morning, while cleaning out the desk, I stumbled upon some buried treasure.


I can’t remember the last time I used a film camera. I can’t even remember what my last film camera looked like. The disposable cameras, no doubt, were shot by my children. Who knows what pictures lie inside? Once I found an old role of film and had it developed. The photos were of a friend’s wedding, by the time I got them back she had already divorced!


I found a $50 restaurant gift card. Note the chewed up corner. I remember that Geo was chewing on it so I took it from him and stuffed it where I found it. Sure miss that cool cat. I think I’ll have to save this, but I’m sure going to use the gift card inside. I’m not passing up the opportunity to have someone else cook for me.


When I found this piece of paper I let out a whoop that scared the daylights out of the cat. The previous owners of this old place had left us the stain recipe for all of the trim in the house. In order to alter or refinish any woodwork (which there is a LOT of) we would need to match the stain. I thought I had lost the recipe forever. I can’t tell you how happy I am to not have to try to figure out how to recreate it. And, in case I ever lose it again, I’m going to document it here on the ol’ blog. It’s Minwax stain 1/2 pint 233, 1/4 pint 210B and 1/4 pint 225. Yay!


Last, and certainly not least, I found the most priceless of all documents. It is the score card from the one and only time I have ever beat my Mom and my aunt at scrabble. They are DIE HARD scrabble players. Ruthless. Completely ruthless. So my winning against them was akin to the Cubs winning the World Series. I think I’m going to frame this and hang it on the wall.


Monday, January 24, 2011

What Do Chickens Do All Day Inside the Coop?

It’s been so cold and so snowy the chickens won’t come outside. They just stay inside the coop all day. So I wondered what they do to keep themselves entertained. I set up a video camera to find out and this is what I discovered…



Ah, what a great day. It’s hot. The sun is shining and I’m on a floaty in the lake hanging with my BFF. We’re sipping cocktails and jumping in for a swim to cool off. It doesn’t get any better than this…


*beep, beep, beep, beep, beep*

Huh? Wha? (rubs eyes)

Oh man, it’s January and it’s snowing AGAIN.

Where’s the snooze button?


Sunday, January 23, 2011

Friday, January 21, 2011

She’s Earned Her Wings

“For what is it to die but to stand naked in the wind and to melt into the sun?

And what is it to cease breathing, but to free the breath from its restless tides that it may rise and expand and seek God unencumbered?

Only when you drink from the river of silence shall you indeed sing.

And when you have reached the mountain top, then you shall begin to climb.

And when the earth shall claim your limbs, then shall you truly dance.”

-- Kahlil Gibran



My Sister-In-Law, Cathy, has left the hospital and moved into hospice care. It is difficult for us to understand why someone so innocent must be taken from us so young. However a friend once explained to me that it makes sense when you realize that the innocent are chosen because they have already earned their wings. The rest of us remain here because we need to keep trying.


Thursday, January 20, 2011

Every Once in a While Something Good Happens

My washer stopped working in the middle of December. The 15th to be exact. It was one of those fancy front-loading machines and, frankly, I’ve hated it since the beginning. Oh sure, it was fun that first day to be able to see the clothes spinning around and I may or may not have sat and watched an entire load go through its cycles. But it didn’t get our clothes clean. The manufacturer claimed that the machine would “sense” how much water was needed and how long to spin, etc. Which would be all fine and dandy if it actually worked. It didn’t. Finally on the 15th it gave up the idea of spinning altogether. Dripping wet jeans take a very, very long time to dry.

The machine wasn’t even four years old yet. It was still under the extended warranty we purchased from Lowes. To make a long story short, multiple phone calls, technician visits and defective parts later we were not pleased with the warranty company. In the mean time, I had given up. It’s not like there is a Laundromat around the corner. Not having a washer isn’t really an option. Oh sure, I have an old washboard, tub and wringer, and we DID stand there looking at them and considered the idea.

Luckily though, the Engineer knows that if Momma ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy and he suggested we just go buy a new one. When I walked into the showroom I immediately asked the salesperson, “Which is the most stupid washer you have?” She looked at me puzzled then I added, “I don’t want it to sense anything.” Then she understood. It seems I’m not the only one who has had this issue. So I chose a Plain-Jane model and they delivered it the very next day.

In the mean time, the warranty company was still trying to figure out what to do. It was eventually decided, to get rid of us, they would just refund our purchase price for the “smart” original washer, which I might add was considerably more than the “stupid” washer’s purchase price. We actually MADE money on the deal. Have you ever heard of such a thing?! The refund is in the form of a Lowes gift card. Guess who’s getting new cabinets and countertop for the laundry room?

AND, you want to know the very best part of the deal? I can now wash fleeces in my “stupid” top-loading washer. The front-loader couldn’t do that. Mwah, ha, ha, ha…


Wednesday, January 19, 2011

How to Win Friends and Influence People

2011 was the year I was going to finally “get it together.” No more being a slob. I went out and bought some new clothes, new makeup even a new purse. I started cleaning and organizing my house. I decided I was going to finally become that mature person whom people admire (yet secretly despise).

Only it seems I’d forgotten something. Something very important. It seems you can dress up all you want, but you still have to be able to “pull it off.” You see I’m one of those people who walks around with her lunch on her shirt. Who can’t seem to walk through a doorway without running into one side or the other and who runs around looking like a six year old chose her outfit. None of which particularly matters if you never leave the farm, but I was planning to leave more often this year and hoped to make a better impression when I did.

I filled the water bucket this morning to take out to the chickens. Dressed in my lovely “doing chores” outfit of sweat pants, muck boots, a green Carhart jacket, leather gloves and a ratty homespun scarf and hat, I started out the door with the bucket. The two dogs raced ahead of me down the stairs; they know the routine. Then, out of nowhere, I had done a lovely 360 pirouette and landed flat on my back in a flower bed filled with a snowdrift. What happened to the bucket of water you ask? It landed directly on top of me, of course.

I laid there, soaked to the bone. I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that it’s a balmy 29 degrees today. The dogs returned and looked at me as if to say, “what did you do that for?”

I wasn’t injured. Not physically anyway. Looking up to the sky I said out loud, “So this is how it’s gonna be, huh?”

I was not impressed. I got up, brushed myself off and grumbled a few things under my breath. I made my way to the chicken coop, and opened the the hatches. One of my favorite things every morning is watching Old One-Eyed Calico Jack come strutting out of the coop. He has a funny walk down the plank that he does because he only has one eye. Every day I say to him “Good morning, Big Guy.” It makes him feel good (‘cause you know he’s only 8 inches tall).

This morning he came strutting out and I started to say “Good morning, Big…” when I noticed he had a wood shaving stuck to his foot. It was a curly one about a foot and a half long. It looked exactly like he’d just walked out of the men’s room with toilet tissue stuck to the bottom of his shoe.

I decided right then and there that we don’t need to change. We don’t need to “get it together.” We’re quirky. We’re klutzy. We’re characters. And I’m perfectly okay with that.


Tuesday, January 18, 2011


So. I have no Facebook or e-mail. I'm not entire sure that's a bad thing. But it seems a little weird. My only method of communicating with the world right now is this blog. It feels very one-sided. Kind of like my daily conversations with the cat.

Anyhoo, it appears the scuzbag hackers compromised my e-mail first. Then my Facebook account because I was stupid enough to use the same password for both. I you've done the same, please go change it now. I'll wait for you to come back.


I've suspended both accounts while the security teams at both places track down the bad guys. It will be at least twenty-four hours before I can get back online. Seems to me Penelope from Criminal Minds would have had me up and running in minutes. She must not work there.


Monday, January 17, 2011

I am NOT in London and I don't need money!!!!!!

Hey folks, someone hacked my facebook and e-mail accounts. I am home safe and sound and I do not need money wired to me in London! I'm working on getting it fixed ASAP.

Thanks to everyone who called, etc.


Sunday, January 16, 2011

Trading one Addiction for Another

I am making the Worlds Most Beautiful Scarf. Once finished with it people will gasp when they see it. They’ll want to touch it, and once they do, they’ll gasp again.


Yesterday I travelled down to Sheep Street, my favorite yarn and fiber store. I decided to arrive at that particular time because someone was going to be demonstrating how to make cables. I sat waiting in anticipation for the instructor. I prepared myself for the mental acrobatics that we were about to begin. She passed out written instructions, held up two needles and a ball of yarn, gave 20 seconds of verbal instruction, then stopped. I sat, waiting for her to continue. She didn’t. I thought maybe she just lost her train of thought. Or perhaps she was waiting for feedback from us before moving on. Still nothing from her, she just sat there looking at us. I wondered if  maybe she was having a brain aneurism? Then what she had said finally registered in my little pea brain and I shouted, “That’s it?!”

Who knew cables were so easy? They certainly look complex don’t they?

The scarf I am making is done in baby alpaca from an Indiana company called Alpaca With a Twist. I think it is the softest, most beautiful yarn in the world. The color is called Lumber Jack. I have a million other things I should be doing today but it’s 9 degrees outside and all I want to do is sit and knit cables. The reversible cable pattern comes from a book titled Cables Untangled. It is a great book that explains how to do cables, has multiple cable patterns and best of all includes a cable stitch dictionary. I highly recommend it if you’re new to cables.


I haven’t even scratched the surface of selling off my scrapbooking and rubber stamping supplies, but seeing how the price of gasoline is what it is, I killed two birds with one stone and picked up that Strauch drum carder I was planning as my reward. No need to waste another trip, eh?


I can’t wait to use it. Now all I need is some clean fiber… hmmm, where can I get some fiber…


“Why are you looking at me like that,” asks Ethel?

“I’ve noticed you keep yourself very clean,” I replied.


Friday, January 14, 2011

Squirrely Shirley

She’s reached the nut ball phase on the personality scale, giving ol’ Dorothy a run for her money.


She’s small but scrappy. She doesn’t take any bull from anybody else. She bounces around like a ping pong ball and if it ever warms up to the point I can hold the video camera without trembling and chattering my teeth I’ll tape her antics for your viewing pleasure. In the mean time I have no choice but to enjoy her alone.

(I have an overwhelming urge to knit her some colorful legwarmers, Punky Brewster style.)


Thursday, January 13, 2011

Three Little Words





She’s been earning her keep and is generally covered in frost every morning. Bless her heart.


Wednesday, January 12, 2011

What was I Thinking?

Have you ever watched that show, Hoarders? If you have, you’ve no doubt seen the expression that flashes on some of the hoarders faces when they finally face the reality of what they have amassed.

I’m there.

What exactly possessed me to think that I needed a three foot stack of 12” x 12” paper? I mean wouldn’t that be enough for, oh let’s see, 847 scrapbooks? I’m not even going to mention the amount of rubber stamps.

I’m a wee bit overwhelmed. That carrot seems a long way off.

Wine. I think I need some wine.

And maybe one of those therapists.


Tuesday, January 11, 2011

The Mule and the Carrot

Cesar Millan always talks about how the pack leader needs to set rules, boundaries and limitations for the pack members. I am a firm believer in that. I even take it one step further though and admit that the pack leader sometimes needs a few self-imposed limits.

For years I was a scrapbooking and rubber stamping demonstrator. Even though I never earned a dime of profit I did manage to amass a large trove of supplies. But as they say, the surest way to lose enjoyment from a hobby is to turn it into a job. I burned out on the craft in a big way and ever since we moved here I’ve not taken it back up. For years now I’ve ignored that stash of supplies knowing I really needed to do something with it. Knowing I had money tied up in all that and that it was worth something to somebody. Knowing it would be an enormous undertaking to organize it and sell it off.

It is time. Call it a New Years Resolution if you will, but it’s going.  I’ve dragged it all out into the open where I have to walk past it every day. I HAVE to do something with it. I can’t leave it piled up in the hall.


I’ve gathered the boxes and packing material and I’m e-baying like a mad woman.


You see I finally figured out what my reward, or carrot, will be when I’m done. I am going to buy myself a drum carder to process those fleeces the Golden Girls are growing for me. And… maybe even a wool picker if I get up enough courage to let go of ALL of it.

So there it is. Item number one on the 2011 Mission Organization Master Plan.