Thursday, February 24, 2011

A Note Pinned to My Coat

Dear Winter,

Please excuse Christine from any further snowstorms. She is already on medication and the doctor has suggested that her participation in snowstorms could cause severe reactions such as head banging, drooling and “breaks from reality.”

Yours truly,

Her mother.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

They Call us the Monkeys

We were having such nice weather the other day I decided to take advantage of it and join the girls for some cud chewing. In case you haven’t figured it out yet, I love everything about sheep. The chewing doesn’t bother me, the belching in my face I could live without but I don’t find it offensive. I take it as a complement. I figure it’s a bonding thing no different than a bunch of men at a sports bar.


Along with cud chewing comes the obligatory chin scratches. All the girls like the chin scratches except Dorothy. She only tolerates it if there is a cookie involved. Sophia on the other hand LOVES her chin scratches.


She can’t get enough chin scratches but what she really likes is monkey grooming. I think she would stand there all day if I continued to comb through her fleece and pick out the weeds. I know this is rather unusual for a sheep, to be so calm and loveable.


So I was rather surprised to find out Laverne is a monkey grooming lover as well.


Anyone know where I can buy a couple more arms?


Monday, February 21, 2011

Skip to My Lou

After a week of above average temperatures the snow and ice has finally melted.


Everyone is enjoying the break from winter in their own way.


Willa seems to prefer rolling around in the crunchy leaves.


But I don’t think anyone is happier than Blackbeard and his merry band of wenches.


In fact, I saw Bertha skipping across the pasture shouting “We’re free, we’re free!”


What? You’ve never seen a chicken skip before?

It could happen.


Friday, February 18, 2011

The Birth of an Angel



February 9, 1969 – February 16, 2011

It would be easy to be angry. To dwell on the unfairness of it all. To morn the loss of a life so young. But Cathy never took the easy route. Instead she worked harder than anyone I know. Her forty-two years on this planet were not easy. When you are handicapped nothing ever is. She never complained. Well, almost never. If you knew Cathy you knew she wasn’t a pushover either.

She was, however, the first person in line to tell someone they did a good job. If I were scrapbooking or sewing or cooking she always told me that I was doing a good job and she was proud of me. After the kids cleaned their rooms or finished another chore she would inspect their work and tell them they did a good job. When her brother finished a project around the house, there she was, telling him how he did. Doing a good job was important to her. So much so that if she thought you didn’t do a good job, she’d tell you to do it again.

Cathy put all her energy into doing a good job at everything she tried. And tried she did. I never heard her say she couldn’t do something. She would only ask how to do something and boom the next thing you know she was going at it. There was no stopping her. Her entire life she studied to be able to read better. She set goals for herself and achieved them. One of her more recent accomplishments was to live independently for the first time in her life. She was doing a good job of it.

Cathy was always looking after everyone else. For twelve years she helped raise her niece and nephew, she also volunteered at the private school they attended. I can only imagine how many times she told all the children and teachers they were doing a good job. 

She was the most helpful person I’d ever met. If you mentioned you needed anything at all Cathy would be up and out the door to fetch whatever it was so fast it would make your head spin. If you left her unsupervised anywhere near the kitchen, even only for a minute, she would have the dishes done before you knew what she was doing. Then she would ask you if she did a good job. If only she knew how good of a job she did. You see, she was fabulous at teaching others. Not in front of a classroom, but by example. Cathy always showed you what was really important in life. To never give up. To do a good job. To help others. To live, love and laugh like you’ve never been hurt.

It would be easy to be angry, but instead I am inspired. If she can get up and out of bed every day while battling cancer to walk to school in the snow at 42 years old to try to read better… well, I can only be inspired.

Cathy has earned her wings and ascended into heaven. There is no doubt in my mind she was hand picked to be someone’s guardian angel. There is no IQ test to qualify to become an angel, one must only be pure of heart. That she was and, of course, we all know she’ll do a good job.


Monday, February 14, 2011

When I’m Not Skating on Thick Ice

I’ve been otherwise keeping myself busy. In order to spin Rose’s fleece I first had to take some yarn off the spindles. While the colors are lovely this was the most horrid stuff to work with. It constantly snagged the hooks going onto the bobbin as if all the little fibers were linking arms and chanting “Heck no, we won’t go” while dragging their feet and clinging to anything they could grab. It resulted in a yarn that was cobweb thin in some parts and the size of my thumb in others.


I wasn’t about to let it win though. I knitted it up, threw it in the wash and made a felted notions bag out of it. Take that you, you yucky yarn you.  Mwah ha! I even put a zipper in it. (I’ll pause here for a second while you’re sufficiently impressed about the zipper because you should be impressed.)


I bought the zipper during my adventure to town the other day. I made sure to stock up on all the necessities while I was out, too.  You know, like this…


and this…


I just wanted to make sure I was fully prepared for the next storm.

Then when I got home I  started carding and spinning and carding and spinning and eventually ended up with over 1200 yards of what I am calling Rustic Rose. I have a big project planned for all this but before I start I need to finish a few other things.


Like this alpaca/merino neck warmer.


And this pair of socks.


Shouldn’t take too long to finish those up. I glanced at the calendar this morning and realized within the next week we have 2 doctor, 1 orthodontist, 1 dentist and 2 eye appointments. Whoever is in charge of schedule around here should be shot.

Er, wait…I think that’s me.


Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Where There’s a Willa There’s a Way

I have a dog.


Wait. Make that dogs.


I also have a sled. Even if the car gets stuck in the driveway, I’m still going to town today.


Saturday, February 5, 2011

Adding Insult to Injury

Yesterday, The Golden Girls wouldn’t come out of the barn. They didn’t care for ice skating at all. So the kid and I went to work with a pick axe to remove the ice in front of the doors and gates. Then we spread some straw for added traction to allow them to get to the water and to make chore time a little safer for us. The sheep appreciated it and spent the afternoon outside. Last night when it was time for bed they greeted me at the gate. (No Rose isn’t pregnant she’s just, um, fluffy.)


“Did you bring cookies,” asked Daisy?


“Of course,” I replied. “Come on everybody let’s go inside.”



“Quick! She’s going down. Grab the cookies,” I heard them say.


“Save some for me,” squealed Bo.


At least the straw makes for a soft landing.

Today it is snowing. It is expected to snow all week. If you are reading this and you live somewhere where there is no ice or snow on the ground and it is above freezing right now, please leave a link to your local realtor in the comment section. Thank  you.


Friday, February 4, 2011

I’d Kinda Like to Go to the Store.

Not that I have any pressing needs, I’d just like to go. There are more storms on the way and I feel like I should go. The roads have been cleared so in theory I could get there. Only one thing standing in my way…our driveway.


(photo courtesy of my friend, Cindy)

Cindy’s son was able to chip the ice off of their driveway. They live in town. They don’t have a gravel driveway. You can’t chip ice off gravel. And it appears that unless you have about 1800 lbs of rock salt there’s no melting it off either. Even if I were to make it safely to the garage and get the vehicle out of the driveway, I would still have to skate across all that ice in the picture, grocery bags in hand, when I got home. Not to mention being greeted by anxious pooches wanting to know “what’s in the bag, what's in the bag, huh, huh, what’s in the bag.”

It would probably extend my life expectancy more if I just stayed home.

*Updated to add: I just wiped out while doing chores, hit my head first on the fence post then on the ground. This sucks. I measured the ice/sleet combo directly in front of the garage doors at six inches. It may be March before I get to the store.


Thursday, February 3, 2011

I’m No Dorothy Hamill

Although I did wear my hair like hers way back when. See the barn back there on the left and the chicken coop on the right? That is a solid sheet of ice between here and there.


I’ve decided the only safe way to get there is to scooch on my back, doing a sort of backstroke so-to-speak.


Wednesday, February 2, 2011

The Lights are On!

Last night at 8:30 pm we lost power. We figured by that point it was easy enough to go to bed. We lit the fireplace and camped out. By the time we got everything together, got the cat to calm down (she was elated that we were sleeping with her) and almost fell asleep the lights came back on. We’re not out of the woods yet. We added an inch or so of sleet and a little more freezing rain last night. Now it’s snowing  horizontally. The wind could still take out the power lines.

I know I should go out and take pictures but, um, it’s COLD out there. My only goal today is to work on knitting the last skein of the Worlds Most Beautiful Scarf. I’m debating on whether or not I should bother to get dressed while I do it. Nobody’s going anywhere around here for a long time.


Isn’t that vintage inspired dress form cool? My daughter gave it to me for Christmas. It’s the perfect addition to Sheville. While I was taking that picture I remembered another project I’ve done recently and forgot to tell you about. My first lengthwise scarf. Done in an easy care acrylic to wear with my everyday red parka.


And a matching slouchy hat.


I hope you’re warm and the lights are on where you are. If you want to stay in your jammies, go for it.


Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Staying Busy

Lights haven’t gone off, yet. I’m busy spinning Rose’s lamb fleece.


I love her, she’s so soft, but her hygiene leaves a lot to be desired. She has so much lanoline in her wool everything sticks to her.


Even though I always thought I wouldn’t, some of the slobs lovely ladies around here may be wearing coats next Spring.


Icepocalyspe 2011

We were thrilled to wake up this morning and still have power. So far we have a half inch of ice build up on everything along with another half inch of sleet.


While the city folk are trying to scrape the ice of their cars and sidewalks, we’re scraping ice to get into the pastures and barns to take care of the critters.


The crew isn’t quite sure what to think of the slick and crunchy conditions. The chickens, of course, didn’t even want to look outside let alone go there.


So far so good, but the overnight storm was just an appetizer. The worst of the storm is yet to come this afternoon and the lights have already started to flicker.


“You stocked up on cookies, right?”