Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Sniveling About Snow

I’m ready to pack my bags.


One of my ancestors settled in a town called Summertown, Tennessee, after the Civil War. That sounds nice doesn’t it, Summertown?  Conjures up images of porch swings and lemonade.

I Googled it.

Population 3,552. It has 4 gas station/convenience stores, 3 resturants, 1 bank, 1 variety store, 1 grocery store, 1 auto parts store, 1 used car lot, 1 golf course and absolutely no traffic lights.

My kind of place!  And then I read more…

it also has a cult intentional community called “The Farm,” which is based on principles of nonviolence and respect for the Earth, basically hippies.

Shearing sheep and spinning yarn wouldn't seem at all weird there! But wait, there’s even more…
Average temperature in the winter is ABOVE FREEZING.

I believe I have met my destiny.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

He Has 1000 Aliases

Most of which are not appropriate for a family friendly blog. But most often I just call him Turd.

My brother is moving. Not just down the street, he’s moving all the way to Florida. While he juggles the job change, locates a place to live and packs his belongings I’m keeping Turd and his brother Loki. It is impossible to get anything done with Turd around. He’s not a normal cat. I think he’s brain damaged. It’s really the only explanation I can come up with.


The night of the hay delivery for instance. I was beat. All I wanted was to sit down and relax for a few minutes in my favorite chair. I set my glass of wine down on the second bookshelf nearby, making sure not to put it on the top just in case Turd showed up since he likes to knock things over. Then I sat down in my comfortable chair with my ‘dinner’, a plastic cup of fruit. As I settled in Loverboy Loki arrived to curl up in my lap, that being his only desire on earth, to be adored. As I lifted the plastic cup and spoon into the air to allow him room, Turd rounded the corner of the hallway and immediately noticed a little orange bug in the corner of the ceiling directly behind me. It happened so fast I can hardly describe it, but I’m sure there was terror in my eyes as I realized my mistake. He came flying through (almost literally) like a bat out of Hell across the room, up my legs, the fruit and juice landing squarely on my head and chest, the spoon disappearing to who knows where, while he leapt from the chair to the bookshelf in an attempt to reach the bug.  Unfortunately he had underestimated the distance from the chair to the top shelf so instead of landing on top, he grappled with his font legs while his back legs kicked over the wine glass among other things I had safely stowed away. It was red wine. Sticky red wine. And there were books. Lots of books. And bloodshed - all of the commotion caused Loki to freak out and insert his claws into the back of my hand, his signature move. I stood there stunned, fruit juice dripping from my hair, chunks of fruit stuck to my glasses, splatters of wine and blood across my shirt as my son shouted up the stairs, “Are you okay?” 

“No,” I replied. “Not exactly.”

A week later I am still cleaning up wine splatter but I finally found the spoon under my sewing table.

There will be no holiday decorations around here this year.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Ol’ Tom Turkey

He wore a can cozy as a hat, puffed up and strutted about like he owned the place.  It is every girl’s dream to have a turkey come to her slumber party. An event that will be talked about for years to come. Even decades thanks to the power of Facebook.


Not every kid at Oxford Elementary had a pet turkey that would follow you around like a dog. I had two. Tom’s wife, Maude, was not quite as flashy him but had a more demure personality all her own. I was the envy of the neighborhood after that night Dad brought the turkey in the house. I’m sure of it.

Tom lived a long life, his destiny unfulfilled. I am thankful to have known him. He helped raise me and shape my worldview. As I sit down to the table today, I’ll remember him fondly.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Stocking the Larder - Again

I bought this winter’s supply of hay back in July. Before the drought. Before I knew I was going to have to start feeding it three whole months earlier than I expected. It was starting to look like it would be famine around here come February. I was nervous. Very nervous.


I had another 100 bales of hay dropped off yesterday afternoon. My mind is feeling better. Can’t say as much for my lower back. The kid wasn’t here to help this time.

I’m not complaining though. I’m glad to have it. It’s getting scarce and very expensive. The auction prices are enough to make your eyes bulge. People are already talking about having it trucked in from other states.  Having it stacked in the center isle isn’t ideal, but nobody will go hungry and that’s all that matters.

Let the Thanksgiving feast begin!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Resident Evil

You  might not have picked up on this, but I kinda like animals. I know, I know, I tend to keep it to myself but it is true.

I generally like all animals. I don’t discriminate. Except this one.


I am convinced he is the root of all evil.

My brother’s cat has some serious issues. He bulldozes everything off every surface.

EVERYTHING. And he never stops moving. It’s worse than having a toddler around.

Does Ritalin work on a cat? I’m seriously thinking about calling my vet. Surely there is some sort of kitty chill pill?

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Crafting in the Hollow

Deep inside the Enchanted Forest is a very special place. A place where magic happens.


Where the trolls who live under the bridge and other woodland creatures come out to play.


It is a place where a few lucky crafters from across the country meet to make special things. Sometimes, if  not watched closely, the trolls might curl up and take a nap in the quilt blocks.


Or the bunnies might try to run off with a drink.


If you are one of the lucky crafters to meet in the hollow, you really have to keep your eyes peeled. Or else you could run into a cold, hungry monkey from Texas.


Or a reindeer with a nose that lights up from Minnesota.


The food is fabulous. It is never a dull moment. The projects are  incredibly inspiring. My only complaint is that is is always over too soon.  *sigh*

Quilt Retreat 023

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Chats on the Farmhouse Porch

    While I’m off retreating, I thought I would share a little chat I’ve had on the farmhouse porch. You can link up with Everyday Ruralty to join in on the chatting fun! Just click here!


1. Where would you take the blogger group for a chat, if they came to your house?

The porch of course.  After we paid a visit to Popcorn and the others. Wouldn’t want them to feel neglected.

2. How do you handle "toxic people"? They're the ones that are very difficult to be around and generally don't bring out the best in us.

Don’t even get me started…   I tend to ignore them. Cross the street to keep from running into them. Whatever it takes to avoid them at all costs. I don’t like negative people or thinking. It ruins my natural buzz.

3. In high school, were you the athlete, the cheerleader (actual or just your personality), the geek, the social butterfly, or lost?

“This one time at band camp”…       Yep, I was a band geek. Played the flute and oboe. Quit when they forced us to participate in marching band. Have you ever shoved a reed up your nose? Not fun. Not fun at all.

4. What's your favorite thing made from apples?

There is this little Amish farmer’s market down the road a ways that sells apple dumplings in the fall. They are FABULOUS. I’ve asked the old guy there to adopt me. He never responds. Just takes a step backward and looks at me as if I’ve lost my mind. I don’t think he understands my enthusiasm.

5. Do you do most of your shopping in stores or online?

100% ONLINE, I’d rather stick a fork in my eye than go to the mall. Seriously. Like, twice. Once in each eye.

    Tuesday, November 15, 2011

    Cleansing of Wool

    So I’m reading The Domestic Manufacturer’s Assistant and Family Directory in the Arts of Weaving and Dying. The book was first published in 1817. It is an interesting read for anyone interested in history and or spinning or weaving. It is nice to have this reference for any demonstration I may perform in the future. There was one section though I fear may not be popular with the public. Let me quote…

    “In the first place fill the kettle two thirds full of water and one third of urine, that which is old if you can get it.  You will then heat this liquor as warm as you can bear your hand in for one or 2 seconds without scalding. Then put 5 or 6 pounds of wool loosely into it and keep it turning round for 6 or 8 minutes, or perhaps longer. You may ascertain when it has been in long enough by often squeezing it with your hand, if the grease starts,  and the wool appears loose and clear, it has been a sufficient time.”

    Yeah, um, I think I’m going to stick with Dawn dish soap.

    It even goes further and says…

    “never throw away the liquor, in time of cleansing; unless it should stand for two or three months in the summer without being used.”

    Oh, Hell no.

    Retreat! Retreat!

    I’m headed for the hills! 

    Well, they’re not really hills. More like slight elevation changes. Not a lot of hills in this part of the state.

    But I’m outta here none the less. Off to refuel my creative juices. Off to commune with like-minded individuals.

    Scary when you think about it, huh? There’s more people like me out there. And we’re all getting together in one place. A meeting of the minds!

    Or okay, maybe not.

    We are going to eat, and sew, and eat, and shop, and eat and laugh, and eat.

    I’ll need to diet for three months afterwards, but it will be worth it.

    I’m leaving Thelma, queen of the stink-eye,  in charge.


    Willa will take over on night shift.


    I doubt they’ll even miss me.

    Monday, November 14, 2011

    The Gatekeeper

    Little Joey had no issues at all fitting right in. Even with the new guy the boys, not having any girls to show off or generally makes fools of themselves for, get along quite well.  For the most part anyway. They are of the males of the species though so some horseplay can be expected.

    “Peter wont’ let me in the barn again,” said Frankie.


    “Why won’t you let him in the barn,” I asked?

    “He won’t say the password,” replied Peter.


    “Well then you’d better say the password, Frankie.”

    “I don’t want to, it’s stupid.”

    “Just humor him, Frankie.”

    “Okay, fine!  Little pig, little pig, let me in,” said Frankie.


    “No, not by the hair of my chiny, chin, chin!”


    “See! I told you!”


    “Stop being a jerk and let me in.”


    Sunday, November 13, 2011

    Baby Blue Eyes

    Blue eyes in an alpaca, although striking, is considered a bad thing. The blue-eye gene is linked to deafness. Not all blue-eyed alpacas are deaf. For instance Frankie here can hear just fine. But he still would be eliminated from any responsible breeder’s program to ensure he doesn’t pass on the gene to his offspring.


    Even through selective breeding a deaf, blue-eyed alpaca is sometimes born. So what does a responsible breeder do with a deaf baby alpaca they can’t use for breeding?

    They call me.

    Yep, they call me and they say “Hey Christine, I heard you were interested in some fiber boys. Why don’t you come over and check out our herd?”

    Not being one to resist an opportunity to play with animals and learn from other like-minded folks, I agree.  Then once I’m there, and starting to feel comfortable, they casually lead me right to him.  Of course, I realize he’s deaf and tell them “I’m not sure I’m interested. I’ve never had a deaf boy.”


    While I’m saying this they’re holding him and motioning for me to touch him. This is when it happens. My face starts to contort and from my mouth I suddenly hear a Gollum from Lord of the Rings-like voice saying “Precious! Must have Precious!”  I am entranced.


    Baby alpaca has to be the softest fiber in the world.

    Then they have the audacity to tell me he’s FREE. And they’ll deliver him to my door. For FREE. As in nobody can say anything, I didn’t spend any money, FREE.

    “MY Precious! For ME! Must have Precious!”

    I mean, I really needed a Joey Bishop to finish the Rat Pack anyway, right?


    (From left to right: Sammy Davis Jr., Frankie “Blue Eyes” Sinatra, Dean “Dino” Martin, Joey Bishop and Peter Lawford.)

    Even though he can’t hear, he’ll do just fine. Alpacas have a herding instinct so he’ll stick close the the other boys. In fact the only reason I know he is deaf is because he didn’t get up and move away from the loud lawnmower like the other animals did. Otherwise he seems perfectly normal.

    Normal with fiber TO DIE FOR.

    “My Precious!”


    Wednesday, November 9, 2011

    There’s Something Tattooed on My Forehead Isn't There?

    I don’t see anything but, I mean, there must be. How else could I be such a pushover for every living thing on the planet?


    It’s not just Popcorn who has me twisted around her little hoof so that I cater to her every whim. It has become abundantly clear lately that I’m a total patsy.

    I’ve quit that temporary part-time job of mine twice already. The evening hours stink. The pay stinks. There are absolutely no benefits. Yet I just agreed to continue to work through the end of the year. Why? Because even in this economy they can’t find anyone else willing to do the job! Why? Because it STINKS!

    I have got to figure out a way to get this tattoo removed. Laser surgery?

    Off to Google…

    It Was a Dark and Stormy Night


    The farmer pulled her bedroom curtain aside to get a better look.  There it was, a lump in the darkness lying in wait next to the pasture fence. It instantly struck fear in her heart. Earlier that day she witnessed the stray dog lurking about. Luckily the guard llamas did their job and herded the sheep to safety but at this time of night the llamas are asleep. Apparently the guard dog on night duty was doing the same.

    “Crap,” she said. “Where’s that stupid flashlight?”

    As much as she hated going out at night she had to protect the herd. She just knew they must be hiding in or near the barn, trembling in their hooves.


    After fumbling around a few seconds she located the flashlight next to the shotgun shells, tossed them all in her pocket and headed downstairs. While slipping quietly out the door, she loaded.

    “I’m a big girl. I’m not afraid of the dark,” she reminded herself. “It’s a dog or a coyote. Not the boogey man.”

    The wind was crisp and blowing her long hair into her face. It made it difficult to see but still she could make out movement at the fence line. It looked as if the head was bobbing up and down. Sniffing the scent of the livestock no doubt. Her hands trembled.

    “You can do this. You know you can do this.”

    Inching ever so quietly she made her way across the driveway toward the dark corner of the pasture.

    “Wait a minute?  What the…”













    “OMG, seriously? A feed bag? Wow, that’s not embarrassing.”

    Tuesday, November 8, 2011

    Baa, Baa, Black Sheep Have You Any Wool?

    Yes, I dare say she has three bags full.


    Shirley is a bit of a full-figured sheep. So much so she sometimes has difficulty fitting through the gates around here.DSC_8982

    “Laverne, is she calling me fat?” she asked.


    “I thought Shetlands were supposed to be fine-boned?” I replied.


    “I’m fluffy damn it. Really, really fluffy.”

    “Okay, okay, don’t go getting’ your wool in a wad.”

    Sunday, November 6, 2011

    Oh for Crying Out Loud!

    Q: How many triangle rulers can a quilter buy before she FINALLY gets the right one for her project?

    A: More than 7.


    Back to the store I go…

    Get ‘em While They’re Hot

    I’m doing some spring cleaning. Yes, I’m fully aware it’s darn near winter, I’m a tad bit behind.

    Anyhoo, In an attempt to further organize myself and make way for this new venture that I’m undertaking I need to clear a few things out. I’m ebaying the remains of my rubber stamping and scrapbooking business. If you are interested you can peruse the goods here.

    Some of you already noticed the link to my etsy store over there on the right as well. Yes, I know it’s empty. Geez, ya’ll are brutal today. I’m working on it.

    I’m not much of a self-promoter so consider that your official notice.

    Hmm, I guess I need to work on that as well if this is going to work. Ugh, the to-do list never gets smaller.

    Wednesday, November 2, 2011

    Goodbye Goats

    They came.

    They saw.

    They ate.

    Now that the pasture is cleared, Daisy, Bo and Luke packed their bags and headed down the road today. Like, um, literally. They only moved two miles away. I’ll be able to wave at them and toss them a cookie when I drive to town.


    The Dukes are going to go live with a neighborhood farmer who has lots of goats. I think I actually heard their collective sigh of relief when they found out they wouldn’t have to live with sheep anymore. I’m trying not to be insulted by it.