Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy New Year! (Or, at least, Happy Old-Year-Is-Finally-Over!)

We will not miss 2010. We had heart - breaking losses, an exploding car*, and nasty injuries.
And that's only the stuff I told y'all about. There was more...
(In trying to find a bright side, at least this year we only lost animals, and no people.)
(There's always a bright side. Or so they say.)

I'm a little depressed looking back over my knitting for the year - I don't think I completed a single project. Lots of starts, no finishes.
(If I made New Year's resolutions, I would probably have to address that.)
(Luckily I don't make New Year's resolutions.)

I did finish some spinning, though. Of course, that was in January.
Now I'm really depressed...

* Technically, the car exploded the end of last year, but all the repercussions were this year, so I'm counting it against 2010.

Point of interest - this was my 400th post! Though apparently I don't do anything to post about...

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Happy Ho-Ho!

Resistance was futile...

Toldja I've been baking cookies.

And Hallelujah, I can stop now...

Friday, December 24, 2010

I thought shoppers were crazed yesterday...

Today we had couples who never should have been shopping, let alone together, who were calling each other names in the aisles, and swearing at each other about whether Uncle Larry would be thrilled to get a foot massager for Christmas. And there were the guy teams - brothers or best buddies - who had waited till Christmas eve to go shopping, saying "Dude... I don't think that's such a good idea..." or "Dude... trust me, she'll love that" while holding up purple sequined whatchamacallits.
I won't even start on the wailing sugared-up children caroming off the endcaps and throwing screaming fits in the toy aisles.
Personally, I got rammed by shopping carts at least a dozen times today, with nary an 'Ooops, sorry.' All I was doing was trying to clean up the devastation our lovely customers had left in their wake.

Gee, I just love Christmas...

So, anyway.

To all you sane people out there:
Merry Christmas, happy holidays, and much happiness.

I have to get back to frosting the cookies...

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Not dead, just baking cookies...

And more cookies and more cookies.
Whose stupid idea was this, anyway?
I'm so Christmased out at this point that I'll deck the next person who says "Ho ho ho." (Working in retail will do that to you. Believe me.)
I'm currently waiting for the last batch to cool so I can put them away.
How crazed do you have to be to be sitting here at 1:30am waiting for cookies to cool...
To hell with the cookies.
I'm going to bed.

Bah humbug to all, and to all a good night.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Because Sheep are Sheep

Why on earth would you want to go in a shelter when you can lay out in a freakin' blizzard, chewing your cud?

Here's Onyx, looking back over her shoulder at me. You remember Onyx, our black sheep...

Merlin stood up as I approached the fence.

And then everybody stood up and shook off the snow.

Foolish fuzzlumps...

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Yeah, it's that Winter Wonderland thing again...

Yesterday was the big day - the stars and my schedule and our garage's schedule finally aligned and I got studded snowtires put on my car. (In Vermont, they can be considered all-season tires.) (No, really.)
And it was just in the nick of time - yesterday's weather was freezing rain, shifting to snow in the late afternoon. The roads were slippery enough when I went in to work at 2pm; I certainly wasn't looking forward to the drive home after 11:00.
But when I went out to my car after closing the store, I discovered that the roads weren't my most immediate problem.
I tried to open my car's door and discovered it was frozen shut. It would jiggle enough to kick on the overhead light, but no way was it going to open for me. I started to worry that yanking too hard on the door handle would break it, resulting in a door that would never close again. (Which would be Somewhat Inconvenient.)
I tried the door to the back seat, with the same result.
Working my way around the car, the next door to try was the rear hatch. That one opened without a fight to the death, but since I had picked up my car from the garage immediately before going in to work, the rear cargo area was full of my old tires. The only way I was going to be able to get in that way was to take out the tires, drop them in the snowy parking lot (and it was still snowing hard at this point in my evening. We're talking the full Winter-with-a-capital-W experience), crawl through clambering over both the back and the front seats, kick the door open, then get back out to retrieve the tires.
I considered this plan for about a nano-second.
The passenger rear door didn't budge at all, but hallelujah, the front passenger door finally popped open. It may have been the cursing. Or the volume of the cursing. Or I might have gotten extra points for creativity. All I know is that I really really didn't want to mess around with a bunch of heavy dirty tires in the middle of a parking lot in the middle of a snowstorm.
The drive home was long and slow. If the snowplows were out, they weren't working on any of the roads I was traveling. It was hard to even see the roads I was traveling.
But my brand spanky new tires climbed right up my driveway, which was the first time in days that I hadn't had to give up at the bottom and hike my way up.

So, tonight on the way home, I thought all that was behind me. The roads were clear of snow, I could drive at normal speed, and it looked like clear sailing.
And it was, until I turned onto the country road that leads to our road.
It's a long bumpy curvy road. Picture a roller coaster constructed for cars.
Apparently, when I was joggling all those car doors last night, I loosened them, even though I couldn't get them open.
Every time I hit a bump, or went around a tight curve, the overhead light and the dashboard open-door-indicator light would come on. And go off. And come on again.
It was like I had my own private lightning storm. Inside my car.
At least there was no thunder.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

The scarf is a-blockin'

And mango's a-rockin'!

I finished (finished!!) the red scarf yesterday, and immediately soaked and blocked it. It's still drying, but I'm going to make the deadline, with time to spare!
I'll try to remember to get a pic before I package it up for OFA. (I forgot with last year's scarf...)

I love the color of wool I used - and I've got a sweater's-worth of it left over and a powerful yen for a red sweater. I'll set the bag next to the bag of teal wool that I'm going to use to assuage my powerful yen for a teal sweater... Of course, both of those bags are behind the bag of handspun Cotswold yarn (because I've already started a sweater with that), and the bin of Goldie yarn (which I'm dying to knit a sweater with.)

And that's just the sweaters. I may be getting a little behind...

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Cutting Edge

As I was saying to my friend Becky the other day - I think she, Erika, and I are the wave of the future. It used to be that a knitting blog had to have a cat to be official.
It isn't a real knitblog without a chicken or two...

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

The merging of the flocks

Tonight was the night the Not-Buffs were smuggled into the main flock's coop while everyone was asleep.
The best time to move a chicken is while it's sleeping. Chickens sleep deep. The best time to move a chicken into a new flock is while they're all sleeping. Everybody wakes up in the morning, scratching and yawning and still half-asleep, and no one is really sure that they don't know that chicken they woke up next to. (Chickens aren't all that bright when they're wide awake. When they're sleepy, well... they make wide-awake chickens look like regular Einsteins.)
The fact that their pens have been side by side all this time should help with the 'recognition' illusion - they've had lots of time to stare at each other and get familiar.
We're crossing our fingers that the merger will go smoothly.

The main reason for the big push at unification? We only have two chicken waterers. In the summertime, that's fine - one for each pen. But in winter, when the waterers freeze overnight? It's too big a pain in the butt to thaw two waterers every morning, especially when we're trying to get ourselves off to work. With one pen, we only need one waterer, and we can swap out the frozen one with the one that had been thawing since the previous time we did chores.
Not to mention, feeding and watering one group of chickens is less time-consuming than feeding/watering two groups.
Efficiency R us...

Monday, December 6, 2010

This one's gonna stick...

It had to happen sooner or later. I'll just try to be grateful that it's later.

That snowless streak on the driver's side of the hood is from the jug of water I'd brought out to fill the rabbits' waterdishes. I set it on the hood of the car while I carried the sheep's bucket of water up to them, and while I was gone it slithered off the hood, popped its lid, and managed to empty itself. I had to slog back and refill it.
I just love doing chores in winter.

I laugh at our two groups of chickens. The main flock hates the snow - they were all inside their coop, and judging by the evidence of a trackless yard they hadn't been out since the snow started falling. (I took a picture, but it didn't come out, and I refuse to hat-coat-boot up again just for a picture of undisturbed snow. Not even for the blog.)
The Not-Buffs, on the other hand, would rather be outdoors than in, no matter what the weather.
Here's a closer look. Please notice that two of the hens are outside the fence - the one on the left and the mostly-white one.

Stupid birds. I could have wasted the morning chasing them, catching them, and sticking them back in their pen, knowing full well that they would just hop out again as soon as my back was turned.
I didn't bother.
I have to finish knitting that black hole red scarf, after all...


The Black Hole of Knitting

That's where I am with this red scarf.

It's a Palindrome. It's endless. I knit and knit and knit and knit, and it doesn't grow.
The deadline is looming.

Back to the knitting...

Saturday, December 4, 2010


My car has heated seats. I can't begin to describe the joy of heated car seats in Vermont in December.
Luxury! (Which always brings this sketch to mind...)

Friday, December 3, 2010

I'm taking the night off.

So I won't be posting tonight.

Oh, wait.


Too late now, I suppose.

Well, as long as I'm here anyway, with fingers already typing and stuff, I'll do a chicken report.
Remember our two new roosters?
The big yellow fella is a few months older than the one we hatched, so he's got the whole spiffy tailfeathers and bigtime crowing voice going on. The hatchling rooster is trying to play catch-up while keeping a low profile at the same time. (He is not the top of the pecking order. He's not even near the top. A low profile means you get to keep your tailfeathers.)
He wants to practice his crow, but he knows better than to do it in front of the senior rooster. He usually lags back in the coop while everyone else goes outside, and sneaks in some practicing while no one is looking.
So far he can go "ERRR!" One syllable. Hardly the rolling "Cockadoodle-do" that he's aiming for.
We've listened to a lot of young roosters learn to crow. For the first day or two, they practice one and two syllable sounds, then they're off and running with the multi-syllabic version.
This guy has been stuck on "ERRR!" for two weeks now. We don't know if it's an inferiority complex or if we dropped him on his head...

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Music for my ears

Madman and I have many lively arguments discussions about music. He's a trained musician, and I'm a simple plebeian. While we have some common ground (Phish, Bela Fleck, several others), our tastes widely diverge. I yawn over some of his choices, and Gogol Bordello and the DropKick Murphys set his teeth on edge.
But one thing we both love is all things a cappella. From Straight No Chaser to Sweet Honey in the Rock. ( I love Sweet Honey.)

This blew us both away.

Well, for me it's still December 1st...

Technically since it's after midnight, it's December 2nd, but since I haven't been to bed yet, I'm still living in December 1st. (Do you think time travel could be a function of sleep cycles? Or am I just tired?)
I was going to post after work, since that's what I do in the normal scheme of things. But my schedule has been wonky lately (since the nadir of working the midnight to 9am shift of Black Friday) and I forgot that the fact that I was working till 11:30pm would make an after-work post appear after midnight. i.e. tomorrow.


I worked the same shift yesterday - I had to leave the house by 2pm in order to get to work. Madman wouldn't be home till after 6pm. Normally we feed the sheep somewhere between 3 and 5-ish, depending on who is home when.
Since Madman wouldn't be home until long after what the fuzzlumps figured was suppertime, we agreed that I would throw some hay at them before heading in to work, even though it was very early. Otherwise when Madman got home, they would have already stormed the house, and he would have found them sprawled in the living room, eating all the potato chips, and watching Wallace and Gromit.
Now, bear in mind that our sheep always blat at all humans, trying to convince someone - anyone- that they're starving. Sheep are born to complain.
As I headed out the door yesterday, they started up. "Baa!" "Baaaaaaaaa!!!!!" "Maaaaa...." Just like always when a human comes into view.
But when I grabbed an armload of hay and headed for their pen, they all fell silent. Stared at me with big eyes and slack jaws.
"Whoa! We didn't think it was actually going to work..."
They actually looked puzzled as they dived for the hay.
Today, I was leaving at the same time, but Madman was going to be home soon after, so when they started blatting, I just ignored them and headed for my car.
They fell silent. "Yeah, we didn't think it would work two days in a row..."