Thursday, December 31, 2009

To everyone, everywhere

Happy New Year!
I sure hope 2010 is better, cuz 2009 really sucked...

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

I wasn't kidding about my car exploding...

Luckily we were less than an hour from home when disaster struck. My youngest daughter was driving the first leg of the journey, my oldest daughter was following with her family in her rig (though we had her daughter with us in my car.)
There was a rattly noise that turned into an ominous rattly noise, followed by a "boom!", followed by a huge cloud of smoke with us in the epicenter. (My older girl said it was like we just disappeared in a puff of smoke - like one of those James Bond cars.) We eased off the road, shut off the engine (which, against all odds, was still running) and got out to survey the damage.
Smoke was pouring out of the exhaust and the engine. There was an oil slick extending from the point of explosion to point of rest.
I opened the hood to take a look. Now, I don't know a lot about car engines, but I'm pretty sure that things shouldn't be so... well... juicy. And shrapnel is probably not good, either.

The top center of the photo above shows blown-out bits and chunks that are pretty certainly wrong.

Those are my girls, staring at the debris. I didn't get a picture of the smoke, unfortunately. (Blogger grabs camera, but not as a first thought...)
So we transferred some of the cargo and my granddaughter to her parents' car, and sent them on ahead. (I was supposed to be the leader of the caravan for this 7.5 hour trip. *sigh*) Meanwhile, Madman had arrived to rescue us, with the wrecker not too far behind him. While my car was being winched onto the wrecker, we loaded the rest of our gear into Madman's car, dashed home, crammed stuff into my younger daughter's car, and started out again.
Final verdict - I blew some sort of rod (He told me exactly what, but my brain didn't retain it. Sort of like me trying to get him to register spinning wheel drive ratios...) right through the engine.
My car, she is toast.
Good thing I had a great visit at my dad's.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Christmas is finally over...

Just got home from spending Christmas with my dad. It was an eventful trip - too much to write about yet.
My daughter's wallet was stolen just as we started out, and then my car blew up. Other than that, we had a great time.
Details later. Way too tired at the moment...

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry merry!

Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good night!

(I'll just be up here baking cookies and wrapping the damn presents till the wee small hours...)

Sunday, December 20, 2009

A Sheep's Idea of Heaven

A house made of hay.

Madman built it for them.

One bale sticks out a little. Naturally, Merlin likes to stand on it.

To the chickens, I may be a goddess, but Madman is the One True God of Sheep.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Countdown to &?%*@?! Christmas

If I get through Christmas without punching a customer, I'll be fine...
I'd like to know where some of these people work - I'd go there and trash all their stuff, and see how fast they arrest me for vandalism. Seriously. What makes some people think they have a perfect right to rip open packaging (destroying it in the process), pull out the contents, then wad them up and stuff them any old where? (Or throw everything on the floor and walk on it. That's always good, too.)


Thursday, December 17, 2009

Damn and Blast!

Just realized I forgot to get a photo of my Red Scarf before I mailed it off!!!
It was a Corrugator. Bright red fuzzy yarn. Very soft and comfy.
It was really pretty.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

A tisket, a tasket

A green and natural basket!

Today was the basket workshop I taught. Six students turned up for a lot of laughs and some basketmaking. None of them had made a basket before, so I kept the pace slow and easy, and at the end of four hours, everyone had a basket. It was interesting watching the baskets take shape, because, though we all were using the same materials, each basket came out different. I let them experiment with different widths of reed, and I'd brought natural and green-dyed reed for colors.
The most interesting thing to watch was the basket-makers themselves. The ups and downs of this-isn't-going-well and hey-that-part-was-easy were fun to see, and watching their faces as they realized that this thing really was going to turn out to be a real basket was priceless.
About midway through the process, most of them were saying, "Well, this was fun, but I don't think I'll ever make another one", but by the end of the workshop, most were making noises about what we could make next time. One even took down the name of the place I buy supplies - I think she's hooked.
I know they were happy with their creations when I pointed out that this size basket makes a lovely holiday gift, and got a universal "Unh-uh! I am totally keeping this! This basket is all mine!"

And one more bit of good - since I wove a basket right along with them as a demo, I'm that one little step closer to Christmas...

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

It was inevitable.

Winter seems to be coming in. It's been a weird year - cold October, warm November (well, warm for Vermont, anyway...), no snow till December. Since that first sticking snow, it's been spitting snow almost continuously. (That's our expression, up here. If it's snowing lightly, we say "It's spitting snow.")
Last night it was coming down hard. On the way home, as I was headed up a small hill (well, small for Vermont, anyway...), a car in the other lane started fishtailing. I figured he was headed for the ditch, since he was going pretty nearly sideways as he came past me. I didn't look back to see, since there was a lot of traffic and I needed to watch for what was going on up ahead. He was going too fast for conditions, and especially going too fast for conditions going downhill. Traffic going my way was creeping along, and I was content to creep with it.
At least there was no black ice.*

*For you Southerners, black ice is the slipperiest substance known to man. The truly fun part is that it looks exactly like wet pavement.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

This one will stick.

Oh, goody. Snow.When I went out to feed the sheep this morning, here's what I saw.

They have a shelter, so they don't have to stand outside when it's snowing...

Later in the day, the snow had melted off them.

Silly sheepies.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Sheep Shots. Sorta.

Unlike the other Gale, I'm not so good with the sheep shots...
Of course, I had pouring down rain all day today. So much rain that there's flooding in town. So much rain that the sheep are downright soggy.
The weather lightened up to a dull mist this afternoon, so I ran out with the camera and tried to get some cooperation from soggy sheep.
Not so much.

First, they crowded up to the fence to say hi.

That's Merlin in the foreground, Onyx squeezed between, and Goldie peeking over Onyx's butt.

Onyx crowded out Merlin and tried to nuzzle the camera. Or me. It was hard to tell. She's a real sucker for petting, and why on earth would I be out by the fence except to pet her? (And I did. She especially likes it if you scritch her cheeks just below her ears.)

Then Merlin crowded out Onyx. (He got scritched, too. A lot.)

I tried crouching without moving for a while, to see if they'd get bored and put a little distance between us. It sort of worked. As usual, Goldie is trying to keep another sheep between her and any human.

Merlin decided to try posing pretty. You can see his fleece has now reached his knees. (Do sheep have knees?)
If you look closely at the wires of the fence, you'll see raindrops and wool.

Finally, a clear shot of Goldie. Her fleece has grown out nicely. It looks better when it's not dripping, of course.

I pulled out a picture of Goldie from last spring to show how her face has changed. The wool is obvious, but check out her face colors. Last spring, she had a sort of mixed blonde and black look.
Now she has a black face with a white nose. I don't know if that's normal or not. Will she turn blonde again in the spring?

I love my little fuzzlumps.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Oh, $hit, it's December.

Madman was stretching tonight, trying to work out some kinks.
"Not good," he said. "Feels like there's a storm coming on."
"Oh, don't say that!" I said. "You know what kind of storm it's likely to be in November."
He looked at me. "What month is it?" he asked.
And that's where today's title came from...

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Stunned by a shawl

As I was cruising through blogland this morning, while pounding down coffee and trying to get a couple of brain cells to fire, I came upon a sight that literally took my breath away.
Fleegle's blog is the site of the sight. (I've now cited a sight site. Help me...) There's a wonderful story about the shawl, as well. Go, look, read!
Back so soon? I am stunned by the shawl itself, by the hard work and devotion of those who worked on it, and by the generosity of those same people in that they are going to provide the pattern as a freebie.
I shot off a quick email to find out what kind of yardage was required, because my first thought, naturally was to spin the yarn for the shawl. (Because the only thing crazier than tackling this masterwork shawl would be to spin the yarn for it, too...)
Her reply? 6000 meters / 6562 yards.
That's roughly 4 miles of yarn.
I'd better start spinning. And I'm going to need a lot of batts...

Monday, November 30, 2009


Made it through another NaBloPoMo! I did have that one day where I forgot to post, but posted twice the next day, so I think it's all good.
I don't know how Norma does it...

I hope to get some sheep pictures on Thursday. I want to do some comparison shots so you can see how much their fleeces have grown since last spring.
And I just plain like taking pictures of sheep.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

One thing I won't miss about hunting season.

Today was the last day of the season, and sadly, we are venison-less. Madman made every possible effort, but luck was against him.
One of his tricks is to keep his hunting clothes free of the smell of humans. He washes them in a scentless detergent, and keeps them bundled in a giant plastic bag when he's not wearing them, so they don't pick up any household smells. (Deer are not fond of the smell of pot roast, for instance. Makes them a mite skittish...)
Early in the season, he found he was nearly out of the detergent he uses, and told me he was going to pick some up at the store.
When I got home from work that day, the dryer was just finishing its cycle, and there was a smell of dirt in the house. Not the smell of "Exactly how long has it been since I last dusted?", but a smell like someone had been digging in the garden and had brought in a big whopping bucketfull, then scattered it around the house.
Mystery solved when I spied the box of special hunter's dryer sheets he'd bought. The name of the scent?
"Fresh Earth."

Saturday, November 28, 2009

A little help from my kids

One of my daughters sent me this link to cheer me up. (Be sure to click through to the next cartoon, as well, for Part II. That one cracked me up even more.)

She also included a photo they'd taken at a business near them.

Can't argue with that...

Friday, November 27, 2009

Black Friday is over. Bring on the beer.

Whenever I start to have hope for the human race, a day like this comes along. Wolves and warthogs would have been better behaved than the packs of so-called humans I saw today.
Attila the Hun could have ridden in with his horde and pillaged the store, and I guarantee less damage would have been done.
What gives people that kind of sense of entitlement? Who raised them? (My mother would have beaten me ragged if I'd ever shown even half that much disrespect for the store's property and other customers. And I would have deserved it.)
It was really hard to keep smiling when dealing with people who should have had some sense slapped into them.
(Wow - I'm not usually so violent. But after today - I swear I'm going to ask Madman for a cattle-prod for Christmas... )

/end rant

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Full of Turkey

As a matter of fact, I'm very full of turkey. And gravy. And squash.
So full that I can hardly keep my eyes open.
I hope your Thanksgiving was as good as mine.
Now to relax. Tomorrow will be a busy day.
I work in retail. Tomorrow is Black Friday.
Have pity on me.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Even our kitty wishes you a Happy Thanksgiving!

Ursula, sleeping upside down.

Want a good look at her thumbs?
I'll bet I could knit her mittens, but she'd probably just lose them...

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

In the land of chickens, I am a goddess...

I finally got around to cooking off one of those giant delicapumpkins, delumpkins, squadeliumpkins delisqumpkins.

Here's a pic of it sitting next to a 5lb sack of flour, to give an idea of scale. This one is one of the medium-sized ones - we have both larger and smaller.

Madman had to cut it for me - it was just too darn big for me to be able to get any leverage. I used a big spoon to gut it,
then placed the two halves on a cookie sheet, and into the oven it went. I chose to bake it instead of boiling it, because I was concerned it would be soupy, and it turned out to be a good call. These squash er pumpkins objects were far from dry inside.
It was at this point that the camera started lying to me. I took shots of the cookie sheet, both before and after baking, and the camera assured me that I had perfectly lovely pictures. However, when I tried to upload them later, the camera just laughed and said "Pictures? What pictures?"
One of the happiest uses for squash/pumpkin is pie-making.

Luckily, I took about 14 shots of the pie, of which only 5 came out. (Do non-bloggers take obsessive excessive pictures of pies?)
Looks like pumpkin pie. Smells like pumpkin pie. As soon as supper settles a bit more, we're going to see if it tastes like pumpkin pie.

And the title? I saved the squishy squashy guts and seeds and the scraped cooked peels for the chickens. They were very pleased.
So pleased, in fact, that a riot broke out when I set down the dish. A few of the smarter hens grabbed a piece of treat and sneaked off into a quiet corner with it. But the not-so-smart ones grabbed a piece and took off running, holding it high in the air, and squawking that they had the "Best Treasure Ever!!" Naturally the rest of the not-so-smarts took off after them, trying to take their treasures away. There was one big ring of chickens circling the coop, each of the hens who actually had something being followed by 3 or 4 empty-beaked hens squawking "Gimme-gimme-gimme!!"
Of course, there was a whole bowl of 'treasure' right in the middle of the floor. Chickens who knew enough to keep their mouths shut were happily chowing down...

Monday, November 23, 2009

Resurrected UFO

Remember this? When last this project saw the light of day, it was in a courtroom, while I waited for jury draw. (And I still don't believe they let me into a courtroom with those pointy little needles!)
In between blowing my nose, sipping tea, and reading yesterday, I pulled out that slipper and carried on a bit.That's the top, and this is the sole:

The pattern is sort of mitered square meets origami, and is a lot of fun to knit. (And please ignore that one of the squares on the sole is going the wrong way. I've made peace with that fact. Really.)

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Finally, a down day

So I finally took a day off 'off'. I laid on the couch knitting and reading. (Oh, happy day! I checked out a Terry Pratchett book from the library that I thought I had read, and it turns out that I haven't! There are few joys greater than finding a Terry Pratchett book I haven't read yet.) I'm hoping this day of rest will pay off in feeling better tomorrow.
This cold is just kicking my ass...

The knitting is the resurrection of an old project. Photos tomorrow when it actually looks like something...

Ummmm.... Uh Oh

I sat bolt upright in bed at about 3 o'clock this morning. "Gah! Did I remember to post last night?!?"
Apparently not.
We had company - friends we hadn't seen in years. They came for supper and stayed overnight, and we had a blast. Talking and laughing, telling stories, playing remember-the-time. The guys have known each other since dirt was young, we ladies were folded in over the years. It was a thoroughly lovely evening, and I sort of forgot about the blog.
Is there a 'Get Out of Jail Free' card for NaBloPoMo?

Friday, November 20, 2009

I wish I'd said that...

This is the best knitting post ever written, hands-down. I can only dream of stating something so eloquently.

And now, I'm headed for the couch. Seriously. I feel better than I did Wednesday (then again, Wednesday I would have paid you to shoot me...) but I'm still fighting off this damned cold. Let the quilt-wrapping commence.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

It was a simple plan.

Though some of you are familiar with my plans and their execution.

Let's review. My plan for today was:
1) Wrap up in a quilt and rest on the couch.
2) Watch season 4 of Lost.
3) Knit something. Anything. I wasn't picky.
4) Guzzle elderberry cough syrup.
5) Blow my nose. Repeatedly.

Of these five, I managed to accomplish two. Unfortunately, it was the last two.
What I did manage to get done was:
1) Caught up a little on my blog reading. I'm still roughly 1000 posts behind, but at least I know what some folk were up to through the end of August.
2) Went to the library. Had to - I had books that were due.
3) Made an experimental barbecue sauce for tomorrow night's supper. (It's a crockpot project, so the sauce had to be done today so I could fire up the crockpot in the morning before work.)
4) Finished baking the batch of cookies that I'd started earlier in the week. (Well, we were out of cookies. What's a brown bag lunch without a cookie?)
5) Ran an errand with Madman. Unavoidable.
6) Fed the sheep, forgetting to take the camera out with me. I noticed the other day that their fleeces are now hanging to their knees. All you can see is skinny little legs sticking out of a big puffball of wool.
7) Gathered the afternoon eggs, forgetting to take the basket with me. I ended up with eggs in both coat pockets, as well as a bunch cradled in the front hem of my sweatshirt. It could have ended badly. Very badly.
8) Stacked 84 sheep. (A new personal best.) (And thanks, Laurie, for the new obsession, BTW.)
9) Plied a little more of the merino-tencel. I didn't mean to. But I sat down, and next thing I knew, I had fiber slipping through my fingers. I don't know how it happened. Really.
10) Cooked supper. I was totally going to con Madman into cooking for me, but forgot.
11) Wrote a blog post. This one.

I'm going to go lay down on the couch now. Seriously, this time.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Yes, words do bite.

But first, a basket. The class I'll be teaching is a beginner's class, so I wanted a simple basket that would cover the basics: an open-weave bottom, plain plaited sides, and a simple wrapped rim. I made this one for the class sample:(Clothespins included for scale. And because they're what I use for clamps (best cheap craft clamps ever!) so they happened to be nearby.)
And the semi-side view:

The only thing I didn't do while it was still wet, that I really should have done, was to burn off the "hairs" - little fibery bits from the reed that stick out here and there.

But given how late it was, and how tired I was, and how crappy I felt, it seemed like a remarkably poor idea to start playing with open flames. I'll resoak the basket at a later date, and burn them off then. (Getting the basket wet reduces the risk of setting fire to it. Go figure.)

Oh, the post title?
I had a feeling that the last words of this post would come back and bite me on the ass...
Yes. I'm sick. Madman had a head cold a week or so ago that he passed on to me, but my version is a combination head and chest cold. One or the other would have been sufficient. Both at once is beating the crap out of me. I've been taking the elderberry syrup, and I think it's helping. (Which is actually scary; if this bad is 'better', imagine how truly bad I'd feel without it...)
Tomorrow is my day off. I had all kinds of plans, but I think my new plan is to wrap up in a quilt and lay on the couch. A friend at work loaned me season 4 of Lost, I have plenty of knitting, and lots and lots of elderberry cough syrup.
Now all I need is a truckload of tissues.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009


Up way later than I had planned. I was finishing up a sample for a beginning basket-weaving class I'll be teaching next month. I just needed to finish putting the rim on it. After diligently soaking the reed, getting other things accomplished while I waited, I discovered that the piece I had chosen was about 3 inches too short.
So I had to cut a new piece, and set it to soaking. I ended up starting the rim at about the time I had planned to be finished. I could have just set the whole thing aside, and finished another day, but my innate stubbornness kicked in. Everything was ready. I wanted to get it done. By gum, I was going to finish it.
Virtue may be its own reward, but stubbornness is its own punishment...

Monday, November 16, 2009

Taking one for the team

I mentioned the other day that we'd had to pull a hen out of the flock. We'd seen frequent evidence of egg-eating out in the coop - bits of broken shell with yolk and white oozing on them - and given the fact that we were getting barely any eggs to begin with (what with the hens just coming out of the yearly molt) such behavior couldn't be tolerated. The hen with egg on her beak got put into isolation. We'd long suspected that she wasn't laying - she never seemed to be in a nest box, no matter what time of day we were out there.
After a week of isolation, we had our evidence. There were no more broken eggs in the coop. Miss Isolation either laid no eggs, or ate whatever she laid. Neither was acceptable.
Sunday, Madman spent the early hours of the morning sitting in a tree stand, waiting for a deer. (First weekend of hunting season - he'd gone out most of the day Saturday as well.) Then he came home for a quick chicken butchering, lunch, and a rest, then off he went to the tree stand again.
I wrapped up our former egg-eater, all nice and cozy, and she's now in the freezer awaiting a starring role in Chicken and Dumplings.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Still plying...

But I've got roughly a bobbinful done. Actually, I could have gotten a bit more on the bobbin, but both plies broke at the same time, and I took it as a sign that I should stop and wind off the yarn.
And here it is:

There's a little bit of barber-poling, but most of the color changes are subtle enough that it doesn't really show.

If fact, as I was winding onto the niddy-noddy, I was often surprised to see that a whole new color had started without me even noticing.
If I haven't screwed up the count, I've got 625 yards so far.
Now I just need to find a shawl pattern with a lace pattern than can handle stripes of color. Anybody have suggestions?

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Good news! I didn't crash into the cruiser!

On the way to work this morning, in a steady cold drizzle, I saw flashing blue lights on the bridge not far from my job. I slowed down and saw a state police cruiser, a pickup truck in a diagonal postion on the bridge, and another vehicle after that, all in my lane. The trooper was standing next to some scattered debris, on the other side of the bridge, and I assumed he was directing traffic, since we were now down to a one-lane situation.
At first I thought he was waving me through - he was swinging his arm back and forth, not making the universal the-cop-says-stop gesture with a straight-arm open palm. But then I realized he was swinging his arm with palm outward - an awkward, non-standard, ambiguous gesture. At the last moment, I decided he wasn't waving me through, after all, so put on the brakes.
The brakes didn't catch. I just kept going, at least another car-length. Finally, finally, I came to a stop just a couple of feet behind the parked cruiser's rear bumper. I thought my brakes had failed. I had an adrenaline surge that could have powered up a small city. I gasped with relief when the car stopped moving.
The trooper came walking toward my car. "Don't tell him your brakes failed," I said to myself. "That's a ticket for defective equipment."
I rolled down my window.
"I didn't think you were going to stop," he said.
I stammered something to the effect that I'd been a little concerned, myself, while the voice in the back of my head was saying "Don't mention the brakes. Don't mention the brakes." And I was hoping he'd been too far away to notice the look of terror on my face.
"Everyone else seemed to see my blinking blue light and slow down," he said.
I started to say something about the ambiguity of his gesturing, but then thought "Don't criticize the cop. They don't like that. They write tickets for that."
Now I had two things whirling around in my head that I was trying not to blurt out. Smiling seemed like a good response. Silent smiling, with no talking whatsoever.
"Try to slow it down. It's icy out there," he said.
Icy? It's icy? No wonder I couldn't stop. Not my brakes. Ice. (That also explained why the pickup was diagonal in the road ahead...)
"Yes, sir!" I piped up as he walked away.
He let a couple more cars come through from the other direction, then finally waved me through.
I drove slowly that last little bit to work.

Friday, November 13, 2009

The trouble with spinning

Recently I've realized that I'm doing a lot less knitting since I learned to spin. Time that used to be used for knitting has gotten sucked up by the wheel. I now have a lot of yarn, but instead of knitting something with it, I grab more fiber and start spinning the next project.
For instance, I have a huge list of shawls I want to knit. Maplewing, Aeolian, Laminaria, to name a few. (My queue is now long enough to circle the earth at least three times.) I have patterns printed out, I've spun the yarn. I want I want I want to knit these shawls with a white-hot passion. Have I cast on any of them?
No. I'm spinning more yarn.
And we won't discuss how many fleeces I have in my craft room. Or the balls of roving.
Is there any way I can learn to knit using only my left foot? I need the right one for treadling, you see...

Thursday, November 12, 2009


Madman and I have a loose system for chores - last one out in the morning feeds the critters, first one home feeds the critters. Our schedules vary enough that we both get tagged, though admittedly he gets stuck more often than I do. (On the other hand, there was an 18 month stretch where he worked out-of-state for 5 days a week, and I tended everything the days he was gone.) Back in the days when we only had chickens, chores only took a few minutes. But these days, with rabbits, sheep, and chickens, the time necessary to get them all fed and watered can really add up - especially now that cold weather is here, and waterers are frozen solid and have to be either thawed or swapped out.
We'd moved this year's young chickens in with the main flock so there was only one group of chickens to feed. (Though, we've had to pull one older hen out and isolate her. She's an egg-eater. And she's not laying. She'll go into the freezer the next time we have a day off together and can do the deed. It's all about being a team-player, ya see.) We've got two chicken waterers, so in cold weather we have one thawing while the other one is watering.
Today was my day off, so my turn to do both morning and afternoon chores. I fed and watered sheep, fed rabbits and switched their waterers, fed and watered Miss Future-Stew, then headed for the main chicken coop. After filling their feed and water, I started rummaging through nest boxes, looking for eggs. Every box seemed to have a chicken in it this morning - which is good news, since it means egg production is going up. (They're just coming out of molt, when they hardly laid any eggs at all. We were getting 3 eggs a day from 15 hens. Not good.) The chicken coop is fairly dark, so I've always left the door open so I could see into the nest boxes. (Not every round light-colored thing in a nest box is an egg. Sometimes it's a big clump of chicken poop. It's good to know that before you pick it up...) It has never occurred to our 'senior' chickens to go out that door - after all, everything they want in life is in that coop. Food. Water. The companionship of the flock. And they have a perfectly good little chicken-sized door for going out if they want. The big door is for Mom and Dad, the little door is for chickens.
Not the new girls, however. When I turned from the last nest box, with a handful of eggs, I saw 3 of the little biddies standing in a group just outside the door.
When I was done gasping (and trust me, taking care of livestock will leave you gasping more often than you would think. Worse than kids.) I moved quickly, but don't-panic-the-chickens quickly, to head them off. Luckily, chickens are indecisive creatures. They were still in "Okay. Now what?" mode when I scooped them up as a unit and stuffed them back into the coop. (And without breaking my handful of eggs, I might add.)
Now, that was a relief. The prospect of chasing chickens around the yard had flashed before my eyes. Add to that, the fact that I would have had to leave the coop door open in order to get them back in, meanwhile the chickens who were in the coop would have gotten curious about the commotion outside the coop, and would have come out to see what was going on. (Chickens are very curious creatures. And stupid. Curiousity and Stupidity are a really bad combination.)
I had a mental picture of spending my morning putting one chicken in the coop while two more got out. Sort of like a video game for the truly masochistic...

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Oh, yeah, there's fiber around here, too...

Though admittedly, there's been precious little fiber content on here lately.
Wanna see the Merino-Tencel? I've started plying. The colors are subtle and gorgeous, with a sheen from the tencel that practically gives it a personality. I wish I could take a photo that really did it justice. This is the best of the way-too-many-attempts:

I'm in serious love with this stuff. Serious. Thank you, AnnaMarie, for threatening to kick my ass enabling me.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009


Pork Roast is followed by Pork Pot Pie as surely as Autumn follows Summer.

And yes, those biscuits are heart-shaped. I've been doing that since the time I couldn't find my regular biscuit cutter, and the plainest shaped cookie cutter I could find was a heart. When I discovered that hearts fit into the casserole dish much better than the round biscuits, I never looked back...

Monday, November 9, 2009


Woohoo! The pullets are starting to lay!

Shown with one of our "normal" eggs, for scale. (Most of our hens lay eggs in the extra large range, with a few larges and some jumbos, just for fun.) Our little beginners start small, then gradually lay larger and larger eggs until they hit whatever size is normal for them. These pullet eggs usually turn up on the floor of the chicken coop, as the young ladies haven't quite figured out the nest boxes yet.

I always picture that first egg as quite the surprise - the little hen spinning around to look, with an exclamation of "What the hell was that?!?"

Sunday, November 8, 2009

It's all about the food

Though I spent the morning just lolling around slothfully, I ended up in full production in the afternoon. First, I made these:And these aren't just cake doughnuts, like I made last fall. These are honest-to-goodness, full-tilt-crazy Raised Glazed Doughnuts. They're lumpy, bumpy, and oddly-shaped, but oh my goodness, they're tasty...
A pork roast was popped into the oven, potatoes were peeled for mashed, and I tried an experiment with one of our "Delicorn" squashes.
I made a baked stuffed squash, with a filling made of bacon, sauted onions, apples, brown sugar, and a big pinch of cloves. Here are the two squash halves, stuffed and ready for the oven.

And here they are after a good long bake. (You can see on the left one where I poked with a fork to see if it was done.)

The squash got a thumbs up, though next time I think I'll use more onion, and a lighter hand with the cloves. This is the first year we've grown enough squash that I dare to experiment. When you only get 5 or 6, you hate to lose one to a cooking accident.

Pork roast, mashed potatoes and gravy, stuffed squash, and doughnuts for dessert. Madman had to roll me to the computer chair...

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Jean's Beans

Madman has been diligently shelling dried beans in the evenings, as we watch a dvd or two. (I'm usually spinning or knitting.) He finished up the Jean's Beans first, since they were new to us and we were anxious to see how they turned out.

Not a bad output for the roughly 12-foot row we planted. (I love growing dried beans. You plant them, weed them a time or two early in the season, then just ignore them until the plants are well and truly dead. None of that pesky every-day-checking-for-ripeness. Gotta love it.)

My best guess is that they're a variety of Jacob's Cattle beans. (Anyone out there have a good theory? Leigh?) There's quite a bit of variation in color, but I don't know if that's just a part of not being completely dry yet. (It's been a very wet year - sort of counter-productive to growing dried beans...) They're a beautiful bean, anyway. We'll be testing them this winter for flavor. Can't beat bean soup on a cold winter day.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Prepare to crack up...

One of my daughters shared this with me today:
Some of them made me laugh so hard, I had tears running down my face.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Okay, so I lied...

I fully intended to play with the book I mentioned yesterday, but when I heard that Norma was headed for AnnaMarie's, how could I stay home? I bustled through my errands and the things that absolutely had to be done around the house, threw my knitting in the car, and hit the highway.
AnnaMarie had lunch ready for us - she made an amazing split pea soup. (Note: if AnnaMarie ever offers to cook something for you, just pull up a chair at the table and wait quietly for Nirvana. Seriously.)
We sat and knitted and talked and laughed. Spinning and spindles, blogging and bloggers, food and farms, books, yarn, pets, patterns, festivals, tv shows - we covered a lot of territory in conversation. The woodstove made the room cozy, and the company made it cozier.
An afternoon of food, friends, and fiber? Balm for a weary soul.
Naturally, I forgot my camera...

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

I love my library.

I just got this book from the library. Tomorrow is my day off. I'm going to play...
Homemade chocolate sandwich cookies, anyone? Or peanut butter cups? Or...

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Today was definitely better

Much easier day, today. Yesterday I had to work 7 to 5, which is a two-hour earlier start than my normal 9-5. Coming on the heels of the time-change, it was a little rocky. I was so afraid the alarm wouldn't go off, or that I would oversleep, that I woke up every 20 minutes, gasping and thinking "OMG - what time is it?!?" All. Night. Long. Not restful. Stir in a little extra anxiety - "Oh, no! Did I set the alarm clock right for the time change?" - that made me get up out of bed at 3:00 am to go check my watch and my cell phone for the correct time, and you have a recipe for almost no sleep at all.
Then the long day at work.
As it was, last night after hitting 'publish', I decided I didn't even have enough energy for lolcats. I sat down on the couch, picked up my knitting, and promptly fell asleep.

Monday, November 2, 2009

I'm so tired, my brain hurts.

Loooong day at work today. Luckily supper was just leftovers. (Leftover mooseloaf. Heh.)
I've been trying to think of something to post. I give up. I'm headed over to look at some lolcats. See you there.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

November 1st. Is it NaBloPoMo?

I'm three-quarters of the way through the second bobbin of the Merino-Tencel. Here's a look at bobbin one:The second batch of roving seems to have longer runs of the teal - not that I'm objecting. I'm dying of curiosity to see what it will look like plyed.
I've been working on the gray/black scarf, as well. I won't bother with a photo - it looks just like the last pic I put up, only about twice as long.

We've been wrapping up the garden. Madman dug the rest of the carrots, and has been rototilling diligently, getting ready to put it to bed for the winter.
Tonight for supper was the last of the swiss chard, which unbelievably was still growing, despite cold, snow, wind, and rain. Served up with baked potatoes, and a nice slab of mooseloaf.
Only in Vermont.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Gotta love him

"Uh-oh." Madman said. "You dropped your knitting garrotte."
He picked up my circular needle from the floor and set it on the coffee table for me.


Saturday, October 24, 2009

A Different Sort of Carrot

Now, Madman and I have grown some interesting things in our garden over the years. The tomatillos that ate the greenhouse, the fence post that thought it was a tree, the tomato that thought it was a housepet...
But this critter takes the cake. Meet our newest carrot.

Frankly, I can't thing of anything to say. Or rather, I can think of any number of things to say, but perhaps it's best to keep such thoughts to myself...

Thursday, October 22, 2009


The last couple of weeks have been a blur. Long days at work, struggling to do more than was physically possible in the hours available. I drag my butt home, eat supper, and fall asleep on the couch. Usually with knitting in my hand...

Yesterday was exciting, though. As I neared home, I saw a hot-air balloon up in the sky over my house. I ran inside for the camera.
My photo-editing software is not being co-operative, so this isn't a very good picture:(Objects in camera may be much closer than they appear...)
The balloon was actually close enough to the ground (and to my house) that I could see and hear the burner firing.

Goldie was keeping an eye on it.
Though the youngsters were more interested in whether I was going to give them grain or not.

This is a balloon that we see several times a year in our neighborhood. The flyers are an older couple (and by older, I mean they're in their 80's) who balloon in warm weather, and cross-country ski in the winter. My in-laws first met them when their balloon made an emergency landing in the yard. Nice folk.
Watching a hot-air balloon always leaves me torn. Part of me is saying "Oh, doesn't that look like fun?" and the other part is saying "Are you insane???? That thing is way off the ground!"

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

The Dark-side of the Scarf

Laurie expressed interest in seeing the back of my scarf-in-progress.

All those sl1wyif and sl1wyib stitches give you lots of little carries on the backside. There's a shadowy image of the diamonds that is sort of interesting, though. If I was totally insane slightly masochistic, I'd be knitting this in the round, so there would be no 'wrong side.' But I don't really need to be any crazier than I already am, so I'm continuing with the original plan.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Oh, No!!!!

What we saw by the dawn's early light:

It's only mid-October. But it is Vermont, after all.
Still snowing as I got ready to leave for work.

The sheep don't seem concerned.

There was talk all day of "This won't stick." But there's always an inherent fatalism in that remark. This one won't stick, but the next one might. The one after will stick, for sure. We'll be back in the land of boots and snowshovels.
Full battle gear will be required before leaving the house: hat, coat, scarf, boots, gloves. Ice scraper. Snow brush. Extra time will have to be allowed in the morning for shoveling out to the car, brushing off the snow, warming up the engine.

It's only mid-October...