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...