Tuesday, November 30, 2010


I made it through November with NaBloPoMo! (This is the last day, right? (mumble mumble 30 days hath September mumble mumble) Yes! It is!)
We'll see how long the habit thing runs...

Monday, November 29, 2010

If I knew you were comin' I'd've baked a cake

Howd-ya do, howd-ya do, howd-ya do

Or I''d've at least put on a pot of coffee...

The Great and Powerful Norma linked me this morning. There've been people milling around the living room ever since.
Welcome! Pull up a chair and visit for a minute.
I'll be in the kitchen, baking a cake.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

When all else fails, flash teh kittehs...

With special thanks to Naomi, who sent this to Madman, who shared it with me!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

A good night's sleep and I'm not quite so unhinged

At least I know what day it is...
I did some plying yesterday, since I was too brain-boggled to knit. (Even the Palindrome red scarf was too technically difficult for me to fathom.) Luckily plying is soothing (almost too soothing) and peaceful and easy, otherwise the day would have passed with nothing to show for it.
Getting ready to head in to work - at least this shift ends at 11:30pm instead of beginning.

Friday, November 26, 2010

I have no idea what time it is. I'm not even sure what day it is...

Looking at the clock isn't helping, either.
11:12 am.
And that means?
I got off work at 9:00 am, after going into work at 11:30 pm on Turkey Day. That much I'm sure of. But since I didn't officially end Thursday, does that mean it's still Thursday or is it now Friday?
The nap I took this afternoon Thanksgiving afternoon is only adding to the confusion.
As it turns out, it was a quiet night. We had freezing rain that started at midnight, just as we opened, and continued through the night. There were weather advisories warning people to stay home, repeated on the radio all night long.
I don't know if they actually stayed home, but they didn't show up at our place. At least not in the droves that Home Office was hoping for.
I went out to my car around 4:30 am to eat lunch (Or supper. Or possibly breakfast. Tough call.) and all the employee cars looked like glazed donuts. Happily, I got my door open, since my lunchbox was on the front passenger seat. (Homemade meatloaf sandwich, if anyone's interested. I had predicted that I would need comfort food, and I was right.)
Where was I?
By 9:00am, the rain had turned to snow. On top of ice. Driving home seemed to take three days, what with the weather, the conditions, and my general punchiness. Which would mean it's currently Monday...
I think I'm going to go take a nap. I hope Madman will wake me up when it's Saturday, because I have to go to work.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy TurkeyDay!

I hope your feast was as good as ours was. Big family gathering with all the trimmings - turkey, gravy, stuffing, gravy, mashed potatoes, green bean casserole, gravy, Pink Stuff, and did I mention gravy?

But, every silver lining has a cloud...

Because today is Thanksgiving, that means tomorrow is Black Friday.
The store I work at is opening at midnight.
Guess who got the early shift?
I'm presently drinking coffee and getting ready for work. I hope the nap I took this afternoon is enough to keep me awake all night. I don't think we'll be crazy busy, but it'll probably be crazy crazy. Especially around 2 am when the bars are closed, and the bored drunks have nothing else to do but Christmas shop.
Anyone want to send good thoughts my way? All the gravy in the world can't really make up for this.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

So who's in it just for the chickens...

We lost one of our old friends the other day. Little Miss No-Toes (you may remember her from this post) passed on to that Great Coop in the Sky. She was one of our original chickens from when we first started our adventures with poultry. Six years ago? We're not sure, actually. Pre-blog, anyway, otherwise I could just look it up.
We'll miss the old girl. In a sea of homogeneity, she stood out. (Chickens of the same breed are amazingly alike. Especially when you have a lot of them.) She wasn't actually missing all her toes, but enough of them were shortened that she walked, danced really, like a little ballerina.
The world is a sadder place without her.

And now, since I've talked about chickens again, I have to mention knitting - otherwise my tag cloud will be overwhelmed by chickeniness. (Dear Spellchecker: that is so a word.) My youngest daughter laughs at me that my so-called knitblog is heavily weighted to chickens.
I've got a Red Scarf headed for the home stretch. I'm still knitting Lyra. Frosty Ferns is sitting in time-out while I decide whether to frog or not. (Frog in haste, repent in leisure...) I'm still theoretically knitting the Crimbo hat. (I haven't knitted a stitch on it since the last time I mentioned it, but I haven't frogged it either, so I consider it still in forward progress. Not negative is positive, right?)

There. I can legitimately add a knitting tag.

And here's a question for the lurkers. (I know you're out there, I can hear you breathing...) (Seriously, leave a comment. Please.)
Are you here for the knitting? The spinning?
Or is it just for the chickens?

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

On the Use of the Honor System in Confining Chickens

I hinted at this in a previous post. Our Not-Buff-Orpingtons only stay in their pen out of politeness, not because they believe they are in any way required to do so.
I took these pictures at dusk tonight.

In this first one, you can see two blue-tarped structures. The one on the left (rounded at the top) is the Not-Buffs' shelter, the one on the right is the tarp that tents the rabbits' cages. (In fact, you can see Stiffler at the bottom center of the photo. We'll be moving the rabbit cages into the hoophouse for the winter sometime this week.)
Five chickens are perched on the bar over the gate to the main flock's pen (right side of picture), two are perched on top of their own house (left side of picture), and one is on top of the rabbits' tent. What you can't see in this picture is the other three little hens perched on the top of the gate to their own yard.

Here's a closer look at the gate sitters and the rabbit shelter sitter.

Let's do a little math.
Five chickens are sitting on the fence of the other chickens' pen - completely outside their own pen.
One chicken is perched on top of the rabbits' shelter - completely outside her pen.
Three chickens are on top of the gate leading to their pen - so technically half-in and half-out.
Two chickens are on top of their shelter - maybe technically inside the pen. Or not. They're not supposed to be up there, so I'm calling them as out.

Eleven chickens, with only 1.5 in the pen. (Well, three halves, anyway.)

Like I said - the fact that they're inside their pen in the daytime is probably coincidental.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Slipperier than the excrement of your choice.

Driving home tonight was a little nerve-wracking. Cold, wet, misty, rainy, sleety. Perfect conditions for black ice.

For those of you from more temperate climes, black ice (and I'm resisting the urge to capitalize it) is the most slippery substance in the Universe. Even studded snow tires won't help you on black ice.

And, unfortunately, it looks exactly like wet pavement.

So you don't even know you're on it until your car starts to slither in directions you have no desire to go in. (Sorry. In which you have no desire to go. My 8th grade English teacher would have had me diagramming sentences for a month...)

My driving philosophy is to assume it's slippery until proven otherwise. This has kept me out of a lot of ditches.

Home safe and sound. If there was black ice out there tonight, I fooled it completely.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

There, that's done.

The last of the meat birds went into the freezer today. Plucking chickens isn't my idea of a good time on my day off, but it's a necessary component of the way we choose to live.

But why does my cellphone always ring when I've got both hands covered in wet feathers?

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Anyone got a day-stretcher I can borrow?

I love these slippers! I especially love the little measuring tape printed down the left side of the pattern. (And it's accurate - I checked it against a ruler.)

The pattern came from the DROPS Christmas Workshop 2010 - dash over and take a peek. Lots of great ideas for holiday knitting. (These little boot slippers also caught my eye.)

Christmas is still six months away, right?

Friday, November 19, 2010

Yesterday was actually the Day from Hell

But I was trying to be polite and not mention it.
I woke up feeling sick - dizzy, light-headed, nauseous - but went to work anyway. Two cashiers went home sick, and we were understaffed to begin with. A store full of customers who just make you shake your head ("Excuse me!! Excuse me!! I've looked everywhere for such-and-such. Don't you have any such-and-such?!? What kind of stupid store is this that doesn't have such-and-such!?! " And you have to try to think of a diplomatic way of saying "Um... You're standing right next to it." Without adding "Dumbass...") (And the kind of people who rip open packaging, then complain that our merchandise looks messy, or who rip apart a nice display of sweaters, rooting around and throwing them everywhere, then complain that they can't find the size they want. (One of our staff had just spent two hours folding and straightening that table, and this warthog destroyed it in under 5 minutes. Rinse and repeat. All day long.) )
I fell asleep on the couch minutes after posting last night. Madman woke me up and dragged me off to bed at 11:30. When the alarm went off at 6 this morning, I hit snooze, and kept hitting it until 7am. If I hadn't had to get up for work, I think I could have slept another couple of hours...
Today was better. Marginally.
At least I wasn't dizzy and nauseous...

Thursday, November 18, 2010

So far, the deer are snubbing Madman

Which is really mean of them.

He's worked very hard to be able to appear out in the woods, what with the pain, the surgery, and the PT. Considering it's his clutch knee that's messed up, the fact that he's cruising out there in his standard transmission car should really be taken into account. Then the hiking through the woods to find a convenient place for the deer to meet him...

Well, I think their behavior is just downright rude.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010


Sure wish I hadn't played that Get Out of Jail Free card so soon.

I got nothin'.

Still knitting the Niebling.

Still spinning the Goldie.

The Not Buffs are starting to lay eggs.

Madman is healing nicely. He'll be back to work soon. His orthopedist gave him a glowing report today.

Life is good. Though busy...

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

That's odd...

The weather has been odd this year. (Though in Vermont, the weather is always a little odd...)
As I was driving home from work tonight (in the dark) (in the rain) (not snow), I realized I'd only needed a light sweater today. It's mid-November.
Last year we were wearing our winter coats in early October. And freezing our butts off.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Still wrestling with Standard Time

I really wish that Daylight Saving Time would just go on forever. Rolling back to Standard Time means it's pitch dark before 5:oo pm, which is wholly depressing. I get home from work feeling like I've worked a 14-hour day, just because it's so dark. I feel like I'm up past my bedtime when it's only 7:30.
And the sheep? They're not taking the change well at all. They've decided that the 'staff' has suddenly developed an appalling habit of sleeping in. And supper is late every.single.night.
And oh, my, how they complain...

Sunday, November 14, 2010

It's mid-November and I should be hip-deep in Christmas knitting...

And I'm not.
This is not good.
So far, I've started a hat.
Discouraging, to say the least.
I have three shawls in progress - all for me.
I have a couple of sweaters in progress - once again, for me.
For years I knit for others - spouse and children and siblings and parents - and I never ended up with anything for myself.

I think there's been some form of backlash...

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Playing the Get Out of Jail Free card...

Too tired to post, so I'll just share the site of my favorite photographer. Though it might be the captions that are the best part...
Go spend an hour or two!

Friday, November 12, 2010

It's chicken time!

It occurs to me that I haven't shared a picture of our new rooster. He was a gift from Madman's folks - they'd bought some straight-run New Hampshire Reds and had an overabundance of roosters. This guy was too pretty to go in the freezer, and since they already had plenty of roosters to keep their hens giggly, they passed him along to us.

Standing behind him is a young rooster that we hatched ourselves last spring - one of the few survivors of our incubating efforts. (I was going to post a link, but it made me too sad.)

So far we're calling them New Rooster and Little Rooster. Not inspired names, but descriptive.

And I might as well throw in a view of some of the Not Buff Orpingtons while I'm at it.

The neck feathers on this one are amazing. They're white with the edges tipped in brown.

And here's one of our older hens, molting. Because the best time to let all your feathers fall out is in November in Vermont.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Why is Bloglines trying to make me nuts?

Because I swear they are.
First they were going to close down at the end of September. I put off dealing with it until the middle of the month, then finally switched all my feeds to Google Reader.
I don't like Google Reader nearly as well.
(Why do I have to tell it to mark the posts as read? Isn't just reading them good enough?)
(And why do they put all blogs whose titles start with "The" under "T"? Suddenly I had to look for "The Panopticon" under the T's, instead of under the P's where it belongs.)
(And I think some of the feeds didn't transfer at all. And with the 200+ blogs I try to follow, it was easy to miss the fact that some of my favorites hadn't come along for the ride.)
Then Bloglines announced that they were extending the deadline through the month of October.
Ditherer Supreme that I am, I had to decide whether to keep reading Google Reader, or use Bloglines for as long as they lasted. Decisions, decisions. I decided that I might as well continue to make the best of it, and stick with Google Reader, since I was going to be stuck with it forever anyway.
Now Bloglines announces that some other company is going to continue the service unchanged. So I've switched back to Bloglines.
But, after several weeks of ignoring them, I'm now almost 2000 posts behind. Some of them I read on Google Reader, but since Bloglines doesn't know that...

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

This blows me away

Tammy Rizzo's Ply-on-the-Fly technique.

And she's got an updated version.

I haven't been brave enough to try it yet...

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Just in case there was a pool...

My official cast-on time for Lyra was this morning at 10:42.

The first time.

Then I realized that "Knit all intermediate rounds" meant exactly what I suspected it did. One round too late, of course.

So my second official cast-on time for Lyra was this morning at 10:52.
(Y'all can settle on a winner by yourselves.)

And away we go...

If you're wondering how I missed that key clue - check out the size of the row numbers on this chart. (It's inside the '0' hole of my needle gauge.) Hard to see, even with bifocals. That's my story, anyway.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Of Chicken Guts,Twitchy Fingers, and Imaginary Friends

Since I had today off and Madman is feeling more mobile, we butchered a couple of chickens this morning. They were some of our remaining meat birds that had gotten a reprieve when Madman slagged his knee, due to the fact that neither one of us was capable of carrying a madly-flapping well-over-10lb bird*. These are some big honkin' chickens at this point. Picture a blimp with feathers. Picture a blimp with feathers taking 5 minutes to turn around 180 degrees, with little tiny shuffling steps. Big honkin' chickens.
One is in the freezer and the other is in the oven. Full of stuffing. The house is starting to smell really good...

The twitchy fingers are due to this:

I soooo want to cast on. This very minute. Like in now. If I could type and cast on at the same time, I'd have needles in hand.
(I'm still trying to decide if I want to let my innate stubbornness win and finish the Frosted Ferns that I've started (and tinked and knit and tinked) or if I should let my sensible side reign and just chuck the whole project out the window.)
The Great and Powerful Cookie took pity on me as I beat my head on the chartless Niebling and passed along a Niebling that is less likely to land me in the Loony Bin.
She's one of my very favorite Imaginary Friends... (I was once trying to explain to my mother about friends that I'd made on the internet, whom I've never met in person, and she said "So, basically they're your imaginary friends then." Never argue with your mother. (You won't win, anyway))

*These birds dressed out to over 10lbs. Picture a small turkey. We have no idea what they weighed before we removed all the unnecessary bits...

Sunday, November 7, 2010

I'm getting faster

Daylight Saving Time again.
I managed to reset my watch myself this time.
And it only took half an hour...

Saturday, November 6, 2010

I didn't know Churchill was a knitter...

Success is the ability to go from one failure to another with no loss of enthusiasm.
-Sir Winston Churchill

Friday, November 5, 2010

Just under the wire

This post, that is.
Our chickens are another story. I keep wanting to get a picture of them at roosting time, but lately either I've been working at that time, or it's been pouring rain, or both.
It seems that our little Not-Buff-Orpingtons (who are now getting old enough to lay eggs - I found one in their coop the other day) basically just stay in their pen out of politeness. It's certainly not because they think they're confined.
I got home from work recently at about dusk, and saw that there were two of the little hens roosting on the gate, three more on top the fence, one on top of the coop door, and two on the roof. That means that only four were availing themselves of the shelter of the coop.
They're definitely not Buff Orpingtons. They may not even be chickens...

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Spinning round and round

I manage to squeeze in a little spinning time here and there, but not nearly enough.
Progress is slow, but steady.

I love the yarn I'm getting from Goldie's fleece. It's a glorious heathery cream/gray. I've been recording the yardage on each skein as I take it off the niddy-noddy, but I'm purposely not totalling them up until the project is finished. I'm sure I'll get enough for a good substantial sweater, but I want the final total to be a surprise.

Three-ply makes it seem like it takes forever to get anywhere, but at worsted weight, at least the bobbins fill fast.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

For I am weary, and my Niebling has no chart.

I don't understand why tinking is slower than knitting...

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Vote, USA!

If you don't vote, you've got no right to bitch.
(Personally, I like to bitch, so I vote every time they give me a chance...)

Monday, November 1, 2010

It's that time of year again...

Though I don't join (not a joiner, me), I do the work. This will be my third year of self-flagellation posting daily for the month of November.
So, I'll open with a Madman progress report. He's now had two PT sessions (the first was only 48 hours after the surgery, which seemed awfully soon to me...) and is doing well. He's gone from crutches to furniture-walking (and how I adore that term!) to walking unaided. Well, hobbling unaided, but the progress is clearly visible. With his eye firmly on the prize, he's keeping up with the deer talk in the area - who's seen deer, and where, and how they were behaving. Hunting season is one powerful carrot on a stick.
Frankly, I'll just be glad when he's healed enough to carry big sacks of animal feed again. Apparently, the sight of a 100-lb woman staggering up a hill with a 50-lb sack of grain is either amusing or guilt-inducing, depending on whether you're a sheep or Madman. (Those little fuzzlumps thought I couldn't hear them tittering behind their hooves...) I'd been watching the feed level in the galvanized can we use for storage falling lower and lower, but had been hoping that Madman would be back up to par before the time came to refill it. I tried talking the sheep into going on reduced rations to stretch out the feed, but they didn't think it was fair for them to have to go on a diet just because the female member of the staff was too lazy to carry a piddling little 50-lb bag up a steep hill.
It's amazing what you can do if you put your mind to it.