Abysmal Day

As several folks commented to me that they would be sorry to see me go if I quit posting on Facebook, but they wouldn’t look for my blog if it wasn’t there, my son created an autoshare for me from my blog that will post automatically to Facebook.  This does not mean that I am on Facebook, nor will I be, so I will NOT  see likes or comments made on Facebook.  You don’t have to be on Facebook to see my blog, nor do you have to go look for it.  If you subscribe with the link by putting in your email, the blog will send you an email of a new post each time one goes live and all you have to do is open your email, which you probably do daily anyway.  I can not see who it sends emails to, so you can remain anonymous unless you want to comment and even then you can use a pseudonym, your email won’t show.  This is a test post to see if it works.

It blew gales, the rain coming from all directions at once, whipping around the house, whistling and shaking screens.

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The driveway looked like a river, culminating in a pond in front of one of the garage doors,

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And created a new, but temporary creek between the house and the gardens.

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Actually this is what is supposed to happen, though the pond in front of the garage door shouldn’t.  That is the result of the grands digging there where the softer soil has washed down the edge of the driveway.

When the rain quits and before it freezes, the tractor will have to be driven up to clean the culvert on the uphill side of our driveway.  The crushed gravel has washed down across the road again and about half filled the ditch.  Maybe a tractor bucket or two of that will be dumped and smoothed in front of that door. The design of the garage is raised enough that this water does not come in, but it is a mess to get to the cars.

The chicken coop was opened, but their food was put inside.  They didn’t venture out until the heaviest rainfall slowed.  I could hear Mr. Croak out there voicing his displeasure.  The high temperature for the day occurred early and though through Wednesday, it will still be mild, the rain should finally quit and a bit of drying out to occur before the cold arrives on Thursday.  Wednesday night’s low will be Thursday’s high and winter will return to the mountains.

Tools of the Trade

In addition to keeping the household of 4 adults, 2 children, 3 big dogs, 3 cats running, raising chickens for our  eggs and some meat, making soap, balms, salves, and beard products for my online shop and craft shows, I love fiber arts.  I sew, knit, crochet, and spin fiber into yarn for my own use and for sale in the shop and shows.

A couple of years ago, we were flying on a vacation, I took knitting with me to help occupy the time and keep me settled on the plane (I’m not a huge fan of flying).  The project that I took was  socks for one of the grandson’s for Christmas, Batman socks.  I had black and gold yarns and I wanted to put the Batman emblem on the cuff of each sock.  I rummaged through my bag and could not find a piece of graph paper though I usually carried a small graph paper notebook and ended up drawing a grid on the back of a receipt and graphing out the emblem.  Several days into the vacation, we were shopping in one of the native markets and I spotted a small woven fabric covered notebook cover with a graph paper pad in it.  It was inexpensive and I purchased one.  The pad got used up over time and I discovered that it was a non standard size and unavailable in the USA or on any online store I could scare up.  It was larger than the pocket Moleskine or Fieldnotes books, smaller than the medium Moleskine variety and it had to be side bound with staples, not a spiral.  The cover sat idle and empty, but I liked it.  Recently, it occurred to me that I could use the woven part of the cover and repurpose it with some added fabric to make it fit a standard size. My very talented and crafty sister in law was called on with several questions, many ideas, and finally, bravely, I cut the notebook cover in half, removed the binding, made a new liner, spine, and binding that enlarged it enough to handle a standard notebook.

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This required setting up the sewing machine and pulling out the sewing box. They are in the dormer in our bedroom where I have a handmade walnut table, pottery lamp, and shelving to store my yarn and fabric.

Compared to many of my friends in the fiber arts, I am a lightweight. Most of them have multiple wheels, looms, sewing machines. I do have two wheels or I will once the antique one has all of its parts back. But the rest of my equipment will fit into a tote bag.

wheel

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The Louët has a built in Lazy Kate for plying, but I don’t like it, so I use the one my son made me for Christmas.

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A swift and two different sized Niddy Noddys for winding yarn into skeins from a bobbin.

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And two different sized Lucets for making cord.

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An assortment of various drop spindles for portable spinning.

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Hand carders for combing unprocessed clean wool.

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A backstrap loom, that I need an instructor to teach me to set it up for weaving.

With one set of interchangeable knitting needles, one set of double pointed knitting needles in various sizes, a few fixed circular knitting needles, and several crochet hooks, I have all I need for spinning, sewing, knitting or crocheting.

It will all fit nicely in a beautiful hand made tote from a friend.

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Though I don’t carry it all with me, I could.

 

 

Winter Work Day

The calendar says it is winter.  It was gray and bleak, but 55ºf and much to do outside before the heavy rain started Saturday night and continues through Monday.  We have already been issued flood warnings along the creeks and rivers.

At the beginning of fall, after the garden was bedded down, I opened the lower end of the garden, that I had never gotten a handle on last summer, to the chickens.  For spring, I want that area to be sowed with oats and flowers to attract bees and Monarchs, so the afternoon was spent working outdoors.

A bale of straw had been purchased after our Saturday morning outing to breakfast and the Farmers Market.  There are still vendors with meat, bread, pasta, coffee, and one vendor who actually had kale, collards, Asian greens, salad, turnips, beets, and carrots that were growing in his gardens and greenhouses.  It was nice to get some fresh greens this time of year. We got some pork, bagels, soft pretzels, and a loaf of sour dough bread too.

Once home, some of the straw was added in a deep layer in the coop that had been cleaned on Friday.

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I closed off the back of the chicken run so they can no longer get into that garden area as they have stirred up the surface with their scratching.  I will go into that part of the garden and pull out the old rotting row markers and planting boxes,  weed the blueberries and re-mulch them and then run a tiller in there in the spring.  Once it is warm enough, I will seed it with the oats and flowers to keep the weeds down and hopefully attract some bees and butterflies. The oats will be useful for the chickens next fall with the sunflower seed that  I will probably mix  into that blend as well.  A mulched path to the blueberries will be left unseeded.  The oat straw can be used in the coop  once dry next fall and the patch reseeded with oats or another cover crop for next winter.  Maybe that area can be reclaimed for garden a bit at a time.

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Confused chickens wondering why they can’t get through there anymore.  They are 30 feet away from me here, so they still have a 10 foot by 40 foot run with their coop in the corner.

The cull coop run never sprouted grass after we killed the chickens at Thanksgiving and the straw that I had scattered over the bare spots was mostly gone.  I started breaking up what was left of the large round bale of spoiled hay that was near the coop, scattered a new layer over the bare muddy ground, hoping to stop or at least slow erosion there over the next few days.

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Fence lines above the garden were heavily mulched. Each layer of hay pulled off the bale revealed more grubs and the chickens were having a feast as I tossed them into their run a few at a time.  They soon forgot that their run was reduced.  More hay was added in their run, taking it all the way back to the new barrier. Pear and apple trees were pruned.

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But there is still this peach tree that needs a lot of attention.

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You can see the dried up peaches that we never saw on the tree last summer.  It is too tall and too thick.  But that is another day, after the rain and when it is warm enough to erect a ladder and attack the tree with a pruning saw and shears.  Maybe we will actually get some peaches next year after a severe pruning to get it more manageable.

The rain began as predicted right after dark.  The dark rainy evening was spent making a seed order and tweaking the garden plan.

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That is what winter nights are for.

The Curious

Chickens are funny birds.  I do not attempt to domesticate mine to the point of being able to pick them up and stroke them, they are egg and meat producers, not pets.  They do learn who you are though and will come out of the coop in the morning when I am standing there, will come running towards me if I go out with the compost bin or a scoop of feed or treats.  When they are out of their fenced in area, being allowed to free range, they will come running and follow me into the pen like I am the Pied Piper if I shake some scratch in a bucket or scoop and make noise.  And they are curious.

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Gathering at my feet for a treat.

Last week they were penned inside the coop with food and water for three days due to the single digit temperatures at night and the low teens during the day, plus there was snow on the ground for a couple of those days and they just won’t set foot outside if the ground is white.  Then the temperature soared, rarely going below freezing at night or if it does, just into the upper 20’s, and climbing into the 50’s, today actually broke 60ºf.  This produced a situation that could not be ignored.  There are only 8 adult birds in the coop at this time. But…

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My layer coop is a commercial structure 5 X 8 feet, about 2 feet off the ground on skids and about 5 feet at the highest point inside.  The area under it has fence wire on the door side and the egg door side as those two sides are outside of the fence and underneath around the perimeter, inside the leveling cinder blocks on which it sits, there is about a pick up truck load of medium to small rocks to prevent the hens and rooster from undermining the cinder blocks as they quickly started to do.  There are two windows that can be raised above the nesting boxes and a long narrow drop down shutter with hardware cloth on the opposite side.  That window does not shut tightly, so there is always some air flow and quarter inch holes were drilled in the peak on both ends to also facilitate air flow.  In good weather, the windows are opened to allow the coop to air out, but if the temperature is too cold or if it is precipitating, the coop remains shut except for the pop door that they use to enter and leave the coop via a ramp.

Normally, I utilize a method of deep litter in the floor of the coop that composts down during their scratching and additional straw or wood chips, dry leaves, or whatever bedding is available is added on top throughout the season.  The coop is thoroughly cleaned out in the spring before brooding and in the fall before it gets shut up for the winter.  However, with the fluctuation from frigid to spring like temperatures, I could smell ammonia when I opened the egg door.  That is a bad sign and can result in respiratory issues with the birds, so today once the rain stopped, the temperature a delightful shirt sleeve afternoon and the run a muddy mess, I grabbed my trusty multi-purpose tool, the snow shovel (we haven’t needed it for snow this winter) and decided that the coop was going to get cleaned out.

The litter was scooped out one shovel full at a time and carried into the run, laying down a path as I went.

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The birds all ran to the garden end of the run until I had put down a good layer of soiled wood chips and straw, making traversing the run a bit safer for me and back they all came to see what was going on.  Something new to scratch through, and activity in the coop to explore and investigate.

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It then got a good spritz with a solution of apple cider vinegar, lemon, tea tree, rosemary essential oils, a tablespoon of Neem oil and warm water, followed by a new layer of wood chips as I forgot to buy a bale of straw today.  They will get a layer of straw tomorrow to scratch into the wood chips.  The coop smells cleaner, a few sprigs of fresh rosemary were tossed about, it is the only herb growing this time of year and they will have to start the compost cycle again, hopefully before the weather turns too cold again as it helps heat up the coop. Windows will be opened tomorrow, but everything will be locked up again for the heavy rain due Sunday and Monday.

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Everyone resting together under the watchful eye of Mr. Croak in a clean, fresh smelling coop.

Olio

← First off.  As I am taking a long vacation from Facebook, I will not be posting the blog there,  so if  you want to keep up, I encourage you to subscribe from the link on the left.  I can not see who you are, only a number of subscribers as I can not see who you are on Facebook, unless you comment.  I enjoy seeing comments and try to respond to them on the blog.  You can use an anonymous tag line to comment. 

Olio: a miscellaneous collection of things.

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Now that the silk is spun, plyed, and ready to knit, I have returned to spinning Priscilla. She is a Leicester Longwool sheep that belongs to a friend, owner of Sunrise Valley Farm, raised locally.  I stumbled upon her delightful wool at our Farmers Market one Saturday morning.  I purchased a small bag of 8 ounces of the roving and fell in love. At the time I didn’t know it came from Priscilla, but after I bought the second 8 ounces, I was told and I asked for more.  I have spun many ounces, dyed some with Annatto seed and with Country Classics wool dye.

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The yellow gold and the lavender are some of what I dyed and the white is the natural roving.  Initially, my plan was to knit a Fair Isle pull over sweater to wear on a ski trip to Colorado this winter.  Those plans have had to be aborted and the yoke of the sweater was so heavy that the yarn was pulled out, rewound, and is now being worked into a Fibonacci Infinity Scarf instead.  You see the beginning of it in the photo above and more of it below.

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I am working the third sequence at this point and will switch to lavender and natural at the end of this sequence.  I am much more likely to wear the scarf than a very heavy sweater.

That said, I have enough of Priscilla to still knit a sweater for me, but I will use a different pattern and larger needles to make the fabric lighter and more drapey.

I have hopes that this spring, once the lambs are born, that I may have the opportunity to drive to the farm and see the lambs and perhaps finally meet Priscilla.  I was invited last year and never made it over.

Night before last, another friend, a country neighbor that is the lead blacksmith at the Smithfield Plantation House where I sometime get to spin, came over with his wife and he was able to straighten the metal crank part of my antique spinning wheel so that the vertical part of the footman no longer walks off when I treadle it.

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It still requires a leather washer, but each repair gets the wheel closer to being a working wheel.  The parts that I had to ship to Bobbin Boy have been repaired and are in the mail back to me.  I had hoped that they would have arrived today, but not yet. The split in the upright that hold the wheel has been glued and if that doesn’t hold, I will try some lashing near the point where the shaft of the wheel hub rests.  The last resort will be to ship that off to Bobbin Boy to have a new piece manufactured by them.

Today is another day of mud and gloom.  The prognosticators indicate that it may partially clear off this afternoon, but expect heavy rain on Sunday and Monday.  The chicken pen is a muddy mess, the coop not much better.  I think a bale of straw is needed in the coop instead of the pine chips I had to use last time I cleaned it, and a heavy layer of spoiled hay around the outside of the coop to try to tame the mud and muck.  To walk into the pen is taking your life in your hands right now as it is sloped, slick, and soft enough to suck your boots clean off.  Most of the spoiled hay that was put down after the snow has been scratched into the mud.

No more mice have been caught in the car fortunately, but with the wet warm weather, they are trying to get into the house now.  The utility room trap has been busy of late. This morning, after dropping granddaughter off at preschool, I stopped to get the oil changed in my old lady.  I’m really trying to keep her going over 200,000 miles and we are getting close to that.  She will be a dozen years old in a couple of months.  The mini lube place that I took her always try to sell you more services and when the guy brought the cabin filter in for me to see, it was truly fowled between the dusty road and driveway (when we aren’t in monsoon season) and the contributions from the mouse that I caught earlier in the week in the car.  They did vacuum the cab and remove the last remnants of the little mouse’s nest that I had removed prior to setting the trap.

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The young Buffy roo is testing his voice. I don’t name the hens, but I do name the king of the coop.  He is replaced each year or so as his spurs get long and dangerous and he gets more aggressive.  There is always a new cockerel out of the hatchlings that can be put in with the girls after breeding season, and the old tough guy goes to the stew pot at son’s house.  We have had B’rooster, Cogburn, and a couple others.  This guy is Mr. Croak.  Maybe his voice will mature, but now he sounds like an adolescent male whose voice cracks.  He is about 7 months old, beginning to show spurs, has a nice plume of a tail and a funny voice.

Anticipation

←If you follow me on Facebook, I encourage you to follow the link on the left and subscribe directly to the blog.  I can not see who you are, just a number, just as I can’t see who you are on Facebook unless you comment.  I will be taking a vacation from Facebook and will not post the blog there.

As we fall deeper into the full of winter, so far it has been mild.

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We wake to frost and ice on the windshields and the water dishes for the animals, fog and low cloud layers in the valley behind the house, but mild afternoons, even a bit above normal.

Most of our precipitation has been liquid not solid, though we know that we will see a few snows before spring.  This is the time of the year that the seed and hatchery catalogs begin to arrive in the mailbox to peak the anticipation of spring to come.  So far I have gotten Territorial seed, Southern Exposure, and Maine Potato Lady catalogs to look for the seed that I want to try that I haven’t previously tried.  Two hatchery catalogs have arrived, one going straight into the recycle bin as they do not have the breeds that I want to add.  Soon Tractor Supply will have live chicks and ducklings. Though they will also be breeds that I do not want to add to the flock they are adorable to watch.

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I am toying with adding to my heritage flock of Buff Orpingtons with some fun birds.

 

The Buff Orpingtons are a good dual purpose bird, laying generously, nice brown eggs.  They make good mother’s and we are hopeful to both increase the flock and have enough cull birds to put some meat in the freezer.

To add interest to the egg basket, there is an Americauna that lays blue eggs, and a young Americauna/Buff Orpington cross that lays small green eggs all very muddy right now as they track mud in after all the rain.

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I want more color in the basket, so I’m toying with adding 10 straight run chicks, half Aracaunas and half Cuckoo Marans to increase the green, blue, maybe pink, and chocolate brown colored eggs just for fun.  I really don’t want to have to put the mother table in a brooder in the garage and spend 5 weeks raising chicks, knowing that about half of them will be males and will end up in the freezer, but I want the egg color.  The Buffy’s will be allowed to hatch chicks and we will keep a few pullets from them to increase that flock that way too.  Currently there are only 7 layers, due to some predator loss late summer and two of them are going on 3 years old, so their laying is off and they will likely be replaced, making them stew birds at the end of this summer. I would like to get my flock back up to about a dozen hens and the rooster.  With three coops and assorted pens, I suppose I could keep a Cuckoo Maran roo and raise them as well, they are also a dual purpose bird and all could mingle except during the period where I was trying to breed pure chicks.  Ideally, there should be at least 10 or 12 hens to a rooster and other than raising for meat, i don’t keep that many at one time.

It is still too cold, especially at night to start buying chicks or seed, but I can sit here cozy in the house and dream.

 

 

Sometimes We Need Luxury

Over the weekend, I began spinning a part of my Tailfeathers subscription from last year from Unplanned Peacock.  It was a generous 100 grams (actually more like 125 grams) of pure silk top.  The gorgeous colorway was called Sequoia, greens, a little yellow, some white.  I took my time spinning it, I wanted a thin, even, well balanced yarn.

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I started by dividing the top in half, hoping to get fairly equal bobbins of singles to ply.

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Once it was all spun, I was concerned that it wasn’t going to ply onto only one bobbin, but I spent the afternoon plying.  It was a soft as butter as it spun, a delight to handle.

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It was a full bobbin, very full and this is a truer representation of the color.  It is very even, fingering to baby weight and so soft.

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I ended up with 335 yards of delightful yarn.  It doesn’t have a plan, maybe it will go in the shop, maybe knit into a small shawl or cowl.  This was the second time I have spun silk, the first time was totally on one of my drop spindles.  Another lovely skein of yarn.

 

For the Love of Other Fiber Artists

Each day in the fiber arts brings new challenges.  Some of these challenges I can tackle on my own. Some I can toss out to local friends and be rewarded with answers. Sometimes, the challenge requires me to cast the net farther out into the world for advice and solutions.

My knitting guru moved back to Ohio, but she taught many of us in this area tricks we didn’t know and introduced me to many others in this area that are in the know.  My knitting needs are always met, if I can’t work it out on my own.

The spinning group members are all far better spinners than I and I am never wanting for help in that area either.  They each have their own styles and their own equipment preferences.  This group is further expanded through the 3 retreats that I attend each year.  It was one of those retreats that I learned to card fiber, thus allowing me to start blending my own colors and fibers.  One of the members of this group is also a spinning wheel dealer and can get the equipment for us, or help us with minor repairs.

One of the challenges that I have had to cast out into the world is help with the antique Amable Paradis spinning wheel that I purchased just before Christmas.  As I have mentioned in prior posts, it arrived Christmas eve and eldest son was here.  He and I tackled trying to put it back together based on the photo that was on Ebay as it came shipped in pieces.  We figured it out, but there were some problems.  The legs were loose, solved by using the waxed hemp and the video from Bobbin Boy.  The chips in the whorl and bobbin that would affect it’s ability to spin.  That is also being handled by Bobbin Boy and a second bobbin being made so I will be able to spin two bobbins and then ply them on my Louet.  Once the wheel was put together and stable, I realized that the footman, the peddle assembly that makes the wheel turn, hit the ground and prevented the wheel from continuing to turn.  This assembly is in two pieces, the horizontal part that the foot treadles on that pivots on two metal pins inserted into the front two legs, and the vertical rod that attached to the treadle by leather and to the wheel on a forged metal piece with a pin.

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The leather that held the vertical rod to the treadle was huge loose loop.  The leather was pretty dried out, but with some effort, I was able to work the knot free breaking off one end that was very dry and retying it as tightly as the two pieces of wood could be together.  This improved, but did not cure the problem.  It looked to me, that I needed about an inch or inch and a half more clearance for the mechanism to work properly.  I toyed with various ideas on how to raise the legs of the wheel that much without doing any damage or permanent change to the wheel and finally today, tossed the problem out to two forums on Ravelry, an international online social network of other fiber lovers.  I quickly got several responses to just cut off as much of the bottom of the rod as needed, redrill the hole, retie the leather and voila, it worked.  But . . .  Isn’t there always a but?  This lead to me realize another problem with this wheel, but one that I felt that I could manage a solution for myself.  When I treadled and the wheel turned as it was supposed to, the top of the rod would fall off of the pin in the forged metal part.

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This piece had a warp in it that causes the pin on which the rod rides to point slightly upward at the top and slightly downward at the bottom of its rotation.  Being forged, it isn’t going to bend, so a solution was needed to keep the rod in place.  The rod has a piece of leather tacked to the back side that may have taken care of this problem at some point, but the wear has caused the hole in the leather to become too large to hold on to the pin.  I have a thick leather belt that was a bit too long for me, so I cut the end off, drilled a hole a bit smaller than the pin and forced it on as a leather washer.  Problem solved for now.

Next up, the wheel is going to get a good cleaning and some lubrication and await the return of the parts from Bobbin Boy.  Each challenge gets me closer to thinking that I made a good purchase to use for spinning at the 17th century home or just for my own use here when I want something different.  I still need to get a handle on tying on the double drive belt and learning to spin with a double drive wheel.  Always something new to learn.

When Days Go Wrong then Right

My day was supposed to be a day when I got to sleep in (that means past 6:30 a.m.) as daughter was going to deal with the kiddos this morning and we were going to meet her to pick up granddaughter after the 5 year old wellness visit and daughter would go on to work.  At 7ish, Jim said, I don’t hear any movement downstairs, followed by daughter running for the bowl yelling up as she went to ask me to take over morning duties.  She either has food poisoning or a stomach virus.  I am sorry she is not feeling well today, but hopeful that it isn’t a stomach virus or we will all end up with it.  I took over the duties, got the kids up, dressed, fed, and delivered.  To add to the confusion, Jim had a PT appointment on the wall calendar, it was not on my electronic calendar, and he thought it was tomorrow, so he was up right with me to call the PT office to check on the date, the time we had.  That appointment was today which meant that he had to leave with me to deliver kids.  The wellness appointment had to be rescheduled as daughter wanted to be there for that.

Once she got to work today, she was going to have to teach a class and since work was totally out of the question for her today, she had to find someone else to teach the class and sent us two towns over with her materials for the class between dropping granddaughter at preschool and Jim to PT.

By then I was going full steam.  By the end of PT, it is nearly time to pick up granddaughter again and feed her lunch, which we did out to stay away from the house for daughter to rest and maybe us to stay away from the bug.

Once home, I worked on some silk I have been spinning.

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And continued to knit on the Fibonacci Infinity Scarf, now into the third color set and more than 20″ long.

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I read a chapter or two on No Man’s Land, David Baldacci before it is due back at the library.  Granddaughter was having her quiet time and Jim took some quiet time too.

When I went to pick up grandson at the bus stop, I picked up our mail and was pleased to find the 6th color for my scarf (peeking out from under the scarf) in the box along with the spool of waxed hemp from the bagpipe supply to tighten the fittings on my new/antique spinning wheel.

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The Mother of All, the two uprights that hold the flyer and bobbin were mailed off early in the week to Bobbin Boy for repair and refurbishing.  They directed me to a video on their Facebook page that showed me how to use the waxed hemp to tighten the joints where the legs insert into the table and where the uprights that hold the wheel also insert into the table.  All of these parts were loose which would prevent me from spinning on her once the repaired parts are returned.

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In making these repairs, I discovered a split in one of the uprights which disheartened me, but my choice was to either get a bit of good wood glue down in the split or have Bobbin Boy turn me a new piece.  I elected to try the wood glue first.  It is setting up now, so the wheel is sitting apart until tomorrow.  The legs no longer wobble, the footman stays in place, the uprights are tight in their fittings and I am hopeful that this wheel is going to be a gem.

So after a hectic start, the day ended up a crafty success.

Dinner has been prepped, eaten, and cleaned up and I am going to spend the rest of the evening, enjoying more crafting.

Voyeurism

Each time it snows, we are treated to a bit of winter voyeuristic experience.  The woods surround our home on three sides and during the summer, the leaves on the trees and the undergrowth prevent us from seeing any wildlife unless they venture out into the open field.  When we have snow, even a couple of inches, we can see pretty much to the back property line.  This allows us to catch glimpses into the woods to see the deer and turkeys as they walk within the edge of the woods.

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These two images are the same area of the south woods beyond the hayfield.  Very magnified as that edge is quite far away.  You can see the difference.  I didn’t see any animals when the photo was taken, but we have.  The few inches of snow that we received over the weekend, are gone, the yards and roads are muddy messes and it is supposed to be near 60ºf tomorrow.  Tonight the deer must have known that hunting season ended on Monday, two bucks and two does ventured out closer to the fence to graze at dusk.

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Again, highly magnified, thus slightly out of focus.  To give you an idea of the distance, here is the back edge unmagnified.

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The tree line you see is the south edge of our hayfield, the cedar tree almost dead center above the railing is the one in the above photos.

I love watching the wildlife that surrounds us, the deer, turkey, rabbits, chipmunks, mice, moles, and voles as long as they stay away from anything they can damage.  We see an occasional bear, coyotes, groundhogs, squirrels, assorted songbirds and raptors.  We have seen raccoons, skunks, and foxes, though never on our farm.

We love our farm.

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