“Zen emphasizes rigorous self-restraint, meditation-practice, insight into the nature of mind.” Meditation of any sort can help reduce stress.

My Zen time is spinning with my spindles. It is total focus on the single process, it quiets my mind, slows my breathing. That wasn’t always the case, like with any new endeavor, there is a lot of tension involved as you learn the skills, but with time, you relax and it becomes enjoyable. I have been spinning now for over a decade, starting with spindles, moving on to wheels, and for the past 8 months or so, returning to spindles.

When spinning with my spindles, whether in my chair, the car, waiting for an appointment, or out in nature, I feel my shoulders relax, the tension drain from my neck, my breathing focused. It gives my mind a non stressful activity on which to focus, a form of meditation. It ceases to be production and instead, is a serene, peaceful activity. I am still making yarn, but at a much slower pace.

As I am approaching the end of the month, as a spindle is filled and emptied, it isn’t necessarily getting refilled. The Fig Aegean, my largest spindle is resting right now, my newest Ambrosia Wren is filling, the smallest Honduran Rosewood Finch is almost full and will soon sit idle for a few days. The notched shaft bottom whorl in the left of the bowl is my Living History spindle and doesn’t generally spin at home. They rest in a wooden trencher, also from living history, or sometimes a basket or pottery dish depending on my mood. And it all sits on a small hand woven “towel.” The weaving process is still in the tension filling realm as I haven’t gotten good enough at it for it to be relaxing, maybe someday.

In a few weeks, some of my yarn, knits, weaves, body care items will go to Wilderness Road Regional Museum to an Honor System craft display during their Noel Nights weekend. If you are interested, you can reserve a spot for a tour, goodies, and shopping on their website. Twenty percent of my proceeds from that event will be donated to the museum for their operation and educational programming.

Rainy Day activity

A front came through with wind and rain, the warm is gone. We will see two nights in the low to mid 20’s this week. After all, it is mid November.

The day was spent crafting. The men of this family are tall and bearded. Son 1’s face is long and he has to go to campus a few times a week to teach and for meetings. I had made his family some masks late summer and when we had our distanced meet and greet, he expressed that he wished he had a couple that covered more of his beard, and he liked the ones with two ties, so today I played with my pattern to extend the sides by about 3/4″ and used bias tape folded and stitched for ties instead of using elastic loops. Four more larger masks are finished, packed, and will be shipped off to him tomorrow.

In my early fabric purchases, I had gotten two that ended up being lining, but found a use.

This morning during my alone time, I finished spinning most of the frustrating fiber on the wheel, all but a few grams. After the masks were done and packed up, the last little bit was spun and then a major plying session done. The two bobbins of very fine singles ended up a very full bobbin of 2 ply yarn that is 22 wpi, lace weight. This is the second skein I have done recently of soft, smooth, shiny yarn that is thinner than I like to use, so it will look for a new home.

The fiber is 50% Merino wool, 25% baby Camel, 25% Mulberry Silk, so it has great sheen and should knit with great drape. The bobbin couldn’t hold any more. Tomorrow I will measure it off and see what kind of yardage it is.

Tuesday and Wednesday nights, the peas will have to be covered, hopefully to protect them enough to get a small harvest from them. Daytime temperatures this week should be great for some walks and hikes.

And the skies opened

Yesterday it sprinkled, today it poured. The weather forecast says we will get a month’s worth of rain in 2 days. When I got up this morning, the hunter was down the low field, it had rained hard off and on as I lay there too lazy to get up, knowing I was going to have to take the dogs out on leashes this morning. It rained all morning, though at times only lightly. As we were eating lunch, we saw him plod up the fields dejectedly and when he got to his car, he texted that he was soaked through and going to his brother’s house to dry off and would be back. I haven’t heard a single shot on the mountain this morning, nor have I seen a single deer. He did come back and was still here at dusk when I went over to lock up the hens. I did eventually see the doe with her spring twins and the orphaned spring fawn, but not down in the “hunting field” fortunately.

Today marks about year with a hearing aid and today marks a revisit to the Hearing Clinic to have it checked, cleaned, and adjusted. The gal that first tested me and fitted the aid is not there anymore, the new gal is an AuD and was very open about discussing my concerns and likes and dislikes. I will be retested in late spring to see if there has been any change in my hearing and whether the marginal need for the left ear aid has shifted to the need. I feel better knowing why certain aspects of wearing the aid cause various issues.

We are seeing a significant spike in COVID cases in our county. The population of the county is just over 16,000 and there have been 35 new cases and 2 new hospitalization in the past 10 days. This is a county that is very mask resistant. In our village, we saw more masks for a while, but fewer in the past couple weeks. The next town over, no one wears a mask except the staff of two of the restaurants that we occasionally get curbside pick-up from. The local outfitter and cafe is totally maskless, not even a pretense. Our village store, is less than 50% with some of the employees putting one on if you enter with one on and a couple that wear it under their chin or not at all. When we saw Son 1 last weekend for our socially distanced picnic, he ask what the cases per 100,000 and hospitalization percentage were. I didn’t know but have since looked it up. Cases per 100,000 is 1062.7 and the hospitalization percentage is 35.6. We were told that the area coroners weren’t counting deaths that had an underlying cause even if the patient had COVID at the time of death. I don’t know when people are going to quit making this a political statement and realize that things will open up much more quickly if everyone would comply with this simple solution. Our Governor is still just encouraging it and has not made it mandatory.

Before the rains began, I did get the asparagus bed and the corn and sunflower stalk piles burned. And the chickens have had 3 days of free range in the garden. I am still only getting a green egg or two a day, but it looks like all have finished molting except two or three hens, so I am hoping that I will start seeing more eggs soon.

While filling bird feeders and hanging a Niger Thistle sock, this little one landed on the feeder, inches from my face, ate several seed, then flitted down by my feet, apparently unaware I was standing there.

I did an update of the month’s spinning this morning. The “Apple Picking” braid of reds, pinks, yellows, is not my favorite spin. I love the colors, but not so much the slippery fiber. It is Merino, baby camel, and silk and feels slick and lifeless. I much prefer spinning fibers with some body and spring. The grays are Jacob and the burgundy and white blend is Alpaca and Coopworth. It may take me forever to end up with laceweight from the reds, but it is going to be lots of yardage. I decided to dedicate only one spindle to it and shifted the second one to Moorit Shetland.

After taking the photo, I listed the Olivewood Finch with the Jacob on it for trade on the Jenkins group, wishing for a heavier Finch and within a couple of hours a trade was made. I love that the Jenkins spindles are so desired that a sale or trade can be made quickly. After several purchases, sales, and trades, I have determined my favorite sizes and weights for their spindles. The Olivewood one will head to a new home tomorrow and a Pink Ivorywood one that weighs about 5 grams more will head my way.

Today is a day where I feel like I have done household chores all day. Bathroom cleaning, laundry, dishes, cooking and cleaning it up. Now I need to go unload the dishwasher and fold a load of laundry.

Stay safe out there and please WEAR A MASK, it is a health statement, not a political one.