“Reading” and spinning

I blog when something pops in my head or when I have progress on a project to report. Right now, because of a text conversation with a friend, two very different ideas are bouncing around, so I will address one and refine the other off line until I am ready to put it out in the world.

Many of the books I read are because of recommendation of friends and family. When my Dad was alive, we had a weekly phone call, usually on Sunday evening, and part of our conversation was about what we were reading, and many, many books I have read and enjoyed were his suggestions. Once in a while there would be one I just couldn’t get into. I miss those conversations and suggestions. When we last had a socially distanced meet up with Son 1 and Grandson 1, two weeks ago yesterday, Son 1 told me he was reading a book that he thought I might like, though he wasn’t too far into it. During that week, I checked the electronic library app for our public library, and it was available, but only in an audio book. I have several friends who swear by audio books, especially when travelling, but I do most of my reading at night before bed and I like holding a book, either paper or electronic, immersing myself in the story, and creating the voices of the characters in my head, so I had never listened to an audio book before. I checked it out on my tablet that lives by my bed and began listening to 30 minutes or so each night. The loan for was 14 days, the book just over 5 hours of narration. The book, “The Housekeeper and the Professor” by Yoko Ogawa, translated into English and narrated is a wonderful story, beautifully written and the narrator had a very soothing voice. I thoroughly enjoyed the story, but I still prefer to read not listen. Some of the names in the book would have given me trouble, but so did some of the names in Tolkien and that never stopped me, but the math references would have been easier if I could have seen them instead of hearing them. At any rate, if you have the chance to read or listen to this story, it is worth the time.

Yesterday, while hubby was watching play off games of football, I sat with headphones on listening to a knitting podcast and working on the last block of my January challenge for the Breed Blanket Project. I finished knitting it and proceeded to make such an amateur mistake I was kicking myself. To save time, I chose not to bind off the block on the side that had to be attached to the cast on edge of the adjacent block and to use the live stitches to graft to the cast on edge. Somehow I managed to twist or fold or some foolish mistake and since it was bunched up in my lap, I didn’t notice until I was done. The yarn is a longwool with lots of halo and trying to pick it out without losing the live stitches was a challenge and once done required that I bind off and sew it on like I should have done in the first place, tripling the time it took me to do the finish.

That puts the January portion of the challenge in the books. The 4 quadrants this month included the one from last year’s yarn that was the test knit and became the base, two quadrants of the dyed BFL soft fiber that DH gave me for Christmas, and one quadrant of the light gray Masham longwool. Not every month will have 4 squares, but to use 24 breeds, there will be at least two squares added each month. I am hoping for a blanket that is large enough to be useful but not so heavy that it just stays folded on the bed.

To give me something to spin for the rest of the month as I can’t begin my new breed until February 1, I am spinning a Coopworth/Alpaca blend that can be knit into something for the shop when it is finished. Today, I await the mail as I sold a spindle to a new spinner and bought a spindle at the last update, so one is flying north and my new one is out for delivery by our rural carrier.

As I took the one I sold to the local village post office and pulled in next to a man with a hand full of mail, he got out with no mask, entered the post office to be greeted by the attendant who also had no mask. I didn’t even go in. As we had to deliver a form in town, we went to the larger USPS there where everyone inside was properly distanced and masked. It is such a simple solution. Our little county is only about 15000 people, many older as is the case in many rural areas, and we are approaching 1000 cases. So much resistance to something so simple to save a few lives. Generally when I have a package to mail, I print the postage at home and don’t have to enter the post office, however, our printer quit over the weekend and the new one ordered won’t arrive until tomorrow or the next day. And I still await a call to get my first vaccine and hubby awaits a call to schedule his second.

Another Week Closes

It was a glorious winter day, bright sunshine, no clouds, and temperatures that remind you that it is winter. We have some cold rain, maybe a real winter storm being threatened for mid week. As that forecast firms, plans to be ready for snow, ice, and potential power failure will be made. A couple of meals prepared that can be reheated on the wood stove, a bathtub filled with water for dogs and toilets, the big 5 gallon water jug we used when camping filled for cooking and drinking water, loads of wood brought in to the basement and garage for heat. These plans are usually in vain, but we did have an ice storm a number of years ago that took our power out for a week and those preparations were necessary.

We ventured in to town today to pick up our curbside grocery order and as usual, a few items not available and substitutions that were not acceptable offered, but not items that were vital.

The second fiber I was spinning for the month was finished today and more knitted on the square that I pulled off of the blanket when it had been knit as a strip.

I think that I will aim for a 24 breed blanket so that each month there will be an official breed and an unofficial. This month, the official breed was BFL, a very soft wool, the unofficial one is the gray Masham, a longwool that is drapey but to me not next to the skin soft.

Each day this week, there have been two Houdini hens, two of the Oliver eggers. Usually by the time I went out to try to lock them back up each day, it was either time to prep dinner or it was too dark to figure out where they were getting out. This morning before I let them out, I walked the perimeter of the run and discovered that they had tunneled out near the far end of the run. I large blocky rock was wedged in the hole and today they were foiled. They are finally providing enough eggs for the household each week.

So far it is just the Olive Eggers, the pinkish ones are the oddball Olive Egger that doesn’t lay Olive eggs. The lighter green ones are still fairly rare, but the dark Olive and pink ones are coming with regularity. The Welsumers and the reds aren’t back in production yet.

Today marked 4 weeks since I set up my Christmas hydroponic herb garden. Time to rinse the reservoir, refill and feed the young plants. They are all growing, not enough for cooking with yet, except the dill, but they are large enough to pinch off bits and taste them.

I think the dill is going to need a pruning, so a recipe that calls for it needs to be planned. My favorite recipe other than making dill pickles is to use dill in sauteed carrot coins.

To add to the household goods and car that have failed this week, the Epson Ecotank printer that was still printing black but not color decided tonight to not print black either. I have looked for repair around here, but there is no one that works on household printers. We still have the laser jet, but it isn’t networked, it has to be plugged in to the computer, prints only black, and doesn’t copy. I thought the Ecotank would save us money in the long run and I haven’t had to buy cartridges in two years, so that may have paid for the printer, but now it is a paperweight.

We have begun the process of researching cars, not something I wanted to have to take on at our ages, but necessary. Still no call on the vaccine for me, an email was received, asking for patience and letting me know that they were working through the current groups but focusing on 75 year old and up and essential workers, so I wait.

Another day on the farm

Yesterday too much time was spent in front of the television watching history and pagentry unfold. As I was preparing our dinner I took the kitchen scraps to the chickens and the one that wasn’t thriving had passed away in the run. Yesterday morning, she was tucked in a nesting box facing the wall with her tail toward the coop and that didn’t seem right. She was one of the 3 Welsumers that lay the dark brown eggs. That reduces my flock to 8. Perhaps in the spring when chick days arrive, I will buy a new flock of chicks so they will be laying by molt time next fall. The Olive eggers, at least two of them, have started laying again and I have gotten 10 eggs in the past week. I was going to go back to a pure flock of Buff Orpingtons, but having hens that lay most all year round is nice, even if it is only a few per week.

This morning, I woke to another morning of snow showers, lightly coating the ground and other surfaces, but by late morning it has stopped and what had fallen was gone. There are no more days of that type of weather predicted for a week or so.

It seems that the local Health Department is as disorganized as the national Covid task force was. About 9 days ago, DH registered for his first vaccine dose and received a call the very next day, getting his dose a week ago today. That was the day the state changed the guidelines that would have allowed me to get mine too, but they said they weren’t taking anyone under 75 unless they were first line essentials. I immediately that day registered for my first dose and still await a call. Today, he got another call to schedule his first dose, but has never been given a date for his second. The guy that called gave him a phone number, but of course it went to voicemail, and he told DH that they aren’t giving them to the group I am in yet, though the state is encouraging it. I think husband and wife if close in age should be on the same schedule, but who am I but a lowly citizen hoping for my turn.

I finished the hat I was knitting using the second half of my Christmas fiber and it is so soft and warm.

And I began spinning some gray longwool to be the next band on the blanket, but decided I did not like the log cabin idea and pulled out the teal band and reverted to the block idea, so I am reknitting on a block instead of the band and will continue by adding the gray longwool after I finish the teal.

Because the miter of the first two squares are not properly aligned, I am working off the edge of the gray square and will finish that mitered block next month and add to the Parrothead block in the opposite direction to make the miters line up correctly. This will result in two large squares offset by a block so I will have to figure out how to deal with that to make it look right in the end. I think the braid you see in the photo above will be next month’s spin on my spindle flock and I will pick another solid to extend off of the colorful block.

While typing this, we got a call that the Xterra that failed on us last week requires repairs that are greater than 3 or 4 car payments on a new car, so the mechanic is looking for someone who will buy it for parts and we will have to figure out the next step. And the dishwasher has self destructed at 15 years old. I guess we are all getting old and breaking down.