History – 11/9/2019

Today I was scheduled to demonstrate spinning at a museum in a near city. The museum was one I had never visited before, but was familiar with the road on which it was located, or so I thought. In order to facilitate getting there as promptly as possible, it is nearly an hour from home, I loaded the address into Google Maps. As I approached the exit from the Interstate, I activated the Google voice to guide me. There ended up being a bit of a problem. The road that Google insisted I turn on was 3 blocks beyond and on the opposite side of the rail tracks from where our group was set up, and that road was blocked off for the Veteran’s Parade. I knew where the Transportation Museum was located on the side of the tracks where I was, so I stopped there to ask directions. A bridge over the tracks and another right turn brought me back where I thought I was supposed to be, but alas, due to the parade, parking was scarce. I finally parked in the museum employee parking, hoping not to get a ticket. My wheel, spinning basket, and tote of costume were loaded indoors, changed, and set up to spin only to discover that I had failed to bring either wool combs or wool cards with me which meant spinning from clean Jacob locks all day.

We had one friend with two tables of Colonial games and toys, another friend with her tape loom weaving tapes. A fiddler, various soldiers with kits and uniforms, and me spinning. The admission today was free, the Museum of Western Virginia has displays, talks, and snacks for the visitors and they were excited that quite a number of families with children came. Normally they have very few children visitors.

Many photos were taken, none by me. It was a good day and interesting just spinning from locks and getting a pretty even yarn, though it should be fun when it is plyed as I didn’t bother to separate colors and since it wasn’t blended in any way, it isn’t gray. About half a bobbin was filled. Since it is not spun from roving or even rolags, I will finish the bobbin from locks and ply it to display with the skein of combed Jacob that I usual put out with my spindles, lucet, Nosepinne, bone knitting needles, and niddy noddy. Usually I am sitting on a Jacob pelt, but since they were providing tables and chairs, I did not take it.

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Photo credit Kyle Griffin

Many photos were taken of me today as is always the case when dressed in Colonial garb and demonstrating.

Voyeurism II – Nov. 8, 2019

In March 2013 when I was just beginning to blog, I did a post that I have revisited to read many times. As the trees have lost their leaves for the most part, the week of several hard freezes at night beating down the underbrush, our hay field having been brush hogged, being able to see the deer, turkey, and occasional coyote reminded me of the post. Though much of my archives are trapped in the ether, never to be seen again, I had some of the early ones saved. I am going to revisit parts of it here.

     The overcast weather brings the wildlife out into view.  The week has brought a large flock of wild turkey repeatedly out to forage the hay field for bugs and seed.  Each late afternoon and often early mornings, a herd of deer seemingly materialize from the edge of the trees, one at a time to graze in the same field, and a doe with her twins from spring frequent the area around the barn each evening. They seem to know that we are safe and do not flee when we are out around the house and going over to deal with the chickens. They raise their heads, look in our direction, and return to grazing on the still green grass.

 With the pups indoors and the lights inside kept low, we can sit and watch them.  When there is snow cover in the woods you can see them as they move among the trees before entering the field.  So far we haven’t had more than a sublimation snow shower, but may get a little early next week. At this time of year, the deer coats are dark and when they are still, they are perfectly camouflaged in the trees.

It is currently deer hunting season in this county. Bow season ended and black powder season is active. This time of year, I don’t like to walk our property or the country road off which we live even wearing a blaze orange vest and hat. Too many hunters are afoot and though we have our property posted, that is not always a deterrent. Our familiar neighbors are respectful of this and if a wounded deer from a non kill shot crosses over to our farm, will ask permission to look for it.

We always worry a bit about our dogs during hunting season. Ranger, the mastiff is apricot color. He is a 200 pound dog and though he isn’t built like or moves like a deer, we don’t want him to be mistaken for one. Shadow is a German Shepherd and moves farther afield, though usually staying on our farm, but with the abundant number of coyotes/coywolves/coydogs in the woods, we don’t want her mistaken either. The alpha we see most is as large as a German Shepherd and is black. As a result, the dogs get much more supervised outdoor time during hunting season.

Each season here on the farm brings different aspects to enjoy. The spring budding of trees, the young bunnies and fawns. Summer is haying, gardening, and enjoying the beauty. Autumn brings bright leaf color and and cooler weather. Winter, the voyeurism, warm fires, and hot cocoa or tea while wrapped in a hand knit shawl or a warm quilt.

Podcasts – 10/30/2019

I am a recent listener of Podcasts. The first one I heard was an edition of 99% Invisible while riding in the backseat of eldest son’s car on the way from their house to the Shakespeare Center in Staunton, VA to see my first play there. I am not a daily listener, I don’t follow but a few and I don’t listen to all the episodes, I pick and choose. I follow 99% Invisible, The Moth, The Way I Heard it, and some of the Ted Talks episodes. I also follow a local sustainable farmer’s podcast, Can Your Beans Do That?

Some daily/weekly tasks around the house I enjoy and find meditative, cooking and the prep is one. Some I find very onerous, laundry being one. Some get neglected until I can’t stand the dust or dog hair bunnies and then pull out the dust cloth or vacuum. That task is one that is neutral. To get through the more onerous tasks, I often listen to a Podcast. Folding T-shirts and socks seems to go more quickly if my mind is otherwise occupied.

On morning when I am up a couple hours before my spouse, and have finished the daily animal tasks, I will sometimes sit and listen to a cast or two through headphones so as to keep the house quiet until we are both moving about. When I am home alone, the television never is turned on, instead music or podcasts provide my entertainment and sometimes a level of education.

On a visit to son’s house, I asked how he downloads them to listen offline as in the car. When traveling I listen to NPR until I lose the station and then switch to downloaded music. I thought listening to a few of my favorite Podcasts might make the trips seem shorter. He gave me a lesson, I thought I had it and prior to my last trip up to help them, I downloaded 5 podcasts to help pass the 3 1/2 hours it takes to reach them. Alas, as I stopped for an iced tea to travel with, I turned on my Podcasts to play through my tiny Bluetooth speaker, the only way I can hear downloads from my phone (my car is 14 years old and the sound system lacks Bluetooth, the cassette play no longer works, the CD player is intermittent) . There were no downloads there. I must not have learned the lesson well. I guess I will get him to try again next time we are in the same location together. It would have been nice this morning as I cleaned the chicken coop. My WiFi doesn’t reach that far, so the one I was listening to while folding laundry was suspended until I was back in the house.

When time comes to replace one of our ancient vehicles, it will come equipped with technology that far exceeds our current knowledge and a new learning curve will be presented.