The Rabbit Hole has deepened – 12/25/2019

My love added to my fiber toys this morning. Under the tree was an Ashford Samplet 16″ rigid heddle loom.

We began our morning with Huevos Rancheros, a dish I traditionally fix on Christmas and New Year’s mornings. It is a special treat for him, one he grew up with. It was just us this morning so no rush on opening gifts, he already had most of his with his new leather chair and his refurbished “new” computer, but there were a few minor surprises under the tree for him.

We took gifts to daughter’s house and had an exchange with them, then home and I upacked the loom box.

When our house was being built, I made several 5 gallon buckets of home-made paste floor wax. The instructions said to wax or seal the wood before assembly, so I opened on of the remaining buckets, scooped out a tin full of the wax and spent about an hour hand waxing the pieces. Then assembly commenced.

With my recent lesson, having warped my friend’s borrowed loom, and the very detailed instruction booklet, I successfully warped the loom with some of my hand spun dk weight yarn.

My stocking contained a Barnes and Noble gift card, so a book or two of projects and techniques will be added to my growing collection of craft and fiber history books, several had been added by eldest son’s family for my birthday and Christmas. The booklet with the loom has a sample scarf with instructions for several different weaving techniques to try in the meantime.

The Let it Snow box in the photo above was the gift from daughter and her family. Treats and a beautiful cribbage game in a wooden box. I used to play it with my Dad and plan to refresh my skills and teach her and her kids.

Youngest son and his family sent us a pair o mugs with all of our grandchildren represented on them. Tonight I am enjoying my evening tea from mine.

As a Christmas bonus, the year old hens produced 3 eggs today. We have been getting 1 or 2, and I have never had hens lay in the winter before. Such a treat to still be getting farm fresh eggs to eat and cook with this time of year.

I think my favorite gift from hubby today is a tiny music box in my stocking.

It plays, “You Are My Sunshine.”

Here’s hoping you had Merry Christmas or Happy Hanukkah.

Winter Solstice with family 12/22/2019

Eldest son and eldest grandson made a very quick visit, arriving yesterday afternoon and leaving this evening. I traditionally prepare the Christmas Day dinner, turkey, ham, and all the fixings, but since they couldn’t be here on Christmas Day and since they arrived on the Solstice, we had Christmas/Solstice dinner with all the fixings for them and daughter and her kiddos. Brother and sister got to spend some time together as did the cousins, and they shared gifts, I got some help in the kitchen, and we all ate well. I even spatchcocked the turkey all by myself. Doing a chicken isn’t too hard, but a larger turkey is difficult for me to do.

Yesterday morning, two of the young men who are part of the team who mow our farm and get a share of the hay for a small herd they share, came over with chain saws, a hydraulic log splitter, dump bed truck, and a big tractor and cut up a red oak tree that fell into our hay field winter before last. They had hayed around it for two summers. They brought the entire cord plus of wood up to my woodpile and dumped it. They even offered to stack it for me which I refused as I hadn’t expected the entire tree. The three grands got out there while dinner was being prepared and spent a couple hours stacking firewood.

This morning, this is what I found. The kids ate well and I’ll bet slept well. This morning after fixing biscuits and gravy with grandson’s help, sharing gifts with son and grandson; grandson and I went out and did some cleanup of the last little bit, hopped the short stack on the right over the pile on to some cedar poles on the opposite side of the big stack where we had also stacked the clean up amount.

Son was in the house nursing a finger he had seriously cut about a week ago and finishing grading the papers from one of his upperclass University classes he teaches. To try to keep grandson out of his way and away from too much TV time, I also got his help finally pruning back the dead asparagus tops and getting spoiled straw from the compost pile over it, getting about a foot of hay into the chicken run for them to peck through and to keep it less slippery for me when it rains. The big round bale was wedged between two objects that made it difficult for me to peel layers off of it, but with his help it is now more accessible. I asked son if I could keep grandson for a while. He jokingly asked me how long. My response was as long as I could still get good help out of him or until he started treating me like a parent instead of grandmom.

Son got his grades done and submitted in time to have hot turkey sandwiches and other leftovers before heading home this evening.

We will go to daughter’s house on Christmas Eve for dinner and back for a bit on Christmas Day give them their gifts. Christmas morning will be quiet, just us. Jim will primarily get a stocking as his gift was “the chair III” which arrived Wednesday and he has been enjoying it for a few days now.

On Thursday afternoon, daughter came over and she and I were able to get the two deteriorating pleather loveseats onto our trailer and off loaded at the local trash location. After Christmas decorations are down, we will consider what to get to put in the living room. The loft got a rocking chair that had been in our bedroom and had become a place to dump things instead of putting them away. Maybe I will be better about keeping that area organized now.

Colonial Christmas 4th grade style – 12/20/2019

The fourth graders at the local elementary school have just finished up studying about Jamestown and today is the last day of school before winter break. There are 3 classes that rotate with 3 teachers for Science and History with one, Math with one, and Language Arts with one with a 4th teacher that is support. To end their unit and try to have some level of control on this last full day, they planned a Colonial Christmas celebration. In one room they dipped candles, in another they made pomander balls, the third room had a Christmas movie playing, making herb coated ornaments, and me in Colonial clothing with a lesson about colonial clothing, textiles, spinning, and weaving. I always take many “toys,” several different types of spindles, lucet, combs, carders, my wheel, and this time a borrowed rigid heddle loom. I love this type of event.

The children had an hour in each room, so I had 6 groups for about 30 minutes each to talk about a brief history of spinning, history of homespun, and some weaving. Some groups watched and asked a few questions, the most common one was, “Do you wear that every day?” Some groups wanted hands on and I allowed carding of wool and playing with the various spindles that I demonstrated first. With the number and age of the kids, I didn’t let them handle the sharp combs and knew that letting any of them use the wheel I was asking for trouble. And as the rigid heddle was borrowed from a friend, I only demonstrated on it.

There were photos taken by various adults, but none by me.

My favorite question though, was as I was packing up to leave, a tiny little gal approached and very quietly asked if she could ask me something. Of course, I replied. She asked, “Where you around in Jamestown?” I laughed my way home with that one. The old lady with her spinning wheel.

Another great opportunity to teach the youth and maybe interest some of them in pursuing an interest in fiber.