Change of Routine

For some reason, this week blended into a mess and I missed pre-order time for the market. Hubby hasn’t been sleeping well but was sound asleep when I got up and there were no pressing needs from the market today. Online, curbside grocery order didn’t have an available slot today until after dinner, so I took one for tomorrow, and we stayed in this morning. I let hubby sleep, while I sat and spun on my spindles and drank a mug of coffee.

Tomorrow, we will pick up our grocery order. Monday looks like the warmest (not warm), driest day of early next week, so we will go to the tree farm and see what we can bring home to decorate. I would love a root balled tree, but we couldn’t handle it and I don’t think I could dig the hole to plant it.

VDOT never came to clear our culvert as requested 3 weeks ago and last night it rained continuously from about 5 p.m. until the wee hours of this morning. The driveway that was already a mess is worse. I don’t want to try to dig out the culvert with the tractor bucket as I never get the hole in the right place and the ditch is then too wide. I guess I will have to file another report. I was supposed to get a confirmation last time and didn’t, so calling will probably result in being told they don’t have it on file.

This afternoon, I set up my table, table top rack, and floor rack to see what my set up will look like for next weekend’s Honor System craft event at Wilderness Road Regional Museum Noel Nights event. I wanted to make sure I had enough space and not too much space for the goods and that it looks appealing. I had planned on using baskets for the smaller items, but opted to use one of my 4 cell wooden crates that allowed me to load, carry, and set up in one step.

A little rearranging and some signage changes were made after I took the photo. It would be a nice Christmas gift to sell some of my supply so I can make more for next year when hopefully, I will be able to resume doing some craft and holiday events. It is all packed back up and I have scheduled a set up time during the week.

The weather blogger said we had entered Meteorological winter last week and though true winter is still 16 days away, it is cold, gloomy, and damp. We have already built fires several times to sit in front of to chase away the cold and gloom. The hens finished molt and most of them look fluffy and healthy again, but egg laying did not resume. For a while, the Olive eggers were giving me a few and one brown egg layer laid a few, but I have only gotten 1 egg all week. Not having power to the coop, I don’t want to try to light it as it would have to be battery operated and on a timer, so I will just have to buy eggs for a couple of months until they resume production.

I jokingly told my friend from the museum that if we couldn’t get out and about soon, I was going to “become a crazy old lady hermit, standing on the front porch with a broom to keep intruders away.” The Thanksgiving spike of COVID has begun in the county, with a rise of 14 new cases and 2 more hospitalizations since yesterday. With the county as small as it is, that is a significant rise, yet mask resistance is still prevalent here. One of my friends wrote on a social media post, “You have the right to chose to die if you want, but you don’t have the right to take me with you.” Follow COVID protocol, PLEASE.

Well, I did it!

Last weekend, I put the chain saw carved Santa and Snowman on the front porch, hung the Christmas garden banner by the stoop, brought the antique sled out of the garage and made a wreath to hang on it. On our walk, I found a hemlock branch in the road, probably broken off by the Lodge pick up truck, so I brought it home. I would never cut any greenery in the conservancy, but it was already broken and on the ground. I had made a grapevine wreath from the grapevine prunings and used it as the base. Tied on the hemlock sprigs, a few pinecones from the basket full I have gathered over the years, a couple of teasels and a bow.

Over the years, I have accumulated a lot of quilted, cross stitched, and other handmade ornaments, most made by my sister in law, some by my stepmom and before we sold our coast house and moved to the mountains, they were lovingly hung on a “feather tree” that was about 5 feet tall, in our den, the main Christmas tree in the living room. That tree did not move with us and for a couple of years, they were strung on greenery roping along the loft railing, but that meant taking them down, making sure all were found. A few years ago, I purchased a huge artificial green wreath and attached all of those ornaments to it. Each year it is enclosed in a large plastic bag and hung in a storage closet in the basement and brought out for the month of December.

Last night, I went down and brought it up to hang from the loft. There are large bows with 6″ jingle bells that hang at the ends of the rail and at the bottom of the stairs.

This morning it was too cold to do anything beyond necessary animal chores.

So during my morning alone time, I brought out crate after crate of Santas, Gnomes, Nutcrackers, and Snowmen. The tiny village, and the miniature tree that used to adorn my office before I retired, and decorated the inside of the house too.

Window sills, bookcases, the top of the piano, the top of the treadle sewing machine, and the mantel are all festively decorated. Next week, we will go to the tree lot and pick out a tree, not a big one, but a tree for the house as well.

This afternoon, all of the remaining gifts were wrapped, shipping boxes broken down for recycle or to use in the garden, and the entire downstairs vacuumed yet again, a daily chore.

Yesterday, more salves were made, packaged and sealed. Guest soaps bagged in twos, beard oil labels that were damaged last year at the Holiday market when my table blew over were re printed and the damaged ones replaced and clip on signs made for the baskets that will go to the museum for the Noel Nights craft honor system sale. Yarn and some knits checked for labels and prices and all of it packed in a bin to take over there in about 10 days.

As we are still eating turkey from Thanksgiving, we decided that Christmas dinner for two is going to be a nice roast and hubby likes Country ham, so there will be some of that too. That is a change from 43 years worth of tradition, but it will just be the two of us this year.

I’m trying hard to be in the spirit of Christmas, but it is difficult this year. Maybe the decorations and an occasional Christmas CD will get me in the mood.

The room where I organize the gifts by family prior to wrapping and where I have the batches of soap curing is cleaned up. With the gifts wrapped and sorted into “family” bags or shipped off via UPS, the wrapping station is put away. That is where most of the shipping boxes were too, awaiting use if necessary and now broken down. Only the table with racks of soap are still out, with the ceiling fan on medium to help cure the soap more quickly. The bands are all printed and ready to apply when the bars are dry enough. The decorating put me in a cleaning mood too and kitchen counters were decluttered and wiped down, some of the open shelves rearranged to look more appealing. The basket of red peppers that fully dried without ever getting strung was emptied into a half gallon jar and placed with the “cooking, kitchen” Santa on a clean countertop. It looks quite festive.

I am trying, I really am.

The calendar flipped and so did the weather

All day yesterday in preparation to turn from November into December, the temperature that wasn’t that high in the first place, fell. From mid 40’s to 28. Yesterday morning and the night before, we got about 2″ of rain. Overnight, a dusting of snow and there are still flurries.

It isn’t the earliest snow we have ever had here, but with it are gale force gusts of wind driving the wind chill to bone penetrating cold. When I opened the coop pop door, they just looked at me like I was crazy if I thought they were going to step their dainty claws into that white stuff and wind. Their water is frozen, that I have to remedy even if they stay indoors all day. It is only going up a couple of degrees today and even colder tonight.

As November ends, so ends another month of Jenkins spindle challenge.

The month ended with a bit more than 130 g of spun fiber, some spindle plied. The purple skein on the left if BFL wool that came with my birthday spindle, plied with BFL/silk blend with more of it on the spindle. The white/burgundy is Alpaca blended with dyed Coopworth. Last night I finished spinning it on the wheel as I didn’t like the way it handled on the spindles and ended up with 268 yards of fingering weight yarn that went into my shop for sale.

December will begin finishing the gray Jacob seen in the bowl above and here, along with more of the Redbud colored BFL/Silk.

Last month’s spinning was slowed by knitting as I finished the sweater for one grand daughter, the Intarsia knit Christmas stocking for the newest grand son, and a pair of fingerless mitts from spindle spun yarn for my shop.

All have been wet or steam blocked and ready to go.

Somewhere during the month, I also finished this skein on the wheel as it frustrated me on the spindles. And it joined the Alpaca/Coopworth in my shop.

Yesterday a jar of Daikon radish kimchee was started, two batches of soap made to saponify overnight. Today I will wash out the pots and spatulas now that the caustic mix is soap and make one more batch of the soap I use as shampoo and body soap for my use this next year.

I decorated the outside on the porch Sunday afternoon, I guess I should start on the inside too. I also need to get some gifts wrapped that will have to go in the mail soon.

I guess I should get busy.