Wednesday, June 29, 2011


Catching frogs
Today is day two of "Camp Nonny".  That is the name given by the Grandgirls to spending time with Gramma while the parents are at work.  Yesterday was busy with playing in the water garden, swimming at Grie and Pa's, ending with supper outside and a fire in the fire pit.  Bec and Kevin came here after work to spend the night, as one of the girls is not totally secure in sleeping here without them, yet. It is the same time traveling to this house as going to their home, what with having to cross on the ferry all the time,  so it didn't make a lot of difference in their work day.  However, they did appreciate having supper all ready when they got here!  I know the feeling.  Thoughtfully, they brought some beer from  Otter Creek Brewery (right on the way) as a thank you.  Always appreciated!
Meanwhile the chicks are growing like mad.  They were trying to roost on the bottom roosting bar last night, but ended up back in the nest box with Mama.  She is so anxious to get them on the roost, but their feet are just not big enough!  I think it won't be long before they can do it.
Getting bigger

The strawberries are all gone now.  The currants (what are left after chicken munching) are ripe, however, the girls love to eat them, so I don't think we are in line for any currant jelly or wine this year.  That will be offset by the enormous crop of raspberries we are going to have.  We have never seen the plot so laden with fruit, and the blueberries also.  I am psyched.  It seems to be a good fruit year, all around, as the apple trees at my folks are loaded, too.  I don't know if it was the long, cold, snowy winter, or if it is just the usual cycle of fertility.  We got the bees too late for them to have been a pollinating contributer.  Whatever the reason, we are just as grateful for the promise of good harvest!

Friday, June 24, 2011

Fiber immersion

Looking like nothing
I am getting back into all my lapsed projects.  The little shawlette is giving me a run for the money as it is not shaping up the way I want it to.  So I am tweaking the design by adding another stitch at each side, after the yarn over, hoping to make the length across the shoulders increase at a greater rate than the length of the back.  I think it is working, but need to knit a bit more to be sure.  I am excited about the ribbon lacing part as it will change the whole look of the shawl.  Right now it is at the "don't look like much" stage.  I also got out my lace knitting as it has languished for so long that I was afraid I wouldn't remember how to do it.  But it all came back to me.  I really do like knitting from charts.  It is very hard to go back to reading patterns line by line.  In fact, I haven't done it in forever.
It being another rainy day, I am going to do some carding and get back to spinning.  I am still working on the dark brown which I hope to finish so that I can start on the next color.  I want to be sure and have enough yarn for both warp and weft as it is so annoying to be caught out and have to stop everything to spin some more.  Happy day, playing with fiber!

Fleece right off the animal

Bit o' lace

P1150513 by jtrknit
P1150513, a photo by jtrknit on Flickr.
Lace shawl in progress, early on.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Ordination and Attack

John, before the Bishop

The siblings
The juggling sister
The Ordination of my nephew to the Priesthood was a ceremony to remember.  Held in an historic Cathedral, it was full of beauty, music, and symbolism. The best part of it all was that my folks, his Grandparents, were able to be there to witness it.  It was such a huge deal that some of my Dad's family drove out all the way from Omaha.  This is amazing when you consider they put in a 12 hour day and a 10 hour day, and that one sister is 85!  One of his brothers also came, so part of the weekend was a reunion for them.  It had been many years since they had gotten together, and now that all but one is in their 80's, each visit is precious.  My folks hadn't been to my sister's house in many a year, either, so that was special for her.  John's sister has just recently gotten her habit as a novitiate of the order of the Sisters of Life,  so she made quite a stir among the relations, also.  The best part was when she showed off her juggling skills.
We got home without incident and found that all was well on the "farm".  Monday was spent doing laundry and various other chores.  I was in the midst of a phone call when there was a sudden ruckus in the dooryard---Franklin the rooster hysterically crowing as he raced up the lawn.  Jeff and the dog ran out to see what was going on as I quickly ended my call.  Where were the hens?  Jeff searched up and down the fence line as I counted heads.  Mama and the babies were missing and so was Cleo.  Then a bloodied and bedraggled Cleo came out of the bushes down back just as I located Mama and chicks under the forsythia bush.  Poor Cleo!  She was walking quite slowly, but seemed to have all her bits about her.  We found two piles of feathers, and she was bloody, but not bleeding, so she had a narrow escape.  I guess doggy smell is not enough to deter a hungry fox!  She is slowly getting back to her old self,  walking gingerly and roosting on the lowest bar in the coop.  The rest of the flock have spent the last two days in their fenced in area until I let them out late in the morning, and then they are all hanging around very close to the house.  It will be a long time before any of them go to that back corner again!  Such drama in the country.
And Mama hen is bringing in the chicks to the coop at night.  She is no dummy!  I am glad as I feel they are a lot safer in the barn with the doors latched, than out in the pen with just the wire around them.

The chicks at four weeks

Thursday, June 16, 2011

New listings

Well, I finally took the time to get two more listings into my Etsy shop.  It is such a challenge to get good photos, to begin with, and then the description writing sometimes does me in!  It must be good for the brain to be stretched like that.  I still have  three more things to list, but they will have to wait as I have ton of things to do here at the house before going off tomorrow.  Including, among other things, packing! 
A new scarf
The chickens are still doing well.  We saw Mama Fox the other day, across the field with 3 kits.  So for a day I kept them in the pen.  Last night there was a fox barking very close by--in the road, I guess.  However, I let the flock out today as it is so nice and I need them to eat bugs.  It is the chance we free rangers have to take.  And it is a chance, as the guy right down the road lost some of his to foxes the other day.  I like to think MacTavish's doggy scent keeps them away.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Tuesday musings

Guess this is going to be the sort of day that lends itself to being out and about, getting things done.  I would rather it was a stay at home day, but, oh well.  Can't be helped.  One thing getting done is a short haircut.  I had a lot of fun, putting up the hair, playing with it, using clips and ties, but now it is time for it to be short.  Especially for this weekend, as Becca and I are going to take my folks down to Delaware for my nephew's Ordination to the Priesthood.  It's sure to be a big occasion.  My sister is very excited as our folks haven't been down to her house in years.  And, she is also excited about her son!
Senor Zorro, Senor Tigre and Senor Leon
Meanwhile, worked really hard to get my masks done for the story El Conejito.  Our first Taradiddle performance is next week already!!! I can't believe it.  I think that we are ready as we have been working on the stories for some time now.  Tomorrow I will stop at Daphne's on the way up to watch the Grandgirls (they have half a day tomorrow so I will be with them) so that will give us a chance to go through the whole program and see if we really do know what we are doing!  I hope so. 

Friday, June 10, 2011

They survived!

All is well
Mama scratches up treats
Well, after two weeks of having every storm that headed this way deciding to veer off at the last moment, we finally got ours yesterday.  Actually, the rain part was a good thing as we were getting pretty dry and crispy, which was very ironic considering that just an hour north of us they are dealing with the aftermath of severe flooding and heavy rains all month.  The nerve wracking part of the storm was that I was Elsewhere when the Furies descended,  leaving the entire flock to fend for themselves.  I had to fret all the way home, imagining drowned chicks and hail-concussed bodies all over the lawn.  Happily, all were present and accounted for, carrying on as if having wind blown lawn furniture, downed trees, branches, and  panels from the greenhouse all scattered on the grass, was all part of a regular day.  Fortunately we did not have any real damage, losing only two tomato plants.  And that could have been from anything.

Look at the tiny tail feathers!
Franklin, the Boss with Cleo
Started knitting on a little shawlette.  I am calling it that as I envision it to be just a nice, small triangle of soft knitting on one's shoulders,  accented in the yarn overs with some pretty multicolored ribbon.  It is from a very finely spun alpaca that I had blended with a merino/silk roving.  Grey, mostly, with some subtle lighter colors of pink and light grey showing through.  I have to get enough knit to decide if I like the design element or not.  That's what I like about doing my own pattern--freedom to go my own way.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

The Bees and the Birds

The top bar hive
This weekend was a very full one.  Saturday  Jeff actually took the entire day off from work, a rare event in his life as The Barber in town.  The reason he took it off was two fold--First he had to go pick up his shipment of bees, and Second, because it was Town Wide Yard Sale day, and he is never very busy that day as folks who aren't shopping for bargains tend to avoid the village. 
 The little cage with the queen
He got his bees without any problems.  This year he is not using his top bar beehive, but a more common, square built one.  In order to get the bees into a hive, the queen has to be in there waiting for them.  So the first thing to be done is to take out the little cage the queen is in, and after making sure she is ok, put that inside.  Then my beekeeper put some food, as sugar water, in the hive for the very hungry bees, who have traveled a long way by then.  Lastly, after making a ramp (from an old board) from the ground to the entrance of the hive, he opened the box containing the bees and dumped them onto the ground by the ramp.  And the bees all started crawling up the ramp into the hive to find the queen!! I wish I had been there.  It looks so cool!  I'm glad he had the presence of mind to take photos.
Crawling up the ramp

New hive, new location

 Meanwhile, I was very busy on Main Street, actually selling items.  I was very pleased as Gloria and I look on it more as an educational day--showing who we are, what we do and  what we have, as most people are bargain hunting, not looking to buy hand crafted things.  But we both sold enough to make it worth our while.  And I got quite a lot spun up of this luscious dark brown  fleece which is going to be part of the next weaving project--a shawl done in all natural colors.
And the birds?  That would be my Mama Hen and the three little chicks, now just a day away from two weeks old.  She is taking them all over the yard, causing me no end of distraction and I despair of them ever reaching a decent age---I am so afraid of disaster---they are so tiny!!!  Actually, it is tons of fun to watch them.  They leap up on things, chase after each other, scratch like Mama and peep constantly!  I still won't name them until I find out if they are cockerels or pullets.  Because I am determined to raise the cockerels for the table.  Wonder if I can do it?
Mama Hen and the three chicks

Thursday, June 2, 2011

This, I like

June 2, 2011
The weather turned over the course of the night and now it is a most bearable sort of warm.  The humidity dropped, there is a nice breeze, and the temperature is in the 70's, not 80's.  I love this sort of day--Thanks, God!
Jen's rescue rose
The garden is just bursting with color right now.  It really is my best time of year for it.  If I was a conscientious sort of gardener, the place would be spectacular.  As it is, I am a haphazard sort who gardens in fits and starts.  What has worked to my advantage is that I know this, and when I plant I try to pick things that will work well with neglect.  Delphiniums do not work well with neglect, nor Russian sage.  Two plants I have tried to grow many times, but it just doesn't happen.  Roses, now, roses I can do for some reason.  Once Annie and Jesse brought me home 5 bushes they had picked up at the end of the season for ten bucks, and I still have 2 of them left.  And one time my niece Jennifer gave me a poor black spotted rose bush that was being thrown out from the nursery she was working at (so she rescued it), and until this last winter it has been spectacular.  This spring it had a lot of die back, but it looks better now.
A nice gift for someone
In preparation for the weekend Town Wide Yard Sale,  I worked all day yesterday on getting my things uniformly labeled and priced.  Also got my inventory list finished.  I really don't expect to sell anything as the Yard Sale mentality is for bargains, but exposure is a good thing.  One never knows who might be looking for a gift for someone.