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July 2008

walk with me wednesday.. fungi

fungi

I joke that with all this wet weather, I'll have moss growing between my toes.  No joke is that this has been the wettest month in history, or so reports the weather guy on VPR.  I believe it, everything is soggy.  There is standing water in my field.  The sugarbush looks like April with pools of running water. One friend reported that her husband hung the laundry out and eight days later it was still wet.  A few days ago, I began noticing fungi sprouting up.  The woods are the stuff from which both dreams and nightmares spring. 

When I was small, my Grandmother would walk with us in the woods and name the growing things we'd find.  She taught me that these are "Indian Pipes", delicate and ethereal.  I've always loved finding them.  They are commonplace, easy to spot.

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My culinary friends taught me to look for gold scattered like nuggets on the woods floor.  Chanterelles.  Try buying them, they are golden in more ways than one.  Sauteed and served with a cream base..

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In a particularly dark part of the woods, I passed through a small grove of these dark creatures.  I don't know them, but like many fungi, they were grouped as a community.  Imagination, go wild.

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Weird-mushroom


When I got back from my walk, C asked if I'd seen the ones behind the barn.  The strangest of all were closest to home.  Oh my!

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My Grandmother never told me the name for these.  Neither did I find it in my Audubon Field Guide.

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Spielberg..watch out!


Japanese Feather Stole

Started: another beauty from Anne Hanson. This stole has been on my "list" for a couple years.  It looked like a good summer knitting project. I wished I had one with me (finished) the other day.  A dream, of course. In spite of the "feather" name, it has always reminded me of the little frothy bits of waves that finally make it to the beach.  I picked the color accordingly.  Two pattern repeats into it and I don't have it memorized.  If I glance at the pattern at the beginning of each odd numbered row, it is enough.  As I knit, I picture myself knitting, while sitting on the beach, digging my toes into the sand. Instead, I find myself sitting on the deck, knitting and  watching the critters in the pond. 

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Pattern: Japanese Feather Stole
Yarn: Ball and Skein's Arequipa in "Ocean"

Friday..Saturday..Sunday.. UNCLE!!

This was last Friday’s post, or would have been if I had any kind of phone service.  Dial–up at best is bad.  A month of rain, combined with the “new” less efficient than our old local phone service (most of Verizon’s New England local service has been bought out by Fairpoint Communications  or they who do not know how to communicate) has left me with sporadic phone service at best.  Back to Friday, the day when Ruby and Norma were supposed to visit.   Communications was so spotty, that when we were able to speak that morning, it was decided that we’d meet at Ruby’s.   I finished the salad I’d planned on serving, packed it up and headed out.  I didn’t make it very far before I had to stop for my neighbor’s sheep.  They’d found a lovely shady spot to rest, in the middle of the road.

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They scooched over a bit or maybe not and I slowly made my way around them. 

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A party’s a party but the eats at their party looked to be lacking.  When I looked back they were following me down the road.

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If you’ve read Norma’s post, you may have guessed that plans changed and by the time I’d arrived, they were set to make their way to me.  That trip, the one back over to me, would be when Ruby “saw” the rock sheep.  No, they aren’t good for milk, cheese nor wool, but great for a laugh and what seems could be an endless ribbing.  Sorry Ruby, how are those new lenses? 

Let’s do it again soon?  I had a great day.


Oh yes, When we sat down to eat, the first thing Ruby served was some beautiful and delicious cheese.  It was made from the milk of the very same sheep, at my neighbor's farm.  That's local.

 

ps. If you are reading this, I got lucky and had enough patience and service to get through. 

 

pss. If you haven’t heard from me in a while, that’s my story.  I’m sticking to it.


samples

In one of her posts, Cyndy asked who kept a project notebook.  Not me, anymore.  Between blogging and Ravelry, there isn't as much need.  A  book can hold samples, something that no matter how convenient, a virtual record can not do.  I started to think about this the other day.  I've taken classes with the sole purpose of trying out a variety of fibers.  Samples were spun and recorded.  They're around here somewhere.  Not filed, not kept.  I walked around my office and studio looking behind stacks of paper and current projects, rummaging through knitting bags and baskets, collecting the samples that I had cast aside.  They are unmarked, no information as to the fiber or spindle.  They are useless for future reference.  Many of the samples I do are to test a spindle, a fiber, a blend I've been carding.  They've done their job when I finish them.  But, they are here.  Before I throw these few away, I thought to review them and to again ask the question, do you keep a notebook for your spinning projects? 

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I'd love to hear your thoughts.


found!

Remember this??   Here is the second ounce of Firefox cashmere/ silk roving.  I thought I'd left it at my parents house last month.  I couldn't believe I'd been so careless.  Maybe it had rolled under the bed when I was packing to come home.  It had rolled alright.  I found it last night behind a chair.  I wonder if it had any help? 

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barn dooryard

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I'm only now getting around to planting the front of the barn addition.  Everything has to be perennial or removable.   The rock "step" is level to the ground.  When the plow and snow blower come by this winter, all has to have disappeared.   The hostas are Krossa Regal.  They'll be nearly as high as the bottom of the window boxes and as full as a hedge by next year.  That's the plan.  You know about plans.

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last winter


Friday Flower.. a special beauty

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"Japanese" Iris

I don't know her name, only that she was labeled a "Japanese Iris".  The identification tag for this lovely beauty disappeared under the heavy load of a six foot pile of snow many winters ago.  Every year, I wait for her to show off her petticoats.  She's stingy, only giving me the pleasure of 1-3 flowers.  I suppose that this is the best she can give in this harsh climate, so unlike her own. 

Anyone know her name?



the electric multi-skeiner

 think "sweet"!

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for more info: here

I'm in the test phase with the Multi-Skeiner.  So far, I'm loving it.  If there aren't too many modifications, it should be available the first of August. We are not taking any orders at this time.  If you'd like to put your name on the waiting list, please send an email to: multi-skeiner@ballandskein.com.


walk with me wednesday.. with beaver

Everybody has "their thing" that they do.  You know what I mean, for example, baking chocolate chip cookies, or the best lasagna. For me, one of my "things" is that I seem to have the ability to trap beavers.  Don't laugh.  If you live on a pond, it is a great skill to have.  Years ago, we had to shoot them or worse yet, set the killer bear traps for the beavers that settled here.  It  was awful.  Beavers are smart, beautiful animals.  I can't bear to kill them, especially when so many people want ponds built on their properties.  Depending on where you live, it isn't always easy to get a permit to turn a wetland into a pond.  Beavers don't get permits.  That makes it pretty handy to have a beaver ready and more than willing to work.  My preferred method is to set a Hav-a-Hart trap.  Live trapping, uninjured.  I brag about the year that I trapped the offender in the first 15 minutes after setting the trap.  Usually, I get them within hours.  NOT this year.  It was a solid week.  Every morning with my first cup of coffee and every night before I went to bed, I'd walk down to the trap and make sure that no one was inside.  There isn't any point to stressing an animal any more than necessary.  I move them as soon as I find them.  This little beaver was so smart.  He had it down.  Day after day I found that he'd poked long sticks into the trap and released it.  One day I found that he'd somehow been able to block the entrance and partially fill the inside with mud and pond weed, his specialty.  On my evening checks, he'd be waiting a bit offshore and smack the water with his tail several times to scare me away.  I was beginning to think that this one would be the beaver that got away, or that we'd have to get rid of by other means.  My neighbor had complained that his field behind the pond was too wet to pasture.  There has been so much rain and the beaver had taken full advantage. The water level was really high.  My damn was soggy.  What the beaver built at night, I'd break down in the morning.  Lines had been drawn.  He had to go.

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Location is everything.  Not here? maybe here??  Suble difference.  As the water level changes, so does the trap position.

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Got 'em!

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This little guy was so beautiful.  I wanted to dig my fingers into his fur coat.  It was long and shiny and so soft looking.  I didn't.   When it came to the release, he wasn't about to turn his back on me.  I had to dump him out of the trap.  Poor thing, he hissed and backed away. 

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Did you know that beaver hiss? 




little bits of summertime

After what can only be described as one of the longest, wettest, coldest springs on record, we have finally reached the end of the first week of July and with it the arrival of summer.  It was, after all, 45F on the 4th of July.  No matter now.  The past few days have been glorious, sunny and warm.  The garden is finally in, the solar electric fences have had sun enough to charge, and the ground is begining to dry.  It was hot enough yesterday to dry out the hostas that are waiting in the shade houses, potted up and ready for sale.  200 gallons was pumped down to the field.  The temps today will reach nearly 90 and give us something new to complain about weather-wise..the heat and humidity. 


This is the time in between planting and harvest.  There's lots to do but nothing frantic.  I know most of you are starting to eat from your gardens.  Not me.  The first beans have their second set of leaves, as do the cucs and squash.  The second planting only went in three days ago. Still, the gardens need weeding, the pond salting, and house cleaning.  I carry a spindle between the house and the barn, the garden and the field.  On my breaks, I sit in the shade and spin.  Spinning in this way of fits and starts isn't fast.  But it certainly more than 10 minutes a day. I have a finished skein of cashmere / silk to show for it.

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1.1 ounces
160 yards,2 ply
spindle: Ledbetter
fiber: 50% cashmere 50% silk


For years now, as I wind of another of these little skeins, C asks the same question, " do you ever do anything with all those little bits of yarn you make?"  He knows how to get under my skin. It is a question I've often asked myself.  The answer has been to buy and spin up at least 2 ounces.  When I get ready to spindle one of Barb Parry's beautiful blends, I first separate the roving into two parts lengthwise and roll each part into a small ball. Question is, where is the second ball?  Seems like that happened to me a few weeks ago on another spindled project.  I have got to clean out a few of my project bags.


The baby Tulip Sweater was delivered and modeled.  She almost fills it out.  So cute! I immediately cast on for another, this time for a boy and knit with only the darker blue and green. 

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I'm spreading all the accumulated blog fodder over the next few days rather than make this one epic.  It's almost noon and the heat is building.  The frogs have quieted down.  The cicadas are singing.  If it weren't for the damn blood sucking bugs, I'd string up my hammock and take a nap.  In lieu of that...maybe a bit of spinning on the deck. Summertime!