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December 2011

November 2011

Little Leaf

There is something about leaves..  I love their shapes.   A pattern with knitted leaves nearly always catches my eye.  So, when I saw this little sweater, I knew I had to knit it.


Pattern: Cascade by Raya Budrevich
Yarn:  Ball and Skein Providence
Needles: 7 US


This little sweater is knit in one piece, from the top down.  It was fun watching the leaves emerge, as they are knit along with the body of the sweater.  The little buttonholes are incorporated into the pattern.  

It was finished just in time for the Fiber Festival of New England, earlier this month.  Tomorrow it will be sent to my niece.  It should be a perfect weight sweater for all this warm fall weather.


Happy Thanksgiving


Here goes.. One of my favorite things to do Thanksgiving eve (or morn) is to search out pictures of the President pardoning that year's turkey.  Can't tell you why, at least not in a sentence or two.  They are fun.  It is a strange custom and a LOT more complicated than I ever thought.  I was happy enough with the pictures.. but when I started looking into what goes into such an affair, it is mind boggling.  We are a silly people.


Turkey 2011

Wild Turkey Bourbon offered this year's winner a job as mascot.  They should stick with wild turkeys.  (He is handsome.)


I'd like to see a wild turkey win.  They are so much more colorful, and interesting, if a turkey can be described that way.

I never knew that the turkey spent the night before in a hotel.  Or how it was chosen, or schooled.  See this from Obama Foodarama

The National Turkey--who is always male--will weigh about 45 pounds by the time he meets President Obama. Huisinga will select the official turkey and his feathery stunt double on Nov. 18th, the day before they are driven to Washington for their moment in the Presidential spotlight, according to Wilmar spokesman Jenn Baumgartner. A second turkey is always chosen in case the first gets ill, or can't "perform his duties."

Last year, President Obama likened the selection process to a popular reality TV series, noting that the wannabe National Turkeys had to "strut their stuff for a panel of judges."

"It’s kind of like a turkey version of “Dancing With the Stars," except the stakes for the contestants was much higher," President Obama said, to laughter. "Only one pair would survive and win the big prize: Life --and an all-expenses-paid trip to Washington."


... with the Presidential Flock, exposing the toms to plenty of flash cameras, and plenty of noise--in the form of rock & roll music. The birds have also been taught to stand on a table, to replicate what goes on at the pardon ceremony, when the National Turkey is placed on a table for easy presidential access. 

"They're getting a lot of hands-on attention," Rosenblatt said.

The turkeys will travel to Washington in the back of a van that has been designed to replicate their pen on the farm. Once in DC, the turkeys will be staying at a five-star hotel, which has requested anonymity to protect the birds.         BY EDDIE GEHMAN KOHAN  


Liberty turkey2011
THis is what an educated turkey llooks like. What a great picture.. my favorite this year.  Hats off to the photographer, Pablo Martinez Monsivais.


Want to know more? Check out some of past year's on this site.  There are things that I didn't know.  ouch!


Happy Thanksgiving!!!

walk with me wednesday..

P1010500What a strange autumn.  Gorgeous warm days. A snowstorm. More gorgeous warm days. Sunday was one of the later.  All week the predictions were for a day in the 50's, maybe higher, and sunny.  I needed an afternoon off before the holiday push. Armed with sandwiches, nuts, and a thermos of tea, we headed for one of my favorite spots.  


Until several years ago, the bluff was covered in an impenetrable thicket.  Less than half remains.  I argue with the wisdom of the decision to cut it down, partly because there are now so many fewer birds and because I love the look of the brush that makes up the thicket.


There are bittersweet vines and wild rose.


And trees shaped by the winds.  The deer still find spots to shelter in.  We saw a buck several times during the day.  Between stands of thicket, the grasses are shoulder high and we'd see only his antlered head moving across the field. 

There are rocks..


(you know where this is going.. )   and more rocks..



We went prepared.  What could be better than sitting on a rocky beach, just at water's edge, soaking up the late autumn sun, gathering beach stones.  



Almost perfect.  



round and round

One of things that I realized last year, after blogging for so many years, was that I was repeating myself.  Case in point..



March 2006                                           November 2011

See what I mean?  

(Makes me wonder if I really do have anything to say.  Maybe we're just going in circles, repeating ourselves.  Ouch!)


And with that comparison, I've outed myself.  I really do let the squirrels eat from the feeder (as if I could stop them), and I let Sammy sit on the table to watch because we both enjoy it. So there. ;)

No acorns..


 Do you think they knew??



No, I don't think dirty kittys should be on the table.  Nor, do I think that gray squirrels should be cleaning out my bird feeders.  But this year.... I will be feeding them.

It was months ago, that gray squirrels (at least in my area) started jumping in front of cars, in extraordinary numbers.  One day I counted six fresh dead squirrels in the 1.5 miles it takes to get to the bottom of the hill.  Driving anywhere was a challenge.  It almost seemed that they waited until the car was upon them to leap from the roadside and under the wheels.  I hated to go anywhere.   I'll do almost anything to avoid hitting an animal, or frog, or turtle.. or anything.  I swerve, slam on my brakes and drive entirely too slowly when creatures are in the road. This year it was spooky. 

The prediction is that we could lose 50% of the squirrel population this year, to starvation.  There are NO acorns.  Seriously.  I usually rake acorns into piles 3 feet high and six feet across. This year, nothing.  The turkeys are missing from my yard, too.  I know that they've been seen regularly at nearby orchards.  But here, where last year, I had 37 of them, everyday, I have none.

I hadn't given any of this much thought until my friend Manise posted a link to an article in the Boston Globe last week titled, Where Did All the Acorns Go?  Reading it got me thinking, a proverbial light bulb.  This isn't the first time we've had a shortage.  When I first moved to this oak woods, we went several years without acorns.  I remember asking around to see if these were a species I was unfamiliar with.  I didn't know that the oaks had acorn cycles.  One year, I blamed it on a gypsy moths infestation.  Not this time.  Another article I've come across describes a shortage in the mid atlantic states during 2008. That year we had a bumper crop.

Small acorn pic

The past few years have been mast years for the oaks.  Huge, abundant amounts of nuts.  It only makes sense then, that the squirrel population would have flourished.  I had only to look up to see them, racing throughout the woods, leaping branch to branch and tree to tree, small figures against the sky.  I love watching them.  Treetops full of motion, and commotion!

So, yes.. I'll be adding extra seed to the feeders.  Sammy will be pleased, he'll have a bit more to watch during the winter.  Aaahh.. the table, it will need to be cleaned before each meal.

lavender honey

Sorry, don't get all excited, I wish I did have some.  I named this little cowl Lavender Honey because of the color (bet you already guessed that) and because the pattern that I started with was Honey, by Madelinetosh.  I changed the stitch count to make a smaller, more light weight version. 


Yarn: Ball and Skein's Providence
Colorway: Forget Me Not
Needles: 8 US  24" circular

There was a change in the weather last night.  The wind picked up and in came the cold.  After a week of lovely too warm for the season temps, we are finally feeling like November.  This cowl is perfect to wear on my afternoon walks. 

walk with me wednesday


the beaver....

The beaver is a large, semi aquatic rodent.  It is the largest rodent in North America.  It is clever, hardworking, stubborn and at this point, winning.  All summer we tried to discourage the beaver that came to live on our pond.  In the evenings, after dark, we'd go down to the damn and make noise, smack the water with a paddle, and do our best to chase him away.  He'd smack the water back at us, loudly with his tail. Then swim back and forth along the dam until we headed up the hill to the house.  Each morning, often with my first cup of coffee, I'd don my rubber boots and head down to the dam to clean out the past nights endeavour. By the end of the summer, we had to use the bucket on the tractor to move away the piled high sticks and mud that I'd hauled onto the bank from the overflow pipe.  The spillway was more of an issue.  This he'd dam with larger material.  Sometimes it would take two of us to move the water soaked logs he'd pushed into place the night before.  As the weeks went by, and not helped by the extraordinarily wet season we were having, the dam grew soggier.  I worried. I fought back.  So, did the beaver. 

In desperation, we decided to electrify the spillway. 



That did work to keep the water flowing.  And, if what I read is true, I take great pleasure in thinking about the discomfort and frustration that the sound of the running water must cause him.  Small victory, indeed.

I figured that if we could find his lodge, we'd have more to use against him.  Beavers, it turns out, don't need a home until winter.  We searched.

P1010413  Eventually, in late summer, we found a place on the island that he'd begun building and an underwater log storage area for his winter food.  We worked hard, daily polling our raft over to the island and removing the saplings he was accumulating.  Most days, his night's work filled the raft. 







As we stole his cache, he upped the ante.  The trees he felled became larger.  My willows disappeared.


As he built his lodge, we poked holes in it, we sprinkled coyote piss around the perimeter, and even put some inside.  Still his stash grew. Above water and below.




At this point, we haven't seen him in months.  He works only after dark.  I hear him. 

I give.  Cry Uncle... but to a rodent???














blogging keeps track of your projects

  P1000779even when your memory doesn't.


This picture was part of a post that I did last winter.  It was spun from a pound or so of hand dyed oatmeal colored shetland and another quarter pound of silk that I dyed to blend together.  Most of it ws spun late January and February.  I hadn't gotten around to plying it.  Late spring, I found a bit that I hadn't carded so decided that I'd keep going with the project and packed everything up to take with me when I went north last June.  There, I misplaced the woolee winder that I'd used to spin the first three bobbins.  I searched for two months before finding it in high up on a shelf next to my desk, safe and snug in a plastic bag.  In the meantime, but during the search, I gave up and spun another (regular) bobbin and a half.  Finally, over the weekend, I plied it.  



Yes, when there is that much to ply, nothing beats an electric spinner.  Hope you aren't too disappointed.  Pictures to follow, of course.  

It is now a three ply, worsted wt. yarn. ;)