Tuesday, September 29, 2009

What's That Smell?

That smell is something that hasn't touched our noses in a good long while, like since
mid-June. The smell, wet dog. Finally, the weather has changed bringing with it some rain, some snow and some pretty darn cold temps. This morning it's a whopping 27 degrees F (-5C?). Let's just say cold.

While Rube, the outdoor wood fired boiler is dead cold, the little Morso Squirrel stove is working its heart out. It's a tiny thing but manages to reasonably heat the whole downstairs and part of the upstairs where the pipes go up. We paid a small fortune for this stove when we built the house and it was worth every single penny. It's small, can go close to a regular wall and is the easiest stove to adjust I've ever used. Plus it's got an adorable squirrel relief cast into it's sides. The cat thinks it's pretty nice too and until I went to get the camera I had two dogs sharing hearth space with Rodger.

The last few days I have been busily procrastinating on the painting ( one more coat of trim and it's done!). In place of brush in hand I have played with the horses,

done a little shopping, some spinning and some weaving. So for all you folks who think I'm productive, it's a myth! :-) Gene also abandoned me for some more training. All I know is that 250 firefighters and communications folks are meeting in Corvallis, complete with bomb and cadaver sniffing dogs and he's having a ball. Before he left, he scraped the upstairs bathroom ceiling, cleaned, skim coated and primed it. The paint still needs to go on. It's out of commission for use so we're getting to know our downstairs shower again! He'll be home today and I'll take my wood sniffing dog out to show him a heap that needs to be cut and split! :-)

The white scarf came off Hey Baby yesterday. It needs to be finished and pictures will follow. A new warp has been started. Gene informed me last week that with the Harvest Festival and New Fire House Open House, there will be a silent auction for the fire and rescue department. Could I weave a little something? So, Foxfibre colored cotton has gone onto the loom for some thick and thirsty waffle weave towels.

I've been playing with demo programs on the computer and think I've finally made my choice for the Official Theresa Christmas list. I try to make things easy for DH at shopping time by throwing together a few ideas. I don't expect them all and often he has something completely different in mind, but occasionally I am insistent and this will be one of those occasions. For all those also looking, I'm putting the ProWeave program on that list. Like all programs there is a learning curve, so I can't say if it's hard or easy, I have no lexicon for comparison, but the ProWeave folks have been attentive and exceptionally helpful with questions. Very good customer service.

Shopping happened on Friday. I had a few places to go downtown and while window browsing on the way I spied a bag that just HAD to come home with me. I've been using a basket for all the roving I keep by the spinning wheel. It looks nice but almost daily I see a dog with a wispy beard in the exact color of whatever roving is on top of the pile. The pink was quite noticeable I might add. Something had to be done and this was a fun and inexpensive solution. It's made of a sturdy coated paper like material and such fun graphics! The zip top was the most important element along with it being very very roomy.

Farm news is scant. No Bond break ins so far. The other morning in the dark either a bat or a bird flew into me. It felt awfully big for a little brown bat, but it was so swift and out of my headlight quickly I couldn't say for sure what it was. No doubt it was roosting or resting on the goat fence, my opening the gate disturbed whatever it was.
Two nice looking 4 point bucks where resting just outside the paddock, horses sleeping on one side of the fence, deer on the other. Today it's obvious that I'll need to put out the heated buckets and collect all the errant fly masks.

Bea had her follow-up appointment on Tuesday and is released for just about everything except jumping and running flat out. She can walk up and down stairs and yes, the low sofa is okay. There will be days when she appears lame but not to worry, the new ligament is solid. She'll be like a lot of the human population and have a predicting knee that reminds her of both weather changes and when she's over done it.
For 15 days post-op I'd say the old girl has come a long way.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

A Little Lizard With Your Libation?

It was quite a little race and battle of wills that started off my morning. Five sharp eyed terriers, one sharp eyed aussie/border cross, a fairly slow cat and one surprised human all spied this little fellow moving slowly in the cool morning across the back room floor boards at once.

Who would win was the question. If the terriers got him it was all over. Jack was at the head of the pack and with that JRT background there is no hesitation to this boy. Gone in one bite. If Smoochie had gotten him, he'd be licked to death,Charlotte would have stood over him nosing and poking him to death and Bea, she would have made a bold stand 10 feet away and tried to bark him off the face of the earth. Angel was ready to herd him to death and Rodger the cat, well, we have 3 cats around the property and a lot of tail-less lizards. Those are the lucky ones. The word "No" is used very little with the dogs, preferring commands as to what I want them to do, so NO yelled has a lot of force. It was enough to stop even the highest prey drive in his tracks. I was able to make it known that this was MINE and no one else dare touch it. I calmly got a glass and coaxed my little friend into it. All the dogs politely watched from the doorway. Rodger was miffed and flicked his tail in disgust and left the scene all together.

I'll wait until day light and taxi this guy out to a safer haven. I know just the spot.
It looks like he is known as an Oregon Alligator Lizard.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Tabby & Twill

PB&J, silver & gold ( earworm for me on that one)! This is a very nice combo. I am so pleased with this structure and see a lot of possibilities for future weaving projects using these 6 shaft/4 treadle drafts. I was lying in bed last night thinking that these could be used in double weave. I believe I have enough treadles to do that with 10 available. Of course as it was weaving up I was thinking lovely linen runners.

This is a keeper scarf, actually for myself. The baby llama rivals just about anything in softness and I love the little bit of sparkle the stellina it's mixed with brings to the piece. It was surprisingly slippery. For such a fluffy soft yarn, this had no grab. It might be nice mixed with the overly grabby mohair I also like.

Terribly impractical for me being white, but that's okay. I am rarely impractical when it comes to clothing. In fact if they made horse slobber colored clothing with say a dog hair texture built in I would probably have a wardrobe of it. Hey, wait a minute, I do! It just didn't start out that way. ;-)

Needless to say, I didn't get painting yesterday. The siren song of seeing the pattern appear was too great. What I did get done besides the scarf was to start collecting information on weaving programs. Since I work on a Mac, I'm pretty limited. Of course I could probably support a Windows program on this new Mac somehow, but
there is a reason I have a Mac and it isn't to make it work like Windows.

The two programs I'm looking at are ProWeave and WeaveMaker. Both are probably WAY more than I need. I have been sitting on this decision for a year waiting for PCW to come out with a Mac version but the last word I got directly from the company is maybe at 2010 Convergence. Too long to wait for a maybe.

On farm news not much going on. Yesterday and today we are having a terrible amount of smoke blow into the area from a large Douglas County fire. It's no good to ride in or even be out working in either for people or animals. I did go out and give everyone a nice little quick brushing. The winter coats are coming in thick and shiny and heavy with curls. Imp is beginning to look every bit the Berber carpet, Boo is getting intricate swirls on his butt and neck, Dandy is getting fuzzy and growing his upper lip mustache. He is the only horse that has one. Cooper, who is not the curliest of curlies is getting ridges on his neck and Nick, who has no curls at all (even though both parents did), is beginning to look like a chia pet with his heavy long and straight coat. It has the texture and softness of a rabbit. Few course guard hairs and it grows to be about 4 inches long.
Barn cats Buzz and Juno are also starting to lay in winter coat. They have found good warm caves in between the hay bales. Over the winter they will lose some of the hidey holes and gain others as we feed down the bales. They also have a heavy wool felted bed in the tack room. It's not uncommon to walk in and they are curled up together having an afternoon nap.

I'm off to feed and do a Bond check and then to town a little later this morning. The painting will still be there tomorrow!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Life Lines

Sometimes I just get stuck on something. Yesterday was one of those times. I will admit here and now that when it comes to planning a warp, unless it is something terribly specific that has been requested I put pen to paper for not much more than warp calculations, making sure I have enough bouts for threading sequences and a rough guide of color changes should there be any. Most everything is either spontaneous or in my head as to what I want to do. So it was when I was warping
the current scarf now sitting on Hey Baby.

I know I wanted to do plain weave and point twill the whole length of the piece. In other words, as I treadled, both plain weave would happen in the white parts and point twill would be happening in the mocha parts. This seemed pretty easy, but when I went to look for an 8 shaft pattern that would allow that I was out of luck. Then I searched for a 4 shaft pattern and again, nothing. Magazines started flying, books starting coming off the shelves for review of patterns and still I was left with either treadling for the point twill and then treadling tabby. It drove home three very important things: 1. I am woefully bad at drafting by hand. 2. I really really need a computer program and 3. most important, I have very smart weaving friends. It was time to call in the dogs and piss on the fire. An e-mail went out to Nadine, my long suffering mentor. Think nice things for this wonderful lady, she taught me how to weave and I am sure it was a very trying time indeed!
And then a call went out to Cindie, since I was sure she had a computer program.
Cindie happily was home and after we both got ourselves kind of stumped on this problem of either 4 or 8 harnesses, got off the phone and went to work on my behalf for a draft. Nadine was also scanning her massive collections of stuff for something suitable. Gosh darn, it's so great to have resources and terribly nice ones too!

Cindie and her computer managed to come up with a draft ( and 3 variations) using 6 shafts and 4 treadles. I sent the drafts to Nadine, both so she wouldn't keep looking and also to have it on hand should some other confused soul have such a request.

I am so thrilled to have these drafts as I think plain weave and point twills just look great together. The warp itself was wound using two different setts. The white llama will be at 8 epi for the plain weave and the mocha at 10 epi for the twill. The weft will be all white. I honestly think this is one of the prettiest warps I've ever done, hence the overload of pictures of it! I just love the colors and textures together. I don't know if it will work, but regardless, these are two fibers I want to use again and again....

Thank you ladies, for being a life line and coming to this novice weavers rescue!

Now, on to farm news. We've been busy here, two fires on Monday, one in Ashland at 100 acres and one home lost and the second which broke out a couple hours later in Medford covering a little over 600 acres. Gene got the call from the State Fire Marshall to start setting up communications and the team on call was heading down from Eugene. I was in Ashland when the fire broke out there and got a first hand view. It was impressive indeed. Not to mention the multiple air tankers and helicopters working furiously overhead since about 400 homes where threatened. Of course, the day brought record temps and Santa Ana type winds, which are unusual for Southern Oregon. The fire fighters from all resources did a fantastic job and both fires were under containment by Tuesday morning.

Miss Bea continues to improve daily. She's walking quite well on that rear leg, incision is healing nicely and she's dropped off the pain meds. Her follow up appointment is next Tuesday. All in all she has been a very good patient and I remind her of that daily.

Bond did manage to skirt my fortifications, so more were in order. They have not been breached since Tuesday.

The guest room walls have their 3 coats of paint on and there is one coat of primer on the trim. Today or tomorrow I'll start painting it up and finally put this room in the done column and move on to the upstairs bathroom. It's been awfully hot, so I've tried to get started and done with that task in the morning.

Afternoons have been spent knitting, spinning and goofing with the horses and goats. Imp so enjoys getting hosed down, he now puts his face into the stream and drinks from it. The goats hate water and terrible shepherdess that I am sometimes I can't resist squirting one or two of them. They are sweet girls though most of the time and rarely hold a grudge.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Sunday's in Autumn

Regardless what the temps are telling me, it's fall. I know this because age old autumn rituals are being performed around the country. It involves snacking, BBQ'ing, remotes, wearing of sometimes gawd awful colors and lots and lots of shouting. The boys of summer have given way to a louder and more physical sport. It's Football!

Comfy chairs are doing double duty propping up those armchair quarterbacks. Miller, Bud, Coors and Frito-Lay must all see a major jump in sales and I would bet this is the premier time to buy a big screen TV. I like football, to me it now means knitting and spinning, a little grumbling at a bad play (assuming I recognize it as such) naps with a heap of critters on my lap and easy Sunday stews and soups that carry on into the week, getting thicker and tastier at least until the third time around. A day to be productively unproductive.

I grew up in a football household. Sunday at 1:00 p.m. the work stopped and the TV went on. The Jiffy-Pop Popcorn came out and homemade pizza for dinner. There were two games usually televised. My interest in the sport at that time was spent hoping the darn things would end on time and we would get to the Wonderful World of Disney on at 7:00 p.m., not "in-progress". Overtime could be tear producing with only one TV in the household and even at that it was in black and white for a very long time. That old Zenith TV lasted well past 15 years, even with the steady secretive curses I put on it. Thank heavens there was no Monday Night Football or special Saturday football, or the ton of games and teams there are now. The draft was not televised.

A steady stream of boyfriends and tailgate parties through the years set the football habit. Sometimes I find it all rather silly that people would be paid the sums they are to play it, or on the dark side, get so injured they wind up in a wheel chair or worse. But, as a boyfriend once pointed out, these things can happen no matter what and by the way, do I have a contract to fall back on should I take a bad spill on a horse. Point made. I'll keep my aberrant thoughts about, money, performance enhancing drugs, Michael Vick, football and other sports to myself as I know fans can get pretty darn rabid about the whole thing. After all, these are the people they look up to!?

My Dad might be happy to know that while I knitted on his sock some good mojo from the KC game yesterday went into them. And the beautiful roving from Eweniquely Ewe was finally plied.

I'm thinking with the way this plumped up and bloomed that mittens are in order. The vest I'm working on increased while the NYG eeked out a win and I won't discuss the Patriots, it's too painful, although I didn't have to watch it. It was not televised here in Oregon unless I wanted the super duper sports NFL sports package. It was just as well.

On farm news, Bond still hasn't houdinied himself into the tack room. Skunks are on the move though, we can smell them at night near the house. Collectively we all put our noses to the air and what is wafting on the wind lets us know they are afoot. Bea continues to improve and heal. She's downright spunky and thinks she is ready to go get them funny smelling cats! I think not.

It is also hunting season. Pops can be heard now and again. I am still scratching my head as to what someone fairly close is shooting at 3 in the morning. Two big repeats woke all of us up from a sound sleep this morning. All horses and goats are up, breathing and eating. In fact, this new load of hay is pretty darn nice. I am going to have cut back a tad as we seem to have the amazing expanding equines out there. Air ferns all of them. Even Boo the Biafran 4 year old is packing on the pounds, finally.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Flying Geese and Digging Skunks

So, it's been pretty busy here fiber wise. The first rug of the 11 yard warp is fully in progress and I'm using it to experiment a little with some very simple inlay. I'm calling the rug Flying Geese. The real geese are starting to fly overhead, in small groups. We see a fair amount of ducks too this time of year. The skies are noisy, with honking, quacking and the usual cawing of crows and ravens. Autumn is ramping up and readying for her annual and much anticipated, extravaganza.

The easy inlay has opened up a lot of possibilities to add some fun embellishment without a whole lot of rearranging of tie-ups and such. I'm pretty lazy when it comes to that and Barbara is not the loom to pick to go under and change tie-ups on easily.

A lot of inspiration for the strip inlay technique came from this book. I have 3 rug books now and this is my very favorite one. I don't think there's a rug I don't like in it and the ideas it's sparked have been many.

My Mother's scarf is still on the loom but there really isn't much left to weave, maybe 10-15 inches. She's pretty short and doesn't like terribly long scarves. It will get a simple twisted fringe, nothing too dramatic.

I have been able to spin almost a whole bobbin of the pink BFL roving and am loving the softness and subtle variation of the semi solid. I'll start spinning the mocha colored roving and then ply them together.

The Queens room received it's second coat of paint and sadly, it will need a third. It's not the paint so much as the dark uneven colors of the faux finish under it. Two would do, but 3 will look MUCH better. I won't use the low VOC paint for the final coat. There were some things I just didn't like about it. It's good paint, high quality and the coverage wasn't compromised at all between this and a like quality regular latex. It mostly had to do with the slipperiness of the paint. It's hard to explain. It rolled out well but there is a quality missing about the feel, it also dries too quickly for my taste. Back rolling to remove any roller marks was difficult. The spreadability over the second coat wasn't as smooth feeling as I like but in fairness these are small complaints. If I hadn't painted so darn much through the years I doubt all this would be noticeable. If you need or want low VOC paint, don't hesitate to use one, but get a good quality one, as you would with any paint. Nothing is worse that working with cheap paint and the difference between a low quality and high quality is maybe ten bucks per gallon. Most rooms barely need a gallon.

Bob the tractor is off the injured list. He gave us a scare with the fuel solenoid not working. A $300 part we found out. Gene took the old one out and found a bad wire. An easy cheap repair thank god. Bea's knee sucked up a fair amount of working capitol this month.

And speaking of Bea, the blond bombshell continues to do very well. She's using that leg now as a little paddle about every 10th step, sort of like one would use a foot to push along while riding a scooter. She's resting on it while standing and putting a little weight into it. The vet has released her for long walks for exercise. She is adept at 3 legged walking and doesn't have the issues a heavier, bigger dog would have. Exercise is keeping her from worrying at the incision too. She still gets the soft collar on at night though. Right now she's sleeping under my desk, on a leash. She does want to jump on the sofa, which is a no-no.

Skunk Bond has been foiled the last 3 nights from getting in the tack room. Oh yes, he digs in, but there is no way to dig up because of the plywood lining the floor. Score one for the dumb human...finally!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Silly Diversions

Well, we have been weaving and walking and weaving some more, but a funny diversion was in order. I leave you with some stuff from my silliness list!

Snowball Fight

and a new one that has made the list

Even though these are commercial endeavors, I hope everyone gets a chuckle out of at least one of them! :-)

A Veritable Florence Nightingale?

I'm not sure Queen Bea is actually thinking along those lines right now. Maybe the jailer of the Bastille might be more accurate! In any event, she and I will be having a lot of discussion time (in English and possibly French) in the foreseeable future.

I would love to say that after 2 or 3 weeks the busy Bea will be healed and without restrictions, but that would be folly. 6 months is closer to the mark. As is said about many things, this is a marathon not a sprint. Neither of which Bea will be doing anytime soon. The incision is surprisingly long. This is not microsurgery I have to remind myself, but orthopedic surgery and good access was needed to knee. There are internal stitches and the skin is held together with glue. Great stuff, no itchy pulling stitches to mess with!

It didn't stop Bea from paying a bit more attention to the wound than I would have liked. She found herself wearing a big old soft collar to keep her away from the wound. It's like the hard ones, but made of a soft paper fabric and just long enough to make licking difficult. Keeping a dog in a crate with one of those hard plastic jobs would just be too cruel. It will be Bea's night time wear for a little while and she looks quite fetching. I promise to get a picture or two to share.

She is a tri-ped at the moment, not wanting to put that hind down, which is completely normal. We are taking numerous small, short walks outside, both for exercise and for potty breaks. Those of you with dogs that go out to do their personal business on their own know there is an adjustment period to leash walking. Bea has the mistaken idea that she can just sail out the door, down the side porch steps and head off on her own. Not this month, not next month. So out we go, she sniffs, she sits, she looks at me and wags her tail. Sigh....we'll get through it.

She's on a modest 1 pill a day of pain medication and a soft chew treat which contains Glucosamine, MSM, Creatine and other ingredients for joint health. If it wasn't liver flavored and labeled for animal use only, I might be tempted to give it a try!

I do want to thank everyone both on the blog and off that have sent well wishes, thoughts and prayers for Bea. They were greatly appreciated and a source of comfort, You are all big of heart and spirit.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Bea's Big Adventure

One would think Miss Bea would have shown a little reserve yesterday morning going back to the vet, maybe a tremble or two the minute she hit the typical smooth veterinary floor.
Not my girl though, the only one worried was me. She came in with her tail held high and wagging, not to mention the jaw and barker was working just fine. We had our meet and greet with the vet and techs. I got to ask any questions that might have popped up and way too soon a hand reached over to take the leash from my claw like grasp. The blond bombshell wagged her tail and off she went happily with a perfect stranger down the long hallway to the back kennel and surgery. There was nowhere to go but home and wait for the call.

At 11:20 am Dr. Frank let us know that Bea was out of surgery, she came up fast and fine from anesthesia and was in her crate recovering. The ligament was at 90% rupture and the replacement of it with nylon cord went just as it should. The last time I called for an update (I was pretty good, I only called twice) she was up on her sternum, watching the activity. I'm sure she was in La La Land. Overnight she will be/was heavily sedated on pain medication and we should expect to keep her on it for 5-7 days post-op. I will head down to Jacksonville to pick her up between 11:00 and noon.
We'll put a large crate up in the living room since it serves well as recovery central.

Needless to say, the day wasn't terribly productive and started out rather poorly. Bob sputtered and died yesterday morning bringing hay up to the horses. It looks like some kind of a fuel problem and will need further investigation today. I'll be hand carting hay up like I use to pre-Bob. At least it isn't snowing.

I did get some spinning time in. It was just the thing for a day that needed a soothing task. Some BFL that I've been working on got plied and soaked and I'm rather happy with it.

I have two other skeins of it already done. I did start spinning some of the wonderful BFL/wool roving. It was lovely to spin and seductive enough to completely adsorb me for a time.

Dennett and I both missed our Miss Bea last night. Quite often she abandons the bed to sleep on the floor near him on one of the many old blankets underneath He looked for her but finally scratched one of the beds out from under enough to be within reach of me dropping my arm down the side and giving his head a scratch. He fell asleep while I was rubbing his ears. No one felt the need to rub my ears, so it took a little longer for me to drop off.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Bears, Bootie and Barbara

You would think I was working with 20/2 silk on 60 inch warp the time it has taken me to get Barbara threaded! Really the warp is a scant 180 something ends at 6 epi and 30 inches. It's done now and just about sleyed in the 6 dent reed. I remembered to crawl under her and do the treadle tie-ups before I put the breast beam back on so I'm giving myself at least a couple of brownie points for working more efficiently even if not quicker. The sleying is a piece of cake and just about done. Rag rug weaving will commence later this week.

I also got the guts up to cut my dog on the loom. Carolyn was freed from bondage yesterday and the length of bamboo "scarf" will be used for lavender sachets.

It took 53 picks to make one repeat. It was simply too much for me on a table loom. I love the pattern and next time I revisit something like it will be on Hey Baby, not a table loom.

Between Tuesday's guild meeting and Friday's sidewalk sale, there has been a bit of the bootie to share. Cindie at Eweniquely Ewe did some request dying for me. I wanted semi-solids in light blue, pink and a taupe and she came through with some beautiful BFL and wool roving. I've made a promise to myself to spin more for weaving. And nothing could be nicer than starting with this beautiful soft and crimpy roving. As they would say in Boston, this will spin like buttah! :-)

It's also official, fiber arts are in take over mode in the house. The spinning wheel has made it back downstairs and taken up residence by the fireplace. We use the darn thing about twice a year, and now that the living room has been rearranged there is a plenty of room to move the wheel away on those very occasional occasions. Fiber equipment has spread to 3 rooms in addition to the studio.

I showed amazing restraint at the sidewalk sale at Webster's. Some nice black and white mohair came home and an angora mix yarn. I've never used angora in weaving and it was a good opportunity to give it a whirl. Kidsilk Haze in my most favorite rust color also popped in to give the black and white a little pizazz and there was one lonely all Suri yarn from Frog Tree that hopped in the basket. Not sure what I'll use it for, but it's a lovely natural color that will find it's way into something.

The last little treat, which wasn't on sale, was a weighted knitting sheep that has a leash for holding scissors. She will take up residence on Hey Baby and make sure the sweet and very sharp little German scissors I bought don't migrate. Doesn't she have just the silliest expression. Makes me grin whenever I look at her. She won't be nameless for long.

The highlight though, was meeting Renee from Renee Weaves . She and her husband and dog have just moved to Ashland and I can't think of anything more welcoming than a yarn sale, can you? We had some time to chit chat and since it was sidewalk sale day I sent her up to some of my favorite stores to look at this and that. I hope she had fun. I had to go do the weekly hunter/gatherer routine at the market.

Now for bear updates. It isn't going to be a happy ending, so you've been fairly warned.

The bear over this last week had made himself into a dangerous nuisance. He charged and chased another soul and actually made home base a friends house on Soda Mountain Road where he proceeded to rip apart their pump house and make it impossible to even go out of the house. Oregon Fish & Wildlife made the decision to exterminate rather than catch and release. Wednesday afternoon 4 hunters arrived and Thursday morning, on the above mentioned property, the bear was dispatched and removed. There was no tracking needed, he was still hanging around the property. It was quick and without incident. The folks who own the property are heartsick, this is not what they would have wanted if it could have been avoided. In fact no one is particularly happy, but it is what it is. We live with predatory wildlife up here and most of the time we do everything in our power to make sure the wildlife doesn't go wrong and that with the plentiful wilderness up here we can reduce our impact on their lives.
Sometimes crap just happens.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Loose Ends

I have bits and bobs of stuff that don't warrant whole posts, so look for this niggling stuff under loose ends in the future too! ;-)

I've been wondering all summer, (or at least since I was a bad shepherdess and forgot one night to lock the goatie girls up) if they are safer from predators hanging with the horses overnight or in their locked pen. Now, the fence is certainly high enough to contain them, but really, if something wanted to get in, it's low enough to be successful at it.

The girls trotted out of the big horse shelter next to the boys at breakfast time. In fact they were leading the charge. Everyone has morning hay together anyway. A few piles are put on the ground and it warms my heart daily to see the species happily breaking bread. So, if anyone wants to throw out any experiences I'd love to hear them.

Ashland is having it's annual sidewalk sale. I'm going too even though I rarely purchase anything. After all, the Webster's is the starting point for me!

Something is indeed digging into the tack room. The hole seems awfully small for Bond the skunk though. I am grabbing some old plywood that we have piled outside and putting it all down on the floor. I have given up hope that cement is going to happen this year. I'm just thrilled we got the windows in and the bathroom ceiling will get done.

Bea's surgery is Monday. This will be her first ever overnight at the vet. I feel terrible leaving her in a strange place overnight but it is what it is. Tuesday morning I'll be there bright and early to spring her and my new job will be Bea's Handmaiden. Which is fine with me!

Barbara is over half threaded, the cashmere scarf is over half woven and a new warp is sitting on Hey Baby waiting to be wound on. I love that the back of the loom folds up when not in use since I have Barbara pulled out while I thread. It keeps a walkway free between looms and small worktable.

Guild meeting took up most of Tuesday. There were so many wonderful things to see at show and share. All the scarves I made for the animal shelter auction where handed over, including the manly linen/alpaca one. I want to get some pet prayer flags finished to also hand over. Lots of loose ends of all sorts!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Paint Me a River

Or maybe I've used a rivers worth of paint in my lifetime! Maybe a streams worth.
In any event, there are certain truths about painting I have learned over the years.

The first and foremost is painting is like driving. He who holds the brush or wheel is in charge and everyone else is just a backseat driver. It's okay to be as anal as you want as long as you are doing the painting, any comments on color, or skill are unwelcome unless of course you plan on taking over the job. Gene learned this lesson long ago and thank god.

I do not remove switch plates or outlet covers nor do I tape ceilings or moulding. I do tape the floor if I'm doing trim. I do not use drop clothes. If a little itty bit of paint bothers you on a switch plate, replace it, they are .24cents and we have a box of them
or you can take them off for me and put them back on.

It is both faster and easier to touch up the ceiling than tape it. Which brings me to another piece of painting info. Long ago, when they use to actually plaster, the craftsman would leave a nice little trough up by the ceiling. You could set the edge of your brush in there, the paint would flow and if careful and steady, it was rare that you would mar the ceiling. It seems that technique has been lost with the advent of drywall.
Now the guys who did our drywall did a pretty good job and there is a little tip of the hat to that wonderful wall lip, but they have nothing on the skill of craftsmen of old.

The same goes with moulding. If you leave just an bit of room there is a space to run the tip of your brush down by the moulding cleanly.

Don't mess with those silly awkward paint trays. Get yourself a 5 gallon bucket and a painters screen. It's more stable and easier to move around, plus it holds more. It gives you a handy place to put your roller and won't fall off a ladder without really working at it. When not in use it is an excellent place to keep your brushes, rollers and tape all together too.

Flies always drop and die behind big pieces of furniture. Nothing like having to move stuff away from the wall to drive home what a crappy housekeeper you are. And that night you thought you heard the cat horking up a hair ball or mouse guts, you were spot on! If you must have outside help to paint, pre check behind all the stuff to be moved and clean. No point in horrifying friends and family or having an EPA incident. If you have to have company while you work, pick someone non-judgemental, who understands that what happens in the painting room, stays in the painting room and is easily bribed with liver treats.

Wet/Dry vacs do a lousy job on spilled paint. You don't need to test this, just take my word for it. Now, a drop cloth would protect the floor but they also make moving the ladder around harder and those previously mentioned pieces of furniture. For clumsy folks like myself they also increase the chances of tripping with a roller in hand. I find a damp cloth kept handy works just fine for any small drip or splatter.

The ideal painting wall is dust and cobweb free and no higher than 5'8" and has wood that doesn't need to be painted from moulding to 3'. We don't have any walls like that but if we did, I would be in painters heaven.

Practice techniques before you apply them to any room over small closet size. I have done some excellent stenciling work but faux finishes for me come out simply like faux pas in my hands. I've been to Tuscany, and nothing I've ever done looked remotely like what I saw there. It's best if I leave Tuscany to the Tuscans. If they saw my paint job, they would certainly agree.

Lastly, start early. If you get going early, you can get that first coat on before noon and call time, rest on your laurels, moan convincingly that you've painted a WHOLE ROOM and what more could someone want. Isn't dinner out in order? :-)

Sunday, September 6, 2009

The Paint Cans Cometh

Two rooms have been slated for painting, the upstairs bathroom and the Queen Mum's room (as Gene calls it), which is really the front guest room where my mother reins when she visits.

Friday I had more errands to run than I wanted to even think about and by the time I got back at 1:30p.m. after leaving at 8:00 a.m. I was tuckered out. The back room bed made for a wonderful cat nap before feeding.

But back to the paint. This is the first time I'm trying the no/low VOC paint. I did test patch on the wall and they are right, no paint smell. I kind of miss that paint smell. It means someone has been busy. Honestly, as bad as I am sure everyone is going to tell me it is, I like the smell of a freshly painted room. Maybe they can put the smell in without the bad that makes those fumes. "Why yes Miss, would you like stink or no stink in your paint?" "I'll take the stink please." Anyway, the bathroom is going from periwinkle blue to a two tone paint job of apple green and soft cream. Gene will install a high chair rail and do the ceiling for me as this girl just doesn't do ceilings if I can help it. The green is quite bright and cheerful, it's Pittsburgh paint Green Grapes. The cream is my all time favorite cream Andover Cream, which was used in the new back room.
The Queen's room will get redone in this color cream too. That guest room has been the victim of a paint job gone wrong for a long time and this year is the time to correct it.
The Folgers can is primer, we have a five gallon bucket of the stuff and it's just too unwieldy to haul around.

The two looms have been busy. The manly scarf is off the Louet and I am quite pleased with it. It's a rather sedate and formal scarf and certainly appropriate for any guy to wear.

I loved the yarn so much I am casting about for an overshot pattern for it. Maybe place mats with a hemp warp. We'll see, but it will make another appearance in the future.

The cashmere scarf is in process and going to have some more woven on it today and threading Barbara will commence this weekend also. I may wait until after cleaning tomorrow to take her beater and beam off since they are just another thing to clean around or I may give the studio a lick and a promise and start.

Farms news is pretty boring. No bears, raccoons or skunks. Heck I haven't even seen my handsome bucks in a couple of days. I am back in Juno and Buzz's good graces.
The gate area of the paddock has been tractored out again of manure and it has gone into the pile to sweeten for use. Gene is almost finished with the outside trim on the new windows. The goats have been dusted but need to be sheared again if I want some usable fiber and they need their hooves trimmed. A day of goat wrangling needs to be planned. Denial runs deep this time of year. No one is willing to say it's time to start cutting wood, fixing fences, pulling out turtlenecks and jackets or working on the truck plow, but it is just about so.

Friday, September 4, 2009

It's A Full Moon and They Gotta Go!

The community yard sale up in the Greensprings is this weekend. I took the opportunity to clean out my bookshelves of novels and such and while in the process, weeded out my knitting books. Rather than just take these to the yard sale, I am offering them free to the folks who put up with my blogging or those souls (who through no fault of their own), have suddenly found themselves here! Let me know what book(s) you want, send along a bubble mailer with postage that fits and I'll pop it in the mail to you. That's it. Most will go for about $4.50 in postage and if you want more than one I can give you approximate weights. If the postage is shy, no worries, what's a few pennies among friends. I just want these books to find good homes.

So here is the lot, feel free to take one or more and my direct e-mail is at the bottom of the post. It will be edited out when all the books are gone. First come first serve.
Books will be removed as they are spoken for. If you don't see it listed, it's found a home. :-)

Domiknitrix by J. Stafford
Dogs in Knits by J. Swartz
The Yarn Girls Guide to Beyond the Basics by J.Carles & J.Jacobs
The Ultimate Sock Book by Vogue Knitting
Knits Three Ways by M. Matthay

Don't be shy, if you want more than one that's fine. They are all in good shape, some may have dust cover and shelf wear.
e-mail your selection to me at :

Thursday, September 3, 2009


All the looms are in various stages. I just couldn't help myself and started weaving the alpaca/linen warp on Hey Baby. It is weaving up just like I had hoped. It's smooth and soft at the same time. The scarf is 10" wide with a sett of 8 epi and just about perfect for this fiber.

Gene is eyeing it himself so who knows. I might relent and let him pick one of the guy type scarves I have woven since his old knitted scarf looks pretty horrible. It was the first scarf I ever knitted, and might have been one of the last. Knitting scarves doesn't speak to me in the same way weaving them does.

He provided the extra hands to beam the 11 yard warp onto Barbara. This weekend I'll remove her beater and breast beam and hopefully get in there to thread and sley. It should be quick. This is only a 30" wide warp with a 6 epi sett.

I'll use front harnesses 1 through 4 instead of all 8 since these are simple plain weave rag rugs slated for assorted areas in the house.

The Murphy loom mohair warp is half threaded. I'll finish up threading and sley it today. I might even have time to start some weaving. I have no where to go and nothing pressing on the farm.

A few goodies arrived yesterday. Actually they might have arrived sooner but I got to the mail box yesterday, finally. Amazon delivered my vacuum bags. Now how's that for a goodie treat? HA! It was the book in the box with the vacuum bags that made it treat worthy and after all, I wanted to make sure I got free shipping. ;-)

The book is Norwegian Handknits Heirloom Designs from the Vesterheim Museum by Sue Flanders and Janine Kosel. There are some really lovely designs, many I will never attempt but a few I will certainly give a try too. The entrelac sheep caught my eye

and the Sami Sweater done in the round are certainly possibilities. But not in white!

Another package of some import also arrived. I really need some better way than scissors to cut fabric strips and a rag cutter new was out of the question given the impending surgery. Low and behold, the universe offered up a beautiful used one, in just the model ( Fraser 500-1) I was considering and at a very reasonable price. Opportunity need not knock twice. I did indeed forgo a dinner out and a couple bottles of wine and it was worth every bite I didn't eat. :-)

On farm news, it would seem the bear that has been working on our garbage pails has been mauling bins all over the mountain, from here all the way down to Buckhorn Springs which is down at the base in the valley. He even chased someone into their home and pounded on the building. Fish and Wildlife is taking the matter under consideration as to what to do with Bruno, either catch and relocate or, sadly, destroy him. Needless to say, I have been very watchful going out in the dark morning and have refrained from tractor jaunts down the driveway. It also pays to listen to what the horses are up to. A lot of snorting and hoof beats mean running, running in the dark usually means something has them worried. The goats will also be in an uproar and they aren't shy about letting me know when there is a problem.

Buzz and Juno are pissed off at me. I wormed them for tape worms yesterday. An unpleasant event for all involved. Pilling cats is just a pain. I managed not to get any of my fingers embedded on a tooth though so we can consider it a success!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Bea's Knees

If you've been following the blog, you'll know that about 2 months ago Miss Bea blew one of her pretty little back knees out. Left hind for those exacting folks. :-) As a result,
we had to find a vet who does a fair amount of orthopedic surgery. Our family vet does not. Around the same time my Websters friend Carol had her beautiful husky Anyu do the same thing. Her vet does do the surgery and what could be better than a personal recommendation. Anyu had her surgery and is recovering beautifully!

So Bea and I headed off to see the vet yesterday for a consult and x-rays. She talked to me the whole way there. She wanted to let me know that she was excited about a car ride, lonely that no one else was coming and what the heck was this deal with being in the crate in the back seat. I turned up the radio. I think we had maybe a two minute stretch where it was quiet. I had to leave her as the leg and hip x-rays require her to be put under a light anesthesia and kicked around town waiting for the call to come and retrieve her.

Once back at the vet's we went over the x-rays. She does indeed need a ligament replacement and while she has maybe 20% that isn't ruptured, that will not hold out for much longer. We scheduled her in for the 14th of September, she'll have surgery and stay overnight for observation.

I can say that it was a very quiet ride home. The meds certainly conked her out for the day. I came home and placed her on a chair, with a favorite blanket to nest in. She slept for hours. No Busy Bea yesterday instead we got Blurry Bea!

PS: That black spot, it was me and my feeble attempt to get rid of red eye. I guess I got rid of the chairs red eye too!