Monday, November 30, 2009

Triple Weave Update

I am very happy so far with the blanket progress. The triple weave is working out just how it should. There was only one spot where I caught myself making a mistake in treadling and easily unwoven and restarted correctly. The addition of the fishing line and using the temple has meant very little abrasion on the selvage edges. We've had no breakage what so ever and I might add, it is actually Jamieson's Shetland Spindrift used for the pink. I didn't like the Harrisville pink I ordered, it had too much violet in it for my taste. While both shetland 2 ply, the Jamieson's is a much softer spin, making it more delicate in this application. My selvage ends are not stellar, but they aren't bad either. The wool likes to slide around on the fishing line and I think in the end, once the line is pulled from the blanket and the piece is finished, they will be decent serviceable edges.

The folds also are looking much better than on the twill blanket. Not crammed at all and the fishing line has helped there also, as has the temple. The 10 epi set looks just about right too.

I have thoroughly enjoyed weaving this so far and have about 30-36 inches done including the stripe sequence that will be at either end.

On other weaving news I am woefully behind on the prayer flags and am spending the whole day catching up on them. The house will get a lick and a promise vacuum and it will just have to do until next week. ;-)

Now, there is another little loom that has been keeping me up late at night studying. I saw this and with a little negotiating it managed to find it's way to my house.

It needs some TLC, a new string to hold the stand open, maybe some minor modifications but I think will be great fun to try my hand again at a small piece of tapestry. Both Jennifer and Tommye have been extremely helpful with making sense of this piece of equipment and of course, the inspiration to even try in the first place! Mentions should also go out to a couple of other blogs which, if you haven't visited, you should! Go on...;-)
They are:
Kathe Todd-Hooker (who also happens to have written a couple of very useful tapestry books)

Onto farm news, the horses were indeed overjoyed with the treats. The goats too and I had Cece latch on to me like velcro once she got a whiff of the berry treats.

I just about completed my holiday shopping but have a couple things still to get via the internet. I finally made my dive into town yesterday and while it was picking up in the center of Ashland by the time I left around noon, I'm sure it was a lot quieter than either Friday or Saturday would have been. I purchased a wonderful little pin to use for my much loved woven shawl.

Carol and Kris at the Web-sters brought out an amazing selection of shawl pins. I felt like a queen surrounded by treasure there were so many to chose from and all beautiful. I also ordered a sweaters worth of Rowan's British Sheep Breeds in the Steel Grey Suffolk. This is earmarked for my Dad, but I will also be taking home a good amount of the Black Welsh for a sweater for myself. I love love love this yarn. Minimally processed, good springy wool in the natural colors of each of the breeds offered.

The weather, which could be called Indian Fall, is predicted to be just perfect this week. Cold and clear at night and sunny and in the low 40's during the day. Perfect for riding, perfect for dog walking or any other thing you might want to do outside. Mother Nature is always the perfect muse especially when this might be your other choice......

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Let the Good Treats Roll

Early this past summer the horses and I had a bit of a bumpy spot. The gist of it went like this.

T: "Gene, did you remember to pick up the extra special and good berry treats for the horses?

G: "Brace yourself.... I went to both Granges and they are no longer carrying them.

T: OH NO! ( said with extreme shock and dismay)

G: "I did pick up this vastly inferior bag of old dry looking treats, maybe they won't notice...." ( voice trailing off as he looks into the distance, a broken man)

The sad truth was they did notice. In fact Cooper just about spit his out the first time and Dandy wouldn't take one until he had seen Cooper eat his first. Now carrots do make great treats but I'm not always fond of my pockets being stained orange and kind of slimy. Plus, they get carrots every day with their wee amount of cob and vitamins. Hardly a treat and I don't hand out treats just because. There are conditions on treats, so when they get them, they really are treat deserving. We had certainly fallen from grace and it felt like maybe they had saved a particular spot for us in Dante's Inferno, horse treat hell.

So, fast forward to the beginning of November. I am still lamenting the loss of good treats and they who have not forgotten are still not feeling the treatyness of the new treats. So, there I am in the Grange, again looking at the treat selection and sighing. Another horse controlled person is next to me. Her horse likes the apple treats, of which they have 5000 bags available. I tell her the berry treats are tops in my barn. She tells me that she's seen them over at the Big R, in White City. REALLY!? The ones that grab you with their delicious smell as you walk by, THOSE treats? Yes she says as she inches slowly away from me.

White City is only about 45 miles away, Gene goes through White City every time he goes to the apartments in Shady Cove. Gene went to Shady Cove yesterday.

We will be horse heroes. Our pockets and hands will again get that extra attention they have been so missing. Horses will listen with baited breath for that magic cue that means a treat worthy behavior has occurred.

When I walk out that door, pockets loaded with those incredibly scented berry treats, they will know I'm coming and the good treats have returned.

Friday, November 27, 2009


That may be the low number of the calorie content of yesterday's meal! Of course I probably used that many over the course of two days making it too. Maybe we're even!

I opted not to do a traditional turkey. We had one during my parents visit and it seemed too soon for another. Instead I decided to duplicate a meal my parents use to serve at Christmas. I was warned it was a lot of prep. I was up to the challenge. I wasn't warned that between butter and heavy cream we could keep a dairy running for at least a day.

The recipe for Porc Sylvestre ( braised pork stuffed with ham and mushrooms), comes from Simone Beck's Simca's Cuisine which is a very old book indeed but still in print. The meal was delicious. While I am sure my presentation was not as pretty as what I remembered, the taste was. I haven't had this dish in onwards of 20 years and it was every bit as heavenly as I remembered. We finished with Tangerine mousse with a tangerine flavored cookie or shell.

The mousse was great, the shell it was supposed to go in, not so much. I forget about elevation, I forget that I may have to cook things a bit longer. The taste was there, but the crunch and lightness, no. Next time, more flour, longer cooking time. Both recipes came from Dining in Boston Cookbook by Steven Raichlen, 1983 and probably long out of print.

On the weaving front progress has been made too. In fact, we've started in on the blanket and so far so good.

I am using a temple and have run fishing line on the selvage edges and the folds. Rodger occasionally bats at them but not enough to worry about. A kitten would be more problematic I'm sure.

I've found that with some careful adjustment I can use one of my Schacht end feed shuttles with the Harrisville Shetland quite well. The weaving itself is also going much quicker than the sample did. What is hard is that the warp is so dense being three layers that when I pick up the top layers to weave the very bottom layer, I can't see my shuttle. You would be surprised how much you visually note about a shuttles progress once you can't see it! I am hoping to get a fair amount of weaving time in today. I was actually thinking about going to town but then I stopped myself, I do not want to go anywhere near town on the busiest shopping day of the year. Plus it's pouring out. Two good reasons to sit at home and weave.

I will get out though, at the historic Ashland Armory is a fair of local artisans that I'll visit sometime before it ends Sunday afternoon, assuming I can find parking!

And finally, I hope that each and everyone reading this had a wonderful Thanksgiving, full of family, friends and good food. We counted many blessings yesterday, the 2 legged ones, the 4 legged ones and the ones that can't be touched but are certainly felt.
We are rich beyond belief and not just in calories!;-)

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Tracking and The Art of Seeing

The title of this post just happens to also be the title of one of the BEST identification and tracking books ever written on common North American wildlife. For those that walk in the woods (be they north, south, east or west) and want to know what some of those tracks are, this is the book to have on hand. The full title is: Tracking and the Art of Seeing: How to Read Animal Tracks & Sign by Paul Rezendes.

This is my second copy. The first fell apart since I use to take it with me.

So, why the excitement over a very old dog eared book on my abundant bookshelf?
Because it was needed yesterday not for just one set of tracks, but two!

I had a lovely ride yesterday.

Slow, steady and with lots of time to really "see". In fact we kept seeing some large odd shaped tracks that due to melt and such had some distortion but darn if they didn't look like elk tracks and once I got home I double checked. They were indeed elk. We also kept crossing another set of tracks running south to north as we meandered on trails that run back and forth east and west.

It wasn't until we came down from the trails to the gravel road on the property next door to us that we got a clear picture of just what they were.

These tracks dropped down from just about the point we crossed them on the ridges, headed north up the driveway towards the back of the property and onto the back of our property. And they were fresh, within 24 hours. The snow had been soft when they were made, probably the late afternoon before, froze overnight and had not yet distorted with the daily melt. It's late November and there is a bear in them thar woods!

In all my years riding up here I have never seen bear tracks this late in the season. Gene and I spent the rest of the day speculating why a bear would be up and obviously very mobile when he or she should be hibernating. We have a theory and it goes like this.

Oregon has gotten some money for fire suppression and this year a local treasure known as Tub Springs State Wayside has under gone a transformation. The woods have been cleared of dead fall and ground debris, the trails have been improved and trees have been cut and judiciously cleared. Many good strong snags have been left for local wildlife but the burning of brush piles and the chainsaws have been a steady fixture over the last month. We think all this activity has disturbed what is probably a younger bear, maybe his first winter alone. When I rode over there yesterday the crews, some in singles and some in pairs were working on the far end of the park, a part that really is much wilder and more protected. I usually skirt the park on the trails that border it, but don't get over to that side as often. I did yesterday because all the burning brush piles and smoke made a for a very good training situation. You never know up here just how close to a fire you might get and having calm horses who have built up a measure of trust in that situation could save their life. The fire really doesn't bother Cooper, he's been around that and chainsaws and such for years, but he's a shy horse and strangers in the woods do bother him. I never worry about a stranger trying to approach me saddled as Cooper will not allow it unless coaxed by me. That's fine. It can be good and it can be bad. Anyway, as usual, I digress...

Now I wasn't terribly concerned about the tracks. Cooper did notice them and as is typical gave a sniff or two as we rode along, but it didn't put him on alert any more than he was in other parts of the ride. We did not follow them though. Today on foot I might hike up to the back and see where they have crossed.

These last photos are of my boot print next to one of the tracks.

My 7.5 sized foot encased in a large bulky neoprene winter riding boot that makes it look close to a size 9. You can just see the depression around the actual paw print that would have made up the full size of his hairy paw.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Threading... Whew! Done!

And we're on to sleying. The sleying part is going much faster than threading and Cindie's loan of a 6 dent reed has been instrumental in that. It is much easier to pull 5 threads per dent than some other combination to reach 30 epi. While 924 ends is a lot for me, there are plenty of weavers that routinely do much more than that. Many of the wonderful projects in the Swedish weaving books I have has well over a 1000 fine threads. I'm going to try my hand at some pillow cases in 20/2 organic cotton I have at some point in the near future. Maybe a huck lace border.
We'll see!

I'm sleying like my Dad does.

He puts the reed down on two sticks run through the loom to rest on back and breast beam. It's easier in many ways than putting the reed in the beater. My only issue with his way, is I have to put the breast beam on since I need a level plan to rest the sticks front to back. This means I can't get into the loom as much as when I'm threading. In fact, with the height of this loom it's much easier to just stand to sley. I'm hoping to have it all ready for weaving by days end.

On other weaving news after MUCH trial and error I have found an easy way to write prayers on my fabric strips and pieces. A flat wood clipboard with a piece of fine sand paper works beautifully. The sand paper is not so textured as to bother my writing and
it holds the fabric from slipping and bunching under the pen's tip. It's made it all so nice to do this without hand cramp from holding the fabric spread and taunt. Faster too, which means I might even make my own weekend deadline of prayer flag completion!

For farm news, the storm that came in like a lion, left pretty much like a lamb. We garnered only about 5 inches and at that some was sleet. I'm not a wishy washy person about winter. It needs to either piss or get off the pot. I want cold, I want snow, I want frozen ground. I don't want nuisance snow that behaves like spring melt! Having said that though, I am taking full advantage of the warmer temps and getting Cooper out for a ride this morning. :-) He's itching for a ride and so am I. Fine weather or not the woods will be crawling with hunters for the long weekend. Why, I don't know, there hasn't been a deer track spied since mid October. I got a treat in the tracks department though. A fox has been through here, a couple of times. The track is very much like the cat tracks but a little different. A more oblong foot, a tad bigger and certainly single track. Since I have a number of cat tracks I can compare easily in the fresh snow. Among the other tracks noted was a rabbit moving from tree to tree where the ground stayed clear and a couple of little mouse tracks by some rocks in the back of the back yard. They are so so tiny. Once the snow starts to melt you lose them very quickly with snow falling from trees and making strange dents in the ground snow. I didn't breath a word of my discovery to Juno or Buzz!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Into the Wind

Winter solitude-
In a world of one color
The sound of wind.
-Matsuo Basho

Blanket Progress

Oh gosh, don't expect to see the start of weaving. We're not there yet, but I am about 2/3 through all the threading now. This was taken at just under half.

It's slow going because a redo for a threading error would be a pain and if there is a mistake on the middle layer I might not spot it since that is the one layer that cannot be seen easily from either top or bottom.
The 30 epi gets a crammed feeling in the heddles.

I can't imagine taking this yarn to 15 epi except for coat fabric. It seems like it would be pretty stiff. I have had company while working though. It's so cute. When the cat leaves his bed, even though it is very small, someone spies the empty bed within minutes and takes over. This time it was Peter.

He folds himself up in there in the most amazing way until he's nothing more than a small furry donut with ears, eyes and a nose. Jack was happily snoozing in his
bed next to this one, both next to the loom.

I came home with neither buffalo nor lobster yesterday, much to Gene's relief! I can only imagine what the horses would do upon seeing a couple of buffalo. Dandy actually has a lot of "cow" sense and has no problems with herding them. Cooper, not so much. Nick has seen a cow or two and youngsters Boo and Imp have never seen one. In any event, horses are visual creatures and a buffalo looks nothing like a cow. All the horses noticed the new glasses even when people did not. Both dogs and horses are masters of body language and facial expressions and I would be hard pressed to say who was better. Horses certainly have the edge with body language and dogs may be a bit better with facial expressions. Goats just want to know if you have raisins in your pocket for treats. Buffalo=Rodeo. ;-)

So back to weaving content. I have the whole housebound weekend before me, the blanket to get ready to start and that prayer flag warp that has to be done by next weekend. I have an order from the pet store I put the two in that sold. She'll take as many as I can weave.

The festival and show season has started around Ashland. This weekend is the Clayfolk Show & Sale. It's one of my very favorites here and sadly, due to the first big snowstorm moving in today, I don't think I'm going to make it. The prediction of snow is ranging anywhere from 6 inches up to 14 inches and possibly higher. They never really know up here in the mountains. We'll wait and see how the roads pan out on the first true plowing of the season. It looks like it's going to be a white Thanksgiving!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Is There ANYTHING You Can't Find on Craigslist?

Okay, I wasn't going to post today. I am heading to town before the weather hits over the weekend. One of my usual morning internet haunts is craigslist. You just never know what you'll find there and today was a banner one listings wise.

So, say you need something to give you that early Plains feel in your backyard. What would do that, maybe an antelope or a buffalo? Yeah, a buffalo, that's the ticket and here you go. Two of them as a matter of fact! Buffalo buddies, because you simply can't have just one. :-)

Okay , well maybe you want something a little smaller and not so free roaming. I've got just the thing for you here. Actually, I have no idea if it's alive or dead, but it IS under Farm & Garden, so I'm assuming this critter is still wiggling.
Boy, did he get lost!

And finally, I just don't know what to think about this one.

I obviously need to get out of the house.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Cleaning up the Sticky Bits

In the last week there have been requests for information on rugs and recipes, so here you go!

For rag rugs I like to use Harrisville cotton twine. I've used Maysville rug warp and linen for wool saddle blankets but this is my favorite for simple rag rugs. It's sturdy and has some body to it. The Maysville comes in a lot of colors but looking at the twist, I don't think it is quite as sturdy. The cotton twine I sett at 6 epi, the Maysville at 8 epi. Plus the twine is handy for tying the bits and pieces on and around the loom, like lease sticks or saved thrums for the choke ties on the warp. Works for tying up a turkey too! Now, there is a poly cotton rug warp, may be a Maysville product may not be. I haven't used it, but likely it will be stronger than the 100% cotton and more color fast and less stretch on the loom. Not as many colors, but about 10 or 15 to chose from.

For shuttles I use a variety of rag shuttles and keep one larger Jenkins boat shuttle loaded with warp for hems/edges between rugs.

It takes a 6" bobbin. I also have one ski shuttle, which while pretty is not my favorite to use. I own no stick shuttles but I'm sure the larger/long ones can be used on a not too wide rag rug warp.

Now, the Pineapple Upside Down Cake Recipe.

Other than the usual pantry stuff you'll need a large can of pineapple slices, walnuts or pecans and a small jar of maraschino cherries

Heat oven to 375 degrees

1 stick unsalted butter melted in a cast iron skillet
add 1 cup dark brown sugar and let it bubble away until no longer gritty. It will never
truly mix with the butter but whisk it until you are happy with it. Take off the heat
and let it start to cool just a little while you do the cake part.

dry part:
1 cup flour
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda

wet part
3 egg yolks ( save the whites!!!)
5 tablespoons pineapple juice ( or rum or a little of both)
1 cup white sugar

Now that both parts are mixed go over and slap 6 pineapple slices onto the brown sugar and butter in the skillet. Add those bright red jarred cherries in the pineapple holes and some nuts stuck into the skillet mixture in the open parts. I prefer pecans, but my mother uses walnuts.

Back to the bowls, take the wet egg yolk mix and add it to the dry flour mix, mixing well. It's a very dry stiff mixture. Now, to those egg whites you saved. Go beat them until stiff and holding peaks well and then fold into the cake mixture. Plop the whole thing on top of the stuff in the skillet and throw it in the oven for 30-40 minutes.
Check with a toothpick around 30 minutes.

Once the cake is done pull it out of the oven. Find a plate that will fit over the top of the skillet with room to spare. The flatter plate the better and no plastic! Put the plate over the skillet, get your mitts on and flip it so the cake comes out onto the plate. Hold the skillet on for just a wee bit to let all the butter and brown sugar release and then lift it off. While hot we like to sprinkle rum on the top. It doesn't matter if you do or don't.
My family likes rum on it but then again, my family believes that alcohol is in many instances, a necessary ingredient or condiment! Let it cool and don't cover it. Let the brown sugar harden to make a nice chewy top. It's a cake that should be eaten quickly as the top gets mushy if left stored for more than two days max. So, let them eat cake, but fast! ;-)

And for my daily sticky bits, here's the blanket warp, rolled on and ready for threading.

It was not a pleasant time winding on the warp. Harrisville Shetland at 30 epi was difficult. I broke 6 threads, but the winding looks good and those 6 in the scheme of 930 are something I can live with, I'll just thread as if they were never there. I would be hard pressed to find them now anyway. :-) As I was winding on I was thinking about some things I can do to make the next blanket a little easier. I think I'll increase the width some, sett at 8epi tripled to 24 epi and allow the finished blanket to full more to make up for the wider sett. Or if the sett is so lovely at 10, I'll just suck it up, plan on spending an hour with Gene hovering around to help and do it the same. To be determined later because now I have 924 ends that are ready for threading. The threading pattern is not a straight draw and requires a little more thought. It's 6-4-2-5-3-1 and then repeats again and again....

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Good Gosh That's a Heap of Ends!

And a lot of wool for a big blanket. I've finished 7 of the 9 warp chains for the blanket.

All I can say is that someone should make a warping board that has enough room between pegs to allow a hand to pass through the spaces easily. None do that I know.
My Father was also taunting me with how wonderful his Harrisville Warping Mill is.
I happen to know it's collapsible, just wait until my next visit....I have a very large suitcase!

The Delta came with about 150 heddles per shaft. I am going to need at least 155 for this blanket plus a few more. I had two hundred extra heddles that came with the loom but were never installed, so I have put them all on shaft 1 to section and twist tie off
for placement on all 8 shafts.

I am only using 6 shafts for this blanket, but might as well do them all for whatever may come in the future. I was delayed for a time while looking in assorted household drawers for more twist ties.

The rag rug for the kitchen has been started and actually close to two feet already woven. I am happy with the color choices so far and as is typical I'll throw in some fabrics I like but don't have a lot of, for shots of random color as I weave.

I'm always hard pressed to weave a rag rug in a truly set color pattern. I like the surprise of it all both as I weave and as I use it.

On farm news, Bob had a flat tire, and I mean flat. Worse, I didn't notice it until I was driving him up to the paddock with hay during the dark morning feed. It was on the off side from the one I usually work in and out of. Gene had to take the tire down to town for a new tube. It had been patched over the years like 4 times. Tractor tires are very expensive but use tubes which can be replaced cheaply. Thankfully I didn't do any damage to the rim. Whew!

Angel was no angel last night, in fact she is in the doghouse.

She has always been a counter surfer but has been pretty good in the last year or so. I became complacent and put a package of boneless chicken breast just a bit to close to the edge while I let the oven heat. We were to have roasted chicken breasts and home made stuffing. When I wandered into the kitchen to start assembling and seasoning things, there was no chicken pack. A quick look down the hall and I spied a ring of dogs around the laundry room. Sure enough, Angel had taken the package back to her crate. There was only styrofoam left and some wrapping. The rest of the little sneaks were all hoping for leftovers. I'm sure most got bits of packaging with only chicken breast essence! That evidence will no doubt make an appearance in some form today. Enough said. Our back-up meal isn't worth writing about and was barely worth eating.

Some time around 8:00 p.m. last night (and after a couple glasses of wine and one, after the meal we called dinner but wasn't, Frangelica), I started to giggle. There was little 9lb Pogo in Gene's lap and I can only imagine how much he (or any of them) wish they could counter surf. He can floor moulding surf and that's about it. Anyway,
it lightened my mood and I made up with Angel before heading up to bed. She will live another day as the Caped Counter Crusader, bringing food (or package scraps) to the downtrodden and very short....

Friday, November 13, 2009

Throwing Down the Gauntlet

Hey, that's no gauntlet, that's not even a carrot or a measly bit of hay! That's an old glove that happens to smell like all of those things. Even horses know when they've been cheated! ;-) It wasn't intentional, the camera is very small and I can't hit the buttons with my gloves on. These two boys have been together 8 years now.

I had water tanks to scrub and fill and fences to check so even though it was a grey snowy day I thought I would take the camera out with me and get some shots of curls.
I usually end up with lots of shots of horse noses but here are a few of some of the curls.

Imp is my worst nose offender BTW, and shooing him with one hand only got me this.

He'll bring his head right around into my face in a second. I've worked on spacial issues with this fellow since he's arrived. Maybe the two days he was a bottle baby did make a difference. Imprinting is strong in most baby animals. He's a big in your pocket sweetie though and has learned to cheat a bit. The feet stay where they should but the neck stretches wonderfully.

Boo does stay in his allotted space and has just the most perfect curls on his fore head.
It's present all year but really stands out in the winter.

Cooper has gotten his waves and ripples. While not terribly curly in the middle parts, his rump and neck get crowded with these lovely marcel waves.

Dandy is enjoying a carrot treat. I caught him mid chew. He gets a soft but crowded curl and of course, that stunning copper orange color deepens.

Against a field of white snow he glows like the Great Pumpkin. This bright sorrel is my very favorite horse color.

Lastly because they are curly also, a picture of the girls. What a silly bunch they are. Thy are all watching Sylvie investigate.

I headed to do a small hike around the front of the property and everyone had to join in. My quiet walk in the woods turned into 5 goats jostling and jogging. bleating for me to slow down while they crashed through woods keeping up. How relaxing!

Thursday, November 12, 2009


Nine hundred and thirty is the number of ends in the blanket warp. It does not include the fishing line I'll put in the two fold areas or the edges to protect the selvage ends. I decided to do just one blanket on this warp to mitigate high yarn losses should the project go south. Plus I don't think Gene would be particularly fond of his special blanket having pink stripes in the warp! Here is the beginning of the warp being measured.

I had to really think about where I wanted/needed stripes of color. I did 60 ends of pink for the beginning and will do 60 ends of the same at the end. This will give me ten top and ten bottom pink warp threads at each end and the same at each of the two fold lines. Basically that means that each stripe will be two inches wide at 10 epi. I almost had heart failure as I was scanning around on a couple of different web sites and saw Harrisville's Shetland listed for plain weave at 8-10 epi, different from my very nice sample book from them, that lists sett at 10-12-15 epi. A quick call to the very experienced weavers on the Harrisville staff and I was back on track using my original 10 epi. Here is the very small triple weave sample.

Tuesday was guild meeting day and true to form, I had to leave early to pick up my glasses. What is it about Tuesdays? They seem to be my busiest day of the week always. It was so when I worked too and had to run payroll for 140 shift employees, most with time and a half, some with double time and of course those evil weekly check garnishments to figure out. Anyway, I digress. I got all sorts of wonderful goodies in my short time at guild meeting and felt very spoiled indeed.
Nadine ( long suffering mentor) had a draft for me that she found which I have yet to really sit down with.
I got a whole heap of books from the library, including Bress's big book and a beefy coverlet book "Keep Me Warm One Night" along with a couple of others...I guess those should have gone on my reading list!
Cindie, over at Eweniquely Ewe had filled her car trunk with stuff just for me. More roving in pink, blue and mocha, a wonderful Icelandic sheep skin for my bench

and she passed along some of her winnings of doggy items to the crew here. The grandest was a big puffy dog bed! Needless to say, it was a hit and everyone has taken a turn sleeping there. It is becoming the coveted spot! This is Charlotte giving the evil eye to someone who is just *thinking* about checking out the new bed. It pays to be the alpha girl. The only one who can move in on her territory is Dennett. I think they all sense he's mostly blind and since he is the alpha male still, even Charlotte will acquiesce.

Smoochie also got a fabulous new collar complete with a flames graphic and new matching leash. Pictures of him will follow soon.
But that's not all! I had been lamenting that my 8 dent reed was going to be stuffed with those multiple ends per dent blanket. Cindie whipped out a 6 dent reed for me to borrow.
So, I know you are reading this Cindie, THANK YOU for your kindness and generosity. The dogs thank you too, especially Charlotte and Smoochie. The cat wants to know why you didn't win anything to pass on to him, but then again, he's a cat, what would you expect? :-)

On farm news, the weather has finally changed to winter. No hope of another little Indian summer at this point. Last night we had snow, today and through the weekend, snow and rain forecasted. The temps are not climbing into the 50's like even a week ago, mostly now staying in the high 30's and low 40's for that nanosecond at about 2:00 p.m. The horses have just about completed laying in their winter curly coats and are plump and happy the bugs are gone. Heated water buckets are in full service and
I am wishing for a hard sustained freeze now to make the paddock less muddy. Grain, molasses and apples are on hand for the weekly hot mash. The goat hay feeder has been moved away from their gate to a place under the trees for protection. The wood has been cut, split and stacked. Heat tape is on in the pump house and only the plow needs to be attended to with some welding. We're ready to say "Bring it on" to old man winter. No sign of Puck but I would bet he'll appear at some point. No skunks this year either so far. I hope Bond has found other more suitable places to visit. Fingers crossed that is so.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Reading Lists

A few comments came through about adding my book selections to the respective commenter's reading lists. I'm darn curious about what everyone has on their lists be they lengthy or not. I keep my list at Amazon ( wish list) and also a heap of books
on the nightstand and in the living room near the comfy chair. During the big clean, some of the books got put away on the book shelf and I am just now reassembling piles.
Here is what's in the works on my list and in some of the piles.

The Devil's Brood by Sharon Kay Penman
The Murder Stone by Charles Todd
The Hearts of Horses by Molly Gloss
Heaven and Earth: Global warming the missing science by Ian Plimer
Wolf Hall by Hillary Mantel
Half Broke Horses, A True-Life Novel by Jeannette Walls
Outliers The Story of Success by Malcolm Gladwell
Islam: A Short Modern History by Karen Armstrong
The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order by Samual P. Huntington
Fine Just the Way It Is: Wyoming Stories 3 by Annie Proulx
The River of Doubt: Theodore Roosevelt's Darkest Journey by Candice Millard

So, care to share your lists????

Oh, and to help all this reading along, the new glasses arrived yesterday. Woohoo!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Let Them Eat Cake!

So, after cleaning and getting yet MORE laundry moving through the system, it was time for baking that cake for Matt the giver of wild meat. I'm pretty much a one trick pony when it comes to baking sweets. It could be because I am not much for eating sweet baked goods so they never really earned a place in my culinary repertoire. The exception is pineapple upside down cake that has been a staple in my life.

My Grandmother made them under the direction of her mother ( who I remember) and passed the recipe along to my mother, who in turn passed it on to me. That and it's simple. The only thing needed out of the ordinary is a cast iron skillet. It's beautiful and sweet but not so sweet like most of the cakes and frosting's I taste today. And of course the first bite always transports me to some neglected memory that needed dusting off.

Gene took the cake down to the fire station for Matt since it was training night. I hope it was shared and that Matt got to take a piece or two home for later.

Speaking of sharing, cats and dogs don't always share as nicely as we would like. This isn't often apparent since mostly, they like different things. Once in a while, it's a problem. So it was with the snuggle round bed that I put on the floor for Jack to curl up in by the loom. Rodger the cat is now spending more time in with onset of colder, wetter weather and his place of choice is, as you've guessed, Jacks bed. There has been growling and swatting and pitiful paw wringing and tail flicking, hair has gone up and hissing has alerted the whole household to the rift. Now what happens is whoever loses the bed then stalks over and takes over some other hapless souls sleeping area and so on and so on until I have ended up with a household of displaced dogs. I can sit from my desk chair and watch it happen. It is the classic "and the little one said Rollover, Rollover, and they all rolled over and the one fell out...."
There was only one thing to do and that was to buy another bed. For $16.00 order has been restored down the line.

Everyone is sleeping in their own "just right" spot and peace now reins again in the little kingdom.

Oh look, I've disturbed the sleeping beauties!

Monday, November 9, 2009

A Tale of Two Sundays

Gene was the hands down winner of the busy beaver award yesterday. The hydraulic splitter was rented Saturday night in prep for a day of wood cutting, splitting and stacking.

The cold morning temps and cool day let us know it was just in time too.

Our daytime high was a smidge over 40 and that was with the sun shining. My award for the day would be the Slug Award. I was exhausted after the two weeks of family fun and Saturday spent cleaning, washing and other pick up tasks. Of course there was football.

Shameless I know, but for only the second time this season the Patriots where televised without having to purchase the super duper sports package and I was not going to miss it. Cat naps don't count.

Now I promised some weaving updates and we got them. Once the beautiful bamboo runners were off the Louet I was busy getting a test warp together to try triple weave.
My Dad has never seen double weave in action, and I had been casting around for a way to do a 90" blanket width or better without having to sew. Cindie, my local oracle for all things oddball in weaving had mentioned a draft she had from a class that had 4 layers, why couldn't it be reduced down to 3 layers? Why not indeed! So, I threw a 5" cotton warp together using Maysville rug warp, set at 10 epi or more accurately 30 epi since it is for 3 layers.

This will be the same epi the Harrisville Shetland blankets will be. I got it all wound on and threaded Thursday and then started in. It works! It works beautifully and just like magic, I have three layers with two folds and when I cut it off I should have a cloth that is about 15" wide of plain weave.

In the pictures I've tried to separate the layers so you can see them.

Now there is a downside to anything this magical and that is the weaving time it will take. 6 shots to complete a single shot basically, so it's time consuming. I will likely cut this warp off long before it's done simply because if I'm going to spend that sort of time, I would rather do it on the actual blanket than a test warp. The other thing is it is hard to find that nice even beat since you are working blind on two of the layers. My feeling is wool is much more forgiving than cotton though and certainly will full nicely out. I can leave my treadle tie-up as is though and the shed is just amazing on Hey Baby. I do need to get a semi accurate count of the number of heddles I have on my loom since this blanket warp will be over 900 ends spread over 6 harnesses.

On the Barbara loom, the first rug has finally been completed and before I went into slug mode I balled up some rags so I could plan the colors for a kitchen runner. More will need to be done but I have lots of each of these fabrics.

A few different fabrics for a shot of bright color may go in, but this rug will see a lot of wear and darker is better.

The Murphy is stalled in the threading right now. It's a pretty narrow warp so just a matter of making the time to do it. Today is cleaning and baking day, tomorrow guild meeting and I am hoping my new glasses will be in. Using a 12 year old prescription has been difficult and headache producing to say the least. I hope I can get use to the bifocals without too many problems considering the cost of lenses.

All quiet on the farm front, the barn kitties Buzz and Juno are packing on the winter coat and fat and have taken to escorting me to the barn both morning and night. They flop about in their furabouts on the front porch, getting the last rays of sun while waiting for me.

Buzz throws himself down on the way for me to come and pick him up and carry him the rest of the way.

I am a well trained worker so he almost always gets his wish and before I have even picked him up he is giving me that loud purr that earned him his name. And speaking of the escorts, they are awaiting me.