Monday, December 31, 2007

Not for the Squeamish

In my blog profile, I say that I keep thirty-five some odd barn bunnies. I need to update, because there has been attrition since I wrote that. I counted the barn bunnies this morning, and there are twenty-three angoras out there. Counted again, same sum. Where did the twelve or so go?

Quentin died with wry neck in the Spring. Lost Soul Man the Old Man in August. He was of venerable age. He succumbed to the heat even though he was in the cooler back yard. In October, I sold Sammy, KoKola, Bunicula, and Caspar at the Southern Indiana FiberArts Festival. That's six.

Hippy died of unknown causes in early November. Lucy went to her eternal sleep earlier this month, from renal failure. Candy passed just a few days ago, of intestinal stasis, aka wool block. Yesterday, Griselda passed from a combination of old age and hind end paralysis. That's four more. That leaves two unaccounted for. Sheila is an inside angora - maybe I counted her.

I tried to autopsy Lucy, because none of my resources spoke to her condition. She ate and drank and pooped just fine until her end, but she had a big ol' pot belly. It was hard to make that first cut with the knife. Took more power than I thought. A lot of water poured out of her belly cavity, so I know that was the cause of the pot belly, and I can only extrapolate that it was kidney failure.

I had decided at some point that if I lost a bunny in full wool, I would skin it for the pelt. It would be such a waste not to. Candy unfortunately was my opportunity; a big white girl, born last January. She had gone off her feed for a couple of days - but I figured that once she was clipt, all would be fine. That has always worked in the past. She was two weeks from clipping, so I was distressed to find her cold in her cage last week. Okay, Fuzzy Girl, let's do it.

I pulled out my huge edition of The Encyclopedia of Country Living and read up on skinning rabbits. Could I do this? Reckon so. Once their little heads are removed, the task is much easier. I hung her with rope laced through her Achilles tendons and pulled her coat off like a sweater. Then gutted the carcass where I discovered the solid mass in her cecum - i.e. the intestinal block. Crap. Literally. I should have been more pro-active when she went off her feed. Too late now.

I'm in the process of curing her pelt - an education in itself.

If you are squeamish, just remember that we are only a few decades removed from killing game, large and small, in order to survive. When there was no general store, one made use of every little thing. Eat it or use it. My daddy used to shoot squirrels for our supper, and raised rabbits for meat. Mom and Dad were both exasperated that I wouldn't eat the fried meat. I don't know if my brothers did. Guess I wasn't hungry enough. Not starving.

Mom and Dad both were brought up in the poverty of the Great Depression. Eat what you can get. So when I took Candy's carcass to the Tibetan Burial Field, I thought that if her death circumstances were better, I could actually see eating her flesh, of which there was a lot. She was a big girl.

We modern people, used to getting our meat in a nice, plastic-wrapped package from the grocery, we prefer to not think of how this meat came to be in the refrigerated section of our favorite store. The killing and cutting them up involved. Let's not think about that and just have another burger or hot dog or chicken wing.

I'm glad that I had the opportunity to realize all of this.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Keep This Ticket

Outdoor Bunny Update

In addition to the first little white kit that I saw, I have seen five other babies. Two more white ones, one with Dickie's head tuft (!), two brown ones, and an elusive black one. I have my guesses, but really don't know which mother kindled which kit. On the other hand, the daddy list is much shorter.

I took in one of the white kits after I found him huddled on the porch the morning after a terrible wind storm.

I try, (yes I try,) to leave them alone but I couldn't let this one be. Brought him inside and Sweetie noticed the bare patches and scabs on his hind end. He'd been picked on by Bambi, I presume, since I'd seen her chasing a white baby around the front yard. She has a history of being a bully.

Half of the kits have found refuge in the tunnels in the backyard enclosure. They must smell the summer bunnies and that makes them feel safe. They are still small enough to fit through the small fence gaps. If I stand on a chair at the bathroom window, I sometimes get to see them nibbling grass.

I learned today that my residence is becoming a minor tourist attraction. Pam, who works part-time at the General Store, told me that last summer, several people stopped to ask "Where does the lady with the rabbits in her yard live?" One can't do anything out of the ordinary in a small town without attracting attention.

Knitting Update

Finished the latest pair of socks. Here they are with Reece's Pieces, since I didn't want to disturb her chair time.

And have already cast on for the next pair. I paid for and downloaded the Annetrelac Socks from Interweave Knit Gifts. I have never done any entrelac knitting, and this appealed to me because of the use it makes of hand painted yarn. (Such as the stuff I got from The Insubordiknit). I may hate the fussiness of the technique. Who knows. But I like the look. Knitting is wonderful, though, for the fact that it can be tinked and knit again.

Cat lovers, and others, go here to Obey the Kitty.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Contents Under Pressure

Oh my goodness, am I glad that it is December 26th.

Had a quiet day at home yesterday. We exchanged giftees on the 24th, with pizza for supper.

Sweetie received two pair of wool socks and a pair of red indoor/outdoor slippers. Also, a book called Options by the Fake Steve Jobs. (His is the one website that Sweetie checks out daily.) I do love me some Internet Shopping.

Sweetie outdid himself this year, giftee-wise, doing all his shopping on the 24th. Mr. Brinksmanship! He stopped at Goodwill and, in order to help with my musical education, bought me a 1978 Ronco vinyl edition of Disco's Greatest Hits. What a hoot! Also, a Herb Alpert album that I didn't have. And, because he said I did not have enough bunny stuff, he found a silver-tone metal ware (whatever that is) bread tray with a lovely rabbit, art-nouveau-sort-of, embossed upon it.

We're not done yet! At my suggestion, he traveled to Grinny Possum and Ann helped him pick out two books, The Ashford Dyeing Book and Interweave Knit's 25 Favorite Sock Patterns and a ball of the 100% corn fiber yarn, purple, called aMAIZing. He lives up to his name, Sweetie does!

In what is becoming a tradition, for the second year in a row we delivered big Bags o' Cat Food to three neighborhood cat people, two of whom have been working to spay and neuter all of the town's feral felines. Out of their own pockets. I'm hoping that we can expand this little charitable effort somehow in the future.

So, it's over for another year. I did well this holiday season, being more full of peace and love instead of grumpy and out of sorts. I sent out a few cards but never got around to putting up a tree.

Soon, we will be eating corn bread, black eyed peas and turnip greens. Sweetie does not ask much of me at all, but he likes to have these Southern Traditional things on New Year's Day. In fact, corn bread fresh upturned out of the cast iron skillet, and slathered with real butter, is a gourmand's delight, and one of the things that I bake well, thankyouverymuch.

Here is a fun site, full of pictures so for you dial-ups out there, give it a chance to load. I rather like the Matisse, the sun the mermaid, the Elvis, the Buddha, the Mona Lisa....

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Odds and Ends

We're getting all the rain now that we needed back in the summer. I mean, ALL the rain we needed. If it were snow, we'd be socked in for weeks. However, this munificent rain will replenish the local springs and aquifers and that is a good thing.

If I were a short story writer, I would have at least two story germs from today's drive home. One concerns a nice little pond in someone's side yard that had one white goose near the floating corpse of another white goose. I can't remember if geese mate for life. So, what had happened? Was the dead one a he or a she?

The other concerns several trailer homes along a stretch of country road. The homes look remarkably alike. Are they family? What are these people like? What are their dramas? "I want you to listen to what I have to say!" yelled into a cell phone by a thin and acne-scarred young woman. (Which I heard at the Goodwill this afternoon.)

One thing that is, I guess, too common to provoke outrage anymore, is the run down house where the husband is a drug addict and his three kids sleep on mats on the floor. They just put up one of those giant inflatable snow globes in what passes for their front yard that cost $50. On clearance.

My little rant: This is what keeps poor people poor; spending lavishly on spur of the moment, throw-away items from the WalMart.. Buy more cheap plastic crap that will break next week. Then go to the food pantry to feed the young-uns.

Maybe stuff like this. (Which I stole from Sweetie's side of the Mac. I have no attribution.)

Although Sweetie is working for his new employers, the shiny-new and better insurance is still in the works. He was instructed to go ahead and fill prescriptions and he would be reimbursed. So, today at Butt Drugs the refill for our combined Happy Pills cost the better part of $400. For one month.

I had decided to take WalMart up on their $4 drugs for the two things they cover at that price. So that was nice and everything. As they have anticipated, I shopped for awhile and spent sixty bucks on kitty litter, booze and make up. Yeah, figgered I need to try to look presentable at least sometimes. When I leave the house. If that doesn't work, then I can try the makeup. (That's a jo-, I say, that's a joke, son.)

The Big Deal today was Rex the Mailman bringing me a package from The Insubordiknit. She had put out an APB for hand-painted (or otherwise, I guessed,) clothes for her kids' Christmas presents. I had tie-dyed onesies and painted youth size Tshirts left over from my bricks and mortar store and figured, What the heck? Pass them along.

So, today I got a package from Jacey with a cake of hand painted sock yarn and a 110 yard skein of handspun that she said was "too daffy to sell." Wonderful! (Even if I have failed to capture the wonderfulness in this shot.)

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Use No Knives

Last night when Sweetie got home, and I was sound asleep, he lamely tried to tickle me. I apparently said, "Sheila, I am so tired of you!" I don't remember a bit of it.

Sheila is one of the two house bunnies, and she has taken to jumping on me, looking right into my eyes, rearranging the bed clothes and running off with my pillows - usually around 3 am. It's hard to be too upset with her since she is such a goof, but it is disconcerting to wake up in the middle of the night with bunny whiskers touching my face.

Here is a shot of Heizen the Hutt and the Pootie Makers. Soon with their own pod cast!

I do remember the two dreams I had. I don't want to go into detail, so let me just say that one was sad and the other was of the I-want-to-go-home type. Sweetie told me this morning that the last one seems to be a recurring theme with my dreams. When he got up, he found me slightly weepy, in the kitchen, listening to Christmas music, and (pause) cooking! Oven baked french fries, Laura's Lean ground beef patties sauteed with mushrooms and onions, and fresh-cooked carrots in butter. Reckon I needed a good meal after last night.

My knitting on the lace shawl continues. Slowly. I ripped out, again, the previous work and started over for maybe the twelve hundredth time. This time on size zeros. Call me mad, call me crazy, call me a cab, I don't care! I love this combination of yarn and needles. My hands are happy. Let me just add that, anymore, size ones are beginning to feel big and clunky to me.

That's what I'm using on the latest socks. Here, I am starting the heel flap. I cannot remember what yarn this is, of which I like the striping. It's either Regia or Trekking that I got at Grinny Possum. I can only work on the shawl when I am fresh fresh fresh, (maybe a half hour each day,) so the socks are my not so fresh project for all those other knitting hours.

By the way, through Fleegle's Blog, I discovered how to make that seemingly impossible circular cast on using size eights and lace weight. Now I find out. But it is so cool and so elegant that I want to share.

And absolutely not least, The Most Wonderful Present from The Most Wonderful Sister-in-Law! Hand knit, (and spun??) angora.

Monday, December 17, 2007

A Merry Christmas Rant

I don't hate Christmas.

Christmas as a holiday is fine. Even for me, a non-Christian. It is okay to celebrate the fictional birthday of a holy person. It is also okay to celebrate the pagan holiday, the winter solstice, and bring evergreens indoors, burn the yule log, kiss under the mistletoe. It is a great time to visit with family and friends. To feast and give gifts.

I regret, though, that some people believe, somehow, once a year, everything bad can be made good again with a card or a present. A phone call or email. That a gesture on one day can atone for neglect or absence or ill will on the other 364.

I don't like the huge inflatable Santas, Grinches, and such like that sprout every night like nocturnal mushrooms. I don't like the white icicle lights that hang from every other house's gutters. The nets of white lights that cover shrubbery don't thrill me overmuch. Our rural energy cooperative gives prizes for the best outdoor Christmas display. Excuse me? Aren't we supposed to be conserving energy? Climate change and all that?

I don't like the crazy spending. To buy something just to buy something. I don't like that almost every toy, ornament, appliance and garment purchased by Americans this year is made in China.

I like me a home made holiday.

I like that at least once in a year we are admonished to remember those less fortunate - the hungry, the friendless, the homeless. I do wish that it weren't just once in a year. The hungry, the friendless, the homeless are among us all year 'round. I believe the essence of the holiday should be practiced all through the year, if it is going to be practiced at all.

Pray for peace. Practice good will toward all. Love my neighbor. Practice gentle loving kindness. Take care of one another. Forgive trespasses and debts.

These are the things, the acts, that I try to do every day - even though every day I fail.

The thing, though, is to try.

Every day.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

The Split Beaver Edition

Bought this loaf of bread today. Is it just me, or would Judy Chicago buy this on eBay?

It has rained a lot lately, and the temperature is more Atlanta-like than here-like.

The english muffins are finally showing some mold and a bit of disintegration. One was stepped on and it turned to sawdust. Or something like sawdust, but not as pure. Yes, I should bake my own. Valerie says it's easy. Yeah, sure, have you seen my kitchen?

Happy news is that I have spotted two youngster-bunnies today. One looks like he belongs to Black Bart and Barbara Bobo - who both live in the back part of the property. He is living in the shed, I think. I saw him nibbling grass under my car this morning. I put out bowls of pellets and water.

This one belongs to Jackie Brown and most likely, Dickie! Circle of life and all that. Dickie was and Jackie Brown is one of the front yard bunnies. They live under the front porch, okay, the entire house, probably. I'm all atwitter with delight. Babies! Here is Buster and Jackie Brown. Jackie won't let me get anywhere this near to her. Shows you how vicious and intimidating Buster is. Must be the Rottweiler in him.

Monday, December 10, 2007


Sweetie has one! As Master Mechanic. Today, the new owner takes possession. The new name is Krunchers!, a subsidiary of Snyder's of Hanover Pretzels out of Pennsylvania. Last Monday, everyone had to reapply for their job, and he was rehired. Good news is that his seniority stands (ten years plus! woo-hoo!) and better news is that he got a pay increase and better insurance! (Happy Dance!) Yes, he is lucky. About half of the employees were not rehired, and that's a fine thank you for, in some cases, over twenty years of service. And just before Christmas, too.

We've put off doing a number of things for a couple of months, not knowing if we'd be flat broke or whut. Now, the stress of not knowing is behind us and life, after our own sorry fashion, can go on. We can order some books. I can pay off my medical bills. I can get him some of those Land's End wool socks. Aren't we the extravagant ones?


The Shakertown retreat was wonderful. As usual. Saw friends, ate much, spun a little. The re-lined jacket was muchly appreciated by NNS.

Here are a couple of photos.

Someone's fox & coon skin hat is being coveted. I liked it, too.

The new Crone. She is our usual hammer dulcimer player. We kazooed Pomp & Circumstance for her. Dreadfully.

Three of the Crones on Parade. There are now eight Crones. One neglected to bring her costume(!) and so is only partially in regalia. (I am sure it is some passive-aggressive act. Norma Jean.)

All crones received new staffs this year, to stand in lieu of the dorky-ass scepters of years past. Much nicer, everyone agreed!

I got over-stimulated and by Saturday afternoon, I was toast. Couldn't make the dinner at the Beaumont Inn in Harrodsburg, KY. Couldn't stay awake for the late night spinning. Ran home as soon as I could on Sunday morning to see Sweetie for a bit before he was off the the potato chips mines. I'm almost recovered.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

I spoke too soon about there being no yard-bunny road kill. Just now found Dickie, the white one with the funny top knot, in the street.

He and Barbara Bobo were the kits from Bambi, and he was the one that had the furry tendencies of his dad, Stubby the Lion Head.

I'm sad but not bereft. Dickie had a good life and many girlfriends. Maybe he has babies not yet known. I'll take him into the field tomorrow for a pseudo-Tibetan burial, offering him up to the hawks and coyotes.

I've lost several babies this year. Murgie, Stubby, the Netherland dwarf brothers, Soul Man the Old Man, Hippy, the black babies. So it goes.

Oldest Brother asked if I had a cure for the winter blues. Medication. Better living through Big Pharma.

Don't know what I would do if I didn't knit. Honestly. Not that I knit constantly or anything, although I pretty much knit some every day. Knitting gives me a focus, something to work on, and a finished product at the end of the day. Finally found a pattern for the purple cashmere that I could manage. Tried it this summer with handspun and became so bored with it that I ripped it out. (I had gone off my medz and was fairly on edge then.) I hope this time will prove different. It is the Shaped Triangle Shawl from A Gathering of Lace. It begins with a simple cast on of 5. I can do that. I'm not bored yet.

Last night I dreamed about a house, a big house, of which I occupied only one room. When I ventured into the rest of the place, I was amazed at the treasures it held. Lots of radios and record players.(!) Lots of built in appliances. Two huge kitchens. A dining room with a credenza thing for dishes. Some pieces of furniture were huge and ugly Victorian pieces. Some had beautiful bird's eye maple interiors. My late maternal grandparents were there, Big Momma and Pap, and I was exploring all this stuff with them. The detail was incredible.

In dream imagery, a house stands for one's body. This dream seems to say that I need to step outside of my "one room." Take a chance? Make a change?

I also dreamed about movie making last night. I was a ineffectual wardrobe flunky. I was always late or did the wrong thing. Bunnies were involved. Of course. And elevators in tall, tall buildings. I have no clue as to the meaning. Maybe, sometimes an elevator is just an elevator.

Costume-wise, I do have the Crone costume(s) to make for this weekend, the Friendship Spinners Guild Shakertown retreat. Fabric is in hand and I know what I want to do. Only need to do it. The jacket relining for Nancy NeverSwept is done. Believe it or don't. I truly hate to be paid in advance. What motivation is there to complete the work? Except that I couldn't go to another spinner's meeting until it was completed. Vile Blackmail!

As usual, I am simultaneously looking forward to and dreading the retreat. Getting there, getting out of the house, is the hard part. Once there, I'm mostly fine. They are such a great group of people! The Crone costume(s) will be finished. Otherwise, again, I could never go to another meeting. More Vile Blackmail!

What is the Crone thing, you ask? It began four or five years ago with the thought that the guild should honor the elders of the group that have given selflessly to others in order to further the crafts of spinning, knitting and weaving.

The possible Crone needed to be of a certain age, and after the first year, needed the most votes from the group. Our Crones are Vivian, Norma, Jerri, Donna, Jean, Jerry and Jean. Yes, that is Jerry, a man. An honorary Crone maybe, or as I like to think, a Croner. The Crowning of the Crones is a sight to see! The previous Crones wear their outfits of purple capes and crazy hats (some include pieces of the legendary Penis Hat) with some sort of scepter and a spinning wheel charm on a neck chain and they parade around the large meeting room. When the new Crone is thus adorned, Pomp and Circumstance is played on the fiddle and hammer dulcimer and much joy and celebration and parading ensues. Crazy!

What else? I am glad to say that no yard bunny has become road kill. Yet. I am thinking that they may have figured out that road sitting was not a Good Thing.

I took the back yard bunnies to live in the barn for the winter. They must be some sort of Badger Goat, eating all green grass to nubs and also digging and tunneling like maniacs. It will take until May of 2008 for the land to recover. Also much filling in of topsoil.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

My Grandmother is over eighty and still doesn't need glasses. Drinks right out of the bottle.
- Henny Youngman

Ha Ha.

Not much going on here in Lovely LAconia. Have not felt compelled to write. It's cold, gray and damp. I dreamt about Murgie last night. Why do I miss that feller so much?

Work, work, work - that's all I never do.

But I did mend and wash the many pairs of hand knit socks that Sweetie and I own. That must count for something!

Spent THREE fruitless hours trying to cast on the purple cashmere laceweight onto size 7 double points. I was totally bummed, man. I mean, how many ways are there to fuck up one thing? Several, I found out. Maybe this stuff was not meant to be this particular shawl. So, today, I tried another pattern that uses a crocheted cast on. That went like a breeze. However, following the actual pattern proved to be problematic. Sigh. When these things happen, and they do happen to everyone, I think, it's time to do something else. Like start another pair of socks.

Here's the last pair, finished. I used two different skeins to stripe these, which is a great way to jazz up not so exciting yarn.

There is of course, the bunnies. Heizen has grown to gigantic proportions - but is still the sweetest guy.

And now, enjoy THIS.