Friday, January 30, 2009

We sell only the very best.

The hardest thing about dyeing angora is getting it wet. (Also, getting it dry is time consuming, as well.*) Here is how I've been doing it lately: warm the water in the dyepot until it is comfortable and then cut off the heat. I grab a handful of angora and plunge it into the water and gently squeeze out the air bubbles. Then, with both hands underwater, I slowly pull the fibers apart. Repeat as needed. Today I used maybe eight handfuls and it will be a lovely lime color (spring is coming!) when it grows up.

If one doesn't get all the fibers separated, then there will be undyed bits of wool stuck together and sometimes that is okay. If the color is supposed to be a dark purple, it isn't okay. If one is too rough with the squeezing and shredding, it might felt. Not okay at all when one is using one's best fiber, like today.

Now, if I am dyeing mats for lumpy bumpies, then the rougher the better. (I'm thinking of calling a blend with dyed mat bits either Bad Bunny or Lumpy Bunny.) The mats help create a fun, textured yarn that some people really like. Me, for one.

So anyway. I'm dyeing angora and drumcarding today.

*Drying angora is easier but can take one, two or three days depending on the humidity and how much I mess around with it. I spin out much moisture in the washer and then spread the fiber on a plastic- covered wire screen with is set on a bowl or something to allow air to circulate all around. If I set this on the dryer, I can fluff and pull apart fibers every time I walk by, greatly speeding up the process. Bonus: It is fun and satisfying to handle such soft stuff.

The ice and snow are still here. Here's the front yard as of half an hour ago.



Our temperature, due to cloud cover, has hovered at thirty degrees for two days. Today, the sun came out and warmed things up enough that the icicles started to melt and fall, but the forecasters say it will be fifteen tonight. Black ice.

We lost our power for only ten minutes Tuesday night. Or was it Wednesday morning? Tens of thousands are still without power in southern Indiana and Kentucky, which got way more ice than we did, is really hurting. I always attribute our good luck, power-wise, to the fact that the president of our local REMC lives close by. It could be true.

All the barn bunnies are fine but the outside bunnies are having a hard time finding forage, what with several inches of ice and snow. We are being extra generous with their pellets and even throwing in carrots, apples and so on. Even the normally shy ones are venturing to the porch.



Also feeding the birds on the porch, much to the kitties frustration. They sit at the window, swishing their tails and making strange throat noises.



Reese's tries to WILL the door to open kinetically and doesn't understand why it won't work.

The house bunnies are doing well. Here's the baby born back near the first of December. Now look at little Whiffleball! It's easy having only one baby angora to tend and it gets lots of attention. I'm wondering if I want to keep her as a house bunny because I do miss Sheila, as annoying as she could be.



Oh, and the anti-robotics? I did what one is not supposed to do; I quit in mid-course. I was sick for four days with nausea from hell and now I am not. Still have the sinus clog, but even that is preferable to the other. The only good thing about being so freakin' sick was that I haven't had a drink in almost a week. Those of you who have seen me lately would be surprised at how much better I am feeling. And looking.

Monday, January 26, 2009

If swallowed, get medical help.

I am on the dreaded anti-robotics. Because I have had a sinus infection since Thanksgiving. The pills are making me feel just awful.

The merino came today and I can't even deal with a dyepot right now.

We are expected to get four to 8 inches of snow by Wednesday. We seem to be far enough north that we won't get the ice that is creating havoc southwest of here. I'd always rather have snow, even lots of it, than ice.

Here's a link to the cutest little buns!

Saturday, January 24, 2009

May cause dizziness.




Thanks to my friend, Judy, for this card.

Enter your 13 digit code.

True Confession.

Last week, I received an email entitled 'Stupid Quiz'. I usually delete that kind of mail; the memes and the "send this to ten friends" stuff. But I filled this one out and returned to sender.

One of the questions asked, "When was the last time you cried?" And I had to say it was upon seeing the footage of the Hudson River crash.

I am a sentimental fool. The reason I got emotional was because everybody involved was so selfless. Everyone seemed to come together to do all the right things. The pilot (wow!), the flight attendants, the ferry boats captains, the passengers on the plane and the ferries. Why this makes me weep, I don't know.

I was reminded of another airplane crash, several years ago. Helicopters were rescuing the victims and one man kept passing the life line to others in order that they could get out of the icy water before him. In the end, that man perished. Those are the heros I admire. The ones that just do what seems right, no matter the personal cost. I imagine that soldiers are the same way.

I hope that the people of America can do the same kind of thing in the coming four years to get our nation back on the right track.

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I get weepy at small gestures. Around here, we pull to the side of the road and stop when we encounter a funeral procession, in respect for the family. Nobody honks or complains that this stupid thing is making them late for something.

At my own mother's funeral, in 1974, the sight of the policeman placing his hat over his heart as our cortege passed made me lose it more than anything else in the previous week. That man didn't know me or my family, but his simple act of respect remains with me to this day.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Keep Fingers Clear!

Behold!



The Pat Green Supercard! Electrified, even. I am one happy camper.

It arrived on Monday, but I didn't really operate it until I had read all the instructions and cleaned the studio. (Again.) It was Tuesday, then, before I put pedal to the metal, or rather, fiber to the teeth. It wasn't until yesterday that I felt I was back in my creative groove and created some Bunny and The Beast batts.

The shipment of pounds of merino is due on Monday. Until then, I am using all the little bits of this and that for the B & B. Mmmm. B and B.

The Supercard is the bee's knees! It's the cat's meow! Best thing since sliced bread!

The Supercard is not a cheap piece of equipment as it cost $2700 even. (That included shipping and customs from Canada.) Please buy my fiber!

If you haven't already seen it, Heizen and friends have made the Interwebs. This is a funny website that I like a whole lot and I am tickled that my submission was excepted.

And here is the newest household addition, Sable. Good Neighbor Nancy caught him earlier in the week because there is yet another E-ville Kitteh about.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Add 2 cups water.

In spite of my best efforts...No, I can't say that because I am an underachiever even at failure.

So. I tried to squander the winter away in dissipation and despite drinking way too much beer for my own good yet not all that I needed, I have been able to accomplish a few things anyway.

I have succeeded in creating a starter for sour dough bread and baked a loaf. It was good.

I have served my first ever batch of home made noodles.

I have bred a doe in order to have babies this spring. Thanks, Virginia and Grumpy Daddy.

I have a Pat Green Super Card on the way here. It's for me! It took some financial derring-do, but the derring-did.

I also have about 22 pounds of nice merino on its way here. Again, for me!

I have taken care of the bunnies through some cold ass weather. I lost Spot, but it wasn't because of the cold. I lost none of the babies to the cold.

I have clipt the bunnies mostly on schedule and have many pounds to work with.

I have agreed to teach a beginning knitting and a drop spindle class in February. For money, even.

I have written out the pattern and graph and took the photo for the Lattice Lace Scarf.



Only because there is a woman out there that's keeps on my hind end to do stuff. Susan edited and formatted said instructions and will offer the pattern for free with the purchase of Bunny & the Beast or other Fuzzarelly Fiber. It is not available yet, but as soon as more batts are created, it will be.

Also. We got our first real snow last night.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Monday, January 12, 2009

Place stamp here.

Oh my darling Sweetie.

He went to a mall yesterday in search of a new mouse, and he came home with this.



Body and nail care products for me! Two bags of gold worth of silly, feminine things. For me?? Cuticle cream, body scrub salt from the Dead Sea, lotions and creams. Bless his heart.

I am not a girly girl. That's what he told the sales person. I raise rabbits and live in the country. His demurring only met with more products that would surely be just the thing I needed.

After being totally appalled at the amount of money spent, I just went with it and did my nails. They look better than they have since summer.

Maybe I do need to pamper myself a little bit. Or at least take care of myself just a wee bit more.

And I have been knitting! This is a little scarf out of my handspun Fuzzarelly Fibers. I wrote out the pattern to offer as a freebie with purchase.



Here is an odd little neck piece, again out of handspun. I enjoyed making this, no pattern needed. I-cord is the perfect salve to a restless soul sometimes.



Claudia's icky headscab healed up well enough that she returned to the barn last week. (It is amazing how fast a living creature can heal!) But I had to bring in another girl who had horrible urine scald. I'll just let your imagination conjure up the images of swollen tissue and infection. Again, she is healing quite fast thanks to vast amounts of anti-robotic gel.

The other indoor bunnies are all fine! There are four bunnies in this picture, all huggled up into a pile.


Lastly, I finished with Emma and am now in the thick of Jane Eyre on audio books at the Gutenburg Project. I have read that novel eight times, which makes me an octo-Jane-Eyre-ian!! Ha Ha.

Thursday, January 08, 2009

No doubt about it.

Child cooks food!

Don't we love free range parents, willing to let the kid cut, chop, be around stove!

I think I need another hat.

Thank you, Dotted Yellow Line, for this. Cheese and Crackers!

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Rinse thoroughly.

Oh my, how low have my fashion standards fallen since moving to the country. I compare myself to the recollection I have of Eliza Gant, in Look Homeward Angel by Thomas Wolf. She keeps a boarding house and generally has a red and runny nose. Her sweater has holes at the elbows and she wears fingerless gloves. Maybe the fingers have been worn off. She is not destitute, but in more interested in having money in hand than looking fashionable.

I thought of all this today as I drove to town for groceries. I wore, from bottom to top, a pair of Goodwill boots over a pair of hand-knit socks. On my legs were Sweetie's sweatpants, worn underneath a Goodwill denim jumper that almost reached my ankles. Above was a long sleeved t shirt that I actually bought new from Land's End several years ago, and over that was a gray wool sweater. From the Goodwill. On my hands were hand-knit barn fingerless gloves. I did sort of comb my hair and stick a few pins in before going out. And put on lip stick.

It is good to establish oneself as an eccentric before one gets older. I mean, my summer wear is not much better; there are merely fewer layers.

The weather today has been craptacular. Not particularly cold, as it is just above freezing, but it is windy and snowy and wet. The grocery store was not at all busy.

I want to share a freebie which is the audio books on The Gutenburg Project. I have been listening, while I knit, to Emma by Jane Austen. I read the novel many years ago, but I have enjoyed the sometimes clumsy reading. There are lots of titles available. Check it out.

Monday, January 05, 2009

Allow to rest.

My life. So far.

The so-called Festive Season (imagine "air" "quotes") is over for another year. Yippee.

Sweetie is back to work, even two hours early today. The day is my oyster. So I have been listening to this. I wanna play!




Actually, my day has plenty o' chores that need doing. The usual domestic goddess crap like laundry and dishes. Plus the more frontier woman kind of things like completing the sour dough starter and fleshing Spot's pelt.

The starter is going remarkably well. One is advised that it may take two or more attempts in order to capture the Elusive Wild Yeast. However, my loose sanitary standards seem to have helped. Added benefit: Sweetie and I hardly ever get food poisoning. Being a neatnik isn't always a good thing. Ha ha, you all.

Spot's pelt is soaking in the first brine of alum and salt, and it is over due for fleshing, (removing membranes, fat deposits, etc. from the inside.) So I really need to do that and then place the pelt in a stronger brine for about two more weeks. By then, it should be ready for conditioning and drying, which means stretching the pelt while it dries. One can do this with one's hands or rub the pelt over the back rail of a chair or even tack it up to the wall. The last step is conditioning with glycerine and oil.

The bunnies are all doing well. Good Neighbor Nancy told us that a hawk almost carried off one of the adult outside bunnies the other day. The hawk ended up crashing into Nancy's front door window and was dazed and confused for several minutes. The bun escaped but lost some back fur in the process. But with the Evil Cat and the Evil Dog gone, some of the babies are surviving. Yay!

Lastly, I am still sick. This shit has been going on since Thanksgiving and I am so tired of having my sinuses constantly clogged up. I have declined to go to the doctor for the anti-robitics so far, but I may break down this week.

Insult+injury=fever blister. Last week I woke up with a wad of angora stuck to the crust on my lip. (Geez. Wonder where that came from.) When I sleepily tried to pull the fuzz off, I discovered that it was firmly glued on. Hurt like hell. I had to work at softening the scab, slowly, before the fuzzwad came off. Raising bunnies is dangerous, I tell ya! Vicious!