Sunday, August 29, 2010

Aflac.

Presenting, The Duck.




All we need now is a pygmy goat. Meet Lucky, a rescued duck from recently moved neighbors who could not take said duck with. Raised from an Easter duckling, tame as all get out, likes TV and crushed ice and cheese puffs.

Hope he/she gets along with chickens, as it is out in the back yard enclosure where they sleep of a night. Here are three of the hens.




Placed a big plastic tub full of water out there for it, and some chicken scratch for the nonce, until I can study up on duck keeping.

Cooked tonight, and had to share this fratita made in my George Foreman grill. Nom nom nom. Love you, George!




Millie keeps watch. You know, with her killer skillz, I worried about her and the baby chicks, but she has never messed with them. She believes in my Peaceable Kingdom.




Since we out-sourced the Killer Kitty, the bunny population is rebounding. Here are two of the many.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Stitch in the Ditch.

It won't be the Swallowtail Shawl. For some reason, I could not follow a simple repeat of, what, four? six? stitches. So I ripped and found the L'il Bunny Foo-Foo shawl on Ravelry, which I have also begun and ripped out several times. I am now counting every row, in hopes of not fucking up too badly. I feel very stupid anymore.

Today, though, I scrabbled in a box of fabric in my studio and came across two baggies filled with 2-1/2" squares. So I began to piece them together, light and dark. I have almost completed a quilt top that measures 40" X 50", or thereabouts. There were several odd quilt blocks in the box as well; ones I had made myself or ones I received in exchange back in the way back of the mid-nineties, before I had the internet and back when I actually wrote letters to other quilters. And exchanged quilt blocks. I think I have enough of them for the back.

It's interesting to me, handling these little square bits of cloth, that I can remember from whence so many of them originated. That one is when I worked at Hancock Fabrics, that one is from Judy who bought it in England, that one is from Susan Marple who gave Production Values, Inc. a ton of fabric back in the mid-80s. That one is from a shirt I bought at the thrift shop across the street, that one is from a dress I made, that one is from a shirt I loved. Yet, I cannot remember movies I have seen or books I have read or people I have met.

I have not brought down the plastic bins of dyed fabric from the barn yet. That would be work. I am merely piecing together these little squares of fabric that have been waiting for me, all these years. I have a cotton batt even, salvaged from a wrecked house. I always loved a cotton batt.

The weather is moderating. I am sleeping under a quilt I made several years ago. It is just the right weight for these cooling summer nights.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Present card with payment.

Life continues. My moody broodiness seems to have passed, and I am once again feeling good, or at least better. The temperatures and humidity, especially the humidity, last week were mild enough for me to open the windows and let in fresh air. And pollen, mold, dust, and all kids of minute particles to which I am allergic. Wednesday I took 5 benadryls over the course of the day, and still had hives erupt on my wrists. I am sure that is what made me so blue. Yesterday, I closed up the house once again, cranked up the AC and today, here I am, feeling better.

I finished the Never Ending Stained Glass socks last night. I used 5 different methods of two-color knitting: 1.)The knit 2 in black, purl 2 in color for the ribbing, 2.)Stranded knitting for the spiral pattern of the leg, 3.)Slip stitch for the heel, 4.)Knit 1 in black, knit 1 in color ad nauseum for the heel turning and gussets, and lastly, 5.)Spiral stripes for the toe.




Yarn was Regia, needles for the leg, heel and foot were size 1 on 100 stitches, changing to size 000 on 88 stitches for the foot. (And I wonder why they took me so long?)

They are not perfect, but only in a minor details. They fit my feet, and fit inside my sandals without undo bulk. I have put them away in a drawer in order to rediscover them sometime in November and December. I don't really want to look at them again for awhile.

I have finished the kites for Kite Man, who has been away on vacation for the last couple of weeks. I will travel to English this week for payday and to pick up more work. I am almost tempted to go into my studio and sew some quilt blocks or something. You may have noticed the new photo as my blog header, showing several tree art quilts on display at a coffee shop in Indianapolis. That must have been in the summer of 1998. The last art quilt I made was in 2004 or 2005, when I had my store and I sold that one, which was also a tree. I don't think I even took a picture of it. Certain events occurred that put me off of the art scene, things that sucked the joy out of creating, and I hope that maybe now I can take up where I left off. I still have images and ideas in my head that I want to try. There are two or three plastic tubs of dyed fabric upstairs in the barn waiting for me.

But this morning, while listening to Rogue Male on BBC Radio Channel 7, I cast on the Swallowtail Shawl pattern. I have made this shawl before out of handspun, but gifted it to a friend. I am even making it out of Misti Alpaca this time, as called for, in a dark blue and black laceweight. I have, of course, cast on and ripped out the requisite three times - but think I have a firm grasp of the pattern now and so will cast on one more time and carry on to completion.

I only have the two dogs now, Foxy and Princess. It's amazing how much less time these two take than having the three.

Friday, August 20, 2010

No waiting

Don't piss off a woman. Ever. Also, don't take us for granted or tell us how to behave. If you piss off a woman, you will live to regret it. It's like we have Female Alzheimer's - we forget everything but the grudges.

For some reason, this has been on my mind lately. I have been comparing and contrasting my two husbands, the Pyg and Sweetie. I call him the Pyg after Pygmalion, the sculptor who carved a statue of a beautiful woman and through the grace of Aphrodite, the statue was brought to life. But he was more like Professor Higgins in the play Pygmalion by George Bernard Shaw. You may know it better as the musical, My Fair Lady.

My first husband met me when I was quite young, 15 maybe, and we became an "item" two years later. He was 7 years older than me, and worked at a bank. Looking back, I believe that he always hoped to make me, turn me, model me into some form, some ideal, that lived in his head. I always disappointed him, because what he wanted me to be, to become, was not anything I wanted to be. He envisioned me as a sophisticate, an astute businesswoman, a wife who would help him in his career. I needed to have nicely coifed hair and manicures, and wear nice clothes made of expensive fabrics.

"Why don't you do something with your hair?" he asked and asked. I finally did, having my waist length tresses whacked off into a boy cut, which he hated. I could never win. When we could not afford it, he insisted that I buy a pair of $40 earrings. He encouraged me to spend money that we did not have in order to have a nice image. I was all about the budget. This was after he left the bank and became a photographer. Or shall I say, a photographer's assistant.

It was as if he set the mark and I was expected to meet said mark, and it didn't matter what I thought at all. You must be this tall to ride the ride.

Sigh. I could go on and on and on and on, but I think you all get my drift. When I finally had had enough of that and other things, and I said to him one evening, "We need to talk," (probably the four words men least want to ever hear,) I said that I wasn't happy. His reply was exactly this, "What are you going to do about it?" I had not actually thought that through, thinking we could actually talk, but when asked, I said, "I guess I'm moving out." I had no plan. None. But the next day, I moved out and thanks to the kindness of friends, I had places to stay until I got on my feet. I moved out April 20, and the divorce was final on July 3.

And so on July 4, I meet Sweetie. A cute young man, just out of the military, unemployed, who actually listened to me as if I were worth listening to. Imagine!

Sweetie has never asked me to tone it down or ramp it up or to be anything other than what I am. He loves that I am artistic. He has supported every single venture that I have undertaken. He has never wanted me to be anything other than what I am. I love that we still have great conversations, that we dance in the living room, that we still want to be with one another whenever we can. I love him so much!

***** edited to add: I was not blameless in my first marriage and neither is Sweetie in my second.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

I am so pissed

A certain "christian" that I know has made me angry. I am not sure how to respond. Sweetie has told me that I am, as an atheist, more christian than he is, who is a believer. I don't know how to respond to this person. Really. Eye of the needle, the least of these, mote in the eye...

Sunday, August 15, 2010

No parking.

Alas. What can I say? The days of having 3 dogs are over because of what happened this morning, when Zander broke her harness and ran amok, killing one of the baby bantys. Sigh. (Another flock of one.)

At least it was only the one. Maybe it was going to grow up to be another rooster. I try to look at the bright side.

But the dark side is that Sweetie and I have been fooling around with nitro glycerine, having a bull dog and a cattle dog around chickens and bunnies. The explosion was bound to happen and I am sorry.

I kept Sweetie from shooting Zander outright. He was so angry that he was shaking. When shit like this happens, my first thoughts are to keeping him calm, and that prevents me from getting all emotional. (Also, my childhood coping mechanism of disassociation helped.) He took Zander to our renters, who do dog rescue, and because they were not home he put her into a cage on their front porch. Later? He took her water, and later still, as the renters were still gone, he brought her back home.

But still, both dogs need to live elsewhere. A place with a fenced yard so they can run, and with a younger person that can work with them. Princess can stay, because although she likes to run and chase, she's a pointer not a killer. I don't need three dogs. The renters have said they will take them in.

And I am sorry. Fuck.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Soak overnight.

This is not a cooking blog, but I cook. I try to cook healthy dishes that are also tasty. (Sweetie says that I can even make tofu taste good.)

Dried beans are supposed to be cheap and easy, but I seem to buy them and then forget to soak them overnight, (what a pain,) and so the pound bags sit in my pantry. Imagine my delight at finding an easy and reasonably fast no-soak recipe! I adapted it from one by Richard Blunt in the Jan/Feb 2009 issue of Backwoods Home Magazine.

Bean Stew

1 pound dried beans (pinto, cannelloni, kidney, pink, Roman, or baby limas)
8 cups water
1 medium onion, roughly chopped
1 or 2 carrots, cut into medallions
1 medium potato, cut into 1 inch cubes
several garlic cloves, peeled and sliced in half

1. Rinse beans well in cold water and allow to drain in colander for at least 15 minutes.
2. Put beans and water in a heavy-bottomed container and bring to a boil. (I use a cast iron chicken cooker.)
3. Add vegetables.
4. Cover and reduce heat until a slow simmer is achieved. (I had to turn my gas burner all the way down and slightly cock the lid to get the perfect slow simmer, which means that the beans are almost, but not quite, boiling.) (Too high of a heat will turn the beans to mush.)
5. Cook for about 2 hours, or until the beans are tender, then season. (I use Cajun seasoning a lot, and it works great with this dish. Plain salt and pepper would also work. Maybe some hot sauce, or soy sauce.)

I like to serve this dish over rice.

Sunday, August 08, 2010

Now with more Fur!

Nothing much happening around here today. I've been listening to Scottish radio and watching British TV on the computer while knitting on a simple garter stitch scarf made from a ball of handspun. The fiber is what I cleaned off of the drum carder and tossed into a pot; lots of angora bits, some silk and some wool and all different colors. As I spun, I just grabbed the next piece that my hand found, and then I navaho plied it in order to have a foot or two of each color in the yarn. It has a wonderful hand and is prettier than the photo shows.



I started the scarf after growing weary of the stained glass socks, which seem to progress like molasses flowing uphill. One thing to remark upon was turning the heel using two colors, and instead of purling, knitting backwards. Quite the feat of concentration, and I am sure I made a few mistakes, but I am still quite proud of myself. I have now picked up the stitches at the gussets, in two colors (alternating every stitch) and have continued the spiral pattern across the instep.



Oh, and yeah. I knit just over 3/4 of the pattern and the sock was already 6" tall, and after trying it on, I determined that it would go no higher on my leg, so I stopped right right where I was and made the heel. This was after some dithering about whether I should rip back to a better spot or not, and I finally decided that I'd just soldier onward. I'm going to keep the instep in pattern, reversing once I am at the end of the chart, and do the sole in the alternating the color every stitch regime. No matter what, they will be remarkable and warm socks.


Friday, August 06, 2010

Return to Sender



It has been hot here lately, in the upper 90s, and every living thing is stressed. The chickens are able to gather under various bushes and trees and stay cool enough. The semi-wild bunnies as well.

I found Oscar Wild Hare cold in her backyard cage Wednesday morning, and I took the somber drive to the cemetery to offer her body to the sky, as it were.

Heizen, a venerable bunny, was a rescue from several years ago. His mother, a grown woman, became horribly allergic to him, which was so sad as this was her first-ever pet. I saw her "Free bunny w/cage" sign at my vet's, made the call, and collected this beautiful, timid, neutered bunny the next day. (The name Heizen came from Watership Down, from a female bunny character called Hyzenthlay.)

He was very shy, but sweet always. After several months, he began to feel at ease roaming around our living room, then the kitchen. During good weather, I would let him roam inside a wire corral outside, and then when the backyard enclosure was built, he lived there, very happily I believe, and got along with other bunnies always as well as the chickens when they came along.

This spring, he came up lame in his hindquarters, and I thought he was toast then, but he mostly recovered and ran around almost as before. He had respite from the heat, so I don't think that is what did him in this morning. Rather, I think it was his old age and the lameness, because I found him still alive, but totally twisted and unable to stand or move. I made him as comfortable as possible, but I knew he was at his end.

What a sweet little guy! I'll will miss him, a lot, but he had a great bunny life, and I am so glad to have had him.

Sunday, August 01, 2010

You had a box? Luxury!!!

Piled Higher and Deeper

Link to this story.

Here's a wonderful quote from Isaac Asimov:
There is a cult of ignorance in the United States, and there always has been. The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that "my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge."
That was quoted in Newsweek magazine in January of 1980. The situation doesn't appear to have improved in the past 30 years.