Archive for October, 2012

Gearing Up

October 31, 2012

Despite a visit to the dark pit of depression, I have been managing to get a few things done. The Eartha & Etta sweater is done, and I actually wore it to a party. It is wonderfully light and warm (weighed in at 10.1 ounces). Sorry for the lousy picture, but my mom took it with my phone. That’s her bull terrier Ruth with me. She loved the sweater too! I went with a v-neck for versatility, and I am already planning to do a cardigan with the same yarn. It is super soft after blocking. I’ve also knit up a couple of pairs of socks, with more planned. Yay for holiday knitting! 

The party was to celebrate my friend Kellie’s birthday. She decided that she didn’t want to decorate her own birthday cake, so requested that we all bring our favorite pie. I couldn’t make up my mind, but a bag of limes caught my attention at Costco, so I decided on lime meringue, and just to be a bit different, I decided to do mini pies. I made up some pie dough and cut rounds using a large glass. I baked them up in a muffin tin. While they cooled, I made up the lime curd and whipped the meringue. Then I placed the mini pie crusts on a cookie sheet and filled them before popping them back in the oven to brown.  They were so yummy! I had enough stuff left over to make a 2nd dozen the next day, and there is still curd left (enough to make either a real pie or another dozen minis). I am seriously considering making a bunch more curd to can. That will make it even easier to make a pie when I want, or it will be great on toast. I’m thinking ahead to Christmas presents with this too.

Tomorrow, NaNoWriMo starts again. I have my opening sentence, taken from Book 1 of the Dark Tower series by Stephen King – “The man in black fled across the desert, and the gunslinger followed”. I’ve always thought it is a great sentence, and I want to see where it takes me. His book follows the gunslinger, but I’m leaning towards following the man in black. We’ll see. I’ll keep you posted on my progress. Finishing last year was such a rush; I’d like to repeat.

 

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Progress Is Good

October 20, 2012

I’m making good progress on the Eartha & Etta sweater. The body is done, and last night I picked up stitches for both sleeves. It will be a nice, light weight sweater, and at this rate I should be done in less than a week! There is more variation in color than I noticed in the skeins. Not objectionable to me but it might bother someone else. Maybe it helps that I know the animals that it came from. I’m already mentally making plans for my “Ode to Neville” vest, based on the sweater that Neville Longbottom wore in the last Harry Potter movie.  There are several gorgeous sweaters in the HP movies, but this one really caught my eye. I’m leaning towards a double-knit Fair Isle vest, which would be reversible, but nothing is set in stone yet. Of course, I should be setting my sights on Christmas knitting for those on my gift list. We’ll see.

I made some major enhancements to the stash last week. Laura had commented the other day that she has decided that she hates weaving with 8/2 cotton. Of course, she made that decision after she had purchased a bunch of it. She made me a deal I couldn’t refuse and I relieved her of it. 16 pounds of it! Very pretty colors, and I am looking forward to weaving a bunch of kitchen towels. I’m playing with bar code generators online to come up with stripes that actually say something.

  

I woke last Sunday to a lamb crying. When I finally looked out the window, I could see Mary all by herself in the movable pen. Yep, the rest of the little girls were out. Clara had gotten out several times on Saturday, so I had already put her in the barn pen by herself after I gave the little girls their wormer. When I went out, she was in with the boys! I haltered Mary and moved her over to the big pen, then got all the little girls in with her. Clara put herself back in with her buddies. Since I was outside already, I decided to get everyone resettled. That meant worming the boys before I could put the big girls in with the little girls. The catch pens I set up using my welded wire panels worked great. Even Midge didn’t freak out. The big girls and I had a bit of a disagreement about which direction they were supposed to head when I opened up their gate, but the crook & I were able to get them going right. Love it when things work right without any major headaches! And it does make feeding easier now that the weather is turning nastier.

The turkeys only have a month to go. Their date with the butcher is just 2 days before Thanksgiving. While growing them up in the barn was easier and less messy than having them in the house, they aren’t as friendly as last year’s birds were. Not a problem with these guys since I’m not keeping anyone, but something to possibly consider next year since I’m hoping to get heritage birds and keep a breeding trio. Decisions, decisions.

Real Progress

October 8, 2012

Late last night I finally bit the bullet and put 4 of my patterns up on Ravelry. Look for Majora Acres if you’re interested. It was very exciting that not 10 minutes later I had my first “fave”. No sales yet, but I’m excited none the less. Hopefully this will give me the push I need to get the shawl patterns completed and up too. I’ve had lots of requests for a couple of them when I’ve worn the shawls at fiber shows. I’m naming all my patterns after mountains and waterways here in Oregon. There are 2 cowl patterns (Tumalo Creek and Crooked River), the Siskyous scarf and Paulina mittens. I’ve sold copies of the patterns at shows, but this is my first foray into online sales of patterns.

I also got a very nice note from someone who has a local tie, and she is encouraging me with my plan to put my sheep up for “adoption”. It’s something I’ve been thinking about for quite a while. Being a farmer is hard work, and not cheap either. I think that, since I do have a very endangered breed and a lot of folks out there love the idea of having sheep but can’t at this point in their lives, we can help each other out. I need to take some really good pictures of each of the sheep separately and iron out a few details, but then I will be putting my sheep out there for the world to love.

The little girls spent a couple of days cleaning up where the hay pile goes and are now penned out behind the pasture in an area that has never been grazed (and hasn’t been mowed in about 3 years). They all got a little more practice being haltered and led. Maggie is a pro now, walking right next to me. The others are not quite so impressed with my plans, especially Milly. She pulled back as I was slipping the others back into the pen this morning and was LOOSE! It didn’t last long; I managed to get behind her and encourage her to join her sisters in the pen. When I caught the end of the lead rope, you would have thought I was the big bad wolf! She did her best to escape, but I sat down in the grass and held on while she tried jumping over and into me. I tried scratching her, looking for her sweet spot, but she wasn’t having any of that nonsense. It did give me a chance to really feel her fleece though, and I do have to say I am really impressed. It is incredibly soft, and I am looking forward to shearing all these babies as soon as possible.

The little boys are not real happy with me. In order to stay here, they all needed wethered. For those of you that don’t know, that means castrated. Wethers make better fiber, since they don’t have the seasonal hormonal surges that the ewes and rams do. Also, they tend to be less temperamental (those hormonal surges again). I still have to do Manny. He apparently took the judge’s comments to heart and he is too big to do with my bander. I am borrowing a larger one later this week when I return the borrowed ram and bring the goat girls home from their honeymoon. Hopefully at least one of them is pregnant. I could see if I can find someone to ultrasound them in a month or so, but I’m not sure it’s worth the money. Either they are or they aren’t, and if they aren’t there really won’t be anything I can do about it until next fall. It will be nice to have them home again.

As a reward for finishing the Monster Socks, I started a sweater for myself. The yarn is from 2 of my ewes, Eartha and her twin Etta. I had it spun up several years ago by a friend who had started her own mill (BelTine Farm). I worked up a sample, working up several different stitch patterns but finally settled on simple stockinette. I’m about half way through the body already. It will be a light weight sweater, which is exactly what I want. I’m kicking around an idea for something a bit heavier when this one is done.

 

 

Oh, and I planted a bunch of strawberry plants I got from my mom yesterday. Hopefully the weather will cooperate so that they can get well rooted before it gets nasty. Guess I have been a bit busy after all.

A Real Vacation

October 2, 2012

A couple of years ago, I went to the beach with my mom and Kid the Younger and my friend Kelly and her family. It was a fun trip, but not terribly relaxing because we were on the go constantly. Hit all the tourist traps in Newport, Oregon (Ripley’s, Aquarium, etc, etc). Plus, her husband was fighting a kidney stone and was pretty miserable the whole time.

This time she picked a beach house (rental) that was SPECTACULAR! Right on the beach, on top of a bluff. This is the view from the back yard.

We could not have ordered better weather – sunny the whole time except for the last night, when we got to watch a storm blow in at great speed at sunset. We got there before we could check in to the house, so we had time for a leisurely lunch and a walk on the pier by the restaurant.

Saturday we scoped out the possibilities for crabbing after a walk on the beach. The local glass artists do a “glass drop” on specific weekends, and this was an extra special one. Not the normal glass floats; they were doing glass crabs and sand dollars. Kelly and her husband came down to the beach but didn’t walk much, but Brenda & I walked above the tide line for about a mile and a half, then walked the tide line looking for natural goodies. It was high tide, so we didn’t find anything. After driving to look at crabbing spots, Brenda and I went back for another walk in the other direction at low tide. We both found some goodies, including this pair of starfish that we put back in the water. I also found a real nice shell about the size of my thumb and some nice agates. No blown glass (insert pouty face here).

    

Sunday, we got crab pots (each of us chose a different type to test) and our licence. Then off to the pier to try our luck. We had set a chicken out the night before so we had stinky bait. Everyone was putting their pots off one side of the pier. I march to a different drummer, so mine went off the other side. Because I wasn’t sure how my shoulder and back would react to hauling the pot up, so I barely let it settle before I pulled it up, along with a nice Dungeness crab inside! Unfortunately, I misread the gauge, and sent him back to the water. Figured out later that he was actually a keeper (they have to be male, and at least 5 3/4 inches across the back). Second attempt pulled up a red rock crab. Pretty soon, more people were on my side of the pier. We had a bit of luck, but not enough to feed everyone. Still, I caught my dinner, and I will be going back soon to do it again. Everyone else in the group got cold, but I was having a blast and would have stayed longer if I’d taken my car! Mine is the smaller dark one top right and bottom left, and they were very yummy.

I also got to see a pelican up close and personal. I thought I had seen one earlier in the day, on top of a structure in the bay, but no one else was agreeing with me. When most of the group went for lunch, I stayed to crab. The pelican landed on the pier, muscled his way into a group of gulls fighting over bait on the walkway and stole it all. He gulped it into his pouch, then flew down to the water to eat. I love seeing pelicans because they always remind me of my grandpa. Anytime we would see one, he would recite:

A wondrous bird is the pelican

His beak can hold more than his belly-can

He can hold in his beak enough food for the week

I wonder how in the hell-i-can

I did get in some knitting time, and the Monster Socks of Doom are now finished. I wasn’t very disciplined about working on them, so they took forever. I don’t know if I’ll be doing anything like this again. The pay was good (a ton of hay), but they were BORING! As a reward, I have started on a sweater for myself from yarn that I had made from my home-grown fiber. It’s a soft brown that will go with lots of things. It will take a while, since I’m not built like a super model (more like super sized), but I’m in no hurry. I will interrupt working on this with holiday knitting, so that will slow me down too.