TaDa!!

My first spinning project is complete.  Well almost, all I have to do now is wash the yarn I made and then figure out what I am going to knit with my masterpiece.   I spun brown and white wool; 1/2 pound of each.  Doesn’t sound like much, but holy spin BatMan it is a lot!  The process, for those of you that don’t know, is to spin the colors separately and then put the together in what is called plying to get a two ply yarn.  These are my two colors waiting to be plyed.   Actually, I had already started plying them so imagine each spool a little over half full.  When you spin your wool, you spin you thread in one direction to make a one ply thread.  Both threads are twisted in the same direction.  When you ply it, you spin it together in the opposite direction so that you don’t unwind your thread that you just made.  I am finding that you really need to be very coordinated to do this.  I took me two weeks to consistently get the wheel to go to the right to spin the wool, now that I am plying I have to get the wheel to spin to the left.  All of this while using both hands to feed the yarn into the wheel at a consistent speed without getting tangled.  It is quite comical; I talk out loud to my wheel.  I will have to give it a name cause it certainly seems to have a mind of it’s own.  

Three hours later, I have 360 feet of this brown and white 2-ply yarn.  360 FEET!  120 YARDS!  What am I going to do with all this?  I am not someone who can wear brown.  I think all my kids will get brown and white scarves next year.  Here is my finished skein on what is called a Niddy Noddy.  Funny little tool that helps you wind the wool.  Also not an easy thing to get right.  All in all I am very pleased with my first attempt.  Now I have the bug and want to do more……look what just came in the mail…I think I will save it until I get really good.  It is so pretty, I want to just touch it.  Is fondling fiber illegal?

mvb

Spinning Wheel Has To Go Round

Guess what I learned to do!  I am officially a spinner, a maker of hand spun yarns, a natural woman extraordinar. Ok, that is a little over the top, but I have started spinning!

About three weeks ago, my friend (a fellow equestrian) came over with a spare wheel that she had.  Knowing how much I love fibers she decided I needed to learn to make my own.  What I can’t figure out is why she had a spare wheel.  Those things are not cheap and she has 4! Well actually she has three now that I bought the one she brought to my house.  See, isn’t it cute?imageIt is an Ashford Kiwi.  LOVE the name.  Anyway, I started spinning. She gave me some roving and said have at it.  My first attempts were really not good….img_0494Not something I would care to work with.  Would you?  BUT I have gotten much much better. This is my first spool of wool that I am going to use.  I will ply it (since it is only a single ply) with a white that you can see on the wheel.   Not bad!imageI am so excited.  I didn’t tell my friend, but I have been wanting to learn how to do this for a really long time.  I am always looking for more ways to spend my money. But it really is a natural progression for me.  I started my working career as a buyer and clothing designer for a local woman’s retain chain; I knit, and I love to put colors together.  Once I get really consistent in my spinning I am going to try and put different yarns together.  I doubt I will ever dye my own yarn. I just don’t have the space but who knows.

What I do have the space for are animals.  Can Sheep or Alpaca be far behind!

 

mvb

Socks…Uh No!

As you know, I started knitting my first pair of socks last February.  I bought pretty hot pink yarn, the book on sock knitting and spent an entire day in class.  I felt pretty good as I managed the four (yes 4) needles necessary to handle at one time to knit these special gems.  I got the top ribbing done, turned the heel and started on the foot.  One day I took a really hard look at my work and decided it was terrible.  For one thing I had the dreaded ladder where my four joins happened and secondly my heel was all messed up.  I put the project in my bag and that is where it been.  Sitting in my family room.  Mocking me each time I glance over at the bag; every time hubby asks me how the socks were going.  Not going to happen, not in a million years. Nobody in my family will know the joy of a pair of hand knit socks; at least not from me.

Needless to say, I have not been knitting.  You don’t start a new project when you have one already going.  Yea Right!  So my very dear friend sent me a text early December and asked me if I would knit her a messy bun hat.  She even sent me a pattern that she found.  Unfortunately the adorable hat was crocheted and not knitted.  I don’t want to learn to crochet, I really don’t.  So I did the only thing I could think of.  I WENT TO THE FIBER STORE!  I was only going to see if they could help me find the pattern I needed.  Big Mistake!!

The second I stepped into the store I knew why I knitted.  It isn’t because I love spending hours manipulating knots so I can barely move my fingers.  No it is because I absolutely love the fibers.  I love the fibers so much that I have often talked to hubby about opening a fiber store.  But alas, I don’t knit well enough to run such as shop.  So, I just  have to satisfy my love of beautiful colors and soft wools by buying them in mass quantities.

But I digress.  So I never did find the appropriate pattern for the messy bun hat, but I did find my knitting mojo.  That day, I purchased a beautiful yarn that I knitted up into a soft peach cowl for my son’s girlfriend.  As soon as that project was done, back to the store I went.  This time, infinity scarves for my daughter-in-law and both granddaughters.

Big sigh, I love knitting!

mvb

A Winter Reprieve

We have had beautiful weather here on the farm for the past two days.  Start out the mornings below freezing with temperatures soaring to the upper fifties by early afternoon.  I decided to let my flock free range these two days since I am home and it has been so nice out.  Usually thy stay “cooped” up because we have coyotes, foxes and hawks that would love to make a meal of my birds. 

My flock consists of six birds.  Sophia, Zas Zas and Marilyn are the Silver Lace Wyndottes.  I originally called them the Dixie Chicks, but the more I get to know them, I realize that just won’t do.   They are flashy birds.  A bit bossy.  Definite DIVAS. Therefore the names after famous women.  I love the black and white lacy pattern in their wings.  They have been with me since August.   I must say, they aren’t very friendly.  This is Sophia (as in Loren, she looks like a movie star doesn’t she?)

My Rhode Island Reds are more down to earth.  I currently have three RIRs.  My hens, Diana and Aretha are joined by the man of the group Smokey Robinson. They make a nice trio.  I did have six RIR hens.  I lost three of them in October due to an infection that mimicked the dreaded Mericks Disease.  After the first two died a week apart I took the third ill hen to the state lab to have her analyzed.  If it was Mericks, I would have to destroy my entire flock and give up any hopes of breeding my heritage birds.  Luckily, it wasn’t so hopefully I can breed my RIRs.   That is if any of them ever start laying, the moochers!  I got three egg back in September. Evidently laid by one of the girls that passed on.  I am hoping production kicks in once molting season is over.  Otherwise I am going to have a hard time justify feeding these freeloaders.  But in the meantime I love spending time with them and watching their very spohiticated society.

mvb

Life Is A Snow Globe

I love metaphors, don’t you – Life is like a snow globe?

Sure it is…give it a little shake and in the blink of an eye, the scene changes.  Sometimes ever so slightly, sometimes way more dramatic.  So with a shake of the snow globe of my life, here is where we are two months since my last post.  It may take more than one post to bring you up to speed.

First of all, nothing EVER came of the bad mammogram.  My radiologist decided after many visits etc, that it was nothing to be concerned about and we will revisit in six more months.  Not sure how OK I am with that in light of the fact that big sis died of breast cancer, but what to do?   Its a crap shoot depending on who you choose to trust. How in the world do you know who to listen to.  My doctor feels that I should wait and see, so I guess I will wait and see.  AND it turns out that the place that I had the mammogram has had a high incident of false positives lately.  So, I am putting my head in the sand and will cross that bridge again in six months.

Speaking of breast cancer, I orchestrated an event in early October that raised over $3200 for breast cancer research.  I named it Ride for Research and with the help of a very good friend and my riding club we put together a very successful benefit ride.  ride-for-research

We had over 90 riders come for the day.  It was spectacular to see so much support.  My husband and brother in law served food for everyone.  We even had a silent auction going on during the day.  It was a lot of work, and took almost a year of planning but I feel really good about what we did and how much money we donated in my sister’s name.  In spite of the fact that she would have hated the event, I know she is proud of what I was able to accomplish.  (Hum maybe I have a career as an event planner?)

Robley, my new horse, has settled in nicely.  He is doing well, full of himself and about to pop!  The boy can eat and is now getting fat off of the air.  How he does that I have not a clue.  I have cut all his grain out, he is just getting hay and still he packs on the pounds.  He and my mare have a hate, love, hate relationship.  He has decided he is in charge and is pushing  my “boss” mare around at every chance he has.  She has nailed him with some nicely placed kicks and still he comes back for more.  My little energizer bunny!  I took him to a weekend clinic to improve my confidence and get some concentrated saddle time.  It was a very good weekend, I was in the saddle literally for 18 hours over three days.  AND we cantered.  That was my goalimg_11451

The job I was so excited about has ended.  I had applied for a 20 hour a week job with the local Head Start office.  I was hired as the Disabilities Services Coordinator (for which I was highly qualified)  Took the job as a 32 hour a week position and ended up working 40 hours a week.  Not the biggest issue. What I didn’t know was that the group running the local organization was circling the drain of incompetence.  Two weeks ago, the regional office came down to inform us that a new company was going to take over, revamp and the whole thing would be put out there for bid to be run by another set of folks.  Basically, there was a corporate take over.  Now since I was a contractor, I was told that I would not be offered a position with the new folks until I went through the interview process.  Since it was more hours than I wanted, I politely declined.

Oh did I mention all this happened while I was out for knee surgery?  Yes almost a year to the day, I had my knee operated on.  Same knee, same issue, same surgery.  Different doctor, and it appears a different outcome.  I think it is going to be alright this time.

So to recap…back to work for hubby, no breast cancer, and still hobbling along.  Maybe my shake of the snow globe just put my life back to where it was last December.  All in all it could have been worse.  The rest of the story next time…

mvb

Whew What A Week

Most weeks I am not happy that Monday has arrived, but today is an exception.  I want last week in the rear view mirror.  It is a toss up as to if last week was a good week or bad week (Are you a good witch or a bad witch?) 

Three very exciting things happened to the residence(mostly me) of Flamingo Farms.  First of all Robley, my new mount, and I went on our first camping trip.  For three days we were in a fabulously serene setting sharing good times with my friends.  It was a total me weekend.  While I am still not trail riding, he and bonded over copious amounts of ground work and hand grazing. Ground work to me is what builds a bond with your horse.  It is where you gain repeat and cooperation.  For the most part that was true, but I have found my new honey love has an obstinate streak as well.  I got a few rearing ups when he didn’t like what I asked of him but overall he was great. The place we ride has a great big arena so that is where I did my riding.  Walked and trotted fine until he spooked at the barrels on the fence.  That was enough for me, I pushed him into a slow jog, got four steps so we could end on a good note and promptly got off.  But all in all it was a successful weekend

Also noteworthy is the first egg from my new flock of Rhode Island Reds.   I call the girls the Supremes since I can’t tell them apart.  It isn’t as large or as brown as I expected, but a great first attempt. The newly added rooster, Smokey Robinson, has started crowing.  He is so handsome that hearing him in the morning just makes me smile.  I don’t have a good picture of him yet, he is a little camera shy.  When I hatch some eggs out in the spring, they will be called the Miracles.   Do you see the theme?

And finally on the good side I guess is that I am going back to work.  Since it is a 32 hour position I should still have some of my free time to still do what I want.  I will miss my mornings sitting in the rocking chair with my coffee watching the fields wake up. But it will give more structure to my life.  We will see. 

On the negative side last week, reading that word in bold caps, is the fact that they found someone in my mammogram and I have to go in for a biopsy. YOu may recall that my sister passed away from breast cancer last September.  Needless to say I am petrified.  And the kicker of it all is that they can’t take me until October.  I am working now to find an option sooner.  Very unsettling to have that hanging over my head. 

Stay tuned for an update.  

mvb