Thursday, March 29, 2007

In the Zone

In his garden every man may be his own artist without apology or explanation.
Each within his green enclosure is a creator, and no two shall reach the same conclusion;
nor shall we, any more than other creative workers, be ever wholly satisfied with our accomplishment.
Ever a season ahead of us floats the vision of perfection and herein lies its perennial charm.- Louise Beebe Wilder

At some point yesterday while in the garden I realized I had entered the same zone gardening as I did carding, spinning or knitting. The rhythm of the tasks puts your body in a “trance” to continue their actions while your mind is free to explore other things. Some may think that the repetitive nature of my hobbies is boring. I don’t think of it like that because the tasks may be the same but the results are different. The same garden area, one year may produce tomatoes and salad greens and the following year it may be corn, squash and beans. The same tasks are employed to make it grow but with different results. The same washing, carding and spinning can be done on a cormo fleece or a Lincoln, but the yarn from one would be used to knit something for a baby and the other to make a rug. How similar yet how very different and I think that is what holds the interest, I am always looking forward to what the garden will grow or what the fleece could become.

One of the great things of spring is that it is such a sensorial season. The smell of the earth, the sounds of all the birds, the changes in the colors of the grass, the bark on plants and the sky, and then the tartness of the rhubarb, which is peaking out of the ground. So after I am outside enjoying all these marvels I come inside, shower and take tylenol and then hold the aching muscles off a little by spinning or carding, trying to finish off the finn fleece. I haven't been knitting, but Sunday it is going to be rainy so it would be a good day to knit if I can find something I want to work on.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Little Seeds

Little seeds we sow in spring
growing while the robins sing,
give us carrots, peas and beans,
tomatoes, pumpkins, squash and greens.
And we pick them,one and all,
through the summer,through the fall,
Winter comes, then spring, and then
little seeds we sow again. ~ Else Holmelund Minarik

And that is what I spent yesterday doing…sowing seeds. I disinfected the pots and flats and while they were drying in the sun, I started transplanting some plants. I have a flower garden in the middle of the garden because it was the end of the garden at one time but the garden got pushed past it. I was going to leave it but the plants have gotten bigger and are taking up space I could use to plant edibles. I moved some daffodils, golden marjoram, irises, walking onions, garlic chives, tansy and evening primrose. I planted some by the greenhouse but the rest is going to get planted up by the barn. I don’t want to get rid of it as I may want to plant some around the house when it is done.

So I seeded Mammoth Red cabbage (for sweet and sour cabbage), Late Flat Dutch (for storage and sauerkraut). I seeded zinnia, cosmos, angelica, chamomile, snapdragons, Italian Large leaf basil (for pesto), Atlantic and Nutri-Bud broccoli (freezer), Grand Rapids lettuce, and Osaka Purple mustard. There were others but I forget them right now.

All in all it was a great day. After all that I came in took a shower, made dinner, ate it outside and then I carded some fiber while watching TV. Fell asleep to the raccoons chirping outside and the dogs growling at them inside. Woke up this morning and as in Springs past found the forgotten muscles!

So I worked the kinks out while spinning up what I carded and then plied it. Now I am off to finish cleaning up the garden.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007


Spring is when you feel like whistling even with a shoe full of slush.- Doug Larson
Spring started at 8:07 p.m. last night!!! And even the birds knew what was happening.... ...................during the storm and then......yesterday when they knew Spring was coming. Don't they look happier?
And the above saying is so true. Yesterday I shoveled out to the greenhouse and carried the potting soil out. I was going to start some seed but life interrupted. When I went out later in the day to get the mail everything was slush. But nobody cared. The snow cover must have been cut in half! And temps are suppose to be above freezing at night and in the high 50's for the next 7 days!
What do I decide to do when the weather warms? Being an oxymoron, I have been spinning again. Monday, I got into a zone and spun up about 120 yards of 2 ply alpaca and then I carded (made nubs) and spun it any way 70 yards of 2 ply angora. I started hand carding my finn and spinning that but I want to get the drumcarder out, and card up a bunch so I can just spin.
And someone else knew Spring was coming. Not that he hibernates but he knows the pickings are going to get so much better now. When I went out to do the morning chores I found these tracks.....they came out of the woods, went to the chickens, to the rabbits, headed back towards the chickens with a detour several times around the compost bins and then out toward the berry patch. About two years ago the trashman left the lid off a trash can and left it leaning against the fence after pickup. A opossom climbed in and his weight set the can upright and he couldn't get out. The man found him and carried the can to the berry patch and layed it on it's side and walked away so the opossom could exit. I hoping he/she remembers that good deed and behaves accordingly!
Now I am off to do the chores and then run errands. Hope everyone enjoys the first day of SPRING!!!!!!!

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Be-lated St. Patrick's Day

Yesterday after digging out and running to the feed store we cooked up the traditional St. Patrick's Day dinner of corn beef, cabbage, potatoes and Irish Soda bread.

While doing genealogy, I was told we are Scots-Irish. I found out the "Scots-Irish are descendants of the Ulster Scots, immigrants who traveled to North America from Ulster in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Ulster-Scots is a term used to refer to people descended from Scots who live in Northern Ireland in a part of the ancient province of Ulster in Ireland."

We have always celebrated St. Patrick’s Day. That is one of the good things about our ancestors making us a nationality melting pot,(aka we are mutts) you get to celebrate just about every holiday.

The farmer's almanac said “Cabbage seeds are often planted today, and old-time farmers believed that to make them grow well, you needed to plant them while wearing your nightclothes.” Now I had intentions of doing this, slippers being my part of nightclothes. But while I was out I forgot to buy potting soil. So today we will head out for that and some maple taps to tap our neighbors trees. Other plans for the day include defrosting one of the freezers....what an exciting life I lead.

In knitting/spinning news, I haven't done a thing. Nothing, nada - looked at fiber and patterns but that was it.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Old snow/New Snow

Let the old snow be covered with the new:
The trampled snow, so soiled, and stained, and sodden.
Let it be hidden wholly from our view by pure white flakes, all trackless and untrodden.
When Winter dies, low at the sweet Spring's feet let him be mantled in a clean, white sheet. ~Ella Wheeler Wilcox

I don't know where I got that from but I think it fits the purpose perfectly.The birds are going crazy at the feeders. The kids had no school and are taking full advantage of the time off by sleighriding. #1 Son brought over his laundry for me to do - oh lucky me! So besides doing laundry I finally finished the mini-sweater. I did a crochet edging. I needs to be blocked but that will come later for now I think I am going to spin.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Beware the Ides of March

Caesar: Who is it in the press that calls on me?
I hear a tongue, shriller than all the music
Cry "Caesar!" Speak. Caesar is turn'd to hear.
Soothsayer: Beware the ides of March.

Seeing as how Julius Caesar was assassinated that day I guess he had cause to beware, but from what I have read we don’t. The ides simply means to divide, as in the month in half.

Or maybe we do have to beware because I have also been reading this...ACCUMULATIONS OF 3 TO 6 INCHES BY NIGHTFALL ON FRIDAY...WITH STORM TOTALS OF 5 TO 10 INCHES BY THE TIME THE SNOWTAPERS OFF.

This A.M. I heard 2-5 inches, then 2-7 inches and on the way home I heard depending on how slow it goes thru we could have accumulations of 16 inches.

But I am going to ignore the above and just think of the goldfinch I had at my feeder today, the red winged blackbirds at my mom's feeeder and this in her back yard....
So I can live with one last push from Old Man Winter because I know his time is almost done!
The sweater is not done yet but will be tomorrow, I am going to crochet around it as I can do that faster.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Unfinished Tasks

There is nothing so fatal to character as half finished tasks. ~ David Lloyd George
I seriously don't need a half finished task being detrimental to my already flawed character so I state here and now to finish the mini sweater before I finish another item.

Since I have started it I finished a stocking (just to finish the ball of yarn) and I did a ice scraper mitt (just to try the pattern) and I did the gloves for the man to give to his fellow worker with 1/2 a finger. Of course it is going to be 60 degrees today and there will be no need to push the sweater aside for these, but ignore that fact. This was the first pair of gloves I ever made and they were a lot easier than I thought they would be so I will be making more of them.
I don't know why I don't want to work on the mini sweater, it is easy. But now this self imposed knitting ban will get it done...hopefully by tomorrow.
As a side note...I heard geese when I went out to do the animals this AM! It was too over cast to see them so no picture as proof. But the camera is in close proximity to get a picture of the first robin. Now off to knit.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Daylight Saving Time

To get all there is out of living, we must employ our time wisely, never being in too much of a hurry to stop and sip life, but never losing our sense of the enormous value of a minute. ~ Robert Updegraff

We move the clock forward this Sunday or in my house tonight before bed. It was April 2nd last year, a difference of 3 weeks. They say it will save energy. I always looked at it as another marker of Spring. NOTE: Only 10 more days until the official start!

After a week of freezing temps I was overjoyed yesterday when the artic blast finally left. I went into the greenhouse and tossed all the broken plastic pots. Now I just need a warmer day to drag them outside and disinfect them and rinse them so they will be good to go. When I left the greenhouse to go put the stuff in the trash I inadvertently left the door open and the chickens quickly found their way inside. I didn’t have the heart to kick them out because they were having a blast scratching in the dirt. I could commiserate with them!

Today was even warmer. After a run to town on errands, #2 daughter and I took a walk down by the river. When I got home I made a big pot of Minestrone soup, salad and garlic bread all ready for an early dinner, so the evening should be nice and quiet.

Tomorrow I hope to get the ducks area cleaned and maybe burn the pile that has been in the garden since last fall.

In the fiber area…I knit a small stocking, a ice scrapper mitt, started the mini-sweater and a pair of gloves from The Knitter’s Handy Book Of Patterns (pictures next time). The man works with a guy who lost part of his finger so the gloves are for him. Now that I know how to make them I might have to make a pair for the elder bro as he lost ½ of a finger in a log splitter. So although the weather is getting warmer there is still time to get a lot of knitting done before the heavy work load gets here.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Meteorlogical Spring

Meteorological Spring starts today. It consists of the months of March, April, and May. Now you have heard….

If March comes in like a lion it goes out like a lamb and if March comes in like a lamb, it goes out like a lion.

But have you heard the others…
A dry March and a wet May
Fill barns and bays with corn and hay.

A peck of March dust and a shower in May
Makes the corn green and the fields gay.

March brings breezes loud and shrill,
To stir the dancing daffodil.

A March sun sticks
Like a lock of wool.

So many misties in March,
So many frosties in May

When March blows its horn,
your barn will be filled with hay and corn.

Supposedly when people lived in the same area for generations they were able to “predict” the weather for that area. They had observed their land and the insects, animals, birds and people and what changes the weather had on them. The older generation passed this knowledge to the younger one with sayings like above.

But now that people move around what was true for one area is not true for another so is considered folk or weather lore. I can understand what works for our area would not work for my sister in Puerto Rico. But I can not understand dismissing all folklore.

Our local weatherman knocks it all, calls it mumbo gumbo. He is very into his technical machines and gadgets but when it comes down to it the weatherman is doing the same thing our ancestors did. He looks at the records of what happen when the wind came from this direction and the temps were this and makes a prediction. He has machines and he is no more accurate than most of the “folklore”.

The one thing I like about folk/weather lore is the continuity it represents…the same family, same land year after year. I am not big on change. So seeing as how my ancestors have lived in this area since the 1850’s, I feel I am knowledgeable enough to make a prediction of my own. I predict in March the weather will do what it wants and we will deal with it and that in the end it turns into April! And I predict that until I can get into the greenhouse I will do fiberarts.