Tuesday, March 31, 2009

March Fool

April 1. This is the day upon which we are reminded of what we are on the other three hundred and sixty-four. ~Mark Twain, Pudd'nhead Wilson, 1894

Even though it is not April Fool's Day I was reminded of what a fool I am today. Remember I said I had 6 ducks, 5 hens and a drake? Remember when I said I went to trade for an unrelated drake this past weekend? While today I was showing my sister the new drake while he was in the middle of doing what drakes do best in the Spring. Then it dawned on me the one doing the deed was not the drake I went and picked up!
Now in my defense I had never seen this duck demonstrating any on these male tendancies before and he also does not have the sex curl. He is old enough to have a sex curl. I could not go by plumage because these are all cross bred and when they are all squalking together you can't tell which sound is coming from which duck so I have always depended on the sex curl. See the one in the front (no sex curl) and the one close to the tree with a very noticable sex curl. I guess we will be making another trip to Farmer Dave's to drop this related drake off.Of course it makes perfect sense now why I have only been getting 4 duck eggs a day!

Grand total in eggs this month....90 duck eggs and 73 chicken eggs. The ducks always lay their eggs before I let them out. The chickens are on their own schedule and I haven't found some of their hiding spots....yet. Better luck next month.

Friday, March 27, 2009


To me the ideal doctor would be a man endowed with profound knowledge of life and of the soul, intuitively divining any suffering or disorder of whatever kind, and restoring peace by his mere presence. ~Henri Amiel

Oh, to live in an ideal world. But in reality our life recently is...i deal...with that space between which completely changes things. Mom has decided she will recover quicker at home so the doctors released her on Friday. We got a crash course in oxygen 101 and trucked her home. I didn't think she was ready to come home but they had given her a transfusion so she was feeling spunky. I don't want her in the hospital but I want that instantaneous knowledgable attention if anything goes wrong. So I deal with the fear. And I shouldn't complain because that is all she can do... she deals with being dependent on others, all the meds and the long oxygen tube dragging behind. But she was right as Mother always is....She isn't up and running a marathon but is sleeping/eating better and was outside sitting in the sun on Saturday.

While she was soaking up some rays, the man and I went to visit a friend, do grocery shopping and stopped at the feed store. The man cut the shelves down to fit the greenhouse and the kids raked the side yard and hauled some broken branches to the burn pile.

During the night the rains came so early in the morining the man set the burn pile on fire. While he did that, I was able to rake the chicken and duck area. We took our drake up to Farmer Dave and traded him for an unrelated drake. Mr. Lucky (he has five hens drooling over him) is a Rouen and is beautiful. He is the one in the rear, which is what all the other pics were of since he kept walking away from me! Later in the Spring I will stop gathering the eggs and see if any of them set. I haven't had a problem any other year so hopefully things follow suit this Spring.

While at Farmer Dave's he asked if we wanted any firewood and proceeded to have one of his workers load our truck up with logs from tree's he had cut down. The rains and temps made the ride home a little foggy. When we got home the man put the shelves in the greenhouse and proceeded to start splitting the wood so the kids could stack it. They were soooo happy!I finally got the pile of manure spread on the greenhouse garden and put everything back into the greenhouse. I had to hurry as the thunder was getting pretty loud.
While making dinner we were treated to a great lightening show. The power only went out for a couple of seconds but still made me glad that we had bought more gas for the generator in case of a longer power outage so mom's oxygen stays pumping.

It was a great weekend with the lightening storm being just one more sign to add to the other signs of Spring such as....worm casting
bleeding heart
some fungusand elderberry that I thought I killed is showing signs of lifeToday I hope to get into the greenhouse to re-arrange things and finally start some seeds. This week my neighbor is going to come plow up a new area behind the large garden so we can move the potatoes outside the fence. I picked up some Kennebec, Katahdin, Red Pontiac and Yukon Gold so I am ready.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

First day in the garden

Methinks I see the wanton hours flee,
And as they pass, turn back and laugh at me.
~George Villiers
My sister had to run to the bank yesterday and she stopped in at the post office knowing I was expecting a package. The package contained....White Finn and even though it does not look it in this picture, jet black Finn rovingYummy! I really wanted to spin but I pulled a muscle in my leg last week and I don't think it is up to spinning quite yet. I am, however, finally able to slowly climb steps! It's the little things!

We assumed mom was going to be able to come home yesterday so I stayed here to play catch up. After a quick turn around in the house I went outside to work in the garden. I was able to get all the blackberry plants removed of last years canes and the new ones topped. While I was doing this #1 daughter was raking moms lawn.

We came back to the house and had a little sustenance then returned to the outside to work some more. We removed everything from the greenhouse so that the man could put in the new shelves, raked the garden into a burn pile and dug up some errant Jerusalem Artichokes. I think it is awe that I feel every Spring when things start to emerge. Everything that I saw showing signs of life was like a little reward....daffodil, chives, rhubarb, hyacinth, tansy, monarda, day lily, iris, mint, quince in bud, oh my!
Sis came home without Mom as they want to double check some blood work, set up the oxygen which will be coming home with her, consult on how soon dialysis should start and do some PT work. The new release date is Friday.

We came in, showered and finished dinner. After dinner we had company over and it was 10 before they left. I went to bed exhausted and aching but happy with the productive day. I woke up at 2:30 and my hands hurt so bad from the clippers and every little briar I hadn't found earlier. As usual I didn't wear gloves and my hands feel like sandpaper. I keep putting lotion on them but it hasn't really helped much.

Today I have to throw dinner in the crockpot and run to town to do my cleaning job. I am dropping sis off at the hospital to bully mom into getting up and walking a little. I would like to get the shelves in the greenhouse this evening as I want to start seeds this weekend but the man has been coming home pretty tired recently. Hopefully tonight we can test the leg by spinning some of that fiber. If it doesn't work, it is still nice to look at!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009


What man actually needs is not a tensionless state but rather the striving and struggling for some goal worthy of him. What he needs is not the discharge of tension at any cost, but the call of a potential meaning waiting to be fulfilled by him.~Victor FranklI have been walking around saying I need to get into the garden where there is peace (a tensionless state). Other times I say I need a vacation. Sometimes life just plain out sucks and I want a break from reality. For the most part I am very happy in my life and would not change things but sometimes the curveballs just floor you.

The human story does not always unfold like a mathematical calculation on the principle that two and two make four. Sometimes in life they make five or minus three; and sometimes the blackboard topples down in the middle of the sum and leaves the class in disorder and the pedagogue with a black eye. ~Winston Churchill

My mother was admitted to the hospital last Tuesday with congestive heart failure. In August 2006 my mom, husband and I went to visit my sister in Puerto Rico. My mother was keeping a secret. When we returned she went to the doctor to have some tests run. They found she had an ovarian mass which she had removed in September. Upon biopsy they found this to be cancerous, but secondary to the kidney. Meaning she had renal cell carcenoma which had metastasized. After the removal of her left kidney, imaging showed that it was also in her lung, liver and spinal column. She was started on Sutent, an oral chemo which she handled fairly well as chemo's go. She didn't do too good on the drip. She has been in the hospital twice with complications but she this time has been by far the worst. To treat the heart problem they risk the one remaining kidney which isn't working up to par and to treat the kidney they risk the heart.

During this time my sister has gathered some fly miles and we have become quite familiar with Newark Airport! She has always been very supportive when I call about Mom. Sometimes she has been my pressure relief valve...I have called and dumped because I had hit my limit and she has made phone calls from PR and magically eased the pressure.

This time my sister decided enough was enough. She resigned from her 20 year job and as of Sunday has officially moved back home. She too wants that tensionless state. Here I was thinking it was easier on her living in PR when it was probably worse. This became abundantly clear to me when I returned to the hospital following a really bad day for my mother and walking down the hall to her room was so agonizing because of not knowing what I would find-hoping things would be better but semi preparing myself for worse. I can't even imagine sitting 100's of miles away and waiting on phone calls for 2 1/2 years.

Thankfully Mom seems to be doing better. Today we meet with the kidney doctor to find out the results of the ultrasound. Soon we will know if/when she will need dialysis, if she will come home with oxygen and when she will be able to come home.

Although not a tensionless state, Sis will hopefully feel less tension being here front and center and I know I will feel less tension just knowing someone else is here to talk to and help make decisions concerning mom's care.

Friday, March 20, 2009


No matter what changes take place in the world, or in me, nothing ever seems to disturb the face of spring. ~ E.B. White

Spring officially starts today. Every time I am outside it seems there is flock of geese flying north. The robins, bluebirds and red winged blackbirds have settled in nicely. The sap is still flowing but I am going to stop collecting this weekend as I should have enough for our use by then. The maples are on the outside of the pasture. It has become a ritual for the sheep to follow us around the perimeter. Here they are enjoying the first little wisps of green.While inspecting things around here we came upon a coyote ravaged deer carcass. We heard a huge ruckus from them a couple of weeks ago so that must have been what they were doing. I hope they leave my chickens and turkeys alone this summer.

I want to get into the garden in a little bit to finish cutting the old blackberry canes down and topping the new ones. Eventually I have to find time to get into the greenhouse and I have to start seeds.

I finished the capelet finally. I also plyed the splotch yarn. While it looked good when a single and didn't look too bad as a plyed...it looks like mud when knit. This is the beginning of a pair of plain old socks for #1 daughter. They have to go in the bag now because I have a ton of housekeeping to catch up on before I can play with them anymore! I hope everyone has a great Spring day.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Land Awakening

Springtime is the land awakening.
The March winds are the morning yawn.
~Lewis Grizzard, Kathy Sue Loudermilk, I Love You

The land is awakening. The snow has left all but the deepest shadows and gullies. The garden has the beginnings of life, chives and rhubarb. The buds on the tree's are getting bigger. And although I have not started a seed, I am harvesting already.

I am harvesting maple sap to make into syrup. I misplaced my taps and had to wait for the ones I ordered to get her. Thankfully the weater is just what the doctor ordered for this persuit...warm days and nights below freezing. I only do enough to keep the family supplied but it is fun-something to tampen the growing spring fever.

Another sign of spring is baby chicks. Tuesday night Farmer Dave called to say he had some. #2 daughter and I drove out and picked up 50 broilers and a couple of the heavy breed rooster chicks. I didn't expect broiler chicks until April or May but if I get them now I can possibly get two batches done this year without breaking the bank. If not then they are done before we harvest the garden. These will be out of the brooder by the time the layer chicks get here.
I had dyed the last of the white roving in splotch. I think that is a word...a splotch here and a splotch there. Anyhow I started spinning it and it might end up as some socks for #1 daughter. And speaking of #1, we moved her back home for a couple of months. Her bf and her are going to get their own place after he graduates from college and moves out of the "man house" he is sharing now. In hopes of clearing off all her debt prior to this move she moved home so she can use her rent monies towards that goal. She did live an hour away but may be moving further so I have to spoil the heck out of her while I still can.
Her rent is paid until the end of the month but timewise this past weekend worked for the move. Tomorrow we will go back out to wash out the fridge, clean the oven, vacuum the carpet, mop the floors, say goodbye to the neighbors and and drop her keys off to the landlord.
She says she wants to learn how to spin! I was shocked. Even if she just does one bobbin now I think it will stay with her and she will go back to it later in her life. My mom taughts us how to crochet and after years I started to do it again and the knitting and spinning followed. My sister went back to the crocheting recently and who knows knitting and spinning might follow for her also...I will try my hardest!!!

Monday, March 09, 2009

It's time again.

Old Time, that greatest and longest established spinner of all!.... his factory is a secret place, his work is noiseless, and his hands are mutes. ~Charles Dickens

Time seems to have flown by since I last posted. The little section of the universe I call my own is slowly moving in Spring. We are officially in the 'tween season known as Mud.

I have to admit to getting the smallest twinges of Spring fever. I have been washing windows so I have a better view of all the changes. I still have so much to do inside but have been taking little outings. I have been cleaning up the greenhouse garden (chives and rhubarb are just breaking the surface) and this weekend we cleaned the chicken coop out. The man hauled a load of composted cow and sheep manure down, dumped it in the greenhouse garden and I have to spread that. I have some fence repair to do also. I checked and I didn't start my seeds until the end of March last year so I am not fretting...yet!

Cyndy was able to get into her garden to trim/trellis her blackberries but I am still unable to get into the large garden. Most of it is still under snow and the parts that aren't are very wet so that has been put on the back burner.

In the lapse of blogging I have also been knitting, carding and spinning.

I had some off white alpaca from Farmer Dave. I washed it then dyed some pink, yellow and blue-very Easterly isn't it?! After I carded it I remembered I had some beautiful black alpaca from Kuhn's River Country Alpaca and I carded some of that up. Then I thought the black might look nice with some bits of color in it. It was atrocious! I will not damage your retina's with the vomit I created. I put it outside for the birds to use if they will have it. Let's just leave it at...I am not ready to blend! I never thought there could be bad alpaca, but oh the sin I commited! The man is color blind and even he was appalled!

I moved back to knitting to soothe myself. I knit two pairs of baby booties, an umbilical cord hat, and a shorter version of the Cherry Garcia cabled neck tube.I have been going through patterns I had saved and trying to see if I like them still or not. If I do I have been trying to make those that will use up some bits of yarn. I took apart a beautiful frosty sky blue J. Crew wool sweater I got at the thrift store. I skeined, washed and dried 650 yards of merino wool for $1.98. I sewed (!) a curtain for a kitchen cupboard. I stained some shelves for the bathroom, hung some more pictures and we moved one load of #1 daughters things home.
With the mud season and Spring I find myself thinking of 1000 +1 more things that need to be done each time I sit down. I am starting to make lists and prioritize them so I don't forget any. And I am trying to get the man to the doctor for a physical since he has not had one in the nine years we have been together. I keep telling him I need him healthy to clear the lists off! I haven't been very successful in convincing him. Hopefully I have more success ticking things off the lists.

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Bozo's Contribution To The Wardrobe

If most of us are ashamed of shabby clothes and shoddy furniture, let us be more ashamed of shabby ideas and shoddy philosophies.... It would be a sad situation if the wrapper were better than the meat wrapped inside it. ~Albert Einstein

I finally finished my wrapper or sweater. I started it in June 2007. I made it from Bozo (handsome sucker isn't he?)so it is not really next to the skin wool but my criteria was...

1) easy pattern as I had never made a sweater
2) large as I hate to wear tight things
3) warm
4) easily adaptable
I hate coats and sweaters as I feel confined. I needed something warm enough to wear when I could no longer get away with just wearing a long sleeve shirt. I needed to be able to easily change length as I didn't want it so long that when I squatted down it would get in the dirt.
And I got this. Excuse the stitch markers, I didn't add buttons yet. Now what should I have done? I made it big to compensate for the rather large chest my mother was nice enough to bless me with..Thanks Mom...plus some. I should not have made it as big as I did. When I finally got back to it I forgot to add the button holes hence why the stitch markers only go so far down! This really isn't a problem as I don't usually button them (see #2). Although I love the variation in the fleece (which is what made me want to use it) I should have been more careful when I was adding a new skein to finish the raglan sleeves.
Once I was able to spin the wool to knit it, it went quickly. I love it because I fed him, sheared him, washed the fleece myself, carded it myself, spun it myself and knit it. And I said I would have it done by Spring and I had it done by Meteorological Spring. Now to finish the capelet and then I might even entertain the idea of doing another sweater.