29 September 2007


They're here, they're here! Aren't they pretty? Love these new Knit Picks Options Harmony needles!

Between those and my BallyK box set, I plan to be very busy in the coming days.

Before the needles arrived and tempted me with their gorgeous colors and smooth finish, I'd planned to work on a couple of crochet kits. This was thanks to the lovely Dawn, whose incredible group project got me interested in picking up my hooks once more.

And by the way, Dawn, thank you for nominating me a Rockin' Girlrrl Blogger! I'm honored! I must pass the torch to Claudia and Nanette and Kelley, whose photos, projects, and zest for living always inspire me. They definitely rock!

But the Kim Hargreaves beret and scarf will have to wait a bit, because now I'm contemplating this pattern, using Knit Picks Wool Of The Andes yarn in a mixed purple and gray colorway called Pidgeon Twist.

I tried to do some spinning this week - the first time I've had a wheel in operation since adopting the pups (how sad is that - we've had Emma for over a year now!)

I'd forgotten, though, what it is to train puppy dogs about spinning wheels.

Of course, being the Doggie Llama, the reincarnation of our incredible whippet, Fiona, Dobie Emma had no problem picking it right up.

She tested the twist to see how the yarn would look plied...

... and carried right on with her drafting.

If Emma can learn to spin, no doubt I should be able to pick up watercolors, hmmm?

I have some super-duper farm news to share... stay tuned!

19 September 2007

"If You Want A Free Meal..."

"... word on the street is to head down to Tuppinz Farm.

"All ya' gotta' do, see, is show up and look cute and hungry. They don't turn nobody away, see, and the eats is tops. Sure beats lickin' out a cold tin can down by the railroad tracks...

"Sure, ya' might hafta' go to the vet and get vaccines and 'The Big N' but it's worth it, see?

"Three hots and a cot - I'm tellin' ya', this is the good life. Spread the word... Tell Mikey and Joe that Max has got his self a piece of the pie."

Meet Max - the world's most expensive "free" cat! He's named after this guy. He showed up and was obviously not feral. Since we're not served by a humane society, we had no choice but to take him to the vet, run blood tests on him, get him his rabies and other vaccinations, have him neutered, have his worms and ear mites treated, and ensconce him in the breezeway for a two-week quarantine.

I just hope he gets along with other animals and knows how to use a litterbox properly!

The two-color Noro Silk Garden scarf is almost finished. The colors are obnoxiously bright but I had fun watching the interplay of the stripes. It's been a good pick-up project for a few very busy months.

I achieved "Diva-hood" at Yellow Dog Knitting and have received my cute tote bag and lifetime discount. The best thing about moving has been finding this wonderful LYS! I did sneak out of having my picture taken while wearing a tiara for their blog, though... hope they don't catch me next time!

Miss Emma has been found to have too many teeth. She must go in tomorrow to have x-rays taken, and possibly have extractions. Good wishes for her would be appreciated! I gave her an extra-big rawhide this morning to tide her over until she can chew again.

My dear friend Kary is having to say goodbye to her longtime canine companion, Motu, tomorrow. Please join me in sending her comforting energy. You can light a candle here if you wish.

Hope you're having a creative day!

13 September 2007

Tog And Thel And Farm Life

It's been chilly and rainy here in west-central Wisconsin, so we've had the fireplace going again.

Our abandoned, bottle-fed kitten, Annie, has been re-named Yoda (because she resembled him when she was a big-eared baby). She is over 4 lbs. now and doing great.

Molly is at that leggy just-under-a-year stage, but still all smiles and kisses!

Molly still sleeps in that ultra-relaxed way puppies have.

The rescued pups, Dobie Emma and Heinzer Molly, can usually be found cuddling on the futon. We had Molly's DNA tested; she is not anything she appears to be. The only recognizable breeds that show up in her profile - and these are WAY down in terms of percentage of her makeup - are Bulldog, Akita, and Chow Chow. We call her a ChowKita Banana(tail).

I've spent the last week separating tog (outer) and thel (inner) fibers of a single Icelandic fleece. These fibers are from Annie, mother of some of our new Icelandic ewe lambs. Annie is owned by Craig and Jill Johnson of Riverwinds Farm in Boyd, WI.

I plan to spin the two types of fibers into separate yarns, and then combine them in knitted slippers from a pattern from a recent issue of Ashford's "The Wheel" magazine. The coarser fibers will give durability to the outside while the cushy fibers will be comfortable against bare feet.

And here are our new Icelandic lambs: Asta, Aqvavit, Birta and Bjork!

Don't ask me who is who yet; they're still very shy.

While we wait for our own Icelandic "homegrown" as the lambs grow up, we look forward to shearing some other "fiberstock" next month - Angora kid Petunia's first fleece promises to be fabulous, as do Penelope's, Indigo's, and Manya's. Got kid mohair? We will!

In other farm news, our first 2007 "free rare breed chick" turned out to be a Silver Spangled Hamburg(er) whom we named "Keach" when we found out he was a rooster. He had started life as "Kary".

Jeff continues to make friends with Nellie, the 50s-era Ford 8N. She's quite a beast but a hard worker.

The Angora kids have found their places in the herd. The highest-ranking goats get to hang out on the "deck" - that would be our herd queen, Alpine Ingrid and her kids. The next best places are the black rubber buckets - perfect for curling up and napping in because they soak up the warmth of the sun.

Mini-Nubian Frodo and Mini-LaMancha Delilah have claimed the buckets for the afternoon. BoerSaanenNubian cross Frieda - on the left; Frodo's best friend - whose sire weighed over 400 lbs.., seems to have outgrown them now that she's a year old. Pregnant Nigerian dwarf Hermione and the Angora kids mill about, hoping for a chance to sneak in.

The Angora kids and Hermione have given up their quest, and Frodo falls asleep. The black and white Nigerian dwarf is Magic. She has a voice like a helium baloon that is having the air let out of it. We can tell each of our 18 goats' voices and calls apart.

Nigerian dwarf Flower claims a bucket - even if she is too large to fit inside it. She and Magic are my current milk goats, providing us with an ample supply for soap and homemade cheese. Flower's voice is about two octaves lower than Magic's - the lowest in the herd. It's really funny, because she's fully grown and still doesn't come up to my knees, but has this deep basso bleat!

Angora kid Manya, on the right, has just recovered from pneumonia and is full of mischief again. Oberhasli Ada and Toggenburg Pippin snuggle up together in the background - they are best pals. I hope to train Pippin to pull our goat cart - eventually.

I finally made cheese with our goats' milk - Indian paneer. All you need to make it are milk, a lemon, and a pot!

A couple of hours later, and you're all set.

Jeff used the paneer in an Indian dish with eggplants, potatoes, onions, and garlic. It was fantastic.

Meanwhile, I'm enjoying the KnitPicks Podcast while I milk the goats or find a rare moment to knit a couple of rows on a Noro two-color scarf, and I'm trying not to get completely distracted by the new Knitty and the lovely Muir...

Oh - and where've I been, you ask? Let's just say...