Saturday, April 21, 2007

The Force is strong with this one.

Well! The snow disspeared in record time - as soon as the sun came out that is. And, I'm fairly certain that the sheep can actually hear the individual blades of grass growing. You'll see them trying desperately to graze what little stubble is out there, when suddenly, a large group of them will head in the same direction with singular purpose (mildly borg-like) only to arrive at a mysterious destination in the middle of the field.... only to begin grazing stubble in the NEW spot.

Anyways, yesterday was the first really warm, sunny, why-the-heck-am-I-doing-barn-chores-wearing-a-wool-sweater day. And we found this out in the pasture, motherless and forlorn first thing in the a.m.

She is a sweety. Another ewe was valiantly trying to be her mother, but failing as she herself isn't due for several weeks and has no milk to offer. Mom was no where to be found, and after a careful search we decided she was a single orphan. Now let me tell you. When we bring the ewes into the barn yard, they line up at the feeders for a bit of grain and it is an impressive site. We do this for a couple of reasons.
  1. Sheep are not the brightest creatures. Reminding them that the rattle of a grain bucket is a yummy thing, keeps them running for you and that bucket in the middle of summer. This is especially handy when a fence comes down and the sheep are out of their pasture. (the grass really is greener on the other side of the fence.) The fact that all year long they continue to fall for this trick is a tribute to their brain-power, and yet they do occasionally outsmart me. nice.

  2. It gives us the opportunity to trick them into confinement so they don't try to eat the bale of hay as it comes of the tractor, sacrificing themselves under 600lbs of feed. Or the wheel of the tractor.

  3. Prior to lambing, it gives us the chance to get a good look at everyone, catching and handling any ewe with a problem.
In this case, it gave me the chance to walk through the barnyard while they were all head down in the feeder looking for the errant mother. Now, I'm sure you all can guess how we do that here. Even my 4 year old knows what to do, and she's quite good at it. We walk the line of bums, looking for tell-tale signs of labor and/or delivery. Couldn't find a thing. Husband finally found her about an hour later, by accident as he was catching another ewe with a limp. He noticed blood the size of a quarter on this ewe's back leg. Talk about a good eye! Noticing that on one sheep out of 300, in mud up to their bellies. We are impressed by him on a daily basis. Anyways, this was as suspected, a first time mum suffering from the 'what the heck came out of my butt' syndrome. I'm happy to say that after 24 hours tied in a stall with her offspring, she is now untied and no longer trying to head-butt the poor thing. Why she even grudgingly gets up to let her nurse! Serious progress. In a couple of days she might even get nervous when I take her lamb away for a moment.
That lamb? This afternoon she weighed in at a whopping 5lbs 7oz. She probably weighed under 5lbs at birth. We are seriously impressed with her will to live. Not bad for a preemie!

Sock Progress: I'm happy to say, that if I give up 5 more minutes of sleep a day, I can actually add a row or 2 to this sock. And let me just say, I LOVE my knitpicks circs. LOVE.

What's in the dyepot you ask? Harry Potter. Or, at least Harry Potter themed colors. House colors to be exact, go check them out here at and while everyone seems to want the self-striping yarn, patience is going to have to be the word of the day on that one. To make that project feasable, I'm still working out a better mousetrap for skeining/dyeing. I'll keep you posted.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Word of the Day: Demoralizing.


  1. To undermine the confidence or morale of; dishearten.

  2. To put into disorder; confuse.

This is DEMORALIZING. I mean really. Let's look at the calendar, shall we?? This was yesterday's picture. And, please note that the crap on the tin roof of the barn over the visible slider door, was ALLLLLL on the ground in front of the door this morning. And, just for fun, does anyone want to guess how long it took to do chores & feed 340 odd sheep in that? To long, people. To long. Finishing just in time to start evening chores. And, it's raining on top of it all. Which, I might add is NOT melting the snow, since it isn't really snow... it's slush. 8 inches plus of slush. Back-breaking, shovel breaking, tractor-getting-stuck, slush. I'll stop now before the twitch under my left eye starts up again.

Painter's Tape - EXCELLENT idea from the comments the other day for the 4 year old, hardware store here we come.

Sock Progress: Needles came, thank goodness or I was going to start knitting with bar-b-que shish kebob skewers. Don't think I wasn't fixing to see what size they were! Anyhow, we lovelovelove our new knitpicks 32inch size 1 needles. So, if anyone needs a 29inch size 1 & 3 COMBO circ, I've got you covered. If not, than I suggest avoiding Boye needles like the plague. Interesting conversation with them the other day by the way (I get on the phone & call folks when I'm cranky about their poorly constructed tools). According to her, all of their size one needles have a larger than guage size join from needle to cord and back again. Apparently, I shouldn't have a problem with it, regardless of the fact that YOU CAN'T USE THEM FOR SIZE ONE PROJECTS (and yes, I realize I'm shouting). She didn't see this as much of an issue for some reason. After several hopeful and polite questions, I finally asked where I should send the useless needles so that they could refund my money (the store I bought them at was closing it's yarn section - probably because they kept selling useless needles). With only mild grudging, she gave me the address. I do not in any way blame her, but for heaven's sake people (Boye in particular) - what were they thinking?? And to tell me 'they are all that way' in a voice that clearly said 'you are mildly off your rocker for thinking a size one needle actually be a size one needle...'

Also, for the record (Again Boye, listen up) their website does not work. The parent company website links to 4 different companies, one of which IS THEIR OWN WEBSITE (duh??) another is Boye which does not function... and finally, one of the other remaining actually has a customer service number you can all. Excellent job Boye, excellent.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

I'll never catch up.

Holy Crow, I can't believe it's the 12th of April.
April, people. And it is SNOWING. Not a quick little flurry, no, we're accumulating this crap at an alarming rate. Perhaps my attempts at thawrting the time/space thing for my own nefarious dyeing, knitting, and other fiber-related dastardly deeds, have messed with Mother Nature's timing. Well isn't that handy. The only time warping I've done is prolong the CRAPPY weather, instead of helping to make a dent in the 'to do' list inside the house.
And, I'd LOVE to show you a picture of progress on that sweet little blackjack sock, but it would look suspiciously THE SAME except on a longer set of circs. Now, if you read the last post, you would expect progress as I've purchased a longer set of circs to enable the 'magic'. But here's the thing. I bought this here 32 inch size 1 Boye needle. And, ya know the join where the needle 'joins' the length of plastic cord to connect to the other needle? Well, that little tiny teeny 1/4 inche or so length of plastic is all that stands between me & progress. I cannot slide my size 1 stiches over it's SIZE 3 CONNECTION. Now, did I miss something here??
Here's my theory:
In my efforts to avoid sock knitting so as to get something ELSE done around here, I have not replaced my lost size 1 needles, long gone. Until now. Driven Encouraged by the Harlot, I might have run head-on into a needle display at a lys with wild abandon the thought that I might find something useful. I might have wound some yarn, and gotten as far as the toe before trouble found me.
My theory is, that I angered the knitting gods by avoiding knitting, and this is their curse: to be desperate to knit socks, and unable to do it. Kind of a Greek Tragedy sorta thing, eh?
Well, ta heck with them, I went shopping and SEVERAL sets of size 1 circs are on their way. One sock? Heck with that, we're casting on SEVERAL socks with ALL of the new needles and leaving them recklessly about the house for random knitting moments.

In other news: Harry Potter. Have you heard of him? Silly question, I know. Anyways, I'm putting my dye pots to good use (again) and working on 'House' colors for the knitters out there. Check the website for the Potter page, and check back here for more posts & pics as I work on options for colorways.
I'm thinking of offering solids in all of the colors, as well as 2-color skeins... and I've been working on some type of self-patterning dye-job that doesn't require me to skein yarn around the room over couches & lampshades for the dog to trip on and the daughter to hang her toys on. It really Does. Not. Work.

Question of the day: Can anyone tell me (without suggesting I spend 3 hours searching the 'help' files of blogspot) how to MAKE this thing see all of the proper sentence punctuation? I mean, I know we've lost some writing skills with all this computer 'stuff' but I should still be able to put 2 spaces after each sentence and this freakin' blogger system refuses to see even one, let alone the 2 that are supposed to be there. I hate for folks to think I don't have a clue about basic writing skills... A little help here before I go nuts?

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Still Catching Up.

Knitting Tip Number 2.
There is nothing magical about a 24 inch loop. 29 inches, 32 inches, both very magical when it comes to knitting a sock on (or is that with?) 'the magic loop'. No matter how hard you try, this will only end in madness.

And Miss Tsarina, yes, you should feign enlightenment for my sake & let me keep what little dignity I have left. We shall forever more pretend understand that these knitting 'revelations' come to me in divine moments of knitting bliss and serenity. Very ZEN-like ya know. (ya'll got yer boots on, right?)
And, since we're taking time to respond to commentary, that 'top down raglan' is coming along nicely, thank you very much. More on that later.

The lovely toe-up toe (duh) using my own BlackJack multiple repeat yarn. I must say, I am LOVING the tiny little color repeats.

Note to whoever keeps searching on 'Beautiful Icelandic Girls'. DUDE. (at least, one assumes it's a dude...) These are SHEEP. Now, move along please. And, on the off chance that the fact that they are SHEEP does NOT bother you, PLEASE I beg of you, move along even faster.

Quote of the day: Do not anger the Dragon for you are crunchy, and taste good with ketchup.

Knitting Tip Number 1.

When doing a provisional cast-on, use yarn so brightly colored that a street trollop would be embarrassed to be seen in it. So garishly different from your actual project yarn that horror is expressed, even by the color blind. Do NOT use yarn the same color and/or weight and texture as your project yarn, especially when the project is on size 1 needles. Ever. Not even for just a couple of stitches. EVER.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Catching up, one step at a time.

So in the wild, these are the signs that the elusive 4 year old-asaurus has been here before you.

Please note the 'SharkTales' Sticker found on the butter sometime around midnight while mom was having the preverbial 'midnight snack'.

While eating, this tell-tale sign was found on the whiteboard:

Note how small mom's space is... the small square on the right. Notice how the wild four year old-asaurus has broken through the extensive fencing system strayed out of the confines of her wilderness park generous space allowed for her 'work', ever encroaching on the mother's tiny, eeked out scrap of modest space. Steps must be taken to reinforce fencing on the wilderness park review 'whiteboard etiquette'.