Friday, April 21, 2017

flowery friday

It began raining last night, and I woke to a damp and drizzly, raw and still-rainy world. But it wasn't very cold, and it wasn't at all windy, so I just waited for a break in the drizzle to go out and give the goats a hearty meal to keep their spirits up.

While waiting for the goats to eat, I took a few quick pictures of flowers. Yes, flowers!

Here is one of the bloodroot plants again. It decided to stay wrapped up and tucked in today, which is exactly how I felt when I woke up and saw the weather.

And here is forsythia - or yellow bells, which is what my blogfriend Tipper says they are called in Appalachia. I think of them that way now, too. Perfect name.

These daffodils got plastered, face-first, to the ground by the rain. They look quite comfortable indoors now, and are the brightest spot in the house.

And here are some of the first Vinca blossoms. Soon there will be a subtle carpet of vinca flowers. Less subtle if I get out there and rake the leaves off, and maybe I will, but it's not a priority task so no promises there.

Here's one more.
Do you recognize these?

They are red maple flowers.
There is a scattering of lovely pink and red all over the ground,
and it is even more apparent on a rainy day.
Yesterday - before the rain - I watched Tsuga and Fern carefully eating every maple flower that had fallen on a large rock. I've never seen the goats do that before. Always something new in Goat World!

Here's to the start of a great weekend for all.
What's happening in your neck of the woods?

Saturday, April 15, 2017

first half of april

When I began writing this post, it was titled "first week of April."
When I came back to it with images, it was "first third of April."
I intend to publish tonight, before it becomes "what the heck happened to April?"

April is a madcap month.
It's a horse that catches you dreaming,
and suddenly takes off with the bit in its teeth.

So far this month, we've had multiple snowstorms.

We've had raw and gloomy days when the sun appeared just in time to set.
We've had rain; up to three consecutive days of rain.

 And we've had a couple of days that must have been close to 80F.

We've also had precious hours of what I consider perfect just-barely-Spring weather: breezy, clear, warm in the sun and cool in the shade. When the world is, in the words of e e cummings, mud-luscious and puddle-wonderful. Yesterday was just such a day, so in the afternoon, Piper and I took a little stroll by the pond.

I have no idea how well this tiny video will come across,
but do turn your volume up; I want you to hear the bird.

We may have more snow.
I won't be surprised. At all.
Nor bothered.
Just taking it as it comes.

It's April.

Monday, April 10, 2017


If I'm going to wake in the wee hours every morning,
might as well get up and take a look out the windows.

What a gift for a person who - sometimes, still - yearns for travel.

I loved living in the mountains.
I was just travelling through
and I stayed seven years.

I've always dreamt of living on the shore of a lake.
I wonder if I ever will.

The ghost-moon reflecting in the double panes
was confusing my camera,
so I opened the window.

It didn't help with the focus.

But that's when I heard the owl.

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

a goatherd's toolkit

Planning and prep work are essential components of the Goatherd's Toolkit.

For example: someday you may need to persuade a goat to stand still and keep it's foot in water for 20 minutes.

Twenty minutes is exactly 19 minutes 59 seconds longer than your typical goat wants to have a wet foot.

Therefore it's helpful to have a goat who, like Sambucus here, is already accustomed to being handled every single day, rain or shine. And who has every reason to believe that putting on a collar and tie will result in a bucket of delicious grub appearing like magic.

Preparation in this case also includes having everything you need within reach before putting the goat's foot in the bucket, because after that moment, you won't be moving for 20 minutes either. One hand will be on or very near the goat, the entire time, ready for action or distraction. Goats have a way of moving that can best be described as "explosive." Being alert can make the difference between a successful treatment for a sore hoof or an upset, dripping goat and an equally upset and even more dripping goatherd.

Of course, in addition to all this planning and prep, flexibility also has value. For example, when spontaneous expert assistance is offered from a courteous distance...'s invaluable.
Thank you, Betula.

Saturday, April 1, 2017

fiber notes

What with combing goats every day lately, it's no surprise I've got fiber on the brain. Also on all my clothes and sometimes in my eyes.

So this post will be about three recent knitterly projects.


A lovely woman in England - who I "met" on twitter because she raises pigs and we were trading a rueful laugh on the subject of barnyard bruises - very kindly sent me a tube of her favorite pain-relief gel called - wait for it - Movelat.

(I like it. In fact, I'm wearing some right now. Combing Tansy is a rodeo.)

Of course I wanted to respond with something equally useful, and after much pondering, settled on an earwarmer made from the 1898 Hat pattern. I wear my earwarmer about 20 times more often than my hat, which actually gets too hot when I'm moving around doing chores.

Do the crafty folk amongst you fret about handmade gifts? I sure do.
Is it nice enough for a gift?
Does she wear wool?
Does she wear green?
Will she like it?
Will she hate it?

So I am thrilled to report that the recipient likes it a lot. Huzzah!
It was a bonus surprise to see someone else's picture of my knitting on twitter.


Next: from the UFO ("Unfinished Object") Department

This is the project that made me admit - with muttering and frowning - that I must stop knitting with very dark yarns. This sock is being made with West Yorkshire Spinners self-striping Mallard. A contrasting heel seemed like a nifty idea until it came time to pick up stitches on the sides of the heel flap. That's when I realized I could not see little spaces where one pokes the needle in and picks up the stitches.

Not by daylight. Not by lamplight.
Not with my embiggening glasses.
Not with every trick in the Knitters' Book of Visibility Tricks.
(There isn't really a book, but there are a few tricks and I tried them all.)

When muttering did not make my vision improve, I decided to rip out the heel and knit it again in light yarn. But first, with nothing to lose, I tried just poking the needle in at intervals and literally picking up stitches I could not see.

Not my finest hour as a knitter, but there's some sort of heel, anyway.
And I'll try very hard to make another one that matches this one.
And then, I will Stop Trying to Knit Very Dark Yarn.
Knitting should be fun, not frustrating.

Oh, that reminds me: Mason Dixon Knitting has a great Daily Letter on their blog today, introducing their very own minimally-processed yarn, called Sheepy!
I recommend giving it a look.
I love the way they think.


Final knitting note of the day: remember when I made a pair of felted slippers? So cozy! Well, this winter I accidentally felted them a bit more. Oops. When I pulled them out of the washer, my former slippers had shrunk to half their previous size and moved on to a new destiny: raw material for making catnip mice.

I made one right away, using half a slipper stuffed with catnip, and a tail made of non-fraying elastic saved from a cut-up garment. I never use yarn or other string for cat toys, as it gets chewed and swallowed, and not digested. Dangerous for kitties.

Mouse #1 is pretty popular.

With both Della and Moxie.

Guess I'd better make another?

"Right now? Right now would be good!"

Hope you are having a lovely weekend!