Saturday, December 14, 2019

what a week

snow on red oak, Quercus rubra

I try not to let this blog become a weather report, but weather is such a major factor in my daily life that it's impossible not to mention it. Often. Maybe too often? I don't know.

This week we've had snow, single digit temps, strong winds, and to quote Eric Clapton, "rain, rain, rain." Although Clapton was talking about "love" and I am taking about "actual water coming down from the sky." Rain has been falling since yesterday, and is still coming down in a serious way.

Due to the rain, a lot of snow has melted, and - this is the good part - the air has been so warm that the resulting mud and muck hasn't turned to ice. It's been so warm, in fact, that when I went out briefly to take rubbish and recycling to the dump, a thick fog suddenly descended. Visibility was so poor I wanted to get off the road for a while. I stopped at a church fair and bought a pound of homebaked cookies and some balsam sachets made with needles from the maker's own trees. I don't have enough balsam firs to take a single precious needle from them, so this was a great way to bring one of my favorite aromas indoors.
"I'd like a few of the lacy ones, please...
and a few of those toffee ones...and the Italian cookies..."

I'm trying to think of some highlights of the week to share.
Let's see.

One day I captured Fern - she is a wild one - and trimmed her hooves.
Everyone lived.

On two separate evenings I persuaded a mouse to walk quietly into a container and be airlifted from the porch back outside, instead of continuing to provide late-night gymnastics challenges for the cats.
I wonder if it was the same mouse both times.

I've begun knitting a thing. It's a surprise thing.
First I swatched, which means knitting a test square to see what size needle will produce the correct gauge of x stitches = x inches for a specific pattern.
I swatched the same yarn on 5 different sizes of needles.
Which is 4 to 5 times more swatching than I generally do.
I really want the results to be nice.
This is what it looks like when the needles' diameters are 0.25 mm different:

After all that careful swatching, the pattern is driving me a bit crazy.
I'm considering just rewinding the yarn and starting over with another pattern.
Life is short and there are many lovely patterns.

It was my birthday on the 12th, and I had treated myself with a small art supply order from Blick's. My fondness for Payne's Grey has now been indulged with a watercolor pencil of a different brand than the one I've been using, and a tube of watercolor paint from a third manufacturer.

This portrait of my smashed mug was done with the new pencil:

And this clay spindle whorl was painted with both grey pencils plus one green.

I haven't tried the tube of paint yet, 
but that will be happening before long.
I do enjoy Payne's Grey.

Here's another portrait; very faint, but I think you'll recognize the subject:

The rain is predicted to stop tomorrow, so it may be a good day to work in the big roundtop, shifting things around to make room for more hay. I'm trying to arrange a delivery before the next snow, while it is possible to get up the driveway. The tricky part - apart from the cost of the hay - is that the turn-around area at the top of the driveway can become a sloping mudpit. Many a truck has been stuck in it over the years, despite backhoe work done to level the ground. So whether a truck loaded with hay can come here after all the rain is an "exciting" question at this point. We'll see!