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Sunday, December 21, 2014

Happy Winter Solstice!

Happy Winter Solstice!

We spent the entire daylight portion of today in the big city of Marquette finishing up our shopping for the holidays. Made it home just in time to light the Yule log before it the longest night officially began.

Whilst in Marquette, Lila celebrated her fourteenth birthday a couple of days early and added a couple of holes to her head. She looks pleased eh? One on each side. She already needs her hair trimmed so we'll have to do that during holiday vacation. Saturday evening we watched the Manistique High School Drama club perform "Alice in Wonderland". They did a fine job of it. Lila has joined middle school drama and they start meeting when school is back in session.

Since we haven't been home all weekend, nothing was wrapped, or made. I'm trying to figure out which projects I can ditch instead of trying to cram in more than is possible to do. No sense getting too crazy. :)

A wonderful surprise to us recently was that our dear friend Rachel Mills wrote and read a story about how our families met and of our Christmas Eve tradition that we've been observing these past 12 or so years. If you are so inclined, give it a listen! Rachel is a wonderful writer and has a lovely speaking voice. She perfectly captured each of our kids personalities in her story.


Friday, December 19, 2014

Tourtière Season

Tis the season for special main courses. Yesterday my favorite workgroup met and we shared a meal together in celebration of the winter solstice. I made Tourtière, Kristie made her famous AuGratin potatoes, Keith brought a delicious broccoli coleslaw, and Craig a crisp green salad.

Tourtière is a traditional French Canadian meat pie primarily made of herbed and spiced ground pork. The delightful recipe that I used is from Canadian Living ( and the addition of celery and mushrooms is genius. I will be making this recipe again for a gathering of the Ewe-per Spinners and Weavers tomorrow.

At the end of our workgroup meeting we had a hand made holiday beverage exchange; I made Kahlua and Celtic Creme, Keith brought three types of his mead, and Craig four varieties of his home brew including a Scotch Ale! We will break into them soon in celebration of the Solstice, Lila's Birthday, Yule, Christmas Vacation, the turning of the mew year, etc... Oh Joy!


Sunday, December 14, 2014

Lila's New Do

Lila decided to go all the way, so we made an appt. for " a new do" Tuesday evening,

Just in time for a Holiday band concert, Drama Club try-outs, and the "Snow Ball" Junior high dance this weekend.

It was great fun watching the stylist cut her hair and she smiled the entire time.

The funny thing is, I had this exact same hair cut when I was in my early twenties! What comes around goes around....


Thursday, December 11, 2014


Yup. Bought the Doc Marten 20 hole lace ups I wanted when I was in my twenties....two decades later. I checked with a few friends first to see if this was pathetic and was told a resounding no; though it may have been a biased sample. My favorite comment was "Like the Doc's! They say "I'm sexy and confident and I'm not afraid to kick your ass if you piss me off!" (They do kind of up the attitude quotient).

I wore them once with jeans and a lacy black sweater to the office. Stunned a few folks and delighted a few more. My ankles were a bit sore after 12 hours constant wear but otherwise all was good! I think I'm going to pair these with the cable skirt next week which should be fun. Rounding off the evening listening to some Siouxsie and the Banshees on what is apparently a throwback Thursday. I could only find Sam's Pikachu ear buds and the sound quality is severely lacking but is perhaps compensated for by having two tiny yellow pokemans emerging from my ear canals. Damn! They might look good with the boots.....


Monday, December 1, 2014

"Dickson" is done!

Finished Dickson over the long Thanksgiving weekend downstate (actually bound off this morning!) and after giving her a quick steam tried her on before heading into work.

I'm quite pleased with how the cabling turned out and with the skirt in general. (Stand up straight next time!) Knitting this was a lot of fun and the only dull part was the ribbing!

At Sara's recommendation I went down a needle size for the waist ribbing and shortened that portion by almost two inches. I think if I were to do it again, I'd go down yet another needle size because once the skirt is on and the ribbing stretches it seems like it could get a bit droopy. I've only worn it for five minutes so will be able to tell more once it is on for a day or evening. I do not have a skinny waist so it seems like those with a more svelte figure could have an issue with waist baggi-ness.

Will be taking a brief interlude from knitting to do some more production spinning. I've been having take up issues with my wheel and I think it is related to how high my maiden was cranked when I put the new drive band on. I need to cut off the old drive band and crank her down and tie on a new one to see if that fixes the issue. Spinning can be frustrating if your wheel doesn't take in your spun fiber!


Sunday, November 23, 2014

Hard, No Brainer Decisions

That sounds like an oxymoron right? In this case, it is true.

Another fiber friend, who is also an animal fanatic, was interested in some of our alpacas. So, yesterday before the weather turned to rain and the snow to slush, we trailered six alpacas to Beth's farm. Star, Luna, Fiona, Ladybelle, Creme, and Cassidy are all living with Beth in her cozy barn with a litter of potbellied pigs, geese, ducks, bunnies and chickens. She has a nice barn setup and everyone has their own portion of the barn and the alpacas have access to outside.

No Brainer because she obviously will provide them a good home (she was calling them her babies before we left), but hard because I have a great attachment to them. No Brainer because it eases the barn space and leaves that much more food to go around; hard because I will miss Creme's big eyes, Ladybelle's elegant self, Star's bumbling blindness, Luna watching out for her mother Star, Fiona'a inquisitiveness, and Cassidy's funny face. Cassidy was separated from her 18 month cria Poppy which was also hard to do but better for Cassidy because Poppy was still demanding to nurse. A no Brainer because if it doesn't work out at her place for any reason they will come back here.

So what woolies are we left with you ask? A mere 13 alpacas, 2 llamas, 2 Babydoll sheep, and 25 Shetland Sheep. So we are not lacking for fiber here at all! I still feel a but sad though. :(


Friday, November 21, 2014

Winter is Coming.....Knit Faster!

Forty four rounds and fourteen days left to complete Dickson... I'm going to make it I think!

I've discovered I'm a cable knitting fanatic!

Twelvish inches of snow on the ground at the farm. I worked last weekend at the Mackinac Bridge deer check station and while there it snowed twenty inches! And it is only November....(whimper whimper). Many people have much much more so I will try not to whine too much (or will at least keep it to myself).


Wednesday, November 12, 2014

It's B-aaa-c-k.....


When Caol Ila and I had our picture taken last week, it was a cool but gloriously sunny day....

Now we have five or so inches of this crusty, crunchy white stuff. We lost power around seven last night but it came on around five this morning which was pleasant. This years lambs seem a bit confused and dismayed by the snow but are quickly adapting, because what else are they going to do? I, on the other hand, feel like rebelling already and it just started....not a good sign.

So while the weather isn't overly pleasant, spending time indoors will be pleasantly productive. Spinning;

And knitting my first skirt. A saucy little cabled number called "Dickson".

I'm in love with it already! She is being knit up in Shepherd's Wool worsted weight merino on the color way Granite. Completion goal is my birthday. 70 rows to go! I think I can do it because it is complicated enough to make it fun but not so complicated to make it frustrating. :)


Saturday, November 1, 2014

Missing Mojo

No, Mojo is not another animal on the new animal deaths in the past few weeks....the psyche can't take any more! The missing Mojo is mine. I haven't felt overly inspired to do any blogging as of late....not because stuff isn't happening but rather just a busy time both at home and work that has left me rather exhausted.

So playing catch up: I finished my Allegro cardigan in Shepherd's Wool dark plum. I learned a lot whilst making the many mistakes knitting this piece. One is not to assume that knitting instructions are all inclusive. For example, one should not assume when a pattern says to "bind off" that you can bind of any old way you'd like too. My cardigan needed a stretchy bind off....but the instructions did not tell me this and I did not have the knitting experience to know this intuitively. I knit the shawl collar twice before asking for some help from an experienced knitter. I found this frustrating and put the bloody thing away for a month out of disgust and moved on to a new project; a knit along on Yarns at Yinhoo.

I knit a shawl called "Moon Oh Moon" in a little over a month. The yarn I bought from Halcyon Yarn when we were in Maine for Josie's memorial service. It is a fingering merino and hand dyed with Indigo on Swan's Island Maine. The contrasting trim was yarn from Josie's stash. Modeled by my favorite girl!

This was my first lace knitting project and I'm pleased the way it turned out. Finishing this did give me the confidence to finish that bloody sweater! I then moved on to knitting a chevron lace and cable hat in that same plum color to use up the leftover yarn. I learned about lace knitting lifelines in this project and what a pain in the bum it is to un-knit lace and cable patterns. I found out I really like knitting cables, so now I'm working on a pair of cabled mittens in the same yarn. Meantime....I'm working on spinning some yarn I owe to folks for their CSA shares. I'm fitting the knitting into the spare moments and taking that to work for something to do at lunch. I'd love to take some sunny out door photos but...alas, sadly no sun.

The animals are all well. We brought the alpacas home a couple of weeks ago so everyone is all in one spot again which make doing chores much easier. We will be moving the fat Wethers to the front paddock so they don't hog all the food this winter. They were repulsively overweight at shearing this year! The new chicks are just about the size of bantams now so I'm hoping we can get them moved into the coop with the rest of the fowl before the snow flies. I will take some updates pics of them this afternoon. Highs in the mid 30's....whoopee.

We did get some cider pressed this year, just last weekend at Dougette's. It turned out to be quite the party!

The guests of honor
There were some beers consumed along with the cider.
Doug, Gail and Rachel
Filtering the cider (my job).


Recognize the table base? Yooper construction.
Lila spent some time carving a sling shot.

The safety glasses are a fashion statement.

We brought home 7 gallons of cider for the freezer and all of the pomace (spent ground apples) for the woolies who were quite pleased!

Halloween was a non-event...Lila was off at a friends house trick or treating and our usual visit to Dougette's didn't happen so we just went to the community center with the boys to the womens club party and then hit a few houses in town. The power was out when we got home, but came on shortly thereafter. Will and I shared a bottle of hard cider and I fell asleep watching the Big Bang theory after the boys went to bed. I'm such a party girl. ;)


Friday, October 10, 2014

Another Sad Day

Today was another sad day on the farm, though one that was chosen.

Pikachu with her two bad back knees had recently been only able to hobble on one leg; not a very comfortable thing coming into a long winter nor dignified for a lady of her stature.

Amey, who has always been terrifyingly thin from the moment we got her, I could no longer ask to try another winter. So, this morning some good friends came over to euthanize these two gentle and suffering creatures. They will be missed here very much.

On a happier note, Pearl (one of the white Suri alpacas), went to live with my friend Donna. I think it is safe to say this is her first ride in the cab of a truck!

We can only hope that this winter is a little kinder and gentler to us all and we will treasure the moments shared with our wooly and not so wooly friends.


Saturday, September 27, 2014

Growing Up

Those new baby chicks are growing up and starting to look like mini chickens.

These photos were taken on Monday, which was bright and sunny and warm...summer finally.

Some of the chicks have feathered legs on the outside shanks, some have bare legs, and some have extra toes!

Based on wing growth rate and tail feathers I'd GUESS that five of the twelve are roosters.

Many of them are going to be a pretty gray like their daddy. Since these photos were taken they have gained many more feathers and are getting a little crazy.

"Chicken watching AND a massage! What could a kitty like better."