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Sunday, December 23, 2012

The Wee Wren Turns 12

I don't quite know how this happened, but our wee Lila Wren turned 12 today.

These are photos of the conflagration that twelve candles causes on a cake.  It looks much scarier than it actually was.  And, even though the photos are right side up on my computer, blogger inserts them sideways.  You'd think there would be a photo rotate fixer thingy on this site.

Winter solstice

It is a lovely clear and cold evening here. I stepped outside to close up the ducks and was treated to see Orion laying right on the horizon and a waxing gibbous moon lighting up our snow filled landscape. Peaceful.

Happy Winter Solstice to everyone.


Friday, December 21, 2012

Yule 2012

This years holiday storm left us with about 10 inches of snow that blew and whirled around the yard scouring down to nothing on the ground and then drifting to two feet in other places. Made for some exciting, and somewhat longer morning chores as we had to shovel our way to each critters abode.

But, now it is evening and before the sun went down, as is traditional, the Yule log was lit. We save a bit from the previous years log to start the new one. This year we have three extra 12 year old girls here who are helping to celebrate the wee Wren's birthday which is Sunday. There has been lots of giggling. We are eating Friday night pizza and watching "the Grinch" (new version).

After the girls go home and our own wee ones are tucked into bed, Will and I will share a glass of handcrafted mead made by a dear friend (if we can manage to stay awake that long). We will have to get up on occasion after retiring to bed to tend the fire to ensure it doesn't go out, so that on this, the longest night of the year, we will retain a little bit of light to get us through to the Winter Solstice to tomorrow the shortest day.


Thursday, December 20, 2012

Snow Storm Status

I apologize in advance for the cruddy is getting on to O'dark:30 here.

Predicted snow out of this storm is 8-14 inches.

We use the back rail of the porch as our measuring spot. There are currently 5 inches resting on top of the rail. The bulk of the snow and accompanying wind comes tonight.

These are the lilacs on the south side of the house just off the bunny porch.

Tonight's holiday concert at school was cancelled, and I think they may be planning to throw the towel in on tomorrow's school day. No commitment yet.

Cinnamon, sugar, and toasted hazelnut rugelach in the oven. Will have jugs of water filled for ourselves and the animal just in case, and candles strategically located. We likely won't need them!

My vacation starts tonight.....woohoo!


The Last Christmas Doll

I just finished sewing the snaps on this doll's dress (the task I dislike the most in the entire process) and she will be delivered this afternoon....I am officially free now to finish gifts that I personally am giving!

I have had three requests for freckles this year which turn out cute but it is nerve wracking putting a fabric marker to the face of a doll I spent so much time making...


Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Frightening Confectionary

These are far from looking jolly aren't they?

Those, however, are my favorite....apricot rugelach!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

"Home" away from home

Someone in this greater bureaucracy that I work for decided we needed new lighting (probably the landlord). I was hopeful that my dim little corner of the world would be better lit, was not to be. In fact, it became dimmer. This was depressing me. I NEED light. Everyone on the opposite side of the building has a window (mostly supervisory staff who are hardly here) and many keep the blinds closed complaining of the light!

Not to be deterred, I found myself a little "sunshine", in the form of a new lamp. It's not perfect but it puts me in a better frame of mind!

It looks a little like I might be interrogating folks in the guest chair; " say your dog ate the marten skull you are required to turn over when registering your fur? (This happened today). Really...just what kind of dog is it..hmmm?"

This is the talking on the phone and working on papers side which is well lit with task lighting that makes this annoying buzzing sound that apparently only I can hear. (Someone dropped off their unwanted fish food over there by the mouse. I get surprise packages like this often...usually styrofoam egg cartons when my back is turned).

And in the spirit of full disclosure, here is my messy 'pewter station. I was once told that a cluttered desk is the sign of a cluttered must be true because I sure can't keep either one straight.


Sunday, December 9, 2012

The Real Deal

I was asked by my Mum for a posed picture of the wee innocents in front of the tree....

This is as good as it gets!

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Mid-Decadal Loot

We celebrated a mid-Decadal birthday this week...I say we because all I did was sit back and enjoy the fruits of other people's labor!

A sampling of the loot:

This is how well people know me; a large vintage plastic sheep, black licorice, Benedictine & brandy, Beer!, a new cookbook, a new Terry Pratchett book, soap shaped like sheep with a wee wooden soap dish, honey, hand lotion and handmade textiles. My books in the photo were tampered with (you can't see the spines). Will used the cookbook to make a yummy mid-eastern pork dish with roasted veggies from our garden and Lime bars for dessert.

Sadly, yesterday morning also brought bad news. A coyote made it into our fowl pen and made away with three of the of the two Pekins left is missing a chunk from her back but is getting around okay and it doesn't look too awful after cleaning it up a bit. Completely freaked out, they now go into their little house voluntarily when I go out in the evening and I've been shutting them in. Hopefully Bob is reunited with the other three and isn't cursing me for a fool.

BoB(the sheep) comes tomorrow....

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

A work in progress

I am a relative newcomer to knitting, and I have found it to be obsessive.

I started a new project yesterday and wanted to try a neater, more tidy method of casting on because I've been using the backward loop method, and while quick and easy it doesn't make a neat edge. So, I pulled out my learning to knit book of choice "Learn to Knit Visually" (because that is what it takes for me to get it) and found a few new methods for a stretchy tidy edge. Now, I should mention that we were watching one of my favorite childhood Christmas specials "The Year Without a Santa Claus", and I didn't really want to miss any of the extremely complicated plot, so I picked the next easiest cast on called the knitted cast on. Once I got the rhythm down it went quick. It does look very neat and it is a stretchy edge.

Of course, the real reason I'm telling you all of this is to show off my yarn bowl! I bought it at the Northern Michigan Lamb and Wool Festival from a potter who is also a shepherd. She has a farm called "The Lavender Fleece". It has a picture of a Lincoln Longwool on the front and on the inside of the bowl.
The yarn is my handspun bulky from Gaia and Beltane. It is going to make a soft warm gift!





Sunday, December 2, 2012

"...and a Pekin in a Yule Tree"

I have had Christmas carolls running through my head all weekend. 
 Spell check says that isn't how to spell "carolls"; I say bugger spell check.

Friday after work, I hooked up with the rest of the clan and we went to Anderson's Tree Farm in Newberry to pick out the annual Yule Tree.  There are always many choices.  We generally go to the oversized tree section, but this year Merle steered us to the normal sized tree section in hopes we would weed out one of the bigguns that were crowding some of the young'uns.  We found an eleven foot fir that suited us just fine (there is actually a back story to this about the wee MacKinnons and their dissatisfaction with said tree, but I won't go there- okay I will...they said it was "skimpy".  Did I mention it was eleven feet tall??).

This was because they were off fooling around and sledding while the grown ups were doing all the work!

It was cold and getting dark.
The type of day that made me think of how our ancient ancestors must have felt; that maybe the darkness would never go and perhaps it would be nice to have a bit of greenery in the dwelling 
and a great big fire to take to sun down in the longest evening of  the shortest day
and ensure its rising on the next...

There is always a bit of face making and fooling around too.

Yuck!  I know where that hat has been!

The tree cooled it's heels in the garage that evening and managed to make it smell pretty good in there.
He came in on Saturday to warm up and get dressed.

This is an all day event of course.  All the decorations are in the attic over the garage so the Wildebeast has to make several trips up and down rickety steps to gather all the Rubbermaid tubs and bring them in.
Then the slapping of wee hands and the gnashing of wee teeth occurs while the tree is unfurled and robed in lights.   We had six sets of 50 lights; hardly adequate for an eleven foot tree so I ran into town to see if they had any LED lights that would match ours.

  No. Of course not.

So we found some strings of non-LED lights (what the heck are THEY called?), and put two on the tree because we needed them anyway in order to hook up the blinking candles (which are very cute) and they don't attach to the new lights.  About half of them actually lit up. Five hours, two beers, "A Christmas Story", and fifty boxes of decorations later, we found six more unopened boxes of lights.  Not to be deterred, I slapped two more of them on the tree after squinching the previous rows up a bit.  It works. Mostly.

Sam says if you squint at it, it makes the lights look much cooler.  When I do that, it reminds me of a Christmas party from my twenties in which too much Paisano was consumed!

Duncan wonders why we don't have a tree with just white lights on it and decorations that aren't kids toys.
I told him that was how our trees used to look; all color coordinated and "classy".

 Now we have a tree that is a chaotic riot of color.  Much like our lives.
I like them much better this way.
(except for the teddy bears in the pink tutus...they stayed in the box this year!)

Tuesday, November 27, 2012


It must be tattooed on my forehead.

Today I received a phone call at work.

"Sherry, remember me?  My name is Mary and you rescued an Eagle at our house two years ago."

"Yes, of course Mary I remember you.  How are you?"

"Well, not so good.  We found our neighbor dead in his house the other day.  He had five ducks that we don't know what to do with that were his dear pets...he raised them as ducklings in his house."

"Ummm...are they Mallards?"  (She called me at work so I thought MAYBE this was work related)

"No, they are white ducks".


"Let me call Will...."

Three Pekins and two Indian Runner Ducks.  Males? Females? They make softly quacking noises and some have curly tails.  We'll figure this out as we go I guess....

(the "internet" says vent sexing is only for experts, and I have to admit that most of the wild ducks I have vent sexed were maybe I'm not really an expert?! I think I'm too old for an identity crisis.)

Their wooden house is on blocks and filled with clean straw in the chicken yard.  We put up a box shelter behind their house blocking the north wind.  They have cracked corn and a three gallon pan of water and are probably wondering where Bob is. 
 I hope we can live up to their expectations, because I think Bob treated them like royalty.

(the kids are thrilled!)

Monday, November 19, 2012

A Very Barry Cherry Matchless

I received the following exciting email this weekend:

"Our vintage, matchless founder is soon to have a significant birthday. To celebrate, we’re offering a special-edition cherry Matchless double-treadle spinning wheel. The production folks are working on a not-yet-revealed special treatment/mark/bauble that’s sure to be unique and fun! We’ll let you know when we know!

If demand is anything like the last run, which sold out in days, it is best not to delay!

We’ll ship in batches beginning April 10, 2013, Barry’s birthday."

Price: Matchless Double Treadle Spinning Wheel, cherry $1450 (free shipping).

I've ordered one cheery cherry Matchless for the shop, so let me know if you are interested. I also have a price list for cherry accessories! They are worth the wait.


Friday, November 9, 2012

Eye've Got My Eye on Ewe

Soleil's extra large alpaca eye....feed me, she says, and I will be your friend....

Alpacas and Llamas are not partial to pumpkins.

 "What in the name of all things wooly are they thinking!"

"Don't they know that pumpkin seeds are nutritious and may have anthelminic properties?"
(please remember that sheep are not particularly good at spelling)

"nom nom nom nom...."
Shhh...Zanzibar is concentrating. (She is B.o.B.'s fourth girl)

"Where are the alpaca bits???"

"Maaaa....goat over it already!"