It's Friday Night

You know I adore The Weakerthans, and I just found this video for Civil Twilight. It's got chilly commuters all bundled up against the cold, so it seemed appropriate.

Is there anyone who doesn't secretly love at least one They Might Be Giants song? Istanbul (not Constantinople) anyone? Come on! Well, Beth already posted a video for Dr. Worm -- becaue I go over there when she's supposed to be working and do things like inflict TMGB songs on her -- so I had to find a different video. If you enjoy very low production values, you'll enjoy this. (You have to at least wait until the part with the doorbell.) And if you can't bear the amateur claymation (but trust me, it's awesome), it's a really good song.


Cats on Tuesday: Haiku Edition


Grey shades tip to tail
coat Morgan Freeman LeFey.
Always mid-wriggle.


Ever the Grand Queen,
Emma Fife Peale remains calm,
save chasing her tail.


Isis Kyle, shadow,
enigma, mysterious
green-eyed face-maker.



Orange and Purple

Thank you for all the good thoughts and everything about my grandma. With all this going on, it's been a good time for some color. So...

I had some 'Shannah Rocks' yarn left from my mini-cardi sweater (which is finished, pics coming asap), so I spun some yarn inspired by the purples and oranges in its beautiful colorway. Oh, did you forget what it looks like?

It looks like this. Here's the Shannah Rocks yarn, part of the unfinished sweater, and the roving, hand-dyed by Mysticleeme.

My crazy orange yarn.

Crazy purple yarn.

One finished hat.

They're actually mother and daughter hats. Like mama-bear and baby-bear.

I made a purple one for myself. *grin* The lavender is merino-tencel yarn left over from the wristwarmers I gave my grandma for Christmas. There's also an orange hat I didn't shoot yet.

The cats, as you can see, have also been very busy. This spot by the patio door gets southern exposure, and they like to loll about on our hats and scarves and gloves.


It's Not Consumption

I finally saw the trusty doctor yesterday and I can now report that I have neither consumption nor pneumonia. It's merely a sinus infection that I've been carefully nursing since the cold I got at Christmastime, and it seems I require a course of antibiotics--which I am vehemently opposed to since every time I take them I seem to get sick with something else as soon as the original thing they're supposed to treat clears up.

I don't even think I've taken antibiotics since before I got sober. In any event, the good doctor gave me some really old type of antibiotic, not one of those supermax turbo-powered ones, and suggested I eat some yogurt to help keep my flora and fauna in balance.

As evidence that my system does not like antibiotics, I soiled myself twice within several hours of taking the first pill (and this while being seated only about 15 feet from the bathroom). Then I read that they're not supposed to be taken with food (not that I've had much appetite anyway)-- incidentally, the small print on the bottle did not inform me of this. I've since avoided combining food and antibiotic, and my digestive system seems to have returned to something resembling normal. Fingers crossed.

Total Eclipse of the Moon

Last night we watched the total eclipse of the full moon. Well, I should say we stood outside on the back deck as long as we could stand the 2 degree (-17 C) temperature.

It looked pretty much like this (a photo taken my Marc Nozell that I snagged from a google search). Such an eerie rusty copper color.

NASA tells you when eclipses are happening--and where they'll be visible. Kind of nifty. I mean, if you like knowing that sort of thing.

The Boys Go for a Stroll

Here are Graty (the llama at left), one of the sheep in the middle, and Llannie (llama at right, the black one). This is where they belong, in their stall, eating hay, or kushed down for a snooze, or possibly wandering out into the snowy pasture for a brief inspection of the premises.

When I got back from my doctor's appointment yesterday afternoon, I headed out to the barn to make sure everyone had water and hay. There were an unusual number of pawprints in the deep snow outside the opening into the barn, but raccoons and possums do go in to forage. However, it almost looked as if deer had been there, which would be pretty strange that close to the barn.

Once inside, I noticed a few things out of place--a rake on the floor, a sawhorse on its side, which I uprighted...and then the most out of place thing of all: Llannie standing in the open door of his stall.

The hay bales usually stacked there were in complete disarray, and as soon as I came up to Llannie he stopped eating from the hay and ambled back into his quarters. Graty and the sheep (who I presume never left) looked at me as if nothing were amiss.

After feeding everybody and securing the door very tightly I went for a walk, and followed a lot of these:

[I should mention I didn't take this picture. I was too annoyed and it's been far too cold to take my camera out. But she has some good llamas in the snow pictures (besides this one).] See how they just have two toes?

But back to my llama tracking. The prints wandered around the east side of the barn and along the pasture and well beyond it. Then all the way around the pasture and back alongside the barn on the west side. Past the brooder shed, then to our house and all the way up to our deck. Across the yard to my parents' house, to their porch and behind their garage. Around the chicken house and eventually back to the barn.

At least they were smart enough to go home after all their adventures, because by the time I arrived (mid-afternoon) it was if nothing had happened, everyone was back in the barn all safe and sound and giving me that "Who, me?" look that cats and llamas have perfected.

Llannie, innocent.

Graty, obviously innocent.

Tyr, completely innocent, likely never left the barn and probably never even noticed anything untoward was going on. (I mean, he's a sheep.)

Just another day at the homestead.
But hey, at least I haven't got consumption.


My Grandma, 1917-2008

My grandma, crafter, baker, writer, and wonderful lady extraordinaire, passed away quietly in her home in Dallastown, Pennsylvania, while visiting with a friend.

I aspire to many of her qualities--like the ability to avoid ever saying anything mean about anyone, and to remember details about people she met sixty years ago.

One of the most treasured and beautiful things she did over the past few years was to write down a collection of short stories--memories and recollections of her childhood, events past and present--and give copies to all of her family members, with photos and illustrations.

I feel so sad and a bit adrift to have lost someone who became, over the years, such a wonderful mentor, friend, and confidant. Mr. O'Kitten also wrote about her on his blog.

Please go look here because bloogleglogger isn't letting me upload any pics today. There's a really adorable photo of her with Morgan when Morgan was really, really small.

I miss her so much already.


Crafting in the Tundra

Okay, so it's not exactly the arctic tundra. But it feels like it. So I've been spinning and knitting a lot. I still have to check on the chickens and llamas and the one sheep and the batch of noisy guineas once daily, so I'm out in this wretched weather a lot -- usually twice a day, to make sure no one's water has frozen, plus it tends to evaporate quickly in this cold with the heated waterers going all the time, and to collect the eggs so they don't freeze. It's even been too cold to put my eggs out for sale. Feh.

But there has been spinning and knitting.

Some Spinning

One bobbin of Northern Lights and one bobbin of Llannie-llama and shetland.

The Northern Lights colorway is called "Field Berries." Yummy.

Here they are plied together. It reminds me of those drawings you'd do as a kid where you'd put down colors with crayon, cover them with black, and then scratch off the black to make a drawing, with the colors underneath all glowing through the black. Love.

A bobbin of merino/silk and the merino/silk roving. I am completely enamoured of this stuff. SO soft. At bottom is a skein of merino/tencel in a gorgeous black/graphite colour. Luscious.

Close-up of the merino/tencel.

Some Knitting, with Spinning: The Mini Cardi

So I decided to make this Mini Cardi with some of my handspun from the pattern in Stefanie Japel's Fitted Knits book. It's a cute pattern, and didn't look too hard. Nice detailing, too. (This photo is on p. 51 if you have the book.)

As I mentioned, I'm using the yarn I spun from the 'Shannah Rocks' merino dyed by my friend mysticleeme.

I spun a three-ply, but it's not quite as bulky as the pattern called for, so I had to spin some more.

I chose a contrasting color for the edging.

Here's the additional yarn I spun this week for the border and the sleeves.

It's hard to photograph this color. Trust me, it really is pretty.

Finally, here's where I'll be this weekend. Woo-hoo!

Happy Valentine's Day everyone. Stay warm, and be nice to yourself today.


Baby, It's Cold Outside

For some reason the winter is really wearing on me this year. It's our fourth winter in Michigan, and this past week it's been -6 degrees (-21 C), the wind has been gusting up to 40 mph (65 km per hour), and we've had well over a foot (30 cm) of snow dumped on us.

Mr. O'Kitten says he's not minding it so much. He recently extolled the virtues of the G.I. Joes of his childhood, and built them a snowscape on our deck with bridges and a long ski slope. Here are his photos:

Crimson Guard

Snake Eyes draws his weapon

Crimson Guard and Snake Eyes on the slope

Crimson Guard crossing a snow bridge

Meanwhile, back at the Hall of Justice, I've begun knitting myself something with the handspun of that 'Shannah Rocks' colorway I've been so excited about. The pattern is a mini cardi from Stefanie Japel's Fitted Knits. More on this to come.


Cats on Tuesday: More Isis

Chris and I have had some back and forth about how expressive black cats can be. (She should know, she has two black house panthers herself.)

As evidence, I'll now bombard you with a series of shots of Miss Isis taken over a very short time, but all with different expressions. Often, I think she just makes funny faces to amuse me.