No Rest for the Winter-Weary

7:30 pm EST

Yeah. Does it look like spring to you? And two hours later it's still coming down. Feh.

Log Cabin-ing, Continued

Unfinished as it is, the Log Cabin baby blanket passes the Emma test. Then again, what hand-knit doesn't pass the cat test? Unless, of course, you knit them a cat bed.

All I have left to finish is a final bit of the border, then seam the two halves together. It'll be about 33 x 40 inches (84 x 102 cm) when it's done. The baby is already 9 months old, so I wanted it to be fairly good-sized.

And New Socks on the Needles

I was getting so tired of working on the blanket that I started a pair of socks for myself last night. The yarn is the luscious Bearfoot, a hand-painted 60% superwash wool-25% mohair-15% nylon from Mountain Colors in a colorway called Wilderness. It's gorgeous, and was a gift from my dear friend Beth (whom I'll be seeing tomorrow night and Saturday -- that should be a nice and much-needed pick-me-up).

I'm going to try using Charlene Schurch's Sensational Knitted Socks. I like the book, I just haven't used it yet. The pattern is a simple Slipped-Stitch Rib, so hopefully it'll go smoothly. I'll keep you posted. Meanwhile, please pray for spring, or my head just might explode.


My First Handpun Sweater, with Chickens

An Actual Handspun FO

So I finished the mini-cardi from Fitted Knits. I'm very excited, because it's the first sweater I've knit from my own handspun. It's even more special because the fiber was hand-dyed by my friend mysticleeme.

I started the sweater in mid-February, so it took me about a month. Not bad, considering.

I only had gold buttons, so (don't tell anyone) I painted them with red and purple nail polish. It's enamel, right? Now they match.

I like the details a lot.

With Chickens

We ended up having 4 or 5 inches (11 cm) of snow on Friday, but it's melting off and the chickens came out today.

Mr. O'Kitten was feeding them stale bread, and they were very excited.

And Cats

Every day is a snow day for cats. They love to sleep on the hats and scarves and gloves we toss on the kitchen table.

That lazy face of Emma's deserved a close-up.

And a WIP
Log cabin baby blanket is coming along. Guess that's one good thing about snow days--lots of time to knit.


Coming (un)Raveled

Happy @%$#ing Spring

First day of spring and it's snowing. About two inches so far. I'll spare you the invective. But I am not pleased.

These are old photos, but it basically looked like this at about 3 pm. There's more snow now, covering most of the ground and the deck. Ugh.

Ravelry Revelry

The good news is that I've finally wasted some time on Ravelry. What fun. My username is okitten and I put up some photos of things. If you knit or crochet and aren't on Ravelry, it really is A Cool Thing. The waiting list is moving really quickly now and Ravelry is awesome in many ways so you may want to go and check it out.

Besides, I rather suspect that it's where all the cool kids are hanging out nowadays.


Sturm und Drang

Sturm und drang, from the German (which also gives us such useful words as angst) literally translates as storm and urge, storm and longing, or storm and impulse. Sounds about right for this time of year, when everyone seems to be thinking that if this bloody winter doesn't end soon we're all going to tear our hair out. I mean, how depressing does the farm look without a single green thing anywhere to be seen?

Looking west.

Looking south. You can see that not all the snow has quite melted yet. In town there are still huge heaps of it, slowly rotting away in enormous piles on street corners and in parking lots. Yes, yes, I'm well aware that snow doesn't rot, but after several months of sitting around, it's filthy and spongy and certainly appears to be rotting rather than melting. At this rate, it'll still be there in July.

Henhouse, to the southeast. I know the sky looks vaguely blue, but it's not. Just gray, gray, and gray.

The worst part is the winter quiet. No bird sounds, no insects, no frogs or bugs or crickets or anything peeping or croaking or chirping. Just dead quiet. So not only does everything look gray and brown and dead, but there's not a sound in the winter air except for the sound of winter itself--which would be the wind blowing wickedly across the fields and around the dead trees and the corners of the house and barn and whatever else it can scrape its talons over. That, and the occasional passing car.

Which is the reason all anyone wants to do is hibernate.

You can wake us when it's over.


Cats on Tuesday: Six Ears

Emma ears.


Isis has very tufty ears.


Morgan's aren't quite as furry as Isis' ears, but are still tufty.


No tufts. Emma would also like me to point out that her tortie ears are very clean, even if her markings occasionally make it appear otherwise.


Back in the Log Cabin

I've started a baby blanket. The pattern is the log cabin from Mason-Dixon Knitting; if you've tried this pattern, you might notice that I went clockwise the first time round the center, then accidentally reversed it, but I don't think mom or baby will mind.

I do occasionally get left and right (and clockwise/counterclockwise) mixed up. Oh well. I'm trying to combine a few different textures of yarn for fun, but no handspun in this one -- I want to make sure it's all machine-washable. So it's the good old Red Heart and some other bits of things I had lying about. I like the colors, though.

A Glimmer of Spring

Meanwhile, here in our log cabin--okay, so it's not a log cabin, but with winter swirling about our ears for the past five months it's certainly felt as though we might as well have been in a log cabin on the Alaskan tundra--the snow has nearly all melted. It's still tucking into the 20s at night (-5 C), but the days have been above freezing at last.

In the past week or so I've seen three sandhill cranes, two bluejays, one robin, and one actual bluebird. Not to mention that the chickens have been enjoying their outdoor activities immensely.

The thaw is doing wonders for my mood, despite my sneaking suspicions that we probably have a bit more winter in store for us. At least there's light at the end of the tunnel, and hopefully it's not just an oncoming train.

Happy St. Pat's Day

Enjoy your corned beef. I know I've been awfully YouTube-happy of late, but I just can't quite resist a St. Paddy's Day proffering: I'm Shipping Up To Boston from the Dropkick Murphys. Sometimes there's nothing quite as raukking as bagpipes.


Why I'm Not Cut Out To Be a Farmer

There has been one thing nearly all my city friends gasp and moan about when I tell them I'm raising some chickens.

"You're not going to eat them, are you?" they all pant with horror.

And I assure them that yes, some of them are eventually eaten but this is the natural scheme of things, not to mention far preferable to eating caged and tortured poultry. I mean, my chickens run around happy for many months first and anyway, we don't butcher them ourselves, these very nice people do it for us, and have you ever tasted actual real chicken that has been running loose on a farm eating bugs and grass and all the things it wants? There's nothing like it.

But this year it happened. This year I haven't been able to eat any of our chickens.

Next thing you know I'll be like my mom's friend who lets all her birds die of old age.

I don't know if it's because I hatched so many of them myself in the incubator (which I put right behind my comuputer desk, a cat-free zone) rather than order them in the mail as I had the previous two years, or if I'm just getting mushy. I also took all those photos of Goldie's hidden clutch of babies, stashed away in our basement window. This year I got too attached.

And this year I haven't been able to eat a single morsel.

At least enough snow has melted for the birds to be able to go out. They don't care that it's still cold, or terribly windy, just that they can get to the ground to scratch in the earth.

Here's the intrepid Goldie, mother extraordinaire.

One of Goldie's offspring, now grown-up at 10 months of age. She gets her beard and earmuffs from her dad, Odo.

You can also see the beard on this girl...

...and her funny earmuffs.

From this year's hatches, we only kept one rooster--this fellow I call the Hamburglar (at top left), whose mother is obviously one of our two Silver Spangled Hamburgs (both called Kira). He is quickly becoming the bane of father Odo's existence. He came running over to see what the girls were doing at our deck.

There won't be any incubator hatching this year because of inbreeding. I've gotten so attached to these guys that I'm thinking maybe no new birds at all. Isn't Hamburglar handsome?

Some of the "Easter Eggs" these hens lay. Yep, they're naturally green/blue-green.

And furthermore on the farming thing--I hate gardening. With a passion. Plants don't make any noise when they're thirsty, they just quietly die on you, and that's exceedingly depressing. Maybe it's soon time to hang up my coveralls...


It's Tuesday, and It's a Cat Thing

This isn't exactly a Cats on Tuesday post, because this isn't one of my cats, so I rather suspect that I'm breaking the rules a bit. But Hugo, Jonathan Howells' "The Cat of 1000 Faces" made me and Mr. O'Kitten both laugh, and these days, that's saying a lot.

If you like him and one brief episode just didn't quite satisfy your appetite, there's also The Cat of 1000 Faces Episode 2.


Hugo made Emma laugh, too.


Cat, Hat, and Mouse

I'm adrift in the winter blues, as you might have guessed from my dearth of posts.

My grandmother was very much of the school of "If you can't say something nice (or positive), don't say anything at all." She had a way of finding something gentle to say about even the worst of culprits, and even a knack for befriending the strangest of characters.

So when I'm feeling my worst--my bluest, my darkest, my most despairing--I don't post. Not just for the reason I attribute to Grandma, but I generally just don't feel like it. I don't want to write, or do much of anything at all in my bleakest moods. But I also like to keep things here relatively light, cats and knitting and chickens and the like. Things I have pictures of. Sunny days on the farm. Not me teetering on some kind of abyss of anxiety and dread.

Fortunately, even on these worst of days, Mr. O'Kitten and the cats keep me grounded, for the most part. Hopefully this long, dreadful, claustrophobic winter will be over soon and spirits will lift again.

So not to worry--I'm not buried under a snow drift, just lost in hibernation, which will likely soon draw to a close. So wake me when it's over, will ya?