Tuesday, June 28, 2005

You are interchangeable.
Fun, free, and into everything, you've got every
eventuality covered and every opportunity just
has to be taken. Every fiber is wonderful, and
every day is a new beginning. You are good at
so many things, it's amazing, but you can
easily lose your place and forget to show up.
They have row counters for people like you!

What kind of knitting needles are you?
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This is so true it isn't even funny.

Saturday, June 25, 2005

here it comes again

93 and humid, today. I am not sulking yet.

On Monday we go lay out the grid. That's a NH Underground remark, yet it must be expected that 6 weeks of field school will cut into my fiber duties even more than complaining about the weather and avoiding the garden. So I may not be around much here; try there, as I seek the Early Archaic projectile point and the Woodland ceramic.

If you knit one sock on 3's and the next on 2's the second sock WILL be smaller. I tell myself I love making socks, even out of ungrateful cotton/tencel. I want to crochet silly lacy cuffs. I can pull out ALL of one rather ankle-high sock. Piece of cake.

So I started the Barbara Walker Learn to Knit Afghan (Schoolhouse Press). I admit I am saving Square 2 (Stockinette) for when I need mindless knitting, but Square 1 (Garter) was relatively restful. Now I am making Square 3 (Basketweave). All out of Cascade, because I had a sweater I was going to make out of murky greens and grays and RED Cascade, and it turned out to be nearly the same exact colors and and design as one I started two (yeah, all right, five) years earlier in Manos, who thoughtlessly stopped making the murky purple colorway I was using (instead of red, in this murky greens colorway). I tried dyeing a murky purple once and got gloriously cheerful PINK, but either I will find a suitable near purple of I will just decide to use something close enough. I would enjoy having that sweater sometime, if it ever gets cold enough.

Anyway, I have a lot of Cascade.

I hope it is not terribly terribly hot for the length of the field school.

Monday, June 20, 2005

The weather today is finally fabulous. I think it's going to get to be too hot again tomorrow, but with luck the crippling humidity will stay away for a while. I ought to be showing you pictures of my garden, but I haven't touched it:

last Tuesday I went into the lab early and got part of it organized for the field school; the next day I organized some more of it, which involved moving large pieces of furniture. Kind of satisfying, actually, but it was the sort of thing I needed to be doing at home, and I wasn't.

The next day I drove about 200 miles, most of it, I think, on the piece of 202/9 and 89 that connect me to Concord and Rt. 93, to look at some finds from a site near the one we'll be digging this summer, and then to go talk to the housing people at SNHU, where we are putting up some diggers.

Friday, Paul the carpenter and I went to see the Alpine Meadow flowers on Mount Washington. It's about 120 miles from here. He is an Appalachian Mountain Club co-leader and wanted to try out his new raingear and his very effective I think it was called a JetBoiler, which produced hot tea in seconds flat.
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It was a very 'soft' day, not really raining 6 miles up the mountain road while we were there, but condensing like crazy on everything. The visibility was about 50 yards, with occasional lifts and a thinner cloud passed over us. Even though it was Motorcycle Week and there were quite decent numbers of determined motorcyclists going blindly up the Auto Road, it was astonishingly quiet.

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We were in the area where what trees there were (birches and spruces) were stunted to less than a foot tall and the species of flowers ended in 'lapplandica.' There were a very few song sparrows. The colors of the lichens made me want to ply a colorway in three grays and three greens. And maybe a dash of fushia.

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Saturday was the celebration of Ellie's birthday, which it wasn't quite. We had hoped the Saturday would be convenient for people, but they were already booked with weddings, so it ended up just being family. Ellie made a fantastic gluten-free lunch with fruit salad, pasta salad, chili, and a four-layer chocolate cake. She also provided bubbles, which made some of the hardest cases among us all giggly and pleased.

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My decadent parents, who found that bubbles filled with cigarette smoke flew higher and lasted longerImage hosted by Photobucket.com

After everyone left, I slept for three hours.

Yesterday Sarah and Doug and I filled up the new fiber room. Image hosted by Photobucket.comThis was the former owner's exercise room, built by someone possibly on a great deal of dope. They told me it needed 3K worth of sill work. It has cost more than 5 times that, but it's a much nicer place now. It was quite a lovely room, empty, but I think it will be a great place and possibly confine some of the woolen invasion. I have been able to unpack my craft books at last. Some of my stash (cleverly left unphotographed) is still missing -- I know I have eight skeins of Halcyon Rug Yarn somewhere.

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Doug is standing proudly by the Loom Formerly Known as YarnHead Kate's (and a String of Other SheepThrillers), which he put together in record time. One hopes I will warp it soon. What should I make?

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

they promise it will get better soon

They being the weather forecasters. The ceiling fans have not stopped for about two weeks. I am turning into one of the less attractive mushrooms (you may try dyeing with me, I imagine it will come out tea-colored no matter what you ferment me with).

Twilly caught a pickerel frog (look, I have a new eNature button in the sidebar). Sarah brought its limp corpse for me to wonder at and mourn. Then she carried it away toward the great compost heap. It hopped up and scared the daylights out of her, a very good strategy. She managed to get it back outside. I imagine they don't mind the weather.

Meanwhile, even though I aspire to Woolcentricity, it is too damn hot and I am caught up in the infatuation of being a supervisor for this year's SCRAP fieldschool (also in sidebar. Looks like a hat). So I care about the fairly grim pottery of the Northeast, since we are very likely to find some (after roughly 5 years of Paleo sites where I hallucinated Romano-British pottery), and thus I care about the very useful plant-fiber impressions that decorate? Woodland pottery, some of which are tabby and some of which are twined (probably bast)(well, pretty damn certainly bast)(it is now cooler, thanks be, and I had a glass of RED wine). So I am making a piece of twined fabric out of some very tasty, in its way, flax yarn(?) I guess, though, if you said "designer string" it would be closer to the truth.

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It takes an inexperienced person about 20 minutes a 12"long pick, at about 1/8 of an inch (say 4.5mm, okay?)per pick wide. It is apparently really strong, suitable for carrying home the caribou cutlets, and doesn't unravel while it rests. I have a fine loom, more portable than Image hosted by Photobucket.com hers,

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I am trying to bear thinking of it pressed against modelling clay, but I suppose it'll be cleaner than dismembered plant or mammal, by and large. If I can stand it, I'll try with raffia, too. I have already learned some great tricks to do with the fringe of woven scarfs, if I progress to that phase of technology.

It's finally cooler. Still very wet, but my clothes aren't sticking to my body with the same disgusting viscosity. I think I'll twine awhile and then KNIT!!!!

Sunday, June 12, 2005

The heat, my Ghod, the heat

Some of you are decent people who remember decrying the winter and are forebearing decrying the summer. Goody for you. This is weather I put up with reluctantly in late July and August, not NOW. Now is supposed to be 75, low humidity, and gentle breezes, The Goddess at Her loveliest, not the raddled hungover hag who sits in front of her computer and runs the fan, drinking Macon Villages... damn, that sounds more like me.

Doug came here yesterday and mowed more. Sarah has also mowed. We have the mower at the highest setting, like 4" (10cm) above the minimum, which means that it looks like we need to mow the lawn -- but nothing seems to be dead. Not even Doug, which considering that at 4:30 yesterday afternoon it was 93F /33.9 C in my yard, is pretty remarkable. He also mowed around the individual rather spindly first-year transplanted irises and daylilies we put in a non-border -- that is to say, in little undefined holes in the turf under the encroaching sumac, so when the grass grows up you have to rather scrupulous about discerning grass from cultivar -- last fall. I was most impressed. I hope mowing will keep the sumac at bay. And kill the poison ivy, which is having a great year, apparently.

But despite cutting down grass up to my waist, I don't think we're killing too many plants or animals. The little almond-sized young toad is still hanging around the vegetable gardens. While Doug pushed the very well-mannered Engine of Destruction (Toro Electric Start Personal Pace Recycler) around I picked up yard litter from the reroofing enterprise. This is taking all summer as Paul has some neurosis about making holes in the roof when it is going to rain in less than 24 hours. We have thunder fairly often, he's been varnishing the room and muttering.

Anyway, roofing is a messy business, but I can tell you that in my yard, the preferred habitat of the Eastern Red Eft, the adolescent form, land-roving form of the aquatic Eastern Red-Spotted Newt("Mom, I don't know if I'm terrestrial or not... I'm just trying it out. Don't have a cow." "Honey, don't take it so hard, we all went through a phase like that, he'll want to settle down in a nice pond and breed when he's ready." "But what will his grandparents say?") is under pieces of heavy brown paper. Not tar paper or shingle or cardboard or rotting plywood or decaying furniture.

This one needed to be moved out of harm's way; it's the smallest eft I remember ever seeing, there in my huge glove:

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I left one big piece, with two efts living under it, and transferred the next two efts there while I picked around the nasty Rubbermaid vat full of rainwater and broken canning jars. There's a problem with tidying that up:

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He's very proud and doesn't want urban renewal. Doug remarked that there were certainly no mosquito larvae wiggling in that body of water.

But it's too hot and I don't want to plant anything and the mosquitoes are intense and one sweats a great deal and I hope it gets better soon, because I don't want to knit much or do anything but sit in front of the fan with a chilled glass of Macon Villages.

Monday, June 06, 2005

My betta, Howard, ate the first couple mosquitoes I gave him happily. It made me feel even cleverer about getting them before they got me. I just slapped another one out of the air and now I notice that there are three dead mosquitoes floating in his tank. I bet the catfish would like them. I bet the snail would like them. Howard, eat your bugs.

My lawn mower may have been an excellent choice. So far I have not cut off my foot. It ate through the tall grasses like Pac-Man, with enough help from the self-propel that I am only tired, not shot entirely to hell. I made three separate sallies into the yard, and our garden spaces may not be taken over, and the loomroom nearly has a view. I also moved the pile of cedar planks we took off the end of the deck closer to their eventual position as compost bin, moved the pile of 2x4's out of the Malarial Swamp outside the back door, and mowed what I could of the Malarial Swamp. I also borroewed Paul's cordless SawzAll and did bad things to the utterly inadequately set chainlink fence -- now that the fencing is no longer hanging from the posts, we kept playing with them and pulling them out of their shallow pits. It is a wonder the former owner's dog didn't walk through that fence long ago.

Pictures of recently

This was Ellie's (and my) garden spot May 27th.

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This is the rayon painted (not by me, but I do like the woman who paints them for the Fiber Studio) warp with orange cotton weff shawl I wove over the last month or so of Tuesday evenings -- it's an armspan long without the fringe. Got some errors but I like it.

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This is the unsewn-together but felted back of the needle-felted then wet-felted vest I made over the weekend, also at the Fiber Studio. Maybe it is dangerous to live within 10 miles of a place like that....

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Sunday, June 05, 2005

Much too warm

Eighty. Over eighty. Tonight I came home and found the plants on the porch waiting for their chance at a normal life half-dead from the heat; the sink is full of gasping perennials, poor little things.

The Indigo Bunting has not been seen since last week. The woodthrush has stopped singing, but we have Veeries, which sound almost as cool .

Doug and I were driving to dinner last night when we both saw the weird bird sitting on the edge of the road (or the edge of the woods). We exclaimed, in unison, "What the hell is that?" somewhat startling Sarah in the backseat. It was a little black bird with with a RED breast, not an orange breast, a little smaller than a sparrow. We got a good look at it. It reminded me a lot of a Vermilion Flycather, a little of an English Robin, and nothing like anything I know of around here. I have found a couple of birds that resemble it greatly. In the Texas and Mexico part of the guide books. Though this was the closest match, and looked pretty good, it is almost certainly not a Slate- Throated Redstart, becuse they have only been recorded seven times in the US, and not in NH. I have seen Painted Redstarts in the West myself, which I suppose it might have been, only neither Doug nor I saw any white on it, and anyway, a Painted Redstart is only marginally more likely. If only I had a pair of these camera binoculars (http://www.cabelas.com/cabelas/en/templates/product/standard-item.jhtml?_requestid=32192) (and an functioning Apple keyboard, so I could paste it into a hotlink)... I probably would have missed the shot anyway. I may go hang out along that stretch of road again.

Other than that, I have been in Sharon Costello (http://blacksheepdesigns.com/) 's class at the Fiber Studio, making a Garden Vest out of needle-pre-felted merino batting (she warns most woolen quilt batts are from meat sheep and don't felt, alas), with needle felted-on designs and then wet-felted to size and shape and perhaps eventually lined. I think two persons actually made gardens; one did a very controlled and lovely flowers-in-a-vase hanging, Doug made something very bright and Tibetan-inspired, one made a very successful Van Gogh field, with crows flying away, and one was copying a page from a Guatemalan artist named Claudia Tremblay, whom I wish were findable in Google. I had too many ideas and was not at my most acute, either. I ended up working on a kind of composite of Randolph, NH, from last summer, which Doug recognized instantly (give him a biscuit).

I should not have enlisted in a class on the first day of my period. By around 2 I was regretting the whole thing. It was hot, I was murderous and discouraged, and Sharon (who is a nice person and a good teacher EVEN THOUGH she has a whole different color sense and style from mine) kept wanting me to add in colors that were not in my mental picture. Purple. I do wish she had had a wider palette of colors. Or at least a wider selection that looked more like mine. Doug got me drugs. No one was hurt.

Today was better. Ibuprofen, more air-conditioning, and getting past the hairiest part of the design phase all helped. There is no doubt that Merino felts more easily than Romney. My sky is probably always going to be a little wispier than Sharon's standard (very hard, smooth, tough felt) because I added turquoise from my stash at home, almost none of which is Merino. My moose looks slightly more like Joe Camel than I had intended, but as it is in a pine forest, most people will probably see it as a moose. A picture will appear as soon as I stop being too tired to find the camera.

I still want to a do a felted vernal pond scene for Sarah (or me, maybe she won't like it...) and a Lonely Mountain with flaming Smaug flying over it and maybe a saguaro desert or even a garden, with a little bridge and some herons and a bunch of iris... but the pre-felted merino is $30 a 96" yard and fortunately hard to find. I still have a quilt to finish and a garden to plant and it is supposed to be cooler tomorrow. I sure hope so.

Thursday, June 02, 2005

Paul just found a dead hummingbird. She got into the new room through an open window (there were several) and couldn't get out again. He has put the screens up. The primaries on her wing are almost transparent. I am wondering about putting the body in borax powder, like dried flowers.

Deep sigh.

I am about to go finish off my weaving project. It is long and the margins are a work in progress. But definitely progress, as opposed to disaster. Toward the end I began to feel a rhythm, which is a good sign. I was having trouble learning not to need to look at my feet with every treadle.

Yesterday was archaeology lab. I and the intern did our second week in a row of Photoshopping our little eyes out, changing
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Image hosted by Photobucket.com, which will eventually be part of a searchable database. I feel like Moses: I may not see the Promised Land. But I am adding data to it.

I learned from SCRAP Matt, who is now the secretary to the NH Archaeology Society, that some people are leaving this site and visiting the NHAS site. Although I am, God help them, on the NHAS board, I do most of my digging life with NH SCRAP, which there is a sidebar (it looks like Dick's hat) link to. I must say SCRAP's web page, although text-overrich, is more interesting than the NHAS one. Now that Matt is the NHAS webmaster, I hope we will have more content. The NHAS exists partly to house collections made in the olden days of relic-hunting -- now when someone finds a fluted point, or even a less sexy arrowhead or other artifact, we would REALLY like you to call the State Archaeologist's office (
603-271-3483 or 271-3558) -- and partly to hold twice-yearly meeting with actually interest talk-and-slide presentations of sites in the state, the next one of which will be on October 29th in Exeter. We also publish a yearly journal, yearly. Or almost yearly, yearly. Sometimes it's biannual-yearly.

SCRAP is a wholly-owned creature of the state government (although it has a sort of interlocking-directorate thing going with the NHAS), existing to train lay ('avocational,' although for some of it is a vocation, it's just not our day job) archaeologists, ordinary people who have some grasp of the means and ends of historic and prehistoric preservation. You can do the field school for college credit (we have high school students, too) or just for your own satisfaction.