Monday, May 21, 2007


So I did another session of PMC and it was still hard, and Doug found the same thing and seemed doleful, so, as it rained, and rained, and rained, I suggested we bottle last May's dandelion wine. And maybe the three gallons of 9-month old Barkshack Gingermead, and the two gallons of pomegranate mead, and a gallon of sweet-fern and yarrow mead... I was busy last September. In the end we ran low on small bottles and racked (siphoned off its sediment and into a fresh gallon jug) a gallon of pomegranate and a gallon of blueberry mead. Perhaps they'll get bottled next week.

This involved hygrometer testing and of course you can't return those tubes-full to a sterile batch, so we drank them. And there are dregs, full of B vitamins. Which you will need, because the mead seems to be a tad alcoholic. All of them were relatively dry, which was a good thing. The blueberry seems the sweetest of the lot; Doug is planning to pour the lees over ice cream, because he is a sicko. The pomegranate, whose recipe I made up and named Persephone's Lament, is complex and very tannic.

Sarah called around 4pm and decided to come visit, which was good because Doug and I were walking into walls and giggling a lot. Around the same time the sun came out for the first time in perhaps a week?

Sarah made tofu yellow curry (we were still able to feed ourselves, despite giggling)and I made labels and Doug applied them. Sarah is a heroine. Doug and I are in surprisingly good shape. The kitchen is a bit sticky. Brewing is one of the hobbies that gave me excellent results right away. It cured the doleful just fine.

Toby spent the time the Daughter was here last week hiding and acting like a kitty who needed Halcion, hiding under things and slinking. Now he is sitting on my foot being as cute as possible (quite, in his little orange way) and it would be nice if he would act similarly calm for her when she returns. I wonder if he would like some mead?

Speaking for the Differently Animated

(the non- and formerly-human), that would be. I support Dulaan and Knitters Sans Frontieres and people like that, but I haven't been prone to appealing for causes myself. Here's a good one, though:
Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at PhotobucketWouldn't you like to save a major Hopewell site and 325 acres of Appalachian forest? Follow the link to an excellent presentation. Or first follow this one, print and mail (look, it's okay to be antique in more than one way) them some money.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Why CAN'T I be the Kumkwat Haagendasz?

I've had the materials for the Precious Metal Clay for almost a week without touching them. I got quite clear that I was acting crazy: as long as you don't _start_ a new craft, you have infinite potential.

And silver clay is made of _silver_. It costs money to play with, and once it's fired that's it (although apparently you can sell it to Rio Grande as scrap silver). Before it's fired it's recyclable as clay, just smash and mix with water. And you save and reuse your filings, which is amusing.

I finally (after a nice nap) opened the packages. Asterix was fascinated. Dave Barry has some nice remarks in his book on DIY about the Time-Life Series of DIY books about the man kneeling next to a pipe with a wrench in his hand, smiling slightly, and how Dave Barry had knelt there with a wrench _for hours_ and nothing happened. They sent me a lovely DVD with tranquil music about making little silver leaves out of real ones. I went out into the garden and picked tiny leaves. First I rehydrated the bottle of slip. I removed Asterix from the work area. I laid out the non-stick work surface,and I removed Asterix from the work area. I put a thin coating of slip on the leaves, which tried to shed the water-base. I repainted them, and I removed Asterix from the work area. I got a slightly thicker coat of slip onto the leaves, removed Asterix from the work area, fed Asterix, took the afghan off the couch and put it on the far end of the dining table. Asterix lay down on the sheet of parchment paper I was using as an adjunct work area (you can't use tin foil and I didn't want to try Saran Wrap. Parchment paper is not a good substitute for Teflon; it soaks up water and wrinkles. Next time, polypropylene).

I became emotionally involved with the violet leaf and and after about five thin coats it cracked the whole way through. Would it help to press the leaf and coat it on the other side with spray varnish? The tiny Lady's Mantle leaf and the dandelion are still holding up.

I also started a flat pin sort of thing that looks like a really bright 10 year-old made it (apologies to the real 10 year-olds who might well do better). It has a folky charm but I wanted Stark Beauty. I want to be Hadar Jacobson, is that asking so much? She can't have been doing this medium for more than about ten years, tops.

ON the plus side, I am now so old and so drugged, I mean successfully and appropriately medicated, that I stopped before I became discouraged and ate dinner. I find myself thinking, "You know, it took a while to learn to spin. Or knit, and you're pretty competent now."

Nothing is ready to fire, but next time I won't have to put off starting to try it till so late in the day.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Women (and some men) behaving badly

I went to NH Sheep and Wool. It was good. My mother and father drove up from Boston to see the 'rural frolic' and were surprised by how many people were there and how happy and friendly everyone was. Eager to talk about their interests: the llama, the lambs, the spinning or weaving or knitting. My mom took pictures of animals. They did not buy themselves spinning materials.... but Cassie warmly complimented me on my enabling skills, and at least one person said I had taught her to spin on a spindle in the awful weather last year and now she has a wheel... It warms the heart, it really does. Which may make up for the peer pressure that got me to buy a Golding spindle...

I met up with a number of alpacas
Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket
Cassie and Juno and Etherknitter and Julia and Kelly and Theresa and MamaCate and Helen and Marcy and Jessica-who-works-one-day-a-week (not often enough) -down-the-hall-from-me and the effectively blogless Sarah...

Doug vended. I believe he also encountered a Golding.

I bought a whitish Romney sheep fleece from Brimstone Hollow Farm and a black alpaca fleece (Jazzmin).
Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket( not a very good picture, sorry)
And roving for three pairs of socks... and a felting mat and Juno and I split a pound of roving of perfect beauty... I should NOT go back today.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Yay! Rain!

Helen writes:
"And speaking of that[New Hampshire Sheep&Wool], there will be a blogger gathering by the Roby Building facing the goat barn at noon on Saturday. I hope we'll see you there!"

What she said.

Doug said he was not vending this year. So I did not intend to vend, even as he has spent the last several days getting things together, so he can not-vend. At the Huntingdon Barn.

I explained to Etherknitter that I do not need a thing, almost do not want a thing (because I haven't seen them, probably). But Doug and I were at the Feed&Grain store, where it smells good, the people are friendly, and I could buy a entire, mostly John Deere-themed, wardrobe,and they had a horse trough. We looked at it and saw a lovely utility sink. Just the right height.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

When Doug gets time he will put a proper drain in it.

So either I have to homebrew and wash bottles or buy a fleece, ideally both. This weekend only one thing is possible. The Only Beloved Daughter is returning, briefly, from Italy. (The Only Beloved Son is suffering from a recrudescence of the mono, which is most unfair.)

Meanwhile, we had a couple lovely days of spring and then a couple of hideous Dawg Days. This morning began with a pleasant thunderstorm and some badly-needed rain--not enough, but it will slightly reduce the forest fire potential. Yes, this is the part of the country that just had its third hundred-year flood in 18 months. We needed gentle rain. We still do, but the tadpoles and other amphibia will be grateful for even this much.

Saturday, May 05, 2007

Life is good

I still miss Mena, and I hope I will for a long time.

It is spring even if it still goes down below freezing in many parts of my state, and I will not be planting any tomatoes for awhile.

I make made significant sockage (pictures sooner or later)in Austin and Dallas and most particularly airports... where food is overpriced, generally (though not barbecue in the Texas airports, where it was delicious in both Austin (SaltLick)and Dallas (Hickory something)), and Internet access is priceless.

There is a group called Science Scouts whose badges are funny and whose version of truth is worth examining.

I am spending too much time on the Internet.

I am spending too much money on medical expenses (my teeth, the vet).

I don't need another hobby,

I don't have enough daffodils.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

My aunt's backyard compares favorably with what I think Club Med must be like. She would point out that the swimming pool is broken, but it hasn't been unbearably hot (I am in Dallas. Texas is still pretty much taking its happy meds, although those experiencing flash floods might not agree). There is a small lake with various ducks and huge turtles (who usually eat the baby ducks, despite not being snappers) and lizards come out and flash throat at you. Pictures would follow but I am piggybacked on some unknown's network and it can't handle too much. Maybe after I get back to NH. I did not really seriously expect even enough connectivity to read my mail on my own laptop, so I am very grateful to this manifestation of linksys.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Because of the Internet I have been able to be in close touch with my daughter and the net friends, and cell phones have been helpful for staying touch with my parents (and I used mine more for keeping in touch with the coterie in Austin for 4 days than in a month in NH. There will be a whole entry about Austin. I was not drunk or grief-stricken all the time). So I know I am the Daughter will probably survive the loss of Mena, and though I don't expect it to be fun to go home and know she is never coming back, it has been tremendously kind of people to write and comment.

My aunt is kind and has been looking after me. They have good Mexican food in Texas. I am not going home any thinner.

I have to leave now as it is raining on my keyboard. Texas may be about to have a tantrum.