Saturday, June 23, 2007

All is well for now

My Only Beloved Daughter remembered the ancient technology known as a telephone. Worked remarkably well. She is alive and not doing too badly, despite a journey from hell (wrong stops of trains, five sleepless hours in a country train station, you know) and says Murlo is a sweet mediaeval village. Unfortunately the house the FORTY of the student-diggers are staying in is too small and the dig boss spent today fixing the showers. The fact that he could make headway fixing the showers is encouraging.

My archaeology boss's wife is having a lumpectomy on July 2. Since she is probably the only woman in the world who deserves him (oh, now, she hasn't done anything that bad) and they love each other rather sweetly, for 35 + years of marriage, I ask your help in sending good thoughts. I have very few relatives so I have very little experience in people I care about. (Really, in general. Insert whatever verb you like about what I have little experience in.) I so disapprove of people having any intimations of mortality. I hate it when I can't do anything. I hate it when anyone I love is unhappy. Nothing should happen that can't be cured by a good book or a chocolate cake. We have had approximately TWO sightings of honeybees this year. I know it is all going to hell in a handbasket, I know that's what entropy is all about. I don't know why I cry about it.

It was the most perfect early fall day this morning. The climate is seriously deranged. Doug and I went to a weird gem shop an hour away where we had hoped to find dichroic glass cabochons. There were very few, but there were many other things. I think I behaved pretty well except for the string of peridot beads. Cheap turquoise, inexpensive amber. A bad place for people who like to look at pretty rocks. We had lunch at a little non-chain snack bar overlooking a lake. The fish and chips were not much good but I am not poisoned, and the people were friendly, and the seating was available outdoors. When I complained that a lake that big ought to be able to afford loons, Doug found two distant black dots, who dove and surfaced very satisfactorily.

It's an awfully nice planet, and I am sure that in a million years it won't care much about the warm period in this interglacial. We who are not here for long are obligated to care about the other phenomena that aren't here for very long: rainbows (several lately), hummingbirds, one another.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

The post before the previous post

The post before the one about sustainability actually brings us up to date, so you might scroll down. I should note, as it is unusual, that by and large I am not complaining about the weather; it hasn't been too hot and yesterday evening was lovely. The Rose-Breasted Grosbeaks are having a great year around my feeder. The tadpoles have yet to show legs and we have not seen more than two frogs at the puddle this year (as opposed to 20-some, last year).

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floribunda rose by the mailbox

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

we have the right to expect adaptation only from ourselves.

"In our everyday economic behavior, we seem determined to discover whether we can live alone on earth. E.O. Wilson has argued eloquently and persuasively that we cannot, that who we are depends as much on the richness and diversity of the biological life around us as it does on any inherent quality in our genes. Environmentalists of every stripe argue that we must somehow begin to correlate our economic behavior — by which I mean every aspect of it: production, consumption, habitation — with the welfare of other species.

This is the premise of sustainability. But the very foundation of our economic interests is self-interest, and in the survival of other species we see way too little self to care.

The trouble with humans is that even the smallest changes in our behavior require an epiphany. And yet compared to the fixity of other species, the narrowness of their habitats, the strictness of their diets, the precision of the niches they occupy, we are flexibility itself.

We look around us, expecting the rest of the world’s occupants to adapt to the changes that we have caused, when, in fact, we have the right to expect adaptation only from ourselves."

Saturday, June 16, 2007

I was going to write about how the male in my life is only using me, but complaining about an 18-year old cat--well, of course he's getting difficult. But I swear, although he likes sitting on me the only time he shows me much attention is when he wants me to give him something. Milk, usually.

Wrote that last week. Nothing has changed.

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Here finally are the two brooch-type things I made in the wire class now about a month ago. Last week I finished the first project a ring:
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the silver one, remarkably featureless

I have the third silver-smithing class this evening; I think we are going to undertake the Bezel.

(I was just thinking I felt silly calling it a silverSMITHING class when mostly I file and sand instead of hitting things with hammers, when I realized smith was almost certainly connected to the word smite. No wonder.)

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This is the coin of the lost tribe of cat people, with terrible production values and an artificial patina. Below is a somewhat better one of a coin of the Lost Tribe of Bunny People:
Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket. The reverse needs work.

I am getting a tremendous kick out of carving slabs of half-baked Sculpey into dies and smooshing silver clay in between. I hope to do a coin of the Sheep People soon.

I am still spinning and actually knitted a bit while driving with Ellie into the Boston area before taking her to the airport Monday night. I had an e-mail from her from the Rome airport on Tuesday, in her late afternoon, as she waited for the luggage to catch up with her from changing planes in Paris. A 45-minute connection is not enough. If I know that, why did they schedule her for one? She was a bit concerned as to whether she would get to Siena that night, where she could take a cab to Murlo. Murlo barely shows up on Google Earth. Nor have I heard from her, and now the rest of you can help me wait. I am not worried, exactly, but I wish she would use that outmoded form of communication, the telephone.

Monday, June 11, 2007


Neither Baltimore nor the British West Indies. My back has been peculiar since the inital wire work class. It is, in fact, somewhat Out, and I should find a cheiropractor.

So I came home, forgoing the bank (bad Laura) but somehow managing to stop at the Garden Center. My peonies - I got three cheap year before last, and one bloomed last year and one looked like it might die, undermined by chickens. Last year I happened on a peony sale at the garden center in Hadley, MA (Does everyone use visits to her daughter as an excuse for horticulture?) and one of those has not opted to bloom, but the other two look great (yes, I should have taken pictures). I may have mentioned this is not a year when the desire to garden has been noticeable. The peonies haven't changed all that, but together with a couple of Siberian Iris...

So I stopped to look for more Japanesian iris, not that regular bearded are bad, and also got a peony. The one that wanted me to buy it was in full bloom and has no buds. I could not turn it down for the one with three fat buds. The fully-blown one was too much.
And this was before I even got home and opened a bottle.

And a Solomon's seal and a somewhat hybridized Ragged Robin of cheery pink. They're all perennials, which means it's practically not like buying them at all, since they will likely be back next year.
Not only is my spinal column only really happy when I am in my ergonomic driving carseat, but it was stinking hot and even the nursery guys were fading in the humidity. I managed, with rather suspect perfect posture, to unload the four pots and went inside. I found a bottle of mead, which is, of course, a muscle relaxant. I went upstairs just as thunder rolled and Toby dashed under the bed. If any of the peonies survive the battering, there will be pictures.

Also of the coin of the ancient Iron Age British Cat People (Catuvellauni?) I found out what I seem to want to do with PMC is make ancient British coins.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

decent Father's Day promotion

This is the first Father's day come-on I have seen that has not made me ill. Check it out. And I _like_ my father.

Monday, June 04, 2007

Could be worse

You are The Moon

Hope, expectation, Bright promises.

The Moon is a card of magic and mystery - when prominent you know that nothing is as it seems, particularly when it concerns relationships. All logic is thrown out the window.

The Moon is all about visions and illusions, madness, genius and poetry. This is a card that has to do with sleep, and so with both dreams and nightmares. It is a scary card in that it warns that there might be hidden enemies, tricks and falsehoods. But it should also be remembered that this is a card of great creativity, of powerful magic, primal feelings and intuition. You may be going through a time of emotional and mental trial; if you have any past mental problems, you must be vigilant in taking your medication but avoid drugs or alcohol, as abuse of either will cause them irreparable damage. This time however, can also result in great creativity, psychic powers, visions and insight. You can and should trust your intuition.

What Tarot Card are You?
Take the Test to Find Out.

The real question is whether it will stop raining sometime and yet not be 85F. I have annuals suffering on the front porch. Some of the grass is as high as an elephant's eye.

Yesterday Doug forced me (You'll have fun." "I donwanna. Costs money." "I'll pay.") to go with him to a silver (and brass and copper) wire workshop. The teacher was really nice and had brought flexible-shaft machines (think Supercharged Dremels) and a grinding/buffing wheel. Apart dodging brooch pins--grabbed by the buffer and thrown across the room-- (all right, maybe this only happened to me) everyone had a good time. Much too good a time: Doug and I have signed up for a silversmithing class. I do not expect to become Leslie Wind over night, or even ever, but it seems like a reasonable thing to study, particularly in light of the metal clay, and either Doug or I already have most of the tools, and the (Web siteless as yet) teacher lives and works out of Concord. Because I don't have enough hobbies. As it is I already have to succeed in making a shawl, because I have two nice pins.

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Birds and books

This morning I managed to put my glasses on without disturbing the bird at the feeder, and it was indeed an Indigo Bunting. For other blue, I have Blue Jays.

The cardinal was here today, and the Rosebreasted Grosbeak and both of them seemed to have young ones (the cardinal might have been a female, but the grosbeak was definitely a growing child). Scarlet Tanagers were around a couple of weeks ago, but I haven't seen them again. I love my allegedly Red-Breasted Nuthatches very much, but the coloring is subtle and more of a rose than a red. Or maybe a rosy ochre. Red-bellied woodpeckers, heard but not seen.

For yellow I have Evening Grosbeaks and Goldfinches.

I haven't seen any Baltimore Orioles, who would do for orange and maybe green, or female Scarlet Tanagers, who are definitely green. I do have Purple Finches but they are a color I would call Pahnk.

And lots of very pleasant less-distinctively colored birds, like Hairy and Downy Woodpeckers, Chipping Sparrows, some kind of flycatchers, the sounds of Great-Horned and Barred Owls and Pileated Woodpeckers, and Ovenbirds and Woodthrushes and a Veery at the lower end of the driveway (which is a nice sound to hear as I leave for work), and the hummingbirds shooting past the deck. It is really really nice.

The bear has not been in evidence lately. The raccoon is still trying to get in and eat the birdseed. The tadpoles are huge, and there are two newts in the puddle with them. The frogs are much thinner on the ground and shyer than last year's. I hope the chickens have not been eating them.

We are looking for someone to take our roosters. To eat them would be just fine. Spike crows _all_ the time and keeps attacking us, which is unwise of him. Faith isn't as obnoxious to us but the feather-picked appearance of the hens is upsetting, though the hens don't seem to mind much.

There was a delightful article on a Harry Potter convention in New Orleans in Salon. I am not alone in having the mixed feelings in my anticipation of the next book, because it will be the last book, at least as far as I know, in that universe. I still don't quite understand why I like them so much; the silly names bother me a bit (I mean, was poor Remus Lupin doomed to be a werewolf from his birth, or did he change his name when he got infected?)but they are a great place to go, even if lately Harry feels lousy most of the time. So I am going to have a small in-advance-of-publication J.K. Rowling festival. In September the fourth Temeraire book is coming out, which will give me something to live for (other than the inauguration of a different occupant of the White House), and I have gone insane and ordered a copy of the first one (les Dragons de sa majeste) in French. I know it's feeble to read only stuff in translation, but it does practice my French and I know it well enough to actually figure out the words I don't know, and I like it enough to put up with the slowness of reading another language. Which all impel me not to try to read anything I don't already know I like a lot. You can never tell when you might have to go back to Quebec and get a chance to speak in foreign.

Saturday, June 02, 2007


The weather is sticky. It may thunder soon, in which case Doug will have to rescue his freshly washed (NH S&W) fleece and I will have to rescue the alpaca drying on the reflector-ovenlike warmth of the hot tub lid. Meanwhile, God (Bacchus, Ceres) willing, I have one red zinfandel kit and one Breakfast Stout (low in alcohol, but probably not compared to, say, orange juice) kit making billions of yeast cells very happy.

The kitchen floor is sticky, strangely. The part where they say "Remove cap from bag of grape juice concentrate _carefully_ (my emphasis)..." well, I was careful, and it erupted anyhow. And there's the dribble of roasted barley and oatmeal tea. Anyhow.

If things go all right I will make the kit with the expensive varietal grape juice from Italy next month. If they don't, I'll get a new sachet of yeast before I try it.

My feet are also sticky.

Next thing: locate the camera

It is not even 9 a.m. and it's already too hot, which does not augur well for a humid day in post-agricultural New Hampshire.

Last weekend was GREAT. The OBD had come home, which improves my standard of living all over the place. I cleaned the kitchen. She and her boyfriend _cleaned_ the kitchen. She cooks. She is a little rigid about not letting me go to the grocery store alone, but as she is probably right (I had three kinds of Caesar salad dressing in the fridge, at least two coagulated beyond (word for tastiness/attractiveness/low bacterial count), I cope.

On Friday, however, I left her behind to go to Northampton, where I met up with blogless Tiffany, a nice young woman who graduated from Smith in 2006. She knits hats with tentacles. She has been at both of my Smith science fiction convention-spinning classes, and I must admit that has something to do with her becoming a kickass spindler (though she has my weird habits, like not using a leader and leaving space between the cop and the whorl). She and I stayed with Grace and Dahlia, some of my oldest friends, and we went to a very tasty Chinese restaurant in Florence, recommended by another friend of OBD's who graduated in 2007. _Her_ name is Eleanor, like the Only Beloved Daughter. Anyway, the next day Tiffany and Eleanor and I went to the Mass Sheep and Wool Fair. The day started off gross and humid and turned pellucid and warm and delightful. I kept running into people I knew, which is possibly the nicest thing about sheepandwoolfests.

As I may have mentioned I bought a few things at NH Sheep and Wool, so I was trying to restrain myself at Cummington (some roving. Hardly any, really. A little angora, some lovely mixed red Romney, four ounces of regular pleasant greyish Romney shot with silver Firestar...) Also we were bummed that the needle-felting was a demo rather than a workshop, so we acquired pads, needles, and roving and had our own workshop. Eleanor was fighting illness and cheered up considerably when we sat down and began stabbing things.

I really enjoyed shopping with other people; enabling is nearly as much fun as acquiring and the guilt is different. Tiffany's beloved had told her any animal she brought home had better be stuffed or Katy would eat it (Katy is the beloved). Tiffany was considerably tempted by the baby rabbits. She has two rescue Angoras at home and wanted one who had been well socialized, who would be her friend. She decided to postpone this till her fiancee could be involved in the adoption.
She did buy a fleece (this is a spindler with a set of handcards, people. She is insane),which isn't so much a stuffed animal as an empty one. And some bright yellow roving. She had been going to get another spindle or so but she was seduced by my Golding and planned to get one by mail-order.

We dropped Eleanor off at her dorm to finishing packing and took a quick rest and then went to MamaCate's party. Can you say drunken rout (see definitions 3-7)? I have never been to such a rowdy party where everyone was sitting down. Some knit, many spun, very many tippled. Amazing. Delightful. I walked in and announced that Tiffany ,who had never met any of these people until that day and was showing considerable bravery, needed to learn to use a wheel. MedStudentWhoKnits offered the spare she had in the hall (I only travel with spare spindles. She is way cooler). I announced that Tiffany needed roving. Mamacate made Romney appear. I announced that Cheryl, who was sitting on the other side of Tiffany on the couch, should show Tiffany how to use these things. She looked surprised but she did, and now Tiffany thinks she might like a wheel for her birthday... Another life ruined. My work there was done.

I did get to show my tarted-up wheel Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucketto David the Merlin Tree.I think he was appalled. So I gave him some home-brewed beer and he oiled my wheel.

Tiffany went back to Brighton on the bus the next day, and I went and loaded my car at Eleanor's dorm room. Then I met Grace and Dahlia at the Paradise City Crafts Fair, which is too high-end for me. I bought five mugs from three vendors. There were many lovely things there I cannot afford. There were many lovely things there I wouldn't have if they gave me free with a pound of tea. There were many lovely, well-made things with no personality at all, that look to me like they belong in a really nice furniture store. It was weird. I didn't see anyone I knew there other than Grace and Dahlia, and our cell phones got a workout as we tried to stay in the same buildings.

Exhausted, I went and moved one load of Eleanor's stuff into her summer apartment and we checked out some dumpsters, scoring a desk and a nice end table. We headed for a place famed for its ice cream and alleged to serve sandwiches, but there were no sandwiches by that time of day. We were forced to have ice cream for dinner. Very good ice cream. The cows responsible for the raw material watched us watch them. Eleanor remarked it would not have been as much fun if we had been eating burgers.

We got back to Henniker about 10pm and I collapsed, having brought two Eleanors together.

Monday of Memorial Day, since I had done nothing for months but tell people how important it was to scour their fleeces ASAP, I washed my NH SheepandWool fleece, Hezekiah of Brimstone Hollow Farm and more of Jazzmine the incredibly dirty alpaca (she washes up very nicely, though). The horse trough works very well.

On Tuesday, OBD and I caught the small elusive orange ex-kitten and forced him into a box so the vet could do awful things to him. Toby came through fine, no angst about Losing His Manhood, and has been spending a lot of time in my room. He is not supposed to go outside for two weeks, which seems excessive since it's the same guidelines for abdominal surgery. He seems much happier confined in one room, though, and lets us pat him and purrs a lot. I think Marten is glad of the break, since Toby ALWAYS wants to wrestle him. Marten is too cool for that.

Now the extra Eleanor has departed and I should plant annuals. Mostly, I spin. I have spun some of the Hezekiah, and it is really lovely. I have spun about 2/3 of one of my three 4 oz scores from Friends' Folly Farm. Spinning is easier than knitting. And I tell myself it _is_ stash reduction.

I want to go dig. I don't want to work. I want to spin. I want to sleep, and make wine and beer.