Saturday, December 31, 2005

Here bunny, bunny...

Here goes nothing: I was WRONG, the pet store was right: 100% right.

Close to two months ago when I clipped my white angora, Daisy, I put her in Spikerella's cage while I cleaned up. Next thing I knew there was a bit of "bronco riding" going on. Upon inspection, sure enough, there were Spike's family jewels, the size of small freakin' prunes. Yeah. And a month later there was Daisy building a nest followed by the birth of six bunnies, although one didn't survive. The others are thriving, thank you very much. No sign of being dwarfs, which is a good thing, but still much too early to tell how much angora is in them. The white one is albino, complete with pink eyes, just like its grandmother. They're too cute for words and my kids can't keep their hands off them. Ok, so I might spend an inordinate amount of time watching and patting the little fluff balls, too. So soft...

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

About Gifts

Confession time: not all the knit gifts made it under or on the tree. But the knitting gods didn't strike me down for taking time out from the craziness and let be what shall. I enjoyed time with family and friends Christmas eve. There was more food and drink than is possible to consume in a week let alone a night! And then I made that one extra dish in case there wasn't enough... At least there wasn't a cloud of flour hanging in the air once the guests started to arrive (yes, the kitchen fan did come into service). Lene isn't the only one that values tradition. When my husband and I married, we merged two very different sets of traditions. Him from Nova Scotia, born and bred; me from Poland. All food homemade, the rabbit pie held a place of honour beside the plate of pierogi (sauerkraut and mushroom), Solomon Gundy beside kopytka... There were Christmas carols playing and talk of Christmases past. Kids were perfectly behaved (a Christmas miracle in itself!!).

After the guests left, it was a mad (if slightly intoxicated) rush to get presents wrapped and under the tree. I must say that grandmothers that live far away (my kids' Babcia resides in Ontario) are sneaky. Sure, send money to the mother (that would be me) about a week before the DAY and say, "just buy something to put under the tree. You know them best. You know what they need/want..." A WEEK BEFORE? WHAT WAS SHE THINKING??? Getting back at me for something I did when I was three years old, no doubt about it. But all is well that ends well. It never ceases to amaze me how quickly all that work can be reduced to mountains of wrapping paper and the odd gift.

This is what arrived just in time:

My new Kromski Mazurka spinning wheel. Isn't it Beeeautiful?

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Increasing the pace...

I thrive on pressure of a deadline. Honestly. What I get accomplished with the deadline looming over my head like a guillotine is nothing short of miraculous. But I must admit that with "THE DAY" getting closer even as I write this, the handknit Christmas (or more politically correct Holiday) might not have been such bright idea. I am feeling the pressure. I believe I am knitting faster. Will I achieve all my goals? Time will tell. After all, there are just under 2 weeks left. LOTS of time... Every year is pretty much the same, except this year I decided to put my foot down! Yes! It would be homemade gifts all around. Is there something really, truly wrong with that? How am I supposed to teach about the spirit of this season by running to the mall every available moment? The shops in Penhorn Mall in Dartmouth whined about the power being off after the snow storm last weekend. Yes, it might have cut into their profits a bit, but honestly, I wonder if any of them truly minded staying home and enjoying time with their families. So they had to shovel snow. We live in Canada. What else can be expected?? This is what my kids did to pass the time:
I like to think they had more fun doing that, than breathing recycled air in some mall.

Saturday, December 10, 2005

After the Storm

A beautiful new day dawns outside. Inside, there is no power or water and the kids are getting on each other's nerves. Good time to escape to the barn and start the chores of feeding animals and breaking ice on what water may be left. Everything safe and sound.

Power was restored mid-morning. Priorities: put a pot of coffee on first and foremost, then get a fire going in the wood furnace. The sweet sound of the furnace fan kicking in!
And hubby plowing the driveway with newly functional tractor.

And kids getting along again. All is right with our world in the country once again.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

'Tis the Season

It's that time of year when the whole family gears up for a tromp throught the woods to pick out our Christmas tree. We make an afternoon of it, even if the perfect tree is "discovered" in the first half hour. This year Mathew spotted "The One". Once in the house it took up a good third of the living room, and it was in fact perfect. Just what we were looking for: natural looking but full. Not pruned within an inch of its life. Lots of room to hang ornaments. Just like the trees I remember my Dad bringing home...

Friday, November 11, 2005

Lest We Forget

This is the day we wear the poppy. To remember. To never forget that which we never want to happen again.

Monday, November 07, 2005

This Morning

My husband is a hunter. Hunting season is sacred. I don't try to book appointments, nights out, etc. after the last Friday of October. Period. It simply isn't going to happen.
For quality time together, either I join him, or more often then not, I stay home. To HE*double hockey sticks with freezing my buns off in the woods. But I do like autumn. The changing colours, the smell of wet leaves littering the ground... It was a beautiful morning after a night of rain. So I went for a walk through the woods with my hunting husband. Nothing got shot, injured or maimed in any way. Don't get all excited. Yes, that's me, looking like a total dork, drinking tea from a china cup and reading Harlot. In the woods. Quite the fashion statement, wouldn't you say? He didn't take too well to the way I was (not really) holding onto his rifle. I just didn't want to spill my tea or drop my book. Did we really need a picture to commemorate the moment? Our walk through crown land brought us to a chopping where we found that like shack. Figured it was a good place to stop for a break. And I was informed none too subtly that in the future the Harlot must stay home. Apparently my cackling (as he so unkindly put it) scares the deer away. But I just couldn't put the book down. I've been savouring it, reading it slowly, trying to make it last. Did you read the part about the one sock? Sooooo sad. Such a touching story. Harlot, you're my hero and inspiration.

Saturday, November 05, 2005

Crescent Beach, Nova Scotia

I went for a walk on the beach this past Thursday. This time of year tends to be cold. I admit to a memory lapse considering the unseasonably warm temperatures. My walk on the beach reminded me in short order why my closet is well stocked with hats, mittens and scarves for every occasion. It was cold. Very, very cold. Weather in town was positively balmy in comparison. And a thought had crossed my mind that even the knitting in my bag was highly inappropriate. Yes, had it been anything other than a purple cotton sock for my daughter, I would have found some way to warm my ears with it. *sigh*

Friday, November 04, 2005

An Update

Wednesday, October 26th was a busy day. Shortly before 2pm, my niece was born. As a first-time Aunt, I am justifiably proud. Her name is Wiktoria (pronounced Victoria, Polish spelling). Mama and baby are doing well. And I have, once again, reason to knit cute baby things. I am beside myself with joy!

Same day, Mary Moo Cow was enjoying her final moments. It didn't look like she suspected a thing. Must have been the bowl of apples I was carrying. Note the tongue.
I present to you the "before" photo:

The "after" photo. This is today. I spent two and a half hours with my (gorgeous!) butcher and his lovely wife.

It was nice knowing you, Mary. At your best, you were entertaining. On your off-days, a royal pain. You will be delicious, I have no doubt.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

The Happy Child

Her teacher always seems in awe when I stop to chat. "Brianna is sooo HAPPY today!" I hear those same words each time. Isn't a good thing for a child to be happy? The thing is, my daughter loves school and everything about it. Even homework. She was totally shocked that she didn't receive any on her first day of primary! It just goes to show how ready she really was for school. She missed the cut-off last year by 20 days.
Tomorrow is her 6th birthday. To surprise a child that's such a little party planner will be no small feat. But I will do my best! I will bake (after she's sound asleep) and I will decorate until I drop. There cannot be any holding back!

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Monday, October 10, 2005

Setting Goals

  • First things first. The Senators are playing tonight against Toronto. A walk in the park, that should be. But I might be biased. Whatever. Ottawa Senators RULE!
  • And about setting goals: highly over-rated. I was going to crochet at least 2 rows every day on the blanket from hell. Not a huge commitment but a commitment all the same. Didn't happen yesterday. Instead I started a The Hunting Sweater for hubby. Plain, boring stockingette stitch. In "bleached oak", a plain, boring, mind-numbing colour. What is it about men? The goal for this project?? Knit a full ball per day. I thought that would get things moving nicely and possibly result in a completed sweater for the start of deer hunting season (October 28). Obviously I should read less Harlot. Especially should have skipped the entire chapter "Cracking the Whip" in her new book. And listening to her SOS Knitting line? Well.... #2 got me into proper panic mode. Thank you very much, Steph. I think I will let the cramping fingers be the judge how much knitting per day is enough.

Dumbass knitter! Dumb and incompetent.

What am I ranting and raving about? How about knitting the extra-long tail into the sweater instead of the start of a new ball of yarn? Duh.

Saturday, October 08, 2005

Leaf Peepin'

It's that time of the year again.
Thanksgiving in Canada. Columbus Day in the States. And Leaf Peepin' season everywhere! Forget driving anywhere in any big hurry!
I had to snap some pictures of nature's colours before the wind and rain knocked them off this weekend.
And it's Hockey Night in Canada! No stretch of the imagination to figure out where the rest of the family is sitting right now. Ottawa is my team; my husband's is Boston; son likes to think Toronto has a chance (HA HA HA HA!).

Friday, October 07, 2005

In My Knitting Basket...

...what better place for my newest reading! Yarn Harlot. She's hilarious, even if she does have some serious issues with yaks. And yes, the wool. The Lopi is direct from Iceland (!), oodles of which I brought home with me when I was still in the Navy. Destined to be slightly felted thrum mittens. I promised my family they would all get a pair before the snow started flying. I made my pair last year during the Harlot's Thrum-Along, and I think everybody else wore them more than I did. Fantastic things. Can't live without 'em here on the farm. And the pink? That's 100% silk by the Hand Maiden. Lovely. My new fancy shmancy long johnies-to-be. I found a pattern in Rowan Knitting Book #4. I'll just have to figure out how to adjust it for the finer gauge of the silk. And then there is the bit of orange peeking out... That's a pretty lace wrap I started a while back. It's not that I don't like it anymore, or it's too difficult a pattern... Just kind of got bored with it. But that's not even the whole truth. Lace is very difficult to knit, I discovered the hard way, when there is a bouncy (nicest word I could come up with for my kids' unruly behaviour!) 5 and 7 year old in the vicinity. Not enough time in the day for my favourite hobby.

And then there is this wool crochet nightmare I've gotten myself into. My dear husband loves heavy blankets in winter. That's fine. He especially loves wool blankets. I finally got the hint when he started using the 3 meters of heavy wool fabric I had in my sewing room as a blanket. Does anyone know how many single crockets it will take to make a blanket large enough for a king-size bed? I don't want to think about it. I'd have to open a bottle of wine and I have to get ready for work now.

Monday, September 12, 2005

And she's Back

Lois is back. It's a little unsettling how quickly she made herself at home here. Almost like she put on a big show for her adoptive family, pretending to be all scared of their "mean, old doggie" (Lois' words, not mine!). They returned her to the SPCA, claiming that she was absolutely terrified of their old Scottish Sheep dog. Yeah, ok. I have an eight-year old English Springer. She wasn't the least bit scared of MY dog. I get the impression she is comfortable here. Hmm. Six cats live here already. Does that sound like I want to adopt another? Not.

In other news, I have to say that I have extremely nice and generous friends. Jo-Ann is an example. I visited with her and her animals today. Jo-Ann co-exists with many, many exotic fiber animals: llamas, alpaca, angora goats... In exchange for fiber, I am one of her knitters. A better system could not exist. And today, she lent me the use of her spinning wheel, to take home and learn to spin on and practice on until I can afford to buy my dream wheel: The Kromski Mazurka. A Polish-made spinning wheel for a Polish born and bred fiber-a-holic.

Friday, September 09, 2005

This is Annie

Annie is my only female cat out of six. A cat after my own heart. See that ball of Briggs and Little wool she has her claws into? Difficult to knit socks with little kitty claws controlling the wool. And the Very Harlot poncho she's got her arse on? Let's just hope there was no feline flatulence going on there!
Isn't she sweet? Has an awesome purrr, too.

Monday, September 05, 2005

All Life Is Precious

Albert Einstein was a very wise man.


Four months will tell the tale, I suppose. The spotty-nosed virgin in the middle is Dawn. On the right is Mr. Darcy. Mr. Darcy is a wether. Or not. Mr. Darcy and Dawn were friendly this morning in the biblical sense. Ooops. Virgin no more. And upon inspection, it appears that
Mr. Darcy has parts he shouldn't, albeit well-concealed. So by early January 2006, I could have a lamb or two, or not. Mr. Darcy is here merely for his fleece, and good looks. The plan was to bring a studly ram from another farm to service my woolly girls. But you know what they say about all good plans...

Saturday, September 03, 2005

Goodbye Lois

Goodbye Lois. You have been adopted but some really nice people and I hope you will be very, very happy in your new home. You sure know how to find the most comfortable spot in the house for your "little" siestas!

Sunday, August 14, 2005

Pretty Flowers

It's been raining on and off for the past couple days. Not a bad thing, let me assure you. Everything grows in the most wonderful way after the rain. The flowers are blooming with renewed energy and the veggies are keeping me busy picking. At last!

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

I interrupt the regularly scheduled program... announce, in somewhat disgruntled manner, that pet store owners do not know everything there is to know about animals.

It turns out that Spike is actually, now and forever, Spikerella. I know she was small when I bought her... but H, E, double hockey sticks!!

She's still cute. And all grown up. Can you tell?


Some will tell you that your day won't be complete if you haven't learned at least one new thing or laughed at least once. Not too much to ask for, right? Especially easy if you live with kids. So where do treasures fit into all this? It's back to the kid thing: learning to look at things in a new light, or from a new angle or with child's open mind. And I'm telling you, you WILL find treasure in the least expected places! An example...

The glass cat. MY treasure. NOT for kid hands. The glass cat and I were meant to be together. This was a very special find in one of those unlikely places: I was returning my recyclables. It was sitting on a high window ledge among other unique bottles. The colour of amber, it caught my eye when the sun rays lit it up. I love amber. In a shape of a cat? Well, that just sent me into a fit of giggles. Yes, then and there. Hubby and the recycling guy probably thought I lost my mind. Did I mention I love cats? After establishing that the recycling guy was willing to part with it, I asked him his price and paid the nice man, what to me seemed like a pittance. An amber cat! Imagine. And I don't have to feed it, put up with it shedding, or change it's litter. Yes, definitely a treasure. The best part about this particular treasure? It makes me smile every time I look at it.

Monday, July 04, 2005

About James

This is James. He doesn't like rainy days much. Can't you tell? Good thing the sun is shining again.

He's lived here at the farm about a year now.
There he was, sitting on the side of the road one day as my daughter and I were walking to visit a neighbour. He was all fluffy and very kitten-cute. All kittens are cute, right? So naturally we stopped and gave him a pat and a scratch behind the ears, and resumed our walk, only to find him following us. HONEST!! We DID NOT say "here kitty, kitty" in hopes of having him walk with us. He did that all on his own. We thought he went back to where he came from when we didn't see him on our walk home. But when we were almost to the house, there he was again. Kind of skinny and hungry looking... So only naturally I set out a bowl of food and water for him on the deck. (Not in the house. That would have been the equivalent of inviting him to move in!) Over the next couple days I made phone calls to try find his owners in hopes someone would claim him. Nothing. On the second day, my darling hubby (not cat loving person, as he tells everyone) told me I might as well bring him in the house. (We) I already had five (5) cats at that time. The rest is history. He made himself at home very quickly. Got along well with the other cats, to my surprise.

Turns out he's a fine mouser too.

Thursday, June 30, 2005

Let it Rain

I can never complain about rain. Not even when there there is a river flowing through the stone walls of my basement. I have at long last accepted that such is life in a century-old house. And all I can do is hope the rain will be enough to water the garden.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Meet Spike

Blogworld, meet Spike. Spike, meet the bloggers.
Pretty darn cute, isn't he? Talk about your impulse buys. There I was in the mall, returning my train tickets for Toronto, returning my new luggage (what's the point of keeping a suitcase I was never going to use, right? The reasons for all these returns to be revealed...eventually.) Anyway, so I was wondering aimlessly around the mall and there was the petshop right in front of me, whispering "come on in, come on in..."
No adorable kittens, no feisty puppies to oooh and aaah over. Well. Didn't feel like looking at the fish was going to perk me up any. But there, in the glassed case where the owner was standing, were maybe half dozen dwarf rabbits in various stages of repose, mostly pure black except for two. So naturally I had to ask the normal questions (out of politeness, you understand); how old they were (about 4 weeks), how big would they get (maybe 2lbs, no more than 2and a half ), when they were ready to go (NOW)...
Well, I asked to hold one and as they say, the rest is history! But isn't he adorable! It took a couple days to name him. Couldn't give him a whimpy sounding name, nothing girlie. And so Spike it is. Note that he's not much bigger than that teacup. And he's not exactly growing by leaps and bounds either. Which is fine by me. Right now he lives in a cat carrier. When it looks like he has stopped growing (that cracks me up! HA), I'll get hubby to build him a condo fit for a big brave rabbit like him. Yah, Spike. Long live Spike!
In other Spike news, my daughter (she's 5) tried knitting him a SuperSpike cape. Kind of like superman but better. It didn't turn out so well, but her passion for making knitwear hasn't suffered. Good to know she wasn't switched at birth!!

Sunday, March 20, 2005

Spring is Just Around the Corner

Today was such a warm, beautiful and sunny day that you would not doubt that spring is just around the corner. Then to look on the ground... yes, much white stuff in many places. So let's not kid ourselves that overnight all the snow will disappear, and new, very green grass will sprout in its place. Not going to happen. Everything that isn't white is disgusting dead brown colour.

The heifer in the barn can sense spring is on the way. She's pulling on her chain more often, no doubt trying to prove that nothing is heavy duty enough to restrain her. Ha.

Tomorrow is spring. Tonight I will wish that the miracle of snow disappearing overnight will come to pass.