Spring has definitely sprung


Another Sunday, another blog post day. I have been planting new fruit trees; trimming rampant vines and killer invasive roses, starting veggies, potting up things for the garden club sale, and potting up other things for the forest garden workshop I am taking next week. And, without any help from me, things are blooming. The Nanking cherry, now 15-20 years old:

Nanking cherry

This year it is just covered with blossoms; and nearby the Sand cherries are blooming. Much younger bushes, they are not so heavily covered with blossoms, but the cherries are a bit larger than the Nanking cherry.

Sand cherries

Also blooming yesterday and today is my lovely apricot. And it has been warm enough for the bees to have been very active; hope that means a good crop. Of course we could have a frost, or the trees could get buggy (I skipped the dormant oil spray this year). I can’t be the only one who cheers on the honey bees; so glad to see them!

Apricot tree

One of the early tulips is this species type:

species tulip

They last so much better than the taller, more usual tulips. Year after year they come back, and bloom early. I hope I remember this next fall and put in some more. I also noticed this year that although the bees ignore the daffodils and narcissus, they love the earlier blooming crocuses; another one to plant more of this fall.

A shrub I remember fondly from my childhood was an azalea; I was always amazed at how early it burst into bloom. This is probably not the same variety, but the color is similar:


These are the daffodils and narcissus in front of the house; the white patch on the lower left edge is the cat’s chin; she loves it that the sun has warmed the earth. She also loves it that I am out there working in the dirt and she can roll around in the newly exposed soil.


The outdoors has a hold on my attention; I did spin this March fiber from Amy at Spunky eclectic. It’s called “mud season”; I spun it and then plied it Navaho style, very poorly! Love the colors tho.

'Mud Season'

The frame shop is driving me batty. There is either no new work, and therefore no money— or there is plenty to do, but, life intervenes. We’re swamped, but I am off for this forest gardening workshop! Can’t win; must figure out retirement!

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Spring clean-up


It wasn’t planned to coincide with the beginning of spring,  it just happened. Old things in the backyard got up-rooted and carted away. First the old truck, kind of sad to see it go:

scrap metal clean-up

Next was the manure spreader, race car shell, and old snow-mobile cases. All in a big moosh:

scrap metal clean-up

And last was Bean’s vw, which had been acting like a rain-holding cistern for the last four-five years. It’s a toss-up which was the most quaint, the vw or the old truck. Here’s a picture (of his) from last summer, and then today:

Bean's VW


scrap metal clean-up


Meanwhile the fellow moved a limb, removed some old broken garden machines, a truck cap, a heavy sink, an even heavier old bath-tub, an ancient rusted off-set press, a heavy equally-ancient air conditioner, an old wood stove, and best of all….

scrap metal clean-up

…when he left, he put money in my hand!

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Edna St.Vincent Millay’s resting place


Sunday seems to be the day to post; today I drove up to Hillsdale to the Book Barn, a wonderful used book store, spent my alloted $20, and went on northward to visit the grave site of Millay. The walk into the woods is open to the public; the house and ‘artist colony’ are not (yet). The walk is marked with bits of her poetry; the woods were cold and quiet, but I really wasn’t expecting this much snow:

Snowy path

There were a few old footprints in the snow and some deer tracks, but the woods had a somber hush befitting the destination; there were NO signs of spring, but the young beeches were gracefully decked in last year’s leaves.

young beech tree

A wonderful rustic bench would be a nice place to read some of her poetry… on a warmer, dryer day.

rustic seat

The headstone for Millay and her husband is literally a large stone, mossy-covered and quite lovely in the snow. Fern fronds (really fern fruiting stalks) had been placed on the stone (I know they are not called fronds, but ‘fern fronds’ has a more poetic sound to it)


Nearby is Edna’s mother’s grave, marked with mountain laurel and an old truly rusting away fence. Very quaint, very restful.

Her sister's grave

Many of the poems along the half-mile walk were aptly about death, but these stanzas from ‘Portrait by a Neighbor’, 1922, could be my neighbors talking about me:

'Portrait by a Neighbor' 1922





“Her lawn looks like a meadow,

And if she mows the place

She leaves the clover standing

And the Queen Anne’s Lace!”




The sky was stormy gray, so I stopped on the way home to take yet another picture of the view:

The view


Bits of sun, rain, snow, and what-not today, but still a more spring-like day than a winter-y one. Yeah!

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Stay at home Sunday

It’s been mostly cold, snowy, and blowing today. There was a patch of sunshine during the afternnon, and I sat in the big dining room window in the warm rays and spun some llama roving I got last fall at Rhinebeck, from the Northern Vermont Llama Co. They take folks on Llama treks, and sell their fiber. It’s two tone so it’s spinning up tweedy. I have to decide whether to ply it to itself, or to some other single, a tan or dark brown . I have a bit more to do, of the 4 oz. ‘bump’, and then I’ll experiment.

This is the fiber, about half-way spun:

Llama roving

I don’t know the name for this type of thin-spun roving; not ‘pencil’ spun, more like ‘ruler’ spun. Fun to work with, and looks like this on the wheel:

spun two-tone Llama roving

Here’s a photo of this morning’s snow and the old truck:

Old truck

Someone left me a card in the shop door for their scrap metal pick-up business; I may take tham up on it this spring. The neighbor would love me.

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How to spend a Sunday afternoon


After a stop at the transfer station (no picture; next time!), I went to the art show and took a shot of my three paintings:

three paintings

Only one more sale; it doesn’t seem that much will sell. I find it hard to look at my own work on the wall without wanting to take it home and ‘fix things’ on it. Looks like this time I’ll be able to bring them home and do just that!

I went over to the Antique Center; the beginning of the month is time to pay the rent and collect the check; this month the latter was larger than the former! Hurrah! Here’s a shot of the interior:

Millerton Antique Center



This is my tiny corner:

My corner at MAC

Empty spots on the wall; empty room on my shelves. I need to hustle a bit and stock up. Think I’ll check the loft of the barn tomorrow; much to look through. Never know what the next buyer will like.

I’ll end with a photo of this sunny thawing day:

Beginning to thaw

Think I may try to turn it into a painting, leaving out some of the foreground trees.

Posted in getting rid of things, painting | 2 Comments

Art show

I wasn’t sure about putting my paintings in this show, but I did submit three. At the opening, someone asked to meet me, and she told me my larger landscape was the best piece in the entire show. She is not a buyer, but her critique was welcome ( she had had a painter husband)—how could it not be? When I left, only one little painting had sold, a watercolor of an iris—yes, it was nice for the $50.00 price tag. I will go back and try to photograph my efforts; meanwhile, of course, I await more sales. The economy is not encouraging.

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Projects, projects


The cold and snow make me hunker down, glad to be in the not-so-warm (unless one is quite near the wood stove) house . We’re burning wood from the second pile; it’s punkier and wouldn’t last ’til next year, but it’s also wet and slow to burn. So far the chimney is staying clean—haven’t had to send Sam up on the roof. I managed to get three paintings done for the art league show at Noble Horizons. Did I say ‘done’? I at least put them in frames and gave them titles and prices, but they are more like the idea of paintings than like real, authentic, finished items. Especially when I got them out in the sunlight—-I must say they looked so much better in a dark corner of my living room! Last year I sold two little ones; this year I expect I will be bringing these back home in February.

I’m loading up the palette with fresh paint, as I need to practice getting to ‘finished’ with my work. Ditto for my knitting. Have not yet begun the promised Koolhaus hat. Haven’t added a stitch to the maze hat, also promised although it seems a bit small for this large-headed family:


This is an easy way to do two-color knitting, knitting with one color on a round and slipping the other; but somehow I am off on my last round second to the last round and not sure whether to tink or push on. The maze is a bit wonky and I don’t think errors will be too noticeable. Yarn is two colors of Knitpicks Swish Superwash.

The next rumpled-hat looking project is the Hemlock Ring Blanket, through corrected row 35, now ready for longer cables. It is the next WEBS knitalong but I need a head start in order to keep up— The yarn is a thick 2 ply from Bartlett Mills, Fisherman tweed, in Dark Heather. I’m anxious for it to get large enough to keep me warm as I knit!

hemlock ring blanket




And lastly I swatched the Secret of the Stole ii, in knitpicks Shadow, the color of which I think is sunset heather, but maybe redwood heather, and which will become apparent as I knit on and need to find the remaining skeins. The clues will begin to be posted tomorrow a.m., so I imagine I am already behind on this, unless tomorrow is a snow day—possible, but not likely.


Watched a PBS show last night on the plasticity of the neuro-matter in our brains; I think all this knitting helps with the new synapses IF we get it right. Not so likely, either.

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Welcome to the New Year

I love the new beginning feeling that comes with the 1/1 date. I have made some sweeping resolutions; one of which is to get outside more: (starting tomorrow!) (I am nothing if not a procrastinator!) I am up for changes in five categories: Health, Wealth, Art, Life, and Permaculture.  I think that about covers the essentials. I would have put in a spinning and/or a knitting goal, but they seem to be my default activities and don’t need any encouraging.

Last storm of 2007

This is the storm of yesterday; I didn’t get a photo of today’s; kind of looked the same. I would miss this season if I ever went south for the winter. Especially that cozy feeling of a ‘snow day’ with food in the house and no where one needs to go.

Mitzy and the tree

Mitzy has taken over the tree; I know she thinks we brought it in the house just for her. To her credit she has been a huge help at undecorating it, though I’m not yet ready to take it down.


 The amaryllis opened yesterday; the picture does not capture how red it really is. Kind of the red of this yarn:

Fleece artist sock yarn

The Fleece Artist sock yarn was part of a raffle prize from the fall Spin-Out. I wasn’t able to go, but made a donation to the Heifer Society—and was delighted with the prize package that arrived yesterday—Thanks, Cara, and all your sponsors!

I have been spinning, this fuzzy fiber I carded a few months ago—is it the alpaca mixed with wool?  Or the moorit locks from RHLindsay? Inquiring minds want to know, and I have forgotten.  Lesson learned: always label!


Lastly, Sam, and girl friend Kath, dressed for a dinner out at Bizen’s, everyone’s favorite Japanese restaurant.  I stayed home and made my own sushi!

Kath and Sam

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What’s up

I’ve been busy: in the shop, knitting, fall yard clean-up, hanging out online, spinning, and what-all. Had a wonderful thanksgiving; all three of my sons came and the eldest’s SO was also here, so it was special for me, the mom. Great meal at my sister’s; my sweet potatoes were a hit (which made up for my creamed onions made with rice milk that didn’t thicken!), and after, we had a rousing card game, pounce, and thanks were given and blessings acknowledged.

I ordered a clearance fleece from Flawful Fibers; about 3 lbs of Dorset X. It arrived super speedily; I photographed it as I was getting ready to wash.

Dorset X fleece

A moderate amount of lanolin, not much large vm, but lots of dust, small seeds, and thorns. I washed it twice, by the handful, and got this:

Fleece washed up

To see if it was do-able, I spun and double-plied a bit of the fiber I had carded on the new carder I own half of, sharing with a friend in town who owns sheep. She gets it to try soon, I like what it does, but this sheep has what is called ‘downy’ wool; so it has lots of loft and semi short fibers. This is what I got:

Dorset X test

Seems to be coming out a worsted weight, and like all my spinning, still somewhat thick and thin. Some of the dust bits I couldn’t wash out I was able to ‘flick’ out as I spun; the rest are now part of the yarn!

There was Lanolin left in the wool, which I think helped me with the spinning. I soaked some of the carded roving in synthapol and tried dyeing. Microwaved to set the dye; the color seemed to take. What to do with these? Hats? Mittens?

Dyed carded roving

We’ve had our first snow, last week: my yard has all the leaves left; the neighbors are so tidy!

first snow of this winter season

And on the interior, my passion-flower vine is blooming on buds set while it was outdoors; such a bizarre thing.



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I actually put some effort into the framing this week; what in the world got into me! I got the four pieces that needed the finicky gold fillet on the mats done; the mirror that didn’t quite fit the frame (with the help of a razor blade, it did); the little poster; the re-do that had a gold fleck in it; and then, as usual, H (my worker and wood man), came through with great results and got the maple frames done for JJ (think johns and famous) and the other person getting maple, and the floater frames and the ones I worked on. Plus whatever else we did.

And we gabbed with the artists who come in; we talked politics and listened to the republican senator from Oklahoma on c-span put down global warming (bah humbug to him). We had a typical work week; never got the trash to the transfer station; the UPS fellow came late and talked long–(but we still miss Joe!); and we tried to decipher exactly how David Hockney painted these: landscapes that are where H wants to go with his paintings; me, I am headed backward in mine to the end of the 19th century!

Here is one of my paintings; of the lake behind my home; far enough away so that I can’t see it, but occasionally I see the mist rising from it.

Mudge pond, looking north

H patiently listened to me gab about sheep, wool, and Rhinebeck; I really tried to understand what he and David Hockney are trying to do with color, I really did.

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