Burn the Log, O Fire!

Hope everyone had a Merry Yule and Happy Christmas!!

My short-term plan is to be getting back to fiber soon.
As soon as I get back home, around the 8th.
I want to focus on natural dyes and battsss.
I have some theories as to why I had to stop stitching, for a time anyway,
and one is summed up in these lyrics to a Papa Roach song:

I tear my heart open
I sew myself shut
My weakness is
That I care too much

and the Scars remind us
that the past is Real
I tear my heart open
just to feel.

And btw, check out this interview with me on Spin Artiste!


Spoke too soon...

well, carp. the house thing isn't going to work out.  so we're back to where we were, which is staying put here in our farmhouse. this is a pic i took a couple of yules ago. the ladder's been moved, i'm pretty sure, but it looks much the same and i've always liked this pic.

yesterday i was completely heartbroken, but i talked myself into loving our old house again.  poor ole farmhouse has been good to us and just needs some tlc.  and in many ways, it's better because it's ours, we know it, and we've put so much into it already.  
maybe pinteresting farmhouses instead of cottages would help.  
maybe it just needs a name. 
and then there's the woods.  i would so miss the woods.

and over the last four years, the sheep and donkeys have pretty much made themselves a pasture.  not 13 acres of pasture, but enough.  and we could always fence more woods.  still less expensive than putting in new fencing at the other place.  

i'm thinking of passing on the stove too, even though i wanted it almost as much as that other house!  but one thing i forgot is that they need to be set on stone.  and i'm not sure i'm up for re-doing the kitchen floor here right now, even though it needs to be done eventually.  laika (the wolf-dog) has torn up the linoleum.  she is such a destroyer.  but she's finally a year old, so we are hoping that she learns some manners soon.  
so we could tile the floor, which would be nicer anyway, and then get the stove.  there's already a hole in the wall for it and everything (and this one isn't from laika!)
hmm, thinking..

thanks everyone for the lovely congrats on the move.  i'm just going to backdate them about four years and pretend we are re-moving in here.



So no pics today, but an update!  
The house has a termite bond on it, so the little buggers have already been zapped.  And tomorrow we're meeting to find the corner stakes to try to make sure where the property lines are. A survey you say?  No way, that would be too easy (and expensive).  
But one little problem is that at the back of the Violet Loop 
(a dirt road that encircles this lovely little 13 acres!)
there are some... trailers that look like they have been burnt.
As well as some pickup trucks.  Sofas and stuff.
And a house of sorts, a real charmer, it even has window panes out. 
I peeked a little in a window and do see some evidence of life 
if you count whiskey bottles (which I do).
And, there are four little dogs rush out whenever we've gone back there!
But never any lights or people...
And some of it looks to be encroaching from what we can see of the property lines on the plat.  
So I'm really looking forward to having this conversation with our new neighbor! :/  

And in the midst of all this, my facebook friends like Dani and Kristine have helped me come up with the current name of choice for this place:  Violetcroft.  
It might sound a little hoity-toity amidst the trailers, but a croft was meant to be humble.  
That's the current fave anyway, there are many others!

And tonight, we are going to look at a wood cookstove that I found on Craigslist!
Did I mention that there were no appliances in this house?
Yes, everyone thinks I am insane.
But it looks just like this one.
It's also the one that was in the movie Babe in farmer Hoggett's kitchen, or so the seller says.
I should probably pass, but I just know that then all I will see are more expensive ones in worse condition.  That's what always happens.  This is my dream stove.
And this is *so* much less than the modern equivalent of my dream stove, the Aga.   
My only hesitation is what to do with this kind of stove in the summer.  
I guess then homesteaders have an outdoor kitchen.  
But I think that except for those few brutal summer months, 
the slowness of the wood would really help me find my cooking groove.

And it looks like we will close on the 21st!!  How totally fitting.
Just in time for the rebirth of the Sun!


we're off!

so it looks like we're moving!
and that has given me reason to blog again.
we're getting a real fixer.  
this'll be my third grownup house and my third fixer, maybe the worst yet!
which makes it the best to my mind.  
i am so excited about making it amazing!

i have always wanted a Tudor cottage
when I was little we would drive around and I would say
"Oh mum, I want *that* one!  someday"  
and this has all the hallmarks:  
she's asymmetrical, cross-gabled, with prominent chimney and rounded door.
and even has a window with diamond-shaped panes!
of course need must get rid of those awful awnings and cutify
with paint and lots of flowers.
the outside doesn't look so bad, but the inside is *rough*
oh, i can't wait.

there are so many pretty trees 
like this luscious sycamore in the front yard.
i'm a little stressed that i haven't found an oak tree there yet.
"dru" means "oak" in old gaelic.
and i've always had them around, they are my protectors.
but there are 13 acres.  
most of them are pasture, which will make our critters very happy.
and rocky loves it, which makes it so special!
we've never chosen a house together.  
and there are lots of woods around.

another signal that this was right:  this is in the hoos.  
which is a variation on another one i have!  

there are so many projects that need to be done.
roof repair (& remove ancient antenna)
scrape and paint windows
replace missing masonry tiles
termite inspection/repair
take down hideous awnings and fix any damage
take off the metal panels blocking the basement windows
(bad for moisture, i'm told)
chimney sweep
unbrick fireplace and get it working
reinforce barn so it doesn't fall down
clean out and haul away junk in barn and workshop (oh my)
(but there looks to be some good stuff in there too)
fencing, fencing, fencing
pull up awful old linoleum (hardwoods underneath!)
figure out what hardwoods need:  sanding, patching etc.
demolish ceiling in one room and replace (water damage)
scrape off popcorn on other ceilings
take down and replace tile in bathrooms (see about rot or water damage)
new shower heads and faucets
scrounge craigslist etc for appliances 
(mum is furiously trying to talk me out of a wood-burning cookstove)
cover up insulation on patio
install radio fence for doglets

i'm sure there's more but that's my running list!  
i'm leaving off the decorative stuff for now, although that will be the most fun.
so i'm thinking i'll document this massive labor of love here,
along with my journey toward homesteading.
hope you'll visit!


Just out Borrowing for awhile...
Terry Pratchett's Discworld series, for one thing!
Isn't it wonderful when you have a whole long lovely series to gobble up?!
I may also be back to fiber work soon,
I have kind of a plan.


Honey Locust tree id. no 3

i've been wanting to look at the pods on this tree up-close
but s/he is thick in the woods
today the high winds brought me plenty
nothing similar in the book, of course
but i do see mistletoe attached.

we are having high winds and branches playing music on our tin roof
under tonight's blood moon
be safe out there friends.


male persimmon or female persimmon with no male in the area to cross with tree id no. 2

this one has me stumped, between two maples.
there aren't that many in my tree book with leaves of this shape
that are so rounded and without teeth.
some possibilities were sourgum or persimmon
but it doesn't really have the chequered bark.  or does it?
and i don't remember any persimmons.
plus that just seems kind of random.
the last one was figured out within minutes!!


Sweet Pignut Hickory tree id no. 1

trying to start identifying my local flora, or at least what is in my yard...can anyone help? from the tree book i thought maybe a hickory, but then the nuts don't seem to have four-part husks, more like two-part. it's always so hard for me to identify plants and trees with those books. the leaves are only a couple of inches long and their edges do have little tiny teeth. remember we are in central nc.


i remember this day

i was five.  i remember going out to the truck that morning thinking,
i'm five.
that would have been 1973.
this was in luce park in kansas city, where we're from.
i always loved going to luce park because i could feed the ducks and swans.
they are still there, too.  but where am i?  who is this child?

that's mum and papa in the foreground, in their matching white shoes.  
so strange looking at mum's face at that age because
it's my face, looking out at me.
and next to her is mrs. watson, the mother of my little friends
michael and miriam watson, who are sitting on the other side of me.
funny we are eating KFC.
that was a birthday food of choice again not so long ago.
my disgruntled older siblings are at the other end of the table.
seems like some weird energy down there, or maybe that's how i remember it.
although my sweet brother nick, on the end, always the photographer.
he took that pic of me, and he recently sent me these.
this wasn't too long before we moved to florida, i think.
papa is being released from the hospital today, after two weeks.


a change of season..

does anyone know what sort of pod this is?  i found it in the yard, but it was under a tree that was clearly not dropping these.  someone on instagram said maybe magnolia?  so i will run out and look at the magnolias, which are back in the woods.  actually i'll do that now!  yes, it is a magnolia!  one of the dogs must have moved it to a different part of the yard.  how beautiful these are, and i never noticed them before.

anyone who visits here has probably noticed my absence...  i'm not sure what has happened,  except possibly for burnout.  i'm still in love with fiber and sheep, but i'm very, very tired of spinning for production and sale.  i need to shift things.  this happened to me some years ago, when my new husband's dog ate my first wheel, an ashford joy, and i took it as a sign that i should follow my muse and shifting interests, and i did - even started grad school during that time - and then came back to spinning about three years ago..

i also have realized since then that i'm what author Barbara Sher calls a scanner.  someone who has lots of different interests rather than one main calling.  i tend to have the same basic set of interests, mostly related to old country skills, but i tend to cycle through them over and over.  right now i am feeling called to study herbs and have signed up for two classes which will stretch out over the next year.  this is something i've wanted to learn about for years, but never took the time.  i don't really have the time now either... because..

this scanning thing has also made it really difficult to finish my dissertation, because i got really messed up in my head by the topic, and so then totally lost interest in it for the last few years.  i actually think i needed some distance to process and heal from that research, but now i'm facing a new set of circumstances.  the most important being that i have an amazing new adviser.  a dream adviser, my academic idol.  this is a huge deal for me, one of the best things that has ever happened to me.  i've had such a lack of support at my grad program, which has also made it difficult to finish up.  the other thing is that now, my graduate program has been cut!  suspended, no more grad students, and tenured faculty reassigned to other departments.  everybody else is out.  so i can finish, but it has to be by this spring!  so i must, must, must and will get busy.

and then there's my sweet Papa, who has been in the hospital with a pneumonia, then a scary vascular surgery, then more heart problems from his existing heart disease.  he's been so sick, and my family is so worn out.  my usual depression and IBS are acting out in full force with the stress of this, but i'm hanging in.  just so, so worried about him.

so i've wondered about maintaining this blog when for a long time it has been fiber-focused.  whether i should start a new blog that's more about writing my dissertation, or about my progress with herbs, or whatever else i'm on about.  do my friends here want to read about any of that?  and then i also have some self-consciousness about it... am i "keeping going" in the sense that Jude talks about, or am i somehow unable, always trying to escape myself?  i've blogged and loved it for a very long time, but i also worry about not being able to be a great blog friend and reader right now...  time is just so tight.  it's much easier to keep up with folks via facebook, but i know a lot of you aren't there (if you are, and we're not friends yet, please let me know how to find you there!)  so i'm trying to figure out what sort of blog this could be and whether i'll keep with it ... i guess time will tell.


back to the business of life and wool

i love how Flash poses so prettily for the camera.
although i think it's actually for cookies.
the twins have grown so much.
this change of season is just what i've needed, it's second only to spring on the joy-meter.


a midlife crisis of seemingly epic proportions

as told through a hair-story.
the first pic shows poor mum combing out my beaver tail.
i'd been flirting with the idea of dreads.
she took care of that.
and then she took me to the salon for a root treatment.
last shot is without filter for truest colour.
i do not care if this is shallow.  it's the best i've got right now.


a little antiquing

some of my favourites of the day out with mum..
although the only one of these i brought home was the good shepherd.
which was irresistable at $10
i also got a vintage hat with a large black bird on it.  
will have to show you that soon!


thank you, deanna!

finally found scrim not at the close-by Hancock's 
(that was one of the places i visited the other day and had no luck), 
but at the one across town, they had it, and half price!
so i bought enough to last me a good while.
unless i get scrim-happy.
also found some perle cotton, milliner's needles and cotton tape!
thank you for the tip, dear Deanna!


i scrim, you scrim

two fabric stores in a major city, with lots of lovelies, 
but no scrim, and no-one who's even heard of scrim!
they pointed me to tulle.
i compared it to cheesecloth, but last time i bought scrim
(at one of these very same fabric stores) 
i really think it was somewhat different from cheesecloth.  
i have a couple of different cheesecloths in the stash somewhere
 that i could dig out and play with.
but i think i'll order some scrim online and see..
what do you think, is it the same or different?
and why so hard to find?


grey girls

same ole late-afternoon squall.
our old hounds have terrible thunderstorm anxiety, so we drug them and curl up together..
sometimes i have a little something for relaxation myself.
seems a good time to be doing the august break over here...
i did it a few years ago and it was renewing.  
i'll be traveling and posting pics, 
and amusing myself with snapseed,  
and trying to keep up with Karen Ruane's embellishment class..
i love her work, but i'm soo enthralled by her voice!  i could (do) listen to her for hours.

if you miss me, go listen to Namaste Farms blog talk radio --
i'll be the co-host for august!!


a long time coming

three months worth of alvin's hare,
together with some shreds of lace and wrapped in silk
 came and went quickly in the shop today
thank you to my very patient customers and friends!!


some things just are

well, i'm up.  hello...

 i love rabbit foot ferns.

hub was wondering why Narcy was hiding..

and he realised she has a secret, or two...

lots of Thoughts have been occurring as i've been laid up.  i've been mulling over my Why for a While now..  and there are lots of them, some seem more worthy than others.  this has been a great read.  and it makes sense, for sure, to put ideas before commodities.

but then i think, maybe i'm more inspired by art and less by business.

”To all viewers but yourself, what matters is the product: the finished artwork. To you, and you alone, what matters is the process: the process of shaping that artwork.” Art and Fear, page 5.

i am not someone who believes that all art should be in service of something larger.  i enjoy the occasional activist art or political novel, but mostly i think art - and craft - is an end in itself. i think one of the qualities of great art is that it is complex, there is no clear agenda, no easily decipherable overarching Message.

i'm not really sure how or if this applies to yarn.  maybe i'm just deferring the important questions.  i think i've burnt out a little trying to be a production crafter.  in a way it seemed more straightforward and honest to try to create something useful rather than something meaningful in some other way.  that's how how i felt for a while anyway.  but now i'm faced with these questions involved in making a successful business and they leave me sorta cold.  there must be a meeting ground between artspeak and business-speak.

but what i really want is to be an artist.  i want that extra indefinable that makes me want to create, and keep on creating.
maybe that's all the Why there is.
i am going to apply to art school.  i may not go, but i'm going to apply.