Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Peace Arch Spin-In, & Scrapie, OPP & Nose Bots, Oh My

A wonderful day was had last weekend as we gathered with spinners from British Columbia, for the Peace Arch Spin - In. Weather was perfect, company was delightful as always, and we came home with a few treasures.

My time lately has been spent perusing books in preparation for bringing home animals to our little farm. This is an entire new venture for me. We've had dogs, cats, rats, a lizard and a bunny in the years that the kids were growing up. Never sheep, chickens or camelids.

I inherited a lovely flock of homing pigeons - white ones, which the previous owner here released at weddings, funerals, etc., and some of them have chosen not to move with her to her new home. We are all quite comfortable together now, and I think the birdies are getting used to Doug & me as caretakers. But sheep? The photo you see is not the entire collection of books that I've been reading in an attempt to avoid disaster. But really, it's getting scary. There are things I'd never heard of - Scrapie, OPP, and Nose Bots, Oh My.

The sheep we've bought are California Variegated Mutant - my favorite to spin, as it's incredibly soft & springy, and comes in a lovely array of colors. So we have coming Lucy and Ethel, two ewes who should be presenting us with a few little bundles of joy in December, and Stella & Daisy (named after my grandmothers), two ewe lambs. As soon as the fence is working, they'll be coming home.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Take an Aspirin a Day

Well, folks, I had a bit of a scare recently. I had a very tiny stroke. I'm very lucky that it was just a warning shot, but it certainly gave me a bit of a shock, especially since I'm not 60 yet.

I get migraines. Several years ago they got to the point that I was having about four a week - time for medical intervention. So now I take medication daily to prevent them, which works quite well. I still get them periodically - now maybe one or two every month or so, but they're no longer the throbbing, puking-my-toenails-up variety. They're much milder. Typically, I have a bit of facial numbness beforehand. And I use Imitrex or Amerge, or sometimes even just Excedrin Migraine and those help a lot. I should also mention that I have identified several triggers, and diligently try to avoid them (things like lack of sleep, bananas, avocados, red wine, Swiss cheese).

It was the end of June that I had a really bad headache again, one of those up-in-the-middle-of-the-night-puking-of-the-toenails variety. I took my medication and felt better, but the left facial numbness remained, and still does to this day. Strange. It had never been that way before. So off to the family practice doc, who ordered an MRI and sent me off to the neurologist. Although the MRI is normal, the symptoms remain so the neurologist feels it most likely was a very small stroke, too small to be detected by the MRI. And my left arm has lost some sensation, too, which I didn't even realize until I saw the first doctor.

I've often suggested to friends that they take an aspirin a day - it acts as a mild anticoagulant and is supposed to prevent strokes. I just rarely remembered to take it myself. (I can't even remember to take my ginko biloba.) But now I'm being religious about it. Just thought I'd pass along the word. A baby aspirin should be enough, but I take the adult one because
that's what I have at home. So, to all of you who may be approaching that age - take an aspirin a day.

The hydrangeas are from my garden. I've always wanted one this blue, and I just love it! (I basically feel like I've died & gone to heaven at our new house. We are so happy to be here. I'll tell you about the sheep next time. . .)

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Highland Games Sheep-to-Shawl

I'm just a bit behind on my posts. So this is what I did *last* weekend, when the Highland Games were in Mount Vernon, Washington. My Spindrifters group, part of Northwest Regional Spinners' Association, held a sheep-to-shawl demonstration. . . well, technically a fleece-to-shawl, as the sheep had already been sheared & fiber washed. We used a yummy silver/gray Romney this time, a donated fleece from one of our members. We picked & carded, then spun and wove a shawl in a waffle weave. Of course I bought raffle tickets on it - it'd coordinate very well with my Goodwill tartan skirt. Wish me luck!

There were two new brands of spinning wheels at the demo this year. One was Louet's new Victoria wheel, and it's owner says it's a great portable wheel which folds up & travels easily in its backpack. The other was a wheel handmade by one of our member's hubby, Doug Dodd. He doesn't have a name for it that I know of yet, but it's very compact and a very different design. It gets good reviews from its owner, too.

It's always great to see & hear the bagpipe bands, & love those kilts! Wish I could convince hubby & sons to wear them!

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Gardens Gone Wild

We're still unpacking boxes, but in between things have taken some time to get out in the gardens. I'm doing some extreme combat gardening, trying to get the buttercups pulled before they all go to seed. At this point, the buttercups are winning, but I keep trying. They're entangled with rose bushes, which truly makes it a challenge, and I have plenty of scratches, thorn punctures, and bruises to show for my work. And one *very sore behind*, probably from all the squatting, crouching, and bending required to get at the little buggers. Mme. Heap de Composte is growing by leaps and bounds.

I've gotten precious little knitting done, but tonight I'm going to the LYS Knit Night (I've earned it) & at this point I'm trying to figure out which knitting project will use the fewest number of muscles. I *have* gotten up to the loom, though. My small study group has decided to do a kitchen towel exchange, and this time (Thank God) it's plain weave, with the stipulation that black be used in some way. I won't give away my exact plans at this point, but I will show you part of the wound warp. :-)

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Our New Home

We’ve been here for two weeks today now. We absolutely love it here. Although much of the house is in order, I still have many boxes left to unpack so I haven’t had much time for fibery endeavors. (Note, I said “much”. I’d probably go into withdrawal if I didn’t have *something* to work on. Right now it’s socks.)

We have our work cut out for us, with an exuberant garden in which it appears that anything will grow. I’m very much trying to resist the temptation to go out & buy a lot of plants at this point. Just want to keep at pulling out the things I don’t want first, and then I’ll see what kind of space I have left. You have *no idea* how difficult this is for me to do. Yesterday, I stopped by Bakerview Nursery in Bellingham, which has an enticing array of pond/water plants. And Doug & I have decided that we will plant a yellow magnolia in memory of our departed pooch, “Magnolia Joy” (Maggie). If I had been able to fit one of those gorgeous magnolias in my VW Beetle yesterday, it’d be here now.

We have three acres of fenced pasture with no furry people out there to mow. Yet. We need to check on the suitability of the electric fence we have, and clear the brush underneath so that the current will flow. I also think we’ll do some dividing of the space to make it possible to rotate pastures. I’m hoping for a few CVM/Romeldale sheep, some alpacas, and maybe a few chickens. But I’m open to suggestions. Friends have recommended Blue Face Leicester & Shetland. . . :-)

Angus has recovered from his laundry mishap. He is now free of bandages & cone, and has dutifully tidied up his paws.