Friday, December 30, 2011

There's an Eowyn sized hole in my house

and heart.  I've stuffed it with Steve.

sweet steve

Isn't he adorable?!  His dad is Australian Shepherd and his mother is a walking hound.   He could herd cows or hunt deer - a multi-purpose dog if you will.  My hope is that the brains of his dad will outweigh the calling of his nose when needed.

He's pretty darn smart.  He knows "sit" and is working on "shake", "down", and he understands "no" but isn't wedded to the idea.  We're working on it.  They say the hardest part of leash training is keeping a hound's nose in the air instead of on the ground.  Honestly, I have no idea how you do that.  Other than holding a treat out in front of him the whole time, Steve's nose is positively glued to the ground.

His skinny little tail bobs adorably while he scampers down a trail.  All he does is try to win Mac's favor, but it's not working.  I remember when Mac did the same thing with Eowyn.  It took a little while but finally Eowyn started playing with him (a.k.a. trying to chew on his head).  We used to call it the Mac and Eowyn Show. Maybe Mac's not done grieving yet.

Here's a favorite picture of Mac and Eowyn in action.  No dogs were hurt during the photo session.  Someday maybe it will be Mac and Steve...

i love to chew on your head

Tuesday, December 27, 2011


There's been a lot of death in my life this year.  That is death in a spiritual sense. Death to old ways of doing things, to phases of life, to friendships, etc. There have been a few births too, but mostly death.

The biggest non-tangible thing I lost this year was my self-confidence.  After deciding to leave my job of twenty-two years (all for very good self-care reasons) I was confident and secure that I could find something else with all my varying abilities to survive.  This has not been the case.  This has been a very sharp blow to my self-esteem and confidence. I've known work done with hands and heart is less valued than work done with degrees, but to have strangers look at my list of skills and not realize the experience and ability that I have is frustrating.


The second biggest loss came Monday, my sweet Eowyn died.  I found her nine years and eleven months ago one morning at work.  She was in someone's garbage at house down the street with a broken chain (an actual short lead, not a tie out chain) around her neck.  She was so skinny when my friend Mel and I put her on the porch to hold her until Animal Control could come she slipped between the rails. When they finally arrived the guy took one look at her and said, "Well, we'll take her in but she's got two strikes against her already.  She's part chow (black spots on her tongue and fluffy chow-like fur with pricked ears) and she's pregnant.  If she passes the personality test, which I think she will (she was lying on her back and he was rubbing her belly), no one wants a pregnant dog." I asked him if I could think about taking her and he said he'd leave her and if I called back he'd come and get her.

After wrestling with the pros and cons I decided to bring her home.  The peeps and I were all very into Lord of the Rings at that point and as she was blonde Eowyn seemed the perfect name. She was very submissive and sweet with the peeps.  And ravenously hungry.

The next day I brought her back to Durham to take her to the vet.  Mel and I were walking her on the street in front of where we worked and a car zoomed up to the curb and called, "Nala!" A woman got out of the car and said, "That's my dog, we've been looking all over for her! That's my daughter's dog."

"How long has she been missing?"  I asked.  I noticed Eowyn didn't look excited to see her.  No happy tail wag or straining on the leash to get to her.

"Three days!"

"I found her yesterday right there." I pointed to the house next door.

"We live in the next house over."

Suddenly I remember seeing Eowyn.  Tied on a three foot chain to a Dogloo all day, every day. "She's starving and she's pregnant."

"Oh.  You can keep her then.  She ate her last litters. We usually keep her in the basement when she's in heat."

I was absolutely horrified. I knew dogs would eat their litters if they didn't think it was safe for them, or if they were starving and I decided there was no way she was going back to them.  Even if this woman changed her mind. I told the woman I was taking her to the vet in a few minutes and needed to walk her.  She continued talking to Mel while I took Eowyn further up the street.

After a trip to the vet, where I was reassured that since Eowyn was now getting food and attention, I should keep an eye on her during her labor, but things would probably be ok.  She was right!  Eowyn was a loving, diligent, doggie-mama.  She birthed eight puppies (their were at least three different dads) and she went on to have a long, happy life.


 There's an Eowyn sized hole in my house now.  I miss the sound of her breathing (snoring much of the time), walking around the house, sleeping on the bed with me, and going for walks. She gave my life a rhythm and was very comforting when I was getting used to being "single" on the days I didn't have the peeps. She came along at a perfect time in my life. I'll miss her.


Thursday, December 15, 2011

New yarn on Etsy

On Monday I dyed ten skeins of yarn. They are finally dry, detangled, and ready to show. Here is a picture from my phone:

  Fingering yarn

 There's another blue (more muted) that went up on Etsy, but didn't fit in the bowl that I really like. I also made some new labels I'm hoping will work better than having tags flop around.
  New labels

 In knitting news, I'm working on Abyssal in a wool/silk blend I bought long ago for something else entirely. I find casting on tedious when the numbers get that large, but I'm almost done with the fourth repeat of the pattern and will soon head into short rows.

 Morgan is home from school - yesterday with a fever and bodyaches - today with a massive head ache. He's been in bed all morning and looks pathetic. I used to kind of enjoy when the peeps were little and sick (especially Morgan) because it was the only time he'd sit still and snuggle with me. Now he's too large to snuggle, but it still breaks my heart to see him so miserable.

There's been a request for mac and cheese for dinner from Chicky.  At her dad's house it comes out of a box and she reminded me I haven't made any in forever.  That's an easy fix!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Another internet party where I'm arriving late, are you there already?

The amazing indie dyer and spinner Sarah and I communicate almost daily by rav mail (a.k.a. Ravelry for those of you that have lives strangely unencumbered by fiber).  We've been doing this for years and have never actually met in person. We have video chatted once, and talked on the phone a couple times when I went MIA in the wool world for a while. Anyway, she is a fabulous friend and hooks me up with all kinds of things I should know about, but don't.

Yesterday's revelation was Paperback Swap - What the wool? Exactly people, just like the name implies you exchange books (and also CD's or DVD's) for free.  Honestly, what could be better?  I heart books, but sometimes I heart impulse buys and I have a slew of books I read once and will never read again.  I signed up (easy peasy), posted 18 books, got two credits for two books and someone is waiting for me to print a shipping label and mail a book to them.  If someone orders one of your books you agree to pay the postage and mail it.  That's it.

Of course, I've already created a wish list with all kinds of cook books and a few knitting books on it. There is a tricksy part where they make new books available so if you were weak and tempted you could click that button and get exactly what you wish for immediately, but I'm not falling for that old trick.  Patience, Grasshopper.  Someone may suddenly decide to cast aside all their Jamie Oliver or Interweave Press books.  I shall wait very quietly...

While I'm waiting quietly I've been playing with some new dyes I bought.  They've got their pros and cons, but I do like the end results. The skeins working on some drying outside before they come in for the night.

Today was only a ten skein day because I had other things I needed to do before the peeps get home.  Namely burst for the first time in two weeks and get groceries.  My leg is now healed enough to run, wear pants instead of skirts, and have a small dog sit on my lap.  Mac is just as glad as I am that the healing is happening. Although he does look pretty snug on his down blanket.

mac again

And just because the Homesick Texan where I virtually live these days, posted a recipe that looked dangerously delicious I'm making Oyster Cracker Crack.  Thank you Lisa Fain, my children adore you!

Seasoned oyster crackers
1 pkg. 12-14 oz. oyster crackers
1/2 cup of canola oil
1/2 tsp fresh dill weed
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp lemon pepper
1 pkg. ranch dressing, original (do not use low fat!)

Preheat oven to 250 degrees
Mix oil with herbs and spices
Put crackers in a 9 x 13 inch pan
Pour oil and herb mixture over crackers, gently stir
Cook in oven for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally

Tomorrow when the fibers are dry there shall be pictures!

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Anybody need some yarn?

I've been dyeing yarn, but not putting it in my Etsy shop.  It's been going on consignment to Cozy where it is selling well!  Who wouldn't buy scrumptious yarn if it's right there in front of them? Exactly.  Unlike the interwebs where one is reduced to choosing by descriptive words and well-lit pictures, seeing a yarn in person brings in all one's senses into play.  It's much harder to resist in person.

Here's a sample of some of my "regular" dyeing that is soon leaving my abode.  This is 100% superwash Blue Faced Leicester in DK weight.  There are 246 yards per hank.

new sw bfl dk weight yarn

More bags have been knit and felted and are waiting on their zipper insertion. I'm taking the little buggers with me next time.  Shortening a zipper is no big deal, but why do it if it's not absolutely necessary?

striped bags

There are twenty skeins of yarn out on the patio drying at this very moment.  They are all merino (none superwash) and are a departure from my regular dyeing method.  I'm pleased with the results and will post pictures once they are dry.

I'm hoping my new printer gets here so I'm not making 20 handmade labels for yarn.  My handwriting has gotten crappy due to lack of use and I hate inflicting it on others!

Thursday, December 01, 2011

More FO's!

Despite my wounds I'm getting quite a few items finished!  The leggings were done long ago but needed a proper picture.  The pattern is from tinyowlknits and they have an easy pattern to memorize and go quickly.  I finished them faster than a pair of socks.

 While I was out of commission with my back I made several of these leaf washcloths. Perfect for gifts with some handmade soap!


 And I've finished two more bags

green and purple bag 

and some yarn to split between Cozy and Etsy. The yarn is supersoft, superwash blue-faced leicester. It drinks up the dye happily and has a glorious sheen. Seen here in a lofty aran weight.

  aran sw bfl yarn

 It's going to be hard to decide what skeins will go to Cozy and which will go in the shop! Decisions, decisions.