Sunday, January 31, 2010

Searching for Unicorns

Before the weather turned off cold again, I had the special chance to go creek-walking with my lovely friend Marti.  If you've ever checked out Marti's art, you know that she has a special gift of imagination and humor that is second to none!  (Not to mention her special compassion for horses...).
This creek lies behind their horse pasture, down a steep hill covered in honeysuckle and seemingly hidden from the rest of the world.  It is a secret paradise that Marti and her husband only recently discovered.
In spots, the vegetation is as dense and green as the Pacific Northwest.
There was one waterfall after another, each prettier than the one before.
It was the perfect place to look for unicorns.... really!  Did you know this is the Year of the Unicorn?
Marti says to listen for them... can you hear them?  We did!

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Tuesday, January 26, 2010


Embrace.... that's my new Word of the Year.  I'm not sure where I got this idea originally, but it seemed a good alternative, for me, to traditional New Year's Resolutions, which I normally keep for about 5 minutes!.  Last year my Word was ADAPT, and boy did that turn out to be a good one.  I had to constantly remind myself to adapt, as many changes took place here on the farm with a lot of turnover in help and some other challenges.  I remembered to adapt as we tightened our pocketbook.  And we adapted as our kids grew further into their teen years!  It became a positive little mantra in the back of my mind that helped me through a variety of challenging situations.

I've been thinking for a while now what my new word would be, and this one was spoken from a voice deep within.  What does it mean?  I've interepreted it, so far, to mean that I need to...

Embrace new opportunities that come our way, such as our llama treks and new property in Millville.
Embrace the things that make me happy... I've realized that using my hands, creating and crafting, are things   that I need regularly in my life, almost daily, and I'm going to make time for that.
Embrace new skills, always keep learning.  (I plan to take some classes at the Living Arts and Science Center this spring).
Embrace chances to volunteer, help and do some good... at home, in church, in the community.
Embrace the people that matter to me, which is everyone in our circles... family, friends, and acquaintances that I don't see often but whom I care about.  I'm going to choose not to be a handshaker, but a hugger... EMBRACE!

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Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Finally finished a few

 I've been working on spinning up the yarn I need to finish a vest I started last year- the cold weather had me wishing it was done, so I tried to discipline myself into spinning more and more of the seemingly endless and boring rose grey yarn. 

My reward was to spin and knit with some really pretty and bright baby alpaca that I dyed last week.  I worked on it while at our annual Lexington Spinner's Retreat, rewarding myself with something super-soft and interesting which I spun fairly bulky.  I then knit it into an equally mindless-to-make scarflet- the Ribbed Mini-Scarf, (found on Ravelry,) and the pattern can be downloaded here for free (I didn't actually do the ribs, but rather did a simple K1P1).  Yes, I made it for myself- I've heard that January is Selfish Knitting Month!

Well, I wasn't entirely selfish- I'd been needing to knit a few projects for new babies.  The blanket I started for my niece's baby last fall just didn't get finished- it was another case of taking on a too-big project with fine yarn. I knit these Seed Stitch Shoes (pattern found in Debbie Bliss' Baby Knits for Beginners) from hand-dyed and hand-spun baby alpaca.  I love the colors for a baby boy, but they did come out pretty large- oh well, maybe he'll wear them when he's two!  I plan to spin more of the roving into a much finer yarn for my friend's newborn baby boy.

It's amazing how much cold, yucky weather gets me back into the spinning and knitting mood! Pin It Now!

Friday, January 15, 2010

A Walk in the Woods- EDITED!

Blogger has some new editing functions which I'm not getting along too well with quite yet- please excuse the poor layout and sending this out three times- hopefully you'll read this version (still not great, but at least better!)
 It was so good to get outside the other day and take a long family hike on a sunny afternoon, after being cooped up with coooollld weather and snow.  I've totally been nesting for most of the past week (except for while helping take care of the animals), with lots of knitting, spinning, and sewing activity,  and have been feeling grateful that I enjoy domestic and creative pursuits so much!
But still, we all needed to get outside.

The four of us (and Munchie!) strolled through the woods, with Paul and the kids taking along their shotguns just in case we saw any squirrels.   (Yes, Mirian actually has a pink one!)   Paul has put a lot of food on the table from our own farm these past months, and it's been wonderful trying out new game recipes and knowing that we were eating local, organic, and humanely-harvested once again!

 There were deer tracks everywhere as well, and we could see where the deer had laid down for the cold evenings and also where the turkeys were scratching around beneath the snow cover for food, especially under the oak trees where they could find acorns.

This track (above right) appeared to be from a coyote; it was good size (too big for a fox) but much smaller than those left by our livestock guardian dogs.

We were always on the lookout for "deer rubbings", places where the bucks rub their antlers on the trees, and have begun looking for antler sheds- it's early but Paul found a perfect pair about 2 weeks ago.  Normally the rubbing seems to be on our smaller, newly planted trees which then require protection via wrapping with special tape or pipe.  Paul says that the larger the tree, the larger the buck and this was a larger tree to see rubbing on than usual.

It was a great afternoon, and we all returned to the house refreshed and renewed after several grey days.

The picture below was taken nearby on the same day at Glenn's Creek, which flows beside our property in Millville where the new "Addie's Creekside Cafe" will soon be opening.

Wherever you are, I hope you're able to find some beauty in this time of year! Pin It Now!