Sunday, May 29, 2011

On a Happier Note - Spindle Camp

And to make up for the very wordy and imageless previous post, here's a short overview of last weekend's Spindle Camp.

Spindle Camp has become an annual event at a small resort/campground at Lake Francis in Dobbins.  There are a mixture of traditional campsites, RV hookups and cabins for rent. Spindle Camp itself took up an entire site where we could hang out in the shade of our pop-ups to spin, smooze and catch up. See all the happy spinning wheels waiting for their people to wake up?

There was food.  Mardi made a gluten-free strawberry-rhubarb cobbler.
And there were roasted peeps.  Yep, roasting peeps on an open fire.  

They're really incredible.  The extra sugar coating caramelizes beautifully, leaving a thin crispy shell with the gooey inside.  

This started as a funny experiment, but they are my new favorite camping food. I couldn't wait to try all the colors. 

Special thanks go out to Jan Evers for organizing the event once again, and Susan Prince for photodocumenting  everything and getting donations from some of our favorite fiber suppliers.  Everyone got a bit of swag.

Here's mine.  It's Lisa Souza merino in a color way that I love.

Other attendees have written in more detail about their camp experiences, which you can check out on the following blogs:
A View From Sierra County
In Stitches
Woven Thoughts

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Irreconcilable Differences

Turns out there are exactly three reasons one can apply for divorce in the State of California: (1) irreconcilable differences, (2) incurable sanity or (3) nullity of marriage for legal reasons (ie incestuous marriage, one member was not of a legal age to marry or fraud).

Irreconcilable differences.  We hear it a lot, but what does it really mean?  Websters defines it as representing findings or points of view that are so different from each other that they cannot be made compatible. 

I think about this a lot.  I think about the reasons for my marriage of nearly ten years to end.  I chase them around in my head. The bottom line is that when you cannot agree on an idea, fact or statement, and in fact debate the meanings of certain words in a semantic fashion to beat those differences into alignment, there comes a point when you realize this is what is meant by irreconcilable differences.  

It means we're not going to agree. Ever.  Not gonna happen.  And when it's an irreconcilable difference regarding a foundation of a relationship, at least you hope you can agree about the outcome, because there's really only one outcome if you can't agree at that point, and that's to agree to disagree. Which in this case means divorce. 

Though this was initially my decision, and even though it's been over a month, I still feel stunned as I move through the process of dividing up our property and filling out what seems like endless amounts of paperwork.  (It was so easy to get married?!)

I naively thought I'd be able to blithely file the papers, put away my wedding ring, update my Facebook relationship status and move on.  Instead I'm emotionally up and down. My future as a single woman is overwhelming.  I know logically that time needs to work it's magic, but I won't deny that there' s a small part of me that would like to wake up from this nightmare.

So if you ask me how I'm doing and I don't respond right away, well, some days just suck.  The generosity and support of friends, family and fiber are slowly working their magic.  Time will do it's thing.  Life will go on.  

And some day we'll have some warmer weather and we'll get to play in the dirt and plant out all of those seedlings we started in the greenhouse!  (Sspt, yes, spring is on it's way.  I saw blackberry bushes in bloom in Auburn today.  It's coming.)

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Shearing Day

Last Sunday Carl the Shearer came to shear Sue's goats and sheep.  There are Romeldale and various Romeldale crosses.  The white one is a Corriedale, and the greys are fleece mutts.  Carl trimmed toes and sheared using his mobile electric shearer.  

The process of trimming a sheap or goat has been called the two-minute waltz.  Before mechanical shears, it would take six men approximately2-3 minutes to collectively shear a fleece.  With mechanical shears and using a consistent pattern to turn the body of the sheep, a good shearer can shear an entire animal in under two minutes by himself.  Mechanical shearing and the techniques that were developed by the Bowen brothers in New Zealand mean faster shearing with a more uniform cut edge and fewer cuts to the sheep, all which yield a higher value to the fleece.

Here's a short video of the shearing of Queenie the Angora goat, which gives you an idea of the process of shearing.

Here's some pics of the various wools after shearing.  These will need to be skirted (removing the poopy bits) and then sent to a mill to be professional cleaned of vegetable matter and processed into fluffy roving.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Lots of changes

Where to even begin?  Beats me, which probably says a lot about why I haven't posted in months.  So lets just gloss over unpleasant things like moving in between snow storms, losing power repeatedly, having first bronchitis, then pneumonia, and discovering that the old place was infested with black mold on the walls after we moved out.

My new home includes the opportunity for most of my favorite things: gardening, fiber, a large yard for Riley, a barn for the dairy goats, and a new flock of chickens.  The new place has a greenhouse and potting shed, so we've been starting seeds weekly for the last couple of weeks. 

I'll confess that I've had trouble for years getting my own seeds started.  Too hot, too cold, not enough light...  Well, not a problem anymore.  These seeds are popping up, no problem.  Many of them are already developing their first sets of true leaves.  That's trombetta squash in the front, then lots and lots of sunflowers.  I counted fourteen dozen sunflowers and six dozen zinnias, among other things.  We want lots of cutting flowers in addition to our veggies and herbs.

Riley gives it all two paws up.  (I was trying for all four paws up, but missed the moment!)