Monday, November 21, 2011

Sad Day on the Farm

This is Cyrus and Petunia's last day here on the farm. Sadly, the goose experiment failed. As Rob says, we are just not goose people. We're not really set up for them. They've lived on the lawn all summer where they have inspired terror in the UPS man, the fuel man, the post office lady, all our visitors, and even us. They look very bucolic waddling around the fields but they have one fatal flaw: they just can't seem to differentiate between friend and foe. Rob has found someone to take them, someone not bent on having them over for Thanksgiving dinner though if they don't work out there they will likely be invited to join the family for dinner at some point.

I'm sad. We've had them since they were a day old and they were such characters. Raising geese was fun. The grown article is a bit of a different story but I will still miss them. Goodbye, Cyrus and Petunia. It's been real, it's been fun, it's been, well, a pain in the neck, frankly. But we'll miss you. Try not to take a bite of anything you can't chew.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011


I love the new christening of this month and the focus on 100% wool. The sheep (and even llama, alpaca, and bunnies) support the wearing of natural fibers, especially wool. In honor of Wovember I have spun up a skein of 3-ply yarn: 1 ply angora, 1 ply RSF wool, and 1 ply angora. Truly an all-farm effort. It will probably land at Six Loose Ladies as they are due for a shipment of inventory from me. But if you want one for yourself email me ( and I'll be happy to sell you one (or more) for all your Wovember knitting/crocheting needs.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Early Snow

A few pictures of our October 27 (!!!) snow. Love the shot of the farm in the early morning light. Enjoy! Below, farm news, music, and a new yarn idea.

In other farm news, the bunnies have moved down to the barn. (Except for Fergal and Twisk - aka His Snow White Loveliness) We're tentatively looking for a new home for Cyrus and Petunia. (Hopefully one in which they won't be eaten.) Rob is sick of Cyrus attacking him. He doesn't attack me ever since I nursed him back from when he was attacked by (we think) a turkey vulture or hawk. One of the baby hens (this year's chick) has started laying the tiniest little blue eggs. So cute. Petunia lays an egg every other day or so. And I've been commissioned to write a book so for the next eight months or so there won't be a whole lotta fiber art action going on. Which is sad. But after the summer I put in making inventory maybe it's time for a creative break anyway. I can't stop altogether because I keep getting I want to make a yarn inspired by the dried out milkweed pods, all silvery gray, tawny gold, and white fluff here and there. Doesn't that sound fantastic? I can't wait to make it. I even have the materials...I'm going to use Icelandic, tussah silk, and Twisk's wool. Pictures will be posted when I get around to making it.

Before I go I'd like to put in a plug for my former fiddle teacher's new album, Here Below, which you can check out here. It's a collection of original shape note songs and I loved the two I listened to. I'm off to pre-order the album myself. I am looking forward to some new music to usher in the new season. I wasn't quite done with fall, but it's Vermont so what are you going to do? I'll tell you what I did. I baked up some GF pumpkin cranberry chocolate chip walnut muffins and took pictures of all the lovely snow. Now I'm going to do a little ironing, work on the book, and when the sun melts the snows off the road Max and I are going to take a walk. Enjoy your day - however you spend it.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Happy Birthday Twisk!

It's hard to believe that one year ago I stopped in to do my chores on my way to go walking and found Poppet had pulled out a bunch of fur during the night and I thought, "Could it be? Did she have her babies finally?" I had given up thinking she might. But sure enough, babies. I said to Rob, "Do you remember when they were learning to hop and Twisk was still dragging himself around by his front legs and you said it was because I held him so much he never got a chance to practice?" Sure enough, as soon as I put him down and gave him a chance he started to hop. But he still loves to be held. Raising a litter of baby bunnies is hands-down one of my all-time most favorite experiences. I still miss the four who left and hope they are enjoying their homes. If I'd had the room they would have all stayed.

Happy birthday little Twisket (though in this case "little" is not exactly literal . . . )

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Button, Button, Who's Got The Button?

Moving right along, this week's listings will consist of vintage buttons. I've got some posted already with lots more to come if I don't get sidetracked by spinning. I've only got three skeins of yarn made and a festival coming up. Yikes!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Millicent and the Bunny Stuffies

This is Millicent. She's one of the bunny stuffies I've been working on. She's made from old clothes: corduroy trousers, wool trousers, a silk tie, vintage buttons. The stuffies are funny because I never know what they will be until I turn them inside out. In Millicent's case I thought she was going to be a boy, but lo, obviously a girl. And shy. And girly. She wanted bows in her ears so I gave her yarn hair ties.

Millicent made her debut in the shop this week and she's very nervous about it. Stop by and say hi if you want. You'll find her here. Her brothers, Newton (who is a bit of a geek) and Wilson (a dreadful sad-sack) will be at various fairs where my creations are debuting this fall. Howard is staying home to keep me company. In fact, he may never leave. But I have my eye on this stripey cashmere sweater that may become a stuffie to replace him . . . we'll see. Oh, the drama.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011


You've seen photos of the devastation. Here's one showing the indomitable spirit of Vermont (not to mention its wry sense of humor.) Irene, Vermont thumbs its nose at you! Taken at the site of Route7/Post Road flooding in Rutland. Photo credit: Céleste Perrino-Walker

Thursday, August 25, 2011

I Think I Can I Think I Can I Think I Can

Here's a sampling of the vintage finds I've been posting this week. My goal is to post new items during the week and then have a one-day-only sale for Facebook fans of the shop every Friday. What?! You're not a Facebook fan of the shop? Quel dommage! But have no fear! It is not too late! Head right on over to Facebook and fan us quickly! There you are; safe!

And I promise, fiber art will be making more than a token appearance in the shop soon. I've been creating lots of inventory for upcoming shows this fall and when they are over whatever comes home again will head straight for the shop. I've been working on some really fun stuff. In addition to the mobiles (which include seagulls, dragonflies, jellyfish, flowerhat jellyfish, and butterflies) I've been making primitive bunnies from upscaled fabric and knits. They are adorable and will be trickling in to the shop as soon as I have enough to list. For now don't forget that Christmas is coming. Just saying . . .

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Seagulls and Jellies

Yippee!! Shop updates finally! I have been working my fingers raw making products to put in the shops and finally have enough to post some new items on Etsy. And I'm most excited about this seagull mobile and also the jellyfish mobiles which have REAL JELLYFISH ACTION!! You can see them both in action here: and They are some of my very first YouTube videos. I think this means I'm officially in the 21st century.

I love making mobiles. There's something very satisfying about the engineering aspect of it as well as the motion. They are all very soothing. The seagulls look for all the world like they are flying because I strung them with black thread which disappears into the background. I almost hate to sell them but I keep telling myself I can make another one. I also have a larger seagull in the works. The kids are I picked up a supply of driftwood on a dash down to Gloucester and Rockport, MA during April vacation this year. That was a fun, but icy, trip.

Now I'm back to knitting more jellyfish. They are a lot of fun to make. I'm really appreciating my stash at this point. It's nice to be able to pull out exactly what you want. Next up is, fingers crossed, pix of my embellished woven chenille scarves. As soon as the turquoise ones are off the loom I hope to put up some pix. My trusty camera gasped and died so it's charging at the moment. And right when I was in full posting mode too. Bummer. Was just about to list some vintage paper ephemera. Ten lots of letters, some of them a total scream, keep watching the shop if you're interested.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

All Done!

Half N Half

Teasel Before

A Rabbit of a Different Color

Because Blogger is very unhelpful picture-wise I'm going to do this post as a series of pictures (posts) with titles, but the basic premise is that little Teasel got plucked today and I took pictures before, during, and after. I got him in natural lighting so you can see his true color. He was extremely good especially considering he's only 3 months old. I normally wouldn't expect to see a baby coat ready to come off that fast, but as you can see he had a completely intact coat coming in underneath and actually it's already quite long. Since this was a bit of a documentary for the sake of record-keeping you may be interested to know that one baby coat weighs about 1.5 ounces. You may also be interested to know that we listened to one CD from The Fellowship of the Rings while we plucked. Teasel was particularly interested in the bits about hobbits. And it kept us mostly occupied for the duration.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Escape by Albatross

Don't let those innocent faces fool you...these are two have a sense of humor and a blatant disregard for authority. Every night, after much coaxing and cajoling, Cyrus and Petunia are placed in a big plastic tote and brought inside to spend the night in the kitchen. Next to the three chicks who, aside from being bossy are pretty low-key compared to geese.

Last night the geese thought it would be great fun to pull the towel off the chicks' tote so they could fly out. They were happily fluttering around the kitchen while the guilty geese looked on as if they'd had nothing to do with the jailbreak. And did they help with clean-up? No. They did not. That's geese for you.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Introducing Teasel

So I know everyone has been waiting with bated breath in excruciating agony of suspense over the empty cage in the stacks downstairs ever since Fergal moved back upstairs. It seemed so sad. So lonely. So EMPTY. Well, I have been thinking about it too. I really wanted a chocolate and thought I'd located one but alas, the color changed as the baby grew and in the end it wasn't chocolate. So I reluctantly passed on her. Then this little guy became available from Apple View Angoras. He's actually St. John and Posey's nephew (they are half siblings.) The color isn't as striking in this photo because I took it indoors, but he's got the coolest color. He's a blue pearl so he's blue underneath and on his face and ears, but his coat is whitish with blue tips. Very pretty. Can't wait to spin his wool and see what it looks like. The nice thing is that his wool will blend well with the rabbits I already have. Chocolate not so much. One of my babies who left was renamed by its new owner "Teasel" and when I heard the name I liked it so much I decided to name a bunny that at some point so this new little guy is Teasel.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Cyrus and Petunia

The Goosesitter

It's amazing how fast Cyrus and Petunia are growing. They are a hoot. They don't follow us around so much any more unless they're interested in where we're going. They spend most of their time eating and pooping and taking baths. That is, Cy takes baths; Petunia watches. She's still not real sure about all that water stuff. It's wild when they decide to take off after you because suddenly you'll hear a lot of slapping. When they run they wave their wings around wildly and their feet make slapping sounds. They would have trouble sneaking up on anything.

Max isn't sure what to make of them. When they do get in the water and start splashing around he gets too excited and I'm afraid he might eat one by accident so we put him in the house. But when they are quite, like in the picture, he'll stand guard over them.

The chickens are learning to give them a wide berth. Yesterday one arrogant chicken got too close and a gosling (can't remember which one) grabbed her by her tail feathers. The poor startled chicken started flapping and for one comical moment she was suspended midair but couldn't make any headway because she had a gosling hanging off her butt.

Even if geese turn out to be a huge mistake we're having a lot of fun with them!

Friday, June 3, 2011

Mourning Doves

According to the Internet (the source of all information in the universe) that's Dad on the nest and Mom on the pole. She was coming in to relieve him of duty when I surprised them by returning to the barn because I ran out of hay to put in the nest boxes for the geese and chicks. I was beginning to suspect that the brown lump next to Mom was more than just part of the nest when it moved from one side of the nest to the other. Last night it was on the left. Today, the right. It's difficult to see because it's dark in the barn. I tried binoculars but I'll have to find another pair. They were too close to see them well enough.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Introducing . . .

Mustard, Flustered, and Custard, future egg-layers extraordinaire. It will be interesting to see what color their eggs are since they are all Araucanas (aka Easter Eggers) named for their colorful eggs in blue-green shades from turquoise to olive green. We already have some of these chickens. One lays blue/green eggs and one lays pinkish eggs. Compared to goslings chicks are unassuming and relatively clean, if a bit standoffish.

I told Rob that since he's finally joined the farm party (ordering geese was his ticket in) that we should read Enslaved by Ducks. I've read it once already and now that we actually have animals I think it's pretty much required reading. And hilarious. Bob Tarte is the Pat McManus of the farm world. No matter how much llama spit you stick your hand into Bob's gotten into worse. It can't help but make you feel better about your life.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

The Accidental Goslings

How, you might well ask, can a farm without geese end up with accidental goslings? It's not like they were born here to a sneaky broody goose. The answer to that question is the same as the answer to another.

Question: What happens when you send your husband to the feed store to pick up some grain with the offhand remark, "While you're there why don't you see if it's possible to order geese through them."

Answer: Your husband orders geese. What kind? He doesn't know. How many? Two. Why? Refer to 'what kind'.

Then, a couple weeks later the feed store calls to tell you your goslings have arrived. (Presumably by stork.) And voila! Accidental goslings ordered by your husband who didn't realize he was actually ordering goslings but has a vague remembrance of the conversation going something like, "While you're at the feed store why don't you order geese if you want some." And why did he pick what turned out to be White Chinese Weeder Geese? Because they sounded exotic.

So now we have two exotic White Chinese Weeder Geese. Because we have no idea what the sexes are and have a 50/50 chance of getting it right we called one Cyrus and one Petunia (after the delightful, silly goose who was one of my favorite childhood characters.)

I have to say, goslings are a riot! They are nosy, boisterous, curious, hysterical, and quite the little characters. But they don't like to swim. At least not yet. They do love to follow people around and they are good at getting underfoot. Mostly they sleep and eat and dunk their heads under water. When they aren't pooping. And geese poop a LOT. About three times a day when we change their bedding (because they poop a LOT) we let them run around on the lawn where they follow whoever's moving. Cyrus is stronger and keeps up really well but poor Petunia always seems to take the hardest route. Today she tried to follow us and instead of going around the path like Cy she made a beeline through the wilderness of mint plants in the flower bed and nearly tumbled off the small rock wall at the end because she was so relieved she'd caught up that she wasn't paying attention to where she was going. (Though I have to say geese seem to feel they are invincible and would walk over the side of a cliff without a second thought.)

The day after the goslings got here the chicks arrived. So now there are goslings in the kitchen and chicks in the bathroom (and bunnies in the basement.) Ah, farm life. Can't beat it.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Tru Wuv - AKA Rabbit Psychology 101

The Impressive Clergyman: And wuv, tru wuv, will fowow you foweva . . . So tweasure your wuv . . .

I'd be willing to bet money that if I asked you if you thought rabbits were capable of strong emotion you'd say not in a million years. A year ago I would have agreed with you. Two years ago I would not have expected any more emotion from a rabbit than I'd expect from a post. But now I know differently.

I'm about to tell you two rabbit stories that will sound very much like I poached them from one of those touching emails people pass around but they happened to me and my very own rabbits.

These are my first two rabbits, Merrie and Pippin. (Merrie has the darker face.) They are siblings and in the picture are young enough to be kept together. Later, when they had to be separated I put them in side-by-side cages. They were never particularly affectionate, to each other, I mean. I never caught them sniffing noses or even sitting next to each other separated only by wire. About the only thing you could possibly ascribe to an outward show of affection was that they pooped in the corners of their cages nearest each other. In my world that would really indicate the opposite sentiment, but they are rabbits, after all.

Anyway, time passed and I got more rabbits and eventually I changed everyone over to stacks of three cages one on top of another and side by side. Nine in all. In the process of relocating everyone Merrie ended up on one level and Pippin on another. I didn't think anything of it and for awhile nothing seemed to change.

Then, slowly, I noticed Pippin wasn't interested in food and he grew more listless. He didn't hop around at all just laid in his cage wheezing. I know he has a small tumor under his jaw and I thought maybe he was riddled with cancer and I just didn't know it. I didn't expect him to be with us long. He was barely pooping at all (in rabbits that's like being on your death bed.) I started the usual treatment (IV fluids and Critical Care.) Twice I brought him back from the brink of death and he started to eat a little but then he'd head downhill again.

I felt sorry for him - dying of cancer as I supposed - so I let him have extra time in the hoppy pen. That was when I noticed something strange. In the hoppy pen he acted perfectly normal, hopping around, still not eating or pooping, but certainly not laying on the floor wheezing like he did in his cage. Then one morning when I came down the stairs there was Pippin sitting up on his hind legs looking into one of the cages as if he was having a chat over the garden fence. Amused, I said, "So, Pippy, who are you visiting with?" As it hit me (like a two-by-four over the head) that it was MERRIE he was "chatting" with it also dawned on me to wonder if he might be MISSING Merrie. I figured it couldn't hurt anything if I moved him next door to Merrie so I did.

Originally his hay rack was hanging on the cage on Merrie's side and one of the first things he did was rip it off the wall (several times) until I finally put it on the other side. From the second I put him in that cage he started acting like a normal rabbit again. No more wheezing, no more listlessness. He started eating and pooping and drinking. Today he's probably the healthiest rabbit I have.

If I hadn't gone through this experience I may never have realized what was wrong with Fergal. I had put him downstairs with the other rabbits in the fall and at first I thought he was happy. He never seemed particularly unhappy. But slowly he started to exhibit the same behavior Pippin had when he was pining. Fortunately I suspected the trouble and realized he was pining too, but Fergal was pining for ME. He missed living upstairs. So I trundled him upstairs, gave him plenty of attention, and slowly he got his health back and now he's happy as a lark.

"I never realized rabbits were smart," I said to Dr. Bruce, my bunny vet, one day.

"Oh, they are," he said, "very smart. But they're subtle. They're not like a dog or cat. They won't tell you what's wrong. You have to be very observant."

Truer words were never spoke.

I'm considering a career change. I'll find a little couch and become a rabbit psychologist. I'll keep a bowl of baby carrots on my coffee table and take my notes on lettuce leaves while I ask, "And how does that make you feel?"

Not Oprah, perhaps, but maybe better.

Sunday, February 27, 2011


Twisk comes up to hop around almost every night. Sometimes I bring him up and sometimes Rob sneaks him up and I find out he's upstairs when I hear, "Thump, thump, thumpity, thump!" (It's hard to mistake the sound a bunny makes when it hops - or occasionally tears - around.)

Once, while I was on the stationary bike downstairs Rob snuck him upstairs and put a stuffed toy in his cage. I came around the corner to go upstairs and saw a stuffed cat in Twisk's cage and it took me a few seconds after, "Wha . . .???" to figure out what was going on.

He was great about using the litterbox until the cat peed in it. I washed it out (with vinegar) and filled it with fresh litter but except for hopping in every once in awhile he hasn't shown any interest in using it the way it was intended. Stupid cat.

I got an even closer up shot of this picture and sometime I'm going to paint it. Right now I'm on Day 6 of my Detoxivacation and so far all I've wanted to do is cook, bake, and peruse raw and vegan cookbooks. My family is over the moon happy about all the baking. So far I've made 7 loaves of bread, 2 batches of muffins, a pan of blondies (they have sweet potato in them . . .shhhhhh), a potato dumpling soup, sushi in a bowl (I forget the technical name but man oh man it smelled so good that the next day I kept thinking, "That meal was so good. I can't wait to make it again" before I remembered that I didn't actually EAT it.), baked tofu, some stuffed bread "pockets", I think I'm forgetting something. Anyway, I've run out of flour. Again. My family probably wishes I'd stop eating more often. LOL!

I'm shooting for 10 days as a minimum and 20 as a maximum. It will depend on how quickly I detox. One thing I've discovered. If your life is rushing past you and you want to slow it down just stop eating. Time will literally drag. Man will it drag.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Bunny Elf

Someday cookies will be named after this guy. I mean, how could they not???

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Too Pooped to Hop

Today is a snow day. We're expecting 12-18 inches. Twisk is upstairs hopping around (and escaping the barrier I've set up to keep him contained in the dining room/kitchen area so Max won't be tempted to eat him) and crashing every now and then for a quick snooze. Needless to say, Twisk loves snow daze. (Because he's such a white fluffy marshmallow Rob says if we threw him out in the snowbank we'd never find him. LOL!!)