Tuesday, December 25, 2007

holiday tingle

happy holidaze everyone! i hope you all are surviving.

i'm glad we've really made an effort to take the commercialism out of the holidays. this year we decided to "thin out" an area of our property to help with fire control and better growth of overcrowded trees. we found a congested cedar grove and picked this beautiful baby. cedars are very soft and easy to cut.
we decorated the tree solstice eve and had an impromptu fire party on solstice day. visiting with friends and neighbors and just being together. it was wonderful.sunday we had a nice relaxing family day with a hike as the weather was gorgeous.(sorry all you folks east of the rockies!) what a tree, eh?then we carved and decorated our yule log lit another outside fire and built our traditional family solstice cave in honor of the rebirth of the sun.
it was so magical with the sunsetting and the full moon rising at the same time. i took pictures but they don't do it justice. you'll just have to imagine. it was awesome! we stretch out the gift giving over many days. so it is not just a shark feeding frenzy- with major let down when it's over.

now all of you fiber addicts out there know-that no matter how huge and colossal your yarn stash is you can barely stand the tickle and tingle of excitement-the rush of exilheration of new projects to come when someone bestows upon you the perfect gift-more yarn. yes!!!!!! anne treated me to 3 skeins of rowan kidsilk haze(with pattern for a fir cone stole) and 4 skeins of koigu KPPPM-OH MY GOD! that deserves capital letters. and Birdsong gave me the CUTEST felted bell ornament kit. thank you anne and birdsong for tickling me. sorry for the blurrs-i just couldn't hold the camera still-too damn excited i guess.

jesus mary and joseph! i can hardly stand it! i want to start all three projects right now!!!!!!!!!! simultaneously. now, the big dilemma hits-do i finish my current projects or dig right in. shit. i know what i should do but it's not what i want to do.

now yesterday was xmas eve. we wanted to do something fun. the weather again was nice. too nice.(no, i'm trying not to rub it in -honest) so we decided to head up the road to find snow and cold-after all it was officially winter. we found it!!!!!!
first stop-downieville-we love it there. especially the hardware store. i bought myself- uuhh oops! i mean the family a new toy-don't tell anyone-but it was actually for ME -i've wanted one for years!!!! i guess i'm still a tomboy at heart. wild turkeys look out!!!!! you'll have to wait for the next post to see what it is-no picture right now. any guesses?


we played in the snow and got real wet and c-o-l-d! we kept heading north to sierra valley-no that is not a lake-it's the valley.

we ended up at the sierra hotsprings for a nice warm mineral soak in the outside pool. ahhhhhh!
it was special as it was not planned. we just went on an adventure and ended up there. snow piles around the pool-steam rising with the moon-peaceful indeed.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

yes, i survived the rat incident.

i can't do any fiber posting at the moment as any fiber thing happening now is a gift and i don't want to spoil any surprises. what's up here???? we've been sick and busy. i'm a snot machine right now.

life has been consumed with homestead issues. we have had a horrid problem with manzanita taking over. i'm talking fields of it!! meadows of it. manzanita is a hardwood shrub that burns at an insane high temperature. and since we live in fire country-it is a scary thing to have more than an acre of high fuel tinder that you can't even walk thru that also harbors ticks(creatures from hell) in the rainy season.
this is what it looks like-this is how tall it got:
we have been pulling it out with a hand tool- before it got this big-it grows effin fast! the tool is the best $100 hand tool for land clearing you could ever wish for-it's called a ''root jack'. we got it from peaceful valley farm supply. we own 2 so 2 folks can do it together and get some good talking done while your you are clearing the land.( i.e. my kids-hee hee) no, i do my fair share of root jacking too. in fact some times my hands are so sore i can't knit or practice banjo.
well, the meadow got away from us-there was just too much of it. and we realized it wasn't gonna happen by hand as it was already too big. we needed the "machine." we found this awesome guy ''tim" who did this horrendous chore at an afforadable rate-worked well over 5 hours but only charged us for 4 hours. thank you tim!
we've also been busy with burning slash piles(another fire hazard)-left over from the previous owner-thank you very much! but we have to get these fire hazards out of the way!

hubby made it fun-he found some champagne in the fridge-from LAST years "new years". remember- we love beer here-champagne is like some unknown thing growing in your fridge-we only noticed it cause we were out of beer- AAAAHHHHHOHMYGODHOWCOULDTHISTRADGEDYBESTOWUS! but we still managed to enjoyed the bubbly grapes:

okay-i.m sick and need to go to bed and i can't get the damn picture to post above-damn the computer! good night!

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

not for the squeemish!

AAAAAARRRRRRGGGGGHHHHHHHH! ah that feels better. i have survived the horrendous hideous chore of all times. let me rewind a bit. a few of you know that i have been dealing with a very intelligent neotoma fuscipes.-aka wood rat. now, for those of you who don't live in northern california- summers are blistering hot here. our family doesn't use central air- all we have is a few fans-it's bloody hot. we don't use our oven all summer. this fall i turned the oven on to bake a pizza. gawd! what is that horrendous smell?- my older boy, carey says-"it smell like urine"(burning warm urine-there goes dinner) sure enough-i open the oven-and there is a nest-"jesus mary and joseph!" i was shocked. no smell before hand, no poop, no visible signs of rodent!

okay-i try and be humane and use the live trap-no go-this rat wasn't going for it. okay-deep breath-we try the snapping traps-licked the peanut butter clean, but did not set it off-for like a week. now i'm pissed. this varmint is stealing all my nice cloth napkins dragging them under the stove top and shredding them and pooping and peeing galore! i'm not gonna clean this mess until this beast is dead-cause i'm not gonna keep re- cleaning this mess. it's disgusting. then we try the dreaded glue traps.-still no luck. there is even little feet marks on the glue-i'm totally freaking at this point! we even hit it with a broom once or twice. i was avoiding the poison cause my cats can get into anything and everything- i didn't want to kill the cats. but it was my last resort. i was not gonna have a exterminator come and poison my whole house-no way!!!

so it was d-con all the way!! behind the fridge, behind the washer and all three layers of the oven. damn it! i was done with this vermin! i wanted to use my oven!!!!!!my god-it took weeks!!! the rat that would never die! i finally started noticing green posion poops in the oven-scabbers(the boys named it that)was hopefully meeting it's maker!

i noticed the cats were done sniffing the oven and figured it was safe to begin the cleaning process-god help me! i'm armed and dangerous! it was a 3 day process.
day one: scrape and clean poop and urine out of oven/stove/broiler. lovely huh?
can you see the poison poop? bright green. okay-it's still day one-i'm scraping and cleaning fighting back the gag reflex to vomit. when i come upon deep in a hidden corner a big soft squishy thing-aaaarrrrrrr-i yell in discust(i'm Not a screamer-Not a girlie girl)-i let out a hardy yell that alarmed the boys. this is what i find- the squeemish can close their eyes now:scabbers dies!
day two: recover from day one and spray toxic shit. it's gotta sit for 8 plus hours.

day three: not wanting to to continue. gotta homeschool the kids-put it off some more. fret and fidget and complain. gotta keep pushin! have a beer. do it damn it! almost vomiting- the smell of wet rat urine and poop mixed with cleanser is about to kill me. i push ahead-the journey is hard- BUT
it's done:i effin did it!!! and lived to tell the tale!!! i have my oven back.
i'm so tired. i'm supposed to be at my fiber guild cookie exchange xmas party right now.-yeah right-like i was gonna bake something after this affair. i'm gonna heat this oven at 500 for about 3 days till i even think of using it.

birdsong and i were going to go together. i just couldn't get it together. it's a long long drive in the dark-i'm so blind at night-the canyon road just too much-and it's an everyday to town week not to mention(again) no cookies! so, i took a loooong hot shower and put my jammies on an wrote this instead. sorry sue-i was really trying this year!

Monday, December 10, 2007

sign of the times

it's 8:00 p.m. my children(ages: almost 16, almost 10) are playing "political prisoner." one is tied to the chair wanting his holy book-he is given it. he starts reading from "THE PROPHET" BY kahlil gibran. he needs his holy blanket too. they take turns being the prisoner. younger son is more brutal to the prisoner-(they often play 'border patrol' and "slum bum" too.) ahhhhh! help me! prisoner is being denied a pillow. fresh produce is given-a dried up carrot. sammy davis jr. is singing "mr. bo jangles" in the back ground. am i dreaming?

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

holiday craft faire

well, i did pretty good at the craft faire despite the small crowd. this craft faire is a wonderful venue in an old one room schoolhouse-called the north columbia schoolhouse.( see previous post for a picture.) i believe it is technically considered nevada city but it seems more like north san juan-it is on the "ridge" as in "the ridge." folks around here know what that means and where that is. i live on a different "ridge" i live on "rebel ridge." lot's of "ridges" around here. wow! i'm tired-i'm rambling.

anyway, i always forget to get pictures of my booth. so here are a couple-about 1/2 way thru the day. my favorite baby sweater sold-so it's not in these pictures.

i had fun trading at the end of the day too-i got some handmade soap, a water color of the yuba river and the cutest bunny fairy for my neighbor raena-she's 7.(my boys don't like cute girly things-ha!) wish i could post pics of those too but i'm not at home. birdsong came a got one of my favorite rovings. can't wait to see what she makes with it. well i'm plum tuckered out and this computer screen is doing some major eye burn so i'm gonna be unplugged for the rest of the night.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

insulators

today my younger son liam and i had a great day traveling one hour to the auburn glass insulator and bottle show. liam collects glass insulators. most people look at me totally confused when i tell them this. they don't know what they are. they are the cool glass thingees on old power, phone and telegraph lines. here's a pic i took at the show today to give you an idea:


we had a great time and liam got a bunch of freebies. the old collectors love when kids are interested. i'll try and post later what we scored. i collect swanky swigs. they are glasses from the 40's and 50's the old processed cheese containers that are cool little drinking glasses when you are done with the cheese-that good ole pomento cheese spread. i scored a deal -will show you pics later.

anyway-tomorrow i will be a the north columbia school house holiday craft faire-selling my wares-hand spun yarn, hand dyed rovings and hand knit items. it's a wonderful venue. check it out:i'm excited and hope to make some holiday funds. oh i almost forgot. i never spend time in auburn and today after the insulator show we decided to hit old town auburn-another gold country historic town. not only did we find antique stores but a new brew pub-yes!!!! it was awesome-good tasty beer and awesome food. i had a double IPA that was to die for. it's called the auburn ale house. so nice to not have to drive all the way to sacramento to hit a brew pub.
have a great weekend!

Thursday, November 29, 2007

our school


i love the home school charter we belong to. today we had a book character party and the primitive building class had a ceremony to honor their structures they built. short post today-here's some pictures from the primitive building class. liam was not happy about picture taking.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

giving

i love to give. i wish i had the means to give more. then i realize it doesn't always have to be monetary or extravagant. i was very excited to see birdsong's blog with a wonderful "pay it forward" type giving extravaganza. something i can do and feel real good about it. here it is:

I will send a handmade gift to the first 3 people who leave a comment on my blog requesting to join this PIF exchange. I don’t know what that gift will be yet and you may not receive it tomorrow or next week, but you will receive it within 365 days, that is my promise! The only thing you have to do in return is pay it forward by making the same promise on your blog.

i've been real busy dyeing, spinning and knitting trying to get my etsy shop updated. i'll let you know when i update. gotta run-i'm spending way too much time on this machine again!

Friday, November 23, 2007

thankfulness

this holiday week i enjoy reflecting on things i'm thankful for. yesterday i felt so much gratitude fill my heart. i thought i 'd share some of them with you:

* my dear hubby who doesn't realize how much i love and appreciate him.
* my boys:

* i'm thankful we did not die after eating those wild mushrooms
*i'm thankful for sheep, acorns, rain and moss
I'm thankful for our view off the front porch:
i.m thankful for:pomegranates, ladybugs and dragonflies
*i'm thankful for olives, wildflowers and crescent moons
i'm thankful for my spinning wheels:and my fiber stash-i'm too embarrassed to post a pic. of that!
i'm thankful for my dear friends and neighbors
i'm thankful for the letter "B" as it begins the words of more thankfuls: boots, banjos and beer!
i'm thankful for my health and the health of my family
i'm thankful for my gurls and their fresh eggs:

*i'm thankful i can stay home with my kids and homeschool
*i'm thankful for old movies, artists and potters
i'm thankful for raspberries, thunderstorms and the yuba river
i'm thankful for my garden and my dusty banjo:i'm thankful for brie, clos de bois and the ocean
i'm thankful for the sierras in my backyard:
i'm thankful for another fire free summer and if there is a bad emergency we have an awesome fire department and 'flight for life' lands at the top of our road:
gee, i could just keep going and going-i guess i'm thankful for having so much to be thankful for. thank you!

Saturday, November 17, 2007

ching ching!

i made my first 4$ on a dozen eggs-wow! maybe i can cut into my organic chicken feed bill! the wild turkeys have been stealing into the chicken feed making it so expensive. hopefully that will all change tomorrow. i have a friend coming over tomorrow early-to do some turkey hunting!!! i'm done with these pests! can't believe ben franklin wanted this bird to be the national bird-argh!

well we have embarked tonight on eating our very first wild mushroom. i was very nervous.
hubby and liam went mushrooming and then i took them over to a friend who knows shrooms-just to make sure. of all they collected-this baby was edible. the short stemmed russula. not known for it's flavor-but it is safe. we sauteed it with garlic, tamari and broccolivery tasty indeed!

Monday, November 12, 2007

new addiction

believe it or not i have been spinning lately. haven't had time for photos except for this latest skein. i dyed the merino roving at one of our fabulous dye days:
way prettier in real life-still can't capture the true colors of my fiber-hmm? well, as usual i'm super busy-need to get back to work(truth be known i just got on "ravelry"-way too addicting-sounds like a new anti-depressant eh? in fact i thought it was a new drug the way everyone was talking about it. my username is "woolydaisy" for all that are addicted too.)-so i'm going to leave you with my november edition of the "chicken chronicles" instead of a full post. for those of you who don't know-i write a monthy column in our small hometown paper.
My goodness, so much has been happening here at the Rebel Hen Ranch. Let’s see last I wrote we were looking for a home for baby rooster “Banjo. (I believe the correct terminology is actually “cockerel.”) He was one of Hazel’s chicks who woke me crowing one morning. A big thank you to Wendy and Daniel for giving him a good home. Once Banjo departed another of Hazel’s offspring began crowing-like the very next day. That’s when I said to myself-“my! What long legs you have!” Sure enough, cockerel #2. We named him Daddy Long Legs. Now for those of you who have not read previous chronicles-the problem is-we only want hens-no roosters! Finding good homes for roosters is no easy feat! I prefer them not to be taken for dinner purposes-unless they prove to be really nasty-then go right ahead; be my guest. Luck was with us- my friend Jennifer needed a rooster too. He went to his new coop and harem just the other night. Guess what? Just what I was suspecting-cockerel #3. Ha! Can you believe it? Out of the four chicks three of them are male. Liam has named this handsome guy “Insulator” as Liam really likes glass insulators. He’s no longer the bottom of the rooster pecking order and is quite happy. But like I said- Rebel “HEN” Ranch-got it? So, Insulator needs a home- a home for him to range and protect his girls. The good life.

On another note-the predators are alive and well over here and have discovered my girls. (For those who don’t know my hens free range.) I knew it wasn’t a matter of “if” but “when.” The first incident occurred middle of day; I was in the kitchen and heard a chicken scream. Have you ever heard a chicken scream? It’s a very creepy sound. I ran outside to see this huge bird on top of Minstrel. This bird was so big I thought it was a wild turkey. I ran screaming at it. It was NOT a turkey (I know they are not predatory birds) it was the biggest Red Tailed Hawk I’d ever seen. The hawk let go of minstrel and flew away-with a wingspan the size of Liam! All the chickens ran for cover into the woods-It took Liam and I a long time to catch them all- very scary. Believe it or not Minstrel was fine- just missing a few feathers.

Our next hungry visitor came just the other day. I was tuning my banjo around 2:00 in the afternoon looking out the front window at our beautiful flock. My eyes almost popped out of my head; this big ole coyote comes slinking slowly right up on my front lawn. About ten feet from my girls, with it’s tongue hanging out! I ran out as quick as I could –we stared at one another for about two seconds-and I yelled at the top of my lungs-“COYOTE!” The boys came running and we chased it off. -Whew! Another close call.
Sadly my girls have to be locked up in their fenced yard-until things cool down. They are very upset indeed! I can tell by the behavior of the neighborhood dogs that the coyote is still around. I know raising animals is hard in the forest because of the predators. I’m willing to share the land with them as they were here before me and I love all animals and know they all have an important place in our ecosystem. So, my free-range system will to have change. No longer will they be allowed to range when I’m not home-I’ve been very lucky indeed-if I had not been home this story would have had a different ending.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

there' no place like home!


There’s no place like home, there's no place like home, there's no place like home! The beauty of traveling makes me really appreciate my home. I love traveling but I love coming home. We just got home from a trip to Ontario Canada and southeastern Michigan.
We traveled to Sarnia, Canada because my baby brother Tommy (age 37-gads how can that be?) was getting hitched! -To a Canadian! Wow! What an adventure! I went early to Wisconsin to hang with my mom for a couple of days and then took the train with her to Port Huron. I love trains! Good for knitting. The seats seem wider than airplane seats. The boys joined us later in sarnia. This is the first time I have ever been out of the country. Even though sarnia is 5 minutes over the michigan border. - they really do say “eeh” a lot! And instead of saying out and about they say “oot and aboot”-I loved it! and how cool to be by the great lakes. here's the bridge from michigan over to canada:

For friends who have wondered---yes, I found a dress! (that I even liked it-and will wear again!)-the wedding was a catholic formal!!-I’m the most informal person you’ll ever meet-and I knew my family was worried that I would wear my funky old combat boots-I love my boots! But I was very “appropriate.” My mom even liked my dress-whew!
The wedding went smoothly-relatively. We were responsible for getting the groom to the church on time!!! Well-as we were all dressing for the occasion the boys locked the keys in the trunk of the rental car! Some clothing was still in the trunk and we needed to get Tommy to the church! Thank the goddess we have AAA. -It works in Canada-yeeha! Only it’s called CAA. I explained what was happening and they were on it! THEY PUT OTHER CALLS ASIDE AND PUT US “PRIORITY”. -They rock! AAA has saved my ass plenty of times-well worth the yearly fee! The young man arrived and saved the day! -Much hugging was had!

I finished dressing and realized-I was stressing big time-and was thinking “my natural deodorant just wasn’t gonna cut it today”-I needed some main stream deodorant “BOMB” to make it thru this day. I looked everywhere around Tommy’s apartment-no luck-wait-I saw a roll-on next to his bed. I slathered it on. -holy crap! My pits were on fire! It was NOT deodorant-it was heavy-duty arthritis analgesic roll on- pain relief! Some kind of “ ben-gay” from hell formula. There was no time for pit washing-gotta get to the church on time! Truth be known-sorry tom I was not crying at your wedding-my eyes were streaming from the fumes of my pits!!!! By the way-my pits were odor free-all day and night!

The reception had a hockey theme as the newly weds met on a detroit redwing hockey website. Aren't’ these cute-they were on everyone’s plates. Fun was had by all! it was so good to visit with family members i hadn't seen in forever! and meet nieces and nephews for the first time!
Our adventure continued on after the wedding-we then headed to s.e. Michigan to visit hubby’s family-family he also hadn't seen in forever. they live in amish country.
As all you fiber addicts know-I immediately found fibery stuff to do.
we went to a wonderful sheep farm that raised corredales and jacobs- mt. bruce station-was awesome! please check out their website.


Happy spoiled sheep and a fiber store to boot. meet "buddy" a guardian of the flock:
but there are some forces of nature that this big boy can't handle. there was one ram that wasn't so fortunate:
They were very nice folks-they opened the wool shop for us and gave us a farm tour even though they were closed. check out the brick barn! it was cleanest barn i had ever seen!! they must have some secret high powered farm vaccuum that would would wonders in my home!
wouldn't you kill for this dye cottage:

The wool shop not limited to yarn and roving-they had local artisan handmade wool items, wool quilting batts, wool stuffed pillows, slippers, sheep skins felting kits etc. very cool. I bought some moorit corredale roving to spin. Mmmmmmm! well-they did open especially for me-so i HAD to buy something-right?
We met a very interesting neighbor to the farm as we drove down the road-the sigh read “chestnut hollow” and there were antiques everywhere. Right up liam’s alley.
we bought some chestnuts from the peculiar old lady and then did a bit of exploring. her son(much to the old lady's chagrin)opened a door to a treasure trove of delights:
yes, liam was beside himself!-the son did give liam a glass insulator-yes, my son collects these-he was very happy indeed. now her property had so many interesting things lying about it was easy to miss some of their collectibles. as we were leaving-this caught our eyes:


i did say she was peculiar-ha!


we then ventured on down the road to seven ponds-a nature center with awesome trails thru the wet lands. we hiked a trail that i thought was just beautiful-showing the boys the different kind of beauty of the michigan landscape.


as a young lad carey(our older boy) was plagued with major hemorrhaging nose bleeds. he has not had a major one in along time. well, low and behold while on the trail-the unexpected happens. we all left our packs in the car-with tissue. his nose was gushing!!! blood everywhere. got the visuals? well-dried leaves weren't working-i just happened to have a menstrual pad(unused) in my coat pocket-well, i'll spare you the actual visuals of a almost 16 year old with a menstral pad plastered to his face-my god! we can laugh at it now!!! the boys did take many a still life photo of blood on dried leaves- for a future jacket cover for a murder mystery they intend to write.

back at the visitors center i was in heaven- not many people know this about me-in fact-no one does. i'm being brave here------i am a closeted lover of taxidermy! shhhhhh! i've been obsessed since i was a kid. now most animal lovers despise this art form-or is it craft? or just plain sick? but then i have never really fit into the norm. what a fine collection they had.mmmmmmm-and there's more:

okay okay-i'll stop here. they just fascinate me.


in a nut shell- we are home safe and sound. a big thank you to the neighbors who took care of my chickens and cats. i leave you with a wonderful picture of our two beautiful boys at lake huron.