Geisha’s Day at the Farm

The day was grey and misty and cool-ish. (The pix are terrible! But they need to be posted somewhere, and here will do.)

Geisha – the yellow lab – is 7 months old.  This is her first meeting of horses.


What is that?

That's like a big puddle. I like puddles.


We (seriously) thought she was going to climb in for a swim.


And this is Reese. Playing with a trowel. Because there were no sticks to be found.


Sam has something to aspire to. *


*I posted to Facebook a week or so ago: I was quietly drinking coffee in the kitchen. When I got up (to take Sam for his morning walk) he was standing (all four paws) on the dining room table.


I am voting for Obama*

Let’s get this right out there:  I am voting FOR Obama.

That is happens to be a vote against Romney is just deliciousness.
If I lived in a swing state, it might even matter.

I try to keep politics out of this blog. But it’s too important this time. (And I am so tired of keeping my mouth shut.)

While I might (and that is one very giant might) be willing to consider and discuss actual issues there is one issue that is paramount:

I get to, every woman gets to, decide what happens to her own body.

Not you. Not your religion. Not your politics.** If you don’t get that; you don’t get my vote.

If you don’t get that; I don’t trust your judgment on any other issue.

*Truth be told: I have tried to vote (early) for days but the lines are just too long. (I’m hoping Tuesday will be faster.)
**And, by the way, if you’d like to end abortion there are a variety of ways of doing this that don’t include making it illegal.  (Here’s a few: Stop rape, Fund Planned Parenthood, Teach, Talk to your kids, Be Prepared …)
Because banning abortion won’t stop it; it just becomes unsafe. And then instead of preventing a problem – you’ve created two problems.

70% Drier

The headlines alone amused me and got my attention (back in August.)


(Because, really, how do they test:  ”Dogs can shake 70% of the water from their fur in 4 seconds?”*)


The science and photography behind the study is really cool.  (And I suggest you go read The Atlanic article by Alexis Madrigal for pix and video.)

The full study is available for download here.


Basically it says that a dog’s backbone twists about 30 degrees in either direction. But that loose skin whips around farther and faster – 90 degrees in either direction.  According to the math, the skin travels at three times the speed of the backbone. The water droplets on the tips of the hairs attached to the skin are flung off by 9 times more force (than twisting the spine alone.)


(But we knitters all ready knew this, yes?**)


They did not explain why the mammal shake starts at the nose.  Or why most dogs wait to shake near a human. Or why Sam gets curlier when wet.)




With respect to Sandy:  it is wet. Power is still on.  Wind is supposed to be worst from 5 pm tonight till tomorrow sometime.

*That line is from various sources. Try here, here, here, here, or here.

**To speed drying raw fleece or delicate knitted wools, place item inside a pillow case. Tie pillow case shut. Go outside and swing in great wide circles over your head. The centrifugal force pulls the water to the outside and flings it off.) (Never mind what your neighbors think.)


One week later

and just over a week before my next Knitting Extravaganza (and hours before Sandy* takes it all away):

I am still in “overwhelm”**

As a long term veteran of Maryland Sheep and Wool, I can say that Rhinebeck is further away, more charming, and has a better chance for wool-appropriate weather. (Even the name has more charm.)

The weather could not have been more perfect (well, it could have not-rained on Friday during setup.)




Colorful Trees:



Awesome yarn:


Behold The Source:



Different Source:



(So, how is it that I did not take a (reasonable) picture of sheep?  The Mother Lode of all Fiber?)


And then, to come home to this:



and this:


and this:



And some excellent news. I’m just in stunned awe.

*About Sandy: not that it would be obvious, but we’re supposed to be amidst a hurricane the next few days. We’re prepped, the puppy is was tired. (He’s napped and over that now.) We’re ready to hunker down and knit for a few days.***

**Well, no longer. This was written on Saturday morning. I’ve been getting ready for Sandy’s arrival.  To wit: I baked brownies (because who wants to be without chocolate and electricity at the same time?) I figure I can sort yarn by flashlight.

*** I suppose Dude will find alternate methods of entertaining himself. Sam will chase Ned. Nickie will go into hiding.




And the winner is …


(Sam wins because he is a sweet happy dog with lots of time in the woods, good treats to snack on, and great friends.)



(For contest details, see here.)


Right after Sam gained 5 lbs in a week (that would be week 13), I spent some time looking up canine growth rates and adult vs puppy weights. The best guess I could come up with went something like*:


(Weight at 14 weeks) x 2 + 7.5 % will be the dogs weight at 6 months.

Then, (depending on breed) 6 mo weight x 10% = adult weight.


Sam at 14 weeks weighed 25 pounds.  So the estimate was 53.75 pounds.

Today, at 6 mo, Sam weighted 53.7 pounds.  (Yeah, go figure. Spot on.)




And the Guesses:

Diane – 41.5 lbs

Bekah – 45 lbs

Liz – 46 lbs, 5 ou

Barb Cooper – 48 lbs

Kmkat – 52 lbs

Linda – 53.5 lbs –> Linda knows Sam in real life and she does not knit. Therefore, she wins a hat. (Also, freaking good guess.)

Leslie F – 55 lbs –> Excellent Guess!  (For the record, I was guessing 55 pounds. And hoping for less.)  Leslie wins yarn (of my choosing but I will offer a selection) or I will knit a hat.

Gwendolynne – 57.2 lbs

Marfa – 63 lbs

ValleyGal – 67 lbs

Gayle – 75 lbs –> Sam says he would happily accept food bribes.




*And this particular formula only works for dogs whose adult weight will be about 50 – 70 pounds. Giant dogs (over 120) and miniatures have vastly different growth rates.

And mostly, it seemed like a wild-assed shot in the dark.





Actual Knitting Content

And relatively recent too.*


I’ve always wanted to try this. I love this. And this. And Christian Meindterma’s work is fabulous.

And then I wonder where to find the supplies. And the needles (because the short plastic ones just don’t cut it.)


At Maryland Sheep and Wool, right next to the  Spirit Trail Fiberworks booth is the Still River Mill booth.

They had these cool “bumps” of big wool – intended for weaving.  I wondered about them in 2011. In 2012, someone bought them before I could.


I took care of that over the summer (when it was 120 degrees out and I wanted to knit a giant rug out of super-bulky wool.) (I didn’t say it was sane.)


Then I checked out how to make needles on-line. **



And now I have this:



I can’t imagine it is very durable – the yarn is so loosly spun, it does pill. It is very cushy.  I was hoping for a bedside rug – something to step onto when waking up in the dead of winter when the house is cold. Ned seems to consider it his bed. (We’ll talk.)


*As opposed to the ginormous back log …

**The giant needles work and are kind of cool, but I’ve decided that making a knitting loom would just be easier to work with.



Catch up: Sam

Here’s all the update I can think of with respect to Sam*

1. The Contest ends next week.  (That means that Diane, Liz, Linda, Bekah and Barb have all ready lost.)


He still gets dirty. (Like, every day.) (Sometimes twice.)

 x He is really fun to watch romp in the woods. He has an awareness, self-awareness, that there’s a log or a ledge that he hasn’t been able to “do” (jump over or high enough) before. And he’ll wait for everyone to leave or give him space, then he’ll line up to attempt it. He ducks his head and stares at the obstacle. Then he flies through the air. When he gets it, he’ll give a little leap and a spin and looks at me (probably because I’m cheering for him) and then he takes off to romp again.** 

But he cleans up well.


 xToday, he ran 8 miles (plus). He’ll be 6 months old tomorrow.

He’s learning to catch treats and he can almost get onto the bed by himself. 

He squeaks when he yawns. He barks at the neighbors.


*He’s perfect

**When he misses, he’ll usually try one or two more times.  Deliberately, lining himself up for his the trick, waiting for no interference. But after a few tries, I can see him get tired. He’ll pick himself up, give his body a shake, and go off to play some more.  I am unable to catalog all the places/logs/ledges/gullies he thinks he should be capable of flying over/on. I just see it when he’s trying a new trick.


But, really, the dog comes first