Archive for August, 2007

Geocaching

I’ve just spent 2 days with our friends Gary and Steph at their family cabin in Vermont. It’s always fun to spend time together and this time they introduced me to geochaching. It is a new sport using a GPS unit to find treasure boxes that people have hidden all over the world. You can read more about it here. Gary and Steph have been geocaching all over east of the Mississippi and were eager to see what was hidden in the Connecticut River Valley near their cabin. Gary chose a stack of possible finds, ten of which we were able to fit into our schedule. Some were easy and some were quick. Others took us considerable time to hunt down and one sent us on a lovely hike through the woods. All were fun and only one eluded us. The containers ranged from film canister size to ammo boxes and included a snuff can, a Gatorade cannister, Tupperware and various other waterproof containers. We found them in trees, under rocks, in cracks, behind guardrails, under logs… you get the idea.

geocache in treegeocache under rocksgeocache in crackgeocache under logs

This was so much fun it could be addictive. I’ve got a stack of coordinates for caches hidden near our home. Time to do a little research on GPS units.

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Postcards

Finally, I’ve finished some more artwork. The disappointment: These were supposed to be for a challenge project for Quilting Arts magazine. It could’ve/should’ve/would’ve been a book of postcards about Vermont. But I missed the deadline. Don’t you hate it when you know it’s coming up and you check… and you’ve already missed it by a day? The up side: I now have more work for the shop that sells my work. So I’ve framed them up and they’re ready for delivery. Click on the image for a closer view.
Mountain VistaReflections 2 - 4″x6″
Mountain Vista and Reflection 2, both 4″x6″
Fall Sugar MapleFirst Snow - Okemo
Fall Sugar Maple and First Snow – Okemo, both 4″x6″
Signs of Spring 2
Signs of Spring 2, 4″x6″

One More Pen, One More Piece of Paper

Here’s another one of these “1 pen, 1 paper” exercises. See the previous one here. I wanted to try something different this time so it is all done with straight lines. I’m much more comfortable with curves and this project proved to be challenging for me.

1 pen, 1 paper drawing using straight lines

Lost in the leaf litter

Wood FrogWe’re making good progress in our woods, taking down the necessary trees for the new drain field. But the sad part (other than the fact that we’re taking down dogwoods, sugar maples and oak trees) is that we are destroying wildlife habitat. I’m not too broken up about the swarming ants we disturbed today, but we’ve encountered several of these lovely wood frogs. The two we saw today were quite different, one very dark, like the earth made from decaying leaves and wood, and this one, in beautiful shades of tan and brown. The only reason we saw either of them at all is because they moved. You can see that they blend in very well with their surroundings and are well suited to their forest floor living room. They have several days to make their way into the undisturbed acreage before the heavy equipment comes.

Flora

Dogwood colorIt’s been unseasonably cool lately. It’s actually hard to believe it’s August with temps down in the 40’s at night and barely making 70 during the day. There are little hints that Fall is not all that far away. One of them is this Dogwood at the edge of the woods. We’ve had a dry spell too and the stress is showing with the early color, so vivid next to the lush green backdrop. Summers here are so short and precious, and the weatherman is predicting warmer days ahead – up to 80. I’m looking forward to soaking up the sun as the summer winds down.

My garden is blooming heartily and I’m including a little sampling of color:

phloxBlack-eyed SusanhostathistleAsiatic Lilysedum

Progress 16

stairsclearing the woodsThe workmen are finishing up the trim work – it is slow and tedious and not very photogenic. But the stairs are finished and will be stained to match the flooring when the painters come. The electrician is slowly installing the rest of the lights, though the upstairs circuits are not yet hot since the fans are still covered with garbage bags to keep off the saw dust.

The only difference that is really obvious is outside in the woods. We need to take down about 1/4 acre of trees for the new waste water system – mounds, curtain drain and swale to handle the waste water and rain run off from the hillside. We’ve been spending 1-2 hours each day working our way through the new field area, so far taking out the small stuff with loppers and a bow saw. We’re waiting for reinforcements before we start with the chain saw. We’re planning a good sized bonfire and chipping party once we get all the wood down. And I’ll get to spend some time through the Fall splitting all that green wood for next year.

Sheep to Shawl

This afternoon was Fletcher Farm’s 60th anniversary celebration. Six Loose Ladies, the yarn shop where I volunteer was there demonstrating the sheep to shawl process. Sadly, there were no sheep at the event because it is August, after all. Most sheep are sheared in the spring. So we started the process with a washed fleece and went through the stages of “teasing” and carding the fibers, spinning the yarn, plying two strands together and weaving a shawl. In three hours, we had many visitors who asked intelligent questions and learned much about how it was all done many years ago. And with so many people helping, it was amazing how far we got, even though we didn’t come close to finishing the shawl.

unprocessed fleeceteasing the fibers open

We had a fleece for show that came right off the sheep. You can see how dirty it is and full of lanolin. After washing, the fibers are teased apart so they are easier to card. Carding is like combing to align the fibers in the same direction. carding machinespinning the woolWe used carding machines which make the job much easier and faster, but I did have a chance to try some hand carding – lots of work! weavingOnce the fibers were carded and rolled up, they were spun using spinning wheels. We had 4 ladies spinning and one person plying two strands together to make the yarn which was used in the weaving. Phyllis wove a beautiful wavy pattern on the purple warp – she does fabulous work and it was fun to watch her. The rain held off and it was a fun day, complete with a chicken BBQ prepared by the American Legion and live music by Gypsy Reel. Happy Anniversary, Fletcher Farm!


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