Monday, July 13, 2009

Bits & Pieces

1. This is where we stand with the chicken coop:

Well, not really, because since that photo was taken, we have trimmed the shingles and added a door and some trim. But it is too dark to photograph the door right now and the mosquitoes, who are twice their normal size this year and seem to be armed with hypodermic needles, drive us back indoors almost as soon as we leave the house. And it doesn't matter anyway, because this was my moment of triumph. After doubts and fears and frustrations, we got rafters and plywood and shingles (not to mention drip edge) on top of the shed. And, like a cherry on a sundae, there I am decorating the top. You can see the "movable scaffolding" -- not quite OSHA approved -- at the left of the shed. I didn't like my prospects with the ladder and decided to go with something that offered better stability and much more entertainment value (to the kids at least), like a van. From the top of the van, I was able to scramble up to the top of the shed to shingle the ridge. The problems started when it was time to come back down again. I got part way down the roof, but refused to let go of the ridge so I could slide down the rest of the way and so I was stuck. Thank goodness for husbands, mine in particular on this occasion, who will climb up and rescue damsel roofers in distress.

2. Here is what happens when Daddy goes out to mow the lawn and Mommy goes out to shingle the roof and the girls are left in charge of the boys: TA DA!! Two more lovely ladies come to tea. One of them liked his pretty dress so much that he wore it for the rest of the day, but I'm not telling who.

3. And here is what happens after a week of spinning the white stuff: Yes sir, yes sir, three bobbins full. After plying, and in combination with the test skein, this brings us to 4 skeins and about 400 yards of yarn. Quality has been variable. There is more useless shorty stuff in the bag-o-fleece than I realized, so in addition to teasing (which I learned the importance of following the test skein), I have to weed out the unspinnable bits. The result is much happier spinning, but still no antidote for the overwhelming plain vanilla aspect of spinning this much undyed fiber. Plus, after all that sorting, the yard looks like it has been invaded by a flock of micro-sheep.

To relieve the monotony (and preserve what is left of my sanity, thankyouverymuch), I am taking a small dose (3+ ounces) of not-white fiber. This will be plied tomorrow when the TDF picks up again and hopefully I will also have another heap of the white stuff ready to go for this week.

4. Below is a picture of The World's Best Jell-O. It may look like ordinary cherry flavored gelatin, but it was whipped up by a rising star in the culinary world. (No bias here; I'm sure any other 9 year old could make such a fine dessert. NOT!) She boiled and poured and mixed and chilled and the end result was a small bowl of perfection. She makes a mean popover too.

This chickens remain unbearably cute, but they are much too fast for my photography skills. Their wings are starting to get feathery, but their little butts are still fuzzy. They zip around their pen and hop over each other and kick pine shavings into their food and water dishes and are endlessly entertaining to watch. No real names for them yet, as they look too much alike, but our marketing geniuses have temporarily labeled each breed pair based in its primary characteristics: flatsos (they are black and really do look unsettlingly flat when they sleep), speedies (yellow, and fast), and peeps (I think these are the same two chicks as the speedies, but no one will admit it). Mathematically it does not work out at all: there are 8 chicks in four different styles and I think one of the breeds has been labeled twice, but at least we have not yet resorted to naming them "Yellowy" and "Cuteness" and "Fluffy". The next post really will be about vacation. Probably.

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