Monday, May 31, 2010

don't blink!

We have had rain, rain, and more rain. Everything is very green but it sure would be nice to see a sunny day again.

Just before sunset yesterday I looked out from the back yard to see this little swath of sunlight in the park.
And the trees on the island were also lit up.
So beautiful!

But today it has been cool and cloudy again. At least we didn't get a dump of snow like most places in Alberta but it seems strange that parts of Ontario and Quebec have roasting in extreme heat and humidity. What a diverse country we live in.

Sunday, May 30, 2010


I had a box of hot house tomatoes on my counter so I decided to make a favorite pasta dish for supper the other day. Imagine my surprise when I cut into one of them and saw what looked like little worms.

On closer inspection I realized that some seeds had sprouted INSIDE THE TOMATO!

When I cut into another one there were also sprouts in it. And the next one, and the next one....
I have been eating tomatoes for most of my almost 52 years and have grown them every year of my adult life and I have never seen anything like this.

I did a google search and found out:

-they are extremely rare (you think?)

-normally, tomato seeds have a gelatinous coating that prevents them from sprouting until decay and fermentation destroy the coating (as would happen in nature)

-depending on the source of the internet posting, these strange sprouts are either found in on-the-vine tomatoes that have been in cold storage for a very long time or result from horrible scientific methods that have genetically modified the tomatoes to make them evil and toxic.

Whatever the cause, I didn't feel right about these Franken-tomatoes and refuse to buy any more that are from the same hot-house.

I have been reading Anti-Cancer by David Servan-Schreiber. Two friends have been undergoing treatment for cancer and both are very impressed with the book so I bought a copy to read it for myself. It is a very compelling book, not only if you are concerned about cancer but also if you think that we can be doing more for our natural resistance to disease of any kind by choosing a healthier diet and lifestyle. It certainly pertains to my issues of diabetes and high lipids and could very well help my chronic pain problems to some degree.

The Franken-tomatoes incident pushed me over the edge about shopping for more organic foods. I keep my garden as organic as possible but haven't worried about how supermarket produce is grown. I won't become fanatic about choosing organically grown food but I will definitely be exploring my buying options more.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

socks and more

Thanks for the kind comments about my health, our anniversary, and Dan's birthday. It never fails to warm my heart that I have so many online friends. The internet gets blamed for a lot of privacy violation issues but it has certainly opened up the world so that we can connect with friends of common interests. This has become even more important to me since I don't work any more and am home more often than not these days. I remember being off work due to severe allergies in the mid-90's and just about losing my mind being stuck at home. Now I have my fiber arts to keep me busy as well as this wonderful online community through my blog and Ravelry. I value my little social network.

I have been listening to the weather reports from Ontario about sweltering heat and humidity. After our little heat wave last week, we have been having rain, rain, and more rain with some wind storms thrown into the mix for good measure. It is currently 5 degrees C (41 F) here. It could be worse as places north of us have had snow. The rain is needed so it's hard to begrudge it but I'm ready to see the sun again. I did get my garden in yesterday, in between spells of rain, but haven't planted any bedding plants yet. The old farmer's tale (for around here) is that you shouldn't put in the bedding plants until after full moon after the May long weekend (which just ended). I think that falls on May 29th this year. I hope, for the sake of all those that already planted the tender new bedding plants, that we avoid frost in the next couple of days but it feels like it could freeze tonight.

Anyhow, socks. I've been plugging away on the second plain toe-up sock of this pair.

And I've started using the Barbie pink yarn for a pretty, lacy, girlie pair of socks for someone's birthday present. If you know who the someone is, please don't tell her. This pattern is Dainty Anklets (Rav link) from Wendy Johnson's Toe Up Socks for Every Body.

I have done a smattering of spinning which I'll share another time when there's more to show. For now, another couple of dog pics:

Austin with the most coat that he has ever carried. It must be because he was neutered last year.

And in a strikingly similar pose, Cooper showing that he is getting his big-boy sheltie coat, especially on his tail.

Monday, May 24, 2010

still here

It's been quite a while since my last post. The chiropractor finally convinced my body to release the pain. Since then I've been tackling all of the chores that have been building up and desperately needed to be done around here, the most pressing of which was grooming the dogs.

Dan and I celebrated our 32nd anniversary last Thursday and Dan's birthday is today. We just had a quiet weekend, getting some yard work done in between rainy spells. Dan has been avidly watching his beloved Montreal Canadiens in the play-offs. Unfortunately they did not give him a birthday gift, losing today's game and their chances for advancing. At the risk of being branded as a non-patriotic Canadian, I could care less about hockey. I did enjoy our evening of watching a few episodes of The Tudors on Saturday. Those wacky Tudors are always up to something interesting.

Until next time, I'll leave you with this picture of Cooper noticing the bugs on the sidewalk.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

not a lot going on

About all that I have to share with you is a picture of some sock yarn that I dyed this week.
The base yarn is 80% superwash merino, 10% cashmere, and 10% nylon. It is so soft! I don't imagine it would stand up to wear like something sturdier (Opal, Regia, etc.) but, for someone with *ahem* delicate feet, like me, the socks would be a total luxury.

I've been all about shaded solids when I dye lately. It's fun to play around until I have just enough depth to add interest in the colors while still making them suitable for textured or lace socks where multi-colored yarn would be too distracting to the pattern.

I have been battling pain for the last few weeks and I'm getting very tired of it. Physiotherapy and massage therapy helped but a couple of days after treatment, the pain would be back full force. I saw the chiropractor on Thursday and really feel beat up after that but I'm hoping that the bones are back where they should be now and things will improve. I have to admit that I am cranky about the pain and all the things I'd like to be doing but can't because of it. It's wearing.

Friday, May 07, 2010


I have just started dealing with some washed Gotland from Treenway Silks. This is the second fleece from them - the first one wasn't nice at all so they gave me a good price for a replacement. It's a very pretty color with a dark gray undercoat and shades of silver top coat.
This picture is a bird's-eye-view of my little storage box. At the top are some of the shorter, darker fibers that I assume are undercoat. I flicked them and they are nice and soft and fluffy. At the bottom are little nests of combed and dizzed fiber from the long locks of the outer coat.

I'm not sure how I feel about this fiber. It is very clean without much vegetable matter but there is a bit of scurf in the locks. The long hairs remind me of mohair and I think would make a lovely shawl with pretty lustre. The undercoat is nice but not as soft as my preferred fine wools like Merino, Polwarth, Rambouillet, etc.

Any fleece would be hard pressed to top the elite Polwarth fleece that I got from Rovings. It is incredibly beautiful and well worth the extra cost to get the best quality. I can think of so many things to knit with it with its next-to-the-skin softness. I suppose that what I find comfortable to wear influences my preference for the fine wools.

I spent a fair bit of time spinning on the Lendrum today. It is a fast wheel with a lot of momentum and it doesn't take much treadling to bring out its giddy-up! I naturally treadle quickly and the wheel was flying with me using the regular flyer. I also bought the fast flyer and I would imagine I will be able to spin cotton easily with that one.

Now I will wait until tomorrow to see if my knees are happy with this wheel. If so, I will probably be selling the Majacraft Pioneer. It's great little wheel but I think I like more momentum than it can produce. The Pioneer's lack of momentum does give very good control of the wheel so makes it perfect for beginners and most of the Majacraft accessories fit on the Pioneer too so it has a lot of versatility. And, of course, it doesn't have to be the plain sister of the Majacraft family if you have some of my sister's talent.

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

a couple of skeins

I dyed the Corriedale/bison yarn. First I dyed it purple, decided I didn't care for it at all, and overdyed it with various blues and grays. I'm much happier with it now. Jody commented that she couldn't see much bison in the original skein. That's because there isn't much bison in the blend. I decided to just add a wee bit so they wouldn't be too warm to wear indoors. Bison is very, very warm. Even though I spun the yarn worsted, I fulled it in its bath to soften it up. It was still pretty firm and I have "delicate" feet (they're super sensitive, the big babies) so I used Unicorn Fibre Wash and Rinse, which is really great stuff. The result is a very sturdy yarn that I think will still be comfortable to wear. I hope.

The other skein is 2 ply Falkland from a Spunky Eclectic fiber club top called Zombies. I didn't care for the colors in the top but they blended together very nicely into a gray/blue based multi. Just goes to show that you shouldn't just a fiber by its original colorway. A lot of spinning factors can affect the outcome.