Friday, December 2, 2011

Winter Snowfall

Well, the temperature broke.  The forty below streak taught us about the fragility of our automatic generator/battery system, necessitating more time spent at home monitoring it.  A couple of times we had to put the propane heater in the generator conex to warm it up before it would start.  Deisel engines have to stay warmer than normal engines.
The extra time at home, while a little stress inducing as far as planning around it, with two vehicles between 3 peoples vastly different schedules, was absolutely lovely.  It only reaffirms the reality of my desire to craft a life that is based on and around our home(stead), rather than one in which it is merely a home base.

The last few days have seen zero degrees ranging upwards to 7.2 degrees in the morning when I leave.  On the 7.2 degree morning, driving into the blueberry flats just down the hill from us, the temperature was -1degree.  Amazing the difference a little bit of altitude can make when the inversion is in effect!

The last couple of days have seen light snowfall.  It doesn't snow when its bitterly cold.





My halloween pumpkins we never carved...  I should probably cook them, or compost them, as it is no longer by any stretch of the imagination seasonal to keep them on the porch.




These photos are actually from a while ago.  There's another 6 inches of snow or so above what these photos show.  But they still give a lovely sense of the winter wonderland we live in!

luscious food




Friday, November 25, 2011

Artist = Carrie Merril

Oh the details.  Remarkably idyllic, really, despite what looks like coal power plant stacks in the distance. 

You'll notice the wind farm across the river, and the ergonomic highspeed commuter train mixed with the horse drawn buggy, and the pup getting luxe treatment in a bicycle pull-along.  The little farmstead's chickens are checking out the recycling -and you'll notice no curb side garbage cans-
The farm wife pulls water from a well by hand, while behind her an array of solar photovoltaics is powering all the 21st century technologies maintaining ventilation and temperature and electric fences and entertainment  and lighting.
You'll notice the tibetan prayer flags and the obama poster. 

But my favorite detail is that this practical farmwife owns a peacock, with flashy feathers and regal bearing.

Friday, November 18, 2011

skijor

Misha ready to hit the trails, Sabine wanting to lounge around.


Pulling together - this was the exception rather than the rule for the skijor.
Sabine would rather just accompany than pull.
Misha, on the other hand, is amazing in harness.


...and we're off!


Into the woods.

It was a totally awesome skijor, my first of the season.  Uphills are great, but I gotta get used to skis again, and maybe re-learn how to stop on downhills.  Falling always works, though!  I'm constantly impressed by the change in my little husky pup when she gets in harness.  She becomes all focus and attention and responsible, instead of the little fey attention hog that she is inside.  I've spoken with a couple of mushers, and they all say that what I describe of her sounds like an ideal lead dog.  When I talked to my friend Kieran, who I got her from when he bred one of his team, he was all kinds of jealous that I'd ended up with the best of the litter, and half seriously offered to trade me for the pup he had kept.  I had third choice of the litter, and I am so sure that I got the best of the bunch. 

I'm really looking forward to when this cold weather eases a little bit.  The cold ought to have finished the job of freezing solid the Chatanika, and when its a little closer to zero degrees, I plan to take the dogs out on and along the river.  Should be just about a perfect trail. 

Thursday, November 17, 2011

wedding gifts


Last October, two dear friends got married, one day apart.  One wedding was in Rome, Italy; one was in Wisconsin.  I went to Rome.  And resolved to make an amazing set of tea towels and napkins for the friend whose wedding I missed.  Just over a year later, I took them off my loom.
I have got to work on my productivity, and take less time to finish projects.
Granted, it was a 10 yard warp, and just under 30 feet is alot of weaving!

I can post these pictures here, as I've yet to gift them, because said friend doesn't read this blog :-)
I've been so very good, not posting on Facebook, so she'll be surprised.

They went to Fiji for their honeymoon, so the color scheme was my attempt to evoke Fijian islands.
They are made out of cottolin, a yarn that is a durable washable mix of cotton and linen which takes color better than linen and is softer and easier to weave, but is still stronger than cotton.

They were all woven on a dark purple warp, with 2 small aqua stripes on one side.

Tea towel/table runner:

The table set with place settings and 4 napkins:


and with the other 4 napkins:


close up of a multi-colored waffleweave sample, and another stripey tea towel
(I'm keeping both of these, the rest are the wedding present)


2 variations on waffle weave: dishtowels

Tea towel in plainweave with 3/1 point twill stripes:




Napkin in twill, with point twill stripes:


another napkin: plainweave


All the napkins:

cold snap

Its a little known fact that the temperature sensors on new cars - you know, the ones that have the little digital display inside your car - only go down to 22degress (farenheit) below zero.  Subaru is known to test drive their pre-production models in Fairbanks for extreme conditions, but they don't alter their digital temperature technology to match.  Normally this 'limitation' wouldn't be even noticed.  But then there's the days when one has forgotten this fact, and is driving around blissfully thinking its only 22 below (and kind of considering oneself a wimp for minding the cold so much), only to find out that it is in fact 38 below zero. 

Yes, the winter cold has come.  We should be back up to 4 below by monday. 

Yesterday, we (and by "we" I mean my darlin' man) installed the weather station my in-laws gave us as a house warming present.  It is awesome, and monitors temp, humidity, pressure, and windspeed.  The wind sensor isn't up yet, but the thermometer is working great.  It showed 30 below at the homestead when it was 38 below in town.  That means I was wrong.  (and I'm admitting it - if you know me well, you'll be shocked) I was pretty sure the homestead would average colder in the winter than town.  But I guess even 20 miles north, being up on a hill counts for something.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

"Hipstamatic" homelife

This post is inspired by Barefoot Crofter's seven days posts, which one of these weeks (or months) I may actually manage to do regularly, and in sync, with her.  It's a lovely idea.  I'm a bit in love with my hipstamatic app on my iphone. As you can see below...

Yes, I choose to beat my eggs with a hand cranked egg beater AND I own an iphone. 

Actually, my breda found me an electric beater at the Transfer Site (more on the magic of the transfer site in another post) - and I thoroughly look forward to using it to cream eggs butter and sugar for cookies, rather than beating that by hand...


Dogs in the kitchen.  Intent.  *Sure* that they must be getting some of whatever it is mama is making.  Even the broccoli.  They eat it. No joke.


This is the latest off my loom.  Actually off a loom at the Guild studio.  It is a double weave piece, meaning that there are two separate layers of cloth, with the layers exchanging places.  The warp (verticalthreads) are purple and copper.  The weft (horizontal threads) are copper on one side, and black on the other side. The first part of this warp was used for the sunburst placemat I traded for the metal art at the craft show earlier this fall.  It was much more geometrically regular. 
 There are six pattern blocks here, because it uses half tones (mixing dark and light warp threads in one pattern block).  The latest Handwoven magazine featured a double weave with 4 pattern blocks on 4 shafts and made a big deal about how cool that was.  I couldn't help but feel a teensy bit superior.  My weaving teacher keeps telling me I should submit things to Handwoven for potential publication.  She suggested both this and the tea towel and napkin set (coming in a post soon!) I made for my friend's wedding.  
This one I thought up while working on that first peice, and listening to Symphony Cast on NPR.  What if I thought about the pattern blocks as instruments or as notes in a measure?  What vitality and movement that would have! So that's what I did.  I was thinking of that part in "Fantasia" near the beginning, where Mickey Mouse is conducting the orchestra, and then animated sound waves come on screen and morph with the music?  I was thinking about that, too. 
So thar she be.  I call it "Symphony in D(oubleweave)"


This is my loom in the beginning to feel put-together studio.  It is in a dormer, so as I sit on my bench, I can look out into the yard.  Or at the insulated curtain when I get that made.  You can see I'm beginning warping my next project.  Its a bridesmaid shawl for my sister, only two years after my wedding when it was supposed to be done.  Bridesmaid gift, how about that?  The yarn is Jaggerspun merino/silk from Halcyon in a dark green.  I'm going to use an 8 shaft complex twill (this is actually the first time I'll be using all 8 shafts of my loom - I kept planning 4 shaft projects); and I'm going to use a dark blue weft of the same yarn, so that the pattern will be more apparent.

A view of the dog yard from the parking spot.  One day it will be a pasture, and the dogs will be re-fenced to a smaller area.  Then there will be a horse and sheep greeting me over and through that fence, and that gate.

The house.

The yard again.  You can just see the moon in the trees.  It was bright and big and beautiful, and didn't show up at all in the photo.

Misha.

My kitchen window.
In the pot you see oregano, that I brought in from the front porch (I planted it in a decorative pot this spring intending to do just this).  It is still growing, despite the rapidly shortening days.