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Whew, spring is coming...

...because I have no time for the computer, that's how I know.

Been really busy lately, mainly in Cleaning Stuff Up. From mucking out the sheep and goat pens to trying to clean out the lean-to of all the fallen hay and other detritus, etc. It's spring, and everything is a great sodding boggy, muddy mess. We got 6 inches of snow suddenly dumped on us the other day, just when it was starting to green up.  The horse pens are awful; there's about an 8 ft. sq. spot in where poor Raven and Eowyn are that is about 2 ft deep and the consistency of cake batter. They try to stay out of it, but....*sigh*  And add to that, last week somehow the two of them upended the wood and wire manger that Forrest built for them, and dumped it right in the edge of that cake-batter spot. The rest of the pen is muddy and slick, and they're wearing away at the ground in places so that there are ledges all over where they haven't stepped. I'm calling it equine-assisted landscaping. I had to partially wade into the mud to try and pull the damn manger out and couldn't do it myself; clay soil is like glue. I ended up actually putting Eowyn's pulling collar on her, only to realize I couldn't possibly put the hames (wood parts that buckle onto the collar) on, because then the tugs (thick leather straps that are attached to the hames, that pull the majority of the load) would drag in the mud and get sodden.

"Hmmmm," says I.

Then I get the bright idea to use one of the long lead ropes as a sort of soft set of hames, if I sink it down into the sunken part of the collar where the hames normally lodge in, and then attach the other end to the manger....luckily, this worked. We pulled the manger free enough that I could get at it and pull it the rest of the way without the danger of me falling into the cake-batter bog. My luck, I'd probably fall in and get stuck in a position where part of me was touching the hotwire; getting repeatedly shocked while standing in  knee-deep mud would add insult to injury, I'm sure.

I bought 20 chicks from the Grange, 10 Buff Orpingtons and 10 Rhode Island Reds. We lost one of the Buffs after getting them home. I found it huddled, barely conscious and reflexively gaping, so I thumped it in the head to give it a quick death. The rest are fledging out nicely.

We also hatched 11 chicks in the incubator, all from eggs out of my hens. I have my two Buff Orpington hens sequestered in a different coop with a Buff rooster, and then the 8 Rhode Island Red hens sort of free-range with the Red rooster. We also have 3 of the 'mutt chickens' (from the last time we hatched eggs, just to see if we could and to get some meat birds) that we decided to keep as laying hens until I get some replacements. After the neighbor's dog got at my flock (that dog is dead next time I see it here, I swear) I was really low on hens. We collected eggs from the Buffs, as well as eggs that looked like they were dark enough to have been laid by the Rhodies, but surprise, surprise; in the midst of the eggs hatching, there were two BLACK chicks in the midst of the golden-yellow and reddish-yellow ones! I think that those two were probably laid by the one 'oddball' hen that I kept. She's white with really pretty black barring and specks in places, and her name is Slut; mainly because I've seen her walking around, suddenly spy the rooster from 20 feet away, and she does the 'crouch' that invites the rooster to come over and jump her.

I attended my first "Spin-in" last weekend up in Couer D'Alene, and oh, what an event that was!! I thought it would just be a few locals getting together to spin, as well as some invited spinners from surrounding areas, and there might be a handful of vendors selling wool and whatnot....

Was I in for a shock! There were at least 50 vendors, door prizes, raffles, demonstrations of things....whew!! I spent about 70 bucks and came home with 4 different varieties of alpaca fiber, lots of different wool roving, some raw Polwarth fleece, some prepared yak (yes, I said yak) roving...whew!!

I have also been starting to make lampworked glass beads. I brought a bunch that I had made just to show some of the local ladies, as well as a few that I had specifically made for a friend; she ooohed and aahed over them, and then said 'You oughta show those to this vendor lady! I bet she'll buy them from you!" I told her that this lady (who made little beaded distaffs that hang on your wrist to hold wool) wouldn't possibly want amateur stuff that I was cranking out, since I was still learning technique.

But she loved them and bought 11 of them from me at a buck apiece!! I had no idea what to charge for them, so I just said a dollar. She also gave me some ideas and color combos she would like, so I guess I have my first commission....or something. :) I've shown them to folks at work when I tell them I have a new hobby, and when they see the beads in my hand they invariably say something like, "Oh, you're collecting beads/doing beadwork?" And when I say, "No, I made these..." The response is usually an incredulous "You MADE these!??" They're a lot of fun, and I will take some pictures soon and post them.

I've started hanging out with the local SCA group, and they're a nice bunch of folks. Apparently my skills as an archer are being somewhat drooled over, and I'm going to be getting/making some light armor to become a combat archer. This ought to be fun, I've never shot at people before.... There's a big event called Honor War coming up, and it will be the first SCA event that I've really been able to participate in.

Speaking of combat, yesterday it was kind of nice, the snow was starting to melt off in patches (finally!) so Forrest and I dragged out stuff for practicing. He's wanting to practice shinai, and I've always been interested in polearms, especially something in the style of a naginata or a glaive. We have an 8 ft. hardwood pole (like a closet rod) and went against each other, in three-weapons masks and hockey gloves.

I have to say, there's just something immensely satisfying about getting past his guard, bonking your mate in the face with a polearm and seeing their head kind of flop back. I believe that's called 'ringing the bell'.....DING!

I also went to the Tutxinmepu powwow today, it's a smaller, local, annual powwow that's always good to go to. Brought my spinning and got a lot done, browsed the vendors (really small turnout this year, sorry to say) and got a pair of shell disc earrings. I'm not much of a jewelry wearer, but I liked these as they could ostensibly be used for buckskinning/rendezvous events, and I like to support the merchants that come out; I try to find something l like everytime I go.

Speaking of buckskinning, Forrest won a great Ebay auction for a lot of this series of books called "The Book of Buckskinning". There's like 10 volumes to this series, it's kind of the equivalent of the 'Foxfire' books for buckskinning. Great to read, and I can't wait to get involved in the local group(s), and start doing some fur-trade era re-enactments. I need another hobby like I need a hole in the head, but....oh well. I'll probably work up a persona of a white woman that assimilated into Native culture after being kidnapped; that was about the only instance of white women on the frontier at that time. Amusingly enough, after the movie "Dances With Wolves" came out, I had more than a couple people tell me they thought I looked like Stands With A Fist......must be the unkempt mane of hair, I suppose.

I was supposed to go get two ton of hay today, but we got back late and then my hay guy was just on his way out to deliver a truckload somewhere, so I wimped out and told him to deliver a ton tomorrow. It'll tide me over for a while, and I won't have to stack it.

Buckskin doesn't come easy...

Not when you want to make it yourself, anyhow. Last year I got a bunch of hides from local hunters (it's amazing what results you can get from posting a free ad here and there), as well as a late-season hide from a buck one of my truck drivers from work shot and brought to me. I had put it in one of the plastic tubs (great for lots of stuff and you can find them cheap) with a solution of lime and water to loosen the hair from the hide, as that is the first step. This was right before it started to get cold, and so it froze solid, sitting there through the winter. Now that it's warming up, most of the hide has thawed, although there's still a few large chunks of inches-thick ice frozen onto it.

But the hair is slipping really well! I started de-hairing it as well as I could tonight after I got home from work. It's definitely a little ripe-smelling, but not too bad. After I get it de-haired, I'll have to scrape both the hair side to remove the epidermal layer, and the flesh side to remove the inner layer so the brains can penetrate.

Yes, I said brains. I'm going to brain-tan this hide and have a nice, big buck's hide to make something out of. Not sure what, yet, but braintanned buckskin is always nice to have.

We also have an elk hide in the deep freeze, waiting to be gotten to. Forrest found it this past fall when he went for a walk down the road, and here is this cow elk hide and head, just laying in a ditch! Even better was when he sent me email from home while I was at work; usually 'Good news!' in the subject line for most people isn't going to follow up with "guess what I found in the ditch?" But then again, I guess I'm not most people. I'm planning to make a really spiffy jacket out of that elk hide, sort of in the 'mountain man' fashion, complete with fringe and maybe some beadwork.

Speaking of people, big news in Pullman where I work; there was a local shooting in town. Apparently this young guy had gotten a shotgun and walked up to the door of some other kid he had been fighting with in the past, knocked on the door, and shot the guy when he answered. Lucky for the victim, he ducked one shot and was just grazed on the side of the head by the second. The kicker? Both the alleged shooter and his 'accomplice' (who ferried him back over the Idaho state line to Moscow) work (or rather, worked) where I do, and I superficially knew both of them. The accomplice has always been an asstard in my experience, and I can't say I'm surprised at how he's turned out. Good riddance, anyhow.

I was mentioning this at medieval night practice yesterday and observed of how all three of the most recent (within a couple of years) local shootings, I have known either the victim or the perpetrator. Weird. I don't think I'm what anyone who knows me would call a socialite, either.

I'm going to start riding my bike in Moscow, now that maybe we're done with snow for a while. Driving home through Moscow today I saw my first snowdrops of the year!! They're my favorite flower, hands-down, and I think I'll find some to pick tomorrow. I love their scent, it's pretty ephemeral, but intoxicating. And I love how they are always the very first flower of the year, beating out even the crocuses. Sometimes they pay for their brashness, sticking their heads up out of a sudden snow, but they grow undaunted anyhow.

Forrest said he saw one of the geese going back to her nest site from last year and messing around with it. They started laying eggs about this time last year, but it was so cold and rainy the first clutch never hatched.  I suppose we'll see what this spring brings us.

I totalled up my garden seed order tonight, just over $70 worth, although 16 of that is in red clover seed for the pasture.

I almost splurged on some snowdrop bulbs, too, but figured I'd wait until I get my state tax return back. Maybe I can find them cheaper than 10 for $10.95 locally. Typical Scot, I can justify sixteen bucks on clover seed because it actually does something, but for my favorite flower who just stands around and looks pretty? Weeeeeell....not so much.

I have to say that delight and intoxication is beyond price, though. Maybe I won't have to wait much longer to get my own snowdrops.

Mall Demo!! w00t!

Forrest and I headed off Saturday morning for the Non-profit Group demo at the mall, a nice opportunity to advertise the presence of the group, maybe generate some interest and a few new members. We had a few tables with flyers, some of the medieval crafts that members have done, like Forrest's leather shoes and a few of the blacksmithing items he's done, nails, spoons, forks, etc.

We had been running late since when I went up to feed the horses the top hot-wire gate was.....gone. Wha..? I knew I had a real Ninja Destructo-Horse (aka Eowyn) and she's apparently taken Raven as her apprentice. They're both good at busting down fence, but this is the first that they've made it disappear. I found the length of hotwire and the gate-handle out in the ankle-deep mud of the drylot, I'm betting someone snagged the spliced wire on a tail and pulled it loose. Sigh.

It's like I was telling Forrest's mom and sister the other day, when I had mentioned the local sort of Martha Stewart-esque kitsch phenom of Maryjane Butters. She runs a local organic 'farm', touting green, organic and sustainable ways, and that is no bad thing. But I've gotten these 'join our club!' mailings from her magazine, and it's got these bylines of things like "reminisce walking down a sun-dappled country lane in the fall", or "craft a country wildflower arrangement in a wicker basket" kinds of smarmy kitschy things that just makes me gag and roll my eyes. I said, "No, that's not what real farming is about; real farming is about fixing fence and shoveling shit! All the time. Forget your flower arrangements and leisurely strolls mooning about in the middle of the damned road."

Anyhow, I digress.

We picked up dameruth who was engineering the demo, and, thinking we had forgotten about picking her up had prepared to start walking to the mall with her chainmail shirt on. We got there and set up the demo tables, I had brought my spinning wheel to attract folks' attention to us (as well as getting some quality time with my wheel and getting stuff spun)  and Forrest did a lot of work on the coif he is making out of hardened stainless steel rings for me.

It amazed me how many people didn't even give us a second, or even first look, being apparently too busy yakking on their cellphones or digging in their purses. Occasionally one would walk by and then be alerted to our presence by someone they were with who was actually paying attention. It also struck me how often
I noticed that young kids would be the ones to stop and gawk, and evidence interest, but then the parents would drag or hurry them off, obviously 'too busy' to encourage the well-rounded intellect and curiosity that parents ostensibly strive for. *roll eyes*

We did get a few nice comments and some interest, and it was an interesting way to while away a few hours, spinning and people-watching. The one thing that really made my day was this older couple who had talked to me for a little bit; I first noticed an old gent standing a ways off in the entrance to a shop and watching me spin, and I gave him a smile to entice him over. He seemed pleased to see someone engaged in one of the older arts, and after a few minutes his wife found him and also commented on a lot of the things we had displayed. I mentioned that I was also a homesteader and someone who turned more toward the 'old ways', and they seemed surprised to hear that I've done things like raising my own meat, driving horses, etc. The lady gave a somewhat disgusted look and a shake of her head and said something to the effect of, "Kids today....they don't know how to do anything anymore."

"No," I said, smiling in quiet agreement. "No, they don't."

Drawn to teh drama....??

You Are a Chocolate Cupcake
You are deep, richly interesting, and at times overpowering. You have a strong personality.
You are drawn to people who adore you. You love it when your specialness is recognized.

You are like a cupcake because it's hard for people to get enough of you.
You have a mysterious charm that makes you incredibly addicting. People are drawn to your drama.

Well, I figured if there was any sort of 'chocolate' option, I'd get it....although I'd rather it incorporated my own simile for dark chocolate; "Good dark chocolate is like a cross between a French kiss and a slap in the mouth."



Vikings had toast?

Here's a link movies.nytimes.com/2009/03/13/movies/13seve.html to a review of a supposedly Viking movie supposedly coming out sometime soon. The review alone had an amazingly high snort-and-giggle factor, so if it comes to Moscow, I might go see it.

But does he defecate onscreen and slaughter the chicken and headbang at the same time??!

And did the Vikings really have toast so that they could use it in an idiom? Fascinating. *roll eyes*

Apparently they have Viking metal on the soundtrack, that might be interesting. I like the one cd of Viking metal I've got.

You were warned!

It's been a while since I posted anything of substance, but it's already been busy up here. Spring is coming!! No, REALLY! Never mind that we've just three days of snowy, cold weather and about 4 inches of new snow. Last Wednesday morning I stumbled out of the house at 630 am (as customary) to go do my morning feeding and while walking up the hill towards the garage and lean-to, I noticed all three of the horses are facing up the hill, with ears pricked forward, and obviously looking at something, but not spooked like if a loose dog or a cougar was around.

"What the hell are you bozos looking at," I wondered to myself. "Deer or something up on the hill?" Deer both fascinate and spook horses. Dunno why, but they do.

About halfway up to the lean-to, I hear a high-pitched "maaaaah!" that is unmistakably a baby-goat bleat. Oh. Shit. Somebody has kidded early. And it's been raining, and then freezing at night. I hustle up to the goat and sheep pens, and Nana, one of my senior does is nonchalantly walking around, there are three soaking-wet, unlicked and cold kids lying in various places in the cold wet straw, on the cold wet concrete in the pen. Shitty-shit-shit. Kids will die if they get chilled and aren't quickly seen to by mom. I hurriedly grab up three cold and wet kids all at once in my arms and rush them into a pile of straw in the lean-to. Grab a rope and after a few minutes of chasing Nana, get it on her and pull her into the lean-to as well. Grab a small handtowel that I had left up in one of the garage apartmens for something or other and start briskly rubbing and drying the kids as much as I can. Nana is highly uninterested, and seems much more concerned about browsing on the hay bales stacked in the lean-to.  A preliminary toweling-off complete, I shut the lean-to gates and run down to the house and as soon as I open the door barked towards the bedroom, "Forrest!! Get up! Nana's had triplets and isn't cleaning them!"

A muffled "Wha..? Oh! I'm up!" from my dear and loving mate, and I quickly call in to work, get my supervisor on the phone and breathlessly inform him, "We'vegotsurprisetripletsI'mgonnabelate,sorrygottago!"  

"Wait! What? How late?"

"Ah..um! I dunno...an hour or two! I've gotta go get them cleaned up, bye!"Cuteness dead ahead! Beware!Collapse )

What's Your Celtic Horoscope?

You Are A Weeping Willow Tree
You are a dreamer, and you're into almost any kind of escapism.
Restless and capricious, you love to travel to exotic places.
You are easily influenced by others, as long as they don't pressure you.
You tend to suffer in love until you find that one loyal, steadfast partner.
An empathetic friend, you love to make others smile and laugh.

Actually my favorite deciduous tree. I came up as a Willow on some other stuff too, a while back. I like how Willow is obviously a very Piscean tree, but there's lots of folklore about willows, and it's not fluffy or nice. There's an old lore-poem about 'sentient' trees:

Ellum (Elm) do grieve,
Oak he do hate
Willow goes walkin'
If you stays out late

Not sure where I heard it, but as far as I know it's English and goes pretty far back. Tolkien used tree-lore like this in his books, and Old Man Willow is very recognizable; willow trees were purported to go walking late at night and mutter to themselves in addition to leading travelers astray.

Plus, willows destroy mundane shit, and man-made things like sidewalks, septic tanks, pipes, etc.

And I kinda like that. :D

The Muppet Personality Test

You Are Animal
A complete lunatic, you're operating on 100% animal instincts.
You thrive on uncontrolled energy, and you're downright scary.
But you sure can beat a good drum.
"Kill! Kill!"

He was always my favorite, natch.

I can identify with a mission statement of "Kill! Kill!"

Writer's Block: Deal or No Deal

What's on your list of dealbreakers when it comes to romantic relationships?
Infidelity. Lying. Being a spineless, weak male without opinions.  Any and all attempts at being a controlling asshole. Craziness. Not silliness, but out-and-out nutter-wackaloon-certifiable crazy. Been there, done that, never going there again.

Forrest is a mad scientist, but that's completely different. Adorkable, lovable, and perfectly okay even if he drives me up the wall occasionally. It's mostly in a good way.

That's about it; I figure I'm fairly easy to get along with, really.



So this morning I asked Forrest 'Just how evil am I if I have absolutely no sympathy for these girls?"

This was referencing a story I heard on NPR yesterday about two teenaged girls in Maine who are best friends and a while back stayed up all night and decided not to go to school the next day. What they did decide to do was go hang out at a spot on the railroad tracks, popular with the local kids for diving off into the river, fishing off of, etc. They were so tired after staying up all night, they then decided to take a nap. On the railroad tracks.

Yes, you read correctly. On the freakin' RAILROAD TRACKS!! Laid down parallel on the tracks for a nappie-pooh, and were of course, very surprised when they woke up in extreme pain under the train that had barrelled down upon them while they slept, apparently oblivious to the blaring horn of the conductor and engineer (who thought there were some towels or something on the tracks at first glance). Both the girls are now amputees, one missing her leg below the knee, the other missing most of a foot.

Now, I know that kids do stupid things, and especially teenagers. Hell, I've done things of amazing dipshittedness when I was younger. But falling asleep on railroad tracks!!?? And they're blessedly lucky that they escaped with non-lethal damage.

But I have no sympathy for them and the rest of their lives that they'll live maimed, and in constant reminder of that Really Bad Choice they made. I think it's a sad thing for anyone to have that kind of disability, but the fact that it's a sad thing doesn't necessarily mean I have sympathy for someone that did something so stupid and brought it on themselves.

I guess that makes me a sociopath or something. Oh well.

In other news, Abby, the Shire mare I rescued this past summer did something this morning she's never done before. I had gone up to feed, and everybody did their customary "Hello! Good Morning! You're gonna feed us...right?" whinnies to me per the usual. Abby's section of the drylot (mudlot, right now) doesn't have any wire between the posts, because Eowyn (aka Ninja Destructo Horse) and Raven (her padowan-protege) had been getting out this past winter and tearing down fence. Abby stays in by herself, she just wants to stay somewhere that's familiar and where her hay and water on, so I've never had a problem with her getting out. I tossed Raven and Eowyn their hay on their side, and had tossed a small flake into Abby's manger, and gone back into the lean-to to get more, when she walks between the post, and steps right up to the lean-to!! She's usually kind of shy and spooky, so this was odd. Then she looked right at me, and turned broadside toward me, and looked at me expectantly. Kind of dumbfounded, I walked slowly up to her and started scratching her along her side. Her winter coat is starting to fall out, and great gobs of horse hair were coming out, and she was leaning into my scratching, her upper lip doing the 'scratching' thing in utter horsie pleasure. I ended up grooming and scratching her for a good twenty minutes or so, even going into the garage to get the shedding blade and a body brush to really do some de-hairing. Then just as abruptly she walked off, and back into the pen, and went to go eat her hay. Grooming is a really social thing with horses, fraught with trust and social bonding. A really neat thing, I think, that she approached me, and as much as said "Hey, pink monkey, come over here and brush me, I itch."

Huh. Who's got whom trained, you wonder....