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Archive for December 21st, 2007

Kristin Nicholas’ Sheep

Friday, December 21st, 2007

I just love Kristin Nicholas (though we have not yet met in person). I’ve loved her knitting design work and her color sense for years, before I read her blog. Now that I know the blog, I have learned of her other artful endeavors (paintings and illustrations, as an example). And she is a good writer. Her books are on this page if you are interested… order direct from her and get an autograph on your book.

She lives on a farm with her husband, young daughter Julia, a herd of sheep and a menagerie of other animals including artful chickens and a guard llama. Often on the blog she talks about the animals and the nitty-gritty of farm experience.

The sheep are a big part of this… she shows baby lambs when they are born, she talks about the challenges of keeping the animals safe from coyotes, and talks about how they rotate the sheep between several pastures during the course of the year.

I’m really clear I am not cut out for farming, it’s such a complete lifestyle (requiring going outdoors to work for the animals every day, no matter what the weather… not my thing). I really respect those who make the life committment to care for animals, any animals. Hundreds of sheep on a farm is beyond my comprehension.

In October they moved about 150 sheep down the road about 3 miles, and this week they moved them back. She took excellent photos of the experience, and told of the process getting the sheep home again.

The story is so interesting, I did not want it to end. Perhaps you’d like a short digression from the holiday crazies, and you can go read the December 20 post of Getting Stitched on the Farm. Or just look at the pictures…

Sun… The Comeback Tour, December 2007

Friday, December 21st, 2007


Brother Eric and Sis in Love Diana got “sun comeback tour” shirts to celebrate that Friday is the Solstice, the day our sun starts getting closer every day for six months. Yesterday I was positively blue after holding it off all season… I am ready for the sun to come back and kiss me again.

I am not a sun worshipper but I am definitely a warmth lover. These days I dress in so many layers I do not move easily. I always have a lot of wool and many under-layers. Today I saw that if I’d chosen the purple hat I knit, I would have been wearing at least 8 items I’d knit at least partially, myself. It would have been, from top down, hat, mini-sock earrings (photos tomorrow), “Turkish sock sweater” which I altered heavily, wristwarmers, legwarmers, socks, purse/bag and stole. I chose a commercial beret instead so I was merely wearing 7 things I knit upon.

I look like a commercial for handknitted items (many of which are cool in mainstream culture at least this week). I think I’m hopelessly uncool for wearing so many at once. I’ve been uncool all my life, it’s no problem to me now… but I’m really happy to have that warmth.

Warm is so much better than hip and edgy, in my 49-year-old opinion. I’m so happy to not be young anymore, it was so hard to try and fit what I could not fit. Now is better, I’m just myself and most times it’s exactly what I’d choose if I had a choice. Very nice when life works that way!

So to celebrate the sunshine which we did have today at any rate… I present you a photo I took less than a week ago. We have tomatoes we grew ourselves, ripening on the south windowsill. You see, I had one bush in a pot on our steps. When it got chilly around Halloween, I brought the pot in to the mud room to avoid frost. However, it got so cold in there that a few weeks later Brian took it into the basement.

I watered the plant dutifully but it was so cold even in the basement that it did not drink. I let the fruits stay on the plant until the leaves started drying up. Then not a whole week ago I plucked these fruits and put them on the sill.

Yesterday I realized that there were two more tomatoes still on the plant. I brought them up and put them with their buddies but they have not caught up yet.

When they get red enough, I’ll cook them with greens, or pasta and a little protein of some sort. It will be a celebration. And that will happen on a day when the sun stays up longer than it did today. I’m delighted about that part. I’m ready to give up the wool sweaters and start wearing my African and Indian clothing, and embrace 80F and above. Not today, but I’m already heading there in my mind.

Meanwhile, I still am in love with my hot water bottle. That old fashioned idea keeps my feet warm every night when I’m home after work. I take it around the house with me and rest my feet on it all night long. The best.

Happy sunshine comeback, my friends. We have passed the shortest nights of this year. I wish to toast the coming sun and warmth… and the optimism which accompanies them.

Does anyone else have a way of celebrating the passing of the darkness and moving into light? I wish I had a fireplace. Alda in Iceland writes of huge municipal bonfires on New Year’s Eve there. Norwegians(?) banged on pots and pans to wake up the sun and bring it back.

Me? A cup of tea and the hope of a nice long walk with my beloved if the sun comes out and says hello, would be the best choice. And a few kind words to the tomatoes on the ledge.