So... I suppose it has been almost a year since I last wrote. I apologize to my readers, who by this time must have considerably diminished in number. My eyes had begun to get so bad that looking at a computer for any length of time was pretty painful (I had surgery in October), and I had enough trouble trying to keep up with my regular duties to add self-reflection and expression to them! You can bribe people with cookies, not with blog entries. Take note.
This is part of an alpaca fleece from one such animal named Tillie. In the picture are my drying racks from Fleur-de-Lis Farm and my wool combs from Paradise Fibers. I wash the fiber in warm water with Dawn dish soap, spin-dry it in my washing machine, then dry it on these racks in my work room. I put a handful of fiber on my combs at a time, and drawn it off into a length of fiber all laying in the same direction (twigs & hay go everywhere at this stage since Tillie loves to roll in the dust); then I draft it out to an even thickness and wrap it around my hand, pulling the end through. In this way I make little birds' nests of white fluff that smell clean and sweet and are then ready for spinning of an evening (usually next to a fire, singing my old songs and drinking strong tea). My spinning friends say I will soon tire of processing my own fiber but I really love the calm process of washing, ordering, and preparing fiber; making it into yarn, then into garments, then giving them away. Most of the fiber I have now is from animals whose names I know.
A week before my eye surgery in October, I was listening to my "Jean Ritchie" Pandora station and found one singer whose whole body of work was more intriguing than the individual songs--I usually download songs I love, but this was more to my liking--so I looked him up on the magic iTunes. His name is Tim Eriksen, and he sings & plays American music; hymns and folk songs and all. The day before my surgery I treated myself to a CD of him in concert with something called "Sacred Harp" music so I would have something to listen to while I was blind of a week or more. It turns out I couldn't have done a better thing--I'm completely in love with this style of music and the people who sing it are very happy for others to join them. I can't even read music... and yet somehow every month I have learned new songs and the Sacred Harp singing my mother (whom I tempted) and I attend is more and more of what I like. Since then I bought more Sacred Harp music to learn from and Tim Eriksen has a very respectable repertoire of old folk songs I'm slowly learning just for myself to sing while cleaning and spinning. He has a new album out that you should buy, btw. You should buy it, and send it to me.
Now it is spring. My garden is very emphatic on this point. The peppermint and lemon balm plots are dense patches of compact leaves; the thymes are stretching out and taking new leaves on soft stems; the sage is all furred over with baby leaves like rabbit ears; the bay trees are starting new verses in pale green; the bergamot is rising up from its brown crush of leaves and mulch with a very decided air of trying to catch up after having slept late. I'll be more than pleased when the lavender starts putting up stems and sending out branches again; it should overflow its plot this summer. My rose bush is all over little red leaves that will darken to a deep green by late May, and then in June the white blossoms will make everything bright and deep. My excitement over my garden is hardly poetry, but it is my garden and the air is clean there. When it is warm enough I will go and spin and knit there.
I'm sorry for not being more faithful in my writing, but I hope to be more consistent soon. Know that I have been living a very contented, hobbity sort of life in the past year and expect to continue so:) Now I really must leave off or the cat will wake everybody up trying to tell me I'm up past curfew.