Thursday, August 27, 2015

Thursday thoughts, or a long catch up post...

Our plucky heroine has the sick: hopefully just an unpleasant summer cold, but basically my temperature regulation is worse than usual, my head and throat feel like crap, and oh yeah, the spider bites on my chest... but aside from that, here's the news from the last two weeks...

The pool access continues to be a real pleasure, doing my physical therapy as water exercise make a necessity into something of a treat. Had forgotten that being in the water is like turning the gravity off, though maybe that is less of an issue when young and lithe. As well, just being in the pool and walking in the water is a good thing for my lymphedema. The PT exercises will help build my strength and stamina without damage. I am seeing an increase in strength, even though there are some movements that I cannot do now, and may never be able to do, depending on what the story is inside my knee. I am quite pleased that I have found a physical activity that is accessible to me and that I enjoy enough to want to go back more than once.
Since I made my only bathing suit in 1989... I figured that a new suit that will better fit my current size and shape would be the best next sewing project for myself. Fortunately I still have the pattern, Kwik Sew 2690, as my preferred style, a "swimdress", is not one that is currently popular. I will need to do a bit of flat pattern alteration to get a better fit, since I don't have the same figure I did back then; I can still squeeze into the old suit, but it would fit better for just a few inches more in both width and length. I still need to pick up some suitable elastic, and probably some swimsuit lining, which will end up costing more than the outer fabric...  I took a chance on ordering some nylon/spandex swimsuit fabric from a new-to-me online seller, and was very pleased indeed with both the quality of the fabric and the on-sale price ($5.40/yard)

A shibori landscape... this will  be one of many panels of stitched resist, indigo dyed linen, which will eventually become part of a kosode to be worn at Honor Feast...(and afterwards, since I've little need for an ongoing Japanese set of SCA clothing, it will make a splendid house robe, for all but the coldest weather) This is ori nui style stitched shibori. I have been hoping to try this for many years. I did not realise how much time the preparatory stitching will take. These will be my transit handwork. I plan on combining some panels of shibori, some panels of block printing and possibly some panels of katazome... it is all up in the air at this point

8/17 - PT progress report: Knee still won't allow me to kneel, or to get up and down from the floor, but it is much less painful than a month ago, and the surrounding muscles are getting stronger. Water exercise will also help strengthen my arms and core. Plus, I am probably the youngest person in the classes, though far from the most fit.

I am humbled by the variety and friendliness of the women who are all there to either get stronger and more fit, or to maintain their mobility. While some may be disrespectful of "those old ladies who aren't really being athletic" (and yes I have heard that or worse more than once from younger fitter folks both online and IRL) I have nothing but respect for those who while they don't fit our fu**ed cultural ideals, are still refusing to stay home and hidden, but instead are out there being good to themselves
Despite the ongoing heat, managed to complete this one-wire style Laurel medallion and get it shipped out on time. Now back to working on the interminable Dragons Mist coronet project. I WILL get that done by the end of the month!

As a child in Los Angeles decades ago, I have vivid memories of the hills being aflame in the summertime; those images return to haunt my nightmares from time to time. Right now, large chunks of the west are on fire, and this last weekend the various meterological conditions pushed masses of smoke into the Portland metropolitan area and down the Willamette valley, nothing near as bad or terrifying as what folks living in the actual fire zones are experiencing.
Local visibility became rather alarmingly degraded, it was impossible to see across the Columbia River to the far shore, and when crossing the St Johns Bridge, downtown was invisible in the smokey air. While driving out to Trojan Park early Saturday morning to go to Sport of Kings, I noticed that the sun was deep red on the horizon, and as it rose higher in the grey sky, it remained dark red. I remarked to Farbjorn that the light of the red sun, shining through the toxic haze and reflecting in the cooling ponds of the decommissioned nuclear plant was very beautiful. He told me I was a sick woman that was very poetic, in a post-apocalyptic sort of way.

Farewell Granny Weatherwax! Very sad that yesterday night one of my three new young hens was abducted and met her end, one of the local raccoons found her where she (for some reason) did not go to bed in the coop. I blame myself for her demise, since I didn't do my usual head count when shutting them in for the night. I am a bad chook mom.

I was horrified to find that my chicken house is infested with red mites, an almost microscopic arthropod chook parasite. Spent hours emptying, cleaning and scrubbing the coop with a mixture of water/oil/dishsoap/tea tree oil, to hopefully knock the population down. Apparently the extra hot dry weather is just what these sorts of bugs like best. I've never had them before, perhaps they hitchhiked in on the back of the gorram squirrel that keeps going in the chook house to bury things in the bedding.

The short term plan is to acquire lime for whitewash, as that is an old fashioned way to seal the wood and remove places where mites can hide, the longer term plan is to build a new coop, and incorporate both the revisions I've learned in the last ten years, and also make it more secure against varmints macro and micro. But currently I am VERY grateful to Kate Fox who came out double quick on Tuesday to share her chicken whispering abilities, and dusted my two girls and their house with DE... She showed me how to mesmerise a hen very gently and be able to handle them during the day (of course, first you have to catch the hen... She is an expert and I am in awe of her ability)

Last but not least, and to end on a sweet note - the apples remaining on the backyard tree are becoming ripe, at least the red ones are. I went to check on them, and one practically fell off into my hand. I believe them to be Gala apples, and this one was free of codling moth; the seeds are dark and well formed, which is a sign that the apple is ripe enough to eat.


August SMART goals
1 buckwheat hull pillow re-plant lettuces yard waste bin
2 one wire Laurel rattan chair seat broken lawn mower
3 - brown chair seats rotary edger
4 - reattach computer desk grill lid
5 - scrub chook house bag to Goodwill
6 - - 500lbs debris
7 - - -
8 - - -
9 - - -
10 - - -


  1. Welcome back. I'd missed your regular updates and wondered if you were ok. Sorry to hear you have come down with the lurgy, and about Granny Weatherwax too.

  2. Sorry - for some reason my login isn't. It's Lorna.

  3. You really know a lot about chickens, I must say. It is too bad about the abduction and murder. And the mites, how annoying. But the ability to mesmerize chickens and alter their brain wave patterns - that must be what it does, right? - now that it magic power! Hope your knee muscles and the others ones too continue to get strong!!

  4. I'm so glad your PT is helping you.

    Years ago I was the oldest person in an office and sometimes treated a bit shabbily for it. Now the women who thought me old are themselves of an age near to what I was then. I wonder how they are treated by their young co-workers?

    A mother hen of ours was killed, again long ago. A rooster took over the parental duties, hiding the chicks under his wings, pointing out overlooked morsels in the ground, etc. A pleasure to behold.