Saturday, April 23, 2005

A weekend off!

Even though it's raining....at least I'm not working a 6-day week again! Time to help clean up the house, do my laundry, actually knit (!), bake some bread, and start some more seeds inside!

Last weekend I had Sunday off and went up to the beaver pond behind the house and saw adult Eastern spotted newts swimming around in the water. Newts have a "teenage" or eft phase in which they are terrestrial, but as adults return to the water for the rest of their lives. I've seen tons of the little orange efts, but never the adults in the water before (they are olive green with orange bellies). It was very cool!

Things have been just as crazy at work this week as I thought they would be, mostly because I was made the Village's new webmaster (after a 5-hour informal training session last Friday with our computer consultant and a copy of Dreamweaver for Dummies) and spent most of the week making long, long overdue updates to our website. This new duty is really hilarious because I have NO web experience (NONE!) other than this blog! At least I don't have to deal with design because the page already exists, only update the content. If you are at all interested in what is going on at Canterbury Shaker Village during our 2005 season it is now all online!

Meanwhile, I was trying to find enough time to plan for our April vacation program (which is still no where near planned and it starts on Monday...ha, ha, haaaaa). And I have been doing my share of procrastination by knitting. I started a (gasp!) cotton lacy tank-top. And earlier in the week I did finish one little project for a friend of mine at work who is due with her first child in May:

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These felted cuties are from a Fiber Trends pattern and are a really fun project to knit for the little people in you life! And finally, check out the daffodils & tulips in full bloom.....ah, spring :)

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Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Crunch time...

Seems like I haven't posted in a while and I apologize in advance if my posts are more infrequent in the next couple of weeks -- the Museum opens for the season one month from tomorrow and I am feeling quite overwhelmed! I am trying to keep up with those blogs I love to read -- everyone's sprouting seeds, ice-free ponds, and finished projects are a joy to hear about -- I'll try to post coherent comments when I can!

This weekend I did manage to get a new compost bin built and introduce some of the worms to their new home, as well as get some tomato & pepper seeds started! Weaving class is going really well -- most of us finished our samplers last night, then Pam took us on a nice trip around the shop showing us all the nice things we can make our final project out of. I chose a really gorgeous hand-dyed rayon (colorway is called "All Hallows Eve") with eggplant, rust, hunter green, black, and a bunch of other very warm colors. Here's hoping it will make a nice drapey shawl or wrap!

And today was also the first time this spring I've heard the woodfrogs calling -- down on the back trail behind the Visitor Center at work. I had a bunch of kids with me down there this afternoon, and they were having a hard time being quiet enough to hear them! After work I went back down, but by then I think it was too cold or something because I didn't hear them at all! It was a lovely evening, though, and a nice reprieve from the daily grind.

Friday, April 08, 2005

MUCH BIGGER NIGHT!!!!!

Hurray!! Last night was definitely a Big Night for our amphibian friends! I got the biggest dose of spotted salamander I've ever had & it'll take me a while to come down off the high...

So how about this Beauty?

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It started raining around 8:30 and by 10:00 it was still in the high 40's temp-wise, so Laura and I went off down the driveway with our raincoats & flashlights. Our first encounter was with a nice wood frog, then a very small frog (later determined to be a gray tree frog). At the end of the driveway Laura found the first Ambystoma maculatum (spotted salamander) who was headed across the road. We walked about a third of a mile down the road and over the next 1 1/2 hours helped a grand total of 14 spotted salamanders, approx. 20 wood frogs, several peepers (Hyla crucifer) and two green frogs cross the road and be on their merry way! Strong little wiggly slimy things...I love it!! Perhaps we'll find their vernal pool one of these days...

Oh, and we could definitely tell the difference between the female salamanders and wood frogs (fat with eggs) and male salamanders and woodfrogs (skinny). Some of the salamanders were at least 7 inches long! Laura took a lot of pictures -- see her blog for more. Unfortunately there were some casualties in the road -- we found 3 spotties and 2 wood frogs that didn't make it, somewhat spoiling my otherwise utter elation!

In pre-school this morning, we went down to one of the pools at the Village but we were unable to find any evidence of amphibian activity. I'll keep checking. Tomorrow night I'm headed down to Ipswich Riverto help out with their "It's the Big Night" program which we developed last year. I get to dress up as a blue-spotted salamander (Ambystoma laterale) and teach people about amphibian life cycles.

That's it for now -- listen for peepers & enjoy this fabulous time of year!!!!

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

How sweet it is...

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The sap stopped running near the end of last week, so last Saturday & Sunday were sap to syrup days! From the total 7 gallons of sap collected, I think I got about 30 fl. oz. of syrup! Yum, yum, yum! More taps & outside boiling infrastructure next year?

My six weeks were up on the lichen (Mammulata umbilicaria) dyepot, so Sunday I uncovered it and tried it out...this is the third time I've had a go at this, I think, and this batch seems much more purple! The two skeins on the left here are homespun and the one on the right is another Knitpicks sockweight merino skein.

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Oh! And what's this? Could it be a finished Kimono shawl? Woohoo!!

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And lastly, cats are crazy, just in case you didn't know already. Stir crazy, I think, because it rained all weekend and they didn't want to go outside and muss their fur. Not only have they been waking me up at 5:00 am to walk on my face, but Saturday morning I heard breaking glass somewhere in the house (we've become accustomed to bangs and crashes and thumps due to kitten activity, but breaking glass was a new one). So I checked around...nothing in the kitchen, nothing in the dining room...was I hearing things? Eventually I found a hand mirror that usually sits on the counter in my bathroom shattered in the toilet. How did they do that, we ask? I can only imagine someone was scooting across the counter and rode the mirror like an airborne snowboard into the toilet (the only upshot to the story was that it prompted me to clean the entire bathroom after I had to reach into the toilet to fish out the broken glass). But that's not all, folks! Later Twilly was apprehended carrying my contact lens case in her mouth. I replaced it on the bathroom counter but later found it on the couch. And Twilly also nabbed a Sharpie marker, a toothbrush, a highlighter, and then one of Laura's drop spindles, all of which she carried around in her mouth for a while. I should have taken the spindle away sooner, but it made a great picture:


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And Abbey sends her love by walking on the keyboard (qadwdkfhjklhrekjhww). Thanks Abbey.

Monday, April 04, 2005

BIG NIGHT!!

I think Saturday night was an amphibian Big Night! It was relatively warm and really rainy -- I went to a dinner party with a bunch of people from work at one of our volunteer's houses and my drive home around midnight was one of those hellish drives where your every move is to avoid the copious frogs in the road. Casualties galore. I didn't see any salamanders, but then again, the spotties are black and the road is black....I don't want to think about it. No signs of any salamanders around the vernal pools at work today, though, so maybe only the frogs moved. They usually come out first, anyway.

Sunday, April 03, 2005

Great poem

"A Paper Mill near German-Town doth stand,
So that the Flax, which first springs from the Land,
First Flax, then Yarn, and then they must begin,
To weave the same, which they took pains to spin.
Also, when on our backs it is well worn,
Some of the same remains Ragged and Torn;
Then of those Rags our Paper is made,
Which in process of time doth waste and fade;
So what comes from the Earth, appeareth plain,
The same in Time returns to the Earth again."

Poem by Richard Frame; Printed by William Bradford in 1692 in his"A Short Description of Pennsylvania." Someone at work asked me to look up internet sources on how to process flax and this was on one of the pages. Those people had it goin' on....none of this throw-away society stuff.