Thursday, January 4, 2018

Happy 2018! Brrrrrrrr!!

The New Year came in with sub-zero temperatures here in Ohio.  We have been dealing with frozen pipes, frozen gas (natural gas that heats our house) and frozen water for the animals.  It was down to -10 degrees F on Tuesday morning.  Our gas pressure has been dropping, likely because moisture in the lines is freezing up and causing blockage, so we have been doing whatever we can to preserve gas.  This included closing off the opening to the upstairs of the house as well as covering the 8' sliding glass door with foam insulation panels.  Not pretty, but it sure does help.

We will leave these in place as long as we need to.  I do miss being able to sit at the table (hey no judgement on the messy table!) and watch the birds at the feeder, though.

And getting up and down the stairs is interesting.  Grover can just shove the panel up with his nose and slide under.  But last night I wasn't quick enough following him up and he leaped onto the panel from above and broke it in half.  I was underneath trying to hold it up and laughing for all I was worth.

So in the morning the first thing I do is check to see if any water pipes are frozen, then load the wood stove, then make the coffee and feed the dogs.  We have another couple of days before we have a thaw and we will be below zero again the next couple of mornings.  
Yesterday Apples was shivering in -9 temps and I was wishing I had a blanket that would fit her.  I knew Apache's old blanket would be way too large.  When I mentioned this to Sam he said he had bought some horse blankets a couple years back at an auction for about $4 because no one else wanted them.  I wasn't expecting them to be as nice as they are!  One of them fit Apples just about perfectly.
Bodhi and Peg, the two 18 year old alpacas, have had their coats on since Sunday night.  I am glad to have this blanket for Apples.  Really, who would pass up 3 horse blankets in great shape for $4?  Thankfully no one in my family!

Grover and I attended an agility trial this past weekend in Zanesville.  It was a two day trial and we had 4 runs on Saturday and 2 on Sunday.  Our only qualifying run on Saturday was our first one, Premier standard.  Our other 3 runs were not disastrous, but we made mistakes and didn't qualify.  On Sunday, we no Q'd in standard.  Grover dropped a bar when I pulled off too soon to make a turn at the next jump, but he got all his contacts and did a great job.  We ended the day with a Q in jumpers:  JWW Q
So all in all not a bad weekend, especially since practice time has been almost non-existent.  Our next trial is the weekend of Jan 13 & 14 at Incredipaws in Pataskala, Ohio.

Now that Christmas is past, I can post photos of things I made for gifts this year:
 A family of socks in Portland Timbers colors for Ian, Michelle and baby-to-be!

Socks for my mom:

                                                                                                     And a hat for Tony


I also made another sheep hat for the friend of a friend.

And that was it for gift knitting this year.  It was enough.

I have now gotten back to work on my sweater knit with handspun alpaca/shetland yarn.  I love this so far.  I am now working on the second sleeve.   

And one day a couple weeks ago I over-dyed some batts I had made a couple years ago using some alpaca  and silk which I had dyed before carding.  I have never been happy with how they turned out and so I decided to over dye them with a gunmetal blue.  I just rolled them up and immersed them in water and poured on the dye and simmered til the dye exhausted.  I am SO happy with how they turned out!  

 There is also some "firestar" blended in, which is a sparkly substance.  I love spinning this and have spun up one entire batt, about 2 oz so far.  I have 3 more batts.  It is so nice to spin something sparkly and colorful after all that BROWN for the sweater.  Not to mention the tactile feel of the silk as it goes through my fingers.  This will have to be something lacy when I finish spinning and plying it.  That may take a while.  But January is perfect for spinning and knitting by the fire.

Grover and I got in a short walk this morning.  It was a balmy 16 degrees and snowing lightly.  Grover has perfect snowy woods camouflage, don't you agree?


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