Thursday, November 20, 2008

Interweave News & Reviews

I hear that there is a review of my work in Interweave Knits. I don't know what it says yet, but hope someone lets me know. It must be good as business has perked up!

I am just back from getting my first cataract surgery. It went well, and I am looking forward to getting my other eye done very soon. I can see so much! It is an amazing blessing.

The Thanksgiving storms are rolling through. The wind has been very wild. I hope our roof stays intact this year. I am tempted to go outside and jump up in the air and be blown away to Oz.

I have not written in here lately much, but have new poems to post. I have been smithing a bunch.

The trumpeter swans have returned to the wetlands! And I can see them!

We have some couchsurfers coming this weekend. We always enjoy them. We got to couchsurf ourselves over on Guemes Island the other night & had a fine time. They were our landlords when we rented a studio space out on Stuart Island years ago. Lovely people!

This new vision I have is tremendous! We are going out now for a walk, my first one since I had it done.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Summer Ending, Sea Cave, and Nettle Lasagna

This is inside the sea cave looking out. The cave is at Iceberg Point, and is 125 feet deep into the sea cliff.

John and a friend found it some years ago. No one seemed to know it was there! It cannot be seen from the water because a few large boulders obscure the entrance. You can only get in at a minus tide. There is a pond inside, and the cave forks at the back. The accoustics are amazing.

We took our last HelpX volunteer to the ferry yesterday morning. Her name is Emily and she was wonderful company. She painted the trim on the house. She gathered salal berries, rowan berries, blackberries, mussels, clams, oysters, and nettles. We had some great nettle lasagna. We made it with home made pasta. By making three big pieces of pasta the size of the baking pan and putting them in without precooking them, it came out perfect. We really miss Emily. She 'got' all our jokes!! She is very smart & funny.

Microwaving an oyster for 4 minutes cooks it just right.

I am in the depths of making silver double pointed knitting needles for The Loopy Ewe. Sheri Berger has a great on line shop and is really so nice I like doing work for her. I think John & I will have them all done and out to her before the end of the month. I am really needing John's help with this order. I am working on doing all the hammered and twisted patterns on the size #2's today. The size #1's are all twisted and marked. They need to be straightened with a wooden mallet next. Then pointed. Lots of work!
The stock market problems have impacted our little crafts business. You wouldn't think it would, but it surely does.

The lilac leaves are turning maroon. The moon was fullish and caught in a sea of fish-scale clouds last night.

I am reading Charled deLint now and wishing I could live in one of his stories. Tonight is my fiction writers group and I do not have anything written. I am going to rewrite Selkie. It needs all sorts of tinkering & tuning done to it! P'raps I will post a link on here when I am happy with it again.

Saturday, August 09, 2008

Wonderful Company

We have had wonderful company of all sorts since the last week of May, but are now on our own again. The guests have been HelpX volunteers, CouchSurfers, WOOFers from years past, and some people in no category at all. Its been tremendous fun. The photo is in our kitchen & I'm baking pie with lots of help. From left to right is: Me, Alexis Morgan, Collin Cavote, and our dear Louise Hanavan. Louise has been a welcome visitor in summers past, and she plays guitar & banjo and sings wonderfully well. Collin is living aboard the sloop Grace now, out in a nearbye harbor. Alexis, who is a terrific artist, is soon back to school on the east coast. We have a few more guests from HelpX and CouchSurfing coming soon. More new friends! Yay!!

Meanwhile we are printing my book again, Design Your Own Celtic Knots. John is running the printer and refilling the ink. Soon I will do a how-to on YouTube.

We have both been smithing a bunch. I have gotten a commission making three silver & abalone clasps for a button-blanket garment. That will be fun! I plan to make them look a little like bull kelp. All sinuous.

I am gearing up to make downloadable PDF chapbooks of my poetry. I will be putting it in to groups of 10 to 12 poems per book. I think I will print some too. We shall see.

Monday, August 04, 2008

Six Years Since the Wreck

Its six years today since the wreck. My parents were driving to see the wild yellow orchids that were blooming in a Revolutionary War cemetary. They had been instrumental in saving this stand of rare orchids. It was 7:45 on a Sunday morning, and they were hit by a drunk driver. The drunk had been celebrating his 18th birthday & was blind drunk, coming out of the woods to the right of my parents car. My father was killed. My mother nearly was. Just before the moment of impact she pulled her legs up in front of her to protect her internal organs. And so she survived, but broke nearly everything else.
I was very close to my father & miss him terribly. We had to wait a year to have a memorial that my mother could attend. It was at the cemetary with the wild yellow orchids, and we scatterred my father's ashes. Well, everyone else scattered them. I hid under a big fir tree and drew a heart with his ashes. At the memorial I recited Dylan Thomas' "Do Not Go Gentle in to That Good Night". He liked that poem, and I had memorized it in case he ever wanted to hear it.
My father wrote wonderful letters full of wry humor and awful handwriting & spelling. I have never thrown out a letter from him. There weren't many. After he died I saw a file of letters and cards I'd sent him over the years.
My father was the president of the Connecticut Botanical Society for 10 years. They loved him. Then he was the president of the local chapter of the historical society at the Hart House. He was the town botanist in Old Saybrook, Connecticut. People enjoyed his talks. He was a good looking man in his 80's. I did a Google search for him and there was no mention of him. How could that be? Maybe me writing this in my blog will begin to redress that lack. A teensy bit. Lord, I miss him.
Donald M. Swan July 11th, 1919--August 4th 2002

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Lost in Space

I have not posted in here because I was daunted by losing my password. Yes, that is no excuse. How about that we have had guests continually since the end of May? We are down to one guest right now, a very nice HelpX volunteer name of Collin. He likes to bake! The cherry harvest is over, alas. The apples are scarce on the bough this year. Such a dark springtime we had. Soon the salal berries and the blackberries will be ripe. We have more company coming this week, and then more the week after.

I have been smithing slowly along. It is hard sometimes with my bad back and my weakness from being laid up in the autumn. But I like smithing.
My first brand new ShopVac died entirely. Whats with that? I have lost faith, and will replace it with a used one from the free store.

John & Collin rowed out to the sad sloop Grace today & began the huge task of cleaning her out. She is such a sweet boat, but needs so many repairs. Still, she floats happily. The otters have used the decks as a party spot. Oh, those messy otters! Plus seagulls pooping like mad. But it can all get scrubbed off. One day we will sail her again. After we replace the bent boom, the dinged mast, the torn off spreader, the ripped mainsail, and, oh yeah, the motor. She needs a long shaft 10 horse outboard. Some day we will sail her again, wing on wing, out in Rosario Strait.

For now I am land bound. I have been working on a set of cabinet handles in hot wrought bronze. (among other things!) I got them nearly all done & then went to drill the holes in them. I managed to drill them off center & ruined the whole shebang. I have started from scratch with heavier stock. The person who ordered them is being very patient.

Soon I will post more photos & poems. Oh, we decided it was not the right time to get the ram. But I sent her the needles anyway. So I have half-credit for a ram!

I am to receive the nice floor loom that my sheep-to-shawl team out on Stuart Island bought years ago with the shawl raffle money. I guess I am the only weaver left. Of course, there were only 35 people on the whole island then, so there were only two weavers to begin with. I am happily spinning the warp threads for a project using Petunia's fleece. Oh! We finally got them sheared a few weeks ago. They are happy to be out of their heavy hot coats, and have been galloping around. They are very fast! And their fleeces are very nice this year! Thick & healthy. One of our HelpX guests is a knitter & dyer of yarn. She & I are going to have fun!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Junuary in the Pacific Northwest

It is ostensibly June here, but it sure is acting like winter. In the mid 50's and lots of rain and wind. While the rest of the country gets mid-90's, tornadoes & floods!

However, the cherries are getting fatter on the bough, and just a few days ago the baby swallows on the back porch hatched! They look like they are grinning, and are so cute.

The next news is that I have found a handsome Shetland ram for our ewes! His name is Monty.

I have to go fetch him from the mainland in two weeks. He is partially a trade. I am making a pair of bronze and silver knitting needles set with paua shell to trade for him. Hooray! The woman who owns him already has one of the spinnings hooks I make from bronze.

So we are going to get serious about building some fences around here.

Meanwhile we have a HelpX person coming in by floatplane to Fish Bay tomorrow. We are looking forward to his arrival as he sounds very nice! We also have two women coming in the same day. They are WWOOFer volunteers we met because they volunteered on a nearbye farm several years ago, and we became good friends. The two women have wonderful singing voices! We hope to record some MP3's while they are here.

I have been working on an order that has lots of triskele-carved bone cabochons in it! And John is doing the carving this time. He is very good at it & likes doing it.

I have been spinning Petunia's fleece to make yarn. And also spinning some alpaca from a farm over on San Juan Island that some friends live at.

John made a gold 14 Karat yarn needle with a bent end. Its for someone in Washington State and should arrive at her door tomorrow. Or maybe even today! The US mail is wonderful. I am a big fan of it.

And an even bigger fan of libraries! I have volunteered to help be part of the library's web site advisory crew. Our library here on Lopez Island is really terrifically nice. Here is it.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Happy Spring

Happy Spring!
Happy Easter!

I had fun dying eggs and then hunting them. John hides then for me. What a pal!

We have found some sheep on San Juan Island which are close to ours in looks & breed. We will take the ferry over soon and have a look at them. How will Petunia & Lillibette like having more sheep here? A ram?? Lambs??? We shall see.

We put a new page on our web site. It is of fan mail, and can be accessed by going to our newsletter page. Those kind of letters keep me going! Many thanks to those who write them.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Trading Knitting Needles for Socks

Fabulous Socks!
We have begun posting photos of the socks I traded for in 2007. I traded my sets of hand wrought bronze double pointed needles for them. These socks were knit by a woman in Halifax. You can read about them on my web site news page.
Meanwhile, I am about to make a silver Celtic brooch with amethyst faceted trilliants. I am also about to make a pair of custom knitting needles set with faceted sapphires. It amazes me that this is what I get to do for a living! What fun! Plus I get to trade for these great socks. Check my web site for more.
The daffodils are starting to bloom all over the place in front of the house. Petunia has been eating them as they bloom! Bad sheep! But undeniably cute.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Psychic Sheep Warns of Earthquake!

On Friday Petunia was bahhing like mad at the front door. Then suddenly everything began to shake! The bells we hang on the doorknobs all rang. We ran out the front door, but it stopped. We thanked Petunia for her timely warniing!
On Saturday some dogs were running loose on the farm. The sheep were very upset & John went out with a 22 and fired some shots to scare the dogs off. Then he stood and watched to make sure they did not come back on the farm. We called the other sheep farm in the valley to warn them.
That night the sheep slept right near the house instead of under shelter us usual. In the morning they had thick frost on their fleece!
Petunia is showing her age. She has white below her nose and above her eyes. John is out behind the house now in the sunshine feeding Petunia sweet feed and patting her head.
I am going to teach John how to spin! He wants to spin our sheep's fleece and crochet thick warm hats like the one I made for him years ago with fleece from the Mill's farm out on Stuart Island. (We lived out at Stuart for 5 years aboard the sloop Grace, and helped Norman with the shearing on his farm.)
The photo of Petunia shows her in her full 'psychic mode' in which she bahs for you to 'cross her palm with sweet feed'!

Monday, January 28, 2008

Snow, Sheep, Life in the Slowwww Lane

It snowed about 4 inches here. Those of you in snowy climates will be unimpressed, but on Lopez Island life grinds to a frozen halt! We have no snow plows here. Here are Lillibette (white, or perhaps ecru?) and Petunia (dark brown) under their apple tree where they go to groom their fleece. And a bicycle which is quite ancient.
It snowed more. I think I have the flu. I got a bit of carbon monoxide poisoning yesterday from a leaky stove pipe on the woodstove. (a cautionary tale!) and have not felt quite right since. I got out to the smithy today & did some hammering & twisting and marking & sanding, but ran out of energy entirely & went to bed. Now it is time to mix up & roll out the flour tortillas for dinner. I got as far as posting this entry to my blog. Ungh! Right now my life is totally Mollitropic. I had a cup of home made chicken broth.
Hey, my friend Louise in Halifax has three fine chickens and the city is making her get rid of them. The 'reason' is that they draw rats. I ask you? Do three chickens & their feed draw rats any more than the average bird feeder in someone's yard? Lets urge them to outlaw bird feeders in Halifax!! Ha! And get rid of the pigeons too. People are always throwing food to them. Rant rant, rave rave. I feel so bad for Louise. She wanted those chickens for a long time.
Tortillas? Or not tortillas? We made a pot of chili from scratch yesterday. That will be the main filling.
I am so glad John got in a quantity of firewood before this snow & arctic outflow came. Its so nice to have a warm house on a cold day! And a cold night even more so. It was bright & sunny this afternoon. We hiked down to the mailbox by the road. A woman came skiing through the farm. Only a very few tire tracks on the road.
I wonder if I have a fever? I sure am blithering on........ Its supposed to keep snowing & freezing until Thurday.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

A Poem for Winter Misery...

Yes, it is the time for winter misery, and so here is a poem I just wrote about that. I may change the ending if my mood gets better.


What a cruel caul is winter,
dark charcoal clouds
clustering over the long view
of the wetlands.
The trumpeter swans dip and slurp,
moving like dreams of Avalon
on the hemetite water.
Though trees and shrubs
make optimistic buds,
you and I, with our tea cups
steaming in our talons,
look over our shoulders
at the rush and gnash
of the ghost wind.
Our calendars tell us
that time will cure, with the
lift of daffodils and the swoop
of nesting swallows.
Our chillblained hearts
tell us this winter day
will be forever.

Molly Swan-Sheeran copyright 2008

I bet you can tell we are not into winter sports? Ha.
I ordered more alexandrite and peridot. And more heavy silver wire.