Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Home Sweet Home?

My apologies for the length and number of photos in this post, with so much to say, I didn't know where to begin...
I meant to post sooner about the wonderful time I had at the Midwest Felting Symposium, but things have been very hectic since I got home -- not in a good way at all. The Symposium was an absolute blast. The classes were excellent, quite challenging, but lots of fun. I learned so much in each of them. Getting acquainted with fellow felters was the best part of the weekend though. The shot above is from the "Hats Inspired By Nature" class taught by Ewa Kuniczak of Scotland. It's missing two students whose hats weren't done the first day. Below is a shot of Ewa performing her magic on my goose hat. I learned some very useful felting techniques from Ewa - what a dynamo she is!
I don't know what possessed me to make a goose hat (with wing flaps on each side!). It doesn't look so good as a hat and I never wear hats anyway, but it makes a wonderful tea cozy. ;-)
The food was very good (the lasagna dinner was my favorite) and the free happy hour at the hotel was really fun. After an intense day of class, we could get together over snacks and wine to share information before dinner was served at 7. The after dinner presentations were very interesting and informative. We'd finally get back to our rooms about 9 p.m. and have to get to bed so we'd be ready to go to breakfast before classes started again at 8:30 a.m. I'm definitely saving up my pennies so I can go again next year!

My travel partner, Nancy Hoerner, was so much fun to be with. We talked and talked and talked. I learned so much from her. I finally got to buy her new book, "Felt Inlays", it's filled with great little felting projects. I can't wait to try some of them. Below is a photo of Nancy's book and the other things I bought at the Symposium: a blue Gertie Ball (to make felted vessels), a 10 needle punch tool, an ounce of dyed mohair locks, a wooden fulling tool, and some cute cookie cutters for needle felted ornaments and embellishments. You can see I really restrained myself while shopping.
On the right you see the projects I made in class, the infamous Goose Hat, a tulip and a morning glory. The flowers were more work than I imagined they would be. But the morning glory went pretty fast.

Nancy's friend, Kay Kaduce, is going to Turkmenistan to work with women in establishing a wool business. She was hoping to find someone who could shear sheep, scour wool, dye and blend, card and spin to accompany her in September. When Nancy told her I could do all those things and that I am currently unemployed, I was on the hot seat. It did sound very tempting, going to Russia with all travel and per diem expenses paid, to do volunteer work with a small group of shepherdesses. I was really excited about the possibility. But after coming home to one disaster after another, I've decided not to pursue this assignment. If anyone reading this is interested in volunteering, go to to read up on how to apply. It's the John Ogonowski Central Asia Farmer to Farmer Program. What a great service they do!

Below is a photo of the things I bought on Monday after discovering my poor Cora had come down with a nasty case of mastitis while I was gone: Banamine, Fortified Vitamin B Complex, Combi-Pen-48, and a teat infusion.
She's doing okay today (Wednesday), but she's still not out of the woods. You can see her ears are half way up again. She's nibbling on grass and drinking water, both are good signs. The Udderly EZ Milker wouldn't work on her. Things were just too lumpy and hard to get out, so I resorted to the teat infusions and we're weaning her 8 week old ram lamb. The infusions are really very easy and I think they are not painful after milking out whatever you can. I'm just hoping this doesn't turn into blue bag. I got my micron test results back from Texas A & M and Cora's results were pretty good. Below is a photo of what I bought on Tuesday - a trip to the ER and x-rays of my son's right hand. It's a long story involving our neurotic, panting, drooling Australian Shepherd on a hot summer night in a thunderstorm. Son hit the floor and broke his hand! I woke up when he almost passed out from shock afterward. We went to the ER in the dark and when we got home it was light out. That's when I saw that the electronet fence had blown down in the storm. Thankfully my ewes and lambs hadn't become aware of the situation and they were still in the back paddock.So I've been busy driving him to his appointments and making sure he takes his meds and ices the hand. The pain is worse today. No work until he sees the doctor again next week.

Which brings us to this morning - I'm sparing you photos of this one. As Stan was leaving for work he noticed the lean-to door hanging wide open and headless carcasses of meatbirds strewn about the yard. Dang! We were doing so good having only lost the one chick on the first day. These birds are heading to Brainerd on Sunday evening for processing. And some darn raccoon thinks it can come in there and pry open the little chicken door (which was split in two by Shetland ram horns last year) and help himself to chicken dinner! He got four meatbirds and one little California White replacement layer. The war is on! I'm using a body as bait tonight - I know he (or she?) will be back for more. And yes, we're nailing that little door shut too.

On a brighter chicken note, this is the rooster I got about a week ago. Isn't he lovely? He's just a baby really, and only recently learned to crow. I don't think the hens are as thrilled with him as I am. He's very friendly, raised by a little girl who carried him around like a baby. I hope he doesn't turn into a nasty adult rooster. We won't keep a mean ram or a mean rooster around here. So far, so good.


  1. Oh my, Becky!

    The symposium sounds like so much fun (I might be interested in going next year) and I LOVE your felted tulip. but your homecoming sounds like a nightmare! It kind of reminds me of when I had so much fun at our retreat and came home to "the letter".

    Hang in there. Things will mellow out. It's too bad that Russian trip didn't work out ~ that would have been a Once-in-a-lifetime experience! I wish I could do something like that but with no one to help me around here, I can't leave my animals. Not to mention not being able to afford the time off work! You would have been GREAT at it though...

    I'd love to hear more about what you learned at the felting classes!


  2. Yikes! When it rain it pours, as they say. I hope things smooth out a bit for you. The felted symposium sounded really fun,and learning all those new techniques would be great. Plus of course meeting new people and having the chance to talk about our favorite subjects! ;-)

  3. I love the xrays! No wonder his hand hurts! Sorry about all the other tragedies also. Was your goose hat perhaps inspired by your goose teapot?

  4. They say "trouble sires three..." And boy did it ever w/ you! :( The felting classes sound fun! I think I need to get into spinning first though lol. That tulip is gorgeous! I can imagine a nice vase and a few of those would look very nice, just use a pipecleaner in the stem maybe? Or does it stand alright? Hmmm... Yeah, xrays look painful. My wrist is still bad, so tell him if he doesn't want weeks and weeks of physical therapy, to do what you say ;-) Yeah, okay, so I didn't break anything, but he doesn't need to know, right? ;-) Glad Coras doing alright. I'm keeping an eye on Dianas bag, and her physical condition, because it looks like she got milk in behind that lump, and her ram lamb won't nurse at all on that side, so we'll have to keep an eye on her. Ahh the joys of life! :) Glad to hear your microns were good :)

  5. Thanks you guys. Yes, I was hoping my trouble streak would stop at three. So far so good - knocking on wood. We still haven't got the raccoon so I have to keep an eye on the birds. Good luck with Diana, Rayna. She never came down with mastitis here, her one side was just always plugged. I wonder if she may have had an injury to it at one time. I always just left it alone and she was fine. Every lambing it would fill with milk, though.
    Hopefully I will get some felting done soon. My friend Nancy made a "Psycho Kitty" scarf that was so cool (taught by Ewa Kucniczak). I want to try one of those, Ewa also taught a spiral shawl class that I must try out ASAP. I'll let you know how it turns out. ;-)


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