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Posts in April 2009

Possum....

 Possum toy

The other day I was asked if I was suffering from iron deficiency, on account of the dark circles under my eyes.  After a swift mental knee capping, I tried to explain the plight that is Possum.

Wasted effort really, most people can't get beyond the 'cute' factor. It's understandable, most people have limited contact with them and when they do, Possum is usually doing 'cute'.

I have lived with Possum for 5 months now; they aren't cute. Aside from treating your garden as their local supermarket fruit & veg section, they have a habit of breaking into your house.

Before Christmas we had the pleasure of Possum mum and her teen living in the attic space. After a week of mayhem i.e. much yelling about turning music down, doors slamming and sulking etc; we decided to evict.

It took 3 days to evict them and roughly 3 days for them to break back in. Credit where credit is due, Possum is ingenious.

The first time, they broke into the attic through the roof (they expertly prised off some tiles). The second time they broke in from underneath the house.

We know this because the poor Possum man spent an hour scouring every nook and cranny of the roof and found nothing to suggest Possum. I sensed his growing suspicion that I might be a complete fruit loop but despite this he kindly listened to my version of events again (i.e. Possum crowbars, tag teams & defiant/jubilant dancing across bedroom ceiling).

I am still not sure what part of my rendition prompted him to look under the house but he found their entry point. Possum man spent 10 mins hammering and came back very pleased with himself. No more Possum he claimed triumphantly and something else along the lines of old pipe covered in Possum grease, shimmying up and conniving buggers.

Well I think the conniving buggers are back. I was woken up at 3am two nights ago to what sounded like a giant mouse tapdancing on tin. I expect there will another defiant/jubilant party overhead tonight.

Am I expecting to have to call the Possum man in the morning - yes.

In case you were wondering about the progess of my other New Year's resolutions (see New Year's Resolutions & Revelations), indeed.


Seasons Greetings....

Easter Eggs

I love seasonal holidays; old and new. I always have. I have my mum to thank for that. It was through her enthusiam for Danish holidays (specifically the decorations & cakes) that I now try to make my holidays as memorable as those of my childhood.

This year I decided that I wanted a traditional Easter look; bunnies, chicks, brightly coloured eggs on spring branches, the lot. So I bought a cross stitch kit and set about preparing for my cheery funfilled Easter.

Two days later I realised that there was something up with bunny. I checked the pattern (all okay), stopped watching Law & Order (TV can affect sewing as much as music on weaving (see Project Tekapo)

Then it hit me - punked by Halloweeaster (again).

Halloweeaster - an undesirable fusion of seasonal traditions; results from ignoring one tradition in favour of another. Presents itself primarily in Australia where Easter falls in Autumn and Halloween in Spring.

I am not a Wiccan, or neo pagen but I like to honour the changing of the seasons by acknowledging festivals such as Imbolc and Mabon. I also like to honour the holidays of my childhood.

To get the best of both worlds I take one or two ideas from both traditions and russle up something that is mutually agreeable e.g.spring coloured eggs hanging off bare branches.

It usually works but quite clearly I over stepped the mark this year. Perhaps its just as well I didn't wear the bunny outfit to the BBQ last week.

Bunny hopping mad cross stitch

 

Lesson learnt;

1. Be wary of bunny kits called "Bunny Hopping Mad"

2. The bunnies can be made to look friendly - either choose a softer colour for the defining thread or no thread at all as in my example. I think they look much nicer left undefined.


Gardening Proverbs.....

"He who plants a garden plants happiness"

Chinese proverb

 

"He who plants tomatoes plants possums"

Hmil Proverb


 

I am new to gardening; I am new to gardening Australia. A breeze it isn't. Recent gardening activities have introduced me to stress levels I normally associate with hairy 8 legged monsters and clothes shopping. I have quickly summarised some of the finer points of the past 3 weeks;

  • Freaky night storm - emergency trellis built at 5.30am (in the rain & in my pj's, much to the amusement of my early bird neighbour).
  • Possums discover new smorgasbord - my veggie patch. They scalped 5 tomato plants in one sitting.
  • Possums discover another smorgasbord - my balcony. Lettuces, calendula, carrot tops and more tomato plants scalped.
  • Freaky storm weather back with vengeance - more trellis work (getting dressed has still to be added to the process).
  • Possums go for seconds - anti possums spray concocted, over night lighting set up and plants draped in netting.

To continue, simply multiply the above stages by 3; add about 6 nights interrupted sleep (possums like to flaunt their misdemeanours) and a huge dose of despair. I am tired, I don't much like possums and I can't decide which quote is more appropriate...


"Gardening is a kind of disease. It infects you, you cannot escape it."

Lewis Gannit

or

 

"I am fonder of my garden for the trouble it gives me."

Reginald Farrer

 


 

Ofcourse, it wasn't all bad, I managed to harvest 2 tiny handfuls of beans last week and some of the untouched tomato plants have begun to flower so if I can keep the possums away, we may get a tomato crop afterall.

 

1st bean harvest

Seduced by Yarn....

 

For those not familiar with my general modus operandi, here's a head up. I like to try lots of different things, usually all at the same time. Saying that, it doesn't mean that I am constantly productive; I usually get a lot of things completed in a very short space of time or nothing at all for very long periods of time. Call me the productive-lazy or lazy-productive, either way consistency is not a given.

Let's take weaving for example. I first decided to make it a "new" interest 12 months ago but only bought my Ashford Knitter's Loom 5 weeks ago. Since then I have made 2 scarves and pencilled in a cushion cover and table runner. Additionally, I have decided that I need to learn to dye & spin yarn.

That last decision came off the back of another one; the need to learn about yarn. To learn, you must buy magazines. I bought a copy of Spin Off (Winter 2008 - spinoffmagazine.com).

Spin Off magazine winter 2008

Apparently, authors of Spinning and Techie-Nerd articles share DNA.

 

This is the opening line of my favourite article in Spin Off (winter 2008, pg 40); Serendipitous Spinning with Batts by Shannon Okey.

 

"In the same way that rolags are default format for handcards, batts result from using a drumcarder to card or blend fibre."


Compare this to a techie-nerd blurb Exporting a SVN Working Copy with ANT by Duncan Loxton and well, case in point.

 

"Once you have installed the SVN task to Eclipse, you can begin to look at the possibilities. For example in a deployment scenario you could use ANT to export the HEAD revision so you have a clean set of files ready for moving by FTP or some other means. There certainly isn't any VooDoo here, it's all very straight forward."


Needless to say this magazine isn't much use to a beginner unless they are content to look at the pictures. I am. I love nothing better than to look at glossy photos of colourful yarns & fabrics. So I am going to learn to dye and spin.

 

To learn, you must buy magazines (with glossy photos).

 

Spin Off is a great magazine; it's my complete ignorance of all things spin that makes it a poor read. I am assuming once I have had a go at spinning, the articles will make sense.

 

 

Project Tekapo...from Warp ugly to Gemstone beauty.

 

Project Tekapo yarn

 

After the success of my first scarf, I decided to make a scarf to be proud of. Okay that isn't true. What actually happened was whilst buying a stand for my Ashford Knitters Loom I found a lovely yarn (Tekapo - Gemstone) and after some fondling bought some home.

The scarf came later. Much later.

In fact after 2 very unsuccessful attempts at warping my loom, the only choice I had left was to make a scarf. The weaving of the scarf itself took 4 hours start to finish. I took my time to make sure both edges were of the same tension, and to admire it.

The 3 hours previous were less enjoyable. They were spent warping, re warping and then warping some more.

Project Tekapo yarn

Warping sounds complicated but on the Ashford Knitters Loom its easy, you just have to make sure you warp on the correct end of the loom, have enough yarn left on the ball to warp a second time, and don't listen to French Gypsy music (Les Negresses Vertes' album Mlah).

I might try Marvin Gaye next time.

Anyway, despite the time & yarn wasted (yet again), I am really pleased with the overall result. Granted, it is a little shorter than I would want (140cm incl. tassles) but the scarf is lovely; a real Gemstone beauty.

Lessons learnt from Project Tekapo;

1.      Always buy extra yarn, just in case.

2.      As much as you like gypsy music - it will mess with your warp.

3.      Time is irrelevant.