hands on. needle felting.

IMG_8347Ok, so… It’s the time of year when little mice like to find their way into the snug house for the winter. I don’t particularly like sharing my house with mice. They are not very tidy or discerning creatures. And after more than ten years of being a mama, I wake up at the slightest noise… have you ever heard a mouse trying to get into the sweet meat of a walnut in the middle of the night? Or rolling an acorn across the floor? Right. So when I get awakened in the night by a wee little mouse, I don’t feel very nice. I set traps. Well. I killed a mouse in a trap that was apparently a mama mouse because a couple of days later, while cleaning the house, I kept hearing the oddest little squeaking noises. I tracked the noise down and found a clutch of five orphaned baby mice. I made the mistake of showing the girls my find because they immediately got a basket and bits of cloth and proceeded to make a home for their new pets. Uggghhhh. Being my practical self, I made no bones about the fact that the baby mice were not going to live very long. But there were two that lived surprisingly longer than I thought… probably because they were getting fresh Lilly milk (Can you believe I actually allowed some of my precious hand-milked cow’s milk to be shared with doomed pet rodents? Oh, the things a mama will do for her children.) Long story short, the mice died. Livi was devastated, too. I mean,  we live on a farm and the life/death cycle is something the children are very accustomed to. But for some reason the death of those last two mice left Livi quite sad. This was just before her birthday a few weeks ago. So as a birthday present, I did my best to honor her loss by making two needle felted mice. It was my first go at needle felting, but remarkably satisfying and fun. (As long as I didn’t jab myself with the needle too much!) I gave her the first one completed but allowed her to watch the process unfold with the second one… like watching a wad of wool come to life.IMG_8351


IMG_5400Today was grey. The kind of grey that makes it hard to decipher whether it’s 10 am or 2 pm. You know, that kind of grey. Wintery grey. The perfect kind of day for holing up in the house, donning the elf hat, and getting busy with some top-secret holiday crafting while the kids busy themselves with (or sweet talk Papa into) a few good books… IMG_5370IMG_5366But I’m dreaming here. That is not at all how my day went. You see, it’s basically impossible to keep anything under cover from three very inquisitive children. My only hope it to burn the midnight oil and make sure to allow enough time before my eyelids droop to clear up every single scrap and shred… or my morning wake up call will be “Mama, what’s this???” So despite my craft fever, and despite the alluring greyness of the day, I found plenty of other things to keep my twitching hands occupied, without giving away any surprises. Plus, being the farmer/homesteader type, my brain has some sort of glitch that will not allow long stretches of self-indulgent indoor leisure-time anyway, when rain and cold are coming and there are a bazillion things to be done outside while it is neither raining nor cold. IMG_5385The randomness of the day was a little dizzying, My first order of business, after breakfast (of pancakes… on a Tuesday! Who would have thunk?) and lots of dishes, was to replace the gasket in the wood stove. The last time I cleaned out the stove, a big section of the old gasket crumbled into thin air, leaving a big crack where we could see the glow of the fire. Right. Maybe not the safest thing. So now it’s all fixed up and ready for the next cold spell.

Then after plunking some sweet potatoes into the cook stove’s oven for lunch, I got busy replacing the window glazing of our old (salvaged) bathroom window. Used to be, any time the wind would blow, I could hear the panes rattling wildly. And sometimes while bathing, I could feel a fairly stiff breeze. (Which is nothing compared to when our tub used to be under our house, in the open air… but still, I’m gettin’ older and maybe slightly less wily.)IMG_5410Next, it was up to the pasture with Eric to set the rams free. You read that right. We opened up their paddock and turned ’em loose. Don’t worry, we haven’t totally lost our minds. The rams know where to go. The wind tells them. You see, there’s a whole bunch of ewes in estrus right now, breeding time that it is, and the rams can smell precisely where all of the ladies are. By the morning, we suspect that the rams will be eagerly pacing on the outside of the livestock paddock, waiting for Eric to open the gate. I think they will be happy to relinquish their freedom. IMG_5392And then the clothes line got some new wire. Well, actually, we did this a few days ago. But I screwed up on installing the spacer so today was “take two” on the clothes line. The last time I had it loaded (overloaded?) with clothes, the old wire snapped and my hand-washed laundry plummeted into the stream and the dirt and the poison ivy vines below. So this time around, we invested in some very heavy-duty wire from Lehman’s. Eric and I did this one together, as two hands just weren’t quite enough. Plus, Eric got to prove his bravery by ascending the heights. (Cher heaves a sigh of relief.) Opal prefers the new wire not because of the added strength, but because it is silver and sparkles. IMG_5418 IMG_5422The day was productive in its own sort of way. So many projects that mostly go unnoticed were accomplished, leaving me feeling satisfied even if I didn’t get to indulge in any actual “craft” time. But, ahhh, right now the house is still and quiet. My babes are all sleeping soundly. Maybe now’s the time to really get crafty. Or maybe it’s time to really get dreaming…IMG_5374