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broodings from the burrow

November 18, 2014

christmas reading: the planning period
posted by soe 2:27 am

Every year between Thanksgiving and Russian Christmas, I like to read Christmas-themed books. They aren’t the only thing I read, but I do like to mix them in liberally.

Already on this year’s radar are the following:

  • My True Love Gave To Me (a collection of short stories by some of the rock stars of YA)
  • The Stupidest Angel (which Karen gave me a couple years back and which I didn’t finish the first go-round)
  • Ho-Ho-Homicide (it was in the new releases at the library last week)
  • 2 A.M. at the Cat’s Pajamas (this may not be a Christmas book technically, but it’s set on Christmas Eve, so I’m counting it)
  • The Legend of Holly Claus (I bought this a couple years ago, and if I can figure out where it’s hiding, I’d like to read it)

Do you enjoy holiday-themed reading? If so, do you have a favorite to recommend that I should request from the library? (Thus the appearance of this post so early in the season.) And what’s on your list for reading this year?

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November 17, 2014

alpaca festival
posted by soe 1:55 am

Santa's Helpers, Teddy and Frances


The highlight of this weekend was the Maryland Alpaca and Fleece Festival. Held at the Howard County Fairgrounds (home to the gigantic Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival each spring), this was a much smaller, homier gathering.


For those who’ve been to Sheep & Wool, you know how crowded the fairground lot gets, requiring people who arrive in the late morning to park across the street (those of us who arrive in the afternoon often can find spots closer in already vacated by the early birds). Well, today, you could pull right up. There were about 40 cars in the front lot and people were able to park in the fairground lot itself all afternoon. Also, for comparison, this festival only took up three of the animal barns, one of the northern buildings (where they sell the festival gear from in the spring), and two of the small buildings past the Lions Club food building.

Maryland Alpaca and Fleece Festival

There was a nice assortment of vendors (including local farmers selling fleeces and handspun natural yarn, several angora rabbit sellers, and more generic yarn purveyors, as well as people selling ceramics, food, and knit products) and a dozen alpaca to feed and pet and, if you so desired, buy. (Did you know the alpaca industry is highly regulated? You have to register every alpaca that is born on your property and if you sell one, you have to include its title, not dissimilar to selling a car.)

Persimmon Tree Farm

Anyone in a barn was bundled up, with warm drinks on hand, but those in the more protected buildings were more relaxed, with many of them spinning or knitting in their booths. We wandered around, chatted with a few vendors, made a couple purchases, bought some lunch from the food truck on site, and watched two alpacas interact with two dogs. (They did not care for the munchkin dog, but were fascinated by the husky. The husky, in turn, thought them interesting singly, but got a little skittish when they moved in unison his direction.)

Alpacas & Husky

Alpacas & Husky

Before we left, we took a second turn through the barns, stopping to feed some of the alpaca. (They’re noses are very tickly, and the alpaca are not above chewing (gently) on your fingers if they think they can suck anything off them.)

Feeding the Alpacas

While today was sparsely attended, apparently the crowds were larger on Saturday, which makes sense, since that was the nicer of the weekend days. Today’s weather was overcast and a bit raw, and we ran into rain within 15 minutes of leaving the festival, which meant the poor vendors had to pack up in precipitation, never a fun thing for fiber folk.

Rudi and the Alpacas

We had a nice time and were glad to have gone. Large fiber festivals are an experience not to be missed, but the smaller ones are more enjoyable for those who like a less harried environment or the ability to chat with the people raising or making the yarn you knit with.


The weekend also included sleeping in, laundry, watching some classic movies, a trip to the garden, a bike ride to a coffeehouse a couple miles away (look for a coffeeneuring post later this week), a trip to the farmers market, replacing the colored lights around the living room, and finishing a book and a knitting project.

How about you? How was your weekend?

Weekending along with Pumpkin Sunrise.

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November 16, 2014

more beautiful things: prepared, warm, & timing
posted by soe 3:04 am

It’s late and I stayed up too late finishing my book, so now I’m tired and cranky and in that headspace where you start to think about what to write and then think that maybe instead of contemplating you were dozing, but no one who’s still up (Corey) can tell you if that was the case or not. The only thing preventing me from toddling off to join Rudi for a few hours of sleep is a blog post and everything I thought/dreamed about will just take too long to write, despite the fact that I’ve now been sitting at the computer for half an hour not writing.

So, in the interest of getting to bed, I’m writing a bonus three beautiful things post about today and going to sleep:

1. I took both a hat and an earwarmer out with me cycling today, which meant I could use the hat as a tea cozy when sitting outdoors.

2. Fleece-lined leggings.

3. I was still home when Posey threw up a hairball, which meant I cleaned it up. If it’d happened after I’d left, it would have been mashed under the door and/or Rudi’s bike tire when he came home before he himself even crossed the threshold.

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November 15, 2014

weekend to-do
posted by soe 12:10 am

Things I’m hoping to get around to this weekend:

  • Check out an alpaca festival.
  • Go for a bike ride or two.
  • Shop at the farmers market.
  • Start a new book (or, rather, re-start it).
  • Finish a knitting project.
  • Cook quince.
  • Do laundry.
  • String a new strand of lights around the living room.
  • Visit the garden.
  • Watch a movie.
  • Mop the kitchen and bathroom floors.
  • Paint my nails.
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November 14, 2014

autumn, leftovers, and sweet
posted by soe 12:06 am

I just dropped a glass jar while taking out the leftover recycling, so I’m annoyed with myself and the world right now. All of which means it’s an especially good time to consider three beautiful things from my past week:

1. Leaves crunch beneath my feet while yellow sunshine filters through red-orange leaves against a blue sky.

2. Nicole tucked a baggie containing two mini muffins into the bags of untouched beers and used pots when we weren’t looking. As they were my favorite thing from Pumpkin Fest, it was a delight to find we had a couple to eat after we’d recovered from the festivities.

3. When last I bought wool wash*, we couldn’t find my favorite scent (which, it turns out, has been discontinued), so Rudi did a sniff test and suggested one. Since we’re now back in handknits season, I’ve had the chance to break out the new bottle of Soak and find the fig scent far more pleasant than I would have imagined.

*Woolite, knitters will tell you, is actually really good for washing lingerie and similar delicates, but is bad for laundering wool. Should you not want to shop for a product specifically for your knitwear, baby shampoo is gentle and is generally considered a good substitute.

How about you? What was beautiful in your world this week?

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November 13, 2014

whiskers on wednesdays
posted by soe 3:26 am

Because it’s a sign when you wake yourself up from a dream where you’re sniping about having dozed off, I’m off to join Corey (and Jeremiah, Posey, and Rudi) in slumber:

Dozing Corey

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