sprite writes
broodings from the burrow

May 9, 2005

knitters’ delight
posted by soe 6:18 pm

baby goats get a snackYesterday I managed to convince Rudi that he really wanted to head north to West Friendship, Maryland, with me so he could ride his bike while I went to the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival.

a trio of alpacas

It was a beautiful day — about 75 degrees with blue skies for a drive through the countryside. We arrived just after 3, leaving me with two hours to wander before the festival closed.

An alpaca asks, 'You lookin' at me?'

The festival is two-pronged. The first part is for producers — people who raise sheep, goats, llamas, alpacas, and angora rabbits. There are competitions and vendors who sell farm implements and things of that ilk. The other part is for consumers — those of us who use the producers’ goods.

big-horned ram

I wandered first through some farmers’ booths, admiring walking sticks and handmade knitting needles, as well as a soft sheep and some humungous (and very friendly) angora bunnies.

black big-horned sheep

Then past a competition of children with their sheep and woolen goods up to the alpacas and llamas. We strolled through a barn of sheep and into a couple of exhibit halls before Rudi decided to leave for his bike ride.

young sheep

I strolled leisurely through the rest of the exhibition halls, feeling a vast variety of yarns and looking for something specific to finish a project I’m working on. I didn’t find it, but I did find:

Homemade lemonade

Giant eclairs (at a cutrate deal — 2 for $5)

shorn llamas

A woolen ball for the cats to play with (it should be noted here that I debated this purchase for a while because I wasn’t sure whether it was good to encourage the cats to play with something made of the same material I make things out of, but clearly Posey (seen below) and Jeremiah feel I made the right decision.)

size 35 needles

Size 35 needles for a shawl knit of the beautiful mohair Mum gave me for Christmas (The needles are 14″ long, I think, and wider than my fingers. They have fun lavender with polka dots balls on the top and are made by hand from poplar.)

500 yards of gorgeous apricot mohair/fine wool blend yarn (The current plan is to make a Christmas present from it, but I don’t swear I won’t keep it for myself.)

my new yarn and needles

I headed south through rolling hills to Wheaton, where I finally caught up with Rudi after his bike ride. Both of us had a jolly time and the plan for next year is to bring both bikes and arrive earlier in order to make a day of it.

Posey enjoys the new wool ball

Category: cats,knitting. There is/are 2 Comments.

procrastination (to the tune of heinz catsup’s “anticipation”)
posted by soe 5:07 pm
Your Linguistic Profile:
50% General American English
30% Yankee
10% Dixie
10% Upper Midwestern
0% Midwestern
What Kind of American English Do You Speak?

I understand the Yankee part and the Dixie part (“Y’all” and “blessed” seem to have crept into my vocabulary since moving to D.C.), but where in the world did the Upper Midwestern part come from?

Category: life -- uncategorized. There is/are 1 Comment.

outrageous news story du jour
posted by soe 10:04 am

In the last two years, 1,200 American soldiers have had to seek medical treatment as a result of anthrax and smallpox vaccinations they received from the military.

While in most instances the side effects — which included temporary headaches, fatigue, fever, nausea, and dizziness — were not serious, some of the illnesses were debilitating. These included chronic fatigue syndrome, migraines, cognitive problems, multiple sclerosis, and degenerative arthritis.

According to the article in Global Security Newswire, “None of the personnel treated in fiscal 2004 ‘has suffered loss of life, limb or eyesight,’ according to a statement from Walter Reed Army Medical Center, which houses the main Vaccine Healthcare Center in Washington.”

I understand we are talking about degrees. Walter Reed probably feels that compared with the shattered kids they get back daily from Afghanistan and Iraq that being diagnosed with MS or arthritis is minor. I also realize that our soldiers are placed in situations where having been vaccinated against biological agents may save lives.

But I do think this story should receive more attention than it probably will. Remember, in the wake of September 11, the government sought private citizens to volunteer to test these vaccinations. Mass-marketed drugs are recalled for fewer problems than this military study displays. And certainly no drug with a sample like this in clinical trials would be approved by the FDA.

It seems, then, that the prudent thing to do would be to cease public trials pending further study. Also halt new military innoculations pending further, in-depth study of those who have already received vaccines against the two diseases to best determine what the safest course should be in the future.

Unfortunately, according to Global Source, that seems an unlikely scenario unless there is public outcry: “The Pentagon, citing a determination that there is potential for a heightened risk of an anthrax threat to U.S. forces, announced Tuesday it would resume providing mass anthrax vaccinations to service members mainly in South Korea and across the Middle East and South Asia.”

If we claim that we want the best for our soldiers, let’s make sure that they also receive the best medical options. Chronic illness is an unacceptable way to say thank you for putting your life on the line for the rest of us.

Category: politics. There is/are 1 Comment.

mother’s day farm market
posted by soe 2:11 am

Sunday dawned bright and clear (and a little bit later than Sunday mornings usually do around here). The trip to the farmer’s market did not bring a cornucopia to our table. Halfway through their hours, flowers were pretty much gone. This wasn’t surprising; it was Mother’s Day after all. What was surprising was that the food had gone quickly, too. They were even out of milk!

We did manage to nab the last basket of morels from Sunnyside, where the farmer threw in our potatoes for free. And we bought a bag of baby lettuce from Heinz, whose strawberries were long gone. Two bunches of asparagus and a dozen eggs rounded out the produce.

maple oatmeal bread Blueberry scones had sold out, as had sticky buns. We contemplated pie, but our options were apple or apple rhubarb and that just didn’t say beautiful spring day to us. So we settled on the goat cheese tart to complement the loaf of maple oatmeal bread I made on Friday night.

Yum! I wouldn’t want to give up blueberry scones on a regular basis, but it’s good to remind myself how nice the combination of sweet and savory can be as a breakfast meal.

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