Flying Fox Studio

Just comments about my art, kids, animals and the eccentricity of it all.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Another one?

 A couple of posts ago, I mentioned Son#3 and I had been at the Humane Society shelter, there were a  couple of bunnies there who had been dumped out by the dam.  We felt so sorry for them we were tempted to bring them home, we resisted. A couple of days ago the boys stepped out into the back yard to check the bees, a little brown bunny scurried by in a bit of a panic.
 It seems somebody has dumped another animal in our yard.  Since it is fully fenced the only way for it to have gotten in a yard full of dogs is to have been placed there intentionally.
 So now we have a bunny. She has made herself right at home in my office.  I am not amused.  When spring eventually shows up she can move outside for now we don't even know she is around except for the liberal sprinkling of bunny poops in my office every  morning.  She is using the papers put down for her and trying very hard to be a good bunny.  Still no name, though I am seriously leaning towards  Osidnaa, short for Oh Shit I Don't Need Another Animal.
 Does she look comfy or what. Speaking of comfy, Yoda kitty has taken over the wool in the vintage suitcase. There was screaming involved to get her out of it, and I yelled a bit too. She was very reluctant to give it up.
 Tigger was dumped in our yard two years ago.  Recently he discovered the vintage doll bed.  For him to see that it might be comfy, jump in and fluff the little quilt and settle down just cracks us up.  He is such a funny little dog.  He may have been dumped on us but to whomever dumped him we are eternally grateful, he is the best, most personable dog ever.
 Can you see the grey cat in the cupola?  The stupid cupola thingy is on the chicken house roof. 
The grey cat seems to think he belongs here now.  This is the only photo I have of him, but since he has abandoned his family and moved in with us I am sure there will be more. 
He wears a tag and I have called his people three times now, they send their herd of small children to retrieve him and within the hour he is back.  He lives about a block and a half away so he must really book-it when the kids release him.  Since he is their outdoor cat he must feel he is a free agent and he has decided this house is the one for him.  As I type this he is downstairs asleep on one of the boys beds.  He does not seem to care there are six cats here already nor does he seem fussed about the dogs. 
Oops I lied, he is actually in the kitchen stuffing his face again.  I guess if they want him they can come get him, but until they make him a house cat I think he will continue to make his way to our house.
Quite frankly the thought of more animals makes me even crazier than I was, they ALWAYS show up here.  But he is a super nice cat and really huggy and sweet, quite the little lover boy.  Two extra animals within one week.  crap. it's really not funny.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Spinning milk fiber.

At the yarn store the little bag of milk fiber was irresistible. Beautiful pearly white, high luster, fine and silky, it was just gorgeous, and obviously I bought it.  
Milk fiber is touted as a environmentally favorable fiber but I don't think it is since it takes nearly 100 gallons of milk to make a pound of fiber. Seems to me that is an awful lot of cow for a tiny bit of fiber.
  To make a long complicated story short, the milk is dried the protein or casein removed ( casein is also used in making artists paints by the way) then it is bonded with acryilate or acrylic at a molecular level.  It is extruded through spinnerets, think spiders extruding spider silk and then used in the textile industry.  The raw fibers are beautiful and quite frankly a bitch to spin.
 Since I spin solely on a  spindle I found the slick fibers to be obnoxious to say the least, maybe if spun on a wheel it would be easier to hang on to.  Though I can spin very fine fibers like silk (which I love) and Merino (which I love more) these fibers had no "grab" and were difficult to attenuate, they tended to drift apart and because of the fineness were prone to breaking if the spindle was the least bit overloaded.
 But I kept at it, though there was much swearing involved, until I had over five hundred yards of very fine, almost thread like singles yarn.  This afternoon I dyed the damnable stuff with acid dyes since  milk fiber is protein based.  It is a very slick fiber but I think it's biggest drawback is it is NOT WOOL.    Anything that is NOT WOOL is probably not worth messing with.
 After it dried I really liked the color though the thread is so fine it does not show the luster well.
 This last photo is a bit washed out, but it is wound on an old cone and ready for lace knitting.  I will show you the finished project,eventually.  Its a matter of deciding what lace pattern to work with.

For the very last photo, Benjamin Button our sweet bird, wishes everyone a Happy Thanksgiving and encourages Ham. Or Beef. Preferably pie of some sort.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Just before the snow.

Son number three and I were driving around a bit the other day, we "spotted" this appaloosa mare.  What a splashy gorgeous girl she is, she seemed curious and good natured.  Wish she could come live at  my house.

We got some pictures of the golden valley and then it snowed last night.
Son number three packed the hen house with straw, the turkeys and hens looked so cozy as the snow fell outside. The ducks don't go in there, I wish they would but they prefer to putter in the mud.

I love this valley.  I don't think I could ever leave here, it would break my heart.

Monday, November 5, 2012

One of the blogs I follow has disappeared.  This bothers me beyond measure.  I cannot help but wonder if something has happened to this person, is he alive or dead?   I hate it.  So Thane if you are out there somewhere, give me heads up will you?  where are you, are you okay, why did you quit writing......Thane?????


A million things to do and I am wasting time by posting pictures of Benjamin Button in the living room.  I love this turkey. Just love him.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

spinning, mentally and physically

Yarn and fiber stores should be totally off limits to me, sadly I find natural fibers irresistible.  This glorious 2 oz bit of silk and Merino blend came home with me.  I spun it with  my trusty little walnut hand spindle into
 this incredibly soft two ply yarn.
 Little Yoda cat felt the need to check it out, she was hoping to take a nap in it and was annoyed to be shooed away.
 The 160 yards of yarn became this small scarf.  It has a L shape with the smaller lace eyelet edge snuggling up to the neck and the point of the L becoming a drape,  interesting shape and fun little knit. 
I was happy with it and pleased with the yarn.

My sis and I spent the weekend in Salt Lake City.  We had a wonderful time, the weather was glorious and it could not have been any better.  As sick as she is, she runs circles around me.  Chronic fatigue and Fibromyalgia and a bum knee slows me down, I don't notice it as much in my normal life but trying to walk for miles and keep up with her really underlined how much I suck.  So I am trying to be more like her and get more done, like the energizer bunny she is, some people have a goal, "what would Jesus do"  for now on my goal is "what would Alaine do".

My mother used to tell me, " oh if you could only be like your sister"  and while growing up I tried to be like her, it did not work very well.  She is organized and classy and everything I am not.   I am disorganized, dysfunctional, totally poor white trash, oddly and intensely creative, chronically curious and in general, quite strange.  No wonder I drove my mother crazy.
 A snow lady sprang into being quite recently too.She is  made of paperclay, fabric and vintage music.  She is covered in vintage mica flakes for sparkle.  I like her, she is already spoken for, a friend wants her but I think I shall make more for my Etsy shop, she was fun to do.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

October in the canyon, a day so bright and clear it nearly made the heart hurt with the glory of it all.  The dogs loved it too.  Can you see Tigger going into the water to retrieve his big girl Rogue?  It makes him nervous when she swims, he tries to pull her out. Very funny.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

chicken toy

My house and yard is a complete disaster but I did finish my little wooden toy.  The birds bob their heads when the crank is turned.
 Yes my photograph does stink and no I don't really care.
 Not so sure I care about my messy house either, okay, yes I do but not enough to clean it.
My youngest son and I went to the Humane Society today, he was applying for a job there. 
Poor kid is desperate for a job but I am not sure that is the place for him.  It would be a constant torture. 
He is a tender soul and this is a high kill "shelter", yet the ones who do live and are adopted deserve to be cared for with tenderness, which he would do well. 
He is so kind to our little deformed chicken, her name is Scoliosis by the way, and she is particularly sweet and seems quite partial to him too.
There were several cats I could have easily taken home, though I hate inside cats ( we only have six) and several dogs especially a great bear of a dog who was so lovely I found him nearly irresistible, but we have five dogs already.  The two bunnies very nearly came home with us.  I am still thinking about them.  They could live quite happily in the hen house I'm sure.
Well right now I am going to go take my Ambien ( oh Ambien how I love thee) and clean the cat boxes.  It is so much easier to face cleaning them after Ambien and besides I forget I have done it and its always a nice surprise in the morning.
After the jaunt to the Humane Society, well I was not very happy and found little about it to be "humane" in fact I was hating people when we left.  Jacob and I talked a great deal about the general disability of people to see beyond themselves or to see the value of life.  So many animals are discarded like a week old newspaper simply because they become inconvenient, and they die, either fast or slow, they die.
The rabbits were dumped out by an irrigation dam and left to fend for themselves.  The largest black rabbit was a sweet cuddly creature, the smaller one was a little bitchy, perhaps....hmmmm. the question would be whether Tigger would want to bounce them or not.   Thinking.  I have wanted a bunny for a while now.  Thinking.  Just how much will that piss of Husbutt and do I care?

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

things and stuff

This is why we call Lynx, sink kitty.  She is ALWAYS right in my face and on my stuff or in the sink. 

 She helped me spin up some bouncy squishy Polypay wool, 200 yards of light warm 2 ply wool, and then she helped me spin 100 yards of 2 ply silk.  Of course I have no idea what to do with this now that I have it spun.
 Lynx then helped me start building a replica of an antique toy.  It will have a pair of chickens in the little cage area and a mechanism to make their heads bob.  The  original lived at my aunt and uncles house for as long as I remember.  The graphics on the front indicated it was from the last half of the nineteenth century, personally I was guessing, because of the clothing style on the children in the graphics, around 1880's.  My aunt had always said it was to be her son's when she had moved on.  He took it home with him this summer.  As long as I remember it was at Marge and George's house.  It was simple thing yet it was always intriguing.  For many years I "toyed" with the idea of replicating it.  Now it's time to do so, before I forget what it looked like.  If I can find my dremel I will carve the chickens, if not I will sculpt them out of a polymer clay.  It does not matter if it is perfectly accurate as long as it retains the look and feel of the original.
 When Lynx tired of supervising that particular project, she moved on to some wool.

Later we took a quick drive up the canyon.  At the girls camp, there were visitors.  There is plenty of browse, the doe seems awfully thin for as much food as is available. Perhaps she is still nursing the little guy, he seems plump and well fed.   This is supposed to be a light winter this year, I hope she makes it through.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Mr. Benjamin Button is a very fine bird indeed.  We like his chameleon ever-changing head color and the retractable "snood" that hangs over his beak has given us more than one laugh.

 Sometimes he is pale and washed out, then puffs and the color is almost instant, red, blue and violet.  We just adore the silly thing, and to think he is only a few months old, being hatched in May, I think that is when he arrived, and now he is huge and still has poundage to add.

He is the same breed as a "factory" turkey those, mass produced for consumption, the ones raised in large lots don't ever become such beautiful birds.  We think he is quite the looker.

Last month I was in a fiber store, bad idea, and saw a beautiful bit of fluff, a pale lavender mix of merino wool and silk.  Gorgeous stuff, so I bought it. For many years I have desired a spinning wheel but they are quite expensive and there are many other priorities around here, so when I spin, I use a hand spindle. 
It seems whenever I use it, I cannot help but think and imagine about the thousands of years of history connected to hand spindles.  For thousands of years every particle of woven clothing was produced from thread spun with a spindle.  Clothing was expensive, not only monetarily but in the very life hours of the people who produced it.

 For instance a linen shirt would take a year to make from start to finish.  The flax planted, weeded, grown and harvested.  Then bundled and soaked in water to loosen the undesirable plant particles, the bundles were beaten and flailed and then combed through large spiky teeth to align the fibers and clean out debris.  The fibers were spun and dyed if desired.  A favorite dye was indigo, which was set with stale urine. Lovely job. 
The looms were warped and the cloth woven. Then the pattern was cut out and the shirt entirely sewn by hand.  Not exactly a quick trip to Walmart for a T-shirt.
The bit of fluff  ( 4 oz) was spun into nearly a thousand yards of very fine yarn, then plied together and knitted into an Estonian lace scarf.  It is pale and delicate and I love it.
Now this week I need to concentrate on re-doing the chicken house and making it  bigger.  I don't want to, really, really don't but it must be done before cold hits.  Sigh.  Wish I had some muscle and motivation!  Some people would suggest I ask my husbutt and grown sons but I might as well pound my head against cement and get the pain and frustration over with.
One interesting thing about having turkeys, they coo.  As I sit here in my office with the window open I can hear them just under the window making soft cooing sounds.  Who-da thunk it. Sweet, soft dove-like sounds from such large odd birds, always comes as a surprise.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Stupid blogger. It did allow me to upload one picture, this is Benjamin Button in full display, we love this funny bird.  Every day he runs in to the house or at least onto the front porch to get his bowl of cat food.  The birds LOVE cat food. It annoys the cats.

Well, I sure wish blogger would let me post some pictures, since I have them, and these are good ones too. How frustrating.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

New arrivals

This last month has been an odd one to say the least. It has been a wonderful time to find and connect with family and also the sorrow to lose a family member.  I have been most grateful for those experiences.  And also grateful and thrilled for the new arrivals which have found their way to my little home.
The first is an amazing and gigantic cabinet which I have coveted for years. I LOVE it!  The second picture is of an exquisite love seat from the mid-1880's.  It has a noble provenance. I will strip it back to its original walnut finish, retain the old stuffing which is still in good shape and re-cover it with needle point.  This is going to be a huge project and I may regret the needlepoint idea.
 This little love seat had been on my covet list for many years also.  I have been pinching myself all month for my blessing and good fortune, the gratitude has been overwhelming.
 The vanity?dresser which Tasmanian is sitting his fat butt on, is part of a bedroom set my grandparents bought for their wedding. I am unsure of their exact wedding date but I am guessing around 1910.  I am thrilled beyond words to be it's caretaker.  The lovely dresser and headboard have also joined it, and I will cherish them too. 
The last picture is of my beautiful stained glass windows and the linen covered antique couch, and yes it is covered in plastic, there are too many animals around here I don't trust and that would mainly be Hemi, he is a renown pisser to use a earthy phrase.  Excellent cat in every other way but his mother never taught him properly about using a cat box, he marks things as his own constantly and  he is a fixed cat too.

There are so many projects around here to finish it seems absurd, and I keep thinking of more to do.
The chicken house needs to be expanded before winter and I would like to finish all the trim work in the house....sigh.
There is a ton of research too for several large paintings I am planning and instead of doing what I should be doing I have been spinning.  That will be for another post, and I will show you what I have been doing.

The garden was poor this year, probably got too hot too quickly, the gigantic squash plants we had such hope for succumbed to mildew and they were a total bust, we were so disappointed.
The tomatoes were gigantic but have not set fruit, the ones at the top of the garden are setting huge fruit and hopefully will continue and we will get something out of them before frost.
The chickens and ducks ate the beets and lettuce. There were curse words involved on my part, but the peach tree yielded a bushel and a half of lovely, small but delicious peaches.  They have been bottled and some frozen and right now in the fridge is a delicious concoction of peaches sugar and heavy cream.
We have dined on fresh little potatoes and fresh beans, zucchini literally seconds away from the stalk, light delicate honey from our own bees, and eggs from the chicken and turkeys.
Speaking of turkeys, Benjamin the tom has grown at a spectacular rate. We are crazy about him, what a wonderful bird.  He walk right in the house to get his bowl of cat food. He loves cat food!  We are so glad we have him.  The turkey hens like him too and though he is twice their size, he is scared to death of them. Very funny.