This was a bittersweet and eventful weekend. A good weekend with a sad ending. On Saturday I was at Northern Woolies for a book signing in the morning. In spite of the snowfall on Friday quite a few people came by to have boks signed, and shop, and chat. It was a lot of fun. I even had my own entourage - Girl and Cutler needle felted, Katy and Traci shopped, Mary Alice and Barbara knitted. I did not get pictures of everyone (because you cannot simultaneously sign books and take pictures), but did get a couple of my Feltsters. I really think they should have been knitting two socks at one time on one long circular! After we headed to Mesa Verde for lunch; Melissa has a big weakness for Mexican food. Big big. Love beans. Love salsa. Love cilantro and limes and...peanut butter. Thai Peanut Burrito (in a bowl) is very yummy.
I started a shawl for a lace class (more on that later), organized my knitting area, made lists of what's to do, and when it's due. I wrote a lot, got some patterns and other paperwork taken care of, and started outlines for classes. There was a lot of productivity here. I finished the socks I am calling Caravan for submission to Judith Durant's next book. These need to go out in the mail today to Storey. I love the socks, I love the yarn, I love the pattern. The yarn is Hand Maiden Mini Maiden, and the colorway is Paris. They're knit on a US0 needle at about 10 sts to the inch. But totally worth every stitch, seriously.
On Sunday our shopping adventure began with more Mexican; lunch at Margaritas in Keene. Then we scored the elusive Wii at Target (and a Starbucks tall skinny cinnamon latte because...well...I was there after all). I spent a lot of time at Christmas on the prowl for a Wii but eventually gave up. There were three at Target. Three. Just sitting there. A swing through Home Depot yielded an offer too good to refuse - $50 off of a minimum $100 charge if you qualified for a Home Depot credit card. We needed two light fixtures and a faucet, items we've been putting off for years (literally) so we exploited the offer. Then we bought groceries, and oddly half of what I needed was on sale. This is rare, because we're "perimeter shoppers" - vegetables, meat, dairy then home. I did need some aisle stuff this week; brown sugar (for Mr. W's granola) and cocoa powder (because I have a horrible chocolate problem). It felt like a good shopping day. Then we headed home.
I am a little practical about life and death in nature, and always have been. Although a member of the Disney generation, I've always been able to separate my anthropomorphizing of various woodland creatures and house pets from reality when it comes right down to it. I eat Bambi. I would eat Thumper. I would not eat Flower, but I'd shoot him if he was in my hen house without a second thought. Living where we do 12 deer in the yard at 7am not uncommon. They bed down in the half acre that separates us from our nearest neighbor. I've considered felling the trees here to make more garden and livestock space, and maybe we will someday. For Bambi et al, this is the perfect motel. Trees offer protection from the wind, shallow snow under the evergreens means bedding down is comfortable. Down the hill there's two running streams, and across the street a field perfect for digging up dried grass. Animals live out their lives in relative normalcy. Yes, there are homes and human footprints, but the old raccoon or injured fox found dead in the woods is not uncommon. We've even had a human die up here 'in the traces' so to speak while working his woodlot. I'd like to go that way myself, naturally, no big brouhaha, no hospitals and such. So it wasn't hard for me to accept that my favorite and by no means youthful rooster Napoleon was taken yesterday by a hawk while we were out. Taken may be a little bit of an overstatement, since most hawks are not actually strong enough to carry off something as large as a chicken. Still, hunger and winter snows are enough to make any predator take a chance. And a senile rooster (who probably thought his turkey buddy was coming by for a visit) probably made an excellent target. The hawk was hungry enough to stick around for the meal in spite of our comings and going with groceries and Wii and light fixtures. It's probably been a long couple of weeks for him with the ice keeping rodents from his view. I love the hawks here. When we took down all the trees I was elated to see them over the meadow, taking pigeons out of the air like it was a McDonald's drive-thru. Pigeons are pests, but hawks belong here. Really for Napoleon to die this way, in the talons of one of my beloved hawks, was the perfect poetic end to a life well-lived. We got Napoleon as a young rooster from Tregellys Farm. He came with a "brother" Franc (later named Earl, "...cause Earl had to die"!) and a hen named after my grandmother, Eleanor. They share attitude. I remember Napoleon as being very catchable. He shoved his head in between two bales of hay, tail feathers sticking straight up in the air. "If I cannot see you, you cannot catch me!" I shook my head and thought "This one's maybe not so sharp." but brought him along anyway. He was a bit of a runt, undersized and not exactly a credit to his Maran ancestry. It's how he got his name - a runty Frenchman who never knew his size mattered and in the end it didn't. It turned out that he was amazingly sharp. For many years he's kept his various flocks safe from predators in the air and on land, alerting me to the presence of dogs, foxes, coyotes, a couple of bears and occasionally even went after Mr. Wonderful, but never Girl or I. I think he thought we were his hens, too. The hens have come and gone, and he's loved them all. He even got to rear some of his own chicks, and taught them well. He made peace with the a lone tom turkey, who eventually developed a flock of his own and often came by to visit - chickens and turkeys wandering and bathing and foraging together in the side yard. His second in command, Plush (named for the yarn) will get the job done with his fuzzy Cochin boots and his iridescent black mantle. Plush a striking specimen, and all that a "real" rooster should be in appearance. But it won't be the same as my little general racing around the yard and eating bread from my hand. I always said if Nappie were a man Mr. W. would be in trouble. I am going to miss him.