So today my self-directed lesson is in life and time patterns: knitting uses patterns, of both time and visualization. Plants have them. Clouds seem to be random and chaotic, but they appear as dictated by the flows in temperature, volume, pressure, and mass gradients. The rotation of the Earth is also cyclical. So what about those socks that I’m wearing now? The longer the project yarn, the longer it takes to complete the project, but the shorter the row, the further the length progresses, in the same yarn length and real time elapsed.

The period of a pendulum…related to the turning of a heel?


You bet. Painting a wall…my friend from work is doing that now- through her whole house- is also calculate-able in terms of period. Making elderberry fritters, syrup, apple tarts and sauces, harvesting black walnuts are all cyclical.

T = 2π √(L/g).       It’s application carries across the universe. Period = twice pi times the square root of the ratio of the length of the pendulum to the gravitational effect in that region. Some periods are determined by nature’s unwinding, some by human will.

I’m sure there is an analogous equation for knitting. Humanity would be factored into the “g” for that expression. L, the physical length of the pendulum, would have some correlation to the task at hand. I’m not sure what units would be needed to describe the ratio in “task” to “humanity” compared to standards. I’m sure somewhere a social scientist has written a paper on this ratio.

And today in some other posting I read that Pulsar observations have recently been used to confirm the gravitational effect theories proposed decades ago.  So the old adage “timing is everything” takes on a new meaning. I’ll remember that the next time I’m scanning PRESTO plots looking for a pulsar in the data haystack.

f=1/T.    Frequency is the reciprocal of period, T.

How often you wear those socks knit through the winter, is directly related to how soon you wear out the heels and toes, and how frequently you’ll be knitting new ones and contemplating timing patterns in life, nature, the cosmos.


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Another walk for the socks

The weather’s been pretty good lately. Put up hay. Everybody that needed shearing has been shorn. The garden- and the weeds- have been doing pretty well. Rabbits are happy. Socks are wearable. Shaping the insteps and toes differently has been educational. Took them for another walk before they were on my feet.

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Taking the socks for a walk

sock and iris

With staying home, there are some new activities that one develops. The dog and cat daily saunter, the attentiveness to weather, cooking more than normally done pre-Pandemic, and a new one- taking the socks for a walk. Photography and fair weather and much time at home blended well for this photo op.

dandelion with sock

Hand-dyed farm yarns stripe the naturally colored wool/ alpaca blend all sourced from the grasses here in the pastures over the years.

hand-dyed stripe on sock of natural wools

lavandar lilac and sock

Many of the flock have gone, but the few alpaca boys are still in those pastures. So when I wear these socks this winter, the process from grass to garment, to Pandemic survival will be knit into them, …if the fates allow.

sock in the apple tree

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Pi Day and the Blizzard

Daylight Savings time, our fifth set of goat kid twins and now a blizzardy noreaster have all altered this week since Sunday began at its forwarded-by-an-hour morning. The snow coated GP and I just returned from our dark morning stroll in boot-top deep sugary snow. It’s still coming down like a wall of whiteness in the predawn black. The dog and I both had to shake off on the rug.

The herd and flock will need a check whenever it’s light out. Much shovelling will be waiting once the snow tapers off. Better save my energy. Start the coffee…I lost a good friend one year. She was a geometry teacher among her other attributes. Pi Day was her own special holiday. The 3.14 blizzard just might be her little reminder or a tribute.


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Soon the Fall

Next the sauce

Next the sauce

Another moment to pause and reflect on the passing seasons…Why do we only slow to make entries when the changes are noticeable? Daylight is growing shorter, daily average temperatures are falling, leaves too. The farm’s wooly inhabitants grow longer overcoats, put on their undercoats of fine down. They embrace the coming winter without a conscious thought. Are we humans too detached to recognize the need to yield to seasonal changes ourselves?

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The Vortex Returns

Swirling sheep? No- just more of this season’s fickle weather. 66 to 16 to 60 to -6, howling winds and blinding, blowing white out conditions. Sounds normal for the DaSnow beginning...againkotas, but not so normal for Mother Nature in southern  Pennsylvania. She’s having a tantrum. She’s creating beautiful scenery, but under it are frozen waterlines, crummy driving conditions and school schedules that will run into summer. The herd and flock seem to be handling it all in stride as long as the hay and water keep coming. The handful of alpaca even lie out in the open field with backs to the wind and everything covered in white- except the big dark, long-lashed eyes.

Maybe we should be like them. Embrace and enjoy it. …oh yeah- Work! Snow Day! Wait for daylight. Warm up the diesel. Start to plow. Find some knitting and a cup of tea until then…

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Summer’s Dyeing

Oh when the pot boils and steams, these are the days of dyers’ dreams!

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Heading into the end of summer

It’s greener than I ever remember an August to be. Sheep are in the meadow. Goats have mowed the fencerow. Apples are doing the ripening thing and the corn is going toward dryness on the stalk. Butterflies are hitting the bush pretty hard. They must know…

Butterfly bush

Butterfly bush

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Summer of heat, drought and storms

Farming in the Mid- Atlantic teaches you patience and planning–and learning to realize that your plans get altered. Weather and climate determine how most farming progresses.

Summer color

Field Thistle

You learn to manage weeds on the weeds’ schedule. Mow them down. They make more! It’s the give and take of nature.

Leicester Longwool Ewe

Care for the flock when they need it.
Bake bread when the temperature allows it.

Whole Wheat and Honey

Spin in the Tour De Fleece.

alpaca handyed, tufted, beaded yarn

more beaded tufts into yarn

In fact, spin almost every day for a month. Lots of yards get finished.

Manx Loaghtan fiber

More Manx

Triple plied Finn Wool

And even more… Spin a fine yarn

Mohair in watermelon colors of summer

To be Navajo plied

DO a bit of wet felting with the Guild.

Wet felted wool onto alpaca

And tend the flock once more.

BFL x Cheviot mule ewe, Great Mom!

Find them some shade.

In the Shade of the not so old apple tree

And continue to care for the bottle babby until weaning in the heat of July. She’s doing fine.

Leicester Longwool Bottle lamb

Check your weeds again…They’re still growing, even when the hay has gone dormant.Summer color

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Friday at last…

What a beautiful end to this week! What a difference from last week!  Ten inches of snow pre-Halloween was a bit much. Luckily we had gotten a large load of hay the week before. After an early spring of coolness and continual rain came a summer drought. Late August brought us more rain, an earthquake, another 13 inches of rain from Lee and now this?

Animals are getting ready for fall. The autumn colors are in full blaze. Now it is the shepherd who needs to catch up, but hey- we get another hour this weekend.

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