Thursday, July 22, 2010

Spinning and Thistle

The stress of attempting to take care of the yard, garden, livestock, house, finances, and three small children gets pretty overwhelming at times. Okay, all the time. I'm always plugging way behind and when I begin to feel like I need to see a psychiatrist for being crazy enough to attempt all this, then out comes Lulu. You know as in I'm going loo loo - crazy. She's cheaper than a psychiatrist and she doesn't give homework assignments - more to do with my already stretched time. Plus she never questions my decisions and is always supportive. Got to love her.

I've had two psychiatrist over the years. My first one was a Traditional Ashford. It got me through the many challenging years of raising three children. We home-schooled them and the Ashford sat next to the kitchen table for me to spin away on while they did their assignments. It relieved my anxiety at not being able to get things done around the house as I rationalize I was accomplishing something. It also was far better than sitting there twiddling my thumbs waiting to grade a paper or assist with an assignment. When I wasn't doing that, I was knitting up the yarn I'd spun. I loved it!

Which reminds me again that I need to start another knitting project as it is so much more mobile than spinning even though my new wheel is a traveling model. How I enjoy tucking the new wheel in the closet; out of sight, out of mind as the grandchildren can't resist giving the wheel a whirl as fast as it will go with my wool tangling in the process. Skipped that with our own kids as my last wheel was purchased when they were much older. Didn't forsee how handy Lulu would be when I was saving for her. I just thought how nice it would be to take her along on trips. Not that we go very often as milking dairy goats puts brakes on that idea. But since trips stress me, I thought how nice it would be to take her along.

She has indeed been wonderful as right now, I'm spinning some llama from Shuttles Spindles and Skeins, a store in Boulder, Colorado. You spinners and weavers may recognize the name. I of course had to buy buttons when I was there as they have my favorite kinds, metal ones that are sculpted. This time I bought ones with lilys and I made a bee line for the isle the moment I walked into the store. Then while our oldest daughter headed off to gaze at the yarns, I searched through the fibers to spin. I picked up a roving of light grey of a smoky greyish black. The llama was so soft and just called to me. I needed some comfort and this was just the stuff. I had intended on making a hat for winter out of them but when I sat down to spin, the fibers just naturally strung out in a thin line. What could I do but change my mind? The fiber told me to. Oh I could ply several single strands together but there isn't enough fiber to do that and I didn't want to spend lots of money on the luxery purchase, so I'm planning on plying the grey and the black together. I think I'll make socks. Well, that's the plan for now but the fiber hasn't given its final word. You non spinners might think for sure I'm crazy now but some of you know just what I'm talking about. Even you quilters know what I'm talking about as you gaze at a piece of fabric and images of what you could do with it enter your mind.
Always the curious, I'm trying a new experiment. You know me always the adventurous as long as it doesn't involve an adrenaline rush. I'm in too short a supply of that and take adrenal medication as it is so I'm not proned to use it up any faster than I have to.

But anyway, this is my latest experiment - thistle. The grass is full of it and the kids don't like the prickly little beggars. Well, not the two oldest ones that is as the youngest doesn't seem to notice them in her bare feet - strange-. Oh I've chemicaled them over the years and they just keep coming back despite the toxins. I've even quit watering a couple areas in the yard hoping to kill them off with lack of water. Alas, no luck. So this year with kids to worry about and their ability to suck up chemicals at a much higher rate than adults, I'm trying vinegar. Yup, the stuff you buy at the store by the gallon. You see I know it kills things because I got the bright idea of mixing water, vinegar, a touch of dish soap, and oil; and using it as a bug spray. Killed the plants and didn't touch the bugs. OOOPS!

Flea beetles will make one desperate. If you have a solution for them PLEASE pass it on as I saw a few on my broccoli this morning. They can eat them to the ground in no time.

So I figured if it would kill broccoli, why not thistle? I put vinegar, just vinegar, in a small spray bottle like the kind you wet your clothes down for ironing and doused the leaves thoroughly. Keep in mind the thistle is not full sized but mowed over by the lawn mower and you will have a brown spot because the grass dies also but hey, I'm planning on spraying the grass around the garden with it when I'm done with the thistle as I want it killed in that spot so it doesn't venture into the garden.

The results so far are thrilling, two days thrilled that is. I know it hasn't been long enough to give it the test of time but I have hopes that if I starve the roots by not giving them a top to nourish them, then the roots will also die. The grass around the thistle is fine so far and the plants are dead. May take me a while to find all of the thistle hiding in the grass but with the cheap cost of vinegar, I can use a few gallons and not be out much money. Also no toxic chemicals to harm the munchkins, causing cancer later in life.

Yup, I think it is a win, win situation. The real kicker will be if the plants don't come up next year and I'm on my way to eradicating them from the yard. Wouldn't that be sweet?

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