Saturday, April 24, 2010

I'm getting there! 20 Weeks

I now have my ticket to Scotland, it goes from Syracuse to Scotland (one of the layovers is in Iceland. I hope in September the volcanoes won't be up to anything). I also paid a deposit for student housing at the university!

Scotland, here I come!

Monday, April 19, 2010

Two shakes of a lambs tail * 21 weeks

This afternoon after church, Heather, Katie and I went and visited our friend Amy who has a large, beautiful sheep farm. She has mostly Finn sheep, many of which had had lambs recently. Two of her ewes had quintuples. These were beautiful, dainty little lambs, many of which had patches of white, brown and black wool. They frolicked as only lambs can, running sideways and their tails, indeed, shaking swiftly in two (or was it three or four?) little shakes.

Amy's friend was there with daughter and grandchildren, and Amy gave the children a spinning demonstration. The house was quiet and tidy, the afternoon sun shining through the windows, and there seemed something timeless about the spinning wheel turning, and the wool twisting into yarn. Though sheep are a controversial animal in Scottish history, the dying and spinning of wool seemed something my ancestors would have done. Certainly they knew how to spin and weave their own cloth, their clothes, plaids, blankets, etc. And while ruminating over these things, I was reminded of a story my Gaelic teacher Donald told me, how when he was a lad they had a bottle baby named Bella who had a fondness for oat cakes. She lived twenty years and had, I think he said, thirty-eight lambs. An admirable ewe, to be sure!

Here's a picture of our own two Finn sheep (one black, one white. The third large white one is half Finn half baby-doll)

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Lost and Found: 22 weeks

Back in February I wrote that I was reading Dorothy Wordsworth's RECOLLECTIONS OF A TOUR MADE IN SCOTLAND (a beautiful copy with photographs that my mother loaned me). Well, right after writing that post, I lost the book! It wasn't in any of the regular and familiar piles of books we have about the place, and I was quite flummoxed. Just the other day, however, I discovered it, residing peacefully among Heather's library of spinning and weaving books. It is not certain how it got there.

So, in any case, I am just now launching into the charming RECOLLECTIONS of Dorothy. She certainly has an excellent way of describing things. Here are some examples:

"It might have seemed a valley which nature had kept to herself for pensive thoughts and tender feelings."
" was indeed a wild and singular spot - to use a woman's illustration, like a collection of patchwork, made of pieces as they might have chanced to have been cut by the mantua-maker..."

She also mentions dress, both of the Scottish people they see, and herself (she wears a Spencer Jacket and a grey cloak on a particularly cold morning.)Wonderful.