Sep 27, 2007

Stick Etiquette

Celeste has discovered sticks. They are her new favorite things. Last weekend, she destroyed her tennis ball at the park, so we searched around for something else to chase, and came up with a stick. I think it was like a revelation for her. Now there is a pile of tree branches and twigs on the bike path, and Celeste almost had a stroke when she saw it. She leaped into the middle of the pile searching for a loose stick. When she found one, she triumphantly carried it all the way back home, up the two flights of stairs, and into the apartment. The people on the street laughed and make their little comments, but Celeste knew that they had no idea just what they were missing, if they didn't have a stick of their own. So the people were forgiven or simply ignored as she paraded back home with her treasure between her teeth.

Advice from Celeste:

There is a specific way to destroy a stick. One has to peel the bark off and discard it in shreds around the living room, placing it just so, so that others will know that there is a stick in the house. It's kind of like leaving a trail of bread crumbs, so people can find their way to the actual stick and of course the stick chewer - that way they can watch in admiration and the owner of the stick resolutely destroys the stick.

After the stick is peeled, one has to start at one end of the stick and delicately CRUNCH the end, until the stick splinters or is mangled enough to fall on the floor. We do not eat the splintered bit; we only spit them out daintily in an secret pattern that only the stick owner understands. It also makes it easier for the serving maid to sweep them up. One can, however, carry the stick to various places within the abode, leaving small scatterings of saliva-covered wooden bits around, so that again one can be admired as the chewing talents develop.

Once the twig or stick is completely shredded, one should leave it for the servant to clean up, but do keep an eye out for those larger pieces that might be retrieved from the trash in cases of emergency - for example, one might find oneself without any toy whatsoever, and then the larger piece of stick serves as an excellent diversion and can also be scattered about the home as one deems necessary, although in smaller quantities. This is unimportant, for it still gives the servant a reason for being and allows her to feel needed within the household.

Photos to follow.

Sep 25, 2007

Tuesday stuff

Not much going on here...I'm in the midst of the circular crocheted vest. It WAS on the way to being a sweater, but morphed while I was looking through other patterns, and now it's a vest. There's a lot of repetitive stitch work, and it's getting tedious, although I'm just about finished with it. Actually, that is why I'm writing now - I had to take a break from it. It's done in alpaca, the inside circle is a hand painted skein and the outside is the natural light fawn color of some alpacas. The whole piece is nice, but with the hand painted portion, it's beginning to look just a little too hippy, even for me.

Have you seen this? I can't remember how I came across her blog, but wow. It's done by Greenfingers. She does beautiful work! I really like the white doll.

I've been watching "The Last Mimsy". I love it. What a charming little story! I bought the cd. I only buy the movies that I'm sure I will watch more than once, since I tend to do that. I watch them several times, a habit I got into when my daughter was little, because inevitably I would be called away from the movie for something. So now I only buy the movies that I'm sure I will love. My next purchase will be "Stardust", if it ever comes to the theaters here. I've been waiting for it, but so far, only the posters have arrived here in Lima.

I finally got on Ravelry! Yey! But now I'm so busy surfing through it that I have not put up any of my own stuff - my stash, my FOs, my UFOs, etc. With time, I suppose. For now, I need to get a Flicker account, so I can add photos and, I guess, be seen.

And, lastly, I do try to be adventurous in food. But there is a limit to what I can handle. On Sunday afternoon, O and I went to eat at a place we'd never tried before. The food style was from northern Peru, specifically from Ferrañafe, which is quite close to Chiclayo. We tried tacu tacu. Everything I've read says it's made with beans, rice, bacon, and other basically harmless ingredients, so I was open to try it. And we ordered a cold dark malt beer to drink with it. When the food arrived, it was not as I was expecting, but hey, I'm not an expert here, so I ate.

Apparently, Ferrañafe style tacu tacu is different than the rest of the world's idea of what it should be. The meat was definitely NOT bacon. The flavor was quite good, and the sauce was wonderful. But the meat...well, let's say I suspected it was not something that I would be eating at any time. I thought it was the skin of a tongue, but later (O prudently refrained from telling me what it was while I was eating) I found out that it was the lining of a cow's stomach. But I had eaten it, and it was okay. Later that evening, though, the cow's stomach began to pitch a fit and fought with my own stomach, resulting in a HUGE case of heartburn. Luckily I do have quite a strong gut, and my stomach proved to be the stronger of the two. I hope I don't run into another cow stomach too soon.


Ingredients :
3 cups canary beans
150 lb (300 g) pork fat or bacon, diced
2 cups of cooked rice
2 onions, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 fresh yellow aji/chili (aji amarillo fresco), seeded and deveined


Soak beans overnight. Drain and cook in unsalted water together with pork fat or bacon until soft.

Remove from heat and let cool. Beat with a wooden spoon to form a coarse purée. Set aside and let cool.

Heat oil in a large skillet and add onion, garlic and aji. Saute onion and aji until soft and tender and correct seasoning. Add the beans and the cooked rice, mix well and correct seasoning. Cook stirring, until golden and remove from heat.

To make the tacu tacu:
Take one part of the mixture into your hands and form a small oblong tamale.

Cover with bread crumbs or crackers to maintain shape.

Heat oil in skillet, place one part of the bean mixture, and fry turning constantly to avoid sticking. Repeat with the rest of the mixture.

Serve with breaded fried tenderloin, fried banana, fried egg and Creole sauce.

6 servings

Sep 24, 2007

Crocheted skirts and a shawl

I seem to have worked my way through the skirt obsession. I am posting the results of my last few weeks of crocheting - the multi-colored skirt, a blue skirt, and a beaded purple skirt. The blue skirt is looong - ankle length - and flared at the end, in deference to Westerwitch's comments. Worn with my slouchy boots, I feel like I'm in the old West, with my long, flouncy, swirly skirt. All I need is a shawl to wear with it.

The skirts are for sale, or I will be glad to make the same patterns in other sizes. The purple skirt, the gray skirt that I posted earlier, and the multi-colored skirt are all size 8 - 10, tea length, and the blue skirt is a size 6 - 8, ankle length. Price is $65.00 postpaid.

I plan to take all of them to Colorado in November, but if interested in something, please let me know and I will get it to you. Shipping time from Lima is about 10 days.

I think the multi-colored skirt would look fabulous with a denim jacket and sandals!

And speaking of shawls, I also came up with a black crocheted shawl. It started out circular, but then I folded it and crocheted a shell edging on it. Shells - you'd think I could come up with a different stitch, but it seems like everything I do ends up in a shell edging. Also for sale, $55.00 postpaid.

Sep 22, 2007

Odyssey's Able

Able is a young male who hasn't reached his stride yet. He's still in the growth mode and has a lot of filling out to do. His fleece is one of the softest and finest on our farm and he carries a lot of it. His conformation is excellent, with a stylish head and good proportions, although he still looks a little like a teenager. We expect him to fill out and become a viable jr. herdsire this year.

Here is an excellent opportunity to acquire an outstanding fiber animal or start your herd for a very small investment. Nearly all of our young males are related to our females, so they have to go. Other fine young alpaca machos are also available at reduced prices. The animals are located in the Rocky Mountain area of the United States.

Price: $500

Sep 21, 2007

Back to life

Whew! My computer went on the blink and then O had a couple of days worth of work to do on a presentation for work, so I gave up my spot on the computer desk, and I was isolated from the world. But in the meantime, I finished a couple of projects and started a new one. One of the things that my puter wouldn't do was to upload the photos that I took of the purple crocheted skirt. It's pretty late and I'm just home from work, so I'll see if I can post those photos and a few more.

We've been waiting for the sun to come out for about 4 months now, and maybe this month we'll see it. I hope.

Today on the bike path, Celeste spotted a leaf dancing on the breeze. It was suspended from a tree limb by a spider's invisible thread. Well, it was invisible until I got closer. Then I realized it must have been one honkin big spider. The leaf itself was quite large and still had a piece of the stem attached. Although it was dry and probably quite light, the wind was strong and the leaf whips around and swung wildly at times. It was irresistible to Celeste...she spent 10 minutes leaping up and down, barking at the swinging leaf, while the people on the street and passing by on the path watched her like she was some kind of crazy pooch - "Lobita Loca" is what they called her. Apparently fun for her; quite entertaining for the rest of the world to watch. Almost as entertaining as the time she passed a hair that she'd eaten - well, she couldn't QUITE pass it. The hair hung on and just would NOT leave her alone, in spite of the whirling dance she did, spinning in both directions and tumbling into the shallow irrigation channel cut into the median alongside the bike path. The city landscapers and gardeners were doubled over watching little Celeste trying to dance away from a single stubborn strand of hair that refused to leave her for a few mad moments.

Okay, so now that I'm back on line, I'm headed out to see what I've missed over the past week.

Sep 12, 2007

a knitting/skirt compulsion

Heh, I love this video about knitting! Watch out for your obsessions! I have lately been endulging in my crocheted skirt obsession. Just having finished the gray skirt, I dived into a sea of cheap acrylic multi-colored yarn and created a wild-looking party skirt. Right after that, I jumped into making a dark purple skirt, and now, having finished that one, I am in the midst of a denim blue crocheted skirt. I'm not sure what will come next...

Sep 6, 2007


Zayne is the farm darling. She's a gregarious and social type who is always the first to the fence and first to see what's going on. Just like her daddy, Black Knight, we can always count on her to greet visitors with enthusiasm.

Zayne's fleece is a lovely bay black with bold crimp, softness, and wonderful handle. We believe her fleece will prove to be very fine--a histogram will tell for sure--and she is quite dense for such a fine dark fleece. Conformationally, Zayne's proportions are excellent, her legs are straight and her bite is perfect. She has a stylish head and carries herself with the trademark Black Knight presence and natural balance.

Since she's been shorn, Zayne looks more true black to us than bay black. What a pretty girl!

Awards Received
GWAS 2007, 2nd place, bay black juvenile females

Price: $13000 UDS

Sep 5, 2007

taking inventory

I'm in the process of getting my stuff together to go to the craft show in Windsor, Colorado in November. So far this year, I have managed to put together a granny square sweater, 2 crocheted skirts, a beige alpaca shawl, a knitted ruana, two vests, a sweater of both knitted parts and crocheted parts, the garnet sweater, a dusty rose bolero, a felted gray alpaca blend shawl, a light fawn alpaca capelet, a beaded gray capelet, a beige capelet with lady bug buttons, a dark brown capelet, a very long brown alpaca blend sweater coat, a pair of mittens, 2 ponchos, and the brown felted a big-brimmed felted hat (RED!) at home - I hope that one didn't get lost this summer.

I had a lot of fun with capelets this year, can you tell? The thing about all the things I make is that I love them, and if we can't sell them, it's okay, because I'll just wear them! My hats almost always seem to sell well in the winter, they're thick felted alpaca - warm and weatherproof, nearly indestructible, and easy to care for. I only have 2 so far. Last year, I made 6 and sold all of them, so I think I need to get on the stick and made a few more. I know that ponchos are not that popular in the US, they are a trend that burned brightly for a while, but now has pretty much burnt out its bulb, but they are a staple of every Peruvian woman's wardrobe, and I am so used to wearing them and seeing them on people all around me that I cannot imagine not having at least a couple to offer. Ponchos, shawls, and capelets are all very much used here in Lima. Luckily I love them, and if they don't like them in Windsor, I can either keep them or sell them here.

I have some nice alpaca blend yarn on pretty colors, but I don't know if it felts. think it might be time to find out. It might make some nice felted hats. If not, I have some 100% alpaca fiber that I brought from home in January that has been languishing on my shelves. I'll be making at least 2 hats from that. I'll have to go looking for a hat form. Mine is at home in the US (the inside section of a tamale cooker), so I'll go scouting at the market today, I think, for a tall, fairly narrow pot, a little larger than the circumference of my head.

I have in progress about 4 projects - a dark purple crocheted skirt, a black beaded shawl, a brown circular sweater, and the spring colors sweater. I have only about 2 months to get everything finished, so I need to get on the stick about it! And thanks to Maggie I learned to make chullo hats, and I hope to have a couple of those from my own yarn to sell, too.

So, looking at my inventory, I think that, all in all, I should have a pretty good variety to offer. If they don't care to buy my stuff, they might like it up in Maggie's neck of the woods. I'll have to ask her about that.

Sep 1, 2007

Camping in Canta

We are having another holiday weekend. Thursday and Friday we went camping with another couple and their children, and we brought our child, Celeste. Armed with plenty of Andean vocal music and the overly dramatic renditions of Latin romantic songs, we hit the road.

We went back to the campground at Canta. The last time we visited Canta, the people were wall to wall and we had to literally step over bodies in order to find a place to have a picnic. This time, there were very few campers and even fewer picnickers. Celeste had a wonderful time running around and playing with the resident dogs and the more patient and good humored campers. Canta is in the mountains, about 3 hours outside of Lima. The area is beautiful.

The drive up there is full of hair-pin curves, shallow streams that run across the road, fallen rock hazards - lots of starting and stopping, shifting of gears, and plenty of reasons for a dog to get car-sick. Guess what Celeste did. Yep, she spent the first 3 hours of the trip puking her guts out in my lap while I held the sick bag for her and listened to the drama of a male falsetto voice on the cd player..."Espera un poco, un poquIIII-YIII-YIII-to mas, para llevarte mi fe-LIII-YIII-YIII-cidad..." Thinking back on it now, it could have been the music that started the puke session. Happily, on the way home, she figured out that the best way to avoid vomiting and romantic musical drama is to promptly go to sleep, which she did.

When we arrived at the campground, I snapped the girl's leash on her and opened the door. Celeste hopped out and checked out the immediate area. I tossed my shoes out and bend out the open door to tie them; as I looked up, I saw a pair of beautiful blue eyes looking at me from under the car door. I felt so odd, looking at these blue Siberian eyes gazing back at me - I thought they belonged to Celeste, yet there was something unfamiliar about them. The facial markings were almost identical to those of Celeste, but these eyes were surrounded by just a little more facial hair and topped with shorter ears. I sat up. There was Celeste and her own blue eyes looking curiously at me from my same side of the car door. I checked under the car door again, but the eyes were gone.

The blue eyes came around the car door and were followed by an older but smaller version of my dog. She had a quiet demeanor, whereas my Celeste is boisterous, pushy, and bouncy. She greeted us with a "Wooowooowooo" and proceeded to show Celeste around the campground. She belonged to the family who owned the campground. What little charmer she was.

We spent the night in our tents, and Celeste had her first night out under the stars, in her magic camo jammies. I think she loved it. She started out inside the tent, but gradually worked her way out...first peeking out, then stuck her head out under the door, then crawled out slowly and slept upside down...while stargazing? Then the wind came up and sent someone's tent tumbling, which scared her back inside for a few moments, but not for long.

The next day, we rode some local ponies and Celeste followed along. Up the trail, through a few villages, and around and down the mountain again, and we were was Celeste. Whew! Two hours of steady walking for us, and Celeste started out racing up the trail, then back to us, then off again...then after 30 minutes of steady climbing, it wasn't so fun to race away and race back. She fell in beside us and marched around the mountain with us, investigating this thing and that, but never too far behind. When we stopped for lunch, Celeste was offered her own dog food, but turned it down in favor of a dry potato that someone had dropped on the ground. Later on in the afternoon, the potato protested and Celeste found herself paying a small price in discomfort for her choice in cuisine. Ah well, a girl's got to live a little and experiment, I suppose!

We packed up later, and Celeste's blue-eyed friend came to say goodbye. She sang her little Siberian WoooWooo song to us as we packed the laast of our things into the car, then watched us as we pulled out of the campground. I found myself wishing that she didn't already have a family. She would have been a great buddy for Celeste.

The ride down to Lima was much quicker than the climb up had been. Celeste fell asleep right away and when we arrived back at the apartment, she crashed in her bed. She slept away the better part of Saturday. I wonder what her dreams were about!