May 8

My friend and former college roomie, Sandy Sullivan, and I took advantage of the sunny day yesterday and headed to the park with our cameras.  Today I’ll show you the shots we took of one another (well the best of them) and tomorrow I will share the photos of White River and all of the flooding as well as some lovely items in nature.  We went to a local to her park and the day was so much fun.  We ended up walking nearly 4.5 miles, which we both needed.  She’s an accountant, so we both just came out of tax season and the sunshine, fresh breezes and outdoors was sorely needed for our souls.


This is me and Sandy.  We’ve known each other for 35 years this coming September.  Hard to believe 35 years has come and gone since I first entered college, but there you have it.  Equally hard to believe is that her son is going to be 22 and a senior in college this coming August.  Yikes!!  Wasn’t it just last month we were that age?

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While Sandy was setting up the camera for the 10 second timer, I was sitting on the bench in the first picture so she could get a focus.  Then, just as she accidentally touched the shutter button, I did this…


Good timing, Sandy!  🙂  Why no, I don’t take myself too serious, why do you ask?


I am every tour guide’s nightmare.  No, you aren’t supposed to be where I am in this shot, and it took some climbing to get there, but I have never been know to let an inaccessible place get in the way of a good photo.


The day couldn’t be lovelier.  The river was so far out of its banks that the trail we were on was actually closed due to high water, but… well…  we had to go and see.  I’ll show you more pictures of the river and water tomorrow.

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Sandy wanted some good, updated, pictures of herself, and what better place to take them than in the woods.  While this one isn’t bad,…

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This one is fantastic!!  It is so genuinely her with that great smile.  I know I am going to make a copy of this to go into my journal.

Since this was a perfect little area to take a picture, she returned the favor.


This is a good photo of me (even though it shows the 16 pounds I have gained over the past couple of months),…


But my favorite one of me is this one.  I think this is going to be my new bio photo for all of the Johnny Saturn sites and books.  At least until I can lose the weight I’ve gained.  Still, this is a good one of me at this place in time. 


So, tomorrow, I’ll show you the rest of the photos.  There are a couple of great, short videos that I took as well that I will add to the next podcast.  Goodness, it was a lovely day!  I want to do this again, soon!

Jan 17


The ties are worsted weight yarn.  This fiber is so wonderful to touch.  I’ll be interested to see how it works knitted, woven, felted and dyed.  I am hoping to have enough left over to make a small wristie because I’d love to see how it wears, too.  I bought the fiber at the Woolery.

Jan 11

During 2017, I am hosting a breed/fiber study on my Fiber Pusher Podcast Ravelry group, but I want to discuss what I am learning as I am going.  In the Rav group, there will be one post for the entire fiber type study which will summarize the breed/fiber.

I decided I wanted to start 2017’s study out with the nicest fiber I own, which is the Paco-Vicuna that I picked up at The Woolery on Dec 26th.  Sandy and I bought an ounce at $39, which we split.  So, the sample I am working with is 1/2 an ounce or about 14 grams.  There was a bit of veg in this fiber, which you have to pick out every bit you can find.  This fiber is so fine and so soft that any extra bits feel like boulders.

img_20170108_161416159Spinning it was a joy.  It drafted easily and made for a consistently fine single.  Because I only have 1/2 an ounce, I am going to ply this back on itself to create a 2-ply so I can have enough yarn to knit and weave samples to test it.  Due to its dark color, I still am undecided on whether to dye a sample or not.


Here you can see the fineness of the singles.  I wish I had more of it, at least enough to make wristies to test wear. After the study has been completed, I will see how much is remaining and go from there.

Dec 14
It snowed!!
icon1 basicallybenita | icon2 A Little of This, A Little of That | icon4 12 14th, 2016| icon31 Comment »

Yesterday, Indianapolis was blessed with about 4″ of snow.  I don’t think we received as much where I live, but there was no wind and it was lovely.


I love this shot – mostly a black, white and gray image with the pop of reddish brown from this maple tree that thinks it’s an oak.  It never sheds its old leaves until the new spring leaves push them off the branches.  This is the Wall of China line along the south line of our property.


This is on the other side of that line above.  This wee bit of property is a bit of a wilderness, but I love it.  There is always something new popping up – asparagus in the spring, and now there are several yucca plants that appeared over the summer that I am going to transplant into my yard next spring.


And there is this cedar tree.  I remember my mom seeing it and telling me to get rid of it because – well because she hated cedar trees.  I love them, though.  I love how they look both in the summer and covered with snow in the winter.  I love how they smell.  This tree is a friend and she’s a good listener.

I love snow falls like this one.  Soft, gentle, wet and just lovely.

Nov 1

Sandy and I have two very different personalities in several respects even while we are a lot alike in others.  But today’s Nancy comic strip sums us up pretty well.  In this, Sandy is Sluggo and I am Nancy.


I hope you had a great Halloween.  Mine was sans sugar, and no trick-or-treaters, but I knitted, watched podcasts and enjoyed my quiet evening.

Sep 15

Sandy’s and my co-worker’s (Colette VanMatre) horse, Defining Hope, won her second race yesterday at Indiana Grand Racetrack.


She crossed the finish line, defeating the race favorite by one and three-quarters lengths!

And here is a fantastic article on this loves-to-run two-year-old filly.  Go Colette and go Defining Hope!!!

Sep 14

I cannot believe how time has been passing lately.  Why is it the more you have to do, the faster time flies?

If nothing else tells me this, having to get up at 4AM to start the day to try to get everything on the list done means I may have bitten off more than I can chew.  Again.

On the other hand, I created this to help me keep organized and on track.


So far, it is working.  Still those 4AM starts are getting to me.  (And, yes I do have check-offs for taking my vitamin and making sure I don’t forget the moisturizer – getting old, you know.)

I am looking forward to see those you come to Yellow Springs this weekend.

Aug 31

My coworker, Colette, owns a thoroughbred mare whose sire is Point Given.  Point Given won two legs of the Triple Crown (he came in second in the Derby).  The mare’s name is On the Point.  She bred this mare to a former race horse named Strong Hope, and, together, they made a filly named Defining Hope.  Defining Hope was born in April, 2014, and has spent this spring and summer being broken and trained to race.  Folks, this filly loves to run!

Yesterday, at Indiana Grand racetrack in Shelbyville, Indiana, Defining Hope ran her maiden race with 11 other horses.  She drew the #9 position.  The rest is history.  In her first race ever, Defining Hope won by 5.5 lengths!!!


Here is the positions and the odds at race time.  You can see Defining Hope started at 5/1, but at race time was at 7/2.


And here she is crossing the finish line.  She breezed past the other horses like a true winner, and she didn’t even go as fast as she could.  There was a kick up a gear toward the end, but the afterburners never had to kick in.


And, this is showing she won.  I placed a $6 Win/Place/Show bet on her and won $24.40 for my faith in her.

Colette spoke with the trainer this morning and Hope is behaving like nothing happened.  She is eating, in great spirits and seems ready for anything.  She will be given a 3-day break from training, then it is back to business for her.  Keep your fingers crossed.  Her next race is scheduled to be on September 14th.

I know this isn’t fiber related, and you may not care less about horse racing, but I love Colette and am so happy for her.  I love seeing my friends succeeding in their life’s passions and being happy.  And the best part yet?  Yesterday was Colette’s birthday.  What a fantastic birthday gift for her.  Thank you God for giving this to her!!!

Aug 30

While Sandy and I were at Michigan Fiber Festival, Alaina and Anita Richert from Richert Ranch stopped by with a 3.6 pound Lincolnfolk fleece from a ewe named Mini Marshmallow.  We have purchased this ewe’s fleece before so we know it to be lovely and lustrous. So, we bought it.

Now, looking at this fleece, I knew that washing it was going to be a bit of a chore.


As you can see, the tips of the fleece were pretty dirty.  Because of the size of the fleece, I decided to split it in half and wash it in two parts so plenty of water could flow through the locks and the soap could do a better job.  First thing, though was to cold soak it to get as much of the dirt out as possible and to soften up the dirt in those tips.


So, I filled up my handy-dandy $5 tub from IKEA with cold water (no soap during the cold soaks)…


And added the fleece.  See how dirty the water is already?  This is just after pushing the fleece under the cold water and making sure it was all wet.  Already, the cold soak is doing its job.


And this was the color of the water I dumped out after only 12 hours in the cold soak bath.

I refilled the IKEA tub, squeezed out as much dirty water from the fleece handful by handful, and it is now soaking in fresh cold water.  As dirty as this fleece is, it will soak at least 48 hours, getting changed every 12, then I will take handfuls of the dirtiest parts and swish them briskly in a tub of clean water to dislodge the majority of the dirt from the tips.  It is time consuming to do this, but the results are worth it.  And because the water is cold, you don’t have to worry about felting.

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See what I mean?  There is still a bit of veg in this fleece, but Ohio Valley should be able to get the majority of it out with the picking and carding processes.  And look at that shine!!!

Again, I am using Unicorn Power Scour and Beth Smith’s technique of washing fleeces, and I am very happy with the results.

Once I get this Lincolnfolk fleece washed, next up are a couple of lovely Polypay fleeces that I plan to dye.  They aren’t all that dirty, so I am hoping that 24 hours cold soaking for each will be plenty for them.  I love seeing a dirty fleece become all clean and usable.

Aug 25

I tried Unicorn Power Scour for the first time last night.  This is a BFL fleece from a sweet ewe named Beatrice.  We picked it up at at Michigan Fiber Festival at Moons Shadow Farm, and their tent was flooded during the torrential rain/tornado warning on Saturday.  Since this fleece was already wet, I decided to go ahead and wash it.

First I let it cold soak for two days.  By cold soaking, I mean just that.  Cold water and trading out the water after 24 hours (for a very dirty fleece, I will trade out the water every 12 hours).  I wish I had taken a picture of the first soak so you could see how much dirt came out of the fleece.  This is the second soak.

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This was never a very dirty fleece, and the first dump water was cafe au lait in color.

I hot washed the fleece using Beth Smith’s method that she discusses in her blog.


This is getting ready to go into the first rinse.  Let me tell you, these tubs from IKEA for $5 are the best thing for washing fleeces.  They will hold about two pounds of fleece and are easy to maneuver and dump.

last rinse

This is how it looked during the final wash.  This was such a joy to look at and touch.  It was like watching a cloud.

all clean

And look at how beautiful this washed up!!  So what did I use, again?


I bought it from The Woolery while I was at Kentucky Sheep and Fiber Festival.  I bought the 16 ounce container.  I only used three tablespoonfuls total washing this fleece, so it doesn’t take very much.

Now, I have a very dirty Lincolnfolk fleece cold soaking.  I’ll let you know how this works on a tougher cleaning job.

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