Saturday, February 16, 2013

Spinning Yarns...

First of all I just need to acknowledge what a special day this is. (Umm... I began this post and then got a little distracted... for a few days)  Dave and I are celebrating our 20th wedding anniversary :)  And the sun has just risen over the mountain behind our house and is reflecting off of the snow.  The sky is crystal clear and the turkeys are parading past the window on the way to the cow shed to scratch around in the hay.  That bit about the turkeys would make Dave pretty grumpy but he's not awake yet so :) ... I'm just going to enjoy how pretty they are and how blessed I am to have this beautiful home that my wonderful husband built for me.  I guess I'm feeling very princessey (yeah... I know... I'm making up words again) this morning.

So back to the blog title... spinning yarns.  What do you think of when you hear those words?  Old women sitting around at a spinning wheel?  Or perhaps the tales they share with their fellow spinners and the children playing on the cottage floor?  Maybe you don't think of that at all and you think I'm just off in fairytale land which is frequently the case!  Anyway, I have a little something to say about all that.

Maybe I mentioned that upon our return from our whirlwind trip this fall we decided for a number of reasons to cancel the cable TV for a season.  That means just plain ole shutting it off altogether since we don't get any kind of TV reception out here in the sticks.  We have been checking out  movies from the library and have really enjoyed the variety and sometimes oddness of some of our choices.  (The Vicar of Dibley is one of my recent favorites.  It's a BBC production and pretty funny.)

 Even with the occasional movie our TV time has been drastically reduced and that's been a great thing.  It creates time for working on projects and for reading.  I love to read so I've been very happy with our decision.  Reading fires my imagination and I feel is much healthier than zoning out in front of the tube - which is also when and where I do most of my not so healthy snacking!  I just love to escape into a great story.

It seemed really perfect timing when in the mail last week I received a very kind and special gift from my cousin Stefan who lives in Germany.  He is a counselor, therapist and chaplain and utilizes storytelling as part of the therapy.  When Dave and I were visiting my family in Germany a  few years ago Stefan was describing one of the books he  wrote and Dave said that he would like to read it.  Unfortunately since Dave doesn't read German it was not possible :)  Very recently however his book The Blade of Grass in the Desert was translated into English and now we can read it!

I've been enjoying it one or two stories at a time.  They are very brief (which is a perfect match for my attention span) and each story leaves you with something to think about.  "the moral of the story".   Because it's a translation it reads a little differently than a book written originally in English which I think lends a delightful charm.  Storytelling is a bit of a lost art so I'm really appreciative of this work.  So... thanks so much Cuz!  I love this.  And for those of you who are curious about this book you can find it on  :)  and you can learn more about my famous cousin at...  

Portraitfoto von Stefan Hammel, Otterberg (Pfalz): Autor des Buchs "Der Grashalm in der W├╝ste".
 You can see how handsome he is.  It's genetic :) 

Speaking of lost arts... and yarns for that matter, my friend and neighbor from across the pasture, Jean invited me to go to her spinning group.  I have been twice now and I love it!  One of the really nice ladies at the group taught me to spin on a spindle and now I'm a spindle spinning fool. She loaned me a spindle to practice on but knowing I would have to return it I asked Dave to make one for me.  He rarely denies me anything (that doesn't cost more than 5 bucks) so he went out to the barn and made a few little spindles for me to play with.  And here they are :)

The one with the quarters is the first one he made.  The quarters are to add weight.  I thought it needed to be heavier.  I had trouble keeping it spinning at first.  Partly because the yarn that was coming out was pretty thick and well... awful :)  Then I realized for finer strands a lighter spindle is better so as I experimented I of course needed different spindles.  Dave is so kind!  

Of course next comes the spinning wheel :)  Again, my friend Jean hooked me up.  I am borrowing a beautiful spinning wheel (that she is also borrowing :) from our other neighbor Carol) to practice on.  

Here it is...

And here I am...

If the link isn't working but you want to see the ridiculous little video here's the url...  

 (note to self... do NOT wear a big bulky sweatshirt when you are already shaped like a linebacker!)

I have to give it back on Monday.  So sad!  Fortunately on Tuesday I'm going to visit my sweet little mother who lives in Tennessee to help her celebrate her 80th birthday!  And what does she have in her closet that I've already talked her into to letting me bring home... yes... a spinning wheel!  :)

So what does all this have to do with food?  Nothing!  But here's something delicious that I whipped up for my sweetheart for Valentines day...

This is Caramel Apple Crumble.  I just "thunk" it up.  Is it a Weight Watcher approved recipe?  

And speaking of sweethearts... I just have to show you this latest pic of my little Charlotte.  

How cute is she????!!!!

And now to close... in honor of spinning yarns and telling tales I'll leave you with one of my favorite fairy tales...

Fairy tale by The Brothers Grimm

Once there was a miller who was poor, but who had a beautiful daughter. Now it happened that he had to go and speak to the King, and in order to make himself appear important he said to him, "I have a daughter who can spin straw into gold." The King said to the miller, "That is an art which pleases me well; if your daughter is as clever as you say, bring her tomorrow to my palace, and I will try what she can do."  And when the girl was brought to him he took her into a room which was quite full of straw, gave her a spinning-wheel and a reel, and said, "Now set to work, and if by tomorrow morning early you have not spun this straw into gold during the night, you must die." Thereupon he himself locked up the room, and left her in it alone. So there sat the poor miller's daughter, and for her life could not tell what to do; she had no idea how straw could be spun into gold, and she grew more and more miserable, until at last she began to weep.

But all at once the door opened, and in came a little man, and said, "Good evening, Mistress Miller; why are you crying so?"
"Alas!" answered the girl, "I have to spin straw into gold, and I do not know how to do it."
"What will you give me," said the manikin, "if I do it for you?"
"My necklace," said the girl.
The little man took the necklace, seated himself in front of the wheel, and "whirr, whirr, whirr," three turns, and the reel was full; then he put another on, and whirr, whirr, whirr, three times round, and the second was full too.

And so it went on until the morning, when all the straw was spun, and all the reels were full of gold. By daybreak the King was already there, and when he saw the gold he was astonished and delighted, but his heart became only more greedy. He had the miller's daughter taken into another room full of straw, which was much larger, and commanded her to spin that also in one night if she valued her life.
The girl knew not how to help herself, and was crying, when the door again opened,   and the little man appeared, and said, "What will you give me if I spin the straw into gold for you?" "The ring on my finger," answered the girl. The little man took the ring, again began to turn the wheel, and by morning had spun all the straw into glittering gold.  The King rejoiced beyond measure at the sight, but still he had not gold enough; and he had the miller's daughter taken into a still larger room full of straw, and said, "You must spin this, too, in the course of this night; but if you succeed, you shall be my wife." "Even if she be a miller's daughter," thought he, "I could not find a richer wife in the whole world."

When the girl was alone the manikin came again for the third time, and said, "What will you give me if I spin the straw for you this time also?"
"I have nothing left that I could give," answered the girl.
"Then promise me, if you should become Queen, your first child."
"Who knows whether that will ever happen?" thought the miller's daughter; and, not knowing how else to help herself in this strait, she promised the manikin what he wanted, and for that he once more span the straw into gold.  And when the King came in the morning, and found all as he had wished, he took her in marriage, and the pretty miller's daughter became a Queen.

A year after, she had a beautiful child, and she never gave a thought to the manikin. But suddenly he came into her room, and said, "Now give me what you promised."

 The Queen was horror-struck, and offered the manikin all the riches of the kingdom if he would leave her the child. But the manikin said, "No, something that is living is dearer to me than all the treasures in the world."
Then the Queen began to weep and cry, so that the manikin pitied her. "I will give you three days' time," said he; "if by that time you find out my name, then shall you keep your child."
So the Queen thought the whole night of all the names that she had ever heard, and she sent a messenger over the country to inquire, far and wide, for any other names that there might be. When the manikin came the next day, she began with Caspar, Melchior, Balthazar, and said all the names she knew, one after another; but to every one the little man said, "That is not my name."
On the second day she had inquiries made in the neighbourhood as to the names of the people there, and she repeated to the manikin the most uncommon and curious. "Perhaps your name is Shortribs, or Sheepshanks, or Laceleg?" but he always answered, "That is not my name."

On the third day the messenger came back again, and said, "I have not been able to find a single new name, but as I came to a high mountain at the end of the forest, where the fox and the hare bid each other good night, there I saw a little house, and before the house a fire was burning, and round about the fire quite a ridiculous little man was jumping: he hopped upon one leg, and shouted --
"'Today I bake, tomorrow brew,
The next I'll have the young Queen's child.
Ha! glad am I that no one knew
That Rumpelstiltskin I am styled.'"
You may think how glad the Queen was when she heard the name! And when soon afterwards the little man came in, and asked, "Now, Mistress Queen, what is my name?" at first she said, "Is your name Conrad?
"Is your name Harry?"
"Perhaps your name is Rumpelstiltskin?"
"The devil has told you that! the devil has told you that!" cried the little man, and in his anger he plunged his right foot so deep into the earth that his whole leg went in; and then in rage he pulled at his left leg so hard with both hands that he tore himself in two.

The End  :)

Ciao Yall!

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