Thoughts I couldn’t ignore

A wave of… I’m not quite sure I can put a name to it- sadness, introspection, deep thoughts?

A friend has lost 2 friends this month, and maybe that started these thoughts- so that people I’ve been close to that I’ve lost have been on my mind, my brother- Eric- and Steve to name the first few. A friend of mine who I haven’t been as close to as I used to be had surgery this week for liver cancer. So maybe it’s mortality that has me right now.

Those thoughts led me to memories in general. Songs on my playlist today have taken me back to the past. On currently is a song I loved when I lived in Seattle, Photograph by Natalie Merchant and Michael Stipe- reminding me of being all by myself out there (I moved to a city across the country all by myself- one thing I’ve done that I’m very proud of). Earlier one played that reminded me of when my husband and I first met- chatting online. A beautiful song w/ very wistful bordering on sad tones. Something so horrible had happened in his life that this song reminds me of the sadness in him at the time. Memories.

Which then led me to think of my grandmother. The years she was helpless in a nursing home- immobile and facing her demons. Now that I think about it- have you noticed when visiting nursing homes there are so many screams and incoherent yells? I wonder if that is demon-facing. Grammy had a hard life- and I have to admit that she wasn’t a very nice person. She had some things- probaby many things- that she regretted in the end- and I imagine not very pleasant memories. Which then led me to thinking of the memories I have stored up. Will they be enough to sustain me if I find myself lying helpless in a nursing home in my 90s? So now I’m thinking back- and yeah, I think I will have wonderful “movies” playing in my head. I try to lightly visit those memories occasionally to “cement” them in my mind so that they *will* be there to pull out if I ever need them for my only entertainment. And life is so good right now- there is hard stuff, but we will get through it- that I will have many more good memories to add to the collection.

I’ll have to find a way to encourage my kids and step-kids to build their memories, make sure they are ones that they will want to come back to- and this seems strange- but even embrace the sad times- because those become special memories, too. (the lonely times when i moved, after relationships ended, or when I was in long distance relationships, after deaths- those are poignant and I cherish them as much as the giddy, happy ones). And see to it that they don’t store up those “demons” that need to be faced in the end.

I was supposed to be knitting for the Charlottesville Art Market next month, but I couldn’t not come over here and type all this. Thanks for listening.

Enough of heavy stuff- baby goats should be coming as early as this weekend!!! There will be happy posts and lots of sweet pictures coming.

For now, I will leave you with 2 pictures of sweet, sassy Nessie- she will be a year in March! She is still the tiniest thing, and (shhh, don’t tell) even prettier than her momma, Rosie- who to me has always been the epitome of beautiful Angora Goat. This was shearing day last week. My middlest happened to be home from school that day, and was helping us out.

middlest and Nessie

middlest and Nessie

Nessie the littlest dust mop

Nessie the littlest dust mop

Have a great week and I’ll be back with new babies, soon!


August 23, 1995

Or maybe the title should be “I wish you never left.” Or “18 years.” Or simply “I miss my brother.”

On August 23, 1995, I was sitting in the waiting area at the car dealer, having my car tuned up etc- getting ready for the long trip east I knew was coming soon. I was living in Lynnwood, WA at the time- and I loved it there. As I was killing time in the waiting room, I just knew there would be a message on the answering machine when I got home. And I knew what it would say. Sure enough, it was my father, telling me (in a shaky voice) to call him. Eric had died. It wasn’t unexpected. AIDS was most definitely a killer then. But still- expected or not, when your big brother dies, a little of you does, too. I called in to work- no big deal- they knew this was coming, too. I lit candles, then sat in the middle of the floor and cried. And cried. And cried.

That memory is crystal clear. But there are many, many good memories that are just as clear. This year, especially, my sister and I have been thinking of when Eric left for William and Mary to begin college. Williamsburg and Culpeper are about 4 hours apart- but then, when you are 13 and 11 it seems like forever. It’s been on our mind because my nephew is leaving for college, and his little sisters are left behind. They are 6- time and distance are harder to comprehend- they just know that their brother won’t be home. They’ll learn that his going away to college is not a bad thing. When he comes home, he will have so much to tell him- the holidays will be even happier. They’ll get to go visit him and see so many new things. I wish I could get through to all of our kids just how wonderful all of the things their older siblings will show and teach them can be.

That’s what I’m remembering this year. Things that I saw, experienced, learned- that I might not have if it weren’t for Eric.

What I’m wishing for and missing- pretty much the same as every year. I’ve remarried, and I really wish that Eric and James could have met. I know they would have liked each other. I wish the kids could have known him, and that he could have known them. I wish my parents hadn’t had to have a child die. I wish Manda and I still had our big brother here.

I ask you this every year- kiss or hug your brothers/sisters. And if you absolutely have to call them names, please do it with love.

Picked up some new goaties yesterday. Some new additions to my colored breeding stock- 2 red does and one reverse badger. (the reverse badger name has something to do with a white stripe on their faces and darker bellies- or something) They’re a little wild- some serious cookie training is in order…

Butterscotch, Caramel, and Reegan

Butterscotch, Caramel, and Reegan

Butterscotch has the lighter face, Caramel darker ears, nose, and tail, and Reegan is the grayish one. They are yearlings. I will get better pictures as time goes on. (my daughter wants me to call the red ones Violence and Profanity. I just don’t know…)

Got a good picture of Fluff yesterday… I love this guy. He is 8 years old, the alpha, and there is no doubt that he loves me. Did I tell you this story? Years ago, when I was married to the kids’ father, I was outside doing rabbit chores and my ex was laying in the hammock. The goaties were mowing the lawn. Fluff saw me working, then looked at my ex in the hammock. He looked back and forth a few times- you could actually see the wheels turning- then very determinedly walked over and bent under the hammock and knocked my ex right out!



Nothing terribly new on the knitting and spinning front. Most of the knitting I’ve done has been on the sweater I’m designing for Persimmon Tree Farm. Right now it is merely a HUGE expanse of red. Just goes to show how much I love Greta of Persimmon Tree- red is sooooo not my color!

I did get a few more rovings dyed and up in my etsy shop.

Griffin's Night Flight

Griffin’s Night Flight

A bit of a departure from my usual pastels. My husband commented that it wasn’t too much of a departure, cuz that day there was also this…

Baby Evan's Cotton Candy

Baby Evan’s Cotton Candy

Yeah, some things never change… These rovings are more of the super wash BFL that is such a dream to spin. Having a hard time not keeping them for myself.

So that’s about it for now. Next week we need to move the goaties back to the first field, I should have a sample knit up for a brushed sweater pattern in addition to the jacket for Persimmon Tree. And lots of other stuff I just can’t think of right now.

A last picture of Nessie, til next time…

sweet little Nessie

sweet little Nessie

See, look- I came back!

Today I thought I’d tell you what Puff the Magic Rabbit is up to- well, some of it, anyway. There is a lot. For starters, there is some designing going on- which means patterns for you! One will be a cardigan- the pattern will be created while knitting the sample for Persimmon Tree Farms- here is the swatch in one of her colorways-



This is one strand baby boucle kid mohair and one strand brushed kid mohair held together. Should be a pretty quick knit- Persimmon Tree requested no waist shaping, no frills- though I think I’m going to sneak in some optional buttons with eye-cord closures. Otherwise, the gorgeous colors and texture of the yarn will do all the work. Once done and the pattern is written, I will do up a sample for my shop, too.

The other sweater I’m working on is a cowl-neck pullover w/ waist shaping and raglan sleeves, worked in brushed kid mohair.

sweater in Justine's Willow

sweater in Justine’s Willow

Again, a quick knit in st st in the round, no seams except the underarms. Progress will be posted…

I just wound this skein off of the wheel…

BFL superwash yarn

BFL superwash yarn

204 yards at 15 wpi. I’m not sure yet if I will list this for sale, or keep it to play with. This is the first skein I’ve spun from the new roving I am dyeing and carrying. Which brings us to what is currently in https://www.etsy.com/shop/puffthemagicrabbit.

For now, all that is in the shop is several hanks of super wash BFL top- even 2 that were hand dyed by my sons.

some of the pastels

some of the pastels

Or perhaps you’ve already begun thinking of Halloween?



It's the Great Pumpkin, Mephistopheles

It’s the Great Pumpkin, Mephistopheles

Those are just a few… go take a look!

We have also acquired Cthulhu- Destroyer of Worlds (or at least of knitting!)

don't let the cuteness fool you

don’t let the cuteness fool you

She is a busy little thing- and an absolute sweetheart!

Next time I will introduce you to the bottle baby goat we have, as well as 2 rescues we picked up. Sometime this month I will be picking up 3 yearling does from Persimmon Tree Farms- lots of color entering our little herd!

And now, I knit…

Dear Neglected Blog,

Wow, it’s been awhile. If I blame it on busyness, then it’s just excuses, yet we all know how life can take over- and it has been busy since last I was here.

Had I told you we were moving? We left Madison County and moved to Louisa County in Sept. (still in VA). It has been a great move for the kids- and a fantastic move for the goaties. I did lose some goats this year- Genevieve, Fiyero, and sweet little Floppy. I should have written then, but I just couldn’t. Floppy, who originally wasn’t expected to make it a full year left when he was almost 3. He remained a sweet little happy-go-lucky guy, and he took going downhill and dieing just like he took living- to him it was all good. He didn’t fight it at the end- not to say that he surrendered early- he loved us and loved life- but when it was inevitable he just… went.

kisses from Floppy

kisses from Floppy


We had 3 does kid this winter. Elphie’s breeding didn’t take. Cream went first- on Feb. 17 Mephistopheles was born.Baby Mephistopheles

Here he is today…

Mephistopheles at 3 1/2 months

Mephistopheles at 3 1/2 months


He has sooooo much sweet silky mohair on him- I can’t wait until his first shearing!

On March 13, pretty Cookies had baby Rae-Ella. She is a fiesty little thing- she was less than a day old when she was climbing all over her mother…

Baby Rae-Ella caught on momma's neck.

Baby Rae-Ella caught on momma’s neck.

Today she is a happy little girl who is hard to catch keeping still!

Rae-Ella in a rare moment of stillness

Rae-Ella in a rare moment of stillness

Last to kid was pretty Rosie. This is her very last breeding, and I so wanted a doe from her. I got my wish, and I couldn’t have asked for a prettier, sweeter little doeling.

little baby Nessie

little baby Nessie

And here she is today…

pretty Nessie

Her mohair is so silky and dense.

We also acquired a few more adults and a bottle baby- will fill you in on them, later.

Oh, and the guy holding newborn Nessie? He’s my husband now.

Now, it’s time for me to go design a sweater for Persimmon Tree Farm- this will also be available with my yarns- it will be a strand of baby boucle mohair and brushed kid mohair held together. Pictures will come, I promise. I will no longer neglect my sweet blog.




Quick fly-by

hi there. it’s me. remember me? i’m the blogger that has been neglecting you lately…

this is just a quick stop-by to let you know that i just made a HUGE update to my etsy shop- http://www.etsy.com/shop/puffthemagicrabbit. there are 7 colorways of superwash sport weight merino yarn.

superwash sportweight

there are more than 10 colors in kid mohair baby boucle yarn- here are a few of the colors-

justine baby boucle

Elphie’s This Year’s Pink baby boucle

Rosie’s Shadows baby boucle

each hank is app. 8 oz and app. 1000 yards, and will knit this sweater-

baby boucle hoodie (and baby Claire!)

the pattern is free with a purchase of the yarn, just leave me a note. eventually i will have it for sale at etsy for 5.00.

the little black baby goats are doing well. Claire has just come through a bout of listeriosis, which is pretty serious and often fatal, but i was able to catch it quickly and with some instructions from more experienced breeders, we were able to treat her right away. i have to tell you, boyfriend has been an incredible help with all of this- he has jumped right in and done anything my crazy little farm has needed. when we were bottle feeding the she devils, Tess claimed him as hers!

new additions- rescues!! a small herd was rescued out of a bad situation by a wonderful breeder in KY. we adopted a mother/daughter pair- Dixie is the mom and Stevie is the daughter- beautiful red does!

Dixie and Stevie

can’t wait until their first shearing!

annnnd,  come february- the kids will start coming! 4 of my girls spent time at Kid Hollow farm being bred- so things will be very exciting around here, soon.

so that’s the short update- hope you all are great, and i’ll be back here soon!

one last picture- my blue-eyed boy Aidan.


New Farm!!!!!!!!

I know I’ve been quiet for a good long time. I’ve been searching for a new farm. It’s been a long, stressful road. Finally, the right place came along. It’s an 8 acre piece of land w/ a small house built in the 60’s. Truthfully, I took this place for the land. The poor house needs some help- but we are looking forward to prettying it up (i don’t think it’s had anything cosmetic done to it since it was built!)

yup- that’s some oooollllldddd carpet

street view

For the field, the corner post holes are dug, I’ve placed all the inner posts, and as soon as we get water out there (original owner replacing well-pump) we can set the corner posts, string the fence, and move the goats! (not to mention clean the house and move the people). The kids (human variety) are thrilled.

This means that I am able to expand my farm, which means I can expand Puff the Magic Rabbit. In a few weeks I expect to be in full dyeing, carding, spinning, designing, and knitting production. Also, this weekend I will be taking a few of my does down to Kid Hollow farm to be bred- so we’ll have babies this spring. Ohhhh, and I forgot to tell you about the new arrivals- bottle babies Claire and Tess!

Tess on the left, Claire on the right

They’re weaned now, but I will give you a post on just them. There is also this little guy…


This is Aidan. I finally got another little blue-eyed black. (I still miss Morpheous). This was just after shearing last month- I think he was happy with his new haircut.

In honor of this new move, I am offering 15% off all rovings in my etsy shop. Just enter NEWFARM as the coupon code. Here are just a few of the goodies you will find there:

claire and tess’ playtime



All a super-soft blend of kid mohair from my goats, shetland lambswool from a virginia farm, and silk. Several more colors.

I think that is enough excitement for one night. So I will leave you with one last picture of Claire and Tess. Goodnight!

“whatcha doin’?”

And now it’s 17 years.

17 years since my brother died. since AIDS took him. 18 and a half years since AIDS took his partner, Jeff. and around 18 years since Eric found Randal- who saw it through til the end. 17 years since a devoted pit bull named Justice laid down on Eric’s legs while he was sleeping, and stayed there beyond Eric’s last breath. (Eric and Randal got him from a shelter, and named him Justice “cuz there ain’t no Justice”)

17 years. a long time. yet just a few days ago. my mother said that when i talked to her earlier. and i guess that’s how it should be. how i want it to be. it has been a long time, but i want it to feel like just a few days ago. to never forget. i never will. it may sound dramatic, but truly, there is not a day that goes by where he does not cross my mind. but i don’t really know what to say today. it’s going to be a really hectic month here at Puff the Magic Rabbit, and i’m stressed to the point of wanting to shut down. i almost would have liked for today to go by without my remembering the significance of it. but the day is here, and it’s one of the days in my life that marks the passing of time.

if i was speaking to him today, what would he say and what would i say? i think what i am missing the most right now is the positive influence he would be in my daughter’s life. my 14 year old, brave, strong, sensitive girl is quite openly a lesbian- and i think that having Eric around might help her with some of the issues she will face- issues he faced many years ago. i’d like to talk to him about those issues then- i was really too young to help at the time, but i’d like to know what he faced through my older eyes. offer whatever i could even though it’s way too late.

so i try to strike a balance between wanting all the things we all missed out on, regretting all that i was not able to be while he was still here, and knowing that really what we had is just what we had. there will always be missing, and wishing, and regretting, and imagining.

this is where it is at 17 years.

same request as always- tell your siblings you love them, and if you must pick on them or call them names- do it with as much love and kindness as you can.

and spin. and dye. and card. cuz there will be a whole lot of that going on.

currently on the needles- a little toddler cardigan for the gallery to sell here in town- but i couldn’t possibly get a good picture now (that’s what happens when you decide at midnight that you should write a blog post). so when it’s done, you’ll see it. also on the needles is a design for Persimmon Tree Farm’s brushed mohair. this will be very similar to my brushed mock-neck for Kid Hollow Farm with a few updates. i’m working up the sample for Persimmon Tree- the pattern will be available from her and from me, once i work up a sample in my brushed. but i have other ideas for my brushed, too…

just OFF the needles is a swatch in this:

love this yarn!

i think i shall knit in no other color but this for the next forever. it’s a hard color to capture but there is black, dark purple, light purple, dark green, light green, and spots of cream (note to self, do not tie the skeins so tightly before i dye them. while i might like the cream dots, not everyone will). this is my This Year’s Pink colorway on the superwash merino sport weight i will have for sale soon. this will get the first pattern. it will be quite similar to this:


oh wait. i’m supposed to be showing you a sweater…


and just in case you didn’t see it clearly:

fluff loves me!

ok. so none of these ended up being really good pictures of the sweater. it’s kind of a prototype- i had an idea and i wanted to see if it would work. i had this wonderful yarn hanging out in the stash (tahki sedona. it’s been discontinued. feh). i wanted an open, swingy, comfy to wear cardigan with no closure. i don’t like restrictive jackets or heavy layers. so i did what i thought i wanted to see how it would go. i wore this out to dinner and visiting the other night, and it was cozy, warm, yet very easy to wear (i didn’t want to take it off when we got home). there are a few things i will change, and this will be redone and written for the sport weight.

i dyed some mohair today for the “fruit n cream” batts. mohair and creamy angora bunny.

strawberries n cream

there will also be blackberries n cream, blueberries n cream, and peaches n cream.

i sent about 20 lbs of mohair, shetland, and silk off to Zeilinger’s mill that should be back early april as fluffy, lofty roving all ready for me to hand paint.

it seems to me there was something else i wanted to tell you all, but bed-time is creeping up on me and i just can’t think of it. so, until i do…

i can't tell you how many times i have asked fluff and stuff not to talk with their mouths full...

spreading my wings

remember all the pretty undyed yarns i showed you? well, have a look at this-

bits and pieces

puff the magic rabbit will now be carrying hand dyed yarns. this is new- baby loop kid mohair boucle. most skeins are 9+ ounces w/ a generous 1100+ yards- you can do anything with that. (and pattern support will be coming soon. i’m knitting just as fast as i can!).

baby evan's baby blue

i also have brushed kid mohair- same weight and yardage as the baby boucle.

seeing double- baby evan's baby blue

and in case you wondered about the name of the color…

how could you not name a baby blue yarn after him?

i will also carry a super-wash merino dk, and many, many more. i’ve begun playing with the dk, it takes dye very differently than the mohair does, but i think i’m going to like it, and it may get the first pattern. photos of that, you ask? well, i think some things shall remain a mystery…

for marri, yes, stuff does have his own color.

stuff's midori punch

these yarns and others are listed in my etsy shop. there are also some of these yarns live and in person at Coordinated Colors Yarn Shop– so if you happen to be in the Williamsburg, Yorktown, Norfolk area, pay them a visit. their variety is fantastic, and the owners are very nice people- a great LYS.

hope you guys are all doing well. the goaties are mischievous, as always. if i could just get them to stop stealing my coffee. oh well…

cookies being pretty

say hi and tell me what you’ve been up to- i’ll be back soon.