I made a quick dash to the island yesterday to deliver more garments to Hillary for photography. We made piles on the spare bed and ranked them in order of importance and which ones need a warm body to model them. It’s a tricky time of year to find a willing model!
My other objective was to take a look at the progress of the installation of my wood stove. It’s quite a performance to get it all together but David kindly took advantage of someone bringing a truck to the island from the mainland and was able to load the stove (and chimney and all the bits) in Bridgewater and not off load it again until it reached the cottage. I brought the slate for the future hearth to the ferry in the back of my car and then offloaded it into the cargo box and then transferred it to a truck to get it out there. For any job you always buy more bits than you could conceivably need because you can’t pop back for more.
The Udderly Divine Bag has gone up on Patternfish today. Hooray! The bag was knit back in the summer probably four years ago. There was going to be a bag book. The bags were just hurtling off the needles, then life intervened. Travel for teaching, new computers, downloads, I don’t even know where I was derailed. The book has moldered, stalled and lays dormant on an old Windows based computer.
Having now finished my Cool Knitters Finish in Style* book at last (that had a long fallow period too), I’m now excavating the bags and releasing them as loose patterns; my first love being the Udderly Divine. I’ve always had a thing for cattle. I used to help with milking on a dairy farm when I was nine and once took a cow to school (pet show). I love to visit the cattle lines at agricultural shows.
Big Tancook island (3 miles by 4 miles approximately) where my photographer Hillary Dionne lives has thus far yielded a wonderful array of models, Katie, Scott, Rhiannon and Hannah have all been pressed into service. This bag needed someone particularly special. Enter Desdemona and her companions.
Here is a little of the history of the cattle from Hillary:
“The only cattle now on the island belong to Dexter. He’s had the Highland Cattle for several years now and he started out with just one pregnant heifer. She calved and shortly thereafter he was given a couple more animals, which over time bred and calved until he had 9 animals. He’s butchered a few over the years (I believe these were all bulls) and now he has 8 cows and no bulls, so there will be no more calves.
Dexter (and in the past, his Dad), with the help of a few friends, makes hay on the island. In the fall, he mows and bales enough to sustain his animals (8 cattle & 3 horses) throughout winter. In the spring, summer and fall, the animals graze, so they don’t need hay. The cattle are also outdoor animals and they don’t need a shelter in the winter. If they were put in a barn, they would die. Dexter has seen them encrusted with several inches of snow and has put his hand through and into their long hair and he says it’s as warm and dry as on a summer day.
The Cattle were brought to the island in the large, metal cattle boxes that you see on the Chester wharf. These open-ended containers hold one animal each and are hoisted on and off the ferry with the ferry’s winch. Once on the island, Dexter leads the animals home on a rope (wish I had photos of this!). It’s a walk of just under 1 mile on our dirt roads. Highland Cattle are very docile and, as far as I know, Dex hasn’t had much trouble getting them from the ferry to the pasture. I think there was one time, however, when he made arrangements to give one of his bulls to someone on the mainland, that the bull reared up on it’s hind legs a time or two as it was led to the ferry.”
Happy knitting everyone and thanks to Dexter for the loan of Desdemona and the girls!
* Thank you Knitty for your recent review of Cool Knitters Finish in Style.