Saturday, September 29, 2012

Shenandoah Valley Fiber Fair

What a glorious fall day for a great fiber fair!
Here are some pics of my loot!

Lavender Hills Farm and Lizard Toes

Gurdy Run Mill

River's Edge Fiber Arts

Fluffy U Fiber Farm and Purdy Thangz

For more information about the Shenandoah Valley Fiber Fair, click HERE

Copyright 2012--All Rights Reserved--The Wheel & Distaff by Kimberly Burnette-Dean. 

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Test Your Smarts #2

View from the Devil's Backbone Overlook
Blue Ridge Parkway, Milepost 144.0
Photo by Kimberly Burnette-Dean
Copyright 2012--All Rights Reserved--The Wheel & Distaff by Kimberly Burnette-Dean. 

1.  Only the size of a nut, yet without feet it climbs the mountain.
2.  The greater it is, the less it can be seen.
3.  Why are the tallest people the laziest?
4.  What did one ear say to the other ear?
5.  It increases and decreases, and no one can see it.  It is not a fire, and yet it can be quenched.
6.  When is a hat not a hat?
7.  Why do white sheep eat more than black sheep?
8.  What is Smoky the Bear's middle name?
9.  Why does the ocean roar?

(If you give up, the answers are below!)

Red Fox
Photo by Kimberly Burnette-Dean
Copyright 2012--All Rights Reserved--The Wheel & Distaff by Kimberly Burnette-Dean.  

1. A snail
2. Darkness
3. They are always longer in bed than others. 
4. Do you live on this block too?
5. Thirst
6. When it becomes a pretty lady.
7. Because there are more of them.
8. The.
9. You would roar too if you had crabs on your bottom.

Copyright 2012--All Rights Reserved--The Wheel & Distaff by Kimberly Burnette-Dean.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Weather Lore

The number of fogs in August determines the number of snows in the upcoming winter.  If they are just light fogs that burns off quickly, then there will be light snows. Heavy fogs?  HEAVY SNOW!

When you hear the first katydid, it will frost in sixty days.

If berries and nuts are plentiful, there is a hard winter coming.

The more black than brown on a wooly worm or the wider the black stripe, the worse the winter.

A warm November indicates a bad winter.

Big wet snowflakes indicate a short snow storm.  If the snowflakes are small and powdery, you better be ready to start shoveling!

The day of the month on which the first snow falls will tell you how many storms you will have in the upcoming winter.  For instance, if the first snow happens on December 3, then there will be 3 storms.

Real spring will not occur until it snows on some daffodils in bloom. That snow is called a daffy snow.

If you hear thunder in winter it means that colder weather is coming.

If it rains while the sun is shining, it means that the devil is beating his wife.

When you see cows huddling up in the pasture, you know to expect rain.

Copyright 2012--All Rights Reserved--The Wheel & Distaff by Kimberly Burnette-Dean.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Watermelon Man Shawl

I purchased this beautiful roving called "Watermelon Man" from David Simpson at the 2011 Olde Liberty Fibre Faire in Bedford, Virginia.  I then spun it into a 2-ply yarn and just finished knitting the shawl today.

From roving to finished shawl

Started knitting June 19, 2012 and finished September 9, 2012

For the Oaklet Shawl Pattern, click here.

Copyright 2012--All Rights Reserved--The Wheel & Distaff by Kimberly Burnette-Dean.

Gilmer Vaughn Dulcimer

Several weeks back, I had changed my profile pic on facebook to one of me playing the dulcimer when I was competing at the 2005 Old Fiddler's Convention in Galax. This was a profile photo that I had used before, but this time, a family member, Donice, saw it on the page of a mutual friend. 

She then contacted me and was telling me that Gilmer Vaughn, my first cousin, once removed, used to build dulcimers. I had no idea!  What an exciting thing to discover. I have played the dulcimer for almost 30 years and I have done quite a bit of primary research about the history of the dulcimer and all of that time, I had a family member who made dulcimers! (To see my research, click here.) Some of my research was included in Ralph Lee Smith's revised edition of Appalachian Dulcimer Traditions.

Donice explained that when Gilmer died in 1997, his wife, Ruth, gave her and her husband, Raymond (Gilmer's brother), one of his dulcimers. The dulcimer was not finished because it needed tuning pegs, a bridge, a nut and strings. (Raymond passed away in 2009.)  After Donice told me how she came to have the dulcimer, she said that she would like to give it to me because I am not only family, but a dulcimer player as well.

I feel honored and blessed that Donice wanted to entrust this treasure to me.  Here are some photos of the dulcimer.

When I peeked inside the sound hole, the following was inscribed in the wood.

G. C. Vaughn
April 1996
No. 22

Donice told me that Gilmer met with Ken Hamblin, a well known dulcimer in Salem, Virginia on several occasions to learn about building dulcimers. When I was in college in the 1980s, a friend and I used to play our dulcimers around campus.  At that time, I had a Sears & Roebuck dulcimer and an Audrey Hash handmade dulcimer with wooden tuners.  I SO badly wanted a Ken Hamblin dulcimer like my friend, Teresa.  It had a beautiful tone and it was just gorgeous.  It also had what Ken called an "Old Joe Clark tuner" on the bass string.  I finally added a Hamblin dulcimer to my collection in 2009.  Now, to find out that Gilmer learned from Mr. Hamblin makes this one even more special!  (To read a newspaper article about Ken Hamblin click here.)

I had initially thought that I would just leave the dulcimer in its unfinished state, but after having a brief discussion with Donice, I decided that I would see if a local dulcimer builder that I know would be willing to finish it for me. I met with Jack Ferguson this past Friday to discuss finishing this dulcimer. Jack builds beautiful instruments and I know that he will do a wonderful job. I think that the dulcimer may be made of white walnut (butternut).  While discussing the options for finishing the dulcimer, I decided that it will have 3 strings instead of 4 because of the width of the fretboard.  Also, using geared tuners instead of the more traditional friction-style pegs so that it will be more playable.  One of the hardest things was deciding on whether to put any type of finish on it.  After discussing that in its natural state it would show water drops, fingerprints, etc and that also, a finish would protect the wood from drying out any further, I opted for a clear finish so that the wood would be protected, but it would retain the natural beauty of the wood.

I cannot wait to hear the beautiful sounds coming out of Gilmer's dulcimer. Be sure to check back because I will post photos and video once the dulcimer is finished.

Hammin' it up!
L to R:  Gilmer Vaughn (my cousin), Willie Vaughn (my uncle),
Vera Vaughn Burnette (my mom)

To read about how I first became involved with the dulcimer read this blog post.

Copyright 2012--All Rights Reserved--The Wheel & Distaff by Kimberly Burnette-Dean.  

Saturday, September 8, 2012


Mr. Ike
Sir Puss-A-Lot
What do people in Tennessee call little gray cats? (see answer below)

You can break a cat from the habit of catching birds by burning a match and rubbing the charred matchstick three times on the cat's nose.

If you butter the front paws of a cat, once it has licked it all off, it will never leave home.

If you put a new kitten under the covers of your bed and let it crawl out on its own, it will never run away from home.

When a cat bathes its rear end, notice which way its leg is pointing.  That will indicate the direction that your next visitors will be coming from.

Spell "mouse trap" using only three letters. (see answer below)

If a cat sits with its back to a fire, you can count on a cold spell coming soon.

If you kick a cat, you will get rheumatis' in that leg.

If you are unmarried and you step on a cat's tail, you know that you will not get married in the upcoming year.

If a cat keeps on looking out the window, rain is on the way.

Phantom J. 
People in Tennessee call little gray cats "kittens" just like everyone else.
You spell "mouse trap" with only three letters like this:  "C-A-T" (unless they are my cats and they only play with the mice.)

Copyright 2012--All Rights Reserved--The Wheel & Distaff by Kimberly Burnette-Dean. 

Monday, September 3, 2012


Photo by Kimberly Burnette-Dean
Taken on the Blue Ridge Parkway
September 1, 2012

(click to see larger image)
Copyright 2012--All Rights Reserved--The Wheel & Distaff by Kimberly Burnette-Dean.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Mystery Food

I had something to eat today that I have NEVER had before.
Do you recognize what these are?
I discovered that I am a HUGE fan and
I cannot believe that I have NEVER had one before!!