Friday, October 31, 2014

Halloweens Past

When I was growing up, Halloween was something that I always looked forward to with much anticipation.  I can still remember my first Halloween mask.  My mom took me to the Ben Franklin store in Hillsville, Virginia.  I got to pick out my own mask!  It was a monster with this horrible itchy black hair sticking out.  Do you remember those old masks back in the 70s that were very difficult to breathe in?   The whole inside would collect the moisture from your breathe and start sweating, so pretty soon, your whole face would be wet. Ick. And remember those stretchy little cords that went around your head?  That thing would always get caught in my long hair and make a tangled mess, pulling out gobs of hair.  But, it was so much fun!

I remember in 1973, mom and dad were having a bunch of remodeling work done on our house.  While part of it was going on, we were living in my uncle's little log cabin just up the road. There was no indoor plumbing!  When Halloween rolled around that year, it was a gloomy and cloudy, and it was blowing snow.  I can remember daddy telling me that he did not know if I would be able to go trick-or-treating because of the snow.  I remember the panic!  OH NO!!!  As it turned out, we did end up going.

Trick-or-Treating was always quite the ordeal.  Where I grew up, there wasn't really a street to go begging on, so mom and dad loaded me up in the car and drove from house-to-house. They would pull into the driveway and I would hop out of the car and run up to the door and scream TRICK-OR-TREAT!!  I can remember them telling me to never take off my mask and let anyone see who I really was because that was half of the the fun.  We also never started trick-or-treating until it was completely dark. That was part of the fun!

As I got older and started school, my friends and I would go together and each year.  Out parents would take turns driving us around. We always took great pleasure in going to our teacher's homes because we really did think that they would not recognize us.  Right.  I can remember one year going to my first grade teacher's home. Mrs. Ada Shelor greeted us at the door and invited us in.  Well, even though I had been told to not go inside, this was my first grade teacher!  She had an elaborate table set up with punch and CUPCAKES!  I always thought that cupcakes were just magical, so I was pretty excited.  She offered us a cupcake on a plate and a cup of punch. That is when it hit me!  HOW was I going to drink and eat with my mask on??  Impossible!  I tried to take the cupcake and punch and head for the door, but she was very insistent that we enjoy it there! Now what?!  Dad had told me to never take my mask off and here was my teacher telling me to do it.  What do you think I did?  I yanked that mask off so that I could eat that cupcake!

Another teacher's home that we all looked forward to visiting was Mrs. Pauline Cock's home. Her and her husband would do some elaborate decorations. (This was long before Halloween became such a commercial venture with everyone decorating.  Most homes back then just turned on the porch light, put a jack o'lantern on the steps, and maybe had a cardboard cutout skeleton or witch on the door.)  I can remember one year, as we were starting to walk back to the car after receiving our treats, a ghost came flying out of the woods straight at us!!!  AIIIIIIEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!  Talk about some little girls running back to the car! Hee!  Mr. & Mrs. Cock had rigged up a ghost (a sheet) on a wire and had a pulley system that would make it look like the ghost was chasing you!

Another house that I remember quite well, although I can't remember who lived there, was just past Mrs. Cock's home.  It was a big, white two story farmhouse. One year, there was a bubbling cauldron set up just outside the door and the lady that answered our call of "TRICK-OR-TREAT" was dressed as a scary, green-skinned witch!!!  She really did scare me!

Of course, as we got a bit older, we would all go to one of our houses and set up elaborate decorations and try to scare the trick-or-treaters. One year, we set up in our carport. We had a bubbling caldron and all kinds of spooky decorations. One of us would hand out the treats and the others would be sitting very still on the ground, covered by a sheet. When the children would get the treats, we would jump up and chase the kids back to the car!

One year, we all went to my friend Debbie's house and we did a similar setup, but after the trick-or-treaters, we started walking to neighbor's homes where we soaped their windows and toilet papered their bushes and trees. We were bad! As we were walking along the road back to my friend's house, some of the older boys in the neighborhood drove by and threw eggs at us. Of course, I was the unlucky one and got pegged right in the ear with an egg. Not only did it hurt, but have you ever tried to wash raw egg OUT of your ear?  No fun. The next morning, we did go back to the neighbor's homes and clean up the mess we had made. 

The trunk or treats that seem so popular now just lack the fun, excitement, and spookiness of real trick-or-treating.  It is a shame that our world has become so unsafe that children cannot experience the fun and joy of All Hallow's Eve.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Folk Saying: Crow

Yes, I know these are not crows, but I have been dying to use this photo!
Taken by Kimberly Burnette-Dean 10/28/14

Have you ever heard the saying, "I've got a crow to pick with you?" My dad used it all of the time and I also have heard many other people use it too. He used to say that to me if I had forgotten to do something or did something wrong. For example, I would come into the room and he would say "I've got a crow to pick with you!"  Then he might follow that up with I forgot to pick him up some Pepsi the last time I went to the grocery store. Basically, he was saying that he had a complaint against me.   If you have ever heard someone say "I've got a bone to pick with you", it means the same thing.

I finally found this in The Dictionary of Phrase and Fable (1898), page 254): on the Internet Archive.

 "I must pluck a crow with you; I have a crow to pick with you. 
I am displeased with you, and must call you to account.
 I have a small complaint to make against you. 
In Howell’s proverbs (1659) we find the following, 
“I have a goose to pluck with you,” used in the same sense." (p. 254)

Have you ever heard or used this saying?

Sunday, September 7, 2014

The Memphis Belle: A Boeing B-17F Flying Fortress


 I was sitting outside my house on September 1 and heard a loud rumble in the sky. When I looked up I saw the beautiful Memphis Belle flying directly toward my house!  OH NO! My camera was INSIDE. When I am sitting outside, I almost always have my camera with me. Dang. I ran in and picked up the camera and was able to catch this photo as it flew back towards the airport. I waited and waited for it to fly back by again, but it never did.


I later found out that it was going to be back at the Roanoke airport on September 6 & 7 for tours and rides. It must be amazing to fly in it, but the cost for flights was $450.  A bit beyond what I have to spend! Plus, I have to work both of those days.

 While at work on September 6, I kept on hearing a loud rumble. Finally, I went outside and the Memphis Belle was flying over the library.  Fortunately, I almost always have my camera with me at work, so I ran indoors and grabbed my camera. 

Such a beautiful machine and to think about all of the history that it has seen. 

 I love that you can see the glass nose so well in this photo.

 A beautiful plane!

To read more about The Memphis Belle go to: 

Copyright 2014--All Rights Reserved--The Wheel & Distaff by Kimberly Burnette-Dean

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Rain Crows

Have you ever heard a rain crow? When I was growing up, my Grandpa Burnette told me that any time that you can hear a rain crow calling, it will rain later on that day or night.

For years, I thought that a rain crow is what it was really called. One day I commented to a co-worker about a rain crow that was calling.  He looked at me a bit strangely and asked me what I was talking about.  I told him to listen a minute and I would tell him when I heard it again. He then told me that it was a yellow-billed cuckoo!

Listen for the rain crow.  You are guaranteed that it will rain when you hear one!

Visit this link to hear the rain crow.

I posted about rain crows and other rain signs a couple of years ago here.

For other folk sayings and beliefs, click on "Folk Sayings" & "Folk Beliefs" under the Topics Cloud in the right hand column.

Copyright 2014--All Rights Reserved--The Wheel & Distaff by Kimberly Burnette-Dean 

Monday, April 21, 2014

A Beautiful Spring Day!

Great day for drying alpaca fiber!  Ozzy is supervising.
What a gorgeous spring day to sit outside!
Ozzy strolling around
Virginia Dogwood and Redbud Trees blooming in the woods
Baby Maple Leaves
Ornamental Cherry Tree
Virginia Dogwood
Copyright 2014--All Rights Reserved--The Wheel & Distaff by Kimberly Burnette-Dean

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Wool Roving for Sale!

Just listed new hand-dyed wool roving for sale!
  Click here for more details and ordering information.

Copyright 2014--All Rights Reserved--The Wheel & Distaff by Kimberly Burnette-Dean

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Great place to visit!

The condo

We usually vacation every March in upstate South Carolina.  We have been going there every year for almost 10 years.  We LOVE it there, but, unfortunately, we will be unable to go this year. 

View from front porch

Are you looking for a relaxing vacation in a beautiful setting? Do you like to play golf? We have a time share for the week of March 8-15 at Table Rock Resort in Pickens, SC. (Don't stop reading just because you see the words "TIME SHARE" because no one is going to try to sell you a THING because we already own that week.  There is no sales pitch that you have to listen to and no one will bug you in the least!)

Sliding Rock waterfall.  GORGEOUS and an easy walk to get to!
You can hear the falls from the condos!

Our beautiful condo is on the first hole of the golf course. It has 2 bedrooms, 2 1/2 baths, fold out couch, jacuzzi tub, fully furnished kitchen, fireplace, washer/dryer, front porch, upper and lower balconies, tennis court, wifi, satellite tv, four rounds of golf per day. There are also beautiful waterfalls and hiking trails, all on the property at Table Rock Resort.  

The creek runs through the property and you can hear the spring peepers!

$450 for the week (normally $1000/week). We love going there and are really going to miss it this year. This place is THE most relaxing vacation place I have ever been to. Pickens is located 45 minutes from Greenville, SC and 1 hour from Asheville, NC. 

Dining Room/living room and a real wood burning fireplace!

Dining room, bar and kitchen

View from upper balcony

To see more photos of this gorgeous place click HERE

One of my favorite things to do is to visit the HUGE Pickens Flea Market.  Click  for a review that I did of the flea market!  FABULOUS and HUGE Flea Market!

If you are interested in going, just email me at

 Copyright 2014--All Rights Reserved--The Wheel & Distaff by Kimberly Burnette-Dean

Saturday, February 1, 2014

January 2014 Fiber

What follows is my fiber creations and activity for the month of January!  I also visited two local alpaca farms and purchased more fiber!  
To read about those visits click here and here

My Country Craftsman Spinning Wheel
with flax fiber on the distaff.
It is easy to see why you might refer to someone
as being "flaxen-haired!"

St. Distaff's Day 2014 at the Vinton Branch Library

St. Distaff's Day 2014 at the Vinton Branch Library

St. Distaff's Day 2014 at the Vinton Branch Library

Spinn Lady Handspun alpaca being knitted into a hat

The finished hat!  It was a little too large, so I felted it a bit.
I sent this hat to my step-son to keep him warm since he works
Natural and dyed Lincoln with a touch of Angelina
that I carded on my new drumcarder.
I entered this into the swap at St. Distaff's Day.

Alpaca/Wool blend that I spun
Corriedale/Romney Cross blended with a touch of
merino and firestar and . . . 

. . . The resulting yarn!
I ended up spinning two skeins of this. 

Handspun Organic Polwarth fiber spun and then
plied with
Patons Sequin Lace Yarn
(68% acrylic/14% poylester/9% mohair/9% wool)

Handspun Merino wool plied with silver metallic thread

Corriedale/Romney spun from "Truffles"

Corriedale/Romney spun from "Truffles"

Washing some Corriedale fleece

Corriedale carded up!

Corriedale/Romney and Silk Roving
Blended on my blending board
and dizzed off into roving

Corriedale/Romney and Silk Roving
Blended on my blending board
and dizzed off into roving

Corriedale/Romney and Silk Roving
Blended on my blending board
and dizzed off into roving

Corriedale/Romney and Silk Handspun Yarn
Blended on my blending board
and dizzed off into roving

Corriedale/Romney and Silk Handspun Yarn
Blended on my blending board
and dizzed off into roving

And still knitting away on my shawl!
Copyright 2014--All Rights Reserved--The Wheel & Distaff by Kimberly Burnette-Dean