Seems like it's all I talk about anymore...
However the hit Christmas present of the year is our very own personal weather station. Now we'll know just how wet our soggy little valley is!
It's bee securely attached, in a nice open spot, so we're hoping to see some interesting wind speed data. We've already recorded a 56km/h gust, and it's been calm weather so far.
Getting it level was interesting, it took far too long for us to work out that the magnets in the weather station were effecting the compass!
So if you fancy seeing just why it takes me so long to get things dry, then there's now a little weather widget at the bottom of the website. You can also see more detailed views on the Wunderground website.
I may have developed a slight addition to the monitoring ipad/iphone apps as well...
Anyone else a bit of a weather geek?
Yesterday afternoon I had one of those "oops" moments.
I spent the day dyeing the Gradient Club fibre so I could get it sent out before I stopped work for Christmas. All went swimmingly well, but at 11pm last night I had a sudden realisation...
I'd left one last tray of fibre in the oven for another 15 minutes to finish setting the dye... and I'd not taken it out of the oven. When I dashed over to the caravan thankfully there were no flames, but the place was filled with smoke. I turned the oven off, opened the doors and windows, and went back to bed. Everything usually seems better in the cold light of day!
This morning I've gone through all the fibres I store in the caravan. Thankfully it's an awful lot emptier than it would have been during the summer. The only fibre stored in there at the moment is the undyed stock, and the extra blended top for Nordic, Ceilidh and Hiraeth. All of the fibre that's currently for sale online is stored in my house and is perfectly safe, as is the caravan and everything else stored inside it.
Every bag that was partly open has unfortunately picked up the smell of the smoke. It's not a horribly bad smokey smell (think burned hair rather than burning plastic), but is still a bit pongy. If it was high summer I might try airing things out, but it's not, it's winter, and I have nowhere to spread out this much fibre.
The undyed bases will be fine. Before I dye them they're soaked in water, then they're socked in dye stock. Once they're dyed, they're washed in hot water with detergent, before being rinsed again, plus nearly all of those bags were still sealed.
However, I have got a lot of blended top that is perfectly fine to spin, so long as you can put up with a slight smoky aroma, so I'm going to have a Yule Log Sale!
Purely for the educational value, this is what BFL top looks like when you cook it for 7 hours... the water is from the rain we had overnight, inside those sausages of clingfilm was a beautiful carbonised honeycomb.
All the smoke damaged stock is going to be 50% off, which I hope is enough of a discount to entice some of you to give it a new home.
If you do decide to buy some then there's a few things to do to get rid of the smoky scent. If you hang the fibre in an out of the way, well ventilated spot for a couple of weeks that will help. You can also try popping it in a sealed box with a tub of bicarbonate of soda to absorb the smell.
You can also wash it, which really isn't as scary as it might sound, all the dyed top you buy from me has effectively been washed.
I thought it might be helpful to do some step by step photos. In short, you won't felt it unless you change the temperature of your water, or are too rough with the fibre, but gentle squeezing is fine., you actually have to try very hard to make felt!
December has been no better than November in terms of the weather. The rain has continued to fall in epic quantities, and everywhere is thoroughly sodden. We've been watching the online river level monitoring in the towns closest to us, and twice in the past month they've been close to reaching their highest ever recorded levels.
Last week we had friends visiting, so we ventured out in to the greyness, and somehow avoided the rain.
We went and looked at the local streams, and surveyed the damage that high winds have caused to some trees.
At the moment it never seems to properly get light, particularly when the skies are full of nothing but leaden skies. We also went for a walk up to a local deserted slate mine called Ratgoed.
At the end of this valley is a small collection of houses, and buildings, none have mains electric, though there is a phone line. Unlike the quarries at places like Dinorwic the actual workings are now lost in the woods, but the buildings all remain.
This is the chapel that was built for the workers and their families. It's now over 100 years since the site was abandoned, and it's amazing how well the walls have lasted even though the roof is long gone.
This is the stable block for the quarry owners house, and the thick layer of moss has actually held the roof together.
This is the amazing front door to the main house, looking at it you'd never think you were at the end of a remote welsh valley, a day's journey from the nearest small town. Until recently it was lived in, but is now abandoned and rather sadly is slowly crumbling. The other houses at the end of the valley have now been renovated and are back to being inhabitable, I just hope someone rescues this place before too much damage is done.
And finally, it wouldn't be me if I didn't do a bit of colour spotting...
The air in this area is incredibly clean as it's a long way from major roads, so you get lichen growing in some incredible colours.
Don't slam the door on your way out....
It's been an up and down month, things are definitely on the up health wise, though still highly frustrating on occasion for someone who normally gets as much done as I do. Then of course there's been the weather. It has been oh so wet, and oh so windy. We've had repeated storms, and in between those storms the weather has been generally un-cooperative.
Yesterday however was a real hum-dinger of a day. Taking the parcels down to the post office was a bit of an experience as the main road had turned in to a river.
In the afternoon we had to take the dogs out to stop them from bouncing off the walls, so we took a walk down to the valley below the house to look at our local river. I've certainly never seen it so high, and according to the environment agency the river Dyfi down at Machynlleth was within 20cm of reaching it's highest ever level.
The photos and videos are not great... my camera is not waterproof and it was still chucking it down!
We took a walk along the side valley as the river there will burst its banks even when it's just been a bit wet, and were not disappointed.
Not quite over the road at this point, but very nearly so.
Just around the corner is a very confused RAC breakdown van, sat looking at the patch where the river had flown over the road. We walked halfway through it, and then I filled up my wellies, and Meg very firmly made her feelings about swimming known.
So around we turned, and back home for a mug of cocoa.