Ah, spring. I posted on Feb 28th proclaiming that it was here, and then last Friday we got 10-12 inches of snow. Winter in New England is always a sore loser, and never goes without a fight.

Spring always wins in the end, though. After just a few days of warm weather and sunshine, the snow is almost completely gone. It may be back again still, but it’s certain not to hang around for long.

The extra snow doesn’t seem to have slowed down the bulbs down much, though. I’m not certain what this one is, but I do believe that’s a leaf beginning to unfurl. (I thought I put snowdrops here, but snowdrop leaves don’t look like that, so I don’t know what this one will turn out to be.)

These are mystery plants, too dense to be anything I planted. There are quite a few bunches of them like this around the front yard…they must be leftovers from the last tenants. I’m excited to see what they might be!

The crocuses are popping up like crazy, and they’re starting to send out their long, thin leaves, a sure sign that they’re really ready to go.

I think these are the “deer resistant” tulips that I planted. There’s just one bunch of them, down by the driveway.

(We don’t have deer, nor did I know that they had a taste for tulips, but I suppose it’s good to be covered, just in case.)

The daffodils and narcissus by the front fence have not yet made an appearance, but they tend to be latecomers to the spring party, hanging back until they’re really sure it’s time to come out.

I think that these are my miniature irises; I had expected them to come up late also, but they’re jumping up faster than anything else, and seem to be completely undeterred by last week’s blanket of snow.

I just had to go poking around to look at their progress yesterday, even if the real reason I went outside was this:

Might not look like much from the outside, but it gets a little more exciting when you get to this:

That, at long last, is my much talked-about drum carder.

I’ve been talking about buying a drum carder for about 5 years. I even went and looked at a used one in Seattle, but it wasn’t in good condition and I decided that I’d rather just wait. I’ve thought about it off and on since then, but the time never seemed quite right. Then, last spring I used Elaine’s carder to process all those fleeces in a couple of weeks, and I played around a bit with blending. It moved up the urgency list, and I was all set to buy one at Rhinebeck last fall.

Thing is, that batt blending made me think that I might want to play around with selling batts, and I could only fit 1-2 oz on a regular carder, and I’d rather make bigger ones if I’m blending for sale. I hemmed and hawed about this for quite a while, but finally decided that I’d rather have a tool that I could grow into than one that might limit me, and so decided on the double wide.

Of course, a bigger drum is a bigger price, too, and so I decided that it would be better to wait a while longer, to give our finances a little more time to recover from my 9 months of unemployment and two moves in rapid succession last year. (I should say here that all of these delays are completely my own hesitations…Branden has been telling me to just buy the thing already for years.)

Also, I didn’t want to buy it right in the middle of the busiest year of teaching (they say the first year is the worst), because I wanted to be able to use it when it came. I’m still not sure that I’m ready to use it just yet, but we ordered it on Saturday, and now it is here and waiting, as soon as I come up with something to try.

I was very surprised by the speed of delivery; I was expecting a couple of weeks’ delay between processing the order and shipping, but Otto had it out the door practically as soon as we’d ordered it. It’s beautifully made, and cranks like a charm (though I haven’t sullied it with fiber just yet…soon). It’s all put together and waiting on the dining room table, waiting for me to get to it soon.

In fact, the dining room table part is the only tiny snag in this whole story. I had never seen a double wide in person, so I didn’t really have a good sense of how big it would be. I knew how big a single wide carder was, and really math says that twice as wide should be just what this one turns out to be, but wow. It’s bigger than I thought. It’s almost as big as my table loom. For all my dithering, I haven’t quite figured out exactly where I’m going to put an unstackable piece of equipment that large, but something will turn up. I’m sure it will find a home somewhere soon, and in the meantime, it’s waiting right where I can see it, reminding me that it’s probably time to play.