Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Re-entry is hard, guy

Today was my first day back at work.  All things considered, it was all right. I had less than 100 emails and only two voicemails.  I spent the day getting back on track, and taking care of paperwork.

The only "what the" moment I had was during morning break.  I sat in the wrong spot at the table and that caused a ripple in the atmosphere, I guess.  When I went to change spots, I managed to spill my cup of tea. After that I decided maybe I should stay in my office for the rest of the day.

I did get some work done on my brambles beret hat. I've got the 12 rows of 1 x 1 rib done.  Now I can go up to the next needle size.


Over my lunch hour I made a mad dash up to JoAnn's Fabric.  You see, I had been on the hunt for a three inch embroidery hoop.  I tried the wal*marts, Hobby Lobby and Michael's. This past weekend I called the  Hobby Lobby store to ask if they were in stock.  The gal went and looked, said "yes, we have about 16," and I thought "great!"  I arrived at the store and they didn't have them in stock.  Turns out she looked, but didn't really look.  She assumed.  Grrrr.

Today I went on JoAnn's website and it tells you if items are in stock at your local store.  I went to the store.  It was my first time there. Honestly, I'm not seeing why people are crazy for this store.

Anywho, I found where they *should* be, and there was none on the shelf. Turns out, they hadn't been unpacked and shelved yet.  It was like the universe was conspiring against me to get this size hoop.  There was only three employees working at the store, when I was being assisted there was suddenly a line of people wanting to pay for their purchases and you could tell they weren't feeling very patient.  Once I got my item, and a metal Wilton donut pan, I was having trouble finding the right 50 percent off coupon on the smart phone app.  But darn it! it was *my* turn to be assisted. 

I thanked the gal and let her know I appreciated her helping me.  I imagine she was feeling a bit stressed since they were short staffed.

Too bad I didn't get the hoop sooner.  It would have made working on my cross stitch project so much easier.


Over the summer I picked up a few small cross stitch projects from Hobby Lobby.  I thought they would fit in the 4 inch hoop I had.  Nope.  Last week I made the turkey cross stitch project in the above photo. It really wasn't an enjoyable project, without a hoop.  I persevered and got it done ... Sunday night I think.

Now I can work on the next project. A little witch hat for next Halloween.  Fingers crossed this one is more enjoyable.  When I was tossing the yarn and fabric stash last week, I discovered this kit, and another one of a cardinal. I forgot I had them.  I think maybe no more craft shopping for a while.





Monday, January 2, 2017

First cast on of the year

Last night I decided on some knitting projects I wanted to work on this new year. I rediscovered a skein of Cascade 220 I purchased last summer, and decided I wanted to make a second Brambles Beret.  My first Brambles accidentally went through the washer and dryer around a year ago.  There was much sadness when I realized what happened.  It had been made with a gorgeous blue Malabrigo yarn I received in a swap, oh about 7 years ago.

 

So I dragged out my ball winder, and searched for my umbrella swift.  Then I couldn't recall where I had set up the swift and ball winder the last time I used them.  I ended up using a kitchen chair to place my winder, and a side table for the swift.  Sometimes I get frustrated that I don't have a place for a permanent set up for this stuff, but none of the furniture in my craft room is thin enough for the clamps on these two tools.


 It's been a while since I worked cables. I hope it's like riding a bicycle.


 

I do love the deep purple of this yarn.  When I first the skein I knew I had to get it, and make a cabled hat out of it.  My first hat idea had been the 3 a.m. hat.  I've made a few of those and given them away as gifts, but I really miss having the Brambles beret.

So ...

Brambles Beret
Yarn: Cascade 220
Color # 8885; Lot #2J9995
 Needles: US 4 and US 6

In other news, I'm enjoying my last day of vacation.  I took the last week of December off, to spend the holidays with family.  It's been a busy time.  We had a lovely Christmas.  The weather was fairly decent. Our area hasn't received a lot of snow this winter.  There was a December winter storm that didn't amount to a lot of anything, but did leave a lot of ice on the roads, parking lots and driveways. 

My husband and I decided to switch over some of our appliances over to propane, so installing a new water heater and new dryer were two of our big projects this past week since we both had time off from work.  Even though he did the majority of things and I was a helper monkey, it was still tiring work.

I think it was Christmas eve that the weather was pretty decent out, temps wise.  The coop thawed out and I decided to take advantage of the weather and do coop chores while everything was thawed out. A cleaning was desperately needed and I got to spend some time with my ladies. 


 Here's a short video of one of the girls telling everyone she's gonna lay an egg soon.  She kept talking off and on for quite a while.


I pulled out my Dewalt radio, and turned on the classical music station, which I think the ladies appreciate hearing.  Turns out there was a broadcast of Epiphany Lessons and Carols playing.  How lovely.  I've not heard one before.  Hearing it helped my Christmas spirit grow just a little bit more.

The music greatly helped time go by and I think it took me less than 45 minutes to muck out the whole coop.

I clean out the coop in sections, and usually start with under the roosts.  The chickens weren't sure what to make of it, at first. I don't usually clean the coop with them still in there, but they don't like being out in the snow.  I know, they are prissy that way.  Then, when I dumped the pine shavings for them, they thought "oh boy!" 


 You will also see our two new Roos.  They have a lot of white on their feathers.  One has a stripe on his wings. They still do not have permanent names.

Last night was supposed to be the start of a winter storm. It snowed a *little* bit, but not enough to gripe about.  I thought the snow would start midday today.  Nope, not yet.

 

Tomorrow I head back to work, and I'm sad to see the break end.  It went far too quickly. It usually does.


 

Friday, December 16, 2016

If we were having coffee ... last coffee date of the year

This type of blog post is for when I have a lot of little things I want to share, or when I feel the need to catch up. 


So, grab your coffee/beverage of your choice. I have a cuppa of Constant Comment tea. Yum! One of these days I'll actually take a photo of myself holding a cup of coffee for these posts. ... One day. ... 


And since it's been a while,  I brought some scones. I made these yesterday, before going over to my MIL's for a visit with family.

 If we were having coffee ... I'd tell you how fast this year has gone. Seriously. I feel I was so much more busy this year that I simply didn't have the luxury of writing everything down. I know my writing was seriously lagging the last several months.  I'm mildly kicking myself now about it.  I love being able to scroll back and see what was going on.  I feel like I've been on the computer so much for work, I don't fee like being on it much once I get home, and writing down the going-ons in my life. Lately I have also had a serious dislike on for social media.  I think a lot of people have been feeling this way.

Anywho ... Life has been busy.   But I already said that. The boats have been winterized and put away. The water finally froze over.  I saw one ice fishing shack on the lake. I didn't think the ice was thick enough. But to each their own, right?   The weather finally switched from mild temps to wind blowing and sucking all the heat away from you.  We are to have snow this weekend, and cold temps.  Next week the temps are supposed to go back up into the 20s F.


 If we were having coffee ... I'd tell you Thanksgiving was a good week for us. We did butcher one of the turkeys for our dinner.  We butchered the smaller of the two males and he dressed out at 46 pounds.  Not quite as big as last year's bird, but pretty close.

 

We also butchered the female turkey, and gifted her to a couple we know. The couple was excited to have a farm fresh turkey for their thanksgiving meal. 

This week family from out of town came for a visit, and we celebrated Thanksgiving, Christmas, and a few birthdays, all in one meal. So we butchered the final turkey and he dressed out at 51 pounds.  I struggled to move him around, but I did get him in the oven all on my own.  He was slow cooked for 24 hours and came out perfect! 

I'm now in the home stretch for Christmas.  Almost everything is ready to go.  My son begged me to put the tree up on Black Friday. 



 If we were having coffee ... I'd tell you I *had* been crafting and stitching to my little hearts content the last couple months.  However, the things I made I've either given away as gifts, or the Finished Objects have been scattered around the house and/or put away.  So. .... nothing to show.  Sorry.

Currently I have no projects going.  I'm taking a bit of a break. My brain and hands are sort of at a loss right now.  I'm so used to doing *something* when I sit on the couch to watch tv in the evenings.  I am starting some sort of mental list of projects I want to work on in the coming year.

I did pull my wheel out this month (you can see my wheel in the above photo).  It was nice to spin a bit.  I forgot how relaxed I get when I'm spinning.  I found it's easier to treadle my wheel if I have it on some sort of rug.  We have carpet and my wheel sits just a bit crooked. 

 If we were having coffee ... I *had* been reading a bit. I was trying my hardest to follow the "Well-Read Mom" this year.  I sort of fell off the wagon back in October. ... I'm reading "All the Light We Cannot See," just a bit at a time. The story is good.  The writing feels tight. Its just that I haven't been able to be still and pull out the book.  It seems something is always pulling my attention away when I do try to settle in for a read. 

I just completed "A Corner of White" audiobook.  I wasn't sure what to make of the book, at first.  Then the storyline got going, and it got quite interesting.  The writing is clever, and it's a sweet story overall.  I'll most likely listen to the second book, too.  The voice actors do a wonderful job and made me believe they really were the characters whose words they were bringing life to. Boy, did that last line make sense?  I hope so.


 If we were having coffee ... I'd tell you about the chickens.  The ladies are doing well.  Those baby Brahma's I wrote about, earlier this summer ... Well, turns out we didn't get what we ordered.  We ordered 15 hens and 2 roos.  We received straight run.  Even worse (only because this is really what we didn't want) they were bantams.  So we found them new homes.

Meanwhile, we decided our Roo wasn't doing as good of a job that he could be doing.  Trey is no longer with us.  However, we were lucky enough to bring home two of his sons.  They are *so* pretty too. They take their job extremely seriously and have been a wonderful addition to the flock.

When we brought them home and introduced them to the group, the roos were accepted immediately, without questions.  It was an amazing thing to see. Maybe they had their daddy's smell. In any case, we are happy to have them.  They don't have official names yet.  I was referring to them and blackbeard and soldier boy, but I don't know if those names will stick.

We'll have a couple months before we pull out the incubators and start hatching some babies out.  The circle will continue :-)



Thursday, December 8, 2016

Advent 2016

 

Today during our office meeting, my coworker, boss and I were remarking about how this year's Advent doesn't seem very hope-filled, or joy-filled. After the meeting, Mass was held in our office chapel, followed by a potluck, and craft sale.  The entire work building was filled with this wonderful holiday spirit.  People were kind to each other, and were happy.  This feeling actually started earlier in the day when one of the gals decorated the kitchen, baked a coffee cake, and set the table with nice snacks for break time.

I've tried to embrace the spirit and reason for this season, and I could be doing more to nurture it along.  However, just when I think I've got it, I see something on the Internet, someone says something, or something happens. Then I feel sad, or lose faith in humanity.  Because of this, I haven't been spending much time online, if I can help it.

 I've been trying to so hard to think of others, and have kind thoughts and considerations. Others are not having the same charitable spirit, and their actions give the perception that Christmas is just one more thing have to get through or endure.

Not only are people overlooking THE reason for the season, whether they realize it or not, they are slowly killing the holiday cheer for the people who are trying so hard to hold on to it. When I speak with others and they start bah humbugging the holiday or start complaining about doing this, or doing that, I start to feel small about all the plans and things I want/ed to do, to celebrate. Perhaps I *shouldn't* do what I want, because it might be seen as overkill, when the least amount of effort could suffice. I don't know, maybe I *shouldn't* be bothering?  But then, what kind of Christmas will my son have?  So I soldier on.

This year I participated in an ornament swap and I poured so much of myself into it, knowing the recipient would appreciate each thing I made especially for her, and each thing I purchased with her in mind. Being in the ornament swap gave me the outlet for crafting and gift-giving I seemed to desperately need, especially after the tumultuous presidential election this year.

What am I doing to ensure I get into the Christmas spirit and stay there?  Well, the Christmas music will be playing, the Christmas lights will be on, and I will probably be found in the kitchen, baking up a storm, when I'm not thinking of things to make for next year's craft sale.




Sunday, September 25, 2016

Let me tell you a fish story

A few weeks back our family purchased an old aluminum fishing boat.  We cleaned it up and got it looking pretty.  The last two weekends we've taken the boat out to various lakes in the area, and trying our hand at trolling.

Yesterday my son caught his first Northern. It is a proud family moment and I'm so proud of him for bringing it in himself, with some help from his dad.


This Northern tried to make an escape a couple times while still in the boat. I finally put the fishing net over the tote we had him in and he finally simmered down.  

As we were driving home it was decided that this fish would be brined and smoked for lunch today. Both the boys were drooling at the idea of fresh smoked fish.  

We arrived home, the fish was carried to the back yard and photos were taken.  The Northern was 26 inches long. Look at the smile on his face!  When the photoshoot was done, my husband cleaned the fish and got it into a brine solution.  

This morning we ran off to Rice Lake for turkey feed.  When we came back my husband started the smoker and got ready.  Then he went to get the fish.  

Guess what? (This is sad)

The fish was gone.  

Gone! 

He yelled "The fish is gone!"  I was cleaning out the coop so I walked outside and said "What?!"  

Yes, the fish was gone.  

At some point, a coyote came into the yard and snatched the fish.  The fish was grabbed and nothing around the bucket was disturbed. 

Talk about heartbreak. I think I was in disbelief for at least five minutes.  Oh, the devastation.  After all the hard work yesterday no one gets to enjoy the fruits of the labor. 

Some brats ended up being smoked, since the smoker was going.  Those turned out tasty, but I know nothing would compare to what would have been. 



 

Monday, August 29, 2016

The return of the blogger (Or, summer, why did you go so fast?)

I feel like this has been my busiest summer ever. After what felt like waiting FOREVER for summer to arrive, it feels like it's moving in the blink of an eye.

Today was the last hurrah before school starts. I took the day off and schlepped my son up to Leif Erickson park, and rose garden.  The rose garden took my breath away.  It is SO pretty there. My son and I looked around the rose garden and my son went "Wow, mom, you need to step up your game." To which I replied "You need to buy me more roses."

It was a first time visit to the park. No viking ship though. It's still in restoration.  I would have taken photos, and I'm kicking myself for not bringing my digital camera, but I'm so used to taking photos with my phone, and my son was using my photo for Pokemon hunting. We got to the park before the rush of Pokemon hunters and we walked all over the place. Once the park started getting busy we sat for a short while and I people watched for a bit. It was interesting, to say the least. It rained this morning so the setting wasn't ideal for a picnic.

Going back on the summer a bit:

Once the nice weather hit my area we went out and about nearly every chance we get.  We've done a lot of fishing.

Taken this weekend.  Love those early mornings.

We checked out one of our old haunts out this weekend.

Also taken this weekend. Just me, being silly

The fishing is slowing down now. We haven't been doing a lot of watersports this year. I noticed that it seems to be not only us slowing down on the water sports.  I'm wondering if it has something to do with the weather, or what.  When we go out on to our favorite lake we don't see people doing much more than fishing, or cruising on a pontoon.

We did some home improvement projects. The end of June/early July I decided I would like to stain the deck.  A certain someone was happy to help me.  I even got a power washer.  Those things are awesome to use.  And I've wondered how I went this long without one.

My beautiful deck

 And to keep my deck beautiful, and free of chicken poo, my husband build me a little gate.

A gate to keep the chickens from pooing on my deck.

Some landscaping around the house was done, too. This makes me very happy, as well.

This is a small portion of what we did.

I won't bore you with pics from all around the house.  This is the jist of what it all looks like, except by the deck, where I have my rose bushes and fountain.  That area is a little more unique.

The garden grew like crazy when I wasn't looking.  Ooops. I spent some quality time in there and it's looking much better.  A few things have already started producing. The cucumbers, the green beans, some tomatoes (they aren't doing as hot this year), and I even have a winter squash growing and looking all pretty. I figure I've got at least 4 more weeks of garden weather. 


 I can't wait to make some dill pickles.

My messy garden

The chickens have been enjoying this nice weather and consider it their absolute right to be outside as soon as chickenly possible.  They've also been kicking out a massive amount of eggs this summer.

  

This little girl loves hanging by her humans.  She's extremely chatty this year.  My son named her WeepingBell.

 

Heading over to the water cooler.


This girl was wondering what I was up to.


We call this one Mrs. GoogleEye.  She always has a surprised look on her face.


I told them to "act natural."


Grandma P still doesn't have time for shenanigans.


Trey, our Roo, strutting his stuff.


Some of the girls trying to get at the turkeys food.  The turkeys are very messy.



The turkeys grew from these adorable babies to big birds, who are now on the cusp of turning into the heavy weight champs they are meant to be.


A little video from this afternoon. The one turkey displays almost non stop now. 


The Brahma babies are doing fine. They are sassy little babies.


I just love those feathers on their feet.  We decided they remind us of the Dallas cheerleaders, from back when they had the white boots with fringe.


They are still too little to be with the bigger ladies.  We may keep them separate through the winter. Hard to say.  Brahmas are slower growing chickens, and they take a while longer before they start laying eggs. They are adorable, regardless.

I'm in awe that it is the end of August already. I'm also a bit disappointed with myself that I didn't write more.  Without realizing it, I took the summer off from writing.

School starts this week.  My son is going to be a middle-schooler.  How did that happen? We will be adjusting to some changes to the schedule, and the various changes that come with him being in the middle school now.

I'm still crafting. I've been working on the same two projects all summer.  They are both done. I'll write more in a later post.

I have neglected my poor spinning wheel. I looked over at it this weekend and realized there was dust and webs on it, from disuse. So I gave it a nice little spa and cleaned it up. I feel bad. It's so much easier to start and stop spinning, when needed. I've got a spinning project going and I'm concerned my spinning might not be to the same gauge as the yarn already spun. Also, I think I stored away the yarn I was spinning. I will need to dig it out so I can try and match the weight.

There is a small quilt I finally wrapped up during the Olympics. I've been sitting on it for nearly two years.  Once I got all the pieces together, made the quilt sandwich, hand quilted, and put the binding on, it took far less time than I expected to finish it.  Oh, I can't believe I waited so long.  I showed it to a few people and they were suitably impressed. One gal, who is a quilter, told me my points were very good for a beginner.  It is about the size of a baby quilt.

 

I've also done a wee bit of reading.  Way back in January, I think, I started reading "Sense and Sensibility." For various reasons, I set the book down and pursued other books and whatnot.  I came back to it this past month and Oh-my-gosh, I do NOT care for it.  Even with cliff notes and spark notes I was struggling with it.  I feel like I went through a ten-step program, trying to decide why I didn't like this book. I finally decided that I felt complete disconnect from the main characters.  They were so up in other people's business, who made how much money, and the desire to find a man to support them.  Ugh.  SO not my scene. I finally completed the book a week ago, or so.  Now, when people discuss Jane Austen I have an informed opinion and say that she is not for me. Yes, I understand that her writing is a commentary on the time she lived in.  I am so glad I do not live in that time. I highly doubt I will read any more of her writings.  I *do* have the BBC version of "Sense and Sensibility" on DVD and will watch it sometimes this winter.  My coworker said I might understand it better after watching the movie.  I don't think it will change my opinion on the story though.

Well, I reckon that's all my blather for now.

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Turkeys' first day out

Last Saturday we opened up the turkey coop and let them come out so they could wander around a bit. The had a wonderful day outside. The chickens seem very accepting of the turkeys, as well.



Everyone got along and the chickens had the turkey food. Seriously, the chickens loved having access to the turkey's high protein feed. They weren't shy about it either. Now, as soon as the chickens are let out, they make a beeline to the turkey coop and barge on in.


Saturday night, when my son went to go tuck the big girls in, he couldn't find the turkeys.  Mild panic happened, until we realized that the turkeys followed the chickens into the big coop for the night. This was surprising to me.  I thought it would be a while before the turkeys felt really comfortable with the chickens.

The next day, after letting everyone out, everyone started working through the pecking order again.  One of the wynadotte's tried to start a fight with one of the turkeys, and it earned her a turkey wing slap down.  Wow, is about all I can say.  I heard that wing come down with a crack. The wynadotte was still holding her ground, but the turkey earned her respect.

Now everyone is coexisting peacefully.  The turkeys are still following the ladies back into the coop for the night.  Most every morning we carry the turkeys back to their own coop, so they have access to their food and waterers with deeper troughs on them.

However, last night we corralled the turkeys into their coop for the night and they started crying.  After I made sure they had enough to eat for the night, I opened their coop and let them back out.  The stared up at me like, "What now?" I said "Go to the big big coop" and walked away. They followed me, walking like gangly puppies, over to the big coop, up the stairs, and into the big coop. They were happy as could be and settled in for the night. Silly birds! You could almost hear the "Oh boy! Oh boy!"