Thursday, September 13, 2018

Brace yourself ... Fall is coming


Summer is slowly coming to an end. My son started school after Labor Day. This summer seems to have gone by especially fast.  I have been looking forward to getting him and myself back into some sort of routine.  Much of this summer I feel as if I've been flying by the seat of my pants.

I'm still following the weight loss program I started last year.  I've lost about eight more pounds over the summer.  I'm hitting more plateaus this weight-loss time around.  That's all right with me, however. To-date I've lost 35-plus pounds. Slow and steady.

The entire family is getting ready for hunting season.  I bought my man a new crossbow for his birthday.  He is stoked and can't wait to use it.  He's been spending a lot of time with it, sighting it in and making sure everything is perfect on it.

My son and husband have been setting up the deer stands too, and making sure everything they need is ready.

My hunting prep is a bit easier than theirs. I was going to sit in the same shed as I did last year.  But then a certain someone had their eyes open for a portable hunting blind for me, since I don't go up in the tree stands.  It's a fear of heights.  You understand.

 You can't see me!  I'm so totally hidden!

Hopefully I will have a successful archery opener this weekend.

I think I'm ready to go.

Some humor.

Monday, September 10, 2018

Episode 01 - Hello world!

Hello!  I'm glad you stopped by to watch my first video.  I'll be honest, I'm not sure what to call this yet.  Vidcast, vlod, podcast, video podcast. For sure, this is me, being adorably awkward on camera.

I've been wanting to create videos for about two years. I practiced in front of the camera and I was either like a deer in the headlights, or my mind went blank. Does anyone remember Brenda Dayne's comment about just going for it and making a podcast? I decided to just go for it, and I hit the record button.

I'm playing this by ear, and learning as I go. No set schedule yet.


Works in progress

Lake shore scarf by Mara Jessup. Pattern available on the Knit Picks website.
Needles U.S. 3 (3.25 mm)
Yarn: Knitpicks. I think it might be stroll hand painted sock yarn. I can’t believe I lost the ballband.
Colorway: Great Lakes



Vanilla socks on two circs
Needles: U.S. 1 (2.5 mm)
Yarn: Knitpicks Felici
Colorway: The Countess


Book I mentioned


Good story for the entire family.

Friday, August 31, 2018

Books I've been reading ...

My reading was on fire this spring and summer.  At least it seems that way ...

In the car I listened to "The Trumpet of the Swan,"


and "The Outsiders" with my son.


Both books were enjoyed.  I think "The Outsiders" resonated with my son.  He LOVED "The Trumpet of the Swan." The Trumpet was narrated by the author and he did a lovely job.  I thought it was perfect, really.

Both stories are classics and I'm glad I chose these stories to listen to with him.  I'm trying to get him to read "Fablehaven" right now.  It's not working. I've got "Fablehaven" on my kindle but I'm not sure I'll get it finished by the time it expires. Last night I put a request in at the library for the audiobook.

Currently on the nightstand are "Crossing to Safety" and "An American Childhood." I haven't made it very far in either book.  I do need to get cracking on "An American Childhood" because it's an Inter-library loan and I can't renew it.

Over the summer I read a bunch of short stories and a couple short books.

"Atticus" - It was all right. Beautiful writing. I still haven't decided if I would recommend it.  I wrote a review on GoodReads.

"Desiree's Baby" - Deep. Really deep.

"A Rose for Emily" - There was so much going on, theme-wise, that I really struggled with it the first time around. A story set in the south.  Since I'm a "northerner" I couldn't really connect.

"The Lottery" - I can't believe I haven't read this one before. Tough.  A good reminder that just because we've always done something doesn't make it right.

"We Have Always Lived In The Castle" - Book was sort of intense. Knowing the author's history, I understand why she wrote it.  I'm not a fan of sympathetic magic.

"The All Of It" - I didn't like this story.  So many things I didn't care for. The fishing story line didn't really add much. I thought it was ridiculous that the priest wanted to hear all these details but at the same time insisting that the woman go to confession.  It was like he was titillated by being scandalized.  The ending sort of had me going "ummmmm."

"Rip Van Winkle" - First time reading this.  One of those stories you hear all about so much that you feel like you've read it.

"Post-Traumatic Church Syndrome" - Recommended by my friend E. Good book. I liked the Urban Monk.  I felt like one line said it all: "My only job is to walk my path."

"Summer" - I struggled with this short story.  Why? Because I could not stand the main character. She thought she was better than the village girls who got themselves in trouble with the boys.  She thought she was special because she "came down from the mountain."  Yes, I was a little creeped out by her "step-dad" asking her to marry him.  I'm was annoyed that she let herself get in trouble.  Like, what did she really expect was going to happen.  Actions have consequences.  Then, to let the boy off the hook.  Yes, I just did a spoiler.  This is how annoyed I am by the main character.

I read a bunch of Mattie Winston series books, and "Magical Cat Mysteries." I LOVE both series. Both for different reasons.  The Mattie Winston books are flat out funny.  The Magical Cat series because, well, because: cats.

I listened to bits and pieces of "The Passage" with my husband.  The parts I've listened to had my attention so well that I will have to request the book from the library this fall or winter.

I read "Twelfth Night." I should say I struggled through it.

Speaking of Shakespeare, I listened to "Tales from Shakespeare," by Charles and Mary Lamb. I'm not sure I like what they did to the plays.  I will say they made the plays really understandable, but I could tell stuff was missing. The book was geared toward kids, so its understandable.  

I haven't decided if I like Shakespeare. So, to add to the punishment, I'll be reading another play soon. ...

I decided to not sign up for the Well-Read Mom club this year.  I realized I wasn't using the materials.  Also, I wasn't keeping up with the books in a timely fashion.  It's that whole putting something on a schedule that cools my interest. Maybe next year. I wrote down the list of books for this year and will read them at my own pace. I think the first thing on the list is a poem. It seems that since I didn't sign up this year, they are doing all kinds of fun things. Oh well. Maybe next year.

Okay ... Yeah ... That's a whole lot of stuff I read.  I'm sure I missed something or two, as well. 

Saturday, August 25, 2018

Current WIPs and FOs

So I sort of feel off the knitting and spinning wagon the last few months.  Is that even the proper way to describe it?  Knitting and spinning block?

I tried my hand at Tour de Fleece ... and failed. I have about a bobbin and a half of spun yarn. Any time I've put my crafting on any kind of schedule, you might as well count on my not doing it. Seriously.

Fiber is corriedale. Feels really nice in the hand. 

I never started the "next project" I wanted to do, which was to make a shawl out of that lovely yarn I wound into a cake back in March, or so.

I have, however, finished the pair of socks I was working on. They are full of technical errors, thanks to my taking *so* long to work on them in between socks.  I'll be keeping them.

Vanilla socks
Started - Don't remember because I can't find my project book.
Completed: August 19, 2018, or there abouts
Needle: US 1, 2.5 mm
Yarn: Knit Picks Felici yarn
Colorway: Tea Party
Colors: Pinks, purples and blues


A few dishcloths have been cranked out.  Two standby patterns.

Granny square dishcloth. Made with leftover dishcloth yarn.


 Celtic cables dishcloth. Made using leftover dishcloth yarn. I love this pattern and I don't think I will ever tire of it. This time around I cabled without a cable needle -- the entire thing. I'm so pleased to finally be able to do that. It just clicked this time around.


After the cables I decided I needed something fairly easy again.  I didn't want to start another pair of socks at the time.  I found a baby hat pattern.  Very easy and super quick. It's someone's version of the umbilical hat pattern.  I printed this one out but I forgot to include the designer's name or web address. Sorry.

Both hats were made with leftover KP felici sock yarn. One for a girl ...

And one for a boy ...

Both need to be blocked, so the curling will stop.

I have cast on a new pair of socks

Another pair of Vanilla socks
Needle: US 1, 2.25 mm for the cuff, 2.5 for the rest.
Yarn: KP Flelici
Colorway: Countess
Colors:  Purples

I have a mild itch to try another Baby Surprise Jacket.  Too bad I don't know anyone expecting. I'm not sure what I will do with the baby hats I knit. If I get enough together maybe I'll check around and see if an organizations collect them, or see if the hospitals collect them. 

Friday, August 24, 2018

Update on chicken mama

The chicks are about a week old now. All seem to be doing really well. Mama has been teaching them about scratching the dirt, eating feed out of the feeder and drinking water out of the waterer.

I took a quick video a few days ago.

This morning we woke up to the sound of rain and thunder.  The first rain for our area in quite some time.  Our first thoughts were about mama and the babies being out in the elements.

"She's got to get those babies in the coop," said my husband. I agreed. When my son got up, he said something very similar.

So my son went out to check on everyone. When he returned he said mama and all the babies were inside the coop.

The chicks figured it out - hooray! Now everyone can stay nice and dry.

Thursday, August 16, 2018

A surprise on the homestead

Just when you think you know what is going on in life, a surprise happens.

My son and I had just arrived home and he was heading out to the back yard to take care of chicken chores.  I was bringing stuff into the house and had just barely made it through the doorway when my son rushed back into the house, saying "Mom! Mom!  There's a brahma out and a bunch of babies."

Well, we still call the younger hens "the babies" so I thought he meant an older girl and a few of the babies manged to get out of the coop somehow.

Me: "Oh.  Well maybe the managed to sneak out of a window, or something." 

Son: "No! There's a brahma and baby chicks outside!"

Well, not really knowing what to make out of this I said "What?" and said I'd go outside. 

I went outside and, in the middle of the yard just as nonchalant as can be, was a brahma girl and seven baby chicks.

What a surprise! I stood there for a few seconds, not believing what I was seeing.  "How did this happen?" I said out loud.  I know full well *how* it happened.  I just can't believe we had a hen hatch some eggs out in the "wild."

I told my son to not let the big girls out.  It was decided that we needed to catch mama and the babies.  Then put them in the small coop so she can raise them without the flock them and possibly hurting the babies.

Catching them was a trip. First we had to wait for her to guide the chicks away from the back deck. Then I rustled up an old fishing net and managed to half-chase them around the yard and catch the babies, one and two at a time.  A few managed to squeeze through holes and get away.  I forgot that particular net had a big hole in it from when we caught a big Northern.

As I caught the chicks I handed them off to my son and he ran them to the little coop.  Mama was starting to freak out a bit; her babies were scattering and she was trying to protect them.  My son was able to grab her and she threw a FIT and verbally chewed us out. If hens can swear I'm sure she was swearing up a blue streak. 

They are together in the little coop and quite content. The rest of the flock has been hanging around the pen, staring at these little cheeping creatures.

Nature will find a way, I guess.  A while back we did have one brahma girl who was acting broody but she was always sitting in a nesting box.  If this is the same girl, she was determined to be a mama.  In our experience, once a girl goes broody, it's hard to break her of it.  She's determined to be a mom, always.

In the meantime, we are all marveling this miracle, wrapped as a surprise.  We don't know where she had her nest.

Monday, July 9, 2018

No time for coffee dates

Life has been going at full speed since spring came to my area. At least that is how it feels for me.

Baby chicks being taken care of. Baby kittens going off to their forever homes. Spring fever in general ...

This little one was taken by my sister-in-law.  His name is "Fast" Eddie.  Oh my gosh, he is a little spitfire.  So adorable and sweet. Into mischief no matter what.  Then he comes to you, purring away, and you can't be upset.

I have no recent photos of the chicks we were hatching out.  We did keep 20-some birds for ourselves, to replenish our flock for egg laying. The younger birds are still segregating themselves from the older birds.  At some point we will have them all in the same coop.

We've added to the animal menagerie.

My son has two rabbits.  Hoss and feffer.

Hoss is the one with brown fur.  Feffer is the grey one.

They love snuggling with each other.


Their adult coats are coming in and now Hoss looks like he has a unibrow and looks angry all the time.  When I see him I can't help but laugh.

I have some sad news.

Our favorite roo, Mama's Boy, passed away a few weeks ago.  One of those things where they are fine, and then they aren't.  We said our good byes and put him down.  The farm yard just isn't the same without him.


I also stopped crafting for a good long while. Anyone who knows me well knows that this is a sort of a big deal.  There was just too much going on and a few things had to go. 

I recently picked the needles up again and am slowly working on a vanilla sock.


I have to find the ballband for this one.  All I can tell you is that it's Knit Picks Felici yarn.

I also decided to participate in Tour de Fleece this year.  My goal is to spin at least 15 minutes a day. I think I can squeeze 15 minutes in.  I have some beautiful corriedale fiber that has been sitting in stash for four years.  Ultimately I'd like it to be a sweater, but first things first. It has been ages since I've have spent any significant amount of time with the wheel.

Things have been happening around the homestead, but I've been going, going, going and when I do have a few moments, my mind is on things other than writing.

Routine.  My routine has been discombobulated and I'm slowly getting back to what feels like routine.