Monday, January 29, 2018

If we were having coffee ... The snow day that didn't happen

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. One of these days I'll actually take a photo of myself holding a cup of coffee for these posts. ... One day. ... But today is not that day.

Today I'm stealing a photo from one of my earlier coffee posts. 



 
If we were having coffee ...  I'd rant about the local meteorologists to you.  Lately they have been predicting the storm to end all storms will happen five days from now. Then needing to downgrade the severity of the storm.  Local people are getting pretty tired of this after being told to prepare for the end of the world twice.  Now, while that may sound a bit dramatic and overly sarcastic, it is deserving.

"All the models are in agreement."

"Several feet of snow is expected"

"Do not travel if you don't have to."

To: Storm is being downgraded.  Instead of the three-plus feet of snow, our area will be lucky to get an inch.

Mother Nature deciding to go manic on us these last few weeks has not helped. We had a gorgeous Friday and it's been steadily downhill since.  A clipper system will be over my area in the next day or so.

All around us the school districts have been closing because of the impending snowstorms. Well, for everyone except the school district my son goes to, and the school district of the next big city over.  My son has been majorly disappointed by these potential snow days not happening for him.

"This is the second time it's happened," he said to me and his father, after the last round of school cancellations went across the screen during the morning news.  I'm pretty sure he was fighting back a lot of frustration.  I can't blame him.  There is nothing like the hope of a snow day, and then having it snatched away.

On Sunday it was a cloudy day and temps were in the 20s.  I was sitting at the bottom of a ski hill, while my guys are skiing to their little hearts content. No way was I going out there.  Too windy. My husband said all the obvious beginners looked miserable.

 

If we were having coffee ... I'd let you know that I've been spending some time with the ladies, out in the coop.  I'm pretty sure they are tired of the weather as well.  On the nice days I open up the coop door and several of them stand in the doorway, giving death glares to the snow banks.  They won't step on the stairs unless the snow has been cleared off.  What prima donnas!


A couple weekends ago they finally got over their fear of the snow.  They walked down the coop stairs and braved stepping into the snow.  They went for treats that were tossed, or made their way under the coop and desperately tried to take a dust bath in the frozen ground.


I took advantage of the nicer weather and cleaned out the coop as best I could.  I even freshened up the nesting boxes and my husband put some foam into the boxes, to help prevent cracked eggs.  Which reminds me, the hens are ripping the foam up.  So much for that.

 

The girls have been very generous with the eggs the last several weeks.  It went from this:

 

to this. At least that is what it feels like.  We are getting almost two dozen eggs a day.


While we were freshening up the nesting boxes, a couple of the girls decided to sound the alarm, or something.  Their squawking went for several minutes.


I do have some news. A few Mondays ago a gentleman drove a couple hours to take two of our roos home with him.  It was sort of bittersweet.  When we went out to the coop to get the two roos and put them in a container so they could be safely transported, one of the hens stood up on the perch, had a concerned look on her face, and got verbal. Almost as if she was trying to say "What are you doing with our guys?" I assured her they were going to a good home and she seemed only mildly satisfied with my answer.  She stopped talking but didn't settle back down right away.

Don't worry, sweet Mama's Boy is still with us. I wish I knew why he was blurry in this photo. He must have been trying to show off. Which reminds me, he doesn't have much game when it comes to the girls. Maybe he will wind up being a lap chicken. He's got a heck of a crow though. I really need to get it on video.  He's quite the baritone. 


 The same weekend we separated the Marans to the little coop.  In about a month or so, we will be able to sell purebred fertilized eggs (we hope) and maybe hatch a few of our own. So far the Marans aren't very happy. I thought the girls would be thrilled to not have to run away from so many suitors, but they are acting like they've been exiled to the island. I spent some time with them today after work.

My son developed a case of strep. Boo and hiss. Not nearly as past as his last case of strep, thankfully.  He's already completed his round of antibiotics.  Next, we plan for his birthday in a few days.  My boy is growing up way too fast. One of the gals at work told me "Only five more years."  Oh! So bittersweet. 

We have a new neighbor.  This little fellow (or gal) has been staying under our deck. My husband tossed some chicken food out for it to eat.  I was seeing it every day when I got home, but it's been a few days now.  I'm a little concerned.  This morning I saw a coyote crossing the road about a mile from the house. 




Life has been fairly quiet otherwise, with the exception of Friday. My husband and I did a sort of spur of the moment decision and I took the day off from work to take a three-hour drive to a town I've never been to before, to buy a car. A pretty little 2015 Prius. Barcelona Red.


What a day it was!  I made it fine to the town, then got lost when Siri decided to go haywire and send me off to who knows where.

Then, I drove back home, got my husband, and we drove back to the town to pick up the car.  We got home about 8:30 p.m. I was in the car, driving, for approximately 12 hours.  I haven't done a day like that in almost a decade. Thank goodness for audiobooks. Except for the last trip home.  I didn't know how to hook the bluetooth up and I just wanted to get home asap.

In the end it was worth it.  It was a steal of a deal.  My husband ran the numbers and we couldn't *not* get it. It's going to save us so much in the long run. People have been asking "Where's the black car?" My sweet Prius 150 is staying with the family. No worries there.

I do have a story about why I'm mentioning the car color.  Way back when, when I first went looking to buy a Prius, they were really hard to find. The 2011 Japanese earthquake had just happened, and gas prices were up. These cars were being scooped up as fast as they were hitting the dealerships.  We finally found a dealership that had two available.  Different models, one black, one Barcelona red.  I took the Barcelona Red one out for a drive, and a car passing me kicked up a rock and chipped the paint. I took that as a sign that I was meant to have the other car, despite the heavy sales pitch the salesman was giving us.  We bought the Prius with the black paint and I've never once regretted it.  So, to buy another one seven years later in the other color is a bit humorous to me.

If we were having coffee ... I'd tell you that spinning has been happening.



Something clicked and I decided I *must* spin.  I spun nearly two bobbins full in the last couple weeks. It's also my best spinning, I think.  I've been trying a couple different preps and one resulted in a really fine single. I don't know how many ounces I spun.  I have finally finished spinning up the two pounds of Corriedale that I received with my spinning wheel, nine years ago.  I have no idea what I will make with it, or if I will make it into a two-ply or chain-ply it.  Bobbins need to be emptied so I can start spinning some other fiber for a sweater. I'm super stoked about a spinning project that will result in a sweater's worth of yarn.

Since I've done so much spinning, not much knitting has happened. I say that now, but as soon as I start thinking about pictures I realize I've done more than I think.

I finished the vanilla socks I was working on:

Vanilla socks
Started: 12/15/18
Finished:1/12/18
Needle: U.S. 1, 2.25 mm
Color: White, grey, yellow, and two shades of blue
Yarn: Knit Picks Felici "Stone Harbor" lot #18511


I finished one sock of the other pair of vanilla socks I am working on.  Knit Picks Felici yarn again. "Fanciful."
 

I got the itch to make something Valentine-themed.   This year my idea of a good valentine project was cabled dishcloths.

I scoured the Internet looking for something to work on.

Only one caught my eye.

I heart you three times dishcloth
 Started: 1/19/18
Finished: 119/18
Needle: US #5, 3.75 mm
Yarn: Peaches and Cream
Color: Red, Looks pink in the picture, and I thought it was pink when I picked it out.


Since I still wanted to work on cables I made my favorite dishcloth pattern.

Celtic Cables dishcloth
Started: 1/20/18
Finished: 1/21/18
Needle: US #5, 3.75 mm
Yarn: Peaches and Cream
Color: Pastel Pink


I have no idea how many of these dishcloths I've made.  None have been for myself, until now.

I have enough yarn to make at least one more dishcloth, and maybe a striped dish cloth.

If we were having coffee ... Not much action in the kitchen the last few weeks.  I did try out a new dessert recipe, and it was a hit with the coworkers.

My interpretation of Tiramisu.




It was also a huge hit with this girl. *points to self* I have never made a dessert with coffee before. I love it! I don't dare make it too often. I'll gain back all the weight I lost.


 If we were having coffee ... I'd let you know that I'm still cruising along with the audiobooks and regular books.

I did finish listening to "Murder is Binding," book one in a series. I thought it started out a bit slow but after a while it picked up and started flowing nicely for me. Let's see ... Divorced woman moves to small town and opens a used mystery book store.  She barely interacts with the town people until after her sister comes for a visit, and the gal next door is murdered.  The sisters' relationship is strained despite the one trying her hardest to be pleasant.  Definite baggage there and I was getting annoyed by all the little barbs and jabs, without knowing what the story was behind it.  I can see the potential for the sister storyline and am curious to see how it builds.

In the end, I sort of figured out who did it, but for a slightly different reason. I have also finished listening to the second book. Book two is called "Bookmarked for death." This book grabbed my attention *right* away and I'm so pleased that I figured out who did it!

I also finished "Through the Grinder," book two in a series This one definitely had my attention.  Some of the scenes have me wanting to cover my eyes, while thinking "How is she going to get herself out of this situation." There is a lot of talk about sex in this one, so I didn't listen to it in the car when family was with me.  I thought I knew who did it.  Once again, I missed a few pertinant clues.  I think if I had been reading these stories, instead of listening to them, I'd be picking up on things.  For this one, it's a few months after the first book.  Main character is trying out the dating scene.  Women who have gone to her coffee shop are dying.  It looks like suicides, but her detective friend thinks they are all homicides. When I finished the story I was a bit gobsmacked. I could not believe how one of the story lines ended.  It stuck with me for the rest of the evening.  I also learned a little something about the "Mr. (or Mrs.) Right syndrome/disorder.  It was a lot to chew on that evening.

The book I was reading-reading is "This must be the place." I finished it Sunday, Jan. 19, I think. The book is well-written.  When I finished it, however, I decided I didn't like the story. I wasn't satisfied with the ending.  In my opinion, there was a whole lot of talk and background information about a situation that wasn't really discussed or fleshed out. First loves, marriages, choices made, and choices made having impacts and consequences. There were a few story lines that I felt didn't need to be there because they had nothing to do with the end result, or even much impact on the main character's life.

There were a couple passages that stuck with me, and I marked them appropriately, but on the whole, this book was not for me.


All those things you think are *so* vital when you are younger ...


I popped the book dart off before taking the picture of this one. The part about our best selves. 



 I marked this one so I could looked up the word Detlene.



A few good spots to remember.

Currently on the kindle is "The Twelfth Night," By Shakespeare.  Just started.  I haven't read Shakespeare since middle school.  Romeo and Juliet.  That story was a mess to understand.  I'm not having much of an issue reading this play. More life experience under my belt, maybe?  In any case, I recall Romeo and Juliet being very difficult, and the teacher, as nice as she was, not doing a very good job of explaining it.

I haven't read a synopsis of what The Twelfth Night is about yet, but I have a pretty good idea of what is going on so far.  I think the most difficult part for me will be keeping track of who's who for the first part.

I hadn't meant for this to be so long.  I've been working on this entry for two weeks, at least.  It's been a bit hard to carve out the time in big chunks to write, so I've been writing, adding and rewriting here and there. January has been an odd month for me.  There were spurts of time going quickly, then slowly.  I was surprised to see the day is Jan. 29.  Where did the month go? 

Monday, January 8, 2018

First week under the proverbial belt

One week of the new year is done and gone. She was a cold one, too.

At the end of December, a polar vortex descended on my area of the country, and the family all huddled down around the wood stove and thought warm thoughts.

Except for me. I didn't stay huddled around the wood stove, I spent time puttering in the kitchen.

I made some yummy things. Gloriously yummy things. My sister-in-law gave me a little bundt cake pan for my Instant Pot.  This was the first cake I made with it.  Just the perfect size.

 

I was also inspired to get my own jelly roll pan, and start experimenting.  I've never made roll cakes before. Shocker!  I found a winner recipe right off the bat, too.


Last Wednesday I brought a pumpkin roll into work and it disappeared really fast once someone took a bite and sent an email out, proclaiming it to be in her top five desserts of all time. She even offered to pay me to make it for her the next time she needed to bring something to a party. 

Aw, shucks!

I had last Monday and Tuesday off from work, to celebrate (and presumably recover from) New Year's Eve and Day.

New Year's Eve was a quiet affair at my house. The boys had lobster and steak. I had just a steak since I don't eat seafood.

My son and I stayed up to see midnight, but it was so uneventful.  I think he had an alarm set to go off. He said "It's midnight."  I went "Oh! Okay." and we both went to bed.

Wednesday, my first day back in the office in more than a week, was decent. No nasty-grams or crabby voicemails.

Friday was the office Christmas party, and it was a lot of fun.  Good food and good company.  The views were nothing to sneeze at, either.

 

But now it's back to the usual routine.

Last week I probably was the most productive I will be all year. I had an itch to make a C.C. copycat hat. A friend shared the link to the pattern and I thought "I have the perfect yarn!"

I did have the perfect yarn.  I love this hat.  Now that I've made it and am paying attention to headgear out in the wild, I see that a LOT of people wear this hat.  Hand-made or store made.  I saw Wal-mart has a really cheap looking knock off, too.  Boo!

 C.C. Copycat hat
Started: 12/30/17
Finished:12/31/2017
Needle: U.S. 7
Color: Red
Yarn: Cascade 220, color 5013, lot 7637


I cast this hat on Dec. 30, thinking it would be the first FO of the new year.  I finished it Dec. 31, 11 p.m. on the dot.

The next item I made was Lydia's Lily Pad, from Knit Picks. This was a new cast on method for me, and it took me a while to get the hang of it, and really get going.  I ran short on the yarn and stopped two rows early.  When I laid out the dishcloth I was surprised at how big it was. I do like it and I enjoyed the process of making it, once I got the hang of it.

Lydia's Lily Pad
Knit: 1/2/18
Needle: U.S. size 5
Color: Black Currant (purple)
Yarn: Sugar and cream.
Note: one ball of yarn was not enough. Ended two rows short. 

 

Since I'm incapable of sitting and watching television without having something in my hands, I cast on a Tree Hunting dishcloth. I finished it in one day.

Tree Hunting dishcloth
Knit: Jan. 6, 2017
Needle: U.S. size 7
Colors: cream, light pink and light blue
Yarn: Sugar and Cream "Pastel Delight"

 

And, even though I still have to put heels on this pair of vanilla socks, I cast on another vanilla sock yesterday.  My plan is to put the heels on these socks while I'm in my craft room, watching shows before bed.


 
These newly cast-on socks will stay on the couch, so it may take me a while to complete them.


Yesterday I whipped this out during an episode of something ... I can't recall which show we were watching. I remember crochet topped kitchen towels from my youth. Now that I know how to make them, I'll be cranking a few of these out this year. All I need is a button.

 

Knitting wasn't the only thing to happen this past week.  I also sewed a bit.

Earlier this week I started piecing together for a table topper.  I have to trim all the pieces and find fabric in the stash for sashing. I'm taking my time with this project.



For Christmas my son made his dad a pillowcase.  Then he asked me to make *him* one, since he is a newbie when it comes to sewing.  This pillowcase was made at a DIY club at his school.

So I made my son a pillowcase for Christmas.  That left me without a fancy-pants pillowcase.

I made myself one Saturday night.



I adore this fabric.  I've made a few things out of it already.  It's feminine without going too overboard, I think.

Last week I had a cozy mystery audiobook going in my car. "On What Grounds" is a new series for me.  Lady gets talked into managing a coffee shop she managed 10 years ago. An accident occurs and she feels it's not an accident. There's a well-meaning meddling ex-mother-in-law and a ex-husband who shows he's still interested. I liked the story.  I didn't figure out who did it, though.

This week I have "Murder is binding" playing in the car.  Another new cozy series. So far, so good.

I picked up "This must be the place" from the library today.  I heard about it on a podcast a while back and the podcaster chose it for either her January or February book read.  I thought I'd give it a go.  Plus, I get to break out the new book darts I received. 

 


The poor chickens have been holed up in the coop for the last few weeks.  They hang out around the door when it's nice enough to have it open, but they won't dare to go down the stairs and into the snow.


Momma's boy, on the right, says "Are you kidding me?  I'm not going out there."

A member of our flock flew the coop this weekend.  TJ, one of the roosters. Ever since the other roosters came into their own, so to speak, poor TJ started getting picked on because he was the smallest of all the roos.

Poor guy, he was getting chased away from the food and water by Charlie, who seems to be the head roo now.  I started feeding TJ on his own, so I knew he was getting enough to eat at least once a day.  The one time I was holding him and had the cup of feed in front of him and one of the red roos was giving me SUCH a dirty look.  All the roos were unhappy TJ was getting special treatment.

 

One of the times I hand fed TJ.  "The Rail" was right next to him, trying to horn in on an easy meal.  Actually, she stayed pretty close to him this last week.  His constant companion.  Maybe she knew he would be leaving? 

TJ is now off to a home in a town about an hour away.  The gentlemen said TJ would have his own little flock and even his own space in the coop, if he wanted.  I think TJ was thrilled at the idea of not being constantly harassed by the youngsters who were now twice his size.

TJ, you will be missed.



Saturday, December 30, 2017

If we were having coffee ... Farewell 2017. Hello 2018

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. One of these days I'll actually take a photo of myself holding a cup of coffee for these posts. ... One day. ... But today is not that day.

Currently in my cup is water.  I'm trying to be a good girl. Sorry, no photo this time.

If we were having coffee ... I'd wonder where to start.  I've been so in my own head the last few months. I've been crafting a little.  Mostly I was working on a sweater project, and I finished it in November. November 17, to be precise.


Otherwise I was working on a few dishcloths, a baby-sized blanket and a project for my coworker, who is expecting next March. It will soon be completed and sent off.

Currently I'm working on a pair of vanilla socks made out of Knit Picks Felici yarn.

 

The other day I updated my knitting journal. I've made 43 yarn-related items this year.  That seems incredible to me. I haven't been doing much sewing, or any of the other things. Busy-busy, and I've had the projects sitting off to the side for so long that it will take me a bit to get reacquainted with where I am on the project. 

I've also been reading a lot.  However, I've taken a break from reading this last week. I've been reading so much that I don't know if I should bother listing all the books.  I can't recall all that I've read.  It was one book right after the other. Lots of cozy mysteries before bed, to help me fall asleep. 

What has been occupying a lot of my time is my puttering in the kitchen. I've been experimenting with Instant Pot recipes. I can now make a tasty cheesecake and regular cake in the instant pot, among other delicious things.

All the while I've have been thinking "I should write about this." I've been hesitant about writing this year, if I'm honest with myself. A few comments said in life got me wondering whether I should share about all the things I'm up to, and what's going on.  I know I shouldn't care, because this is my little corner of the Internet and no one is being forced to read.  But it got me thinking about stuff.  Life.  All the things. We all have those moments, right? Well, because of my wonderments, I've written so little this year. This will be blog entry number nine.

Well, I've decided to heck with all that. 2017 was a slightly crazy, up and down year. The year started with my work announcing that a reorganization was needed, which left many things up in the air until the middle of the year, to my deciding in the middle of the year that I wanted to lose weight, making myself a priority, and being successful, to a few other bits of news and surprises for friends and family. Oh, yeah, and the world totally losing it's mind because everything is now offensive.

So, here's to 2018, I've decided. All the ideas and plans I had for my little corner of the web, and other things - I'm wiping the slate clean. Things are going to have a fresh start, come January 1.  One day at a time, enjoy the little things, and focus on the good things.

See you in the new year!


Monday, October 30, 2017

Farwell Indian Summer ...

A couple Fridays ago I had the day off. I had no plans when I first decided to take that day off, but knew that if it was nice out I had to be outside to enjoy it.

Sort of spur of the moment, I decided to take a hike on a hiking trail that has a trail head about 15 minutes away.



I am so glad I went.  The day was the last day of beautiful weather for my area. The temperature hit a high in the 70s and sunshine all day.

I went in about two miles, stopped for a lunch and a little bit of knitting, then headed back.


Entrance to the trail.


Well-traveled path, but not completely worn down.


New to me: There is a campsite somewhere just off the trail.


It didn't occur to me until after I started walking that there was a possibility of my going off trail.  Then I saw the blue markers.  Yay!


On the way in I was taking pictures left and right.  Even though leaf colors were past the peak viewing, it was still pretty on the trail.  Or, maybe I was just happy to be outdoors.


This is when I realized how big the trail is. It crosses seven states. Wow!



The trails are very well kept.  I was surprised. This is wider spot for atv/snowmobile access.  There were a few of these roads criss-crossing the trail. 


Someone actually kept the trail part trimmed. Nice!


I know there is a group of volunteers who maintain the trails in our area.  I very much appreciate all they do.


Sun coming through the trees.


This was a maker for the boardwalk I had to cross.


LOVED having the boardwalk. 


Shortly after the boardwalk I found a place to stop for a small picnic.


I viewed the map.


And I knit a few rows on my cardigan.  There was no way I was going to let a chance to knit in the woods go by.

I also did a short video.


I'm still not fully comfortable speaking on camera.  I feel the need to speak slowly, apparently.

On the way back to the trail head I discovered a tree that still had most of its leaves and it was so gorgeous it took my breath away. 





I tried taking pictures from underneath the leaves.


In a sea of green pine trees and brown bark, there was this oasis of orange.



On the way back home I stopped at the village library to pick up a few books.  After getting home, I had a cup of tea and then went out to clean the Chicken Coop of Love. Very exciting stuff.  The ladies were happy to see me. Though I think they they questioned my taste in music.