Monday, August 28, 2006

The Wee Aran Knit

I FINISHED IT!!!! I am really excited about this as it is the first sweater I have ever done. Yes I know it is small but you have to start some where. It took about ten days of knitting here and there. I thought I might set it aside if the cables got to be a pain but there was just enough to keep me wanting to get to the next X or the next O finished.

I finished knitting it last night and today after the little man's doctor's appointment I kitchnered the underarms and tied in the ends. I didn't do it the way it is suppose to be done because I got to the short row wraps and my eyes glazed over and my head began to spin. I asked my mother and Cyndy and they couldn't help and I don't know any one else other than those two that would know how to do it. So being me (ever so slightly impatient) I knew it had to be decreased so I started decreasing the double seed stitch area's during the last 3 decreases (Row 23, 35, & 27 I think) and then decreased evenly some more on the purl round and then did the rows of ribbing. Will it fit? I don't know I don't have anyone to try it on. I kept saying I am knitting it for my grandson. I don't have grandkids and my older children didn't get the hint as they don't want kids now and the younger one's are too young.

Little man has bronchitis and his doctor said I should go see mine because it sounds like I have it also...and here I thought it was just allergies. So he is on meds to get better before he has to have his tubes done otherwise we have to reschedule that.

#1 daughter has decided (after one day) that nowshe doesn't want to go to college...after everything we did to get her in last minute...zippppp That was me zipping my mouth shut. I am making her up soups to freeze for her new apartment so she doesn't starve or go in debt to the fast food places. What I am really doing it is expending all that mouth energy that I am keeping zipped up in the kitchen. I got chili and chicken tortellini soup done so far and I am starting the stuffed green pepper soup now. She called last night with requests for jars of salsa, pickles, jelly and jams. I guess I was delusional when I thought it got easier when they got older.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

I love the country life

I have to say, I love the country life. Every once in a while you have to take a moment and realize how good you have it. Yesterday was one of those days.

It was raining in the morning and we thought we would be stuck inside but it stopped and we decided to go back to the secret spot to get those elderberries. The man and kids fished while I went for a walk. Came upon this and wondered what happened to make this live branch fall.
Went down to check it out and saw that lightning hit the tree and cracked it right down the trunk. It must have made a heck of a noise.
It had rained earlier in the morning so we thought that maybe instead of just fishing we would be catching. Well we did...

Not much meat on those bones! We did end up catching four nice size ones to bring home.

Yes I know there are only three in the picture it was taken before we caught the last one. By the time we walked out of the woods it was 4:15 and we were all starved. We got home and cooked up two of those fish and gave the others to the neighbor.

We spent the night watching tv, knitting and getting all those berries of their stems. The perfect end to a really good day.

Got up this morning and extracted the juice from the elderberries. I should be making the jelly now but we have a soccer game to go to so it will have to wait until tomorrow. Right now I am going to learn how to do short row wraps or that baby sweater will never get done.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

The past week

Monday started with the weather man telling us there were only 125 days till Christmas. He said "it" was here. He meant this.... which I saw when we went fishing at the "secret spot" which you get to only by going over the river and thru the woods. I love it back here except for the rattlesnakes.

While there I found hazelnut, highbush cranberry and elderberry!!! As they fished I got all the ripe elderberry and we are going back tomorrow for the rest of what is there. We will have to wait for the hazelnut and highbush cranberry. We saw the fish (but sadly went hungry as nobody caught any) and we saw frogs and little man scared an eagle away when he fell in. The man picked me a flower. Gotta love him he puts up with so much from me and my kids and keeps asking for more...he must be mentally unstable!!!

Monday night we took the chickens and turkeys up to the butcher.

We did the turkeys ourselves one year but we were slow and it is so much easier to pay this old couple that do it for extra money. Their place is immaculate and they have all the equipment. They charge $2/bird and you drop them off one night and pick them up all wrapped the next day.

Helped #1 daughter shop for things for her new apartment and paint some on Tuesday. Today we went to her college and got everything ready for her to start on Monday. When I finally got in and sat down the younger two started yelling to come see....The Goodyear Blimp was flying over. I don't know where it was going but the kids thought it was cool.

I haven't spun anything lately but I have been working on the Wee Aran Knit
and today I joined the sleeves to the body. Not the best picture but you get the idea. I would love to have it done this weekend but canning and soccer will come first. The tomatoes are coming in and need to be dealt with along with those elderberry.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Canning Season

Canning season is here... We did two batches of Onion Reilish on Monday, did 22 pints of grape jelly and did all the chopping for two batches of pickle relish on Tuesday, Mom did the last two batches of grape jelly and two batches of Bread and Butter pickles Wednesday morning while I was picking blackberries and then we finished the Pickle Relish which was soaking for 24 hours.
We are freezing the blackberries and we will do them all at once when we feel like it!
Took little man to the Ear Nose and Throat Dr yesterday and his one tube is falling out so they are going to remove it and insert another. He is happy because they scheduled this for the day after school starts so he will miss the second day of school.
I finished the little afghan I was making #2 daughter and I am starting the Wee Aran Project found here.... This will be the first sweater I have ever done so wish me luck. I don't have anyone in mind for this except some future grandchild maybe but I know I would never finish a large version. I will get a picture of the progress next post. I also finished one of a pair of mittens for a child, possible Christmas present we shall see.
Tonight we have soccer practice and a friend and her two girls are coming over. We plan to camp out in the field. Campfire and smores here we come.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

I feel like Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz...

I feel like Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz….Although Puerto Rico was great, for me there is no place like home. We stayed in a townhouse in Palmas Del Mar which was gorgeous (Thanks Julie & Rick), we ate, drank and explored but I am glad to be home.

Luckily the tropical storm went north and we missed it so the plane ride was uneventful. The most terrifying thing was the ride from the airport to the townhouse. Think New York City traffic on acid…I think every car down there has a dent or scrap or is missing a light. They blare their horns at you when you fail to run a red light but they are very nonchalant about you cutting them off.

On Thursday we went to Fort San Cristobal which stands guard over Old San Juan. The fort covers 27 acres…it was raining so needless to say we didn’t cover all 27! We then walked through Old San Juan where the streets are made out of the ballast that was on the ships from Spain. We were going to take a ferry to the Bacardi factory but were told that there was no bus from the ferry to the factory so we drove there. Tour is free and so are the two drinks per person!!!! After that we went to the mall where a group of artists got together and opened a store. My sister wanted me to see the bobbin laceworker. She did absolutely beautiful work. In an insane moment I thought of buying the kit to try bobbin lace but quickly remembered I am an instantaneous gratification type of person and that bobbin lace and I would never make it.

On Friday we drove up into the mountains. We stopped and shopped and had lunch at an outdoor pig roast. We stopped and had drinks at roadside bars, which are all over the place. At the top we stopped for dinner at a restaurant with it’s own outside bar which had an awesome view. We sat outside and ate and drank pina colada’s.

Saturday we went to my sister’s house. She invited friends over and we spent the day relaxing and went back to the townhouse after dinner.

Sunday we sent the man out on the dock to fish. He had a pelican trying to tell him how to do it but he must not have listened as he didn't catch a thing. We walked the beach and watched him fish then went to the casino to give away our money.

Monday we were to go to the caves but they were closed so we went to Ponce. We drove to the summit of El Vigia Hill, where scouts once scanned for attacking ships. We couldn’t go up in La Cruz del Vigia, a 100-foot observation tower

because although Ponce is a dry and arid area it poured while we were there. We did get to go on a tour of Castillo Serralles which was the residence of the makers of Don Q rum (it's beautiful)

and saw Ponce’s fire department. Then we went back to the casino and actually walked out about breaking even over the two times we were there.

Tuesday we left Puerto Rico and returned H-O-M-E!!! We picked up the kids on Wednesday, got into the garden and picked then went to the fair. Thursday we spent the day grocery shopping, buying feed and doing laundry and Friday was berry picking and the kids going to their friends or having them come over.

I would have more pictures but my computer is not reading the cd's I have them on. They play on the dvd player but not my computer and the computer is only 8 months old...

I did get to knit a pair of mittens during my time there and on the planes. It was kinda strange sitting on a tropical island knitting wool mittens but this morning you almost needed them!! It was 40 degrees and they say it will be colder tonight. Oh I also got books for my b-day...I got a knitting encyclopedia which I can't remember the name of and my mother currently is looking through, I got Twisted Sisters Sock Workbook and the Yarn Harlots Knitting Rules. I haven't had time to get into them yet except the Knitting Rules which I read a little of on the plane.

Today we need to pick more blackberries, the grapes and dig up the potatoes and then tonight I will wonder why I am ready for bed at 8!!

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

On the way to Puerto Rico!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Okay I decided to update before we leave for Puerto Rico, so here it goes….

The Garden…the peas are still coming in, broccoli is still producing side shoots, cabbages are heading up nicely, the beans need picking every two days, the cucumbers are coming in, the corn is boob high and the assorted squash, pumpkin, melons are looking good but not producing yet. The tomatoes are loaded and hopefully will wait until we get back. The potatoes are struggling..we had a major infestation of potato bugs and we thought we had them licked when all of a sudden they came back again, as there were too many we resorted to chemical means to get rid of them and hopefully break the cycle on the garden. The blackberries are loaded and the thornless ones are just starting to turn. We have friends that are going to pick them for us while we are gone so we don’t loose this years jam/cordial crop. The thorned ones that run for about 100 yards in the back field are already black. We picked some of them yesterday.

The little barn by the house…the baby ducks are adorable and are getting big. If I could find someone to butcher a duck I would send a couple out but nobody does it anymore and I don’t want to dry pick them. The chickens and turkeys that we bought as meat birds are going to the butcher when we get home. We lost two baby ducks and three chickens to what we first thought was a fox but now know was a bobcat as we saw him and chased him away. He was easier to chase away than this big guy would be. This bear we saw on the way into town but we have one hanging around here dumping over everyones trash cans.

The big barn….The pigs are annoying. This years pigs keep getting out, they don’t go no where they just don’t want to be confined! We are thinking that 6 is maybe two too many.
The finn sheep from Grace are growing so pretty- they have the most incredible eyes. We recently added to the menagerie by getting a Romanov yearling wether. He is black and silver and will look so pretty mixed with the mohair from Storm. The guy I got him from gave me his fleece to play with. He also gave me some fleece from all of his sheep…rambouillets, cheviots, Jacob, Shetland and Suffolk. He just raises them for meat and sale and doesn’t take the time to keep them clean. Mary and I went through the 17 feed bags of fleece and came out with enough to fill six bags and threw the rest.
The roosters are too many and we will be sending some of them up to the butcher also. The fox hasn’t been a problem so far this year (knock on wood) as we put a 6 foot fence around everything. I will definitely have to get new chicks next year.
Once when the pigs got out they got into the chicken coop and ate the eggs that the duck was setting on so we don’t have new ducks up there.

The fiber area…I don’t know if I posted that I finished the wool from Grace, I spun up two bobbins of the mohair and plied that and I crocheted two afghans for a friends grandkids. That's them in the picture. I am now working on mittens as I was told that you can take bamboo needles on the plane as the scanner doesn’t pick them up but to have a project started already.

The house…we have had a set back on the house. These complications stopped progress until people could come, different scenario’s worked out etc. The problems have been fixed now and now we are leaving. Hopefully we will come back refreshed and ready to go but after listening to this mornings weather we might not make it there. As my luck would have it there is a minor disturbance which popped up out of the ocean last night and became a tropical storm (Chris) at 5 am. The projected path has it hitting the east coast of Puerto Rico at 2 pm Wednesday….my plane lands at 3. If the weather doesn’t ruin it we have plans for the rum factory (!!!!!!!) a trip up to the mountains and into the caves planned right now. My sister is calling my mother no stop….I think she is excited! I packed the recharger so I will have plenty of pics on my return.