Friday, February 26, 2010

Positively Annoying

“A positive attitude may not solve all your problems, but it will annoy enough people to make it worth the effort.” ~Herm Albright

Fair warning I am going to be positive and annoying.  I finally figured it out.  I have been blah because I was concentrating on the negatives.  So I am going to concentrate on the positives.

Instead of seeing long spikes of frozen water,
I am going to concentrate on the drop melting at the end.  With each drip the snow is diminishing and Spring is getting closer.

We got an additional 17 inches of snow (on top of the 8) and bands will continue to drop a couple of more inches today and tonight.  I have shoveled so much I fell into a wonderful nights sleep.  I realized that Mother Nature was getting my body ready for gardening season, strengthening all the muscles which relaxed over the winter.  The snow shovel will soon be replaced by a rototiller and hoe, and I must put back the callouses which have been smoothed away.

With deep snow the sheep are getting their fleece washed off so that I don't have as much work after they are sheared.

Soon these will not be languishing in my yard full of distant memories but once again become viable  products.
The gray shetland is near completion.  I thinking of making a shawl on the triloom.  I am going back and forth if I should dye some and weave it or leave it gray and knit a lace edge.  Actually I have enough to do both so only time limits will tell. 

Today I finish off an inside job of painting a room.  Tomorrow the man and I buy what I need to start my seeds.  By Sunday the seeds will be a week green will be popping up all over.  And they need to be because......

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Here you come again

What does one do when one awakens to falling snow and one is no longer seeing any humor in it?  What does one do when one has shoveled, slipped and fallen enough for two winters?  Well if the snow has now grated crushed your last nerve and your yearning for Spring has turned your mind to mush one makes a complete hatchet job of an old Dolly Parton song.  With profuse apologies to Dolly and old English teachers....

Here you come again
Just when I'm about to be happy without you
You waltz right right up the shore
Just like you done before
And  make me start to shake and shiver

Here you come again
Just when I'm about to be happy without you
You fall down from the skies
And the weatherman starts telling lies
And pretty soon I'm  knowin’
How I came to hate you

All you gotta do
Is drop the first flake
And there go all my defenses
Just leave it up to you
And in a little while
You're messin' up my mind
An' I fogging up my lenses

Here you come again
Dropping more snow in feet or inches
An' shakin' us up so
That all I really know
Is here you come again
An' I hate snow

All you gotta do
Is drop the first flake
And there go all my defenses
Just leave it up to you
And in a little while
You're messin' up my mind
An' I fogging up my lenses

Here you come again
Dropping more snow in feet or inches
An' shakin' us up so
That all I really know
Is here you come again
An' I hate snow

Here I go
An' I hate snow
An' I hate snow
Here you come again
An' I hate snow
Here I go
To shovel more snow

10:28  Returned from walk....three inches of snow so far and nine chicken eggs.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

It fell and fell

"The cold was our pride, the snow was our beauty. It fell and fell, lacing day and night together in a milky haze, making everything quieter as it fell, so that winter seemed to partake of religion in a way no other season did, hushed, solemn." - Patricia Hampl

Yesterday it snowed all day.  We would have a period of snow and then it melted, more snow, more melt.  This continued until the late afternoon and then it was all snow and quickly accumulating.  My son called when his power went off about 7:45.  We were feeling quite smug in out lit house until about 8:30 when ours went out.  We got out the generator and watched tv until about 10:15 when the electric came back on.  We reset the bedside clock and the coffee pot.  Whereas I was looking forward to getting up and making a perked pot of coffee the man is all about having his coffee steaming hot and waiting for him before he crawls out from between the covers.  The electric went off and on all night.  About 5 o'clock we got up to a wonderland with 8 inches of snow!
When the man left for work, #1 daughter and I shoveled paths around the house.  We shoveled an area for the chickens to come out.  Although the snow is wet and heavy this time, there is no wind making it quite comfortable to be outside.
The electric played havoc on all electronics until it warmed enough for the snow to fall off the branches. After breakfast and more news watching, #1 daughter decided to leave for home today because this is our forecast...




Whereas this past storm really only accumulated in the three eastern counties, this next one is going to be more wide spread.  If she didn't leave during this small window she would be here well into this weekend.  Now she will be home in time to have a short nap from the stress of driving and then be awake for Sir T to take her to dinner!

We have been busy while she was here.  Lots of molding got stained and during breaks she baked an awesome Paula Deen apple cake and I baked bread. The real yeasty, knead it, let it rise, punch it down, six loaves at one time type of bread!   It was my mother's recipe and I had always wanted to try it but chickened out and did the Artisan Bread in 5 instead.  I made some mistakes and it didn't rise as much as when my mother made it, but everyone loved it.  Now I just have to get to the store for more flour as I can see this being a continuous thing.
And I figured I am going to spin up all the gray wool.  Maybe when the gray is gone, Spring will be here.  I am picking up needed supplies for starting seeds this weekend so it better get here soon.  Hopefully this storm will be Winter's last hurrah.  Now I have to go fill up water jugs and bring in more firewoods...just in case.

FYI:  Only 18 days until Daylight Savings Time

Friday, February 19, 2010


As a translation of the German term "Frühjahrsmüdigkeit" (lit. "Spring tiredness), Spring Fever is the name for a temporary mood typically characterized by a state of low energy and weariness experienced by many people in springtime. It is not in the category of a diagnosed illness, but rather a phenomenon thought to be initiated by a change in the season. ~ Wikipedia
I  thought it was Spring fever but now I am leaning toward the Spring tiredness or maybe it is winter tiredness.  I guess it is similiar to SAD except I don't have starchy food cravings.  All I know is I really don't feel like doing a damn thing.  I fell blah.  I force myself to get off my ass and motivate...make the bed (again) do dishes (again) do laundry (again) cooking (again) dust (again) mop floor (again) vacuum (again)it just seems so monotonous.

And the biggest tv news according to the news reporters is that they are going to preempt all shows for Tiger Woods.  A famous person who has just about everything gets caught in a scandal (again), oh my, yes definitely the best news going.

It is not time to get things into the greenhouse because it is not heated.  Snow is predicted for the coming week and I have yet to see a robin.  Blah.

But I have been spinning more of the Shetland
and I started the rug punch. 
I should have chosen a different color for the back ground as the "pine" tree really doesn't stick out but it is a first so it is a learning experience.  I have it set to do the shortest pile and I still find myself not going all the way down.  I also need to buy a different hoop.  I am using a regular embroidery hoop and I find I need something that holds it better.  But I will finish it and then I want to try locker hooking but designs seem a little more limited. 

So two things will hopefully pull me from my frühjahrsmüdigkeit...
1)  the weatherman said that in less than three weeks sunset will go from 5:43 to 7:08 with the average temperature going from 38 to 48.  I am sure to see a robin before then.  Right?
2) #1 daughter is visiting for 10 days. I know she will make me get up and do things.  Hope I have the energy to keep up with her.

Monday, February 15, 2010

This Could Be The Start Of Something Beautiful

“Never be afraid to try something new. Remember, amateurs built the ark. Professionals built the Titanic.”

I am finally ready to start playing with the needle punch.  It has been languishing since I bought it at Rhinebeck.  There were excuses such as I had to finish Christmas presents, I have other projects started etc, etc, etc. But now I have no more excuses.

This weekend I finally finished the scarf.
I now know I should have used a k1p1 on the sides.  I thought the ribbing would keep it from rolling but it does tend to roll a little.  And the bind off end flairs more than the beginning.  I will have to block it and see what I think then.

I have also reached the end of my rabbit knitting.  I finished with five and didn't start on the eggs as I realized it was just another excuse.  Heck #1 and I even painted my bedroom. So now I am off to surf the net for some design that will spark my rug punching nerve.  Something easy, cute but not too cute, country-ish, maybe whimsical, using what I have, and useful as I don't need another project to throw in a box....should be easy right?  Thankfully, #1 daughter and Sir T came this weekend and gave me a laptop.  Now I can sit in the comfort of my chair near the fire and find exactly what I am looking for.  Wish me luck.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

How Do I Love Thee?

Wishing everyone a Happy Valentines Day with the oft quoted poem....

How Do I Love Thee ~ Elizabeth Barrett Browning

How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
I love thee to the depth and breadth and height
My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight
For the ends of Being and ideal Grace.
I love thee to the level of everyday's
Most quiet need, by sun and candle-light.
I love thee freely, as men strive for Right;
I love thee purely, as they turn from Praise.
I love thee with a passion put to use
In my old griefs, and with my childhood's faith.
I love thee with a love I seemed to lose
With my lost saints, --- I love thee with the breath,
Smiles, tears, of all my life! --- and, if God choose,
I shall but love thee better after death.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Oh O-R-E-I?

The most wasted of all days is one without laughter. ~e.e. cummings

I didn't want the day to be wasted so I thought I would give you something to laugh at...
#2 son recently went to the eye doctor.  He needed glasses, which he received.  We discussed contacts because of his participation in sports.  He got fitted, wore them for a week and went back to be evaluated.  He had trouble putting the contacts in at first but after two weeks of me putting them in for him he got the hang of it.  We put in an order for a years supply.
The other day, the youngin' was sitting in his gaming chair playing Xbox.  He had a couple of Oreo's lying on his lap.  He looked down to grab a cookie, threw the cookie in his mouth whole and looked back up to continue playing his game.  As he starts chewing, he quickly realizes that something is wrong, he can't see right.  And then he swallows and something sticks in his throat.  He starts coughing, pauses the game, checks his eye in the mirror and then he realizes he swallowed his contact.
He comes running out to the living room coughing, laughing and crying, asking what should he do, he swallowed his contact!  We did not believe him, but the coughing continued, his contact was missing and he doesn't give up his time on Xbox for nothing!  He coughed, he gargled and after about 15 minutes, it became unstuck but he did not recover his contact, if you know what I mean.  The man jokingly asked him why would he swallow his contact, and #2 said he didn't mean too. 
Then yesterday we went to pick up his year's supply.  If you bought a year's supply, you got a $30 mail in rebate.  When we arrived home the man told #2 that the eye doctor needed back the contacts that he was originally given before we could get the rebate.  #2 said he only had the one and what he suppose to do.  The man told him he had to retrieve it.  #2's jaw hit the floor and he asked how was he suppose to do that!  The man told him he would suggest using a pair of the disposible gloves that I have for canning.  #2 was so upset, he said that he couldn't do that, food digests in 8 hours and it had been more than that.  The evil step father said he would have to continue to check for a few days because maybe it got stuck like it did in his throat!  Poor son argued that they were disposible lens and then went and read the whole rebate form almost in tears.  When he was finished he did not find it humorous as it never stated he needed to return them.
How we kept a straight face while discussing this is beyond me.  Poor son has evil parents...but he still loves us and I am sure will get even with us in our senior years. 

Friday, February 12, 2010

The Blizzard That Wasn't

"There is nothing in the world more beautiful than the forest clothed to its very hollows in snow. It is the
still ecstasy of nature, wherein every spray, every blade of grass, every spire of reed, every intricacy of twig,
is clad with radiance."- William Sharp

They called for snow and I really was looking forward to it as we haven't had a good ole fashioned dumping in a while. I went to bed knowing when I woke the world would be covered...well in truth, we only had a dusting when I got up. But it did continue. The seed pods on the Rose of Sharon filled
   and the buds of the forsythia got covered.
Then the roads started getting a little slick.
The kids had the day off and the nephews were in and out. The snow continued and eventually it was the "still ecstasy of nature".
The schools cancelled for the second day fearing the reports of continued snow accumulations until 10-midnight....but it never came. We only got 8 inches.

 After every storm the sun will smile;  -William R. Alger

And the next morning was no exception.  Things were definitely looking up.
The sheep went out, their trails proof of their wanderings

The chickens were just that..chicken. 
They did eventually go out later but didn't venture far.

So while we didn't get hammered like was expected and for some strange reason wanted, we did get enough to make the kids and myself happy.  Of course there are parts of the east coast that feel...

"There seems to be so much more winter than we need this year."- Kathleen Norris
So I guess we were lucky, we got enough to make everyone happy but not so much that we hate winter.  And somewhere under the tent of snow lies the seeds of Spring.

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Hopping Around

"Some bunny loves you"

That was the saying on a t-shirt that #1 daughter received along time ago from her grandmother.  I can't remember if she got it for Valentine's Day or Easter.  And why, you might ask, is this on my mind?  Well it started on Sunday.  I was merrily knitting away on a scarf.  I saw a design for a bag, but didn't want the bag so tried to do it on a scarf.  I was going to do a keyhole scarf with it but got caught up and went further along.  As I am "always forward, never reverse" I decided to make it a full length scarf. 
So, I was working a way when the Super Bowl came on.  And for some reason K4 P2 and then P4, K2 on the return was too much for my brain to comprehend while yelling at men on the tv that get paid millions to play football, that I know more than they do.  Ignore the irony of that.  But anyhow I pulled out the felted bunny pattern that I found on Ravelry.  I had printed this out to do some for #1 so she would have some Easter things for her house.  It is very easy with knit stitches only so I figured I could handle it.  By the end of the game I had finished one of the bunnies. 

Thinking he was kinda cute, I started a second one.  I have tried to squeeze a couple of rounds in when I  ran upstairs/inside to get a cup of coffe or use the bathroom.  The man finally caught on though and back to work it was for me.  Huh.  You would think he is on vacation and trying to get things done.  The nerve of him!  Well I am now on my forth one. 
They are very rustic, use very little yarn so scraps are good and for some reason that is making me happy.  I have to do their faces and since I didn't felt them I am going to needle felt a tail on them.  Eventually I will end up back on the scarf but I think I am going to make a couple of more and maybe some Easter eggs.

So now I have to ask...We woke this morning to a beautiful sunny day....
but we are due to get somewhere between 4 to 20 inches of snow (you have to love meteorologists) is it wrong to want the 20 inches so we couldn't work outside and that we lose electric so we can't work in the basement so that I can knit more?  Yeah, I thought that was wrong to wish for too, and seeing as how #2 daughter is home with the stomach virus, I don't want to tempt fate so I am going to bring in more firewood. 

Thursday, February 04, 2010

The Past and Heirlooms

The past is not a package one can lay away. ~Emily Dickinson

But today it was.  In my never ending quest to organize my treasures,  shit, stuff, I dug out some boxes and started going through them.  One box I opened had belonged to my aunt.  She was an avid gardener, crocheter and seamstress and when she died, we cleaned out her house and I "inherited" some of her belongings.  Today's box had Flower and Garden (now defunct) magazines from 1970-74.  As a gardener I love to look at old seed catalogs and magazines which is why I had stashed this box away.
Looking through them was quite enlightening.  Back in 1970 Don Adams (aka Secret Agent Maxwell Smart) was touting the magnificence of a garden hose manufactured by Monsanto.  In my gardening lifetime, I have only associated Monsanto with GMO's, Roundup, Agent Orange, PCBs, DDT, Bovine Growth Hormone and Aspartame.  Never in my wildest dreams would I have associated them with anything as innocent as a garden hose!
Then there were vegetables that I grow because my mother had grown them.  Some I thought of as heirlooms.  I was shocked to know they had been introduced after I was born.
In 1971 Cinderella pumpkin and Better Boy tomato was first introduced. I knew Better Boy to be an F1 hybrid but though it was older than that.  Also new to the gardening world in 1971 was Green Isle Beans and Blue Lakes 141 beans which I have grown a time or two.
In 1972 Silver Queen corn was introduced as were Beefeater tomatoes and Ebony acorn squash.  I thought my parents had grown Silver Queen fooooorreeeeeevvvverrrrr.  I know prior to 1974 she sold enough corn (at $1/dozen) in one season to buy herself a freezer which still runs!
In 1973 Patty Pan squash, Wonder Boy VF tomatoes, Green Arrow pea, Golden Zucchini, Green Ice lettuce and Giant Beefsteak VF tomatoes.
So needless to say by this time I am feeling my age.  If I considered seeds heirlooms when they were only introduced in 1971-74 (when I was 7-10) then I am heirloom also!  But then this advertisement sent me over the edge...
8 track tapes, records and cassettes offered by RCA Music!  And I knew almost all the artists Loretta Lynn, Porter Wagoner w/ Dolly Parton, Engelbert Humperdinck, Patsy Cline, Johnny Cash, Charley Pride, Brenda Lee, Frank Sinatra, Tom Jones, Conway Twitty, the soundtrack to the Sound of Music, Jimi Hendrix, Three Dog Night, Jefferson Airplane, Crosby Stills Nash AND Young!
OMG I do believe that package should have stayed in the past.  I am too old to garden this year.  I think I will just wrap up in a shawl and sit in the shade and take a nap.

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

2010 Groundhog Day

"Away in a meadow all covered with snow

The little old groundhog looks for his shadow
The clouds in the sky determine our fate
If winter will leave us all early or late."
- Don Halley

And it has been determined that we will have six more weeks of winter.  We are due for some snow tonight and we might get some this weekend so I had pretty much devised that without his assistance. We have not really got hit hard...yet.  It did not stop me from getting some pictures of the first inklings of Spring while I was out and about.

The daffodils, which the chickens will peck at as soon as they find them.
The snow drops
And if you look real close, I tried putting in arrows, it is the start of the bleeding heart.
I am okay with waiting.  I have lots to do before it more spinning.
But really starting Sunday the man is taking a weeks vacation so that we can start getting things set up for when real Spring does arrive.  Maybe we will even get the tree down.

Monday, February 01, 2010

Early tradition

~ Tradition is an explanation for acting without thinking ~ Grace McGarvie
In all actuality a lot of thinking goes into this tradition.  Many years ago Cyndy told me my seed order had to be by Groundhogs Day.  I have religiously followed that. 

The catalogs arrive before Christmas and are tucked away until the hustle and bustle stops.  Then with a steaming cup of coffee, curled up in a chair next to the woodstove we crack the covers.  Immediately dreams of the perfect garden go swirling through my illusion...but one I succumb to yearly.  I write down what I want to plant that year...less tomatoes but more beans, no cabbage this year, try celeraic instead of celery etc etc etc.  I don't have a garden big enough for all the things I would like to try so I have to keep it to things that are going to feed the family. A whole list is made and prices compared catalog to catalog.

Then the catalogs and list sit and marinate while I do the daily chores....for days and sometimes weeks.  The stack moves from the kitchen table to the coffee table in the hopes I will be motivated to finally finish.  Ahem, I have been known to procrastinate a little.  Then after #2 son's birthday I finally dig out the old seed packages and saved seeds and find out what I really need.

Yesterday being his birthday and tomorrow being Groundhogs day, I knew what was on my plate today.  I did not save any tomato seed from last year and I will not use my potatoes as seed so I thought that I was going to buy most of what was on my list.  Surprisingly I have more than enough leftover seeds from last year and seeds that I did save to not warrant putting in a seed order.  I will need seed for green beans, peas and cabbage but those I can pick up when I get the seed potates at the feed store.  

And now that I have participated in this annual ritual, daily life can resume.  And daily during this time of the year means fiber.  I tried the combs and spun up some of the shetland but found it to be so much easier to just toss the wool through the carder.  The two don't even compare in softness but I have not been known for my patience either and when I do want to spin I do want to spin...NOW.  So into the carder it went and now I have lots to spin.  I also washed up the rest of the alpaca blanket from Louise.  This was Amigo's from 2007!  How the hell did that much time go by?  I was almost done carding the shetland when the kids came home.  In anticipation of the nephew's coming up, I decided to pack it up until tomorrow.  However, before I finished I carded up some alpaca.  Beautiful. 
Then I took the dog for a walk.  While out there I decided to check the daffodils and they were up!  I never got back to take a picture but they are up about 1/2 inch or more.  I will have to pay more attention while strolling around the yard, looking for the first robin and checking to see what else is coming up, before the snow falls tomorrow.  Until then I have some fiber to spin.