Tuesday, September 16, 2014

A chill in the air

“Autumn has caught us in our summer wear” 
~ Philip Larkin

While not yet Autumn, Sunday I could not get warm.  The weather has definitely cooled down (like 10 degrees below normal) and the a/c units are out of the windows.  Along with Spring this is my favorite time of the year.

A walk along the barn road shows dead leaves starting to accumulate along its edge.  

 A look up into the woods and you notice the trees have lost their vibrant green.  They now wear coats of army green and drab olive.  Soon they will be vibrant again in hues of red, orange and yellow.  The wildflowers or weeds depending on who is talking are blooming.

The multi-flora rosehips are turning red.  

 The hops are past their prime.  

 The acorns are plentiful and the black walnuts 

are making walking across the yard without turning your ankle an impossible feat.

Autumn seems in a rush this year.  The bear is a regular visitor as he tries to put on his winter weight.  The puppy doesn’t like him!  He growls with his hackles up while walking from door to door.  Something took down one of the fawns in the field.  It took ½ one night and ½ the next.  We believe it is the coyotes which are getting to be nightly visitors on the mountain behind us….another thing the puppy doesn’t like!  A small buck was in the yard yesterday, the velvet is off his antlers and his neck looked like it had already started to swell.  And at the man’s worksite there were deep marks of hooves being shoved in the dirt where two bucks had been fighting. 

I have spent the last month canning, knitting and working on the genealogy. A friend knew my tomatoes were not producing what I needed and picked me up 125# from a farm near where he works.  I was kept busy enough that I missed the Endless Mt Fiber Fest. 

I did however enter into their completion and I won on both entries!!!!!  Cyndi from Riverrim was nice enough to take them up for me as she vends there with Grace Hatton.  This year’s project was a cowl.  I entered a crocheted version 

(Main Street byKrista Wolf) which won first place and a knit version 

(Beaded smoke Ring by Jackie Erickson-Schweitzer with a few changes due to time restrictions) which won third place!  I know it’s not like entering into a huge competition such as MD Sheep & Wool or Rhinebeck but its fun.

But back to the gardening/canning….With the addition of the 125# of tomatoes, my  shelves are now stocked with all the BBQ sauce, chili sauce, salsa, bruschetta in a jar, rotel tomatoes, crushed tomatoes, tomato sauce and V8 that I need to get through the year.  The green beans which were late to start are still producing.  I slowed down picking so I can save seed for next year.  The summer squash were nothing to write about but the winter squash are doing fantastic.  I planted two spaghetti and one LI Cheese in the regular garden and I must have 10 spaghetti squash still out there and three cheese.  Up by the barn in a manure pile I also planted one LI cheese, 1 striped cushaw and some saved seed from a sugar pie pumpkin I got from Walmart last year.  I intended to keep moving the fence but the vines soon grew through the roll so I couldn’t move it without breaking the vines. 

However I have four cheese, three cushaw and some sugar pie’s.  The chickens have discovered the sugar pie and are pecking at them.  I had to wrap the others that are growing outside the fence in old feed bags so as not to lose them.

We went blueberry picking in August at Herrick Hill Huckleberry Farm and it was awesome. Toddler O kept eating and every time we asked him how many berries he picked and put in his bucket the answer was three.  His brother Baby B went from person to person, stomped his foot, grunted, put his hand out and waited for it to be filled. We brought home 30 pounds.  I froze some, and then canned blueberry/lime jam, blueberry syrup and blueberry pie filling. This past weekend we went apple picking at Roba’s.  You can quickly fill a ½ bushel as the trees are loaded 

so it wasn’t as much fun as berry picking for the adults or the grandkids.  Closer to Halloween we will go back pumpkin picking and after looking at their cut your own Christmas trees we might have to get our tree there this year. And did you know there are less than 100 days until Christmas?

And in genealogy…I got back into it after being contacted by a relative on my father’s side.  This past week I contacted someone about my grandmother’s sister (or daughter as has always been assumed) on my mom’s side and it ended up being her granddaughter.  Now maybe we can make some head way on our great grandparents.  

And that about wraps it up.  

Saturday, August 16, 2014

A thousand fibers connect us

 “We cannot live only for ourselves. A thousand fibers connect us with our fellow men; and among those fibers, as sympathetic threads, our actions run as causes, and they come back to us as effects.” 
                                       ~ Herman Melville

On Wednesday, childhood friends of mine, a brother and sister, lost a very small but important person in their lives; his first grandchild and her great niece. This baby had been so highly anticipated.  Their whole family looked up on this little girl as a happy new beginning as they had been devastated by the loss of his wife a couple of years ago.  They knew there might be problems but hope reigned eternal but it was not to be.  She lived 17 short hours but the joy she brought during that time was insurmountable.

Even though my daughter keeps busting on me I hadn’t been posting anymore as it all seemed pointless, writing about the same things year after year as I live a very mundane, by most standards, life.  I don’t believe I know enough to tell people how to do things, I am not trying to sell things and the blog an extension of that;  it was just my ramblings, an online journal of sorts, and until Ravelry a central place to post pictures of projects.  But today I was thinking of the baby and I remember reading the book The Five People You Meet in Heaven where Eddie learns that there are no random events in life and all individuals and experiences are connected in some way.   This baby came into the world for 17 short hours, impacted people’s lives and although she may be gone, her story is not yet finished.  If the premise is true that we do just randomly touch another life, that we say or do something that unbeknownst to us effects others than I guess I can continue to throw words on paper (or screen).  Maybe when I get to heaven (fingers crossed)I might find out somebody found something in those words.

So a quick round up of life from April when the trees were starting to leaf out until today’s walk to the barn where I was walking upon fallen leaves every other step….

Toddler O turned 3 and is amazing.  I have heard it said that they get that from their grandmother and who am I to argue!!!  Oh and I am not one bit prejudice.

We hatched out our own chickens for the first time…what fun.  The second hatch was tampered with and the temperature got up too high so we will try again next spring.  We also got three pigs to raise.  It was hard finding them and costly when we did but with the prices rising we were told we will come out ahead.  Time will tell I guess.  We plan to butcher in late September or October.  And after losing four turkeys to a raccoon we finally found four more so Thanksgiving dinner is still on!

#2 daughter graduated and is now a licensed CNA.  She was offered a job but it was taking care of 36 people, alone.  A daunting task for even a more mature experienced individual and so she turned it down.  Yesterday she got a call from the place she did her residency at with a job offer so fingers crossed all works out.  Her training did come in handy when she was walking by the neighbors and he had caught himself on fire.  She was able to get the flames out, call 911 and help his wife take care of him until the ambulance got there.  

Our efforts, feeding the deer this past winter paid off with some awesome little fawns.  I have seen two sets of twins and #2 daughter saw a set of triplets. 
#2 son graduated from high school and has been going to Marine PT every Wednesday night to lose weight so he can officially join the Marines.  If all goes as planned he leaves in March.  This means that come September when school starts I will not have any children in school for the first time in 27 years!  No more backpacks, notebooks, pens and pencils and no more packing lunch each and every day!!!!!  Part of me is happy and part of me sad.  But in two more years Toddler O starts school so I can take him school shopping.

#1 daughter and Sir T moved closer!  He accepted a job and they now live 40 minutes away! Although he took a cut in his gross pay moving from Philly he actually brings home more because of less taxes and the company pays his insurance!  They are renting for now while they scout the area for a house to buy.  It is wonderful having them so close.  We have family (all my children together!!!) dinner every Sunday and I am usually up their way once a week.  We even got to take the grandkids to their first county fair and Toddler O loves rollercoaster’s!  Baby B was too small for most rides but did get a go on the little race cars and was ear to ear grinning the whole time.  He also indulged in some chocolate covered bacon, peanut butter covered bacon, fries and cheese and a blooming onion.  I have to say those kids love to eat and will try anything.

I turned the big 50 and the kids threw me a surprise party.  Rotten children…actually it was nice, I didn’t have to do any of the cooking/baking or the cleanup!!!   Then the next day I was told we were going berry picking and we ended up at a dog shelter where I acquired a new puppy.  They thought it was time and I had been looking.   He is a mutt that was returned supposedly because the man lost his job …or could it be puppy has some bad habits… but he loves kids (good for the grandkids).  He is four months old so we can work with him on his bad habits.  Mom was a boxer/beagle and dad was a lab/hound.  His name was Buddy but a neighbor has a dog with the same name.  While they don’t live close if they call their dog I can hear it and I didn’t want him to run across a road to them by mistake or vise versa so his new name is Huckleberry since that is what we were supposed to be picking.

The man bought himself a tractor!  He has been wanting to buy one but I didn’t want the debt.  So I asked him if he would rather a newer truck or the tractor thinking he would say the truck but he didn’t.  Then he got a raise at work and it covers the cost so he has a brand new Kioti and his to do list just got longer!  And every time I think of the tractor the song "She thinks my tractor's sexy" runs through my mind.

Ancestry sent me an email with a great offer so I am back to working on my genealogy.  It is something my mother and I started but most information was lost on an old computer.  It is a huge time suck but I figure I will work on it and if any of the kids are interested later on, it will be there for them.

My garden is abysmal this year...well maybe that is a little harsh.  I had lots of Nanking cherries after I covered them from the birds, the peppers are doing good, the beans are just coming in, the winter squash/pumpkins look like they will be awesome, the cabbages look like they will need to be shredded for kraut soon so they don’t split from the recent rain, the potatoes are going strong but the tomatoes were awful.  Tomatoes are a huge staple for us.  They are our spaghetti and BBQ sauce, soup, V8, salsa, stewed tomatoes, etc etc etc so their loss is a huge hit to my canning totals.  

In the fiber arena not much is happening.  I did get my wool back from a local processor.  I love the way the roving comes back and it is a dream to spin but she leaves a little too much lanolin in for my taste.  And although it was costly I did get some spun into worsted and dk weight.  It is nice to be able to knit and not spin my own wool.

Work continues on the house and yard, an endless process as I change flower gardens around.  We had some lumbering done on our property so all the tree tops are lying in the woods to be pulled out (with the tractor) cut up and stacked for firewood.  Thankfully we will have enough for us for a couple of years and be able to sell some to a friend.

And I guess that about sums up the missing time. I have to get out of my knitting funk as fall seems to be coming early this year and winter is sure to follow.  As a matter of fact only 19 weeks until Christmas, YIKES! 

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Whether the weather

Whether the weather be fine
Or whether the weather be not
Whether the weather be cold
Or whether the weather be hot
We'll weather the weather
Whatever the weather
Whether we like it or not

I remember hearing that tongue twister on a Little Bear episode and it has been running through my head all morning.  It is very appropriate as the weather saga continues but we did get some respite. 
On Saturday, April 5th we celebrated Grandson B’s first birthday by going to an indoor water park.  It was 39 and windy outside but 82 degrees inside.  The kids, old and young, loved it.   

Wave pools, tube and raft slides that sent you outside the building while it dropped you four floors, 
picture from Split Rock's website
flow rider surfing, hot tubs, a separate area just for the little guys.  It was awesome and definitely buoyed our spirits knowing the temperatures would soon be that warm outside.

And they did warm up.  I was working outside in the garden and greenhouse or since I am redoing door I was taking them outside to sand and stain.  Tomatoes need to be transplanted soon.

This past weekend we made a trip south to the grandkids to build them a swing set.  Only 2 ½ hours from home yet much warmer than us.  Their daffodils were blooming, the grass was close to needing to be cut, the forsythia just starting to bloom.  We came home sunburned and eagerly awaiting the grass to turn green and the first blossoms up here and yesterday I saw one of my daffodils was blooming!

This weekend was also when trout season opened. 

 We have all been out several times but we didn’t catch anything but did carry home some of Spring and Summers nemesis, ticks.  
Several nights I left the plants in the unheated greenhouse and we even slept with the windows open…and today we wake to two inches of snow so it’s inside work today like knitting… not like that is work!  I have been ignoring the fiber side and only made two dishcloths recently. 

 I have another reason for that….egg watching.  We hatched our first egg on Sunday.  Now we have ten baby chicks.  I originally put in 20 eggs so our success rate was low but it was a test run.  It was all the dark brown eggs that didn’t hatch so will take that into consideration when picking out eggs next time.  And next time will be  May.

Friday, April 04, 2014

Finally April

"Those who contemplate the beauty of the earth find reserves of strength that will endure as long as life lasts.  There is something infinitely healing in the repeated refrains of nature— the assurance that dawn comes after night, and spring after winter."
-   Rachel Carson

Our early battle between Winter and Spring is ongoing.  Last week I went to help stock trout and it was 24 degrees with a wind chill factor of 10.  

 They were cutting through 18 inches of ice to continue stocking. 

Monday some places in NEPA got 10 inches of snow.  Thankfully we only got a coating of ice and sleet, just enough to have a two hour school delay. Tuesday I was outside and heard a noise....

some visitors had returned to my pond!

Our lives are in battle too.  The man is splitting firewood but Spring cleaning the barn also.  In the house sometimes I am knitting mittens and other times I am transplanting seedlings. 

Sunday it is suppose to be 60 degrees, the warmest Sunday in 24 weeks says the weatherman.  I have a lot of clean up and fence repair in the garden so I am looking forward to that.  But first we will be celebrating #2 grandson, Baby B's, first birthday.  Why does it seem winter crawled by but this year flew by? 

Now I must go catch up on Game of Thrones so I will be ready for this season.  Have a great weekend.