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We got our first egg today!!!!!!!!!!!!!
It feels like we jumped from spring into fall,
with a minor detour into summer. We ran our newly
installed Central Air exactly twice, for a period of a couple
weeks in June, and a few days in August. Not normal around
here at all.
I have a minor finished project, a dishcloth.
Free pattern from Crafts Direct,
I like it, and I used the Holiday Stripes Sugar and Cream yarn.
Doesn't really remind me of holidays though; the colors are the
same as what's in my bedroom quilt so I may use it as an accent
in there instead.
Monday was John's birthday, so we went out to
Red Lobster for supper, and also went to see the movie Harry
Potter and the Half Blood Prince. If you're expecting it
to be like the book, you'll be sorely disappointed. I was,
disappointed that is, in the movie to a certain extent. It
was good, but nothing like the book. Some of it was rather
stupid, in fact. And no big final Hogwarts battle like the
book. I suppose they are saving that for the 7th movie.
The Electrolux vacuum cleaner that I inherited
from my mom died a death of doom on Sunday. I was rather
giddy over the event, as I grew weary of lugging the canister
around and I felt like it wasn't doing a good job any more.
Enter my new vacuum cleaner --
It's a Hoover Pet Cyclonic, supposed to be very good with pet
hair. So far, the little bit we've tested it, we like it.
I think I'm going to invest in a steam vacuum cleaner too, our
light carpet, while touted as being the best to clean and get
dirt out of, still shows it to a certain extent. And it
also shows the cat barf -- why they pick the carpeting and not
the tile floor for their problems is beyond me.
The garden is dieing down. I picked
another huge amount of tomatoes yesterday but that might be the
last of the big harvests. I've started cleaning out the
garden, getting rid of stuff that's past its prime, along with
the ever present weeds.
Still on an egg watch in the coop. |
and my pile is lots bigger since I took that
Ah, I'm happy with lunch in my tummy -- a
homemade potato leek soup -- and I've got a wee bit of time
before I have to shower and leave for my afternoon market.
This morning we moved the girls and Homer the
Rooster to their new digs.
They aren't quite sure what to do yet with all of the room but I
assume with time -- and cracked corn for bribes -- they will be
John used tree branches to construct their roosts. How
Their nesting boxes for my future egg supply. Underneath
the boxes are cabinets to store their food. Hopefully
within the next two weeks to a month, we shall start getting
I also finished knitting a pair of socks,
I know this yarn was the March offering from Knitting Purls sock
club but I tossed my tag and I canNOT remember who the dyer was
or the colorway. If you know, leave a note in the comments
And I also finished my second pair of the
Serpentine Mitts, free pattern by Mim Felton.
I really like this pattern and the simple yet intricate cabling
up the back of the hand. |
To paraphrase one of our local weathermen, it's
Hot, Hazy, and Humid. I managed to get some garden weeding
done on Tuesday but it's just too nasty outside now. I get
garden produce picked but that's about it. And that's why
I haven't blogged -- between garden stuff and canning and our
show last weekend I haven't been around much.
Georgia may have become a house cat. She's
all better, no more cone, wound's healing fine, but she loves
the house. Loves it. We hate to throw her back into
It's been a long time coming, but I have a
finished object! It's from the book Ocean Breezes, and
this one is titled Fish Net Scarf.
I made it from my own handspun Faroese wool. It's a gift
for the lady who gave me the wool to spin. It's quite
scratchy stuff and, if I had realized how scratchy it was, I
think I would have made her a rug or something, certainly not a
wearable. But it's done and I think she's coming up here
tomorrow so I can give it to her. |
Georgia is doing fine, and is making herself to
home in the house. Probably too much to home.
She gets her staples out this coming Thursday and will be
demoted back to shop cat. Sssh. I'm not mentioning
that in her hearing yet.
Canning/garden update -- I have tried making two
more savory jellies -- onion jelly and garlic jelly. I
made the onion one from my Walla Walla onions, and it is quite
good. Even if one normally thinks "eeewww" when it comes
to onions and jelly. The garlic one is good, albeit it has
a somewhat sharp garlic bite. I plan on trialing the jelly
again with a milder garlic.
I want to try making some mustard, and dilly
green beans, and a carrot/daikon radish relish too this week.
I am still picking raspberries and peas, and
have added beans to the picking rotation. Hmm, I should
check the zucchini too, I bet I have some big ones underneath
the leaves. Haven't looked there in a few days. Eeek!
I'm still knitting, slowly -- I have a couple
pair of socks on the go, and I started the
Rivolo scarf pattern by Knitspot in a Malabrigo sock yarn,
We've lost many kittens this year, we suspect
due to illness and the fact that the mommas have weaned them
perhaps earlier than the kittens were ready to be weaned.
But we gained one too; we have no idea where this little one
came from. It's tame, just showed up, starving. It
found the cat food buffet and hasn't left; it knows a good thing
when it sees it.
We're guessing it came from one of the neighbor's as the
coloring on this kitten is so close to the coloring of our cats,
so there's probably a shared gene pool somewhere. |
One thing I haven't mentioned before is that,
within the last month, our tomcat attacked 4 of our shop cats.
The first three cats merely suffered abscesses, but last
Saturday we had to make an emergency vet run for Georgia.
She suffered a severe tear along her back near
her tail, resulting in lots and lots of staples. She also
had a massive infection to go along with it. Of course, we
didn't discover all this right away, until her symptoms
manifested themselves for us to notice it. She is now in
the house for a couple weeks so we can more easily nurse her.
She is enjoying herself immensely, actually.
With the latest injury, we reluctantly decided
to have our tomcat euthanized as we could not have him continue
to torment our shop cats. This was done on Tuesday the
14th. As a result, this week has been somewhat difficult
for me as I normally do not hold for euthanizing a cat, but we
felt this time we really didn't have a choice. Sooner or
later he might have actually killed one of our shop cats.
Zucchini bread is in the oven for market today,
along with massive zucchinis to sell as they are. Still
need to pick onions, lettuces, and kohlrabi. No shortage
of garden produce today! |
I bring you a bright sunflower this morning.
We have volunteers in front of the house, where we originally
planted them this year. They are bright and cheery, and I
The garden is producing in leaps and bounds, and
I'm alternating harvesting raspberries, peas, zucchini, green
beans, kohlrabi, etc.
Believe it or not, I have a lot of finished
items to show you today.
Serpentine Mitts, the yarn is from Knitting Purls' sock
club, the dyer is Tempted Hand Painted Good Grrl, in the
colorway First Spring Iris.
Arizona Socks, my own pattern, the yarn is Capi's Arizona
Apple Orchard socks, my own pattern again, the yarn is Indie
Dyer Apple Orchard. I'm so inventive, I know, naming my
socks after the yarn color. |
Cheese making has a steep learning curve.
I figured that my first batch or two might not be keep able
quality but I was willing to intentionally waste some of my milk
in order to learn to make a final good product.
Attempt 1 -- yogurt. Utter failure.
Dumped the milk down the drain.
Attempt 2 -- Feta cheese. Somewhat of a
failure. I used the wrong culture.
Attempt 3 -- Success! We have cheese!
this photo shows the freshly drained curd. Out of 4 quarts
of milk I got almost a pound of cheese. (this photo is
also a bit more yellow than it should be.)
here the feta is on the cutting board, color wise looking more
normal. I cut it up into chunks and it now ages in a brine
for a week before we can attempt to taste it. But I'm
looking forward to it.
Price-wise, I need to check the package size in
the store and how much they charge for it, to see if I came out
at all ahead. If nothing else, I know that my feta
consists of farm fresh goats milk, feta culture, rennet, and the
canning salt/water brine. No preservatives; no additives.
That alone makes me very happy.
On Monday we poured the cement slab next to the
house that John will use to stack his firewood on, so that it
keeps drier than being on wet ground.
We also poured the
slab for the chicken coop, and John is currently building that. |
Holy Radish, Batman!
It's a Daikon Radish from our garden. That
thing is a foot long. We'll taste it for supper tonight. |
In case you all were wondering, out of 55 pounds
of strawberries I can make the following --
25 -- 2
oz. bags of strawberry fruit leather
jars of strawberry lemonade fruit concentrate
pint jars of strawberry pancake syrup
pint jars of strawberry jelly
pint jars of strawberry rhubarb jam
enough for us to have a few meals of strawberry shortcake.
I am tired of strawberries. For now.
three gallons of goats milk in the fridge. Cheese and
yogurt making starts tomorrow.
chicken coop will have its cement floor poured on Monday and it
sounds like I'm feeding a crew of people. I must look up
some good recipes to make for dinner on Monday, and we need to
like it enough for perhaps many leftovers. Hmm, bbq sounds
good. Hey Kathe! Can you wing your whiskey bbq pork
recipe my way tomorrow? I also need to make some salads
and a dessert.
Emmy (on left) and an Americana hen
My Americana rooster
other photos ...
John and Pacman. I am afraid Pacman's going to become our
latest shop cat.
the garden. I need to spent serious weeding time out there
this week. Serious. |
Seriously? I don't have much. I've
been busy working in the garden but you've seen garden photos
from last year so I suspect you don't want to see them again
this year. Or do you? Let me know.
I dropped the Cokato Farmers Market (lack of
customers and purchasing) and added the Kimball Farmers Market.
I sold there for the first time last Friday and, even though
inclement weather shortened the time we were there, I was
The rest of the meat chickens went to their
heavenly reward so now we just have the egg chickens.
Only a couple of months or so before we start getting our own,
fresh, homegrown eggs.
Just because I don't have enough to do, I am
going to start making our own cheese. The lady next to me
at Kimball has fresh goats milk, so I'm purchasing a couple of
gallons from her this Friday. I have goat cheese making
supplies on my way to me -- should arrive tomorrow -- and I will
start out with feta cheese and brie cheese, which we like, and
which looks fairly simple to do. Who knows, we
might add dairy goats to our animal herd ... (no, Lil, not
really, not yet.)
I got my fingerless gloves finish and they just
need to have their photo shoot, along with a couple more pair of
John and I went strawberry picking yesterday and
got 10 pails of berries -- over 55 pounds. Guess what I'm
doing the rest of today and probably tomorrow? |
plus homemade jelly is a little slice of heaven. |
It's been unseasonably chilly here.
Extremely unseasonably chilly. Yesterday at market I
needed to wear my long underwear and winter coat. Eh?
So, tossing every other knitting project aside,
I started on the
Serpentine Mitts so I could have those to wear too.
Free pattern, uses stash sock yarn, what's not to love?
The cables do show up a bit better in person,
but I suppose a plain sock yarn would have been better.
Eh. I like them. |
A radish bouquet freshly assembled from my
garden. The first harvest of the year.
Did you all want to see more kittens? Of
course you do. Batch #2.
This morning I found our first batch of kittens
for this year. Three of them, and they are quite pretty.
And a couple chicken photos for you too.
They are five weeks old today, and my, have they grown.
this one likes being petted.
aren't they big???? |
I survived Shepherd's Harvest. It actually
went very well, and my leftover yarns/roving are now listed in
my Etsy store, if you're interested.
This morning I was back to the Farmers Market.
It was cold and windy, and canopies were flying.
this was the first time. there was a second incident of
flying canopies but I wasn't quick enough to catch those.
Life is settling down again here at the house.
Been puttering putting stuff back, and just enjoying. |
Nothing like waiting until the last minute.
Shepherd's Harvest is this weekend, and I"m finally getting a
chance to dye some roving to sell.
First two skeins drying on the vine, so to
It's good to be home. To our great
surprise, even after being gone for six months Spooky remembered
home and is very happy too. She's like a different cat.
High speed phone line was installed on Wednesday
but, and we didn't figure this out until Friday, the technician
goofed up our inbound landline phone, so if you are trying to
call us all you will hear is that our phone has been
disconnected. I tried calling Frontier on Friday but never
ever got an answer. Finally emailed them and will try and
call again tomorrow.
Yesterday was the first day of the
Farmers Market. I'm still bemused that it's time for
it again, and that next weekend is Shepherd's Harvest. We
did start planting the garden yesterday too, I put in onions,
red onions, leeks, and potatoes. I need to get back out
there this afternoon for more planting of the cool weather
Made three pies this morning, a dairy less
banana cream, a regular banana cream, and a pecan. The
latter two are going with me tomorrow for shearing day
adventures at Hollyhock Farms. |
Alrighty, it's been a wild 10 days. We got
the floors tiled, carpeting, bathroom finished -- certificate
for occupancy and final inspection passed on Friday the 24th, we
moved back home on the 25th. Sunday and today have been
spent mucking out the boxes. But I wanted to let you know
we're still alive and kicking.
I sorely miss my high speed internet connection
and plan on having a DSL phone line installed on Wednesday.
Till then. |
We have lost one of the baby chicks; one of the
meat breeds. I've read that what we bought, Cornish Rock,
have had problems in that the body grows faster than the legs.
That's what happened to our little one. The rest, cross
our fingers, seem to be fine.
The granite countertops in the kitchen got
The granite is called Rainbow and was mined near
Morris, MN, which really pleases us. Besides the
countertop, John and his brother and I spent the majority of the
day installed the cement board on the floor of the hallway and
kitchen. We are *almost* done. We have a bit more to
do tomorrow once John fastens a last cabinet down.
I'm pooped. And if I make it through the
next two weeks without becoming bald and grey, it'll be a
We got our baby chicks today and I am beyond
thrilled with them. We spent an hour just watching
this is an Americana chick
these two photos are affected by the flourescent red light we
have to keep them warm. I tried to adjust for it as much
They were happily eating and drinking, and
starting to snooze, after we left them. |
Things are moving at a fast and furious pace,
sort of, at the house now. The granite countertop guys
will come measure for the countertop a week from today;
carpeting is installed on the 20th, and --HOORAAAYYY!!!!! -- the
25th will be the official move back the majority of the stuff
Not that I'm counting down or anything.
We should have the main stuff completed --
bedrooms, bathroom, & kitchen -- so we can get the permit
approved so we can move back. Some flooring will still
have to be worked on, in my studio & in the office, but John can
do that afterwards; it doesn't affect our main area of living.
So. Photos? You want photos?
John is working on the kitchen island.
kitchen glassware/linen/etc closets ready to be finished.
oh yeah, all my plants in the basement. The tomatoes, on
the left, are ready to be replanted into bigger pots already.
I should get the pots via UPS on Monday to do so. |
You are never going to believe this. The
place where I ordered the chickens from, the Maple Lake Coop,
had a drawing going on last week too, if you ordered during last
week you were eligible to win 25 broiler pullets, free.
That means that, in addition to the 25 Cornish
Rocks I'm getting in April (12 game hens to be; 13 full grown
chicks for the freezer) I'm getting another 25 Cornish Rocks in
August. More game hens; more chicks for the freezer.
I wonder if my relatives would like a butchered
chicken for Christmas? |
Ay-yi-yi. I didn't realize it's been a
week since I posted. Let's see, what's been going on
around here ..
Monday. I went to the Maple Lake Coop and
placed an order for my chickens -- 5 Red Rock, 5 Buff Orphington,
5 Silver Lace Wyandottes, 5 Black Astralorps, and 10 Americanas,
all pullets, and a cockeral each of the Buff Orphington and the
Americana. I also ordered 25 Cornish Rock pullets; half to
become game hens, half big butchered chickens.
Don't remember Tuesday. Is that good or
Wednesday I had a dental checkup in town and
then picked up a couple of shelving units for the basement.
The rest of Wednesday, Thursday and Friday I spent trying to put
the @#$@#@% things together. Excellent craftsmanship is
not their hallmark. But they are together and -- shoot me
-- I'm going to get four more and put those together.
I've started to sort out the current canning
room, tossing stuff immediately, or earmarking frozen canned
goods for tossing once we get a sink and dishwasher installed so
I can use that to wash the jars, or moving what I'm keeping into
the new canning and storage area, the basement addition.
Our current canning room will be turned into John's finishing
Yesterday morning was Chickens 101 down at the
coop, which both John and I went to, a primer on the care and
raising of chicks.
Thus was the majority of my week, with a bit of
knitting and playing of Harvest Moon on my DS. |
In honor of today being Pi Day (3.14) I made a
strawberry pie for supper; here is the recipe. It is a
variation of a recipe I got from John's aunt last August.
You will need a graham cracker crust, a package
of strawberries, and a package of either strawberry or raspberry
jello. You can certainly vary the fruit and jello
combination; last summer we used peaches and apricot jello.
Anyway -- cut up fresh clean fruit into pie
crust. In a sauce pan, dissolve 2 T cornstach in 1 cup
water, then add 1 cup sugar. Bring to a boil, stir until
thickened, then stir in 3 T of jello. Pour this mixture
over the fruit, cool, then store in the refrigerator (if it
lasts that long.)
John is starting to trim the windows and has the
floor in the office laid. Wood floor, maple burl (I
So we're getting there, slowly.
I've been beguiled by the
Aeolian shawl pattern in the latest Knitty. I am in
the midst of the 6th repeat of the Yucca chart, and it's so nice
out today the photo shoot took place on the balcony.
Can you see the beads shimmering?
I'm hoping we are finally saying goodbye to snow
and ice and hello to spring. I started 216 assorted
tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, and so forth today for planting in
the garden in a couple months. |
I have a mini wee finished project, the
St. Paddy's Day
dishcloth. It was a quick knit, and enjoyable.
Made out of Sugar and Cream.
Hmm. Just entered this as a finished object in
my side bar. What does it mean when half of my finished
objects this year are dishcloths?
We are recovering from the latest of crappy
March snowstorms, although we here didn't get it as bad as my
hometown in North Dakota, which got a walloping 14 inches of
snow on Tuesday.
House update -- I will be over to see it on
Saturday; but John has started to put the molding on the windows
and laying the wood flooring. We are so slowing getting
Have you all seen the new Knitty? Are you
as enthralled with the
Aeolian shawl as I am? That might have jumped on the
needles yesterday; I couldn't help myself. But I am using
stash yarn, so that's a good thing. |
You may have noticed my fascination with the
book Ocean Breezes. I have yet another finished
scarf from this book, called Ocean Currents. It's made out
of Art Yarns Royal Silk, although I see it's now called Regal
Silk. Two skeins, color turqoise. Very yummy.
I bought the yarn three or four years ago and it has aged in
stash since then as I tried to figure out what I wanted to do
House update -- ordered the carpet yesterday,
and today I will go sign the contract for the kitchen granite
countertop. John has mudded the areas in the bathroom that
will have tile and he's started to build the bathroom vanity. |
Happy last day of February!
I have a finished object to show you. I
actually finished knitting it in early January, but finally
blocked it yesterday. Presenting the Lobster Claws in the
Sand Scarf, from the book Ocean Breezes.
It's 5" wide and 55" long. Made from Berroco SoftTwist
yarn, it's a cotton based yarn.
Better view of the claws going up the scarf.
I'm very happy with it. I'm not actually
sure I'm keeping it; I just wanted to knit it because, well, I
love lobsters. Guess I'll just put it away for now. |
I was bouncing off the walls of the rental
yesterday. You see, we are giving our two month notice
here, to be out by 4/15/09.
Yesterday I reserved 3 slabs of granite for
kitchen countertops and need to go look at them soon, picked out
and started the process of getting carpeting for the rooms in
the house getting it, and bought the tile for the bathroom tub
surround and the floor. Ka-Ching!
Since I know now that within a somewhat near
future I will get to weave again, I've been planning projects on
my PixeLoom program. I found out that the inventor of
PixeLoom will be having a short class tomorrow at the Weavers
Guild on programming doubleweave patterns so I plan on going
down there, borrowed laptop in hand, to take the class.
Afterwards, as long as I am down in the cities, I want to go to
PF Chang's for lunch, then maybe Trader Joes and Williams
Not much is going on around there that is
wonderfully bloggable news.
The house progress is revolving now around tile,
carpeting, and cabinetry & doors. Slow and boring,
although I've logged many truck hours in the past two weeks
careening from one tile store to the other, checking out samples
to view at the house, and bringing them back again. We
have finally determined what tile we want, and what carpeting we
want, but until the cabinets are made (and John is working on
them but watching that is as exciting as watching paint dry) and
installed, not much else can be done. I did mention to my
friend Leslie that all this driving around was giving me a
severe case of truck butt. She mentioned that if I wanted
to do a journal paper on it, she'd be happy to edit it. I
told her writing it would be a pain in the a**.
We are buying chickens this spring. We've
requested catalogues from several companies, and the Maple Lake
Coop also orders chicks and brings them in, I found out
yesterday. I think that is the way to go, they are only 1
day old when you get them vs. two days old when they are sent
through the mail. The way food prices and the economy have
been going this year, I'm trying to figure out ways for us to
save money any way we can, plus the eggs that the hens produce
can be sold at Farmers Market. I'm looking at Americauna,
Wyandotte, Buff Orphington, and Black Australorp for laying
hens, and Cornish Rock for meat -- you can butcher them at 3
weeks old for Cornish Game hens, or let them grow bigger for
regular sized birds.
ND relatives -- do you think mom and dad are
rolling around laughing in heaven right about now? More
Also placed my garden order for my seeds for
this year. I suppose I should make that garden orders,
plural, I think I placed orders with three different companies.
I need to scout out rhubarb plants yet and order more of those
but need to decide which company has the best to offer. |
Lemming that I am at times, I saw this
dishcloth pattern yesterday and immediately had to make it.
Finished it this morning. Presenting my Valentine
I think the design would have shown up better if I had used a
plain yarn, but I liked this variegated. Just good ol'
Sugar and Cream. Fun to make, and quick. |
I have continued my spinning this week, and this
is more of what I accomplished.
the top skein is all silk, a little over 300 yards. the
bottom skein is merino/silk/alpaca/bamboo. I dunno how
many yards total as I have a couple of skeins and I didn't tally
them yet. I have no idea what I'm going to do with all the
yarn I'm making; it just goes from fiber stash to yarn stash.
But I might come up with an idea for using them in my weaving.
The sunset cam has been active again.
It's a good thing she's so adorable. She pulled a needle
out of my sock in process this morning and I had to perform
triage on 18 stitches. Argh. |
This past weekend my spinning guild held a
retreat in central Minnesota. I believe both the
Wool Princess and
Teresa of the Alpacas have covered it thoroughly so I won't
attempt to recreate it too.
I packed many more things to do than what I got
done, but I suppose that's normal. One wouldn't want to
run out, you know. But here's what I accomplished:
300 yards of Sangria from Spunky Electric. 60% merino/ 40%
bamboo. Sockweight yarn. Lovely lovely.
If you've read Wool Princess' blog, you'll know that she's
borrowing my electric carder for the payment of a batt a month.
This is the spun yarn from the batt pictured on her blog.
70 yards of yummyness.
I did spin some more fiber but it's not quite
ready for its photo-op yet.
Otherwise, we had a great time sitting around
spinning, eatting, and drinking. Hard to come back
to the real world.
By the way, Blue Moon beer is awesome.
Especially with a slice of orange in it.
And of course, no blog entry lately is complete
without cat photos.
In the hell froze over category, both Spooky and Lignite are
eatting at the same time, within a foot of each other.
Lignite is sleeping on the show bag. This looks so
uncomfortable but she was having a great snooze. |
I can even surprise myself sometimes. I
started knitting on the
Monkey See Monkey Do Cowl pattern on Thursday the 22;
finishing it today.
The pattern is based on the
sock pattern from Knitty. I have so far resisted
knitting myself a pair of monkeys, but after knitting this cowl
(which fits fabulously, by the way) I may have to rethink that.
The yarn used was Handmaiden Casbah, a blend of merino,
cashmere, and nylon. It was very yummy to knit with.
In other news, my kitchen appliances were
delivered on Saturday, much to the joy and relief of Lowes, who
finally got them out of their storage, and I don't have to
endure weekly phone calls from them now.
We also have two more painted rooms; John did
sponging on the walls and I really like them, after not being
sure about it. I think I might have him sponge in either
the first bedroom and/or the bathroom too.
Lignite continues to amuse us and torture
Spooky; although I don't think John appreciated the "help" she
was offering this morning while he was trying to count out tops
for orders. |
We started painting today. Actually we
started on Monday, with just applying the primer. Today
was putting on the color.
Here is the master bedroom.
Here is the bathroom. Now I have to go look at the
bathroom again to see if my corner is painted that bad or if the
flash from the camera whited it out. Sheesh.
The colors the house inside was painted prior to the remodel
were bleah at best, so we're shooting for color this time.
I think we got it.
Lignite is standing at the computer screen watching me type.
She's totally fascinated by this whole computer business.
I am slowly getting over the bronchitis but this
ruptured ear drum thingee sucks. I can't hear squat out my
right ear. According to what I can read online at the Mayo
clinic, it may take several weeks to heal. Ick.
On a positive note, the drywalling of the house
is completed, and tomorrow we start applying primer to the
ceilings and walls. I've started perusing paint chips,
trying to figure out what I want to paint my bedroom, the
office, and bathroom. I figured out that I can order a
custom vanity top for the bathroom which includes a premolded
sink so I have vanity chips here at home too to decide upon.
I'm kinda partial to top row, second from right. But I
want to see what John likes too. Plus we need to get
accurate measurements of the top of the vanity and exactly where
the sink needs to be located. We are going to wait to
paint the kitchen and hallway until the flooring and cupboards
are in so I can coordinate the wall color to my satisfaction. |
Another lame post. John went to the doc
last Friday and has a sinus infection; I went Monday and was
diagnosed with bronchitis and a probable ruptured right ear
drum. That is NOT fun. I am for all intents and
purposes temporarily deaf in my right ear which is extremely,
totally, annoying. It will eventually heal on its own but
is driving me nuts right now. I have minimal energy.
Ergo, not much beyond the basics is being accomplished.
One bright spot is little Lignite, one of 08's
kittens that John rescued from a snowbank the day after
Christmas. Much nursing later, and we have a happy kitten
who is quite content to be a housecat. She tested Feline
Leukemia negative so far, and once she gets her shots will
become a shop cat. She will replace Sponge Bob, who
disappeared sometime in November and we never found him again. |
Happy New Year, plus a week. Sorry to be
incommunicado for so long. Both the hubby and I have been
battling the cold of the decade and today is the first day in
about 3 that I feel halfways good.
Before ye olde colde struck with a vengence, I
ventured up to ND last Friday to celebrate the holidays with my
relatives up there. It was also a belated birthday
celebration for some of us too -- and they all got together and
got me this! for my birthday!
A Nintendo DS gaming system! I swooned! And I got
games and accessories for it for my Christmas present from them.
I am way thrilled.
I managed to spin up all of Lancelot last week
before I left for ND and got about 300 yards of fingering weight
yarn. Now to wait and see what it wants to become knitted
I also finished knitting another pair of socks.
I tried to write this entry all day yesterday
but just couldn't make myself sit at the computer much. Oh
We had a grand time Christmas Eve at my MIL's
house. We grazed for two plus hours, then it was present
niece gave us containers of soup mix --
My sister-in-law gave me these --
a pair of socks, a Starbucks gift card, and two books.
I've already spent the Starbucks card on the
Ceylon iced tea pitcher, which I saw in a recent Taste of
Home and thought I might like.
My MIL gave me these --
Dyer's Apple Orchard sock yarn and ..
Sanguine Gryphon batt, merino/superwash merino/silk, color
She ordered both of the above for me from
The Loopy Ewe, and I
am ecstatic. I must finish up what I have on the wheel
because I want to spin Lancelot right. now. |
Wow, I just realized as I typed the date that
today would have been my parents' 57th wedding anniversary.
Yesterday afternoon I slid over to the house
(almost literally. the gravel roads around here have a
solid coating of compacted slick snow on them) to have a
look-see on the progress made.
First, we have a ceiling now.
this photo was taken in the kitchen, showing one of the recessed
lighting fixtures. John installed recessed lighting over
the entire kitchen rather than one big fixture. I like
the window between the two front doors was installed. The
door to the right is our original door from before the addition,
then after the addition we installed the door to the left.
The steps downstairs are right in front of the door on the right
and, since we will now use the left door, it should prevent any
unplanned headers down to the basement. The window was
originally ordered without tempered glass but, according to
*sigh* code, since it's within 2 feet of an entrance the glass
needed to be tempered to prevent someone breaking it to access a
door. So, off it went to a glazier who replaced said
glass. I like the window, now I can see who's at the door
without opening it or going into the living room to peer out.
Okay, I know this is silly, but John also marked the new kitchen
island out on the floor so the plumber could install the pipes
through the floor for where the kitchen sink will now be
located. Yes, this thrills me. <grin> Maybe
not you. |
I did manage to finish another pair of socks.
With the weather lately, I might need them.
I call them Watermelon socks. The yarn is
from Lime and Violet, in the watermelon colorway. Pattern
used is Charade, but I just used the stitch pattern for the leg
and feet, and used my own heel and toe and top leg ribbing. |
Teresa of the Alpacas
has started making felted cat toys from her alpaca fiber and
stuffing them with catnip.
Spooky gives them two paws up. |
Brr, it's cold here this morning. Last I
checked the temp was -6 and the windchill was -28. We had
snow yesterday and a winter weather advisory; John said we got
more snow at our house than we did here at the rental. I
know the northwestern part of the state was under the snow gun,
with the interstate closed between Alexandria and the ND/MN
border at Fargo/Moorhead.
Stuff got done at the house last week but not
much was photo-able. But I do have a couple of things.
The siding is being put on. We ran out and had to order
more, which should get here tomorrow, we think. We are
putting on Hardie cement board siding which has been highly
recommended by everyone we talk with.
These are -- wait for it -- hurricane braces. Required by
the national building code now. Umm ... I can't remember
when Minnesota last had a hurricane. Someone at the
federal level has to be one sandwich short of a picnic for this
farce. The brace anchors the roof truss to the wall so,
according to our hired carpenter, the trusses won't lift off the
house framework when there is sustained wind. Dunno how
they'd stand up to a tornado.
I finished another quilting kit from the stash. It is
slowly going down.
My cooky baking list has been updated. I
find that I'm slowing down now but I do have a couple more kinds
I'd like to make. |
Happy Birthday today to my MIL Lil, who turns
80! I hear she has a dinner date and will also go out to
play a round of pool this evening.
We had the big family birthday party last night
for her, and one of her presents was underwear. Now, the
following custom evidently started before I joined the family; I
know not how. But, when one gets underwear, one has to put
it on one's head.
We had a lovely dinner and get-together.
Now today, it is snowing. I plan on making
more cookies. |
So, it's now December, right? Something
happens to me (and my cousin) every year about this time.
You see, we have a dormant gene that arises and demands that we
.... bake cookies!!!!! Our mothers did it and by gum, we
have the mandate to do likewise.
I've made my cookie and candy list (and checking
it twice) and have made three batches of cookies so far with
many more contemplated. In the latest issue of Martha
Stewart Living there was a recipe for a molded cookie called a
speculaas. They are made using a cookie press, and I
ordered one from House
on the Hill just to try it. I also want to make the
Fleur De Leis toffee from this issue and John's eyes brightened
when I dropped the hint that I might make peanut brittle soon.
I have a potluck for tomorrow night so I think
I'll make Asian Coleslaw, the aforementioned toffee, and a batch
of Brie Cherry Pastry Cups from the latest TOH issue. |
My favorite image from yesterday. John's
in an apron!
Next to him is my MIL Lil. It was turkey carving time and
John was doing the honors. I'm not sure how Lil got him to
put an apron on, but it was priceless!
Latest thing at the house is my bay window was
installed Wednesday morning.
Isn't it luverly? I'm so happy happy happy.
I've dreamt of a bay window forever, although in my dreams it's
big enough to have a window seat for me to recline on while
reading. Further, in my dreams, the bay window is installed in a library room,
with wall to wall bookshelves and in the middle of the room is a
black concert grand piano. Oh well, in reality my upright piano will
be in the kitchen, where this window is, and at least the cat
will be able to recline and snooze in it. We have to
provide some sort of steps for her though, it's up rather high
and we doubt she'll be able to jump to it. I also love the
gorilla wrap on the side of the house.
The latest finished quilted thing. |
The big news at the house today is that the old
kitchen wall came down/out --
thereby opening up the old house to the new
addition. I didn't know that was being done today. I
showed up after yet another run to the lumberyard (I asked them
if they had frequent shopper benefits) with the goods and
stepped inside the house and was so surprised. And
delighted. The guys got the window holes prepped today
with the idea of putting in windows tomorrow. A new
dumpster was swapped for the old today so tomorrow I can go back
to shoveling crap off the floor. A thrill a minute, I tell
It was a very busy weekend over at the house.
John's brother and nephew came out yesterday and today, and the
whole roof is shingled, skylight window is put in, and the vents
are in too.
Other than a bit of work that needs to be done around the
chimney -- John has to put a new flue in and rebrick the top, I
think -- and then tack down the shingles around the chimney --
it is done. Thank goodness.
I continue to help out where I can. My
yucky job of the moment is shoveling out the old insulation that
is on the floor all over the house, up to a depth of a foot in
places. One bright moment was when John showed me how to
run the bobcat. Whee! He was standing on the bucket
when he was instructing me in the beginning. Unbeknownst
to him, I pushed the peddle that controlled the bucket and
raised it into the air, quite rapidly, about a foot, and I about
tossed him off the bobcat with that. He proceeded to
continue to instruct me from the safety of the ground. Heh.
In between that, and cooking for the guys, I
managed to start and almost complete a small project.
Thimbleberries sent out an email on Thursday with an easy
pumpkin appliqué on a black checkered dishtowel. I thought
it looked fun and easy, so I picked up the appropriate fat
quarters and towels on Thursday afternoon when I was in town for
my spinners guild meeting. This is my first finished
towel, and I have two more that I just need to sew around the
pieces on the towel. I think they are so cute! |
Have I mentioned that I will now have a skylight
in my bathroom?
Just got back from the house a bit ago, and
brought you these photos of the newly installed as of yesterday
trusses on the house.
Today the guys are nailing plywood to the
trusses. I really should have stayed there to work today,
but it's COLD. Somewhere along the line in the move I
mislaid my long underwear, so on my shopping list for today is
to replace the long underwear, along with adding some thermal
socks, and a hat and mittens. I have to shovel insulation
out from the house and I want to be comfortable while doing it.
I finished another table runner, in the
With more in the pipeline, just gotta hem them. |
Off with the roof!
Doesn't it look really wierd? |
I finally made it back over to the house
yesterday. Tuesday I spent here at the house, really
really crappy weather, and Wednesday I was down in Mpls for
Fiber Fair check-in at the Weavers Guild.
As I mentioned previously, the walls were put up Monday.
Just after I took the above photo yesterday, we for the most
part put the sheathing on the walls, which means nailing up
plywood over the studs. Why they just don't call it
nailing plywood ....
Anyway, I kind of helped. John did most of
the work, but I did run the nail gun (woot!) when he was holding
up a plywood sheet, just to anchor it, then he did the rest.
I love air compressor nail gun! Whee!
The long range weather forecast for next week
looks good. I'm crossing fingers and toes that we will be
able to get the roof off and on and get the house fully
By the way, the three window openings you can see
clearly is where my new studio will be. |
Happy Birthday to me! I'm 50 today.
Does that mean I'm now officially "over the hill"?
The walls are now up at the house. The
carpenter has four days of work to do at other sites then can
spent exclusive time with us ... provided the weather
cooperates. It is not doing so at the moment. We
have to have a window of clear weather to take off the roof as
the exposed floor in the original house is particle board that
cannot get wet otherwise it will warp and that will create more
problems than we ever wanted.
And I don't think the weather is cooperating.
I'm heading out early this morning to pick up charcoal as we are
out, and I have steaks to grill tonight. Once the freezing
rain/snow/crap hits, we aren't going anywhere this
afternoon/evening. And that's okay. |
I'm doing a happy dance. See? The
carpenter is starting today so we get to build upwards now.
Whee! If all goes as planned this week, we should get the
framing done, old roof ripped out, new trusses placed, and the
roof and sides of the house tar papered. Yippee, yippee,
yippee! John got up at 6 to be able to be ready for Mike
by 8 at the house. *yawn*
Happy Birthday to my cousin Jolene, a day late.
I've dug out the quilting stuff. Actually,
I dug out all of the projects I have on my to-do list (which is
basically all of them) and promptly stuffed them back in a box.
I didn't want to know how many I actually had. But here's
the two projects I finished over the weekend --
this particular one I sent to John's aunt as a thank-you for
letting me come to the August Berry Fest doings.
I just liked this one. It's a Thimbleberries kit from this
Of course, being as I got two done, you would
think my stash of projects had decreased? Nope. I
this pattern and the materials to make it over the weekend.
I think it will be a decoration in my new kitchen. |
It needs to be blocked, but the Nautical Rope
Scarf is done! This was a great, fun knit but I'm glad to
Details on my
Remember to Vote today. |
We can't rip out much farther. We're down
to the basic framing of the house now.
Of course, there's lots of garbage on the floor that I will need
to take a big broom to and sweep it out. I have to rip out
the thingees that the carpet is nailed to -- (Hooray! the
carpet is GONE! Awful 70's orange and green and brown and
blue shag! carpet! Gone! In the dumpster!) and get
rid of that. And one more closet has molding in it that we
Tomorrow we start the rebuilding. I
believe the framing of the addition is going to happen. We
had beautiful weather this past week and this coming week looks
less than stellar for ripping off the roof and putting up the
Sigh. It's beautiful out and the lake is
calm and some guy just drove by in his fishing boat. I've
only gone fishing once this year. I missed it. Maybe
next year will be better.
We had salmon the other night and John had to fight her off his
Oh yeah. We did get something done at the
house, or rather, John did. According to the latest code
we have to have window wells to provide emergency personnel
access to the basement should it be needed.
John built two of these. Egads, each block weighs 60
pounds so he didn't have an easy time of it. But it's
done, it looks nice. We have to look into a grate of some
sort for the top, so a cat or human or a non-desired animal
doesn't fall in here. It's like 40 inches deep.
And the sunset photo, of course, from a couple
I think I'm about half ways through the scarf,
anyway my first ball of yarn (out of two) is almost gone.
We are making some progress on the house, but
nothing photo-able. Almost everything is now out and
tossed or packed into boxes into the containers. Maybe
two? boxes left to pack. John has started to demolish the
innards of the house, tearing down the paneling and such to
expose the bare studs of the walls. I think the idea is to
create better walls and maybe more insulation. "Think" is
the operative word, I really don't know why we are doing this
part. I'm just doing what I'm told. And, it's rather
fun to whack the claw of the hammer into the paneling on the
wall. Great for venting frustrations.
I think I took a really very pretty sunset photo
tonight. Next week I should have something besides sunsets
for you. I think the roof of the house is coming off this
weekend and the framing of the new addition/new roof/etc is
being started next Monday.
Anyway, the sunset --
I did lighten it a wee bit so you could see the shimmer of the
You knitters out there may about now be saying,
"Karen! Don't you knit any more?"
Well, I do, in fits and starts. Especially
starts. I discovered the book Ocean Breezes and promptly
fell in love with about half of the designs. I did start
the Nautical Rope Scarf the other day ...
See all the wonderful cables? I'm loving this scarf.
I spent yesterday spinning at
Teresa's and was
grateful for the break. Today is back to the grind at the
house, packing out more of the last of the stuff. |
The basement was capped on Monday. Here is
the sequence of photos showing the procedure.
First, the hangers were pounded on. You can see those on
the lower left side of the photo.
Then the floor joists were pounded in.
Capped basement. I had left the house during the pounding
in of the floor joists so you just get to see the final project.
Yesterday we spread a tarp over the whole thing
to protect it as it will be a couple weeks yet before the house
will be framed.
More sunset photos, from Monday and Tuesday
Alrighty, the hardest of the hard part is done.
We moved out of the house lock, stock, and barrel yesterday to
the rental house. It was a loooong day, but my inlaws
helped immensely and we are so grateful for them.
Sunset tonight off of the porch on the rental --
And -- I get high speed internet and John gets
cable with something like 600 channels. I wonder if we
will want to move back?
Oh, of course we will. I have new
appliances just waiting to be installed. The basement gets
capped tomorrow. And I have to go shovel detris off of the
floor of the house and pack up more frozen stuff as the power
gets turned off tomorrow for a short while. |
Holy butt crack of dawn this morning. The
cement dudes were here around 6:30 to pour the basement slab.
I gradually awoke when I heard the voices outside, Spooky came
to attention, and then I woke John so he could go outside.
The foreman of the crew asked, and I quote, "Did
we wake you up?" Duh.
I was so sleep deprived when mixing up the
morning pancakes that I couldn't figure out why they weren't
frying up to look like they normally do. As I flipped the
final pancake onto the plate I realized -- I had forgot to add
the egg to the batter. Batch 1 of pancakes went to cats.
I mixed up a second batch of pancakes, and these were fine.
Anyway, back to the slab -- here is when they
started to pour. I had to lighten up the photo quite a
bit, between the dawn's early light and clouds in the sky.
And later, one poor sod got assigned the pick up
the leaf detail and smooth out the concrete one more time.
So now we have a slab.
Packing continues. It doesn't seem like
we're making headway, but if you look into the container, we
have quite a few boxes in there.
See the cat in the middle, very top?
We have to make sure we shoo them out now before
shutting up the container. |
John and I got the new foundation tarred (but
not feathered) today, with only one minor catastrophe.
He accidentally dropped a dollop of tar on the top of my head.
Whether it was using the turpentine to take the tar out also
took out hair, or the combing of the hair thereof pulled it out,
or both, the result is I now have a lovely little bald area on
my scalp. Fortunately, it normally is covered the way I
wear my hair. |
It rained here yesterday, so bright and early
this morning (before 7! argh! I wasn't awake yet!)
the guys showed up to build the wall.
First, they created a path for their bobcat to bring all of the
bricks into the pit. Once the bricks were all there, they
started to lay the bricks down and pat cement around them.
Here they've gotten a little ways in the wall building.
Once the wall was built, the guys poured cement into some of the
bricks to make the brick foundation stronger, a solid column of
concrete, and they also inserted metal rods so the rest of the
house could be anchored to the foundation.
Ta-da! A finished wall! Now tomorrow, John and I get
to paint tar on the outside of the wall. Great fun ahead.
Wanna help? |
Today the footings were prepared for the new
First, the guys came and laid the framework for
You can also see the door that John's cutting into the
foundation so we can get from the old basement to the new.
Once the inspector gave his "okey-dokey" the
concrete was poured into the footing frames.
I kinda think one of the guys got baptized with concrete from
what I overheard. After the concrete was poured it was
smoothed out and allowed to set overnight. Either tomorrow
or Wednesday concrete blocks will be laid for the walls of the
Completed footings. John is also putting the wood frame in
the opening so he can insert the door at some point today. |
House: 2; Karen: 0
The current house is harboring a grudge against
being gutted and spiffed up to a new house.
A few days ago I was canning and in the process
of boiling my jars to sterilize them. I had turned on the
stove fan and light to see what I was doing. I had just
turned myself away from the stove to do a few dishes, when --
sizzle; bang; flash -- the light on the stove vent short
circuited from the moisture. It even blew out the switch
for the light. Scared the living daylights out of me.
Then today, it's chilly out and I want some
heat. I would normally light a fire in the woodstove but
due to the remodeling, we haven't laid in the winter wood supply
yet. I try turning on the furnace but it doesn't kick in.
I can't figure that out, so I call John to query what might be
wrong. He said he had turned off multitudes of breakers
yesterday. Downstairs I went to the breaker box to switch
the furnace back on, and also notice the breaker for the water
heater is switched off. (No wonder no hot water this
morning either). Tried to turn the furnace on after
switching breaker back on but it stubbornly stays off.
That must have broken too.
I took off with the wheelbarrow to the shop's
wood supply. Normally I could have just thrown this into
the basement but John took the wood chute out on Thursday (look
at the hole below towards the back end of the house. The
chute has a piece of plywood over it) and hasn't cut the new one
yet. Even if the wood chute was still there, I can't lob
wood over a 40' foot long and 14' wide and 10' chasm in the
ground. Therefore, I'm hauling it piece by piece into the
I probably won't need a fire when I'm done.
I'll be warm. |
The Big Dig.
Starting to dig the hole.
The hole is finished.
It's also the cats newest and most favorite
playground. We hope they don't manage to toss too much
dirt back into the hole before Monday, when the footings are
being poured. |
The giant backhoe just got here for tomorrow's
To those who came here from Spindlicity,
welcome! I didn't know the article was appearing until I
started getting your emails! If you are interested in a
spindle, email me ... I will try to get the ilLOOMinating page
with our current spindle selection updated within the next
couple of days.
Alpaca Farm Tour, Day 2
Nothing untoward happened. Buckwheat
behaved himself. There was a crowd of people for about
three hours, and I spun my little heart out showing people how
lovely alpaca yarn is. I'm spinning the cria
fleece of Annie, sheared back in April, and just recently back
from the processors.
Yesterday was spent doing mundane chores around
the house. We should get the permit to add onto our house
tomorrow or Thursday, and Friday is the Big Dig, aka digging the
basement for the addition. It's actually real. Wow.
I also ordered a portable storage container
today, which will be delivered on Thursday, so I can start
mucking out the house. |
Alpaca Farm Tour, Day 1 -- Alpaca Love
A week ago Buckwheat experiences the joys of
procreation with Honie, his very first time ever. Saturday
afternoon Buckwheat decided that it was time, once again, for a
little bit of fun in the backseat of the
With an audience of several people watching
Buckwheat tried to jump the fence separating the boys from the
girls, the object of his affection being just on the other side
of the fence. His owner,
Kathe, scolded him
severely for attempting a little afternoon delight, but
Buckwheat wasn't listening to her. He tried to scale the
fence once again and started to orgle (alpaca talk for "Honie!
You're one hot alpaca mama!")
Amidst much giggling and guffawing, Daryl the
knocked on the window of the parked car
persuaded Buckwheat to go outside and broke up the assignation.
Teresa is wondering if her farm tour site will
be given a mature audience rating next year. |
Alrighty, now that the garden is done and no
more garden updates, now you can be enthralled by construction
Construction drawings were taken to the building
inspector today and he says we should get a permit by mid next
week. We have a line on a house on a lake to look at next
week and, if it looks at all promising, we will take a six month
lease on it and move out of here while construction is ongoing.
The guy who will dig the hole for the new
basement is coming by Monday night to look at our site.
We bought window$ at Home Depot today, or
rather, ordered them. I get a bay window for my kitchen,
yippee! They also tip in to wash so you don't have to
endanger your life on a ladder. Not that I ever did that
before in my life.
This weekend, the 27th and 28th, is Minnesota's
alpaca farm tour and
Hollyhock Farms will be open 10-5 on both Saturday and
Sunday. Go see alpacas! Go pet alpacas! Go
feed alpacas! |
One thing I've never mentioned on this blog,
mainly because it always got postponed "to the next year", is
the fact that we've discussed long and hard about an addition on
to the house. Both John and I have hobbies/businesses that
take up lots of room. He's got a workshop the size of the
house; I use the living room, the office -- heck, almost every
room in the house is devoted to fiber of some sort, except for
Well, the addition is about to happen.
We've applied for the necessary permits and are getting
construction drawings done for the inspector. We are
searching for a place to live in the interim. And I'm so
not looking forward to cleaning out the upstairs of the house.
We're adding on 14 feet to the west side of the
house, creating a much bigger kitchen, and a studio space for
me. We're also planning a skylight over the bathroom,
since the addition will close off that window, and I want a
whirlpool bathtub. I've already scoped out
appliances at Lowes down in Minneapolis. It finally seems
John and I attended a tile show at the Swedish
Institute on Saturday, and came home with these tiles, along
with others --
The loons will be the focal point behind our new stove top on
the wall. I want to build the theme of our new kitchen
around northern Minnesota, loons and lakes and forests and fish.
By the way, the Swedish Institute is having an
exhibition of Bohus sweaters starting in January. I plan
on going to see that, looks way cool! |
Cures for a dreary, rainy Saturday ...
Spareribs & sauerkraut & potato dumplings.
A completed pair of socks! Made out of Dream in Color
Smooshy in the November Muse color way, pattern is Dream in Color
Sleepwalker Socks by Monica Nappe.
3. A hot bubble bath. No photo.
Do you want me to scare you??? |
27" long and he figures 5 pounds. The
Master Walleye Fisherman! |
Finally, I get a chance to sit down here.
I've been trying for three days to do an update.
Let's see ... in the past two days, I have
canned 6 jars of apple brandy butter, 37 jars of plum jelly, and
27 jars of wild grape jelly. By the way, we did have a
grape harvest ourselves, of sorts --
Aren't they cute? I think John said that this variety was
Anyway, canning-wise, today I hope to make wild
grape pancake syrup, and get a good start on making the rest of
the pickled beets. We didn't get a frost last night but it
came close, so I'm running out of time. I did make a fresh
salsa yesterday from our tomatillo's, a recipe from Rick Bayless'
Salsas that Cook book. The recipe called for serrano
peppers, five of them. I used one serrano and 4 jalapeno.
Good gravy, the finished product was HOT HOT HOT. Five
alarm fire hot. I gave it away to the neighbors who like
things with a bit more fire than this German/Swedish body can
handle. Other than the hot, it was good, so I'd like to
make it again. With a lot less fire.
A finished item! A pair of sock! Are
you surprised? <grin> Classic Elite Alpaca Sox yarn,
my own pattern, which is probably the same as what a million
other knitters use -- just knit around and around.
So, about my adventures at the BIL's cabin.
John persuaded me to try and drive an ATV for the first time.
I was game; it looked like fun.
One minute after the last photo was taken as I
was driving off into the sunset, I crashed the little bugger
headfirst into a tree. It started going faster than what I
felt comfortable with, down a hill, and I panicked -- couldn't
remember where the brake was. Whammo! Thankfully, I
wasn't hurt, and neither was the ATV. But that's the end
of my ATV riding, for sure. I spent the remainder of my
time doing less stressful pursuits, like riding in the boat and
fishing. That's my kind of adventure. |
The weather has taken a turn for the cooler.
Heck, it's been downright chilly in the mornings. I'm very
much looking forward to the end of farmers markets, for me, by
the first weekend in October.
Of course, this means my emphasis in the garden
has shifted more towards preserving the apples (I made 6 jars of
apple brandy butter today; it's a hot seller) and I need to
think of making more salsa and drying more tomatoes. I
also need to dry my kale, and pull my onions and dig my
potatoes. We had freshly dug potatoes baked in the oven
tonight for supper, along with steak on the grill and a salad,
and it was all so yummy. We've been chomping on corn on
the cob for a couple weeks now. The garden looks sad; not
so green and lush anymore. It is almost fall and we could
expect a frost here within the next couple of weeks. I'm
kind of ready to be done with it all.
Even though I'm still canning like a mad woman,
I'm seeing the end of it. I've been able to spend time
weaving again, and I've finished a pair of socks (photo next
time, I hope) and am seriously working on more.
Also next time, photos from our weekend up at my
BIL's cabin over Labor Day. They're a hoot. |
Battling the Wild Blackberry Bushes.
Sunday the 24th my MIL and I took off for northern Wisconsin for
the second year in a row, for a short stay at her sister's
cabin. With the goofy spring we had this year, we weren't
sure what the berry situation would be. We had been warned
that the berries might not be ripe yet.
there were many almost ripe and quite green berries on the vine,
we found enough of them to make 4 batches of blackberry jelly
and one batch of blackberry pancake syrup. Yum.
indeed battle the bushes. The branches are thorny (and
that's putting it mildly) and they want to grab onto everything
-- your pants, your arm, your hair -- but it's so worth it when
you score a nice, big juice berry. When ripe, they just
glisten in the sun, they are so beautiful.
were myriad social obligations too, but we did get a chance to
go to Hayward to look at the town.
certainly didn't expect to see this on the skyline --
the Freshwater Fishing museum at Hayward, and according to
"The highlight of the museum
complex is a landmark "Shrine to Anglers" which is a
structure one-half city block long and four and one-half stories
tall, of concrete, steel and fiberglass, hand-sculpted into the
likeness of a leaping fish (Muskie). Its innards are a museum
and its gaping open jaw accommodates about 20 persons or more as
an observation platform. The landmark is surrounded by a
quarter-acre nature pond."
know is driving along the street and seeing that huge open fish
mouth on the horizon was rather unnerving. Next year, I
want to go there.
went to the local quilt shop,
Rivers Edge Quilt Shop &
Antiques, in Hayward (no surprise there, I imagine),
and strolled down Main Street and visited Ben Franklin, Legend
of the Celts, and I popped in at the winery,
Hookstone Winery, and
picked up a
Muskie Merlot and a
Walleye Blush. With those names, how could I not?
They are part of John's birthday present (his birthday is
and I came home yesterday and on the way back we stopped at the
cheese shop in Alpha,
Wisconsin. Oh, yum -- I just love Wisconsin cheese.
the garden and what not. We got over an inch of rain
Wednesday night so everything has perked up. |
No excuses, other than the garden and my
bi-weekly farmers markets. In the last week I have canned
the following --
of tomato puree
of pickled peppers
half-pints of cherry jelly
half-pints of jalapeno jelly
of green beans
with drying eggplant, fruit leathers, and assorted other stuff.
Nannette, you were wondering what I was going to do with the
eggplant. In one of my books by Mary Bell, there is a
recipe for baba ganoush using dried eggplant -- it's an
appetizer to go with crackers.
knitting continues, and the other night I finally again picked
up my Oregon Vest, which I've been working on now for almost 5
years. It's about time I actually finished it, I think,
along with some of the other projects languishing around here.
find time to make one quick quilted item --
little table runner was sent to my cousin's daughter for her
birthday. I think it turned out quite darling although I
need to give myself a refresher course on how to do mitered
Never, in all my days, have I seen our eggplant
plants so loaded with eggplant.
This is just one plant. And I have six of
I'm done with shows for the year, other than
Fiber Fair down in Mpls in November. This past weekend was
Powderhorn Art Fair, and both John and I were artists. It
was a steamy weekend, the minute you started to move sweat just
poured down your face. Bleah.
Now I can concentrate on the garden and on my
canning and preserving, and on my Farmers Markets. I want
to go do some weeding this morning while it's cool, then I have
green beans to can, and bread and butter pickles to make.
My tomatoes are ripening faster and in greater quantities.
I'm looking for a house elf .... |
Hi all, sorry to be awol, but the garden has
been keeping me insanely busy with weeding and preserving the
abundant produce. The zucchini and beans are in full
swing, the cucumbers are starting, I really should pickle the
first planting of beets, and my tomatoes are starting to ripen.
I have one on the counter right now that will be the T in a BLT
Current garden photo --
It's keeping me hopping, that's for sure.
The other insanely part of my life, the weaving,
happened this past weekend. John and I were both artists
at Appleton, Wisconsin's Art in the Park. It's a one day
show, so we left Saturday morning and got back late last night,
er .... early this morning. Like 1 a.m. "Dragging"
is the best way to describe myself today. We boarded
Spooky for the weekend so I got up at 7 to go spring her out of
"jail". She was very happy to see me and has been close to
my side all day today.
And my dear hubby won Honorable Mention at the
show so he gets to go back next year without having to pay a
jury fee or a booth fee. Yeah! for him! We had a
celebratory steak and salad supper tonight.
Since I really have not much else to offer
tonight (sock knitting continues but nothing is finished) I
bring you assorted photos --
My first blooming dahlia.
One of my indigo dye plants. We figure it must have been
bruised some how, see the blue spot on the middle of the photo?
I can't wait to play with the plants this fall. |
Remember those 8 ball zucchini I was telling you
about? Well, if you happen to miss one under the plant, it
greatly resembles an unripe pumpkin or a watermelon.
Zucchini bread today for market tomorrow, folks.
A week ago today we left for Madison, Wisconsin;
John was an artist in "Art Fair on the Square". Madison is
a fun town and I always enjoy going there. I can't believe
the proliferation of wonderful eatting establishments!
Friday night we ate at Mad City Crab House; he had prime rib and
I had crab stuffed ravioli with a basil pesto sauce. Yum.
Then, we did something totally decadent and strolled down to
Sucre' and shared a slice of pistachio mango cake. Double
The show happened, and we were quite busy.
One thing we noticed was the number of wedding parties that had
to get their photographs taken on the capital steps. One
bridal party boasted 10 attendants, male and female, along with
the bride and groom. And -- other than the bride, they
were all dressed in black. For a summer wedding. For
a HOT summer wedding. It looked like a funeral and they
were all in mourning for the bride or something.
We got home Sunday night and were in bed by
11:59. And I've been tired all week.
Monday morning we busted Spooky out of "jail".
Being that she has to get medicated twice a day, we had to board
her for the weekend, and she was not a happy camper at all.
Vet said that she did okay there though; no problems.
This week has been non-stop activity, mainly
revolving around the garden. Today schedule, in no certain
order, is to till the garden and weed, make the aforementioned
zucchini bread, empty out the back end of the truck of the rest
of the stuff I bought yesterday and reload for market tomorrow,
mend my canopy, make basil apple jelly, pick and can green
beans... think I'll get all of that done? |
We just got over a quarter inch of rain, with I
think more on the way. We surely needed it. I
watered my garden, most of it, on Tuesday, so this will help out
Speaking of garden, I planted a pack of 8 ball
zucchini this year. I thought they might be interesting
but I wasn't prepared for how many different colors of zucchini
I would get.
I thought that all of them would be the dark green, like on the
upper right. They've just started to bear so hopefully
next week I'll have some to sell at Farmers Market. Right
now we're going to enjoy them for supper, sautéed with some
onions in butter and olive oil, and flavored with soy sauce.
I also have my first picking of green beans and I expect to be
inundated next week.
I finished a pair of socks, the yarn is Dream in
Color Flamengo Pie. The pattern was Sleepwalker Socks.
After the first couple of times through the 20 row lace
patterning, I have it memorized. I also have more Dream in
Color yarn in stock which I will use to make the pattern again,
I really like how these socks fit.
I have a rogue hollyhock plant that is in
Aren't they pretty? I got a packet of seeds from Teresa of
the Alpacas last year and planted them but nothing resulted.
This year, one huge plant grew. Lovely flowers. I
could use them to natural dye but I don't have enough of the
flowers so I'm just going to enjoy them.
And finally, a kitten photo.
Colby is having a great time here. |
Our niece Brenda was married a month ago and she
just shared some of her wedding photos with us.
Wasn't she a beautiful bride?
And her sister, Amanda, has a birthday today --
Happy Birthday dear! |
It's time for something other than kittens, I
suppose. After a cool, wet spring, the garden is now
It's been a lot of work, and I plan on going
back out there after this blog update is posted, but here is a
select view of various plants in the garden.
Roma tomatoes on the vine.
Forming cabbage head.
Green bean blossoms. I'm in trouble here, I think, in a
couple weeks, when all of the blossoms turn into beans.
Little 8-ball zucchini. First year for me to try these.
I picked three for supper, really not enough for a meal, but
good for a taste.
Tuesday I went to Strawberry Basket in
Monticello and picked 37 pounds of strawberries. Argh.
I had an aching back at the end of the day, but I've finally
worked my way through all of them and have 5 batches of
Strawberry Honey jam, and strawberry leather, and -- my favorite
-- a strawberry junket pie is in the fridge cooling for supper.
John has requested strawberry shortcake so I might have to go
back and pick another pail or two of berries soon. |
Finally, it is finished. My fourth knitted
item of the year. Not doing well, am I?
It's Elizabeth Zimmermann's Surprise Baby
Sweater, pattern can be found in a couple of her books. I
used the pattern from The Opinionated Knitter. I have to
sing praises for Meg, her daughter -- I had a question in the
middle of the pattern and emailed Schoolhouse Press, and Meg
graciously answered the question for me.
I thought the sweater maybe looked kind of
bland, with just one color, after I've seen all of those on the
internet with stripes galore. Perhaps now that I
understand just how this thing is knitted and goes together, I
would try again. I suspect my leftover sock yarns would
make a dandy sweater that could be washed and dried by machine
rather than by hand. For this sweater, I used J & S
shetland wool, fingering weight.
Here's one of the five buttons. The knitting was finished
a month ago, but Friday I finally sat down and sewed the
shoulder seams and sewed on the buttons. I like the
The sweater is a gift for our next door
neighbors as they are expecting a baby girl within the next
And more kitten photos. I know I've got it
bad with them -- when I downloaded my camera photos this
morning, I had two photos of knitted things, and about 20 photos
of the kittens. I narrowed it down to these three for you
They are now named! From bottom left,
clock-wise: Cheddar, Colby, Pepperjack, and Tanner.
Tired of kitten photos yet? |
Sorry Rob, didn't mean to confuse you.
Yep, you got it right -- the bee suit is what John wears when
he's tending the bees on a weekly basis. I believe I have
a photo of him in it on our JKBee's page.
A couple months ago a friend of ours was going
Faroese Islands on a business trip. After John told me
about it, I called Joel right back up and said, "bring me back
some Faroese wool!" Lo and behold Joel delivered this to
me this past Monday --
is the name of the company and the words below translate into
Faroese Wool Products. I also got a bag of white wool.
According to Joel, the Faroese sheep are a
closed flock from about year 1000 simply because the islands are
so desolate and remote, nobody else ventured there with sheep.
It's also related to Icelandic sheep. I started spinning
this last night at the guild meeting. Both top and bottom
coats were carded together (I got it already washed and carded,
woohoo!) and you can see the guard hairs too. I found out
that I can't spin this too thin otherwise the thread snaps, but
it is a breeze to spin. Like butter.
My Trellis scarf needs to be frogged.
Again. See the awful pooling of the yarn?
I'm not sure what I'm going to try next. I had some yarn
leftover, enough to make it, from the Mystery Stole 3, but I'm
not sure I want to knit with that stuff again. It's going
to take me a bit to get back to it anyway.
More kitten pictures. They are considering
us mommy and daddy #2, and we suspect the real mommy might be
close to done nursing them. It is difficult to do anything
outside right now without a kitten underfoot or climbing up the
leg. And they purr when we pet them. Anybody want a
We also found Momma Carrot's kittens last night
and we have a Mango look-alike, a Peaches look-alike, and an
absolutely break taking black torti. I'm trying real hard
not to make that one a shop cat. |
Ack. Didn't realize it's been ten days.
But it's been a busy ten days. I guess real life has a
habit of doing that sometimes.
A week ago Sunday I left for North Dakota; my
dad's younger brother passed away and his funeral was Monday the
9th. I came back from North Dakota on Tuesday the 10th.
He was the last of his generation so all my cousins and I were
standing around and bemoaning the fact that we were now the
Wednesday I swear I spent the whole day on the
computer shopping. I ended up the day by having to order
John a new bee suit. I washed his old one, including the
veil, and the danged thing ripped up in the washing machine so
it was no longer usable. I never realized that it was so
touchy, but I learned. Wednesday's market was cancelled
due to thunderstorms. We are next to a gas station and the
thought of being struck by lightning near gas tanks was not a
Thursday .... what was Thursday .... can't
remember. Friday I spent all day in the garden weeding and
tilling and planting. Saturday we left for northern
Wisconsin for the wedding of our niece and came home yesterday.
Which brings us to today and the fact that I
haven't blogged in a week.
The kittens are beyond cute. We have to
tiptoe into the garage as not to wake them. They are not
afraid of us, at all, which is a good thing, but they want to
follow us everywhere, which is not a good thing. I'm
trying to get them interested in wet food to supplement mom's
milk as they are always hungry. They are only 5 weeks old
today, some have got the food drill and some don't yet.
And momma cat is always happy to help out. They are
exploring their world, testing the waters just outside the
garage door and are having a great time.
Dehydration experiment -- I'm drying watermelon
chunks. I have no idea what I'm ending up with but
according to the book it can be done. The rind of the
watermelon will be turned into pickles today.
Our honeyberries are ripening so I'm picking
those too, to be turned into jelly. Fleet Farm has their
canning stuff on sale this week so I picked up 15 cases of jelly
jars yesterday. I have to go back to town on Thursday for
spinning guild, so I will check the store out again to see if I
can get any more.
Knitting wise, I've slowed down, other than
socks at market. I just don't have enough hours in a day,
I guess. I did start, rip out, and re-start the Trellis
Scarf from Interweave Knits, Spring 2006, using stash yarn
(!yeah!). After the wedding Saturday in Cable, we went to
a yarn store there (had no clue there was a yarn store in little
Cable, WI) to check it out as we had time between the wedding
and the reception. Nice little store, but didn't need
anything, or want anything, so I just cruised the perimeter to
see what they had. I must say the staff was intrigued, I
was in my dress and John was in his suit, so they had to know
why we were dressed to the nines to go yarn store looking.
I suppose. On the agenda today, in no
particular order, is mopping the kitchen floor, cleaning up the
bathroom, picking more honey berries, making watermelon rind
pickles, and so on and so forth. |
Due to popular request, updated kitten photos.
Kinda crappy photos, they were taken in the garage in minimal
light and no assistant for the photographer (me).
I think I took these on Tuesday.
And -- a finished item! Two items! A
pair of socks!
My latest preserving passion is drying foods.
I tried making rhubarb fruit leather, and oh, is that good.
A space-age up-to-date food dryer is on my way to me from
www.drystore.com down in
Lanesboro, MN. I'm looking forward to drying other items
to sell at Farmers Markets. I've ordered the bags to
pack the fruit leather in, and a special label printer for my
It's been cool and rainy here yesterday and
today. And quite humid. And quite windy too.
My garden welcomes the natural moisture vs. using the hose to
water. We've been eating radishes over a week now, and I
have flowers on the tomato plants I started, and the kohlrabi
are starting to set fruit too. |
It's a cool day here in Minnesota although
apparently we are in line for yet more severe weather tonight.
We have been so lucky here where we live and I'm crossing my
fingers that luck continues.
My friend the
has opened up her very own
Go there, now! She has some lovely mango/raspberry
handpainted roving there for sale, and it looks good enough to
eat! One may have come to live with me. She also has
some handpainted yarn available.
Not much has been going on here, other than
market, jelly making, and weaving. I have a run of shows
coming up soon so I've been nose to the loom, so to speak, when
I have a chance. Sock knitting has been going on but
that's about it.
Newest jam flavor is rhubarb/strawberry.
It's very tasty. |
For those of you who've heard of Minnesota's
wild weather of yesterday, we are okay. We were on the
very edge of the system, it rained for an hour and we had three
separate hail storms, but the hail was pea-sized or smaller.
I finished knitting EZ's baby surprise sweater
yesterday but I still have to sew the two seams. Since I
haven't shown it to you in progress, I thought I'd wait and
spring a finished sweater on you, 'k?
I signed up for Summer of Socks 2008. I
dug out a grocery bag of sock yarn yesterday and counted just
how many potential pairs of socks were in the one bag ... it was
sobering. Needless to say, an incentive to keep up the no
new yarn purchases.
That being said, after finishing the sweater,
I'm restless. I want to start something new but I don't
know what. I really shouldn't start anything new, goodness
knows I have enough stuff on the needles now but the majority of
it is heavy stuff, which means I really want to do some more
lace... but what lace? I have my Bee Shawl kit, and many
other shawl patterns and yarns that I could choose from.
Decisions, decisions. Stay tuned. |
It's Friday. It's been a wild week.
First, something cute (again). Teresa's
newly born alpaca baby, born a week ago today. Photo taken
Why yes, I've already put dibs on next year's fleece.
Unless Teresa's alpacas manage to produce a grey one.
So ... Monday ... Teresa and I took off for
Eagle Bend, MN, as she wanted to look at an antique spinning
wheel. She ended up not purchasing the wheel but we had a
grand time driving through the wilds of Minnesota.
Wednesday the Farmers Market in Cokato started.
It was decided at the organizing meeting to extend the hours to
12-6. After Wednesday, I can already tell that those are
going to be LOOOOOONG days now. Sheesh. I picked
rhubarb Wednesday morning to sell, as at Buffalo last Saturday
rhubarb flew out of the stalls. You guessed it. Not
a stalk sold on Wednesday.
So, yesterday I made 25 jars of rhubarb jelly.
It's quite tasty. But that was another long day, on my
feet, after a long day on Wednesday. So today I'm
bushwacked. I think I'll be spending the day on the couch
knitting. Or weaving a little bit. But no big
Cute things today --
Momma kitty and her almost one-week-old babies.
Hummingbird at window feeder. |
Death By Walnuts
Last weekend was Shepherd's Harvest Sheep and
Wool Festival, and it was a great time as always.
In a place of prominence on my display table was
a bag of the dried walnut hulls. A customer came into my
booth and inquired what they would be used for.
My reply was that one used them for natural
The customer looked at me, in absolute horror.
"As in DEATH??????!!!!!!?????"
I kept my composure and explained how natural
dyeing of fibers worked. But it was hard. My booth
neighbor called me Mrs. Kevorkian during the rest of the
East Lansing Art Festival
The festival is tomorrow and Sunday. We
were supposed to be participating in it.
Wednesday morning a couple of our tomcats
started fighting just outside the living room door. John
stepped next to the door to try and stop the fight. Spooky
leapt into the fray and chomped John's left ankle. Hard.
(Aside -- you would never know by looking at her now just how
sick she was 6 months ago. Truly a miraculous recovery.)
He is now on antibiotics because of the
infection and we decided it was better to stay home just in case
there were complications.
I'm happy to report he is doing much better
Momma had a total of four kittens overall.
Three grey ones and one tan colored. All cuter as can be.
I am going to try to make rhubarb bread,
pineapple jam, and pineapple rum jam today. We'll see how
far I get. |
I'm 2 hours old and I have two siblings.
Aren't I cute?
I've spent part of my day bagging up dried
walnut hulls for natural dyeing --
I have eight bags that I've put together, one
pound each, that I'm selling for $ 15.00 /bag. I'll be at
Shepherd's Harvest this weekend with them or if you can't be
there, I'd be happy to ship the bag(s) out.
I'm hunting around for one of my bins of dyed
sock yarn, which has totally disappeared. Somewhere.
Maybe, with any luck, I'll find it by Friday.
Also brought up my plants from in the basement,
to set them outside to harden off.
I managed to have one of the flats split in two
and douse my front with dirt and water. Luckily, that
happened outside the house, not inside. After I put on
clean jeans, I sat outside bagging up my walnuts when I got
rained on by cat poop from a cat in the tree right above me.
It was being chased by another cat and had the poop scared out
of it, I guess.
Never a dull moment around here.
Some time ago I alluded to another quilted item
that I was making. It was a wall hanging for my niece for
her bridal shower present, and I gave it to her on Saturday so
now I can show it to all of you --
A photo of the happy couple printed on inkjet
fabric paper is in the center. I thought it turned out
Off to either weave or hunt for my bin of sock
yarn, or both ... |