Wednesday, May 25, 2016

In which I share photos

First, we have photos of the finished Nattrojer, which if I were on an Apple product, would be spelled with a slash through the 'o'. Since I am not, just pretend one is there.  I blocked the sweater at the point of 'body+sleeve' to make sure that I could live with the sleeve opening - which is largish, but definitely livable.  Then I knit the second sleeve, and snapped a photo to answer the question 'does blocking make any difference in how my sweater will look?' 
One sleeve blocked, one sleeve not.

Then I got the sweater nice and wet, let it soak, spun it to dampness in the washer, and popped it on my wooly board.  (Thanks, mom!)   It was so nice outside that I stuck the board under a tree and got some more photos. Now I can look forward to fall, when it will be sweater-wearing season once more!  Yesterday was 85 degrees .... not sweater-wearing season.

Next, I bring you some mitten photos. (Disclaimer: I didn't knit them)  These mittens were found in the bottom of a box of non-descript things at an auction.  They're quite felted, well-worn, personalized, and have absolutely no provenance. 

A few things struck me about them.
  • The ribbing is k1tbl, p1, rather than the more typical k1, p1. Once I get my bookshelf, I will have to fish out my Norwegian books to see if this is a common thing that I just haven't met before.
  • The numbers and initials were worked so that they are upside down, with respect to the wrist.  Sanquhar gloves and just about all the writing that I've seen on knitting is worked so that the bottom of the number/letter is closest to the hem/cuff, not the fingertips/top.  
  • The decreases at the top were all worked k2tog, AND there is a decent swatch of speckled pattern between them.  
I may have to chart these out and/or knit them up one of these days.

With the arrival of springsummer, reseeding work on The Construction Zone has begun.  We're still waiting to have our miniature 'ravine' filled in.  Word has it that it will happen shortly -- the thunderstorms today kind of nixed a 'today' date, but it shouldn't be long.  Yesterday, the truck with dirt parked right in front of our ravine and we watched them tote tractor-fulls of dirt to other parts of town all day. 

I snapped a few pictures in the rain of my wee little perennial beds, which are to either side of the sidewalk out to the street.  With the steps in there, it's just not an easily mowable area, so I'm converting it to flowers.  (The landscaping guys reseeded one section of it with grass, hours after I pulled the grass out.  Argh.  But they haven't driven a tractor over it, so I count my blessings.)

It'll be fun to see what these areas look like in the fall, and next year.  I have daylilies, purple coneflowers, lupine, comfrey, and dutch iris tucked in there.  Someone in our area must have had lupine last year, as I've found 3 lupine growing randomly in the post-construction weed-bedecked lawn.  As I find them, I dig them up and move them to my little perennial bed. 
The garden is just about complete now.  I may replant some squash -- there's a nice tennis ball-sized hole where I think I had stuck the seeds.  Everything else is in, though, and most everything else is up.  We're enjoying fresh radishes daily (and radish leaf smoothies!), and chives, and should have peas in about a month.  The sage is behaving so bountifully that I may yet move a plant out of the herb bed and stick it somewhere else ... it's dwarfing the swiss chard.  Asparagus, kale, and rhubarb are also on the menu already. 

Until next week!

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

In which I write briefly, because today has great scope for industry

Today's blog post will be quick and succinct. I hope. I'm not always good as being succinct, though.

A friend of mine is trying to resolve some GI by eliminating a whole host of foods to which she may be sensitive ... no eggs, dairy, grains, sugar, fruits, almonds, and a few other things.  What's a person to do when it's fellowship time at church and one wants to have a snack?

Coconut Cookies!  3 T coconut flour, 2 T coconut oil, and 1 T of honey (unless one is having no sugar, in which case one makes a substitute of 1 T water, 1 t chia, and a few dashes of stevia.)  Filia and I made a test batch, with varied cooking times, and pronounced them all delicious.  The 15 minute cooking time won the 'tastiest' title.  
Canis the Patient finally has his cone off.  He is MUCH happier, and settles to sleep easily now.  No more tossing and turning to try and get comfy. As a result, his humans are sleeping better as well.  No more waking up to tossing and turning pooch. 
My sliced thumb is all better, the Nattrojer is finished (no photos yet), and I am merrily working on the 1st of a pair of Livii's Stockings, in a leftover color scheme centered around blue (blue, blue, and green). 

All my tomatoes died in a frost that I was too lazy (and warm) to go out and cover them before.  Drat. 

Filius is home from college and is being a great help in turning over bits of yard that will become gardeny bits.  Today's project is to make a circle of daylilies around our honeylocust.  There are a gazillion other projects for today, too.  We'll see which ones get done. 


Wednesday, May 11, 2016

In which is it raining.

At this time of year, rain means that I do not need to water my garden.  And that I can hibernate inside (although that hibernation usually looks more like spring cleaning, overhauling various bits and pieces of my domain, or sitting down with a stack of papers and books to see about acquiring some wisdom.)  All the garden is planted, save for basil, onion sets (acquired this morning) and my new pole bean patch. (Oh, and my watermelon.  I haven't repurposed their bed for them yet.)  We're regularly dining on rhubarb, radish thinnings, chives, asparagus, sage, and snippets of other green things from the yard and garden. 

Today's weed of the week is White Campion.  And there is no medicinal use listed for it!  I was crushed. Mildly.  For about a half-second.  There's always next week. 

Our front walk now has two very nice steps, and I replanted the lupine which would have been seriously crushed in the remodeling.  Next up is to get a strong son home from college and move a lot of daylilies to places hither and thither (the unplanted side of the steps and around a tree or two) so that I can put my little watermelon plants in their Jiffy pellets into the ground. 

The dog's leg is healing well, and he should get the last of the stitches out tomorrow AND get the cone off his head.  Poor pooch - he's had it on, save for a 2 minute trial of 'does he really need this on?' (yes!) and surgery, since April 26th.  On the plus side, he has figured out how to go up and down stairs without coming to grief, so he can go up and down freely.  (That translates to going upstairs when I go upstairs, and heading back down when I do.) 

Monday was a lovely home day, and rainy, so after quickly putting bean and cucumber and squash seeds into the ground around 7 AM, to beat the rain, I decided to clean the bathroom floor.  And sliced my thumb open, mildly, on one of the bolts holding the toilet to the floor.  I popped a bandaid on it and all went well until I went to knit later in the day.  YEOWCH!  The split wasn't deep enough to bleed, but it was deep enough to heartily dislike pressure on the pad of the thumb, making its dislike known by shooting nerve pain that hung around for several seconds after the pressure was relieved.  I think it's better enough to try knitting again today.  I hope. 

I actually had to read a book in my spare time on Monday.  It's been AGES since I've done recreational reading without sitting on a bicycle, or knitting.  I discovered "Habits of Grace" by David Mathis (free download) plus a study guide (also free as a download).  I think I will save it for Augustish, when we take a month off of our Monday night Bible Study.  In the meantime, I'm working on A Peculiar Glory (John Piper) and getting nowhere fast on Middlemarch (free audiobook).

There is so much scope for organization in life.  How can anyone be bored?

Until next week ...

Wednesday, May 04, 2016

In which we visit the veterinarian again, and memorize the after-hours phone number

This hasn't been a week for the ages, but it has certainly been one - and continues to be one - in which I am reminded how much I enjoy being at home, and how precious 'home days' are to me.  Today is a home day.  My only home day this week.  I am taking serious, inordinate delight in it.

I have no clue what all has been going on since last Wednesday.  Most of my brainpower has been directed towards being where I need to be, and keeping tabs on the dog.  His recovery went well until Friday, when the wound started draining ... and the pain meds expired ... and he began favoring the leg ... and then it swelled up POOF.  So, Monday morning at 8 AM, we were at the vet's, and he had a second surgery to figure out what was up.  He came home Monday afternoon with 4 medications and a drain.  And the washer broke (I'm pretty sure it's the pump ... the hose connections are all fine, but it leaks as soon as the pump starts up) 

Bandit is now again on the road to recovery.  We've got at least 2 more vet visits in the next little while - one to remove the drain, and another to remove the sutures.  There were around 8 from the original gash, and he collected another 7 or so from the second surgery.  In the 'counting our blessings' scheme of things, the skin of the wound flap is healthy and no one is thinking a graft will be necessary, or even open healing.  Yay! 

Knitting is also keeping me busy, and the garden is flourishing, and it seems to be the season for concrete repair as well.  I will leave you with some pictures ...

Post-Op Recovery Unit

Ski Ramp of Unlawful Steepness

No more ski ramp. 

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

In which we visit the veterinarian

It's been a while since I had to stop what I was doing mid-task, rearrange my day, and deal with a medical emergency. At least, it had been a while until yesterday.

What am I doing out here?
I was upstairs at my mom's house, drilling starter holes for screws to hold up brackets for window shades, when a voice calmly called up, "Your dog needs emergency surgery."  I paused in my drilling, wondering how much of our family's sense of humor was reflected in that statement.  Did it mean that he had a tick which needed to be removed?  Or had something else happened?  I climbed down from the chair, set the drill down, and called out "Like surgery in town at the vet?" as I headed downstairs.  "Yes," was the answer.

Well, that was going to mess with my plans for doing work at mom's house.  Should I finish up the shades and get the tools put away first, and get the dehumidifier running in the basement again, or was it more emergencetical than that, or...?  I took a look at my dog, standing in the kitchen, and saw a red spot on his leg.  About 2" in diameter, with a nice rebar-sized cylindrical cavity in the center which could well have been an inch deep.  I decided that yes, this was something to deal with right away. 

Happily, I had JUST called the vet on Friday and Saturday, when Bandit's left eyeball was looking like it had rolled back in his head, and we had a fresh weight from getting that unhappy-looking eyeball checked out on Saturday morning.  (Horner's Syndrome.  Idiopathic, harmless, and should pass in a month or two.)  So, I snagged the phone, put my shoes on, grabbed the newly-cleaned water reservoir for the humidifier, and called the vet while heading into the basement.  Yes, we did want to make it an urgent care visit since all the doctors were busy, and we could probably be there in 20 minutes.  I wrapped up the phone call around the same time I got the hose connected to the reservoir, popped it into the dehumidifier, and headed back upstairs to waltz out the door with the dog and my daughter.  And a clean towel.  The wound wasn't bleeding much at all, but I figured a towel would be good for my peace of mind, and give me something to do with my hands.  All my knitting was at home.

Three wood ticks later, the vet agreed that we did need to be there, and that Bandit needed more than a 'slap the edges together with tape or glue' procedure, and that she would vanish into surgery with him.  Abigail and I headed out shopping (to get peanut butter to make those pills go down smoother, and a 4T long-sleeved shirt in case we wanted to give that a try instead of the cone after a few days), and picked Bandit up after an hour.  He faded seriously after I got him into the car, and even kept snoring when I carried him inside.  I think the anesthesia lifted with the reversal meds just enough to get him out to the car, and he was one confused and disoriented pooch most of the evening.  But this morning, he's walking (a bit stiffly), eating, drinking, going outside, and not doing too badly with the cone. 

So yes, that sort of rearranged my day yesterday. 

In other news ... lots of gardening got done on Saturday, which is a good thing because today has a RealFeel of 31 degrees.  My tomatoes and peppers are back inside.  I'm inside, too.  And my bike riding is going to be inside today.  Brrrr.  Friday - or was it Thursday? -  was a good workday at my mom's, and lots of stuff got burned.  Lots of nettles got picked, too, and I am enjoying both the tea and the not-so-fresh-but-rather-steeped greens.  And my allergy symptoms are staying very quiet.  Maybe nettles really do work for seasonal allergies!?!  I will have to put up a good supply while they are nice and young and tender. 

Not much knitting has been happening, what with the vet visits and the lovely weather for being outside.

Until next week!

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

In which life continues on

The past several days have been delightful, weather-wise.  So delightful, as a matter of fact, that today's high temperature of 60 degrees feels rather cool and damp.  How quickly we soften!  My garden now sports one fenced bed, transplanted kale and swiss chard, plus seeds of pea, radish, and swiss chard.  Two of the kale seeds I planted a few weeks ago came up too!  And yesterday gave us our first harvest of asparagus.  (I am ignoring the fact that the harvest came from the pepper bed-to-be, and not the asparagus-bed-that-is.  I will be picking lots of asparagus out of the peppers this year.)  Jungle control has also begun at my mom's house.  I've got about 12 wheelbarrow-loads of sticks and weeds to burn, once we have a dry day without gale force winds. 

Thanks to mom's yard, I have a fresh source of nettles.  Nettles do everything, healthwise, except for cure cancer.  (That distinction goes to black seed oil.)  ((At least, if you believe everything you read on the web.))  I thought to myself, "What harm can come from trying nettle tea and cooked nettle greens for allergies?"  (Uncooked nettle greens would be bad.  I can see lots of harm coming from that.)  So, I'm experimenting.  One cup of nettle tea, and I'm still here to write about it. 

Our back door still opens, and the vacuum cleaner, put back together with a new belt, actually WORKS!  I vacuumed every carpet in the house.  Now I'm wondering how long the belt had been broken.  I remember picking dog hair and string off one piece of carpet by hand last summer, since the vacuum wasn't getting it.  Yesterday, it cleaned up in a jiffy with just two passes. 

Knitting ... has been delightful.  The Nattroyer has grown a bit, but not too much.  One piece of stealth knitting is done, and another has begun.  The begun one is going to be DELIGHTFUL to knit.  I am looking forward to it.  It's the sort of delightful knitting that makes bedtime a chore.  "But I don't wanna!!!"
Assessing the drape of an unblocked swatch
And so that I can get to the knitting ... I shall leave you here.  Until next week!

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

In which I learned many new things

Is it possible to plant a seed upside down?

Behold, a flat of seeds.  Basil and Parsley and Zinnias, and Comfrey, Oh My!  And behold the poor, upside down Comfrey seedling.  It's doing nicely now -- I dug out under the roots so those first two leaves could get free, managed the sun exposure carefully so the leaves would head in an 'untangled' direction, and it is now happily heading upwards without restraint.  But really -- roots up, leaves down?  How did that happen?

On the knitting front, we have my Nattroyer.  It's looking good!

And for household repairs -- I decided the back door handle really needed to be fixed or replaced.  When it takes 2 minutes, two hands, and several attempts to open the door, something needs to be done.  The obvious issue was that turning the handle didn't retract the latch/bolt at all 90% of the time, and about 1/3rd of the way the remaining 10% of the time.  Once I got the assembly off, it was pretty obvious that it was going to be replaced instead of lubricated. 
That rectangular hole, comprised of 3-4 pieces of metal, is supposed to be a square inside one piece of metal.  Oops.  Our door now opens!

And since I was on a roll with a screwdriver, I thought I would clean the vacuum agitator and such, replace the bag, etc, to see if perhaps it would work a bit better.  The bag wasn't half-full yet, but it did have a lot of drywall dust in it -- so perhaps that was the problem.

More likely, the problem was the belt.  While I was turning the agitator, the belt came off in one piece, all nice and flat.  Belts are supposed to be round.  Oops.  But, while I had it slightly apart, I figured I may as well get it more apart, so it could be more clean. 
Are the fan blades supposed to look like that?

With help from Filia, who found a manual for the vacuum online, I was able to disassembled it down to the last two parts, which simply would not separate.  I did get the power cord entirely off, though, so everything except the motor had a journey through or across the kitchen sink, with soap, water, and scrub brush.  I'm looking forward to seeing how it works once I get a replacement belt! 

Until next week ...