Wednesday, December 30, 2015

New Year's Eve Eve

And all is still well!  I have oodles of pictures to share, but they are on my iPad and will just have to wait for later. 

We spent a lovely Christmas at my mom's house, and had a nice trip home with no snow to contend with.  In years past, the treks between car and house were an adventure -- especially with a wheelchair and a non-walking daughter to carry through nearly waist-deep drifts!  Filius did a splending job of Materials Management and we made it home with just one bag left behind. 

Except for the goodies that were supposed to go into my stocking, but which never made it in there.  And that was supposed to come home today, but the Proper Party forgot.  And I forgot to appropriate some of mom's extra tea, too.  It was a productive day of errands, apart from the forgotten bean flour, Saran wrap, stocking bag, and tea.  Gift to give, purchase, forgotten item, and appropriation.  No more than one thing in each category -- not too bad!

The morning after Christmas, we woke up to a significant dusting of snow.  It was lovely.  Monday, we got around 8".  I am not getting my exercise by shoveling walks.  I figure if I do 30 minutes a day, and Filius does 30 minutes a day, we will both be able to move the following day AND the walk will get cleared.  We have a generous front walk to shovel, including two spots that the plows build up nice and high.  Filia's interview Tuesday morning was rescheduled (due to the storm) by the interviewer. 

Yarny-wise, the mittens are done, the submission was evaluated, and I got the pattern for one commission and will go knit on it just as soon as I finish this blog entry.  I'm still waiting for yarn for the other project.  It would be delightful if I got the current project on the needles done JUST before the next bit of yarn comes in, as then I won't have to split my time.  Then again, the one I don't have the yarn for has a due date 25 days before the one I do have the yarn for.  Hmmm. 

Cooking-wise, the next batch of fudge didn't cooperate.  Sigh.  The cheese ball was excellent, and I now have a gorgeous soup tureen to fill with soups.  Yesterday's Quick Corn and Bacon Chowder (you have to be a member now to see it ) was supposed to make 4 servings.  I was dubious, as it called for 2 lbs of corn, 2 lbs of potatoes, 3 1/2 cups of liquid .... and indeed, it filled my 4 quart dutch oven.  I had less than a quart leftover, though, so it wasn't TOO much.  I think 2016 will be the Year of the Soup Tureen.  A soup a week shouldn't be too hard, should it?

Caramels are on the agenda for making, as is nice normal bread, split pea soup for tomorrow, and some cherry cheesecake.  Mmmmm. 

AND ... I got all my Christmas cards out!  Which is not to say that I sent a Christmas card to everyone I wanted to send a card to, but rather to say that I bought two boxes of cards and have sent every last one of them out.  Addressed in red and green ink, with the red ink being courtesy of a sampler ink package I received for Christmas. 

Off to knit I go ...

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Christmas Eve Eve, and all is well.

It's the eve of Christmas Eve, and all is well.  The stocking are hung on the bookshelves with care, and there is no pending ice storm, and no one is sniffling or coughing, and God is sovereign.  It's a perfect day to curl up with a good book, a cuppa tea, and rejoice in the knowledge that Christ has come into the world, and is coming again. 

The curling up bit is going to wait for a while, though, since I signed two knitting contracts yesterday, have a mitten thumb to finish today (because the yarn came in, not because I need to finish it by Christmas), and there's a knitting submission on my table to evaluate.  And a cheeseball to make, and music to practice, and a few dozen other little things that need doing.  Like Christmas cards!  If I can't be curled up with a book or some good knitting, having a list of things to be productive with is the next best thing. 

Filia is still job-interviewing. The first one on Monday was a bit of a disappointment -- a 2 hour drive there, 5 minute interview, and 2 hour drive back home. Bleagh. I didn't get much knitting done during the interview. Interview today, interview next Tuesday, and sometime between Christmas and New Year's she'll hear the results of Monday's second interview.  I think in the past month she has interviewed more than Vir and I have in our entire lives.  The internet sure has changed how one goes about finding a job. 

I am confronting my fudge-making nemesis head-on this year, and not doing too badly.  The gingerbread fudge came out delicious ... after cooking it according to the directions and having it be much too caramelly, then recooking it and having it still be caramelly (but the bottom of the pan's bits were perfect), and recooking it (and having it turn into perfect fudge while cooling to 110, and being totally stuck in the pan), and recooking it and pouring it STRAIGHT INTO THE 8x8 WHILE TOASTY WARM (ahem).  So when the sour cream fudge decided that it was going to set JUST when I was turning the saucepan upside down to pour it out ... I reheated the bits that wouldn't come out easily (about a cup or so of fudge), ignored the 'cool down, beat until the gloss is gone' bit, and voila ... perfect fudge.  Much perfecter than the squashed stalactite which I managed to extract from the rapidly setting fudge in the saucepan. Thermometers are tricksy and false, and gloss is a myth.  I am going to try ignoring both those things in my next batch, and see how things go. 

German Chocolate Macaroons were much-enjoyed during church fellowship time.  I was delighted with how they came out, and happy to make something that got eaten.  The stollen also behaved itself this year, and my four loaves have turned into one.  The one would be GONE if it were sliced, but Filius is showing great restraint and letting me save a half-loaf for Boxing Day.

Merry Christmas to all!  Maranatha.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

And another ...

Today is the day Filia and Filius arrive home!  With the festivities of the day (including a celebratory Finals Week Meal in town, completely packing one dorm room, partially packing another, and getting Grandma's live Christmas tree), it will be a long day.  But a good one. 

This past week has not been slow.  The post office and UPS man have been busy, bringing a box or two a day.  Most of the contents have been wrapped and are awaiting transport to under Grandma's Christmas tree.  The dog bed, however, is adorning the living room floor, and is usually decorated with Canis.  It's MUCH better than the previous bed, which was a bit on the lumpy side and he could never get comfortable in it.  At least, I'm assuming that is why each night he took the nicely polar-fleece-wrapped dog bed, tucked nicely in the corner, and rearranged it so that it was a few feet away from the original location, unwrapped, and wadded up into half its size.  He also approves of the Dental Kong, so long as there is peanut butter inside it.  One package is still on its way from Turkey, but I think that wraps up (unintentional pun) the Christmas presents that are coming in the mail. 

Graduation was delightful.  Filia looked very sombre when she was hooded, but someone snapped this photo of her at the reception ...
and I like it very much.  Congratulations, Filia!!!  (And that box on her lap holds the Most Charming perpetual calendar I have ever seen.


Monday's job interview didn't go exactly as planned, neither for Filia nor for several other interviewees.  The company had advertised for the wrong position.  Oops!  Two more interviews are coming up on Monday. 

Knitting ... I have yarn to finish the cute little Finnish Gansey, yarn has been ordered to finish the mittens from Graph 98 in Latvian Mittens, one commission is completed, the thumbs of last week were reknit, and the Church Lady Mittens (sorry, Lola) have just one tip and one thumb left.  I'm normally a very monogamous knitter, so it pains me to say that somehow I had FOUR projects on the needle yesterday.  Three, literally, and one is at the point of picking up stitches to knit a sleeve.  Right now there are just three, period, and by this weekend that should be down to one.  Except I won't have yarn to finish it yet, and will 'need' to cast on something else.  Alas. 

Holiday Baking!  I wish I had the caramel recipe that we loved last year, but I erased it when I forgot to save my bookmarks to a drive that was NOT being reformatted.  If you have a tried and true one, do share! In the next week we'll be baking all sorts of goodies to adorn the Christmassy paper plates I got yesterday, then duck between freezing raindrop and flurries to deliver them to neighbors.  It doesn't look like there will be a white Christmas this year.  Happily, Christmas does not depend on the color of the ground outside. 

Until next week...

Wednesday, December 09, 2015

Snatching another moment

The more I have to do, the more organized I get with my time.  And that reminds me of something my knitting mentor Cindy said several years ago -- if you really want to get something done, ask the busiest person.  It makes an odd sort of sense, but at the same time, I am not fond of 'busy'.  There's a connotation of rushing around and not having time to do what is important.  And I like to do what is important, and skip the rushing around. 

No pictures this week -- they didn't make the to-do list.  I'm still waiting for more black yarn for last week's mittens, and started a cute little Finnish Gansey, for which I am also now waiting for more yarn (but it should be in the mail to me shortly, unlike the black yarn, which I am still putting out feelers to find).  Today's knitting will be a repair of the thumbs of my Sanquhar gloves from 2008, and if the day is longer than I think it is, casting on for a pair of mittens which I am designing to match a lovely sweater I saw in church two weeks ago. 

Filia reports for graduation in 49 hours and 19 minutes.  Then comes finals week, and then I'll have a house full until school starts up again (for Filius).  Filia has some more interviews coming up - local ones - which delights my mama's heart.  It would be lovely to have her nearby, rather than a few hours off.  We wait to see which door God will open.  The knuckles of patient knocking are certainly being exercised! 

This year's Chai Spiced Honey will be ramped up from the previous years' version.  I lost my bookmarks when I reset the computer -- I'm sure I went into that story already, which in short is that I backed up my bookmarks on the hard drive rather than on something that wasn't going to get wiped -- and in hunting for a recipe, before checking my blog, I found one that used roughly 9 times the spices.  3 tablespoons of cinnamon instead of 1 teaspoon, etc.  Mmmmm! 

And caramels, and biscotti, and gingerbread fudge, and stollen, oh my!

Enough moment-snatching.  Time to go be productive! 

Friday, December 04, 2015

Snatching a Moment

Somehow, this week - and last week - have not been times of quiet reflection and time to do all the things I could wish.  I've been putting off my weekly blog post long enough, though, so I am going to snatch a few moments before I put my temporary computer desk away and check off the 'write blog' box on my to-do list.

Filius and Filia were home for Thanksgiving, and we had a delightful time.  It was good to catch up with them, and get some needed things done.  

Needed things, like send announcements out!  Seven days and a few hours from now, I will be the beaming mother of a college graduate. Still jobless, but we trekked through a winter storm for an interview on Tuesday, and another interview for another job is pending.  She's knocking away at employment doors, and we wait to see which door God will open.

I've been knitting up a wee small storm, too, but nothing big, since I am expecting some work to come my direction this week or next. 
More Latvian Mittens

Waiting for more black yarn

And just before our winter storm, the grass-seed-putter-downer guys drove by.  Several times, actually, as they sprayed this side of the sidewalk, that side of the sidewalk, and the other side of the street's yards.  It was the excitement of the day.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Winter is Coming!

We have had a very warm November so far, but I fear my kale will meet its doom this week as the temps head downward into the teens by this weekend.  I am finishing up the last of my 'fresh from the garden and ripened in the basement' tomatoes today in a hearty black bean chili that is simmering on the stove for supper.  Fresh produce is soon to be a thing of the past, so it will be time to hit the larder or freezer for the stored soups and sauces.  I've been able - both because I've been home, unlike last year, and because it's been warm and without snow cover, unlike last year - to keep up with the leaves and sticks in the yard, so there should be a lot less work to do come spring.  Today, the leaves from the willow finally decided that perhaps it is time to succumb to the wind and leave the tree. 

On Saturday, I got a book.  It's all Cheryl and LaJuana's fault ... but I did put it on my wishlist, and my dear mum got it for me.  It's a craft that isn't knitting, so I am torn.  I'm a knitter, and could happily knit the rest of my life and not make everything that is beautiful and gorgeous and knit.  But there was this Facebook video, see, and they didn't know what the technique was (being in Turkish made the point a bit fuzzy for those of us who do not speak Turkish), and it was this utterly GORGEOUS needle lace ... Mediterranean Knotted Lace, to be precise ...
From the cover of Mediterranean Knotted Lace

and I fell in love with it.  Now I am juggling learning needle lace with knitting.  I am competent at one of them, and it's not the needle lace. There's quite a contrast between knitting a shawl with worsted yarn held double, and making knots with size 50 crochet cotton.

Fat yarn, skinny thread

My First Attempts at Needle Lace
Until next week!

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

On a beautifully bleak November day

On this bleak November day, before some torrential rain hits, I have a beautiful home day to sit and knit.  The commission is moving along nicely (after the necessary gauge swatches) and I have no pictures.  I sent off a design submission this morning, and am generally having a grand time with knitting.

With writing up material for a knitting class, not quite so much.  It is SO much easier to show someone a technique in person than it is to explain it in writing, especially given the wide variety of knitting methods.  Latvian fringe is something that I've been doing off an on for around a decade, and there are still fiddly little things that I learn about it when I put my mind to designing a swatch in which to learn the technique.  I've gotten two of three swatches for the course knit, and directions written for them.  Next up is to knit them from the directions and fix the directions so that they work!  After that shall come the difficult part -- communicating the 'how this technique is done' in writing.  I hope to snag a child to take some pictures for me over Thanksgiving break.  It is very difficult to take pictures of one's self while knitting.  Although perhaps, with that knitting belt....

Filia and I had a nice time together on Saturday.  She got her test taken, found out she passed it with LOTS of room to spare, and we found the Fiber Festival with no problem.  On the way, we found a little place in a small town that had specialty coffee, tea, soup, sandwiches, smoothies, baked goodies ... and promptly decided that would be a lovely place to have lunch.  Mmmmm!  We managed to make it out of the festival without buying anything, more due to willpower and not having any specific projects in mind than due to the lack of things to buy.  There were some gorgeous yarns there.  And fibers.  And tools.  And books. 

Yesterday saw me driving Mom's taxi and getting not exactly 'lost', but not exactly following the path Google Maps planned out for me in Minneapolis.  Filia had a good interview, then we headed back home for a class (her) and teaching a class (me).  After class, I headed to my mom's house to pick up my pooch, who I learned had a Very Full Day.  It went something like this:
  • 7:30 AM Begin hunting rabbits
  • 11:00 AM Come inside for a drink of water, short nap, and lunch
  • 12:00 Go outside to continue hunting rabbits
  • 4:40 PM Come inside for a drink of water before going home.

Pooped Pooch
He'll have another chance to explore there on Friday.  Mom says her dog had a hard time getting off the couch this morning. They keep each other in good shape! 

Knitting plans for this week are to finish the commission - perhaps by Saturday, but that may be pushing it.  I'm chewing over what sort of goals I ought to set myself, and starting to think about Christmas music for the harp and piano.  And having children home for Thanksgiving, and Christmas break, and homemade caramels, and hot spiced tea, and .... many good things ahead. 

Until next week,

Thursday, November 05, 2015

For want of a nail ...

Right about now, I should be working on a new commission, but it's really hard to do that when the yarn didn't arrive.  The local post office is still working the bugs out of teleporting packages.  So, tomorrow around 1:30, I shall float off to the post office, collect a box of yarn, return home with all deliberate speed, and cast on.  Probably for a gauge swatch, alas. 

That means that today, I can tidy up loose ends in preparation for immersing myself in delightful knitting.  Some of that tidying involves writing a blog post, which was not written yesterday because I was clearing the knitting decks off so as to be ready to KNIT today.

It's been a rather eventful week, in a small sort of way, in our peaceful little town.  First off, I still have Live Plants growing in a Minnesota November.  Taking advantage of the opportunity, I picked some parsley and popped in front of the pellet stove to dry.  There's more room in my dried parsley container, so why not?  I still have fresh kale, too, but am not so nutty as to dry that. 

Earlier this week, tree trucks arrived and I began to wonder about the future existence of the tall pine tree across the street. 
Indeed, my thoughts were only too accurate.  The tree is now gone, as is the walnut further to the right of the photo. 
 On Saturday, the yarn for Filius' Jayne Hat, Attempt at the correct colors #2, arrived.  I picked them up on Tuesday after Bible Study (and a cup of delicious Coconut Curry soup with my mom, who did not have Coconut Curry soup).  Wednesday morning at 8:30 I hunted up needles and a pattern ...
 and at 10:30, I finished knitting the hat.  I collected the pom pom maker from the Closet of the Crunchy Mouse Skeleton at my mom's that afternoon, made the pom pom in the evening, and snagged a photo of the hat before sending it off to Filius via my Helpful Model and Filia.  Cunning, isn't it?  I think it looks like a candy corn.

The rest of yesterday - when I was home, that is - was devoted to my Latvian Mitten #2, in an attempt to finish off the knitting of it before today's Glorious Yarn arrived. 

Having finished the Latvian Mitten, and having no Glorious Yarn, I cast about for something Productive to do (other than weave in the ends of said Latvian mittens) and decided to tidy up my Ravelry projects page.  I went hunting for photos of my photoless projects, and got several taken care of.  One of them was my 2014 Clogs.   They are well on their way to being an excellent example of why we don't have much in the way of archaeological evidence about what the Common Man had that was knit 400-500 years ago.  Something about being well-used and used up. 

2014 Clogs

Random Scarf, Acrylic, with Bookcase

Unblocked Latvian Mittens, Graph 113, Upitis

The Other Side

Cheater Thumbs, with Elegant Mistakes

And finally, another picture out my front window.  You may notice there is a TREE there!  It's a curious thing.  The project updates mentioned that they were going to begin replanting trees this week.  Since there have been no trees in the boulevard strip on our property in (my) living memory, which stretches back 20 years, this was of no concern to me.  But yesterday morning (while working on the Jayne Hat), I noticed they were digging holes.  And yesterday afternoon, there was a tree laying next to the hole, and to the one further to the left.  And yesterday evening, in the pitch black, a crew came around and planted the trees.  Something else for Vir to mow around.  

Thanks to the stakes that were put in place yesterday, but which are no longer there, I know that the tree in front of the house is a Red Oak, and the one to the east is a Maple.  Other trees in town are Pin Oaks and Lindens.  

I also did a good bit of stealth knitting this week.  One commission - started, blocked, dried, seamed, reseamed due to perfectionistic tendencies, and mailed off - and one nice bit of travelling knitting that should show up somewhere around Christmas.  

This upcoming week has an exam (for a job) and a job interview (for a different job) for Filia.  Mom's taxi drives again!  I'm looking forward to spending time with her, having quiet knitting time in the car, and detouring on the way home Saturday in order to get a knitting belt at the Fiber Festival in Hopkins, MN.  Next week, I just may have a report on it -- or I may put off playing with it until I get the commissioned knitting done.  Stay tuned!

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

The Vernon Gansey, Day 24

There are a few ends to weave in, but otherwise ... it is done.  I like it.  I really like it.  I am pretty sure I will need to knit another gansey, 'just for practice' once I get a little bit of experience with my knitting belt, which I hope to get on November 7th. 

Next up on the needles ... ripping back several rows on a Latvian mitten, centering the design properly, and finishing a pair of Latvian mittens.  Except for when the yarn (ordered yesterday) for a certain Jayne-style hat comes in, when I will be working on the hat.  And when traveling ... I have some yarn for a pair of traveling socks now.  And Wendy Johnson's Sanquhar Cowl, and Fair Isle Cowl, and Crazy Norwegian Cowl, are all calling me.  Loudly.  But ... the mittens get to be first.  And probably a class that I need to write up, too.  That has a deadline. 

Construction work is ... possibly done for the year?  Could it really be?  I arrived home yesterday to see, through the rain which started promptly at 4:00, JUST when the forecast said it would, shiny black streets in front of our house.  And this morning, the 8x4 plywood board that was covered with all sorts of workplace notices (the sort of thing that is normally above the water cooler, I believe) was removed from our front yard (which may have functioned like a water cooler for this project, slightly.  The yellow grass that was underneath it is getting happier by the minute.)  The only thing I can think of remaining is popping in whatever grass seed stuff they want to put down at this time of year.

Exercise in the cooler months looks to be quite doable.  One bike, one trainer (a sort of stand for the back wheel, so one can pedal away and go nowhere), and one good book seems to be all I need.  If I only read the book while I am pedaling, and manage not to curl up on the couch with it, I will get in plenty of exercise.  Good books are addictive! 

I received an e-mail from the college today, informing me that Filia is on their graduation list for this fall.  Six weeks from Saturday, as a matter of fact.  How the time has flown!  (insert proud maternal beam).  More transitions all 'round. 

Friday, October 23, 2015

With apologies to "If you give a mouse a cookie ...."

If a mom finishes her breakfast in peace ...
she'll want to tidy up the dishes.
And when she tidies up the dishes, she'll think about soaking the beans for tomorrow's meal.
And when she goes to soak the beans, she'll notice the bean soaking bowl is missing.
And when she mentally tracks it down, she'll remember there's fat from bone broth in it.
And when she remembers that fat, she'll pop on to Google to see what to do with it.
And when she's on the computer, she'll see a pretty picture of a gansey, and fall to dreaming about knitting.

But when she goes back in kitchen, she'll notice her tea cup is empty and head to refill it.
At which point she'll notice the beans on the counter.
And the laundry basket next to the counter.

And then go write a blog post before filling the tea cup, getting the laundry going, moving the fat into a jar, washing the bowl, soaking the beans, opening a new packet of beans to pop into the now-empty bean cannister...

And then reheat her cold tea.  

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

The Vernon Gansey, Day 17

Did I really call this a cardigan in my last title?  It's a gansey.  And a jumper.  And a pullover.  But not a cardigan.  That may be the next one, though.  It's moving along at a right proper pace, and I am pleased with it.  As always, I have planned it a big snugger than I wanted, and I am - as always - hoping that blocking will correct it.  There are all those nice cables and patterning to stretch out, you know.   The first 500g of yarn sufficed for the entire body, and I have no doubts that there will be leftovers sufficient for a pair of socks or a hat or mittens or all the above, once I finish up with the sleeves.

The sleeves won't get finished unless I get to working on them, though.  Sleeves are stubborn that way. 

 Construction work is still going on.  (Yup, still.  But there are rumors of an end looming next week!)  On Monday I was surprised to find out that there was going to be some natural gas work in our yard.  It was a nice change from the water main/sanitary sewer/storm sewer/street/sidewalk work going on along the south side of our property.  This was a one-day project on the west side.  I wonder if their diggings will also be reseeded as part of the Grand Project? 

Here's the view out our front window.  Sidewalks!  Level dirt for the street!  Dirt (black dirt) tucked up smoothly against the sidewalk, ready for seeding!  And the pretty white sidewalks all cleaned off after yesterday's dirt-dumping and smoothing.  Which makes me wonder why we, the populace, should keep off the sidewalks for 7-10 days after pouring (and we, to the hour, at the 7 day mark as I type this), while the construction guys have been using them since last Thursday and there were skidloaders or other tracked vehicles playing with dirt on them yesterday? 
Unique Fall Colors in Minnesota

While I was picking up sticks under the willow tree this week, I found some very pretty colors.  I couldn't resist bringing some inside to photograph.

One of my forthcoming knitting projects is a Jayne Hat for Filius.  After much ado, I got the yarn ordered.  Due to a glitch, I had to repick the colors from my computer monitor.  The yarn came in on Saturday ... and we decided that the colors were Just Too Wrong.  Filius found a blog post detailing a rather detailed person's analysis of the hat and appropriate colors, so I ordered those.  Once they come in, there will be a 6-7 hour hiatus from the gansey to get the hat done.  It'll be cunning. 

The garden has been taken in, with the green tomatoes stashed in the basement for nice, slow ripening.  I'm still enjoying fresh herbs and lettuce from the garden, as are the bunnies.  In a few weeks, the pace of life will slow down even more (pleeeeeease!) as the weather suggests that outdoor activities be curtailed. 

I just finished reading Captains Courageous, by Kipling.  It was an excellent way to spend 3 sessions on my indoor cycling trainer, and it's a wonder I hadn't read the book before.  Next up on the trainer is Ngaio Marsh. 

And now ... to knit!

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

The Vernon Cardigan, Day 10

It's been a delightful week of knitting.  Filia and Filius will be home tonight on midterm break, and the construction work outside is moving right along, and I am feeling swamped with Bible Study .. need to figure out how to deal with that swamping.  It's a time management issue, I'm sure.  If only I wouldn't head off on all those bunny ...

LOOKIE!  A Knitting belt!

Ahem.  Yes.

Now that I have all this free time, I really should concentrate on learning something in a steady, organized  manner.  Maybe actually devote some time to reading the authors who inspired C. S. Lewis, perhaps?  (And what, get halfway through what he read in one year of before starting college between now and the time my mortal coil gets reskeined?)

No, let's be distracted.


Did someone say pictures? (No?  Well, pictures you get anyway.)

 I've been growing radishes in the spring for the past several years, according to the package directions.  If the bunnies don't get them, then they grow skinny and tough -- about the thickness of a pencil lead, and about as chewable as a nice piece of leather.  This fall, Filia planted some radishes before she went back to college ... and God blessed her efforts greatly.  Guess who gets to plant all the radishes from now on?  (That's a Nr. 2 pencil, about 7" long, Cherry Belle on the right and Purple Something on the left.)

Construction update:  On Saturday, the crews were busy going plink, plink, plink with hammers, putting out guides for the curb.  Come Monday, the cement trucks rolled in and the curbs became reality.

Today, at 7 AM, the forms for the sidewalks began to go in, and the cement started to flow just after lunch.  By the end of the day, it looks like our block will have SIDEWALKS!!!!  Not that we're supposed to use them for 7-10 days, while it cures ... but SIDEWALKS!  We're going to actually look civilized!

Speaking of civility, our water tower now boasts a nice fat white stripe between the tropics.  
And, if I'm going to name this post after my gansey, I should include a progress photo.  Last Wednesday evening I started the first cable row.  Yesterday, I finished up the half-gussets for the underarm and started working back and forth on the back.  I'm doing the back first since it has fewer design decisions than the front.  I calculate I have 2 days before I need to read up on how to do horizontal shoulder straps this way.

Wednesday, October 07, 2015

A photo feast!

I decided it is high time to have some photos in this blog. A friend inquired how the construction was going in and outside the house ... inside, we're still in a holding pattern of waiting for the drywall guys to call. Can't do much in the way of repainting and trimming and curtaining until the drywall has been put up ... except remove the blinds, a few odd nails, and perhaps unplaster a wall. I'm saving those things for when we get an actual date. Oh, and move the furniture and books out of the living room and dining room. That seems like something to save for later as well. But as far as outside? From left to right, the view from my front porch this morning was ...
Dump truck heading off after leaving its load behind

Medium-sized bulldozer spreading out a load on top of plastic sheeting

Little skid-loader doing prep work
Across the highway, there are curbs and some sidewalks.  No street yet, though, and not all the sidewalks.  The work seems to be progressing decently, and they're trying to wrap it up this month.  We shall see if the weather cooperates and if it actually happens.

One part of the work you've not seen before is the New Water Tower.  Not exactly new-new, but refurbished-new.  Right now, we're one of the few small towns in the US that has two water towers.  (Small = popl < 400).  The new one is bigger, and 10 ft taller, and has yet to be painted.  They were still welding it together when this photo was taken about 3 weeks ago. 

Life has been FULL since last week. 

Most recently, Canis visited the vet and had his canines cleaned.  At the post-cleaning visit, I learned about furcations and mobility.  Canis is now learning about life with six fewer teeth, due to those things.  Once the gums heal, I imagine his mouth will feel better than it has for some time.  They had to have been tender!  We all learned that he does not care to be in a crate at the vet's ... but is quite happy to be tied via leash TO a crate, and achieve boredom. 

The Bible Study world has been busy.  My Monday night group finished a study of Leviticus, and began a study on who Jesus is (Sweeter than Chocolate series).  It's not the 'light' study I had thought it was.  Fun!!!  My Tuesday group is continuing on in John, Part 2 (Precept upon Precept).  It's also not a light study.  And they are meshing so well that I can forget which study a particular insight came from.  Really.  Weeks 2-4 of John were studying the feasts of Leviticus -- which, in Leviticus, only got one week of study.

The knitting world has been busy as well.  I finished the prayer shawl, started a Latvian mitten less than 24 hours before my gansey yarn arrived, hibernated the Latvian mitten due to Geometrical Challenges which lasted long enough for the gansey to get started, and today found out that I neglected to put a knitting engagement on my calendar for this evening.  Whee!  Plus, I am introducing two friends into the mysteries of knitting via Grandmother's Favorite Dishcloth. 

In honor of all those things, I have some actual Knitting Photos to grace the blog.

Still Life of a Gansey

Where Latvian Mittens Hibernate

In reading, I finished That Hideous Strength, and appreciated it MUCH more than I did the last time I attempted to struggle through it.  The Law book is muddling along, and I should finish it this week if I keep up with a question or two a day.  Poems is going along slowly, and I recently added Franklin Graham's The Name to my stack, courtesy of my mom.  I also want to read Herbal Antibiotics, but haven't gotten around to ILLing that yet. 

Until next week ...

Wednesday, September 30, 2015


The weekly blog post has gotten skipped the past few weeks.  Who was I to know that, when I set up my reminders for blogging on Tuesday, my light day, that it would become the ONLY day I have something scheduled in the morning?  It's time to move the reminder. 

Windows 10 isn't doing a bad job behaving itself.  The only casualty of my major computer tinkering was that I lost all my bookmarks.  I remembered to export them to a file ... but didn't think to put the file on the external drive.  Ahem.  Well, I do like starting with a clean slate, and making things all tidy ... that's one way to go about doing it.  One thing I'd like to add to Windows 10 is a way to put a file in the start menu.  Otherwise, everything is moving along decently.  All the pesky glitches are GONE!  Except for the racing clock.   My clock tells me it was successfully synchronized today at 9:08AM.  It says it is 12:44PM.  I synchronize it, and poof, it's 12:30!  The lesson around here is - don't check the computer to find out what time it is.

College is going well for the Filii.  Work is going well for the Vir.  Tinkering and puttering is going well for the me.  My days do not suffer from a lack of varied, interesting activity. 

Thanks to a question from my faithful blog reader (waves towards the west), I have been a bit more diligent about reading the 40 Questions about the Law book.  I can't find the question now, alas, but here are my thoughts on the book, halfway through. 

The book is not written for the average person in the church.  It's not even written for the average person who is an active participant in Bible Studies, has dabbled with ancient languages, reads a bit of theology, and is fairly well-versed in doctrine.  The target audience seems to be seminarians, with a decent grasp of seminary-speak.  In explaining what the New Perspective on Paul is, he notes that Sanders espouses Covenantal Nomism ... without really linking up the latter with the former, or doing much more defining of either.  In answer a question about the abolishment of the law, the redemptive-historical and salvation-historical clocks are mentioned (and the web tells me there is a grammatical-historical perspective also) ... and I get rapidly lost.  Sometimes it seems like the answer isn't to the question, but rather to a sub-question which is apparently big in theological towers but is off my radar.

Having said that ... if you have an interest in the use of the word Law in the Bible, and are willing to dig deeply to figure out what the author is saying (or if you read heavy theology for fun), the book might be good reading. 

To lighten things up a bit, I am reading some C. S. Lewis on the side -- Poems, and That Hideous Strength.  I've read the rest of the Space Triology a few times, but barely made it through the third book once.  I'm hoping that 20+ years of life will help me appreciate it more. 

Knitting du jour is a prayer shawl.  Yarn is en route from Nebraska and Cornwall for a hat and gansey, respectively.  Latvian Mittens are floating around in my head.  And someone accidentally introduced me to Turkish Lace, or Knotted Mediterranean Lace, which I am thinking I will really have to learn and practice a bit.  In preparation for that, I've dusted off my tatting supplies. 

Happy almost October, all! 

Wednesday, September 09, 2015

Tuesday, September 08, 2015

In which exciting things should happen

With an empty nest (again, having had a child home for the long weekend), one must make one's own excitement.  And today, I am going to restore my computer to factory defaults.  Or at least start.  First, to make a nice backup of all my data.

Why, you ask?  Because it is being fractious.  In June, Firefox began crashing when my husband opened the Facebook website while he was logged in.  (Solution: use my computer account) A few days later, Firefox began crashing when I opened Facebook while I was logged in. (Solution: Use Chrome)  And a few days after that, my beloved Service Dog Project webcams at Explore crashed Firefox (Solution: Watch them via Youtube)  And a day after that, playing any Youtube video began to crash Firefox. (Solution: Use Chrome)

Things worked in Safe Mode.  But who wants to always use Safe Mode?

Then, the upgrade to Win10 would not happen.  I wasn't particularly thrilled to discover that it crashed after 3+ hours of downloading.  And that each re-try required another 3+ hours of downloading.  Seven tries later, I gave up.

Windows Explorer randomly crashes.  Windows Media Center will not open.  Windows Media Player crashes when I try to play a DVD, as does the MPC-HC program I downloaded to try and get around that.  And opening the Microsoft Support Pages crashes Firefox.  That just smacks of irony. 


A quick scan for viruses goes fine.  A full scan hangs at the 3 hour mark somewhere deep in a ~Windows folder.  Twice.

So ... I have ALL sorts of information jotted down.  I have passwords saved, product IDs located, and apart from the hassle, see no problem with giving myself a Brand New Computer that is a Blank Slate and seeing how that goes. Unless, of course, a computer guru yells TRY THIS FIRST before I get fairly started on the restoration project.  

I've decided the hassle is relative.  How much time have I spent trying to solve the above problems?  LOTS.  Lots more than if I had just done the factory default thing back in June when Filius was around to do it for me. 

In other news, we may have a new street-to-house sewer connection by the end of the day on Thursday, and I am finished with the baby layette AND the project after that.  Today, Vinterbar is on the docket.

And early next month, Bandit is having his teeth cleaned and some loose teeth dealt with.  We also found out that his rare episodes (1-2 a year) of goose-stepping and tripping over his own crossed feet are most likely atypical isolated cerebellar seizures.  

Tuesday, September 01, 2015

In which nothing much has happened

The landscape outside has been constantly changing, but the changes are all of the same sort.  The equipment moves, the dirt moves (thankfully, only with the help of the equipment.  No spontaneous sinkholes or mudslides), and the pipes move. 

It has occurred to me that if the new sidewalk doesn't get laid down by winter, I won't need to be shoveling our front walk.  The silver lining to that potential cloud has been FOUND!

Bandit is starting to have 'issues' when left home alone.  Sunday, the issues required mopping the living room.  Last night, it was a matter of cleaning the fragments of pumice stone from the bathroom floor.  But why, after 5 years of sensible, sane, sound dog-hood, is this happening?  The smoke alarm isn't going off, and there wasn't any construction work going on.  Hmmm.

Both Filius and Filia have survived a first week of college.  We see them at church on Sunday, and it's good to hear more about their weeks. 

Knitting is progressing nicely.  If all goes well today, I may finish the baby blanket I've been working on.  Next up is an intarsia cardigan to finish off the layette.  I'm delighted to have other projects lined up for after that. 

'See' you next week!  (All one of you who read my blog?)

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

The Road

The road goes ever on and on
Down from the door where it began...

unless, of course, the excavator has removed the road. 

Things seem to be moving along nicely.  The house and I are still here, although I idly wondered about the likelihood of that changing when the excavator was digging a trench around the natural gas pipeline.  'Around' as in the pipeline ran crossways to the trench and was nicely exposed.  The workers were definitely careful!  The trench is now filled, and the location is marked by our new fire hydrant.  
Sunday parking ... not the usual cars from church
Morning wake up call - 7 AM
TWO fire hydrants

A picturesque corner

All this work would be perfect if Filia and Filius were back around 4 years old, and they could sit in the window all day and watch the Big Machines.  And, knowing our town, they could probably get a ride in the equipment, too.  But they have grown, and have fled departed the nest, and are coping with a modified first day of college classes.  Poor Filia ... after four years of unmodified first days, the college goes and throws a modified one at her.  Filius has only had two years in which to accustom himself to normal first days, but at least he got a mailing about what to expect as a 'new' student. 

Today is my first day 'at home'.  Ahhhh.  Yesterday ought to have been, but I heeded the cry for "My Desktop Computer, Please!?!" and ran it up to college in the morning.  Today I processed some tomatoes.  Four pints of crock pot salsa, and a yet-to-be-determined amount of spaghetti sauce.  It's cooking down on the stove now, and smells delicious. 

The apricots are DONE wreaking fermenting havoc on the yard, although I hope to sit outside and play 'pick the pit' so there are less trees to pull come spring.  The plums are also done.  I decided the hot peppers were done, and have a tray of them dehydrating in the back room.  Stuffed bell peppers are on the supper menu for tomorrow.  Any favorite recipes? 

I learned that a nervous dog will chew on a pumice stone if left alone.  Sigh.  I suppose I need to limit my bike rides to when the excavator isn't working within earshot (mine, or the dog's?) or after Vir comes home. 

And that's the news from Lake Roadbegon!

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

More plums!

We have definitely shifted from Apricot Management to Plum Pickups.  It's been raining the past two days, so I NEED to get out there and tidy up once things dry off slightly.  The picture shows a day's haul of usable plums.  The unusable windfalls went into the compost bucket.  (The 30 gallon compost bucket that gets dumped at the town compost heap.  I have learned that fruits with pits make wretched compost, especially when a generous quantity of those pits sprout the following spring.  It's bad enough having to patrol the yard looking for trees that the squirrels planted without myself planting them in the garden thoughtlessly!)

I've got about 5 quarts of frozen plum halves, just waiting to be used in smoothies, 2 quarts of dried plums, a dozen plums ready to be eaten fresh ... and about as many as there are in the picture, waiting to be picked up.  If you're local and want plums, come visit!  But keep reading, too.  

 I've been lunching off the yard lately.  Two leaves of kale, a sprig of parsley or basil, several plums, ice cubes, and some miscellaneous additives like flax seed and cocoa powder, and I've a delicious lunchy smoothie.  I think it also covers my 5 fruits and veggies a day in one container.


 The tomatoes in the garden had a lovely time of it last week, what with the warm temps and lots of sunshine.  (This week, not so much.  Drizzly, temps struggling to get to 60 today.)  I picked a nice crop on Monday and turned them into tomato sauce.  Fourteen pints canned and ready to go for homemade soup in the winter!  My favorites are the Black Krim.   They make a nice meal all by themselves, too, or perhaps with an ear of corn on the cob from the stand in town. 

 Our sidewalk, Thursday
Our sidewalk, Friday
Construction work on the sewer/water main improvements is continuing, as well as the weather allows.  Last Friday we lost our street.  Happily, the driveway is on a different street, so we're not affected much.  Bandit doesn't much care for the beeps of the equipment as it back up, and some in the household care even less for the fact that the house shakes as the excavators break up the pavement and scoop nice deep holes out there ... but this too shall pass. 

Knitting is going knittily, and biking would be going much better today if it were dry outside.  Ten degrees more of warmth would be nice, too.  I got myself a bike jersey, just in time for the 80s to become 50s!  Argh.  And once it hits 60, the winds are supposed to be in the 20s.  Planning one's ride out of the wind just does NOT happen on rural roads in corn land. 

Enough computer for today ... time to head off and look to the house!

Wednesday, August 12, 2015


This is going to be a quick one ... other activities call!

The end of the apricot pick-up is in sight.  Most of the ones that are falling now are pre-dehydrated, and there are less of them.  It helps that Vir has removed a dozen or perhaps a score of branches from the apricots, so there are less branches for them to fall from.

In place of apricots, though, I am now picking up plums.  This is not a bad trade-off.  The plums are delightfully edible, freezable, and there are fewer of them, probably by three or perhaps four orders of magnitude.  Instead of two hours of collecting apricots destined for the compost heap (the town heap, not my own heap.  Those pits sprout!!!), it's more like 5 minutes of collecting and sorting - into grades of Yuck, Freeze, and Fresh Fruit. 

The beefsteak-types of tomatoes are ripening now.  I put up 3 pints (wow.  Three Whole Pints!!!) of tomato sauce this morning, and did enough other puttering around the kitchen to move my computer time into the afternoon.  The house smells like basil and lavender, while the back room smells like dehydrating onion.  It's a good day. 

No sock pattern yet, but there's a custom order at the yarn shop which should keep me busy for a few weeks.  The yarn for some personal projects arrived, too, so when that is done I won't have to look far to find what I'm knitting next.  And that's good. 

Annemor #9, sort of.

Also on the docket:  bike rides (next up, a 20 miler), Leviticus, harp practice, and LOTS of miscellaneous items. 

Better be off to do them!

Today's Haul