Thursday, December 29, 2016

The end of 2016

No bookcase yet.  One of these days, I will have the joy of arranging books, and admiring them, and diving into them afresh (for books that are newly arranged are somehow themselves new, and cry out to be revisited).  Maybe in January? 

Christmas has come, and the Christmas season is here.  I wonder what the Christmas season was like in the early church?  Or maybe not the early church, but the middle church, say, the Nicene Fathers?  Maybe I'll carve some time out to learn that this year.  There are simply SO MANY THINGS to learn.  So much to learn, so much to do.  And the niggling suspicion that one ought also have time to simply 'be'.  Can I 'be' while I sleep? 

I've all sorts of lovely things on the needles at the moment, violating my One Project At A Time Preference.  Sweaters #1 and #2 are awaiting pattern revisions, so I cast on for a destashing Sweater #3, using yarn from Scotland, Baltimore, and my grandma's stash.  It's very de-stashy.  I hope to finish the body today, which will leave me with two sleeves and the cardigan edging to do.  The main color left on the cone is looking a bit skimpy. but I am trying not to be too concerned about it.  I'll have to start thinking of a back-up plan, though, as Google and WEBS tell me that the color is no longer available.  Phooey. 

With the coming of Jolabokaflod, I've added a bevvy of print books to my reading list.  Laurus, by Evgeniy Vodolazhkin, was my main read.  A very interesting book, and one I would like to come back to.  Everywhere Present, by Stephen Freeman is another I started on Christmas Eve, and I am reading a bit from it and also Transforming Together by Ele Parrott each day.  Add to that the audiobook of The Three Musketeers, and Filius' evening reading to me of Ignition! (a history of liquid propellants), and my mind has lots of fodder upon which to ruminate.  It's more pleasant to think of a mind ruminating than a stomach ruminating.  Although, that does bring up, if you'll pardon the pun, the question of whether or not the 'little brain' of the stomach has anything to do with pondering ideas.  Chewing on them, as it were.  Are the ideas merely parallel, or intertwined? 

And  now, for some pictures.  All lumped together in an ungainly, blog-unfriendly form.  

A swatch of Blue Sky Fibers Extra

Same stitches, different yarn. 

Stash-busting bonnet, in the same yarn as above.  EZ's Diamond Bonnet

Pinneguri's Baby Fleas, in progress. 

Thursday, December 01, 2016

All the leaves are brown

and, indeed, the sky is gray.  Definitely not grey.  Gray.  A walk is not in the agenda due to the quantity of things to do, and my desire to be toasty warm and comfortable in my leisure moments. 

So many things to blog about, so little time!

Filia's kidney is still in the 'waiting to have stones removed' status, but has started to be sore again.  This isn't particularly a good thing, but our clinic appointment is tomorrow so I am not toooooo concerned.  It could make the clinic appointment a Fun Thing, though. 

The knitting guild and my knitting are percolating along nicely.  I've several dozen hours to go on my current project, have yarn coming for a project after that, and have a project after even that in place. (Guess what my leisure moments will have much of?) 

Advent is here, and I am trying to think about Advent more than Christmas food and present preparation.  This may be merely a delaying tactic, but I do think it's a good one.

The bookcases should happen sometime this month.  They must, if they are to get done this year! 

Until next time ...

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Surfacing in November

It's a cold, damp, drizzly/clinky day, as rain and something that is not snow goes clink upon the windows.  A perfect day for knitting, and laundry, and staying home.  That's just what we're doing!

Unlike last Tuesday, when Filia - who had a very painful UTI on the 1st, and which looked like it wasn't bothering to resolve itself particularly well - was diagnosed with a pesky passel of kidney stones.  One highly pesky one, and more than a handful of well-behaved smaller ones.  So Wednesday, surgery #1 of 2 was done to deal with them.  Inpatient surgery, with more than its fair share of annoyances.  We got home Thursday (for which we are quite thankful), and Filia is doing dandy, and back to work.  Sometime in the next while, surgery #2 will happen.

Knitting is going along nicely.  The hat is done, the yarn from Cornwall arrived (having been backordered.  Oops!  I was doing such a good job haunting the post office that I got a call when the yarn arrived.)  The test knit is done, and I should be set with knitting for a few months, so long as the yarn supply behaves.  First, a pair of intarsia-in-the-round socks (finicky!), then a cardigan, then a sweater, and then another sweater.  Or so things look.  I'm set for yarn as far as the cardi. 

The bookcase stain is going to be Autumn Oak.  And that's where things are at this point! 

Happy Thanksgiving, all!

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Countdown to launch

The new TKGA is rapidly approaching launch -- Friday should be the day!  I don't expect to have much knitting time on Friday.  Do check out The Knitting Guilde Association New Website, and if you're a knitter, consider joining!  (If you're not a knitter, you can still donate.  Donations are always welcome.)

The socks are finished and in the mail.  Filius' Christmas hat is started, yarn is still enroute from Cornwall, and I hope to have another test knit next week.  In short, knitting is going most beautifully.

The electrician came on Saturday as promised, and everything is ready for the installation of the bookcase.  Well, except the actual bookcase.  When the builder and I talked timeframes, the most specific we got was 'by the end of the year', so everything is still on schedule.

For some people, fall is hunting season.  We're more the gatherer sort than the hunter sort in this household, but Canis is a big fan of exploring fields and seeing what he can find.  Yesterday, he brought a spine back to my mom's house. I'm not sure where in the yard he has it stashed for snacking on, but it's somewhere.  And about 2-3 ft long.  It may go with the 6" bone connected to a 6" bone connected to a scapula-looking bone, which my mom's dog left on her front porch a few days ago.  Maybe the spine will show up there too?

On that lovely note -- happy fall!

Wednesday, October 19, 2016


Fall is here, with a bit of frost some mornings and a delightful whiff of harvest in the air.  Sometimes the whiff is a bit pungent, with the punge of a thousand hogs, as the farmers inject slurry into the harvested fields while they turn under what's left of the beans and corn.  (Why is it beans and corn?  Why not bean and corn, or beans and corns?) 

Vir and I took the annuals out of the garden this past weekend, leaving just two Swiss Chard plants and some hardy herbs.  We're in good shape for hibernating, and not being sorry about it when we want to get into the garden next spring.  A bevy of jalapenos went to a neighbor, green tomatoes are ripening in the back room, and Filia and I spent an hour or so on beans -- separating the dry from the not-dry, and the Calypso from the Green from the Lima.  I've three little pots of dried beans, and two trays of beans drying in their pods.  I'm fairly sure that a cup of dried beans is not worth an 8-ft row of pole beans, so beans will probably not make an appearance in the garden next year.  More room for sweet peppers! 

In just twelve days, Offinger Management will cease to manage the knitting guild (TKGA).  We've been busy working on the website, and records, and I am looking forward to our launch!  I love getting records all tidy and in order.  It's one of my happy places.

Another happy place is my bookcase, and things are started to get close to activity there, too.  The electrician is coming this weekend to move two outlets, and the builder is making calculations ... and I will be so thrilled when it is done, and I can organize my books, and sit downstairs to work at the computer, and just bask in all the book-y, organized glory of it.  Actually, I can just sit here and bask in the imagined glory of it all, too.  Hmmmph.  Need to spend more time doing that with respect to heaven, rather than my own wee creation here on earth. 

The doily got finished, and I am now working on a pair of socks in CoBaSi.  I do believe that I like the yarn, and will probably be ordering more to make myself some socks.  The pattern is Maudie, by General Hogbuffer.  I do hope his parents didn't choose that name!  The socks are for a gift, but I am contemplating making myself a stocking-length pair.   

Yarn is in the mail to me, from Cornwall, to make Grace's Cardigan.

Filia is working 3 days a week, Filius is in college, Vir is keeping busy with counseling AND discovered last week that he is a Mavericks hockey fan ... and we are all well. 

Until next time...

Wednesday, October 05, 2016

A picture-rich blog

It's been a week full of activities.  Amazing how much organizing one can find to do when one is working to build a database of guild members from a variety of partial sources.  I can spend hours, poking away on the computer.  It's wonderful to bring order out of chaos.  And I'm trying!

But, life continues on.  Women's Prayer Fellowship was at my house this Saturday, so I made some cinnamon rolls.  They did not cooperate. 
Cinnamon Rolls after rising in the fridge overnight

Cinnamon rolls after baking
I thought that the yeast might be faulty, so I looked up how to check one's yeast.  I mixed a half-cup of water with however much yeast the web page said, and some sugar, and waited 10 minutes.  Was there some foam on top?  Indeed, there was!  But was it enough?  Another web page came to the rescue ... the foam should reach to the 1 cup line.  My foam reached to the 1/32" line above the liquid, measured in the center. 

The culprit.  Yeast that had aged beyond viability
In the afternoon, it was time to continue prepping the garden for fall.  The weather can turn to Cold, Damp, and Unpleasant-for-garden-work any day now, so it's good to get the work done while it's warm, sunny, and, well, workable. 
Clearing the garden ... a Trophy Kale!
I've been wondering why all my kale was of the fuzzy, prickly kind.  I had 5 kale plants this year, and each was supposed to take up one square foot of my garden.  One or two were of the prickly sort (all of them came from the seed packet ... must be a variant), but as the season went on, they ALL seemed to be prickly.  I figured out why when I pulled this single, solitary kale.  That's a gallon bucket in the picture for scale.
The beans live on

A good year for Basil
Knitting has been happening around the edges of life, mostly because I don't have anything with a deadline or a serious purpose.  I cast on for a doily, because I had thread and small needles.  I should have used larger needles, I supposed, because the doily - per the book - measures 15.75" across with 000 ndls and size 70 thread.  I'm using size 30 thread and the doily may make it to 10" after blocking. 
000 needles and a doily.  33% smaller than other doilies knit with the same yarn and finer thread
And I retired my 2014 slippers! 
Retiring slippers (these are the soles)

The new slippers

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

In which I surface after not blogging

I've been living life off the computer (or at least off the blog) and when I went looking for a photo of a project to use, realized that perhaps I should surface, upload some photos, and then dive back down into life. 

The garden is saying farewell -- at least, the tomatoes and cucumbers are.  I really should pick some jalapenos and figure out what to do with them. 
Some friends took a photo of my State Fair entries, and I had a suprise viewing of Summer Nights, by Arenda Holladay. So did she.  She had no clue that anyone else had, or would ever, knit the sweater.  I'm curious to know if the knitter followed the directions and worked the stranding back and forth, without steeks, like Arenda did.  

My State Fair entries came back, and the next day was BEAUTIFUL weather for wearing a wool tunic, so on it went.

The yarn for my clogs came in, and they are now finished.  Except for a bit more felting. 

I finished a pair of legwarmers, too.  (Are you noticing a winter theme here?  Unfortunately, those legwarmers need to be at a photographers in November.  On the plus side, they match, in color, a sweater which is at another photographers, so I will be all toasty warm AND coordinated when they're back at my house.) 

I have a new refrigerator, whose door closes.  My heart is happy every time I hear it not running.  And I'm also happy to think of all the new organizational possibilities.  We lost 2 cu ft, a shelf, and a drawer (and somehow, the dimensions are almost identical -- an inch taller, and a half-inch narrower.  What did they do with fridge design in the past 21 years to make that possible?)  Now I get to hunt for nifty wire shelves to make good use of the vertical space just LURKING in there. 

And did I mention, the door closes?

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

More Pickles

I'm running out of pint jars around here.  Actually, I have run out of pint jars.  I have one, single, solitary widemouth pint jar that I just unearthed from the back shelf of the bottom of a cabinet this morning ... but I could have used 12 pint jars yesterday in my canning adventures, during which I put up salsa (3 1/2 quarts), garlic-honey jalapeno pickles (5 half-pints) and bread and butter pickles (2 quarts). 

The gallon of tomatoes - washed, cored, quarters, and squished in the hands, then put in a cloth-covered time-out for 5 days...

became a half-cup or so of tomato conserve. I am still figuring out what to do with the 3 quarts of juice - fermented tomato juice, I would assume. Tomato wine?
A brioche cowl that came off my needles

Julie's Slippers, drying

Comfrey leaves
And now, I've spent so much time wrestling with the pictures I forgot what I was going to say!  Lots going on -- knitting, learning new things, transportation, gardening, etc, etc, etc.

Until next week...

Wednesday, August 24, 2016


More pickles
Gentle reader, my pickle cabinet overfloweth. 

And my tomato conserves are thinking about fermenting on the counter.

And my "to-knit" list is expanding.

And my family is healthy (since seasonal sniffles and lung-wrenching coughs from Jalapeno fumes do not interfere with health)

And I have 5 lbs of locally grown honey.

God has richly blessed me.  For, even more than those things which are going well, He is with me. 

He will be with me when the cucumber vines die.

He will be with me when the tomato conserves are gone, or grow pink and green mold instead of white mold.

He will be with me when the knitting deadlines are looming, or when the yarn runs out.

He will be with me when my family is not healthy (and through the sniffles and wrenched lungs)

He will be with me when the honey runs out. 

He is more than enough.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

In which I post pictures, comment briefly, and run

Gloves, the ends for which are now woven in

This is why my Zinnias have issues.

This doesn't help any. 

Today's Garden Haul

The squash

The Cucumbers (Orange?  Really?)

Boothby's Blonde Cucumbers

Why am I commenting briefly?  Because I suspect that the items on my kitchen table, pictured above, (let us not forget that huge 21 oz tomato.  Twenty one ounces) might take over the kitchen if I am gone too long.  And because God has seen fit to keep my days from being idle. 

First - let there be a trumpet fanfare - Filius passed his road test last Wednesday, and is now a Fully Licensed Driver in the state of which we are residents.  Ahhhh --- HOME DAYS!  He can get himself to/from work on the three days a week when Filia isn't volunteering at the historical society.

But wait!  Let the fanfare continue, with great putting-together of heads.  Just scant hours after he left on his first solo trip to work, Filia received a job offer!  Two Filii.  Two jobs.  Starting times of 8:00 and 9:30, ending times of 2ish and 4:30, in towns which, for simplicity's sake, form a lovely triangle with our town of residence, 12 miles per side.  (give or take a few miles.) 

What was I thinking about home days?  I am not thinking that any more.  I am thanking God for my mother, who has loaned us her car to ease the logistics and remove 80 minutes/day of transportation duties from my regular schedule.  Life is, shall we say, in flux.  Filius has 7 more days of work before the college term resumes, and we can manage flux for that long.  Right?  Of course right. 

The project on the needles is Hitofude; slippers are still awaiting yarn.  Two items have been shipped off to the Minnesota State Fair.   Many projects on the computer call me.  The Conference about the Bookcase should happen in 2 weeks or so.  Service Dog Project saw 8 newborn pups born yesterday.  Life is full.

Until next week!

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

In which I have knit slippers

I love weeks with scope for usefulness.  I also love schedules, and being tidy and organized, and having everything go as planned.  This past week had quite a few dubious moments. 

Since it was too hot for bike rides, I knit a lot.

Filius' first pair - Too big


Filius' 2nd pair - just right

Still waiting for my slipper yarn

The garden is flourishing, and there's always kale and swiss chard for a salad, and cukes for whatever I might want cucumbers for.  There's a quart of quick dills in the fridge right now (made with today's haul) and another 2+ pounds of sliced cucumbers waiting to become bread and butter pickles.  And a pound of fresh cucumbers for lunch.  The squash is flourishing, but not producing much fruit.  LOTS of flowers, just not many female ones.  It is very space-greedy, too.  While I weeded the garden today, I determined that the volunteer vine on the bean trellis was a watermelon.  And I pulled it up.  If it's Minnesota, and the biggest watermelon you have is on a female flower bud that hasn't even opened, and it's almost August ... chances of seeing it live to edibility are not good.  I've got lots of jalapeno and black hungarian peppers, though, and  a few bells, and my Orca Beans are happy, and the pole beans are just about ready for picking (although I don't see any Christmas limas yet).

And it's hot, and humid.  I am so glad that God made seasons.  I can enjoy this one and know that winter is coming.

Until next week!

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

A hot day in July

Today is an excellent day for sitting the air conditioning, sipping iced tea, and reading a good book. Unfortunately, I'm rather fond of finishing my to-do lists, and those things are not on the agenda. Drat. Tomorrow may come a bit closer, as I will be gadding around the county and unable to work on the normal to-dos.

Here, we have a sample (admittedly, the worst one) of a portion of our 'turf restoration'. For spraying seed in November, it's pretty bad. For spraying seed in June, it's not that great. Although it wasn't the fault of the landscape guys that they sprayed the seed the day before or morning of a nice 5+ inch rainstorm. And that much of the seed washed away into my newly mulched flower beds. 

I finally finished the socks I started during Canis's second surgery.  They're for me, I think, and I rather like them.  I'm having doubts about using superwash and non-superwash wools in the same item, though.  What was I thinking?  Time will tell.  The current projects are felted clogs.  One pair for Filius is done and felted and too big, one pair for Mom is knitted and not felted, and today I hope to cast on a smaller pair for Filius.  My pair is on hold until I get the yarn for the upper.  Three soles are done for mine, though!

Here, we have an unusual picture.  In the 6 years we've had Canis, he has Never Once took a nap while touching another dog.  He'd rather not touch another person, either.  He likes his space.  Unless there are food dishes being filled, and then he will do whatever is necessary to get into the proper spot to watch.  But yesterday, after he came in from his rounds, he sacked out TOUCHING mom's dog.  (The floor fan is about 3 feet away from the other dog's nose, off towards 2 o'clock.) 

In other news, life is busy, I made another 3 pints of bread and butter pickles, a quart of pickled onions, and have 4 pounds of cucumbers sitting downstairs that I picked today.  Time to go figure out what to make!

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Of pickles and velcro

I went out to the garden last Friday, intending to see if I could find a cuke or two for my salad.  When I came in with over 2 lbs of the little fruits, I headed to the internet to find a pickle recipe.  Mmmmm!
1.2 kilograms on Friday

This morning, my cucumber foray yielded over 4 lbs of cucumbers. 
More cucumbers on Wednesday
Now, there was a question about how I harvest (and weed) things in my garden with my handy-dandy rabbit fences.  The answer is ... VELCRO

The magnificence of Velcro tape
The panels themselves are 2' high.  Each garden corner has a piece of rebar or other upright, (hopefully) sturdy object.  I run a piece of velcro tape around the the PVC pipes and the rebar, and voila -- the corner is fairly secure.  And the friendly bunnies see that they are not welcome, so they don't force the issue.  When the time comes that I want to do a serious cucumber search, I undo the velcro at a corner or two, swing the panels away (if they're still attached at the other side), and start hunting.
Oh where oh where oh where are the cukes?
This removal of the panels is only possible because for a few weeks earlier in the growing season, I went out twice daily to remove any enterprising vine that thought the chicken wire was going to be PERFECT to cling to.  (Enter more velcro tape.  It's great for redirecting vines to the trellis, or simply keeping them from leaning on the chicken wire.)   Now that the vines are taller, a check every day or two seems sufficient.  I am wondering about the 5' vines on the Bushy Cucumbers.  They've topped my trellis, which is over 6 ft, and it's only July. 

The rabbit fences work without corner stakes, too, as on my bean trellis (and clothesline).  You can see the velcro tape in the lower left corner.  The beans seem quite happy.  Limas and Green Beans, they are. 

Today's cucumber haul is going to become dill pickles.  Happily, I have dill!
I'm supposed to put one head of dill in the bottom of each pint jar.  Problem is, I think one head of dill will fill a pint jar.  Or maybe a quart jar.  This head is as wide as my forearm is long -- from elbow to crotch of thumb.  I'm glad there is an equivalency given for dill seed.  I'll just use that.  Somewhere else I read that a head of dill is 3-4" across.  My dill was not informed of that.  (The plant behind the volunteer dill is summer squash.  Early white scalloped bush, or some such order.  I'm still waiting, but there are flowers!) 

This morning's bike ride was cancelled on account of threatening clouds during the cucumber hunt, and it's a good thing.  I was debating another 30 miler, and there was ping pong sized hail reported along the route I would have been on.  Yeowch!  Thanks to the rain, I crossed 'water garden' off my to-do list. 

Biking-wise, I did put in 34 miles on Saturday, and had fun.  Actually saw two other cyclists!  Mom and Pop's Ice Cream store is only 21 miles away -- I may yet bike into town for some ice cream.  Or not.  We shall see!

Wednesday, July 06, 2016

In which I again resort to pictures

Sock #2 is done.  The stockings that I started during Bandit's second surgery are also nearing completion -- one toe left!  One commission awaits starting and finishing after that, and another (once the yarn arrives).  I've ordered yarn for 3 pair of slippers, replacing 3 pair of well-loved slippers, and, well, my knitting life is doing just fine. 

Gardening!  Behold the first cucumbers...
I decided to be unique and go with Bushy Cucumbers (short vines, good in cool weather), as well as Boothby's Blonde Cucumber.  Guess which one is blond?  These are the first two, and it looks like there are many more to come.  I am looking forward to trying my hand at pickle making this year.  I've made some before, but don't know where the recipes went, so I get to experiment from scratch and http://

Biking!  Last week, I decided to take a Longer than Usual Ride.  This is done, not by pedalling faster or harder, but by not turning towards home in the usual spots.  So, rather than turn north on road A, I turned north on the next paved road after it.  And, because road B jogged along road C to the east before resuming its route north, but no signs told me that it jogged east instead of west, I got in a Longer than I Was Really Thinking of Ride.  Taking road A is a scant 20 miles.  Taking road B should have been about 25.  And, had I zigged instead of zagged at road C, it probably would have been.  (hmm, I'll have to try that.)  But as it was, the zag ended up being a 33 mile ride.  So much for increasing my mileage by 10% each week.  However, it was a delightful ride and I hope to do it again when the weather is good and my time is available.  (If I take the NEXT paved road, road D, then I go right past a friend's house and don't add any distance.  I'm looking forward to it.) 

Until next time ...

Wednesday, June 29, 2016


The past week or two has been such a blur of staying on top of things that recalling what has been happening would be a serious effort.  The pictures shall speak for themselves.

One of four or five plates found tucked in with Gram's china which was not part of that set.  My aunt tells me these were the everyday plates used when they lived in Illinois. 

 Cherries, from our tree, for cherry pie filling.  Twenty-three cups of pitted cherries.  Yummmmm!

Cucumbers, with trellis

Peas and Beans and Peppers, Oh My!

Herbs, Greens, and Onions.  And finger.

Tomatoes and Basil and Purslane

Beans - Kentucky Wonder and Christmas Lima

Sock #1 (Sock 2 is now further along than this. Yay!)