Sunday, October 21, 2018

I'm Back!

Back to reality.  *sigh*  Last week was exactly what I needed.  It was cold, colder than
anyone anticipated, and so windy that the leaves were flying by the window sideways.  Luckily I took along my winter coat, hat, and mitts AND warm clothes.  I wore it all, fuzzy leggings, flannel dresses, waffle-weave shirts, hand-knit wool socks (mismatched, of course) and all.  Yesterday I drove through rain, sleet, snow, a whiteout, sleet, and rain--all within 80 miles.  Fortunately the roads were warm enough that the snow only stuck to the grass and the roads just got wet.  The people I felt the sorriest for (not that I didn't feel sorry for myself driving in horizontal snow in October) were the brave souls running the Fall 50 mile race from Gills Rock to Sturgeon Bay.  Ack.  The poor devils.  For the first 10-15 miles the runners were intermittently on the shoulder of the roads and they looked bedraggled, frozen, and determined.  I wouldn't be at all surprised if a portion of them got pneumonia.  Oh, and I wasn't thinking and drove over the tallest bridge over the river on my way home, the bridge that's high enough for freighters to pass under, and was hit by a wind gust and nearly pushed into the guardrail.  Good thing it occurred to me as I drove up onto the thing that I needed to be aware and have my hands firmly on the wheel just in case.  Don't worry, I wouldn't have gone over but my car would have been thoroughly crunched being driven into the concrete by the wind.




This morning's sky pinked up nicely and the sun tried its best to peek out between clouds all day.




I spent an hour this afternoon uprooting all of the annuals that were thriving when I left and had been killed by frost before I got home.  There's nothing more cheerful that driving up to your house on a cloudy, windy, rainy day to find a row of pots sporting blackened and dead coleus.  Welcome home!  Cleaning out the pots and moving them against the house let the mums shine.  Now that a bunch of them are blooming I think the purple ones look fine.  I'd still rather have had the bronze and cranberry ones instead but flowers are flowers.

Look at what I found in back when I was cutting the dead and dying fern fronds, bleeding hearts, and peonies.  It's a honeysuckle flower or cluster of flowers.  There's one dark red snapdragon flower out there too.  Party on, flowers!  The best part of driving all of the leaves and plants to the yard waste was that I also trimmed back the mints so that they could hunker down between the bales and the timbers so my car smells great, minty and earthy.  Mmm.



Yesterday I didn't hurry home.  I realized as I was loading the car that for the first time in... forever I didn't have to be home so even though the weather was rainy, sleety, snowy, and just plain rotten I doodled around from village to village along the bay shore, from store to store.  I stopped for some good olive oil and fig balsamic vinegar at Curt's Oilerie in Fish Creek and went across the parking lot to the Peninsula Bookman for a copy of LaVyrle Spencer's one Door County title, Bitter Sweet.  (that's for you, cda)  Then I went down a few blocks to Beach People and Lake People.  In the last store I overheard the lady say that there was an alpaca store around the corner so I had to investigate (of course, I did).  It's from a farm (ranch?) in Luxemburg which is about 20 miles north of Green Bay.  Never heard of it.  Most of the wares in the tiny store were garments, socks, etc. made from their fleece by Peruvian knitters but they did have a few baskets of yarn.  So I bought some (you knew I would, right?), but only these 2 skeins.  I thought I'd knit a white hat and use the burgundy as an accent color.  I feel I've matured because I gave thought to what I'd make before I just snatched the stuff up.  Progress.







I did waaaaay more writing than knitting last week but I did manage about an inch of sock, I cast on the first gray Appleseed Mitt (but stopped when I got to the part that needs thinking about), and last night I cast on a second Appleseed Coaster.






I did a line edit of the manuscript on Monday and then worked on a couple new scenes the rest of the week.  Not as much as I'd hoped but I like all of the words I managed to pin to the paper.  I'm happy.

I didn't write a prompt last night.  I was tired and just unpacked, watched TV, ate the wrong things for supper, and went to bed.  I'll write tomorrow, I promise.
--Barbara

Friday, October 12, 2018

Bird-Day


This morning my assistant sadly commented that there weren't any birds at the feeders so we bundled up (it was about 40 degrees out there) and went out to rectify the situation as best we could.  We put cobs of corn in the squirrel feeders (which the chipmunks have taken over), peanuts in the peanut wreath, and cracked corn and sunflower seeds in the tube feeder.  That helped.  Soon there was this Downy Woodpecker on the suet that I filled a couple days ago and then this Bluejay and his (or her) buddy came squawking in to nab peanut after peanut.  My assistant wasn't feeling great so we spent a lot of our day either on the couch reading books or sitting looking out to see what the birds and squirrels were doing.  I gotta say, a day's worth of snuggling that boy is a real cure for what ails a Meemaw, even if the boy isn't feeling well.





This evening at Friday Night Knitting instead of just knitting around and around on my Woodland Plain-Old-Sock I decided to cast on and knit the beginning of the first Appleseed Mitt.  May I say that sitting chatting isn't the best environment for accuracy in beginning a project.  See how much I have?  I'll end up frogging back at least one row and maybe end up starting the whole shebang over since I think one size smaller needle might be the way to go.  This ribbing looks too loosey-goosey for my taste.  I'll cogitate on it.


After knitting I came home and did a little judicious repacking.  As cold as it's turned out to be I don't think that my newest and thinnest Dresses no. 2 need to come along and I had taken way too many pairs of leggings.  Now all that needs to get into the suitcase is undies.  I'll get to those tomorrow morning.  Really, I will.  I put the basket of clean laundry where I'll trip over it if I go to close my suitcase without adding undies.  I wasn't born yesterday.  Really.

Ocotber 12--Henri-Edmond Cross, Canale Ponte Lungo (Long Bridge Canal).  The water sparkled under the pale spring sun.  It patted the stones of the bridge making little popping sounds as boats passed by.  Cecilia threaded her fingers around the iron railing as she leaned there to watch the tourists gawk.  She thought they looked so silly in their loud prints and socks with sandals.  If she ever went to America she wouldn't dress like that, not even if everyone else did.

And that, my dears, is that.  I am off to a writing workshop for a week so there won't be any blogging because there's no internet there.  Oh, I could drive into town and sit shivering in my car outside a restaurant with wi-fi but I won't.  Know that I'll be thinking about you and will come back refreshed with gorgeous pictures to show you.
--Barbara

Thursday, October 11, 2018

Man, It Was Windy

I slept late this morning.  Around 11 o'clock I heard lawnmowers and realized that the grass was dry and I could mow so I got dressed in jeans and a hoodie and went out to join the neighborhood mowing brigade.  It was windy and darned chilly.  One of the guys was bagging his and hauling the stuff to the curb but with the leaves that got beaten off the trees in yesterday's rain and the wind that kicked up overnight and was still blowing a gale he had to stop every pass to empty the bag.  I decided that the word for the day would be "mulch" because there was no way I was going to trot out to the curb a bajillion times.


As I was going out to mow I caught sight of the reminder card from the eye doctor so I quick called and made an appointment for later in the afternoon.  My prescription didn't change all that much but I treated myself to a couple new pairs of glasses.  I tried to take a selfie in the red pair and ended up looking half-crocked so I settled for just shooting them uninhabited.  But they look good on me.  Trust me.



For once the chrysanthemums are blooming right on time.  In past years they've tried to sneak out early, popping buds in mid-July but I grab the shears and cut them back.  This year they finally got the message.  And, look, white ones too.  


One of my writing friends called this afternoon so we met after supper for a little writing time in a cafe which meant that when I got home I needed to start organizing what I want to pack for my escape to The Clearing.  The writing stuff part is easy, it's the clothing that takes thought.  I checked the long-range weather forecast and it's supposed to be in the low 50s all week so I can take my flannel dresses, fuzzy leggings, and wool socks.  That also means that I need to haul all the laundry I did last night upstairs so I can fold it all and find enough underwear.  Underwear is important to remember.

I didn't write the prompt last night and nothing I wrote tonight is worth posting so I'll just say "nighty-night."  Busy day tomorrow.
--Barbara

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

I Should Have Mowed Yesterday

 




Because it rained all day today, nearly non-stop.  *sigh*  Oh well, I have hopes for tomorrow.  But the maple trees on the street are bursting with color, especially the one down the hill from here.  My tree is pretty much naked now but the others are finally chiming in and turning.










A few weeks ago my assistant found this suet cake feeder on the patio and thought we should hang it back up.  No amount of reasoned argument that we have a double suet holder so the birdies don't need another suet cake for snacks convinced him, so we dug around in the corn bin, found a couple tiny cobs that fit in there, and hung it from the perch of the other suet feeder so it's close to the ground.  This chipmunk learned very quickly to take advantage of the proximity of the corn and made short work of it.  This is the second batch of corn and I fear it's the last of the small enough to go in there cobs.  I'll be putting the feeder away once it's empty and probably spending an hour or an afternoon telling OJ why that feeder isn't out there anymore.  He's a tough taskmaster.



I decided to "dress up" for my doctor appointment yesterday so I put on the tunic and pants that I made last month.  They fit and look quite nice.  I found out that I have pleurisy, inflammation of the sac that the lungs are in.  (I thought pleurisy went out with rickets and scurvy.  Evidently not.)  Don't ask me how I got it but last week's antibiotics knocked it down and the doc assured me that a steroid shot (in the booty, my choice) would take care of the rest.  I've got cough pills  (Rx) and cough syrup (OTC) to tide me over until this @%#$& cough goes away all together.


Yesterday the cleaning lady came and I was telling her that I'm donating the furniture left in storage.  She asked what there was and when I said "rocking chairs" she perked up.  So after she finished cleaning, she and I drove out there and she took the rocker with arms and is thinking about taking the bed.  I'm so glad; I know she'll love them and take good care of them.  She also helped me see if the hall tree that DD wants fits into my car so I can take it with me when I go visit next month.  It does!  See?  So that's tucked into the garage until I leave for IN and KY on my first solo long drive trip.  My SIL, ARA, stopped this morning and in the course of our conversation I told her about donating the stuff.  She was looking for a big table to do puzzles on and I mentioned the walnut gate-leg table that Grandpa built, so when she left I went too (the storage is on her way home), showed her the table, and they're coming to get it on Saturday.  Hooray!  She's thrilled to have something that Grandpa built and I'm glad because I know that she and TW will love having it.






Also yesterday I finished knitting the Appleseed Coaster.  I plan to knit another one so I've got the pattern down pat before casting on the Appleseed Mitts in wool and alpaca to go with my Slip-Stitch Cap for the winter.  I should probably wind the yarn before I go to The Clearing.  Once again I've learned that if you knit on a project it grows.  Example:  the Woodland Plain-Old-Sock.  Waiting rooms, watching TV, if I knit around and around the sock gets longer.  Imagine that.  And the self-patterning yarn is endlessly entertaining.






This afternoon I went downstairs and fired up the lotion and lip balm factory (aka the laundry area) because I was plum out of both.  Plus I might have promised OJ that I'd make him some "spicy lipstick" last week.  It's very satisfying to make this stuff.


October 10--Kazimir Severinovich Malevich, The Farmer's Wife.  Her back ached.  Hours spent bent over cutting grain was torture.  She dug her fists into the small of her back and groaned as she straightened up.  "When can we afford a farm boy?" she asked.  "Never," her husband grunted as he gather the cut stalks into sheaves.  "We need to make our own farm hands but you aren't doing your part."  She glared at his back.  "I am too tired and I refuse to be like rutting animals just so you can have sons.  What happened to the romantic man I married?"  She never saw the open hand that smacked her.

You know what?  Even with one person in the house the laundry piles up.  Maybe I forgot how long it'd been since I did the wash last but the chute was full the other day.  Huh.  Guess who's doing laundry right now.  Last night before bed I finished reading through my manuscript and making notes.  I confess that I have more work to do on the last quarter of it than I thought I did but finishing that read-through is a giant leap toward having a completed manuscript to take to the writing conference in Madison in April to pitch it to the agents that attend.
--Barbara

Monday, October 8, 2018

Rainy

Off and on all day.  *sigh*  Good thing I demolished the garden yesterday.  I have high hopes for being able to mow the lawn Wednesday or Thursday so that it doesn't go to seed before I come home from The Clearing.  Maybe my neighbor who mows his lawn when one blade gets taller than its neighbors will come over and mow.  Nah, that'll never happen.  Besides I'd be mortified.




I noticed yesterday that the blueberry bushes' leaves have turned bright red.  I'm glad to see leaves.  Remember that the demon bunnies had eaten them back down to the ground over the winter?  Well, they grew back; they didn't make flowers or berries but they did make lots of leaves and branches.  And I have a nice chicken wire fence around them that's even buried an inch underground to keep the little critters away.  Fingers crossed.



I threw all of my new fabric into the wash today after I got home from the back cracker and then sat on the couch to knit--and didn't get up until time to fix supper.  After supper I sat back down (well, actually I ate on the
couch so I pushed my plate aside) and kept on knitting.  I am embarrassed to say that it took me an hour, once I got to Row 5 of the cable pattern and didn't seem to have the right stitches to follow the pattern, to remember that there is Errata for that row.  I'd even printed it off the other day but there I sat knitting three stitches, frowning at the instructions and then at my knitting, tinking (k-n-i-t backwards) the stitches, frowning at it all again, then putting it down for a minute or five, before picking it up and starting the whole thing over.  An. Hour.  The printed correction was within reach.  All I had to do was stretch out my hand and the solution was mine.  This is two repeats of the pattern; 5 more pattern rows, then ribbing, and it's done.  I'll make at least one more so that I'm comfortable with the cable pattern because that makes up the cuff of the mitts I want to make next.  So I'll practice and get a pair of coasters out of it.


October 8--Egon Schiele, Krumau.  The town looked like a postcard from the top of the hill.  As Jeanne drove the rental car down, the place looked shabby and unkempt.  Plaster flaked off walls, roof tiles were missing, even the trees looked limp and sickly.  She slowed at the edge of town and watched for a gas station.  The few people she passed shot furtive glances at her, no one smiled, no one waved.  Not a friendly place, she thought.  If she hadn't needed gas she'd have kept on driving.

I made a big decision this morning.  I'm not going to try to sell the furniture that's left in the storage on the Internet.  I don't want the hassle.  So I called the local auction house to see how soon they could pick it up--December 12.  Really?  Unacceptable.  So I called St. Vinnie de P, they can come on October 23.  Much better.  No one wants big, heavy, brown furniture these days so they can haul it away and maybe someone will love it.  I just don't have the mental or physical energy to deal with it.  I'm proud of myself that I'll admit that and not run myself ragged.  Must be growing up.  Finally.
--Barbara

Sunday, October 7, 2018

I Went To Joann Fabrics For Elastic & Bias Tape...

... but all of the "Spot Bolt" fabrics (clearance priced) were 50% off of that and I had gotten my Shirt no. 2 pattern from 100 Acts of Sewing yesterday so I cruised the knits and, well, I might have bought some.  Okay, I bought a bunch.  But it was 50% off the already sale price.  Really.  And I only got 2 yards of each except for the ladybug stuff that DD bought in August there was only 1 1/2 yards of that left.  It was really like I got two yards for the price of one for all of it.



When I got home I put on jeans, my yardwork shoes, and a hoodie and went out to tear down the garden.  We haven't had a killing frost yet but no tomatoes were ripening and everything was looking pretty sad.  I laid out a tarp then untwisted all the ties holding the plants to the trellis wires, broke the branches, and uprooted the plants.  I left the butternut squash alone because I think that tastes sweeter if you leave it on the vine until the plant gets frosted.  One year I picked it earlier and the squash wasn't ripe.  Yuk.



Last year I planted a few kinds of mint along the timber edge closest to the house so that LC and OJ had leaves to pick and eat.  The mint, especially the chocolate mint, loves it there and has kind of taken over, even growing behind the bale into the space between the first and second rows of bales.  Last year I planted herbs between the mint plants and it worked fine.  This year the mint kind of overpowered everything but I have to say that walking into the garden, treading on the mint releases the most enticing aroma that I'm leaving it.  I won't plant as many tomatoes next year so I can plant the herbs on the bales and leave the mint to thrive on the ground.



I won't be wasting an entire bale to grow scallions again.  I carefully planted each little black seed in a furrow, softly spread soil over them, wrapped the bale in chicken wire to keep the chipmunks out, and this is the sum total of scallions I harvested today.  Not worth it.



 



I finished the Grays Slip-Stitch Cap tonight, pom pom and all.  The pom pom isn't the perfect orb that the how-to video showed and it's not as full and firm as it might be but I like it.  I'll make this pattern again.


October 7--French, Gloves with Zigzag Design.  Marie drew on the gloves smoothing them onto each finger in turn and up her forearms.  The thin leather quickly warmed and felt like part of her.  She heard Aunt Cele and Uncle Lawrence talking in the foyer waiting for the car to arrive.  She patted her skirt, smoothed her hair, and went down to...

Blah.  Blah.  Blah.  Once I'd finished the cap I looked at the yarn I need to wind for the mitts to go with it and thought, "oh, Durwood isn't around to hold the hank while I wind it into a ball" and nearly started bawling.  The silliest things seem to be triggers.  He loved sitting at the table holding the yarn and carefully moving his hands so that it came off one strand at a time.  He asked if he was doing it wrong when I asked if he'd make me a swift but I assured him that he did it just right.  Silly.
--Barbara

Saturday, October 6, 2018

Inertia Has Me In Its Grasp

It seems that my get-up-and-go got up and went lately.  I slept until almost 9 o'clock this morning and felt like it was almost enough.  Which meant that I didn't eat breakfast until almost 11 o'clock (do not ask me why it takes me 2 hours to read the newspaper, I do not know) so my meals for the day were off kilter.  That's my excuse for grazing on anything nibble-ly I could find most of the day.

Once I managed to dress just before noon, I hauled up the first basket of winter clothes for the semi-annual wardrobe changeover.  Then I set myself down in front of the laptop to crank out the October knitting guild newsletter.  This week I emailed the people I needed input from and got almost all of the copy so that by 5 o'clock I had five pages of first draft.  I'm awaiting one more snippet of info about this month's program then I can do one more read-through and email it to the members tomorrow evening.  *dusts hands off*



Then I sat myself down on the couch, turned on mindless animal and vet shows on NatGeoWild and knitted.  See?  I think I'm about halfway up the hat.  I'll have to reread the pattern to see if the ribbing counts in the measurement of when to start the crown decreases tomorrow so I don't overshoot and make a too-tall hat.


Tomorrow if it isn't raining I need to take myself out into the garden and get all of the plants pulled down and composted.  It's time.  No more tomatoes are ripening and everything just looks sad.

October 6--Paul Gauguin, Harvest, Le Pouldu.  Great swaths of pale gold wheat lay in the field.  Farmhands worked up one row and down the next turning the sheaves so that the grain would dry before the threshing.  It was hot, mindless work.  The sun beat down on top of Clarence's head as he stepped, then swung his rake to turn the wheat, stepped again, shifted, and swung the rake again.  He'd done it so long that he didn't have to think he just moved.  That is until his rake's tines snagged on some fabric and a limp hand and arm flopped across the wheat.

Yikes.  Well, I thought that my cough was mostly gone until late this afternoon when a coughing jag hit and it took a while to abate.  More cough syrup, more Vicks, doc on Tuesday.  Can't wait.  I probably need to get outside and inhale fresh air instead of the stale stuff in the house.  Tomorrow.  Good night.
--Barbara