Thursday, April 30, 2015

Not a Drop

Somebody might have gotten rain yesterday but we sure didn't.  We didn't get any rain, not a sprinkle, not drop, it even turned kind of sunny.  Now today there's a spiral of clouds out over the lake that's headed East but the trailing edges of it are reaching back West toward Green Bay.  They're not talking about any rain with it and it's supposed to clear up for the afternoon.  I heard the weather guy last night say we might have a thunderstorm on Sunday night into Monday.  I could go for a thunderstorm.  That means I should probably take my rake and my weed puller out tomorrow and clean up the garden and along the back of the house.  That way when Mother's Day rolls around in 10 days or so I'll be ready to plant.  Ooh, planting!  I'm thinking I might employ some weed barrier this year and also see if somebody's got Miracle Gro garden soil on sale; our garden soil needs help and a top-dressing of that might be just the thing.  Or I could pave over the garden and ditch the work...  Nah.  Won't do that.

For the first time since I started knitting both sleeves simultaneously I turned the work after knitting one of them and purled back--only to realize that the working yarn for the next sleeve was on the wrong end.  $#%&@!!!  That meant tinking (k-n-i-t backwards) 66 stitches, knitting the OTHER sleeve and then turning the whole shooting match to purl all the way across like I was supposed to in the first place.  That means I have done both of the major "knitting 2 at a time" errors--carrying the yarn across the gap (thereby knitting handcuffs instead of sleeves) and turning to go back one sleeve early--so I should be done screwing up on this segment of the project, right?  Right.  (yeah, I'm not convinced either.)

I looked out this morning to see a tulip bud standing tall and proud, and you can't really see but down near the daffodils the allium have sent up little flower buds too.  Soon more flowers will bloom, some will be finished, but I'll have flowers for a while.  Maybe soon there'll be leaves on some bushes and trees?

April 30--David Mendelsohn, DM2005.

the buzz
the hum
wires looping
resistor to resistor
ringed by fence
topped with curls
of razor wire
the hum
like muffled bees
keeps the curious
at bay
better than the
No Trespassing

And that's the end of this year's round of April is Poetry Month.  It seems fitting that Ellen Kort, Wisconsin's first Poet Laureate and someone I took many poetry classes from left us this year during Poetry Month.  She was a real proponent of poetry for everyone, even carrying glow-in-the-dark chalk in her car for scribbling poems on walls and sidewalks at night.  She was quite a woman, an inspiring poet, I miss knowing she's around if I need inspiration or a kick in the poetic pants.  Godspeed, Ellen.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Mid-Week Drizzle

The weather guy was talking about "a few raindrops on your morning commute" and it sure looks like he might be right.  We need rain, soil moisture of some sort since we got shortchanged in the snow department.  Not that I minded not having to shovel much, you understand, but I wouldn't be a good farmer's granddaughter if I didn't think about stuff like that.

The Bleeding Heart is going gangbusters in the back.  Look how it's shot up in just a couple days.  And the rhubarb is, well, it's just bolting out.  Almost like it's offering itself for baking pie and cake.  Maybe I'll make a rhubarb cake on Friday--since the bread was such a success--or maybe I'll take a chance on the other rhubarb bread recipe I turned up.  I will get some fresh baking powder before baking it.  First things first.  Durwood tried to get me to buy a giant-sized box of it at Sam's yesterday but I wasn't tempted.  I can't manage to use up a regular-size can of it before it goes tits up, how does he think we can use up a bushel of it?  Men, they're silly.  I should probably learn to make good biscuits, trial and error would sure use up a lot of baking powder, wouldn't it?  I love biscuits, Durwood loves biscuits, I should make some.  He was paging through a cooking magazine he subscribes to yesterday and there was a recipe for cornbread pictured that stopped me in my tracks.  It was full of corn kernels and green onions, sour cream and buttermilk.  I could totally put some cheese in there and it'd be an entire meal in a skillet.  Eaten warm with lashings of pure cream butter, of course.  That's like a meal, right?  Maybe with a salad on the side...  Well, now I'm hungry.  I should go have breakfast.

April 29--Carl Fischer, Retired Couple.

Ed and Myrna
dreamed of life
in Paradise.
He worked forty-seven years
at the plant
so they could carve out retirement bliss
on Lot 23
of McLarty's Trailer Haven
on the wrong side
of Homestead, FL
until Hurricane Andrew
had other ideas.

The garbage guy just roared and clanged up and down the block, tipping the bins into his truck with the robot arm.  I kind of miss seeing a garbologist hanging from the back of the truck to step down and fling the trashbags into the crusher in back.  I'm sure they don't miss the sore muscles at all, although now that things have to fit into the bin and the lid has to close the junk pickers are aced out of all sorts of goodies.  More in the landfill, less to recycling--not sure that's an improvement.  Off to Cheerio.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Sleeve Progress

I think I'm actually getting somewhere on the Red Marl sleeves.  I made a focused effort to knit at least one row an hour at work yesterday (when there weren't customers or work to be done) and they're longer.  Imagine that.  If you knit them, they will grow.  I've got 2 more increases to go and then it won't be long before I start the armpit decreases.  If I keep up this pace I should have it sewed together and be working on knitting the collar by the time it gets too hot to comfortably have that wad of wool on my lap.  I've got timing, I'll say that, but I'll also have a fabulous red wool sweater that I made all by myself to wear when it turns cold again, which it will before you can say Jack Sprat.  And I found another pattern to print off and put in my "knit this next" folder.  It's a red dishcloth with a poppy knitted in to honor fallen and disabled soldiers, that's what those old guys selling poppies outside the grocery are all about, you know, so I want to knit one for my friend who's a Vietnam vet.

The grape hyacinths are out in force in the front and the daffodils are in their glory.  If it wasn't 50 degrees I think I'd go out and lay on the ground and just gaze at their yellow, orange and white beautifulness.  I'm not much for picking flowers to bring indoors to die but I sure like having them in my yard where I can smile at them whenever I want.

We're planning a Sam's run later and our list is so long I'm thinking we might need a trailer to get home.  Not really, but kinda, stuff comes in big batches at Sam's and it's hard to resist things. I'll be strong and stick to the list.  Cross my heart.

April 28--Tom & Pat Leeson, Gray Wolf.

Snowflakes sparkle
diamonds on soft fur
Ice blue eyes unblinking
measure the distance
to a meal
soft pad of footfall
on fresh snow
marks the start
of the chase.

I left the sheet off the herbs last night and they all survived.  Maybe we're finally finished with sub-freezing nights?  It's almost May, people, it's time.  Oh, and the rhubarb bread is delicious, I just put too little batter in the pans.  I should have ignored the recipe (or measured my pans) and just made one loaf.  Oh well, I've got another recipe to try this weekend.  (And I'm still buying fresh baking powder today.)

Monday, April 27, 2015

Flat Bread

How do you know when you need new baking powder?  When your loaves of rhubarb bread are as flat as pieces of French toast.  *sigh*  I haven't tasted it yet, I'm sure it'll be tasty but dense.  At first I thought I put too little batter in each pan but I suspect that the main culprit is my baking powder with the Dec 2014 expiration date.  (it's probably a bit of both)  That stuff must know when it's supposed to expire and goes all-in as soon as that date rolls around.  It's a good thing the recipe only makes a couple small loaves of bread, I'd hate to have wasted a lot of ingredients on this failure.  *sigh*  Guess I'll be buying baking powder tomorrow and trying again.  Maybe I'll try a different recipe too... could be the recipe is flawed... but it's probably the dead baking powder.  This is why I don't buy Bisquick anymore.  I just don't use the stuff fast enough to use it up before it gives up the ghost.

There are buds on the lilac bush.  I don't think I've ever looked at it this time of year before.  The buds look like tiny groups of grapes standing on the tips of the branches.  There are a few leaves poking out too but mostly there are flower buds.  Hooray!

I knitted on the sweater sleeves but they don't look much different than they did before so I won't be boring you with pictures.  I mostly just goofed off yesterday, read the paper, played computer games, and knitted.  I ran to the store in the afternoon BEFORE my abortive bread baking attempt so I didn't realize we needed new baking powder or the bread outcome would have been different.  I'm peeved about it, can you tell?

April 27--Michael von Ruber, Autumn Reflections.

Aspen leaves
yellow coins pile up
slither down
into the stream
they float away

Sitting and knitting (or doing crosswords or playing on the computer) for hours yesterday put an ache between my shoulder blades I can't seem to stretch out.  I want someone to pick me up by my shoulders and snap my bones back into place like you shake out a rug.  Wouldn't it feel great to have everything all lined up again?  Yeah, that'll never happen, but I can dream, can't I?  It's Monday--again.  How do these days roar around so quickly?  Life's a blur.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Hints of Spring

I took my trusty camera out this morning to find hints of Spring.  There are a few (very few) leaf buds on the honeysuckle and the apple tree.  The Bleeding Hearts have sprouted in the shade beside the honeysuckle, and a few rhubarb leaves are of cutting size.  Woohoo!  I printed off the recipe for Orange Rhubarb bread, I'm ready.
I got all the laundry done yesterday (done but not folded and put away; folding's Durwood's job so I have to carry it up out of the basement for him to do his part) and I turned the collars of his 2 favorite flannel shirts and patched the torn armpit of his terrycloth bathrobe.  THEN I sat myself on the couch and knitted on the sleeves.  I got through the first 40 rows (increases every 4th row), next comes increases every 6th row four times which should give me 66 sts (if I'm doing it right; I should probably count my stitches, shouldn't I?), after which I'll knit even until I have 19 inches of sleeve before beginning the decreases for the sleeve cap.  So I guess I'm doing pretty well, progress wise, and so far (knock wood) I'm resisting knitting on any other WIP (work in progress) or starting anything new and, trust me, I have a folder full of ideas of what to make next, plus my Ravelry queue.  Eesh, I'll be Methuselah-old before I get it all done, but then I've probably got enough yarn already to make most of it, god help me.

Durwood and I did a little Wii bowling last night.  I won one and he won one before we decided to stop before he overdid it.  We'll have another match today to decide the World Championship of Living Room Bowling.  And then we'll do it all over again another day.  Eventually it'll get warm outside and I want us to do some things before next winter blows in that don't involve sitting around the house, so he needs to build up his stamina a bit.  Winter will happen soon enough so I want us to DO things, like go out toward Cecil to an Amish bakery I've heard of, just random local things to get us up and OUT while it's nice-ish.

April 26--Bruce Peterson, S5-55, Bank Columns & Money.

Cold columned cathedral
to the Lord God Cash,
paved in Filthy Lucre,
ringed with the glitter
of silver, copper, gold.
Lullaby swish of fanned bills,
the warm jangle
of a pocketful of change.
Money makes the world
go around, the song says,
grab all you can
as it spins by.

I'm going to go cut a bit of rhubarb and get some quick bread in the oven, then I'm going to knit more on my sleeves.  Really.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Breakfast with the Dive Guys

Last Thursday the boss of the Dive Guys stopped into the shop to ask if I'd please come to breakfast on Saturday to help outfit the students and take the money because it'd be the first time we'd had an Open Water weekend since getting the new POS in January--and it's a good thing I did.  (see how cool the sky looked when I crossed the bridge this morning?)  I ended up having to call the tech and she spent 25 minutes reconfiguring the thing's brains.  I'll be calling her next week for detailed instructions so that the next weekend runs smoothly plus I can print detailed how-tos that we can refer to.  God, learning this thing never ends.

Further proof that blocking your knitting is a good idea:  once the front and back of the Red Marl sweater were pinned out it was obvious that I'd stopped knitting the fronts about 1 1/4" too soon.  (it's extremely difficult to measure the ever-curling stockinette with any accuracy)  Happily I hadn't woven in the tails yet so I can frog back to where I started the shoulder decreases, put in a lifeline (so I'll know where to measure from), and knit those few rows, then redo the decreases.  Easy peasy and a whole lost less frustrating than finding out I was short when trying to sew all the pieces together.  Last night I realized why people knit short-sleeved sweaters.  I feel like I've been working on these sleeves forever and I'm not getting anywhere, but in reality while I haul my knitting to and from work I don't really spend a lot of time knitting, mostly I avoid knitting on them because they're so boring.  But if I ever want to wear the darned sweater I'd better get over it and get these sleeves knitted.  Really.

April 25--Bruce Peterson, S5-25 Cellular Phone.

We thought it couldn't get smaller
but it did.
We thought it couldn't get faster
but it did.
We thought big shoulder pads were the height of fashion
then they weren't (thank god)
Technology changes,
Fashion comes and goes,
Good thing people

Today's a laundry day and I promised Durwood that I'd finish turning the collars on his 2 favorite flannel shirts, THEN I'll knit on the sweater sleeves.  Cross my heart, and there's always tomorrow too, besides it isn't nice enough to want to be outside.

Friday, April 24, 2015

Rhubarb Report

Look at the rhubarb!  It's really growing.  I feel a pie coming on--or cake or bread or cobbler or rhubarb brown betty--some baked good with rhubarb in it is in my immediate future.  It might get made tomorrow or not until Sunday but I definitely see enough mature leaves to make some small rhubarb delicacy soon.

The herbs are surviving too.  I uncovered them this morning once it got into the 40s.  Most of it looks none the worse for wear, the basil seems to have suffered the most from the inhospitable-to-tender-annuals temps but I have faith that it'll rally once the sun warms it up and stays warm for a few days.  It's supposed to be warming up soon, even at night, but I'm not putting the tan bedsheet away just yet.

Last week I was cruising the clearance aisle at Walmart and came upon a modern-day version of the Sassy Seat we had when DD was small.  The Sassy Seat was a molded plastic and metal framed clamp-on-the-table high chair.  It wasn't very secure and had no way to belt the baby in.  Today's models are much safer, better padded, have a 5-point harness, and clamp on much more securely.  They aren't cheap either, but this one was half price so I snapped it up.  LC likes being right at the table with BaBa and MeMaw, we like her here too.

When Lala and I were walking from the car to the theater for the lecture the other night the sun was sliding behind a big cloud bank in the west and I snapped a couple pictures.  Both of us are big fans of the sky and Lala's especially partial to clouds, so I thought you might like to see these too.

April 24--Reagan Bradshaw, Fortune Cookie on Golf Tee.

He rocks into his stance,
head down,
wrists locked.
The breeze on his cheek
makes him shift
ever so slightly.
Another hip rock,
he coils, pauses,
uncoils in a blur.
His driver arcs around,
back over his shoulder.
If he's lucky
his ball will fly further
than the tee.

I've never played golf (too much boobage in the way) but my parents were avid so I heard a lot of game rehash over the years.  I've always believed the saying that golf is "a good walk spoiled."  I'd rather walk in the woods or sit and watch water flow or wave.  It's a sunny day and I'm so grateful.  Happy Friday!  It's knitting night, oh boy.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

At Least It's Sunny

Sunny always looks warmer than cloudy with snow flurries (ya think?) and it's supposed to start warming up.  I was happy to see that the clouds were headed east and the trailing edge was breaking up so that I could see blue sky and sunshine when I got up this morning.  Maybe it'll be warm enough to take LC to the zoo this weekend.  I bought a family pass the other day so we can go as much as we want to all year long.  This is a good thing.  She loves sheep and they have them (baa!!!), I love giraffes we can feed, and there's lots of running room for a girl on the go.  Hmm, maybe I need to invest in a toddler leash.  I remember Mom had what she called harnesses for TW and AJ when they were 3 years old or so.  They were adventurous twin boys who were never lost when they were together so she needed a small advantage when we were out.  (I also think that was after TW darted into the street and got hit by a car so she was smart to use restraints to keep them safe.)  I remember us being downtown and a pair of middle-aged women in gloves and hats and city suits stopped behind us on a corner.  One of them said to her friend, "Look at that, she has those babies on leashes like they were animals."  Never being shy, Mom turned around and said, "If you want to chase them, I'll turn them loose."  The woman harrumphed and looked away.  I think they look a bit less like a dog harness (and those old ones didn't go around their necks... really they didn't) these days but I can see using one for LC at the zoo because right now her favorite phrase is "let's go!"

The forsythia's blooming!  It's just starting but I am thrilled to see the few yellow flowers on the barren branches.  The daffodils and hyacinths are still doing their job of keeping Spring alive.  I emptied and drained the fountain last night and put the heater back into the birdbath as I said I would.  I'll restart the fountain when it's a little more reliably above freezing at night.

April 23--Brian Fraunfelter, BF503.

Under thin ice
the web of blue bubbles
looks like single cells,
clustered on a microscope slide
stained and sliced
to be counted, studied.
A shaft of week
spring sunlight
ends the experiment

Time to go pick up some scuba tanks at the testing place and then zoom over the river (but not through any woods) to work.  See ya later, alligator.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

A Night to Remember

Lala and I went to hear Gloria Steinem and Bell Hooks discuss feminism last night.  It was amazing, not only what they said and who they are but the atmosphere in the room was energizing and uplifting.  I felt validated in my life choices and recognized for the place I am in life right now.  I needed that.

There was a small, sad contingent of protesters shuffling in the street outside the theater, carrying signs and praying the rosary.  I'm not clear what they objected to... actually I know exactly what they were protesting, the bishop made a to-do about them talking about abortion (which is how I heard that the speakers would be there in the first place). I wonder why they object to women having control over their own bodies.  Until the protesters step forward and take responsibility for the women and babies, making sure they have medical care, a safe environment to live in, and enough to eat maybe they want to rethink their position.  Pray, yes.  Interfere, no.

It snowed this morning.  No, really.  Not enough to cover anything but for a while there around 6:30 the flakes flew fast and furious.  It was also cold enough to freeze the birdbath and the water in the fountain.  I'll be draining the fountain tonight and putting the heater back in the birdbath because the lows for the next week are supposed to dip below freezing.  *sigh*  For the time being my tender herb plants are wearing a stylish tan bedsheet huddled against the wall of the house for warmth.  It's blasted cold out today, winter coat cold, although I couldn't bring myself to put mine on.  I am wearing long jeans and wool socks, and I've got an emergency pack of foot warmers in my purse, just in case.  Brr.

April 22--Lightscapes, TCFX-020295.

Talk talk talk
talk talk
wired or wireless
inanities bounce
from tower to satellite
and back to tower
before the bits or bytes
or pulses
squawk out of the receiver
Shelly tells Reg that
Gloria thinks that
Lisa likes Jason
or maybe Michael.

There are workmen outside sawing up the sidewalk trying to trace the lines to see where they go.  It's noisy.  I think I'll put in some earplugs.  Time to heat up my soup for lunch.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Tiny Flakes of Frozen Rain

Yeah, I'm not saying that word, even though something resembling that was pelting me when I walked out of the dollar store earlier.  Remember how gorgeous it was last Friday, all sunny, breezy, and 72 degrees?  It isn't like that any more.  It isn't anything resembling that.  It's blowing a cold gale and these little pieces of frozen stuff are riding the wind every so often.  Nothing is gathering in groups on the edges of the street or in protected chilly corners but it's supposed to dip below freezing tonight and for the next few nights, so a trip down to the old sheets box in the basement for something to cover my tender herbs is definitely in order.  Sheesh.  Way to bamboozle us, Mother Nature.  Here are some scilla to cleanse your brain of that stuff.

I managed to get a halfway decent photo of my supper plate yesterday so you can feast your eyes on the wonderfulness that is Italian Braised Chicken.  It's superlatively yummy and we're very glad to have 2 more suppers of it waiting in the wings.  *takes a bow for no good reason*

I had a quite a bit of knitting time between customers yesterday so the Red Marl sweater sleeves are progressing nicely.  I'm very glad that I decided to knit them together so that I don't have to take detailed notes to make sure that they're identical.  Sometimes I think I have more than one flickering brain cell left.  Sometimes.

My pal Lala is coming over in a couple hours for supper and then she and I (and a few hundred other people) are going over to St. Norbert College in DePere to hear bell hooks and Gloria Steinem speak.  We're excited, DD & SIL1 are jealous, and we can't wait.

April 21--Eric Crossan, Smooth Sailing.

The sea, like a copper sheet,
ripples away
from the sailboat's bow.
There's just enough wind
to fill the sails
in the orange sunset light.
Following in the wake
of ancient sailors
Down Time defines
a return to the laws
of wind, currents,
and tide.

I'd like to be on a sailboat under a sunny Caribbean sky right now, wouldn't you?  Instead I'm bundled up in thick socks, long jeans, a t-shirt, and a flannel shirt--AND I'll be wearing a winter coat when I go out later.  *sigh*

Monday, April 20, 2015

Rainy Monday

Last week's weather was a rotten tease.  It was a little cooler on Saturday, Sunday wasn't any better in the heat department and it was windy too.  Today it's overcast, chilly, and drizzly.  Whoop.  Yeah, yeah, we need the rain and it is only April 20 but it was so nice last week--warm and sunny--that I was fooled into thinking that Global Warming was really a thing and it was here.  But, no, it's a normal Green Bay spring, mercurial and unsatisfyingly random.  I wanted it to stay the way it was last Friday--sunny and 70--for a while, like until Halloween, then autumn could come, the leaves change colors, and fall would stick around until Christmas Eve when it would snow 6" for Santa's sleigh ride.  After New Year's Day the snow would melt and temps would start inching back up to 70 by mid-April.  (Did I  mention that I'd like to live in Camelot?)  I am very glad that I spent all of Friday out in the yard so I got to lap up all of the sunshine, warmth, and vitamin D available.  Now I can glare out the window at the rainy and chilly and wish I hadn't put my warmest socks downstairs and that I'd worn full-length jeans today.  Oh, well, no one ever got a cold in their shins, plus my socks don't match once again.

I got the Red Marl sweater parts out of their wool wash bath, spun the water out in the washer, and patted and pinned them out to dry in their proper shape and size.  That tub of wet wool did make the basement smell like I was hiding wet sheep down there while it was soaking but I noticed this morning when I was down there that the aroma is dissipating.  I got a little bit of organizing and shifting around done yesterday afternoon but my knitting pal, MW, came over so we had to visit and then I asked him to stay to supper so Durwood got to have company too.

That Italian Braised Chicken Durwood made was excellent.  Since we had twice as much chicken as the recipe called for I suggested he make a double batch, which was all well and good except it was too much for the crockpot, but it did fit in the largest Dutch oven, so we set the oven on Low-ish, set the timer for 6 hours, and hoped for the best.  It was perfect.  I ladled off a lot of the juice and Durwood thickened it a bit before stirring it back into the pot.  We're both big fans of one-pot meals and this one's definitely a keeper.  I took a picture but it's not the most photogenic plate.  You'll have to trust me when I say that chicken, white beans, onion, bell pepper, fennel bulb, diced tomatoes and tomato paste, all seasoned with rosemary, oregano, salt & pepper, and garnished with Parmesan cheese and parsley is one yummy combo.

April 20--Amos Chan, New York Skyline.

From the water
you can see them,
the twin towers
of the World Trade Center,
dominating the skyline.
Bastions of capitalism,
they are the tallest
by far,
dwarfing every other
Who would guess
that they'd become

Not so cheerful for a rainy Monday but I don't select the prompts, I just write about whatever picture comes to the top in the rotation.  Enjoy your Monday.  Stay warm and dry.  I'm trying to.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Out Side

I love looking outside--to see the clouds in the eastern sky when I open the patio door drapes in the morning, to see what's blooming or sprouting, to see how close I am to being able to make a rhubarb pie--so here's your chance to look too.

I think I almost like sun-behind-cloud more than crack-of-dawn colors in the morning sky.

The grape hyacinths are starting to bloom and the first clump of daffodils I planted here in October 1978, a few months after we finished building the duplex and a month before DS was born, have bloomed.  It makes me so happy to see them.  When Mom and Dad lived here Mom would call to tell me that "her" daffodils were blooming, so pleased that she had flowers before I did.  Well, Mom, they're mine again but they still make me think of you.

I learned that if you leave a plant pot over the spot where a hyacinth wants to grow the hyacinth leans over to send its leaves and flower stalk along the ground because it HAS to bloom no matter the contortions it must go through.

Seemingly overnight the lilies have gone from little green nubbins barely peeking out of the mulch to these 6-inch tall sprouts.  Go, lilies, go!

And I see pie in the near future.  Look at how much those leaves have changed since Thursday!

I don't have a before and after picture but I woke up this morning knowing how to fix the top saucer of the new fountain, so it and the fish spout stay level and the water spills out the spout instead of the edge or dribbles down the water tube, without going to Home Depot.  See, there was an extra brass nut in the box that wasn't mentioned in the assembly directions so it stayed in a tiny baggie in the box--and I woke up today knowing what it was for.  I unhooked the tube, unscrewed the fish bubbler spout, and the nut we used, then I wriggled off the rubber gasket that rests over the hole in the center of the saucer.  I screwed the extra nut down as far as possible on the brass fitting, put it through the hole in the support, put on the saucer, wriggled the rubber gasket down as tight to the saucer as possible, screwed on the other nut until it was finger tight to the gasket, then screwed the fish bubbler spout back on, hooked up the water supply tube and plugged it in.  Fingers crossed... it worked!  The saucer's sitting there level, the fish isn't leaning over like a drunk, and the water's cascading out of the spout to the next lowest saucer like it's supposed to.  I rock!

I knitted on the Red Marl sweater sleeves a bit yesterday but they don't look much longer so I'm not going to force you to look at them.  Trust me, I'm working on them.  Which reminds me I put the front and back pieces of the sweater in a basin of wool wash yesterday and never got back down there to take them out, press most of the water out, and pat them into shape to dry.  I should do that.

April 19--Earl Zubkoff, Fiber Widgets.

I don't understand
how fiber optics work.
How light travels through
the clear fibers
only coming out the end
like water from a hose.
Why doesn't it shine
out the sides?

Do you know?

I'd better go rescue my sweater parts now and, since I zoomed to Walmart this morning for a stack of bins for the yarn and fabric that has no home, I could take care of that while I'm down there too.  See?  Not really lolling today.  I'm just not good at it.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Quick Bread

What does one do with a big can of pumpkin that's nearing its death date?  Why one mixes up a double batch of pumpkin bread with raisins and chopped nuts, of course.  Some to eat, some to freeze, and some to share--because we're nice like that.  Our house smells so good I almost don't want to cook anything else today so the aroma of pumpkin and spices isn't overshadowed.  Almost.  There're some leftovers that are teetering on the brink so we'll "pick $hit with the chickens" as Mom used to say, for supper tonight.  Tomorrow Durwood's got big plans for a new recipe for crockpot chicken he wants to make.  (I went to the grocery for the ingredients today so he'll have everything at hand so I can loll around tomorrow because I sure didn't loll yesterday or today.)  I'm really anxious to try it, it looks deeeelicious.

I made good progress on the sleeves of the Red Marl sweater last night, got the cuffs to 4" and then shifted into stockinette while at the same time increasing every 4 rows--and I only forgot to drop one ball of yarn and pick up the other when I shifted sleeves ONCE.  I was finishing the first stitch on the next cuff with the previous cuff's working yarn when I realized that I was beginning to knit yarn handcuffs and fixed that stitch right away.  Whew.  That was a close one.  Too much talking and laughing plays hell with my concentration.  I even shushed everyone for a minute or two while I read and reread a line of instruction.  I've been knitting on this darned sweater for so many years and I'm so determined to finish it this year I don't want to make mistakes, at least not big ones that are hard or time-consuming to fix.

I was talking about my little squills blooming and the gardeners at the table were unfamiliar with them so I searched them on the web on my Kindle and found that they're also called scilla.  I know that these all blue ones were from GramMary's backyard but I think the white-with-blue-stripes ones were bonus bulbs with a big bulb order from Michigan Bulb Co. or someone like that.  They're so tiny, so short-lived, but so pretty and delicate.  I love 'em.

April 18--Jack McConnell, Executive Kisses Pig.

Pucker up, Porky,
time to kiss the boss.
Kiss your way up the ladder.
Kiss for a raise.
Kiss because you like kissing...
In the 70's cops were pigs,
nobody loved them--
except their moms.
I thought executives were
fat cats,
when did they get promoted
to pigs?

It was a definite challenge to write a poem about a man in a suit puckering up to kiss a great big ol' boar, but I think I managed admirably.  I think I'll swap my winter socks for my summer socks today.  Don't want to rush into anything, besides it's supposed to get downright chilly later in the week.  I will be covering my tender herbs at bedtime, yes I will.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Yard Work

I had made up my mind that I'd use today to clean up the yard and garden for spring.  I went out at 10:30 and except for a half-hour jaunt to Home Depot for more herb plants (only $2 each! nice big healthy plants!) I worked steady until about 2:15.  No wonder my back hurt.  Now I have 2 nice piles of trimmings and dead things for the stick truck to pick up next time they're in the neighborhood.  I also have 3 pots of herbs on the patio and I put the bay leaf bush out until it gets frosty again.  Look!  Pots of tasty, green leaves.  Cross my heart I'll let them grow a bit before I start pinching leaves off.

Since we save peels and veggie trimmings for the chickens, every once in a while I get to stop to collect a few eggs.  See what I got on my way home from work yesterday?  A blue-green one from General Tso or Kiev, a white one from Henny, and the light brown one from Princess Cuckoo.  I know it seems pretty nuts but I absolutely love having eggs from chickens I know.

Before I got dressed in my playing-in-the-dirt clothes I finished the last few rows of the Red Marl sweater front.  Woohoo!  I'm taking the front and back to show off at Friday Night Knitting tonight and then tomorrow they get to have a little soak in wool wash and then I'll block them into shape so I can sew them together when I get the sleeves done.  I've got a couple inches of cuffs knitted already and am certain I have enough yarn to finish them (since I bought the yarn when a shop went out of business in 2009 and the yarn's discontinued so I'm guessing I wouldn't be able to find more if I needed it anyway).

April 17--Aiupy Photographs, Corn.

What is now uniform
once was random,
yellow kernels in tidy rows
evolved from snaggles,
big and small in a jumble,
colored from white through
yellow and orange
all the way to red.
A cob of red corn
was good for a kiss
at a shucking bee.
To me uniformity isn't
an improvement.

I've showered off the dust, little pieces of plants, and a gallon of sweat.  I think I'll go make myself a ham sandwich and heat up my share of the remaining roasted cauliflower from the other night.  I'm getting hungry and it's getting on toward time to go to knitting.  Byeee!