Sunday, May 31, 2015

Iris Blooming

I noticed when we came home from erranding the other day that the irises on the side of the house are blooming.  Iris are so pretty, aren't they?  I like their fuzzy little throat.  I need to find me some old-fashioned ones to plant, the two-tone purple ones with the yellow fuzzy throat like Grandma had.  She called them "flags," I don't know why.

I went out right before sundown to take their pictures and saw the moon up in the nearly clear sky.  It didn't show up well on here but those wispy clouds were pale pink.

There was a mess of mud spot and grass on the porch and I looked up to see a robin had tried, once again, to build a nest on top of the front light.  It never works, but she or he keep trying and I keep knocking it down and sweeping up the failures.  For once both of the birdhouses on the patio are in business, one with chickadees and the other with sparrows.  All of the parents are working overtime bringing fat pale green worms back to fill hungry beaks.

May 31--Jack Dykinga, Lightning; Organ Pipe Cactus, AZ.  The sky and the light were orange.  Rita had never seen orange light like that.  At sunrise and sunset, sure, she had seen the clouds on the horizon turn orange but never light that turned the whole world orange.  There was lightning in the west too.  She pulled over onto the shoulder of the road and dug her camera out of its bag.  When she stepped out of the car she felt the electricity in the air.  A semi blasted by, its horn wailing, and its slipstream pelted her with dust and stones.  Her plan was to take a few shots and then drive out of the storm's path.  She took her photos and was on her way to her car when a bold of lightning hit the road just ahead of her car, blasting apart the roadway, and knocking her back into the cactus along the shoulder.

It's a breezy day and the forsythia branches are scraping the siding and banging on the a/c housing.  Seems like a good time to go out there with my lopping shears and do a bit of trimming.  I love going to play with sharp things.  Later.

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Lots to Tell, No Excuses--Okay, Small Excuses

Sorry I missed posting yesterday but we were busy out and about.  Durwood had a gift card and wanted to cruise the aisles at Cook's Corner.  I wanted to go check out the pattern books at Hancock Fabrics right next door.  The original plan was for him to mosey through the cooking stuff and for me to fondle fabric but it didn't work like that.  It was a pretty bad breathing day (overcast and humid) so we limbered up the chair and I pushed him around *snort* until my sore ankle got sorer but not before he managed to spend his gift card on a crockpot cookbook with a lot of interesting non-American-ized recipes in it out of the clearance room and a few other things that caught his eye.  He even remembered what he'd gone for and got that.  We flung the bag into the van and then he came with me to look at pattern books and fabrics.  Well, he was less of a participant in the fabric store than I was in the cooking store but was a good fabric bolt holder for me.  He's a patient guy when we aren't shopping for clothes for him.  Who could ask for more?

I spent a lot of the day stringing about 650 tiny beads onto 200 yds. or so of yarn so I could cast on a Like Magic beaded scarf.  The magic part is you knit and purl along, regularly adding beads, then when you're almost out of yarn you drop stitches from end to beginning which makes a simple beaded lace scarf.  Since I'm using smaller yarn and smaller beads than the pattern calls for I consulted with LB at knitting last night and added a couple more columns and I'd decided on my own to double up the beads.  This is the first time I've really made anything with beads aside from a few accent beads I added with the crochet hook method so dealing with that many beads already strung on the yarn and having to be pushed down the yarn often is kind of a pain but I'm anxious to get to the dropping stitches part.  

The Friday Night Knitters were a big help figuring out what to do about the collar of my Red Marl sweater.  I took it, along with some Wonder Clips, last night, clipped the collar flap into place and tried it on for them.  With all of the rest of the sweater assembled the collar doesn't look nearly as awful as it did when it was sewed into the front and back flapping open so I'll sew it back into place, find a button, then weave in all the tails, and have a finished sweater.  Finally.  I also cruised the yarn table at Goodwill where I found a big bag of white acrylic yarn to make baby sweaters for charity.  I've got a pattern or two I want to try but don't want to knit things to give away in wool.  No new parents should have to worry about washing a tiny sweater when they've got a tiny baby to deal with.  This stuff should do just fine, plus I satisfied my yarn buying impulse for four bucks.  Such a deal.

It's raining today.  Boo.  It's supposed to be barely into the 60s for the weekend.  Boo.  Today's the first Farmer's Market and it's raining so I'm not going.  Boo.

Thursday night after supper I whipped up a batch of breakfast burritos for the freezer.  Durwood's a big fan and I'm a big fan of homemade ones that cost one-tenth of the store bought ones plus these have a lot fewer preservatives and salt in them even though I use brown 'n serve sausages in them.  We're refining the recipe as we go along.  Next time I'll dice and saute onions and bell peppers to stir into the eggs.

May 30--Kathleen Norris Cook, Rainbow Road.  Like a pearl floating above the far mountains, the moonlight pulled Sara up the trail.  She had promised herself that she would stop for the night on the ridge where she would be able to watch the herds moving in the valley in the morning.  Ordinarily she would have stopped for the night when it began to get dark but she was so close to the ridge that she pressed on.

I thought I'd confess that when I went for a haircut on Thursday morning I took a couple pictures of myself with my old "pixie" haircut and had Francis give it back.  I'm so glad I did.  Now when I look in the mirror I look like myself.  It's going to take quite a bit longer to get used to these naked fingernails, but I'll get there.  It's going to take a few months for them to grow out to their natural state but I plan to keep them filed and painted with some Sally Hansen nail strengthener.  Like I said, I'll get there.  And now, since it's a rainy day, I'm going to go read--a paper book.  I know!  Not listen to a book while I knit, just read a book.  How retro.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Hat Jag

I am powerless to quit making these Too Early Birthday preemie hats once I start.  I thought of them last weekend when I picked up a package of diapers to donate to a fundraiser, so I dug out a few balls of the colorful yarn I like to use to make them (I'm not a fan of pastels on babies but I know some people are so I knit one for the pile) and cast one on Monday night.  Tuesday I was too busy to knit much but got 3/4 of the way finished.  I finished the first one yesterday morning and immediately cast on a second one.  That one was done except for closing the top by the end of my workday, and as soon as that one was all done, I cast on a third.  I feel like yelling "I've fallen and I can't get up."

Tonight I'm going to press Durwood into service to help me split this skein of yarn in two so I can string 350 beads onto it and then knit a Like Magic Beaded Scarf with this yarn and beads I bought in Rapid City, SD a few years ago to make a different beaded scarf.  (you see how quickly I get around to these things)  Maybe having a beaded scarf to knit will dilute the hat jag.

Yesterday I was suddenly tired of paying too much money every 2-3 weeks to get my nails done so I made an appointment and had them taken off on my way home from work.  Taking them off only cost a third of having them filled and painted did.  Now they hurt.  Well, think about it, they're cemented on so taking them off peels off layers of nail (and my nails are splitty anyway) so they're extra thin right now.  I'm thinking it'll take a couple months for them to grow out to their regular thickness but I'll keep a coat of clear polish on them, maybe a couple coats, to give them a little strength.  Maybe Sally Hansen has something I can use...  By Christmas I figure I'll be tired of my ratty nails and go back in for a new set... or not.  I'm getting a haircut on my way to work today and, no, I'm not having it all taken off, just getting it trimmed a bit.  (sheesh, way to jump to conclusions)

May 28--Larry Ulrich, Sequoias.  The tree was so big that Maddie felt like a bug.  She sat in the cleft where the bark had split and knew she was invisible.  It was quiet down on the ground.  All the wind noise came from far overhead.  She bet when it rained not many raindrops got to the ground, but they had to, didn't they.  She had a mental picture of a guy with a watering can making a thousand trips from the spigot to water just one tree and there were hundreds, maybe thousands of the things as far as she could see in every direction.  When Mrs. Williquette first started talking about the field trip to see the sequoias Maddie thought it was a dumb idea.  She could go out her own back door to look at trees every day, but these trees were something else.  They were giants.  One was so big you could drive a car through an opening cut in the trunk.  That was just crazy.  Didn't those people know they could kill a tree by cutting the bark and cutting off its sap?

Since my haircut's at 9 o'clock and it's almost in DePere (waaaay across the river to the next tiny town, must be at least 7 or 8 miles, maybe 9) I'd better get a move on.  Seeyabye.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Well, I'll Be Darned

I found some things to talk to you about after all this morning.  I looked at the sky when I opened the patio curtain and couldn't resist.  I think I like an ominous sky almost as much as I like one with the sun barely coming up tinting the clouds all pretty.

The lilies of the valley are still going strong.  I picked a few to have on the table and think I'll pick a bunch more.  We shared another meager portion of home-picked asparagus last night.  I should probably plant more or fertilize what's there, maybe then we'll have enough to really have servings for supper.

One of the Friday Night Knitters is a big supporter of a local charity for single moms that's always looking for household items.  Fortunately most of us are at an age where we're paring down our belongings so we can throw in stuff for them.  This week SM told us that they're having a fundraising event and are looking for things to auction off so we decided to put together a basket of baby things.  LB had a spare knitted blanket, CB says she's got a hat or two, FW is a bootie genius so I'm sure she's got some, and KW thought she had a couple items in her "done" box.  I volunteered to pick up a package of diapers since all my baby knitting goes to a certain little girl these days but then I thought I should start up my preemie hat production again.  The lady that has knitted a few hundred preemie hats for the knitting guild is no longer able to make them (she's in her mid-90s and her eyesight's not what it was) so I cast one on.  I've got a bunch of this variegated acrylic yarn and a favorite pattern so I figure I can make one a week and have a few to donate.  It's good for me to think outside my own world every once in a while.  Mixed in with the letters and photos in my mother-in-law's files were a few old knitting patterns.  I'll enjoy having them especially since she's got notes scribbled in some them.

I cruised the gift shop on my way out of the zoo yesterday and found this bag, made in Nepal, and only $21.  Since I'm a member I get a discount so it was just under $20.  I had to have it.  Look at those colors and shapes.  Who could be down in the dumps looking at that?  Plus it has a phone pocket on the wide strap.  Convenient.  I'll be shifting my purse crap to this bag while I eat breakfast this morning.  My grown-up lady style (Miche bag) can take the summer off, I think I'm more funky than stylish anyway.

May 27--Larry Ulrich, Havasu Creek, Grand Canyon, AZ.  The narrowest shaft of sunlight made its way down to the creek.  The canyon walls were so high and so close together that there was only an hour a day when the sun was directly overhead and able to touch the bottom.  That didn't mean that it was cool down there.  The heat rolled off the mesa, fell to the bottom, and stayed there.  No breeze blew it away.  Wind rarely blew straight down.  The creek flowed flat and blue-green from the dissolved minerals in the water.

I was going to put a dead body in that blue-green water but then I remembered that I'd put a dead body in the lake the night before so I didn't want you to think I'm a ghoul or anything.  Time to get dressed for work and find me some breakfast.  Hasta la vista, babies.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

God, I Feel Old

I just looked on iTunes to see if Neil deGrasse Tyson's Serius XM talk show is a podcast.  It is, so I'm downloading selected episodes (I'll let you know how I like it once I've listened to a couple), but I found it in the pages of the AARP Bulletin, a newsletter for old people.  Neil deGrasse Tyson is the Carl Sagan of today.  He's the director of the Hayden Planetarium in NYC and the host of a new Cosmos show and his enthusiasm about the universe and science in general is contagious.  Liking science-y things doesn't make me feel old but reading every page of the AARP thing kind of does because now I fit the demographic and can kind of see myself in the shoes of the people in the articles.

I went to the zoo this morning and I swear to God I was the oldest person there.  Everyone else was a young mom pushing a kid or two in a stroller AND, to add insult to injury, the giraffes weren't hungry so they didn't come over to be fed.  What a gyp.  The chance to feed the giraffes whenever I want to is a big part of the reason I sprang for a membership this year.  I did see a gorgeous male peacock pretty close, he didn't have his tail spread but still he was beautiful.  One of the llamas has a skin condition on his head so he has no hair on it.  He looks like of like I imagined the thestrals in the Harry Potter novels looked, skeletal with black skin stretched over bones.  Eesh.  He's not very friendly so I didn't feel bad about
Nov. 2014, not today!
not hand-feeding him llama chow.

The lawn mowers came today--finally.  I was about ready to see if I couldn't comb the grass, maybe part it along the line from the house to the street...  Seems they had equipment issues last week (a phone call would have been nice) so Durwood said the guy went over the lawn three times in order to mow down the long grass.  I hope this was just a hiccup and the rest of the mowing season will be smooth.

May 26--Richard Pasley, Rippled Water.  It looked like seaweed curled around a branch.  Gina stood with her shoes almost touching the water, squinting against the glare.  The day was cold but sunny and she could tell that the very edge of the lake had frozen overnight.  The water had to be cold, too cold to go wading but she knew whatever that was didn't belong in there.  "What are you doing?"  The deep voice made her jump.  She turned around to see Mac Lewis standing just at the tree line, hands shoved in the pockets of his tight Levis.  "There's something in the lake, something caught on a branch and I'm trying figure out what it is."  His steps crunched across the pebble shore.  He stopped beside her and looked where she pointed.  She heard his swift intake of breath and felt his hand on her shoulder.  "That's not a something, it's a someone."  He turned her away from the water.  "Go sit on that log and keep watch.  I'm going to climb up to the road and call the sheriff."  Gina did as she was told and thought the day had gotten a lot colder while she waited for Mac to return.

It's so darned late to be blogging I am absolutely certain that I won't have a darned thing to talk about tomorrow morning but I'll try because I'm just that nice.  Oh, and I kind of like the podcast, it's dorky and the one I'm listening to is about the Mythbusters, I'm a huge fan.  Nighty-night.

Monday, May 25, 2015

Yep, We Got Rain

It rained yesterday afternoon and evening, a nice, steady, soaking rain that we really needed and that probably rained out all kinds of fun holiday weekend plans for those who have that sort of thing.  And it looks like it's planning a repeat today.  Oh well, I got my grilling out done on Friday (remember?) so my plans were for sewing up and cutting out.

I got the sunbonnet sewed together yesterday afternoon.  It's a nice, simple, old pattern that I printed off the Mother Earth News site and enlarged the pieces onto the back of some cheap Xmas wrap I bought at Goodwill the day after Christmas.  (brilliant idea, DD!)  Mom was on my mind a lot while I was sewing yesterday.  I used her old Gingher pinking shears to trim the seam of the brim because I put 2 layers of heavy cotton canvas in as stiffener so it's really bulky if you don't trim it off.  I have a photo of her showing off one of her dressed dolls on the pinboard over my sewing machine, she's wearing her little scissors for snipping threads on an elastic and I have it and wear it all the time.  I'm confident she's overseeing my work and helping me do a better job.

I also did a little poking around on the bookshelves down there.  I want to weed out the ones I know I'm not going to read again or have on audiobook so probably don't need a paper copy of and I want to keep a box of them in the back of my car so when I spy a Little Free Library I can put in a book or two.  I don't want to donate them to Goodwill, they'll sell them and I want to give them away.  On the bookshelves I ran across some files of Durwood's mom's.  What treasures I found!  Old love letters from Pappy to Vi and back, letters Vi wrote home when they were on their BIG trip around the world in 1974 or 5, even one from Durwood's brother RJ from somewhere in the Middle East that's partly in Arabic.  My favorite has to be the one written on Shepheard's Hotel stationery from Cairo, Egypt because I've always been a big fan of the Amelia Peabody novels and she and Radcliffe always stayed at Shepheard's.  Now I really do need to learn how to use the "scan" function on my printer to make digital copies of it all and then send some of it to Durwood's brothers.

May 25--Carlos Alejandro, Gyroscope.  Minnie's world was spinning out of control.  Her children had moved on with their lives, lives that had taken them states away from home.  Her job in the plant office had been phased out when the company had merged with a bigger one.  It took her a while to get the hang of being retired but she took some classes, made some friends, and built a rich and satisfying life after all those years of work.  But yesterday Ed came in after work to tell her that he'd bought a cabin in the Yukon and planned to move there immediately.  He couldn't have picked a place she had less desire to move to if he'd tried.  Maybe that's why he chose it.

Just now I noticed that the giant spider has returned to spin her web across the top of the patio doors.  She and I will have a few days of awkwardness when I walk out and plow through some of her guy wires but eventually she'll figure out how tall I'm not and attach her web up higher than my head.  Hope you're enjoying your Memorial Day and I hope it's not raining where you are.  We had some sunshine within the last 15 minutes but it didn't last longer than it took me to walk from the desk into the kitchen--and that ain't long.  The timer's about to buzz that our leftover pizza's about heated up.  Sayonara.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Waiting for Rain

The weather guys said we have a 100% chance of rain today, tonight, and tomorrow.  Welcome to Memorial Day weekend.  See how smart I was to rotisserie the chicken yesterday instead of today?  I must have made my fire a lot hotter because that 6# chicken cooked in only 1 1/2 hours.  Yes, I took the digital thermometer out to test it before taking it off the fire.  It was done so much sooner than I thought it'd be that I had to cover it with foil and put it in a warm oven for an hour so we'd have time for cocktails.  What?  It's a holiday weekend, I can have a glass of wine.

I'm bequeathing DS our drop spreader and post-hole digger so when I got them out of the shed and into the back of my car I took the camera along to see if I could see anything pretty or new to show you.  The black iris on the side of the house is just starting to open, there's a shy little wild violet on the lot line, and the chives are blooming.  Did you know that you can pull chive blossoms apart and sprinkle the florets onto a salad?  They're kind of strong so go easy but it's a fun and pretty way to add a little onion flavor to things.  And I got a lily of the valley to pose.  Right before I picked it.

May 24--Mel Lindstrom, Hand Yanking Chain.  His knuckles popped as he grasped the cold metal chain.  It took all of his concentration to keep hold of it, not to slide back down the embankment.  Keith was fuzzy on the details of how he had gotten down there but the crawling climb back up toward the road was crystal clear.  His hands were bloodied and his shirt was in tatters from snagging on what had to be the world's thorniest underbrush.  Thank god his jeans were thick and his boots were sturdy.  He put his head down to rest now that he had a firm grip on the chain.  As far as he could tell the chain was wrapped around the guardrail.  He was content to hold onto it for as long as it took to get his strength back.  Maybe when it got light he'd get himself up to the road and flag down some help.

Since it's kinda crummy outside I'm off to do some sewing and cutting.  Hopefully the sunbonnet I make today fits LC and not her baby doll.  Fingers crossed.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

A Little Bit of Knitting & a Bird

This morning when I went out to fill the birdbath I took my camera along to see if I couldn't get an artsy photo or two of the just-blooming lilies of the valley.  I didn't have a lot of luck with those but I am kind of in love with this view of one of the ferns next to the lilies.   As I stood on the step reveling in the symmetry of the fronds I heard the rustle of wings, looked up, and was quick enough to raise my already-turned-on camera to get a picture of Mama or Papa Chickadee bringing breakfast to the brood.  Score!  I heard at least two and maybe more little "cheep, cheep, cheep"s as the food came through and the other parent bird was right behind, sitting on a feeder crook with what looked like a tasty green worm in its beak.

We had our first Friday Night Knitting in the Community Room at the West Mason Goodwill last night.  The room isn't very fancy but it's well-lit and the chairs don't pinch our fingers when we scoot closer to the table.  No one comes in to take our orders (because there's no food service) but it's free and bright and comfy enough for now.  My bread was enjoyed and I shared the recipe but brought most of it home.  I got almost done with the first part of Jane's Locks shawl, I'm just a couple stitches from getting to do something different--I think.  I confess I haven't read further in the pattern.  I know that's a rookie boner but how complicated can it be?  Just because she tells you to have 24 stitch markers lined up doesn't mean something complex is coming, right?  I'll get there later and report.

I got a whole chicken thawed out overnight, Durwood made his famous "meat paint" (half A-1, half Kitchen Bouquet) for me to brush on it, and now it's out there on the rotisserie, twirling over the charcoal roasting to perfection.  When I heard that it's supposed to rain tomorrow and Monday I decided that it'd be a smart thing to get the grilling out done today, then we'll have high quality leftovers for the rest of the holiday weekend.  Although I did buy a pound of Italian Sausage that I imagined making into patties to eat with sauteed onions and bell peppers, that could be grilled but it'd be good broiled too if it's raining.  I really like grilling out, don't you?  I'm a big fan of grilled veggies, roasted ones too.  But then I think everything's better grilled.

May 23--Doug Fornuff, Sundial.  Clarissa sat on the stone bench in the garden.  Lilies perfumed the air and bees buzzed from flower to flower.  Her book lay forgotten on her lap as she watched the shadow inch across the sundial that leaned drunkenly in the sunny center of the garden.  Drake and Daddy had brought the thing home from some estate auction out the Booneville Road.  They presented the chipped and lichen-covered garden piece as if it were the Venus de Milo complete with arms.  Her first thought was to tell them to toss it right into the junk but they were so proud of themselves that she let them put it out here.  Drake had searched online to learn how to place the sundial and the two men had spent the afternoon arguing, each one holding a compass and turning in a circle.

One of these days I'm going to get me a sundial and plant it in a sunny spot.  Right after I learn how to run an abacus.  Time to go check on my bird.  Toodle-oo!

Friday, May 22, 2015

Can You Believe It's Memorial Day Weekend Already?

I'll sound too old if I complain about the rearrangement of holidays to give government employees 3-day weekends so I'll sound almost as old by saying that time sure flies these days.  When we were young and optimistic we'd go camping on Memorial Day weekend but it inevitably turned cold and most of the time it rained on us.  Rain is no fun in a tent.  It's not even fun in a pop-up camper, it sounds cool pattering on the roof, but it's just wet and sloppy.

This morning I was excited to see Mr. Oriole and then Mrs. Oriole at the feeder.  Naturally my camera was nowhere nearby, so no pix.  Durwood saw a Red-winged Blackbird at the birdbath--twice, and I had my phone on the table so, look, birdie!

See how pretty my loaf of bread baked up?  It's getting sliced right now (thank you, Durwood) and I'll be taking it along to knitting tonight to share.  I hope they like it but it won't go to waste.  I could probably eat a whole loaf in a day without even working at it.

May 22--Phil Banko, Stormy Window.  Being in the storm was like being in a slow motion movie.  The glass had broken with an almighty crash when the neighbor's tree fell.  One of the branches backhanded the window like an abusive spouse.  That let in the wind which picked up every piece of paper in sight and set it all levitating around the room.

I keep looking out the window.  The lawn mowers are supposed to be here today and I love watching someone mow my grass, someone that isn't me.  It's a gorgeous day out but someone said it's supposed to rain Sunday and Monday.  Isn't that just like Memorial Day weekend?  It's Friday Night Knitting tonight so I'd better go round up some knitting that I can do that I don't have to think about.  Too much talking goes on to take knitting I have to focus on.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Bread & Cloth

Last Friday at knitting we were talking about bread and salt and carbs because a couple of the knitters have diabetes and struggle with carbs and one of those knitters also needs to watch her salt (I do too but not as strictly).  They complained because commercial low-salt, low-fat bread "tastes like cardboard" so I told them about the bread I make that's low-salt and NO-fat, and said I'd make a loaf for them to try next Friday.  Well, next Friday is tomorrow so I've got to get on the stick.  I stirred the dough together yesterday morning and after my shower today I formed a loaf.  It's rising now while the oven preheats and as soon as I finish this sentence I'm going to go paint it with cornstarch wash, sprinkle on sesame seeds, slash it, and slide it into the oven for half an hour.  Oh, and throw a cup of hot water into the oven so it makes a good crust.  Be right back.  Pretty soon the house is going to smell great.  Mmm, there's nothing like the smell of baking bread--unless it's onions, peppers, and garlic sauteing, that's pretty fantastic too, don't you think?

Yesterday at work I drew out the pattern for the tepee I want to sew this weekend, or at least cut out, so I didn't knit much.  Last night while icing my ankle I finished knitting the Anzac Poppy Cloth for my veteran friend's Memorial Day gift.  Naturally I ran out of yarn 6 rows from the end so I went down to nab another skein of red dishcloth cotton.  Naturally it's not exactly the same color, probably a different brand, definitely more an orange red than the blue red of the original yarn.  I almost threw a colossal s--t hemorrhage about it but then I realized that it's a dishcloth/warshrag plus my friend won't mind the color change.  He's a knitter himself and understands these things.

There was a pair of male hummingbirds having a "dogfight" around the near feeder last night but there was no way I could get the camera up and ready fast enough.  No. Way.  But it was very cool to watch for the thirty seconds it went on.  One of these days maybe we'll get one of those motion sensor movie cameras so we can get them on tape... film... pixels, whatever.

May 21--Bart Gorin, Hourglass.  Lucy had loved to turn Papa's hourglass over when she was small.  She would watch the sand grains sift through the pinch in the glass and tumble into a pile in the bottom.  Papa told her that it was a way to mark time, like a clock, but much older.  From then on she watched for hourglasses in souvenir shops and tucked into game boxes in thrift stores.  People thought she collected games but it was really the timers she was after.  She had the rule of never paying more than two dollars for an hourglass unless it was an exceptionally beautiful one.  Her favorite was Papa's, of course, with its walnut frame and glass body with the continents etched on it.

And that's it for today.  The guy's coming to tune up the air conditioners for the season in a couple hours so I need to make sure that Durwood's up and decently attired, and I have to put a note on the renters' door that we'll be letting him in to do that.  I forgot last night  Have a great day and let's hope the temperature hits 65 today.  It's Memorial Day weekend, it's about time we got to stop worrying about nighttime frost.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

And It Fits!

I spent most of yesterday afternoon and evening sewing up the side and underarm seams of the Red Marl sweater.  I sewed in some of the tails too, not all of them, but some.  I was too chicken to try it on last night but this morning I was feeling brave so I slipped it on over my jammies.  It fits!  Would you look at that?  I'd have laid even odds that it wouldn't fit, that it'd be too small or way too big or look stupid but it does none of those things.  Now, about that collar...  I still don't know but it's kind of too warm to wear now anyway so I've got a little time to ponder.

The lilies of the valley are blooming.  Yay!  And the ferns are unfurling.  I love the way they look curling up out of the thick lily leaves.  There's nothing like the fragrance of lilies of the valley.  Mmm, dreamy.

Yesterday evening I managed, after much attempting and many empty frames, to snap a photo of a lady hummingbird sipping nectar and a gentleman downy woodpecker having a snack on the suet feeder.  Those birds, they're so zippy and their timing is just right so that as soon as I'm ready to push the button or even as I'm pushing the button off they go and I get a picture of an empty feeder, no bird in sight.  It's frustrating.

In weather news, we had frost warnings last night and when I got up there was ice on the birdbath.  It's May 20th, people, MAY 20th.  We truly live in the tundra.  I fully expect a polar bear to come lumbering down the street any day now.  Sheesh.

May 20--LaFavor/Parallel Productions, French Horn.  The muted glow of the single light touched the brass of the old horn making it look better than it was.  The finish had dulled over the years and time in a junior high band room had not been kind.  The horn had a good, true sound.  Years of abuse hadn't changed that.

Not an inspiring image after all.  I think I'll take a roll of paper to work today and draw off the tepee pattern so I can maybe cut it out tomorrow and sew on it on the weekend.  Or I'll sit and stare at the computer screen like a zombie.  Might be one of those days.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Sleeves On!

I got over my mad at the Red Marl sweater yesterday (kinda sorta) and sewed on the sleeves at work in the afternoon.  It didn't really take long and was rather satisfying even if the abomination of a collar flap thingy is still attached to the neck back.  I intend to sew up the sides today while icing my ankle (it still aches and is a lovely shade of black and blue), then I'll only have the collar to think about and finish.  Being that close to finishing I think I'll give myself permission to start something new.  A reward for good behavior, so to speak.  Or maybe an amuse-bouche before the final collar slog.  (that's a one-bite appetizer, a little something to tempt your tastebuds)

Birds!  I want to talk about seeing birds, two of them I don't have actual, eyewitness photos of but birds that I have been longing to see and finally saw.  First, the Ruby-throated Hummingbirds are back at the feeders.  (I took this picture)  There's a little teeny tiny female zipping in for a sip at both the near and far feeders throughout the day, one male, and another female or two making random fly-bys.  I haven't seen an oriole again but the level of nectar's down in their feeder too so I'll be whipping more up later.  

On my drive up to the last (boo hoo) Door County Shepherd's Market on Saturday I saw a Snowy Owl (yes! really!) perched on a sign in the median coming around Brussels.  I was sorely tempted to swing across on one of those police car turn-arounds and go back to snap a photo or ten but I was absolutely certain that I'd get a ticket if I did, so I have no proof that I saw one.  But I saw one. I think it was a male because I saw it from the back and it didn't have many stripes.  It's my first "owl in the wild" sighting and I'm so excited.  (this photo and the next one are from Wikipedia)

For years I have been considering planting a shrub that makes berries to attract Cedar Waxwings to the yard but don't really have a good spot visible from the patio doors so Durwood can keep watch for me.  Last night while supper was simmering I saw a flurry of wings in the top of the blooming apple tree, looked up, and at first I thought there was a flock of female cardinals but soon realized it was Cedar Waxwings feeding on the blossoms.  No way could I take a picture of them, the tree was white with flowers, the sky was white with clouds, they're gray green and were flitting around up in the tippy-top of the branches.  Take my word for it, they were there.  I looked them up in the bird book and it was definitely them.  I could see the little bandit stripe across their eyes.  

I haven't been able to snap a photo of the Mama and Papa Chickadees feeding the babies in the birdhouse, I've seen them coming back with bugs and worms but they're too quick for me to snap a photo and it's been too chilly to sit out there stalking them (yes, still, it's bleeping 45 right now supposed to rocked up to 53 today, grrr).  Durwood says that sparrows have nested in the birdhouse under the honeysuckle but I've only seen a pair of them cavorting on the dead branches, haven't seen them going in or out.

May 19--Andrew Child, Droplet Sequence.  The sound of the drip hitting the water standing in the bowl in the sink echoed down the hall and woke Kelly from a sound sleep.  She meant to move the bowl and put a dishcloth down to muffle the sound but she forgot.  She meant to get a washer to put into the faucet and silence the drip, drip, drip once and for all but she hadn't had time.  She lay there in the darkest hour of the night with the piercing sound of it drilling into her brain and thought about dollars going down the drain with every drop.

Don't you hate how things are magnified in the night?  I'm glad I sleep through most nights.  I rarely have trouble falling or staying asleep *knock wood*, and I'm really really glad.  I might get dressed today, oh, I have to get dressed because I have a tank to drop off.  Oh well, it's nearly noon, time to dress no matter what, right?

Monday, May 18, 2015

Locks Are...

Inquiring minds want to know about the locks I bought, what I'm going to do with them, and why they're not called yarn.  Well, this is where mohair comes from, kid mohair, these are the shearings from goats that grow the fiber that mohair is made from.  A few years ago fiber producers (goat ranchers?) started selling locks for people to spin on their own but knitters bought them and began incorporating them into their knitting as is.  That's what I plan to do with what I bought, and why they're not called yarn.  They're pre-yarn.

A couple years ago I bought a skein of handspun from Goat Hill Farm in Brussels and a couple ounces of coordinating, undyed locks, then I found a shawl pattern to knit with the yarn and started just knitting in a lock every once in a while.  I liked the way it looked but wasn't sure I'd have enough for the whole shawl.  That's why I called to find out if she'd have more at last weekend's market and (mostly) why I drove up on Saturday to meet her and buy what she had.  Now I have plenty to finish my shawl.

The dyed locks I bought on Saturday are for a secret (shh!) project, so far, so you'll just have to be patient, although I did give one green lock to a lady making hand-made paper at the market.  She took it apart into individual fibers and embedded it in a sheet with leaves and pine needles.  It looked pretty cool.  But I don't need another hobby.  No, I don't.  That's also why I resisted buying either of the looms in my price range that were for sale at the market.  No more hobbies.  *nods firmly*

I knitted a bit on the Anzac Poppy dishcloth at knitting the other night because I was so frustrated that the Red Marl collar was a bust and I knitted a bit on that Jane's Locks shawl yesterday while icing my ankle.  I think I'll take the Red Marl sweater parts to work today and sew them all together so that the only remaining part to finish is the collar.  That way it'll be all done except for the collar while I'm working out in my head how I'm going to do that so it doesn't look like the dog's dinner. 

May 18--Jack McConnell, Choosing Good Health.  Feeling like Eve in the Garden of Eden had long passed for Rebecca.  She had come to the orchard with her friend and neighbor, Maggie, to pick some apples to make applesauce to put up for winter.  It had started as a sunny, crisp autumn day but the wind had risen to blow out of the north and clouds had rolled in to blot out the warming rays of the sun.  She moved her ladder to the next tree and said, "This is the last one.  I'm getting cold, aren't you?"  Maggie just grunted as she carefully put a double-handful of apples into her bucket.  Rebecca climbed up the ladder and reached for an apple only to find herself face to face with a man hanging upside down from a higher branch, his mouth stuffed with an apple.  She screamed, and it took a while for her to stop screaming.

Well, that's a nice, grisly way to start the week.  I have some tanks to drop off for service so I'd better saddle up and giddy-up outta here.  Talk to you tomorrow.