Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Broken Thing

Last night after supper the doorbell rang.  It was the renter saying that their garage door had come off the rails.  Now our garage door sticks sometime when one of the roller brackets gets loose and the roller gets wonky in the rail.  I fix that with a socket wrench and a little mild swearing.  Not the case next door.  The whole top section of it had tried to commit hara kiri and thought about taking her car with it.  At least that's what it looked like to me.  One of the rollers was on the driveway, one of the brackets was bent all out of shape, and one of the wires had acquired a twist in its pulley.  Not a good scene.  Renter called a friend who helped him open the door by hand so she could get her car out to go to work today and I called a neighbor with contacts.  He gave me a name, I called and left a message, this morning Bob called back, and by 8:30 Fred was at the door to give us an estimate to replace both doors (they're side by side; they have to match).  The number didn't give us heart attacks, didn't even make us faint, so tomorrow they're coming to put in new doors and another guy (friend of neighbor) is coming too to wrap the trim in aluminum so we/I never have to paint the trim again.  To be honest, the trim looks like small beavers have been gnawing at the bottom.  Understandable since it and the doors are original equipment, which makes them 38 years old.  This is why we save.  It might not be raining outside but it sure is raining in the checkbook.

While I was doing yoga this morning Mr. Oriole came to dip his bill into the dish of grape jelly.  Durwood figured out why they do that.  The sweet jelly attracts lots of hornets and bees The orioles don't like them buzzing around while they eat so he perches above and leans down while she swoops by to move the bees to one side, then she lands on the dish for a quick bite.  Ingenious.

The nasturtium is still blooming.  I am still peeved at the @$#%& chipmunks for digging up all the seeds but one.  And yesterday I found three tomatoes with holes gnawed in them.  Three!  And not the juiceless, hard-as-rocks Health Kick ones either.  No, the ones they're marauding are the juicy bush ones that are so succulent on a sandwich or eaten out of hand.  Devil rodents.

I am happy to report that Aldi has boneless pork butt roasts on sale this week.  Just when I was wishing someone would because I was sad to finish the delicious marinated pork from last weekend, the Aldi ad arrives in the newspaper today and, lo and behold!, there's pork on sale.  I zoomed right over as soon as the garage door guy left and got some.  You have to move fast to get stuff like that at Aldi, they run out fast and sometimes don't get more.  I got mine this time, mwa-ha-ha-ha.

August 31--Don B. Stevenson, Indigenous Hunter.  The canyon walls were the color of a lion's fur.  Fifteen, maybe fifty, shades of yellow ocher topped by a sky so blue it looked fake.  The man stood beneath a natural stone arch with his spear over his shoulder.  His eyes scanned the sheer wall across the thin silver creek far below.  On the wall stood a sheep looking like a fallen cloud.  The sheep bleated once and then fell silent as an eagle's cry rang out.  The man hefted his spear, balancing it, ready to throw.  His brows lowered to narrow his focus.  His weight shifted to his back foot and then to his front foot as his arm fell back and flew forward to release the spear.

I didn't knit yesterday.  I sat on the couch with ice on my ankle and read an actual paper book.  I know!  How retro of me.

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Happy Birthday, Mom!

That's right, today my mom would have been 88 years old if she hadn't eaten too many barbecued ribs and sour pickles at her 65th high school class reunion in Evansville, IN five years ago, come home to burst her appendix, and do such a good job of it that she couldn't recover.  Leave it to Mom to make a flamboyant exit from this mortal coil.  No mere "shuffling off" would do for her.  Since my birthday is in two days, she and I used to take each other to lunch at HuHot.  We loved the food and free dessert, and we'd insist on separate checks so she could pay mine and I could pay hers.  I think the waitperson probably rolled her eyes but we did it anyway.  When her mom was still alive we'd all three have our birthday lunches because Babe's birthday was August 27, three days before Mom's, and five days before mine.  We were a trio of Virgos to be reckoned with.  The world might be lucky that time and fate broke us up.  I am perfectly confident that we'd have been in absolute control by now.

I got a very cool gift from Lala when she came to visit.  She'd shown me around her ancestral home a few months back and there was this awesome birdhouse in her garage that I expressed interest in so she kept it aside when the estate sale guy swept through and she delivered it on Friday.  I hosed it off and hung it from a hook in the living room window.  I noticed that part of the roof is bent so I plan to ask a metalworker pal of mine if he can straighten it a bit for me.  Maybe in the winter when his work slows down.  Thanks a bunch, Lala.  I love it.

Last night I finished the August Seamen's cowl.  I like the way it looks, don't you?  Blue and red, very masculine, and it'll be nice and warm when the cold wind blows on the deck of a ship.

August 30--Mitchel Gray, MG502.  "Left.  Left."  Doug cupped his hands around his mouth and yelled to Hilda as she pedaled past.  The cyclists were colorful blurs as they sped by, the cheering crowd drowning out the coaches.  This was the final race.  Heats had been run and strategies planned.  Doug and the team watched hours of film of the competition's races and of their own practices seeking an advantage, some small insight that would give them the edge.  Hilda was in front but that girl on the acid green bike was coming up on her left.  She needed to block her.

Eh.  This afternoon I get to go down and replace the leaky Y-connector by the washer and then go get a mold made for new orthotics that will hold my left foot in the proper position so it keeps healing the right way.  I hope it helps.  My ankle's still sore from yesterday's poking and prodding.  Don't slip on the ice and break your ankle.  Just don't.

Monday, August 29, 2016

Wild Life

This has been one crazy day.  I had a chiro appointment this morning, did an errand, then went to see the musculo-skeletal doc about what he might be able to do to help my ankle heal.  With Medicare ready to hit my door on Thursday, I had to scramble to find out what treatments have to start before then so they're covered under the "regular" insurance and then make appointments.  So I spent quite a time on the couch icing my ankle (because seeing two ankle-manipulating docs within a couple hours made it hurt, and it's still hurting) making phone calls, taking notes, and then trying to get all my medical ducks in a row while I'm still "young."  For two more days.
On to what I see out the patio door.  There's a female hummingbird that's really hanging around the back yard.  She's at the feeder, at the door, checking out the grape jelly, seeing what's going on in the honeysuckle, and resting in the apple tree.  You see how fast she is.  I snapped and snapped the shutter because she doesn't hold still.  She's the greenish blur to the right of the feeder.

One of the squirrels figured out how to hang to have easy access to the suet.  It didn't chase away the downy woodpecker when he came, just grabbed some yummy fat and nibbled away.


I was right to accuse the chipmunks of being in the tomato plant.  Caught the culprit at the scene of the crime.


Durwood said that he's seen a nuthatch at the platform feeder and now I have too.  It can't possibly get something to eat hanging from the bottom.  It figured that out fairly quickly and investigated the top where the seeds are. 

This morning while on the phone making a plumber appointment to have the leaking washer hose replaced, a pair of orioles came for a visit.  They're not as fast as hummingbirds (what is?) but they sure are skittish.  The female didn't stay long but the male perched on the feeder for a bit of jelly and then flew over for a drink of water.

Turns out it wasn't a leaky washer hose.  There's a split in the back of the Y-connector from the spigot to the hoses for the deep sink and washer.  The plumber didn't have a brass one, or a flimsy white metal one either, so I get to go around to find a brass one and then fix it myself.  That was worth $20.

I didn't write last night.  I spent the evening on the couch trimming pattern pieces and watching Calendar Girls with Helen Mirren.  It wasn't until the end of the movie that I realized that the other lead actress also played Molly Weasley in all the Harry Potter movies.  I did see right away that the actress whose husband was  cheating played Mrs. Crawley in Downton Abbey.  I felt quite smug for recognizing them--and not being shocked that they weren't playing "themselves."

Time to ice my ankle again.  The new doc says 4 times a day and I have to wear a compression sock.  Ugh.  They're hot and ugly.  But I want to get better so I'll do it.

Sunday, August 28, 2016


Just as soon as I hit "Publish" yesterday the doorbell rang and it was Lala come to play and stay the night.  We visited while I ate lunch (she'd stopped for a brat on the way) and the rain cleared a bit.  We decided that we're intrepid women so off we went to Bay Beach amusement park.  That is one great place.  The city owns and runs it.  It's clean and family friendly, right on the bay, with lots of shelters and places for church and family picnics, and inexpensive rides that just about anyone can afford.  Tickets are $.25 each--the baby rides are one ticket, most of the others are two tickets and a few are three tickets.  That's right, people, you can drive the bumper cars for seventy-five cents, the Scrambler, the Scat, and the Crazy Swings of Death (more about that in a minute) are only fifty cents.  When our kids were small the tickets were a dime, A DIME, so I could pack a picnic lunch and five bucks for an afternoon that was a big treat and still have money for a sweet something to share.  We started on the Scrambler and laughed uproariously the whole time.  They don't just switch the rides on and off either, you get a nice long ride for your brain to slosh around in your head before they slow down and stop.  Next we rode the bumper cars.  I LOVE the bumper cars.  Even more amazing, the guy running the bumper cars was someone Lala went to college with and was friends with 30 years ago.  It sure is a small world.

After that she talked me into a ride on the Crazy Swings of Death (I'm sure that's not the name on the sign but it should be) which looked scary but bearable from the safety of the pavement.  I began to have my doubts as we were buckled into the seats and as it began to rotate I knew I'd made a horrible mistake.  I could feel my knuckles whiten as the whirling got stronger and the swings began to fly out, then the hub started to raise us up into the sky.  Oh. My. God. I. Am. Going. To. Die.  Not only was it going around like an out of control tornado, canted at an angle so our orbit wasn't level, the seats were rocking back and forth all on their own.  I was too scared to scream and felt my arm muscles tighten as I rocked trying to keep my seat still-er.  I didn't cry.  I didn't barf.  I didn't pee my pants.  I consider it a triumph of self-control.

Then we rode the Scat which is a stand up ride that relies on centrifugal force to keep riders in place against metal mesh sides.  There is a padded headrest so the metal isn't embedded in your skull.  I thought it'd be fun (it was my pick) but of all the rides that one made me the wooziest.  Once we staggered off the Scat we rested my ankle on a bench (I was very glad I took my cane along) while she had an ice cream and we contemplated our next move.  We did another ride on the bumper cars (and got in free, eeee!), rode the tiny train along the shore and back, and did one more Scrambler ride.  By then it was starting to drizzle again so we called it a day.  It was a lot of fun even if I did acquire a headache as a parting gift.  We'll do it again.

When we got home Durwood and Lala visited while I grilled the pork ribs, microwaved the sweet corn, and dished out a chopped salad with FW's homegrown cherry tomatoes on for starters.  All of the food went away in a satisfying manner.  Afterward Lala and I cooked up a Quick Cherry & Peach Crisp out of the WW cookbook for dessert.  We didn't share with Durwood, he said he was full.  

I didn't knit.  We talked about writing and books and travel and all sorts of things.  We stayed up too late and got up too early to talk more before she left to go home.  Now I'm doing laundry (the last load's ready to go into the dryer) and the only bad thing about that is one of the hoses from the hot water tap is leaking.  I turned it off, did the wash in cold water as usual, and I'll call the plumber tomorrow to fix the hose.  I could probably do it but I've never plumbed before so a professional it is.  Turning off the tap "fixed" the leak--for now.

August 28--Mitchel Gray, MG506.  He knifed through the water like a blade through soft butter.  His arms cycled up, out, down, pulling his body through the lake chop and his legs kicked just under the surface so no motion was wasted.  Kat sat on the dock wrapped in a plaid wool blanket that smelled faintly of mildew and old dog.  Her hands were wrapped around a thick china mug of coffee.  She kept vigil in the early morning while Alf swam.  He argued that he was safe.  "The lake's not that deep.  I could practically walk from shore to shore.  You don't have to lifeguard me."  Then he wrapped her in his long, strong arms and kissed the part in her hair.  She didn't tell him about her dream where he got tangled and drowned.  "I like watching you swim," was all she said.

Okay, enough blabbering.  Time to go put the last load in the dryer and finish trimming the pattern for a blouse FOR ME that I'm thinking I'll cut out and maybe sew on the next few days/weeks/months, depending on how distracted I get.  Toodle--oo.

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Marauding Rodents

I don't know who's the culprit but some @$%&# rodent knocked down a tomato and took a big gnaw out of it.  I suspect a chipmunk because they're always scampering up one stalk or another, the little demons.

I got a lot of the August Seamen's cowl done last night at Friday Night Knitting.  I need about an inch more blue before reattaching the red, knitting five rows, and then binding off.  There's four more days of August left, I should get done, no problem.  Speaking of tomatoes, FW send bags and bags of cherry tomatoes she and LB picked from her garden to Friday Night Knitting.  I bought home two bags, one for us and one for Lala.  Yum.

Four weeks from today I drive away for my writing workshop at The Clearing.  I'll tackle my novel, The Seaview, yet again but this time I won't have to rely on my (increasingly faulty) memory for facts about the island of Anguilla.  You know that I'm sifting through my books and disseminating them in Little Free Libraries around town.  Well, in my last grab to refill the box in my car I rediscovered this little volume about a couple leaving Vermont and opening a restaurant on Anguilla.  I cracked it open when I found it, started to read, and realized it's a gold mine of scenery-type facts and insights into life on a tiny Caribbean island.  As you can see I've got a highlighter and Post-its already in play.  It's like I'm doing homework.  Good girl, Barbara Sue.

August 27--Kevin Harris, DS96-0010.  You might know that the water heater would burst and spray hot water all over the basement when my parents were out for the evening.  I heard water pattering in the basement right under my bedroom and went down there to see water pouring out of the pipe and the bottom of the tank, spraying all over the waiting laundry and cardboard boxes on shelves all around it.  I didn't know what to do. I tried turning a valve on the top but it twisted around with no effect on the volume of water.  I found the main water shut off but that wouldn't budge.  I got a wrench and hammered it loose so I could stem the gushing flood.  It never occurred to me to fill the tub or a bunch of buckets so we could manually flush the toilet.  Time dragged until headlights swept across the picture window and I got to ruin my parents' party mood with the news of the flooded basement, expensive repairs, and no water.

Time to slap some pictures on here and go wait for Lala to arrive.  We plan to go to the amusement park.  It's been raining, of course, but we'll figure out something fun to do.

Friday, August 26, 2016

Not Much

I don't really have much to say today.  I was semi-busy at work so don't have an appreciable increase in knitting to show off.  Didn't have anything noteworthy for supper either so no pictures of my plate.

After supper I fired up the Breakfast Burrito factory and cranked out a landmark 17 burritos for Durwood to have for 17 breakfasts over the next couple months.  I keep hoping that the green Reynolds Wrap will run out soon so I can get to the final box of pink Wrap leftover from Mom's kitchen.  I can't believe that in October it'll be 5 years since she died.  Sometimes it seems like forever ago and other times it seems like yesterday.  *Life*  Sometimes it's a bitch. 

Once I bagged the frozen burritos this morning I stirred together a double batch of marinade for the country style pork ribs we want to grill tomorrow night when Lala's here for an overnight escape.  The recipe calls for pork tenderloin but when Festival had country ribs for $1/lb. I'm thinking they'll do just fine.  I'm making extra for leftover or gluttony purposes.  We'll have fresh corn on the cob and a chopped salad to round out the meal.

I was happy to see this little hummingbird at the nectar feeder this morning.  They're so speedy that it's hard to get a shot that isn't blurry.  I almost had a contrasting photo of a Cooper's Hawk which was surveying our backyard when I went to the kitchen to nab some yogurt for breakfast but as soon as I got the camera out and turned on, it flew away.  How do they KNOW?

August 26--Kevin Harris, DS96-0011.  "We're twinnies," the little girls with the blond curls said in unison.  Their voices held the same note of pleasure and their faces bore identical grins.  They were dressed alike too.  "What are your names?" the woman behind the counter asked.  "I'm Ali and she's Tally," said the one on the right.  From behind them, their father said, "Allison and Natalie.  Tell the lady what you're looking for."  The little girls turned to face each other and giggled.  "It's our mama's birthday in three days..." Tally said.  "No, two," said Ali.  Tally corrected herself with a nod, "and we want to buy her the best earrings, pearl earrings."  Ali said, "She loves pearls.  Mama says that they're angels' tears that fall into the ocean."

Do you realize that 4 months from today Christmas will be over?  Isn't that crazy and a little bit scary?

I need to go get me some corn.  It's fresh corn season.  We need a lot of corn.  And then I'm going to the grocery store because they have something called Friday Freebies that you "clip" to add them to your loyalty card and this Friday, instead of the usual one item, there are seven of them, all items that you'd use to pack your kids' lunches on the first day of school--PB&J, chips, bread, apple juice, Kleenex, and Carmex--the tissues for the classroom and the Carmex for a backpack.  What a haul!  I might not have lunches to pack anymore but that stuff won't go to waste, and it's not all off-brand stuff either, those are name-brand items.  Score!

Thursday, August 25, 2016

No Food or Birds, Only Knitting and Flowers

But I did find two more Little Free Libraries on my way home from work yesterday.  The first one I stopped at I've known about for a long time because I pass it on my way to work, but yesterday's the first time I stopped.  I noticed that it only had a few books in it when I went to work and by the time the day was done and I was back it was dead empty.  I'll probably stop again today to put in more.  We can't have an empty LFL.  The other one I drove by trying to go the back way to a new gas station that sent out coupons for $1 free gas this month.  I've been forgetting about the coupons so I pumped a gallon on my way to work, one on my way home, and I'll do the same today so none of the coupons go to waste.  I got info about two more LFLs this week.  Good thing I have a lot of books to get rid of.  I still can't bear to get rid of all of them but most of them, fffft!, they're outta here.

I got a good amount of cowl knitted between customers and learning how to do something new on the POS computer program then writing out the steps for Mrs. and Mr. Boss.

On my way to work today I'll swing by the hospital downtown that has the NICU and drop off the August Preemie Hats.  Four isn't many but I figure some is better than none.

Look at these sunflowers!  They're so tall I could barely take their picture.  I've tried and tried to grow sunflowers but the @#$%& squirrels gnaw them off before they get tall.  Maybe I'll try them on the garden edge next year.

August 25--Kevin Harris, DS96-0012.  Kay felt as big as a house or maybe a whale, a Blue Whale at that.  She knew to the minute how long she'd been pregnant--39 weeks, 3 days, 7 hours, and 24 minutes.  That meant in less than a week she should be back to normal.  Oh, she knew that she'd never truly be the same but she'd like to be able to see her feet and tie her own shoes.  Doc Walters said she could go at any time but Adele at the Cozy Corner Cafe said she had at least a week and Adele was never wrong.  When Kay hear that she burst into tears.  Adele had brought her a piece of warm apple pie with a scoop of homemade cinnamon ice cream on the side.  That had helped to soften the blow--a little.

And now I"m off to keep the world safe from SCUBA diving and put an other gallon of gas in my car.  Bye-bye.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Get Thee Behind Me...

temptation.  I knew it was wrong to crow even a little bit about how much weight I've lost and how smooth the journey was.  Monday afternoon and yesterday it was all I could do not to stop at Culver's or Dairy Queen or slip over to the self-serve bakery when I stopped to pick up a prescription in the grocery.  Look at the kind of lunch I have most days.  This is nearly 2 cups of chopped salad (out of a bag from Sam's), some deli turkey cut up, and a tablespoon (a mere tablespoon!) of lite honey mustard salad dressing, all stirred together and stuffed into half (and I could eat the whole thing for the same single point) of a Joseph's Oat Bran & Flax pita (from Walmart).  It is so delicious and filling, I'm glad I invented it.  After I made this go away I ate about a cup of red grapes.  Who needs anything else?  Evidently my inner 9-year-old who is always whining for candy and ice cream does but I held strong, doubled down on caramel mini rice cakes as an afternoon snack after our visit with our broker.  Damned temptation.  All it is is a habitual response to a bad-ish mood.  I'm bigger and stronger than it is.  *nods decisively*

I've been paging through the 2 new Weight Watchers cookbooks we ordered and, as you can see, I've found a few things I'd like us to cook. To be honest, I stopped putting markers in the bigger book because everything looked so good that I told Durwood that I want to make it ALL.  He understood and will be paging through himself, making a list of things we've got the meat to make and veggies we need to buy.  (I went downstairs and did a new freezer inventory yesterday morning so he can type it up and we can begin with a clean slate again.  The inventory list gets messy and inaccurate after a while.)

This little chipmunk has claimed the patio step and sits there chirping most of the day.  It's the same note that it repeats endlessly.  It's like that guy who used to sit in the park calling out "hey, hey, hey" to every passerby.  Sometimes I just have to open the patio door and shoo it away.  Drives me bonkers.


The red petunia plant is looking fabulous these days but then I remember to dead head it so it blooms more than it would if I didn't.  Another nasturtium grew and just opened its first bloom, so the chipmunks and squirrels left two seeds behind in their night raid.

I finished the last August Preemie Hat last night and then got to the blue body of the August Seamen's Cowl.  I've sure left these late this month, haven't I?  But I've got a week from tomorrow to finish the cowl.  It's good TV knitting so I'm not worried.

August 24--Harold Lee Miller, DS5-1-4-7.  Gayle thought Lila looked like a china doll in her little cotton dress with its gathered skirt and embroidered bodice.  Her chubby arms reminded her of cherubs' arms in those old paintings from the Renaissance.  The straw cowboy hat was a jarring note but seeing that she rode a hobby horse maybe it was the dress that wasn't right.  Gayle remembered pretending she rode across the wide open spaces of the West on that same horse when she was a child.  She had wanted to be Dale Evans riding Buttermilk alongside Roy Rogers on Trigger, listening to him sing to the cattle as they rode into the sunset.

Okey, dokey.  Mrs. Boss called an hour ago to ask me to stop and pick up some tanks that have been serviced so I'd better load up my lunches and head out.  Toodle-oo!

Monday, August 22, 2016

Dad's Rose, Birds, and a Plate... oh, and Knitting Too

This rose has turned its face out so I don't have to stand on tiptoe to look at it and smell it.  Thanks, Dad.


I saw this Chickadee perched on top of the Hummingbird feeder the other day and had to take its picture when I realized that it was drinking out of the shallow pool of water on top meant to discourage ants from crawling down to the nectar.  That same day a male Downy Woodpecker stopped by for breakfast on the suet and to show off the red blaze on his head.

You know, I can't stop taking pictures of my supper.  This is Chicken with Roasted Cherry Sauce.  First you roast 3/4# of grapes for 10 minutes and set aside. You sprinkle a little Herbes de Provence, salt and pepper on chicken breasts and skillet fry them in a couple teaspoons of olive oil.  (I'm amazed at how little oil you really need to fry things.  Two teaspoons was plenty to brown enough boneless chicken for us to have two meals.)  Once the chicken is cooked and on a plate staying warm, you boil a cup of chicken broth and half a cup of red wine plus a couple chopped shallots until the liquid is reduced by half.  Then you stir in a teaspoon of soft butter mixed with a teaspoon of flour and stir it until it thickens just a little.  Finally you add the roasted cherries and a half-teaspoon of Herbes de Provence and let it reduce a bit more.  Oh my goodness, it was delicious.  For years I've been saying that I didn't like fruit and meat but I made up my mind last year to stop saying I don't like something and just give everything a chance again.  So far I'm a fan of fruit and meat, don't mind raspberries (never really did but I let Durwood have my share because he loves them so), and appreciate a little cilantro on things.  I'm not backing down on liver, though, and I won't be eating tarragon anytime soon.  That herb tastes metallic, like a mouth full of nickels, to me. 

I sat on the couch with ice on my ankle yesterday after we got home from Piggly Wiggly so I made lots of yarn-y progress for the day.  In the morning while I watched CBS Sunday Morning I finished one and crocheted two more Xmas stocking hexagons, now I have half of them done.  Woohoo!  While icing after shopping and with my foot elevated after supper I cast on and knitted on August Preemie Hat #4.  First I got smart and fetched up a box of dollar store sandwich bags with slider closures from downstairs, snipped one corner of each bag, and tucked each skein of this slippery and easily unrolled yarn into its own clear plastic home.  Now I don't have to keep untangling a trailing end from the yarn I'm using.  It's much less frustrating.  Blue and white stripes (okay, periwinkle and cream) make a cute hat, don't you think?

August 22--Mel Curtis, Handshake.  "We'll say it's a gentleman's agreement."  As soon as he said it Ed knew it was the wrong thing to say.  Sheila's hand froze in his and then she pulled it back.  "I think not," she said, "I'll have my assistant, Justin, draw up a contract.  We'll have our attorney go over it.  I'll ask Justin to send you a copy and you can do the same."  Ed felt his muscles tense at her tone of voice.  No woman was going to tell him how to do business.  He gave a curt nod, turned, and left her office.

I got up at 7 o'clock this morning and all I've done since then is go down to get the ribs we're having for supper so they can thaw out, lay out half of the chicken leg quarters we bought yesterday on a cookie sheet to prefreeze so Durwood can vacuum-seal them, eat breakfast while reading the paper, brush my teeth, make an appointment for a test for Durwood, and write this blog post.  Now it's 11 o'clock and I need to shower like the wind so I can meet a friend for lunch at noon.  That shouldn't have taken four hours (our newspaper's not that thick).  Where did the morning go?
(P.S. I lost another 3# last week for a total of 16.5# gone.  Yay, me!  And I am not deprived, not by a long shot.)

Sunday, August 21, 2016

"I Went to the Animal Fair...

...the birds and the beasts were there,"  Visiting the County Fair was a great way to spend yesterday afternoon.  It wasn't so great initially.  See, I'd bought reduced price tickets from the newspaper and printed off the receipt, thinking those were the tickets, and didn't read the fine print that said I had to go pick up the REAL tickets at the newspaper building.  *head, slap* And of course I couldn't scroll back in my email far enough on my phone for the ticket guy to honor them.  So we ended up paying for entry.  I felt bad but got over it.  My knitting friend and I went in the afternoon for a couple hours that we spent tromping around the barns and exhibit building.  We started in the chicken area; I never imagined how many varieties of chickens people raise around here.  Some had feathered Afros, others had long feathered feet.  All of the roosters were vying for "loudest crowing" and one looked like it had stuck its beak into a light socket, its feathers were all standing up.  Next came the sheep, all sheared, and we were aghast to learn that they burn or throw away all the wool.  I asked a lady sitting there and she said that they raise Suffolk sheep and have been told that the wool is no good for spinning into yarn.  I just looked them up online and, while it says they're raised primarily for meat, they are also raised for their wool.  Those people need to do some research; selling the wool would give the 4-H kids another revenue source.

Next were pigs.  Pigs are big and the first one we saw was a gigantic sow with 9 piglets.  That pig was easily four feet from nose to tail and she had to be three feet tall--one formidable mama who didn't like it one bit when her owner dangled his legs into the pen.

After the pigs came goats.  These are New Zealand Pygmy goats (or something like that).  They were about as big as a Schnauzer, not a standard one, either.

Cows were in the next building.  There were a lot of cows and a lot of really big cows.  It wasn't until we'd walked up and down three aisles of cows that I realized that they were all tied to stanchions in the middle so that their back ends were aimed at the walkways (which were scrupulously clean, btw) so we walked a bit faster and paid more attention to the south ends of the north-facing bovines.

Then there were the bunnies.  All kinds, all colors, all shapes of bunnies.  These little guys were nestled in what looked like a grooming tray for the exhibitors to use to get their entries ready for judging.  This gray, fluffy bunny was so soft that when I petted it I couldn't really feel its fur.

The next barn held the horses.  I was looking forward to petting the horses but there was metal mesh over the tops of the stall doors so you could look but not touch.  A few of them looked almost too big for their stalls, and it turned out that they're part of a drill team.  It would have been fun to see them perform.  There was no tractor- or horse-pull.  No demolition derby either.

We wandered past the Bookmobile which KW remembered coming to her neighborhood when she was a kid and was my first post-college job, not on the same vehicle for either of us but seeing it brought back fond memories.

After much searching we found the building where the vegetables, woodworking, sewing, and KNITTING exhibits were.  There weren't many knitted or crocheted entries but we checked them all out, the few felted items too.  KW looked at all the names and she said that a lot of the entries were by the same few people and thought that we might suggest to the Knitting Guild that we knit to enter the fair, so we tracked down the lady in charge and she made copies of the categories, etc. for us to look over and present to the members.  It's only $4 to enter as many items as you want, granted the cash prizes are measly, but think how much fun it'd be to show off a fair ribbon on something you made.  Even if the Guild doesn't go for it, I'm sure she and I will play along next year.

I had made up my mind to have a funnel cake at the fair.  No cotton candy, no sno-cone, no popcorn, just a funnel cake, so we got one and split it.  I even put it on my food diary.  *feeling virtuous*  It was just as crunchy and sweet as I'd hoped, so totally worth the points.  By that time, my ankle was hurting.  It was the most I'd walked in one stretch since April so we called it a day.

August 21--Mel Curtis, Tyson with Daisies.  That dog stuck by the boy no matter what.  Shep lay on the church steps on Sunday mornings while Ty and Grandma Jean were at services.  Shep would have been in the pew right next to Ty but Pastor Macklin said he was allergic to dogs and didn't want to sneeze his way through sermons so the dog had to stay out.  The same for school.  Mrs. Ethnel said she wasn't willing to risk anyone having an asthma attack because there was a dog in school.  Shep was Ty's only family, aside from Grandma Jean, since Ty's mama and daddy died in that train wreck right after Ty turned two.

On the way to drop her off we stopped at the first LFL I put books into week before last.  I was surprised to see that all of my books were gone.  So I put in more.  I'm giving my feet a rest today, although I think Durwood and I are going to the Pig for some chicken they've got on sale later.  It seems I've always got someplace to go or something to do.

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Sturgeon Moon

That's what I saw in the eastern sky driving home last night.  It's called the Sturgeon Moon by tribes around the Great Lakes and Green Corn Moon by others.  The clouds left just enough of a gap for me to hurry home and then dash into the backyard with my camera.  It's actually waning, past full by a day, maybe two, but it's full enough to make a picture and call it full.

I finished August Preemie Hat #3 last night at Friday Night Knitting, making two little antennae to top it off.  Then I cast on the August Seamen's Cowl.  I'm sure running late with my charity knitting this month, aren't I?  And I have to confess I am sorely tempted to jump in to Fringe Association's Top-Down Knitalong.  Karen has challenged knitters to use her FREE basic pattern (which is more tutorial than pattern) for a top-down sweater, Improv, and to just do it on the fly.  NOT without planning and swatching and measuring and making copious notes, though, with lots of prep and hand-holding from her updated tutorials.  I have a sweater quantity of  Cascade Ecological Wool in three shades of gray and red (of course I have red, what other color would I have?) which is bulky yarn which makes for faster progress.  I could measure my all time favorite sweater, knit a swatch, and go for it, right?  RIGHT?  What else have I got to do?  I'd just knit a plain crew-neck pullover, no fancy stitches, nothing but a sweater.  I am terrified and excited about the prospect of not having a pattern to follow line by line, but just measure, swatch, and go.  Kind of feels like jumping into the ocean in dive gear the first time.  (I might have just talked myself into something here...)

This morning while doing my yoga practice a tiny flutter caught my eye.  There was a little hummingbird perched on the hand of the sculpture hanging outside the patio door.  I grabbed the camera while it fluttered in front of the door, then it bumped the glass, and perched to collect itself on a tomato cage in the drizzle, kind of a resting shower.  It hung around a bit, checking out most of the feeders and it was even still hanging around when I was out filling all the feeders, dipping its beak into the honeysuckles and trying to figure out a way to access the grape jelly.  Durwood will be pleased as he's still convinced that we've "lost" them.

When I came in from filling the feeders a young chipmunk hopped up onto the step (the dreaded ankle-breaking step) to do its morning grooming.  They're so cute--and so annoying.

Didn't write last night so, see ya.