Saturday, November 21, 2015

The Coldest Night

In case anyone was wondering, yes, it is turning into winter.  October was warmish, with nips of cool to let us know there is a transition. The leaves starting turning.  November so far has been more cool than October, but definitely not intolerable.

Yesterday a cold front from the north blew in.  It wasn't bad temp-wise, but the wind was cutting.  Last night we had a bit of rain in the sleeptimes, and everything turned wet.  So today the wind has been bitter, bitter cold.  It is the kind of wind that cuts through you.  The temps were tolerable in the low 40's.  The wind was miserable.

It was a rather good day to put some chicken in the crock pot, and then I worked on tapestry.  I am unable to sit still for long periods, so I would get up and move around.  I would watch my course online, look at videos, and then go back to weaving.  I can actually say I am pleased with my geometric shapes right now.  They aren't perfect, but they are straight and angled appropriately.

I ate supper and then found that there was NOTHING on tv tonight.  I wanted to finish the baby hat I started so I can get it done for BM's new grandbaby.  I turned on a new show on Netflix.  It was really rather depressing.  I am sorta thinking that this is one of those Swedish police dramas.  This character was close to the same age as Wallander, he lived alone and slept odd hours, and he sees dead people.  He actually has conversations with dead people.  I only watched one episode and turned that off.  I decided to balance my checkbook instead.  Much more entertaining.

The poor birds are eating really fast and furious.  I have five feeders going.  Tomorrow I will have to put out much more and more suet.

Tonight is supposed to be our coldest night into the teens.  I really don't mind the transition to the cooler weather.  But when we get slammed with the cold, I am not a happy person.  I HATE being cold.

I have had a series of really bizarre dreams lately.  I wake up and go to the bathroom.  I try to redirect my brain to something else as I drift back to sleep.  But the same dream keeps on going.  I don't have a clue what I am supposed to be working on.

Next week is Thanksgiving.  My usual habit is to spend the day in quietness and contemplation.  I work on gratitude all day.  I have varied this month by mentioning and thinking about one thing per day that I am grateful for.  So I have extended my day of gratitude with gratitude all month long.

I won four pounds of wool from Kromski and Sons on the 4th.  I still haven't received my package, and I am really anxious to get it.  I don't know if it is all white, or a mixed lot.  It is so much fun to get a surprise.

Guess I will go snuggle under the covers now and read for a while.  I heard the coyotes earlier.  I bet they are cold and hungry tonight.

Last night I threw out some of my baked potato to the jungle on the west side.  I saw something dart into cover as I opened the door.  It looked a bit like my groundhog, but it should be hibernating now.  So I don't know what was out there.  The other night I stepped out on the deck and I saw eyes out by the shed.  When my eyes adjusted I could see the whitish face.  Possum. 

Have a good weekend.  Stay warm.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Spring Storm in the Fall

I just returned from the grocery store and one errand.  I normally don't get out of the house until after 10 am, so I am confused with the time on the clock.  Today we are expecting a storm to blow through quickly between 10 am and noon.  This is one of those Spring storms that energize me.  The wind has been blowing from the south for a few days.  Because of that we have a chance of severe storms when the front blows through from the north.  Yes, the clash of the north and south goes on today.  There are always a chance of tornado and high winds. 

I have always been energized by thunder storms.  I love to stand outside with the wind blowing my hair every which-a-way.  I have been sitting on the bench by the backdoor watching the leaves twirling from the trees and going everywhere the wind blows them. Winter is the time I can access how well the trees are holding up on the property east of my property.  I can see broken limbs now as the leaves twirl around.

Because of the warmish weather, I did get some gardening done yesterday.  I planted a few things and moved things a bit.  My yard has certainly gotten away from me. Sigh!

I also have a thing for kingfishers.  Except in the city living, I have always lived near water that houses one or more kingfishers.  I have always loved them.  This morning as I took the back road into town, I saw my little guy sitting on the wire looking over his domain.  It makes me happy to see a thriving bird population nearby.

My birds are eating from three feeders now.  Of course, I am having the usual difficulty with squirrels.  The red bellied woodpecker "talked" to me the other day, and I saw the suet was low.  Usually I only have the downy woodpeckers this time of year.  The bigger ones usually wait until real wintry weather to check out the suet and sunflowers.

I finished my pillow.  It fits the comfy chair perfectly.  I should have made the pillow inside a bit longer, but it still works.
 I am still knitting on the linen stitch scarf.  I am tired of it.  As usual when this happens I put things aside for a while.  Otherwise it may be a skinny width scarf.

I am moving along slowly on my sweater.  I did try it on and I am about four inches to the finish of the body.  I am pretty sure I am going to have ample blue yarn.  It was a total crap shoot whether I would.  I know that the math is supposed to work, but I never rely on math anymore.  I think it is going to be a rugged everyday sweater that will service me well.

I am also knitting baby hats for a friend's unhatched grandbaby.  Her daughter is coming the second week of December for a visit.  Some of her friends are having a baby shower for her during that time.  I can't stand it when there aren't any homemade baby things, so she will get two baby hats from me.

I am going to go sit outside some more.  Uh-oh.  The sun is shining a bit and there are black clouds on the horizons.  Not a good sign.  I did see rays of sun peeking through the clouds driving home. That's when I noticed the low clouds swirling around. 

My grandmother once told me I was born in a thunderstorm.  That is probably why I get so energized and excited when I feel the energy of the storm brewing.  Even Noodles was acting squirrely. 

Keep your eyes on the skies.  Keep your eyes on the weather.  Keep safe.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

It's Getting Darker

Time is rolling along steadily every day.  The darkness is closer each day.  I don't care for the time change thing, but I know that when I wake up, I look out the window by the bed.  If it is dark, I can't get motivated to move very fast.  Sometimes I go to the bathroom and go back to bed. 

There are all kinds of things to read about following your own rhythms.  I know that I do follow mine.  Some days I can't get up early, some I can.  Most nights I can't get to sleep very easily.  I read a lot at night.  I don't have a clock or a sign or anything that says, "Hurry up!  Get UP!"  The only thing that notes the time is Noodles.  He likes his morning snack by 8 am.

Today was Recycling Day, so I made a brave move.  I put a stack of old knitting magazines in the bin.  I know I could re-home them somehow.  I am not going to worry about it.  They went into the bin.  With Ravelry so accessible now, I don't have to hoard all those old magazines.  I did save the Archaeology magazine that has the article about the unwrapping of an incan mummy.  They show all the spindles, weaving things, seeds, dye material, etc. that was wrapped in various layers.  I'm keeping that.  Don't ask why. 

We are now in our rainy Fall period.  We badly needed the rain, but why does it come when it is getting darker?  Now it is really, really dark, gloomy, and wet.  We have not had our first frost yet.  I haven't put the stuff in the mowers that keeps them okay through the winter.  Got that on the list.

I finished the Sanquhar Sampler as much as I am going to finish. it.  Plan B works for me.  I knit an edge on one side, added buttonholes, and now it is going to be a pillow.  I think it came out pretty nice. 

I am also now taking a little rest from the scarf and the sweater to knit some baby hats.  A good friend told me her 42-year-old daughter is expecting her first child in April.  So I am making them a bit large just in case she needs to save the hats for the Fall next year.  There is nothing cuter and faster than making baby hats.

I found some old wool dyed a LONG time ago.  So I am spinning that up.  The wool is coarser than I am used to.  So it may be designated for weaving yarn.  I like my knitting yarns to be soft and cuddly. This is not-it is coarse.

I am writing again.  I am also dreaming stories again.  I am happy to be doing that.  I think I am ready to tackle putting together another book of stories.  The first one was really my initiation, and it was as unpleasant as initiations are.  I will have to find a better publisher/editor.  There were so many mistakes in the printing.  It is something to think about this winter.

I am ready to make some quilted placemats for Christmas.  I think I found the perfect fabric the other day in the thrift store.  I found a HUGE shirt with a small eyelet pattern that was the best Christmas red color.  I immediately thought it would make the perfect backing for placemats.  I have some cotton batting, so all I have to do is get some Christmas material for the top.  Put that one on my list this week.

I guess I am almost ready for hibernation.  I need to get more canned food for the pantry.  I have made some applesauce for the freezer.  I dehydrated the last of the apples last week.  That is stored in the freezer.  I know there are still apples in the grocery store.  I may get some more to put up.  I love dehydrated apples on my oatmeal.  I need to check out the cranberries too.  I like to keep at least one bag in the freezer.  They are great for breads.  It is the weather to start baking bread again.  I have to check my supplies and make sure I have everything I need.  I know I have some yeast in the freezer, but perhaps I need more.  I'll have to check.

I don't know why I am so hungry for bread pudding.  I do have some cubed bread in the freezer, but I think it is stale by now. 

While I am out tomorrow I will have to get another sack of sunflower seeds for the birds.  They are now moving into feeding mode.  All the flowers are gone; the seeds are pretty much gone; the bugs are moving under the leaves now.  We still have ticks out.  Ugh!  I will have to make some suet for the woodpeckers now.  The season is changing.

This weekend is the Hunt and Roll at Mirkwood.  I am not going.  I really don't like to camp out when it is rainy and cold.  I remember weekends waking up and snow being on the tents and the moisture inside is frozen.  I remember sleeping with my water bottle to keep it from freezing.  I guess I am really getting old.  It does not sound appealing anymore.  I like the food, the company, the fun-I don't like the weather any more.

Well-just muttering along.  It is late now.  Time to go to bed and read a bit.  Happy middle of the week. 

Thursday, October 8, 2015

My Nose Is Clogged Up

I am highly allergic to mold.  It always comes this time of year.  First thing to do when Autumn arrives is get more antihistamines. Ragweed finally gets everything out of its system, and then along comes leaf mold.  Yay!  My favorite.  When I was little my mother always, always got either sinus infections or bronchitis in the Spring and in the Fall.  For many years the doctors could never figure it out.  Finally as medicine expanded it was discovered she was allergic to the chemical that makes leaves grow out and leaves to die.  Whatever that chemical is that tells trees to get ready-change is coming!

She was also very allergic to formaldehyde.  Guess what was a component of new dress materials in the 1950's and 1960's.  It was in the dyes. 

Anyway I am now taking my antihistamines daily.  This will last through October.  It's okay.  It isn't permanently debilitating.

I finally have reached the end of the Sanquhar scarf.  I am so over knitting this thing.  I still am not half-way, but I tried it on the other day to just see how long it has become.  I then realized that no one in his right mind would ever wear a 22 inch wide scarf that is doubled because it is knitted in the round.  We do not live in northern Europe, Siberia or Antarctica.  It has now become a long pillow form.  I am presently knitting a band on one end.  Somewhere along the way I will knit buttonholes on one side.  I am going to seam up the other end.  I will make a pillow form for the innards.  And I will not do anything like this again.

I am 1 1/2 inches along the linen stitch scarf.  I love the colors.  It is going to be really, really nice.

I put the sweater down to finish up the one project.  No news on that.  Just stockinette stitching.

For the first time in forever I am not spinning anything.

I have finished my practice piece on the tapestry loom.  I am now taking an online course by Rebecca Mezoff on Color Gradation.  I have been watching videos and reading the PDF's.  Now I need to practice some of her techniques before I go on.  I am really learning a lot.  I am also in the process of finding weaving yarns.  I no longer have a weaving stash.  I think I am going to thin out the knitting stash.  I probably have more yarn than I can knit in this lifetime.  It would be good to get rid of some of it.

The weather is typical for our Fall.  It is coolish in the evenings.  We have a few nights of 40's.  The days have been pleasant in the 70's.  Suddenly we are having a heat wave and in the 80's.  The ceiling fans are going again.  Windows open at night.  No wonder people get sick.

Noodles loves the cooler weather.  He is catching wood rats right now.  He doesn't have good teeth, so he can't eat the whole thing like he used to.  He did a good job on the little vole the other night.

I have three bird feeders and the suet feeder going again.  Sigh!  They are so spoiled.  Of course, the squirrels are ecstatic about it all.  The stupid rats chewed on the wood on the newly painted porch railing. 

So nothing new and exciting.  I also got a Craftsy class on Quilting as You Piece.  I like that concept.  I might get something done.  I have really not been faithful to my sewing.  I did repair a torn pair of work pants the other. 

So it seems I am preparing myself for the winter months.  I just can't get my mind in the right place.  The few overcast, gloomy days we have had send me spiraling down.  I do this every year.  Once I get to Winter Solstice I try to psyche myself by telling myself the days are getting longer every day.  By March I am screaming to get outside.  I need light.  It's a cycle a lot of people go through I know.

I am writing again.  I found a poem I wrote some time ago.  I found a short story that I thought I finished had not been finished.  So I am writing again.  It feels nice to sit down and live in someone else's brain for a while.

Craft fairs are happening this month.  Camping is happening this month.  Lots of activities to get involved in.  Have a safe transition into Full Fall as the cooler weather transitions.

And hope that we all make it out of Mercury in Retrograde soon. 

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

September-A Transition Month

Tomorrow is the first day of autumn-the Autumnal Equinox.  It is a time for transition.  I notice it is very subtle how it happens.  Suddenly we are having bits of cooler weather that move back to summer within days.  On the cooler days we have little humidity.  On the warmer days we have high humidity. The light is changing.  That I am not ready for-ever.  I like to have light to work by.  I find overcast, cloudy days or late mornings early nights light depressing.  I guess I am Persephone at heart.

I have been preparing for winter to come.  I am still working on the sweater and the Sanquahar scarf.  I finished a pair of socks for my niece, so I cast on a linen stitch scarf.  I am really not in a knitting mode, but I know what I have is fairly easy to do and mindless knitting.  I am not sure I will ever do a complicated all-over pattern in the wintertime again.  The light was dim and I had trouble reading the chart.  I had to sit by a window and I had to only work a few hours on it at a time.  How did women do it by candlelight or lantern light?

I have been cleaning outside preparing for the Fall weather.  I had my deck repaired-a big cost for me.  I painted the front rails on the porch, and I painted the new railing on the side porch and the replacement window sill.  I like it I don't have to mow as often.  The grass is changing.  I moved the garden bird feeder to a more open spot that I can still see out my windows.  I cleaned it out and it is waiting patiently for a fill up. 

I am still getting hummers, so the sugar water continues.  I heard geese in late August, and I am pretty sure they weren't our usual guests down on Barrington Road.  We do have a large group of geese that come in and stay there over the winter.  They rear young and then migrate again.  We had a large group of blackbirds that migrated through.  The robins have come and gone.  Birdsong is different now.  It isn't the usual mating songs that I hear in early summer and the melody is different now.

Noodles is still fighting fleas.  I am giving him Capstar every two weeks.  I have never had to do that.  Usually I can give him one and that is the end of it.  Of course, I use the topical flea and tick stuff once monthly.  That usually takes care of anything.  At the knitting circle everyone said they were having a terrible time.  One woman said her vet mentioned this was the worse flea season she had ever seen.

I am still working on Following the Lines on the tapestry loom.  I am close to finished.  I have dragged my heels finishing it.  I am planning to take a course with Rebecca Mezoff online and the sign up is October 5.  I want to just advance my warp and keep on weaving without cutting off this one.  I have the tension set and it is perfect and I don't want to mess with changing that.

A bit of a break while I talked to CJE.  The neighborhood crows are talking outside.  The bluejays have been fussing.  It is a lovely day-the eve of Fall.

Have a good week.  Enjoy the transition.  Prepare as you must.  The seasons will change regardless of preparation.

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Is It Fall Yet?

I have been mosey-ing along through summer.  It got really hot for a while.  Our normal heat plus humidity.  It is the kind of weather that makes one sit in air conditioning and try not to think about our ancestors sweltering in layers of clothes and unable to breathe properly.

Then in August we had a cool snap.  Normally in August it is HOT and 100% humidity.  I was able to turn off the a/c for a while.  The nights actually got down into the 50's on some nights.  This is unheard of where we live.  No one, and I mean no one, has ever imagined an August like the one we have had the last two weeks. 

Today the heat is back on; the a/c is turned on. 

I have had a lot of stuff happen at one time.  Since I retired, I don't do catastrophe well.  I get a bit melodramatic-the woe is me routine.  No one cared.  It's nice to have friends that just shrug and move on. 

My riding lawn mower died right at the end of a row I was mowing.  I made myself finish the mowing with the push mower.  That nearly killed me.  I find that my heart rate fluctuates wildly when I am hot, tired, exasperated, and mad.  Sears will send someone out to take care of your mower for a very hefty sum.  It also takes about two weeks or so to get in queue. 

Then I stepped out on the deck in back and thought that something wasn't right.  I went under a little ways and could see the support board was katty-wancuss.  I don't know how to spell that.  Phonetics are good for some things; others not so good.  When I returned on top, it was with a LOT of dismay that I saw that the deck was actually pulling away from the wall of the house. 

Then when I really looked, I saw the reason it was pulling away from the house.  The boards it was attached to were rotted and ant filled.  I don't mean a few little ants.  I mean ant filled.  I called my handyman service, and they sent someone out within a few days to inspect and give me an estimate. I also called the termite inspector to come out and inspect for termites.

So after a long drawn out ordeal, two men jacked up the deck, replaced the support wall, reattached the deck properly, replaced some siding , and left me with a secure and badly scarred up deck.  This Fall I have to seal it for winter time. 

The mower gets fixed in another week or so.  So I had to hire someone to mow and trim.

Money is precious to me.  I hate to splurge on things like house repairs.  Sigh!  More drama.

My SIL lost her husband a week ago.  It was very sudden and unexpected.  I have called her a few times to check up on her.  I guess I will have to visit in Fall.

I have finished the pretty green yarn that I was spinning.  It was dyed with tansy.  I am now knitting my indigo yarn.  It actually started as an experiment with prickly pear and that went wrong immediately.  So I rinsed that off and tucked it in the indigo bucket.  It will be pretty when finished. On the electric spinner I am still spinning the green dyed with redbud leaves.

I finally got the yoke increased on the raglan sweater and the sleeves taken off to waste yarn.  It is just a basic sweater and nothing fancy.  I am knitting a pair of socks that have been promised to my niece.  I am using the Monkey pattern for those.  The stranded work got put on time out for a while. I have cast on 450 stitches to make a linen stitch scarf. 

I have a pretty tapestry going on the loom.  I feel overwhelmed at times, so I have dragged my feet on that.  I dreamed one night that I was told to "Follow the line."  I had an art instructor that used to tell us that all the time.  If we sat too long staring he would nudge us with "Just follow the line". 

So nothing else too new.  My niece and her man have finally set a date for the wedding.  I look forward to going to Florida in April.  I will be really sick to death of winter by then.

Keeping busy, but nothing earth shaking to report.  I had the goats out to clear some of the brush on the west side.  I hear geese overhead periodically, although it is far too early for that.  The robins have moved back to bulk up for their journey to wherever they go.  The hummingbirds are feeding well.  A noisy wren is setting up camp in the back.

The chives and the mint are all that are blooming.  Usual end of summer routine.

Sorry to not write more often.  Just nothing happening around here.  Next time.

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Well-It Is July Again!

This has been a most peculiar summer.  After our most peculiar Spring, here comes peculiar summer.  We have had a LOT of rain, thunder boomers, floods, and HIGH grass.  Everything is LUSH and GREEN.  Normally by this time things are beginning to get browner and drier.  Mowing slows down.  It is unbearably HOT and HUMID.  So along comes the rain this year and cooler temps.  But now-July has returned.  HOT and HUMID has returned.  AC is turned on.  Fans are circulating the air. 

I have gone completely off my rocker this time.  I found a wonderful Leclerc Tissart Tapestry Loom on the internet.  These looms are no longer being made.  I emailed the lady and asked if it was still available, etc.  She replied it was and that there was one other person interested.  I told her to invoice me through PayPal and that I would drive up to Kansas City and pick it up.  I never heard another word from her.  I tried three times-no response.  So I decided it was the universe telling me I didn't really need this new complication in my life. 

I continued to look at tapestries on Pinterest; I lurked around looking at tapestry weaver's blogs; I read about techniques.  It has been MANY years since I have done anything like this.  I became a little bit obsessive, but realistic that my skills are really rusty. 

Suddenly another Tissart loom was offered through one of my groups on Facebook.  I emailed the guy, and we discussed a price and I said I would come on Wednesday to pick it up.  Tuesday my friend CJE and I drove through a horrible flood and thunderstorm to get out of Arkansas.  We drove to Lawrence and spent some time at the Yarn Barn in Lawrence KS.  We spent the night and the next morning we toodled over to the yarn shop in Holton, KS to pick up the new loom. 

CJE drove over on Thursday to help me put it together.  It took a little bit of puzzle making, but it actually went together pretty easily.  I have rubbed it down with Howards Wax and Oil and cleaned it  up.  I have tied up the treadles.  Now I am waiting for the warp thread to arrive.  I am playing with ideas for a design.  I put it in my spinning room because that room has a higher ceiling than any other room.  It is pretty large.

I am plying my redbud leaf colored yarn on the treadle wheel.  I am spinning the tansy leaf colored yarn on the electric spinner.  Lovely greens.  So pretty.  Green is all around us right now. 

Noodles has really slowed down lately.  He is showing his age.  He is inside more than normal enjoying less humidity in the house.  He is really hanging onto me more since he is the only fur person now.

Last night a raccoon decided to investigate the recycle box.  I finally opened the door and told it to go away.  It just looked at me, blinked and waddled a little bit away.  I finally had to step out on the deck and shoo it away.  I am sure it came back to finish its forage plan.

The goats were to arrive this week, but the rain last week has delayed things.  I cannot believe how thick my honeysuckle jungle has gotten with all the rain.  I hope these goats can give me some relief from the thickness and the encroachment on the yard.

I got my yard mowed, but it looks like a hay field.  It is pretty sad looking this year.  The grass is very thick and it holds water a long time after a rain.  I had frogs running like crazy when I was mowing next to the fence on the east side.  It was very swampy there.

I am still knitting on my handspun shawl.  I love the colors in this piece.  I am also knitting on the Sanquhar scarf sampler.  I decided to knit a hexagon last night and see if I like the pattern.  I don't want to start a new project, but I was bored.  I also have some new sock yarns that are gorgeous.  I haven't been knitting so many socks as before, but these yarns are great colors.

My dyeing has slowed to nothing.  I haven't been feeding the indigo pot.  I have been busy making quick trips to Kansas and doing crazy things.

Yesterday was RC's birthday.  He is 42 years old this year.  It is so hard for me to imagine that.

I guess that is all for this little start of July.  Hot has returned.  Things are starting to dry up.  AC on. Staying in except early morning and late,late evening.  Reading, knitting, spinning to fill up time.