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Wednesday, April 27, 2016

And Now April is Slipping By

And I have once again not down a blog post. If it helps, I've been keeping these hands busy.

For Spring is here. We've had to put down weed killer and fertilizer. The maples are quickly making whirly gigs and leaves are soon to follow. Much of the underbrush is already leafing out.

Today the hummingbird tracking site stated there was sightings in Battle Creek so feeders for them have gone out as the suet feeders empty out and go into storage until winter. Currently the red-winged blackbirds are serenading me as I write this. I love their racket. The other day we saw a large brown bird on a feeder and I told The Guy that I thought it may be a female red breasted grosbeak which is a favorite of mine. Sure enough, the following day we saw the male on the feeder. I opened the oriole feeder we got on sale last fall only to find all the pieces and parts are not accounted for. As I don't still have the receipt and it was months ago, I think I'm stuck with it. Oh well.

With all that spring brings, we've been seeing and hearing more from the cranes that seem to have decided the area is good for being in again, which is nice. We missed their presence last summer. I was out playing ball with the foster dog the other night when these two flew over. That's the moon shining bright above them.

Speaking of foster dogs, Wrangler is in his new home and settling in well. We have Eliza here for a couple more days. She's energetic, can you tell? She's an Aussie/English Shepherd mix and has the energy to prove it. Always on the go this one. Right now she's informing me that I could take her out and play with that ball again. In fact, she'd appreciate it greatly.

She is heading south to the Kalamazoo area to a new home on Friday. Yay! She's going to have two young boys to look after. One of them is a cross country runner which I think will be a great pairing for her. She likes guacamole, can you tell? I'm going to miss this one but I don't think the boys will. They've been run a bit ragged keeping up with her, and dang it, Emmitt doesn't like to admit he's getting old and isn't the fastest dog anymore. She beats him to the ball! The Nerve. This is why I have not brought out the frisbee. You can only ask an old man to put up with so much.

You know what else spring brings? Bugs. I think Midge is liking it though. Even the other day when I was in Kalamazoo to do the home visit and meet and greet with girlie there I noticed a spider on the ceiling of the truck. As I was at the time lost and trying to find my way through a town with no real landmarks I ignored it. Wasn't on me after all and it was a little one. Not like it was a big hairy beasty. I did however remember to let the guy know he had a stowaway in his truck when I got home. Heeheehee...

This shot is also from the kalamazoo area when we were walking the dogs downtown a couple weeks back when we did a tour of the area. I wanted to hit the new field and stream store so The Guy took a midweek holiday and we spent the day with dogs goofing off and woking around.

The wee heathen of a cat also likes the new dog. She settled in with her quite quickly and decided that this one was a new playmate. There's been several times I have started to get after Eliza when I've noticed the cat egg on the behavior so I let them have at it. Here she was the other day stalking her then attacking before making a run for another room just to have a good game of chase.

People find it funny when get out of my car then extract 4 dogs from it. There is constant comments about it being a clown car. I promise that it's quite roomy. Here's the proof. See, I could fit in a 5th. Heck, we have. Please not the hairy roof form Sullivan... It's the only small car I could find that was tall enough for him. He still kind of stops a bit when he comes forward, as you cans, he rubs. This was taken after our big downtown walk to test the girl with traffic noises.

The boys like these walks because it normally means a lunch at the hotdog vendor who adores them.

We also got ourselves a new batch of chicks. We're down to just two adults. The previous foster killed one of our three which is a shame as we really like our reds. But we got two more and some ISA Browns. So, you may see me hocking eggs if they all make it through. We know the Reds give us a daily nice egg. The ISA's are supposed to be prodigious layers. I'm going to have to make more cakes, let me tell you. Today I had to put the gate over the top of their bin after cleaning it out as I found one of them perched on the edge when I went in to get something. Little wenches.

Like I said before, I've kept these hands busy as of late. I went through that spat of startitis which is quite normal for me as we head into spring. I was up to 6 active projects on the needles which means nothing really gets done on any of them. I'm set to wrap up the socks in the next few days. Yay... They were just thrown on the needles as I was asked to teach a sock class, so I figured I had to have some started right? Right. Class has been done and over but I never wrapped them up. The cuff is actually a double cuff which always adds time to the knit. And no pattern guys, this is just made up for a mens size 8. You know how I roll.

Last week however I saw three items finished. The Pfielraupe which means caterpillar I believe in German. It was a lovely piece to knit. Took forever but that's how garter stitch often feels to me.

And the new clothesline pin bag for The Guy as the last one is too small these days. And I think the yarn I used was a bit ugly too boot. If I would have seen how that cotton would knit up I would never have bought it. Good thing I didn't make a baby sweater Like originally planned. This one is a lovely cotton linen blend that will last forever. The little tabs at the top will connect it to the hanger so you can just place it beside you on the clothesline as you work. Smart, huh? Again, no pattern. Made it up. I can tell you that both sides are 84 stitches then seemed. The top band is doubled because when I was first thinking about it I thought of perhaps placing a drawstring in it. That idea was a bust but  think it will give it more structure on the hanger anyhow.

And I wrapped up the Come What May shawl. It came, it went. It's done. It's a great little pattern for those who want to break into lace. Not too complex but very pretty in the end. The yarn is a handspan gradient I did last year. Lovely stuff. Used almost all of it on this project.

So now, I am having a blocking party! I meant to this weekend but The Guy hurt his back so I was kept busy doing things I didn't want him to do. So blocking got put off until I was done making todays spice cake. Which I actually need to go make up the frosting for so I can start the lemon chicken with asparagus and gold beets for dinner. So with that, I will bid you all adieu. I'm sure there's a way to put an accent mark on there but I know not how.

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Before March Slips Away

I thought I would jump on since I had the computer up and running and a few photos before another month slips by with nothing from me. I really am still breathing.

I don't know about you all, but spring has done sprung in Michigan. Yes you nay sayers, even if it snows this weekend, it's here and it's sticking around. Even the cranes agree with me. I actually snapped this photo just after Day Light Savings.

By the way, to whomever is the next president (I shutter even thinking that, it's one of the super negative things I've been trying not to gripe about which is one of the reasons I've not been on), can you get rid of that stupidity that is Day Light Savings? Even if you are a complete joke, you will be a hero on some level just by doing that.

Speaking of spring and birds, the song birds have been singing up a storm. Just the other evening we were commenting on the storm of sound as we got home. Between robins, cardinals, the finches, doves, jays, and the spring peeper frogs a singing, we could hardly here one another. Even though winter was a flub this year, spring is wonderful. Just ask Midge, she would love to go chat with a songbird... Look at that tail whip!

With spring we have started to foster dogs again. Meet Dodger/Wrangler. He came to us as Dodger, and left last weekend Wrangler. He has a new home and they seem to be in love with him.

He was a silly boy. Typical lab though he was mixed with something (my bet was on American Bull Terrier as he had a funny nose snout shape, the low tank of a build, and an underbite that was spectacular). We were happy to get him through until adoption but so glad to see him on his way. As are the chickens since he killed our Scarlet.

The boys were glad to have me to themselves on my day off today. I took them downtown and forced them to have hot dogs from street venders and peanut butter frozen yogurt. I'm so mean. It was a beautiful day though I should have left the jacket in the car. There was no breeze and with the sun the mid 40's felt hot with a sweatshirt and jacket. They're out with their Papa Bob while I do this and think about what to make for dinner with the left over Easter Ham. Yay... ham... again...

I do think Sullivan is missing Dodger just a bit. Because Dodger would play and play and play. Not once tackling Sullivan or keeping him form what Sullivan loves best, which is to run!

Jared Flood's Leaves of Grass

Speaking of dinner, I should get to it here. I have been knitting away until I managed to hurt my finger which has brought me to an almost standstill.

Susan Anderson's Come What May

I'll keep you posted and you'll get another look at all these soon I hope when they're complete.

The Pfeilraupe by Alpi Alpenrose

Well, When I get some more fiber to finish the Leaves of Grass that is. Oops. Teach me.

Saturday, January 23, 2016

I'm here. I swear I'm here.

I promise, I'm around. Just not online. We're good. We weren't slammed by the east coast storm. We still have our inches of snow, not feet. The boys are still silly the girls still laying and the cat; well, she's a cat so crazy as normal.

Been busy due to this little project. Double knitting anyone? This is sort of a gag gift for a friend. Well, her son really. He is a grown man living in New York and can't seem to keep any of the scarves she's knit for him. She swears she just finished the last one she'll knit for him. So this is it's replacement. I blurred out her email address. Sorry... Only the other half to go. He's a Harry Potter fan, can you tell?

Off to work with me. You all have a great day.

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

It's a New Dawn, A New Day... Okay, it's a new year.

Welcome 2016. I hope all you that may read this had a wonderful, safe, and warm New Year. We stayed in and once again I forgot to even use the box of fireworks I meant to shoot off. Of course, i was in bed and close to sleep by 10:30, so am I surprised at all? I know, some old folks. Shady Pines Ma, Shady Pines.

We here finally are looking like winter. I know, had to wait until the new year to finally get some snow. It's not mice, but I'll take it. Just because it's a new year doesn't mean Sullivan won't carry around whatever big stick he deems worthy of his attentions.

Of course, this morning he had other things to occupy his strange little mind... Masked Capers anyone? This little young one had obviously spent the morning here as he was frost covered on his back but was definitely awake. The sad thing is, I think I smelled him and first and even located him before the dogs. Captain Oblivious Canine? Aren't you supposed to have awesome sniffers? He was nervous but wouldn't get up and move. Don't worry, these are zoomed in, I didn't get any closer.

There was no blood or obvious injury so I left and called the authorities just to notify them that this guy was there as this is a park. There were prints in the snow showing at least one other person and dog had been there that morning already. There were also some rather cool prints that appeared to be a fox hunting a rabbit but they pics didn't come out too well as I only had my phone with me. If I had known it was going to be so gorgeous out, I would have grabbed a real camera.

That was the way to start the day today. Well, technically I started the day getting up at 6 and taking the car in for a service campaign. Then I came home, got the boys and took them out for their morning walk when it was 14 degrees, rather than the 8 my car said as I headed into town this morning. Emmitt's paws appreciated it, even if he doesn't know it.

I really wished I had a better camera this morning as the frost had coated everything.

Perhaps another day. I'll try again tomorrow. Promise.

Do you know the best part of the holidays? I know you do, and if you think hard, you'll know what I think the best part is. Fooooooood!

All that leftover Christmas ham? Sorry Sarah, this is how the grownups eat... We won't discuss the amount of bacon this infidel has consumed this last weekend alone. All that ham goes wonderfully into homemade four cheese Macaroni and Cheese. I'm still eating the leftovers...

Then there's the sides.

Oh, and the left over Mac & Cheese? Throw those thick cold slices in the frying pan and have fried Mac & Cheese. That's why the dogs need walked, to wear off my calories. And it keeps them happy. Win-Win.

Sorry, no photos of the New Years feast. The pork roast, the sauerkraut, the black-eyed peas. Mmmmmm. Maybe that will be lunch here in a few minutes.

Besides cooking, walking dogs, beating on the baseboard heaters, I've been knitting. The vest is done.

The sweater is getting there. Both sleeves are done and the lower half of the body. Now it's time to connect and start the raglan decreases. Kia had perfect timing today. They came to get me for my car just as I was wrapping up the second sleeve.

And this last weekend I arrived at work to find this had been left for me... Yay. Everyone loves a challenge right? excuse me here, but fuck that. The owner of this piece is the grand daughter of the knitter. The knitter thankfully perhaps, has been dead and gone for some time now. So, this afghan means more than it maybe would normally. So, I dove in.

It appears that perhaps a knot was left intact it failed. The lesson here people? Never leave knots in your yarn, or tie them there yourself. Knots fail. Weave your tails in correctly. It may seem tedious, but which is worse, 10 minutes of tail weaving or hours of repairing holes? Once I got things situated and a plan of attack going, it wasn't too hard. The picture above was what I got done Saturday between helping customers and ringing people up. It was kind of a busy day.

And here is what it looks like now. The blue paper clip is where I started the repair, the gold needle the end. It's not perfect, but it will look even better with a washing (which this musty thing needs) and blocking. If you look close, the decreases are now leaning the wrong way in this repaired area. This is due to the fact that the only stitches dropped were straight stockinette stitch and increases. No decreases, so I couldn't absorb the increases in pattern. For non-knitters, this means that every 4 rows of knitting in this pattern, I would have increased by 2 stitches. I should have 4, but by row 5, I would have 6 stitches, by row 9, 8 stitches and so on. I always had to have just 4 stitches by some magic of the knitting needles. Now, looking back, I could have unwound some more stitches to incorporate 2 full repeats of the pattern and accounted for it that, but lets be honest, I didn't care that much. I chose to do a simple mirrored decrease that accounted for the extra stitches and hid the damage to the casual observer. Then I found yarn that blended in decently well to graft the hole at the line of broken yarn after closing the top of the run and on went life. Not perfect, but granddaughter gets not only her knitted heirloom back, but one that's usable and full of good memories with each cuddle. Not worry of furthering the damage. Now, let's hope no other knots are present or fail.

Psssst, I didn't want to frog the whole thing down either because there was a crocheted edging that went around the entire thing that would have had to be pulled out before I started the repair. No Thank you.

Oh, and Midge Fly says "Hi Y'all"

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Post Christmas Wishes

I know, I know... Post Christmas Wishes? What the heck are those? Well, I kind of figured that the most of you were busy yesterday with family. Oh, and playing with your new gadgets and gizmos. Who wants to check out this blog when you have new toys?!?

Actually, I figured that most of you would be knee deep in family stuff. I realize my kids are easy compared to real kids. The Guy walked them in the morning, then we did a mid-day walk before I dove into getting dinner ready.

Meanwhile you with actual little ones are putting things together, finding batteries for such toys, then stepping on toys, nursing hurt feet and feelings due to stepping on toys, and if you have more than one kid, breaking up fights about toys. I know the cycle. And I'm happy it's your cycle and not mine.

See, these guys just needed a walk. Well, a couple of walk but that was it.

Then you had to feed your horde. Mine just require a scoop or two of food and some affection. So I could focus on feeding just the two of us. And it was oh so good.

So, here it is, the 26th and I'm hoping that all of you had a wonderful Christmas. May you be surrounded by those you love and loved in kind. May the family spats been kept to a minimum, or at least been entertaining enough to be turned into a hilarious Christmas tale of family woe. Just remember, someone out there may write a best seller based on your family dysfunction. That means there's always hope that maybe one of the kids will be able to pay for their own therapy.

And lastly, may you have had a white Christmas. We sure didn't. But it was sunny and there wasn't a pond in our foot yard like last year. It's all about the little blessings.

Yes, that's a hand knit star on my tree. Shush it.