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Saturday, September 24, 2016

Big News...

I know! I've been horrible. So much for thinking I was going to get back into this blogging thing. Why have I not been blogging? I'm not sure exactly. I've been frustrated with the sheer amount of spam the comments section was getting. And there was also some stupid hateful things left there that I never let get seen before deleting, but that kind of crap doesn't really bother me. More, it was my own mind set that was stopping me quite honestly.

I'm not one to feel depressed about stuff, and I am not saying by any means I was or am depressed, but I've been very negative. I'm not where I wanted to be in life, emotionally, or just mentally, but I'm getting there and maybe that's a good reason to start sharing on here again. It's not the first time such a time has happened to me and I'm sure it's not the last but it has been the longest chunk of time that I've felt so negative.

Can you see the hummingbird? They're a pain to get a shot of)

What do I mean by negative? I mean I feel bitchy and mean spirited. I catch myself saying things that aren't normal for me. I don't have near the sense of humor I normally do and I'm just crabby. In short, I feel like I'm turning into a curmudgeon at 37 years of age. Just start calling me Crankshaft. And feeling like that, I don't like to put my views out there. If I'm going to add to the voices out there to read and maybe make someone think, I prefer to do that when I'm much happier and lighter in mind set and humor. As anyone whammy remember previous postings here, I like to laugh. Not gripe, bitch, and moan because that is entirely unhelpful to anyone.

So, on that note, we shall not discuss politics (unless we're going to laugh at all of them because it's getting that ridiculous), not bombings (except say I'm thinking of anyone who have been affected; or worse, harmed by them), or especially the latest celebrity hijinks (except why did I have to dig to find real news under all the Brangelina, Kardashian, and Real Housewives BS???). We shall discuss other things in life that make us happy.

What such things you ask? Well, the yarn store I was working at has now closed for business though we're still working on getting it all cleaned up and sorted. Why is that happy news? Well, it doesn't make me sad. It's time. I think the owner had been stalling on making this decision and I think in it's way this is happy news and a good change for her.


Where am I going to be working you ask? Not here. And by not here I mean we're moving. We finally got confirmed that Bob is getting transferred back west. Bozeman Montana here we come! So, this is actually good timing as I will be staying home and packing like a maniac to get the house ready to go. We just finished the bathroom remodel and now we have got to get the kitchen wrapped up and done so we can get this place on the market.

And how do I feel about moving back west? Elated. I will miss some things about Michigan, don't get me wrong. Mostly I will miss people I have come to know over the last 3 years. But i will not miss the sheer number of people. Imagine, a town of 50,000 again, instead of 1.5 million. Ahhhhhhhh...

I will miss the singing night bugs, the frogs, the birds, and oh so much I will miss rain. Oh God ho I will miss rain, but I will not miss the humidity. The Guy was gone all week for work this week and I had to launder his Towel on Wednesday for it was still damp from his Sunday morning shower and starting to stink. I will not miss that. I will not miss waking up to muggy 70+ degree mornings where I'm sweating fresh out of the shower. Last weekend on closing day of the store I was mixing a batch of Sangria for the party when The Guy mentioned I was sweating while standing there. I looked at him and said, "This isn't sweat."

"Oh yeah?" He replied, "What is it?"

"It's condensation." See, my sense of humor is coming back, but it takes a lot in the heat of summer.

In the meantime, I let my friend Karen talk me into becoming a pampered chef consultant. Yeah... Careful, I'm going to start harassing people. No I'm not. I am not a natural salesman so I don't imagine making a lot of money but there will be more about that later and I'll set up a link to my website if you guys want to order something... That's right, you can do all that online these days and not have to find or host a party. But enough of that.

Tucker is finally recovering form blowing his knee out. Poor guy. He's been down and out and his right butt is so shrunken but he's doing better. He's a month out from surgery and starting to use it more and more.

This last weekend was the Fallesburg Art Festival and of course, we had to go. Even with The Guy I had to wander on down as it may be the last time I get to go and it is a wonderful little festival.

It's located at the Fallesburg park which is a great venue. When the boys needed a break form the attention they gather we would walk down to the river (that's just a tributary there in the pic, the Flat River is on the other side of that bridge) and play in the water or as you can see from Sullivan's shot, watch frogs play.

And with any festival there's always food... The boys got hotdogs, I ate the fries.

And while we are discussing things to be happy, food, and pampered chef, I've been cooking. You know me, always cooking.

I made a fresh peach cobbler one day while I let the kirby salesgirls shampoo are living room rug. Nope, not buying a kirby. I know, so bad... This was the first time I've ever had cling peaches come away nicely from the pit. It tasted as good as it looked.

And while blanching I made something else I haven't made in years. This is a Raspberry Plum Tarragon Soup that is made then chilled before eating. So good on hot days. It's a fresh crisp flavor. I think this came out of a Martha Stewart Magazine years and years ago due to a note on the page where it lives in my recipe book these days.

And when my Pampered Chef stuff came I of course had to use something out of my boxes though I have left them packed due to the kitchen remodel happening. I broke out the RockCrock as it's something I've been curious about since they first came out. I have to say, I'm sold. I always thought they seemed a bit gimmicky but I like it even though I'm a cast iron kid. This was an awesome shrimp Paella dish that I doctored a bit to add some flavors. Delicious.

And other things that make me happy? Tea. A fresh pot of tea in the morning always makes me happy. I finally retired the old tea pot and had to make the new pot a cozy. Don't laugh, it really does keep the tea warmer.

Unfortunately pots don't come with instructions to make such a thing so there was lots of measuring, cussing, and stomping off as I figure out how to make it work. I think this is really a first draft. It's okay but it's not my favorite  thing I've ever made up. Part of that is due to some stupidity as I knit.

Such as casting off my spout gusset stitches. Why did I do that? No idea and by the time I realized what I did I was so far past it I decided I didn't care. What I have is a perfectly serviceable cozy and a back up skein to knit something else later on should I decide I want to.

On other knitting news I've attacked Christmas knitting. I hope to send off my box before we leave here. A few things less to pack if I manage it. I've wrapped up the oldest of my brothers kids socks, his kid sisters iPhone gloves, and I think I have their mother taken care of. I was going to knit her something from some Alpaca I spun but it stinks. Literally, the finished yarn wreaks of animal. I wonder if male Alpaca's in rut smell like Billy goats sometimes do? I've washed it over and over and it still smells and I honestly am tempted to cut it up and leave it out for the mice, chipmunks, and squirrels to use in their nests.

The middle child's item is going to be what my entire plan hinges on. He's getting a sweater... Don't ask. I think if the yarn harlot can get a sweater done by Rhinebeck, I for sure can get one done by the time we leave, right? Stop laughing. Your supposed to only do that when I laugh with you. I actually have the biggest part done. Figuring out what I'm knitting, deciding on gauge, fit and stitch pattern and the back is done. Bam! I used most of two of my 8 balls of yarn which makes me nervous but I remind myself that the back is the biggest piece of knitting there is on the thing. I got this. Now why can't I ever knit to a frigg'n pattern?!? It would make my life so much easier and I could stop tearing out constantly and maybe make me a bit more happy.

I also have some lovely merino silk on the wheel... This has been put on hold for a bit though as we refocus on more important tasks.

Since we finally got word that the move will be happening I have started to prep. I burned the pile out back the other day including the old chicken coop. I felt a little guilty as I didn't clear my age burn pile first and get as much of the wild life out as possible but I had stuff to do. I watched a couple snakes make hasty exits from the rocks which tells me there were probably a lot of bugs and frogs among those branches.

I got it going so hot I had to go out near 11pm to rewet it as I saw live coals in the dark again and then again in the morning when I let the chickens out of the coop as it was still smoking.

We have a home for the chickens already, thank god. This morning I was up to 3 dozen eggs in the fridge this morning. Yesterday was the first day I got an egg per girl. Wowza, what were we thinking? I made cheesy chorizo and eggs this morning to get rid of a few.

So anyone know someone who wants to buy a loom or a cat? Serious about the loom, semi-serious about the cat... She's stayed an indoor kitty so she'll mint likely come with us but if someone thinks they want to adopt her and you all get along we'd consider it, but no promises, it's all about what s best for her, and she loves her boys.

The other day I saw my first stick bug! I told you I'd miss the bugs, especially the night singers. Not so much the constant wasps and their nest making, but I will miss some. Sorry, it was a horrible photo as I couldn't get the phone to focus on it and not my hand. I found it on the grill when I went to start it up for dinner. Glad I saw it and got it moved to the bushes by the deck. I was hoping the chickens would never see it hidden in there. They are so good for bug control despite the crazy amounts of mosquitos the last couple of weeks. Feels like we just got done with the summer flies and we're overswarmed by mosquitos. It almost feels like I'm back home.

Okay, that's it for now guys. Though I do have to share this one little bit of negativity because it still makes me laugh when I see it...

Thanks for sharing it with me Karen.

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.