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Sunday, March 29, 2015

To Make Him Happy

The Guy wanted me to let you all know what a crazy Saturday evening we had. We hit up a bar, had a couple brews, then picked up a couple chicks apiece and took them home...

Oh, you thought I meant "chicks"? Well, technically they are, or more precisely  they're pullets. Or we hope they're pullets, though I wouldn't care too much if one ended up being a rooster. Though, if he's a cocky ass, he'll go in the pot.

The boys are unsure about all this. Okay, so Sullivan is unsure about all this. Emmitt is pretty sure we brought him home moving snacks, and Tucker just runs away. Yep, that's our brave boy there. Sullivan has been a bit nervous but that may be because he doesn't care to go down into the basement. When I brought them up this afternoon after cleaning out the brooding box, he was fairly mellow, came and sat down next to me snuffled one good. Interested for sure, but not barely contained predator like Emmitt. Now why couldn't that pointy-eared wee heathen have helped control mice? Damn Dogs.

Anyway, they're from a local feed store and we may get eggs but we're more hopeful for free lawn fertilizer and bug eating. Hopefully they'll deter the frogs from the back yard too, so there will be less death by lawn mower. We're going to do some platings in the lower front yard and let it grow in more naturally, maybe throw out some wildflower seed and we'll hope the reptiles, amphibians, and little four-legged critters decide to stay down there.

Speaking of dogs, I used some of Tucker's fur to make a little yarn. Yep, that's right, that's dog yarn. I made it for a talk I'll be doing here this next month for a local yarn crawl. I'll be giving a little chat about different fibers and what not. and let's face it, none of my yarns are complete with out some canine fiber...

And speaking of yarns, I've whipped a couple others out this last week. I wrapped up this 50/50 mix of tercel and merino.

For those of you who know what I'm saying, can you tell it's a fractal spin? It's all plyed and I'll share photos when she comes off the bobbin and gets washed.

I was impressed with how close I came to finishing both bobbins together. There was less than two yards left on the second bobbin. But whenever I focus on consistency in my singles, the multiple singles end up very close in finished length, just not normally this close.

I wrapped up this more rustic two ply that isn't near as consistent this morning. okay, so the picture is a bit rustic too. I'll get a new picture of it when it's washed and wrapped up properly as well. I've used fiber from this merchant before and I'm just never really satisfied with it. Their products have beautiful color, but the fiber itself, isn't wonderful.  Not bad, just not wonderful. I'm just spoiled I guess...

Since I don't have anyone to give the bobbin remains to here yet, I've been making a n-ply self striping yarn with the little pieces. It will be interesting when it's done as it's all kinds of fiber, prep, and thickness of singles.

Well, speaking of that class, I actually need to get some stuff together regarding it and tomorrow. And I'm afraid being stuffed as I am, I might fall asleep in front of the computer. I found some lovely little mangoes at the store today as I was shopping for dinner makings.

Together with some tomato's, avocado, and some lime juice and spices, they made a great salad spread across some greens.

Add that to some homemade enchiladas, and things were pretty good. But I'm a bit stuffed.

So, need to get some stuff done, then go play with some baby birds!

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Recognize this scene?

That's right, that's a Wyoming sunrise. Beautiful skies I honestly do miss form Wyoming. The wind that scrubs those skies clean of haze and leaves beautiful high ice clouds for the rising and setting suns to paint, not so much.

And the beautiful earth and rock formations. The wind that helps carve such formation? Nope.

In other words, we were glad to be home. After 6 days gone, 4 of those driving for The Guys mother's funeral we were beat. Heck, I'm still beat thinking about it. I'm sure The Guy is more so on some levels. It's a rough reason to go home, and a rough trip to and from. Not fun. So, for those that wonder why I don't call them and set up "hang time", it wasn't that kind of trip. We got to see a few people, but it was more about family and goodbyes. Thank you once again to everyone who left kind words and well wishes. It was nice to see them as they arrived.

I too, have had a break from the ol'blog. Why, I couldn't tell you. I honestly haven't been snapping a lot of pictures lately. Though I do plan on heading out with the boys shortly and trying to remedy that a bit with that new camera of mine. But even on the road, I didn't use the camera. To boot, I haven't had a lot to say. What I have been tempted to write, has been a bit bitchy and negative. Things I haven't even been able to put a humorous twist on. Things too emotionally charged in the news. It feels like everything lately has made me crabby. I seem to becoming a curmudgeon in my mid-thrities. I think I need to hold off for thirty more years before I let that attitude sink in on me. I better up the green veggie intake and get out in the sun and absorb some vitamin D.

But as you can here form the birds, spring is arriving, and I need to let it cheer me a bit and get back to doing things I love.

Don't worry, I have;'t given up everything I love. Still spinning, and playing with fiber. Still watching idiots hurt themselves on youtube. I have been letting myself get sucked into stupid loops on the computer, which I need to stop.

I think you all agree that I should stick to things that are a positive uses of my time while on the computer, like making blog posts. No?

Anyway, all that snow in those pics? It's gone. We've had a warm week here and the back yard is drying out and the front yard only has one little pocket left down near where we had a pond earlier in the week. The good trails are already dry enough for walks again so that the boys don't mope like you see above. Actually, he wasn't moping there, Emmitt was curled up having a post morning walk nap as I was in the shower.

Speaking of the shower, I need to go take one and we're going to head to a new park I think I may have found. I'll take the camera and keep you all posted. However, i promised a friend that I would make a blog post this weekend, so here it is! And I told another friend I would post this:

That's the "Sullivan Bed" typically. Fits him just right. Or he goes and sleeps on the guest bed upstairs that we keep covered. Last night he cuddled for a few minutes in our bed as he seemed to have a bad dream while I was brushing my teeth for bed. He cried and howled then went quiet. I just had to go check on him and he came up with me and crawled between us and cuddled for about 10 minutes before he decided he needed to go somewhere he could stretch out a bit.

You all have a good rest of your Sunday.

Monday, March 2, 2015

Don't worry folks

I haven't fallen off the face of the earth. We've had a death in the family and between running ourselves and three dogs back to Wyoming for a funeral, and coming back to jump right back into work and what not  I haven't gotten around to writing a real blog post. I promise as soon as we recover a bit from 6 days of being out of town with three dogs and 4 of those being long days on the road, I'll be back.

Sunday, February 8, 2015

I swear it's not what it looks like

However, If I didn't know that I planted a chestnut, I would swear I'm growing something "more".

I was all excited this last week when the chestnut that I had kind of given up on, decided to finally sprout. Then I forgot about it up in the loom room until I went to water it the other day and took one look at those leaves and said, "WUHT?" I sniffed it gently, then went online to look at chestnuts to realize that yes, they have jagged slender leaves that grow in groups of five. As an adult, it doesn't look near as close as the leaves get very long, but as a young plant, I thought I had accidentally started a cannabis crop though I know the difference between those two seeds. Don't ask, and I won't tell people, but I do. You glean all kinds of information when you date IT dork pot heads... Much of it useful computer stuff to know. Some of it, not normally useful, but hey, I know it was a chestnut seed.

It's been a pretty quiet week with working everyday except today this week. We have had a touch more snow, and I lucked out and got some quick shot this morning of cardinals!

I still hope for better shots, but these are the best so far I think.

To bad these were through either screened windows, or ones glaring so bad I had to chop pieces of it out.

Last ngiht I sat down with the Fox Paws pattern, and did some heavy cussing, tearing back, but it's back on track, and only one more row past where you last saw it so I won't be sharing that with you.

That being all the knitting I did, might be why I feel edgy. Perhaps I needs some sticks and string therapy this afternoon? Yes... But first I must walk the boys again. They'll appreciate it though my stiff sore knees won't.  I'm too young to feel this dang old and creaky, but I do. Yesterday my knees were throbbing bad enough post walk to make me take an Aleve which I rarely do as they're hard on my stomach. I waited until I had a full dinner and I think it helped me sleep the best I have all week.

But enough whining. I did get time to spin this week. I finished up this 100% Polwarth.

I have a local knitting friend that I'm hoping likes it as I spun it thinking I would give it to her for her Christmas 2015 hat knitting projects. She's been looking for self striping yarn, and this is n-pled specifically to self stripe. Fingers crossed, it works for her.

And that's all I got this week guys. Told you, I've been working to much. Wish I could have snapped a picture of the Ring Necked Pheasant that was on the side of the road as I was getting home last night but as soon as it saw me step out of the trees it was off.

If anyone downloaded the Here Be Water Dragons pattern, be aware a major mistake was found this week form rows 63-99. It is now corrected, as well as the patterns pictures were compressed to make a smaller and easier download, and a small formatting error I caught today were corrected.

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Taking a break to bring you a post

Taking a Break?!? "From What?" I hear you gasp. From Fox Paws...

Fox What? It's this little pattern a few of us crazy knitter folk have dove into. I have a chunk done, but not without some erstwhile cursing let me tell you. It is not an easy pattern and it is definitely not "brainless" knitting that can be taken to the movie theater. Oh no... It's pushing my limits at times to even have my audio book playing while working on it. The Guy thinks it's funny that when he speaks to me, I have to mentally and physically come to a stop, note my spot, turn off the book and make eye contact with him before telling him to repeat himself. That is not how I normally am. I often multi-task my knitting. I can chat, listen to a book or watch a movie, I've even been known to perhaps walk from room to room with it so as not to have to put it down. But this pattern...

See that blue row that works in out of the work there? That's actually two rows of knitting, and that my dears, is 4 hours of work. Yes, four hours. And I am not, a slow knitter. I'm not grease lightening by any means, but I'm not a sloth either. It took me that long because Xandy Peters is a sadistic creature amazing knitter and designer who dreamt up this brocade looking piece using just increases and decreases that requires you to pay complete attention to what your doing. And let's face it, I wasn't far enough into the work to really "see" what I was doing yet. But once I got this mind f*ing tortuous brain puzzle incredible wondrous series of stitches down into that strange little geometric part of my brain that said, "ahhhh, see, there it is" It was a breeze. Fingers crossed, I can fly from here. I know, that sounds like I just cursed myself, but I did make a goof later, found it two rows later and was able to fix it without tearing back, so I'm hoping I'm on track. Well, besides that little fact that forgot to read the actual color change chart, but we are omitting that little fact, and I'm going to just make it up as I go. Why should this piece be any different than any others? I'm sure Ms. Peters had a really good reason for her color sequencing, but I'm choosing to ignore that at this point, okay? Just let me have my delusions and I won't take pictures of the dogs huddling in fear as I explode at my own stupidity down the road. Deal?

Let's face it, when the Yarn Harlot herself has moments like these, I should have realized I was in for it.

I shouldn't really say I'm taking a break, as it's noon and I'm still in my laze about clothes. You see, we're finally getting our snow! That picture above doesn't truly show it very well, but we have thin dry snow being blown in by a chilly north wind. the wind, isn't new. It's been hanging around since Thursday. Don't judge me about the laze about clothes, I did change enough to do the first round of shoveling.

I thought these Ice Fishers were insane standing out on the lake in Caledonia on Friday. It was actually in the high 20's but the breeze ripping off the lake was frigid feeling. I was glad I was walking and throwing the frisbee so I could stay a bit warm.

Wednesday night, Thursday morning we got rain, then snow, then it warmed up a bit before the wind kicked on later in the day so the snow though not deep, got a great crust on it that allowed for the dogs to run and play. Not quite thick enough for some daring jumps and catches, but thick enough to run and goof off.

It was cold enough to make my hands hurt trying to get this shot. Not a great video, but they had fun.

I know, I'm talking to Wyomingites about wind... It's not that bad, but it's not fun either. And keep in mind, down here at 800 feet above sea level, we have more air to move, even if at lower speeds so it still sucks. Thank goodness it's not daily.

Friday night we went to see American Sniper. I had seen that there was a lot of criticism and had read an article here and there about it and didn't have any real feelings one way or the other about it. Know, I'm not going to have a moral discussion about the role of snipers. Sorry, not going there. AS for the movie, it was interesting. I wouldn't say it was "good". Like that movie August: Osage County, I think it has an impact, but I would not call the movie good or bad. I think the story was interesting and should be told, but I wouldn't buy the movie to watch again.

As far as performance, I would have to say, it's probably the best performance I've seen out of Bradley Cooper. I'm not a big fan of his career, but he did a good job. An off camera performance I had to think about though was from the Director himself. I was struck as we were leaving that for an actor that often played glorified gritty war roles in his young career, as a director and writer, he certainly doesn't glorify it. I think Mr Eastwood openly looks at the affects war has on not only those that wage it, but those that are both present but not active in it, and those that are not present to the actual violence of the war. So, all in all, I think there was a social commentary being made by the film that is being overlooked by some, but we all bring our own thoughts to such a movie when we watch such a story.

There was definitely an impact by the film. When it came to a close, there wasn't the mad rush to be first out of the theater like there normally is. It was the first truly crowded movie we had gone to since we moved here, but there was a bit of a stunned silence as the closing credits ran with the photos at the end of the feature. There was a scattering of applause, which I'm sorry, frankly felt odd. Applause is for a live presentation that you are showing your appreciation to the performers, not a film. Those, I believe were the people that walked away feeling like the film portrayed a righteous American hero. I don't think it did the film that either nor was intended to, but I was struck by the fact that everyone seemed to be moved in some way at the end. Maybe even a bit stunned as there was that lack of normal post film movement.

I myself was stunned during the film by the emotion evoked by the scenes of the twin towers coming down again. It's been over a decade and just seeing those smoking towers on television though I was a continent away in Anchorage working a n ICU night shift when it occurred, causes a new sense of grief and loss every time. I find that I steer clear of things about it. Whether a television special, an anniversary newscast regarding it, or publications speaking of it. Yes, I knew someone who was at the Pentagon when it occurred that was uninjured, I have met people that were present in New York, but that is as close as I myself was personally affected, yet I still shy away from it. I haven't truly thought of it until the scene in the movie where it shows the newscast from New York in their home in San Diego and I still felt that inner cringe away from it. I think it was how my Mothers Generation felt about the John F. Kennedy assassination. I remember seeing not only my mother but others her age turn away from new casts and television shows that discussed it. Some with a look of grief on their faces. There are some things that shape not only our own psych, but that of an entire nation when they occur and I think both of these were such events.

Now that I've gotten way to deep on you all, let us discuss other things... Weather, check. Knitting, check, Emotional Scarring, check. Oh yes, spinning.

I got the stuff I showed you last week done.

I'm still not sure what I think about its colors.They were fun in the braid, but spun up, I just don't know.

I guess it all depends on the light. I love them downstairs in the shadowy basement. I wonder what that says about my mental processes and status? Hmmmm.

Okay, I've just been notified by The Guy that the dogs are somehow waiting for me to take them for another walk. So, I guess I best get to it. I really wish I would have got a picture of Emmitt hiding in the bath tub when we got home from the movie because he was a bbbbaaaaaaaad daaaawwwg. He really didn't want to go to the crate and felt the bathtub was a suitable alternative. Silly mutt.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Please Don't Yell...

I doubt there's any readers still around to yell with such a long break between posts. But I do come bearing gifts! Yay!

What kind of gifts? First, lots and lots of pictures. I promise. Did I mention for Christmas I got a new camera? I have taken it out and played with it a few times.

It's funny how different a new camera can be from the old one of the same make and slightly different model, isn't it? I have got a lot of playing to do but it's so nice to have a camera that focus's again!

Well, sorta... Okay, so maybe there's a learning curve here.

As you can see, we got snow! Not much, but snow it is.

Most of it is gone already from our couple of warm days this last week, but there's supposedly more on the way, so fingers crossed. Still, not enough to get the skis out in the park, but I have high hopes.

Ever wonder what dog hair is good for? Especially long shaggy coats?

As it turns out, it's nice for snapping pictures of snowflakes.

Who knew?

Tucker helped me out the other day as we were coming in from a walk. His coat was already cold so the flakes didn't melt as they hit him and I snapped a few with my phone.

Then I had to get busy making The Guy his dinner.

Homemade Chicken Pot Pie!

Sorry, no recipe for this yet. I once again added a bit too much celery seed to my mix so I need to tinker with this one before sharing it, but I will. I promise.

Speaking of recipes to tinker share... Find this one here at the Brown Eyed Baker. She's wonderful. they take a bit of time so either get up REALLY early like I did, or make them up before hand and pop them in the fridge.

With all the new snowfall and then sunny days, we've seen the Michigan wildlife, or proof of their existence around the house. I found these tracks looking like they were hunting up squirrels in our pine trees along the drive. Lets pray it's not skunk...

And speaking of squirrels. We have a silly one I've seen doing a lap of our back yard a few times. He runs in here from the West, across the deck, over the wood pile, to the east fence line, through it an up the far side to the north. I guess it's his daily territory boundary run. He's always fast and on the move when I see him doing it, but I've seen him run it several times always in the same manner and direction. The Guy thinks he's using the fence as cover from swooping birds of prey, which he may very well be. Makes sense to me limiting the way then can attack from either straight down or in from two sides instead of four.

And then there's the birds... Caught this Red Bellied Woodpecker at the suet the other day. Ran up to get the camera when I saw him and the Downey Woodpecker on the feeder together but missed my chance at the smaller one never came back.

Then there's the numerous Tufted Titmice. Let's face it, that's just fun to say...

I think these are Dark-Eyed Junco's. See them from time to time, though not daily and I need to look them up.

Also, one of our many resident nut hatches. These guys are warming up to our presence though still quite shy when we move about or make much noise.

I finally got a good picture of one of these guys!

I've been trying to get a jay as long as I've been working on getting a cardinal picture. At last, there were no cardinals at the feeders on the day I got these, but I have high hopes with the new camera I can get a shot of them finally.

And what else have I been doing in my absence? Well, there's been a bit of knitting. Okay, a lot of knitting, it is the cold months after all, no?

I shared a peek at this item before I believe the last time I posted. Lets not discuss how long ago that was, shall we?

I saw a woman wearing a similar scarf that just kind of sang to me. She thought she bought it somplace like Marshal's or TJ Max. I came home and I looked through some things to see if I could find a pattern for such a thing. I found a lot of things similar, but not quite what I wanted.

The one item I found' was a bit pricey for the pattern and I thought, "screw it, you're going to change the pattern to suit your needs anyway, so you might as well just make your own up."

So I did. 

And I actually wrote it down! To share!

Holy Smokes Batman! I am not charging for this, because, well I'm not a designer. There are probably issues, so feel free to share them with me. As you notice, there's no picture of this piece actually being worn. Betsy, congratulations, it's yours and I'll be mailing it soon, but I need someone to model it, just for one shot. I'd be willing to do some face editing... Just saying. Why is it Betsy's? Because from the point of casting it on, the pattern and the yarn screamed her name to me. Don't be jealous.

So, where can you get this? Here, of course! It's in PDF format so hopefully it's usable on all kinds of devices. I even hope to throw it up on Ravelry soon too.

Oh, I also have something else. What else? Another pattern...

This pic isn't on the pattern, I just liked the sun effect that was present in it and saved it for the blog.
I know! I went kind of crazy lately, feeling a little stuck I guess so the creative mental diarrhea started up... Luckily for everyone else, I wrote it down.

I've been needing a more neutral hat to go with all my jackets. And this is what I came up with. Who needs a pattern for a hat?!? A lot of people I guess because people always ask me for them when I throw one together.

This is just a nice simple masculine hat with a simple wedge stitch pattern and a gradient color change. Most guys I hope wouldn't balk at wearing such a hat. If they do, then they don't deserve little piece of hand knit love. Screw's.

And who get's this one? Me! Sorry guys, this was an item that was all about me. See how I play? But you can go here and knit yourself or that fella in your life one too...

Again, it's in a pdf format and I hope to add it to Ravelry later.

All right, that's enough and I'm getting hungry. Talk to you all later! Promise I'll try harder in February.

Oh no, almost forgot!

I've been spinning a bit too! I needed something a little summery with how brown it was all looking as our snow melted. It's a beautiful Super Fine Merino/Silk/Bamboo 50%/25%/25% mix that almost looks like it was colored with crayons.