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No, I didn't start imbibing on New Year's Eve liquid cheer early. But I have recently been functioning with a muddled mind. I think it has something to do with taking time off from our taxing (on mind and body) days in this past year of remodeling while at the same time still struggling to maintain some semblance of order in our otherwise full lives.
In the past couple of weeks of self-imposed, much needed down time, my body and mind have both sorta collapsed. (Although some may say my mind didn't have far to go.)
It's a different feeling to wake up in the morning and not have a list 12" long of things to be done or to even wake up and not want to make such a list. I find myself floating through the days but not really doing anything. Or caring. What did I accomplish today? Nuthin'. Yeah? So what?
My body wants to do nothing more than sleep. Now that I have the time to do things I've been putting off for months and months . . . like quilting or fun sorting/arranging in the pantry . . . I can't muster up the oompf to do so. (I haven't even baked a pie in ever so long, fer Pete's sake!)
But worry thee not, it's not that I'm depressed. It's more that I'm in some state of limbo that needs to be lived through before proceeding. And I'm not in the mood to exert any energy to work at pushing through this state. I'm suspecting it's nothing more than needing a decompression period with a little re-energizing and re-charging thrown in.
I've had short spurts lately where I've managed some contemplation concerning all kinds of things, but I can't seem to hold the brain cells on task long enough for the successful follow-through needed. As a result I have no New Year's resolutions or even a summary of happenings in 2011 to share. I greatly admire you other bloggers who have gone back over the year and gained a concrete sense of accomplishment by doing so.
But enough of this self-absorbed babbling. As they say, this too shall pass. I think the wisest thing for me to do is not fight it and just try to be. (Something that 99% of the time eludes me completely. Always thinking ahead to what needs to be done next, ya know. Arrrgh.)
The original point of this post, although I think I may have lost it before I even started, was to sincerely wish all of you a very Happy New Year. I hope your new year is filled with the joy of living and the love of giving.
See ya next year!
So I took two of those huge eggs that I thought might well be more double yolkers to use for our breakfast this morning.
(Nah, I said to myself. These big eggs can't all be double yolkers. But they feel so heavy, there's got to be more than a single yolk in there.)
Ooops. Do you see four yolks? Do you see three yolks? Nope, me neither. But both yolks were a good two inches across . . . not your average, run-of-the-mill egg.
Wonder if I'm wrong on all the rest of them, too? (Ah, the things that keep my mind occupied . . . )
Back in the first part of last week, I showed you a picture of what turned out to be a double yolked egg.
Well, since that time we've gotten these six more eggs (plus one we got today that didn't get included in the below picture I took yesterday) that look like they may well be double yolkers also. The egg at the very top of the picture is a normal sized egg for comparison.
They aren't all from the same hen either! So what's going on here? Is there some kind of competition going on in the hen house that we don't know about? Are the chickens playing mind games with us?
As I use these latest bigger-than-usual eggs, I'll let you know if they are double yolkers . . . or just super-sized regular eggs. If they do turn out to be all double yolkers, that will be just too, too crazy!
Chicken Mama arranged things on her homestead so she could spend the nights of Christmas Eve and Christmas with us here on the Pea Homestead. I think she enjoyed the little vacation she got and I know Papa Pea and I liked having her here for more than a quick visit.
Because she had no money for Christmas gifts this year, she thought of some ingenious ideas and used her natural creativeness to come up with gifts for us. We received all kinds of yummy homemade confections and, of course, our traditional individual batches of Pfeffernuse . . . I like candied fruit in mine while Papa Pea prefers more "natural" fruit. She also made some bee-yew-tiful candles and I received six of them . . . fat pillars that I love, both short and tall in assorted colors.
But the best gifts we received from her were three gift certificates.
Papa Pea was the happy recipient of this one. (Click on image to biggify if you can't read the printing.)
Then another one was addressed to both of us. The picture of the three snowpeople at the top resemble us greatly, don't you think?
However, the gift certificate that made me really happy, and was for me the bestest of the bunch, was this one.
(The very small print at the bottom says, "Requests may or may not be honored.")
For someone like me who regularly cooks three meals a day, has a husband who has many, many fine qualities but does not cook at all and dislikes going out to eat, this Christmas gift was a real winner!
Talk about giving of oneself . . . all the gifts from our daughter were pretty special. Her dad even went so far as to suggest she never again spend money on our gifts . . . just keep these much appreciated gift certificates coming!
"Run, Mama Pea, Run! Stop being such an old sluggard or The Lazies are gonna getcha!"
We here in the Pea household are really taking it easy this week between Christmas and New Year's.
There are a couple of social obligations I wouldn't mind getting taken care of this week. I mean what sounds better than having folks over for a quiet, casual evening of soup and homemade bread after all the rich food and sugar-laden goodies surrounding Christmas? On the other hand, just existing with no pressure of any kind feels really good right now, and I don't care if the phone doesn't ring or no one comes through the door for a good long while. Don't mean to sound anti-social, but I'll be happy putzing in my quilt studio, watching a couple of DVDs, and reading a new book I got for Christmas.
I even did the unthinkable this morning. I crawled back into bed! Well, first off I woke at 3:30 a.m. (you can take your whammy off me anytime, dear Sue), laid there until 4:45 trying to talk myself back into slumberland. Finally got up and played in my quilt studio until 7. Then slithered back into that cozy, comfy, warm bed for two more hours of sleep. Why did I do that? BECAUSE I COULD!
Now I'm on my second latte of the morning (how decadent will I become?) and am contemplating another stint of quilting. Leftover soup for lunch so I don't even have to think about that.
Still, every now and then, I find I have to get out my big stick and beat off the monkey voices that I hear yelling, "Run, Mama Pea, Run! The Lazies are gonna getcha!"
Sorry (lalalalala), I'm not LIS-tening. I AM lazy and I'm just not available for any work this week.
Charles Dickens wrote, "Oh, would that Christmas lasted the whole year through, as it ought. Would that the spirit of Christmas could live within our hearts every day of the year."
I couldn't hope to say it better than Mr. Dickens.
Sending all of you warm and heartfelt wishes for some good, old-fashioned Christmas cheer. Have a very MERRY CHRISTMAS!
I didn't think it was going to happen this year, but we did finally put up our little Christmas tree late yesterday.
We've never put up a tree so late . . . it's usually the weekend following Thanksgiving that our tree gets decorated. That way we can enjoy the lights in the dark morning hours and then again shortly after 4:30 in the afternoon for a little more than a month.
When we cut this tree down in our woods, we didn't realize it had a forked trunk up by the top. It was a tall, spindly tree but the top looked nice and full. It wasn't until the tree was on the ground and we examined it closely that we discovered the trunk split into two forks about two-thirds up the tree. This meant that the top which looked so plump and round was actually two trees (two forks) smooshed together. When we cut them apart, we saw both little trees had one completely bare, flat side! Well, no matter as we had to place it up against a window anyway.
Our Charlie Brown tree doesn't look too bad in the above straight-on shot, but glancing at it from the side kinda makes you wonder why someone took a chainsaw to the whole back side.
A friend stopped in this morning who had seen the tree in its bucket of water in the garage and couldn't believe it was the same tree all decorated up and looking as good as it does. Now that it's done, I'm glad we did go to the effort of getting this little yule tree up this year. Ho-ho-ho!
Yesterday Stephanie over at Caffeinated Homestead Dream wrote a post entitled "Little Things Matter." It was very well-written and a great reminder of what is important especially at this busy, sometimes hectic, time of year.
Her post reminded me that when we spread kindness with a compliment or by what may seem like a small gesture, by sharing a word of encouragement, by giving a smile here or a hug there, we can affect someone else in a way we might not even realize.
Many years ago, I attended a family funeral and introduced myself to an elderly woman I had seen only very infrequently in my life. She said, "Yes, I remember you. You're Maggie's [my grandmother] granddaughter with the beautiful smile!"
I must admit her lovely compliment took me back a bit. No one had ever commented on my smile before. I had never had even an inkling that I had a "beautiful smile." On a good day when I'm all cleaned up, I might be called attractive but I'm not a person who's ever had the label "beautiful" thrown at her. Yet I didn't doubt the sincerity of what that dear lady said. That night at home I stood in front of the bathroom mirror . . . and smiled. Hunh. Maybe she saw something in my smile not visible to me. Maybe I did have a nice smile . . .
All these years later when I'm feeling down or upset or sad or tired, I think back to her kind words and decide that perhaps using my "beautiful smile" will make things better. And it usually does.
Needless to say, I have never forgotten that simply spoken compliment. You just never know how much your simple gesture will mean to the person on the receiving end of a small, heartfelt kindness. Little things do matter.
We're pulling the plug. Giving up the ghost. Throwing in the towel. We're tired and need a rest period. Time to make some changes.
As much as I desperately want to get the living room finished, there's still too much to do. One hundred and twenty-five mile trips (one way) to the big city for supplies on icy roads and working outside just isn't fun or safe this time of year. Time to make some changes.
We've been doing the power saw cutting in the garage because it's either been too cold or wet to set up and do it safely outside. This has made a terrible mess with sawdust in every nook and cranny of the garage and everything stored in there. It will take a major clean up job to get it back to less than the despicable state it is now. Plus with all the tools set up in the garage, there's no way to get a vehicle in there for inclement weather protection. Time to make some changes.
Papa Pea and I have been losing brain cells from too much pushing. We're both getting a little flaky and unable to make intelligent decisions or even remember where we stashed important materials and hardware or that special bottle of liquid libation purchased for the holidays. (Now THAT'S serious!) Time to make some changes.
I now has this fantastic, beautiful kitchen but because of our continued push to finish the rest of the house, I haven't even had the time to cook or bake the way I want in it yet. (Well, phfffft! That's downright silly, isn't it?) Time to make some changes.
So . . . we've made the decision to shut down on the remodeling for about three months. Until milder weather arrives. We're taking the pressure we've put on ourselves off and are going to spend the rest of the winter months recharging our leaky batteries. (As our daughter would say, "Sounds like a personal problem to me.")
It will also give us a chance to coax the old checkbook balance back into a healthier state. Along with our bodies and brain cells, finances have been taking a pummeling in the last year we've been seriously working on the house. They say money can't buy happiness, but it can buy building supplies!
The kitchen is completely done except for the new exhaust fan over the cooking stove. That's going to involve punching a hole either through the roof or out a wall so we'll tackle that in the spring.
The living room has all the paneling up on the walls and the trim work is done around all the windows and doors except for the pocket door that will close off the stairway up to Papa Pea's office. The permanent stairs are installed and the stairway is enclosed. The ceiling is still the joists upon which the office rests. The floor is plywood. But we've temporarily installed the wood stove in there with fireproof Duroc on the floor and walls behind it and will use the old furniture we have in a (halfway) comfortable arrangement. I can't tell you how nice it is to have a soft chair to plop into after having nowhere to sit other than at the kitchen table for months.
At any rate, this decision we've made to stop the remodeling push for a couple of months seems like a really good one to both of us.
No early alarms in the morning.
No waking with the feeling there are things we MUST get done that day.
No staying up late at night to catch up on the "everyday" things after a full day of remodeling work.
Days with no lists.
Good food without sawdust in it.
Lying under a quilt snoozing in the afternoon.
Time in front of the open fire reading.
Time in my quilt studio.
Evenings watching a DVD with a big bowl of popcorn.
A snowshoe hike. Assuming we eventually get snow, that is.
Doing all of the above until we're re-energized and ready, really ready, to pick up hammer and saw and brush again. Sounds good to me, so bring it on!
What do you think? Is the egg on the left a double yolker?
It sure is a honkin' big one compared to the normal sized egg on the right.
Yup, it really is a double yolker!
So here's a question for all you fellow keepers of the coop out there. I've always wondered if a double yolker were incubated, would twin chicks hatch? Or would there not be adequate room within the shell to allow two chicks to develop properly?
We've eaten a bowl of this soup I'm writing about today every day for four days straight. Fortunately, it's good. (Wonder when I'm going to get the urge again to cook some meals that are a little more creative?)
This is another recipe that I must have brought from the Old Country a hundred or so years ago and then carried west with me in a covered wagon, because it's been in my recipe box about that long.
I used to make it in the restaurant because it's such a different, tasty soup, but it had a rocky start there. The name is Alsatian Sauerkraut Soup. At first, we didn't sell much of it. A wise waitress told me one day it was the name that was the problem. Huh? She said the "sauerkraut" in the name was what turned people off. Why didn't we rename it Alsatian Noodle Soup?
Ya know what? That did it. We sold much more from then on. Of course, the soup still had the sauerkraut in it, but people really liked it once we got them to try it. They just had to get over the hurdle of thinking they were going to be served a bowl of warm sauerkraut in broth. Aren't we humans funny?
So here we go. I'm going to label it as it is on my original recipe card. I know you can handle it.
ALSATIAN SAUERKRAUT SOUP
1 medium chopped onion
1/4 cup chopped celery
1/4 cup olive oil
2 cups sauerkraut, drained
2 cups tomato juice
6 cups beef broth
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1 bay leaf
1 tablespoon caraway seeds
1 tablespoon sugar
1-1/2 cup uncooked rotelle
Salt (depending on the saltiness of your beef broth)
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
Saute the onion and celery in the oil until tender. ( I confess I never measure the celery and probably toss in more than 1/4 cup.)
Add the sauerkraut and saute for about 5 minutes.
Add all the remaining ingredients except the rotelle. (Not having any tomato juice, I put two cups of stewed tomatoes in the blender, gave it a whizz and that worked fine.)
Bring ingredients to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer, covered, for 30 minutes.
Add the rotelle and cook, uncovered, until the rotelle is tender, about 20-30 minutes. (I didn't have any rotelle other than the veggie rotelle which is colored . . . you know, beets, carrots, etc. . . . but that didn't really matter.)
Remove the bay leaf and serve. Serves 8-10. Enjoy!
P.S. and Arrrgh! Let me tell ya, yesterday was not a day I should have attempted doing ANYTHING that required the least little bit of brain power. (Hey! I coulda napped all day. What an opportunity missed!) The comment on this post I received this morning from judy reminded me of what I should have added about this soup.
It is, indeed, a vegetarian recipe I used when we as a family were following a vegetarian diet (just use a beef broth substitute). However, it is very good with pork or beef added when you add the rotelle which, I also failed to mention, can be any pasta of your choice such as macaroni, tortellini, egg noodles, etc. (See? Told ya I was operating at a very low intelligence level yesterday.) Papa Pea happens to be on a kick where he is CRAVING protein so I added some chunks of cooked pot roast I had in the freezer. Leftovers from a pork roast are always yummy combined with the sauerkraut. Or brown some ground beef and add that. So although it's a delicious vegetarian soup, it doesn't have to be if your family balks at not having meat included in a meal.
That's all. Over and out.
We had a horrific incident here in our little community yesterday afternoon. Thankfully no deaths resulted, but lives were changed forever.
A man entered the courthouse with the intention of inflicting bodily harm. The victim who was the shooter's target and who was most seriously injured is a county employee and friend of the family. He was shot three times in the torso. The shooter also put three bullets into another man (who was not a county employee) and shot a bailiff of the court once. Another county employee sustained non-gunshot related injuries. Because our community is small, most everyone knows all of these people.
Two of the victims were treated here in our local hospital and released. Our family friend, T, and the other man wounded three times were rushed to the big city 125 miles away in ambulances over treacherous, icy highways. We were experiencing snow and rain with winds clocked at 53 mph so the life-flight helicopter was unable to take to the air.
T underwent extensive surgery and, miraculously and thankfully, is expected to come through it all, but has a long road of recovery ahead of him both physically and mentally. The other man shot three times was not injured as severely for which everyone is thankful.
Obviously, whatever problems the shooter had experienced previously are now magnified greatly.
It's true what they say. Your life can change in the blink of an eye. This incident was a wake-up call to me to find a way of better handling the piddling little trials and tribulations in my own life. I'm going to think about the important people in my life and hug 'em and kiss 'em and tell 'em I love 'em. I'm going to make a concerted effort to appreciate all the good and wonderful and awesome things in my life. I don't want to ever take them for granted. I'm going to try to ignore all the things I wish were different in my life except if I can move in a proactive, positive manner to change them.
Each day is a fresh beginning and, if you don't find yourself unexpectedly starting it in an ICU hospital bed after surgery for three gunshot wounds, there's not a lot to complain about.
There truly is a difference as to whether the problems in life are mountains or molehills. Yesterday's incident was a mountain for the people involved and has definitely changed their lives. Some of them just for the length of time until this crisis is over, some of them forever.
We had rain all day yesterday, but the temp dropped enough today that we are getting a little snow.
It's sure not any great amount, but at least it's something. I don't think you can even see the snowflakes in the above picture, but it's been coming down steadily.
Even a little covering of white helps brighten up the bleak landscape we've been looking at since the fall color season left us. Maybe we will have a white Christmas after all!
Or it might be the sum total of my holiday baking. I haven't really decided yet if I'm going to go for it with zip and zing or be a (more rested and relaxed) Scrooge and skip it this year.
However, I found myself in a spot this afternoon between tasks and wavered as to what to do to best fill the small amount of time I had so decided to mix up the batter for Cranberry-Walnut Loaf. I never make this sweet bread except at holiday time although there's no good reason not to do so.
Having these little loaves baked and ready (they freeze beautifully and don't take long to defrost) makes me feel more comfortable as far as not being caught with absolutely no holiday-ish treat on hand.
The recipe says to bake the batter in two regular sized loaf pans but I almost always bake it in four small pans because then the slices are just right for eating with your hand. (Give 'em a napkin and no plate or silverware is required.) There are only three small loaves in the above picture because one loaf has already left the premises.
I think the flavor is greatly improved by wrapping the loaves in foil after they have cooled on racks and storing in the refrigerator over night before serving. Doing this also makes slicing much easier with very little crumbling to worry about.
I'd gladly give credit where it's due for the origin of this recipe but I've had it for so many years, I truly don't remember how it came to be in my recipe box.
3 cups flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter
1 cup milk
1 tablespoon grated orange rind
1 cup whole cranberries
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
Sift the dry ingredients into a large bowl and cut in the butter until mixture looks like corn meal.
In a small bowl, combine eggs, milk and grated orange rind. Pour into dry ingredients and stir just until dampened.
Fold in cranberries and nuts and spread into 2 greased and floured loaf pans. Bake at 350 degrees for one hour or until toothpick comes out clean. (I bake the small loaves for 50 minutes.)
Cool pans on rack for 10 minutes before removing loaves from the pans. Then cool the loaves thoroughly on racks.
For easier slicing (and I think better flavor) wrap in foil and store in refrigerator over night.
I'm not too sure I gained as much as I anticipated in my effort to bake and stash away this yummy sweet bread to have on hand. As I said, one of the four little loaves went home with someone already and I know Papa Pea is going to want to sample another one (just to make sure it's good, he always says). Oh well, that still leaves two loaves for the freezer. I think I'd better hide them well.
I have two more cook books to give away. Anybody interested?
The one book has recipes and menus for Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's Day. The other one has special recipes and menus for holidays throughout the year: New Year's Eve Buffet, Chinese New Year Dinner, Valentine's Day Dinner, Easter Brunch, Mother's Day Breakfast, Memorial Day Family Gathering, Father's Day Dinner, Fourth of July Celebration, Labor Day Dinner for the Family, Halloween Party for the Kids, Thanksgiving Brunch, Thanksgiving Dinner, Christmas Open House and Christmas Dinner. (Whew!)
Both books are soft covers, about 8-1/2" x 11" with luscious color photographs. They were both published way back in the 1980s . . . when most of you were just wee tots.
At any rate, you might find them interesting to look through for new ideas or recipes. If you'd like to be entered in the drawing for these two books (they go as a two-deal package), just leave a comment stating so. Also, within your comment, how about sharing what main entree your family traditionally has for Christmas Dinner. I think it will be interesting to see if that special dinner is pretty much standardized across the board or if each of our families has their own specialized menu.
Since time is running out before Christmas and New Year's gets here, you only have one full day to let me know if you'd like these books. I'll close entries when I shut off my computer Monday night (that's tomorrow probably around 9 p.m.) and draw the winner early Tuesday morning.
I admit I got a little hungry just paging through these books tonight for the last time. I think you'd enjoy having both of them.
At least that's how I feel right now. But I'm sure many of the rest of you have exactly the same feeling these pre-holiday days.
This behind-the-eight-ball feeling is always more pronounced after spending a day making a trip to the big city as we did yesterday. We've racked up so many more of these trips than usual during this remodeling stint that the feeling that the 5-hour round trip ride plus the day of intense running from place to place, stuffing the truck to the gills (and tying thing on top) to make the trip worthwhile . . . well, the feeling it generates is just this side of me wailing, "Please, please, PUL-EEZE! I don't wanna go! I'll be a good girl. Just let me stay home."
Nonetheless, we made the trip safely (no highway crossing deer were hurt in the making of the trip) even though an hour or so of driving in the dark both morning and night were necessary. We did the critical unpacking of the truck last night, but still have some to do this morning and then need to find a protected place to store everything.
Oh! Before I forget, I wanted to give you an explanation of my new blog header photo . . . compliments of my talented daughter's photographic and computer skills. As a Christmas present a couple of years ago, she gave me a tin with this picture and lettering on top. It's a nice sized rectangular container and could be used for a batch of cookies or caramel corn or whatever, but I use it as a holiday decoration. This year I had it on top of one of my kitchen cabinets and the other night when Chicken Mama was here (probably at the end of the third day we worked her tuchus off helping us with our wood working), she suggested taking it home with her to photograph and put up as my new blog header photo. Which she did, and didn't it turn out great? I love it.
Okay, deep breath. This morning finds me with a headache I can't seem to shake (totally stress induced, I know) and wanting to do about 17 different things today. I'd like to start some Christmas baking, work on finishing some small handmade gifts, do the general house stuff that always needs doing (said tasks would fill two pages of typewritten lists, I know), financial accounting from yesterday's trip, catch up on blog reading and commenting, answer some e-mails, go to our co-op for stocking up on some food supplies, finally get in and tour our wonderful local library that has just reopened after a total remodel, take hubby 20 miles down the road to pick up our trusty Toyota that has had some repair work done on it and try not to feel guilty about not sending out Christmas cards (again) this year. As they say though, hope springs eternal and I truly do want to add that little task (the Christmas card and letter) back into my holiday preparations . . . one of these years.
Hope this all didn't sound too much like whining. Just trying (at your expense) to collect my thoughts and make some sensible plan as to what I need to do today to get out (well, at least partially) from behind my behind.
My parents always kidded that my brother and I weren't their real children. They said we must have been switched at the hospital because as we grew into adulthood neither of us developed a taste for coffee. Mom and Dad were staunch strong, black coffee drinkers. My husband (who loves fresh, strong coffee -- with the emphasis definitely on the fresh) would often nearly pass out when handed a mug of the not-at-all-fresh, reheated, sludge from the pot that my folks drank with abandon. (Hmmm, maybe that's why my brother and I never became coffee aficionados.)
Anyway, a morning cuppa java never appealed to me . . . until I discovered lattes. Now there was something I could drink and enjoy. So much so that several years ago I purchased a cheap, espresso machine that faithfully turns out my morning drink nearly every day of the year.
So as I was whipping up my latte this morning, I was wondering what each of you have for your morning beverage of choice. Black coffee, coffee with cream and/or sugar? A double shot of espresso? Are you a tea drinker? Black or herbal . . . or green? How many cups of what start your day? Do you continue to drink coffee or tea all day long?
Come on, nobody's gonna lecture you on too much caffeine intake if you admit to mainlining the stuff. And do your preferences differ from season to season? Iced drinks in the summer, but only the hot stuff in the winter? Or doesn't it matter? (I drink iced black tea all year round.)
How about the industrial strength coffee versus decaffeinated? Do caffeinated drinks perk you up or stimulate your system or are you like me and feel absolutely no effect from them?
I'm just curious. And let's face it. It's always interesting to hear what someone elses preferences are that they consider absolutely normal but may seem quite exotic to you.
I suppose it's especially pronounced at this time of year. Or maybe I'm just trying to do too much on a regular basis.
It's driving me crazy the way time each and every day zooms by leaving me at the end of the day wondering why another day is over and, hey, no fair! There are still heaps of things I wanted to do today and I'm. Out. Of. Time.
Draggin' my wagon is what I did all day today. Last night I woke at 1:30 from a bad dream, laid in bed trying to fall back asleep until 2:30, gave up, got up, went into my quilting studio and sewed until 4 a.m. Got back into bed and tossed and turned until . . . ? All I know is that I sure wasn't ready to bounce out of bed and whip my weight in wildcats when the alarm went off at 6.
What was my bad dream? I was repeatedly startled awake by being positive (I was positive, I tell you) I heard Zoey the Wonder Dog's single bark at the door that always meant, "Let me in!"
Now our Zoey died at fourteen years of age this past spring, but I have this totally irrational feeling she's not really dead (I'm not crazy if I know the feeling is totally irrational, right?), but is going to appear at the door as she did in my dream. Or at least I have flashes of that happening before my mind snaps back to reality and know she's gone. (She collapsed and died one night while walking between her bed at the bottom of the stairs to Papa Pea's office and her bed in our bedroom.)
She was a hunting dog, and the little devil would stick by you (as she knew darn well she was supposed to) if she was outside loose. Yeah, she'd stick by you until you turned your back for more than 30 seconds at which time she'd streak straight off into the woods to do what she was bred to do: hunt. ("You're not going to take me hunting? Fine, I'll go by myself.") I think the reason I had the dream is because I always feared we would lose her that way. That she'd run off into the woods populated with wolves and bears and the occasional trapper's trap, not come back and we'd never know what happened to her. That we'd not be able to find her and always be waiting for her to come back.
Well, anyway that was the reason I didn't get my needed amount of beauty sleep last night. Because I was operating on only two cylinders, lots of other dumb, stoopid, weird things happened today, too, but you'd really send me an application for the funny farm if I related them all to you.
I'll just end this nonsensical rambling, do what I should do and go to bed right now hoping to make tomorrow a more profitable day that maybe will have a few more hours in it than today did.
Giveaways seem to be running rampant in Blogland these days, but who's complaining? 'Tis the season for giving gifts and spreading cheer so I'm jumping on the bandwagon.
This is a pattern for an apron I want to make, but I sure don't need two of the patterns . . . which is exactly what I found when looking through my stash of patterns a couple of weeks ago.
Would any of you like to receive this pattern? If you don't wish to keep it for yourself, it would make a nice little Christmas gift.
The pattern contains three Adult sizes, Large, X-Large and XX-Large. Three Child sizes Small, Medium, and Large plus a pattern for an 18" doll's apron. The apron looks like a slip-over-the-head, loose fitting style that would be comfy to wear while providing pretty good coverage of your clothing.
If you'd like to be put in the running for the apron, just leave a comment saying so and for the fun of it, also include a little blurb on the one gift you would like most to receive for Christmas this year. It can be fanciful, funny, frivolous or practical. (Me, I would ask for one thing: To have our remodeling done! In lieu of that, I need a new pair of black leather gloves.) Let your imagination run wild . . . or take this opportunity to provide a written suggestion for Santa that might actually appear under the tree.
Get your comments in by this Saturday night, December 3rd., and I'll draw a name first thing Sunday morning.
Here I go again doing a blog post because of something one of you fantastic, creative, intelligent (shall I go on?) bloggers suggested.
A couple of days ago, Erin over at Garden Now - Think Later, suggested we all do a post showing and talking about our sewing/craft/quilting/knitting/crocheting areas whether that be a dedicated room in the house or a set-up on the kitchen table. Click on the above link and be sure to go see Erin's use of a small space with fantastic results.
Being basically lazy (and not having any time lately to even go into my quilting studio let alone take new pictures), I'm posting this link of my own which will take you to a blog post I did just about two years ago giving a tour of my special room.
I am indeed a lucky, lucky ducky to have a specific room of my own for my quilting and sewing. But just so all of you know (and for those of you who may be frustrated and still only dreaming of having your own space), I worked on our small (30" x 48") kitchen table for many (MANY) years while storing my supplies in the bottom of a kitchen cabinet. Don't lose hope; you might have to wait for that larger house or until a bedroom is vacated by a child leaving home, but you will get that little haven of your own someday.
The room that is now my quilt studio was originally a 12' x 16' detached storage shed when we bought the property. We used it as a workshop while we tore the existing house structure down to the studs and started reconstruction from there. Eventually, we added a 16' x 16' addition on to the end of our house and moved the 12' x 16' shed to attach to that new addition. In that position, it was used for a few more years for storage while we worked on other projects.
Then I designed the interior of my (to be) quilt studio. We managed to clear out all the "stuff" stored in there, and Papa Pea and I dove in to redo the ceiling, floor and walls. We built the storage units, cutting table, and design walls to my specifications. It didn't happen overnight, I'll tell ya, but once it was finished it turned out to be just about perfect.
I love it (it is my sanctuary) and cannot wait until we're done with this current remodeling of our house (is there no end?!) so I can get back in there. And maybe not emerge again for a month!
I feel like I'm doing a cross between Patty's Counting Blessings and Mama Tea's Sunday Scribbles with my post tonight. Just some unrelated things I've been thinking about today and thought I'd share.
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I'm thankful for my iron. (Go head, you funny people who don't even own an iron, scoff as much as you like.) Yes, I iron a basket of our clothes every week after the laundry is done, and I just don't see how any of you manage to have clothes that look decent without ironing. I must have missed that class somewhere along the line that taught one how to take clothes off the line or out of the dryer at just the right time so they don't look so wrinkled. Also, I couldn't quilt or sew without an iron by my side.
Having said that, I have the WORST luck with irons of anybody else in the world. I have had really good irons including the most expensive Rowenta irons and all of them either leak water or have temper tantrums shooting their temperature gauges into the stratosphere or refuse to heat up at all on alternating days of the week. If I had saved all the irons I've had to give up on, our house would sink into the soil it's built on from the weight of the irons.
This past spring hubby and I were in a store in the big city and I mentioned that (once again) I needed a new iron. He picked out one for me that cost $9.99 reasoning that no matter how much I spent on an iron, it never lasted for more than a couple of months anyway so I might as well get a cheap one. Guess what iron has worked perfectly for me for the last several months? Right. I really should pick up another one just like it the next time we're in that store. That way when this one finally conks out in 20-25 years, I'll have a replacement.
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I love my quilt studio. I feel so fortunate to have a whole room that is mine, mine, mine. No one else goes in there to do anything. I can shut the door and have complete privacy to . . . well, do all those secret things like make quilts and wall hangings and sew the suspender buttons on my husband's pants. (Those same buttons that he manages to lose one of at least every other week.)
The only problem is I have spent so little time in my sanctuary in the last year that I sometimes feel like throwing a genuine conniption fit. (Either that or renting out the efficiently designed space and getting some income off it.) Any empty floor or table space in there is currently used for storage of household goods and/or furniture that is in the way of our remodeling. Also miscellaneous supplies for same remodeling seem to find their way in there regularly.
I can't even bring myself to read my quilting magazines as new issues come. It makes me down and depressed thinking about my wonderful (neglected) quilting studio and knowing I just don't have the time to spend in it right now. I know the room is lonely without my presence. I can feel it.
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We have tons (literally) of dry wood under cover for this heating season. And a couple more tons stacked in 8' lengths in the back yard that we hope to work on this winter so we'll be ahead in refilling the wood sheds come next spring. Also, we're so fortunate to live on our own land that provides us with acres of wood that we could use to heat our home. It's a good feeling to know that no matter how high in price heating fuel rises, we don't have to buy it.
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Being able to go for a hike in our own woods and harvest our Christmas tree is a nifty option. That's what we did this afternoon. I wrote a day or so ago about not being very enthused about putting up a tree this year because in the midst of our remodeling, the only place we can fit one is on the end of a storage cabinet in the kitchen. And it would have to be a very small tree. Very small.
Well, between hubby really wanting a tree and you dear readers encouraging me to (stop my whining and) put one up, I gave in. Wait until you see this Charlie Brown Christmas tree. It will give you a laugh if nothing else. I promise to post pictures when we find some time in the next couple of days to get it set up.
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That's it for tonight, folks. I drank a beer with our pizza for dinner and it tasted so good I just finished another one. And now I'm finished. In more ways than one. *Hick.*
Both of the human inhabitants of this homestead slept poorly last night. Papa Pea developed a stiff neck late yesterday and it kept him from any kind of comfortable sleep during the night.
After having a WON-derful night's sleep night before last, I woke at 1:50 last night for a potty stop and when I shuffled back to bed found that even though I was tired, I couldn't fall back asleep for love nor money. (Insert frustrated scream.) WHY does that happen?
So the outcome was that we both looked and felt like something the cat dragged in for most of the day.
My main aim today was to get all the fall/Thanksgiving decorations taken down and put away and the Christmas decorations up. Needless to say, there will be no decorating in the living room area this year, but I will do what I can to make things look festive in the kitchen. I also do a little decorating in the bathroom and bedroom.
Did I complete my task? Nope, but I'm about 80% done. I should be able to finish up tomorrow and still have time for other things.
I'm thinking I'm not going to put up a tree this year. (Papa Pea is not happy with this idea and when Chicken Mama hears of it, she will throw one big, royal hissy-fit.) No way can one go in the construction zone of the living room. There is only one safe (far enough away from the wood stove) place where I could put a very small tree in the kitchen.
It would be on the closest end of the above cabinet in the southwest corner of the kitchen. The phone and answering service are on the opposite end of the unit and need to stay there. (You can see the unfinished door into the living room area on the right of the picture.) Strings of lights, usually put on the tree, are resting on the top of the cabinet. If I don't put up a tree, I'm thinking about figuring out some way to string the lights around the windows so we can have them on in the evening and early morning. Although I must admit, at this moment in time that, too, seems like a lot of work.
We've lost virtually all the snow cover we got a little over a week ago. Outside it looks, and smells, like spring. However (dum-da-dum-dum), the forecast is for a mixture of snow and freezing rain (oh, joy) starting at midnight tonight and continuing until 6 p.m. on Saturday. The snow we would welcome, but ice is not nice.
I meant to take a picture today to show how much the gardens look just as they do in the spring, but the daylight slipped away from me a little too, too fast. Don't know what the situation is in all of your various locations but come 5 p.m. in our neck of the woods these days, it's durn close to pitch dark. And in a couple more weeks, it will be 4:30. So, so different than in the summertime!