Friday, November 30, 2012

I Think I Could Be A Hermit

Good thing we're retired or we'd never be able to keep up this pace of life.

Thanksgiving decorations are down and tucked away for another year.  My house that was so clean and sparkly a week ago is not so clean and sparkly now.  Christmas decorations are . . . well, 50% done if I stretch the truth a little.  Hope no one pops in to check out the look I've currently got going 'cause they'd say to themselves, "Hmmm.  Looks like she tried . . . and missed."

Wednesday night we got a scary call in the middle of the night which started some stress and scrambling but, I'm very happy to say, ended a lot better than expected.  (Heck, what's a potentially serious injury thrown into all the rest of the hubbub currently going on?)

We've been traveling 404 miles back and forth (okay, it's not that far . . . just feels like it) to daughter's old place helping her move out.  We had a "party" out there yesterday with good friends who helped with willing hands and strong backs, not to mention excellent packing abilities.  Got a lot done but worked 99% on outside stuff and everyone had tingling fingers and toesies at one point or another.  (Don't think the temp ever hit twenty above.)  Got back here near civilization in total darkness and unloaded by headlights.

Off for a moving day again today.  I see we got another inch of snow over night.  Hope it doesn't add to the slipperiness of daughter's 4-1/2 mile winter driveway we need to navigate on the way in and out.

Tomorrow will be a catch-up day here at home.  My favorite seed catalog came in the mail yesterday so I'll have to have hubby hide it from me until I get the holiday decorations finished.  

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Is That A Moose On The Loose?

Actually, it's a couple of 'em.

Tramp 2 of Tramp's Camp noticed the bookends on the bookshelves in the picture of the Christmas wall hanging in my last post.  She commented they looked interesting and wanted to know more about them.

They are a pair of moose head bookends made as a housewarming gift for us some sixteen years ago by our good friend and carpenter helper, B.  Whenever she notices them these days, she grimaces and says she wishes I'd toss them.

B does beautiful, intricate wood work of all kinds and I think she made these as kind of a joke and didn't realize I would love them and display them forever.

So, toss them?  No way!

Monday, November 26, 2012

Fun Projects

My long "after Thanksgiving weekend" was great!  I quilted and knitted mostly and it felt wonderful.  It was curious (and velly intellesting!) to note that I had three good nights of sleep . . . Friday, Saturday and Sunday.  No waking in the middle of the night and lying staring at the ceiling for a couple/three hours.  (Hmmm . . . it may behoove me to give some thought to the implications of that.)

Here's my new Christmas wall hanging in place and ready for the holidays.  It could have been a little larger for the space, but I'm very happy with it.

I did mostly hand quilting on it . . . 

. . . except for the machine meandering stitching on the light colored inner border.

I also worked on my knitted afghan.  I'm a smidge bit over halfway done with the second of the four strips.  Funny how when you put in blocks of time on a project, you can really see some progress.  (Ahem.)

Yesterday I got around to getting out my blue sweater and working on it.  Finished the first sleeve and have the second one pretty close to done.

Not only have I been sleeping better but I've found that giving myself "permission" to do things that feed my soul are making me feel better (well, duh, good sleep alone does wonders!) and I also have a strong suspicion that I'm not such an old grouchy she-bear to be around.

Such a win-win situation this is that by heck or by golly, I'm going (to try really, really hard) to stop listening to that nasty little voice in my head that keeps telling me I should be doing tasks and chores the MUST BE DONE.  (Insert loud, crashing thunder and lightning.)  To that voice I now  say, "Piffle!"

:: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: ::

On a totally different subject, I do believe winter has arrived in northern Minnesota.  Our overnight low was 10 above zero with a wind blowing.  It's going to be even colder tonight because it's just now 4:45 and the temp is already down to 12 degrees.  We have about 6" of snow cover on the ground and it doesn't look like it's going anywhere soon.

This is the first year in a long time that we've had much of any snow before Christmas, but it feels kinda good.  As Papa Pea said yesterday, "Well, I guess there are a few outside projects I can cross off my list until spring."

That's what I love about the very definite change of seasons in our part of the country.  Now if we could just learn to go with the flow, learn to live more with the seasons, I think we'd be a lot better off.  If we would really take the few months of winter to relax, rest and rejuvenate (maybe even a little hibernation?), I think we'd be in much better shape and have lots more energy for the spring/summer/fall seasons.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Sneak Peek

Just have to sew the hanging sleeve on the back of my new Christmas wall hanging, give it a good press and it will be done!

More later today.  Or tonight.  Or . . . 

Hope you're all having a good weekend.  I am!

Friday, November 23, 2012

Full Steam Ahead to a Perfect Weekend

After the Thanksgiving festivities ended last night, I decided I was going on a mental health/handwork break for the next three days.  And the weather couldn't be more conducive to just that!

We got our first snow of the season over night!  Only about 3" but lots of blowing and a few drifts around and about the house and out buildings.  Temp dropped to the low 20s and we're supposed to stay there (during the day . . . into the low teens at night) for the next week.  Hubby made a trip up to the storage loft first thing this morning to bring down our heavy Sorel footwear.

I think this is the first year in quite a few that we've had snow cover before Christmas.

Now it really feels like time to get these guys and the rest of the fall/Thanksgiving decorations packed away and bring out the Christmas things.  Hubby and I even came to an agreement as to where to put a little tree this year.  The previous location is no more because of the remodeling.

I have oodles of leftovers (a BIG advantage to hosting Thanksgiving Dinner) to package up for the freezer.  We both really like turkey and will have no trouble using every last little bit of it.  The turkey carcass and all least desirable parts are simmering on the stove this morning to make several containers of rich broth.  Can you smell the divine aroma?

Christmas music is playing on the stereo and I'm heading into my quilt room.  My new holiday wall hanging is sandwiched . . . but not one stitch of quilting has been done on it.  I hope to make big progress on that particular project within the next few days.  And I'd like to finish up the binding on the holiday potholders I'm making for little gifts.  And complete the knitting on my blue sweater.  And quilt the new holiday shower curtain I started (how many?) years ago.  And lie on the couch and read.  And watch that Netflix movie I've had for two weeks.  And give myself a much needed pedicure.  And . . .

Bye.  Gotta go start having fun!     

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

A Thanksgiving Wish

Times they are a'changin'.  At least weather-wise for sure.

Here's another Thanksgiving that I was (perhaps foolishly) hoping we could ice skate on the pond.  Not going to happen.  Not even close.  Our day time temperatures have consistently been in the 40s and dropping into the 30s overnight, but many nights not even freezing.

Okay, so the mild weather thus far this November is something to be thankful for.  None of us around here are spending great amounts on heating fuel whether it be gas, oil or wood.

There is no snow on the ground.  We haven't even had a light covering yet.  Haven't had to spend time moving snow.  No ice even to contend with this early winter season.  That's something not to be overlooked when being thankful.

Growing up in Illinois I can remember many Thanksgivings with enough snow on the ground for us kids to go out and play in.  Likewise in the late 70s and early 80s up here in northern Minnesota.  By this time of year we were often well into winter time.  Hubby just today reminded me of one Thanksgiving night when the temperature plummeted to 25 degrees below zero.  Times they are a'changin'.

I'm thankful to be able to spend the day tomorrow with family and friends in a warm, secure home.  I'm not forgetting to be thankful that we have the wherewithal to purchase the food (or have it tucked away in the pantry) we will eat.

My Thanksgiving wish for you all is that you get to spend it with loved ones in a way that is enjoyable, relaxing and happy.

My Thanksgiving wish for myself (selfish little bugger that I am) is that next year, somebody else makes dinner.  This year (and not for the first time recently) I'm just plumb-done tired of all the preparations involved.  As soon as I post this, I'm going to write myself a (strongly worded) note to put in my planner for next November as a reminder to orchestrate things differently next year.

Wonder if I could arrange for ice on the pond, too.

Monday, November 19, 2012

It Held!

Ah, yes, it's the little things in life.  Could hardly wait to hang the door valance and half-curtain this morning.

All is right with the world.  (Ha, don't we wish!)  Our cobbled together curtain rod hanger job seems to be firmly attached to the blankety-blank thin metal, hollow-cored door, and my sewing project of yesterday is officially finished.

So tell me true.  That outside door off the living room (yeah, I know, strange situation anyway) now looks like a kitchen door, right?

I'm hoping it will look better when I paint the door (it's only been primed) once I pick out a color.  A color that will go with the color of the living room furniture.  When I get the living room furniture.  Someday. 

Sunday, November 18, 2012

A Sewing Sunday

I spent most of the day today making valances for the big south facing windows in the living room and a valance and half curtain for one of the doors.

Valances and a simple half curtain are truly easy to make, but require miles and miles of straight stitching which always seems as if it should go faster than it does.  (And don't cha just hate it when you sew for nine feet . . . with no bobbin thread?)

It's amazing how a simple valance can soften up not only the windows but the whole room.

We also have blinds for this expanse of windows.  They had to be taken down for the remodeling in the living room when that was started over a year ago.  When we went to put them back up yesterday, uh-oh!  Do you think we could find the mounting brackets for them anywhere?  We looked and looked and looked to no avail.  Soooo frustrating!  They should have been in a baggie taped to the blinds.  Should have.  Weren't.

This is Papa Pea working on installing the hangers for rods for the valance and half curtain on this metal outside door.  Boy-oh-boy-oh-boy, was that a challenge.  We got it done, but I'll just say it involved more tools than you would have thought possible and some super-strength glue to install four little hangers.  Hubby decreed that I should not even think about touching the hanging hardware until tomorrow morning.  Yessir!  Far be it from me to mess things up at this point!  

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Feeling Holiday-ish

I've been thinking about mixing up Christmas cookie doughs and stashing them away in the freezer.  I've found I like making several different kinds of cookies on one mess-up-the-kitchen-for-a-good-cause day when I can just bake, bake, bake rather than having to mix up a dough and then bake the cookies.

You'll notice I said I've been thinking about mixing up Christmas cookie doughs.  It hasn't actually happened yet, but with Thanksgiving coming up in less than a week (eeeek!), I am starting to get a titch of a holiday feeling.

In the bits of time stolen here and there when I've been hiding in my quilt room, Christmas themed potholders have been appearing.  I tell ya, I get one set done and it gives me an idea for another.  I can't seem to stop.  No new fabric has been purchased for the potholders.  Each one can be made from small pieces of leftover material from my Christmas fabric bin.  I still have the bindings to do on all of them so no pictures yet.

A while back I started working on a new quilted piece to hang on the wall for the holidays.  The only Christmas-y one I have was made for Papa Pea's classroom when he was teaching.

It's large, I like it and I'm proud of the way it came out . . . it's got a lot of applique work on it (what was I thinking?) . . . but it does look a little more juvenile than I want to hang in the house.

Where was I?  Oh, yeah.  The new piece I had in mind was going to be a combination of a couple of patterns I saw and liked.  I never got very far with it before I decided it wasn't going to turn out as I had imagined (funny how that happens, isn't it?) and I lost interest in it.

So I started going through pattern books again and found a pattern for a four foot square tree skirt that appealed to me.  Fortunately (yippee!), the book also included a variation for a smaller 24" x 24" version that could be used as a table topper or wall hanging.  (The little book I found the pattern in is Snowshadows by Kathryn Squibb and Deborah Jacobs.)

I've gotten this far on it and am really pleased.  It gets another border around the edge and it will be ready to sandwich and quilt using a combination of machine and hand quilting.  At least that's what I'm thinking of at this point.  With luck I'll have it finished in time to hang after the Thanksgiving decorations come down.

In the meantime, if any of you are of the mind to get out your cattle prod and remind me I don't have time to lollygag around on finishing this one, it might be appreciated!   

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Harker's Body Shop

Jane, of Hard Work Homestead, wrote a comment to my last post which detailed all we had to go through to get our smooshed high-sided trailer brought back to life.  Jane wrote:

"Hum, I feel like I could use a little resurrection
myself.  A little fix to my frame, bring in my sides.
Breathe some new life into me. 
Can I get an appointment with you 'cause my
wagon has really been draggin' . . . "

Jane's words brought some pleasant memories back to me from long ago.

This tale started way back before I was born.

My mom, her five sisters and one brother were born and raised in a little house in a typical residential area in a town in northern Illinois.  In the first half of the 1900s there were no big malls or even anything resembling a strip mall or big box store anywhere to be seen.  Privately owned and operated businesses were interspersed right within the residential neighborhood.  Often there was a small grocery store (the only one the people in the surrounding houses ever used) on the corner of the block.  The neighborhood in which I grew up in the 1940s and 1950s had a funeral home across the street from us, a grocery store one house down and a store that sold wallpaper and house paints in the next block.

So it wasn't at all unusual for my mom's family to live next door to Harker's Body Shop when she and her siblings were growing up.

Uncle Frank, the only male child of the seven siblings, was first-born in the family and used to complain mightily about being the only boy among six sisters.  The family wasn't well to do financially so Uncle Frank went to work sweeping floors (literally) at Harker's Body Shop when he was thirteen.

Harker's at that time was a small establishment and did a little of everything having to do with vehicles.  They did mechanical work and sold tires along with doing all types of body work including repainting cars.  A one-stop service store for your car.

Being a very willing, hard worker, Uncle Frank slowly worked his way up in the business (he never worked anywhere else) and eventually ended up owning Harker's which had grown substantially into a much larger establishment that specialized in vehicle restoration.  He chose to not change the name of the business so it was always Harker's Body Shop.

So, in a way, Harker's was a very real part of my close-knit, extended family when I was growing up.  (I have to admit it caused a bit of jealousy when I became a teenager and got my driver's license because the only car available to me -- on not very frequent occasions, I might add -- was our family's 1956 Chevy.  Uncle Frank's two kids, a boy my age and a girl a couple of years younger, had sole access to their own snazzy cars.  [Can you say Jaguar or MG?]  Uncle Frank would take cars in as a total wrecks and then painstakingly restore whichever one his kids wanted to have as their own.  Me?  Envious?  Nah, what makes you ask?)

Anyway, whenever anyone in the family (usually my mom or one of her sisters) would have any kind of an ailment, they would say, "Somebody call Harker's and make an appointment for me to get in for a tune-up."  Or if one of my aunts was seen walking across the floor with a hitch in her get-a-long, someone was sure to comment, "Looks like you'd better get in to Harker's for some realignment."

I can remember my youngest aunt sitting at our kitchen table after giving birth to her fifth child, laying her head down on crossed arms and saying, "Call Harker's for me.  I'm sure my valves are stuck." 

One of the times my mom came up here to Minnesota for a visit, she was sweeping the kitchen floor and collecting the debris in a metal dustpan.  I heard her say, "Uh-oh!"  I asked what the problem was and she said, "I think I'd better take this dustpan home with me and get it into Harker's."  I was puzzled so asked why and she replied (Mom was a hefty gal), "'Cause I just stepped on it."

Silly little memories, I know, but when Jane alluded to needing some body work done (which I know for a fact she is NOT in need of) and maybe a tune-up, it brought back these memories.

I don't even know if Uncle Frank's business exists anymore.  Probably not.  Uncle Frank, my mom and all of her sisters are gone now, too.  But back in the day, our family sure got a lot of nonsensical mileage out of Harker's Body Shop.      

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

The Resurrection

Once upon a time long, long ago, Papa Pea had an uncle who farmed in Wisconsin.  Uncle George had an old, much-used, homemade high-sided trailer (circa 1940).  There came a time when Uncle George left the farm and gifted the trailer to Papa Pea's family who still had two boys (Papa Pea and his younger brother) living at home.  The boys were very involved with 4-H and animal raising.

Once again, this trailer proved very useful and did a lot of work hauling cows and other assorted animals, bales of hay, fencing, gravel and garden tractors.

As a teenager, Papa Pea remembers putting new sides on the trailer so it could continue to do the wood work it had always done.

When Papa Pea and I were married in the 1960s, we inherited the trailer.  We used it in the moving business we had for a while along with doing general duty on our homestead in Illinois.  In the early 70s, it was instrumental in moving us up here to northern Minnesota.  In the summer of 1973, we made nine round-trips of 1,200 miles (with a two-year old spending a LOT of time in her car seat for every one of those trips) hauling all we owned to our new home.  The trailer contained load after load of household goods and everything related to homesteading we could move.  The last trip it held a donkey and two goats.

Once on Minnesota soil, there was no rest for the trailer.  Continuing to earn its weight in gold, we've used it to haul tons and tons including everything from horses to trail bikes, bales of hay from Canada, and snowmobiles for recreation.  It holds memories of kids perched gleefully high on top of bales of hay collected from our hay fields.  For years it transported bundles of firewood to a state park when we had a contract to provide wood for the campsites.  We've used it to haul umpteen thousand dollars worth of building supplies home from the big city.

In the late 80s, we rebuilt the trailer replacing the flooring and wooden sides again.

This is pretty much what the trailer looked like for sixty-plus years.  Good trailer.  Wonderful, extremely useful trailer.  We loved our trailer.

Then this happened.  In September, 2009, we had another one of our "once in a hundred years" wind storms.  The trailer was parked in the wrong spot at the wrong time.  It was crushed.  We were crushed.  When Papa Pea's younger brother in California saw the pictures, he said he felt like we'd lost a member of the family.

At first we thought there was no hope of resurrection.  Our neighbor in the heavy equipment business felt the frame was too damaged.  Then one day we were talking with D and he said he'd been thinking about the trailer and wondered if maybe it couldn't be salvaged.  So started a project that took three years to complete.

Papa Pea, good friend J, a nice day and a six-pack of imported beer.

The guys started the repair by taking off all the crushed wood on the sides and flooring.  (Just look at the number that tree did to the framing.)

Then we took the twisted skeleton to the local body shop where they straightened the main lower frame (where the axles were attached) which was severely bowed.

Next stop was out to friend J's, welder extraordinaire (more imported beer may have been involved), where all the steel sides were replaced and/or repaired.

Back home again where neighbor D confirmed that major reinforcing of the lower frame (which was nearly rusted out . . . how could that have happened after only sixty years of almost constant year-round use??) was necessary if the trailer was going to be road worthy again.

In his shop, D turned the framing upside down, cut off the axles, reinforced the lower main frame with new steel and welded the axles back on.

Then we put new decking on the floor and new plywood sides.  New wiring was completed.  Last but not least, new fenders were attached.

Here good, ol' trailer sits in all its resurrected (albeit muddied) glory, once again in service, holding a big load, this time on its way moving Chicken Mama to her new home.

With luck and lack of falling trees, this trailer will continue to be used for who-knows-how-many more years to come.  Our daughter will no doubt be pulling it down the road long after Papa Pea and I have gone to that cozy, little (restful, please) homestead in the sky.    

Dear High-Sided Trailer, it was a long, long three-year recovery period and you were sorely missed.  Great to have you back in service again! 

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Of Blogging

In her post this past Sunday, that cute little farm gal (Amy) over on A Farmish Kind of Life, posed some interesting questions regarding the topic of blogging.

I started to reply in her comments section but quickly realized my thoughts on the subject were getting way too long and more appropriate to a post here.

I know I've made mention recently (probably more than once) that I've seemed to have lost some of my blogging mojo.  As Amy related in her post, others are apparently feeling the same way.  We are still blogging, but I think on the whole our posts are less frequent.  In my own case, it's not that I have nothing to say or am intentionally backing off from blogging.

So why ARE my posts less frequent?  Plain and simple, I'm in a period where I'm finding it difficult to fit everything I want to do into a day's time.  That means somethin's gotta give.  As far as discretionary time I do have, presently I have a real need to pick up my knitting needles and yarn or spend time doing some quilting.  I've always found that the creative process handwork affords centers and relaxes me, and when I don't fit it into my life to some extent, I get cranky.  So often I have to choose between going into my quilt room or sitting at the computer to write a new post.  You may have noticed quilting is winning.

True confession, I'm also feeling a little tired right now and my mind simply doesn't work as well when my wagon is draggin'.  Stringing intelligent sentences together is harder when my brain isn't operating on all cylinders.  Seems I used to have lots of introspective posts to share, but these don't flow out of me when I'm not feeling like the sharpest knife in the drawer.  The tiredness that is causing my lack of brain power can legitimately be traced to hard physical work which seems to be abundant on this little homestead currently.  (And was last summer.  And the whole year before that.  And the . . . oh, never mind.  I firmly believe it's better to wear out than to rust out anyway!)  But I think there is something else affecting many of us bloggers.  I have an intuitive sense that we are becoming a little beaten down by the general state of affairs going on in our country and world.  For the more fortunate ones of us the effect may be subtle, but all the same it's still here 24/7.

So why do I keep blogging, why do I want to keep blogging?  It provides a journal of our lives.  It gives a record that I can look back on for pleasure or to pinpoint some information I would otherwise have lost.  And for feedback; I'm always interested in your thoughts and/or opinions.  Also, for me, looking back over old posts is like looking through a photo album; the text and pictures of my blog jog memories I may have forgotten.

Being able to communicate with like-minded people through blogging has filled a void in my life.  I live in an area that is not farming or gardening or homesteading friendly.  There aren't a lot of people interested in living the type of life we do in our very sparsely populated county consisting mostly of wildlife, water, trees, and rocks.  There are times when I've felt as if I'm the only one attempting to do what I do.  My connection through blogging with people who hold my same interests and values is educational, inspiring, up-lifting, supportive and generally validates my choice to pursue the type of life I do.

I still read my chosen group of blogs and sincerely value the friendships I've made with other bloggers.  Admittedly, I don't take the time to comment as much as I used to.  That's not because I no longer find the posts interesting and entertaining, but because, once again, there is only so much time each day and right now, I'm making the decision to use it in the best way for me personally.

Whew!  See why I didn't leave this ramble as a comment on Amy's post?

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Let's Talk Brussels Sprouts

I'll bet I sucked a whole bunch of you in with that titillating topic title, didn't I?

Both Papa Pea and I LOVE Brussels sprouts.  I've tried growing them without much success a couple of times previously.  This past gardening season, I gave them another try.

I have trouble (that's an understatement) with worms (shudder!) in my brassica.

So this year I followed the advice of the Agribon Queen, Sue over at Sue's Garden Journal, and planted my Brussels sprouts under a tent of Agribon. 

I also planted my broccoli under an Agribon cover and had wonderful success.  (It's good stuff!)

These days we're frequently enjoying fresh frozen Brussels sprouts as a nutritious, delicious green veggie with our meals.  But my harvest wasn't nearly enough to carry us over the winter months.

Matter of fact, even though I was able to grow them without any worm infestation (for the first time ever), I don't know if I will grow them again.

Why?  If the harvest from the seven plants I grew this year was indicative of the harvest I could expect to get per plant each year, I would have to devote a larger (much larger) part of the garden to Brussels sprouts.  The plants grew a good three feet tall and might have produced more heavily if I had given them a little more breathing room by spacing them out a little more.

When harvest time came, each little sprout had to be cut off the hefty stem with a sharp knife.  No quick task as the little buggers were stuck like glue and didn't relinquish their hold easily.  This proved to be a time consuming task for me.

Then (wormaphobe that I am) I soaked the whole harvest for a couple of hours in warm, salt water.  (Nary a worm to be found.  Phew, that was REALLY good news!)

Next I individually cleaned each one of the little miniature "cabbages."  Another stage in the process that took a long time.  Then I blanched them and packed them for the freezer.

I suppose when you get right down to it, it's a personal thing as far as the time, space and effort each of us is willing to give to a specific vegetable grown in our gardens.  For instance, I give a lot of garden space to rows of pea trellises on which to grow my shelling peas.  The picking of the mature pea pods goes rather quickly but sitting (for hours) and shelling the peas is an onerous task for some people.  But to get our winter's supply of fresh frozen peas, it's a task I don't mind.

Well.  I guess I'll be thinking over my little Brussels sprouts dilemma (to grow or not to grow, that is the question) this winter.  What do you think?  Will I grow them again next year? 

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

My Tummy Can Hardly Wait

No, I didn't bake our Thanksgiving Day pumpkin pie two weeks early.  It's just that I'm needin' some comfort food today and pumpkin pie with whipped cream does it for me.

To ensure we have a balanced meal before I dive into the pumpkin pie at dinner time, I have chicken (we have a lot of chicken to work our way through this winter) baking in the oven for the main course along with mashed taters and gravy.  It'll be Brussels sprouts for the green veggie.

My clock says it's only 3:17 now and my stomach is starting to growl already. 

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Sittin' and Knittin'

I've been finding time lately to make like a little ol' granny plying my needles and yarn working on the afghan I'm knitting.

There was a time (I think about 40-some . . . no, closer to 45 or 50 . . . years ago) when I was on a real afghan kick and knit quite a few of them which I inflicted on various people as gifts.  I didn't keep track of how many I made, but I'll bet I'd be surprised if somehow I could see them all lined up together now.

But back to this current one.

I picked up a knitting magazine this summer showing this particular pattern and it really appealed to me.  (Gawd-awful choice of colors in the magazine, but I knew I could change that.)

It's made in five strips which are sewn (or woven) together.  This is the first strip I've finished.  The afghan is done in five different colors and with my daughter's input one day, I chose an off-white, a black, a lovely gray,  a forest green and a soft cocoa brown.  Each strip is made up of four rectangles, each supposedly 10" x 15".  I'm close to the 15" in the length of each rectangle but I'm going to have to do some blocking to get the consistent 10" width.

I started with the off-white yarn and this pattern.  There are five different patterns for the five different colored blocks.

Here's the black but, of course, you can't really see the pattern in it.  (I couldn't see it while I was knitting it either!)

I'm not particularly fond of the color gray, but really like this shade and how it looks with my other chosen colors.  (This picture doesn't show the color as it is in reality.)

This pattern in the green was the most complicated to knit in that I did have to keep track of the 18 row pattern.

Brown is the fifth color and the first block of the second row of strips.

The afghan should measure approximately 50" x 60" when finished.

I'm really enjoying the process (it's good to be doing some knitting again) and now that I've learned all five patterns, it should go a little faster.  I just have to find the time to sit . . . and knit!    

Sunday, November 4, 2012

What Was I Thinking?

On the schedule for today:  Butchering 13 of our roosters and 2 of Chicken Mama's geese.  

We've been going through chicken feed at an alarming rate these past few weeks and our chickens that we got as chicks this past June are now old enough that we can tell the roosters from the hens.  That signaled time to butcher and send some chickens to freezer camp.

We finished the job about an hour ago.  Chicken Mama has gone back to Swamp River Ridge to get some things done there tonight.  Papa Pea and I are exhausted.

It took the three of us five hours from start through the last of the clean up.  Seems three people should be able to take care of 15 birds in a shorter time than that.  I guess we're just slow.  We did take a very short break for a late lunch but otherwise we just kept working away the whole time.  

If we had a poultry processing plant anywhere within 150 miles of here (we don't), I think I'd be tempted to take our birds for a little road trip and be done with it.

I thought I was being smart and got food for dinner halfway ready and in the refrigerator this morning so it wouldn't be so much work pulling a good meal together after we were done this afternoon.  Funny thing though, nobody was hungry for dinner.  What did I plan on making?  Chicken Pot Pie.  Bad choice.  (Chicken Mama said she didn't want anything with eggs either.)

Actually, she thanked us for the offer of dinner but chose instead to head out so she'd have some evening hours for getting some things done at Swamp River Ridge.  Right now, Papa Pea is upstairs in his office puffing on his pipe and I'm back here at my desk guzzling grape juice . . . wishing I had some egg nog.  Yes, it's out in the stores around here already.  They come out with it earlier and earlier each year.  All the longer time, before the actual holidays, for me to bulk up to 250 pounds . . . if I drank as much of it as I'd like.

Well, even though we have no egg nog, we may just drink our dinner tonight.  I'm saving the Chicken Pot Pie for tomorrow night.  Maybe.  If I'm over my temporary aversion to chicken by then.  What was I thinking?  

Thursday, November 1, 2012

A Little Progress

It's slow.  But it is progress.  I spent most of last Sunday, Monday and Tuesday putting two finishing coats of polyurethane on thousands of board feet (well, maybe it was only hundreds . . . or not that much . . . but it seemed like it) of lumber to be used in building the storage units for the garage.

So far, we've gotten the left part of the south wall unit constructed and in place.

This was the wall before.

And this is the same wall after.

The unit above the utility sink will have a door on it and a mirror on the door so it can function like a medicine cabinet.  It will hold first aid items and anything else we'd like to keep clean and sanitary.  Like my husband's toothbrush, toothpaste, comb, etc.  He complains I monopolize the bathroom in the morning and since he now has a sink with hot and cold running water in the garage, he can perform his daily beautification program there without fighting with me for in-house bathroom time.  Sounds good to me.

We only made one little mistake in the plans for this unit.

Ooops.  Forgot to allow room for the washing machine lid to open adequately.  No problem.  We only have to do a little notch work in the corner of that side board and all will be A-OK.  I hope.