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Monday, May 21, 2018

A Life in Plan Bs.

That is the working title of my memoir, a work in perpetual progress, which will not be published until all the innocent bystanders have gone onto their next great adventures and can't sue me.


(Warning:  This post contains graphic TMI)


I have a pretty good sense of humor.  And, given the position of the moon and its relationship to Jupiter or whatever, I can take a good amount of needling.  I even pride myself on my ability to change direction at the drop of a hat, to be flexible (in every way but physically....)


However, even I have my limits.
Biggify at your own risk
Wednesday morning, I thought it might be a good idea not to try to keep ignoring an insanely itchy spot on my hip and get me to my doctor.  When that wasn't happening (they don't try to even squeeze you in these days), I trotted off to the ExpressCare (like urgent care, but part of the medical practice) with my knitting around 3P.  By 7P, I was home with a fever, chills, a two-week supply of Doxycycline, a steroid cream, and a diagnosis of Lyme's Disease.  Thursday is rather hazy - other than the memory of intense itching, teamed with intermittent stabs of nerve pain in my jaw.  At its worst, the rash (so lovely, ain't it?) was 12 inches wide and six inches deep.  I mean, really?  It took until Saturday morning for me to feel semi-human.  The good news (as there always is) is that I had absolutely no appetite and it finally cured me of my insomnia.


Because of the Doxycycline, I cannot be out in the sun without every inch of me covered.  How lucky, then, as I started to feel more normal, it rained almost constantly.  (Yes, that is the sound of sarcasm dripping.)  I did manage to drag myself outside Friday afternoon to finish clearing out a raised bed - only because my neighbor was mowing my lawn and could witness me keeling over, if it came to that.  Saturday I planted two kinds of kale and collard greens in the rain.


Sunday, the errant 17 y/o finally showed up (after being liberally bribed by his favorite Rhubarb Crumb Muffins) and the erosion barrier fencing was installed.  Never mind the actual sheep fencing.  I have a tentative promise (HA) for this coming weekend.


The skies finally cleared so that I could hang out my laundry on my newly-fixed laundry tree.  Or not.  When it was fixed, we did not take into consideration that it swiveled within the joined pipe to help offset the various weights on each of the four sides of your laundry.  I pegged up a sheet and the entire thing listed alarmingly to port.  Fine.  A new laundry tree has been ordered.
Plan B
I was able to string it up on the pergola but then I could not grill dinner.  Plan B2.  As I drooped, all 'woe is me' on the sofa, it occurred to me that I had the perfect working title for my memoir!  Because, in every possible sense of the word(s), that has been my life.  Now to figure out if it should be "Plan Bs" or "Plans B".  Hmmmm.


I leave you with something much nicer to look at.
Layla in her favorite place.  In full camo.







Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Finding the bright side, even if you have to dig very, very deep.

I guess there is a bright side to insomnia - bright being the key word here.
I L.O.V.E. these!
Straight off the needles, ends woven in, but not blocked.  I think I have enough yarn to make another pair.  Good thing, because my mother wants some in a more summery weight yarn (in progress) and my sister wants a pair.  And my mother wants me to knit her sister, my aunt, a pair.  And Marianne would like a pair....
These warm my hippie heart.
I prefer wool, myself, in any climate, as it's breathable, wicks away moisture and comes from sheep!  I also happen to have an 'ample' (cough, cough) stash of wool sock yarn.  So, thank you again, Terry.  Mama is happy!


One of my biggest challenges in finding a bright side came yesterday.  I had my chimney sweep come to look at my fireplace chimney - now set on the roof at a rather bon vivant angle.  All it needs is a beret.  There was, however, no good news.  The pipe had come apart about mid-length, the boot that seals it to the metal roof is kaput.  The inner pipe had been compressed to the point that it, in its relationship to the outer pipe which, in a perfect world would create a cooling space, was also kaput.  In order to replace what needs to be replaced and fix what can be fixed, they will have to cut a large hole in the bedroom wall.  I am waiting for the estimate - which will immediately be sent to the insurance company - and girding my loins for the siege.  BUT WAIT!  After much pondering (and gnashing of teeth and pulling of hair), I found a bright side!  I must now deal with finishing the skirting and sorting of the bazillion fleeces that have been stacked in the corner of my bedroom so that (a) they can reach the access wall and (b) I can elevate myself from borderline hoarder to borderline normal!  Being all fired up, I contacted the local mill and - lo and behold - they are having a Wool Pool at a local fairground, which is about halfway between my house and the mill.  I can bring ALL my wool and we will sort it and sell some and process the rest.  The best part about it?  It is happening soon.  That means that I cannot drag my saggy butt around in its usual state of perpetual procrastination.  I have to act now.  Lawsymercy.  If the weather cooperates, I will be hauling those fleeces (fleeci?) that still need skirting out to the deck during what little time I have this weekend and trying to get it all sorted by June 1.  Icandoit, icandoit, icandoit.....chug, chug, chug.





Monday, May 14, 2018

Discombobulated Weekend

It never fails - the one day out of the weekend that I have for getting things done on the homestead, will be the day of abysmal weather.  On Saturday - my one day "off" - it rained the entire day.  That's not entirely true.  It threatened rain from when I awoke (4A) to when it actually started and didn't stop (11A).  Within that damp window of time, I was able to let the sheep eat some grass (not a lot!  In spring I suffer from extreme BF - Bloat Fear), did some frantic weeding of the rhubarb, threw a half bushel of shavings into the duck hut, did two loads of laundry, knitted, fed everyone, and swept the kitchen floor.  Then I was out of the door and up to VT to get my main air filter replaced for the umpteenth time (thank you NOT, mice), then over to the farm to put in my trade-time.  While we were planting peppers and eggplants in the greenhouse, it started to rain.


It was raining steadily by the time I got home, but there were things to get done outside, rain or not.  I spent an hour trimming and planting willow whips, hoping to eventually create a living fence across the front of my property.  The trucks and dust create such a hazard, that I had to come up with something.  Ideally, one should create a narrow hole about 8" deep in which to place your whips.  Since my property is about 20% stone (ergo - two gravel pits), I am lucky if I can pound down 6".  I am sure the people on my road think I'm crazy, but that's okay with me.  I got fourteen whips planted and thoroughly watered before I threw in the wet towel and retreated inside.  Let's hope that they take hold.

As you can tell from the photograph, I was again laden in leafy goodness!  I got five heads of jewel-like lettuce (green and red - on left), two bags of mixed Asian greens, a box of mixed microgreens (delish!), a bag of spinach/kale, a bunch of red mustard greens, a bag of tiny turnips and greens, and a bag of Shiitake mushrooms!


Sunday (a belated Happy Mothers Day to you all, mothers of skinned, furred, feathered, scaled babes) which started with a cozy session with two of my four (counting Layla because she's temporarily my babe).

It's a little difficult to get a good pic when they
are right on top of you!
I made a peach/blueberry pie to take up to VT for our MD dinner and it was the first time I had made a fruit pie with frozen fruit. It may also be my last.  I did a lot of research online and followed what was, I was assured, the best method for baking it.  NOT.  It was watery and ruined and a total disappointment.  I even cracked and made non-GF pie crust.  Poo.  (For you skilled bakers **cough**Mama Pea**cough**, I baked it on the lower shelf in a hot oven - 450* - for 20 minutes, then at 350* for 40 minutes.  Actually, almost 50 minutes.)  Any input would be greatly appreciated.


I would also like to point out that Sunday was beautiful.  Because of all the baking (pie and barn crew), I didn't get much time outside.  I let the sheep out on a short foray into the grass, and did a little tidying up on the deck.  Then it was out the door again, to the transfer station, to the garden center to pick up my annual MD hanging basket, Home Depot for a replacement bulb for the halogen light over my sink and then to my sister's for dinner with the bad pie.  Sigh.  Then a quick trip to the grocery store for cat food, then home again.  I arrived home later than I had hoped and I was too pooped to do much more outside.  I have another interrupted weekend next weekend, but I am determined to take a couple of days off before Memorial weekend so that I can make some progress.  I mean, there should be a least ONE day of nice weather all to myself in five days, right?


Early mornings are all about Slimmie and me.  The dogs are not early risers, so Slimmie gets some one-on-one Mom Time.  I do adore him.





Monday, May 7, 2018

It's Baaaaa-aack!

The Pergola has Re-Risen!
My pergola was re-assembled and is complete, with the exception of one corner brace, that will be installed later today.  It has been moved forward to allow clearance from the roof.  It is nice to have it back.  Peanut Butter is madly in love with the young man who erected it and it was all I could do to keep him from getting out of the door so he could "help".


Saturday was a glorious day - sun, soft breezes.  Sunday was its polar opposite - cold, dank, dreary, grey, constant drizzle and downright rain all day long.  This was the day the pergola went up!  I had my mother for an overnight stay, Saturday into Sunday.  It is so nice to spend one-on-one time with her and it gives her a break from Dad.  Following our usual schedule for these things, I went up for lunch, popped her in the car and drove her to my neighbor's, who is also her bestie.  There they could visit, undisturbed, while I zipped home and picked up Layla and drove to her first adoption clinic.  We discovered - ahem - that Layla gets car sick.  Sigh.  She was a big hit and stirred up some interest, so we might be getting a call soon for her to go out on trial.  Poor girl had a completely empty tummy for her trip back.  I tucked her into her bed to recover, then retrieved my mother and we settled in for a chat and dinner.  She spent most of her time firmly wedged between Mr. Butters and Layla, with Lovey trying to vie for her attention, too.  Good thing she likes dogs!  Mr. Butters feels the need to show off for visitors - flinging himself about, ferociously dealing with dog toys and sofa cushions.  Then, Lovey and Butters staged an epic (and hysterical) wrestling match for our entertainment.


Sunday morning, we headed for the Firehouse Breakfast and she met the Breakfast Club boys and I got hugged more than I have in the last fifteen years.  Whoa.  I think they missed me and my genuine maple syrup!  I dropped her at home, then headed to M's farm, where I put in an abbreviated session in the greenhouse.  It had started raining about 5A and did not stop once all day.  We got beds weeded and watered, greens harvested and more plants out to harden off.  My haul for the day:  one bag of mixed Asian greens, one bag of tiny turnips+greens, a bag of mustard greens, two bags of kale/spinach mix, a jar of honey, two boxes of microgreens, and some oyster mushrooms!  Wowza!  Needless to say, I have a wealth of salad fixings!!!


Layla got her first marrow bone yesterday.  And we discovered that she is a super mouser!  She has been fixated on an area in the kitchen that mice are known to haunt.  I have to say that I have never had a cat with that much focus.
Enjoying her bone in full relaxed mode.

Laser focus on mouse-doings.
Things are starting to green up around the LLF, thank goodness.  Now, how to find the time I need to deal with it all!
Chives!

Oregano!

Comfrey!
Nekkid sheep!

Garlic! (Weeds!)








Thursday, May 3, 2018

Yessiree Bob, We've Got Socks and the Four Days of Spring.

I hadn't realized how traumatized I was about the duck loss, until I got busy last night and it was dusky dark and I realized I hadn't closed up the poultry in their new high-security hardware coops.  I almost levitated out the door, with my sidekick, Lovey, ready for action.  The ducks have been going in early without my assistance.  I guess they figure it is safe now - or at least safer than waddling about near the scene of the crime.  I have a slide-down door and added a locking latch.  Those damn foxes will need tools to get at them.


Dimples and Dolly have settled down and are now back to their loud, stream-of-consciousness selves.  I even got an egg this morning.  This made me even sadder, as I miss my gray, speckled egg from Cordelia and my giant egg from Gertie.  Dolly has only once laid an egg in the almost-two years that I've had her.  Maybe that will change, now that the competition is down.


The weather has been gloriously --- summer.  Honestly, I don't know that we had more than four days of actual spring-like weather.  It was 80 degrees and humid yesterday, and it's looking the same today.  I took down the fleece curtains - still working great through the winter! - and put up the summer sheers.  That did seem to make everyone feel lighter.  Leilani/Layla is now throwing herself into play with Peanut and Lovey.  When it becomes a little too much (Mr. Butters is certifiable), she hides behind me for a time-out.  We have our first adoption clinic on Saturday - an abbreviated appearance on our part, as my mother is having an overnight Saturday-into-Sunday.  We will zip off while she is having tea with her bestie, my neighbor.


With summer comes...ticks.  Man, oh, man, they are really bad this year.  I have spotted and killed six on Miss Blinding White, found one on the back of my neck and had my friend remove it last Saturday, then woke up at 2A this morning with an itchy hip and - you guessed it - another tick!  Needless to say, another very early start to the day.  Sigh.


BUT, there's a bright side to insomnia.  Socks!
Matchy-matchy!
The Poison Candy socks are finished, with the exception of a soak and a blocking.
With my favorite sock project bag
and adorable cat stitch markers!
And new shortie socks are on the needles!  OMG, do I love this yarn! Thank you, thank you, thank you, Terry!  I also love this pattern and will be using it exclusively all summer because - you know - socks.  I am hopeful to knit at least one pair a month, all year.  I may even be able to squeeze in a few extra because they are faster to knit.  It's a condition.

Monday, April 30, 2018

No excuses.

If I needed an example of what happens when you a) don't follow your instincts; b) think that, if something happened one way before, it will repeat itself; and c) are just plain lazy, I got it in spades this weekend.


Saturday was the usual whirlwind of activity - all my errands, a haircut, lunch with the folks, my labor-for-vege time with Marianne, etc.  It had been grey and damp in the morning but - thank you, Universe - it cleared up briefly in the afternoon with blue sky and sun.  Just in time for my farm work!  It then went downhill quickly and, by the time I got home, it was raining.  It rained constantly, making any outdoor activity unattractive.   A neighbor had graciously agreed to pick up some books on CD from the library for me, so I squelched over to pick them up and had a glass of wine and some adult person conversation.  It was very nice.  By the time I got home it was pouring, so I had to force the dogs outside (large umbrella held aloft), feed them, feed the sheep/llama, collect eggs, then feed me.  As soon as it is starting to get dark, the chickens are snug in their coop and I close them up.  The ducks, however, are loathe to go in until it's dark.  I decided to wait until the rain eased up to go out and close them in and then promptly fell asleep in my chair.  I did not think about it again until just after I slipped under the covers.  I decided I was too tired, it was still raining and I had left it open before with no ill effects.  After all, the poultry yard is surrounded by a six-foot wood fence with chicken wire around the bottom.  You can see where this is going.


At 2:15A, I heard the ducks - shot out of bed, threw on my robe, got Lovey, slipped into boots and turned the lights on.  Lovey levitated off the deck, snarling with hair raised down her back, towards the fence.  I went out with the headlamp on and my .22 loaded.  A cursory inspection of the duck house showed only one occupant and no sign of the others.  I was too late.  I closed the door, called Lovey off and went inside.  Needless to say, there was no going back to bed.


When it was finally light, I went out to survey the damage.  Only Dolly was left and she was frozen in terror, crammed in the back corner of the nesting box.  I went out of the front gate to survey the outside perimeter of the fence and, lo and behold!, there was Dimples, looking terrorized and missing a lot of pin feathers.  I herded her back into the yard and Dolly ventured out only after hearing Dimples.  There was no sign of Cordelia or Gertie.  Not a feather.  There were only a few tiny drops of blood, so I figured it was a pair of foxes.  This was supported by the method of their entry into the yard.
It's hard to see in the photograph, but they had dug under the fence, next to the duck coop and under the gate and, thanks to me, had waltzed in the open front door and made off with C & G.  If I had been flexible enough, I would have kicked myself from here to Babylon.  Thanks to my pure laziness and arrogance, I had let them down and my dear ducks paid a heavy price.   Needless to say, the survivors were traumatized and spent the entire day huddled together, as far away from their coop as they could be.  It's interesting in that the chickens, having gone through a hawk attack in their coop, then spending who knows how many hours with the assassin perched on their roost, were over it within an hour or so.  The ducks are still not over it.  It took quite a while and some strategically placed boards to herd them back into their coop.  I had gone up to the hardware store (in Vermont) and reinforced both their door and the chicken coop door.  All in the pouring rain.  On top of that, I had gotten a rather last-minute call from my shearer and I had to scramble around to get the sheep corralled and put in lockdown for his visit this morning.
Joe with the fat eel that is Linden.
I no longer refer to him as the 'sweet sheep'. 
He's a pain.

Norman, a Cormo/Pony X, who IS
a pain, is a total bean bag for the shearer.
Go figure.

Dirty but lovely Cormo fleece.
As is always the case on shearing day, it rained, it snowed, it was cold, it was damp.  After spending some hours in cold drafty barns (I help with my neighbor's shearing), my feet felt like blocks of ice.  A hot shower, wool socks and a fourth cup of coffee later, I was on my way to the office, feeling like I was coming in from Mars.  As is also always the case, shearing takes about six times longer than you figure.  When I called my boss to let her know I was running (very) late, she wasn't too bothered.  She had taken the day off to spend with her daughters and nieces for a long weekend of spas, chef-catered dinners and farm-to-table breakfasts.  Yeehaw.

Friday, April 27, 2018

And the winner is....

A very quick post to announce the winner of the Make magazine before I bolt out the door and into OMGIF. 

Michelle of Boulderneigh!

Come on down!!!

I have your particulars, so I will get this in the post to you ASAP.  Thank you, everyone, for taking the time to comment ~~ have a wonderful weekend!

Monday, April 23, 2018

Ay! Caramba!

I think we have reached the point in our relationship where we would be kidding ourselves to think that I thrive on harmony and order.  Besides, harmony and order do not provide the fodder for titillating blog posts.  Let's just say that I headed into the weekend under full throttle.


TGIF has officially been replaced by OMGIF.  While I didn't walk into the usual chaos of Lovey vs. the living room, I did get blindsided by Bunny on my way to the coop to get eggs.  The little idgit managed to spur me and draw blood.  His days are numbered to the realm of the single digit.


After an evening of homemade pizza (using Brandless' GF mix - which, no matter how much I like it, I cannot order again because it comes in a plastic pouch, dammit), a glass of wine for medicinal purposes and three episodes of Shetland, I fell into bed, running my list for the weekend on the endless loop.


Up and at 'em early, I made my list (in chronological order - I need all the help I can get), then headed out the door in plenty of time.  Everything went south from there.  In my town, if you don't employ an independent trash/recycling pick up service, you take your trash, et al. to the town transfer station.  This is extremely cost effective and they have added better recycling service over the 12 years I've lived here (OMG, 12 years?).  The system consists of purchasing yearly a numbered tag to be displayed in your car, and then tickets to be used, one per bag, for your trash and for anything that goes in the big containers - metal (free), construction and general trash.  These can only be purchased from the town clerk, who works two partial days a week - Wednesday night and Saturday morning.  I pulled into the lot five minutes after she opened and noticed four cars already there.  Never a good sign.  In small towns (at least mine), it is the thing to do of a Saturday, to stand around and talk about this and that with the town clerk, the transfer station team, anyone stationary who will listen.  Instead of the usual in/out service, I was treated to a 20 minute wait while various small indignities and problems were discussed.  It must have been the fact that there was actual sun and it brought everyone and their Uncle Bob out from under their winter rocks.


I then had to streamline my list.  I stopped at the transfer station, now officially tagged for the year, and was faced by two long lines of cars and pick-ups, building up behind two old codgers who were chewing the fat with the staff.   I sashayed up to the front and suggested that they move their trucks through and off to the side and THEN continue their conversations so that the rest of us could carry out our business.  They begrudgingly complied and, when I sashayed back to my car, the people in line tooted their horns and waved at me.  Why, I ask you, didn't someone further up in line do this?  They obviously don't live by to-do lists.  I live in a town of complainers, not doers.  Pfft.


I skipped getting gas (not a good idea, it turned out) and stopped in to see the parents and admire my sister's new-to-her car.  It was a short visit because
Layla
The foster for a dog that was being flown up from Puerto Rico fell through at the last minute.  Who you gonna call?  ME!  Whatever.  I had to drive the hour plus to the airport to pick up the little fluff ball and then drive her home.  She is 10 years old, was an owner-surrender and is a sweet, timid little dog.  She must have felt she landed on Mars.  After being left at a rescue, she was (through voodoo?  I don't know how these rescues are all interconnected) put in a crate, driven to San Juan, put on a plane, then unloaded and put on another plane, then she arrived in upstate NY.  Then she was loaded into my car and driven another hour plus to an alien landscape where, upon alighting from the car, she saw sheep.  She froze in place and I had to carry her in.  We have been observing the usual newcomer protocol - gates up everywhere - and she seems to be fitting in quite nicely.  She is small - just under 20 pounds, blindingly white with floofy bloomers and a short, much-plumed tail, with light tan spots on top of both ears and two round tan dots on her lower back.  She will be adopted in a nanosecond.  We are negotiating our Spanish/English commands and making a little headway.


Sunday morning, I was up early - very early, it turned out, as the power had briefly gone off and I hadn't noticed and my clock read 5:30A, causing me to rocket out of bed, thinking I was frittering my morning away!  It was actually 2:30A, but I was wide awake by the time I realized it, so....sigh.


I baked a cranberry cake for the barn crew, did some knitting, reassured Layla, did my chores and headed up to my friend, M's farm to put in my first installment of labor-for-vege.  It was the first beautiful morning in what felt like years, and the view from her farm is breath-taking.  We planted asparagus, currants (red and black), gooseberries, did some clean-up around her new fruit trees, and schlepped plants out to the sun to harden off.  All the while, I was yelling (nicely) at her while she clomped around in her ortho-boot with her still-mending broken ankle.  Honestly.  After the two and a half hours, I was back in my car and zipping towards home, where I met my friend and his wife who were due to fix my roof vents!  While Steve worked on the roof, Christina and I helped my neighbor (who had also pulled up - there was an actual work crew!) fix my laundry tree, clear the fence line, and sweep off the top of the barn after clearing the tree falls.  I then worked on my raised beds and front flower bed, until my farmer/neighbor arrived with a truckload of hay.  It was like going from 0-60 without a seatbelt!  I was sure to pop a few ibuprofens before bed.  It just felt too good to be out in the sun to stop.  I figured I would fall into bed and sleep, coma-like, until my usual 4A.  This was the case until midnight, when Layla started crying, pitifully, and didn't stop for an hour.  I gave up, put her on the bed, she rolled into a tight ball and fell asleep.  Thankfully, so did I.  We have moved up the group interaction and all three dogs go out together with no problem.  I don't think she has ever lived with a cat, as Slimmie scares the bejeebers out of her.  This is the first time she will be left for a long stretch - I don't foresee any problems, as she is still separated but not crated and it will provide Lovey with the sense that her back is covered, in case her yard is encroached by the dreaded brown-truck-driving-dog-body-snatchers.


Remember way back on Saturday, when I skipped gassing up the car?  Good thing I was coming down off the mountain this morning on my way to work when the empty sign flashed on.  I managed to coast into the gas station on fumes....

Friday, April 20, 2018

Help celebrate the after-effects of cabin fever and too much shoveling.

Most of what I remember about March consists of low light, endless rounds plying my snow shovel and roof rake, the Passage of Pee - the narrow, high-sided tunnel shoveled from deck to chicken coop that was decorated daily by the dogs - knitting and obsessing over knitting podcasts.  There may have been some ordering of yarn and related objects.  There may have been way too much of that.


In the miasma of March, I, being the mental case that I am/was, I entered a near-swooning state over the new Making magazine.  I am not one for subscriptions - with the exception of my devotion to Taproot Magazine, to which I have subscribed from the beginning.  I am sure it was due to all the knitting and watching all those ladies (and men) do all their better knitting, and all the much more complicated and lovely things they were knitting that I totally thought I could knit as well.  And then there was the lack of sunlight.  In any event, it appears I ordered two subscriptions.  Sigh.  The very nice women who create this publication (based in Portland, ME - Sylvie!) refunded my extra subscription and let me keep the extra copy of No. 5 - Color.


In view of this largess, I am having a drawing for the extra copy.  You can go to their website here, to see what all the fuss is about.


Here's what you need to do to enter the drawing - leave a comment below about March.  Or making something.  Or about an interesting conversation you overheard in the grocery store.  Whatever.  Make the comment by midnight Wednesday, April 25th, which, by the way is National Administrative Assistant Day (formerly, Secretarys' Day but HEAVEN FORBID WE LEAVE ANYONE WHATSOEVER OUT OF BEING SPECIAL) and which, by the way, is the day before National Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day.  I may be bringing the pups...hehe.  Back to business.  I will draw a winner on Friday.  The drawing is open to the continental US and our neighbors to the North (yay, Canada!!!)


Aren't you glad I am such a hot mess?

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Lovely and not so much.

EDITED to clear up my pot-holed memories.  (Thank you, Kenneth).  These are, indeed, molas, given to me eons ago by my then-boyfriend, Kenneth.  They were made by the Cuna Indians, residents of the San Blas Islands off of the coast of Panama.  He brought them back from his tour of duty in the Canal Zone and, consequently (some time later) presented them to me.  The totally unrelated Czech reference comes from his Czech roots.  Clear as mud?  In any event, they are lovely and I am so glad that I can now enjoy them on a daily basis!


In one of my purging exercises, I had unearthed two pieces of Czech hand-craft/art that I have had for, oh, over 35 years.  Given my previous lives, it is amazing that I still have them and they are in as pristine shape as they were when they were given to me.  (Look familiar, Kenneth?)  I had mulled over making them into pillows at one point, but am so glad I didn't.  I apologize for the low light but, that's all we have had for months.  I believe I will be struck blind when the sun finally arrives. 



During her short visit, Sylvie and I trotted off to the fabric store and found an appropriate color (who knew there were so many shades of yellow?) for the background and then we carefully mounted them into the frames I had preordered.  Voila!  I do not know the name of this particular fabric craft, but it is made by placing layers of different colored fabric, cut into shapes and then hand-stitched around each design.  It's beautiful and the colors are much brighter in real life.  If anyone knows what this is called, please leave me a comment!


Speaking of lovely - well, in my eyes - I have finished the first of the Poison Candy socks!  Love it!  They will light my way in dark passages!
It needs blocking and the ends woven in, but WOWZA!
Also under the category of beautiful knitting, here is my new-to-me cabled sweater:
I can't even....
One would think, given that I have surrounded myself with things beautiful, that I would notice if something were, let's just say, not quite so lovely.  Apparently not.  I was knitting away this morning, looked down and saw this:


Methinks my jim-jams need a beauty treatment!





Monday, April 16, 2018

Pass me the mustard, I'm about to eat crow, and the post with all the asides.

I have spent the past month-plus, whining about the unfairness of the weather, the long line of (mini) catastrophes that have befallen me, thinking nothing would ever be light or fun (or affordable) again. Forsooth and forsaken, oh, woe is me. This is my new lot in life.  Wah, wah, wah.  Blah, blah, blah.


Then three things happened that grabbed me by my proverbial lapels and shook me until my pea-sized brain rattled.  First, I received a box from the NW coast containing, among other equally glorious things, a hand-knit cable sweater that I have inherited.  (Said inheritance having been bestowed upon me by my friend, the knitter).  Then, my bestie, Sylvie, drove up from Maine to spend the weekend.  THEN, I received a box from a new friend on the NW coast (mighty nice people up/out there, no?)  that contained enough bright yarn and glittery nail polish to finish off the sparklizing of me!  Why, even the weather cooperated - dropping from slightly lower than normal spring temps with sun (whazat?), back to winter!  With ICE!  And SLEET!  (Can you hear the drip, drip, drip of sarcasm there?)  Seriously, even though I was less than thrilled by the weather - it caused the shortening of my much-needed visiting time with Sylvie - I was able to wear my new sweater!  Woot!
Can't wait to see these socks knit up!
One of the most fun things about having company - especially Sylvie - is that I get to try out new recipes.  I have been working through my collection of Moosewood cookbooks and decided to make the Cauliflower Cheese Pie from the original Moosewood cookbook, then had planned the Spiced Pineapple Pilaf (from Mollie Katzen's Vegetable Heaven) with a Zatar roasted chicken.  The beauty of the CC pie is that the crust is made from grated potatoes (GF) and I happened to have some spiffy hash brown potatoes that made making the crust a snap.  It was easy and delicious.  Since Sylvie had to leave early Sunday morning, I wasn't sure if I would make the pilaf/chicken dish.  Then the temperatures dropped, I had on my snuggly warm new-to-me cable sweater and thought, what the heck.  In the process of making the rice, I decided to tackle the non-functioning pressure cooking part of my Instant Pot.


**Aside here - let me say this about Instant Pot's customer service.  They are very responsive.  And they do absolutely nothing to help you.  In fact, I would guess that their motto is, "smile and do nothing".  After getting - and I kid you not - the exact same instructions to 'troubleshoot', over four times, it dawned on me that they had no intention whatsoever to honor their warranty.


Through a judicious use of tweezers, I was able to get the pot up to pressure and then promptly over-cooked my rice.  More work needs to be done on my rice-cooking skills.  In any event, the spice mixture was intriguing and delicious and the dish was easy to make.  I had pineapple left over from making my neighbor's birthday cake, so I got to clean out my fridge.  (Insert Happy Dance)  I had defrosted one of my last meat chicken halves and put together a zatar/palm sugar rub and the results were great.
This does not reflect the golden-ness
of this dish, both spicy and sweet!
**Aside #2 - When cooking with me, my sisters ask - gee, do you have any (insert ingredient)?  Then fall all over themselves in laughter, nudge-nudge, wink-wink.  I have at least five pounds of everything.  Ergo, the gallon jar of mustard seeds.  And why?  Just in case I need them in a recipe.  Which usually calls for - at the most - two teaspoons.  Sigh.  However, if you are ever on a deserted island with me, we will have mustard seeds.
Seriously?
The dogs were completely worn out, vying for Sylvie's attention and slept through most of Sunday.  This left me time to begin to tackle Project Guestroom.  I got half the closet done and probably would have been further along, had I not gotten completely sidetracked by a) knitting, b) all the stuff I had forgotten was in the closet.  In any event, it's started and I have vowed to have the guest room in order, chop-chop.  As a matter of fact, I did promise to get the house in order (relatively speaking - I mean, I am only human and only one human) by the end of October or I would bring Sylvie in to whip me into shape.  I/we also got two pieces of Czech fabric folk art framed.  These have been languishing for...at least 30 years.  


**Aside #3 - Every time Sylvie comes to visit, I am filled with an overwhelming desire to purge my junk and read many books.  She should package and sell her skills.  AND she brought me a brandy-new pair of shoes, a small Cuisinart food processor and two bottles of wine and left me with a book list.  No, you cannot have her - she is MINE.


Then the wind picked up to gale-force, the house was pelted with ice for hours and it was Monday.  I needed super powers to get going this morning.
Jump-started




Friday, April 13, 2018

There's a fine line between stoic and hysteric. At least phonetically.

The young handyman who had built my pergola had cast a hairy eyeball on my roof (the damage is obvious) and offered that 'him and his dad' could take care of that problem for me.  There was much talking around the approach - I have found this represents the speaker trying to figure out ways to rip you off extract as much money out of you as possible, while, at the same time, trying to sound sympathetic and reasonable.  A couple of days later, I received a quote via a text (of course), which I cringed through.  Even for a text, the spelling and grammar were alarming.  Apparently, our local school system uses the phonetic method of spelling because, given that I did not have an 'addick' in my house, the job could be very, very tricky.  He then gave me an estimate that caused my eyebrows to meet my hairline.  It seems that the father/son duo charge a combined rate of $40/hour.


**Aside here:  I have a galling tendency to be a grammar snob (although I often fall short of perfection myself - it's a failing).  In my defense, besides being schooled in a different era, I spent my entire childhood-into-young-adulthood trapped at the dinner table with my father, the King of Grammar.  We were given a "Word of the Day" and had to know how to spell it and use it in a sentence.  Heaven help you if the grammar weren't purfickt.  :-O **


The same day, I received a call from my chimney sweep who told me he will be in my area and thought I might be (over) due for a cleaning.  I explained that I couldn't have the chimney cleaned, as it was now tilted at a slight angle and I wasn't sure if the seal (or whatever) had been compromised.  He said that, as he was going to be in my area anyway, he would stop by and look at it and see if he could fix it.  Gratis.  Technically, it's not gratis, since once it's fixed he will clean it and that's not gratis.  But, still...   


Sighing heavily (something happening with much more regularity and heaviness since the March madness), I drudged into the office building this morning and met my building supervisor/friend.   While we usually discuss dog rescue things, I think I must be spending too much time with my resident drama queen, because I solicited an "is everything alright?" inquiry.  I tell you, it doesn't take much for me to pour my heart out to anyone these days.  I am going to have to go home tonight and starch my upper lip.  On the other hand, he is coming out a week from Sunday to have a look and write up a shopping list for parts needed to fix the roof.  Once I have acquired them, he will come out and fix it.  Gratis, truly and really.  These dog rescue folks are amazing!


With a much lighter step, I proceeded up to my office where I attempted a mind-meld with the Universe in order to regain my "Rosie" (inside reference) attitude.  It worked!  Of course, the Universe wouldn't be the Universe without having a slightly ironic side... more on that later.






Apparently, I have a lot to say this week, having posted four out of five days.  Sheesh.

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Hillbilly carpentry, endless snow and winnowing out the pantry.

Mr. Butters got a steroid shot and his nails clipped (much high drama - I think we cleared the waiting room) and we are now just keeping an eye on him to see if it will do the trick.  If not, the next step is an allergy panel to see if we can find the cause of his itchy rash.  My vet loves him - screaming meemies and all - and Mr. B does play it up big time; looking at him with large, adoring eyes.  Putting his front flippers on his knee and wagging his entire body.  Geesh.


Until I can get to a hardware store to pick up the replacement hinges for the deck gate (and chicken door, and fence gate, and...and...), I had to improvise.  The judicious placement of baling twine and the dogs' tennis ball toy seems to have done the trick
Baling twine (left) and tennis ball/rope toy (right).


If you look out from the deck, you can see the pergola, stacked like a giant erector set.  Once the remaining glacier of snow melts and releases the remaining upright (using the term loosely) post, we will re-erect it.  Hopefully, this time with better bracing and far enough from the roof line that any avalanche will not give us a repeat performance.


You may also see in the photograph above the snow.  Yes, while I was doing a happy dance at the overnight temperatures in the mid-20s, I had yet to look outside.  When I did, it was a sad dance, indeed.  At least it should not stick to the ground, but fercryinoutloud. 


After I had finished inoculating at M's last Saturday, I got a tour of what was happening on the farm.  This involved walking into a deliciously warm greenhouse, carpeted with early spring greens.  It's amazing how much better one feels when gazing upon green things.  When I left a little later, they bestowed a bag of freshly picked greens.  I am portioning them out very carefully.  My lunches have reflected my efforts to empty out my canning shelves - sometimes successfully, sometimes not so much.
Belden Farm greens, hard-boiled duck egg,
dilly beans from 2015.
While the dilly beans in the salad pictured above were, er, edible, they also tended to go down the gullet like napalm.  ACK!  Luckily, I only had six pints left, so those will go out to the compost.  I'm onto the pickled, spiced red cabbage next.  Thank goodness for compost...



Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Happy Adoptavirsary to my best girl!

Worried that I might drag out the
pink tutu for the occasion.
Four years ago on April 9, a Nervous Nellie, slip of a girl dog was delivered to my doorstep.  She spent the next year in a state of anxiety, until she finally realized that she was home.  She is silly, sweet, gentle and loving.  I adore her.  They had steak last night to celebrate (a day late as her absent-minded mother forgot to take it out to thaw.  Pfft.)  Here's to many, many more years together.


Here is typical Lovey-Peanut play:

















Monday, April 9, 2018

Well....

Seeing as it's Monday and I'm happy to be at work, that should give you the flavor of the past weekend.  Let's do this in stream-of-consciousness style.


I found very reasonably-priced ($1.39 vs $4.07) graham crackers at Aldi's that seem to be larger than the puny things rattling around in the Honey Maid box.  My sister took me to Aldi's to distract me from my $1300 oil change.  It almost worked.  Kidding.  What did help was spending a good two hours drilling, inoculating and waxing shitake mushroom logs with Marianne and her husband.  There's nothing like doing physical work to save you from the chaos that is your mind.  This will cure me of that smug feeling I had when my fuel oil tank was filled for the third time (being the first time EVER I've had to do this in the 12 years I have lived here), knowing my tax return will take care of it and thinking it would also take care of buying fencing and fixing the pergola.
Just before the total collapse.


The pergola came down Sunday, after one too many high winds and took the birdfeeder, gate and Tibetan prayer flags with it.  I was out the door, tout suite, to gather the flags and hope there is no dishonor or bad karma being aimed at my head, because I have had enough.  I waited two hours for the guy who was to take it apart and reassemble it (at some future date) to be 'right over'.  I reached the transfer station to find that I was out of tickets - thank goodness I have bestowed baked goods on the crew because they let me drop the recycling and trash off with the promise of a ticket next time.  Harumph.





HOWEVER, the ducks and chickens are either as dense as bricks, or know something that I don't.  I've been getting between 10-14 chicken eggs and 1-3 duck eggs every day.  If they think it's spring, they've got a leg-up on me, as it snowed off and on all weekend and the temperatures are below freezing every night.

Mr. Butters has a vet appointment this afternoon because he is allergic to something and I'll be damned if I can figure it out.  I've changed his food multiple times, I've changed the laundry detergent.  I vacuum every other day.  He has been bathed.  I'm stumped.  I am actually hoping that they run an allergy test on him because, hey, I never get out of the vet's office for under $200, so why start now and I'd rather know.


Since it's too early for whine, I'll cease. 


I tried two new recipes this weekend and they were both worthy of a repeat performance.  One was Lentil Mushroom Stew over Mashed Potatoes (touted as as good as a hug - and sweetlouise, did I need one!) and the other was Baked Eggplant Parmigiana, which was surprisingly easy, since you slice and roast the eggplant first.  I was all about comfort food this weekend.



Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Why honesty is the best policy.

If there is one thing I dread, it's shopping for clothes.  Hate it.  The last time I was in a mall setting, it was right after the Christmas holiday, about three years ago.  I was down to the dregs in my work wardrobe (my standard work uniform of knit pants were remaining in the seated position while I was standing) and was forced to spruce it up.  I parked outside of the Macy's entrance, marched in, grabbed three sweaters, two shirts and three pairs of knee socks and hit the cashier.  I was in and out within 15 minutes.  It was still 15 minutes too long.


New clothing, to me, is right up there with new cars - vastly overpriced and reduced in value almost immediately.  My shopping is done in Goodwill, and various thrift stores and I don't even like to shop in them.  My solution has been to let all and sundry know that I am open and up for all hand-me-downs and cast-offs.  Full disclosure here - the vast majority of my friends are well-dressed women with endless amounts of good taste and healthy clothing budgets.  When I am asked by someone where I purchased a certain item of clothing I am wearing, I tell them the truth.  While this has raised a few eyebrows (of the more unenlightened), more often than not, this has led to yet another source of great clothing for free.


Case in point:  I work with a woman who is my age and has an entire room in her house dedicated to her clothes.  While we have vastly different styles (mine is rather, er, crunchy and minimalist, while hers is rather avant guarde in a Miami matron kind of way), she has donated cashmere sweaters, spiffy knit dresses and stylish shirts to the charity of me.  My bestie, Sylvie, has enriched my wardrobe beyond measure.  I now take pride in pointing out that all but my BGPs are hand-me-downs.  This, I am sure, is TMI.


I can focus my shopping on feed stores and yarn emporiums.  All is how it should be.

Monday, April 2, 2018

New Month = New Socks

It may be April, but you could have fooled me.  I awoke to snow this morning.  The good news is, I am so numb to the eternal whiteness, that I didn't even blink.  Whatever.


There is, however, no whiteness involved in the latest socks on my needles!
Lunchtime knitting
The colorway is Poison Candy, an intoxicating combination of brightness by an indie dyer in Sweden - asfaltsflickan designs.  She has an Etsy shop, wonderful yarn, but you cannot be in a hurry.  The slow boat to/from China has nothing on the lumbering craft to/from Sweden!  She had me at the feminist mittens...


It was a busy weekend - my youngest sister came in from NYC and stayed with me Friday night through Saturday night.  As she is an amazing cook, the food was wonderful and it was fun all around.  She was covered in warm bodies as soon as she sat on any piece of furniture, and they were mighty sad when she had to leave.  Me, too.
Bundles of love.
Saturday was the nicest day in months - after a gloomy, cloudy start to the day, the sun came up and was gloriously warm.  She helped me clean out the duck coop (she shoveled, I schlepped - yay, City Girl!) we traded rugs in the living room - with LOTS of help by Lovey (insert sound of sarcasm dripping), did more cooking, played the music loud and danced.  We also watched a highly rated movie that was, well, it stunk.  No accounting for four and a half stars...


Sunday, of course, was Easter.  No surprises there.  As is usually the case, I was totally exhausted once the company left.  I am so used to being by myself (plus furry dependents) and all that noise and talking really takes the starch out of me. 


Then it was Monday.  I am still trying to figure out how weekend time moves at twice the rate as week day time.  I hope you all had a wonderful holiday!



Thursday, March 29, 2018

Glorious in its Imperfections and Farm Cat Shenanigans.

After a very small (okay, one day) hiatus from knitting so that my hands could rest - alas, my mind could not, ergo one day - I was hot on my pair-of-socks-a-month deadline.  Not surprising to those who know me, these were not too big, as were the last ones.  They were too small!  I was a tad disappointed, as the yarn was special - a hand-dyed green single Merino - but I bucked up and went on the lookout for someone with more diminutive feet.  With any luck, these socks will be winging their way northeastwards to someone who sports Audrey Hepburn-like footsies.  And who will appreciate them in all their glorious imperfection!


For those of you who are interested (if you're not, just hum a few bars of something - I'll be back in a second), these were knit with a magic loop, from the toe up.  First for me and I like it!


I'm back.  I've been chipping away at the snow load and Mother Nature has been giving me a hand by a) not dropping anymore snow on us and b) providing daytime temps that encourage meltage.  Unfortunately, our night time temps encourage freezage.


Which is why this is my view every night and every morning:
Lump A (left) and Lump B (right)
Peanut Butter and Lovey, respectively.
Lumps are interchangeable, as are the blankies
On Saturday, I visited my parents and got to see my sister and dog nephew.  I then swung by my friend's house to drop something off and commiserate over her frustration at having a broken ankle and a large farm to take care of.  Indeed.  Luckily, her husband has been stepping up, as have various nieces and a nephew, and the weather has been crapola.  I was excited to see their new addition, which she, so far, has only seen with binoculars.
We believe it is a little boy dumpling.
Then it was back home for more shoveling and housecleaning, and whipping up a quick, early dinner for my 83 y/o neighbor who has been my savior during March and beyond. 


*****
I have been feeding the cats at the dairy farm's abandoned farmhouse for almost two years.  During that time, a female cat (which I named Grayce because she's gray and I'm so creative) has been a constant.  She is, thankfully - I think, fingers crossed - spayed.  I seem to remember her from some years ago as a catch, spay and release project from a well-meaning but dingle berry local woman.  This is the same woman who 'set free' a neutered male, long-haired city cat that got so matted and burr-infested that he had to be trapped, shaved and rehomed INSIDE, poor boy.  Anyhoo, Grayce has gone through her share of boyfriends and seems to have settled on a rather taciturn male with tiger stripes.  They get along, she whacks him on a regular basis and he puts up with it, and all has been going swimmingly.  Until his insane doppelganger arrived.  This boy has hormones up the wazoo and gets into fights on a regular basis.  He's a mess and has upset the apple cart of harmony.  We're stuck with him because...
There are steps there, somewhere.
And this pic was taken after a week of meltage.  Of course, the three feet of snow on the metal porch roof has come down as an avalanche on a regular basis and, try as I might, I can't keep up with it.  If it's frozen, I can scale the mountain of snow and reach the porch proper, where they are fed.  Unfortunately, I cannot do this safely whilst donned in work clothes - and I feed them on the way to work.  I will have to dig the steps out again this weekend and, hopefully, oust the bugger.  I will try to tempt him to the front porch, but, you know, hormones.



Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Dear Honey Maid:

I know you think you're pretty slick.  You're betting that people won't realize that the nice, thick graham crackers that they've been buying for years are being replaced by thinner, less quality crackers.  I mean, the box is the same, right?  And, hey - what about those prices?  You all must be chortling up a storm on your way to the bank, making us pay more for less and less.


Well, laugh while you can.  S'more season is coming up and let me tell you - those wimpy crackers won't fool anyone.  Why, even now, when you open the package, you don't get one - not ONE - whole cracker.  Every single one is broken.  And that is not going to make campers happy.  No sireebob.


My sheep (and llama) and I are on the hunt for a better, thicker, more reasonably priced graham cracker.  I know they are out there, they are just not going to be yours.


Enjoy your profits while you can.

Monday, March 19, 2018

Updates

It has finally stopped snowing.  However, to add insult to injury, the temps have plummeted.  I awoke on Sunday morning to -3*.  If Mother Nature had been sitting in my living room, I would have given her a pummeling.  And she would have been sitting in a cold living room, as I cannot safely light a fire because the ton of snow on the roof has shifted my chimney pipe to a slight angle.  I'm not sure if it is seated safely, so will have to wait until spring when the true horrors of roof damage are apparent.
Actually, it is already quite apparent that there is a lot of damage - the oven fan vent is gone.  The two bathroom fan vents are totaled.  The fresh air intake pipes are toast.  Sigh.
Exactly how I feel, Peanuttier.
After calling around to try and find someone qualified to assess the damage, then having both parties contacted stand me up, I hired a local kid (the same kid that will be replacing my fencing) to clamber up a ladder and cover the open vents until I find someone who is qualified and will show up.  Oh, to be 17 again.  Not.  Nothing can fix broken faster than a couple of plastic bags and a roll of duct tape.


The latest news is that the next nor'easter that was scheduled to drop more snow on us Tuesday/Wednesday, should go far enough out to sea that we will be snowless.  Let's hope that is the case because it is going to take 'til June to melt what we have.


Saturday was a whirwind of activity involving Lulu (aka Zsa Zsa), long overdue shopping, more shoveling, checking on my parents, seeing my youngest sister, and finally getting a good haircut.  I know that a goodly portion of my crankiness was the fact that I have been dragging around for months with a bad haircut.  I have been having my hair cut by the same woman for years and I adore her.  But...she is distracted by life events and I have had a bad haircut twice in a row.  Tired of months of bad hair days,  I finally checked myself into a proper salon (and paid the price...gulp) but myauntjessie, it was totally worth it.  There may not be spring in the air, but there's a spring in my step now.


Sunday was - you guessed it - spent shoveling.  There was still at least four inches of solid ice, topped by a mound of snow on multiple points along the front roof line.  I had to unearth/snow my propane tank.  100# of feed had to be dragged through the house and down the back to the coop.  There was knitting.  There was laundry.  There was cleaning.  There was cooking.  I made my favorite applesauce spice cake that is the best gluten free recipe I have found to-date.  It is a breeze to make and the barn guys like it.  I also made a new-to-me recipe, GF Irish Cottage Pie, which is sort of like a shepherd's pie.  The filling was grass fed ground beef (from my friend, Cynthia's, cows), leeks, garlic, carrots, peas, tomatoes, thyme, rosemary, basil, cinnamon, red wine, and Balsamic vinegar.  It is 'lidded' with potatoes mashed with EVOO, and baked in a 350* oven for 30 minutes.  It was delicious, but I would cut the amount of cinnamon in half the next time I make it.  And I will make it again.


An update on Lulu (which she will always be, to me).  One Sunday ago, after what I thought was a seamless meshing of foster and resident dogs, she attacked Peanut Butter without provocation.  Luckily, I was standing close-by and was able to intercede.  There was no damage done - just some terrified shrieking by PB - and Lu stopped immediately.  But.  After what we went through with Pepperoni and Kramer, there is no margin for error.  The dogs were separated again, and I contacted the rescue.  Through tens of calls and emails, involving at least six people, another foster was found for her that was perfect.  Lu went to her first adoption clinic and had her follow-up vet appointment where the news was good - she lost 3#, her skin and coat are much improved and her energy level has perked up.  They also figured she was closer to 7 than 9, so she lost two years, too!  I am so happy for her and am glad I was the first step in her journey to her forever home.  She was such a hit at the adoption clinic with the store staff, that they gave her a spa treatment - bath, ears and nails!  What is not to love?  I do miss her, however.
75# of lovable dog
I only have good things to say about this rescue group - they do whatever it takes to make sure that dogs in their care are in the best place possible.  The best food, the best vet care, the most loving care.  I wouldn't be surprised if her foster mom decided to keep her forever.  We are back to the four Musketeers and Slimmie seems to be very happy about that - I am thinking about renaming him Velcro.  We are still on the foster list and hope to welcome another pooch into the fold.  It is quite something to be part of the process that brings the realization to these dogs that their life is about to change for the better - the best, really.  It is magic.

Thursday, March 15, 2018

I lied.

We didn't get a foot of snow.  We got over 24 inches of snow, from Wednesday afternoon, through this morning.
View from the LR window

A cozy cap of snow

I have shoveled this path
2,000 times.  True.

My neighbor took pity on my
roof situation.

Front deck
After I shoveled before bed (I averaged once every hour and a half-to-two hours yesterday), I woke up to find between 6-8 inches of new snow.  It was enough to almost bring me to my knees.  BUT, since I seem to be channeling a 1930s prairie housewife, I stiffened my upper lip (which had begun to quiver), armed myself with my trusty shovel, and shoveled it all over again.  Followed by Miss Velcro.
I'm coming!

What do we do now?
The smart dogs were inside.
Wake me when it is actually spring.
I made it into the office today, thank goodness.  I was really getting a little stir-crazy.  Plus I needed a break from all that knitting.  We will, hopefully, have a bit of a break in the snow until Storm #4 (5?  6?  20?), which is due next Tuesday/Wednesday.  My boss is all in a flap because she is due in from Florida on Wednesday.  I have to say, I was not exactly a pillar of sympathy upon hearing the news.