Monday, February 27, 2017

And this should come as no surprise...

I love Fridays.  Friday afternoons around 5:30, most especially (intended redundancy - I love it that much).  It's especially nice when my drive home is in the twilight, which makes me think that it will soon be light for the drive (which also means more work time at home - bonus!), there is no asshat two feet behind me on a very winding road with his bright lights on for eleven point two miles, and there's just the ever-so-slight whiff of spring in the air.  I have two almost whole days to spend with my furry, woolly and feathered crew, and two days of extra lattes in the morning!  Woohoo!  I pull into the carport, grab my various bags and do the happy dance to the front door.

I open the front door and....oh, the smell.

Apparently, Bertie consumed something that did not agree with him.  It apparently did not agree with him in a violent manner, as in blasting out both ends.  The poor, poor boy had been trapped in his crate with the end results all day.

At 11:30 PM (well past my bedtime) after washing dog bedding, Bertie and disinfecting the entire inside of his crate - along with all the regular chores and cooking up some rice for B's compromised intestinal tract, I was finally straggling to bed, where I spent the next three hours sleeping fitfully, one ear on alert for all-is-not-well sounds, until I finally gave up trying.  Bertie drank a gallon of water and slept like a log for hours.  Oh, I wish.  I had to do errands and didn't want to leave him in his crate or at home unattended, so he went with me.  You would never know he had been sick - he was the picture of glistening health, bright brown eyes, shiny red coat, brand new collar.  Then, there was his mother....nuff said.

I was really, really looking forward to an early bedtime Saturday night.  I had managed to drag through the day and get a few things done so it wasn't a total loss, but I was knackered.  Then....the temps went from 69 to 29.  With a very fast cold front and ensuing violent storm in between.  Which also meant that the power went out.  I have heard howling wind, but I have not heard shrieking wind since I sat through a tornado in Texas many, many moons ago.  The wind shrieked.  Then the rains came through horizontally.  I sat on my chair and a half with three dogs and two cats and my headlamp illuminating my knitting.  Sleep was not an option.  I did doze off after the storm stopped and everyone had gone back to their personal furniture (except The Pepperoni, who is perpetually glued to my side).  At midnight, I gave up and went to bed, only to be awakened by all the lights coming on at 3:30AM.  Le sigh.

I spent almost all of Sunday getting my laundry done, the house tidied and dinner organized for company at 3 (all my 80+ friends don't like to drive in the dark).  I then spent the next two hours cleaning up, then did chores, then more knitting until 9, then pranced off to bed with a clear conscience.  I didn't wake up until almost 6!  Which, while a completely glorious and much-needed 9 hours of sleep, put me behind the eight-ball for a Monday morning.

Ah, well.  There's always next weekend....

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Thises and Thatses

My commute this winter has been particularly challenging.  Besides the icy mountain road - sometimes also thick with fog - there seems to be a preponderance of drivers who use the "short bursts of consciousness" method of driving.  I'm sure it's texting-related, because how hard can it be to drive a 1000#+ piece of metal on a winding road covered with frozen slush, while sending an extremely urgent text to your pals most likely related to bodily functions or television shows.  Idiots.

While I'm peeving, what is it with people who don't bother to use their turn signals until they are halfway through the turn? 

I am chomping at the bit - I am so ready to get into my garden.  I find February and Farch probably the most frustrating of all winter months.  Right now, the temperatures are going up to 60 during the day and there is...wait for it...sun.  We are also supposed to get rain for three days.  Ooooh.  I just can't wait to be ankle deep in muck.  Especially when I am sure it will freeze solid when I'm just ready to accept that spring is early.  Pfft.

Bertie continues on his snow adventures.  The latest - now that it's melted and frozen a few times and not as easy to run through - is to shove his entire head in the snow and plow.  I could watch them for hours.  Notice the absence of The Pepperoni?  He is inside, wrapped like a burrito on the sofa.

Last weekend I made a favorite recipe - Quinoa Bake - as I had a butternut squash to use up and I always have quinoa.  I was wondering why I hadn't made it in quite a while...I had forgotten that it requires the use of almost every pot and pan in your kitchen and clean-up is endless.  I do really enjoy it, however, and I guess I can stand washing pots for an hour once a year.  I also started to clean out the office/craft room/plant room.  Again.  I set up my mini greenhouse and got out my seedling mats.  I know it's too early to start seeds, but at least it made me feel a little more hopeful.  I will take a look at what I'm starting this year and see if there is anything I can sneak in early...patience is not one of my virtues.

As excited as I am for spring to arrive, I cringe at the thought of how much clean-up there is going to be.  Lord Almighty.  With 40+ chickens cooped up in the coop, and four ducks cooped up in the duck house, I might need a front end loader.  If things thaw a bit, I might try to tackle the giant pile of llama beans and get a layer tossed on my rhubarb.  I have made a list of projects for 2017 and, as usual, it's a little over the top.  I may have to prioritize it to rein it back into reality.  I have to build a new hay feeder - my fat sheep have pulverized the existing one (which was fished out of a friend's burn pile 10 years ago), I need to put up at least one more rain barrel for the chicken yard, I need to work on my fencing (more destruction by fat sheep), I'd like to build a high top for the cold frame, I need to re-cover my fuel tank shelter, ditto the hoop house.  Then there is replacing the railings and one set of steps on the back deck, a pergola built over said deck so that I can enjoy it in the summer, work on my erosion problem, rebuilding the pump house, building a three-stall compost structure, rebuilding at least two raised beds, replacing the herb raised bed, replanting the back beds in flowers, skirting 50 fleeces, you get the picture.  Oh, and I must clean out and reorganize the big shed, put a gravel surface in the carport, defrost my freezers, clean out my gutters, have snow rails put on the roof, clean two sides of the house, clean the outside of the gutters....I need a nap.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Location, Location, Location.

Uh-oh.  Someone's in for a surprise
this summer...

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Things are clearer in the light of day - and weird stash.

When I get up at my usual 4A, it is dark.  The dogs go tear-assing outside to protect us from whatever lurks and I am always worried that there will actually BE something to attack out there in the dark.  A couple of mornings ago, Bertie came charging in with something rather large in his mouth.  It was also dark inside, as I may get up early, but I need to approach light (and waking up) gradually...  I told him to drop it, which he did.  Then I did a dumb thing - I bent over and grabbed it.  In the dark.  It was stiff, cold and furry.  ARGLE!
I ran to the nearest lamp and switched it on.  Of course, now that we have all these wonderful energy-saving bulbs, it takes some little time for actual light to appear.

I wondered where my other best mitten went.  Apparently, a good bit of the top either went down Bertie's gullet, or I may find the remnants in the spring thaw.


How much snow did we get?  Well, take a look-see at my neighbor plowing my drive:
It was his medium tractor

I have tractor envy.
Yes.  That much.
All this forced inside living has given me an excuse to make progress on my latest pair of socks - destined for my other sister. 
Melanie's "Maple"
It's been a little hard to focus because Melanie appeared at our Knit In on Saturday wearing cabled leg warmers that I immediately coveted.  What a smart thing!  I am always getting snow in my boots.  I went rooting around in my stash and came across some Noro yarn that is....well, weird.  I have a love thang going with Noro yarn.  My late and dear Kate despised it - it is  Apparently, this colorway of super bulky yarn was not selling (oh, do tell) so I must have taken a look at the price and pounced on it.  I imagine the yarn store employees were snortling all the way to the cash register.
It's like knitting with organic matter.  Cool-ish.
HOWEVER, I do believe they will make a fetching pair of gaiter/leg warmers.  They look rather like lichen-y, mossy, barky things.  I better make sure I keep moving when the dogs are around me...

Monday, February 13, 2017

Cabin Fever

I think it's stopped snowing for about an hour since early yesterday morning.  Cabin Fever is setting in.

Friday, February 10, 2017

Snow Day!!

This really has been a stinker of a winter.  We had pouring rain a couple of days ago, then we got over a foot of snow yesterday.  BUT...I got a snow day!  As usual, our office did not 'officially' close, although no one could get in.  That ensures that they do not have to pay you an extra day and you have to take a vacation day.  I don't care.  I'm all over a day off.

Bertie is now known as Plow Boy.  For a dog that has never seen the snow, he is loving it.  He plows through the chest-deep snow, full of joy.  The Gazelle (Lovey) is right behind him, although she needs to be wearing her fleece jacket.  In a distant third is The Pepperoni.  I'll give him credit - he chugs right through snow that is up and over his back.  Until he's had enough, that is.  Then he stops, turns a mournful (and slightly accusing) eye to me, lifts a paw which shakes violently, and waits for me to trudge out and pick him up.  I. cannot. resist.

I was happy to discover that the snow was of the dry, fluffy type as I shoveled my way through my quarter mile paths.  Since it was snowing heavily all day, I fed the sheep in the barn.  The chickens refused to come out and the ducks were sorry they did.  I shoveled enough outside of the front door to make sure I could open it, then hunkered down for the day.  I had a loose plan of knitting, knitting and more knitting, but then The Chorus started - "Really?  And with all those other things that you keep putting off still waiting for your attention?"

I am nothing, if not my mother's daughter - I fold under guilt quite easily.  While I did allow myself some knitting time - as well as diving into a new library book - I also checked a few niggling things off of my inside list:

Polishing the brown shoes/boots (plus a quick fix to my black boots)
Like new!
Step One in cleaning the oven (my very least favorite job - obvious by the state of my oven)
Finished my ironing.  I say 'finish', although I started it weeks ago...

(No photo - I figured the pics of shoes and a dirty oven were enough excitement for today)

I also performed triage on Bertie's favorite toy - for the third time; mended my favorite flannel shirt; laundered the alternate sofa cover; vacuumed and swept.  All in all, it was a very satisfying day 'off'.

Monday, February 6, 2017

Weekend Adventures and a (late) Winner.

Firstly, let me apologize for not posting the winner of the alligator scarf on Friday.  In my defense - I couldn't!  I do all of my posting on my (ssshhh) work computer because Blogger on my phone now refuses to let me post.  And my work computer was not working last Friday.  That being said, CONGRATULATIONS SANDRA FROM CALIFORNIA!  You are the winner!  Please email your mailing particulars to me and I will send it off.

My weekend was the usual mix of too much to do in too little time.  I have been trying to hold the number of errands I run down to eight on Saturday, but sometimes it's impossible.  My list on Saturday morning was:  town clerk (Bertie's license), library, transfer station, monthly grocery run (two stores), gas, parents, feed.  I had the logistics worked out until I had to add a trip to the vet to pick up more antibiotics for B - he is still coughing.  I called around and found a neighbor who was going to the same feed store, so I begged them to pick up my feed.  That saved me quite a bit of time, as it's in Massachusetts - and a good half hour south of where I'd be in Vermont.  I also have been trying to go NOWHERE on Sunday.  In the end, I relegated the trip to the transfer station to Sunday morning.  The good news is that I was able to come in under my $75 monthly cap for groceries!  The total was $67, and $5.50(+ tax) of that was cat food.  Woohoo!  The bad news is that I picked Super Bowl Saturday to do my shopping - both stores were clogged with people loading processed cheese dip ingredients into their carts.  There were millions of them!  From the looks of the contents of the overloaded carts, the stores weren't the only things heading for clog-dom - look out arteries!

I made it back home by 3 and did a quick vacuuming - my knitting night with Melanie is now Saturday.  Bertie is in love with Melanie.  He steals her yarn, tries to climb in her lap, leans heavily while looking up with adoring eyes.  It's a hoot.  After a very nice evening of conversation, wine & cheese (she brought refreshments!) and a crackling fire in the fireplace, everyone collapsed in their various sleeping places and snored through the night...until I woke up at 3:30 because I was cold.  And I was cold because the furnace was not on.  Sigh.  Melanie and I had just been talking about her running out of fuel oil, so I put on six layers and went out with my flashlight - the gauge said half full.  It's been wrong before.  I put in a call to the oil company's emergency line at 4:20A.  The technician finally arrived at 7:45A.  I would have been in bad shape, had I not had alternative heating sources.  He got the furnace going quickly and his reasoning on it not starting was shaky - even to me.  He replaced some connector wires and went on his way.  I will be switching oil companies - if I'm going to be ripped off, I'd rather it be by a local company that will at least arrive quickly.

During the three+ hours it took him to get to us (there were no other emergencies, I learned and he came from less than 20 minutes away), I did what any frugal gal would do - having turned the oven on for warmth, I baked.  I made Blueberry Breakfast Bars, Granola Bars and a quiche, and put a sweet potato chili in the crockpot.  I finished my laundry, folded Saturday's, did three crossword puzzles, knit some more, swaddled the dogs, and stoked the fireplace fire.  I was plum worn out by the time the serviceman left.  I set up my menu plan for the week and managed to get everything made that was on my list.

We also squeezed in a couple of walks, a lot of romping and I put away 150 lbs of feed.  By 5 o'clock, I was dragging.  It seems that, in my mind, I am still 40, while, in reality, I am not.  Luckily, we were ALL pooped last night.  I fell sound asleep in my chair (so, no, Sylvie, I was not at a Super Bowl party...), woke up at 10 and shuffled off to sleep in my nice, warm bed.

On an interesting note, I realized how important it is to be tuned in to your body.  Late afternoon yesterday, I started to get debilitating leg cramps.  I did what any red-blooded Twenty First Century person would do - I Googled it.  Rheumatoid Arthritis?  No.  Over-use?  Not close.  Dehydration?  Bingo!  While I know how important it is to drink water, I don't.  I avoid water like the plague and I'm not sure why.  So I quickly downed a few glasses of water and - voila! - leg cramps went away.  Geez.  I have now added "Drink More Water" to my growing list of good habits I need to develop.  Why is it that good habits are so difficult to develop, while I can glom onto a bad habit like nobody's business?