Thursday, January 31, 2019

I'm so freakin' happy!

The quail made it through the night!  It hit a low of -15, without factoring in the wind chill (which was -31), which made for a rather sleepless night.  Damn digital remote thermometer.  When I gingerly folded up their wool blanket, I was met by seven pairs of anxious, beady eyes.  I gave them water and checked their food and fluffed all their surrounding blankets.  I will have to get a picture of their polar rig, but it worked.  What a relief.

I'm almost through my last 40 pound bag of bird seed, so will have to pick up another this weekend.  That will make 130 pounds used so far this winter.  The sun is out, so I'm hoping it will get up over zero.  However, the wind chill is still a threat until this afternoon.  The forecast for Sunday is a chance of showers.  We've entered the Twilight Zone.

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

If wool yarn has memory, then these socks must have amnesia.

There is nothing quite as frustrating as finally wrenching your boot off, only to find that the sock has decided to stay behind.  Especially when that leaves you wobbling on one foot (just wait, you whippersnappers, it will come to this eventually) and the door mat is full of snow and chicken poop.  And you've left your house shoes conveniently out of reach.  And the cat has decided that this is the moment to rub vigorously against your booted ankle.  It is, as they say, a 'thing' in winter.
Photographic evidence
Yes, work has begun on round two of Polargeddon.  Or Winter Storm Jayden (honestly????).  I have devised a plan for the quail (hatched - the idea - during three successive early mornings of sleeplessness - so we will see how good it is) that involves three wool blankets and two bags of fleece.  Heaven help us.

Snow should break out today, so I am keeping a close eye on the weather.  I am not going to repeat Thursday.  Not nohow, as Lewis Carroll so aptly put it.  (TANGENT ALERT)  I think that Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass are my all-time favorite books.  One of the only things I have ever memorized is The Jabberwocky, which I often spouted off, no matter how glazed the eyes of my audience became.  Early on in my working career (present job - earlier version), a group of us went to lunch to celebrate something or other.  Included in the group was a very interesting fellow - a lobbyist with deep connections.  Some way or another, Lewis Carroll came up in conversation and, before you know it, we both went off, quoting The Jabberwocky.  We were fast friends after that.

When I was in college (an Art and English major, can't you tell?) I rendered a version of the original Jabberwocky illustration in fine point pen and ink, on a 4 x 4 foot piece of rice paper.  I was a little OCD in my early 20s.

Back to the present.  If you want to know more, you're going to have to wait for the book.  And the book can't come out until everyone I ever knew before the age of 50 is dead.

I think that the Midwest may be having it worse, weather-wise than we will - my thoughts are with all of you, all my warmest thoughts.  Let's hope this is the last of the Arctic weather and we can get back to a 'normal' February.  I am arming myself with my seed catalogs this weekend - plus my sister is coming for an overnight, which will thrill the dogs and me no end.  I believe it will also include Mexican food and margaritas.

(TANGENT ALERT)  What is with the Japanese and their overwhelming desire to decimate ocean species?  Apparently, they have set their sites on Minke whales - all in the name of research.  I seriously think we need to hunt THEM down and bitch-slap them silly.  Bastards.

(Inhale)  This is why I need to stay away from the news.  I can feel my blood pressure skyrocketing.  Speaking of which, I have my annual physical Friday morning.  That should be interesting.  To everyone in the path of the latest winter onslaught, stay inside, stay warm and wrap yourself in furry bodies, if you are lucky enough to have them around.

Monday, January 28, 2019

We've Got Winners! and Another Dayz in Paradise.

Yes, that is not a typo.  After having a Big Girl Talk with myself (which I usually avoid at all costs), I faced up to the fact that I will probably not learn how to crochet until I get through at least half of my sock yarn.  Which should get me through 2025.  So there are two books and two winners.  Winners were chosen via Random Number Generator.

Book 1 -

Theresa!  of Camp Runamuck.

Book 2 -

Retired Knitter!

Theresa, I have your particulars, so to speak, so I will post the book this week.  Retired Knitter, please contact me via email and give me your mailing address.

Yay, winners!

Last week ended with a bang, figuratively speaking.  We had torrential rain all day Thursday, which fell on frozen ground and caused lots of flooding.  The ground was frozen because it was -12 on Monday.  I wonder how many gods we have pissed off...  A cold front blew through late Thursday afternoon, changing the rain into snow, so my commute home took three tries and lasted two hours.  During the last part of the ordeal, I had to take an alternate route down my mountain through 6 inches of snow on the road, frozen flooding, white out conditions and in the pitch dark.  Life out here is not for the faint-hearted.  I was sorely tempted to kiss the frozen ground in front of my house when I finally got home, but there were two dogs with their legs crossed in the house.

Friday morning, as I was busying myself to get ready for work, a neighbor sent a text telling me to check the news (I don't have television service) because some large boats had broken loose on the upper Hudson River and were zigzagging their way south.  Most of the bridges had been closed.  This means that it is virtually impossible to get from the east into the city.  I worked from home.

Saturday, my volunteer meeting was rescheduled, so I ended up having the whole day - woohoo!  I went to the farm and fed the cats, picked up milk and had a conversation with my farmer.  He is planning on selling his dairy herd in the spring, keeping his heifers and doing nothing but hay.  Another small dairy farmer bites the dust.  It is an alarming trend in my area and in many areas in the Northeast -and across the country.  The price of milk is pitifully low, the cost of feed, insurance, equipment, etc. just keeps going up, and the small farmer ends up barely making ends meet.  There is also an alarming number of suicides among the small farming community because of this.  It breaks my heart.  Jasmine will be retired in the spring and off to (literally) greener pastures, at Marianne's beautiful farm.  And I will have to find another source of raw milk.

I made yogurt and threw together a really good soup.  It had chickpeas, butternut squash, apples, green chilis, vege broth, coconut milk, some chopped red peppers from the freezer, a jar of my home-canned diced tomatoes, garlic, curry powder, and cinnamon.  It was delicious and warming.  I also tackled the end of my apples from Marianne, peeling, coring, slicing and dehydrating them.  They were a little lackluster in the flavor department, so I sprinkled a little cinnamon on them before dehydrating.  The house smelled wonderful!  This also provided a mound of peels and cores for the sheep and llama.

Sunday I finished my sister's socks (yay!) and realized I had knit my fancy socks too long (boo!), so have to rip them down a few inches.  I decided to bake something new for the barn crew and, as I went online to peruse baking sites, I realized that I had an entire cookbook collection that I never use.  Down with the electronics and into the bookcase.  I came across this gem:

Given to my Great Aunt Edie by a friend.
Back before computers - yes,
in the time of dinosaurs

Love this foreword - typewritten
and in much more formal language
than we typically use now
True to the late 50s and early 60s, it leans heavily on canned goods, shortening and isn't shy about introducing bologna as an appetizer.  However, I found a great, simple recipe for a layered coffee cake that I whipped up for the guys.  It got the All Thumbs Up.  I found a couple of other recipes that sounded intriguing, so they will go into the rotation.

It was also my weekend to cook dinner for my neighbor.  I rummaged in the freezer and came up with the last package of ground beef and a package of ground pork.  I decided to make spaghetti and meatballs because I have enough canned tomato products for a regiment.  I managed to use three pints of herb tomato sauce and a quart of diced tomatoes!  Woot!  Only 150 jars to go!
More wonderful smells
Needing something bread-like to go with the pasta, I made gluten free bread sticks.  I used my easy-peasy bagel recipe and just made flatish sticks.  They weren't bad. 
Topped with Trader Joe's Everything
But the Bagel sprinkles

I made tapioca pudding, too, but didn't get a picture of it because tapioca is, well, tapioca.  It went out the door with my neighbor.  My mother used to make it as a treat, being sure to embellish it with a maraschino cherry on top.  She was big on maraschino cherries - one of our favorite salads was the "lighthouse" salad - a leaf of iceberg lettuce, topped with a ring of pineapple, scoop of cottage cheese, half a banana, with a maraschino 'light'.

Just as I was settling in for an evening of New Tricks on the DVD player, accompanied by more knitting, I realized that Peanut and Lovey were crammed on the far end of their sofa - as far away from their usual preferred corner as possible.  Sigh.  Upon inspection, someone had barfed on the cover, pillow and sofa itself.  I suspect Lovey, who tends to eat outside things that she shouldn't.  DVD watching was put aside so that much laundry could be done.  There is no rest for the parent of dogs.

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Not everything you'd imagine and a giveaway.

I've put on my armor (thermal long underwear, wool sweater, lined jeans, two pair of wool socks, Carharts, down jacket, wool scarf, dorp hat with ear flaps, glove liners and felted mittens) and trudged through the winter war and made it out the other end.  I remember when I liked winter a lot more.  Now?  Not so much.  All my plans for nesting and resting were for naught, especially when there were beings in my care that are out in the thick of it.
This says it all - but it wasn't the lowest point.
And I have a serious issue with weather forecasters.  For the week prior to this latest onslaught, all we've been hearing is "Snowmegeddon" and "Winter Storm Harvey" (don't get me started on this naming every storm thing) and dire warnings of wind chills to -41 degrees due to high winds.  There was to be blowing snow, power outages, life-threatening cold.  The reality?  We got about 8 inches of snow, topped with an inch of sleet (lovely combination) and, while our temps did plummet to -12 degrees, there were no high winds.  But, by Saturday evening, I had decided that there was no way on Earth that I could protect my quail from high winds and -41 degrees.  So I quickly re-worked the laundry room to set up two large bins where they could ride out the worst of it in relative warmth.  I very carefully waited until dark to move them, one-by-one, directly from their hutch on the deck into their bins and, even after taking all those precautions, I awoke Sunday morning to find that three had died in the night.  I am assuming it was due to stress, as quail are fearful little things.  Had we actually had the dire weather predicted, I wouldn't have felt as bad - but I could have left them in their hutch and just wrapped them to ward off the cold.  Now I have to reverse the procedure and I am terrified that I will cause the rest to die.  Keep us in  your thoughts Wednesday night.

I am glad that the snow came before the Arctic freeze, as it made the shoveling bearable.  I got all the pathways cleared and the out buildings cleaned off, then made chicken vegetable soup with everything I could get my hands on in the fridge.  My neighbor kindly plowed the driveway, so I was able to make a quick trip to the farm to feed the barn cats - knowing full well that I would not be venturing out on Monday.  Monday was brutal.  The chickens are inside the coop with a light on and are holding their own.  Today, the weather is supposed to ease up - just in time for heavy rain on Thursday.  WTH?  Beam me up, Scotty!

Peanut managed to levitate himself outside to do his business - looking reproachfully at me at every opportunity because, you know, I am directly responsible for the weather.  I tried to keep him in sweaters all weekend, but he managed to wiggle out of every one.  The last one was a little snug on his sausage body, so I felt there was a better chance of keeping him clothed.  A half hour later, I heard a 'bump, bump, bump' in the living room and discovered he had pulled both front legs inside the sweater, got stuck, and was flopping around the living room like a stranded seal pup.  Sigh.  At least Lovey keeps hers on.

Enough of the mitching and boaning.  Amazon, quickly becoming my least favorite retail source, bollixed up my order of "Making Winter" - something I was looking forward to reading over the long weekend.  They told me it had been delivered, but the problem was, it wasn't delivered to me.  A very nice customer service rep from some distant country sent me another copy and, wouldn't you know, the original showed up yesterday.  So, their loss is our gain.  I am giving away my extra copy:
It had great recommendations and contains recipes and projects and fiber work.  Unfortunately, all the fiber work is crocheting and, while it's on my list of things to learn, I haven't reached it yet.  That said, there is a cowl in there that I am dying to make, so that might be the motivation.  In any event, it is a lovely book.

To enter, just leave a comment below by midnight, Friday, January 25.  I will announce the winner the following Monday.  (Entries are limited to the Continental US, my apologies to my readers in other countries - the postage is prohibitive.)   Bon chance!

Friday, January 18, 2019

The Week in Review.

Honestly, if the stress from my waning job status and my ghastly commute doesn't get me, these two might.  I came home Monday night to find that Peanut had broken into the laundry room and, with his willing cohort, Lovey, eaten a quantity of organic grower feed for the quail (read: expensive).  He also tried to chew his way into the box of Honest Kitchen dog food, but was stymied.  Good thing, as I imagine he would have exploded.  Not surprisingly, the rest of the week was dealing with the aftermath of the consumption of this great quantity of NON-dog food.  Let's just say that it had a Roto-Rooter effect on their GI systems.  It wasn't pretty.  After a week of bland diet (rice and yogurt and cottage cheese) we seem to be back to normal. 

I have finished the Great Green Socks!  All that's left is weaving in the ends.  Halleluiah! That just leaves finishing one sock in the pair for my sister, one and a half socks for me and most of another pair for me.  And the mittens.  I am already chomping at the bit to cast on three more things and am trying to control certain disaster.  I will have plenty of time to knit this holiday weekend because we are forecast to get upwards of two feet of snow.  Oh, joy.  I will be knitting and shoveling.  Then the temperatures are plummeting Monday night into double digits below zero.  The fun never stops.

For those of you not familiar with thrummed mittens (and, really, why would you be?) here is an example:

Outside and inside of thrummed mittens.
Source is the Yarn Harlot.
As you can see, once these are done, I will have very toasty hands.  The fleece 'thrums' are inside your nice, warm woolen mittens and create a rather custom warm cushion as you wear them.  They also felt slightly, to make them even better for cold weather wear.  Of course, I may not have them done before summer, so they are only a warm glimmer this winter.  I have promised myself that I can cast on something new, once I finish my sister's socks.  I am fighting my urge to knit nothing but my new shiny thing - my toe-up, two-toned, fancy-schmancy pattern socks that I cast on Christmas Eve.  I am trying to learn as many new methods as possible this year.  Anything to help pump up those flabby brain cells.
It's all I want to knit!
Tomorrow is another fully-scheduled day, what with all the pre-Snowmeggedon prep work (clear the barn door so I can do more than squeeze through, shovel poop, stack hay in a more user-friendly manner, add shavings to the coop, clean out the quail trays, pick up the large, economy size bottle of Aleve, spray the roof rake with cooking oil - you know, the usual), parental visit, wash and gas up the car, haircut, recycling/trash stop, and pick up local lettuce.  Then it's time for Hunkerville.  I see a vat of soup in my future, along with some decent bread.  I hate to admit it, but I really did dislike that pricey loaf and fed it to the chickens.  Gah.

If I can, I will post horrifying photos of mountainous snowfall (sorry, Joyce...)

Monday, January 14, 2019

I know, why don't I just whip out a pair of thrummed mittens!

This is why not:
Half of the thrums
Will I ever learn to read directions before I start something?  Will I be destined to suffer disappointment in each new endeavor?  Will Marty marry Betty, or will Betty run off with her hair stylist?  I am afraid I am prone to lack of focus, so will be frustrated at every turn for the rest of my natural life.  I just need to look at it through new glasses - you know, the glasses that turn everything rosy.

Some of the promises I made to myself for this year include yarn-related things.  Okay, most of them include yarn-related things.  I am not allowed to buy a single skein/ball/cake/piece of yarn this year.  I need to start and finish at least half of the multitude of kits and projects that I have squirreled away in the dreaded craft room.  I need to un-dread the craft room.

It had occurred to me that I had a kit for thrummed mittens.  Just the ticket!

Gone.  (This morning's temp dropped
below 0.)
I ferretted around in the yarn bins and found my kit.  I bounced back to the relative warmth of the living room, settled into my chair, opened the package and, finally, read the directions.  Twice.  Then I went on YouTube to just confirm my suspicions.  Yes, these mittens will be done in the summer.  I have been making thrums, every evening, for four nights in a row, and have almost finished enough for the first mitten.  It's not that they are difficult to make - you just have to learn how to draft the roving, you have to get each fluffy bit pretty much the same length and dimension, and you have to do it many, many times.  Let's just say that the state of my thrums is directly related to how I was feeling about the entire project at the time.  Mercy.

My very own Needle Keeper!

The thrum project, on top of the endless green sock project, is starting to make me twitchy.  It's all I can do to keep myself focused on finishing them, so that I do not go off on another tangent and have six projects in varying states of completedness - except for complete.  I just realized that I have four pairs of socks on the needles.  And the thrums, of course. 

Cooking was at a minimum this weekend because it was too cold to even think about emerging from my knitting cocoon - nothing like being wrapped in the Geezer sweater with a pile of furry bodies snugged in around you.  I watched a couple of DVDs - Incredibles 2 (LOVED it!) and Game of Thrones (Season 1 - I know, I am the only adult in the country that has not seen this.  And I may be the only adult in the country to go no further with it.)

Just to notch up the frustration a bit further, I had decided to bite the bullet and try a new gluten free bread recipe.  (Insert a small rant here)  There should be a full disclosure on all gluten free cookbooks (hell, ALL cookbooks) that are sold online.  This one would have included, as a subtitle, "You, too, can bake a $16 loaf of pseudo-bread!"
$16 of meh.
Someone had raved about this book, so I ordered it.  Once I read the first recipe - Easy, Everyday Bread - and it required a cup and a quarter of raw cashew butter - I knew I was going to hate it.  However, I am weak.  As much as I declare I don't miss bread, I lie.  I miss it a lot.  Every day and every meal.  And twice on weekends.  So, I ordered my $16 jar of raw cashew butter - I did look locally, but every equally-expensive jar contained other ingredients - and baked the bread.  Which also required FIVE eggs (two whole eggs and three egg whites).  Honestly?  The resulting loaf was light and well-flavored, but NOT BREAD.  Now I have this cookbook that I will never use again and cannot, with clear conscience, foist on anyone else.  Unless they are gluten intolerant and have very deep pockets.  Pfft.

Before you think that my weekend was bereft of happiness - it was not.  It started out on a high, with a birthday package in my mailbox.  A small box full of treasures from a friend who is a treasure, herself.
Excuse the poor quality - I'll
get a better one and post it again.
She knit me a hat!  A darling owl hat in the most luscious turquois color!  OMG, how I love it!  And I got darling little knitted acorns and some of her beautiful photographs, that have been pinned to my workspace wall.  Also, I finally remembered to pick up my Christmas present from my youngest sister, which has been languishing at my parents' house:
ACK!  Cuteness alert!
I think this mug also represents the state that my very own wiener dog puts me in - he has been on a naughty streak that is driving me to distraction - and it's a very short road, my friends.  Lucky for him, he's an adorable little imp.

Thursday, January 10, 2019

Mornings with me and what I did Tuesday night.

Here is a typical conversation (monologue) I have with my best audience (the dogs/cat) during inside morning chores:

"Ooooo, Binkers!  Is that a lightly flipped egg on your green sludge?  Whoa!  Down boy - no leaping!  Okay, Lovey-dovey, here's your egg and sludge, too.  Now, try to chew something.  (Sound of Hoovering).  (Insert sigh.)

"Hm.  Slimmie liked his dry food yesterday.  And I see that he's slopped half of his wet food all over the floor.  I should clean that up.  I wonder if I should be feeding him something else.  Rachel Ray has a good brand and she's local.  Of course, Purina - who has made billions on the back of pet owners over the years - is his fav so far.  But, then, shouldn't I be supporting a local person?  Wait.  Should I be supporting a local "celebrity" person?  Someone who is also on her way to making millions off my back?  What would Slimmie think of a change?  Cripes, the last time I had a moment of social consciousness and changed his wet food from his Friskies Tasty Treasures to that really, really expensive cat food in tiny cans, full of very, very special ingredients like greens hand-picked off the sides of mountains by monks in Tibet, he hated it.  (Insert sigh)  I just have to face the fact that my cat prefers a McDonald's diet and I'll just have to slip in the best stuff I can.  I wonder who has the best coupons..."

"Okay, everyone!  Time for Cheesies!!! (Insert sound of mad scrambling and too-long toenails on vinyl flooring)  Ha, you guys don't even know I'm slipping you a mickey (Benedryl for Binkers and pain pill for Lovey) because you DON'T CHEW!"

Looks down to see Slimmie, who has inserted himself between the dogs and waits, expectantly.

"Of course you want a cheezie, Slimmie.  It's Velveeta, you heathen."  Slimmie takes his bit of cheezie and gums it madly.  (Insert another, longer sigh).

I am lucky that both dogs are not picky - AT ALL - about what they eat.  As long as it's forthcoming in a steady stream, they are happy.  Slimmie is just a homie with a homie's taste.  Our favorite Santa Claws from PA sent him a packet of very special treats for Christmas - freeze-dried minnows!  After he got over his initial fear of them, he then tentatively took one in his jaws and walked around with it for a half hour, growling.  Unfortunately, by then it had thoroughly rehydrated and fell to pieces and he lost interest.  The Binkers was on it like a cheap suit.  That dog can hear the lid of the whipped cream can flip off, or the whisper of minnow pieces falling on carpeting and be there in an instant.  I can stand on the back deck and yell his name (and many other 'colorful' names) in full voice, and he cannot hear me.  It's a mystery (to no one).


So, how did I spend my Tuesday night?  I'm so glad you asked!  I spent my Tuesday night making a tarp slipcover for the Quail Hutch.  This should come as no surprise from the same woman who fashioned an apron out of duct tape.  I had carefully measured it (more than twice), cut out all of the pieces and duct-taped them together, being careful to duct tape the hems - as is done in The Trade.  Then I realized that I had to put it on the hutch to finish the corners.  Ah.  There was just one tiny problem with that - heavy snow and gusty winds.  While this should have taught me that procrastination has a heavy price, it won't.  I am doomed to repeat my limitations forever.  Amen.  I did manage to slip it over the hutch (it fit!) and then had to bungee the sides down.  Now that I am so close to finishing it, I am sure we will have some sort of awful weather every single day until spring, so I can't complete it.  I will take a picture of it at some point - when I can get over flagellating myself...  We're bracing for Arctic temperatures for almost a week - joy.  That means the wool blanket curtains are back in the coop as of tonight - I have to work in the dark so as not to be blind-sided by The Jerk.  Wish me luck.

Monday, January 7, 2019

Progress on all fronts, including rambling on.

We're seven days into the new year and it looks like my plans for a more focused me are taking hold.  I hope I didn't just jinx myself.  I have ticked five things off my list by doing them when I think of them.  Apparently, I have to pounce on the thought like a cat on a mouse in order to get things accomplished.  Geez.

Knitting is coming along swimmingly.  I have finished one boyfriend sock (I had hoped to postpone its mate by volunteering to mail the first sock so he could try it on, then have them mail it back.  Sigh.  No such luck.  It is a very boring knit...)
One down, acres of knitting to go.

My sister's socks are now my socks because I am a greedy little bugger and want ALL THE YARN.  I started knitting them up on the beautiful yarn that came in my totally surprise holiday package (oh, Theresa...) Yarn that my sister had chosen for her socks.  Thank goodness neither sister reads this blog.  I am hoping that she won't remember the original yarn and will be just as happy with some similar yarn.  Which I am now looking at with longing. (Bad me!  Bad!)  However, I will just stiffen the upper lip and knit on.  I have made a vow to not buy any more yarn this year.  (I must have caught myself in a weak moment.)
Not true to color, but it reminds
me of knitting a Monet!

I did knit one tiny object this Christmas, but did not get a picture of it - not surprisingly, I was knitting it up to the very last moment and had to throw it in an envelope and get it in the post.  Maybe its recipient will kindly post a pic?  Hmmmm?  (MP....)  As in most things that catch my fancy - recipes, yarn, patterns, shiny objects - I do not bother to check the details.  Heck, it's more fun that way.  When I got the pattern for the Little Long Johns, it started with, "Cast on 12 stitches and divide among four needles."  Wha?  I am lucky to be able to handle two at a time, let alone five.  After bruising my brain, trying to adapt the pattern to the magic loop (Don't you love knitting terms?  I do!  Everything is magic in knitting - Magic Loop, Judy's Magic Cast On.), I struggled through it and managed a reasonably good facsimile of the original.
(From Susan B. Anderson's website -
I wasn't fancy with the beads - no time!
Even though I have multiple projects on the needles, I am going to be adding one.  Mittens.
Yes, it was 57 degrees inside.  I turned the
heater on after getting the side-eye
from the dogs.
Our weather has gone from rain to freezing so many times, I am now up to Olympic level on Negotiating the Chicken Yard on Frozen Icy Tundra.  The only ones not bothered by all this up and down are the ducks.  They think sliding on their tummies is ever so much fun.

And speaking of ducks and, therefore, chickens, Mr. Big Red is on his way to Outsville.  We have had the talk - Who's Boss?  I am. - multiple times, but he is, apparently, dense as a brick.  Plus, he's is a big boy.  Right now his spurs and not fully developed.  Well, I am not waiting around until that day arrives.  Neither is he.  He's attacked me twice and, while I usually give a rooster three tries before they are out, I'm skipping number three in his case.  Next up, Fritz.  If he goes a similar way, that will be it for roosters.  I am tired of having to arm myself every morning.

I am also making progress on working through my freezer.  I had my neighbor over for dinner yesterday and made a three-pound meatloaf.  He left with lots of leftovers.  A new recipe that will be moving into Favorites, is Curried Rice and Squash Casserole.  I believe I found it on the Mennonite Girls Can Cook site.  Once again, it struck my fancy and I did not read further than the ingredients.  When I went to assemble it on Saturday, I realized it made a truckload.  Good thing I like it, because I am going to be having it for lunch all week!  Next time, I will cut it in half.
I am NOT a food photographer!
Sunday morning, I decided to tackle canning some Apple Mincemeat.  Because I have two bushels of organic apples starting to wrinkle up in the root cellar/guest room.  This provided a bucketful of peelings and cores - Norman Sheep's favorite treat.  He had to fight Linden the Fat Woolly Eel and the Old Lady Llama.  I'm glad I was on the other side of the fence.

Some hours later, 8 pints were cooling on the counter.  This time, I am going to label everything.  There are still mystery packages in the freezer and I dumped a jar of what I thought was old applesauce in the chickens treat bowl, only to find it was the last jar of mincemeat I had. 
I'm not throwing any of THESE out!
Back to the chickens - they must know we are creeping toward longer days.  Instead of getting one egg every other day, I am getting one egg every day!  Woot! 

Wednesday, January 2, 2019

Another year drop-kicked out the door and a very nice birthday (is that an oxymoron?)

Isn't it always the case that the end of the year seems to cram two-times the events into every day.  I'm not sure if that is so that you feel like you're getting your money's worth, or that it will make sure you are glad to see the last of the past year as you head towards the new.

Some highlights of the last four days of my year:
Inching along, literally, on my sister's
boyfriend's sock

The last of Marianne's pumpkins and it
was a humdinger!

My year wouldn't be complete
unless it contained one last morning spent
at my mechanic's.

The bonus of sitting at the mechanic's - I'm well
on my way towards completing one sock!
The end of an era

My egg journal, following 11 years and
written on every inch of available space.

Clive has a new hairdo!

Found while cleaning out the
sheep barn - I keep forgetting
to put it elsewhere and scare myself
every five minutes.

What was supposed to be my sister's
socks, but I couldn't part with the
yarn!  (Theresa, you know me so well...)

While I didn't get half of the things done that I wanted to, I decided to go with the flow, so to speak, and just enjoy the time off.  Due to a blip on the car front, I stayed home Saturday and Sunday and managed to get the sheep area cleaned up.  That's where I found the snake skin - I love these weird things - and toted it into the house.  Unfortunately, I left it in a place where I often put my hand for balance, as I remove my barn boots.  There is much squeaking in horror during the day.  You'd think I'd remember to move it, wouldn't you?  It must be very entertaining for the dogs.

I also got to see Marianne for an hour, as she drove down to get a few buckets of llama beans and we had a cup of tea.  Then, Monday, I was back up to the mechanic in the wee hours (he was squeezing me in and the early bird gets squeezed in first...)  I had a lovely maple latte, thanks to my sister's gift card for our favorite coffee place, and my knitting.  I settled in and got inches knit!  I have one more appointment to install a hose that didn't get delivered in time, and then I am HOPING that I can avoid the mechanic for a few months.  I got to stop and see my parents afterwards and do a couple of errands.  Then I was home for the rest of the holiday.

Tuesday, I had invited a friend for dinner and figured to have the entire day to clean the house, make dinner and do more knitting.  However, as is my normal, nothing went as planned.  I got an invitation for a birthday breakfast from a dear friend, then, on my return, I got a surprise and delightful phone call (it's amazing how enjoyable an actual phone call is!), then another friend, the daughter of my favorite neighbors, stopped in for a cuppa, then I scrambled to get dinner ready!  I did manage to bake myself a birthday cake.  While this may be called a Flourless Chocolate Cake, I would say that Death by Chocolate is more fitting.  Gah!  I mean, yummeh, but holey cow.
Slab 'o chocolate!
Had I not been rushed, I would have put it on a more appropriate plate - this one caused a dip in the top.  Which was filled with a chocolate glaze.  Ah, well.  One must suffer at times...snort.

So, it was bon voyage to 2018 and Aloha to 2019.  If the beginning is a taste of what this new year has in store, I'm aboard with bells on!  If nothing else, it will be interesting.