Tuesday, February 25, 2020

If pictures say a thousand words...

at this point, they'd all be naughty.  So, since we try to keep this blog family-friendly, there are no pictures.  Besides, if you've seen ice, snow and more ice, you've seen them all.

We were graced with three days of 40-50 degree sunshine, which helped immeasurably to life the spirit.  However, it was not enough to get rid of the ice.  Rats.

I looked up at the roof this weekend and discovered that both fresh-air intake vents were flattened by the last snow.  I have sent a text to the roofer and we are discussing it tonight.  I am not keen on shelling out more money, as they were supposed to last until spring, when they will be riveted onto the roof.  I am starting to think this roof is jinxed.

Theodore (actually, Therese) the squirrel was handed off to the wild life rehabilitator, Thursday afternoon.  I felt like I was harboring an illegal alien, as we had to meet in the hospital parking lot in VT and she was a NY squirrel.  However, her little paws never touched the ground, so I am saying it doesn't count.  According to the latest update, she is almost healed, having had antibiotic ointment smeared on her eye twice a day.  I tell you, if I had only known that one could BE a wild life rehabilitator, I would have signed up at sixteen.  That would have saved me a lot of wrong turns.  Ah, well.  Too bad hindsight only sharpens when you are of an age that you need reading glasses.

Bag #3 of black oil sunflower seeds has been opened - I am not working on 120# for the winter.  I am, after all, feeding a cast of hundreds - birds, squirrels, rabbits and who-knows-what-all. 

I spent Thursday looking after my mother - I don't know how my sister does it.  The house is like a furnace, all conversations are at high volume and, while I am happy that she is content listening to audio books, the volume makes your ear drums vibrate.  I managed to finish the second sock of the pair I had been working on and ducked out to hand off Therese and pick up a few groceries.

Speaking of which... I may have to have a responsible adult accompany me into Aldi's from this point on.  I had four things on my list and walked out with two full bags.  Sigh.  They have all my numbers.  If I could only stay on the left side of the store...  I ended up with a large, fresh steelhead trout fillet and four packages of GF bagels (even though I am swearing off grains, dairy, sugar, legumes, and alcohol).  I am weak. 

I ended up poaching the trout in a broth/water/citrus concoction and made Mexican Restaurant Cauliflower Rice to go with it.  Oh, boy - both were excellent!  I am definitely going to try some other cauliflower rice mixtures!  Other than allowing myself two glasses of wine per weekend, I have been adhering to the Whole 30 guidelines and have noticed a bump-up in energy.

On Sunday, I finally was able to clean the sheep's water bucket and rake out most of the discarded hay.  I also cinched up my BGPs and started on the back room.  It is not an endeavor for the faint of heart, let me tell you.  On a roll, I also blocked and finished a cardigan that I started last March, then finished the front trim, which needs a steam block, and will be blocking out a giant shawl/scarf that I just finished as well.  I have one sock done of a new pair and the second started.  Spring must be on the horizon!

Tuesday, February 18, 2020

I'll take my chaos with a side order of complicated, please.


Right now, the entire 4 acres of the LLF is covered in two inches of ice with a nice, slippery coating of snow.  Last week, the temperature plummeted from 42 to 4.  Then it soared from 4 to 38.  Now it's snowing.  My Yak-Traks are permanently affixed to my wellies.  I don't care if I pick up a pound and a half of mud, in between the ice events.  Tough toenails to housecleaning.  Pfft.

I managed to pare down my errands on Saturday to three, which was very nice.  I should have known I couldn't keep it up.  I went to feed 'my' barn cats on Sunday and there were trucks, hoses, various grimy bits of equipment and what-all all over the porch and driveway.  Nary a cat in sight.  I decided to come back later, after my jaunt to VT, and it was worse.  I did manage to convince the workmen that they needed to clear a space on the porch for the cats.  There was a lot of eye rolling.

I was short-listed for a rescue foster (I know, I know) and, just when I was getting things organized, the results of my hip x-rays came in and my doctor put the kabosh on any 'additional activity'.  I always love it when I am told that I can't do this and that.  Especially when this and that is what I do on a daily basis.  I prefer the approach of, 'you can't do this and that the SAME way you used to do it.  You have to figure out different ways to do both.'  I am a bouncy little soul, ain't I?  Bouncy being relative.  I have 'moderately severe osteoarthritis' in my left hip.  I now move my 50# feed bags on my plastic sled, right into the house.  From there, I drag it into the furnace/laundry/tool/feed room and dispense it in small bucketfuls during morning chores.  I find that I can negotiate my doctor into submission, if given the opportunity.

This week I am covering for my coworker in the City, which means I am tied to my desk and am busy.  I am not complaining.  However, in the midst of this week, I have to spend a day looking after my mother, as my sister needs to take her husband to a series of medical appointments.  No problem, sez I.  This causes the domino effect in HQ, where every square peg must fit in their square hole.  Needless to say, I am a round peg and proud of it.  That being settled, I have my week planned out.

Then I go out to the car to drive to town to meet someone who is using my quail egg boxes for her fledgling quail business (bless her heart) and see a small grey squirrel in the front yard, looking rather lost.  When I return, he is curled in a little ball on the side of the driveway.  I approach carefully and reach down to touch his little head.  He does not move.  Hmm.  So I pick him up.  Well, that got his attention.  In the kerfuffle, I notice that he has an injured eye - but he escapes before I can examine him more closely.  I toddle inside, but go out just at dusk and, sure enough, he is back in a little ball by the driveway.  I grabbed Slimmie's carrier and a towel and scooped the squirrel up and put him in the carrier.  He is now residing in the office, while I tried to track down a wildlife rehabilitator. There are three near me, but they are all 'full'.   I did finally find one a distance north of me and, as luck would have it, she has a doctor's appointment on Thursday that will put her within a reasonable distance ('reasonable' also being relative).  It also means I will be making six trips on Thursday, trying to watch mom and get the little fuzz ball some help.  And I am picking up and delivering some local aquafarm-raised lettuce to Marianne, so she can check it out for their store.  And I will be picking up some muslin to make produce bags for the aforementioned store.

Friends always ask me how I will manage to keep from being bored when I retire. 

Friday, February 14, 2020

Back in the saddle

Sock knitting at lunch

Cup and coaster from my sis.
After vowing that I would not pick up knitting needles for a month, I caved and started a pair of socks.  Since I have more sock yarn (or yarn, in general) that is decent, I have no excuse for not knitting from now until doomsday.

Thinking that I could sneak in some knitting while waiting for my annual physical, I discovered that my doctor's office - the entire medical complex - is way too streamlined for the usual waiting room shenanigans.  No sooner had I sat down to fill out the inevitable yearly paperwork, I was called to the examining room.  Thinking that this was the usual Stage Two of waiting, I started filling out my paperwork when in swept the nurse who ushered me to the scale (oh, just shoot me), pumped up the blood pressure cuff, ran the thermometer across my forehead (it's so COOL) and snapped the oxygen measuring clip on my finger tip.  Then I was left for another nanosecond before my doctor entered.  I really just adore him - he's 12 (kidding, but he's probably in his 30s, which is the new 12), has a wicked sense of humor, is open to alternatives, listens, and doesn't spend all his time talking about himself.  Everything was shipshape except for blocked ears and a gimpy left hip.  So, out goes the doctor and in comes the nurse to flush my ears out.  She was a hoot.  When she left, I had gained a new Super Power - Extreme Hearing!  I also had gotten the pneumonia vaccine and more paperwork to tote with me to the department of vampires and x-rays.

Once again, I was prepared for a decent spell of waiting/knitting.  Which lasted about three stitches in.  I was whisked away to have blood drawn, whisked back - I didn't even bother to sit this time - and then whisked down the maze of hospital hallways for my hip x-ray.  Zip out of my pants (TMI?), click, click, back in my pants and out the door.  Whizzbang.  I immediately headed for Marianne's to 'help' her with a cheese test and have two much-needed cups of excellent coffee.

I motored home in the rain (and woke up this morning to a -11 windchill!!!), did my chores early, marveled at all the white noise of my house, and made some cheese sliders in my air fryer, served on lettuce 'buns'. 

Speaking of food, I have been focusing on plant-based meals for at least 5 of 7 days, which has led to some gems.  Earlier in the week, I made butternut squash fritters which were delish!  However, the fact that I had to grate an entire butternut squash puts the likelihood of me making them again in the lowest possible percentile.  I've been pretty much living on soups and salads and have been slowly, but surely, reducing the meat stocked in the freezer.

Tonight it is supposed to drop below 0, and tomorrow will be frigid.  That means all outdoor chores will be done on sheet ice.  Back to Yak-Traks and felted mittens.

Monday, February 10, 2020

Mangels, anyone?

There was a time when I had never heard of a mangel.  Sure, I had heard the word “mangle” and may have done just that to the English language a few times.   When I did hear about mangels, that pesky 1930s prairie farm wife popped up and I bought red and yellow mangel seed in bulk.  Apparently, I had a fantasy about plowing up the back forty acres and planting a crop.  Sigh.  I did try a little patch, which did, well, little.  This year, I reorganized my seeds and finally agreed with my sensible self that they should find a more deserving home.  They were packaged for 2014/2013, respectively, but should still have a fairly good germination rate.  Any takers?  Comment below if you’d like them and I’ll pop them in the post.  I’m not sure the inter-country postal rules, so only the US this go-around.

Updated - OK!  I think I have enough seeds so that everyone who wants some, can have some.  Please email your mailing address and I will get them in the post at the end of the week.

Thursday, February 6, 2020

A thing of beauty.

I have no end of admiration for people who have the skill and patience to look at a pile of fabric bits and magically create a beautiful AND useful work of art.  (Yes, I'm talking about you, MP...xo).  It turns out that I have a cousin that is an uber-talented quilter.  She got a bee in her bonnet a couple of years ago and decided that all the women in our family (that is my little nuclear family) should have a quilt.  I thought she was either mad or had way too much time on her hands.  I tut-tutted and said that she shouldn't go to the bother, blah, blah, blah. 

Fast forward six months and this arrived for me at my mother's house:

I now get to use my favorite British descriptive word - I was gobsmacked!  I apologize for the darkness of the photographs, but I am limited in my means to display anything larger than a hankie.  And this is WAY larger than a hankie.  The colors are glorious and so 'me'.  It is a traditional pattern, which I love.  The kids are never going to see it.

In the way of this winter - wimpy to the max - we have not gotten a lot of snow but we are seesawing between sleet and ice storms and rain.  This morning's Round One of the latest sleet/ice storm screwed up my appointment for my annual physical (insert crocodile tears here) and had me mincing across the mountain to work.  When I had to notify HQ that the appointment was rescheduled to next week and that I couldn't wait for spring, one of my co-workers in the City emailed that she hadn't realized we had spring up here.  I answered that we did, indeed, have more than one season:  Winter, mud and ticks, two weeks of nice weather, winter.

Monday, February 3, 2020

Getting down to business.

A year or three ago, I virtuously pulled up my sagging BGPs, stiffened my upper lip and marched into my closet.  With sweaty determination, I organized, shifted, reorganized and threw out an item or two.  I was so proud of myself.

Two days later, it was again a picture of total chaos and I, she of the limp pasta backbone, gave up.  When my youngest sister was here, a couple of weeks ago, I focused her laser-like attention on my pantry - mostly because I was not ready to face what had to be done in the closet.

It was ridiculous.  So.

Yesterday, I turned this:

into this:

It took most of the day and six cups of tea.  There was a lot of attempted 'help' by the kids.  I realized that just rearranging what was there would not fix the problem.  There was too much 'there'.  I filled two large trash bags with clothes, one of trash, another bag with shoes and put together a different system for my sweaters.  I find myself opening the door and looking inside, every time I pass by.  I almost dislocated my shoulder, patting myself on my back.  Of course, this is just the tip of the iceberg, but now I know what has to be done.  (And, Marie Kondo, if you're reading this - as if - yes, I still have all my long, colorful scarves/shawls that I have never worn.  They bring me joy and I love thinking about the day I will swan about, swathed in pale blue mohair, creamy cashmere or paisley silk with fringes.  Don't hold your breath.)