Friday, December 31, 2010

I always wondered about that ...

When my boys were in high school, I had to “send away” for shoes for the oldest one. (There was no “online” back then … it was all done by snail mail.) The regular shoe stores and department stores didn’t carry shoe sizes larger than 12, or 13 at the most. He was a very big boy -- 6’4” with feet to match. When he started wearing size 14, it was an ordeal to get anything that fit.

Yesterday I got a catalog in the mail that reminded me of all that. It was for ladies’ undergarments. They sell bra sizes 32 to 58 with cup sizes A to N. That’s not a typo. It says N. I always wondered what anyone who is larger than a double-D or E did, seeing as how that’s the largest I’ve ever seen in a store … and now I know! Tell me I’m not the only one who ever wondered where people get clothing for sizes like that! I imagined that those ladies had to construct their own, hand-sewn delicates and figured it must have been a real nuisance. That could seriously cut into a person’s quilting time.

In this picture, doesn't it look like she's whispering secrets? Maybe she's telling her friend where to get a bra big enough?





Big fishies swimming in and out of the "windows" in this quilt ... it's a very large print, and very colorful! For someone special in Janet L's family.




















And this was the last customer quilt that had to be done before Xmas. It got in just under the wire. It came in late Tuesday night and went out Friday morning. Whew! Shannon said she'd stay up as long "as it takes" to have it ready to give to her grandmother Saturday morning. I hope she met her goal.






(Not sure why the text in this post is landing in such an odd position in the "preview" mode ... can't wait to see what it turns out when I actually hit the "publish" button.)

Friday, December 24, 2010

Baaa-aaa-aah, humbug!




















... only two more ewes to go, and we'll be all done for the season. Woo-hoo! Only three black lambs this year. If I can get the camera to work, the sheep to cooperate, and the cats to stay out of the picture, I'll have more photos tomorrow.







Thursday, December 23, 2010

Nothing makes sense ...

Seriously. There's much going on in this world that doesn't make sense, so this probably shouldn't surprise me. But it does. I've been perusing my seed catalogs whenever I get a few minutes, and noticed something odd. BTW: I'm thrilled that the companies have started sending catalogs early. (Oh! Something that DOES make sense to me ... send catalogs early enough to allow people like me time to actually purchase seeds to start indoors on schedule!) Anyway, I spend a lot of time reading seed catalogs. Yeah ... I know ... spellbinding! (If you're thinking of making fun of me for it, you've been beaten to the punch.) So ... tell me this: why does the Vermont Bean Seed Company have a Wisconsin address? A mystery, for sure.

Uh-oh ... I smell raisins. That can't be good ...

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Poor Ronald ...

I hate shopping. I’ve stated that enough times that everyone in the world probably knows it by now. I especially hate shopping in a crowd; hence, I rarely go to a store between late Fall and early Spring. When I do force myself to shop, it is usually by telling myself that if I go, I can stop at the book store while I’m out. There’s a Barnes & Noble store en route to everywhere else I usually need to go. I pretend I’m only going to browse, but usually come home with a book purchase. That’s my reward for having to do the other stuff.

I got several email messages recently from B&N, each one offering a deeper discount than the last. I ignored them all. Delete. Delete. Delete. But then, one came with this as the subject line: “You’ve given us no choice …” so I had to see what the ultimatum was about. They offered 70 percent off one item, plus free shipping if I ordered within a week of receipt of the offer. Wow! Now they’re TALKIN’!

During that week, I browsed their web site and found several possible choices. I plugged one in with the code necessary. Aw, rats! It said that order was not eligible for the discount. I read the eligibility restrictions listed, and went back to make a different choice. Again, no good. Hmmm … so, what then? What was it about my second choice that made it ineligible? I tried a third. A fourth. And a fifth item. Always with the same result. Grrrr … I closed down the computer and gave up.

But then … it played on my brain. I decided that I smelled a rat in the woodpile. I went back and tried one more time. Same thing. I decided to call Customer Service. Poor Ronald was the unfortunate soul to take my call. Poor Ronald is such an understanding guy … he must have told me forty-two times that he FULLY understands my frustration; however … there didn’t seem to be a single thing he could do to resolve the problem.

First, I asked if I were doing something wrong in trying to use the magic code provided. He assured me I was not. I hadn't passed the expiration date on the offer. Nothing amiss. In fact, Understanding Ronald “jumped on my bandwagon” (his words) and tried to use it, with my permission, to order it for me. It didn’t work for him either. He said he would check to see if the code was valid, and came back after a few minutes to tell me that it was probably due to the fact that it was “the holidays, and all …” Huh? This was December 15. I told him December 15 is not a holiday. He said, “You know what I mean, tho …” and I said, “No. Actually I do not. It’s not a holiday. And even if it were, what possible difference could that make?”

To prevent this posting from becoming as long as my telephone conversation with Poor Ronald, although I would just LOVE to babble on and on even more about it, suffice it to say I was torqued by the whole thing. First, that they dangled a carrot in front of my face and then their magic code was actually a bogus offer. Second, that I had spent an awful lot of precious time that I really could not spare in trying to MAKE it work, now that they said I could have an item of my choice at such a discount. Then, most of all, that they didn’t make any genuine effort to make it right when I called Customer Service. Poor Ronald tried to appease me with one excuse after another. I continued to respond by telling him I appreciate his efforts to find an answer, but that one just didn't make any sense, and proceeded to explain why. At one point, I asked Poor Ronald to stop understanding me so much because it was making my eyeballs spin, and to put me through to a supervisor or someone who might be able to make it right. Poor Ronald could not do that. So I asked him to provide me with the address of their corporate headquarters. He wanted to know "Why?" I told him that, as understanding as he was about my problem, it wasn't solving the problem. I thought it would be only right on my part to pass along my dissatisfaction to someone who might care to know that I would cease to shop with their company because I feel they are practicing deceitful marketing and I didn’t like it.

He told me that because this IS America, I had every right to do just that. I told him I would, and that I would hold on the line until he could find the address. Poor Ronald could not find a mailing address, but did give me an email address to use. Poor Ronald. He was as pleasant as can be, but very ineffective from my point of view. I was totally polite to him, but persistent. I am nothing if not persistent. Poor, POOR Ronald.

The conversation ended thusly: “Is there anything else I can do for you today?” And then we both howled with laughter and said good-night.

The amount they had to pay Poor Ronald to stay on the phone with me all that time was probably more than the value of the book. They should have written something about THAT into his script -- it would have saved them money to just send me the stinkin' book! Now I even hate online shopping.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Umm … I don’t know if I like this idea.

I just found a yarn advertised to be 10 percent possum. Something about that just says “Eeeew” to me. I think I’d prefer my yarn to say “Ewe.” Think about it. Where would they even GET enough possum hair (it is hair and not wool, right?) to incorporate into yarn on a commercial basis? I doubt it's a by-product of the food industry. I know some people eat possum, but I’m not thinking there’s a large market for it. At least not anywhere I’ve been shopping. So how does one come by all that possum fuzz? It would take a heap of road kill to amount to much, especially seeing as how they often look like Gollum in the wild. Just sayin’ … ugh.

We had a power outage the other day. I called the electric company to report it and was told they believe a helicopter dropped a package on one of the lines. Very feasible. Seismic testing is going on in the area, and they drop big orange bundles of equipment where it is retrieved by the field workers. We have a few out in the pasture right now. I’m glad I wasn’t out and about when they went overhead. Guaranteed, I’d have been blopped on. It’s just the way it is with me.

Here are some pics of what’s been going on in the studio lately. Lots of gals working to finish up projects before their holiday – all producing fun and pretty quilts. Busy, busy ...




















Karen M is smiling because she finished her first "real" quilt (it came out great!), and had time to do another in one day.
Three Sisters (Michelle on the left):


















You say you count only two? That's because the third sister is represented by the quilt she sent along for these two to quilt for her:

















Cathy B brought a quilt to work on:






















... and a friend for company (with Cathy and finished product is Marion on the right):


I have more photos, and another story about shopping to post. But that will have to wait till tomorrow. I'm out of time, and this is long enough as it is!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Labor Day, and no picnic ...













Yesterday was labor day here (a different sort of labor day), and was no picnic! First off, these little guys made their landing way down yonder in the pawpaw patch, so to speak. They had to be carried back to the barn -- uphill all the way. My heart was thumping like I don't know what from the exertion by the time I got them inside. The one colored like a dirty ashtray there next to the bucket along the wall had a crooked neck, like the thing you pull out of a frozen turkey. PaPa spent a fair amount of time massaging him, hoping to improve his chances. His neck was so crooked and so stiff he couldn't nurse from the mama ewe. Things are looking better today.

Once we got those little guys settled and thought our day would run smoother, we discovered this:










Not usually a big deal, but this is a first-time heifer and her calf didn't seem to have the strength/sense to get up and find the source of food. Mama tried her best, but wound up needing assistance. Again, PaPa to the rescue! He carried the little gal into the maternity pen in the barn, and Mama followed. They spent the night there. I checked on them before heading off to bed, and was dismayed to find the calf cold in the mouth (an obvious indication that it had not been feeding). I milked out enough for a bottle feeding (no small task with a first-time heifer!) and hoped for the best. At 3 a.m. she seemed to be doing much better, and this morning at 6 it looked as if she'll be okay. Let's hope.










Another set of twins arrived at chore time this morning. (They usually DO have their lambs at feeding time, for some reason I can't figure.) Here they are, at about 4 minutes old:
That was yesterday. Here's what was going on in the studio on Friday -- two ladies came to learn to quilt on the longarm machines. Here are Karen and Michelle, working with the laser light for the first time. A fun pair of sisters ... and they have yet another who is, by their description, a meticulous quilter who is sending THEM back to finish a quilt for her. I think she's going to be in for a nice surprise -- these gals were fast learners.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Superwoman was here again ...

Lynette must be one of the most energetic people I know. She has a whole houseful of kids, and yet makes quilt after quilt ... and we're not talking itty bitty wallhangings here. This is what she did in the studio this week:





















A DWR which you can see is very large (you're looking at it folded in half in the photo). She put in many hours getting the quilting just right, and if that weren't enough, she's planning to scallop the edges. I CAN'T be the only one who hates doing binding on a scalloped edge, can I? That's why the quilting took many hours - she wanted the feathered border "just so," in order to make the "humps" center up nicely in the scallops. Whew! A lot of work and a lot of love went into this quilt -- she's making it for a friend. Wow.



All my photos are coming out so fuzzy lately. Either I have the jitters and cannot hold the camera still, or else the camera needs a few sharp swats to straighten it out. Anyway ... yesterday's lamb will be called Dreidel, per KP's suggestion, seeing as he was born on the first day of Hanukkah. (side note: I tried to look up the spelling of those two words and didn't find them in my dictionary. Odd, no?)

Thursday, December 2, 2010

And so it begins again ...


At the center of this fuzzy foto, you'll see the first lamb of the season. Of course! Last night was the coldest we've had so far ... water buckets were all frozen. They're ALWAYS born on the worst day possible. A thought: must be we're NOT going to have a blizzard in the next few days (elsewise, they would have waited for THAT.)
Mom and baby seem to be fine so I haven't yet moved them inside. On the day after Thanksgiving, my granddaughter told me she thought I'd be getting some new lambs soon. Guess she was right!
The gang isn't coming for our traditional visit during the winter break from school this year. I've been making all sorts of plans for how I would amuse myself without their company during that span of time. In reality, I'll probably be spending a lot of time in the barn, checking on my little ones out there.
Anybody got a good name for a new lamb?

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Make Up My Mind!

Look at this! One day the flowers start blooming again because the weather is so mild, the next day they're covered with snow. Make up my mind ... is it winter or ISN'T it?














Here's Peggy working on yet another quilt -- she was so busy quilting next to that big window that she hadn't noticed the snow falling. Guess she didn't like the whole idea when we told her to look out ... hah-ha-ha.






I think she said there are over 600 different "pictures" in her I Spy quilt. Whew! Some people just have waaaaay more patience that I have.

Lots of quilters are trying to get their projects finished up for their holiday gift giving. A few smart fellows have called to order gift certificates for the quilters in their lives -- a day in the studio makes a smart gift. I'm not telling who will be the recipients!
I've been busy finishing up customers' quilts, but not so busy I won't take time out for the guild meeting. I expect to see a TON of show and tell -- my favorite part of the meetings.

Monday, November 22, 2010

A Rare Bird ...

Someone who can remain your friend for fifty years, come hell or high water, is a rare bird. We met up in the Poconos, stayed up waaaaaay too late trying to catch up after not having seen each other for ten years, and said goodbye. Till next time. Hopefully, it won’t be a long time before we meet again.
(Love ya, Gerry!)








Look at this one – Autumn Oaks all-over pattern (can you see it here on the back?).















Here’s the front. This one belongs to Valentina B.


















Sunday, November 21, 2010

A Family Affair ...

Pat C and her parents, Bill and JoAnn A came Thursday. Actually, Pat only came after work to see what her parents were up to – she’s been here before, and wanted to see how her Dad was making out quilting. Apparently, she had every confidence that her Mom would make out just fine. They did a very large, and very pretty quilt in jig time:


















(double-click on photo to enlarge)

Another quilt was begun, but we all ran out of time and energy before it got finished, so Pat came back this morning to wrap it up. My camera was back home, so we may get a photo from JoAnn to post later. The quilt was hand-stitched by an auntie – a whole lot of 8-point stars with sashing and borders. Pat practiced the spiral design her Mom had begun, and was out of here – quilt in hand – in a few hours. We both thought it came out pretty nicely.

Since she left, I’ve come home to begin cleaning up the sty in preparation for Thanksgiving Holiday company. So far, all I’ve got done is the refrigerator. I like to start there because it’s so encouraging to see the shine that results with minimal effort on my part. It motivates me to press onward.

Okay … breaktime is over. Back to work for me!







Saturday, November 13, 2010

Friday, November 12, 2010

Time Out for Friends ...

Today was a sort of Combo Day here -- combining work with time spent with friends. Penny and Betsy came, each with a quilt under her arm. We visited, we quilted. We ate, we quilted some more. Both went home with their projects done and ready for binding. Penny and I hadn't gotten together in probably just about a year -- with Betsy, it has been so long we couldn't figure out when the last time was. At least two years. How does that happen? We're all just busy women, I guess. We three have a lot in common, so there's never an end of things to talk about. It was a nice day, made nicer by having friends around. Such a sunny day, the photos are full of shadows.

Here's Betsy's quilt (always cheerful colors):

















Camera-shy Betsy is peeping out from behind, in the shadow of the tree.






















... and Penny's (we had to fold it in quarters to make it small enough for her to hold up off the ground; it's really a very large quilt) -- she leans toward the pink/green/white combination. Hmmmm ... seems like there's someone else who goes in that direction more often than not with her color schemes ...

... and who's that -- Peter Pan's Shadow down in the corner? Sorry for the lack of quality in the photos -- I think I need a different camera. As if that would make up for lack of photographic skill -- hah!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Padiddle ...

I had meetings to attend, so was out driving after dark on two nights in a row. Now, where I live, it would not be unusual to travel twenty miles without seeing another moving vehicle on the road. So tell me this: how is it that in two nights I've seen six different cars with only one headlight?!? I saw four last night, and two tonight. How crazy is that?!?

And in case you don't remember, or are to young to know -- "padiddle" is called by the first one to spot the car with only one headlight, and that entitles the "caller" to a kiss from whomever else is in the car -- usually a date, if I remember correctly -- so a one-eyed car sighting was a good thing.

Now-a-days the kids play a game in which the players strive to be first to spot a VW Bug, and yell something like, "Green Punch-Buggie ... no paybacks" (or is it punchbacks? I never can remember ... and even more seldom am the first to spot the Bug which entitles the caller to whack someone else in the car without fear of reprisal). I am most often the recipient of the punch, being the slowest to catch on to the game.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Like Indian scouts ...

We traipse stealthily through the woods to spy down from the ridge on the newcomers below. (Isn't that just like the Indians watching the settlers moving into their territory? Okay ... so I have a wild imagination. Sue me.) It makes for an interesting walk, providing plenty of exercise -- if nothing else.

These are photos of the latest goings-on at the well site on the farm next door:




















There's an eerie glow in the night sky, with all the lights reflecting off the low-hanging cloud cover lately. It sort of "throbs," making it appear like some alien Thing is hovering overhead, deciding who or what will be its next prey. (There goes that crazy imagination again. It's outta control!)
















In this one, if you look closely at the far right of the photo, you'll see Snoop The Scoop checking it all out from high above Cooleyville (his name for all the trailers and other paraphernalia brought in at the well site).



To pass the time away one day during a long car ride, the grandkids decided to imagine how they would spend the money if we ever got any from a gas well here. The granddaughter who's crazy about horses decided she'd buy two horses (one for her, one for her horse-loving friend), a trailer to drive them around in, and a black pickup truck to pull the trailer. Of course, I'd be their designated driver until they're old enough to get a driver's license. The younger of the grandsons thought an X-Box 360 would be just the ticket for his share -- guess he has no clue how much money can be had by anyone who drills for gas. The older boy couldn't think of anything he might need or want. Gotta love a kid with that kind of outlook, no? And the Little Princess was fast asleep, so didn't get to say. But no matter ... she needs only ring her imaginary bell for service, anyway. "Ding-ding." Her sibs are incredibly accommodating to her. Having been the youngest in our family, too, I'm wondering how she manages THAT trick. Didn't work for me!

Monday, November 1, 2010

Who'd-a-thunk it?

I had to go pick up grain for the animals this afternoon. As long as I was out, I was going to get a lot so I would not have to go back again any time soon. (Yes, I even hate THIS kind of shopping.) A young woman came in right after me and was only there to pick up two bags of grain for her critters. The fellows loading my truck saw how disappointed she was when she figured how long a wait she would have, so one volunteered to get her stuff by hand while the others loaded my truck with the forklift. He asked her, "What do you need?" and she answered him. He went off to fetch her Sheep & Goat Mix.
I was standing about two feet away, so couldn't help overhearing. I asked, "So ... do you have sheep or goats?"
"Goats."
"Milking goats?"
"No. Fiber goats."
"Oh, so do you spin?"
She grinned from ear to ear, and said rather sheepishly (sorry -- couldn't resist), "A little. I work full time, so I've only been able to do a little bit so far, but I'm trying to learn."
-------------------------------------
Side Note to Dean:
Yes. I am "wordy"
everywhere I go.
------------------------------------
I mentioned to her that I raise sheep, tried spinning but find it annoying because little fibers always seem to be floating up by my nose, making it itchy. I backed up and leaned against the wall because I could see the guy coming out, carrying her grain on his shoulder. Just as I backed up, he plopped the heavy grain bags into the back of her vehicle. She was in the process of answering me (although HE did not know we had been chatting). She said, in a giggly little squeak of a voice, "Yeah ... little fibers are always floating up, EVERYwhere!" And she was gesturing with her hands to indicate the floating little fibers.
The guy looked at her askance, and said, "ohhhh-kaaay" and the look on his face made me snicker -- I could tell he thought she was a bit off tilt. She caught his glance and tried to explain by shreaking a single word: "Spinning!"
She left. He cocked his head in her direction and asked me, "Is she all there?" Oh ... I wish you could've seen the look on his face. Priceless!
I guess he didn't really understand what she said. He tweedled his fingers in the air, imitating her gestures, and asked, "What is she talking about ... all these pins and needles floating in the air?" I sort of wanted to just shrug my shoulders and leave it at that for my own amusement, but I explained what had transpired before he came out. It seemed like he remained confused, so I went on to say how the fibers were the sheep's wool, and spinning was the process of making yarn.
All of that led to a conversation with him about alpaca socks! Yeah, I know ... go figure! Seems he is a purveyor of alpaca socks, and a wealth of information about places to get alpaca locally. Who'd-a-thunk-it?

The fun just never ends ...

DH had a dental appointment. When he arrived, he had to cut through the break room full of people having coffee and donuts to see the dentist. Making his way through the crowd, he somehow managed to cut his finger. The dentist wanted to stitch it up for him, but they were interrupted by a call on his cell phone from someone who was inviting him to play golf with President Clinton. That's how the day was going for DH.

And then he woke up. (We were telling each other about our crazy dreams the night before, over a cup of coffee.) Isn't it funny how the most bizarre things can be linked and happen all in a few seconds in a dream?

Oh ... GOTTA make one of these for my claustrophobic ears!





















I just got a call from a friend, and I'm SO excited. We've been buddies since the 5th grade ... say, about age 10. If you've not yet figured it out, THAT is a looo-oo-ong time. We rarely see each other any more. The last time was probably eight or ten years ago. We chatted a while on the phone, and decided it's high time we get together again. We have this silly thing we do: we update our high school yearbook by writing in any news we've heard about every single person in the book. It gets harder and harder, especially since I don't keep up with anybody from school except this friend any more ... but we down a few glasses of wine or beer and have a howling good time with it. We set a date for later in the month. If I start now ... and I mean RIGHT now, I can at least have the cobwebs swept out before she arrives. I'll get on it right away!

Oh .. but before I dash off to find a broom (we MUST have one someplace ... ) here's what Dave and Rose got finished while they were here yesterday:













BREAKING NEWS: That book I enjoyed so much and recommended in a recent post, The Help -- is going to be made into a movie next year. That's according to a message I just got from someone who took my advice and read the book. I will definitely have to see the flick and compare it to the original story. Lemme know if you spot it anywhere. I'll probably forget all about it by the time it's released, given my proclivity for losing track of details.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

A rather blustery day ...

DH tried to hold this one still long enough for me to snap a picture, but this is the best we could do in that wind. This one came with Cindy M -- but I think she said it is her sister-in-law's quilt. She was pretty specific about how she wanted it quilted. I tried a new trick to do the borders -- straight, parallel lines that hopped over the flower appliqué.


















We decided we'd take a walk through The Not-100-Acre Wood woods, and hiked over to peek in on the progress being made at the well site on a neighboring farm.















Qu'est-ce que c'est?
C'est un puits de gaz naturel (en français pour ma soeur).
Comprenez-vous?


Tuesday, October 26, 2010

The Sound of Silence ...

I woke up at 3 o'clock this morning, and wondered what was going on? Then I realized: the house was quiet. Totally quiet. That never happens.

Usually, there is a constant droning in the background -- the refrigerator whirrs incessantly all night, and usually drives me crazy. I have to shut off the computer and fax machine at night or the constant hum keeps me awake from the other room. If a car drives past the house in the night, I know it. Sometimes I feel like shooting the cats that parade across the porch when I'm trying to sleep. Yeah, I know -- I'm a bit sensitive to noise.

So when the fridge stopped making any sound, and there were no other sounds detectable ANYwhere in the dark, I almost panicked. I wondered if I had died or something. Odd feeling, that. Worse yet, what if the REFRIGERATOR died?

I never did figure out why everything got so quiet, but I did ascertain that I am still alive. Which meant I would have to go to my dental appointment in the morning. I did that, and am happy to report all went well there. Phew ... I'm glad that's done. I've been having bad dreams about it for a week. When I woke and heard nothing, I figured I probably had a stroke in my sleep from my scary dreams and, at the very least, went deaf.

In the Gardening Department: not much going on except the garlic is about 6 inches tall, the broccoli continues to perform, cabbage and brussels sprouts are still good.

In the Quilting Department: plowing my way thru a pile of customer quilts, and am really on a roll there. I now have three (count 'em!) ways to accomplish cross-hatching on the machine. Learning new tricks keeps it interesting. And ... speaking of new tricks for quilters, have you heard about this one? There is a new website created by Websites For Quilters that helps quilters find specific fabrics. FindMyFabric.com is an fabric search engine that finds fabric and quilting supplies from hundreds of online quilt stores. You can search for products by either typing in words or by uploading a photo from a digital camera. If you use a photo, the search engine uses image recognition technology to find matching fabrics. How cool is that?!? If you ran out of a specific fabric and need a little more to complete your quilt, but don't know the name of the manufacturer, collection, or designer of that print all is not lost! Take a picture of the fabric, upload it, and locate an online retailer that has the fabric in stock. It is supposed to work in seconds. What will they think of next?

Friday, October 22, 2010

it's NOT me ...

I went on a baking binge this morning. I made some bread and rolls, and decided that I might just as well make a few pies for the weekend while the oven is hot. I'm all about multi-tasking. (That's also why I'm trying to boil burnt raisins out of the pot I use to make oatmeal every morning ... but that's another story.)


I used the same ingredients, measured with the same tools four times, and each time the pie crust required a different amount of water to make it the right consistency for rolling out. Now I'm CERTAIN it's the flour, and NOT me! I've suspected as much for years, and today I shall consider it proof positive. Flour is just totally as unpredictable as sock yarn. There you have it!


Speaking of sock yarn ...















... lookie here, at what I received as a gift from a friend who knows me well. Seven skeins of wonderfully soft and pretty wool -- enough to make new socks for every day of the week! Everyone should have a friend like mine.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Warning ...

A major rant follows the photos below, so if you can skip that if you're in a good mood and don't want to ruin it with my whining.

Dawn C's quilt (it's huge!):















close-up of center:















The photo of the whole thing turned out to fuzzy to show you, but trust me -- it's very pretty. You can double-click these photos to enlarge.

The rant follows: Last Thursday went like this ... What a day! I had some errands to run, and a few meetings to attend. I thought I had it all figured out how I was going to accomplish everything in one day, and without back-tracking.

I left the house a couple of hours before my meeting, in order to hit the Post Office before they close. I had a bunch of things to take care of there -- packages that needed to be weighed, taped, sent out. I waited my turn in line. The postal worker could tape the first class packages with her tape, but for the media mail packages I had to purchase a roll of my own. Okay. Odd, I thought, but no biggie. While she weighed my packages, a group of men who were not speaking English came in and got in line behind me. All of them. The postal worker said she'd weigh my stuff and let me get out of line to tape my one package while she waits on the rest of her patrons. Okay. So I step out of line, take about four seconds to tape a package, and then get back on line behind the fellows there. I guess it took all five of them to figure out how to interpret what she was saying. Very interesting. So after quite a few more minutes went by, I was on my merry way. Next stop: the library with only about an hour left to kill. Better than driving all the way back home and turning around to come back to the same town.

I found a book I thought I'd like to read. Again, I waited my turn on line. Oops ... can't find my library card in my purse because I recently changed wallets and it seems I didn't move the card to the new one. A young man literally ran into the library, grabbed a movie he wanted to check out. Well ... he grabbed the case. The actual disc is kept in another place where the librarian has to go fetch it when someone wants to take it home. So she asked if I minded that she waits on the young fellow first, seeing as how I did not have my card? Okay. No problem, sez I. The librarian is new, and doesn't really know how everything works yet. After fumbling around for quite a while, she admitted she could not find the disc he wanted. He, obviously being more familiar with the process than she, told her where it should be, and how to open the case. But together, they still couldn't find the movie he wanted. He decided he'd just grab a different one -- one that they had already seen in their previous search -- because she was taking too long for his liking. And guess what?!? He didn't have his library card, either. She had to look him up in the computer by name. He spelled it for her. Several times. Each time, she typed it in wrong, so it would not come up with his card number. But at least she was getting practice for having to wait on me next.

When she typed my name in, she got it right on the first try. We're on a roll, here! Oh, not so fast ... the computer brought up my name and my library card number, but it also brought up a window that said 'THIS PATRON IS NOT REGISTERED IN THIS SYSTEM." Huh? Try again. And again. And yet again. Resort to calling for help from another worker in the building. She had never encountered that message before. Neither did the other worker. Of course not. Things like this only happen when I am around, and they've never been there before when I have. Much time passed. In order not to be late for my meeting, I suggested she write my card number and the book title on a piece of paper and figure it out later. I needed to get going, and after waiting all this time, I wasn't leaving without the stupid book.

On to the first of two meeings for the night. With careful coordination, I'd be able to do both. Right. Will I NEVER learn? The first meeting started about 25 minutes late because the presenter waited for every last person who had signed up to arrive before starting. In what world besides mine does this happen?!? Knowing I'd likely have to leave before it wrapped up, I had told her when I went in that I may have to leave a bit early and to please not be offended ... it's just that I had another meeting that I had to go to. She urged me to stay for the very end because some very important information would come at the very end. The meeting ran late, so they decided they would get the the "very important information" at the next meeting instead. But by now, it was too late to go to the second meeting, so I went straight home -- exhausted.

And today the most important package (DGD's birthday gift) came back, undelivered. Just shoot me.

Monday, October 18, 2010

I didn't type it that way!

The previous post wound up looking like I was half-lit when I typed it. I am here to declare that (1) I was NOT drunk; and (2) I did not type it all screwed up like that. It must be a blog booger. If you want to make sense of it, put the link in the line above it by the parenthesis. That should help.

Luxury Fibers ...

I saw a sweater over the weekend that I think would be the ultimate in hand-knits. It was actually a two-piece garment -- a very plain, almost boxy sweater (although that description takes away from its elegance), with another piece worn over it. I don't know how to describe the second piece, but all I can say is that it looked sort of like a combination shawl and cabled cowl that draped over the shoulders. It was knit of fine qiviut -- softer than cashmere -- in the natural color. I couldn't take my eyes off it. I asked if there was a pattern available. It was, after all, being sold by yarn merchants and usually, the sample sweaters are there because there are patterns that feature the yarns being sold.

I was totally bummed to find out that there is no pattern available. If I were a reasonable woman, I would have been relieved to find that out. Why? Because to purchase enough of the precious qiviut yarn to replicate the sweater would probably have cost somewhere in the neighborhood of $500 or $600, maybe more -- it runs about $90 per ounce (and that yields about 220 yards or so). Math makes me ill -- you'll have to figure it out for yourself if you want accuracy. I know I would have had to settle for a more affordable alternative fiber, but it was truly beautiful.

In case you're curious, qiviut is taken from the muskox's downy undercoat. (See more at www.qiviut.com ). Those creatures inhabit places like the northern tundra of Canada, Alaska and Greenland. Not a whole lot of those babies around! The muskox coat and hooves keep them warm in the cold arctic weather which can reach –70ºF. The qiviut yarn knits up so soft you can barely feel it, and it is said to be eight times warmer than wool. That must be really, really warm. If I were an Alaskan Inuit, I'd be making me some qiviut nighties, for sure! Even if I had to track those creatures down to get my hands on some of the coat they shed once a year.

Speaking of luxury fibers, I ran across an advertisement for what is touted to be a Luxury Yarn, described thusly: "... this unique Wool & Stainless Steel yarn creates unique pieces that keep their shape. Strong, yet lacy, it’s great for ethereal wraps or beautiful original jewelry. Combine it with other yarns to add texture and strength to sweaters and accessories ... "

What?!? Stainless steel? Tell me why. Why? WHY would anyone want to incorporate steel into wool yarn?!? Wool is a warm, soft, forgiving fiber. So how's 'bout we ruin all its inherent qualities by adding some cold, hard steel? Doesn't THAT sound comfy? I thought the blurb about adding nettles was the craziest thing I'd ever heard, but this really takes the cake! For about twenty bucks I could get enough to make a pair of socks. They might last longer than my woollies, but hoo-boy, I'll bet they'd be enough to freeze yer tootsies right off. (Have you ever worn steel-toed shoes in the winter? Might just as well put your feet in a block of ice!)

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Heavy Rains Looming ...

In anticipation of the heavy rain predicted, we brought the sheep back down from the upper pasture yesterday so they'll have better protection from the weather.















They were ready. They followed right along when called, much to Tuck's disappointment. He LIKES having to chase them.















The foliage is much more brilliant in real life than it shows in this photo. I should have waited until the sun was up more, to light them up in their full regalia. After today though, the deluge will probably have doused the flame, leaving only the bare bones of the trees against a greying sky, the leaves a pile of mulch lying at their feet.

I went to quilt club last night. Here is an example of how two quilts made from the same pattern using different fabrics can come out so unlike each other (Barb B's on the left, Peg K's on the right):














And that's Carla in the middle of it all, per usual. (tee-hee)

Tracey wondered aloud if she might have somehow gotten different directions than everyone else, because her quilt didn't look anything like either of these! We all had a good chuckle over that. (She'll be fine. She hadn't got to the part where you slice and dice the blocks and re-arrange them yet.)

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

My half of the bargain ...

Bend, Stretch, Lift, Walk. Sound like a day at the gym? Nope.

















DH cuts it, dumps it here. My job is to carry it and stack it in a neat pile by the shed. I keep reminding myself that it's a great opportunity for healthy exercise. This is GOOD for me. Yep ... just gotta keep my eye on the goal of physical fitness, and this pile will look better and better every time I look out the door. Problem is, as fast as I stack one pile, he makes another. This will go on until there's enough wood for the winter, plus a little extra for insurance against one of those early spring blizzards that come every couple of years.

Here are the tomatillos grabbed the other day before the frost (they're not nearly as large as they were last year, because of this summer's drought, but this will be plenty):















Those little orange things are a few Sungold tomatoes -- the last of them. I'm going to try saving the seeds and see if they'll grow into something useful next year. They may revert to something entirely different, but I've got room enough for a few experiments in my garden. And today, I'm going to pair some of the tomatillos up with tomatoes, onions and herbs for home-made salsa. Whatever is left after that, I'll put into a paper bag in the fridge -- they last a long time that way. Last year I made tomatillo soup. Can's say it was a fav, but it was edible. I need to go on a hunt for more ideas. Got any?







Sunday, October 10, 2010

Frosty!

Three gals were here for their "personal retreat" last Sunday, and before they left on Monday we were chatting. In the conversation, we were talking about books. They highly recommended The Help by Kathryn Stockett. I had a dental appointment in town, so I ran to the bookstore on the way, grabbed it and started reading in the waiting room. Big mistake.

I am such a sissy about going to the dentist! I've recently gone to a young-friend-dentist for a consultation, because he thought I should get a second opinion on something. I pre-warned him about how I become a total idiot in the dentist's chair. So on my first visit there, he jokingly told the chair-side assistant that he may have to sedate me to do the exam. She didn't realize he was joking. At least I THOUGHT he was joking. He did offer to sedate me when we have to do some real work, to avoid having to have the novocaine. I started to explain that I'm not at all afraid of the needle -- it's the lights. "The LIGHTS?!?" Yeah ... it's the lights. They remind me of hospitals, the things I've seen and the reasons I've been there. Starts a flood of tears.

Anyway, I got to page three in the book, and came to this: "... Took three months fore I even look out the window, see if the world still there. I was surprise to see the world didn't stop just cause my boy did." (One of the main characters's child died, obviously.) Oh dear. Now the people here are going to think I'm bawling because I have to have my teeth picked at. I've learned to just let people think what they will. It's easier than trying to explain how stuff like this triggers a meltdown for me.

So ... back to the gals who were here to quilt! Between them, they finished eight quilts and two pillow shams. Not too shabby! But I cannot say who they were, or show any photos. I'm sworn to secrecy. I can only say there will be a few people out there who should be very happy to receive the gifts they're going to get from these gals! And, by the way, the book is good. Once you get past Page Three.

Weather Report: we got our first frost in the garden last night. No complaints here. This is about a month later than usual for our little corner of the world. I gathered the last of the produce in anticipation of the first frost. (Got a wheelbarrow full of squash, tomatillos, a few tomatoes, a couple of eggplants, broccoli, peppers and herbs. It's always a sad day when we wake up to find everything blackened by frost. But in some ways, it's a welcome reprieve from all the work involved in gardening. Had it not rained so much last week, I'd be out there preparing for next year's planting. But that will have to wait until it's dried out some more. I guess I'll just go quilt something!

Speaking of quilting something ...




















(it's Cathy's '30s quilt)

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Cell phones. Grrrrr.

My sister gave me a cell phone so I could keep her posted when my son was in the hospital over five years ago, and it still works. Looks like an antique at this point, but it WORKS! It also works like a walkie-talkie -- when I can remember how to use it, that is. I only use it now when she and I are going to meet up and want to keep in touch en route, and I have to get out the instruction booklet to take a refresher course every time.

Last year, DH gave me another cell phone because it came with his as a package deal. This thing is nearly useless. First of all, the battery won't hold a charge worth a tinker's darn. Every time I'm going to use it, I first have to charge it up again. Most of the time, I cannot even get a signal, and if I do, it breaks up so any conversation is a garbled mess. I had an appointment in town where they sell these phones, so I took it yesterday to see if I could resolve the problems I'm having with it.

First of all, upon entering the store, you have to go to a sign-in station to type your name into their queue. I can type. I can type really well, and really fast. But on that stupid thing, I cannot make it let me type two words without having to backspace, clear and start over, etc. I had tried over and over, and was thinking I might push the stinking thing over if it didn't soon cooperate, when the store manager burst through the back door and greeted me with, "Hi! How are you doing today?" in a voice loud enough that I'm sure people in New Jersey probably heard him.

I informed him that I was, in fact, not doing very well at all with this machine because it would not allow me to type two words without fritzing out. So he typed in my first name and then hit the enter key. Whaddya know! It doesn't even NEED my last name, after all. So then ... why do they ask for it? Tsk. The whole system is just a stall tactic, so they don't have to actually wait on you when you first arrive. It's designed to get you to browse, in hopes that you'll fall in love with one of their hot new devices so they can have you sell YOURSELF on an expensive upgrade.

Eventually, after standing there for about 10 minutes with my arms folded, not at all interested in their goodies, a "salesman" approached and asked if he could help me (he could tell it was my turn because my name was number one on the video screen up over my head -- that, and the fact that I was the only one who had not yet been waited on). So much for the "high tech" system.

So the salesman asked me, "What can I do for you today?" I told him that I needed a new phone, that mine would not turn on this morning, and about the problem with not holding a charge since day one, etc., etc. Oh ... and "can you just retrieve all my contacts and stuff from this phone, because I'd hate to lose all that info ..." His eyes lit up. As long as the phone would turn on, he COULD pull my stuff from the old to the new. He wanted to know what model I'd like to purchase. So I explained that it was on my husband's account, and since he was entitled to a free phone at this point, I'd like him to show me which ones were available with that plan, and tell me what the differences were between them. I don't think he was planning to have to DO anything except take my order. He looked stunned.

That part about the "free" phone took the wind out of his sails (read: S-A-L-E-S). He showed me a cheap phone. I don't care, as long as he could put my info into the new one! (I know I told him that was one of the problems: can't turn it on today.) He told me the new models have different connectors than mine, so I'd have to purchase new chargers for the house and car because they've switched to a "universal" kind. (Hey ... that's what they said LAST time! Apparently last year's universal is not the same as this year's universal.) Oh, and now that he's had a few minutes to think about it, I could not actually get the free phone because it was on my husband's plan, so only HE is entitled to get the new phone. Does that make any sense? He gave me this stupid phone in the first place. Ugh ...

So, now I was going to have to purchase the new phone and two chargers to go with it. I asked about whether or not they had i-phones, because as long as I'm going to buy, I might as well buy the ONE gadget that TV commercials have caused me to covet. (I LOVE those "there's an app for that" commercials! But that is neither here nor there.) Nope. That's not their brand, but they have one that's even better, according to him. How so? He had no answer to that question, but looked a little livelier at the prospect of selling me one of those bad boys. So I nudged him with, "so ... do you think you'll be able to retrieve my info from the old one, then?"
I was beginning to get a little irritated by his vagueness, and the way he made me feel by not answering my questions. I realize I am not exactly cell-phone savvy, but I'm not a complete dunce, either. I have CHOSEN not to spend my time learning everything there is to know about cell phones. I don't intend to make cell phone usage a career, after all. He punched a few buttons on the old phone in rapid succession. I asked him what that was about, and he answered that it was just a little trick ... Lo! and, Behold! That sucker lit right up. Hah-HAH ...
But the joke was on him. As long as the old phone was now working, I had no need for a new one after all! DH can go get himself a new one -- as soon as he has half a day to kill, reading the little signs next to the phones because nobody there is going to explain the differences. I guess we're expected to go in and find out which ones are available at a price that matches what's in our wallets, buy it, take it home and read the book to learn how to use it. Me? I've got other things to do.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Where does the time go?

To give you a hint, I have a few pictures today. Joanne H left these for me to do ...













Gifts for family. I'll see her this weekend, so she can get the binding done and deliver them to somebody who's going to be very happy. Here's the back of the pink and black one:














(I hope J doesn't mind that I used her quilt to practice up on some feathers.)

I ha
d to purchase a new washing machine last week. Things were coming out dirtier than they went into the old one. Nice, eh? The new machine cost about double what I paid for the last washer I purchased ... and THAT was with 20 percent off sale. Whew! Is it just me?!? And where's the agitator? Oh ... they don't have agitators any more? Top loader? Front loader? Ohhhhh ... too many decisions. Guess I didn't notice (or didn't even SEE) the little sticker that says, "Use only HE detergent." Tsk. I had to go out shopping before I could use the stupid thing. Okay, that's not entirely true. There was a single-load sample of detergent packed with the machine, so I was able to do one load right away. Talk about too many decisions! There are choices to be made about water temperature and level, how hard you want it to spin, whether or not to use an oxi-product and/or fabric softener. Jillions of buttons to push. And, don't-cha know, they're each labeled with little tiny type, in GREY no less, that requires a magnifying glass to read. Guess I'll have to hang a pair of readers above the washer from now on.
I thought that, considering the washer had not yet been used to wash anything seriously dirty such as barn clothes or the dog's blanket, it would be a good time to yank stuff from the closet that just needs to be freshened up. Without any glasses, I could read "QUICK WASH" and picked that thinking it would be equivalent to a gentle cycle. Maybe not. It looks like I took these garments down to the creek and beat them with a rock. This morning, I picked up the "fact sheet" that was with the machine and read, "garments tend to tangle and twist when you are washing loads of one type of garment ... try mixing different load items to reduce tangling ..." Great. Something tells me I am not going to get along well with this new machine. My blouses and dress slacks must need to have a bodyguard pair of heavy jeans escorting them to avoid getting beat up?!?
I've gotta go -- need to call the eye doctor for an appointment.












Wednesday, September 15, 2010

I need new glasses ...

I don't seem to be able to get and keep a pair of glasses that work for me. I made the mistake of letting the eye doctor talk me into getting no-line lenses. I had the other kind and was happy with them, but my prescription changed. The no-lines were a big mistake for me. As much as I tried to adjust to them like they told me to do, I couldn't NOT get happy with them. The first week I had them, I bumped into the curb while driving. Not good. Being far-sighted, I often tell myself I can make do by standing farther back, or with "readers" from the drug store. Well ... "standing back" will soon mean going into the next room. And those readers never seem to be where I am. So I squint, push magazines onto the floor so they're a decent distance away, etc. I can only push my chair so far away from the computer monitor before I can no longer reach the keyboard, ya' know?

I was glancing through a quilting magazine that arrived in the mail (sans glasses). There was an ad that, for the life of me, I cannot figure out WHAT is pictured there! What it looks like to me is a fall-colored red leaf with some vague, dark shape to the right, and some smaller "collection" of something on the "leaf" itself. What comes to mind is a caterpillar (the thing on the right) that has eaten some of the leaf and pooped. (Don't mind me ... we've recently been out hunting monarchs to put into a jar for the grandkids to watch go thru metamorphosis. Side note: DH wanted to keep one for himself -- it's fascinating!)

And on one of the knitting sites I visited, there's this:












My reaction: how did I live all these years without a knitted bowling ball cover?!? (Oh ... that's a purse.)

Monday, September 13, 2010

What's so funny?

After posting my dilemma with the bees, a dear friend sent me a message telling me to get my hands on an old flick called "Pure Luck" and watch it -- reminds her of me. It's about two people who have more than their fair share of nonsense in their lives. So much, in fact, that calamity is just the norm. I don't get it ... what's so funny?

Dave and Rose M were here for what turned out to be a marathon of quilting yesterday. They feathered the dickens out of one very large quilt, and then did another. They will be taking these two gifts with them on their next journey overseas. It was a long day, but the quilts turned out great. The pictures? Not so much. Camera trouble. Of course. I was the one trying to use it. Makes perfect sense that first the memory stick would jam and then, once I got that working, the batteries died. I'll post pics tomorrow after I charge the batteries up. Maybe. If all goes well.

This morning there was a barrage of acorns pummeling the gutters on the front of the house. What a racket! That sound brought to mind something I'd not thought about in many, many years: cap guns. When I was a kid, we used to walk to the store and for a penny (or was it two?), we could get a roll of caps. At any rate, it usually took about four of us to accumulate the needed change to go off and make a double purchase. Then we'd divvy up the rolls so we'd each have a chance to shoot some of them off. It was a long time before we actually got the guns to put the caps in. I can recall always being on a hunt for the best kind of rocks to beat the caps with to make them fire. Some rocks just ruined the spot on the paper without yielding up the S*N*A*P. Eventually, I got a cap gun. So did my brother. His was a big, cowboy-style number. Mine was "a dainty Dillinger pistol." Now, I had and still have no idea what that meant, but that's what I liked to call my little cap gun.

What are caps, anyway? And how come they don't sell them to kids any more? (And where'd all the coyboy movies go?) Wait ... wait! Don't tell me! Let me guess ... caps are made from a mixture of lead, mercury and gun powder -- which have all since been determined to be not such a good idea to let kids play with. And ... oh, yeah ... we used to break the glass tubes from thermometers whenever we got a chance. We liked to watch the little bead of mercury roll around, as in, "Watch this! Lookit go! It's liquid metal! Cool!"

Being the kind of kid to hang onto things I treasured, I wouldn't be surprised to find that little pistol in a box with my other junk again some day. Another possibility is that it ended up at the bottom of the creek behind our house. When my brother got mad at me, he'd pitch something of mine in there to make me wail. Worked for him every time.

I do still have a few of my favorite toys. Among them: a tin bank that when you crank the handle, it recites "A Penny Saved Is A Penny Earned" -- frugal living was considered a virtue way back then; a doll for which my older sister made a ton of clothes. It was the best doll ever thanks to her creativity. When I was four, I wanted a toy tractor in the worst way and decided that was what I'd ask for if anyone offered to buy me a gift. An insurance salesman/agent used to come once a week to collect the premiums from my parents. He asked me what I wanted for Christmas, so I promptly told him. He told me I'd never get THAT! THAT is for boys! Well, my dad had been a farmer and I got my tractor. Still have it and can see it from where I sit right now. One other thing of special importance to me that I still have is my toy sewing machine. It's a tiny little thing, but it actually did sew. I guess a lot of my adult interests had very early beginnings.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Taking no chances ...

I decided that what looked unusual about the bee hive was that there were soooooo many bees outside. It needed another super, but I didn't want to risk another sting on the same day. I got DH to come out and take a look, and he agreed to put the extra super on top for me. He was taking no chances. Get a load of the outfit he put on before he'd go out there:




















Under the blue coveralls, he's wearing long-legged jeans and a long-sleeved shirt! I wouldn't put on that many clothes to save my life on a day like that (it had reached 90 degrees and was very humid). For those who are unfamiliar, that thing in his hand is a smoker, used to stupify the bees before approaching. (Notice the ever-present kitten is in attendance.)

My face really swelled up in the night, so when I got up in the morning, I looked like the poster child for domestic violence, with both sides of my face red and all puffed up. Then Sunday I got into a tangle with a rose bush while tidying up a flower bed. All the bleeding scratches just added to the effect.

Once when I fractured both arms at the elbows by tumbling ass over teakettle in the road, I went to the ER for X-rays. They must have asked me ten times how I had injured myself, and if I was SURE I wasn't a victim of abuse. I wonder what they would've thought if they could have seen me this time?!?

-----------

My knitting has been resurrected. I finally figured out where I left off on the green sweater and am pretty close to having the front finished. Next I'll need to do the sleeves. I'm always stunned at how long it takes to knit a sleeve for anything. I don't know how it always surprises me, as if it hadn't already been discovered over and over. When you look at a sleeve laid out flat, it is apparent that it is nearly as large as the front of any sweater -- so why does it ALWAYS shock me that I cannot get a sleeve done up in jig time? Must I repeat, "Slow Learner Here"?

After the greenie is completed, I hope to start a sweater for my GD. She wants another just like one I made her when she was a tot. A knitter-friend is graciously doing the math for me. I don't trust my own abilities when it comes to math. Ever since 9th grade, when I (normally an honor student) nearly failed a class because of algebra. I struggled for months, trying to "get it" in that class. Then, suddenly it was as if someone whacked me upside the head with a two-by-four and knocked some sense into me. The whole experience left me mathematically scarred for life.

My oldest grand will be starting 9th grade tomorrow. If you're the praying sort, remember him. Not that I think that dreaded math teacher I had is still out there. But just in case ...

Friday, September 3, 2010

Yowwwch!







I got two bee-stings this morning. I went messing with a hive (did I mention I'm apparently a slow learner?). Something looked a little unusual about their hive, and I decided to get nosy. Got stung on the hand. Several bees had landed on my hand and arm. I shook them off, but one little guy was persistent. No amount of shaking could release his grip. Just as I was about to pling him with my finger to dislodge him -- zzzzzt! Got me! No big deal -- didn't really hurt much at all. No swelling -- really not a big deal. (You KNOW it hurt the bee more than me, right?) Well, that bee must have been issuing a warning, which I should have heeded. The next sting came from a bee on a mission.

That thing came up from the hive at full speed and with perfect aim. Had I not closed my eyes, I probably would be blind right now. That sucker nailed me right on the eyelid. And boy did that hurt. By the time I got inside and pulled his rear end (which was attached to the stinger) out of my skin, my eyelid had already swollen up. It hurts from my nose to my ear.

Now, if that had been a wasp, I'd be madder than a wet hen about the sting. Wasp stings come unprovoked. I hate wasps. I'd just as soon squash them as look at them. But bees are a different story. I was messing with their home. I deserved to be stung. And they were "kind" enough to fire a warning before they pulled out the big guns.

Do you suppose I'll learn a lesson from this? I doubt it. I am fascinated by bees and what goes on inside their hives. I can't help but take a peek now and again.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Slow Learner here ...

I've lived here for over 30 years, done the same thing pretty much every morning, and yet have not learned to dodge the inevitable spider web between the fence and the milk house. Duh! Do you suppose that web is spun day after day, year after year by the same spider? How long do spiders live, anyway? Are we equally dense?

Reminds me ... my sister and I once attended a Master Gardeners' class all about spiders. A spider expert lectured for over an hour and a half -- all about spiders. I learned more than I ever wanted to know about spiders that day. She told us scientific counts show over 11,000 spiders per acre in the U.S. That's a lot of spiders! She also suggested we go out at night with a flashlight and shine it over a grassy field. All the little eyeballs would reflect the light. Does that make you woozy, or what?!?

Yesterday I nearly kilt myself in the hot sun. I wanted to finish tackling the weeds in the asparagus bed, and even though I was beginning to get nauseous from the heat, I thought that if I just continued a little bit longer, I'd have it done and off my ticket. Well, I DID get it done, but had to lie down in the shade of a gate covered in hops vine until I could regain enough strength to stagger inside. Then I grabbed a drink of water and ice packs, and lay down on the bed to recuperate. Yes, I know better, but ...

Today was just as hot, so I didn't try anything so strenuous. I resolved to merely pick whatever needed picking and then head inside before it got too hot. I finally finished up picking beans (I hate picking things, but beans are among the worst) just before noon. I was out there about four hours when it was all said and done. Tomorrow was supposed to be rainy, so I didn't want to leave anything behind, fearing that by the time I could get back out there, I'd have zucchini the size of Montana, and total mushballs for tomatoes. Beans just cannot be trusted on the on the vine one extra day.

Speaking of picking tomatoes ... I wish I had a picture of my geese lined up on the other side of the fence like refugees. When they see me in the tomato patch, they come running, knowing I'll be tossing them goodies over the garden fence. It still cracks me up, after all the years it has been going on in the same way. Did you see the movie, "Nemo"? Geese are like the seagulls in that movie ... "Mine! Mine! Mine!" only their squabbling is more of a honk! honk! Sqawk! (the sound one makes when another pinches it in the butt)

I wound up with a ton of produce that I now have to do something about. DH offered to take it with him to NYC tomorrow and pass it out along his way. Sounds like a plan.

But what shall I have for today for lunch? Hmmm ... choices, choices ...
















... and then, there are bagloads more out on the porch to deal with ... (sigh)