Thursday, December 22, 2011

A Busy Day ...

I have much to do today. It will be my last opportunity until January to get caught up on work, run errands, etc., unless I want to do it with a passel of grandkids in tow. I'm not complaining ... I can't wait! Since they're all in school now, our time with them is limited. I hate school. Winter Break begins tomorrow.
I think the whole system is messed up and turned around. For instance, when a couple is young and raising a family, THAT is when their income is at what will probably be the least in their lives, so for many, it's a continuous struggle to keep finances balanced. And school! (I hate school.) It should be the other way around. I should be able to say, "Sorry, but the boys and I want to go for target practice today. You'll have to plan your math class for another day." Or, "The girls and I want to bake some cookies and then shop for new shoes and fabric. We'll read a book when we get home. And tomorrow we'll be quilting. Saturday? Nope. No can do -- we have plans. You can have them for a science lesson from 2 til 4 on Sunday."
But in the real world, time with the grands is limited and they're growing up so fast. They'll soon have other things to do with their spare time; we must take full advantage of what opportunities we have with them now. So the next week and a half will be devoted to enjoying their visit. PaPa and I have been concocting what we hope will be a fun time for all. It's gonna be Junk Food City around here, too. I shopped to stock up on things not normally found in the house. My friend and I spent a whole day baking cookies in anticipation of our visit and her need for holiday gifties. You can read all about that day on her blog. Just don't blame me for the Chocolate Nasties. We followed the recipe to a T. Not our fault they turned out that way. Every cookie jar and tin in the house is full, with spares in the freezer.
If you’re reading, Mom and Dad – don’t worry. There’s a mountain of fruit (we call our oldest grand The Fruit Bat), and a fridge full of veggies that will be pushed like drugs on a city street corner. Of course there’ll be mac and cheese, and pizza now that the youngest has “taught” me how to make pizza cheese from “big cheese” using “some tool” (box grater). But we’ll also have beef, lamb, chicken and turkey on a rotational basis. We’ll alternate garlic smashed with the French fries to even things out a bit.
I can't post photos of recent customer quilts for fear of spoiling someone's holiday surprise. But trust me, I've been busy! But tell me how that machine knows when I'm within inches of finishing the quilting? I can't tell you how many times I've run out of bobbin when I'm this close!

I can show you Charlotte F's first quilt, though.

Seems she sort of wandered close to a group of quilters and got sucked in. Now she's hooked, and dizzy with excitement over finishing this up in time to bring it for show and tell at their next meeting. The story is that everyone contributed scraps and each had to make a quilt from what they received. They had to use ALL the fabrics. Charlotte did a great job, wouldn't ya say?

Gotta run – see ya

Monday, December 19, 2011

I'm Going To Paa-ar-tay!

My friend who always plans ahead and remembers things (like other people's birthdays) e'd me to see if we could make a plan for my upcoming birthday (not till next month). Well ... I have to brag about beating her in making plans this time! I've got a trip to the dentist all planned out for that day. Woo-hoo ... do I know how to celebrate, or what?!?

I'm tempted to re-schedule the dental event and take her up on the day out. It's going to be an all-out great time with Dr. L, I'm sure -- not just your everyday, run-of-the-mill cleaning and once-over-for-good-measure kind of thing. No, no! We've got big plans, complete with whirring drills and all that. If I'm lucky, we may even get to use that Electro-Scary tool again! Can I weasel out? Tempting. Very tempting.

I took in a few last-minute gotta-have-'em-for-Christmas quilts again this year. Today I should be able to finish up the last of those. I'm always amazed at how people can be so completely taken by surprise that December 25th arrives when it does. Is it my imagination, or has it always happened about this time every year? You'd think people would just get used to it ... expect it, even. But no. It comes as a frightening shock, over and over, year after year.

Here's a quilt that was NOT a Christmas bail-out thing. It was actually one of my favorites to work on. Not because of it's dazzling intricacy, but because of it's simple beauty. In the same way that a fresh-faced young woman can be so attractive, as compared to the glamour-girl who requires a pricey wardrobe and an entourage of beauty-maintenance masters to bring out the sparkle in her. It might just have something to do with the sunflowers. (I'm partial to those in the garden.) At any rate, everyone who's come here and seen it seems to be smitten in the same way.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Wait … what? I missed something!

Looks like it’s going to be another one of THOSE days. Heaven, help me.

I was expecting a delivery yesterday. It didn’t come. No huge surprise, given that it’s the busiest time for shipping companies. I went online with the Tracking Number to see if I could figure out when it might come. Hey! It shows a “delivery confirmation.” Further investigation reveals that my package has been delivered to a furniture warehouse about 50 miles from here. Ugh … here we go!

I called the customer service number and, of course, got an automated system that asked for my tracking number. I repeated it multiple times, only to have that stinking thing tell me, “I’m sorry. I did not get that. Please say your tracking number.” Well, the tracking number is as long as my arm, and apparently that machine is hard of hearing. Trust me … this is NOT a happy way to start the day. I decided to go fetch a cup of coffee and start over. Second call produced the same results. No matter how many times I repeated that number, it didn’t work. So I just stayed silent. Then the machine asked if I would like “her” to transfer me to an agent. Well, yes … please and thank you.

It transferred me to a live person with the stereotypically foreign accent who apologized for the inconvenience it must be causing me, and who said he would have to transfer me to someone in another department. “Hold the line, please.” (I'm guessing, here. I really didn't understand a word he said.)

The transfer was to yet another automated call-taking piece of junk. It informed me that I could track my package online at www…
It ran thru a litany of services available online, and then rattled off a phone number I could call as an alternative. Wait … what? I missed something! It rattled that number off so fast I missed the ninth digit, and it did not give the option to have it repeated. Being determined to get thru this, I called again. This time, I said “Agent” when the machine asked me what I would like to do. (A trick I learned in one of my many previous escapades thru the automated phone system.) It worked!

A live person came on but, of course, would have to transfer my call. “But unfortunately, they don’t start until 7:00 in that department.” Having gotten this far, I told her that if it were likely they would actually START working (as opposed to hanging around the coffeemaker) at 7:00, I’d hold. I’d been at it for 30 minutes already, what’s another five?!? So hold I did. And, my faith in miracles was restored promptly at 7:00 by Rhonda. She picked up the phone and said she’d try to find my package. I told her that we already know where it is, the question is how are we going to get it HERE? I was to hold while she tried to call the place that now has my package. At 7 a.m., nobody was available to take the call and so Rhonda’s only recourse was to start a “tracer.” She needed to know the contents and value of the package, etc., etc. I told her it is thread.

“Red? Red WHAT?”
“Yes, but red WHAT?“
“Not red. Thread. THREAD! Like a person uses to sew with. Thread! Ever seen any of that, Rhonda?”

How long will that tracer process take? It can take up to eight business days. I sweetly (seriously! I promise I WAS sweet to Rhonda!) said I understand that mistakes are easily made, but they can be just as easily remedied. Just send someone to fetch the package and deliver it to ME. We don’t need to trace it, we need to fetch it. Just call the furniture warehouse back at 9:00 and tell them someone is coming, then DO it.

Okay … this is getting incredibly long, so I’ll cut to the chase. Rhonda sez “no can do.” I give up and go to the barn, now about an hour late for morning chores. And what do I find there? The old ewe who ALWAYS has twins that she cannot feed, isolating herself from the crowd. Oh, no! Here we go again …

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Desperate times ...

I have a friend who picks a group of movies to drop off for us when she comes -- some "action packed" ones for DH that have lots of noise, screeching tires, battling robots, gun fights, blood-thirsty aliens ... whatever. For me, there'll often be a history flick, and whatever else happens to be handy. She's not been here in a while, so we've pretty much blown thru the entire heap we had to choose from, viewing one each Saturday night together. This past weekend, we were down to the very last one: Jane Eyre, "a love story as fiercely intelligent as it is passionate." I chuckled when DH put the movie in to play out of desperation for something, ANYthing to watch. I was amazed and astounded that he stuck with it without falling asleep. About three-quarters of the way thru, though, he said, "This needs some action ... like a sword fight or something." Does that sound as funny to anybody else as it does to me? I'm still sniggling over that one.

Here's a glimpse of a quilt I spent a lot of time on recently.

I did a motif in each of the blocks, then put a coordinating swirly thing in the sashing. I was totally surprised to discover that the overall effect was that of a simple all-over design from the back. I guess I needn't have bothered to make things complicated for myself. Live and learn. It's Sue P's quilt, BTW.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Here's what took up my time this weekend ...

She looks just like her Momma, no?

I can't seem to get a good shot of Paula's quilt, so these will have to do:

and closer:

Good news! The long-awaited quilt kit arrived today. Good thing I was here to Meet-N-Greet the delivery guy. He stood on the far side of his truck, peering around the corner (obviously wary of my dog who was gated onto the front porch). I doubt he would have ventured close enough to the house to drop the package, by the looks of things. He could have left the package on the back steps without having to go anywhere near the barking dog, but I doubt he would have figured that out all by himself. He was pre-occupied with being terrified. Funny how fear can suck all the sense out of a brain. But, in any case, I now have a MAJOR quilting project to keep me busy over the long winter months. Assuming there will be long winter months this year, of course.

Friday, December 2, 2011

You’ve GOT to be kidding me!

By now, pretty much everyone is aware that the prices on just about everything are rising. The marketing geniuses (hmmm, should that be geniusi?) have come up with a scheme to disguise their rapidly increasing costs to consumers by making the packages smaller. Like the “quart” jar of mayo that, although it costs about a dollar-and-a-half more than it did about a year ago, is now something like 28 ounces. And the toilet paper that measures about a quarter- to half-inch smaller in width – they shaved some off and only raised the price of the roll “a little.” Or, how about the “pound” of coffee that only weighs 11 ounces? We’ve all got used to that. But now, push has come to shove.

On my previously noted trip to the feed mill, I saw they sell Muck boots. I wear those in the garden, and on muddy days. Since the August deluge, the mud has not YET dried up. More than once, I’ve lost one of those ankle-high Muck shoes in the mud. It’s not a pretty thing, and I only hope the neighbors don't notice how much bluer the sky looks when I have to step in that mud with only a sock on my foot while I try to retrieve the sinking shoe from an onslaught of trampling hooves. So … back to the feed mill story. They had an 8-inch version that was priced about ten dollars less than I usually pay for the short ones. Plus, I’d save more by not having to pay shipping. I grabbed a box with my size stamped on it, and was on my way.

This morning, I fetched the box from the back seat of my car, intending to wear my new boots to the barn and foil the mud. Oh, Happy Day! NOT. This is what I saw when I opened the box.

Please, PLEASE tell me they haven’t started selling boots as singles … I’m gonna die of frustration one of these days.

A new hat for MaMa ...

I was in the middle of knitting a sweater that I started on a whim because I saw a photo of one someone else made. (My Compulsive Shopper thing kicked in.) It is knit as one piece up to the armpits, so the cast on was some hideous number of stitches. It's pretty much stockinette stitch except for a cable at the front opening, so gets kind of tedious, allowing for the wandering of an already easily-distracted mind. I started thinking about how nice it will be to arrive at the end of this sea of repetition, and wondered why I even started such a thing. I could have made a hat and been done with it. A hat. Yes. A hat. THAT is what this yarn should have been. So I left off the sweater and started a hat. (I'm old. I can do that, if I want to.)

Here's the hat:

And here's a picture of Rose's French Braid that she and Dave finished up here last week.

I think the photo should have been rotated, but, oh well. She pieces, he quilts with her supervision, and I bail them out when there's a problem. My camera was in hiding when they were here, so we used their cell phone. I took pics of them with the quilt, but they didn't forward those for posting. Hah! They're coming back soon, and I've found the missing camera. I'll get them in the next photos.

Meanwhile, back in the jungle ... yesterday was a Fire-Outputting day. The freezer in the cellar bit it. I'll spare you the details, but know I felt like I accomplished something major when I finally got all the stuff moved to another freezer with little loss. The afternoon was spent running mundane errands like banking and grain fetching from the feed mill. Bleh.

I've finished up a few more customer quilts and will get some photos of those to post later.

Friday, November 25, 2011

anything look familiar here?

Not washed & blocked yet, and loose ends inside need to be dealt with. Still don't recognize anything? Here's a hint:

Yep ... wool from my sheep, now socks. I have a ton (literally) of wool spun into yarn. I decided yesterday to try it out. With a little practice, it is destined to become my favorite. The dark wool seems to be a bit finer than the white, so I'll need to figure out how they work together the best way possible. My goal is to make sweaters for everyone in my family from our home-grown wool. But I'm already old, so I'm not sure how that will work out.

Should I start with the smallest size, figuring that working from the smallest up will yield the highest number of finished products in shortest amount of time? Or should I work from the largest down, figuring they can be passed down as people grow into them? That might be the best plan. Then everyone can take a turn wearing the sweater, pass it along to the next in line, saying "Your turn to pretend you like hand-knit wool sweaters."

Maybe I should just make one for myself and see if anyone asks for their own. Yeah. That's the ticket!

Friday, November 18, 2011

She'll be ...

… wearing hand-knit stockings when she comes …

* * * WARNING: rant follows. You DO know where your delete button is, right? * * *

Is this the new marketing trend? I keep getting messages from the big online book store, letting me know that books I may be interested in are available for pre-order. The first week of September I saw a quilt kit I thought was beautiful. After a couple of days of telling myself I didn’t need yet another project on the shelf, I caved and decided I really REALLY want it. So I went back to the website and saw that, not only was it a pre-order item, but the price had gone up by about $30. Well, that didn’t sit very well with me. It had only been a matter of about two or three days since I’d first considered it. So I went to the website of a major quilting fabric retailer and found it was there, as a pre-order item at the first price I had seen. So I ordered it. My heart’s desire became a gift to me. It was to be available mid-October. Perfect.

I also needed something to make for a baby friend, and found another quilt kit in a magazine and decided to order it online from the company who advertised it. Wow! It was on sale for half-price. My lucky day! So I ordered that on the same day as the first, but from this second company.

So forward to November 1. No packages arrived, so I called to find out why. The first company said that they were waiting on the manufacture for the pattern that goes into the kit. (Oh … please, take your time!) The second company said they were waiting on the manufacturer for the fabric that goes into the kit. (I do hope they’ve at least picked the cotton at this point, lest the baby be full grown by the time I make his crib quilt!)

It’s now past the midway point in November, and still my packages have not arrived. Yeah … I know … I could just cancel my orders to express my unhappiness with both of these companies. (Mind you, these are NOT small companies – they are the industry leaders. Otherwise, I’d be a bit more understanding, fully aware that stuff happens and things don’t always go the way it’s hoped.) I’ll try to wait it out, but trust me, I won’t be doing the pre-order thing again any time soon.

I recently read someone else’s rant about how the J-I-T method of managing inventory is not good for the economy. (It might have been on the Drudge Report.) I think they’ve now pushed the process even further. I’m opting out.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

What's THAT about?!? ...

Walking over to the studio for a day of quilting, I glanced down into the pasture and saw this:

King of the Hay Bale? Go figure. (There's always something nutty going on for my amusement.)

The day before, all the cows decided to hike over to the neighbor's farm for a visit. I managed to round them all up and bring them back home without much of an issue. The electric fence that is supposed to keep them in had been knocked down, probably by deer in the night. I thought the wire had been snapped because it was stretched across the road and dangling over a welded wire fence. My guess was that a deer got caught on it, and jumped the welded wire fence to escape, taking the electrified wire with it on it's hoof. I grabbed ahold of the wire, intending to re-attach it where it belongs, and ZOWIE! I found out it was still a live wire. Sparks flew. From my mouth.

I put the cows in the upper pasture because I had no desire to repeat that little scene. DH could take care of it, and I told him about it when he returned. He said he would fix it, after he came inside for a cup of tea and a snack first.

By the time he went back out, the cows had found their way out of that pasture by way of a gate that opens into the woods where he gathers firewood. He had left it open the day before, not thinking I'd put the cows back in that pasture for a while. They all headed down the road and paid the neighbor on the opposite side a visit this time. DH and the dog rounded them up again. Now we've all had some good exercise, a chat with the neighbors. I'm telling you, it's as good as a three-ring circus most of the time.

Pat still has some more work to do on her quilt, so no photos yet. But here's a glimpse of Shannon's Minkie Monkey quilt. That minkie fabric is incredibly soft, stretchy, and with deep pile. I had not quilted any before so was a bit apprehensive about working with it. It worked up without any problems caused by the fabric's characteristics. Nice surprise. See the monkeys? They're swinging in banana trees, and that design coordinates with the fabrics on the front of the quilt, which I have no photos of to share with you.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011


And here we have Leftovers:

Looks like socks, to me! I couple of years ago, I knitted a sweater for GS1. I've never seen it since, but I'm sure he's outgrown it by now. I remember that the yarn was soft and squishy -- the way I like my socks.

Pat C is coming back today, and we hope she'll get her starry quilt finished. Stay tuned for photos.

Monday, November 14, 2011

She's absolutely right!

Brenda S commented that when she was in school, those experiments were done with plenaria. She's absolutely right -- that's what they were (not euglena)! (google it if you wanna see some regeneration images ... they will grow a second head if you split them. Ugh! Who thinks these things up? And how did someone ever discover those odd little things to experiment on?!? I guess I'd better go google it some more to re-remember).

Well, Brenda came and got a couple of quilts done Sunday. The first went without a hitch; the pawprint quilting pattern was just the ticket for the cat print.

Although you cannot see the print on the back of this, it’s got little toy vehicles, and we found a pattern with the same theme for the quilting. Very cute.

Tip for the day: if your scissors go missing, find them before you proceed.
Sock progress: when I get to this point (closing up the toe), “She’ll Be Coming ‘Round the Mountain” starts running thru my head, over and over till I finish it up. So finish it up I must, lest I go completely crazy from the repetition in my brain.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

a what?!? ...

DH uses this tool when caulking. I saw it lying in the bathtub during one of his recent projects and asked, "Doesn't that thing look like a euglena?"

"A what?"

"A euglena. You know, those things that you can cut the head in half and it will regenerate so it has two heads."

"What ARE you talking about?!?"

Okay, so is it just me, or did anybody else have to do that in first level biology class?

Here are some pics of the two quilts I mentioned in my last post -- note the dates, etc. Handquilted antiques (owner accepting offers).

Dated Sept. 07, 1888

That edging is either tatted or crocheted. (How does one tell the difference?)

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Like riding a bike ...

Yesterday, in the studio, Becky did a "test drive" of my binding instructions while she waited for me to give Pat a quick refresher on the Avante (longarm quilting machine). Becky's never done a binding before, so she was the perfect candidate to try to follow the directions. I'm glad she was able to figure it out -- makes me more confident that my upcoming demo for the quilt club will be okay. While Pat quilted, Becky and I made some progress on her quilt. It's coming out nicely, and we're nearly ready to put it on the machine and let her have at it. It's time to choose a quilting design. Decisions, decisions!

So here's Pat's accomplishment for the day:

It's been a year since she's been here, but I only had to remind her how to get started and then off she went. It's like riding a bike ... you never forget. I've gotta tell you: this quilt is 97x114 inches and by choosing a simple yet pretty pattern, she got it quilted in a day and didn't even have to skip lunch to do it! Nice job, Pat!

I've got some quilts to show everyone. They belong to a fellow I used to work with many moons ago. His home along the river was ruined in the recent flooding, but thankfully, these quilts survived unharmed.

Two of them are antiques. I'll get some photos later today and post them for the viewing pleasure of all. That will have to wait until after I take some time to scare the socks off Dr. L again this morning. Oh, the power I have in the dentist's chair!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

She's done it again ...

Penny came one day last week to quilt one she's put together for the shop that is collecting quilts for flood victims of Owego, NY. She made it from scraps of others she's done, using a simple pattern that goes together quickly but is still pretty. She chose a swirl pattern for quilting that was just the right touch to make it fancy, and was finished in less than three hours.

All she has left to do now is the binding, and she expects to have it done in an evening. I hadn't heard about the effort to collect quilts, so had nothing to contribute besides time in the studio. How did I NOT hear about it?!? I need to get out more.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

A good read; a new sock ...

I finished reading Killing Lincoln ... (Bill O'Reilly and Martin Dugard) last night. It tells the story of Abraham Lincoln's assassination, beginning six weeks prior to the event. It was a good read. Reviews I read say it's not always technically accurate in details, like which room what happened in at the White House, but I'm not sure that's important. At least not to me. I'm not a researcher nor an investigator trying to solve any controversy. I was just looking for something that could hold my interest for a couple of nights. This book fit the bill, for sure. I couldn't put the thing down.

They say O'Reilly was once a history teacher. If all high school history teachers had his knack, school could be much more interesting for American students. A teacher can make all the difference in the world, according to how well they can bring a subject to life. That brings to mind a few of my history teachers when I was in school. My American History teacher in HS had to be the absolute worst. (Sorry, Mr. F, but it's absolutely true.) He was lazy. And full of himself. He spent more time bragging about himself than doing any teaching. He had a "policy" of giving out a certain number of As, Bs, Cs, etc. He doled them out more according to how well he liked/disliked a student more than anything else. This teacher didn't TEACH anything. He assigned reading every day, then gave quizzes whenever he ran out of stuff about himself to talk about in class. I'm telling you, he was THE worst teacher, ever!

One of my best friends in that class openly flirted with him to "earn" her A every marking period. I usually got a B. One day I confronted him about his grading system. He admitted that it WAS ridiculous, but said he had no intention of changing it. So, being the bold brat that I was and probably still am, I told him I wanted an A on the next report card, indicating that unless I got it, there would be trouble. I got the A. How gross is that?!?

In college, I had the same professor for sociology and Russian history. After several weeks that semester, I received notice that I was to meet him in his office one day. He asked me why there was such a discrepancy between my performance in sociology and that in Russian history class. Asking him to pardon my bluntness, I had been wondering the same thing about him. I explained that the way he taught sociology put me to sleep. Literally. I used to ask my friends sitting nearby in the crowded, too-warm lecture hall to poke me if I dozed. No joke. The class was crowded only because it was a required course. I suspected he got stuck teaching something he didn't have any interest in. (They had a problem filling all the teaching positions that year.) His presentation of Russian history, on the other hand, was a thrill a minute! Seriously. Full of mystery, intrigue, facts I'd never heard before, and I marveled at his amazing knowledge.

I thought that I was certain to have the Riot Act read to me, but his comment was, "Fair enough." And in fairness to him, he did make an effort to keep me awake in sociology class after that. I managed to get thru the class with an average grade, while I got what they called "high honors" in his Russian history class. I'm telling you, it's all about the teacher.

And with that note, I'll quit my rant about teachers and show you what I'm doing to continue my effort to reduce the stash:

I have just a couple of balls of this yarn. It's 100 percent wool and will make warm, cozy socks. One can never have too many of those! There's enough yarn to make both socks to match, but I'm pretty sure that wouldn't matter to me. I intend to use up odds and ends to increase my hoard of sockage while decreasing the stash of yarn around here. If that means I have one of a kind, all the better! Whoever made up the rule that socks must match ought to have been ousted from rule-making right at the beginning. How much more interesting the wearing of socks would be today!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Red Bull, of a different sort ...

Red Bull with mama, Little Red :

-- November 1: a sunny day for his debut.

New Red with mama, Big Red:

she refuses to stay inside. She is bigger than I am (a little, at least). She wins.

Becky came yesterday to work on her quilt, and brought this beauty for Show & Tell:

It is a generations-old quilt made by the womenfolk of her family and recently given to her by her grandmother. It is in beautiful condition, having been cherished by the ladies in whose hands it has been for so many years. It actually skipped a generation, and I'm guessing that's because it is obvious Becky is one who will appreciate the gift. Lucky girl, that Becky!

Monday, October 31, 2011

Something new ...

I took this picture early this morning, before the sun had a chance to finish melting our snow.

I think the way it froze after starting to melt away yesterday is interesting. Looks like the "snow" icing on a gingerbread house, doesn't it? I never realized it happens in real life that way.

Here's New Red, with her mama, Big Red. Late this morning, Big Red broke through a fence in order to make her way down to the bottom of the pasture where she prefers to have her calves. I knew today would be the day, because before I even went out for chores early this morning, I could hear her "talking" to the calf. So far, everything seems to be okay, except BR doesn't seem to want to be confined inside the barn. She's a HUGE animal, and if she decides to break a door down, it won't take much effort on her part. Let's hope she can settle down for a few days, until the little 0ne gets the hang of things. I have to go give her some nice, clean bedding. Maybe that will help.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Well, then ...

We live in a place that I'm pretty sure rivals Siberia when it comes to weather. Our first frost date in the Fall is September 10th. Planting anything here save the most hardy things before the very end of May is risky. This year's weather was one for the record books -- and not in a good way, because of way too much rain.

But we actually got a reprieve this month. We had only light frost until last night. Having heard the weather report earlier in the week, I ran to fetch the last of whatever was lingering in the garden. I found a zucchini plant with six good fruits, a plastic grocery bagful of peppers, and eleven cabbages.

The cabbages were last, and got snowed 0n before I grabbed the last of them:

So now it appears that Winter is going to make up for lost time. The National Weather Service is saying we can get up to six inches of snow tomorrow. That's okay for me, though. I've got a good book to read, a knitting project on the needles, the apple pie I promised DH in the oven, and a pot of hearty soup on the stove. I hope those who don't have the option of staying home will at least be safe wherever they are.

It’s all I can stacks, ‘cause I can’t stacks no more!

The pile is big. It's two layers deep, and over my head. DH came home yesterday and asked how I got the wood up that high -- with a ladder?!? No, actually I tossed it up.

He's always amazed when I do something that requires Amazonian strength. Still. After all these years. It reminds me of one day he came home thru a blizzard. We had about three feet of heavy, wet snow everywhere. He went upstairs and glanced out the window, then called to me. "Look! The snow all melted off the kitchen roof! No place else -- just the kitchen roof!" (The kitchen is a one-story addition at the back of the house.)

Well, du-uuh! I had worked my tailfeathers off, shovelling the snow off that roof before he got home. He said that, knowing my fear of height, he would never have suspected I'd get up there and do that. Well, yes. I am afraid of heights. But I'm even MORE afraid of having the kitchen ceiling collapse upon my head from the weight of that snow.

So ... back to the wood pile. He admired it for a bit, and then asked me how I was going to get it back down when I need it. Good question. Well ... we DO have ladders.

And here's my latest project:

I started it with yarn from my stash, only to discover that even though I had way more than was called for, it was going to run out before I got finished. Of COURSE, it had to be yarn I had purchased a couple of years back and that the color is now discontinued. (You KNEW it could be no other way with me, right?) So I went online and searched. And searched. And searched some more. Nobody has any more. In fact, I found a request that had been posted on a forum a couple of years ago by someone in the exact same predicament. I was tempted to send her a message asking for any scraps she may have left, in the event she was able to get the additional ball she needed back then. But, this story has a happy ending: I e'd the manufacturer who put me in touch with a vendor who happened to have some left. Of course, the last ball cost as much as the rest all put together, and I had to pay a hefty fee for S&H, but ... I'm happy. The project is for my littlest GD, and it looks like I'll be able to finish it before she outgrows it! Woo-hoo!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

If Iceland can do it, why can’t we?

I just read that in Iceland, one can purchase wool yarn for knitting right in the grocery store. Knowing that Dr. L (my dentist) has travelled there, I asked him if it were, in fact, true. He confirmed it. Now THAT’s my kind of place!

Speaking of the dentist, I paid my visit on Monday as I said in my last post. Dr. L earned his fee from me that day! In fairness to myself, I have to reiterate the fact that I, upon my first consultation with him, gave him fair warning that I am the kind of patient that made other dentists break into a cold sweat when they worked on me. He laughed. He thought I was kidding. Until Monday.

Hitherto, I’d been just breaking him in with the small stuff, like root canals. He kept his cool through those, so it was time to really test his mettle. When he began to hum mid-way through the procedure, I knew his resolve to stay strong was beginning to waiver. (FYI: It’s NEVER a good thing when the dentist begins humming in an attempt to make it seem like everything’s going smoothly during a procedure. If you want to know how it is REALLY going, watch the chairside assistant’s face. If she goes pale, no amount of humming will mask reality. If she turns aside, as if she suddenly remembers she has to polish up a tool or re-stock the gauze pads in the cupboard, you can bet the doctor will break into a sweat any minute now.) So where was I? Oh, yeah … Sure enough, Dr. L finished up the job at hand and then hurriedly made off for his next appointment. He was swiping his brow as he tossed me a “Ta-ta!” and fled. He has two weeks to recuperate before I go back for my next appointment.

I took the rest of the day off, myself. Then yesterday, I quilted the largest wallhanging I’ve ever done:

It’s Laurie W’s, and she made it for a friend who, she affirmed, has a very large wall to hang it on. This photo shows just a small portion of the quilt, but it’s really large enough for a queen-sized bed. With overhang.

And here’s Julie N’s quilt, ready to be delivered to a grandchild: (It’s not really shaped like an hour-glass, it’s just draped over a chair for the photo shoot.)

Monday, October 24, 2011

Leave some for seed ...

As of Friday:

I left some for seed:

It worked!

Must go ... much to do today. (The dentist hasn't seen me in a little over a week, and is having withdrawal symptoms, so I must go pay him a visit. Then I can come back and quilt. Unless today's visit does me in. Hopefully, more quilt photos tomorrow.)

Thursday, October 13, 2011

How nice ...

These pansies were the first flowers to greet me this year when they first blossomed in the earliest Spring. They were kind enough to re-seed themselves from last year's garden. And they are still holding up, even though our weather this year has been torture for most other living things. I just think they're so pretty! And like happy little faces that bring their own sunshine. Hmmm ... there seems to be a life lesson in there, no? I think everyone should have some pansies, somewhere.

And look at this tree. It is having it's own little party! A celebration, for sure! I wonder what secrets it has and is not telling, except for this sudden burst of excitement. Everyone should have such a secret.

And here's what was printed inside a card on what should have been my son's birthday, given by a dear friend who makes a point of "being there." Everyone should have a friend like that.

Although we smile and make no fuss,
No one misses him more than us;
And when old times we oft recall,
That’s when we miss him most of all.
-- author unknown

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Incoming ...

This is next in queue:

It's Jean R's quilt, but DH thinks it should be mine. He says it looks like something I would have done, and I suspect that's mostly because it's basically pink and green. Some people think I have a proclivity toward all things pink-and-green. Hmmmphf!

(for best effect, one should utter "Hmmmphf!" in the highest pitch possible, while spinning 180 degrees around on one foot, to emphasize indignation)

From the Leaps and Bounds Department:

(note: I'm caught up, so far. And at this point, there's enough to last through December. We'd better get a move on if we're to have enough to get through till mid-April, at least. We often have our worst snow storms in April here, so it's better to be prepared to hold out until mid-May.)

Monday, October 10, 2011

He cuts, I stack, we burn ...

... and so it begins. Firewood season. So far, we've resisted starting a fire, but got close a couple of nights last week when the frost was on the pumpkins. Hey! That's what we knit wool sweaters for, right? But one of these days -- and I'm guessing it won't be long now -- we'll have to close some windows and start a fire in the woodstove.

We're way behind in gathering firewood this year, since the weather has been a bit much for the most part, since early Spring. We're on course to have a record-breaking year for rainfall. It's an absolute horror to get the tractor stuck in mud up in the woods, so DH hasn't risked it.
So far:

Don't scoff. It's a start! My goal this year is to stack it as fast as he can cut it. I know I'm dreaming, but it's good exercise, and one where immediate results can be seen. In the woodpile, that is. It is very satisfying to see it grow by leaps and bounds.

Wanna see the best woodpile ever? click on the link:
Some people are so clever!

And did you ever see the NYC traffic cops on TV who look like they're doing a specially choreographed bit directing traffic thru the busy city? I wish we could get one of them to come work in Wysox/Towanda. The traffic there is soooooo annoying lately. At least it would be entertaining to get stuck in traffic if we had one of those dancing cops here.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Add ten for accuracy ...

DH, the dog and I went for a walk yesterday afternoon. DH wanted to check on the progress of the well on the farm next door. I just wanted to get some movement after sitting on my butt most of the day. Tuck wanted to be free to re-mark his territory, after the neighbor dogs used his favorite spots.

I had been to the dentist and told DH what has to happen there next, for me. (Don't ask.) I relayed the message the dentist had for him: "Tell Andy it looks like he's going to have to work until he's 85 to pay for all this." We -- the dentist and I, knowing that DH has started a somewhat premature countdown to retirement -- thought it was very funny. DH: not so much.

All of that chatter led to a discussion about how annoying it is to be getting older and falling apart at the seams. Conclusion: we'd both be better off if we'd just lose 20 pounds. Each. DH said we need to buy a new bathroom scale. Being the cheapskate that I am, I said, "No we don't. If you just add ten pounds to whatever it reads, it's right in line with the doctor's scales."

He: "WHAT?!? That means I weigh ___ (number omitted, for obvious reasons)?!? I've NEVER weighed THAT much!"

Me: "So what does THAT tell you?"

The poor man ate a light supper when we got back, and went to bed early.

You just can't make this stuff up.