Monday, February 28, 2011

{aPaD} In Which I Am Driven To Distraction...

We are dealing with flooding here in our neck of the woods. It's kind of overwhelming me at the moment, so I'm not going to post pictures I took of the rushing, crazy water. Instead, I'm going to post a humorous picture I took yesterday afternoon. Yesterday afternoon, the whole family drove to the city to do a little grocery shopping, see a movie at the cheap seats, and hit the thrift store. We all had cabin fever and hadn't left the house together in a long while. So... off we went. Anyway, I was using the public restroom and looked up from my seat in the stall and saw this:

It cracked me up, made me smile. With all this water, I can use the giggle.

So, there you have it! I posted (more than) a picture a day through the end of February. That was my personal goal. I have some new entries planned for the coming weeks, the first of which will be devoted to making yogurt.

Hope you are warm, safe and dry, wherever you find yourself!

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Saturday, February 26, 2011

{aPaD} In Which I Find A Coon In A Tree

While on our walk yesterday, we scouted around for fallen trees. We've had several heavy duty wind storms and near-tornados in the past few years, so we wanted to see if we'd lost anything big. There was a tree that had a huge hollow, and I found myself thinking that a family could live in that hollow. I moved a bit closer, and then I saw something moving in the tree.

Turns out it was a home. A home for raccoons. There was one raccoon in the bottom part of the tree and the other was scrambling up into the top for cover. He must not quite fit up there, as you can see his foot. I think, for all the world, that looks almost like a Hobbit foot. What do you think?

He was pretty nervous, so we left after I took this picture. I hope he enjoys the remainder of his hibernation. And I hope he stays up in the woods, too, and doesn't come down to my deck to unpot all my plants this summer. Stay up in your tree, stay up in your woods, Mr. Coon. You leave us alone and we'll leave you alone. Deal? Deal.

Friday, February 25, 2011

{aPaD} In Which We Hike To The Top of Our Wedding Hill

After another storm moved through overnight, in which we lost power, had freezing rain, and a follow-up of another 4 or 5 inches of snow, we decided to hike through the woods to the top of our "wedding" hill. This summer will mark fourteen years that we have been married. I made all of our clothes out of linen and cotton and we made a circle with round stones collected from the Great Lakes. In the middle of the circle we placed a bird bath and filled it with semi-precious stones. I sewed linen bags and passed them out to everyone (it was a very small group) so they could collect 'memories' from our ceremony. Joe marked out the cardinal directions and we smudged the circle and (everyone who entered) with sage grass before we asked Mother Earth and Father Sky to bless our union. Seems really hippy, now that I describe it. But it suited us at the time.

Eight years after that ceremony, we finally finished the house we built on our piece of land and moved in. The rest, as they say, is history.

Every so often we hike though the woods to the top of the hill.

Since we got married, we've had a few additions to the family... here's one of them:

And here's another...

Almost there, now. That big tree is the tree we stood under. There are fewer branches than there used to be...

It's a tradition every Thanksgiving to take that hike with my entire family. Last Thanksgiving was very special, because my niece's boyfriend proposed to her once we made it there, in the almost-dark, wearing Thorpes, getting rained on until we were soaked! Here they are, proposal in action:

And here we all are, beaming with the romance and excitement of it all...

Every time we make the trek, I relive that day, even if it is cold and snowy. And today was no exception.

Once you get up there, the view is spectacular!

And even though we've had our challenges, and our share of ups and downs... I'd do it all over again today. After all, how could I possibly resist this specimen of a hunky man?

And how could he possibly resist me?

Well, if you stuck with me while I waxed sentimental, thanks for allowing my trip down memory lane. Guess it was more than one picture, eh? Until tomorrow, then...

Thursday, February 24, 2011

{aPaD} In Which The Pile Gets Smaller

Yippee! It's finished, it fits, and I love it! My project pile just grew a tiny bit smaller...

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

{aPaD} In Which The Boys "Trick Out" My Lego iPod Dock

After using the wonderful Lego iPod Dock, designed by my boys, for several days, chief designer Levi decided it needed to be "tricked out." This new and improved dock boasts steering wheels, a propeller, a sturdier base, and flames! Plus, the sides fold up and down, on hinges, for easy iPod placement. It's a lot better!

Here is a profile view:

My favorite feature?

The flames. Definitely the flames.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I need to go rock out...

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

{aPaD} In Which We Use Pattern Tiles

We got these pattern tiles off of eBay many years ago. They are made of wood, and brightly painted. They are so much fun, we all end up getting into the action whenever we get the pattern tile box out. With eight or nine inches of new snow on the ground and another snow day, the timing was perfect. By the way, they're perfect for the whole family.

Some of us in this house just might play with these all day long...

Happy Snow Day, one and all!

Monday, February 21, 2011

{aPaD} In Which I Admit To My Knitaholicism

Hello... tap tap tap... Is this thing on? Hello... ummmm, My kname is Suzanne and I've been knitting for over 35 years...

It knever fails. After a summer of almost kno knitting, I get a little startitis-y this time of year and begin about 20 projects I've been thinking about for the last couple of years. Even if they are tiny projects, I had to remind myself last evening, that many small projects still add up to a chunk of time and a lot of finishing. Kno worries. Kno regrets. I will finish them. And I do knot regret starting any of them.

But as I laid the mess of knitting bag contents scattered around my chair, on the chair, itself, in order to organize and decide what to wrap up first, I realized, maybe it's time to admit that I am a knitaholic. This is what I have been working on for the last 10 days... all started within the last 10 days...

Oh, and that doesn't include something that already made it to the finished pile. It was a busy 10 days... lots of trotting about to appointments and other commitments, during which I found a lot of knitting/waiting time. I chose to fill this time with knitting, because it makes for a patient and calm Suzanne, rather than a frazzled, knervous-knelly Suzanne. With the added bonus of having something to show for my time watching grappling or waiting on the doctor. People who watch me knit say I'm fast. Maybe that's true.

Before going any further with this post, I must
publicly apologize to my friend, Mary, who really will receive her sweater some day. I've decided, after writing this post, to finish the baby kimono (H) because it's due a week from today (the gift, not the baby). Then I will finish Mary's sweater before finishing (or starting!) anything else. This post seems a bit punchy... maybe because we're having "wintry mix" again and it's supposed to accumulate up to four inches overnight. Whatever the reason, I'm thinking about Barbara Walker. Barbara Walker came up with the most clever reply in response to a rather snarky journalist, who, during an interview, asked, "Why is knitting spelled k-n-i-t-t-i-n-g?" Barbara simply smiled and replied, "Why... I don't kah-now."

Anyway, for those of you who are interested in the contents of my knitting chair (thrift store, $16, by the way!), please keep reading... links included.

A - Cabled Hot Water Bottle Cozy on Ravelry in Lion Brand WoolEase Chunky
- Grannie's Traditional Tea Cozy on Ravelry in Bendigo Woollen Mills Colonial DK Wool
C - Kitchen Towel, based on a Purl Bee design in KnitPicks organic cotton worsted
D - Infant Pilot Cap in Stitch Nation Bamboo Ewe
E - Toddler Pilot Cap in camo-colored nameless wool
F - Another kitchen towel, also in KnitPicks organic cotton worsted
G - Basket Weave Dishcloth
in Lion Brand Nature's Choice organic cotton
- Baby Kimono in chocolate brown mill end cotton worsted
I - Another basketweave dishcloth, also in Lion Brand Nature's Choice organic cotton

Sunday, February 20, 2011

{aPaD} In Which Winter Returns -or- Hand-Knit-Hat-Happiness

The smile on Bob's face says it all!

Janet looks quite pleased, as well!

Back in December, our friends, Bob and Janet stopped over for a visit. They saw the Christmas Thorpes I was knitting and wanted some, too! Finally, today, we drove over to their house and I delivered them. It was fun, because they chose their own color schemes. Kind of like making a dream come true, in a very small way.

The past two days we have lived in the garden, taking advantage of the warm thaw to jump on some heavy duty soil preparation. As I began to feel chilled outdoors yesterday afternoon, I could tell the cold was on its way back. Today, it's snowing and cold, the fire's roaring, and winter is back, full force. But because I delivered the hats, I don't mind so much. Why? Because in the course of my knitting life, I have made this observation: There is a direct correlation between cold weather and hand-knit-hat-happiness! I am confident Bob and Janet will enjoy theirs...

Saturday, February 19, 2011

{aPaD} Day 2 - or - Local Boy Designs iPod Dock!

Okay, I'm already breaking the rules! I'm posting TWO pictures today, not just one!

This morning there was much sneakiness in the house... no Saturday morning cartoons, no bickering, no crazy requests, just a lot of quiet shuffling around. As any mom would, I became suspicious. Turns out Levi was busy doing dishes, folding laundry, putting it away, and starting a new load! Glad I figured out what was going on there, because he put the detergent in the softener spot, and that may have resulted in a bit of a mess...

After I heaped a bunch of praise on that industrious boy, he happened to hear me mention I want a little shelf to hold my iPod on the kitchen counter, in order to connect it to the speakers I use. Levi got out his Legos and designed this:

Personally, I am delighted. It works perfectly, looks sweet, and carries the love and energy of my boys (his little brother helped).

Thanks, Levi! You are the best son a mom could ever hope for!

Friday, February 18, 2011

{aPaD} or {a Picture a Day} - or - Spring in February

Borrowing the idea from my friend, Abi, I have decided to try blogging a photo a day to get my mojo going!

Today, we had our typical "Spring in February" teaser. It was 60 degrees almost all day long, so we went out and worked on sheet composting. A lot of work, done a lot faster with help from the entire family. Above is a picture of my boys, holding sunflower stalks I finally pulled up today. Let me tell you, I'm not sorry I waited to pull them up... they came up easily, whereas last Fall, I had to struggle with those babies. I left them up so my family could see their gargantuan size in November when they came for Thanksgiving.

Anyway, I used them to border my bed of Jerusalem artichokes. I believe, since the Jerusalem artichokes are in the sunflower family, they will like having their brothers/sisters used for bordering their bed.

It was a lovely day. Warm, mild, windy, with pungent, spongy earth, even if ice remains on the grasses in the orchard. Maybe tomorrow it will melt off before the temperature drops in a few days... bye bye Spring teaser. It was nice while it lasted!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

A Vintage Solution -or- My Bright Idea!

Hello... just a quick post here this cold evening. Every now and then things just click and a problem is solved in a clever way and it tickles me. It doesn't take a lot to make me happy, I suppose. But I think this idea is super clever, and I want to share it with you.

Not too long ago, I thought it would be very handy to have a bunch of scoops that could live in all my buckets of grains and beans. Every now and then I forget, and leave a measuring cup in one of my buckets, or I have to wash and dry the cup before moving it from one bin to the next. So I started looking for old measuring cups at thrift stores. Not being a huge fan of plastic or aluminum, my choices were limited.

Just about ready to give up, last week I walked through the kitchen goods at the thrift store and saw this...

These are Corelle tea cups from an old set of dishes. They aren't very conveniently shaped for drinking hot beverages, nor or they very large. But they ARE very conveniently shaped scoops, with a very comfortable and ergonomic handle! Aha! They cost just 25 cents a piece, and are made of Corning's patented glass, practically break-proof! No plastic, no aluminum, perfect shape! Bingo. I spent two dollars and took a stack of eight home with me.

Once I washed them and started placing them in my various bins of grains and beans, it occurred to me that they seem pretty close to a one-cup measure. I got out my one-cup measure and filled it with water, then poured the water into a Corelle cup. Guess what? Exactly one cup! Even better! Now I have eight new one-cup scoops that fit all my requirements... for a two dollar investment.

Maybe you will want to look for some the next time you are at your favorite thrift store!