Tuesday, December 23, 2008

When it Snows, It Rains...

I love snow, and again, the standard disclaimer applies. I have no control over whether it snows or not so don't hate me for saying that I like it. The only amount of control I may, or may not have is this; there seems to be a correlation between whether we get precipitation or not, based on whether I hang out my laundry or not.

But then again, I didn't hang out my laundry and we're getting more snow. So, see? No control.

The fact that I love snow, more snow, and even more snow is not lost on hubby. He's the one who has to make sure that we can get out and go, no matter how much snow. And he doesn't like it. At all. None of it. He'll take the cold without snow, and I'll take the snow, but you can keep the cold. It's a match made in heaven, I tell ya!

But snow isn't the only precipitation on tap currently at chez C-A-T. We have rain in the cabin. Yes, we have rain IN the cabin. Snow outside, rain inside. See it all happened this way....
Once upon a time CAT went to turn on the faucet to wash dishes. All was good. We had hot water, we had cold water, we had it all, and all was good. Until..... CAT noticed that she was wet. As was the counter, wall and floor. Seems the faucet sprung another leak. Again. Enough! It's not a fix something on the inside of the faucet to get it through kind of spray either. It's an either it's gonna spray or you can tie a rag around it to contain the spray, but either way, there's water coming out!

So, as I pen this prose, I'm also searching on ebay for a new kitchen faucet. The current faucet has no sprayer (it sprays a lot, but it's not supposed to. I told that to a customer service rep once when I called to get another thingy for the inside to keep it from spraying, and she didn't get it). It also has no lever (just a nub where the lever used to be, kind of hard to grip and get an accurate temperature, and which, with the additon of the new dishwasher and the subsequent turning up of the hot water heater, gets rather hot).

The new one will be a country styled arc faucet, with pull out sprayer, and anything but a stainless steel finish. It will also be NEW. And it will be under 100.00 with shipping, thank you very much.

I've found two that I like and another I could live with, all meeting all of the criteria (single lever, sprayer, arc, not stainless and under 100 bucks) and I set them to send alerts to my cell phone as the time to auction end got nearer. There's one I like better than the others, we'll see how this all plays out. It's almost as exciting as an episode of Survivor.

Technology! Gotta love it. Except for the VHS and DVD player, don't go there.

Man, these 3 day work weeks are tough! And next week, another 3 day work week. Not sure I'll make it. And after that, I am back up to 5 days! 5 days a week at work, until, oh, wait, until middle of January when I have a short vacation. But after that it's back to normal.

Monday, December 22, 2008

My Coffee Pot Broke.

If you're not a coffee drinker, then you don't get the significance of this. I may as well not even get up if I can't have my coffee.
Well, we can't have that either, especially, when my insomniac affected body decides it needs to be out of bed.

So I did the only responsible thing I could think of, that being to dig around in the camping stuff and find the old percolator, look in my old farm cookbooks on how to brew coffee in this archaic manner and proceed. Keep in mind, all of this had to be accomplished SANS COFFEE!!

We did pretty well, here at Chez C-A-T. And to be honest, it makes a pretty darn good cup of coffee, even if it did balk at being used on a electric stove, rather than a campfire. It does take awhile though, like about the time it takes to boil water hard enough for it to be forced through the little stemmy thing, up into the percolator thing and drip back down through the coffee grounds. And then do all of that for 6-10 mins. And then cool down enough so it doesn't scorch the tongue right outta the mouth. But the coffee is pretty good. Due to my New Years Resolution...(this is a hint here), I will use this coffee maker rather than replacing the old one. Unless of course this one takes a hit, then all bets are off. We do have to have our coffee to survive after all.

So, today is The Brat's birthday. Happy Birthday Brat! I'm not real sure how this happened, but he's 22. Seems like just yesterday he was falling out of trees, jumping off of anything guaranteed to buy him some airtime (and in one case, some hospital time), learning how to ride a 2 wheeler (while being pushed downhill by two of his helpful big sisters - "dodge the trees!"). He's always been my baby, which when he was growing up was a pretty easy position to be in, what with 4 older sisters. And now he spends his time 24/7 in Iraq. Baghdad actually. It goes without saying that I WANT HIM HOME! True to his positive nature, he finds it not so bad. He says the Iraqi's are people just like we are. They want peace and stability just like we do. They want the same things for their families that we do. When he and his buddies got one of the tanks stuck in the mud during the rainy season (rainy season? In Iraq? Who knew?), several locals showed up with shovels and tractors to help them. The kids are adorable, he says, but then he's always loved kids. And he's always wanted to help people, which I suspect is one of the reason's he's there, that and the US govt sent him there.
Like many, he was a teenager when he first set foot on that sandy soil, when he left home he was still my baby boy. Now, when he is able to come home, there's a quiet maturity about him, he's grown into a man; a man who would do just about anything for me and the girls. A protector. And I'm so proud of him. And I miss him so much.
Be safe Brat!

See what happens when I don't get my coffee?

Thursday, December 18, 2008

The Lights Are Coming! The Lights Are Coming!

So this is a picture (really bad scan - the book is just about totalled) of my waaayyyy cute sweater jacket that is a bit small. I'm fixing that. Hopefully it will fit better. And I'm almost done spinning the yarn for my Colorado project, a shawl/scarf/hat/vest type of thing. Might make matching legwarmers too. We (me and the Bu-Dawgh, he's a great spinner) were going to finish spinning last night while I watched the Red Wings, but due to this mysterious time change my body seems to be subjecting me to, I couldn't stay awake long enough to even get the wheel out. By the time these are done it ought to be around August.

I found out yesterday that in our area (N. Mich) the Northern Lights should be viewable around the 23rd of this month. (note to baby bro in Alaska. I don't even wanna hear about it! Don't even go there. Not one word. Zzzziiiippppp!!) Used to be I'd go outside for whatever reason and maybe catch a glimplse of them, now they can predict that (no glimpsing required!) And they tell me. So I can do what with that info? I have no idea. Put it in my Palm I guess, but then I never remember to check that either, so it's a crap shoot. At any rate we're smack dab in the middle of 3 amazing snow storms that will likely last through the viewing period.
It's hard to look up in the sky and see anything when it's snowing. If you're lucky you can see the clouds, this time of year, if you tip your head back to look up, you're likely to get schmucked by a snowflake. They can be mean. I've complained about this before, however nothing seems to have gotten done about it.

And the solstice is coming. In some areas of the world this is celebrated as a revered holiday. Actually it's pretty cool, the shortest day in the year and all, and they usually schedule it on the same day every year. This is a good thing, unlike the Northern Lights, and any assorted manner of comets, shooting stars... which are mostly random, the Solstice can be counted on. I've made cookies before. It's the day before The Brat's birthday. Now that one I remember!

But this scheduling thing has me flummoxed. (I love that word). Might need a phone call, or an email or something to remind me that this stuff is coming. Not really gonna worry about viewing the lights this time, the anticipated snow and all, but it is kind of cool that they seem to be able to predict this stuff.

Maybe I'll be a meteorologist when I grow up! Look out wayward snowflakes! You WILL conform!!! Muhahahahahahahah

Random Stuff

So, usually when I sit down to write this I have something in mind. This morning, not so much. See, it's 4:18 AM. That's 4 in the morning, people, 4! As in 4 hours after midnight. And, I can't sleep. This recent (the last couple of months) turn of events does a lot for getting knitting done, my blogs written and the web surfed, but come around 4 pm, I'm ready for a nap!

Naps don't happen here, not for me anyway, at least not until I sit down to watch tv with hubby, then I'm out cold. Seems I do my best thinking in the early morning. I used to work 4-12 and seriously, it was great. Not only did I have all afternoon off, but I was able to apply myself when my brain was at it's best. But I worked at home too, set my alarm for about 3:50, threw on my bathrobe, came downstairs and fired up the 'puter.

Speaking of 'puter's did I mention I'm getting a new one? Yay!!! Very excited here. Very. I'd jump up and down, but it's 4:22 AM and I'd probably incur some sort of wrath reserved for people who naturally wake up waaaayyyyy too early and as a result, make enough noise to wake everyone else in the house up.

So I'll sit here and quietly type, and knit while waiting for my ULTRA SLLLLOOOOOOWWWWW dialup connection to load new pages. Good times!

The knitting progress here at Chez C-A-T has progressed progressively. Lots getting done. Right now I'm working a a waaayyy cute sweater jacket for myself. Started it about 2 years ago and quit when I started sewing it together and found it to be tooo small. Could have given it to one of my daughters, but was pretty disgusted by the way things were shaping up. Followed gauge and everything. Supposed to be a size 10-12. OK then.

Well, lately the waaayyy cute sweater jacket crawled it's way out of the UFO (unfinished objects) void and demanded that something be done to it. So I tried it on again and guess what? Yup! Still too small. After weighing a bunch of options and asking expert advice (thanks, J!), a plan was hatched. Look for that coming soon. The waaayyy cute sweater jacket, not the plan. Rarely do my plans go into writing, that's just asking for crap to happen.

Also seems that the 120 days ago sweater (see the tags at the right for the drama of this particular princess) requires assistance. Blondie, who the sweater was made for didn't really like it too much, so she gave it to The Mouth, who loved it. Except she's a bit taller and longer than Blondie and wasn't so much enamored of a sweater that was that short. So, longer it has to become. Soon. But I want to finish the waaayyy cute sweater jacket first.

Well, I went and did it. The awful. The unspeakable. That which every human on the planet (well a lot of us anyway) does come the end of the year, with a fresh new calendar just waiting to throw failure in our faces. Yes maam, you guessed it. I MADE THE RESOLUTION. The big one! The NEW YEAR'S one. But I'm not gonna tell anyone what it is (see above comment regarding putting plans into writing). Well, I did tell one brother, and he laughed at me, so the heck with the rest of you. If this can actually be pulled off, I will end the year in a much better way. Stay tuned for this bit of juice!

Let's review some of my "Life On The Farm" stuff.

Red Wings... not doing so good this year, but I have every expectation that they'll pull it out.

Eggs.... pretty much dwindled down to nothing, this time of year that happens.

We've already covered the 120 days ago sweater.

Driving in and on the snow and ice have been touched on recently.

My lack of ability to figure out how to sleep has been documented.

What else?

Bu-Dawgh continues to be a HUGE baby, who insists he's a lap dog (at 60 lbs). But he's so cute, and those big brown eyes, and the wrinkles (shar-pei) and, and, and. As to his bolting problem, a shock collar has been introduced into his equation. He's pretty good with it, unless we have chicken or kitten issues, than all bets are off. Bunnies are pretty distracting too.

I have not done a blasted thing about starting my winter project this year, which is the restoration of an old antique cook stove, turned electric, that continues to live on my deck. I'd love it if it could come live in the kitchen, but not yet. It must demonstrate it's ability to be productive and not merely decorative to earn a spot in the kitchen. Especially since the currently productive appliance that it will replace is well, currently productive.

Guess that's about it. Until tomorrow morning at this ungodly hour (it's not 4:39 AM). Getting close to time for a nap!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

The Road Toad Hits The Ice Capades!

Or, a funny thing happened on my way home from work last night.

Allow me to set the scene. We got snow. Lots of it. Tons, even, this being Michigan and all. Which was all good and well, until the rain came. And landed on the frozen snowy back roads. And then the "brutal arctic air came down from Canada causing unseasonable cold, and bringing with it plummeting wind chills". Meteorologists can be so graphic, I personally think that's one of the things wrong with today's kids. But we'll touch on that a bit later. Now, there is so much wrong with that statement that I don't even know where to start. I'm quite upset about it actually, may need to hit the wine to settle down.

First of all, the snow, yeah, it's snow. Yeah we get it. By the tons, until the big lakes freeze over, or mostly freeze over, it's called lake effect snow. More meteorologist speak for lots and lots of fluffy snow caused by cold air sailing over warmer water and producing moisture.
That part I'm ok with, but the rain? In December? In Michigan? WT...?
Sleet or freezing rain, yeah, but downright, if you stand out in it you're gonna get wet, rain?
That's just wrong. On so many levels.
And then the brutal temps. Come on, Mr. Meteorologist, that's January stuff, not December. Update your map! (and calendar).

Let me recap. Tons of snow, followed by rain, then "brutally cold air". That's the recipe for ice. And ice there was (and still is). Black ice. And lots of it. Lots!

Now, let's bring the Road Toad into this equation. I'm used to playing in my big truck in the winter, drift busting, ice sliding (didn't really matter if you hit the ditch, it was big enough to climb out - mostly, there was that one time when we had to call Mr Wrecker Driver but never mind). And, while the Road Toad is awesome, it doesn't weigh too much more than a few sacks of corn. It's cute little shape and 4x4 to boot makes wintertime driving fun again. Until we hit the black ice and realized that a cute little Road Toad doesn't weigh nearly as much as the big truck, thereby we have sliding all over the place, the back end trying to pass the front end, spins and jumps that would rival the best Olympic skaters, stuff like that. Still fun, until the ditch loomed. Still doable, it's not like the ditches are 169 foot drop offs, they're ditches. And they're on back roads, where there are not a lot of people, other vehicles or other stuff to hit, so it's still fun.

Then we remember the problem. Lock Out Hubs. These were awesome on my first jeep, back when I was younger. Much younger. They were fun. A status symbol even. Gotta get out and lock in the hubs so we can get through this mud puddle the size of a small lake. No problem, it was fun, and mostly there was alcohol involved.
Now, not so much. You gotta get out and lock in the hubs of all things. Which means slogging through the snow in the ditch (usually a good amount more than in the fields or yard), which is ok in itself, but dressed for work and not for the farm or not for 4 wheeling is not so good. Plus there are seat belts to fight with, and usually not alcohol to dull the pain. And with the big truck I merely jumped out, with the little Road Toad I have to climb out and up. And I'm older.
The big truck didn't have lock out/in hubs, all I had to do to continue my fun was play with the shifters.

So, moral is, the Road Toad has been initiated to my way of winter driving (when there aren't people around, or cows, folks, I don't drive that way in the city, just where if someone was to get hurt, which is unlikely, it would be myself).

But I still love the Road Toad, it's too much fun, and it still pretty much goes anywhere, even if it requires a bit more effort from me to get there. Gotta make the best of it, eh?

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

My Paths Have Crossed

Every winter, I delight in making paths through the snow. I don't know, it's just something I do, like in the spring when the heavy melts occur, hubby and I walk up and down the road making rivers.
So, back to the paths, in a normal winter, I'd have a path out to the barn from the porch, and a path from the porch to the driveway. I'd have a path from the barn up the hill to where I drag the hose and from the barn to the back yard where the clothes hang, then a path from there back around to the front porch. I like my paths, they keep me, well, on path.

Yesterday I was out following my paths, doing chores, and I noticed a few extras. When did they get there? Is there another path maker in the house? There's the main path to the barn, but there seems to be a crossroads. One path splits off to go to the garage, one to the puppy poop pile, one to the chicken coop, one to the barn, one to the top of the hose hill, and they all intersect at the same spot. It's a crossroads, my little path system has become a super highway. And that's just up by the house. Down by the barn they go from the barn to the water, to the hose hill, to the cow and chicken pens, past that to hubbys road back into the woods (how did that one get there?) and so on. No wonder I get confused. It used to be so easy, pick up the corn on the way home from work. Feed the rabbits, chickens, cows and horses in that order, make sure everyone has hay, water and throw some sugar beets for the horses, but now.... everything is out of whack! But, hey, I got a really cool pump house! Water hasn't frozen yet! Uh oh, I just jinxed myself didn't I?

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Wintertime Farm Stuff

Last night we got more snow. Today we're getting more snow. Tonight, guess what? Yup! More snow. Totals should be in the 12-15" range. YAY!!! Should I grab the shovel and clear a spot on the pond for skating? (We'll have hubby test the ice first), should I grab the snowshoes and go for a walk in the woods, or fire up the sled and go for a ride?

What? I have to go to work first? Yeah, yeah, yeah, I know. But if there's enough gals at work and I get stuff done early...... maybe I can get out of there early so I can go play.

The Road Toad loves the snow. This picture was taken about 15 mins after hubby cleaned it off for me. Hasn't even seen 4 wheel drive yet, that thing is unstoppable. And kind of cute, if you get past the dull, camo green, spray paint job.

I love snow, not the bitter cold so much, but we could be dumped on time and time again with snow and it would just be ok.

So, first thing in the morning I slog my way through the snow (I get to make new paths, as the ones' I'd been using got covered up! - this is fun), taking my time getting to the barn, enjoying the fresh new whiteness. Hear the critters contentedly munching their dinners from last night, and make sure they have enough to last the day. They need more hay and grain when it's snowy and cold, but that's ok, they can have it. The water is always frozen, so grab a shovel and break the ice. Since it hasn't been that cold yet, I don't need the tank heaters for their water (although it's getting close, the ice is building up in the horse tank, so this morning probably will see me digging at least that one out.)

The water hasn't frozen at the pump either, thanks so much to hubby and his brother who built me a totally cute pump house. It's in the shape and style of an old outhouse (complete with half moon drawn, though not cut out, on the door). There's a heat lamp in there that can be plugged in at a moment's notice, but it's not been needed yet, they insulated it well.

Then on the way back from the barn I check on the chickens and then head back to the house. Grab an armload of wood for the stove, and enjoy the hot chocolate that's waiting for me. In the morning, this all takes about 20 minutes (unless dawdling occurs). At night, closer to 30 or more but I love it.

Maybe tonight I'll convince hubby to wander out onto the pond and see if the ice is good. We'll clear a spot for skating. This is lots of fun, the clearing of the spot that is. Normally the ice would be just fine this time of year, and I'm sure it is, but we've had a lot of snow, that has insulated it, it might not be as solid as it should be. Also need to get my sled out and started, that's so much fun that it's worth the extra work. I'll get out the snowshoes too and check the bindings.

Realizing that all of this should be done before I want to use them, generally, when these things should be done is when other things are getting done that should have been getting done before that when still other stuff was getting done.
My cabin as seen from the barn. The ladder to the left is a necessity, have to clear snow off the satellite dish every couple of days.
The "pile o stuff" to the right is a combination of the table and chairs, hot tub and grill all in a pile and covered with a tarp, which is covered with snow. The snow is now about a foot deep, but we'll get more, today and tonight.
Then, we're gonna go play!!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Road Trip!

So, did you enjoy all of the snow pictures yesterday? I can't help it, I love snow.

And I love snow storms!

But that's not the best part! Unless we get slammed with another storm (yesterday's "storm" totals were just over .5 inch. Come on! That's not a storm, that's a dusting!), tomorrow smells like a road trip!

And just what does a knitter do on a road trip? Finish stuff!

Our current resident (friend of one of the girls, heck she is one of the girls) is undergoing quite the custody battle, and since tomorrow is another one of those "in court all day" days, and since she doesn't have anyone to go with her, I volunteered.

This will be quite ok. I won't spend 8 hours in the courtroom yawning, I'll spend 8 hours knitting! And I won't spend 6 hours on the road wishing to get where I'm going and then home again, I'll spend another 6 hours knitting!

And, I'm taking every knitting project I own that is not finished. And, I'm taking some yarn that doesn't have a project assigned to it to practice a new technique just learned.

And knowing my luck, the snow will come down hard and fast in one of those storms that is really relaxing to me, and I'll end up driving. Ugh.

Tomorrow night one of the churches in town is having a Christmas Tea. This is the church that my cousin's husband is the preacher for (I'm sure there's a better way to say that), and they've invited me. Depends on when I get home, last time we did the all day in court thing it was 8:30 when we got home. Long day!

But it's all good! I'll have my knitting!

Yarn tree picture courtesy of Knit And Purl Mama's Blog

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Just Pics

From my bedroom window
From Back door
From Back Door
From Bathroom window
Pepper is chillin'
From Bedroom window

Monday, December 1, 2008


What to do, what to do.
Do I go outside and make a snowman? Do I go get the sled fired up? Or the skiis or snowshoes? (I do have that trip to Colorado coming up, might not be a bad idea to try to get into some sort of shape by then).
What? Snow days are only for school kids? When did they make that a rule?
What? That fun little 4x4 truck I have that I love to go play in?
But I don't want to go "play" on my way to work.
I don't wanna!
Besides, we're supposed to get more snow today plus blowing and drifting! Did you hear me? Blowing and drifting. That screams "come and play in me" pretty loud, I mean, who in their right mind would want to drive in that?
I could work from home, I can do that, but that wouldn't be very responsible if no one else showed up.

Ok, fine, I'll get ready to go into work, but if I encounter ice in the driveway, I'm turning around!

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Ambition Strikes..

At 3 in the morning! WTF??
Why is this? I lay there thinking about all the things I didn't get done yesterday and all of a sudden I'm awake and I find myself upright and vertical in my bedroom. This is how my body knows it's time to be up. When it finds itself upright and vertical.
It takes a bit of time for my body and my head to sync watches here. My eyes are telling my head that my body is frickin' nuts because it's only 3 AM.
My body is telling my head that it's time to be awake, because, well, we're awake.

Body: It's 3 AM, look at the clock, we could be nestled snuggly under the covers awaiting our usual wakeup time of between 5 and 6.
Head: But there's noone in the house. Noone to wake up if we turn on lights, noone will care if we turn on the music and start the vacuum.
Body: Dude! It's 3 AM! I care if the vacuum starts and the lights are on. Besides, if you make me get up now, I'll have to let out Bu-Dawgh, start the stove and by then I'll be awake and I'll never be able to go back to sleep.
Head: Come on, think of everything you didn't get done yesterday, we can tidy up the stash room, clean out the truck, get next week's hay supply moved into the hay supply place in the barn, heck we could even get the barn cleaned out before Saturday morning, when you're supposed to clean out the barn.
Body: It IS SATURDAY MORNING!!! I'm going back to bed.
Head: No, you're not, besides, you have to go to the bathroom, and then, you'll be awake, so you might as well get used to it. We'll be so productive today, we'll get knitting done! Lots and lots of knitting.
Body: Can we go to the library and return books and get more?
Head: Dude, we can do anything we want. It's Saturday and we have a whole day to do whatever we want.
Body: Except sleep.

And so it goes, and of course, Head wins, we are already upright and vertical when this argument ensues, and by the time it's over, we've already visited the bathroom, started the stove, checked our email and let out the Bu-Dawgh.

The only thing left to do is enjoy our coffee, while making a to-do list!

Friday, November 28, 2008

The Dishes Are Done Break Out The Tree!

This year's Thanksgiving Dinner was at my cousin's house, who happens to live in the same town as me. This doesn't happen very often, usually we travel, so this was pretty cool. Plus it meant I got to drink wine, and play scrabble and get down on the floor and play with the kids and since I was drinking wine, noone thought anything of me being down on the floor, or making up scrabble words. (Mark, you rock at scrabble! I'm your partner next time! What? Scrabble doesn't have partners? Snap! You still rock!).

This year's Thanksgiving Dinner almost didn't happen at my cousin's house. Earlier in the week we had gotten our first storm of the season and while on the way from point A to point B, she rolled her Blazer. Her daughter was fine, and she was fine (after hanging upside down for nearly an hour, while they tried to peel the blazer away from her). This was not fine, and this was definitely cause for a Thanksgiving Dinner if ever there was one. Plus she got a new jeep out of the deal.

So, because her husband is hunting (what male isn't hunting at this time of year in N. Mich?), I offered to take her and her kids to go get their tree (she's not quite up to driving yet). We'll just fire up the farm truck and drive over to the local Tree Farm. Who knows what will be picked up. She's a balls-to-the-wall kind of gal, a go big or go home type, so I know I'll need the big truck. No matter, it will be fun. It will be a 'venture, as one of my grand-twins used to say. And we will have a blast, and there will probably be more wine.

For the last few years I have not gotten a real tree, the kids are gone, it's just hubby and me, and I really don't like cutting down trees, or buying ones that had already met their demise. It just seems wrong. So, in my lodge decor that adorns the inside of my log cabin, I have several very very realistic "fake" trees. Realistic to the point that if I put the big one (acutally a stand of 3 trees) in a pot, people would have to look to see that it wasn't a real tree. They are imperfect, they are different colors of green, and they really look real. So anyway, this tree, or set of trees, stays up year round in my house. It holds lights (year round) lodge type of ornaments, seasonal goodies and I take it out onto the deck and hose it off twice a year, because it also houses seasonal critters and dust. But this year......
You guessed it, we have a child in the house again! We have a gal who used to live with us when she was in high school for awhile (one of our daughter's friends), and she's back, going through a rough time, and has a 2 year old! How much fun is this gonna be!!
I won't pick out the tree for her, I'll let her do that, I remember how much fun my kids and I had when we did it, but I'll look forward to helping decorate it (gotta dig out the tree stand, if I even still have it).

This will be fun! And we'll drink more wine, or hot cider maybe, and have leftovers from yesterday and, and, and.......

Thursday, November 27, 2008

In Which The Mouth Swipes My Pie!

So, today finds me over at my cousin's house armed with pumpkin pie, cranberry sauce and rolls.
Since I'm totally a homemade gal, I did almost all of it. The pumpkin pie came from pumpkins, that no, I didn't grow, but I did can. Those are the best. Don't even have to have pie pumpkins, any that I've tried will do, they just taste way better, fresher than the canned pumpkin mix I've "bought" in the past. Takes 3 qts of home canned pumpkin for 2 pies. The pie shells are made from a centuries old recipe I've had for, well, half a century anyway.
I bought the cranberries and the oranges, but will mix them together with a bit of sugar and cinnamon, add some heat and water and produce cranberry sauce.
As for the rolls, yeah, they're just plain white rolls, but I'll throw in a bit of whole wheat flour just for kicks.
I didn't whip up the cream myself, I don't have access anymore to fresh milk and cream so I bought the old standby, CoolWhip. Hey, that stuff's not bad!

I will take my pie (made 2 of them, The Mouth swiped one), Cool Whip, cranberry sauce and rolls and head over to my cousin's house as soon as the rolls are out of the oven (and I haven't started them yet, but it's still really early, she'd shoot me if I showed up really early).

And in return for all of this early showing up and all, she will reward me with wine! Lots and lots of wine. Knowing her, it will be an all I can drink kind of thing, bottomless, and not even in good wine glasses, but in tankards. Yeah! That's what you should drink wine out of, saves the need to keep going back for a refill.

I did not finish my mossi cardi, grrrr, but I will take it over to work on, when I'm not swilling wine or on the floor playing with the kids.

So, two things happened yesterday that merited remembering. When The Mouth dropped off my groceries (my vehicles are in various states of protest, and the one that runs currently does not have plates or registration on it so I can't go too far), she spotted the pies. Pumpkin pie is her favorite, and as it was, the 2 pies happened to be cozily nestled into my 2 remaining pie pans, my favorites, as it were, mostly because they're the only 2 I have left.
The minute her eye went for the pie, I knew I was in trouble. So, I did the only thing a loving mother would do. Grabbed a piece of paper and a pencil and hastily scrawled out a contract regarding loss of life and limb if the pie pan was not returned. Laughing at me, she signed it, making such comments as "you know I'll bring this back". Yeah right, if I knew that, I'd still have 8 pie pans instead of my current favorite 2!

The second thing that had me rolling on the floor relates directly to the new tin roof we put on the cabin this summer. And Bu-Dawgh. And the current location of his leash, which is outside the front door. I knew the snow was going to come down, the temps had warmed up and you could almost see the snow inching it's way down off the roof. And Bu-Dawgh loves to play in the snow, next thing I heard was the goosh-plop of the snow off the roof hitting the ground. Thinking this would be an awesome thing for an oversized puppy I went out fully prepared to see him happily bounding around in the new fallen avalanche. He was not. He was up on the deck, hiding underneath the summer aquarium, shaking. Not shaking as if to shake off the snow, but shaking as if he was scared to death. Trembling. And very much willing to leave his snow outside. He's such a baby. He's recovered though, already been out playing in it. I suspect before long, he'll be looking forward to the goosh-plop so he has some new snow to play in!
Off to start the rolls now. Have a great turkey day!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Time To Get Warm

Today, will find me taking a brief respite from my real job and out slogging through the woods cutting firewood. To me, this weather is perfect for this job. No hot sun, no sweat, no bugs, cold enough to keep you cool!
Actually I should rephrase that, my saw isn't really big enough to keep up with the big boys, so I do more loading and stacking and less cutting. Whatever, it gets done and we all have free wood. It's a great deal!
Every now and then we get a tract of land to cut, either the owners want some cleared, or they've sold off the good stuff and want it cleaned out, that's how we get our firewood. It's not really free, and I'll feel how much it cost tomorrow, but it will go a long way toward heating our house this winter.

Several times we've mulled over the idea of taking out the woodstove, or of just using it to supplement another heating system. When we put our wood floors in, we talked about putting a sub floor heating system in, but I think, no. I like the stove.
Don't so much care for the mess, and it's a real bear to regulate the temperatures, sometimes on a really cold January night, we have to crack the windows in the bedroom because it's so hot, but I think the system we have works just fine. It could be better, but it's not broke, so....

My shawl is almost done, could probably finish that today if I had a notion, but it won't happen. Also, the mossi cardi that I want to wear for Thanksgiving is close to done, I really want to finish that, more than the shawl, so that one will rate higher.

On the farm, we continue to meet the weather head on. Ice is made every night, so until it gets too thick to break with a shovel in the horse and cattle tanks, that's what we do twice a day. When it gets too thick, I'll break out the tank heaters, don't like to do that, costs electricity, and they are notorious for deciding to not work.

Hubby built me a "shack" around the water pump by the barn. It's insulated and everybody! Now, 1/2 hour or so with the heat lamp and my pump will be thawed out and ready to use. I fill tanks every other day in the winter, I'll have to take a picture, it's a rare sight!

Try to stop at a neighboring farm on my home from work at night to pick up corn for the cattle, they are getting so big.
The chickens aren't crazy about the snow, but they'll get used to it and best of all, I've started to make my paths again.

Making paths in the snow rocks! Kind of like an adventure!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Your Daily Physics Lesson

In which the forces within are equal or greater to the forces without, Or in layman's terms - Bring It On!
First of all let me dispel a myth that may or may not be disturbing you. Ready? Here goes:

I am not a physicist. I'm not even sure I spelled it right. I know, it's shocking, what with my incredible insights into the world around me - or inside my head - whatever. But, no, I'm not one of those people who wear the pocket protectors. I'll just leave that to settle in for a minute.

If you've recovered enough from that statement, I'll continue.....

My particular version of "forces to be dealt with" this morning include not 1, not 2, not 3, but 4 of my vehicles. Yes, I have 4 vehicles. Hey, hubby has way more than that, but around here, they each have their own special brand of usefulness. Even if they are just yard ornaments.

We can eliminate the bike, bike riding season is pretty much over, and li'l bro in Colorado who's temps still see 75 in the daytime, you don't even need to comment here, I'm not speaking to you anyway. I took the insurance off of the bike for the season. It was hard, mindbendingly hard, actually, but I did it. I am no longer a biker chick, but this is just for the winter.
Vehicle #2, My Egg (geo metro - 50 mpg - I can put up with a lot of ugly for 50 mpg!) currently is displaying issues involving the spewing of antifreeze all over the driveway. Apparantly, according to hubby, it is the heater core, or the heater line, or something not even remotely close or even connected to the actual heater.

That was yesterday, so I hopped in my favorite winter vehicle of all time, The Truck.
The Truck is a 1993 (I think) GMC Sierra Full Size Pickup on Big Tires, with a Crew Cab and , um, of course, 4 wheel drive. Oh yeah! The Truck!
The Truck rocks, it is my favorite vehicle in which I must ride in rather than on, but alas. The windshield wipers, as well as any assortment of dash, headlights, or taillights only work when they want to, which wouldn't be at night, or during a freezing rain session which is what we had last night coming home from work.
It gets dark here early. By 5 oclock when it's time to leave work, there is a definite need for headlights. Oh it's easy enough to see driving home, but not so much for people to see me, so working headlights are a great option.
And, when I have to stop every 1/2 mile to scrape the windshield (remember the wipers don't work and it's freezing rain) it's really cool if the people behind me can not only see me, but see that my intentions to pull over to the side of the road are documented by application of the brakes and taillights. Oh, and I forgot to mention, there's no plates and insurance on The Truck.
So, that was yesterday.
Today.... we are driving our "new" vehicle of choice, the assembled and altered, Izusu Rodeo, or The Clomper as I like to call it. I like this vehicle because it's different I guess. Really there's no reason not to like it, but it starts and stops without rain dances, goes forward and backwards, has 4 wheel drive, and the wipers and lights all work.
No, it's not legal for the road either, that should be remedied this morning, yeah, I'll be a bit late for work, deal with it.

And, if it weren't dark out still, I'd sooo take a picture of The Clomper for you. I know you'd find it just as alluring as I do.

And baby bro out in California who seems to have forgotten what snow looks like, give me time, daylight hours are limited and most of them find me inside, actually working. I'll get you pictures, don't you worry.

Edited to add pictures of The Clomper (who really doesn't like his/her name and we're working on that) and also snow pics for baby bro in CA.
Click to bigify, come on, you know you want to!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Winter Seems To Be Here

It has been snowing non-stop for pretty much 4 or 5 days. Not the lake effect snow, where it builds up at the rate of an inch an hour, that would be a lot of snow (and how cool would that be???). But this little piddly flurry stuff that just floats around and finally lands. It will do this now pretty much all winter long. There isn't a lot of snow on the ground, but it's there. As is the cold. This, I don't like. I love the snow, bring it on, but the cold brings with it a whole host of "stuff".
For one....the water in the barn is now officially frozen. When I lift up the handle to the pump, nothing happens. Well, that's not true. This following is what happens:
Lift up handle to pump.
Figure out nothing is coming out.
Go find the heat lamps.
Set up heat lamps to try to get the water thawed out.
Get bales of straw to stack in and around the pump house.
Get old blankets and sleeping bags to wrap around pump.
Come back a half hour later to see if the pump is thawed yet, (which last night it wasn't, so the heat lamps have been on all night.)
I hope it is thawed this morning. Otherwise I'll be hauling water for horses and cows again. That's a lot of water.

I know what you're saying. "Um, excuse me, doesn't this happen every year? Wouldn't you think you'd be ready for it? Like, already have this plan in place?"
Oh come on! You know better than that!

All of this brings me to a comment I had to make on another's blog. (I have no idea how I made that leap, but I got there, so can you!) Apparantly the cost to feed Thanksgiving Dinner to 10 people should cost around 44 bucks, acording to the Farm Bureau.
Let's see, my turkey, vegies and pumpkin (for pies) are all home grown - not much cost there because I DO NOT count labor of love.
The pie shells, and rolls are home made, the pumpkin for the pies is home grown and the berries are picked out of the woods.

The butter and whipped cream are home made, just because I can!

I suppose it's doable, but in today's society, not every has those skills or the opportunities that I have. (a 1 acre garden fertilized daily by just about every critter known to man, except water buffalo).

This life is great! In a time when the world around us seems to be collapsing, we are safe, warm, well fed and now that gas has gone back down, not really noticing a whole lot in the cost of food.

Oh, wait a minute, there is the cost for toilet paper for all of those people! What was I thinking!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Knit Like A Ninja Day!

So, yesterday was Knit Like A Ninja Day.

It was fun, and I stealthily knit, most of the day, well, when I wasn't doing laundry, dishes, making cookies and dinner, sweeping floors and putting screens away. Yes, I finally got the screens put away.

So, what did my little stealthy knit-a-long produce? This:

A miniature Christmas stocking to send to my son who is in Iraq. I'm making another one too, for his roommate, that one's not quite done. It was a fun knit, all in my own hand spun yarn. I know it looks a bit funky, hasn't been washed or blocked yet, it was Knit Like A Ninja Day, not Finish Your Knitting Like A Ninja Day. Geez!

And now, for the question that everyone has been asking.... where was I? Where did I do all of this Ninja knitting? What? You didn't see me? Guess I was pretty good eh? Was I in hubby's deer blind (it's heated, it's doable)? Was I out in the barn (not likely, we now have snow on the ground, and that means mittens or gloves and that's kind of non-conducive to knitting), or was I, in fact, sitting right in the living room watching the last Nascar race of the season? I'll never tell! I'll give you a clue, if you've been in my house, you know the picture was taken on the bathroom floor, but that's not where I was! (rules out the bathtub!).
And, that's all I got fer ya today, I was so busy Ninja-ing yesterday, that i really didn't do much else, except the screens, and it's about time! We now officially have snow on the ground.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Your Regularly Scheduled Friday Report

Today's report comes to you from the rainy wilds of N. Mich, where this reporter finds herself, once again, unable to sleep, and in which case, this is the case, may just as well regale you with the super duper interesting facts of her life!

As I was reading my email this morning, I came across something that I've been meaning to do for awhile now, and think I'm going to try. It's called the Dark Days Eat Local Challenge. Begins 11.15 and runs until 3.15 (of 09, sometimes my time warp abilities are capable of running backwards, this time, not so much).
Basically, what you try to do is as much as possible, eat locally grown or produced foods, from within a 100 mile radius. Should be easy in tropical N. Mich through the winter, eh? This losing weight thing keeps getting easier!
Anyway, if it's something you're interested in, go here for a look:

Aside from my inside designer lettuce collection, it could get interesting. Oh, once a month or so I get a tomato from my hanging plants in the living room. That should spice things up a bit.
The challenge here is gonna be first thing in the morning with the go juice. Coffee. Gotta have coffee. Gotta.
Excuse me while I go research how to grow a coffee tree, (or bush or whatever), in Michigan. I can promise you this, I won't resort to birch bark tea, yeah, ok the Indians used it to get rid of headaches, and if you've ever tasted it you'll know why. Just sayin', there's no danger of losing me to that stuff. Don't ask me how i know.
And, with the current state of financial affairs, those of us needing less than a million, trillion in bailouts, will probably not get their money, and eating locally may be the only way to go.

Now, our reporter rambles over to the coffee pot, I mean the calendar and discovers that this Saturday, the 15th of Nov. is the opening day of deer season. Actually I did know this, it's a sacred ritual not only in this household, but in all of N. Mich.

You know what I need? Slippers. Yeah, I want slippers for Christmas.

Where was I? I have no idea, oh yeah, deer season.

Here are the basic rules, as applies to this household.
Beginning 11.1 and pretty much continuing until the end of the year, outside chores are to be done either after the hunter leaves for work in the morning, or after dark at night. If you must be outside during hunting season, you will walk as swiftly and quietly between the house and the vehicle as possible, making no noise whatsoever. No breathing is allowed. This does not apply to the hunter, only the hunter's family.
If you get up before the hunter, you are allowed to turn on outside lights, so the deer can't see in, but you can't turn on inside lights, we don't want stalker deer now do we?
No baiting is allowed anymore, although this is fairly ridiculous. I totally get the concern about wasting disease and tb spreading, but some of us have real critters, who still like to be fed. It kind of defeats the purpose to feed the livestock only to have the deer come to them to get food, rather than keep the deer out in the woods.
Going outside to get wood for the stove is permissible, only if the inside temps have dropped to 40 or below and you can see your breath. And only then if you can do it without any stalker deer spotting you.
TVs must be turned down and all inside noises must be kept to a minimum.
Any 2 or 4 legged critter caught out where they're not supposed to be (um, Bu-Dawgh?) will be shot on sight.

Now about those slippers....

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Vern Lives!

"Once upon a time", is how most fairy tales start. That would be a normal tale, you know, with unicorns, and talking frogs who turn into princes, stuff like that, that you would just take for granted.

This isn't your everyday, basic B flat, fairy tale.

This is the story of how a homely, very unlucky moth became a beautiful young girl, who just happens to be my pre-niece. (I probaby spelled that wrong, its hard to know how to spell words that are just kind of made up as they're needed, seems like Webster would have thought that one through).

So this particular tale starts at a cabin in the Rockies somewhere, where 4 or 5 drunken siblings were sitting around playing Euchre (loosely, sitting means we, I mean they were all in the same room, most of the time). If you don't know what Euchre is, get out your Michigan map. It won't tell you there either, but you're one step closer to figuring it out.

It was late, the moon was full, out there somewhere, it usually is and said drunks were blatently cheating at a card game named Euchre (see another hint!).

As it is with a lot of the fairy tales composed by drunken siblings, this one happened to have a very unlucky moth, who (which?) very unluckily happened to fly into the light. Didn't fare out well, this moth, so in their serious "lack of sobriety" state, one of the siblings decided that this moth was only probably out trying to collect a bug or two to take home to the wife and kids, at any rate it shouldn't have died.

Now, this is the part where I try to reassure you that I was not a part of this, I'm sure you believe that.

Knowing that this moth didn't need to die, these 5 did what any drunken good samaritans would have done. They attempted CPR to bring it back to life. Several times, in between more card games and beer, we, I mean they tried their best to save this poor critter. Still unsuccessful, it was decided that since this noble creature had died trying to provide for his family, the 5 planned a funeral. For the moth.

First however, was writing the obituary, which proved difficult since they didn't know what his name was. It became increasingly difficult to notify the family, when his serious lack of ID on his moth-ness didn't give any clues as to where he might live (or really that he was even a he!). But since he was a Colorado moth and not a California moth they were pretty sure that whether it was a he moth or a she moth, most likely the other half was the other half and should be invited to the funeral.

First, we they had to settle on a name, and for whatever reason, "Vern" was chosen. So now that Vern's identity was intact we they had to notify the family. This involved much yelling, howling at the moon and talking to other moths until they were sure that enough moths knew of the event so as to get the word out.

The service was a quiet event, as after awhile, the body seemed to disappear.
Until.... ta da.... Vern lives! Vern is now a fun, sparkly pre-niece who lives in Colorado (see, the connection here?) and goes to school in S. Dakota. She prefers to be called Sunny, but alas, some things just can't be granted, so Vern it is, and being the gracious pre-niece that she is, she lives with it. I think deep down inside, she might have issues with being a moth in a previous life, if not being a possibly transsexual moth in a previous life, so we don't really mention it, but if we did....

And that's Vern's story, and if I hadn't been there myself (quietly sitting in the background watching) I would never have believed it, but it happened, yes it did!

Now if you're wondering why I chose to call Vern out of the closet, you should read the comment he/she/it left on my Space Time Continuum post; that will explain a lot!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

The Space-Time Continuum

Let me explain the space-time continuum thing for those of you less, well, knowledgeable of such things.

In any given moment, there can only be so much matter occupying a certain amount of space. If you wish to change this, you have to move stuff, or delete stuff so you can add more stuff. And this all takes time. See? Physics is easy!

Here's the equation:

A certain amount of Matter A has to be moved to the Matter B area to clear up enough space so that Matter C doesn't have a meltdown and totally affect the Matter D area. This all requires a certain amount of time to produce.

Get it? Got it? Good!

Now, how this relates to real life, I really don't get other than that I need to figure out how to move some stuff out of the A drawer so that stuff in the B drawer will fit, and this needs to be done soon. Either that or my brain is gonna get all filled up and Matter C is gonna have that meltdown.

So, back to deleting stuff so more stuff can be added. Let's see, what can be deleted. Oh, oh, oh, here's one. The very first phone number we ever had (from when I was like, 10 - shortly after Alex invented the phone). This is the stuff I really don't need to hang on to. Or the fact that on a cold February day sometime in 1960's I finally got the Partridge Family album I couldn't live without.

Here's one, how about the time I climbed the tree with my guitar so I could sing in the moonlight. Yeah, that one can definitely go!

I'm pretty sure I'll never need any of those. And if I looked even further, I'm sure I could find lots of stuff, and even more pieces of long forgotten stuff that I could get rid of. Think of all the space I could recover. Sort of like defragging the hard drive, only selectively, like I would totally choose to keep the images I have in my brain of watching my little brother get run over in the driveway, that particular film clip could have useful black mail tags some day.

Ok, say I've gotten rid of a bunch of old dead stuff I no longer need. And I now have the brain power of a rocket scientist (for you, baby bro, who got run over, who hasn't heard the end of it yet); what am I gonna do with all of this extra space?

For one, I maybe could remember what I did with my socks that I had in my hand not 3 minutes ago. They have to be in the house somewhere, I didn't go out to the barn yet, although finding them out there would not surprise me in the least.

I don't have to worry about losing my keys, one of the perks of being married to the best mechanic in 3 states, is that my vehicles have multiple ways of being started, and I'm good at all of them. I totally excel in rain dances!

Remembering that I left the water on out in the barn might be a helpful thing, well, at least the water troughs have been thoroughly washed out.

Remembering the number of stitches I cast on for the sleeves in my latest creation, or how about this: remembering to write down the number of stitches I cast on....

Remembering to look at my list of stuff to do would be good too, that would eliminate a lot of remembering in itself.

So, now that I have the problem isolated I can work on the solution.

I'll get back to you on that one. It's probably gonna require some sleep, which I seem to have forgotten how to do also.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Schmucked By A Snowflake And Other Ridiculousness

Let me set the scene. Happily, if not merrily, working away at my real job yesterday and oops. Left something in my car. Better go get it.

Happily, if not merrily I wander out to where I park my vehicle to retrieve said item. While there I discover a bunch of things that need to be transferred, not just one, so more than one trip needs to be made.
Happily, if not merrily, I meander back and forth between vehicle and work space relishing this little break, and loving the fact that it's snowing. Even if it is just a little.

The skies are cloudy and dark (it might snow), the air is brisk and cold (definitely gonna snow), and I'm lovin' it (with apologies to McDonalds).

When all of a sudden.... a kamikaze snowflake ATTACKS me where I stand. I've never seen such a thing, usually snowflakes are such docile little objects, but not this one. Noooooooo, this one has a death wish. I didn't mind when it flurried around my head, snowflakes are kind of known for their ability to flurry, and I didn't mind that it actually seemed to rush me a time or two. Silly little snowflake. But then, it schmucked me! Right in the eye! Hard! It probably weighed a pound at least, and I really have no idea how it managed to flurry for so long, being that big and dangerous. This seriously cuts into my happily and merrily meandering as now I'm jumping up and down, holding my eye, waiting for this huge ice chunk to melt. There had to be blood. I'm sure there will be a bruise.

But Bu-Dawgh protected me, he did. While I thought I saw him laughing, probably not, I was only able to see out of one eye, he did chase down a few of my co-conspirators though.
And, that's how my day ended yesterday! Today looks to be much better!

Monday, November 10, 2008

And It Snows And Snows

Which in itself is all good. It's November, we expect that. But, what I have a hard time with is that it didn't stick. The snow, that is. It all went away. It snowed all weekend, like I knew it would, you can look at the sky and see that the snow just wants to come down. But, the ground isn't all frozen yet, so the snow goes away.

Some people think that the snow going away thing is good. Me, not so much. I like the snow.

But, it will come, and it will stay and then I'll be ok.

So, this weekend totally rocked! ALL DAY SATURDAY I GOT TO KNIT!! Should I say that again, or did you get it?
All day! From Saturday at about 9:30 am when I planted my butt firmly in the yarn shop and sat there, until about 5 pm when the shop closed and I found myself home again. Hubby was going to be gone that night, so I didn't have to do anything except feed myself and my critters. 6 oclock rolls around, myself is fed, my critters are fed and the game starts. So, from 6pm until the game is over, roughly 10 pm, I knit.
That translates into ALL DAY SATURDAY I GOT TO KNIT! This is huge, it's great, and sooooo very relaxing. And, we won the game, another plus!
Sunday, with all that relaxation on top of me I actually did get stuff accomplished. Check out this list!!
1. Calf pen cleaned out
2. Horse pasture bulldozed out.
3. Feeders and waterers for both of the above cleaned out and ready for the onslaught of the freezing temps.
4. Barn cleaned out.
5. Firewood stacked.
6. Roof ridge cap put on and secured down.
7. Batch of home growed, home made Turkey soup done, and flower pot rolls to go with!
8. Deck cleaned off (part of it).
9. Lumber for winter and summer projects stacked in the barn.
1o. Various hot spots in the house cleaned up.
11. Laundry done (couldn't hang it out, it was snowing, so had to use the dryer, that scores me some minus points, but it's done, ok??)
12. I got to sit and knit some more!

Very productive and relaxing weekend!

And now it's Monday and I have a major project to figure out, or, I have it pretty much figured out, now I have to detail the details!

Good times!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Last Ride Revisited!

Ok, so yesterday wasn't the last ride, but this afternoon very well may be. It was a gorgeous ride to work, I took a detour. Just cause I could!

Tomorrow is bringing rain, Saturday is bringing more rain and Sunday is bringing the "S" word and freezing temps. I know not to ride when it's snowing. Don't ask me how I know, just know that I know.
Just like I know that Indian Summer is probably officially over and the next thing we look forward to is months and months of dreary gray skies.


I love winter, I really do. Here in N. Mich it virtually snows every day. OK, these days that means something else to most people other than what it means to me, or something like that.
It snows every day. It is humid here. When there is humid-ness in the air and the air is freezing, well, you do the math, or meteorology, or whatever. It snows all the time. Which is cool, cause some of my favorite activities require the presence of snow and ice. Skating is fun, after the initial workout of shoveling feet and feet of snow off the ice. (do not suggest that I shovel snow off the ice as it falls, it does take awhile to freeze enough to support said snow, plus my weight, usually by that time, there is quite an accumulation). Skiing is WAY fun, the problem there being that I have been skiing my whole life so I'm not afraid of going break neck speed down a steep long hill with boards strapped to my feet. Eventually my age is gonna catch up with this. Hopefully this won't be the year that happens. And there's snow mobiling, which is awesome and how I intend to get to work some this winter, now that I have a sled that doesn't require my neice to help me start! And, the dreary gray skies usually only last until the big lakes freeze over, then the sun makes it's presence.

Logging (a really cool term cause it makes people think you're big and bad) is fun too even if it is only cutting firewood on a smaller basis than what you'd normally think of as logging.
Snowshoeing is really fun (when you don't fall off of them... just sayin'....) and cross country skiing is fun too, especially when you go backwards on the trails, at that point all bets are off.

So, Mother Nature, bring it on, I know just what to do with all of your snow, ice and freezing-ness, lake effect or otherwise. I grew up here, I've lived here pretty much my whole life, I can handle you, BRING IT!!

Let me set the every morning scene..... get up early, cause that's how I'm wired for whatever reason, have a cup of coffee while looking at the night sky, which includes a really cool pale yellow moon, watching the frost settle over everything turning the landscape into fields of diamonds glittering in the early morning darkness. The wind is usually nil and I'll go out to start my chores.
I get to make my paths out to the barn and critter houses, I like making paths. I get to have my breath taken away by the cold fresh air, I get my usual cuddles, kisses and snuggles with all of my critters and then I go inside where the dry wood heat goes right through me, wake up hubby, have another cup of coffee and then venture back outside to go to work.

Life is good!
(plus, my electric bill went down, so now I'm all happy all over again!)

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Last Ride?

Rode my bike to work this morning. May just be the last time until Spring. This is distressing. Riding my bike is my zen. It's where I live, I am a biker chick in the true sense of the word. I even wore my brand new black leather coat! See. Biker chick all the way.

Well, all the way until it gets a bit colder and the icy and white stuff starts covering the roads. Then I'll be a sled chick.

Won't that be fun? Bu-Dawgh doesn't like my bike, or my snow machine, there's not enough room to sit comfortably, and there aren't walls to keep him from falling off.

So, is the time change kicking anyone else's butt? Does it even matter anymore, now that Nicolai has taken office?

Ugh. Good times are comin' I can feel it!

Oh, btw, happy birthday, Mouth, but if you want me to sing to you, you have to show up once in awhile!
Love you!

Monday, November 3, 2008

Some Stuff Done, Some, Not So Much

The roof is done!

The dishwasher is installed!

Ok, well almost.
The roof is all up there, 45 or so sheets of tin. Most of it is screwed down, the hard part is done. The ridge cap isn't screwed down yet, or however you put a ridge cap on, and the tin needs to be finished with the screwing down.

The dishwasher, almost.
It's installed.
It works,
It doesn't leak (any more).
I still have to trim the cabinets so it fits better, and adjust the bottom so it looks nicer.

I spun up another batch of yarn this weekend, this, some beautiful off white and brown heathery mix and started to knit my next project - a scarf/hood/vest kind of thing with cables and everybody. I really like the yarn, it turned out a bit darker than I figured it would. My other choice of color would have been an off white, and that would look just a little too "snow princess-y" for my taste.

We're smack in the middle of starting our Indian Summer. A week or two period around the start of deer season when the temps suddenly go through the roof (60 degrees), the end of the motorcycle riding season, the time when walking through the woods and hear the crunching of leaves under foot would be glorious, but the sounds of gun fire kind of makes one think twice about it.

Yup, good times.

Colors are gone, the little ghouls and ghosties are back home and back to school, and now we get ready for Thanksgiving.
Got all of my decorations out and put them up. I love doing this. In the fall season I collect pumpkins, I guess. I didn't do this intentionally, however looking around my house at all of my fall decorations, there seems to be a plethora of pumpins and pumpkin type stuff. Candles, sculptures, tree decorations, hanging stuff, sitting stuff, it's everywhere.
Not really a lot in the way of ghosts, spiderwebs (well, scratch that, but I didn't put them there), and other hallowe'en stuff, just pumpkins and more pumpkins. These will make way for snowmen and Santa Clause's after Thanksgiving.

I love collecting stuff - from the looks of my house, you'd seriously never get that!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

My Egg Rocks!

I always do it.
Every year.
Every year I put my vehicle in the ditch.
Only happens once, but every year.

So this morning the only reason I was surprised is because THERE WAS NO SNOW AND THE ROAD WASN'T ICY!!

So why did I drive into the ditch, in the exact same spot that this happens every year?

Because I was gonna be late for work.
And I forgot to park my egg so that the windshield was facing the sun (such that it is).
And the windshield was icy
And I am out of washer fluid.
And I didn't take the time to clean off the window, I just turned on the defrosters (hey, this is huge, normally they don't work!), scraped the window a bit with my fingernails and went on my merry way.
Right into the ditch.
Where I drive every year.

This time, however, I didn't require a tow truck (thanks, Dave) to pull me out (refer back to the statement above about the lack of snow, usually there would be anywhere from 4-6 foot of snow in this particular ditch), I was able to do the reverse, forward, reverse, forward thing and drive out on my own.

And I was late for work.
But I bet I won't forget to park the egg where the sun (such that it is) hits the windshield again!

My egg rocks!!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Vacation Woes

So, I'm going on vacation. That's it. That's all there is to it. I'm going. Deal with it world. Deal with it family. Deal with it critters, well, ok, I'll deal with it there.

I'm going. Mark it down, a decision has been made.

Believe it or not this is not the hardest part of this whole thing. Next is to figure out the dates. I know when I want to go (mid Jan.), I know where (colorado) and I have a vague idea that flying will get me there faster than either driving or snow shoeing.

So, now we have 3 things figured out.
1. I'm going.
2. Mid Jan.
3. Flying.

Which airports?
Well, if I fly out of Flint it's cheaper than Saginaw. If I fly into Denver rather than The Springs, it's waaaaayyyyy cheaper. (sorry, li'l bro, you're gonna have to drive to Denver to get me).

So now to research flights.
This is like sticking your head in the dryer and putting it on spin.

So many options, well first off we can rule out the 6 hour layover in Atlanta!
Then there's the exact dates, + or - a day to see if I can get a better rate, + or - a few extra miles to another airport to save on rates.
Nope, the airports I've chosen and the dates chosen are still the cheapest.

Now, the hard part, to actually get out the credit card and book the flight. This is serious. It involves spending money. I don't do that well. I seriously don't do that well, especially since I don't have the money yet to spend. (expecting it later this week, I've been guaranteed by my son that it's on it's way.)

Side note.... have you ever been guaranteed money by one of your kids and then....
yeah, I know, but if I go ahead and book the flight, I will have to figure out how to pay for it, but I will be able to figure that out because I've already technically spent the money. If I wait for the money, I'll miss out on this great rate! (317.00 from mid Mich to somewhere in the Rockies).

What to do, what to do.

I did it.
Now I have to go.
Now I can't back out.
I have no excuses.
Plus now I have to come up with money.
This is kinda fun - spending money I don't yet have.
I should do this more often.

On second thought.......

Oh yeah, there is one more detail.... I have 45 minutes in a major airport to change planes. This will be fun! Usually it takes me longer than that to get from my bathroom to my living room. hmmmmm, maybe I can flag down one of those cool karts.
maybe they'll let me drive....

Never mind...

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Slippage and The Penguin Waddle

This time of year, as the slippage rate increases, we have to once again relearn the fine art of what I like to call the Penguin Waddle.

Take this morning. I went out on the deck to put out Bu-Dawgh, and what happened? Slippage. The deck was all frosty and icy and slippery.

As I looked around, I noticed that in the pale light, most everything else was frosty and icy too, and most likely slippery.

It's not really surprising, the People at the Weather Place are telling us it will snow today. Anywhere from 4-10 inches as the cold Canadian air makes its way over the "warmer than the land" lakes. This is called Lake Effect Snow. It's also cold. And there's usually a lot of it.

No matter how many times I said No, it's not time yet, it's still coming. I can feel it. My hands, elbows, wrists, hips, heck who am I kidding, my whole me can feel it. I hurt. Its "the old" thing. Remember how Grandpa used to say he could tell when it was gonna rain because his toe hurt? Well, now that's me.

Yesterday there was sleet-age, you know the rain mixed with snow, mixed with ice thing. That was fun. Of course there's not enough snow to make a snowman, or run the sleds, but it was there. Mixed with the rain and ice. And then this morning, slippage. This all leads to one thing - winter. Well, at least I have a store of firewood on the deck, at least it won't be slippery inside.

PS.... We're no longer under a snow watch, so say the People At The Weather Place, however the clouds and sky are telling me different.
We'll see!!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Aren't Weekends Supposed To Be For Relaxing?

Someone told me that once, I think they lied. "They" said that weekends are for relaxing. "They" said that weekends are for doing whatever you want to do. "They" also implied that the reason for having weekends in the first place were so one could unwind, put the feet up, and recharge for the upcoming week.

Again... "they" lied.

I think what was actually implied was that weekends weren't for the work you get paid for, they are for the work that you don't really get paid for, like laundry, cooking, mowing the lawn (well, not this time of year) and such.

All of this nonsense brings me to a point. I actually have points now and then.

This weekend was sheer work!
I did dishes, can't tell, but I did clean up before I messed it up again. I hung out laundry, I mopped floors, I cut, split and stacked firewood, I canned pumpkin, I put up some frozen dinners, and what do I have to show for it? Laundry that's still out on the line because it rained. Floors that got muddy again because it rained. A pile of firewood that actually looks pretty good all stacked nice like on my deck. REAL pumpkin that I can get at a moment's notice, to actually make a pumpkin pie. You know, a REAL one, with real eggs, real crust, real milk.....
And my kitchen is trashed again. Because inbetween all of this canning of pumpkins, sweeping of floors and basically taking steps backward, what did I do? Not dishes, nope, I spun lots and lots and lots of yarn. And washed it, and hung it to dry, and blocked out a sweater, and, and, and... then fun stuff that you're supposed to do on weekends.

I didn't got out to the barn at all this weekend, except to do chores - my bad. I didn't change the lightbulb in the hall (waiting for The Mouth's boyfriend to show up wanting food, he's about 7' tall, he can change it easily!), and I didn't wash windows.

Oh well, I got to spin, and I knitted a bit, and I got my pumpkin canned and I watched my Red Wings take Chicago by the throat and win 6-5.

Tonight, will have to be for the kitchen, putting away the mounds of yarn that I spun and washed, finishing up the last sweater, and of course. Dishes.

Never ends........

Friday, October 24, 2008

In Which Ter Quits

At any given day I have quite a bit of stress going on. I work full time at a job I love. I work part time at another job I love. I run my farm, home and on the off chance I have a few minutes to myself, I like to breathe. Keeps me going.

But, I quit! (not breathing, because that would really mess up the rest of my day).

Hey, hubby gets to quit and go up North fishing and hunting for the weekend, why can't I quit too?

Let's identify some stressors that I'm resigning from

There's always money, yeah, I'm not doing money anymore.
Taking care of the parents. Well, that one I can't really resign from.
Taking care of the kids. Come on, seriously, they're full grown people (sometimes they don't act like it, but then either do I). The oldest is successfully out on her own. Once in awhile I'll help her at her store, gives me something to do when I'm not breathing. The 2nd is successfully out on her own also, married with kids and the whole deal. The 3rd, Blondie, is not married, however she is out, pretty much on her own. Still requires a bit of help now and then but pretty much....
4th, The Mouth, see above, and the 5th is in Iraq. Now there's some stress I'd love to get rid of.

Let's see, what else. Probably not enough hay to last until June, water pump shouldn't be freezing already which means something just may be amiss (doncha love that word? AMISS!!), it's supposed to rain/snow for the next 6 months which means my laundry is going to get seriously piled up, there's not enough room in the garage for my bike.....

I could go on and on but I won't. The main thing right now? Not enough time. I just "got" spinning. I mean, I've been spinning my own yarn for awhile now, but just last night I got it. It worked. The hands and feet and wheel all seemed to be in sync, and nice, even, consistent yarn was produced. This is a good thing. Something I've been working toward now for awhile. Now I have to find the time to produce more, because, of course, I have the perfect project to knit with this perfect yarn. So, yeah. If you could just send me a bit of time, I'd be really grateful!

But before I start to spin more of the perfect yarn to knit the perfect project, I have to finish the last 2 that are still in my basket waiting for me.

And there's the pumpkin that STILL hasn't gotten canned. Spinning and canning, sounds like the perfect Sunday to me!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Sequences Revisited

So I got up yesterday morning, and did what I do every morning. Put the coffee on, and went out to say good morning to my furred and feathered friends. This is usually a 1 way deal. I say hello, good morning, get in some scratches, petting and hugs and kisses, but generally all they want is food. I'm good with it. I've accepted it.

Yesterday morning, there was a twist.

Yesterday morning, October happened.

Yesterday morning, the water was........ gasp....... FROZEN!!!

Now, I totally get the change of seasons thing, lived up here pretty much my whole life, so I know that come October, every year, this is gonna happen. The leaves all over the ground is kind of a clue.

And for some reason, every October, it kind of catches me off guard. I supposed it's directly related to my denial that summer is really over. And the fact that I'm always busy doing what I should have done yesterday. What did I do yesterday? I did what I should have been doing the day before that. I think sometime in July, I must have said, "Oh, my gosh! I have a whole day that nothing needs to be done. I'm gonna do all of that - nothing!" And that's where it starts.

So back to the frozen water. This is what has to happen. I have to pull up the handle on the pump and water has to flow through, and out, and into the hose that's connected, and into the various water troughs.

Yesterday, what happened is this. I pulled up on the handle and nothing happened. And since I was gonna be late for work I decided to let it ride until night, they did have enough water to last the day.

Yesterday I happened to have to go to the butcher and pick up our two pigs. I don't have room in the freezers for all of this, and they are christmas presents for the kids. So, we went to various surrounding towns delivering pork. By the time we got back home, it was late, the critters needed to be fed, they had enough water to last the night, and I put it off again.

To be dealt with this morning.

So, first I have to find the heat lamp to thaw out the water pump. Then I have to find the 100' extension cord. Then I have to drag out the winter hose. (the winter hose differs from the summer hose in that it is quite a bit shorter and is old, so I keep the good summer hose for, well, summer). Did I mention it's still dark out when all of this happens. So anyway, the reason the hose needs to be shorter, is so I can unscrew it when I'm done with it every day and drag it up the hill, so it will drain, and not freeze. Then I have to put this all together to produce enough water so my furred and feathered friends remain healthy and happy.

And so it is, another morning chore session, successful. And the pork is in the freezer, and the Christmas presents for the kids have been delivered and everyone is happy. Well, maybe the pigs aren't all that happy, but they knew going into this......

Never mind.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

A Day Off

Well, kind of.

I took the day off to watch my 2 year old granddaughter. We had fun.

Apparantly Dora something or other is the new Sesame Street. I learned how to count to 7. I learned that Zebra starts with a Z, Elevator starts with an E and Bridge starts with a B. I could probably even draw a Z if I had to.

Yup, I good day!

I was going to can up some pumpkin for pies but I ended up on the floor playing "cow".

This is a complicated game. It involves, of course, a fairly large stuffed cow, and the life and times of it and it's buddies, which involve a zebra, more cows, and a chicken. These all live together in the toybox (well, ok, they live on the living room floor but we won't go into that). Oh, there's also a couple of fish and some duck decoys in the mix. They interact, they take naps, fight and play together, eat together, and have a fairly complex relationship. This I didn't realize. After this 15 minute game was done, we folded laundry. She's a very advanced 2 year old, but still with the attention span of such.

We had fun taking the high chair apart and discovering that it could be turned into a chair and table, and that she could then climb into and out of it by herself. And we ate "real people food", not this processed, packaged, cardboard crap they make for toddlers now. She ate and LOVED baked beans (have fun later with that one, Mom!), fried potatoes and onions were ok, but the fish I made. You'd have thought she had never eaten! She scarfed that down as fast as I could pull it apart and check for bones. Lots better than frozen mac and cheese!

This girl does not own a doll, but if it's furred, feathered, or finned, she's got a replica of it.

After her nap, she discovered my spinning wheel, which I was ironically, trying to use. She thought that was fun, and scattered all over trying to find things for me to feed into it to make pretty yarn. I was taking apart, strand by strand, a silvery piece of lame to spin in with the dark christmas green yarn I was making. This was fascinating, and soon she was on the floor pulling the fibers out and handing them to me. Made a pretty good assistant.

All in all it was a nice relaxing day, it was cold and rainy, so we were confined to the house, but I managed.
Still didn't get that pumpkin canned though, maybe tonight.....

Friday, October 17, 2008

It's Friday

This is a good thing, for various reasons. I can sleep in tomorrow. I won't, but I could if I wanted to. Well, that's not entirely true either. I do want to, really, but it won't happen. My happy little self will be awake and alive and vertical by 6:30, it's how I roll. Happy Little Self could try to go back to sleep, just so she could wake up at a more normal Saturday time, but she'd end up flopping around like a fish out of water and wake up hubby.

Hubby does not like to be woke (awoke? woken? awoken?...) out of bed on a Saturday morning. Not until he's good and ready. It wouldn't be good. He'd be grumpy.

Happy Little Self doesn't like a grumpy hubby.

Friday means I can do whatever I want to do tomorrow.

Well, that's not true either. I can't really hop on my bike and head off to Jamaica. I'd get wet, and again, hubby would be grumpy. We really don't like to go out of our way to make hubby grumpy.

I could go shopping, but that wouldn't happen either. All I really need is peanuts, and I can't justify going to the store just for peanuts. Although, while peanuts are a good thing, almonds are even better, and lets not even get started on cashews. Ok, add in some raisins, craisins and m&m's and we're good to go. Now I have a reason to go shopping.

If I wanted to.

Which I don't.

So, this being Friday, with a whole weekend full of Saturday and Sunday coming up and nothin' to do 'cept what I want to do (and laundry), I'll probably just putter around the house and yard and garden and barn. Puttering is an art form, and the best part? When someone asks what I did all day, I can say "nothing! deal with it!".

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Hard To Be Optimistic...

When stuff around me keeps going downhill.

Take the aliens. They were supposed to show up on 10.14. I was kind of counting on it, actually planned for it, had the tailgate invites all sent out, potato salad was chilling.... I was ready. Apparently they weren't.

Aliens are inconsiderate like that. If they're going to announce their presence or upcoming presence, I really think they need to take some consideration into our space and time conundrums. I get that their space and time stuff is probably different than ours, but seriously, I was counting on it. And being of a lower race than them, it's really their responsibility. You know, ball in their court kind of thing that they make sure their presence, or upcoming presence is in a time frame that we lower beings can understand. Unless they want to get shot with our bb guns.

Just sayin'......

More leaves have vacated the upper levels of the ecosystem we like to call "the woods". I really can't believe that in all of these years they haven't gotten the clue that when they fall to the ground, it's gonna get cold.

leaves fall.... cold comes. It's an every year thing. Without fail. The leaves come down, then the snow comes down.

Hmmm. Maybe there's a connection to the aliens there. Maybe they're waiting for the leaves to fall. Maybe their engines, having come from a leaf-less world, are incapable of being bombarded by a falling leaf. Yeah, that's got to be it. It's the leafless world phenomenon.

The acai berry diet probably had them scared off also. I'd be scared if I weren't from this world and just on the skeptical side of such things. Being really thin, the aliens are really (I'm guessing here) trying to avoid any further weight loss. I mean, seriously, have you seen them? They're skinny! And green!

I'm going to recommend a more rabbit friendly diet when they do show up. After counseling them on the proper etiquette of showing up when they say they're coming that is.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Designer Lettuce!

Just a random smattering today of all the goodies running through my brain.

Pigs. Gotta call the pig guy and get 2 pigs ordered today. I love pigs. I love pork, but I don't raise them anymore. Found a great source to get them, all finished out, for cheaper than what I can raise them myself, plus this source is pretty much organic.
good deal!

Teenage Chickens. Hmmmm. Found 6 eggs the other day. Found 4 yesterday. I have 3 adult hens. This isn't adding up. The teenagers must have come of age. And since some of the ones I've broken open lately have been fertilized, again, the teenagers must have come of age. Good to know! (I guess, for whatever reason...)

Baby Bovines. Gotta get a new feeder built for them before winter (which will be here, like next week). The feeder they have doesn't hold enough hay, even filling it twice a day. They are eating 1/2 bale of hay each a day now. They are still soooo cute though.

Tomatoes. I have them hanging in the upside down containers in my living room. The Mouth laughs that when sitting and knitting I can just reach up and grab a tomato to munch on. If there were any that is. For some reason the light in the living room is receding. Tends to happen this time of year. Funny how I didn't see that coming. Might have to turn their little worlds upside down (or right side up) and actually plant them in pots to set near the windows so they get enough light. Even if they don't produce over the winter, they are pretty and smell good, plus I get the benefits of extra houseplants that produce good oxygen and stuff. Extra oxygen is needed up here in N. Mich.

Laundry. Someone seems to have forgotten where we keep the washer. That someone is me. When I took a long weekend off, for some reason the clothes kept getting dirty, but not clean again. It's gonna take all week of hanging laundry to catch up. And even that won't work, I can only hang 3 loads, and this time of year they don't exactly dry real quick.

Dishes. The upside to taking a week or so off is that dishes don't really pile up. I wasn't there to make them dirty, so I don't have to make them clean again. All's good in the dish department.

Designer lettuces. I thought it would be ultra cool to have pots of lettuces everywhere. Me being a rabbit food freak and all. It wasn't. Ultra cool that is. They were all on the counter. There wasn't enough window space for all of them. Funny how that escaped me also. So I condensed them into all one big pot and put it by the window. They kind of look really cool, maybe they'll be happy, looking all cool and everything. And probably the lack of light will cause them to turn yellow and shrivel up and not grow. You know, I've lived up here pretty much my whole life, you'd think by now...... never mind.

Garlic. It's coming up in my designer lettuce pots. Hmmmm. Guess when I planted it and it didn't grow so I planted other stuff in there it got it's garlicky nose out of joint and decided to step up. At any rate, now I will have garlicky tasting designer lettuce. Might have something there. At least I know the garlic will be ok over the winter.

Still in ga-ga over our bike ride this past weekend. Really. That was cool. Ultra cool even. And my cardigan/wrap in foresty, mossy colors is looking pretty also. There are parts I will probably redo, because I got crazy and put in colors that now I don't like. It's all good, it's a fast knit and the better I like it, the more chance I'll actually finish it.

At least that's what Murphy says.....

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Leaves, Leaves, and More Leaves!

2 of my brothers visited up here this past weekend. It was great!
We laughed, drank some (funny, we used to drink a lot more, before we got, well, older than we were then), sat around, helped the folks get the place winterized and RODE BIKES!

The leaves were beautiful. Every color of red, salmon, pink, purple, yellows and golds, different shades of greens, if the color has been invented, we saw it in the leaves. As we traversed along back country roads, the temperatures approached 80. Typical Indian Summer. Stopped at various landmarks to drink in the crisp autumn air, hot sun and the scents, sounds and sights of middle October.

And then the wind came.

And now most of those pretty leaves live in the next county. But they'll be back. Every fall we experience what we call "Peak Season" where the colors of the leaves are at their "peak colors". This happens right around the middle of October. Normally I'd say the peak was still a week away, but with the wind last night, we pretty much saw what there was to see, and now there's nothing to do but finish getting ready for winter.

My current knitting project is a cardigan/wrap/shawl thing, reminiscent of the colors of the leaves this time of year. A lot of greens and browns, oranges, rusts and yellows, and even some blue and red thrown in. The back and one front is done, so it's safe to say I'm at the halfway point. The feature I really like about this project is that since I am changing yarns every other row, I can do my own color scheme, with pretty much my stash only to work from.

Yarn of the Month came, in typical fashion, toward the end of the first week of the month. Hmmmm. Autumn colors! I know where I'll use these!

There's nothing like a relaxing weekend to give me the attitude adjustment I need once in awhile. Next "reunion".... Colorado in January, where we'll meet to ski and snowshoe for a long weekend. Better buy some stock in Tylenol while the market's down! I think I'll probably need it!