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!