Thursday, December 10, 2009

Pros and Cons of a Steel Roof

The pros of having a steel roof are pretty obvious. The snow slides off, greatly reducing if not eliminating the snow load.
The cons of having a steel roof, the snow slides off, usually in one thunderous avalanche, scaring the daylights out of the Bu-Dawgh and greatly reducing if not eliminating the need for any front steps.
This happened late last night after more than a foot of snow (the reported measurement was 8.5 inches, it was more, trust me. Lots more. My boots run up to my knees, and I was in over my, well, knees as I trudged through the yard doing chores.
The snow in the barn (yes, I did say "in" the barn) measured about 4", that was what blew in during the night. The barn kitties were not impressed. At all. They filed more than one complaint. There were also a bit miffed that their water was frozen, although I'm not sure how they'd know, seeing as how they'd have to go through the snow to get to the water.
They're also used to getting an egg or two every night, overflow from the hens, and they haven't gotten that in a week or so. Their life is not good currently. Just ask them.
Me? I think they're expecting a bit much, it is Michigan after all. And it does snow here, regularly, every fall, winter and spring.
Back to the avalanche? Yeah, I'll be shoveling this weekend, at least a tunnel to keep ahead of the snow that will regularly cascade down the roof. That will that much less snow to shovel next time.

Friday, November 6, 2009

A September To Remember Turns Into Where In The H*%^^ Did October Go?

And she's back! I looked at my profile picture and shivered. Yeah, it's getting to be winter here. There has officially been snow. There has officially been ice. Sleet, rain, mixed with all of the above... The only thing we don't officially have yet is snow that has stayed on the ground. Nope, still mud, and mushy leaves.

I know that October existed. I know this because my brother turned 50 during October, and a deal was made about that. Not a big deal, but it wasn't forgotten either, and I'm not done with that yet.

I know that October ended because little parasites, munchkins dressed up in all manner of ghoulish things knocked on my door wanting candy. Lest they take over the world, they got candy! And I know that November is well on it's way to being half way over because The Mouth turned 25 (and let me know about it).

But, what I don't know is how it all slipped by so fast. One minute I'm canning up a storm (along with tomatoes and sauerkraut) and the next I'm wondering how apple season got missed. There are still pumpkins to be put into jars, awesome for pumpkin pie, and although there will not be any home canned applesauce and apple butter this year, the pumpkins will make up for it.
The livestock has pretty much all been battened down for the winter, but I don't really remember doing a lot of that. Probably the routine of it all.

So with winter knocking on the door (literally, the wind is doing it's windy wind thing), there is precious little time to finish up fall chores. There is still a couple of crates of spuds out on the deck that need to be brought in, and more firewood brought up to the house. And the next nice day (meaning, no wind and preferably not a lot of precipitation) I will burn the last of the summer's garbage.

But the next big thing to look forward to is our family reunion in 2 weeks! Yes! In 2 short weeks I will be sitting atop a very large boat in a very large, hopefully warmish body of water, drinking margaritas and coronas and playing with things like stingrays. We will dive in Grand Cayman. We will do the Margaritaville thing in Cozumel and maybe Carlos and Charlies too. And in Jamaica we will climb the falls in Ocho Rios. And swim in the water. Warm, warm, Caribbean water. And then it will all end and we will come back to cold, snowy Michigan to resume real life.

But first... all of the details like getting someone to watch the critters... have to be figured out. How to keep the aquariums warm without the heat being on, stuff like that. It will all be worth it, just as soon as we step off the plane in Miami and head out to the pier!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Are You Tired of Tomatoes Yet? I'm Not!

Been reading through some of my previous entries and it has been brought to my attention (by myself) that I may be a bit of a dreamer. Wait! What? Yeah! Me! A dreamer! I dream of all of these projects that need to be done, and then I say I'm going to do them and actually post my intentions here and then I guess it's gone. What it really boils down to is that in my mind, I accomplish a lot more than actually gets done in reality (which is usually on a far distant planet from where I live).

Where does that leave me and my mind? Here we go again!

My tomatoes are ripening! A bit at a time, this last week we've had beautiful sunny skies and normal temperatures. Perfect for ripening tomatoes. So, seeing as how I'm only working for 1/2 a day today, when I get home I will get these picked and turn them into juice! Lots and lots of juice! Yum!

I say that a lot, "Yum", must be I like food!

Speaking of food, I have some leftover roast beef in the fridge that will get turned into pasties tonight. With home growed potatoes and onions, and mine will have green peppers in it, all smothered with beef gravy.

So, yesterday I posted my current intention to have my Grandson's birthday sweater finished this week, and guess what? Last night I finished the main part of it. There is still a few pockets to knit and attach, weave in ends, and wash and block, but I just might be able to pull this off. Most times I will, when my current project is almost done, start on my gauge swatches for my next project, to give them time to rest, and block out so I can get good solid accurate stitch and row counts, but this time, I'll go ahead and finish the sweater, then work on some socks while my gauges are resting and blocking... My current sock project is a cotton self striping yarn called Jamaica. Picture neon pinks, greens, turquoise and white stripes. I didn't put in a design because it would have been lost! Then I have yarn for 3 more pairs just waiting. I'll work on those while my gauge swatches are doing their gauge thing.

Another current intention is to actually get out and PICK SOME BLACKBERRIES! They're free for the taking, it's just a shame not to go get them. Mosquitoes and flesh eating pickers and brambles aside, they're just there. And they won't be a lot longer. So here's the plan: Get home, pick tomatoes, turn them into juice and while they're cooking down go pick blackberries. Sound do-able? I thought so, but then I never plan for Murphy's inevitable appearance either.

Another must do this afternoon is to get tools, etc.. rounded up so we can start on the wall unit tonight. Hubby got a HUGE aquarium at the resale shop (thanks bunches, CS) and in order to keep me happy about having that much water in my living room, he's agreed to build it into a wall unit that will also house the tv that we can't watch because we no longer have satellite service, the dvd player that we can't use because neither of us can figure out which group of buttons to push to make it go, and the stereo that doesn't work because of some wiring issue.

But... I will get my desk back! That's a plus.

And, yes, the dishwasher did get fixed! Not by me, but not because I couldn't have done it, but I was busy canning, so hubby fixed it for me. Yay!! No more washing a gazillion canning jars by hand!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Gardening, Knitting, Canning and The Egg/Boat, Or Is That The Boat/Egg?

This drove (floated?) into my driveway (down the river?) this weekend:
Hubby is nothing if not imaginative and he wanted to take his canoe with him. Good to know that if the Egg flips over then all would not be lost!
The floor mats in the driveway? Don't ask, you probably wouldn't want to know.

So in the last few days a lot of different colored produce has found it's way from the garden into jars in my kitchen. We've got enough carrots now for the winter, beans too. Only about 1/2 the beets have been canned and I did get one head of cabbage that is presently being turned into kraut.
But the tomatoes. And the onions. And the green peppers were all mixed up, mashed up, sieved, food milled and processed to within an inch of their life to create tomato soup! Went over and grabbed my Dad on Saturday and we went to the farmer's market. My tomatoes aren't quite ready yet. I love this soup, it's soooo good with a thick slab of cheese, homemade bread or some crackers.
The next batch(es) of tomatoes will be for juice and then after that will be stewed tomatoes. Then our attention will be turned toward the apples. Apple butter, applesauce and even just apples for pies. Yum!
And then pumpkins for pies. We're not even 1/2 way done with canning season yet. It's nice to have shorter hours, it feels like I can get a lot more done.
But the calf feeder isn't done yet.
Neither is the wall unit.
But people, come on, I've been canning!
And knitting! The Muskrat's sweater is done except for sewing on of the buttons, and Grandson's sweater is just about done. This one's a bit late, his birthday was last month, but with any luck, this week will see that going out in the mail.
The Mouth has decided that I should knit for her a cardigan and she wants it bluey-charcoaley. Ok then. I don't have enough of any one yarn in my stash in that color so rather than go out and buy more (seriously, the yarn shops could buy from me, thanks to the oldest!), I've found some off white alpaca sport weight that will do quite nicely. Then I can just dye it the color she wants. Lots cheaper to buy a bottle of dye than spend upwards of 100 bucks for bluey-charcoaley colored yarn!
Tonight Bu-dawgh needs a bath, and there a few other things that need to be done too, however if my book comes in the mail, all bets are off. We're currently reading the Betsy Taylor series from MaryJanice Davidson. Hilarious! Also, if hubby comes home and wants to go out on the bikes there's a good chance that a lot of projects will be left undone.
Busy, busy, busy...... But at least it's not boring!

Friday, September 11, 2009

In Which The Doing of Stuff....

Actually results in stuff getting done.

Stay tuned here, I've really stumbled onto something. It hit me just the other night as I was reading all of my knitting blogs and wishing that I could produce finished projects like that.
All of a sudden That Little Voice In My Head That We All Like To Ignore, For Obvious Reasons, decided to push it's way to the front of all the gray matter and declare that if I would actually pick up the needles and knit something, that maybe my knitted projects would get done.

Well, not to be outdone by That Little Voice In My Head That We All Like To Ignore, For Obvious Reasons, I thunk up my own version that went something like this:

Are you ready? You might want to sit down for this, and don boots as it's pretty deep....

Getting stuff done requires actually doing it!

I'll let you ponder that one for a bit, but I did warn you!

Let me explain. Like mowing the grass the other day. The only reason that it got done is because I did it.
That's also probably why the berries haven't gotten picked yet, because I haven't actually done it yet. That one's not my fault, I just haven't had time, what with the stumbling upon of philosophical concepts and all.
Do you see where all of this is going? It's exciting, seriously, it's like a magic formula gifted to only me.

I'm going to take this concept a bit further and see if I can get a few things done that way.
Going out on a limb here but I'm predicting that if I sweep the floor, the floor will actually have gotten swept.
If I hang laundry outside (providing it's not raining), then the laundry will dry, (providing the line doesn't break and end up in the dewy "lawn"). Well this one might be a multiple concept so it's probably not a good example.
How about this one - if I pick up the hammer, nails and saw and finish the cow feeder, then guess what..... Yes! You got it! The cow feeder will be finished! This is so exciting I can hardly wait to go start doing stuff!

But back to the knitting, seriously, I read about 184 knitting blogs and they're always finishing stuff (probably by actually knitting them). It's a cumulative effect, while it seems that there's a lot of stuff getting done, the doing of the stuff is being accomplished by a whole bunch of people, not just one. That's where my train gets derailed. If I can keep that in mind then I'm a whole lot further ahead.

Yup, it's a fine line we tread here. Some call it procrastination, but I call it "thinking up stuff"!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

The Philosophy of Lawnmowers.

It never ceases to amaze me how much my lawnmower will take and keep on going.
This little push mower was born to be a pampered baby. It sat there, cute as can be, on the showroom floor in our local Sears store, and begged me to take it home (it was the cheapest model and I was tired of the Rain Dance required to get hubby's lawn mower to start - you gotta work with what you have).

"Look at my shiny paint job and wheels", she boasted.
"Take me home", she said.
"Once a week I will delicately stroll through your manicured lawn and keep it just as pretty as I am", she purred.
"I will never give you one lick of trouble", she promised.

Well, I'm a sucker for big, red, Craftsman eyes, so what the heck. Did I mention it was the cheapest model available.

I'm pretty sure once she saw my "lawn" she fainted, but being of the feminine sort, she rallied and quickly rose to the task.

Not once did she remind me that she was built to "delicately stroll through a manicured lawn" as she had to wade and chomp through my "lawn", more meadow than manicured, and more hayfield than lawn.

She bravely went where no lawnmower should have been required to go, chomping up to 18" long grass and spitting it out the side. She never complained when we hit dirt patches or rocks. Actually the only time she complained is when I forgot about her and left her outside buried under 47 feet of snow all winter. But then, all she required was some TLC from hubby and his endless knowledge of how such beauties work (and a spark plug).

As we spent some quality time together yesterday I was reminded again just how hard she works and I vowed (as I do every fall) to take a few extra minutes when winterizing her (dragging her to the barn) and maybe scrape some of the grass/grease/dirt/oil... off of her. Maybe even clean her up underneath (daintily, of course), sharpen her blades, put some stabil in the gas tank, change the oil (or at least check the levels), tighten up the bolts, things like that, you know, spoil her a bit. Maybe even, *gasp* tighten up the handle so she won't have to sport the latest in binder twine necklaces! I could straighten the wheels a bit and pretty her all up, but you know what? It would be like washing my truck, her feelings would get all hurt and then she'd throw a fit in the spring. We can't have that now can we. So, unless I want to borrow some goats from a friend (wanna play, Joannie?), I'll just try to remember to get her in out of the snow and rain and make up with her next spring.

Sounds like a plan, and we all love The Plan! She's stayed true to her word (2 or 3 pulls on the string and a "vroom" happens) and since I never promised her anything but what she got, she doesn't complain!

What's that you ask? How do I know she's a girl? Come on, what guy would take all of that neglect and keep on going? ;-)

Monday, September 7, 2009

The End of the Weekend

Ok, so I didn't fix the dishwasher. YET. That's next. And it's not because I got started and then got lost, I really did find other things to do over the holiday weekend. And besides, there is the procrastination part of the project. You know, the part where you think about it, and think about it, and figure it out, and then once you jump in, it takes far less time to actually complete the project than it did to think about doing it. That's where I'm at now. I have to hunt up a torque driver to get the inner door off so I can find God only knows what! Yup, procrastination, it's a good thing.

So, let's go over what I really did get done!

Spent a lot of time over at my Mom and Dad's because my brother was visiting from Colorado, which automatically means that my bike saw some serious riding time! That's cool. Included in one of our meanderings was a trip over to the closest Big Lake - Lake Huron, it was a beautiful day and surprisingly, not much traffic.

Dipped a bunch of pine cones. Pine cones are plentiful here. So are half burned candles at garage sales. Melt some candles, mix liberally with pine cones and you come up with an awesome fire starter for the wood stove in the winter. Probably the reason that half burned candles are so plentiful is because a lot of folks try to get rid of the "inside wood smoke" smell during the winter. Still working on this little project, seems like every time I go get the last bag of pine cones, there is yet another. That's ok, come around February, I will be glad for them.
Of course, once all have been dipped, that's really not the end of this fun project. Next comes cleaning up the stove, counter, wall and floor. Scraping all of the hardened, then melted, then hardened again wax off of every surface within a 5 foot radius.

Found a tolerable wall unit plan to build around hubby's newest aquarium aquisition.

Did a bunch of laundry, which required *GASP* the use of the dryer! For all of you who know that I'm a card carrying member of the "You Can't Use A Dryer Unless It's Snowing Or Raining Out And You Have No More Clean Underwear" club, know that every now and then, it is required. You have to reshrink jeans, underwear, socks. And you have to de-lint stuff. Everything. After awhile, no amount of snapping wet laundry outside over the grass is gonna rid it of all of the lint that builds up. Especially on the dark stuff, so once in awhile, you have to de-lint.

I got the first two books of MaryJanice Davidson's 'Betsy Taylor' series read. This was a wonderful diversion, however, since I don't have book 3 yet, that means I actually have to get up and do stuff.

Getting up and doing stuff is overrated. It's a fine line we walk here, I tell ya, between doing stuff, and just thinking about doing stuff. But, since I have given myself yet another day off in this long weekend, Tuesday will find me doing bunches of stuff, unless I go to my mailbox and find book 3.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Dishwasher Repair - Good Times

I'm not a faint-of-heart sort of gal, and I can weather a storm as well as the next guy (or gal, or critter..) but I'm ticked. Actually it's worse than that, but this is a family friendly blog.

Background... We bought a new dishwasher in June. Came with a 1 year parts and labor warrantly. Close to a month ago, this dishwasher quit working. Just quit working! As skilled in The Rain Dance as I am, I could not find the appropriate combination of buttons to push, ways to stand, fingers to hold behind my back and chants to spout to make this work. Wasn't happening. So I did what anyone would have done. I called "the company".

Promptly Mr Nice Dishwasher Repairman came out and deemed that the dishwasher didn't work.
Wait! What? Oh, ok, that must have been why I called you!
"We'll order the parts", he said. "I'll come back out next week and install them", he promised.
Ok then. So we schedule now 2 mornings off of work.

The morning of the "promised installation of parts that would make this contraption wash my dishes" arrived with no parts having been delivered. I called "the company". They told me that the parts were back-ordered and hadn't been shipped yet. Ok, now I'm really getting ticked. Not only did I schedule another morning off of work, but I wasn't notified that my presence would not be required at the home of the dishwasher because the parts hadn't been shipped yet!
"But, we are shipping them to you in 3 days and then the following Tuesday, we will send someone out to install them".
"No!" I said.
"What?" They questioned?
"No!" I said. "I've already scheduled 2 times off from work for this and now you want me to schedule another time off when you've already demonstrated that you will fail to call me if my presence isn't required".
"Well, I don't know what you want us to do then". They said.
"What I want you to do is tell me when you'll ship the parts, and tell me when they'll be here, and then schedule a time when you WILL be here so I know when to take off work and be here".
"Well, that's what we're trying to do".
"Next week is not acceptable", I stated, "This is a new dishwasher, and I want to be able to use it. Call another repair place that can be here this week".

So here it is, the end of this week and still no dishwasher that works. And for some reason this statement, or string of statements made it though my filters and came out of my mouth - out loud:

"This is why I bought a new dishwasher. So I wouldn't have to take off time from work, chase parts, make service appointments, schedule another day off from work, find out that you won't be able to make it requiring me to take yet another day off from work.... If I had wanted to do all of that I would have stayed with my old dishwasher. No, that's why I bought a new dishwasher so I wouldn't have to deal with all of this. This isn't right...." And that's where I lost it and totally came apart at the poor repair guy who really had no clue that this had all gone down.

And what did he do then?
He asked me, very nicely, if I felt qualified to do this repair myself. (he was very nice about it, not insulting or demeaning, he was truly trying to help). I said if he could do it, so could I (a cheap shot, I know, but I was still beyond ticked). He then talked me through how to do this 15 minute repair, and gave me his personal cell number so if I ran into problems (which he guaranteed was close to idiot-proof) I could call him and he would help me. And if he couldn't help me over the phone he would then come up and fix it.

So, it still isn't fixed, but it's a lot closer. Tonight when I get home I will attempt this 15 minute "idiot proof" repair.

Stay tuned. I have a feeling this is gonna get good!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

A September To Remember, or, Is It September Already???

Today will most likely end up in a long list of what I was gonna do and what I actually did do.
But, since this is Sept 2, we have to start with Sept 1.

Sept. 1.
What I WAS gonna do: go home from work, do chores, dinner...., pick blackberries, maybe get a head start on picking beets, carrots and beans to can tomorrow.

What actually happened: Got home from work and hubby was already home. Not that that's a bad thing, it just usually means instant derailment from any previous made plans. The picking of the produce turned into a semi-long road trip to dive for a fishing pole. Really? When we signed up for the diving search and rescue team I kind of thought it would be neat to, you know, like, SAVE PEOPLE, or maybe even find them beyond being saved. But, no. So far, we've rescued a sunken canoe, and lost to the ages a prized, beloved "I caught 3 state record bass on that pole" fishing pole. We're one for one. But knitting was accomplished on the way there and back from said "fishing pole grave". And then, since it was late and diving is a rather rigorous sport (up here when the water already has ice cubes floating in it) we sat down to an old DVD of Survivor, Panema. (Rupert is one animal, that's for sure!)

Well, not a bad start to my September to remember.

Let's move on to Sept. 2, shall we.
What I'm GONNA do: laundry, cleaning and dishes (since dishes did not get accomplished last night). Head outside to pick beans, carrots and beets and get them canned. Finish mowing the lawn for likely the last time this year. Go to Tractor Supply for my critter food (cats and chickens in case you wondered), bank, and oh, yeah, I have to go get one of those bullet hole decals for the dent in my gas tank on my bike. (No, I didn't put it there, it came "pre-dented" thank you very much).
Whether or not the picking of the berries happens will depend on whether or not all of the canning of the green, orange and red stuff gets done. The lawn can wait, the berries won't. Nor will the laundry. The dishes will wait, but it's hard to can in a dirty kitchen, so.....

But knitting will happen!

Friday, August 14, 2009

A Funny Thing Happened....

So yesterday I get a call from my son, who is home on leave.

Son: "Uh, Mom, we have a problem"

Me: "What's up?"

S: "The cows got out".

M:"Ok, so put them back in, it happens".

S: "But dad left the garage door open and they got in the garage and one of them fell into the pit".

M: "hmm, not good, ok I'll be right there". (not at all sure that there's anything that can be done about it, by me anyway, but what the heck...)
In the meantime I'm thinking about what in the world I can do about this, to rescue my poor baby from the pit. So I call a friend to come help.
Get home, and Son is still there, waiting for me. He had thought to give the poor critter some water and hay and it's just standing in there, obviously stressed, but no worse the wear.
He also throught to send a mass text that probably said something like: "need farm help, beer involved". (you know, just to make sure his friends actually did show up to help).
Which they did.

A ramp was built, and the cow was dragged out of the pit (yes, dragged, as in rope around his horns and it took 3 very large, very strong farmer boy types, and me behind "goosing" him.

He promptly ran back into his pen, and was later observed drinking and eating just fine (the way to determine if a critter is truly sick or stressed is if he's not eating and drinking).

So that was fun, no I didn't have time to run and grab my camera although I did think about it.

My vacation time was spent dragging cows out of pits and fixing fences so it didn't happen again!

Ya know, just one day that could be boring....

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Butterflies and Babies

Butterflies don't taste good. And anyone who tells you otherwise maybe never tasted the yellow ones. They're nasty. Yuck! I don't know, maybe it was a moth, or a canary. It was yellow and had wings. And it didn't taste good.

You may or may not have surmised that I was on my bike when this non-tasty event occurred. Usually watching for deer is the order of the ride, but last night the yucky tasting winged creatures were all over!

I ride without a windshield, never have liked them, to me it's just one more piece of plexiglass to have to see through, but last night it may have been nice to not be peppered with winged creatures who did or didn't taste good. Keep the mouth shut!

Last night was knit night, and I worked more on the Muskrat's sweater. It's coming along really cute, I'm totally in love with it, and it's almost done.

I'll let that sit with you for a minute.

Yes. I'm Al.most.done! like only 3 inches or so on the 2nd sleeve, then sew that bad boy all together. And it's not even due until August! Am I good or what?? Well, before you get all "atta girl, way to think ahead" on me, there are two other grand-kid birthdays in August and to meet my goal of making every one of them a knitted item for their birthdays this year, I've got to get going. One will be a set of leg warmers, that's easy enough, and the other a cute little blue jean type of vest. That will be cute too. But neither are started. Or swatched for. but I DO have yarn picked out, so I'm pretty much ahead of the game on that one.

And... apparantly we're going to be blessed with another grandchild. This would be daughter #6 (I think, after awhile, all of the imports get all mixed up). The Muskrat belongs to daughter #5 (or import #1), I think I need to order some tags, like I do for the chickens, so I can keep them all straight!

But since it's an "I just found out" event and I haven't even really been formally told about it yet, he/she/it is not yet on the list. But I'm still excited. This daughter is a close friend of The Mouth (actual daughter #4) who we adopted along with several others, making her #6 (I think). Math was never real strong. So, girl...... tell me already, for sure, so I can get you on my list!

Friday, May 22, 2009

Morning Smells

The first thing I smelled this morning on my way out to do chores was the rain. What? You can't smell rain? I can, I guess that makes me superhuman or something. I can live with that. I smelled the rain, and after two days of 850 degrees the cooler weather and smell of rain was a nice change.

Then I smelled the lilacs, relaxing, mesmerizing, sweet lilac smell. Love it. They're pretty too, don't get me wrong, but the smell is why I keep them around.

Then I smelled the skunk. Much preferred the lilacs, and even the rain, but there it was, sneaking it's way through the air like a snake. A very fragrant snake. And not in a good way.

In the country there are lots of smells you just take for granted. When they fertilize the corn fields, when hay is cut, the smell of rain (it's a superhuman thing, what can I say), pine trees when the air is damp and heavy..... stuff like that. And skunks. And road kill. And the only thing worse than smelling skunk is smelling a dead skunk, which is the equivalent of live skunk plus road kill. And if it's close enough it actually smells like hot tar. Makes you appreciate the better smells, like the fertilizing of the fields.


Since two days of 850 degrees and being superhuman and all pretty much took me out (headache, nauseous, I know it's spelled wrong, but it's ok, I'm good in lots of other ways, and generally just worn all out) nothing got done last night. Hubby even felt sorry for me and took me out for dinner. So no cooking or cleaning up either. Sometimes 850 degrees can be made to work in your favor. And after returning home I collapsed into the chair and knitted and watched one of my favorite shows... House. Arrogant asshole at his best!

What did I knit? I knew you'd ask. Well, I worked on my Muskrat's sweater, and... are you sitting?.....

I. Even. Took. A. Picture!!

And here it is:

In case you're not familiar with what knitted pieces look like, the big piece is the back and the smaller is one of the fronts. There is a mistake, but I'm not going to point it out, if you can't see it chances are a 3 year old won't care either. Tonight, since my Wings will get their 3rd chance to take the Hawks down there will be significant progress on the front, may even get the left front done and a start on the right front. That's one of the fun things about knitting smallish sweaters, for smallish people, they go pretty fast.

I love the colors, pretty much just went through my stash and picked out 4 colors, just to see. Even I didn't think they'd look this cool together, but I'm happy with them.

There won't be much done in the garden tonight as it's raining (seeing and feeling rain isn't a superhuman feat, just smelling it is), so maybe I'll find some counters or floors or something inside the cabin to clean off or sweep. Maybe even a dustrag, but that's pushing it.

And maybe, just maybe the rain will take it one step further and give me the ultimate in spring weather.... a good old fashioned thunderstorm! In which all bets will be off and you'll find me sitting out on my porch (covered) knitting and listening to the storm. Good times!

And guess what??? My son, affectionately referred to as The Army Brat is now OUT OF IRAQ!!! YAY! Let the breathing re-commence~!!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Whacking Rhubarb

Before you go all "O.M.G she's killing her rhubarb" on me, let me explain. I planted my rhubarb a long time ago, along an old fence line. Then I fenced in the horses, which would later turn into steers, which would then become sheep and goats, and of course the chickens,and now has become my garden area. Between the rhubarb fence line and the horse fence line, which has now become the garden fenceline, there is about 6 feet by 100 feet of weeds and raspberry canes. Doing battle with raspberry canes is not my favorite activity, and my arms now have the scratches to prove it, however, their eventual surrender of juicy little reddish berries is worth it.

But not in my rhubarb.

Since the 6 feet isn't enough room to get my tiller in, I have to hoe out the weeds by hand. Not happenin'. Sorry. Not gonna weed a strip 6' by 100' by hand (or hoe), especially since it's riddled with crabgrass, all manner of forest undergrowth and raspberry canes. I'm just not that adventurous.

But neither do I really like to use gas powered appliances, since they use gas and all, but in this case, the gas powered weed whacker won. Well, technically I won, since I had to do 7 different rain dances to get this thing started, eventually I did and the rhubarb was sucessfully whacked. No, let me rephrase..... the weeds surrounding the rhubarb were whacked, and all but one or two rhubarb leaves survived. This is a good thing and it looks a lot nicer than a weed and mosquito infested patch in which to wander around lost in until you happen to run into the rhubarb.

So, the rhubarb doesn't care if it's weedy, but I do, so I whacked. And won! And Murphy (of murphy's law) didn't show his face once!

Radishes are coming up, so far no show on the spinach and carrots, and one potato plant has emerged through the hill to peek up into the sun.
Tonight maybe I'll get some lettuces planted, my designer lettuce collection depends on this, after all!

I'm still working on the multicolored cardigan for the muskrat (3 y/o granddaughter). One of these days I'll take a picture of it, the back is done as is 1/2 of one front. Tonight probably won't see much knitting, being as how I'll be playing with my designer lettuce collection, but tomorrow night there is another hockey game, so a lot of knitting will happen.

Go Wings! Pluck them Hawks!! (pay no attention to the grammer, it sounded better than "pluck those hawks"!)

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Murphy Conspires With The Strawberries.

I'm sure you're hanging on with every thread of your being waiting to hear about my strawberries. You know, the stone wall I built to contain them, and the crowns that I planted, that never came up, and then the garlic that I planted there because the strawberries never came up and something had to go there?

Up to speed now? Ok. So Saturday, hubby says...."let's go for a drive". Never one to shirk off a possible adventure, we hopped into the truck and headed off for points unknown. Actually, we had a known point, but because I've been on his little adventures before, whether or not we would actually get there remained to be seen (we did..... eventually...)

Stop one... to see my muskrat (or monkey as she's also called. Some would also call her my almost 3 year old granddaughter). This was fun, they moved out (her and her mother) close to a month ago and I hadn't seen her since. While we were there, I noticed blueberry bushes by the tra-zillion, so we had to stop and dig up some of those.
Stop two... a fruit stand on the side of the road that had........STRAWBERRIES!!!!! Plants, not just crowns, where there was actual greenage visible! So of course we had to get some of those.
Stop three....lunch.... after this and a few yard sales it gets routine, so we'll just end there.

Strawberries plants people! Lots of them! On Sale!!! Enough to fill up the stone hedge (that is now planted with garlic and chives and a few beet and spinach seeds thrown in for good measure) and more!
Strawberries, the ones I've wanted for so long! Finally I have them. I paid for them and hauled them out to the truck as I heard a faint chuckle in the background. Dismissed.
Got in the truck and headed off to the next unknown stop and heard that chuckle again. What the heck?? Oh yeah, it was Murphy, for sure. The infamous Murphy who conspires to throw obstacles in my path just to watch me trip over them.
"Where are you going to put the strawberries?", he taunts?
"You already planted the stone hedge, you can't put them there".
"You'll have to find another spot"... he continued. This went on and on until he was laughing so hard he couldn't say another word.
So I'll show him! I planted those strawberries in with my garlic, and chives and beet and spinach seeds thrown in for good measure. And next year, at this time you can all read my bestselling book: Strawberries, garlic, chives and Murphy! Just to see how it all turned out!

Oh, and a special shoutout to my cousin. She's a California gal. She's a Sharks fan (as in not a Red Wings fan). I'll just leave you to digest that for a minute.

Yeah, I know, and I'm sorry, I had little to do with her upbringing.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Financial Decisions

Our farm is not a money maker, it will most likely never support itself, let alone us, but it's my hobby, my passion and it's just what I want to do.
However, that doesn't mean that we stop looking for ways to make it pay better. We scrounge and rearrange, we save "stuff" and collect "stuff" for future use and try to have fun doing it.

The latest "rearrangment" involves all of my chickens (there are somewhere close to 60 of them). I want them penned up, this protects them from critters, keeps them out of my gardens and keeps the chicken crap off of my porch and patio. I do not like chicken crap on my patio. I'm a barefoot kind of gal, always have been, always will be. I don't care if I walk around barefoot in the lawn, I know there is "residue" there, but choose to ignore it, besides, it beats shoes any day!

When the chickens are loose, it's obvious, and it's yucky, and yes, even for me, gross. Where in the world is the financial decision involving my chickens hidden in all of this?

When I keep my chickens penned up, I am happy, I know they're safe and I can walk barefoot all summer long. However, it costs at least 20-30 bucks a week to feed them. Hmmmm.

If I pen in the garden rather than the chickens, they will stay out of the garden, and basically feed themselves. They're already trained (as much as you can train a chicken) to go into the coop at night, so I can shut the door and keep the critters out that way. Then in the morning I can let them out, and let them eat bugs, weeds (not tomatoes, thank you very much - those are mine!) and be actually healthier in the long run. And yardbird beats penned up bird in taste any day of the week.

The pros for letting the chickens run loose seems to outweigh the cons, there is however one fairly large project first. To pen up the garden. Yes, I'm sure we have enough fencing (remember the note about scrounging....), so this weekend, set poles, string fence and build a gate and then let the chix out. It will be better for them, and I'll either learn to wear shoes, or learn to not care about what I step in. And I really, really, really don't like shoes.
But free range it shall be!

Thursday, May 14, 2009


Outside version of chicken condo (the adolescent cage) assembled. check!
Baby stinkies, I mean baby chix moved outside. check!
asparagus weeded. check!
onions weeded. check!
beets planted. check!
spinach planted. check!
radishes planted. check!
3 loads of laundry done and hung out. check!

pictures taken of all the above. uncheck!

Busy day, and all in 1/2 day! Started raining shortly after lunch, so the rest of the day I stayed in and played with my seeds. (my laundry, if it ever dries, will smell soooooo good!)

Thunderstorm last night, power in and out. this isn't good. normally power out doesn't really affect us, however when we have baby stinkies, I mean baby birdies that need heat, it's not good to have the heat lamps go out. So the first night they're outside they're subjected to a good old fashioned thunderstorm. Only lost one, I think he/she got squished when they all huddled together.
That sounds glib. It's not meant to be. Even though these birds are destined for the table, it's still heartbreaking when a baby dies. They depend on me to keep them healthy and alive and this one got let down, it's not taken lightly. And it's not even from the financial aspect of losing eggs or meat... it's just the fact that one of my babies has died. It hurts.
But life on the farm moves on, it's not the first loss, it would be great if it were the last, but I know better.

Enough of that! tonight, the rhubarb needs to be weeded. Whether or not that gets done depends on how much happens between that and Game 7!

Go Wings!!! Drown them ducks!!!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Some Of My Critters

This post has lots of pics, sorry dial-up readers!

This is Dr. Pepper and Mr Salty. Yes, even though we raise these boys to eat, they still have names and still get lots of hugs and cuddles.

Barn Kitties (4 sisters - by next year I should have about 29 cats!) looking down out of the hay loft.
My horses, Mike McMustang and Sierra's Mercedes Benz. They look a bit rough in the spring, before they get their winter coats all combed out. They are both mustangs, both branded. Mike was captured in California and Sierra, in Wyoming.

My baby chicks are going outside TONIGHT!!! they are getting a bit stinky! Also on tap for tonight, get beets planted, then if I have time, carrots and spinach too.
Last night I dug up all of the strawberry crowns that didn't grow and used that space for my garlic and chives. I might put some radishes in there too. Rather have strawberries, but oh well!
Yeah, and about the lawn, if I don't get after that, might need to break out the haybine!
We plowed up 1/2 of our 1st hayfield last night. It's getting too weedy and doesn't produce, so tentative plan is to seed corn for a year, then put in a pasture mix. So far the tractors are not acting up. This is huge (and unusual) and now that I've said that...... aye!

Monday, May 4, 2009

In Which A Trip To TSC.....

just gets out of hand! Went to the local Tractor Supply store (my favorite store in the whole wide world!) and what did I find? Baby chix! On sale. As in clearanced out! And no more coming in! So I did what any sane, logical, demented farmer would do, I bought a bunch of them! See! Aren't they cute?
So, 47 new babies have arrived! and were housed in my bathtub, something hubby's not real fond of, but what was I supposed to do? They had to be contained, and they had to be somewhere that was waterproof, washable and I could put heat lights on them.
Below, is an example of the elaborate Chicken Condo's that I've built. My architech brother would be rolling in his grave, or maybe just laughing so hard.... never mind....
Anyway, enter the Chicken Condo. Several rooms, some with food, some with water, and 2 with heat lamps. This all lives on a tarp in our guest room until they are feathered out and it gets a bit warmer outside, then they go to the adolescent cage. There was a time I used to keep them in the barn in lights, but they got drafty anyway, so for a few weeks, they live inside.

That wasn't the only fun we had this weekend. After our momentous trip to Tractor Supply, we decided to stop by Walmart and what did we find? Come on, think about it, what sits outside of Walmart on the weekends, attended by cute little blondes in a box marked "free......". Yup. Kittens! They are so cute. 3 of them are identical, I've named them Inky, Stinky, Blinky and the other Chuck because well, she's not identical. So 4 barn kittens have come to call our zoo home. They have so much fun up in the hayloft, climbing in the hay, hiding between bales, waiting for the slightest breezes to stir up the loose strands of hay, pouncing on each other, and that's not even counting how much fun there is to be had up in the eaves. A Disneyland for kittens! That's what a hayloft is. Especially since there isn't a Mother to tell them "No"!

I didn't get ANY gardening done this weekend, the weather was beautiful, but circumstances beyond my control kept me away. I've decided to start the rest of my seeds using the paper towel method. So far the only seeds that aren't responding to this treatment are the parsley, but they take a long time to germinate anyway. I direct seeded (into pots) tomatoes, peppers, and some flowers, but being away from home and not able to tend them didn't work out so well for them. So, paper towels it is! And, because I don't buy stuff like that, I use extras that we always get when we go to places like Dairy Queen and McDonalds. That experiment will play out over the next few weeks. Tonight, maybe, just maybe I can get part of the garden tilled. My onions are doing GREAT!! My asparagus is peeking up and my strawberries NADA! I'll give them a few more weeks, then take the roots back and get a refund. Seems like I should see some green within this time!

Friday, May 1, 2009

Is It Spring Yet?

Let's take a wander around the old garden shall we? The rhubarb is coming up, no this isn't a picture of my rhubarb, my camera got left in the house this morning. Still have to dig some of that for my Dad who wants some in his garden.
I've planted my strawberries in the stone ledge border I built around the pool, they also don't look quite like the picture, actually, I'm not at all sure they're alive.
Asparagus has been planted as well. Oh, and onions. Onions are important.
Garlic is ready to go in too, although normally a fall crop, someone didn't get off their behind long enough to get it planted in the fall, so spring it will be. Started it in the house probably in January or so, not too much longer, actually the tops are starting to die back already.
My Tiger Lilies are popping up all over as is all of the mint that seems to find it's way around the place.
Started in pots are Hollyhocks (I know, they'll grow anywhere, anytime, but I wanted to make sure I got a good bunch of plants before I put them out for the rabbits to munch on - gotta feed those rabbits ya know!)
Also started are tomatoes (3 dif. kinds of regular tomatoes and 2 different strains of heirloom) as well as peppers, hot and regular.
As soon as hubby gets the garden rototilled for me (or Sunday afternoon, whichever comes first) I'll put in some radishes, carrots and spinach and beets maybe. Don't know about beets, have to check on those, but definitely the first three.
One of these nights when it's nice enough, I'm gonna grab hubby and go tooling around the countryside and woods, looking for blueberry plants to transplant. Tried to grow some from seed, but no go.
One of the next big projects in the barn related area of the homestead is to Clean. Out. The. Barn. This spring has been very busy with work and other stuff, and that just hasn't gotten done yet. If I could get hubby to get the dozer outta there, it would help. Then I have to build a wood rack (actually just reinforce it as I've already built it) and start piling all of our scrap wood up there, off the floor. The next task would be to corrall all of the binder twine, actually, this is valuable stuff. But scattered all over the floor, not so much.
In the knitting room, I'm still working on granddaughter #1's sweater. Purpley heathery Lithuanian Birds and Blooms design, and I do need to get a picture of that.
Here's the reason for a recent er, um, stash addition!
So, daugher #1 calls and says, “Go to this yardsale. They have TONS of yarn”, she says. “More yarn than I’ve ever seen in one place, ever!” She recants. “It’s your heaven”, she teases, “your own personal paradise”, she continues.. yadda, yadda, yadda….So, being the dutiful mother that I am, I went. Seriously, this woman had a problem. She needed to start her own Yarn-a-holic 12 step program. She had yarn. LOTS of it. Yes, TONS! of good stuff! Mohair, cashmere, alpaca, wool, actually very little acrylic. She had skeins and balls and cones. She had needles, and lace wires. Stitch and row counters were coming out of boxes. Patterns, books and leaflets jumped as I walked by. But she doesn’t have alot of this stuff anymore. Bet you can guess why! Because now I have a yarn problem. 8 (yes, count them - 8!) lawn and leaf bags later I’m now looking into 12 step program requirements for myself.
Part of my New Years Resolution was to knit from my stash and not buy any more new yarn. There’s a loophole here, can you spot it? Yup! New! This yarn was not New, so it didn’t count!
I wonder if justifying addictions is addressed in the 12 step programs?
Moral of this story? Sorry, got nothin’ for ya. But yard sales, garage sales and auctions rock for possible stash enhancement!

So, now that I've fessed up about my recent purchase, I better go. Got a few minutes before I leave for work and that means I have a few minutes to pet and drool, I mean to admire my recent aquisitions!

Friday, April 10, 2009


Ok, it's been awhile. I know, I know. But.... I've been busy!

Bu-Dawgh's training has taken a back seat to a bunch of other stuff in my life. I don't know that he'll ever be allowed to be outside without the chain, he's very fond of chasing anything that moves, like my chickens. Time will tell

Knitting.... I've completed exactly 4.2 projects since last checking in. Don't ask, see above about being busy. But after this next project is done, which should be today or tomorrow (there's a direct corelation between a hockey game being televised and how much knitting is accomplished), I worked up the test swatch for one of the granddaughter's birthday sweaters. I'm doing a Lithuanian type of design from Donna Druchunas' book, Ethnic Knitting, Exploration, and blogging about it on my other blog at The solid color knitting is a different gauge than the multi color only because for some reason, I knit tighter on 2 or more colors than on just one. The purple is much more vivid in real life and the pattern isn't true, it was just to test gauge.

In the homesteading category, we find ourselves smack dab in the middle of The Great 2009 Strawberry Event. So far, our players are a pool deck in the full sun, about a trillion 5 gallon buckets full of black dirt (the skidder is broken plus there's still a mound of snow and ice where it would have to go into the pasture to retrieve buckets of dirt), and stone, turned into a hedge.

Before: Gotta get the area cleaned up from the winter first. Plus, last year I used the pool deck as king of a staging area for the gardening equipment, pots.... Also, underneath the pool deck is leftovers from the filters, decks.....

Ok, cleanup has pretty much been finished. Now to start messing stuff up again.

The rock ledge has been built and I've filled in with cement blocks I had planned to plant the strawberries in. Change of plans..... The holes in the cement blocks aren't big enough to allow the strawberries to roam, so today, I'll take out the blocks, board up the back of the planter so the good dirt doesn't walk away and then fill. (this is where the trillion 5-gallon buckets of black dirt comes in).

What's on the horizon after the Great Strawberry Event of 2009? Well, then we get to start working on the Great Chicken Pen Expansion project! Stay tuned, or better yet, bring your fence stretchers, this one could be fun!

Monday, February 9, 2009

In Which Bu Takes Me For A Walk

We've been working with walking the Bu-Dawgh. He's a tad bit excitable and very narrow minded. Likes to chase things that move, like rabbits, chickens, deer and leaves (not this time of year, the leaves are hard to chase right now), but you get the picture. He likes to run.

I don't. I will do a fast walk with the best of them, but run? Um, no! Old. Arthritis. Hips hurt. Whatever excuse you can come up with, I've already thought of it. If I'm going to run, it's gonna either be from a house on fire, a wayward steer or on the back of my horse.

Bu-Dawgh, on the other hand, would rather run than anything. And he has no qualms dragging me along behind. Through the woods, on the ice, it's always an adventure.

Enter Cesar. And his method of being the pack leader.

Ok then. Walk, Bu-Dawgh, Walk! As long as I take him for the equivalent of 5.5 hours of walking/running/chasing/dragging every day, he's good, but at this rate, my shoulders are going to give out.

I took him out for a walk the other day through the woods, not the smartest thing I've done in awhile, but it was a beautiful day. Being pulled face first through 3 foot of snow was even exhilarating, reminded me of my days on the sleds when we were younger. But back then, it was fun. Yeah, good times.

So, with a bit of a variation on Cesar's techniques (walk, don't run, don't pull, walk, that's good, ugh, no don't run, ice - slow down) we're getting there.

Weather related, it has warmed up, at least for a few days, we actually saw 50 on Saturday, with bright sun. It was beautiful. Sunday was about 40 and I hung clothes out and They Dried! This is huge. This hasn't happened in a long time. I always hang clothes out, but end up draping them over furniture in the living room by the woodstove to get them to dry.

Supposed to start raining tonight, that will be a fun little mess.

We'll see how that all plays out!

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Snow. Again.

This time of year, snow is a moot point up here. There's gonna be snow. There's gonna be lots of it, and then there's gonna be more snow. It happens. Every year, you can almost set your calendar by it.

End of year, get lots of snow.
Beginning of year, snow starts to not fall quite as hard, quite as often, this is a sign that the big lakes are frozen over (or mostly frozen over).
Middle of January, the sun (remember mr. sun?) makes his appearance again, once in awhile, you know, just for a teaser. There's no heat in this sun, it's just pretty and yellow and mostly deceiving, because it makes you think thoughts of going outside to do stuff like plant the garden (which is under 3-4 foot of snow). Deceiving.
End of January, the January Thaw! where traditionally temps rise above the average for a week or so, again, deceiving us into believing that the winter gods are done with us for yet another year.
But it's not so. Phil lets us know every Feb 2 that we are not to be deceived. If you don't believe him, ask the natives. They get deceived also, but know better. They'll tell you that the snow won't go away until August (they're mostly tired of it by now and view it as a never ending curse).

Me? bring it on. I love it. I love staying inside and looking out at it. I love being outside in it. I just love it, yup, a northern girl at heart. What can I say?

But, even though I profess my never ending love of winter every chance I get, does not mean that I invite head shots with snow shovels, ice picks or skiis. I didn't do it. I didn't make it snow, I just like that it does.
And, I look forward to the thawing of the lakes, so the great Lake Effect Snows can once again dump enough of the white stuff in 20 mins to cover a house.

So what do we do until it starts snowing again, but it's too cold? (cause snow and cold, while seemingly compatible, are not! It can comfortably be 30 degrees and still snowy, what I object to is 75 below zero with a wind chill just short of Mars).
We do as Jeff Foxworthy suggests and go sit on 18+ inches of ice, drill a hole and wait for our dinner to swim by!

Gotta Love Michigan!

Monday, February 2, 2009

If It's February, It Must Be 2009!

Yesterday was a beautiful day. About 35 deg. bright sun, and down in our little hole, almost no wind. So Bu-Dawgh got the bright idea to go for a walk. In the woods. Where's there's about 3 foot of snow. (I may be short, but mid thigh, is mid thigh, and that's right around 3 foot). So I made him lead the way, figured we'd get a head start on making our path for walking to work.
This was fun, he's not tall either, there was kind of a gazelle effect as periodically he would jump up into the air (with me attached to the other end of the leash) to get a look around.
Kind of made the whole path thing hard to follow, but at least he kind of blazed the trail. Kind of. We still slogged through the snow, but it was a nice, if not invigorating, walk.

Would have been really interesting if I'd have gone with my first thought and strapped on the cross country skiis. We'd probably still be out there.

So, lately I've discovered Facebook. This is pretty cool, and I've already connected with a cousin who (whom?) I haven't seen in a coon's age. Most of my brothers are on Facebook too. And my parents. Seriously, don't you people have better things to do?

Apparantly I don't!

Friday, January 30, 2009

21 days ago!

21 days ago was my last post. If you've wondered that maybe I wandered off and fell into a snowbank, I didn't. Not un-intentionally anyway, but I did get to reading alot of my old posts and came to a conclusion. My life is kind of boring. The same stuff that happens last January, happens this January, mainly that it is cold and it snows. I routinely beat on frozen water to make it drinkable, haul firewood to heat the house and then haul ash out again.

Sidenote: I should be saving those ashes to make lye water, so I can make soap, because.... yeah, I need another hobby!

But, this January, I did take a trip. My brothers, parents and I all met in Colorado for a long weekend. The first day we hiked 40 miles up to 40,000 feet straight up. (My brother who lives in Colorado seems to think it was more like 4 miles and 11,000 feet. He's wrong, I was there, I did the math, mostly laying face down in the snow gasping for what little oxygen hadn't already been gasped by everyone else).

The following day we all strapped boards on our feet and headed out to the slopes to torture what was left of our aching muscles. Great fun! We grew up skiing, and being a bit of a fearless fool anyway, standing at the top of a really big hill and pushing off to go breakneck speed down said really big hill seemed like a great idea. Yes, I did fall a few times, but in my defense, my legs were sooooo tired from the previous day that I could not successfully accomplish what is known in the skiing world as "stopping".

We lounged in the hot tub (there were at least 16 of us in that tub and the floor had no drain - you do the math). Hmmm, a hot tub room with no drain. Someone didn't have their Wheaties that day.

I wandered into a coffee shop in outback Colorado (big buck - I think- in Fairplay, CO) and found..... are you ready....... sitting down for this one.....

YARN!! Well, not really yarn, but pre-yarn, roving in cool little packages. I didn't even care that it cost more than my plane ticket, I had to have it, just because I found it by accident in a coffee shop in some really small mountain town far far away from N. Mich.

That was pretty much the excitement for January.

This weekend, if the weather gods permit (meaning if it's not 75 degrees below zero) I've got to get out to the barn and build a calf feeder, they are wasting too much hay and I fear I may not have enough. And just now looking at the calendar, June seems to be about 1/2 year away.
This was not a good discovery. Still half a year before 1st cutting and my barn is maybe only 1/3 full. Most likely we'll be buying hay this year.

Friday, January 9, 2009

The New Roosters

My new roosters are working out well. (In case you didn't read about where they came from, they were dropped off, probably as a joke. See, people don't just drop off furry cute kittens and puppies, they drop off other livestock too.) They seem to have found their place within my little chicken community. There's a heirarchy, but they've worked it out. I found both of them battered and bloody one morning and was concerned that we may have had a creature trying to attack, but it was just them, working out which rung of the ladder they belonged on.

It has been determined that Mr. White Rooster will spend his nights guarding the barn, and Mr. Black Rooster will stay in with the ladies in the hen house. I say ladies, but there are 2 young gentlemen in with them... I don't wanna know....

And, as a gentle reminder that roosters don't only crow at sunrise, as a lot of people have been led to believe, they crow whenever they want, even if that whenever is 3 AM, Mr Black Rooster crows all the time. I have to believe he's strutting his luck with his ladies. That's ok with me, the neighbors? Probably not hearing it this time of year, I'm sure they have their windows closed.

So, on the knitting front, I've already broken 2 of my 3 New Year's Resolutions. The first being to not buy any more yarn until I can walk around in my craft room again (too much stuff in there!) and the second to not cast on for any more projects. But this didn't count (it never does!) Besides, I had to do it to fulfill the 3rd of my resolutions.

My grandson has a birthday in March, he's at that age (13) where there's nothing you could get for him other than cash or something electronic that would make him happy, except for maybe.... A scarf knit in U of M colors (blue and gold) with the U of M logo on it.

1st resolution broken - bought more yarn

2nd resolution to be broken - cast on for new project

3rd resolution to be kept - to try to knit something for each and every one of my 7 grandkids for their birthdays this year. (the twins will be interesting, as often happens with twins, their birthdays are coincidentally on the same day as each other! How does that happen??). Clearly whoever planned that one wasn't a knitter!

So, birthday one is in the works.

See? I can justify any resolution breaking, especially if it involves knitting. Got a resolution you want to break? Send it to me, I'll justify it for ya!

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Keeping Murphy Away From My New Faucet...

My new faucet is here, my new faucet is here! Alert, alert!
UPS delivered it yesterday. To hubby's shop. And he forgot it. Sigh!
Oh well, that's ok really, I didn't have time to do an install last night anyway, probably won't get done until Saturday. Have to dig out the new sink and get that ready too.

And I hear there are silicone applications to be done. Yippee! Silicone is fun!

Assuming that the existing sink is the same size as the new sink it should all go fairly well. Having said that..... yeah! But it will be really nice to have that done. Might even inspire me to start thinking about refurbing my Hasty Baker Stove.

Assuming that the existing sink is the same size as the new sink is probably where all of this is gonna fall apart. I've heard they're all the same. People have said, don't worry, it will fit. But I do. Worry, that is. Because me and Murphy? Best Friends Forever! Yeah, that's us.

I've only installed one sink ever and that was close to 20 yrs ago. Thinking through the process, it didn't seem all that hard, but I'm wondering if maybe I should replace the counters also, at the same time? Hmmmm. Have to think about that. Kind of flies in the face of my "nothing new for 09" strategy (the faucet and the sink were both bought in 08, so they don't count).

What I could do is this. Dig out some of the floorboards left over after we installed the hardwood floors, use them, sand them down real good, put a nice thick layer of poly on them, that would look nice! And while I'm at it, I could build a backsplash and, and, and.....

This might work, will have to think about it some though.

Nah! The existing counters are just fine, they don't need to be replaced. And I will probably need those floorboards when we finally get the upstairs loft done. Yeah, I have enough projects, don't really need any more, and, keeping Murphy away from my new installations will probably be all I can handle!

Obligatory rooster photos, well one anyway, it's dark in the mornings and evenings when I do chores, so hard to get a good photo!

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Well, It's Been Awhile

So let's take a look at what has been happening around the farm lately.

You know those old farm houses on the end of the road where people drop off stray cats and dogs? We have one of those. Well, not an old farm house, but we are at the end of the road.

And to be honest, I've only had one drop off puppy, one we ended up keeping for a long time, and the cats that show up, well cats do roam so...

But, I'm not talking here about dropping off 4 legged furry critters. Nope. Here's the story.

I was sitting at my computer the other morning and kept thinking I was hearing a rooster. We have 2 roosters, but they're young, and to my knowledge haven't found their "crow" yet. At least I've never heard them. If you've ever heard a rooster trying to learn to crow, it's not pretty. Pretty much sounds like they're being tortured. But this was a full on crow.

After daylight I ventured out to the barn to do chores and what did I see? A rooster! A real, full grown, complete with a healthy set of spurs, rooster! A really pretty one too, black, with reds, browns and iridescent greens and blues. Very pretty. Ok then. We now have an honest to goodness rooster. Whatever.

Part of my doing morning chores dictates that I open up the hen house so the chickens can escape, wander around the barnyard and peck at the grains and corns that the horses and cows leave behind. Part of my morning chores involves counting my little birdies as they exit the hen house, just to make sure I didn't lose anyone. Currently there are 14 birdies living there. Or so I thought. Until I opened up the door and out strutted another rooster, proud as could be (spent the night with 12 ladies and 2 young gentlemen....). This one was also very pretty. White with black and brown and red and other colors, iridiscent blues and greens, very pretty, but very much different from the other one.

So now I'm curious, just how many roosters found my barnyard, when did they arrive, and most importantly, how in the world did they get there?

There's close to 4 foot of snow on the ground between me and the other farms in the area, not likely they just strolled over. Domestic chickens don't fly real well, so that's not likely either. They had to have had a ride. But who??

Stay tuned for the answer coming up after this ad.....

Hey? Need your driveway plowed? Need your walk shoveled? Just call the local Mr Snowplow man (who also, conveniently as it happens, has a few extra roosters, want a couple?)

Ah Hah! There's the culprit. Seems he had a few too many (roosters). Seems they were eating him out of house and pig food. Seems last year he asked me if I wanted a few and I said, "Sure, why not!". Actually that last part I don't remember, but he swears he "mentioned" it. And while he's "swearing that he mentioned it" there's an unmistakable gleam in his eye and a shit-eating grin on his face. Uh huh! Ok. You "mentioned" it. Was I anywhere near you when this pseudo-conversation took place?

But it's all good. I needed a new face in the flock anyway, gotta introduce some new dna every now and then to keep from getting chickens with fur, or 3 eyes and stuff, or feet growing out of their ears. And these boys are gorgeous! They will make pretty babies. Unless of course they don't know how to do that, then, Mr Snowplow Man and I are gonna have a 'scussion!