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!