Wednesday, January 23, 2013

I Blame It On Mother Nature

Yeah, she's the one to blame for this deep freeze I currently find myself in.
Don't get me wrong, I love winter and I love the snow, but seriously?

Snow can live at temps above 0, just saying! Snow can even live at temps above 32 (I've seen it, don't go there). But the absolute best temps for snow to live is about 20. With bright sun. Those are the best days for things like skiing and ice fishing. Throw in a few grandkids and life doesn't get much better (except on my bike, but since January and motorcycling don't mix up here that's not a current possibility).

But, alas, since we have soooooo much cold and sooooooo few snowflakes, really, we have less than a foot, which at this point in the year is just ridiculous, I am forced to complain about the weather.

I want snow! And lots of it. Me and the Bu-Dawgh love to take long walks in the woods in the deep snow. Ok, he likes to take long runs - he thinks he's a sled dog, I just try to hang on and not get my snowshoes hung up in the branches... but I digress...

And it's even cold in here! Yeah, the woodstove is going, but it hasn't reached my frozen toes yet. And, yes, I do have my hand knit slippers on TYVM!!

On the agenda for today after work is my Wednesday night sewing group in which most of us knit. At first I was all "I'm not knitting during the sewing group, I don't have enough sewing time as it is, so I will sew". Until I ran into a project that must be completed and ready to wear tomorrow! So, tonight at my sewing group, I will knit (and drink lots of hot cocoa with (insert choice of alcohol here) in it.

Nothing much homestead-y going on. The chickens are insisting that their job of laying eggs will go on until the end of time. I'm not complaining, I'm just waiting for the bottom to drop out. It will. Just no clue when. Thinking of getting more chickens this spring. Well, of course we'll get the roasting chix, but maybe a few more laying hens. (because 12 isn't enough for a family of 2), but more like they are so cute when they are little. Turkeys too, going to get turkeys again, cause they so AREN'T cute when they're little, but they grow up to be fairly tasty, and they're stupid hilarious!

Might try to fix the ground fault outlet in my bathroom today. Stay tuned, this could get fun. Still have to figure out what to do with the sink that is currently residing in my living room. I would love it if someone would raise their hand and say, "Hey, I'll put that sink in for you" (and install the garbage disposal - which hubby decided was necessary, and completely redo the plumbing....).... Anyone? I thought not... Oh well..

So with all of that jabber now in your head, I'll leave you. Because I should probably get to work, or something like that.

And I have no idea what's going on with my avatar, it should be a picture in a ski scene....

Life is Good!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Still In A Holding Pattern

Winter is like that though, in a holding pattern, seems like it goes on forever, but it's really only 2 or 3 months that we're in a deep freeze.
My knitting is coming along although it's same old, same old. Still working on the 9 Miles of Stockinette Shrug. It is in 2 halves. 1 half is done and the other is probably 1/2 done, so I guess that makes it 3/4 done.
Also working on some Travelling Socks, or Around The World Socks. You knit 2" on a sock and then pass it on to the next person who either passes theirs on to you or passes you hers. You're all working on socks and everyone will have a pair of socks that everyone else has worked on when they're done.
Awesome way to use up the stash.

The chickens are STILL laying massive amounts of eggs. I'm giving this victory to the light I hung in the coop. You know to extend the day? I never plugged it in, but it's there. There's a light in the coop so the chickens keep laying. I know this will all come crashing down around me, but for now my 12 hens are producing an average of 9-10 eggs a day. I'll take it!

Started another sweater/sweatshirt. It's actually a heavily patterned (read "gorgeous") sweater in denim yarn. This yarn is amazing. When done it truly feels, and wears like a sweatshirt. And no babying this baby! When it needs to be washed, you throw it in the washer (and dryer, if you're so inclined) just as you would a pair of jeans. It fades a bit around the raised edges, and looks very cool.

Still working on my Wolf Song quilt pattern, which doesn't really resemble wolves so much as deer and elk in the winter, with a log cabin scene. In flannel. Combined with my fleece sheets, no more cold toes for this girl!

Tonight, vegetable beef soup on the woodstove and more knitting and quilting. And look! It has started to snow a bit outside. YAY!!!

Life is good....

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Canning and Sinks

I think I'm gonna keep the $200+ version of the sink. See previous post about black sink vs white sink. Sink with all of the holes I need vs sink without holes. Deep deep sink vs shallow sink. Brand new shiny black cast iron sink vs old farmhouse, full of character, white porcelain sink. Yeah, the new, black one won. It was a close race though, the only thing that tipped it was last night, cleaning up after my Canning of the Chicken Soup escapade I was paying attention. I really really like my current sink, which is flimsy but very deep (and leaks, Badly.) I really feel that the deeper sink is what I need for what I do in my kitchen.
I wish it could be reported that I chose the more economical of the two (white porcelain, old farmhouse, with drain ridges on either side, full of character sink that is out back behind the garage) but this time, new, it had to be. The picture was pretty much what the old farmhouse type of sink looks like, although not nearly in a good of condition, it's scratched and dinged, more character right? But... it doesn't have enough holes and it's too shallow.
Was a tough race. A bit too much for a Monday, but there you have it. Efficiency was chosen over character, looks and availability. It wasn't a proud choice either, being very homestead-y, use what we have before buying new, type of person.
But enough about that.

Still working on my knitted pumpkin colored shrug. When I'm near it, I never have my camera. When I have my camera I'm not near my shrug, so you don't get to see a picture of it yet. The lace pattern is complete, now for the 9 miles of stockinette stitch. UGH!!

Yesterday afternoon, my knitting guild met and we decided to do a "round the world sock" thing (technical term). You start a pair of socks and knit 2 inches on each sock. Then you pass it off to the next person who does their 2" and then it gets passed on again. In the meantime another person who started a pair of socks and did their 2" thing passes it on to me. In then end, everyone has a pair of socks that everyone else has knitted on. No rules. use sock yarn scraps in any color, knit any design wether it be stockinette or lace or cables or..... no rules. I want to use beads, we'll see.
That I will post a picture of, every now and then.

Weather is getting weird, it's warm. When I was little (a looooonnnnnngggggg time ago) January meant a month of below 0 temps and the famous "January Thaw" meant a few days or a week of above zero temps. Not so much anymore. We're actually supposed to get rain and 40+ degrees by the weekend. This. Will. Cause. A. Mess!
(What happens to water when it hits a frozen surface....) Yup! Slippery, slidey ice!
But beyone that... January + Northern Michigan does not equal 40+ degrees!
I don't blame it on Global Warming, I blame it on cyclical weather patterns. We also used to get tons of snow. Like more than feet, yards! We used to have no 1st floor on the house as it was covered in snow. We used to have to tunnel out. It was great! (I love snow). Not so much anymore :-( Sadness.

So, let's see..... Homesteading. Check........ Knitting. Check........... Weather. Check!
Got it!
Tonight is another knitting club. Normally during the winter when I have to drive my truck over there (as opposed to riding my bike) I would take my wheel and spin, but I really want to get this shrug done and get my 2" sock thing done, so knitting it will be.

Oh, I also decided to get some pigs in the spring. Fence off the garden area, let them till it up really good to get rid of the ragweed and bindweed, and then my garden will be better. This summer I will plant my garden in a different area.

Have a good one!
Life is Good!!

Monday, January 7, 2013

So... yesterday I said I was gonna cut and stack more wood. And I did!!! This is unprecedented. Usually when I put it out there that I'm going to accomplish something, it doesn't happen, but YAY!!!

Also, yesterday I cooked and canned up a bunch of Chicken Soup. Awesome, all I need to do is whip up some noodles and automatic dinner!

And... I made another decision. Am I on a roll or what? I'm going to start hanging clothes out again. I used to do this all the time, actually, my kids refer to my dryer as an "ironing machine" meaning I only use it to get out wrinkles. Well all that ground to a halt about 6.5 weeks ago when I slipped on some ice (hanging laundry). Went down intact and came up with a broken rib and lots of bruises. Not Fun!
But it's time. I guess if I can tell the grandkids I can go skiing, then it's really time to be economically and more earth friendly responsible and start to hang clothes again.
Yup, it's gonna happen.

I have a new sink that is waiting to be installed. (Waiting because it is of the cast iron variety and way to heavy for me to heft around, so waiting for hubby to get tired of it sitting in the living room). It's really pretty, black, deep deep bowls and lots of holes for all of my faucets and stuff. Then hubby tells me he has an old farm sink (white porcelain) out in back of the garage. I get to thinking, hmmmmm (it's never good when I get to thinking), why not use that and return the 200$ + version?
Well, still considering it. The sink is awesome, it's white (I can live with white) and has one bowl (ok, I can live with one bowl because it's a HUGE bowl), but it's shallow. I really like me a deep sink, but this older one has sooo much character. I love to be able to put a canning kettle under the faucet and fill it up while doing something else.
I will measure it and see if it will work. I'd really like to have that 200$+ back in the savings account and this old one is really cool. Still thinking.....

Homesteaders and all of their "stuff", eh? lol

Life is Good!

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Winter Homesteading

So, January already!
January is one of my favorite 12 months. Because it's easy. And pretty outside, and COLD!!
So what do you do on the homestead when it's COLD??
You cut wood. Yesterday was a blistering 12 degrees, but there was no wind and the sun was divine. (In the winter, up here, the sun is a precious commodity, so when it makes it's appearance, you want to go out and worship it, such that is possible in parka, flannel lined jeans, mittens, hats and heavy boots...)
And you might have asked before I got diverted with my sun worshipping, why wasn't the wood already cut?
Well, I'll tell you!
Winter is an easy time on the homestead. Spring planting, Summer maintenance, and Autumn Harvest, but Winter is easy. Pretty much all you have to do is survive the COLD! (And we've come up with some pretty creative ways to do that).
Back to the wood pile. Winter is easy because there's not as much to be done, so that's when we cut wood. Plus the fact that you get really warm cutting and stacking wood, so it's best done when the temps are cold. Some might argue, that's ok, that's just the way we do it.
So yesterday we took the opportunity to cut and stack 4 loads of wood. And restack the current woodpile. See, depending on time of day, whether you'll be home or not and how cold it is determines what type of wood you feed the stove. And seeing as how it the woodpile had become a total mess on the deck I took an hour or so to restack it. Slabs in one place and roundwood in another.
Today will be more of the same, get the deck stacked all back up and that chore will be done for another couple of weeks.

Chickens continue to lay between 8 and 9 eggs a day. This is likely because I took the time to run an extension cord out to the chicken house and hook up The Light (to simulate longer days). The Light doesn't work, but I guess just the threat of The Light is enough to keep them going. Currently I have close to 26 dozen eggs in my fridge. I just know that once they (the chickens) start to molt, the egg production will cease.

Still working on a shrug pattern from some orange/gold yarn that was given to me. I'm liking it more and more. It's quite coarse but the lace pattern is really easy to memorize and very pretty. I'm past the lace pattern now, now I'm doing 9 miles of stockinette stitch. No matter, when hubby wants to go somewhere, we jump in the truck and I get another couple of yards done!

Also, just started a shop sample also for called Wolf Song . The designer is an engineer and the pattern reflects her ability to over explain every step (in this case that's a good thing!)
In my version it's an elk, done in shades of winter blues and flannel. The pattern only sizes up to a Twin size, so I'll have to get creative and add some more borders for my queen size bed.

Today, after stacking more wood, maybe I'll work on my quilt, maybe I'll clean the house (probably not gonna happen) and maybe I'll upload some more items to ebay.

Life is Good!