Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Mini Update

I'm getting the mid winter blahs even though we haven't had a winter to speak of. I really need a change of pace around here. Still working on my last Fiddlehead mitten. Still working on my cable sweater. Still reading my brains out. Sigh.

I did find a neat outlet for my doodling habit. I got a half size sketchbook and wrote an uplifting or inspirational quote on each page. Now I'm tangling around them. There are fifty pages so it ought to take me a while. I've only done 4 so far....and as per paragraph one, it's not working to lift my spirits yet, but it's fun. Kind of like my own personal coloring book.

The one really bright spot of the week is going out to the farm. This last Sunday there was a little box of fresh raspberries in the produce bin. Esme-the-turkey LOVES her fruit, so I sat down in the middle of the barn floor and opened the little hinged plastic box and held it out to her. I thought she would gobble them down, but she was such a little lady.  She cocked her head and eyed each berry carefully and then chose the one that looked best to her and swallowed it.  Then she eyed them all and carefully chose another. It's like she knew that it was a rare treat to get fresh raspberries in February. She looked like someone with a box of See's chocolates!  I also found an itchy spot on Toby's cheek that when scritched, makes his eyes roll back in his head with pure bliss. So it was a good day all around.

Not much else to report but I got a few comments about the fact that I posted every day for a week and then stopped, so I thought I'd better put something out here. I'll be baking later in the week so that'll be good for another post and then maybe I'll go on spring break for a while.  Someplace tropical with cabana boys please!

Friday, February 24, 2012

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Finorkin Fiddlehead Mittens: Part Deux

The mitten on the right was from the first pair I made. The grey was the background and the colors were the 'fiddleheads'. If you saw my previous post on the matter, you say that I only had a tweensy little smidge of the gray left over, but I had scads of the other five colors left over. So I changed things up a bit and started a second pair. Now the 'fiddleheads' are a cream color and the other five colors are the background colors.  I did have to switch the colors to the opposite order because in the first mitten I had to do the icord cast on in dark blue and it ate a lot of yarn, but the green tip of the mitten was losts of decreases so it didn't use hardly any yarn.  Reversing them prevented a yarn shortage panic like I had last time.  I hope. I've only got the first few rows done on the second mitten of the second pair, so we'll see.
Which version do you like best?

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Spring At Last! Spring At Last!

It was so nice during my last farm shift that I spent a half and hour after the chores were done, and just sat out in the back pasture with the goats and sucked up the nice weather. Anna and Cherish were on the other side of the fence....

 The goats were loving the sun and the company.
 And Bert was happy to get his big old head skritched.
I spent a lot of time out with the goats last summer and fall. They are really social and come to visit you when you sit out there with them. I spent a little time with them in their inside pen this winter, but it was so cold that we didn't get any quality time in. I think they were as happy about the social time as I was on Sunday. I spent entire 15 minutes talking to Bert and scratching his head, up and down his nose and around his horn buds. He just stood still, rocking slightly with the motion of the scratches, closing his eyes off and on. Such a sweetie.

I wish I could begin to explain, the feeling of well-being I had, sitting in the sun and solitude, with my friends from the peaceable kingdom! I've told folks before that Sundays on the farm is like my 'church'. I think the world's problems could be solved on a sunny bench in a pen surrounded by farm animals!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Diva's Challenge: Mardi Gras

I haven't done a Diva Challenge for a while now, but couldn't resist this week. The only instructions were to make a tangle that was reminiscent of Mardi Gras. Here is my attempt:
Happy Shrove Tuesday Everyone!

Lazy Llama

It was so gorgeous at the farm the other morning; sun, warm, no wind. The animals were all just sucking up the nice weather and lazing around in the sun beams. When it came to lazing though, Thor took it to the extreme. He decided to lay down and eat his breakfast.
 Breakfast in bed.
 The funniest part was when he finished the hay in his little area, he'd scoot on his belly, commando style, until his face met up with some more serious eatin'.
 Breakfast makes him smile. He was one happy llama.
Sunny-the-rooster watched him for a while and then dug himself a hole in straw in the goat stall, stretched out and tried the breakfast in bed thing himself. What a goof.

Sonny is Mr. Personality. He is such a character and so social. He runs 40 miles a shift following us around from chore to chore,  'supervising' and 'talking' the whole way. He had surgery on Friday to remove an infected area of his waddle and comb. We have to rub some healing ointment on his stitches. When I did it on Sunday, he closed his eyes like it was a spa treatment. He was right back in the swing on things though. What a little trooper!

Monday, February 20, 2012

Toby The Taster

It's not difficult to take an adorable picture of Toby when he's across the stall and doesn't realize you're there. But the minute he sees you, he heads in your direction out of curiosity and an intense desire to kiss you and be snuggled.

Here he comes.

"Hi Whatchoogutder?  Camera?  Come close! I geeve you good close up".
(Seriously! That's how he talks! With a cheesy French accent!)

" Ha! Fool you! I keese you camera! Smooch! Smooch!"

" I also keese you hand, you face...whatever you got...Give it here!'

In the end, a good picture is not the best part of the Toby experience. You'll walk away a little soggy, but you'll feel like a rock star!

Friday, February 17, 2012

Warm February Day

It's difficult to believe that it's still winter around here. We haven't had much of a winter to begin with, but with the warm weather of the last couple of days, the animals even think it's spring. Click on the pics to bring up bigger versions, you won't be sorry!
 The tree out front has started to bud under the bright blue sky.
 It's branches are filled with birds singing the songs or courtship and spring.
 This handsome guy has found his mate.
 When I first saw this guy, he was sound asleep in the sun.
 He wasn't grumpy at being woken though. Look at that smile!
 Mama muskrat and her babies poked a hole up through the ice on the pond.
 She spent the afternoon giving them swimming and diving lessons...
 With occasional breaks to munch on last autumn's cattails.
Neighbor, Rob, says that there are seven.  I got at least four! Too cute!
Any signs of spring where you are yet?

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Happy Valentine's Day!

I hear a lot of folks grousing about how Valentine's Day is a commercial holiday or how they are alone and the holiday just 'rubs it in', but I LOVE Valentine's Day. What better time to tell EVERYONE in your life, not just a significant other, how much you appreciate them, cherish your connection with them and love them for who they are?  People don't do that enough as far as I'm concerned. We get busy. We take each other for granted. We lose sight of what's important. Here's a whole DAY to remind you of that. Take advantage!

I made some Valentine's treats last night.
They were uber easy.  Put a round waffle pretzel on the bottom. Top with a Hershey Hug. Bake at 200° about 4 minutes until shiny and soft-but not all the way melted. Squish the chocolate down into the holes with a holiday colored M&M.  Cool. They were gone in 60 seconds once I put them on the treat table!  You can use the red and green M&Ms at Christmas, the pastel ones at Easter etc. Fun!

So Happy Valentine's Day to everyone!  I love, appreciate and cherish each one of you, whether I saw you a minute ago or 30 years ago. Each one of you has made an imprint on my life and I'm grateful you are in it!

Thursday, February 09, 2012

This and That: The Update

I've been trying to get back in the swing of things at work and at home this week. It took two full days to clean up the mess that being off for a week and a half created at work but I finally got that done. Now I'm buckling down on some projects that need doing and anticipating spring cleaning.

At home, I've gotten back in to the drawing thing big time. When I was sick, I didn't draw at all because it was just to uncomfortable to sit up at the table, so I read and knit mittens instead. Yet despite being sick, my housework got done. Now that I'm back at the drawing board so to speak, the nest is going to H-E-Double-Hockey-Sticks again.  Correlation? Hmmmm... I have two pieces done that I want to have printed on note cards, but need a third one. Do you think I can come up with one that I'm happy with? Not so much! But I'm having a wonderful time trying.

On the knitting front, I am still working on the cable sweater and since I still have scads of the lovely colors from the Finorkin Fiddlehead mittens left over, I've decided to add a skein of cream colored wool from my stash and knit another pair in reverse colors. The colors I used for the 'fiddleheads' are now the background and the fiddleheads will be cream color. They should be a lot more colorful than the last pair and I. swear. to. G*d. I will not rip them out no matter what thing goes horribly wrong this time!  On a positive note, I am now a leading world expert in i-cord cast on and LOVE it!

Although it sounds like I've been keeping myself uber-busy, I've only been drawing and knitting for an hour or so each night. The  little, head, cold I contracted Monday (I KNOW, right?! With all of the antibiotics I have on board, I should be 10 feet tall and bulletproof but... not so much !) has wiped me out and I've been dragging my sorry butt to bed at 8pm or so. I was looking forward to the new 'Smash' and 'The River' tv series this week and had to tape them both because I started nodding off on the davenport or kitchen table at 7:30! But I've got the cold on the run now and so now I'll have something to watch this weekend.

Friday night the girls are coming over for Knit Night.  We go to the Sow's Ear on the 1st and 3rd Fridays, my house on the 2nd Friday and a local coffee shop on the last Saturday of the month. I can't begin to describe how much this group of ladies means to me. Each one is like a family member I got to choose for myself. Sisters In Yarn we are!

Saturday I'm going to lunch with a friend I haven't seen in ages. She's another one of those people. You know the ones you don't see forever and then you get together and pick up right where you left off with nary a glitch.

And I get to go back to the farm on Sunday. I haven't worked a shift since Jan 22nd and I miss caring for  my feather and fur buddies terribly.  I did go out last Saturday to watch a horse training but the time had apparently been changed and so I found myself alone.  I got to say 'hi' to everybody and get some skritches and snorgles in.  That helped some but I need to get back to toting that bale...literally.

So my derailed life is slowly getting underway and back to normal...or as normal as it gets for me. How are you guys doing?

Sunday, February 05, 2012

Recommended Reading

I mentioned in my last post that I had read quite a few good books lately and several folks have asked me for a list . I'm a voracious reader and could list about 200 off the top of my head, but here are some of my recent favorites:

The Bright and Distant Shore- Dominic Smith
Dominic Smith is fast becoming one of my favorite authors. I read The Mercury Visions of Louis Daguerre last year and fell in love with it. I even wrote to Mr. Smith to tell him how much I enjoyed it and he wrote back to me!  Then a few weeks ago, I got another email from him letting me know that his new book was out.  I scurried to get it and it was WONDERFUL.  There are so many layers to this book; the World Expo in Chicago, the building of the Field Museum, a sea adventure to collect artifacts, human rights issues with island natives all drizzled like awesome sauce over an underlying love story. was like the best box of chocolates ever-little nibbles of so many delicious treats!

11/22/63 by Stephen King
Stephen's last couple of books have been a departure from his 'monster' books.  I loved Under the Dome when I read it a few months ago, but this one was even better than that! There are a lot of levels going on in this book and a lot of things to consider regarding time travel. If you avoid SK because of his ghosties and ghoulies, you should give this one a shot. Not a ghoulie anywhere-unless you consider J. Harvey Oswald!

Nightwoods by Charles Fraiser
I LOVED Charles Fraiser's Cold Mountain, [Not the movie, Nichole Kidman ruined the ever lovin'  h*ll out of that like she does every movie she's in .I loved the book version so much that frankly I'm a little bitter...] and also his second book Thirteen Moons,  so I eagerly awaited getting my little hands on this new one. It's a departure from his historical fiction and deals with a present day single woman who inherits her sister's to emotionally damaged children and tries to raise them.  Awesome read!

The Night Circus-Eri Morgenstern
A mystical, magical, delightful adult fairy tale.  The prose in this book makes it so easy to see all of the wonders in your head. I was disappointed when I came to the end. It was like cotton candy! I wanted more!

The DoveKeepers-Alice Hoffman
I love anything Alice writes, and this book was no exception. In fact it's now one of my favorites from her. It's historical fiction based on a famous tribe of Jews in 70CE who held off their aggressors in  the  mountaintop kingdom of Masada.  The three central figures are females who keep doves for religious rituals.  Beautiful book!

The True Memoirs of Little K-Adrienne Sharp
More historical fiction about a prima ballerina in St Petersburg Russia during the rein of the last Tsar. Lots of interesting details about the Romanov lineage and the splendor of that short period of time; pomp, circumstance, Faberge eggs and illegitimate children!

The Man In The Rockefeller Suite; Mark Seal
Amazing true story of Clark Rockefeller, a con man who insinuated himself into posh society for YEARS. A fiction writer could not make up what this guy got away with!

Undress Me In The Temple Of Heaven-Susan Jane Gilman
Excellent story about two sheltered American girls who upon graduating from Brown University decide, almost on the spur of the moment, to backpack around the world in a year. I loved watching the romantic preconceptions about international travel bump up against the reality that they faced from the very beginning-first stop was Communist Russia (1986). No cell phones, no Internet, no language skills.  Left me with a lot of 'what would I have done' thinking to do!

Ashes-Ilsa Bick
I'm not a big fan of zombie books and this has a few in it, but mostly it is a post-apocalyptic story about a girl who went backtracking to scatter her parents ashes in a state park. While she's there, there is some kind of 'event' that kills all electronics and changes come people.  Because she is in the wilderness it's not evident at first.  I sucked this one down in one sitting.

The Autobiography of Mrs. Tom Thumb by Melanie Benjamin
This was a quirky book that I liked very much and have recommended to a lot of people already. It's historical fiction about a little person who was 'discovered' by P.T. Barnam and brought to 'marry' Tom Thumb and travel on the circus circuit. The story of the couple is only one part of the story. I enjoyed understanding more the man who was PT Barnam and reading details about his marketing brilliance! It's also the story of family relationships and the lengths to which they are stretched and grow. VERY GOOD!

So there's a handful to get you started! What have you got for ME to read?

Thursday, February 02, 2012

A Quick Hello

Sorry I haven't posted for a while. I've been out of commission for the last week or so (8 days now, but who's counting) and believe me, you wouldn't have wanted to hear what I had to say about those last eight days, let alone see photographic evidence!  I'm starting to come around now so I whipped up a recipe for supper that has been floating around 'Pinterest' for a while now; Sweet and  Spicy chicken. This is the second time I've made it. It's wicked simple and uber tasty and holds lots of possibilities; salad topper,  in a taco shell with all the usual taco stuff, with rice and veggie as an Asian style meal or with potato and veggies and a weekday supper.  I put the recipe with pictures over on my recipe site-Molly Bee's Kitchen.

I did get a bit of knitting done during my confinement. I finished one Finorkin' FiddleHead Mitten. Be kind... it will look better after it's blocked.

and am on the thumb of the second.
See the problem?  I have quite a bit of thumb left and only that little-bitty ball of light grey yarn left.  Will I make it? Oh the suspense!  Come on people, this is ME we're talking about.  I will have to search for and buy another entire skein of the same yarn in the same lot number  because I will be short about a 6"piece! Maybe even less....I'll probably make the last stitch and not have enough to weave in! You'll be seeing some fancy spit-splicing then if that's the case, lemmetellya!

I've also been picking away at the cable sweater. It's slow going. And Jen and I are doing a crocheted sheep knit along. Been doing a little drawing, but not much and lots of reading! I read 6 hardcovers last week!  Lemme know if you need book recommendations because I read some stellar ones!

Anyway, that's all there is for now. I'm feeling better all the time so will try and update more often.  What have YOU guys been up to?

Such a lot of fuss over nothing! I had plenty of ash colored yarn left over!

Sturgeon Bay Speed Racer

I was in Sturgeon Bay over the weekend and went to see the Third Ave Playhouse's matinee of Shooting Star with Doug Mancheski and Amy En...