Sunday, September 28, 2014

Putting Up Pears

My neighbor's pear tree was prolific this year.

She offered me some a couple of weeks ago.  To which, I excitedly accepted, thinking there might be enough for a small batch of butter.  But by the end of the afternoon, she and the kids had picked 6 grocery sacks and brought them over.

I'm really glad that we kept our peach boxes, as they were just enough to hold the bounty of pears.

I hadn't put up pears before, but they need to be picked while still firm and then allowed to ripen on the counter.  So these guys rested on the kitchen counter for a week.

I processed about 1/3 of them last weekend, as the remainder were still too hard to do anything with.

But after another week on the counter, most had crossed over to too ripe.  :-(

These pears were pretty small, so the yield was also quite small for the amount of work involved.  However, I did make one small batch each of butter and jam.  They are delicious.

I'll be getting started on our apples later today.  What a wonderful harvest season we're having this year.  :-)

Friday, September 26, 2014

Fiber Arts Friday: Skirt Guard

Sometimes you come across something that you know someone needs.  It's so appropriate that they don't even know they need it.

This is one of those things and I thought immediately of my SIL. (Yes, she is knit-worthy... or in this case, crochet-worthy)  :-)

While I can execute crochet stitches reasonably well, I have been having trouble reading the pattern... so my summer of rip-it-out-so-I-can-restart-itis continues.  :-P

It's been ripped out 3 times... The last one looked like this...

... pretty, but not the correct pattern.

I'm almost afraid to say it, since I've said it at least once already.. but, I think I'm on my way now...

Happy Fiber Arts Friday!

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Fiber Arts Friday: Socks for Me

After finishing my Replacement Hat in early July, I only had my Palindrome Scarf and Alpaca Cape left on the needles.  Both are big and warm.  So with it being July... a mild one, but still it was July, I wanted to work on something smaller.

I had 3 false starts with the last pair of socks I tried to make for myself, so I decided to go with Sock it to Me.  It's a simple, toe-up pattern.  I have successfully made it twice for Hubba and I have two skeins of a Bamboo+Merino+Silk yarn.

I figured this is exactly what I needed.

9 sts per inch is way too big

Insert expletive here!

I had already ripped them out twice before the above photo was taken. First for not following directions and second for gauge.  Both times I re-checked my gauge and measurements, but when I knit Hubba's version I used 8 sts per inch instead of the nearly 9 sts I am getting.

So I ripped them out a third time... knitting the same gauge, but using 8 sts per inch for the math.  It's still not correct.  :-/

8 sts per inch is still too big

I don't know what I'm going to do.... other than rip it out a fourth time.  :-(

I'm not crazy about the camo effect either, but I like working with the yarn.  I think they would be comfortable socks to wear and I really want a pair of my own hand-knit socks... but *#^%!, this was supposed to be relaxing.... and done by now.  :-P

Make sue to check in with everyone over at Wisdom Begins in Wonder for Fiber Arts Friday, even though it's Saturday.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Growing Cotton

It started as a tip for shearing.

They had to live on my kitchen counter for a while because it snowed.

I planted the one tiny thing that survived the kitchen in an old whiskey barrel,

It grew

and grew.

Then it flowered.

The flowers were yellow one day and pink the next.

Each flower lasted only two days. 

The flowers turned to bolls.

The bolls grew

and grew.

I sure wish I could see what's going on inside those bolls.

We had our first frost last week, but have mild weather for the near-term forecast.  I sure hope this plant does what it needs to do before the snow and freezing temperatures come.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Dog Show: Evergreen Kennel Club, 2014

Last weekend was the Evergreen Kennel Club Dog Show.

With starting my new Day Job, I hadn't planned on entering this show.  I felt like I needed to do less for a little while.  However, Gunnar did not finish his Championship at the Greeley Show so I decided the two of us should enter.

Then a few days before this show, I found out that I had Gunnar in the wrong age class in Greeley... by 4 days.  So his points did not count.  ugh.  I also learned that I had him entered in the wrong age class for Evergreen too.  Panic ensued.  As soon as I set up, I found the superintendent, filled out some paperwork and got him moved to the correct age class.  whew.

We enjoyed this show a lot.  First, it was just me and Gunnar... so I didn't have to worry about getting two dogs ready for the same ring time.  Second, it's a much smaller show than Greeley... but to be fair, Greeley is a very big show, so most other shows are smaller.  ;-)  The grooming area was more quiet and Gunnar still got to see several of his friends and make a few new ones... which really is his favorite part.  :-)

He won Winner's Dog (WD) and Best of Winners (BOW) both days for a total of 2 points. He now has 2 points to go.

Our next show is toward the end of October.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014


I love socks but, I hate socks that have a seam that goes over the top of the toes.  I also hate socks that squeeze my foot.  If my toes can't wiggle, I'm unhappy.  If I can't point and flex my foot, I'm unhappy.

I love hand-knit socks, but have only one pair (made by Spinster Beth) for myself.  They had a blow-out in May.  :-(  So sad, but they were well-loved for 2 1/2 years.

I have made three pairs of socks... one, two for Hubba and one for a nephew.  I have attempted a pair for myself, but they have been frogged... three times.

I have been in a use what we have mode for several years and finally the sock drawer has a fair amount of space in it.  This is a feat (feet!) in itself... my sock drawer is typically so full that closing it is a challenge.  but when you are (theoretically) capable of making something, it certainly helps with the I don't need to buy these now decision.  ;-)

Of course most of the socks left in the drawer are the ones I really hate... because somehow they came home with me and I hate them.  I hate them so much that I never wear them.  I never wear them, so they're all in pretty good shape.


I need to work out deal with someone who loves to knit socks but would rather gift them than wear them... or figure out how to finish a pair for myself. ;-)

Monday, September 1, 2014

Slow Living: August 2014

It's almost as if it turned August and Autumn on the same day.  We've had a few (very) warm days, but the nights are cooling off, the air is crisper and the early trees are changing their colors.

I also secured and started a great new Day Job this month, so I have a lot to talk about in my August report for the Slow Living Project.  :-)

NOURISH: Make and bake as much as possible from scratch. Ditch overpackaged, over-processed convenience foods and opt for 'real' food instead. Share favourite links/recipes/tips from the month here.

The Farmer's Market continues to be a favorite way to spend a morning.  We have a few vendors that we visit each week and often meet up with friends when we're there.  Then the delicious vegetables and treats are enjoyed at home during the week.  I feel less disappointed that I did not plant a garden when we shop at the Farmer's Market.

Hubba made a Shrimp Creole feast when we had southern house-guests.  With one being from Louisiana, it was a risky move, but he outdid himself and our near-Cajun guest was pleased.

PREPARE: Stockpile and preserve. Freeze extra meals or excess garden/market produce. Bottle/can, dehydrate or pickle foods to enjoy when they are not in season. Aim to reduce dependency on store bought items especially those known to contain BPA and other suspect additives. Stocking up on dry goods when prices are low counts too.

With starting a new Day Job this month, I prepared several meals in advance and froze them.  Also two lug boxes of peaches have been put up for the winter.

REDUCE/Reuse/Re-purpose/Repair: Cut down on household waste by re-using, re-purposing and repairing. A ladder into a strawberry planter? A sheet into a dress? Share ideas and project links here, allowing others to be inspired.

Earlier this month I started reviewing my blog drafts.... there were well over 200 started but not yet published blogs posts!  I spent quite a lot of time reviewing, revising, consolidating and deleting... and now I'm down to .... let's just say less than 200.  This one is going to take more time, but I do feel better knowing there are only 2 pages of drafts instead of 3.  ;-)

I also cleaned out and organized my closet so I have a bag of things ready to take to the thrift shop.

Hubba fixed up and traded his old lawn mower for some help he needed with his racing chair.

GREEN: up our lives. Start (or continue!) using homemade cleaners, body products and basic herbal remedies. The options are endless, the savings huge and the health benefits enormous.

Since I am no longer working remotely I felt I should revise my work attire inventory.  I didn't feel it was appropriate to show up looking like I just finished my farm chores.  ;-)  I did most of my shopping at two thrift/consignment shops.  It was my first time really shopping for clothes since we moved to the farm in 2009.  I am happy to say that both shops were lovely and that I no longer miss my favorite such shop in New Mexico.

GROW: plant/harvest. What's growing this month? What's being eaten from the garden? Herbs in a pot, sprouts on a windowsill or and entire fruit/vegetable garden -opt for what fits space and time constraints. Don't have a backyard? Ask a friendly neighbour or relative for a small patch of theirs in return for some home grown produce, they may surprise you!

I've been watching my cotton bloom and begin developing bolls this month... I'm so excited for the lint to come in.  :-)

My apple tree is testing the strength and flexibility of it's limbs.  I'm certain we will have plenty of apples to share when they are ready.

CREATE: to fill a need or feed the soul. Create for ourselves or for others. Create something as simple as a handmade gift tag or something as extravagant as a fine knit shawl. Share project details and any new skills learnt here.

I have continued to spin in August.

DISCOVER: Feed the mind by reading texts relevant to current interests. Trawl libraries, second hand shops or local book shops to find titles that fill the need. Share titles/authors of what is being read this month.

It's been heavy on the discovery this month, learning about my new job.

ENHANCE: community: Possibilities include supporting local growers and producers, help out at a local school/kindergarten, barter or foodswap, joining a playgroup or forming a walking or craft group. Car pooling where possible and biking/walking instead of driving. Even start up a blog if you haven't already - online communities count too! Or maybe just help out someone trying to cross the street! The rewards for your time are often returned tenfold.

My Momma came over to help process peaches one weekend and another friend helped me handle our dogs at a big show.

ENJOY: Life! Embrace moments with friends and family. Marking the seasons, celebrations and new arrivals are all cause for enjoyment. Share a moment to be remembered from the month here.

A new Day Job, a Dog Show, putting up peaches, a day trip to my childhood home, the county fair... all wonderful and fun things this month.