Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Well, they are finished

I finished my two table runners that I started before Christmas - these are the ones that finished up the warp I had on for the Christmas place mat presents that I had made for family.

Now the two are done.

The first one is for ME .... a Christmas one that is 12" wide, 52" long. As you can see, there is a little bit of difference on the ends to make it a little bit more interesting.

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The second one is FOR SALE!!! Yes, boys and girls! And to the lucky first bidder on this site, if you want. I am going to leave it here for about a week and if no one bites (or buys), I will put it on Esty, as Greenwoman has her stuff. But I thought it would be fun to see if any of my 1,000,001 readers and fans would like it. Email me if you are interested ....

This one is 11" wide and 40" long .. it is of fine, washable cotton and can be used for either Christmas or just color for a nice table. I am selling it for $40 and I will pay the shipping. It is not perfect (only god is perfect, correct?) but it is a sweet little runner - I have been tempted to keep it but have decided not. It will, of course, look better when it's pressed, but I was too lazy to get the iron out and press it. (Sorry!)

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Any takers???

It is a beautiful day with hints of sun - you have a beautiful day!

Monday, February 26, 2007


We have more snow than last night - here are some pictures of Goldie and Peanut. Peanut is struggling through the deeper snow!

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Come on, Mommy, hurry up!

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Wow, is it deep!

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Is going to the barn WORTH all this???

The storm is over (I think)

We have had the “storm of a decade” this past weekend in Minnesota. There were places that got almost two feet of snow; we got about 10”, give or take. It’s still snowing a little bit, now. We have gotten more snow, state-wise, than we have had for eight years. Nothing like New York has been getting this winter, but Minnesota has been in a snow drought for many, many years.

It is so exciting for snowmobiles riders that many of them have not been using common sense (although I don’t know if many of them DO have common sense). Another snowmobile went through thin ice this weekend – we’ve had over two weeks of mild / warm / ice melting weather. One weekend of snow is NOT going to freeze those lakes up again!

The storm started on Friday with wind ... massive amounts of strong, strong wind! I have no way of knowing how strong, but it felt like about fifty or sixty miles per hour. It’s the strongest wind that we’ve had for a very, very long time!

Then we had rain start in the middle of the night Friday night. It alternated snowing, sleeting and raining most of the day Then it started snowing for real and kept it up all night and all day yesterday.

Fortunately, the ice didn’t get too thick, so we didn’t have massive branch breaking or power lines breaking (although we had flickering lights on Saturday night); we also didn’t have much wind so not a whole lot of drifting.

I have pictures, now, of the storm, so I’ll stop talking and start showing!!!

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Strange looking clouds before the storm started

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Broken Windmill

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The view out my bedroom window with ice on the screen

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The beginning of the snow / sleet

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Poor windmill!

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Norm is getting something out of a frozen car

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Holding the broken windmill top

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Snow is getting deeper

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Ask Peanut if she wants to go to the barn and there's no holding her back!
Notice the depth of the trail she's blazing!

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A little bit of sun and heavy pine trees - the storm might be over!

We look to have sun today for the first time in many days – you have a beautiful day!

Thursday, February 22, 2007


Today is my cousin Kathy’s birthday .... it is also George Washington’s birthday – or to be completely correct, the anniversary of his birth, as he has been dead for a few years!

My mother was so excited when Kathy was born, I understand (I wasn’t there at the time). She was trying to get Auntie Pete to name her “Martha Georgina” but Auntie Pete picked the boring (to Mom) name of Kathy. Her initials are KKK (I loved that as a child), and since her last name was Kandt, I used to chant “Kathy Kandt but *I* can!!” and drive her crazy. Do you suppose that’s why she’s so crazy now? (Sorry, Kathy, couldn’t resist!)

Kathy is two years older than I. When we were growing up, my dad was in the Air Force and we traveled often. Kathy lived in the home town and rarely traveled. When we would go “home” for holidays, it was her home that we would stay at.

Auntie Pete owned a hotel in the small home town they lived in and Uncle Goosey was a farmer. When we came, we would stay in empty rooms so it was often a different room or suite each time. But I would often sleep with Kathy in her bed – the family of five had their own rooms at the kitchen end of the hall, past the parlor with the big upright piano. Kathy and I would play games in and around the hotel, depending on our ages. Hide and seek was a fun one and I would often hide in the telephone booth in the front lobby. Wonder why Kathy always found me? Upstairs, downstairs (in my lady’s chamber), basement, cellar door, garage, anywhere we wanted, as long as we didn’t disturb the guests.

One thing about Auntie Pete’s hotel was that it had the biggest bathtub I have ever seen (well, until they invented whirlpool square ones that are bigger than a normal bathroom)! Having a bath there was like going swimming, to my little body. (I stayed there as an adult, once, when visiting for a relative’s birthday and the tub was STILL big!)

So, Happy Birthday, Kathy. Have a great day and know that I’m thinking about you!

On another note, in just a few days is the anniversary of Auntie Pete’s birth. It is on the 28th, which – on normal years – is just one day before Norm’s, on March 1st. We used to celebrate together if we were in the same area. So on that day, I will be thinking of her!!

It will be a beautiful day today – and I will be giving a demonstration and weaving class for home-schoolers in town. You have a beautiful day!

Monday, February 19, 2007

I was wrong ....

and I admit it! Last Monday was NOT Presidents’ Day ... today is!! So I am confused! Do they have it whenever they feel like it?

I thought Presidents’ Day, with all it’s hoopla and advertising – isn’t that what Presidents’ Day IS, a day of buy, buy, buy – was on the Monday closest to Lincoln’s brirthday but found out that it’s on the third Monday of the month.

No WONDER there were all those ads for cars and furniture (the most popular sales items). Maybe I should go down and buy a new car or a new household of furniture. I won’t have to pay until 2009. And the ads tell me I NEED it!!

On another note, it’s 39º and just a gentle breeze from the north. This sunshine is invigorating! When I went out to do chores and fill bird feeders, I put Peanut’s sweater on and she came out to join me in the winter fun, plowing through snowdrifts taller than she is (not saying much, there)! Lil Cat is out of the front porch in the sun and enjoying the warm weather. Chickens are outside for the first time in over a month and enjoying the bright snow.

This heat wave will settle the snow so that it shouldn’t blow (until we get the next wave of snow). I got another picture of the snow dunes on our south side. And, no, Renee, all that land is not ours. Our land stops at the corn field, just past the snow fence. We have six and a half acres of land but the south abuts a corn field and we pretend it’s ours. We watch “our” farmer doing the plowing and tell people that “we” have decided to plant corn or soybeans and “our” farmer is just doing our bidding!! Lots of fun, since everyone knows that we are pretending and join in our fun!

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The snow and heat make a beautiful day. You have a beautiful day!

Sunday, February 18, 2007

The weather is moderating!

It has been several days since the temperatures have gone below zero for the night!! The sun has been shining and even though the wind is blowing, the chill factor is above zero as well!

However, it’s been snowing and blowing quite a bit. We don’t have nearly the snow that others have had, but we did get another three inches on Friday, which caused Katie to have a little bit of difficulty in getting home in the afternoon. Wayne took almost twice as long getting home Friday night from a spaghetti supper here; he had to use four-wheel drive and lower gears to get through some of the snow drifts.

Yesterday Norm had to go to work and had to plow out of the driveway with his truck. He then took the snow blower and cleaned out the rest of the driveway in the afternoon.

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Tracks going out of the driveway

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Drifts are rather deep

Our drifts are going up and down, back and forth, as the wind shifts from north-west to south-west to south-east to north-east. Our drifts now look like sand dunes!

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Today has gotten above freezing, as well. A shock to the system!! But it is not feeling very warm as the wind is so very strong. But, all-in-all, a very beautiful day! You have a beautiful day!

Saturday, February 17, 2007

I love headphones!

We have switched from “land line” phones to cell phones in this house. While it is a wonderful convenience .. I don’t miss calls when I’m away from home because I have my home phone with me ... Norm has a phone that he is SUPPOSED to take with him so we can call if the need comes up... it’s cheaper to have two cell phones than one land line and one cell phone.

However, those little buggers are LITTLE – and I have one of the biggest ones. They don’t fit under your chin and can’t be held with your shoulder, so to talk you have to HOLD them at all times or put them on loudspeaker (which many people don’t like).

Knowing all this, I purchased a headphone / speaker when we got the second cell phone. This is not one of the cute ones that hang over your ear and stick into your ear – I can’t stand putting anything in my ears (or my eyes, but that’s another story). It’s a full-blown over the head, big cushion ear piece and microphone sticking out in front of you (to get caught in things if you are not careful).

But you can talk for hours on the phone and not get physically tired of holding the phone and the cushioned ear piece doesn’t hurt your ear. (Do you realize, Heb, that we talked for nearly THREE hours last night????) Modern conveniences ... I love them!

On another note, in response to Heather’s questions, and her son’s comments, I have come up with a drawing of a homemade tapestry / wall-hanging loom that others might be interested in. This is a temporary solution, to see if you like weaving tapestries or wall-hangings. If so, you can always move on to more sophisticated looms.

Please do not accept my drawings as ‘to-scale’ or exact – they are just sketches from a pencil-challenged person to give you an idea.

You can use just about any wood, but Norm suggested using one by two inch wood – it can be pine, if you are only going to try it once – or some pretty hardwood if you think you might use it more often. Make a rectangle larger than the wall hanging that you want ... if your test wall hanging is to be about eight by ten inches, then make your frame at least two inches larger. This is something that you will need to “play” with to get your dimensions right. Make your frame as strong as you can make it – glue as well as nail it together. You will be putting quite a bit of pressure on this frame.

Once ii is assembled, lay it flat. Use “finish” nails – small ones with very little head (if any at all) to be the warp holder. Mark a straight line down the middle of the top and bottom boards and mark off even spacings. As close as possible is the best – if you could do five nails per inch or more would be nice. Pound them in straight and firm so they don’t pull out.

Then take a strong cotton thread – crochet cotton works well – and stretch it firmly and tightly from top nail to bottom nail, making a wrap around the nail to keep the tight stretch as you move to the next nail.

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Again, don't use this as a scale model.

After the whole frame is wrapped in the warp (long threads), then it’s time to weave. But first you need shuttles and a pick-up stick. These can be made from firm cardboard or thin pieces of plywood. The shuttles need to be at least as long as the frame is wide, but not too long. The pick-up stick needs to be a little bit longer than the frame is wide.

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Cardboard or thin wood works fine for these

Take some scraps of cotton material and, using as a header and a footer, weave them “over and under” the threads to push against the frame.

Wrap your yarn of choice unto the shuttle for the “weft” – if you are going to use other colors, you will need a shuttle for each color.

Take your pick-up stick and put it through the warp, “over and under” from one side to the next. Flip the stick up to the side, raising the “over” threads up and pushing the “under” threads down. Take your “weft” thread on your shuttle and push it through the opening (shed) and beating it close to the “header” with the pick-up stick.

Now, leaving your pick-up stick permanently in the warp, lay the stick back to the flat side. Use the shuttle and pick up the opposite threads (“under” from the last row) and slide the shuttle through, again beating with the pick-up stick.

Your pick-up stick allows you to not have to pick each row, but only every other row. Your third row of yarn will be as the first – put the pick-up stick up on it’s side to raise the “over” threads up again and slide your shuttle through, again beating it with the pick-up stick.

That is weaving! And what you do, as an artist, is decide what is to be done with the weaving as you go along. Once you get as far along as you want or up to the “footer,” it’s time to take it off. You have enough thread for a fringe because you put the “header” and “footer” on. You can lift the thread off the nails or carefully cut them off. You will carefully pull the cotton waste material off the weaving and tie your fringe in any pattern you wish.

Put some kind of stick or hanger on the top and hang it on the wall!!! And you are a WEAVER!! I am including a picture of one of Candy’s wall hangings as an example of what can be done.

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If you like this, you can purchase professionally made tapestry looms for either continuing on with wall hangings or actual tapestries (but that’s books and books full of ideas and instructions). Or you can get a simple “rigid heddle” loom or a two harness loom to continue on your path. What ever you do, know that you CAN do it and can become great at it!!
If these instructions are confusing, feel free to email me and get more details. I realize that it's difficult to teach without being side-by-side, with hands on, but I have confidence that you will be able to work on your own to do this.

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Tapestry loom

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Rigid Heddle loom

Have a beautiful weaving day!

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Happy Valentine's Day

I would like to wish all my dear friends (and millions of fans) a happy Valentine's Day!

Ours is quiet - it's -29º chill factor, again, so anything outside (like chickens or birds) will entail mega wrapping up before going out.

We celebrated last night with Wayne (Candy is off visiting) and French Onion soup, with Wayne whipping Norm in Cribbage.

Tonight we will have steak and shrimp - probably a stuffed steak, my favorite. I have the steak un-thawing, but will bring the shrimp out soon to un-thaw. Norm loves shrimp cocktails, so I'm going to bring out some champagne glasses to make fancy ones. If the mail gods are good, a new movie from NetFlix will be here today, as well.

My stuffed steak is as such - the most tender steak you can get (I'm using a sirloin), grilled to your choice of doneness. Grill (fry, steam) mushrooms and onions (separately) to desired doneness. The layer the mushrooms and onions on the steak, put on a layer of mozzarella cheese (grated or sliced) and grill in the toaster oven to melt and semi-crisp the cheese. A baked potato and some kind of veggie and there you go!

Happy Valentine's Day!!! May it be a beautiful one!

Monday, February 12, 2007

I have about HAD it!

I am TIRED of being politically correct and kowtowing to the masses. I am TIRED of having to get rid of tradition just because it IS tradition! What is WRONG with the ‘good ol’ days?”

Today, for example ... do you what day it is??? Not “Presidents’ day!!” Lincoln’s birthday!! When is Washington’s birthday? February 22nd. ... how about Memorial Day (I’ve complained about this before!) ......... NOT the last Monday of May but May 30th ...

And don’t get me started on Daylight Saving (wasting) Time!! Sure, Benjamin Franklin thought of it but no one took him up on the idea until the MASS of people in the cities needed more light at night!! It was hard enough to live with having to change every six months, but now they are making it from March until November. Why can’t they just change it to TOTAL Daylight Savings Time all year around and stop messing with our eternal clocks??

Okay, rant of the day is over – forgive me – I had to deal with finances today and they are NOT my cup of tea ... why is it that the most numerically challenged person in the family has been tagged as responsible for finances? Brings out panic attacks and temper tantrums BIG TIME.

It’s +18º right now and not much wind. But wind and snow are forecast for tonight and tomorrow morning. It would be nice to get some fresh snow, if it doesn’t get carried away. My sympathies to those of you who are suffering with the excessive amounts around the country.

But all-in-all, it WILL be a beautiful day – you have a beautiful day!

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Isn’t it amazing?

People we have never seen, never touched, become so close because if the Internet. This is a marvelous way to meet people and get to know many different cultures in the world.

Many people who have withdrawn from the world and cut themselves off from society, except those of their choosing, call the Internet a tool of the devil!

How can something be evil when it is used for good? Yes, the internet CAN be used for evil – take the child pornographers that run so rampant over the Net. But they would do the same without the internet. The Internet s just a tool to be used for good or evil.

And I have found it used for good, on the whole. I have found friends from all over the world that have become close to me. My life would be less if I didn’t have these friends to talk to. Some I just exchange emails or comments on blogs. Some I type-talk with on MSN or Yahoo Messenger. Some I even talk to on the phone. And some day, if the gods are good, I will see some (or all) of them face to face, hug to hug, hand to hand.

I have had many messages and emails about my sister. I appreciate each and every one and have collected them in my heart. It is so good to know that we are not alone, that we share love and concern with each other over this great tool we have called the Internet.

Thank you for being my friends!

On another note, today was a marvelous day! It got up to 23º and there was not a BREATH of wind in the air! The trees were not only frosty, they were covered with hoar frost – that heavy, hairy frost that looks so pretty. The visibility was less than a mile – about half a mile most times. It was so damp it was hard to tell if frost was falling or it was snowing.

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My favorite tree, covered in frost

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Lucky admiring the frosty Dogwood

And on another note, again, I am finally finished with my studio curtains. These are some that I started at Historic Murphy’s Landing. One of my ‘jobs’ was to plan, design and dress the 150 year old Swedish loom with some kind of project. Because it took me over a week to get the loom dressed, I normally planned projects that would last a long time. My last project was curtains – blue and yellow with a thread of red - the Swedish colors. It was a modified basket weave - the red made the modification. When I was ready to leave, I had only woven half the warp (I had planned on 8 curtains, all 6 feet long for the windows at the Harms (my “home”). I took the half that was woven and donated the second half of the warp to the Landing (although I don’t think anyone has woven it in the 1 ½ years that I’ve been gone). I didn’t know what to do with the curtain material until this last fall when Norm said he thought they should go in the studio window (facing west). This weekend was the time to get them hemmed and hung. And now they are DONE!!!

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Need to be pressed, but here they are, hanging!

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From the other side of a messy studio

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Close up of the modified basket weave

It was a beautiful day today – you have a beautiful day!

Friday, February 09, 2007

Eighth Anniversary

Eight years ago, yesterday, I got a phone call from my father, telling me that my sister, Cara, was in the hospital and not expected to live.

At that time, I lived 550 miles from home – Rapid City, SD. I called Norm, who made arrangements to take off work and we left the next morning, about three in the morning. It normally took Norm about ten to eleven hours to get home, but this time he made it in eight, with me pushing the dashboard all the way.

I alternated from disbelief that Cara was dying to praying that she would HOLD ON until I got there. We called the hospital from a truck stop outside of Rapid City and talked to my cousin. She met me at the door of the hospital and took me up to Cara’s room. I sat and held her hand and cried until cousin Kathy said I had to leave for a while so the nurses could care for her. Cara was in a coma and was never able to speak or respond in any way.

I went into the waiting room to find that over fifty people where there, waiting their turn to visit Cara and to support each other. Some I knew, but most I did not. But everyone was joined in love and concern for Cara and for her family. I felt L*O*V*E in that room that was so powerful it almost knocked me over.

This is not to be a play-by-play account of Cara’s last hours, but a memory of her and what she meant to me.

I remember when Cara was born – she is four years younger than I, so that memory is pretty clear. I remember growing up with a young sister in the background. We were not so close as to have her tailing me, as many people mention of their younger siblings. But we were Air Force brats and forced to fend for ourselves many times, so we played together often.

When baby sister Candy came along, the family was slightly split. Brother Charles, two years younger than me, was my companion, while Cara and Candy were paired together. Sometimes I felt left out with their closeness, but generally I spent time with them and was welcomed in their little group.

Cara was smarter, more talented and more clever than me. She got high grades in all her classes with very little effort. She had a beautiful, powerful voice – she often said she wanted to be an opera singer – if she had chosen that path, she would have been a great one! She was a talented pianist; she played for choirs in Junior and Senior High.

However, to get to that point of her talent was a struggle.. Cara was independent and stubborn, to the “nth” degree! There were many times when her piano teacher would refuse to give her the weekly lesson because she had refused to practice the scales and exercises given to her; she was much too honest to lie, so I, as the less talented but more pliable student, would get a longer lesson each week (which, honestly, did nothing to help me in MY musical career).

As we got into higher grades, we would entertain ourselves with Gilbert and Sullivan music.. Mom had a big book of their operettas that we played and sang. Well, Cara played and we sang. We had arguments about who would sing what. I felt my soprano voice better suited the female heroines while her contralto voice better suited the male leads. Cara was bored with the ‘guy roles’ and wanted to sing mine. Candy sang whatever she was told to sing, if she felt like singing!

When the Beatles took storm (yes, this is dating me!), Cara planned the songs and we mimed the words with badminton rackets – this time I got to ‘sing’ my favorite, Paul McCartney. Cara was John Lennon, Candy was either Ringo Starr or George Harris, depending on her mood. But none of us really liked Ringo, so Candy was usually George and we let the drums play in the background.

After college was over and we three sisters had husbands and lives of our own, we still remained close but in different areas of the country at times. Cara was mostly the home-body and stayed close to Rapid City most of the time. Candy and I were the travelers. But I looked up to Cara (she was an inch shorter, but I looked up to her mental abilities) and she became my mentor in many things.

Cara loved flowers; she had large flower beds in her yard. Her husband managed the vegetable gardens, large in themselves, but she did the flowers. There were many times that we sat in her flower beds, weeding and solving the problems of the world.

And now she was leaving us. The doctor asked to talk to the ‘immediate’ family and none of the fifty plus people left the room. The doctor was surprised, but we ‘true’ family told him to go ahead. He told us that Cara was brain-dead and had no chance of survival. All of us, family AND friends agreed that she should be taken off life support.

Cara was moved from intensive care to another wing of the hospital and she was allowed to have flowers, which filled the room. The most beautiful, to me, were the pink miniature rose bushes that were brought in.

I sat by her bed and held her hand through a twenty-four hour stretch until she at last gave up and slipped away. As she left us, the room filled with the scent of roses.

On our way home from Rapid City, I felt I couldn’t breath, that my heart would surely break. About the time it was the worst, a large Golden Eagle swooped in front of our car, nearly landing on the hood; at the same time, the pink miniature rose bush that I was taking home began to fill the car with it’s heavenly scent. My heart healed a little bit, as I knew that Cara was telling me that I would be all right and she was fine.

So, eight years later, I still miss her, but I dream of Cara often. She is either telling me that she is happy where she is or she is joining me in my activities. I know she is close by. When ever I see a butterfly or a hummingbird, I think of her. These were very special to Cara. I have been blessed with butterflies zooming around my head and landing on my shoulders. I have had hummingbirds fly so close that I could see their throats sucking nectar and could even hear the sucking sound. My sister is close to me at all times, giving me hope that I will see her again sometime and we will be reunited.

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Cara Lynn
Feb 17, 1948 - Feb 10, 1999

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Thursday Three

Another one from Carla Lynne

Next week is Valentine's Day, so let's talk about Chocolates, Roses, and Cards:

Chocolates ~ Got a favorite brand or flavor? C'mon, admit it, you like to get a box of chocolates every once in awhile...Although chocolate covered cherries are my favorite of all favorites, I love a box of Whitman's, but haven't gotten one for years. Norm is "allergic" to buying boxes of candies .. sometimes he will get a cheap box after the day if they are on sale and he's in the area. Sometimes he will buy me some mints instead. They are cheaper. The last box of valentine's candy I got, I bought for HIM.

Roses ~ What's your favorite colored rose? Have you ever seen a specialty variety like a Black Rose or Elizabeth Taylor Rose? Never seen those - my favorite rose color is pink. Haven't gotten roses for years, either - Norm isn't much for buying flowers of any kind.

Cards ~ Do you give cards? Do you like to receive them? How about Valentine's- do you make them with the kids? It's been years since I've made cards with kids. But I make a card for Norm on the computer and he will pick up a card for me - most other cards are now e-cards.

It sounds like Norm isn't very romantic, which is not the case - he just doesn't see the need to spend MONEY and will spend TIME with me for special days.

But I am EXPECTING a special valentine this year - Carla Lynne, do you HEAR ME???

Have a beautiful day!

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Wednesday Whim

Carla Lynne has a new one for today:

Here's an easy one for you. You've just been given $100 to buy something you've wanted. What do you buy?

I'd probably buy a new window for my west side .. the picture window there is a double pane and the seal has broken, making it cloudy and dirty inside but we are unable to get in to clean it. If I could - I would get that.

Hey, what am I talking about? I DO have the money (thanks, Mom and Dad for your Christmas present!) ... it's just a matter of waiting until spring so we can find a window and replace it (won't do that now, of course ............ brrrrrrrrrrrr)..

An extra $100 from someone? Wel, I'd buy fruit trees and Mountain Ash trees and all kinds of good stuff like that - we have trees but we don't have TREES, if you know what I mean!

Have a beautiful, rich day!

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Birds and such

Renee asked what kind of bird seed I was feeding.

Well, I am not an expert, but this is what I have been doing this year and I have scads and scads and SCADS of Goldfinches (I mentioned that I counted 28 at one time). I also have two Downy Woodpeckers, a few Blue Jays and some Sparrows.

Now, sister Candy has mega birds of all kinds. She has Red-Bellied Woodpeckers, Nuthatches, Goldfinches, many Downy Woodpeckers, lots of Blue Jays and Juncos and Sparrows galore. In the summer she has had Orioles and Hummingbirds as well.

Her secret? The trees! The trees, my children, are what call her birds and don’t call mine. Now, I have lots of trees ... some Apples, lots of Ash, Maple and Cottonwood. But Candy has bunches and bunches (can we say hundreds?) of Mulberries, which attract birds galore!

So I have decided ...........my sister ain’t a gonna beat ME!!! I can get these birds, too! Well, it’s not really a competition, but I want birds as well!

So this fall we transplanted about 5 or 6 small mulberry trees from her place to ours. They will help make a wind break on the east and also attract birds, I hope.

Just today I ordered some plants that are attracters for the winter birds.

I have ordered 2 Winterberries, which are bushes that get up to 8 feet high. You need a male and female to get the berries on the bushes. And they might make a little bit of wind break in the west yard.

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And also 2 Bittersweets, which are vines. Norm has promised that he will help me build an old fashioned rail fence in the west yard to help make a windbreak from the strong North winds and to hold the Bittersweets and allow them to vine. You need male and female of these plants, also. I am hoping that these 2 will increase and make babies (not in front of the children, of course!) so that my fence will get swamped with the vines. Not only for the birds, but Bittersweet is popular in dried arrangements so I can pass my bounty on to others, as well as have a bunch in the house for the Yule (Christmas, Solstice, Hanukah) season.

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As far as feed (sorry, Renee, it took clear to here to answer your question), I feed Finch Mix (bulk is really not as cheap as pre-packaged, in my store), Sunflower hearts – I do have some Sunflower seeds in the shell (Black Oil ones) but Candy says the hearts are more popular. I have thistle for the Goldfinches. For several years, I fed Millet, but the birds seem to like that as much as the chickens do ............ kick it OUT of the feeder and give it to the bunnies! There is a mix that has berries and peanuts that is expensive, but I feed a little bit each time. I have suet – a commercial bar that is for woodpeckers and a bunch of regular from-the-butcher suet. I have found some recipes and hope to make my own suet as well, this next week or so. We have given cracked corn to the Jays, but we don’t have a proper feeder for them, so the chickens get it when they are out and about and the bunnies get it, as well. We need a stump of some kind and a bowl of some kind to hold it for them.

I have read in “Birds and Blooms” – a magazine that my friend, Fritzie, gave me a subscription to – that Jays like peanuts and peanut butter. So I might try to find some cheap peanuts (I’m not sure how much they cost at the store) for them. Norm sure loves the Jays.

We also have water!!! That is what is attracting so many Goldfinches (cousin Kathy said “have water, they will come.”) – I got a heated dog water-er, put some rocks in it so they wouldn’t drown and keep it filled. I have seen up to 6 Goldfinches there at one time.

So, that’s what I’m doing – not enough, but slowly building. I hope that next year the new plants will bloom and berry for the winter. The Mulberries will take several years, but it’s a start.

More trees around the feeders to make the birds feel more comfortable and I should be entertained more than I am now.

And, on a side note, I was watching when a Goldfinch landed on the old-fashioned rose bush less than 1 foot from the window – but my camera was not out where I could reach it fast enough to take a picture. But I snuck up and was almost nose-to-nose with him!!! Sweet!

It looks to be a beautiful day tomorrow. You have a beautiful day!

Disclaimer - the pictures are not my own but from the company I ordered the bushes.

Here it is, Carla!

Several weeks (months?) ago, Carla asked to see pictures of Matilda, so I sent her (and you all, maybe?) a picture of the naked Matilda.

Now I have her dressed. Candy is borrowing Matilda to make a decorative, hanging rug for a friend. Here is Matilda in all her glory.

The rug is warped with Peaches and Cream yarn – a soft 4-ply cotton. If you look at the ‘heading’ on this picture, you will see that Candy used two colors of warp – close in color but different, so you can see the shading.

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She is making what I call an “unspun” rug .. she is taking roving, twisting it and beating it into the rug. I don’t know who taught me, but I made some over 30 years ago and they are still in pretty good shape. I also have made them in the past 10 years and love the thickness.

As I said, hers will be a wall-hanging type rug – 24” wide by about 3 ft long. She has some tea-dyed roving (brown) and some of my spinners web lavender (that I got in Watertown) in this area. If she wanted it to be a “step on” rug, the fluffs would not be hanging out.

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This is planned for her friend’s bathroom and designed to match and fit the color design in that room.

Candy is very particular about colors – as an artist, she tends to be “persnickety” in her designs. I just throw and let it happen, but she plans and plans and plans. But her projects really turn out great where mine are just happenstance.

This might be a good time to mention Candy’s newest project, her shop and new business, “Homestyle Fibers” ... as a rug hooker, she has had trouble finding just the right colors for her rugs (I TOLD you she was persnickety!) so she has started getting white wool fabric and dyeing her own colors. The same with her knitted projects and her new weaving projects. So she is dyeing wools and yarns to suit HER. This led to the idea that others might like these items dyed to fit THEM and not have the ability, desire, room – whatever – to do the dyeing themselves. As she goes along, I will post some pictures of her dyeing jobs. I’m excited (you can’t tell, can you?).....

On another note, we are in the midst of a heat wave!! Yes, children, a really and truly heat wave!!! It is +4º and the wind chill is only -6º!!! Goldie didn’t even want to come in and Peanut did NOT object to going outside for her duty. It is also snowing enough to cover the bunny droppings under the bird feeders. What a beautiful day! You have a beautiful day!

Sunday, February 04, 2007

It’s Official!

Global Warming is here! The organization that was looking into the problem has spoken. You can go here to read the details!

Now, the question is, will the US comply and do something to help the problem? To my understanding, it won’t do anything, in the long run, to stop the problem. BUT (a big but in my mind) it will help, in the short run, to keep the problem from happening NOW. We have a choice ... suffer ourselves, as well as our children and grandchildren .... or work hard to slow the warming down and hopefully someone in the future will be able to help.

Or perhaps we will have more time to start adjusting to a different world.

Imagine --- Minnesota might become a tropical state and I can grow citrus fruit. Maybe I should start NOW by planting the tangerine seeds I just collected this morning from my daily fruit. By the time the trees are large enough to put outside, it might be warm enough in the winter to have fruit!! This global warming might not be too bad, after all!!

On another note, connected with Global Warming, is our weather ... I am so very (VERY) grateful that the wind is not as blustery as it can be. We can get a wind (too many times from the south) blowing up to 30 mph or even stronger. This bitter cold (-2º as I write) has a wind chill of “only” 23º. If we had those horrible winds, just imagine!!!

I bribed Norm to go out to check on the chickens (he has warmer gear) this afternoon and he was breathless and frozen just being outside in the barn and also in the wind for only a few minutes. I DID go out earlier – I looked out and a Downy Woodpecker was sitting – just sitting – on the side of a tree – no movement, no head bobbing, nothing. I was afraid he was frozen to the tree or something. So I bundled up and went out to see him fly – very slowly – to another branch. I think he was sunning himself and was a little lethargic in the early morning cold. But he was NOT a frozen feather popsicle as I feared!

So, now it is sunny and just slightly breezy and the propane furnace is simmering and keeping the house warmish – the corn stove can NOT keep up with this cold! It’s a beautifully crisp day (if you are inside).

I worry about Joy in Florida! It’s only going to get to the low 70s today and she may have to wear jeans and a long sleeved shirt!! How is she going to survive ?????? (Snigger!)

You have a beautiful warm day, where ever you may be!