Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Trees

It really IS spring, even though the weather is trying to disprove it! Today it got up to about 65º (that’s 20º C for you, Happy Owl!). But the wind is excessively strong, as usual.

These past few days, we’ve been planting trees. Jody and Don sold us some Apricot trees that needed to be put in; yesterday, Norm and Wayne went to town to get more trees from the Soil and Water Conservation department.

Norm chose to get 5 American Cranberries, 5 Black Hills Spruce and we got a replacement Burr Oak for the one that died last year.

Yesterday the temperature stayed around 40º, there was no sun and the wind was strong (again). I wore my insulated coveralls, my winter jacket, hat and gloves and was still cold in the wind!! Today the wind is cold, but out of the wind, it’s almost hot!

It’s depressing to visit other blogs and see flowers and blooming trees and hear about planting and even harvesting … down in Florida, I read, they are harvesting and canning green beans!!!! Oyy! The only green we have here is the grass (thankfully) and a few flowers that are starting to peak their LEAVES up!

Candy is coming from South Dakota this weekend and is bringing home plants for the garden. She is bringing me some paste tomatoes, as this area doesn’t have the GOOD ones. Wayne has tilled up the garden and will probably plant their tomatoes next week … but no WAY are we planting until nearly the end of May --- Wayne and Candy have magic fingers for gardens but our luck is not that good and we’d lose everything we planted if we put them out now!

My folks sent both Candy and I some ‘ever-flowering” lilacs that we will plant soon. Wayne, of course, has already put the 6” plant outside, but Norm got me a pot and I will keep mine in until June – it will be bigger and it will be safer for us!

Eric called this morning to tell me that he was sending me pictures. Jill went to Texas to see her friend / former roommate and her new baby girl. Jill took about 3,500,459 pictures and videos. So Eric zipped them and sent them to me. Little girl is adorable and I can’t wait until we can go see her.

Other than that, not much else is happening – it’s knitting class tomorrow; I need to get some embroidery “kits” made up for Bitty and Bubba – they forgot theirs in the Cities and want to embroider down there in New Mexico.

It is supposed to be nice tomorrow, again – if only that blasted wind would slow down a bit. You have a beautiful day!

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Doesn’t it just amaze your eyes?

Yesterday we had snow! By noon it was all gone! It stayed windy and pretty chilly all day but we had sunshine and green grass!

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Snow in the garden

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A rare glimpse of kittens without Momma on the nest with them

Joy made it to New Mexico, finally – and sent lovely pictures. Go to her blog to see some of the beautiful New Mexico scenery. Also, she has given me permission to give you her PhotoBucket spot.

Yesterday was a fun day for me – Saturdays usually are – a fun opera and Prairie Home Companion. I did some weaving, thanks to Ashley helping me finish the rolling on. I made a sponge cake with my lovely new KitchenAid mixer. I had pizza crusts in the freezer so I made garlic chicken pizza for supper. This is a pizza I learned to love from Papa Murphy’s.

I don’t know if all of you have “Papa Murphy’s” in your area. It’s a pizza place where you either call in or walk in, order your pizza and they fix it whatever way you want, then take it home and bake it. You can also freeze them, so you could order several and have them at a later date. While living in the Cities, it was handy to go get pizza that way. Here in the country, the only pizza place is Godfather’s, twenty miles away. I have started making several pizza crusts, baking them partially and then freezing them.

Garlic pizza is white base – Italian dressing with garlic powder mixed in and let to sit for a while to saturate. Then cooked chicken (we had left over from the two chickens I baked for lunch on Thursday); the ‘normal’ way to have this is with green onions on it, but Ashley and Jessica and I love black olives instead. You can also have tomatoes on it if you wish. I made my pizza with black olives, then put onions on Norm’s pizza (small ones). The green onions came from the garden – the only green thing there – they are Egyptian or “Walking” Onions and come up every year – small but make good “green onions” as they are mostly stem.

Norm worked in the entryway, cleaning it out, putting a new floor on part of it and reorganizing. This will make a neater statement of our house (even though the house is not neat!) as people walk in. Also will give us more room to store things more tidily.

Sister Candy will be back from South Dakota this week. It will be great to see her once again! We will be collecting new trees to plant on Tuesday. I have Knitting class on Thursday. A busy week ahead!


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Norm brought home Cara's dolls for me to love and treasure

It is a beautiful day today – not much wind, the temperature is in the mid forties and there is sunshine. You have a beautiful day.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Shakespeare and things

Wednesday was Shakespeare’s birthday … and by happy coincidence, my Netflix movie arriving that day was “Henry V.” I love Shakespeare!! Now, I am not one that walks around with a book in my hand, quoting him, or speaking quotes all day long. I will be among the first to admit that READING Shakespeare is pretty boring and hard to follow. But he was meant to be PLAYED, not read. And I love his plays!

“Henry V” was directed by Kenneth Branagh, who also starred in the movie. Harry Potter fans will recognize Kenneth as Professor Gilderoy Lockhart, that hillariously funny egotistical Teacher of the Dark Arts who didn’t have a clue as to what to do about “dark arts.” Also in the movie, to my delight, was Judi Dench and Emma Thompson, two of my favorite female actors.

I expected Norm to either fall asleep during the movie or go upstairs and work on spoons, but he enjoyed it as well. Of course, I had the subtitles on so that Norm could follow the movie easier.

A pleasant evening with a good movie and good company!

Yesterday was a pretty busy day. Joy and the girls and Grandpa Bill (and Tasha) showed up about 10:00. They came in rain, they left in rain, and they drove in rain. This morning when Joy called, it was still raining! They stopped in Nebraska overnight and woke up in rain. Joy is driving the Kia (very small car) and they have a bundle strapped on top – the straps hook to the lip of the top of the car but when the door is closed, there is enough of a break that the wet canvas strap oozes so that water drips into the car. Everyone had their own towel to stop the drip from hitting them. However, because it rained overnight, the seats were wet this morning. What a miserable way to drive for 17 driving hours! However, I just talked to Joy – they are almost to Pueblo, Colorado, and are driving in sun and warmth.

While they were here, we went out to the barn to see the baby kittens. Grandpa Bill told the girls that Grandpa Norm would count the kittens and know if they had snuck one into the car! I couldn’t promise that I would keep 1 for them, but did say that I hoped they would come back for a visit when the kittens were big enough to play with.




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Jessica got to collect eggs, which made her very happy. She LOVES to gather eggs! She even got 1 from under a “peckey” hen – and didn’t mind being pecked while getting it!

Ashley helped me finish rolling on my warp on the 36” loom. I’m not sure what I’m going to make – I might make a tablecloth instead of a table runner. It will be blue and white in a “Wall of Troy” pattern. I’ll take pictures while I’m working on it.

After they left, we got ready to go to town. Norm was going to deliver eggs and do other errands while I had a beginning knitting class I had to teach. My friend Cathy Peterson (also a “CLP” like me) – no relation – is in charge of getting classes for BARC (Business Arts and Recreation Center). She keeps asking me to do lessons and I got caught this time. Cathy was also taking the lessons – she knows that she had knit sometime in the past but couldn’t remember when or how to do it. But she had a flashback while knitting of a blanket she had knit when her daughter was a baby. So she now knows when she had done SOME knitting.

After class Norm and I followed Cathy to her home for supper before Sons of Norway last evening. She and her dentist husband have a delightful house on the river that is also his dental office. His “commute” is walking upstairs and opening a door from the house to the office. (Don’t know how he can afford those horrible gas prices!!) It’s a house that I pass quite often on the way to the county museum where the Sons of Norway meet every month. I have always admired it but didn't realize it was hers!
After a delightful supper and desert (strawberries on angel food cake and Cool Whip), we walked to the museum for the meeting.

The weather is cold today – it’s 36º right now and breezy. It rained all night long and most of yesterday. This morning I had Norm drive me to exercise – he did errands while I exercised, then we came home – it was pouring when we went, then pouring PLUS sleet as we came home. Now the rain has stopped. I saw a little bit of snow but it stopped so it’s “dry” out now – however, the weather map shows the blizzard conditions in South Dakota are heading our way. My mom called this morning to tell me that a friend driving from west to east on the interstate drove through blizzards and icy roads. This is NOT what I wanted to hear!! We could have 1 to 3 inches by morning of the white stuff!!



But the moisture is very much needed so I shouldn’t complain. It will be a beautiful (if wet and cold) day – you have a beautiful day!

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Yesterday was Earth Day – what did YOU do?

Well, we’d better ask what did *I* do? Not much, to be honest. But Norm and I cleaned up the area that we are going to re-locate some wild plums for a plum thicket on the southeast corner (to help wind and snow).

I have ordered a new Burr Oak to replace one that died last year. And will be getting five American Cranberries (for the birds, of course) – Norm has been planning where he’s gong to plant them.


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Lilacs are getting leaves


As far as around the house – well …. Hanging out clothes – does that count for Earth Day?

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My "Earth Day bouquet"

A lot of what we do here is money saving as well as earth saving. But it is also personal preference – we do it because we WANT to! We hang out clothes most of the time – if it’s too wet or too cold or too windy, we use our dryer rack in the kitchen. I bake small things in my toaster oven rather than in the big gas oven. We turn out lights in every room, use as little water as possible and keep the heat down lower than I am comfortable at, so I wear a flannel shirt on top of my other shirt for warmth.

We grew enough tomatoes last year for ALMOST all our year’s supply of tomato sauce. This year I will grow more. I hope to make more pickles this year. We have more than a year’s supply of applesauce, as we probably won’t have many apples this year.

We purchase local beef and pork by getting a whole beef and pig and have them butchered. Most of our chicken is homegrown; our eggs are from here and they are mostly ‘free-range’ (or sort-of). In the summer, most of our vegetables are from our garden or a neighbor’s.

I cook and bake mostly from scratch – very few boxed meals. Oh! I cheated and got a TV dinner (turkey) for myself while Norm was gone this weekend. But very rarely do I do that!

We have very little garbage as we recycle, burn, use the compost pile or feed scraps to the chickens.

There is not a whole lot to do that is ‘special’ on Earth Day, as our ground isn’t ready for transplanting our plums and our other trees won’t be here until next week. I have gone outside and enjoyed the sunshine while Peanut has wandered and sniffed new spring smells and will go out to get clothes off the line in about an hour.

The boys got home Monday night and I had supper ready for them. We call it “goulash” – hamburger, macaroni and tomatoes. It’s one of Norm’s favorite meals. They had a pickup load but left it at Wayne’s and unloaded this morning when they were not as tired. Wayne brought Norm over in the van and collected the dogs. I now have an ‘empty’ house with just Peanut. It’s quieter, too. Only one dog to bark rather than three when they hear noise or imagine bears sneaking into the house.

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Ren

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Cricket

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and now Peanut can have a peaceful nap by herself

Norm and I investigated the barn to figure out where the new chickens will be housed when they come next week. I am getting twelve pullets. I promised all three grand girls that they could have their own hens, and then I got three for me, as well. Binni ordered Black Australorpes, Bitty ordered White Leghorns, and Bubba ordered ‘black fuzzy legs’ but I couldn’t get the Black Cochins she wanted so she opted for ‘gold’ ones – Buff Orpingtons. I had wanted Cuckoo Murans but couldn’t get them, either, so I am getting Lace-winged Wyandotes. We should have a lovely batch for adding to our hens! The girls want to tame them down, so I need to play with them every day so that when they are grown, the girls can pick up their OWN hens and cuddle them!!

It’s another nice day, today. I have two guys outside replacing the windshield in the Buick – we finally got around to calling the insurance company and getting it replaced! It’s a little breezy, they say, but it’s not too bad.

Joy and girls and father-in-law will be here tomorrow for lunch. They are heading down to New Mexico. I don’t remember if I’ve mentioned, but Ken has a new job – he’s in charge, I think, of getting construction back on the time-line. He will be in New Mexico for about six months, I think, and then move on to some other place that has time troubles. At least I THINK that’s what the plan is. Joy and the girls, as well as Tasha, will be staying down there most of the time. Her father-in-law is driving with so that she doesn’t have to drive alone – it’s about a two-day drive and I am guessing they will drive straight through. Then Bill will probably fly home after a while.

Norm and I will probably go down there in May for a short visit. We HAD planned on going to Seattle to see Jill and Eric this spring, but it’s not working out – Norm is too busy at the Farm and cannot afford the length of time we will need for that trip, so we’ll aim for a fall trip to the west.

Let’s see --- potatoes planted, comfrey moved, baby chicken pen planned. Oh, Norm’s new toy is up and running – Wayne helped set his planer up and he’s done several boards to make sure it works!

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Potatoes in big tires

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The comfrey goes by the barn

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and it is green and growing (sort-of)

Jody came over with penicillin – something bit Scooter on her back near her hips and I didn’t notice it (shame on me) until yesterday. But she spends most of her time in with the kittens so I haven’t really seen her walking around much. Norm and I tried to cut off the matted fur last night but ended up just putting hydrogen peroxide on the wounds. Today Jody gave her the shot while I held her; she then cut a little bit of fur off to open the wound a bit and poured the HP on Scooter again. Norm and I will do that every day and watch it – Jody thinks the penicillin will kill the infection and help her heal. I was afraid a rabid skunk got her or something but Norm says if we had a rabid anything around, we would have seen it as it would have started attacking chickens and anything else around. Perhaps one of the neighboring tom cats came in as we doubt Spook would have been brave enough to fight with Scooter that much.

The kittens have their eyes open … they are so cute!


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Jody took home a rooster; the last of the excess roosters we had, so Rupert is now by himself with his harem and will be excessively happy. The other rooster was just waiting for the stew pot, but I hated to put him in, he’s so pretty. Jody says that Don likes roosters, so he went over. He will probably be named Elvis or some such crazy name!! I don’t name MY roosters (or animals) crazy names, of course!


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Norm's planer

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My table runner is on the bench


A beautiful day! The sun is shining; it’s nice and warm with only a little wind. You have a beautiful day!

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Hmmm ….

While I was on the elliptical machine yesterday (14 ½ minutes), I got to thinking .. not much else to do except watch dumb TV that I can’t hear because of fans and noisy machines. Jody said that she felt being on ellipticals was like being a galloping giraffe but I feel like I’m Jar-Jar Binks. And if I put my hair into 2 ponytails I could flop my “ears” like him, as well.

Thursday was pretty busy for a laid-back, retired lazybones! I had to get up at 6:30 (YIKES~~) to get Norm ready to leave for South Dakota. I also received, from Wayne, 2 of his dogs, Cricket and Ren. I talked to Jody and she was coming over after doing chores. Then Margaret, from the Farm, called – Norm had promised I’d help unload their baby Cornish Cross chicks when they came in (175 of them and 25 Golden Stars). And THEN the trucker called – he was bringing Norm’s new toy. Since Norm let me have my new KitchenAid, I insisted he get a Planer that he’s been drooling about for years! And I HAD to be there for that!

So, waiting for Jody, waiting for Margaret’s call when she arrived back with the chicks and waiting for the trucker and the planer. Jody arrived and 3 dogs went tearing out to kill her. As she was petting and being overwhelmed by dogs, she said “there’s a semi in the road!” The driver decided not to risk coming into the lane so he hand-carted the box (94 pounds) into the garage for me. Jody said he had followed her from the highway and was feeling like the horror movie where a trucker tries to run over the hero, in a car.

I then told Jody the “good news – bad news” --- bad news, I had to go to the Farm – good news, she was coming with me. We went over to put chickens in their new home. The babies need to have their beaks dipped in water so they start drinking and get the idea that they are supposed to drink. It didn’t take the 3 of us long to get babies in the pen, surround by blankets to keep the warmth of the heat lamps in. Then Margaret invited us in for lunch. Melinda, chief cook and bottle washer was setting up lunch for a group that had come (either for the day or the weekend, no sure) so we joined in, but we ate our lunch in the conference room next to the awesomely neat greenhouse room. I had the BEST French Bread that I have EVER had and told Melinda I NEEDED that recipe so she copied it off for me before Jody and I headed home.

After Jody left, I finished mixing up my first batch of cookies in the KtichenAid (Auntie Pete’s molasses cookies), put them in the fridge for overnight and then made some French Bread from Melinda’s recipe.. it turned out great for even ME!!

Yesterday it rained, some, but not enough to water the potatoes that Norm and I planted on Wednesday, so I need to find the garden hose so I can water this weekend. I went to exercise, did some shopping and then got some books from the library. Thanks to Candy and niece Cookie, I have gotten hooked on Nora Roberts (thanks, girls, you will PAY!!). When I got home, I opened up “Carolina Moon;” I finished it last night (morning) at 2:30 AM!!! Just in time for Ren to jump on the bed and say, “Take me OUT!”

Between book readings, I managed to bake the molasses cookies and start typing my favorite and much read recipe cards on the computer. Some of the recipes are 40+ years old and fading badly. If I can get them all in, I MIGHT make a booklet for my girls. I will have to print out one for me, anyway. I also washed Norm’s 2 pair of overalls and his work jacket, sweatshirt and hat so he can start clean again when he gets home. It was raining so I hung them up on the dryer rack in the kitchen. Cricket freaked out when I put the rack up, but settled down after she got used to it.

So today I got up at 6:00 when Ren jumped on the bed, again, saying “I need OUT again!” so I got up, let the 3 out and then fed them before crawling back into bed. Cricket crawled into her bed, Peanut crawled in with me and Ren slept by the bed. But when I woke up an hour later, I found Ren on the bed with me. Wayne is going to KILL me!!! But what can I say? I have no control over what happens when I am in a deep sleep with weird dreams!

Now I have to go over to check on Candy’s cats. I might take some cookies over to Jody’s. I know she likes molasses cookies. She sat on the floor on Thursday and ate a huge big spoonful of the dough!

It’s supposed to be warmish today and we should have some sun today. I am going to try my BEST to not take the second Nora Roberts book out of the bag so that I can actually get some WORK done. I need to put a new runner on my 12” demo loom. I actually finished one I’ve been working on for a very long time. This one will go on my bench / table in the living room.


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It’s Saturday – Opera if it’s a good one and Prairie Home Companion on the radio, something yummy to eat that I don’t have to share and 3 dogs to keep me running as someone ALWAYS wants to go outside!

You have a beautiful day!

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Answers and Happenings

First of all to answer some questions that have popped up.

Yes, Kati – the “Ghostly Trio” is leaning over the back fence. There is a pile of dead pine trees there and they were enjoying dead pine needles over fresh hay!

Yes, Tammie – Jody wants to try to milk the Yaks if they will tame down enough for that. And she loves making cheese, so if she gets milk, she will try cheese.

Jaydee, Yak’s milk soap sounds wonderful. I will mention it to Jody.


Jan, I have had milk goats and cows. I love milking! I miss my cow, as I prefer cows to goats (mostly because of the cream and butter and stuff). I have been told by many people, including the powers that be (Norm and sister Candy) that I cannot handle milking on a daily basis any more. And I have agreed. Sadly, I will have to get my “fix” by going over occasionally to milk Jody’s goats, when they freshen (which will probably be next spring (sigh).

And on another note, it really MUST be spring! I have little tiny leaf buds on trees – and please don’t brag about your flowers or green trees!!!! I am excited about green grass in small amounts!! I don’t need to be depressed about not seeing flowers. Although my daylilies are starting to sprout.

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Buds on a Linden

The baby kittens are growing well. We lost one the first night – I’m guessing a birth defect of some kind. But the other three are getting bigger! Scooter is a good momma. Poor Spook doesn’t know what’s going on – his bed partner has kicked him out – not only out of bed but also out of the barn! He feels he has to sneak in to get something to eat and he’s lonesome!!!

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Norm is enlarging the chicken run again. He uses the snow fence in the wintertime to catch snow in the south pasture, but uses it for the chicken run during the rest of the year. We enlarged just a little bit yesterday and the hens are so excited to find fresh green grass. Norm also moved the west end of the yard because the hens were picking on my daylilies – and it was his suggestion, not mine … how sweet!

Norm and Wayne are heading to South Dakota “as we speak.” Candy has been there since the first of April; her former boss made arrangements for Candy to come work for a month on contract. Now the boss is talking about all summer, but Candy is saying perhaps June. Candy is staying at the house (the folks have not sold it, yet, but are still cleaning it out) and helping the folks on Saturdays to clean and throw.

Anywho, Wayne wanted to go in the middle of the month to see his Candy; my dad wanted Norm and Wayne to come over to help finish cleaning out the shed and garage in the house. So they will be gone for about four days. I am taking care of Ren and Cricket, two of the dogs, and niece Cookie is taking care of Lacey. That way I don’t all a totally full house. Right now, Ren is sleeping on the floor, Cricket is sleeping on Ren’s bed and Peanut is in her bed by the computer. Nice and quiet for a while, anyway!

Yesterday I got my tax refund present!!! I’m so excited – I think I’ll make a bunch of cookies and freeze them just to test the machine out!!!

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On a strange note, Happy Owl’s blog is gone! It just disappeared. Her good friend, Moonbeam, called her to see if there was a problem and Happy Owl didn’t know it was gone! Now I don’t know if blogspot “disappears” blogs if they are not kept up on a weekly basis or something, but somehow it is gone. Moonbeam MSN’d me and told me that things were okay with Happy Owl; however, I doubt if the blog will come back on – she is so busy with homeschooling and working part time, as well as gardening now that the weather has turned better. So I am going to take her link off (sigh). I just wanted everyone to know that it is not because I don’t want to read it anymore. Happy Owl is one of my best friends, blog or otherwise. Moonbeam and I both got her calling cards for her birthday so that she can call me (and her mom) and we can talk - we usually end up talking about two hours at a time!

And, on a personal note (yes, Eric, I am including this), I did fourteen minutes on the elliptical machine yesterday and got my heart rate up to one hundred thirty-three!!! OOOOOOFTA!! I don’t feel that I’ve changed much as the scale STILL says the same weight, but Jody CLAIMS my face is thinner!! Dunno, but I am still going nearly three times a week.

So, now it’s time to do some actual work around here. It’s an overcast day but NO WIND!!

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How windy was it? We had plus sixty miles per hour winds the other day!

The wind knocked over the two stumps holding a feeder pan

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It also bent the shepherd's hook and flipped the bird feeder off

But it will be a beautiful day – you have a beautiful day!

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On a warm sunny day, Peanut is too lazy to even get up on her chair

but soaks sun up on the stairs leading to the chair

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Good Shepherd Farm

I have talked a lot about my soon-to-be neighbor, Jody. She and Don will be moving down here this summer / fall, permanently. They had been coming about once a month for a few days until just recently.

I had been trying to convince Jody to come down by herself and spend quality time; she came down to spend a few days and ended up spending almost two weeks here. Don came down but went back again, so she was alone to paint and remodel in the house. This house was moved on from another location and needs a lot of work (but less than when they started).

Then Don purchased some Yaks and moved them down so he doesn’t want to leave them for very long at a time. They then purchased three Saanen yearlings and brought them down.

This past week, now, they have had the yaks, the goats, some guineas and Arthur Godfrey, the lamb she adopted from the Farm. If you remember, he was the one with the broken leg that I cared for until Jody decided to adopt him.

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This means that they will be moving down (hopefully) sooner than planned. Or at least spending more time down here.

The two of them, along with Don’s aunt, Lorraine, headed home on Friday, but Jody will be back here today (Tuesday). Norm and I have gone over to check on everyone – except Arthur – as he is still on the bottle (once a day); Jody took him home with them. All of them only need to be checked on, as there is plenty of food and water for them all; however, the goats need some human contact and some pellets, as they say, always, that they are STARVING!!!

Don is hoping to be able to raise Yaks and sell Yak meat – this is supposed to be the leanest and healthiest red meat that there is. He is also talking about getting some Angus heifers and raising mixed Angus / Yak calves for meat as well. That is all well and good, but people need to LIKE the taste of Yak meat to start with! I am willing to give it a try – but how WILL it taste?

Having Jody here more often is fantastic. We have “like minds” and will be able to get into lots of trouble! There are things she needs to learn from me and things I need to learn from her. Also, there are things we BOTH know but want an extra hand in pulling off.

Plans for the future include spinning Yak hair (she’s already beginning to pull it off the Yaks), raising more than one lamb for spinning, hopefully getting at least one Angora goat for spinning.

When the goats are bred, then freshened, we will use the milk for goats’ milk soap, cheese and all kinds of good things that come from the milk. I will be able to get my “fix” for milking by visiting her and won’t have to fight with Norm about ME getting a milk goat!

Jody and Don are also going to raise German Shepherd puppies in the future. They have two females that are growing up; Don will make kennels for them so that they can start to breed, raise and sell the pups. Both girls are registered GSD (German Shepherd Dogs) so they will have some NICE pups!

Exciting work just down the road, two and a half miles west of us. I’m excited about them moving down and Jody is getting more and more excited about the final fruition of all their plans.

On another note, it really IS spring out! New kittens, revamping the barn and re-roofing it. Grass is greener; plants are starting to come up. High wind warnings to blow the roof off of MY house!! Ah, Spring!!!


It is a beautiful (but windy) day today – you have a beautiful day!

Friday, April 11, 2008

We’ve got babies!

Sometime in the night, Scooter had her babies and I got pictures of them this afternoon. There are four of them, and they are all female, I think. From what I can tell (it’s hard to reach them and hold them), they are all calico in some spots of their bodies.

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Scooter is a "muted" calico - gray instead of black ... telling Peanut that she can't come visit
Now, not everyone knows, but calicos are all females. This is such a positive fact PT Barnum offered a million dollars (so I’m told) for someone who could bring in an authentic calico MALE cat. And, so I’m told, the offer is still out there. Whether or not that offer is true, I have personally checked every calico cat I’ve ever run across – and that is many, as my sister-in-law in South Dakota raises seven million nine hundred and ninety nine cats every year and almost half of them are calicos. (Well, maybe not THAT many!)

In fact, Scooter, proud mommy, came from sister-in-law Mavis last spring. Which reminds me … Glenda, if you read this, please tell your mom that Scooter has some babies and offer half of them back in payment for Scooter!

On another note, we’ve missed the BIG snow that was promised – we had snow and wet and rain; most of the snow is gone, already, but the moisture is marvelous!! But driving is pretty sloppy, though; we went to visit our closest neighbors to the east, the Steeres, and slid sideways almost all the way there and back!

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Tomorrow is supposed to be a beautiful day – drier, less wind and warmer. You have a beautiful day!

Monday, April 07, 2008

News Flash

Happy Owl and her friend Moonbeam have started an Etsy store .... "Happy Owl's Nest" .... go see the cute stuff they are starting to put on there. I love the duck AND the teddy bears!

Lathe

Yes, Slip, here are pictures --- Norm brought it home yesterday afternoon; he and Wayne set it up and he has already tried it out. Now he needs to get his good tools from storage (at friend Wally's) so he can start working!

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The dresser and microwave behind the lathe are the ones we got at the auction. Norm is going to fix the drawers (why are drawers always broken?) and stain the dresser - it is solid maple!

It is a beautiful day - you have a beautiful day!

Saturday, April 05, 2008

I’m too old for all this excitement!

We’ve had two solid days of going, going, going! Two solid days of not being home! Two solid days of “I’m tired.. Can we go home?”

Yesterday there was an auction and Norm wanted to go check out a lathe that was listed. Now I love to go to auctions, but they are dangerous places to go! Not only is there stuff there that I can’t live without, even though I keep telling myself that I don’t NEED more STUFF; the auctioneer is out to get me from the minute he sees me!

John was one of the first that Norm and I met when we bought Ash Lane Farm, even before we moved here. We decided to stop at an auction on our way home to Shakopee from Ash Lane Farm one weekend. John, who owns his own auction company, is a very quick study. He soon realized my weaknesses for bowls and dishes and furniture and played up to them. Now, I know he does this with everyone but he makes it seem very personal. Especially when he looks at me with those big brown eyes and says: “help me here!” if he needs someone to put in a first bid.

And I weaken! Yesterday I got caught with a microwave – and I don’t NEED one – I have TWO of the monsters already! But my first bid of two dollars was the last bid! Fortunately, friend Katie says she can use another microwave at that price and will take it off my hands.

However, we ended up with a lot of stuff, but mostly things that we needed or could use, replacing stuff we have that is junk right now.



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A pasta cooker and a new kitchen stool



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A lovely oak end table that will probably end up in the studio



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I was given this by a woman who wanted something else in the box but not this!

Total surprise - I hadn't bid on it or even desired it. But Norm likes it!

And Norm got his lathe, which made him happy!

However, a day at the auction is very long and very tiring, no matter how much fun it is (and how disastrous to our pocket books).

Then today we headed to Mankato to get some more wood pellets for the stove and do a little bit of shopping before going to the Electrical Co-Op annual meeting. They offer a lovely lunch – turkey today – and then door prizes after the meeting. I guess that’s the best way to get people to come and listen to the news that the electricity will cost more, again, this year, and only get worse!

People, call or write your congressman and tell him / her to not vote for the coal – carbon tax bill. According to our electrical board, it will not make things better because Congress plans on using the tax on the coal plants (that will come out of OUR pocket) to try to lessen the national debt. Our guys say that if they tax, they should use all the money to further renewable energy options. Also, Congress should (according to these guys) actually be working on upgrading the dams that furnish electricity; the dams can furnish more electricity than several coal plants.

Today was a beautiful day, even though we spent a lot of it inside. It’s pretty obvious that Spring IS coming. However, on Monday we were hit with about eight inches of fresh, wet snow. That snow is nearly gone as we had temperatures in the fifties today! But, knowing spring and April in Minnesota, it is not surprising that we are expecting a big snowstorm again in the morning!


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April Fools!!



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Ice on the Dogwood!

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Nuthatch "enjoying" the snow!

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Robins claim it's spring!


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Hundreds of blackbirds are trying to find food in the melting snow on April 2nd


However, any snow that we get will add to our much-needed moisture, so it will be a beautiful day, none-the-less. You have a beautiful day!

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Aunt Millie’s Shoulderette

Joy, Candy and I have been working on a project since around Christmas. Candy has an antique shoulderette – shrug – shawl with a sleeve, what ever it is called. Our great Aunt Millie had knit this quite a long time ago. Candy was given it and has treasured it for years.

The shoulderette is rayon, from what we can gather, so it had to be done after 1911, as rayon came into the hands of knitters (and crotcheters) about that time. Rayon is the first of the man-made fibers that was used commercially as well as for home use.

Candy loaned it to Joy to see if she could copy the pattern, which she managed to do in less than a day! (Talented children I have, don’t I?) Then she wrote out the pattern with the hopes of being able to sell the pattern to other knitters who are interested in “antique” crafts.

I really don’t like calling it an antique, because in MY mind, an antique has to be older than 1900. However, most people in this world consider something older than 50 years as an antique (which makes ME an antique!).

If you are interested in attempting the shoulderette, it is listed on my
Etsy page. Joy says it’s a medium skill project. The pattern is in PDF, so it's easy to download!

The pictures following are of the original one. Joy is going to knit one in wool and perhaps someday I will be able to spin enough of an interesting color for her to knit one for me out of the handspun.



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I remember Aunt Millie visiting us when I was about 8 or 9 years old. We lived in Bemidji, Minnesota for a few years; her home in the Big Stone area. She and her daughter, Cousin Esther, came to see my mother.

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I hope you enjoy the shoulderette, should you chose to accept this mission!

Have a beautiful day!