Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving

May you have a wonderful day today and enjoy family and friends to the utmost.

Here is a picture that I found recently.  It was taken about 1962.  I am wearing a college sweatshirt, which is why I know the date.  This is a group of friends and family.  Brother Charles is in a Boy Scout uniform, Mom is in the middle and Candy is the one in a stripped shirt and curly hair.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Finally finished!

I have been working on some wrist warmers forever, it seems. I started them in the summer but my plan of action for knitting is to do it when I’m riding in a car (if I remember) or at a demonstration (again, IF I remember).

But I wanted to give these wrist warmers to Pastor Mark. He and his wife own the Farm that Norm works at and he is the one that gave me the lamb, Soot, last summer.

When we had her sheared, we discovered that her fleece is NOT totally black, but is kind of like ashes (or soot – which makes her properly named). The spinning has been fantastic. Soot’s fleece is soft and easy to spin and a delight to watch go into the bobbin, as the fleece is heathered in color so it’s not a solid yarn going in.

When I started the wrist warmer (the first one), I didn’t like the cable pattern – I kept getting confused (not an abnormal thing for me) – plus it was hard to see the cable in the dark yarn, so I ripped out the pattern down to the cuff and started over. I got the wrist warmer done and decided that it was too big – so started BACK at the cuff and made a two-by-two rib to match the cuff the whole way up. This fit the hand much better and was more interesting than just plain knitting.

Soooo, after three tries (third time lucky), I had one wrist warmer done and had to work on the other one. That took much less time (wonder why?) and I finished this last week.

Yesterday I sent the wrist warmers to the Farm to give to Mark. I hope he will like them. I certainly enjoyed making them (even if it DID take me three times for the first one). I might make some more, just for me.

It’s snowing out today – chances are not very high to get more than about two inches but it certainly is beautiful out. You have a beautiful day.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Where were you forty-six years ago today?

Now, I know most of my devoted readers are too young for remembering (or even being alive on) that important date.

However, it was the day that John F. Kennedy, President, was assassinated.  I was sitting with my (then) boyfriend (not Norm) in the college commons, after lunch, listening to the radio over the intercom.  That was when we heard the news that Kennedy had been shot.

The rest of the day was a blur – I went to my History class – the professor there prided himself on being so “cool” and “with it.”  We listened on the radio for the confirmation that the President was dead and the professor said something very profound.  At least I THINK if was profound – he was hoping it would be but I was crying so hard I have no clue what he said except “Class dismissed.”

Now, I know many people don’t think Kennedy was a great president but he was “our” president – the young people who were just getting into politics.  He was young, like us, energetic and good looking (never a bad thing in polices).  Plus, he was the President of the United States.  Who had the gall to attack us by killing our President?

That was forty-six years ago and I can still remember the feelings I had at that time.  Older people (no, I’m not THAT old) talk about where they were when they heard about Pearl Harbor.  You younger ones remember the Towers going down (I remember that one, and where I was when I heard that news).  Everybody remembers where they were, what they were doing when something momentous happens.

Kennedy’s death was momentous to us.  It was the first time a President had been killed (or even died in office) in the lifetime of anyone.  It changed the views of Americans; the innocence of the age was gone.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Attention: Jeanne

You left no email for me to contact you, so I hope this will work.  If you leave an email, I can hopefully give you more information.

Until then, try this link:  Make Your Own Spinning Wheel.

Hope this works.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

It’s a picker!!!

An antique swinging wool picker, to be exact. And a picker, gentle readers (yes, I’ve been listening to Jane Eyre lately), takes the wool and PICKS it to separate the junk from the good stuff before you card it.

I wanted Norm to make me a swinging picker and he was hesitant to do so. It takes a lot of work, especially in placing the nails / spikes. Last time Norm and I were in the Cities, Joy took us to the fancy second hand store and this picker was sitting on a shelf but we didn’t notice it until after we had checked out.

Joy and Norm talked, Joy purchased it and I brought it home, not knowing what it was. Joy said it was for Christmas, but Norm had it sitting in the studio when I came home from exercise this morning. He said it couldn’t wait because he figured I would go looking for whatever he had gotten and would find it before Christmas. This way, I can work with it this fall / winter with some of my wool.

You sit on the picker and place wool on the tray, then swing the picker – the picked / cleaner wool comes out the front. It needs oiling, tightening and replacement of some bolts. I think we’ll oil the wood, too, to help preserve it.

 Front, with seat
Handle for pulling the swinging head

Front, where the wool comes out cleaner - notice the spikes for the picking

I don’t know who was more excited, Norm or I. He was thrilled by my reaction, that is for sure!

How exciting! More tools for spinning! More fiber “stuff!” Can’t ever have too much, can you?

Glenda, I suppose Norm told your folks and they told you!

Have a beautiful day – it’s more beautiful now that I KNOW what “it” is!!

What IS it?

Monday morning, Candy and I headed to the Cities for a couple of days of fun and frolic with Joy and the girls. We packed up our spinning wheels, some knitting and fleece. I took my double treadle, “Bonnie,” Candy took her new double treadle, “Belle.”

We surprised the girls – Joy hadn’t told them we were coming (they LOVE surprises) and they were so excited they were bouncing off the walls.

Most of the day we spent spinning or weaving (Jessica finished a table runner that I forgot to take pictures of) or knitting. Joy taught Candy how to do the “magic loop” to knit two socks at the same time on a circular needle. She helped me set up and start a stocking cap on a circular needle.

Bitty spun on “Minnie Mouse,” the antique ship’s wheel that she uses but I let her ply on “Bonnie.” Bubba did some spinning on Joy’s Ashford Traveler (don’t know what she has named her); Bubba’s spinning is getting much better. Soon she will match Bitty in quality. And Bubba is getting VERY good.

Maple's wool, dyed peach and blended with natural, combed for spinning

Wool in bobbin - see the cream and peach blend?


Talking business
Tuesday afternoon we went to a fancy second hand store and Joy and Candy both bought quite a few sweaters. The sweaters are 100% wool (Candy found a casmire that is heavenly soft); they plan on “frogging” them for the yarn.

“Frogging,” dear children (for those of you who don’t know) is the simple act of ripping out knitted or crocheted items. You can frog something that has gone wrong (my first hand warmer this year has been frogged and re-started 3 times). Or you can frog a sweater or any other knitted item to use the yarn. Our plan (Candy and Joy’s, actually – I just agree to what ever they think of) is to take whatever yarn is not used by any of us and sell it as “recycled” yarn. It will be 100% wool, washed and probably plied to make it easier to knit or crotchet with.

Where there's smoke, there's fire

Ken uses the leave blower to add to the fire

On Wednesday morning, Candy and Joy packed the van as Norm was having us bring SOMETHING back that is a surprise for me. I can’t figure it out, quite. Norm had Ken and Joy get it, sent an envelope to Joy (assuming it was the money) and the package was covered with a blanket and wrapped in cardboard so that I can NOT see what it is. So I suffered all the time at Joy’s and all the time going home. But does Norm let me see what it is when I get home? NOOOooooooo! It’s packed away in the shop and he has to “clean” it before I can see it. Frustration!

The box in the left corner is the "thing" - so, what IS it?

But, in spite of that frustration, the days with Joy was wonderful. We got ideas on how to do things, talked over other ideas and just enjoyed a fiber time with loved ones.

It’s an overcast day, but still warmish for Minnesota – it’s in the low 40s and likely to stay that way all day. So it’s a beautiful day – you have a beautiful day!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

No pictures (sigh)

Yesterday was the monthly “Stitches in Time” at the Senior Citizen’s in town.  Now, for those of you who have forgotten, this is a dream-child of Candy’s where we meet once a month for the whole day.  Away from phones and computers and husbands and demands.  We spend the day doing fiber things: anything to do with wool, yarn, knitting, crocheting, etc.  Anything but quilting. 

Not that we have anything against quilting – we both have been quilters and will probably be so again in the future – but there are quilting groups all over the place and not as many that would teach knitting, tatting, ribbon embroidery and the like.

There aren’t many who come and sometimes, as this summer, Candy has been the only one (while I’ve been away playing).  Then sometimes there are up to seven or eight who pop in to spend time, teach or learn.  One of our regulars has been sick but our most “devoted” visitor is Betty.  Betty and her husband raise sheep for the meat market but she wanted to learn how to spin her own yarn from her own sheep.  She came to learn to spin then purchased a wheel.  Now she has a drum carder and is considering a set of combs.

Most of the sheep that Betty and her husband raise have reasonable fleeces but she wants a flock of her own of specialty wool.  So her task these next few months is to see what breed of sheep she wants.

Betty is also going to loan a Poly-Pay / Finn ram to the Farm so that they can have lambs this spring (missed last year).  I am going to take Soot over at that time so that she can be bred, as well.  Because it will be late (around Thanksgiving), the lambs will be born in the warmer spring. 

Most commercial shepherds have their lambs in January / February so that the lambs are larger at market time.  Smaller shepherds (in flock size, not in physical size) usually chose to have their lambs in the spring.  Take Crosswind Farms - Corrine wants late lambs, but her plans went afoul due to her “bad” girls!  This is the same plan we have.  The last lambing that the Farm had was in the bitter cold of January / February, as the ram got in (as well as the buck) too early and the barn as well as Norm was not ready.  They lost a lot of lambs and kids that year.  This year we hope to have better luck.

So here we sat, the three of us in peace and quiet.  We listened to some soothing music and talked while we worked.  Betty worked with her drum carder, Candy worked on her combs and I sat and spun or knit.

I wished I had taken my camera, as Candy’s combed wool turned out breathtaking.  She dyed part of her Shetland wool a peach, so she blended it with the cream; it looked like the orange and cream lifesavers that we used to be able to get (can we still get them?).

I love going to the Stitches day – it’s not often enough for me, though.  When we picked out the Second Saturday for the meeting time, I was wrong in my schedule.  I figured that most of the events we went to were either on the first or the third or fourth weekend, but lo! and behold!  Most of them are on the second!!!  So most of the summer, I miss the meeting days.

This Saturday was no exception; I look forward to the meetings and sometimes wish they were more than just once a month.

Now, since I didn’t take my camera (shame!), I thought I’d treat you to a family picture.  My dad is going through his slides and has sent a bunch of them (scanned onto the computer); here is one of my brother and two sisters.  I was about eleven, which made Charles nine, Cara seven and Candy four.  Enjoy!

On another note, Norm just got home from South Dakota – he spent about nine days with his brother on the home ranch.  Darrell had gall bladder surgery and has to limit his lifting for six weeks.  So Darrell’s son, Wade, went over for about a week, then Norm popped over to help.  He got home yesterday and tomorrow I am heading up north to the cities.  Candy and I are going to spend some time with Joy and the girls.  We are taking our wheels along to do some spinning; Candy has a project she needs Joy to help with, as well.  Then we will stop in Mankato on the way home for our monthly Sam’s club shopping.  The shops down here are more expensive so we stock up with the less expensive (I can’t say “cheaper” – there “ain’t” no “cheaper” any more!) things.

It was cold over the week, last week, rainy and windy but today was a beautiful sunny day.  It sounds like it will be sunny and warm-ish (for Minnesota) for another week.  You have a beautiful day!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Speaking of Veterans

I found the picture I was looking for! 
This is Norm in his uniform in the early 1960s.

And Dad reminded me that he also served in the Korean War. 

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Sorry, Wayne!

I left brother-in-law Wayne out of the list of veterans.  Don't know why - must be getting old-istis!

Wayne learning to spin

It’s Veterans Day!

I found this on the web – I love searching the web. 

History of Veterans Day

World War I – known at the time as “The Great War” - officially ended when the Treaty of Versailles was signed on June 28, 1919, in the Palace of Versailles outside the town of Versailles, France. However, fighting ceased seven months earlier when an armistice, or temporary cessation of hostilities, between the Allied nations and Germany went into effect on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month. For that reason, November 11, 1918, is generally regarded as the end of “the war to end all wars.”

In November 1919, President Wilson proclaimed November 11 as the first commemoration of Armistice Day with the following words: "To us in America, the reflections of Armistice Day will be filled with solemn pride in the heroism of those who died in the country’s service and with gratitude for the victory, both because of the thing from which it has freed us and because of the opportunity it has given America to show her sympathy with peace and justice in the councils of the nations…"

The original concept for the celebration was for a day observed with parades and public meetings and a brief suspension of business beginning at 11:00 a.m.

The United States Congress officially recognized the end of World War I when it passed a concurrent resolution on June 4, 1926, with these words:
Whereas the 11th of November 1918, marked the cessation of the most destructive, sanguinary, and far reaching war in human annals and the resumption by the people of the United States of peaceful relations with other nations, which we hope may never again be severed, and
Whereas it is fitting that the recurring anniversary of this date should be commemorated with thanksgiving and prayer and exercises designed to perpetuate peace through good will and mutual understanding between nations; and
Whereas the legislatures of twenty-seven of our States have already declared November 11 to be a legal holiday: Therefore be it Resolved by the Senate (the House of Representatives concurring), that the President of the United States is requested to issue a proclamation calling upon the officials to display the flag of the United States on all Government buildings on November 11 and inviting the people of the United States to observe the day in schools and churches, or other suitable places, with appropriate ceremonies of friendly relations with all other peoples.

An Act (52 Stat. 351; 5 U. S. Code, Sec. 87a) approved May 13, 1938, made the 11th of November in each year a legal holiday—a day to be dedicated to the cause of world peace and to be thereafter celebrated and known as "Armistice Day." Armistice Day was primarily a day set aside to honor veterans of World War I, but in 1954, after World War II had required the greatest mobilization of soldiers, sailors, Marines and airmen in the Nation’s history; after American forces had fought aggression in Korea, the 83rd Congress, at the urging of the veterans service organizations, amended the Act of 1938 by striking out the word "Armistice" and inserting in its place the word "Veterans." With the approval of this legislation (Public Law 380) on June 1, 1954, November 11th became a day to honor American veterans of all wars.

Later that same year, on October 8th, President Dwight D. Eisenhower issued the first "Veterans Day Proclamation" which stated: "In order to insure proper and widespread observance of this anniversary, all veterans, all veterans' organizations, and the entire citizenry will wish to join hands in the common purpose. Toward this end, I am designating the Administrator of Veterans' Affairs as Chairman of a Veterans Day National Committee, which shall include such other persons as the Chairman may select, and which will coordinate at the national level necessary planning for the observance. I am also requesting the heads of all departments and agencies of the Executive branch of the Government to assist the National Committee in every way possible."

On that same day, President Eisenhower sent a letter to the Honorable Harvey V. Higley, Administrator of Veterans' Affairs (VA), designating him as Chairman of the Veterans Day National Committee.

In 1958, the White House advised VA's General Counsel that the 1954 designation of the VA Administrator as Chairman of the Veterans Day National Committee applied to all subsequent VA Administrators. Since March 1989 when VA was elevated to a cabinet level department, the Secretary of Veterans Affairs has served as the committee's chairman.

The Uniform Holiday Bill (Public Law 90-363 (82 Stat. 250)) was signed on June 28, 1968, and was intended to ensure three-day weekends for Federal employees by celebrating four national holidays on Mondays: Washington's Birthday, Memorial Day, Veterans Day, and Columbus Day. It was thought that these extended weekends would encourage travel, recreational and cultural activities and stimulate greater industrial and commercial production. Many states did not agree with this decision and continued to celebrate the holidays on their original dates.

The first Veterans Day under the new law was observed with much confusion on October 25, 1971. It was quite apparent that the commemoration of this day was a matter of historic and patriotic significance to a great number of our citizens, and so on September 20th, 1975, President Gerald R. Ford signed Public Law 94-97 (89 Stat. 479), which returned the annual observance of Veterans Day to its original date of November 11, beginning in 1978. This action supported the desires of the overwhelming majority of state legislatures, all major veterans service organizations and the American people.

Veterans Day continues to be observed on November 11, regardless of what day of the week on which it falls. The restoration of the observance of Veterans Day to November 11 not only preserves the historical significance of the date, but helps focus attention on the important purpose of Veterans Day: A celebration to honor America's veterans for their patriotism, love of country, and willingness to serve and sacrifice for the common good.

Today I am grateful for all of my relatives, past and present, who have served in wars to protect my freedom.  From the Revolutionary War, through the Civil War, on up to World War II (Dad), Korean War (brother-in-law Darrell) to the Vietnam War (Norm and brother Charles), they have fought and risked their lives for the freedom of the country.

Today is the day to take at least a few minutes (if not longer) to remember the Veterans – not only relatives but also all who have fought and sacrificed for the rest of us.  Thank you, everyone!

Today is my baby’s birthday!

It’s Veterans Day today and that is a special day, to be sure.

But it’s also Jill’s birthday.  Thirty-six years ago I was in a small hospital in Tumut, NSW, Australia.  The doctor was pretty smug, as he had predicted Jill would come on the eleventh, and he was right, even though the nurses said (after he was gone) that Jill was about two weeks late!  You can tell by the condition of the hands, they said.  Flaky skin on the hands means that the baby was starting to “dry” in the womb and should have been born earlier.

Jill was our second child – I had hoped for a boy, but from the second she popped out, I was thrilled, and have never changed my mind.

“Jill” means little girl, which is why Norm and I chose that name for our youngest.  From the time that she was about two months old, she was silly.  Now, you might wonder, how can a baby be silly?  Well, she laughed a lot at a very early age and played with her daddy very early on.  So Norm started calling her “Silly Jilly,” which then moved to “Jilly Bean.”  And so her nickname became “Bean” or “Beanie.”  

In fact, when she was in junior high, she and her best friend, Karla, called themselves “Beans and Brains,” a name that stuck even into college.  Many of her college friends didn’t even know her real name because Karla called her Bean all of the time!

Jill also chose her Aunt name when Bitty was born – she decided she wanted to be called “Auntie Bean,” which has stuck with her for all these years.

Jill and husband Eric now live in Washington State (sigh) and I don’t see her as often as I would like – but she also resides in my heart.

Any child is your favorite, as you have no favorites, but the youngest one will always be your baby.  And she will always be my baby. 

The three musketeers - Jill is the youngest, then Cookie and then Joy, oldest

With my brother - Uncle "Chunk"

Grown up three musketeers


Happy birthday, baby!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Yup, she passed!

On Saturday, Candy and I drove down to see brother Charles … we met about half way, in St. Joe, Missouri.  (This is where Norm and I met Charles and nephew CJ last year.)

 Charles became engaged this summer and will be married in February.  He wanted us, Candy and I, to meet Donna and give our approval.  Not that he would NOT marry Donna if we didn’t like her, but Charles likes to have family approval (as do I) for things that go on in his life.

This generous brother asked us to meet them approximately half way between Minnesota and Oklahoma and offered to pay for our motel room and most of the meals.  By the time we finished the weekend, he had paid for everything – museum fees and also gave us money to pay for our gas back and forth from St. Joe.  Thank you, Charles!

Candy and I left about 7:30 in the morning and had a great trip; it got warmer as the day progressed, until we actually had to turn the air conditioning on because the sun was warming the car up so much!  We stopped in Missouri Valley to see the Bertrand; this is the steamboat that sunk in the river in the 1860s.  It was discovered, excavated and the cargo was rescued and put into safe storage in the 1970s.

This was the 3rd time that I have seen the cargo; Candy has not, so she was thrilled to go through the museum.  I enjoyed it, as well.  Seeing it for 3 times didn’t make it any less exciting.  We both were more interested in the fabric found and the bottles, although the lamps, padlocks, butter churns and dishes were pretty exciting, too.  I was very interested in the matches – it would be wonderful to see an individual match to see what they looked like in the 1800s.  All they showed were boxes; even though they were open, the matches were inside and it was hard to see the details.

Then it was on down to St. Joe.  We got there about an hour before Charles and Donna, so we checked in, got Peanut approved (I had called ahead about her) and settled down to rest a bit.  I had brought Peanut because Norm is in South Dakota helping his brother, Darrell.  (Darrell had gall bladder surgery and needs help doing chores until he is stronger.)  And Wayne, who would have taken Peanut for the weekend was busy, so we took her with us.  Such a trial, taking that dog along!  We thought perhaps we might need tranquilizers for her at one time as she actually lifted her head and looked out the window instead of the naps she was taking!

After Charles and Donna arrived, we sat in the motel room and talked, getting to know Donna and visiting with Charles.  Then went for a small tour of part of the city and then went to Denny’s for supper.  After supper, back to the motel for more talking.
 Sunday morning, Donna chose to sleep in – as she works and has a family, her weekends are precious and she has 1 day a week to sleep in.  I remember that feeling!!  Charles, Candy and I went back to Denny’s (it’s across the street) for breakfast, picked Donna up and went for another tour of the area.  

 After lunch, we visited museums.  We went to the Patee – a great old hotel that houses wonderful displays.  We saw the Jesse James house, where he was killed.  We also went to the Pony Express museum, which is housed in the original stables.  Now, I had seen them before, as has Charles, but Donna and Candy had not.  So it was great to see them again and see them through the girls’ eyes.

We went to the Missouri River, to the spot where the ferryboat had been located before bridges were built.  



And then went to Red Lobster for an absolutely heavenly meal!  Donna had never had crab that she had to take out of the legs and claws, so the rest of us taught her how.  But Donna agreed with me – it’s WORK!  And also agreed with me – when I am rich and famous, I am going to PAY someone to crack the meat out and serve me just the meat, not the shell.

Then back to the motel.  Charles went to watch a football game and we three gals talked.  The three of us had to get a lot of talking done so that we could get to know each other.  After all, we are adding a new sister to the family and Candy and I both wanted to know what she was like – what she liked and how she thought.

So, here is what *I* found out.  Donna is a very intelligent, witty girl.  She likes to read, she likes musicals, she hopes, someday, to learn some kind of fiber crafts.  MY kind of girl!  Donna is raising 5 children and seems to be doing very well with them.  I’m impressed with what they are accomplishing in their lives, so far.  And she is willing to “take” Charles on as well.

Charles was afraid that Candy and I would tell horrible secrets about his past life.  Well?  If you don’t want secrets told, you shouldn’t DO the secrets, right?  We did tell her a few things, and if she doesn’t “break,” Charles will never know what Donna knows about him!  (Snicker, snicker!)

All in all, it was a wonderful weekend and I think all of us enjoyed it – I know I did.  My only unhappiness is that Charles and Donna live so very far away so we won’t get together very often.  But it will be pleasant when we do.

As far as weather, it was amazing!  It was the nicest 2 days we’ve experienced since August.  The temperatures were so warm that we went around in shirt sleeves most of the time.  We had the window open at night because the room was so stuffy and warm, even without the heat on.  

When we said goodbye, I told Donna that we had taken a vote and decided that she would “do.”  She said, “You mean I pass?”  Yes, Donna, you pass with flying colors!

It was a beautiful weekend.  We came back to Indian Summer, here.  It was a beautiful day – you have a beautiful day!

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Way to go, Yankees!

I stayed up rather late last night, watching the Yankees win the World Series title and was very excited.

Now, I don’t want you children to think that I was cheering the Yankees because they were winning!  Oh, no!  I have been a Yankees fan and a baseball fan for many many years.

It all started about 1952 or so.  My brother was in Little League and I fell in love with baseball / softball.  I was allowed to practice with the boys and was actually allowed (as a mascot) to ride with them to the games and sit on the bench.  But, as a girl, I was not allowed to play.

This was my costume of choice for Halloween.  The hat's "A" is for Ashiya, where we lived

My brother and my father listened to the New York Yankee games on the radio so I started listening, too.  At that time, I “fell in love” with Mickey Mantle, the best, in my opinion, player ever there was! My brother, Charles, of course would disagree to make me mad and we’d argue about it for hours.

I got this card while in Japan and have treasured it ever since.  It's a 1954 card.

We lived in Japan at this time (my dad was in the Air Force) and my dad was able to go to Tokyo when the Yankees visited and he took my brother.  I was not asked to go (I was a girl!) and it has been one of the deepest disappointments of my life.  Especially when Charles came home with news of a Mickey Mantle home run and a baseball that was signed by everyone (including MM)!!  I tried my darndest, then and even now, to get that ball from him, but to no avail!

I have been a fan of the Yankees ever since this time; even when Mickey retired, I still loved the Yankees.  When we moved to Minnesota, I became a fan of the Twins, but always had a conflict of interest when the Twins played the Yankees.  That’s why I was not sad when the Twins lost this year – after all, they had played a good year and lost to the BEST team ever!

And now the BEST team ever is winner of the World Series.  Way to GO, Yankees!  Keep up the good work!