Friday, August 31, 2012

Week's End

For some reason, this 3-day weekend seems to me to be a special one.  I'm not sure why.

Maybe it's because I have no plans or obligations.  I can simply get some things done around our bucolic manor with no time deadlines or pressure.

I haven't set any alarm clocks.  I've no appointments.  No commitments.

It's just a 3-day weekend stretched out ahead of me with endless possibilities.

What should I do first?

I've got it!


Thursday, August 30, 2012

Baby Model

A few months ago I made a little sweater for my girlfriend's new little girl - and today she sent me a picture of her precious little one.  Awwww!  She's such a cutie!

It was such a nice surprise to get the picture - and so great that the sweater actually fits her.  It looks like it will work for her for a while longer - I think it still has some room in the shoulders/sleeves.

Anyway, she is an adorable little girl - and I'm glad she's smiling.  She must like the sweater!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Side Streets



I was asked to show at an art gallery in Chelsea in a couple of months.  I haven't decided exactly what to do, but I've been toying with the idea of contrasting definitions of words.

If I say to someone in the city "side street", they're going to think something totally different than if I say the same thing to someone in the country.  Since I inhabit both places, I find it odd sometimes.

In the city a side street is a quick shortcut that will get you ahead in traffic faster, but it's usually not very clean, generally has a lot of pot holes and I've also noticed that the only reason the side streets in the city seem to exist is because no one has figured out how to build on them yet.

In the country, a side street may take the shorter route in miles, but it usually gets you there much slower, generally unpaved and possibly doesn't actually connect with where you thought you would end up at all.  And the only reason it seems to exist is because someone wanted a road there, so they just started driving that way one day - and eventually the grass turned into a path and then a road.

Country side streets remind me of the shortcut my DH and I took once when we were in the U.P.  We wanted to cut across to get to a highway faster, so we took a side street - having been assured by a local that it would get us where we wanted to go.  

We drove down for awhile, the road sort of became a path through the woods, the street signs were replaced with paper plates (I kid you not) and eventually it stopped at a sign which said - boats only beyond this point.  Probably good advice, because beyond that point was Lake Superior.

What the local had neglected to mention was that it was a road only in the winter when the lake was frozen enough for cars to drive on it.  Since winter in the U.P. lasts a pretty long time, the road was only out for about 12 or so weeks of the year.  

Odd that the road was out due to lack of snow rather than because of snow.

The paper plates, we later found out, were what the snowmobilers used to mark the road.

There was this whole section of the U.P. that didn't have any roads.  At all.  

'Nuff said.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012


Well my work on cleaning the house has paid off and I have cleared the floorboards in my office.

These are the original floors in all of their scuffed and notched glory.  They don't look as though they have been refinished even once since they were laid down 152 years ago.

Now here's the debate.  Do I cover them up, refinish them or clean the living daylights out of them?  Do I pull them all up and move them closer together or do I fill in the gaps with rope like they did back in the day?

I'm leaning towards cleaning the living daylights out of them and filling the gaps with rope.  How hard can it be, right?

Something tells me it will be an absolute bear of a job, but really worth it in the long run.

Decisions, decisions, decisions...

Good thing I'll have the winter to contemplate it.

Monday, August 27, 2012


I spent no time outside yesterday, so today I wanted to take a quick stroll through the gardens before I headed inside.

But I had to go grocery shopping (since I missed doing that yesterday).  Then the pup needed playtime. Then my DH needed dinner.  Then it was night.

This is why it's important to get these things taken care of on the weekend.  Preferably Friday night when the stores are empty and the food is fresh.

I could have really used just a few minutes outside - looking at the flowers, cursing at the weeds, picking a few veggies from the garden.  It's the Zen in my day that makes the week possible.

I guess I'll try again tomorrow.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Sun Day

My day was spent cleaning.  It's the first phase of closing up the house for the winter and I wanted to get a jump on it.  I thought it was a great idea at first.

Since our bucolic manor is an historic home, it came with historic insulation!  In other words, there's no insulation.  And since my DH and I are restoring and not renovating, well, still no insulation.  Instead, we block off all of the rooms that we don't absolutely have to have open for the winter.  This means that we basically live in 3 rooms - heating only those and any room that has water pipes (and only the water pipes).

I wanted to be outside just playing with our pup in the garden, or maybe going for a long walk, or just anything that wasn't cleaning.  But it needed to be done.

Besides, it's a great time to keep, toss, donate.  It will really pay off next spring when we reopen and just have to do a light dusting.  But then I realized that once I started a section, I had to finish it.  No stopping halfway.  No languorous breaks lounging on the sofa.

Maybe it wasn't such a great idea.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Hardy Horse

Our quiet Saturday was not so quiet.  We had a good start - reading, drinking coffee, playing with our pup.  But then things quickly spiraled into busy-ness.

I packed up a quick picnic lunch - sandwiches, chips and water - and we jumped into the truck to head off to the final flower sale of the season.  (I promise I sold more than I bought!)  Then it was off to dinner with some of the flower club members.

Then, since we were on the other side of the county, we had to get some shopping done for those things you just can't get near our bucolic manor.  You know, trickle chargers for the truck batteries in winter and the like.

We also took a close look at a greenhouse.  I really thought that we would get it, but no dice.  My DH pointed out that it wouldn't handle the snow load, so after all of the research and checking and pricing it out, we had to pass.  (And it was on sale!)

Then we stopped to get some frames for our Town Hall.  We had the fundraiser last winter to put lights on 2 spruce trees so we're going to put up a photograph and acknowledgement in Town Hall for all of the donors.  I think it's sweet, but trying to find a frame that is nice but won't look dated 50 years from now was a bit of a challenge.

My reward for all of this was spending 5 minutes at a lovely yarn shop, browsing for some fiber for my next project.  Unfortunately I didn't find anything that was "perfect, just perfect".  (And since my DH was there, it really was just 5 minutes!)

On the way home we were supposed to stop at a nursery to pick up our hardy mums for the Fall planters.  This proved to be too much for me and my DH to handle so we continued the drive home.

Once home, our little pup was a bundle of energy since she was cooped up inside all day.  She demanded some serious attention and a long walk.  My DH was wiped out, so our pup and I went for a nice little 2 mile stroll (pull, tug, walk 2 steps, repeat).

12 hours after we left for the flower sale, I finally sat back down in my reading chair to pick up where I had left off.  My eyes weren't cooperating - they kept closing.

At the end of the day I couldn't help but think about this horse.  She's on her feet all day long - when I leave for work in the morning, when I come home at night - and she has 4 feet.  I've never seen her even laying down for a roll in the dust.  She just keeps going.  No complaints.

I dont think I could ever be a horse.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Berry Nice

I couldn't believe it, but it's apparently true.  The holly berries are starting to turn to red.

Somehow it doesn't seem fair.  It's still August - and today was as hot an humid of a day as summer could bring.  But I saw the first flock of geese heading south, and now with the berries...  Well, I'm just going to have to admit that Fall is on its' way.

(I won't say the "W" word yet - I just *won't*!!!)

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Fern Berries

I spotted this on my way out the door this morning.  It's the frond on our foxtail fern (Asparagus densiflorus "Meyersii") and it has berries!

She's usually an indoor plant, but during the summer, my DH puts her outside to enjoy the warm sunlight.  I guess it paid off, because for the first time, she has little berries on her tail.  (That doesn't sound quite right somehow...)

Anyway, it was a nice little surprise to start the day.


Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Tomato Tomato

You say tomato, I say tomato.  Hmmm - that doesn't really translate well in text does it?

The tomatoes are ready for harvesting so I spent the evening out in the vegetable garden, flashlight in hand, hunting for the ripe ones.  My DH really loves these bite-sized "Jelly Bean" tomatoes.  Wrap them in a basil leaf and it's the perfect mouthful of Italian goodness.

Of course, I had to plant some cherry tomatoes.  They're perfect soaked in vodka and dipped in Bloody Mary spices.  And then I needed to have some heirlooms just for BLTs.

Over the next week or so, they'll all ripen and we'll get the ones that the rabbit leaves us.  He only takes one bite out of each one - I guess it's the best bite.

Once we're done with eating and gifting, I'll dehydrate the rest and pack them in olive oil with some garlic cloves.  They keep for a few months that way so we'll still have our garden harvest in January.

This is what makes the vegetable garden worthwhile.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Foggy Morning

This morning the fog was so thick all the way down to the train station.  Usually it lifts a bit as I come over the ridge between our bucolic manor and the station - but no such luck today.

It made the trip seem longer somehow.  I just kept driving forever, not seeing the lights from the station until I was right up on it.

I know it was just an illusion.  Driving slower to keep an eye out for the deer since a couple of their trails cross the road.  Turning on the wipers to clear the windshields.  No other cars in sight - well, that's normal.

Finally after almost 7 minutes, I arrived at the station.  Whew!  Such a lengthy commute!

Now if only I could get the rest of my commute to be so short...maybe flying cars or a transporter?

Maybe I just need some more sleep.

Monday, August 20, 2012

My Day In Court

Today I had the honor of going to traffic court because a computer scanned my plates on the pickup and decided that it was not registered - because my insurance computer did not talk to the DMV computer.

Humans were not involved with was all computers.

So imagine my lack of joy at finding a week's worth of posts missing from my blog this evening after coming home from straightening out this DMV computer mess.

Sometimes modern life is so terribly frustrating!  I think I'll go play with my pup and leave this latest computer glitch until tomorrow.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Marsh Mallows

I found an unexpected surprise when I went shopping, the wetlands were covered in flowers.  I supposed that they are there every year, but I just never noticed them before.

They were tucked into every nook and cranny behind the vines and shrubs.  The bees certainly had no problem spotting them.  They were everywhere - buzzing from flower to flower gathering nectar and spreading pollen.

From a distance, it really doesn't look like there are many blossoms at all.  Just a few flecks of white here and there.

But when you get a bit closer, there are yellows, reds, purple and those lovely white mallows.  

Wetlands dripping with blossoms at the end of the summer season - it was a wonderful unexpected surprise.

Now if I could just get my late summer garden to do that!

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Sale-a-bration Time

Today was the first collector's sale fundraiser for our iris and daylily gardening club.  All of the flowers were neatly trimmed, labeled and packaged for display - ready to go to their new homes.

We actually sold out on a few types of daylilies - some lovely bold yellows and brilliant reds.  The funds raised go to the club for hiring speakers during the cold winter months when the only thing to do about gardening is to talk about it.

Next weekend will be the final sale and I'm hoping that we'll make enough money to get some really good speakers.

If nothing else, though, I made sure to make a good donation to the club - a new white siberian iris!

It is for charity, after all...

Friday, August 17, 2012

Stairing Down the Dog

Our pup is always looking out for us.  Making sure that we are safe - and herding us out of danger.

Sometimes, though, we do the unthinkable - we sit in 2 different rooms!  It's hard for her to make sure we are where she believes we should be - and running back and forth can be so very exhausting!

But I believe she has found the perfect solution...sleeping on the stairs. She has me herded on the 2nd floor and can easily see my DH on the first floor.

Such a brilliant solution.

But there's no way for me to get past her without disturbing her slumber.  Poor thing is tuckered out.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Always Watching

In the city, there's always someone watching - and it isn't necessarily a human.  The pigeon flocks hang out where they are most likely to get food - and these guys are perched within 10 feet of a pizzeria.

They have a prime viewing spot for any crust or crumb droppage.  They swoop down within seconds and start the fight for the biggest piece.  Fortunately for this particular flock, they also have a bird friendly person looking out for them - and they get a nice amount of real bird food each day.  They are certainly a lucky flock of pigeons.

That's what makes them such a nice little group, I think.  They really seem to care for the people who walk by every day.  They definitely know the person who feeds them - flying down when she comes, before the food is even out.

These guys are always looking out for me see if I drop a crumb of food on the sidewalk.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Hump Day

Wednesdays have always been the longest day of the week for me.  Sunday seems like it was forever ago - and Friday night is impossibly far away.

But since it is my week/month, I decided to do something about this blah feeling today.  I took the back road home just so I could enjoy this particular view of the corn fields in the valley.

The thing I love about these fields is that they are so open - no "Children of the Corn" horror movie here.  Just a nice field covered with thousands of stalks of my favorite veggies.

Maybe I can get some at the farmer's market in a few weeks!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012


My DH teases me about this, but that's okay with me.  The thing is, my birthday celebration isn't just one single day - it's a weeklong extravaganza!

It starts the weekend before my day and it goes until the following Monday.  Each day is an opportunity to!

I can get away with this because there are no national holidays this month.  No distractions from the glorious day that is my day - and a weeklong celebration.

Mostly I get away with it because 9 times out of 10, I have to work on my birthday so we have to move the acknowledgement of it from the actual day to a weekend.  Initially this was no fun.  So I came up with the birthday extravaganza! concept.  That made it fun.

Even my train friends are into the celebration this year - they threw me a party.  Well, 2 parties actually since my morning train buddies and my evening train buddies are 2 different groups.  Friday we had a breakfast party and then today we had a dinner party.

Chinese food on the train.  I'm not sure how they did it, but they managed to convince a Chinese restaurant to deliver the food to the track at Grand Central Station, so it was piping hot when we all sat down to eat.  I was very impressed with their delivery ordering skills.

When you ride the same train each day, you get to know the people you ride with.  So when we can come up with a reason to break bread together, it's usually a lot of fun.  Especially when it's topped off with Magnolia's chocolate chocolate cupcakes (with sprinkles).

Our little group had a good time tonight and everyone left with a smile.  That's really what the extravaganza! is all about.

(Well that, plus the whole me thing!)

Monday, August 13, 2012

My Day

Today is my day.  In the strong birthday tradition that my DH and I observe, everything I do today is absolutely correct, right and proper.  Every word I utter is a pearl of wisdom.  The very ground I tread upon is fortunate to feel my step.  (He gets the same on his day.)

It's a beautiful thing.

My friend L- and her award winning husband-of-the-year, Ed, were so sweet and had my DH and me over for dinner to celebrate my day.  She got me an ice cream cake!  I've actually never had an ice cream cake for my day before, which is kind of strange considering that it is summer and one would think that it would be the perfect type of cake for summer.  But somehow over the years, not once have I had ice cream cake for my day.

It was wonderful!

My DH got me some lovely orchids - which I absolutely adore because: 1-they don't die, 2-they bloom a long time, 3-he's going to take care of them so they'll keep flowering for years to come.  I think that's the best part.  Since he cares for them, it really is a gift.  There's no work to be done.  Ever.

I just love this day!

And thank you! to everyone for the best wishes!  You are so sweet!!

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Harvest Begins

It's finally time to start harvesting the veggies - for real.  We've had a few fruits of our labor here and there since the peas finished up in June, but mostly it's been loads of herbs, a few peppers, a couple of string beans and the lettuce.

Now the veggies are starting to come in - and just in time too!  Most of my friends are having a hard time fighting blight in their vegetable gardens.  Their carefully tended tomatoes are full of unripened and dying fruit.  Too late for them to save them.

We were fortunate.  I had a head's up from one of our farmer friends that the blight was starting to take off - so we stopped watering.  We could have gone with some chemical powder on the plants, but my DH and I have worked really hard to ensure that the vegetable garden (and the surrounding yard and garden beds) are free of pesticides and any chemicals that could possibly build-up in the soil, transferring into our vegetables.

It means more weeding, hauling loads of organic compost in the pickup (instead of those cute little easy to carry bags), and keeping close track of what we plant where so we can keep the crops rotating around in the beds to keep the nutritional minerals in the soil balanced.

But for all of that work, we get a nice little harvest of veggies that I know are nutritious.

So totally worth it.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Flower Painting

I finally made the time to finish the watercolor painting for the thank you cards that a started working on a few days ago.

 Now all I have to do is decide which ones are good.

Which ones are passable.

And which ones could have been better done by a blindfolded chimpanzee.

The only problem is that right now, I don't have any perspective on them.

Okay - maybe this one.  I like the flower blossoms, but I don't care for the stems.

And this one - I like it a lot.  Especially the little fallen petals.

Fortunately I made extra, so once I get my DH to help me decide who gets which, I can just toss the worst of the bunch without having to paint more.

I think this little exercise has gotten rid of my yearly desire to paint.  It's sort of like when you bake for the holidays.  By the time you're done baking, you don't want to eat any of it, let alone bake anything else - for months.

Let's just hope that my little paintings will be well received!

Friday, August 10, 2012

Giant Alien Grasshoppers From Space

Last night I was attacked by a giant alien grasshopper from space - I swear it's true!  After much screaming and flailing about, my DH came to the rescue and captured it.  Even in its' container prison, it's still poised to go on the attack, but fortunately it doesn't seem to spit acid - or have a phaser gun - to break through the plastic walls of its' prison.

It's so terribly large because it obviously grew up in a gravity-free environment.  A normal earth-bound grasshopper could never have gotten so large.

This means it is from space.

You can also tell because it is clearly comfortable in the see-through round container that my DH used to catch it.  A regular grasshopper would not be so comfortable, but a giant alien grasshopper from space is used to spending time on space ships as it goes from planet to planet therefore it would obviously be very comfortable in an environment that was like its' space ship.

I call it a grasshopper, but that's only because I have no other word that begins to describe the hideous creature.  It hops, it flies...Oh the horror!

It's little mouth - filled with those sharp and deadly teeth could have done all types of harm and injury to me had my DH not come to my rescue!  Thank goodness he was here to save me!

So after capturing it, for fear that its' compatriots would come to find him, I had my DH release it back into the wild.  It should be able to make its' way back to its' space ship - and hopefully caution all of the other giant alien grasshoppers from space that this is not the planet for them.

They should go back to their home planet and not stay here, or at least not come into my home.

And most definitely they should not fly straight into my face and get caught in my hair so I end up running around screaming and flailing about madly.

It's just undignified, I tell you!

And where was my pup when it came time to defend me?  Sleeping.

I really don't like bugs in the house.  Really.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

C'est Fini!

I cast off the last stitch on my Citron shawl today.  I can't believe that I actually finished it.  C'est fini!!!

The puffy ridges were so very long as it got bigger - they're twice as many stitches as the plain stockinette areas.  But they are the design feature that makes the wrap.

The Malabrigo carrot color is really rich - there's a lot of variation in it that makes the stitch pattern stand out.

When I first saw the pattern back in April - then snuck off to the yarn store and picked out the yarn, I was just hoping to get it finished by October for the Rhinebeck Sheep & Wool Festival.  I didn't actually think that I would finish it!

Then when Ravelry started their Ravellenic Games, I thought - here's my chance to give myself a reason to finish.  A little group support - or peer pressure, if you will - was just the ticket that I needed to get it done.

Well, that and 13 days of knitting every spare minute that I had!

I added 3 repeats to the design and used a lace cast-off that made the finish ruffle even rufflier.  (Is that a word?  Well, it's pretty!)

Now all I have to do is wait for the cooler weather so I can wear it!

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

I Wish I Were a Kid Again

Did you ever have a day like this?  I'm sure you have.

This morning when I woke up from my train nap, I looked out the window and expected to see the walls of the tunnel that the train goes into right before crossing the bridge into Manhattan.  That's what I expected, but that's not what I saw.

I saw woods.  Not good.

Apparently while I slept, the train had the audacity to break down.  A valve fell off the engine and all of the wheels on the train locked.  We weren't going anywhere.

After about an hour or so, they sent another engine out to us.  Hooked it up to our train, disconnected the broken engine, and we were on our way again.

So I got off of the train and walked over to the bus stop.  My bus was no where in sight.  After waiting a few minutes, I decided to take an alternate bus.  I got on and found a seat in the back - no air conditioning, humid and smelly.  A fight broke out between some of the passengers.  (Note to self: don't ever brush past someone's purse on a hot and humid non-air conditioned bus.)

I got off of that bus and waited for the connection.  While I was waiting, 3 of my regular buses whizzed by.

I went and got some breakfast.  The clerk rang up the order wrong, so she redid it.  I watched my alternate bus go by.  Then the cook burnt my breakfast and had to redo it.  I watched another alternate bus go by.

I got my breakfast and went back out to the bus stop.  After awhile, my alternate bus came.  There were a few people in line ahead of me.  The first man tried to get past the driver by only paying a partial fare.  He and the driver had words.

Then a woman got on with 4 children.  I wasn't aware of this, but apparently you have to have 1 adult for every 3 children on a bus.  I guess it's the mayor's idea of population control.  She and the driver had words.

Then the guy in front of me got on the bus.  He paid in nickels.  The machine jammed.  I think this was almost the last straw for the driver who took the stay out of his collar and attempted to clear the machine.  It didn't work - and neither did my transfer.  I had to pay a new full fare.  I almost said something, but I decided that the driver really just needed me to not say a word.

We went to the next stop.  A man came onto the bus with an open stroller - another serious bus offense apparently.  The driver lost it.  The man lost it.  The cops came.  I got off the bus and waited for the next one.

I paid full fare again (3rd fare, mind you) and got on.  Somehow, magically, we actually made it all the way to my stop.  I got off, walked to my office, got out my teacup and went to the pantry to get a nice cuppa.

One of my colleagues bumped into me and the boiling hot tea poured down the front of my shirt and pants.  It was incredibly hot - I like to let it steep a bit.  I was really soaked.

That was my morning - and it was the best part of my day.

Sometimes I wish I were a kid again.