Thursday, March 31, 2016

A Knitting Interruption

After working on the heel of my Guernsey Smocked Sock, I opted for some variety. I worked some more on Sandy's Traveling Woman shawl.

I then remembered I still had some crocheting that needed to be done to finish the sampler Christmas presents. I got one of the squares finished for one mitt and have started the second. It does take a while, since I still need to count stitches after each row.

And for some reason, I never get much knitting done on Wednesdays.


Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Little Blue Coop

My long awaited little chicken coop has arrived. While I had been told between 8 and 9 a.m. Tuesday, I was shocked to stumble out of my room at 7:30 to notice something long backing into our driveway. Yikes!

Hubby and I quickly scrambled and were out to greet the driver as he got out of the truck. Within half an hour he was gone, and my Little Blue Coop had arrived. (My mind keeps singing Little Blue Coop to the Beachboys tune: Little Duece Coupe.)

Later that day we wrangled it almost into place, north of the garage. But this gives you the idea. I need to rethink the big tub I purchased to start the chicks in when they arrive. I don't think it will fit inside the coop. I also want to add another roost pole onside. But for now I am just happy it is here.

The nesting boxes are not bumped out like many coops have them but flush. I think that will help keep the eggs from freezing on cold winter winter days.

Hubby removed the 4X4 posts the tapered runners were bolted to for shipping. Once we got it in place there are only small gaps around the edges. I think we will put the 4X4s front and back to cover those small gaps. With the yard area, including under the coop, I think they will be able to scratch and run in safety.

They even sent a couple extra shingles, in case any were damaged in transport, as well as a couple little jars off touch up paint. The window shown above can be opened, if I stretch, and being on the north, should keep from overheating in there. I also opted for the wire over the windows, so as not to worry about something breaking in through the screens.

We just need to figure out how we are going to run a cord inside for the heat lamp. There are no gaps in the doors or windows to snake it through. It is almost too well built!

Then, once I get something to store feed in, and find a new home for the rabbit cage that is in the spot I'm keeping my chicken supplies, I'll be ready for my chickens.

Or earlier. They are ready to hatch soon.

Monday, March 28, 2016

Other Weekend Highlights

I posted on my other blog, The Continuous Journey, about my serious side of Easter. There was also candy, and some little presents for the grandkids. And maybe some chocolate.

Speaking of chocolate.....What happened to the yolk in the Cadbury Easter Egg? It got scrambled in the shell! Most disappointing.

There was also knitting. I worked some on Sandy's Traveling Woman shawl, but, for a break, I went back to the Guernsey Smocked Socks.

I was close to the length of the leg, so busted through and completed the heel.

The pattern for heel was different than any I had done before. It had a wider heel than I normally turn. And I never did figure out her needle placement. But I presevered and I think am doing ok. With my standard needle placement. I am taking the foot down to either 64 or even 60 stitches for the foot. But clear sailing for a while anyway.

Then the second sock looms.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Ice and Knitting

The slop and slush of yesterday continued overnight and continued on into the day. It froze good and solid.

We had about a quarter to half an inch of ice on the post and porch rail.

But through it all, our power stayed on. It did flicker once so quick I didn't even need to reset the clocks.

With all the area schools closed, that meant no Bible Study. So I knit.

I have been trying to finish the center portion of the Baby Hap Shawl. As I neared the corner of the decrease section, I spread it out to check the size. I think it will work out well. Especially since there are two borders to be added yet.

It was just a short sprint from there to the end. I have two stitches on hold with only a couple yards of yarn left. Good place to put it in time out while I get started on Sandy's Traveling Woman Shawl. Swatching has already been done. So I can start right in with the garter tab.

And work on socks in between. My Guernsey Smocked Sock is almost ready for the heel flap.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Finding Family

What a great day Monday.

I and a cousin went to a local history museum near the area where a lot of our common ancestors lived. Normally they aren't open on Mondays, but she when was there in Saturday the lady said she would let us in to do research in their archives--obituaries, cemetery records, books and death certificates.

I do love a good old-time obituary. They were so detailed and personable. That was where I spent most of my time studying.

I was delighted by one finding. I had been wondering about my Great Granny Hurley's family. They were my nearest immigrant family, from Ireland. I often wondered if they were Catholic or not. I kind of assumed they were, but wasn't sure.

I only found two Hurley names from my tree. And they didn't mention the services. Most of the others were too recent to be in my tree. However....all the Hurley obituaries that were found, had the funeral services at .... St Patrick's Catholic Church, in Parnell. I feel my chances of being right are stronger. And so close to St Patrick's day.

And now we have another cemetery to explore.

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Busy Busy Busy

What with the Board of Review, Bible Study, Little Farmer and all, this has been a very busy week.

This is the week my check comes and with the help of on-line bill pay, I did manage to get my payments sent out. But I couldn't decide when to get groceries. So, much as I wanted a recovery sleep in day, I got up semi-early and went to Muskegon for groceries. I would have gotten them locally, but Meijers was out of my coffee last month. The replacement I got was fair, but not my Meijer Columbian.

I was able to get my groceries and even found a bookcase I had been looking for. And home just in time to make the Saturday edition of Palm Sunday services, even if I did miss the Rosary.

No this isn't a current picture, but from a couple years back. For some reason a stray daffodil bulb landed in the hay field and has come up every year. While we don't have blooms yet, the leaves from the other patches are coming in great bunches.

Just in time for spring tomorrow.

Friday, March 18, 2016

Reviewed and Ready

This past week was the week of the Board of Review where people with complaints about their property taxes can ask to have their assessment reviewed.

I am part of that board.

This year was a fairly quiet year on the board: The usual "my taxes are too high" with no documentation to bolster their claim, a few with facts and figures, and this year, lots of time in between people. And even a little knitting and some euchre games. Nothing like last year when rising farm land prices caused an up tick in assessments. And complaints!

There are a couple other times when we may perhaps need to meet briefly, but for the most part we are done till next year.

While I was there, I asked about casting a write-in presidential vote. May be harder than I hoped. In order to be counted, I must be voting for a certified write-in candidate. Darn. But I was asked to work the elections too, in August and November!

More fun times.

Meanwhile, at home, Lewie is preventing much knitting from getting done.

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Productive Days

I have been making great strides on the decrease rows of the Baby Hap Shawl. After frogging back a couple inches a few days ago, I have continued several more inches. I also spent some time working on my Smocked Guernsey socks.

Not much more and I can start the heel. I need to double check the pattern. I think it is a heel flap type of heel. Then the smocking continues on the instep until just before the toes.

I also need to get started on a Traveling Woman shawl for my road trip buddy. She needs it for a cruise in July. It is next in the queue and will started soon. Maybe I can give her back the two skeins she didn't wind so she can cake them. Sounds like a plan to me.

All our feral barn cats made it through the winter just fine. They know how to get into the dirt floored basement, where it is quite warn. One recent rehoused cat, Gina Kitty, has been earning her keep I noticed the other day.

I saw her with a freshly caught mouse or mole the other morning. Since she later was munching it, I assume it was a mouse. Our cat crew never seem to care for the taste of the moles they catch.

And did you notice? Some of the wood is getting cut. And Younger Son has taken a couple vacation days and has plans to cut some more this weekend.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Sign of Spring?

Is it a sign of spring that my miles per gallon, which dropped this winter, is creeping back up?

I was over 30 mpg last summer, but it fell slowly all winter to a low of 27.3. I know that still isn't too bad, but every tenth it went down hurt. But now it is on the way up.

I guess between summer blend and better roads, spring is back with better mileage.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Turning the Corner

Since the Crocheted Sampler Scarf is finished, I thought I better turn to some languishing projects, just so I don't forget where I am with them. I'll get an updated picture of the scarf after I finish the mitts.
This is the Baby Hap Shawl that is officially for the Purple Princess. The center is essentially an oversized knit dishcloth, with loops along the sides. I had recently started the decrease rows. When I picked it up today, I was not happy with the edges on the decreased rows. So I frogged back an inch or so. But before I did, I ran a life line through the stitches on about the row where I thought I needed to return.
This is after picking up the stitches from the lifeline and knitting several rows.

The corner is defined better. I think I figured out the problem. And the best thing, the ongoing rows get progressively shorter, till I get down to two stitches from 144.


Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Warm Winter Equals Lots of Wood

We heat the old homestead with an outdoor wood boiler. It is wonderful and I like that all the fire is outside. After last year, when we bought extra during the winter, Hubby was worried we would run out this year. He got the usual supply of long poles to be cut up and stacked. He also took some in payment for renting out our young bull last fall. Later a co-worker of Younger Son had a big pile of cut wood that he delivered for us. And still later, Hubby bought another five chords of poles.

And now? Well, have a look.

The original pile is on the left. The later delivered poles are on the right. Back towards horse trailer is the bull swap wood. And the pile of cut wood is behind me, barely used. Unseen, in back of the left pile is some stacked cut wood from several years ago. Not to mention an ancient stack in the barn. I think we had plenty.

I hope this coming year he cuts it earlier, instead of cutting as he goes along. Younger Son is willing now that it is warmer to cut some. But Hubby always was a last minute cutter. Even after the January he ended up in the hospital suddenly, for surgery, over 25 years ago, he still gets the wood early, but doesn't cut until ready to use.

Obviously this year at least some wood will need to be cut ahead. If he ever wants access to the drive this is sitting in that is.

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

"WIP"ing Right Along

I discovered that I had neglected to mark the Lilac Cardigan as finished on my Ravelry account's project page. So while I was updating that, I was also able to update the page for my second pair of pocketbook slippers. Because with the pressure off from banging out my Freyja, I also finished them.

All it took was a couple hours, and I had these done. The second slipper was half knit so it was just a matter of flying though the knitting and sewing them up. So comfy.

And easy too.

That makes six finished projects this year.


Sunday, March 6, 2016

Blocking: Sometimes You Need to Take Action

As I realized that Easter is fast approaching, I decided I better get a certain cardigan blocked and delivered to the little Purple Princess. I don't want her to outgrow it before I get it to her.

I quickly put it in a small tub with some Soak wool wash and let it rest a bit. After wrapping it with a bunch of my dedicated blocking towels, I squished out as much water as possible. Then I set it out on the blocking mats.

The feline beasts have been rowdy today, so I decided some protective measures were necessary.

And not a moment too soon it seems.

For now, Lewie decided it wasn't worth the bother.

Saturday, March 5, 2016

Look at Me Crochet

Well not actually look at me, but I can show you progress from my class today with a crochet sampler scarf.

The yarn is, as you can see, a worsted wool superwash. Wool because then I can stand to knit it. I am a yarn snob after all. And superwash because I think I will be putting it into the gift box and it probably won't go to someone who wants to mess with hand washing.

The pattern is a simple repeat of three basic stitches. I am working on the scarf and should have enough yarn left for the fingerless mitts to match.

I think I am getting the hang of it. I discovered I was wrapping the yarn around the hook wrong. And the wavering sides I had when I tried crocheting before seem much better.

I just need to count stitches after every row.

So far so good. I will see how far I can get before the class on finishing next week.

Friday, March 4, 2016

The Infamous Black Hole

I've reached it with my Knock-Out-a-Freyja cardigan. The Black Hole. That point where knitting time yields no perceptible progress. It also tends to cut back on the actual time spent working on it. Which results in even less progress.

It's a vicious, self-perpetuating cycle.

So maybe I should get off of here and start knitting.

Good bye.