Monday, November 28, 2011

Been busy

I've been busy the last few days.  Plotting and planning and working to finish quilted pot holders for holiday gifts.  I need to do a recount but I think I finished my last one this evening.  Now, on to other giftiness for V.  Yup, tomorrow evening I'll start laying out the smoking jacket.  Not sure if I'll cut it out or not- I'll see how much time I've got.  I don't know if I'll be able to keep it a total secret but I'll do my best.
Oh, and I've got to tell you a great fabric store story.  While we were in line for the cutting table on Saturday, the woman behind us asked what we were using the velvet for. So I told her I had a historic pattern and was going to make a smoking jacket for my husband.  She gave me this look of disbelief and asked "WHY?"  Of course, I answered "Because I can".  But what was really going through my mind was "I'm so sorry that your spouse is boring." But I've got enough tact to filter that one.

For the 'big project' I still need to register my domain name and then maybe I'll be ready to unveil the new website- I've got something in the works but it's not public yet.  But, oh yeah, I've got to finish some stuff first.  Smoking jacket... smoking jacket...  wall quilt... table runner...

And don't panic... I do have a little experience with sewing. Not only have I been quilting for a while but I've been sewing since I was a child. I've even had the opportunity to sub-contract movie costumes in the past.  I once made 30 blue wool cavalry shirts for the movie The Rough Riders.  I do really love it but haven't had the time or space to really get going.  Now I've finally got my own, dedicated sewing room (Ok, it's also the guest bedroom but I can clean if we have guests) so I can accomplish more.  Using the dining room table for a work space is not conducive to getting anything done.  Now that construction has slowed, let's see what I can do....

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Dreams of Empire

This morning, J17 and I ventured out to the fabric store for their big holiday weekend shopping extravaganza. Whew!  I've had my fill of crowds for the year.  Who would have thought that the fabric store would have been such a hotspot for shopping.  Of course, maybe it's a sign of the times that more people are doing handmade holidays this year.  I saw a LOT of fleece go through the cutting lines.  We stood in line for probably 35 minutes to get to the cutting table.  But we got some awesome deals.  I went today because they had quilting cottons for $1.99.  I wasn't too impressed with the selection but I got a couple for future use.  And they had $.99 patterns again so J17 picked up a few. And I got fabric for a gift for V.  I don't really have hope that I'll be able to get it done in time for the holidays but you never know.
We have had the pattern for years and years (probably 25!) but I've never made it:
 V has wanted one of these smoking jackets for years- not because he smokes- just because it would be fun and a bit pretentious.
We selected fabric:
Red velvet and a silvery/black brocade for the lapels.  The red velvet was one of only two non-sale items we purchased but since we were there in the morning, we got to use a 50% off coupon for it.  The brocade was already 40% off.  On top of the 50% off a single item, we had a coupon for 25% off the entire purchase price- INCLUDING SALE ITEMS!!  So, the brocade was already 40% off plus an additional 25%.
We came home and I spent part of the afternoon organizing the sewing room- well, at least more than it has been, considering that the room isn't even finished!
 The sewing room is also the guest bedroom.  Above, J17 sits on the futon bed by the table that holds the cutting and ironing stations. The table is sitting over the corner of the bed so I don't block access to the room from the other door.   Across the room is my antique library table that doubles as a sewing table.  V installed light under the cabinets for better lighting. And, yes, we still have stuff in boxes!  And, below, the basket you see in the corner of the photo is a market basket I made, stuffed full of patterns.
Below is the whole room from the corner/door:
Sewing table to the right, storage cabinet straight ahead, to the immediate left (barely visible), the antique dresser that holds most of my fabric.  And, yes, broom corn hanging over the bed, a stash of empty shoe boxes by the craft cabinet and quilt batting up near the ceiling.  Whew!  It's cram packed!!
But on to the dreams of empire!!  J17 and V seem to think that this is a viable idea, although I still doubt my skill to pull it off.
J17, and, to some extent, I have been fans of Steampunk- the neo-Victorian fun fashion.  To that end, we have, over time, purchased numerous dress, corset, shirt and jacket patterns.  I hope to open an Etsy shop, starting with wall art/quilts with a steampunk theme.  And a few other things thrown in as well (Maybe some Celtic knotwork pieces).  With the possibility of branching out into custom Steampunk and/or cosplay clothing.  If I can market right, I may have a side job... not that I don't like my job, I'd just like something a little different on the side.
Opinions... ideas... words of warning....?? Am I totally crazy??

Friday, November 25, 2011

RIP Buffy

We had our first death on the farm today.  I went outside to check the sheets I had hanging on the line and, as is my usual routine, went around the corner to talk to the chickens.  Much to my dismay, Buffy, our Buff Orpington hen, was lying dead by the gate.
My theory is that she tried to get at something outside the gate by sticking her head through, got her head stuck, panicked and broke her own neck.  The gate is an old chain-link gate from a dog kennel that we dismantled at our old house.  I hadn't bothered to put any smaller wire over it as I wasn't worried about it.  Now, J17 and I covered the lower portion of the gate with chicken wire, just to be safe.
It was a sad time.  We buried her over by the shrubs we planted as a wind break for the future bee hives.

We will miss Buffy.  She was always friendly and gentle and such a character.  And her feathers were so soft.

RIP Buffy.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Thankful to be home

We had a whirlwind trip to my parents to celebrate Thanksgiving today.  We left earlyish this morning, stopping in Kalona on the way (a short side trip) to pick up my nephew to give him a ride.  He is working at a restaurant there (Tuscan Moon).  The weather was beautiful today and the food wonderful.  I brought dessert.  Cranberry bars, and a 'little bit different for Iowa' pie- a wet bottom shoefly pie from a recipe from my MIL in Pennsylvania.
We took eggs for my parents and Dad had a surprise for us. Half a feedsack of cracked corn that he had ground for the chickens.  Isn't he sweet.  I guess they like the eggs enough to feed the chickens!!
We got home around 6:30 pm and sadly, when we drove by the mall on our way home, there was already a line of people standing at Best Buy.  The store is opening at midnight... sigh...  What can really be worth standing in line that long for.  I value my time much more than that- no matter how good the deal.  The one weekend sale I may go to is at the fabric store.  On Saturday they're having quilting cottons for $1.99 a yard.  Hmm, I may have to go check it out.  Not that I NEED any fabric... but I always need fabric.
I've been giving some more thought to an Etsy shop.  Of course, there are things that would need done first.  Like an Iowa Sales Tax Permit (sigh...) and I would want to have a little inventory of things to put up.  So, there isn't a rush.  And I've got some ideas for wall art/quilts that I want to try that may stand out from the crowd a bit more as I fear the competition is rather fierce.    I've definitely got some ideas to keep me busy this winter as well as revamping the master plan... but more on that later.

I do hope you all had a fabulous day.  For those in the US, celebrated with family and friends, giving thanks- to those elsewhere, just a lovely day.

Happy Thanksgiving.


May your day be filled with joy, laughter and all good things.

This year, I am thankful for many things:
Our Animals
The bounty of the earth and the energy that food provides for me.
The ups and downs of the weather- even when I complain.
My work and the opportunities I see in working less hours now.
The shelter that the world has seen fit to provide for me.
The health I have that allows me to work toward my dreams.

What are you thankful for today??

Monday, November 21, 2011

From the scrap box

I had a lovely day off today.  V and I went out to lunch at the Bluebird Diner in town.  What a nice change of pace.  We also stapled some plastic up over the clean out door of the chicken coop since there was a bit more draft coming in there than I wanted (and it's right under the roost).  I collected 5 eggs today, fed and watered chickens and made some chicken stock.  But mostly, I played in the scrap box working on holiday gifts.
Um... for my sister Joyce- I know you're reading... you can either stop reading here or just tell me what color combination you would like ;-)   I take requests.
Two quilted and completed:
J17 says she wants some like those...
But mostly, some squares were made.  Some with vintage fabrics:
 And one not.
I do with I hadn't used the directional fabric for the white on white.  But, it will be fine. It will look better after it's trimmed up and finished.
I discovered another box of scrap bits, I think from Mom.  Some I recognize from dresses and shirts from my childhood.  Too much fun.
I've been having fun going through boxes.  Lots of this stuff still hasn't been unpacked since we moved and I need to get myself a bit more organized.
I'm doing some serious thinking about trying to find an outlet for selling some stuff if I can get myself going on making some stuff.  I found my book on Celtic Quilts for doing celtic knot work applique on a quilt.  I've only made one in the past (a table runner) that I gave as a gift (WHY didn't I keep it for myself!!??) but it was kind of fun.  Maybe some more of that will be coming up.  We'll see what happens this winter.
The garden is officially put to bed- I even did a preliminary tilling yesterday since I wanted to eliminate any spots for overwintering nasty bugs.  I'm also rethinking some of the master plan of the future but more on that as it comes together....

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Photos of the day!

Whew!  I'm tired!!  I'll definitely sleep well tonight.  We all worked very, very hard today.  Today, we backfilled behind the new retaining walls.  Last year, when we had the septic replaced, they left us a large pile of dirt- mostly clay from where they excavated for the new tank.  The septic guy offered to spread it around for us, but we knew we had plans for that pile of dirt.  And today was the day!!
I14 and I took turns with the mattock, hacking away at the clay to loosen it up.
 Love the action shots!
 He and I worked on filling the dump wagon attached to the lawn tractor.
 V helped fill and empty the wagon at either end.
 And J17 and K11 filled and smoothed behind the walls.
 All in all, it went pretty quickly.  We filled behind both walls in about three and a half hours total.  And we've still got half a pile of dirt left!  Probably a good thing since I'm sure that the fill will settle when it rains.  And we've also got some filling to do again as the septic continues to settle.  You'd think that after more than a year that it would be finished settling but we still need to add some more dirt over the top- again!
But, lest you think the day was all work and no play.  No such thing! This morning, I went to the fabric store while V was at Kum Do since I needed some batting.  Of course, I lucked out that their fabric remnants were all half price.  Hmm, so I picked up a few for coordinates for my new project.  I've been going through the stash.  The scrap stash.  And it's got some treasures!!
A number of years ago, one of my aunts passed away (Aunt E).  She was a quilter and crafter and since I was the only quilter in the family, I was gifted with her fabric and scrap stash.  In it were some wonderful vintage fabrics that I have never used:
 They will be great for my new project:
I had so much fun making that last little pot holder, I decided to whip up a few for holiday gifts this year.  I must be out of practice (I haven't done any quilting for probably at least 4 years!!).  I noticed that one of my points is a little off. Grr...  But not enough that I'm going to rip it out.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

The Last Tomato

They're all gone.
We ate the last garden tomato this evening.  Of course, having fresh tomatoes into mid November has been an accomplishment but I'll miss them. August seems a long way away but I refuse to buy tomatoes at the store.
Now, the only thing I've got going is a little kale and chard still out in the garden.  We had 20F (about -6C) this morning so I'm not sure how long the chard will last- but I'm hoping to nurse the kale along for a while.  I've got some row covers but they aren't thermal ones so I'm not sure I'll bother.  They would only give me a few degrees of protection.

In other news, our new therapist, the one we just hired in August, is leaving us. It was a tough decision for her.  She is a world class athlete and has the opportunity for a paid sponsorship to train for the Olympics.  It's a chance she couldn't pass up- and I wouldn't want her to.  So, we will be back to being short staffed.  I'm not sure what this means for my work hours.  Management didn't allow me to reduce my hours to 90% until she was hired and trained so I'm hoping they don't try to make me go back.  I'm really enjoying my every-other Monday off, and I'll appreciate it more when next spring's gardening gets going.
Of course, V said that the money would be nice if I went back to 100%.  He isn't bringing in as much these days.  It's a complicated story but one of the people he was writing for lost her main contract due to the bad economy so he no longer is subcontracting from her.  sigh...  He still has his other writing job but it doesn't bring in much.  He's looking again so we'll see what happens.  Although at this point, I'm more inclined to tighten our belts than go back to 100%.  The difference in pay for me isn't that much- only a few hundred dollars a month.  I've been wondering if there is anything I could do in my 'spare' time to bring in a little extra cash.  I've been wondering about learning to make soap, or some sewing projects that I could maybe sell on Etsy- although I don't know how much that would actually bring in.  If the chickens were producing more, I would have a few $ of egg money but we're only getting 4 or so eggs a day- they add up but it wouldn't be much at this point.  At least we've just about finished the big, expensive house projects.  But, most likely next fall, we'll be facing college tuition.  Eek.  We definitely are living in interesting times.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

I need a plan

I've got some planning to do.  We will be going to my parent's next week for Thanksgiving.  I'm in charge of dessert.  ACK!  My Mom is a fabulous cook, and while I'm pretty good, I always worry that I'll somehow disappoint her when I bring something to dinner.  Absurd, I know but I'm always a bit nervous.  I want to bring something (actually probably more than one something) that's yummy and easy to transport.  I'm not too sure about pie.  While it's traditional- it's, well, traditional.
I've been looking through some magazines.  The latest edition of Vegetarian Times has a recipe for Cranberry Bars that looks fabulously yummy so it's probably a go- if only for the neon color.  But I want something else as well.  I saw a recipe for caramel pecan hand pies (I think in Food and Wine) but it uses over a pound of butter and I just don't know if I can do that.  4 entire sticks of butter in just the crust (12 servings).  It seems a bit excessive.  Especially when you add in more butter, caramel and pecans.
I've got cranberry bars but I still need to find something else. Any ideas??

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Done and done...

I've got a confession to make.  I've been home sick for the past day and a half.  My co-workers sent me home on Monday.  Good thing because I was running a fever and had almost no voice.  So, I bundled up at home and worked on quiet things- like sewing.  I had an off and on fever all day yesterday and last night so I was still considered 'toxic' today.  Of course, I was feeling a bit better, especially by this afternoon so I managed to get a few things done.
I folded laundry that had been languishing in laundry baskets and sorted socks while watching Paula Deen use lots and lots of butter.  I finished my apron, hand stitching the facing in place.  And I finished a little something else:
The quilt block was one I had lying around.  It was a practice block for one of the children's baby quilts (I think K11's) so that tells you how old it is!  So I made a potholder.  Nothing fancy but I did use it already.  I discovered a winter squash that had developed a soft spot so decided it needed used quickly.  This lovely potholder worked wonderfully to take the pan of roasted squash out of the oven.  Hoorah.   Hmm, maybe I can whip up a few more quickly for holiday gifts.   They wouldn't take much fabric and I'm sure I've got some great scraps in the scrap bag that would make some fun ones. Ooo... the creative wheels are turning!!
I also managed to get the broom corn stalks out of the garden.  They had such massive root systems that I ended up having to use a shovel to loosen the roots.  Yeesh.  J17 owes me $ for gas money that she begged last week so I've decided to have her pay it back by helping me rake all the remaining plant material out of the garden.  I want to get it all cleared before the snow flies to remove any homes for overwintering nasty bugs.
Tomorrow, it's back to work.  Now, I've gotta go figure out what to do with a pan of roasted squash with rosemary.  Hmm, I see lunch tomorrow... and the next day....

Monday, November 14, 2011

Love the end product

Hated the process.
Ok, I'm almost done with my apron.  I've still got to stitch down the waistband facing but it's essentially finished.  I must say, I love the way it turned out... but if I ever say I'm going to make another apron from this pattern- please shoot me!  It was a huge pain! The directions often seemed to make things more difficult than they had to be.  But, here is the end product:
The inset ruffle on the bottom was annoying to put in (it is a bit wider than it looks in the photo- it's hanging weird).
There is a cross strap in the back to keep the straps from slipping during strenuous cooking sprees:
 And a back view- it has a little ties to make a bow in the back:
 But I do kind of like the bib.
It did take an extraordinary amount of bias tape.  Out of three packages I've got maybe a foot left of one and two feet of another. The third was used up except for an inch!  And to think that the pattern actually called for making your own.  Ack!!  However, with all the edges finished in bias tape it should stand up well in the wash- which is a good thing for an apron.  And, personally, I think the pocket is too small...
But, I am pleased that my fabric choices worked as well as they did.  Not bad for bits from the stash and scrap box.
And OK, the obligatory modeling shot:
Thanks J17 for the photography.
And thanks to Susan for the challenge.  This was a great way to jumpstart my winter sewing plans.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

A Sunny November Sunday

It was a quiet but productive day today.  Everyone slept in a bit. V and I stayed up later than usual last night watching a movie, so this morning I actually slept until 8:30!!  That late is usually unheard of for me.
Sadly, I feel like I'm coming down with something, I've got a cough and was running a low fever this morning.  That being the case, I begged off going to J17's orchestra concert this afternoon since I didn't want to inflict my cough or my germs on an audience.
I didn't feel too bad though, so I spent some time outside continuing to put the garden to bed for the winter.  I tackled the tedious but necessary job of pulling all the dead runner bean vines off my trellis netting.  I planted some scarlet runner beans this year.  Actually, they were the last of old seeds I had. The first time I tried them, bunnies ate off every one.  I didn't have too much seed and the weather wasn't too cooperative for them this year, but I let some dry on the vines for seed for next year.  I shelled those out this afternoon as well.
 They don't produce a lot of beans per pod but they are beautiful!
 I really like this photo- I may have to crop it for use as a header sometime.
While I was out in the garden I also pulled and stored all the tomato cages and noticed that, amazingly enough, the marjoram I had planted out there was still alive.  Good thing, because the one I had in a pot on the porch all summer died as soon as I brought it inside.  So, I did a bit of a swapsie-  I ditched the one in the pot and potted the one from the garden.  Hopefully it makes it.  I do love marjoram (or any fresh herb).  I've put it in a sunnier location than I had the other one.  I think it didn't get enough light.  Our good windows for plants are fairly limited.  But I've now got it on the kitchen counter to the side of the sink.  I've got a pot of lemon thyme on the other side of the sink that is doing well so I'll cross my fingers.  The window faces south so if I can keep the cats from knocking them over, I think they'll be fine.
While I was in the garden and J17 was off to a last rehearsal and then concert, V and the boys were working out back.  Before we backfill behind the new retaining wall, V wanted to lay some drain pipe and also some ethernet cable.  Yes, we will soon have internet access in the shop!
 Above, V and K11 backfill the cable trench, below, I14 starts filling in behind the wall
V wants to eventually set up an office out in the shop- there was an office there before but it was in bad shape.  He's thinking about getting a wood stove for out there sometime to heat not only the office space but also make the rest of the shop more useable in the winter months.
He also spent some time mowing the sledding trails down the hill- priorities, you know...
Afterward the poor thing was so tired, he had to hake a nap with Spaz:
Aren't they cute.  Spaz definitely has a rough life.
One thing we didn't get done was the remaining wire on the chicken run top.  It was warm today (around 60F) but incredibly windy and neither one of us felt like manhandling rolls of chicken wire overhead or being up on ladders in the wind.
And I haven't taken time to work on my apron either.  Maybe tonight after dinner.  I've got a deadline coming up.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Catching up

It's been a busy few days but I've really got not much to say.  Work has been hectic and I'm glad it's the weekend.  Yesterday was another teenage game day here.  9 teenagers were hanging around all day (10 am to 8 pm!!) but it was loads of fun, even though I was at work for most of the day.  We provided lunch and the rest of the kids brought other snacks for the day including 'heavy snacking' that they had for dinner.  We really tried for not so much junk food as last time but I fear multiple bags of tortilla chips and doritos were consumed.
Today, I had some time to go to the holiday craft/farmers market in town.  Amazingly enough, I bumped into the mom of two of the teens who had been at our house all day yesterday.  She was one of the vendors, selling handmade soap and embroidery.  The market wasn't too busy (the Hawkeye football game had just started) so we stood and chatted for probably 20 minutes.  I'm thinking that here is a relationship to cultivate.  She is also into real, sustainable food and evidently her husband was excited to hear that we've got chickens (they can't since they're in town and the chicken ordinance hasn't been passed) and wants to come see them.  Maybe we'll have to have them out for dinner sometime.  I'm kind of hoping that I can talk her into teaching me how to make soap.
This afternoon, V and I finally got the roofing panels up on the chicken run:
 I carried and lifted panels into place and V fastened them:
Now just over half the run has a roof on it.  The panels still let in plenty of light, especially through the two south windows into the coop, but will provide some shelter from the elements.  We still want to put up some chicken wire over the top of the rest of the run to keep out predators-  we have already noticed two of the big Rough-legged Hawks that overwinter here and I spotted an eagle yesterday and a great horned owl again at sunset.
I hope the chickens appreciate all this work done on their behalf.
Here they are, all roosted for the night... Except Magnus is wondering what I'm up to... coming in after dark...
Depending on the weather tomorrow, we'll try to put up the rest of the run covering.  But J17 has an orchestra concert in the afternoon that we want to go to.  And sometime I need to find some time to work on my apron!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Woke to snow

This morning when I got up there were big clumps of cold, wet white stuff falling from the sky!  It snowed pretty heavily for most of the morning and then cleared off.  The snow didn't stick.  Thank goodness!  Even though it's November and this is Iowa, I'm still not really ready for this.
Otherwise, not much going on with me.  I did stop at the fabric store while we were out and about while K11 was at band to pick up another package of bias tape.  This stupid pattern takes SO much of the stuff that I knew I wasn't going to have enough.  I know it will look great when it's done but, UGH, I feel like I've stitched the same few inches of fabric so many times already!!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Today I realized...

Today I realized that small kitchen appliances, like the food they prepare, have seasons.  Summer is the season of the food processor- making pesto, salsa and salads.  Now, we are entering the season of the immersion blender.  V got me one of these as a holiday gift quite a few years ago.  Honestly, when I opened the package I was thinking- what on earth am I going to do with this...  But I have grown to love it.  This is the season of creamy, hearty soups, blended to perfection with the hand blender.  Mmmm...  Yesterday's lunch was a wonderful blend of sweet potato, broccoli, celery, onion and garlic in a chicken stock base.  All blended together to a creamy goodness.  Fall and winter is my season for thick soups.  Soon we will enter the season of the stand mixer- concocting holiday goodies.  Winter is also my traditional season where I rely more heavily on the crock pot.  So, even appliances have their seasons.
My back was feeling a bit better today.  Still not 100% but better enough that I could do several loads of laundry and get a sewing station set up in the basement.  My apron was cut out and I got a start on sewing it.
 Please, if I ever decide to make another apron- remind me of what a pain in the Bu** this pattern is!
It involves LOTS of bias tape edging,  It looks good but it's a bit tedious.  The pattern actually called for making your own bias edging.  Um, no thanks, even though I have the little tool to fold it.
You can see by the kitty paws below that Spaz helped hold the pieces in place:
 You can always count on cats to help with sewing- especially with the flimsy pattern pieces!!
Even though I had an eye appointment this afternoon. I still had time when I got home for some cooking.  Lasagna for dinner:
 And some bread...
 I tried a new recipe for a whole wheat Italian loaf.  It would have been much better if I hadn't forgotten to put the salt in the recipe.  I was mixing it up as the children were arriving home from school and got distracted.  Oops...  Still, it has promise.  A bit more dense than I think of for Italian bread but that's the whole wheat.
V was also busy today.  He got the last big pier poured for the deck extension.  Isn't he cute with his little cement truck??
 He mixes it up one bag at a time in the shop so he can use his big drill with a special mixing tool attachment and hauls it in the wagon to the house so he doesn't have to carry it so far.  He's saving his back as well.  And, yes, he's wearing a mask to avoid breathing concrete dust.  Too much nastiness in there.
He's making good progress on the back:
 Both retaining walls are now in place and the piers on either side are poured.  If you look at the deck on the south (right) side of the house- the extension will be at the same height wrapping around this end of the house right over the back door. We've got a big pile of dirt that will be used to backfill behind the new wall to even out the slope under the deck.  Because the space between the new walls is wider than the existing sidewalk, V poured an extension last night:
So this will be a little back patio under the deck on the West side of the house.  We spend a lot of time outside in the summer so this will be additional living space.  There is a tree on the northwest corner that will provide shade in summer.  We're doing the retaining wall and concrete footer work this fall and will tackle the deck build next spring or early summer.  It's our last major project except for window replacement (but the windows will be done piecemeal over the next few years).  I'm still waiting for a room to be completely finished but, hey, it's coming along.  And I'm getting used to living in a construction zone!!
I hope you all had a productive start to your week as well.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Not much.

Things are quiet around here- but can you believe that this is my 900th post!  You poor souls have been reading me babbling 900 times. I am so amazed!  When I started this I never thought anyone would ever be interested in my ho hum life.  Thanks to all of you for coming along for the journey!!
I've been frustrated this weekend.  My back has continued to act up and I spent a lot of time doing absolutely nothing.  Grrr...  and I had so much on my list for this weekend.  I felt like such a waste this afternoon.  I went along with V to the home improvement store to pick up some more concrete to finish the second support pier for the deck extension as well as a bit of sidewalk/patio outside the back door.  I couldn't lift anything- not that he would have let me even try.  Of course, J17 was quick to point out that this is my body telling me to SLOW DOWN.  Ok, Ok, I get it- can we move on now!
I didn't even get laundry done this weekend.  I had I14 carry the hamper downstairs for me and I sorted slowly and painfully.  But, when I tried to pick up the first load to put it in the washer- I got stuck- halfway up from a squatting position I couldn't move.  Not cool.  I can tell by the definite knot in my muscle that it's a muscular problem- not structural, thank goodness.  I'm feeling much more mobile today but have still been taking it easy.  I didn't even get bread baked for K11 (well, I made beer bread but that doesn't really count).
I do have the official word that I do not have to report for jury duty tomorrow.  Good.  Maybe I can get some laundry done in the morning.  I've got an eye appointment at 1:30 so there goes the afternoon.  At least it was too windy this weekend to put the roof panels on the chicken run or I'd be doubly frustrated- although I'm getting worried that it will be snowing before we get the roof on.
Had word from Mom that my uncle passed away this morning. He was my father's last living sibling.  That really hits home.  I'll have to give them a call tomorrow.  Mom sent the message to my work email address and I didn't check that until late today and then didn't want to bother them.  She also indicated that two other family members are having health issues.  When it rains it pours.
Plans for tomorrow include cutting out my apron, doing a few loads of laundry and an eye appointment.  If they don't dilate my eyes I may bake bread in the afternoon.  We'll see how my back is doing.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Swords don't need reloading....

Be afraid, be very afraid!!
 J17 and V took possession this morning of their very own katanas.
 I guess now we're ready for the zombie apocalypse.
 Practicing on pumpkins.
Reduced to chicken sized bits.
I just wish the focus had been better on this last one:
She is quite pleased with herself!

Friday, November 4, 2011


A few bits of information that I have gleaned today:
* As of the 5 pm preliminary info on jury duty- I don't have to report on Monday-  Woo Hoo!  I've got too much on my to-do list for the weekend.
* The first of the Winter markets starts tomorrow afternoon.  This is the first year-round farmer's market in town.  How exciting!! The markets will be the first and third Saturdays of the month through April.  The holiday market- with many, many more vendors is next weekend!!
* I've managed to do something to my back and have been having back spasms all evening- to the point where I feel slightly nauseous because my low back hurts so much.  I see some tiger balm and hopefully a massage from my honey in my future.
* The weather should be good for finally putting the roof panels on the chicken run tomorrow- or for working on the second retaining wall by the back door- or for doing the final clean out of the garden- none of which will be fun with a bum back.
* K11 is asking if I can bake bread this weekend-  Woot!  A victory of sorts- wanting homemade bread.
* I figured out how to get my apron pattern out of the two pieces of coordinating fabric I've got- not exactly easy but do-able.

Tomorrow is another day.  I need to get some sleep and try to relax my back.  I can't even figure out what I did- that's the most frustrating part- I didn't do anything!!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Some things...

Some things you don't think about when you live your dream.  I heard some news today that made me sad.
Acoustic Farms, local makers of fabulous cheeses- and arguably the best cheese curds in the world- has gone out of business- a victim of their own success.  (you can listen to the interview on Iowa Public Radio HERE).  The dream of being micro cheese producers was so successful that they didn't have time for life anymore so they stopped.  How sad.  No more creamy, Jersey cheese curds with fresh tomatoes and basil in the summer...  sigh......

Wednesday, November 2, 2011


I tend to be a pretty curious person.  I like finding out new things, checking facts and learning.
Yesterday, Mama Pea was blogging about having pie for breakfast.  I made a comment that it's more healthy for you than fast food.  So, I was curious.  Is that true?  So I did a little checking.  Here's what I found:
A sausage/egg muffin from a fast food restaurant
450 calories (252 from fat- 50% of your recommended allowance of saturated fats!)
930 mg of sodium (39% DV)
280 mg cholesterol (87% DV)

Apple pie (homemade) 1/8 of  9 inch pie
410 calories (19 gm fat- 24% DV)
327 mg sodium
0 cholesterol

Custard pie (sorry, they only had commercially made ones) 1/6 of an 8 inch pie
220 calories (12 gm fat- 12% DV)
252  mg sodium
35 mg cholesterol

So, you have it here- eating pie for breakfast is better for you than a fast food breakfast!  And you could even adjust your recipe to make it even better.  I sometimes make a whole wheat crust to add some extra fiber.  

Other things that have sparked my questioning mind today?  Why do the chickens stand around in a cold rain when they've got a warm, dry coop?  Why do some people think they don't need to use turn signals?
What should I take to a work potluck tomorrow?  Will I have to report for jury duty on Monday?  Will we get snow tonight?  Are the chickens just having an off couple of days or are they slowing down due to the dark days we are entering? (I only got four eggs yesterday, three today)

What have you questioned today??

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Ah, November

Where has the year gone?  How can it be November already?  It seems the year is flying by.  But, November it is.  The Dark Days of the year are upon us.  Time to settle in for the long haul of the winter.  Of course, today it was 73 degrees outside and absolutely gorgeous- not at all how I think of November.  I even took a little walk outside.
I collected some Autumn leaves to take to work with me tomorrow.  I have an activity that I do with my patients every year:  Lessons from Leaves.  Try it sometime.
Collect some Autumn leaves (you can also do this in the Spring or Summer with flowers)
Toss them all on the table and examine them.  Really look.
Are they beautiful?
Are they all the same?
Are they perfect?
Do their imperfections in any way detract from their beauty?

Now work to apply the lessons of the leaves to yourself...
We are all bruised, battered and chewed by life.  We are all different.  But it is the imperfections of our lives and our differences that make life interesting. Live would be boring without imperfection and variety.
Revel in the seasons and in who you are.