Friday, June 19, 2015

Getting the Garden in and other miscellany

An accomplishful day so far! My handyman Rick helped me truck the tomato planters over to the patio, and he mucked out the barn, which I just haven't been able to get to since spring. We also got the broody hen into a cage with her eggs and got her back into the same corner where she was in the greenhouse. She pitched a fit at first but when I went back to check on her she was on the nest. I set her up with shade and a fan. Phase one. In a day or two I will move the cage to wherever I figure out I want her to be - probably into the "overflow coop" where Z's hens spent the winter and where the rabbit (in a cage) is now. If she does hatch any chicks, it will be a safe place for her to raise them. Everyone keep their fingers crossed for a successful hatching!
I also shoveled and moved 5 cartloads of composted manure, which I figure weighed about 100 pounds a load, over to the new garden beds Rick built last fall and I planted two flats of squash, Spaghetti and Buttercup. I watered well and mulched it deep with straw and shredded paper to try to keep down the weeds. Maybe tomorrow I'll rake more straw out of the second coop to layer it a little thicker on the second raised bed, but right now I'm pretty much done in! I had wanted to do the sheet mulching technique I learned in a class this spring, but it didn't happen this year - too much else going on so the traditional method will have to do. (Maybe next year.) The spaghetti squash has little tendrils, so it looks like I need to put up some trellising for it to climb on.
The veggie plants are now all in the ground. I still have a few more herbs to get into pots and some flowers to get into the ground, but I'm close to finishing getting the garden in for the year. The two grapevines and one of the two blueberry bushes I planted have sprouted new leaves, so that is encouraging. And to think all of this came about because I wanted to have alpacas to spin the wool to knit with, and then decided I had to do something with all the alpaca manure I was accumulating!

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Let it Snow, Let it Snow, Let it Snow!

It was supposed to be that dreadful "wintery mix" but so far, into the afternoon, we have gotten snow. Yay! I had errands planned for Concord but instead will take a snow day. With a day off, work won't force me out onto the roads, at least.

I'm concentrating on finishing my Christmas knitting. I printed out a December calendar and wrote in which projects will be finished on what date - Ho ho ho! With family Christmas on the 21st this year, I'm sweating it a little.

Update: if I'd had any clue what kind of a winter we were going to have, I would never had celebrated that November snowfall!

Using the pressure canner is getting to be less stressful. Last night I made and canned Mushroom Barley Vegetable Soup and my anxiety was one-tenth of what it was the first day I used the canner! A little anxiety is probably good - I don't want to forget I've got it going!
If I can find the food mill, I want to make applesauce this afternoon. Reading labels in the grocery store yesterday really brought home how many additives are in pre-prepared food, many of them from corn, which is on my allergy list. Even plain old shredded wheat has BHT added, which is a corn derivative. (And by the way, "organic" can still have corn in it.) I've probably eaten so many chemicals in my life that switching to clean eating now isn't going to save me, but if I can lessen my allergy symptoms, that will make life more pleasant.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Thoughts on "original" design

This is a copy of a Ravelry post I made today, in response to a designer who was worrying about stepping on other people's toes with her designs.

I’ve noticed the same pattern element in different designer’s socks, mostly it’s when I’ve already knitted it once and the pattern is “in my head”. It’s going to happen unless you do something unusual with the element or the way you combine it with another element.
I made my first “original” sock after reading the Charlene Schurch books, Sensational Knitted Socks and More Sensational Knitted Socks, using her plug-and-play method. I then expanded my design style with Cat Bordhi’s New Pathways for Sock Knitters: Book One and Cookie A’s Sock Innovation which both opened my mind to totally new possibilities for the standard sock. I’ve yet to design anything along those lines, but always enjoy knitting an unusual combination or construction. Stephanie van der Linden and Jeannie Cartmel are other designers who have developed constructions that are far beyond traditional. I’ve only done a little designing myself, because there are so many clever/beautiful designs out there that I want to make, and kudos to the people who go to the trouble to actually write up the instructions, have them test-knitted, etc!
A copyright lawyer once told me that if someone took a trip down a river and wrote about it, and I took a trip down the same river and also wrote about it, and it my account happened to be identical to the first story, there was no infringement, because mine was as original as the first. I think this applies to using stitch dictionaries as well, the pattern in the dictionary being the river, and our sock pattern being the tale we tell.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Little things...

We celebrated Mom's 91st birthday yesterday. Her legs were aching, and she was feeling her age, but she seemed to enjoy going our for lunch and the cake afterwards at Havenwood. Louisa, Belle, and Louisa's friend joined us, as well as Gretchen, so it was a nice group. I'll need to get her back to the chiropractor this week.

No word yet on the pellet stove, so I'm thinking it didn't arrive on Sunday's truck as was hoped. I replaced the battery on the thermostat for the furnace, so it's been coming on a little more consistently, although yesterday it thought it ought to be set on 70, which is way too high for fuel and money conservation, so I had to find the operating manual online and figure out how to reprogram it. What a pain. It's supposed to get cold tonight, down to 20 degrees, so I'll need to bundle up if I'm sitting around this evening.

I hit a great deal at Joann’s yesterday on some decorative storage boxes. They weren’t marked as being on sale, but they were up along the back, and they were sunflower designs, so late summer early fall, and I thought “these must be on clearance” so I took one to the price checker and sure enough, 14.99 on the sticker, 7.99 actual price. So I bought almost all they had – two large, three medium, and three smaller ones. They are gold and green colors, which will go in my craft room, and the bigger ones will hold scrapbook pages, I’m pretty sure, so I can organize my scrapbook supplies in them and either use them in the closet workspace, or on the bookcase next to the closet. I brought a pegboard from the old house, and bought a corkboard to put on the inside of the door with my coupon at Joanne’s. Just need to raise the shelf to desk height and I can put everything in there. Feels good to be making progress!

Saturday, November 9, 2013

No, this is not in my house. It is, however, pretty much what's been in my mind for the closet in my craft studio, and I was thrilled to find a picture to inspire me!. I want an area dedicated to scrapbooking, where all the "stuff" can be stored, and hidden, when necessary.The floor of my closet contains the cellar hatch, so I can't put down anything that can't be moved easily. A rolling file cart and a rolling chair should fit the bill. I own both, so it is a matter of laying my hands on them in the storage unit. I also need to move the current shelf, which is knee-high, up to desk height. 

My closet extends to the right past the door for almost 18 inches, so on the counter there I can put my Cricut alphabet cartridges in an old VCR tape storage drawer unit, and on top of that, I could put paper files. A strip lamp on the back wall will give me light without taking up counter space, plus I have a floor-standing Ott light that could store in the closet and be put in place over my shoulder when I sit down. The whole closet is about 6 feet wide, so I should have enough work space. Wall pockets/baskets will hold small tools, pens, and tape runner. Oh, hmmm, I have a peg board that I should measure and see if it will fit on the back wall! 

A corkboard or one of those boards with the diagonal ribbons on it could go on the inside of the closet door, which is a single door, about 4 feet wide. Or, maybe the pegboard, though I would be so annoyed if things flew off every time I opened the door!

The existing top shelf in my closet can store backup supplies. Right now, there is a bookcase just outside the closet, to the right, where I've been putting scrapbooking things, so the albums and other "tidy" looking things could stay there. It will be behind the door when it is open, so I don't want to have something there that I access a lot. I'll have to figure out where I'll keep my Cricut and SIzzix machines, because I want them handy, but not in the way. My friend Elizabeth has her Sizzix and dies in decorative storage boxes, which is so nice looking, so maybe they could be on the bookcase that way.

As a former Creative Memories consultant, I own more scrapbooking supplies than is decent, and I'm crazy to think they'll all fit in the closet/bookcase. But this would get me started, and the rest of the stuff could stay in the tubs in storage until I need to use it or move it along.

Currently, my jewelry-making supplies are on a bookcase to the left of the closet door, so if I wanted to, I could use the counter in my closet for jewelry-making as well. Oh, the possibilities!

Well, I needed a piece of wood to knock together a bookcase that I was assembling but when I went outside to get it, the chickens all came running, so I did the barn chores and fed everybody, then decided I needed to figure out if I could make room in the greenhouse for the rabbit for the winter. So I started organizing the greenhouse, and made pretty good progress until I needed some screws to put up a shelf over where the rabbit cage will be, so I really want to do it first. I couldn't find any screws, so I finished feeding the rabbit, still in the garage, and actually, yes, remembered to grab the piece of 2x4 that I had initially intended to get! Now the bookcase, actually an etegere, is assembled, so I have a place to put some of my dollhouses, which are stored temporarily - you got it, in the greenhouse! Life is so cyclic!!!
To make a long story short, for anyone who actually reads this, I moved, and I don't think I can possibly catch up on the year and a half since the last post!  So, just as a good journaler should, I am picking up right here, right now. If I can figure out how, I will post some of my more significant posts over the recent past from Facebook on here, which will fill in the blanks a little.