Friday, November 30, 2007


Click for full effect.

I like that you can tell the temperature by how loud the snow crunches. It was quite squeaky today.

We're due for a storm this weekend. I'm kind of looking forward to it. Maybe because I know my barn is full of hay, the stock tanks are full of water (because I hauled water this morning), and my larder is full because we went to the grocery and to Fleet Farm today. Bring it on!

Speaking of grocery stores, is anybody else amused that the sprinklers in the produce section thunder and lightning before they come on? That just cracks me up every time.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Art of Alzheimer's

Mom received this little package of gummi coins for Easter. Like goes with like.

I spent almost two hours yesterday talking to a reporter for the local newspaper. I had met her at the craft show I did last month. Her dad had AD, and recently died from an aggressive cancer. We discussed everything from the animals, to the spinning and felting I do, to the lack of any support services for caregivers in the area, unless you can afford the $20.00 an hour, that is. I don't know what the focus of the article will be, but she says it will be front page with color photos, jumping to an interior page with black and white photos. Free advertising for me, I guess, but I think the caregiver support aspect is the more important story. Guess I'll find out next week.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Blessed Bovine update

At long last, here they are, updated photos of the pair. Look how nicely they both have filled out. No more ribs showing. Their coats are shiny and glow in the fall sun. Downright purdy, they are.

I've been trying to figure out how to tell the rest of the story. Why I call her the blessed bovine. It's not just because she managed to survive the winter on her own, give birth and care for a healthy calf. It's what she has brought into my life. Warning, I am going to get really sappy here, but it's unavoidable.

I lived here on the farm for five years before Mom moved in, and always thought myself fairly independant. Never got lonely, was never afraid of living alone on the farm. (Which is what most people asked when they found out I lived in the country by myself...aren't you afraid?) Since Mom moved in, now I find myself feeling alone. Not lonely, mind you, just I've never been more aware of how alone I was. No safety net. Isolated. The caregivers out there know what I'm talking about, I'm sure, AD can be very isolating. I've never had someone dependant on me, either. It's downright scary, dammit!

The Blessed Bovine brought the neighbor family whom I had never met into my life. The woman close to my age who I now call a friend, her handy husband who shored up my barn so it won't collapse under the weight of the snow this winter, her strong teen-aged son who needed a service project, and did a lot of work for me as that service project, (and has another for confirmation class, so will be helping me out again!), her daughter who loves animals so now I have an experienced farm sitter when I need one, and her young son who is just so darned funny and always good for a laugh.

Her husband is an electrician and will be doing some work for me this spring. They helped me bury a llama that I lost this summer.

They have haying equipment, I had an empty field but no way to work it. A partnership was born. I bought the seed, they planted it and did all the work. They kept half of the hay we harvested, the other half went into my barn. Here's the all-female haying crew:

If that cow hadn't wandered into my yard, I probably wouldn't have met them. I don't feel alone anymore. I know that they are two minutes away.

"We cannot tell the precise moment when friendship is formed. As in filling a vessel drop by drop, there is at last a drop which makes it run over; so in a series of kindnesses there is at last one which makes the heart run over." James Boswell

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Big Daddy, aka Mr. Rooster

Two quick stories:

I was just out shutting the coop door, and doing a chicken head count. All present and accounted for. It was about 19 degrees or so, and all the chickens were huddled together on the roost. The rooster above actually had his wing covering one of the hens. It was so cute. I've never seen him do that before, I don't know if it is normal chicken behavior.

I had Mom sitting in the truck watching me unload the hay yesterday. After I finished, I got in the truck to drive it back to the house. Mom asked "Are we done now?" Yep, Mom, good job supervising. Thanks for your help!

Monday, November 26, 2007


This is the pre-felting stage. The book (8 1/2 x 11) is added for scale.
Here it is in the rosy glow of sunrise. I added a magnetic snap and a little pocket on the inside. Finished measurements are 16" at the bottom narrowing to 11" at the top, 10" tall, and 6" depth at the bottom. So all in all, a roomy bag. I am supposed to shave it, but I kind of like the fuzzy look. My friend can shave it if she decides to.
My hay guy is going to drop off a wagon load of hay today for me to unload and stack. I haven't quite figured out how I'm going to watch Mom and unload hay at the same time. I'll probably have to get her in the truck and drive it out to the barn so she can sit and watch me. That's the only thing I can think of to keep her in sight and safe yet still get my work done.
Doing the math, average weight of bale is 50 lbs. I figure I'll have to handle each bale at least twice, once throwing it off the wagon, and then carrying it into the barn and stacking it. Some will be handled three times, as I have to stack it high into the rafters to get it all to fit. So 140 bales x handling twice x 50 lbs....please send a masseur!

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Dog toy or pen holder, you decide.

Mom had a really good Thanksgiving Day. We went to my sister's place about 80 miles away. She didn't balk at going up and down the stairs to go to the bathroom, she actually sat down to eat dinner, and she played with my 5 year old nephew.

That last part hasn't always happened. For a long time, Mom couldn't stand children, especially him. My theory is it was because he took my sister's attention away from Mom. She could be quite mean to him.

After dinner we were just lounging about in the living room, my nephew playing on the floor. Mom was sitting on the sofa trying to get his attention. She said, "Hey, Josh!" My sister and I both caught our breath, then looked at each other. It was the first time Mom had ever said his name. Ever.

Mom saying his name probably healed my sister's heart a lot. We know it is the damn AD that had Mom acting that way toward him. Sometimes what the head knows and the heart wants aren't easily reconciled.

It was a really good Thanksgiving.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Wednesday, November 21, 2007


I don't know that this qualifies as art, but Mom brought this hanging basket in from the porch and hung it from the cabinet pulls in the kitchen. I don't know if she thought the lone little impatiens left in there needed to come in from the cold, or? It used to be full of beautiful blooms, but over the course of the summer she first picked all the flowers, then denuded the stems, then finally pulled them right out of the dirt. Only one survived.

I also wanted to call attention to what I thought was a brilliant idea: the child proof tie thingy on the cabinet doors. She was constantly going through the cupboards, opening all the boxes, taking labels off of canned goods, that type of thing. After the unfortunate cayenne pepper incident which left us all (including the dogs) sneezing for days, I needed a solution. It has two cable ties that go over the pulls, you have to press the middle yellow button and one of the side yellow buttons simultaneously, and then you can pull out the tie to open the door.

I have had about a month of "peace". Last night she wandered into the living room holding my pepper mill...which is usually in that cupboard. What??? There was the little device sitting on the counter, both ties still inserted in the little box. Next to it was the knob from the cupboard. She figured out that she could unscrew the knob. I know that it was deliberate, it didn't just fall off, because the other one was loose too.

She outfoxed me again!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Blessed Bovine Part 3

What a good mama she is. She gave birth during a raging blizzard, yet kept her baby warm and protected from the coyotes that inhabit the woods. She survived on basically nothing, yet produced enough milk to raise a healthy, strong, playful heifer calf.

The morning after what we call "the rodeo" of capturing her, the neighbor came over with hay and feed. She said that she wasn't real comfortable having the cow at their place, she has a five year old son to worry about. She thought maybe the cow would need to go to market, and they would bottle raise the calf.

My heart dropped to my knees. I knew I couldn't keep them. I would have had to completely redo the fencing, it would mean hauling even more water than I already did for the llamas, feeding out more hay, etc. I was at my limit of animals I could care for properly. There was already too much "outside work" that wasn't getting done.

Yet that cow that had been through so much! She was a survivor, a testament to her hearty Hereford breed. I hadn't let them capture her to take her to market. She deserved a life of steady meals of nice fresh hay and silage and clean water to drink.

I said I understood, I couldn't blame her etc, and she went home. I promptly bawled my eyes out. I'm a sap when it comes to animals, can you tell?

The next day, she brought over more hay and feed. She had spoken with a friend with a lot of beef cattle experience, who thought the cow might settle down once she was in a place she couldn't get out of. So they were going to try. They needed some time to reinforce their fence and cattle pens, but then they would come get the pair. My heart took back it's rightful place, I was so glad. In the meantime, they brought a whole stack of bales to make a wind break/shelter for the pair, and bedding straw for them.

They stayed here for about another week. Mama calmed down, and would even come close as we put new feed in her pen. I wasn't there when they came to get her, but apparently the transfer went fine, and she settled into her new place without incident.

This summer we found out where she came from. Her owner rented summer pasture 2-3 miles away. Apparently she goes absolutely crazy when it comes time to load her into the trailer to go back to their winter pasture grounds, and she escaped. She did a lot of damage to the neighboring fields that the owner had to pay for, and they couldn't catch her. He didn't want her back.

This just makes me crazy and absolutely livid. He didn't bother to look for her, didn't bother to check with the neighboring farms to let them know about this cow on the loose. He just left her to starve or get taken by predators. Look how skinny she is in the photo up there. Moron!

The good news: She is bred and due in May. The calf is huge! I just spoke to my neighbor, and she is going to send some recent photos. I will update when I get them.

There is still the story of how she earned the Blessed Bovine moniker. Next time.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

The Story of the Blessed Bovine, Part 2

When we last saw her, she was heading over the rise, back to her comfort zone in the woods by the lake. She kept coming back though. We did this for about a week. One night we (the neighbor's 13 year old daughter and I) put the hay and corn silage in my front pasture, and opened up the fence where she would walk by. We hid by the house to see what she would do. She walked right in and began eating.
We slowly began making our way across my yard, over the driveway, through the garden, to get to the opening in the fence. Hint of the day: Barn boots, especially slightly large, ill-fitting barn boots, are not good for stealth, or speed.
In other words, she spotted us, and ran for the opening. Miracle of miracles, we got there first. She turned away, and began running the fenceline, looking for a way out. The calf followed, bawling.
Another hint of the day: Fencing which is perfectly adequate for llamas and alpacas, is not for very scared, half wild, used to fending for herself Herefords.
She half-jumped, half-tore down a section of fence. The calf however, could not jump it. So now we have a crazed Hereford on the outside, and a bawling calf on the inside. Holy crap, now what?
Luckily, the neighbor had arrived just in time to see our mad dash across the garden. We reconnoitered. We knew mama wasn't going to go anywhere without her baby. We knew baby couldn't get out, so figured we had some time. She went home, took down their round pen constructed of heavy cattle panels, loaded them in her truck, and came back, this time with husband, and a lasso and a small halter.
We reconstructed the round pen in the middle of my pasture. Then we herded the calf into the round pen, caught it, and haltered and tied it to the round pen. That makes it sound easy. Believe me, it wasn't. In the meantime, of course the calf was bawling like we were murdering it, mama was running the fenceline mooing back, outraged. The neighbor and I headed back to the opening in the fence, to re-open it so the cow could come back in the pasture. We needn't have bothered. She finally just jumped/barreled through the fence again. The husband and daughter sought safety by jumping up on the cattle panels.
Let's review the situation. We now had a calf tied on the inside of the round pen, a very angry cow on the outside, a 54 year old man and a 13 year old girl stranded on the cattle panels, and a 38 and a 41 year old woman standing 40 feet away by the fence, saying, nope, uh uh, no way are we going near that cow, and we couldn't get her to figure out where the opening to the round pen was so she could get to her calf.
I don't even remember how we managed to finally get her on the inside of the pen, but we did, swung the gate shut and untied the calf. We all high-fived each other, thinking, oh, piece of cake right?
Of course not! The cow set her head to those panels, and proceeded to push the whole thing! The whole round pen was moving, straightening out into a roughly rectangular shape as she kept pushing. We were afraid that the pins wouldn't hold as the angles changed, but they did. She just kept pushing until she ran into a corner of my fence, and then she pushed on another side until she ran into the other side of my fence, but she did manage to bend the heck out of the steel fence posts I had. Luckily I had a pile of fence posts and the post driver nearby, so we just pounded posts in all of the corners, (it was a rectangle now) and she finally understood that she couldn't get anywhere and stopped pushing. We brought her hay and silage and water, and just left her alone to settle down.
Whew! That's enough of the story for today. More next time. This saga isn't even half way done, I told you it was a long story!
First, a quick Mom story then some photos of the cow and calf.
Last night we were sitting on the couch, Mom on one side, me on the other, and a dog in the middle. I was weaving in the ends of the bag I have been working on, and had made a little pile of yarn snippets next to me, most two to three inches, but one several inches long. Mom reached over and grabbed them. She looked at them for a while, and then she threw them at me. They landed on my head, the long one sort of dangling down the front of my face. I slowly turned my head to her, so she could see the one dangling. She laughed so hard, which then set me off. I grabbed them off my head and threw them back at her, and so it went the rest of the night. Every time another end got snipped off, it would go flying at her. She would laugh and send it back my way. By the end of the night we had yarn everywhere, but who cares?

Friday, November 16, 2007

And the winner is...

OhAmyKP with this entry:

Its a list of popular saying, movie lines, famous quotes, song lyrics, etc......

-you put the lime in the pittypat, and drink it all up

-if you pittypat…he will come

-damn the pittypats, full pittypat ahead

-We have not yet begun to pittypat

-The only thing we have to pittypat is pittypat itself

-Pittypat, pittypat, Baker’s Man

-My name is pittypat…You kill my father prepare to die

-Ask not what your pittypat can do for you. Ask what you can do for you pittypat

-Pittypat, or get off the pot

-Got Pittypat?

-Et Tu, Pittypat?

-Don’t pittypat for me Argentina

-She’s a Pittypat, Pittypat, she’s super Pittypat

-One small step for mankind, one giant leap for pittypat

-I’ll get you my pretty…and your pittypat too

-Like a pittypat, touched for the very first time.

-I did not have pittypat with that woman

They had me rolling.

You guys made it tough to pick just one. As a matter of fact...Purple Power's poem wins too!

Oh shittlefackle, the cat ate the tackle,
The cow's in the raspberry bush,
The pittypat laughed to see such sport,
And the snotfart bit my tush.

That made laugh. Then his/her next paragraph made me cry.

So, Purple Power, I have a couple of skeins of handspun in various colorways, you get to decide which you want. E-mail me at Annie at maplecorners daht cahm for details.

I would like to thank everybody for sharing their creativity to make me laugh. I hope they also made you laugh! Thank you also for sharing your own stories of AD, and for the prayers and thoughts offered up.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

The Story of the Blessed Bovine

Yes, that's a Hereford cow and calf bedded down in my raspberry patch.

It all started last November, at or near the full moon, on a below-zero night. There was a scattering of snow, or maybe just hoarfrost, reflecting the moonlight, so it was easy to see without artificial light. The dogs woke me from a sound sleep, going crazy at something outside my window. I got up, expecting to see some deer meandering through the yard. It was a beef cow. Or steer, or bull, it wasn't that light out. As far as I knew, nobody close to me had beef cows. Hmmm. I bundled up and went outside to see if I could lure it into my vacant front pasture with some hay, but she spooked and ran off into the night. I went back to bed, and the next morning wondered if I had dreamt the whole thing.

A few months later, February, to be exact, just after dark, the dogs started going crazy again. I stepped out onto my porch, to make sure nothing was going after my animals. They were fine. Then I heard it. Something very large crashing through the brush and trees on the south side of my place. It was too dark to see anything, but I could hear it. I wasn't about to venture off the porch to see what it was though. Just a few days before, there had been a news story about a MN man killed by his bull. Nope, not going out there.

The next morning, I strapped on the snowshoes and went out to look at the tracks left behind by my visitor in the dark.

Yep, cow.

A couple of months later, early April, dusk, again the dogs went crazy. I looked out and saw her, but now she had a little sidekick! They were grazing the little grass that had just started to grow. I called the sheriff's office, to see if anybody had reported a cow/calf pair missing. Nobody had, but they took my information in case anybody did. Then I started calling a couple of neighbors, to see if they knew anybody in the area that had beef cattle. One neighbor gave me the name of another neighbor, and so it went down the line. Nobody knew of anybody missing a cow. Finally I called my nearest neighbor, and there I got the scoop. The cow had been hanging out in the woods by his lake all winter. He fed it corn every once in a while, and had advertised in the paper, but nobody had claimed her. He warned me that they had tried to corral her once, and it went crazy and sent a couple of men flying. He said that it had given birth to the calf last month, in that stretch of bad storms.

The one that did this.

And then this.

We don't really have open range land here in Minnesota. It was kind of cool to have the "free range cow" come visiting. The neighbor's warning of how she had sent a couple of men flying had me worried though. I can't keep Mom in the house in the summer, she likes to walk. A lot. I really didn't want an overly protective cow hanging around. So the next morning, when a neighbor that I had never met before called, returning my message from the night before, and offered to give her a home if she needed it, I agreed.

We concocted a plan. They would bring over some hay, and corn silage, and we would start feeding and watering her to get her used to coming back. Then we would gradually move the feed into my front pasture, and see if she would go in there.

It worked. Just before sundown, she would come up from the woods by the lake, cautiously cross the field, and hang out in my yard, eating.

She bedded down in various places in the yard, the raspberry patch being her favorite. After sunrise, when she would hear activity in the house, or I would come out to do chores, (and take pictures of her),

she would head back over the rise to the woods, her little one by her side.

I'm starting to bore myself, so congrats if you're still awake and with me thus far. Next time, the capture, and why she is called the Blessed Bovine.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

What do you see?

Do you see anything sort of out of the ordinary in this photo? Click to enlarge, but it's really big. Please ignore the weeds in my garden, and the falling apart raised bed, ok? Oh, but you can see my almost free cold frame I made using an old window left by the former owner and some lumber that I knocked together. I was happy that I made the frame actually fit the window. Actually it's a hot frame, since there is chicken litter and alpaca manure composting in it. Next to it is the bed made out of cinder blocks I found behind my barn, also left the former owner. They're not pretty, but reuse, reduce, recycle, right? You can see a couple of the huge ancient maple trees that inspired my farm name too. But that's isn't what I want you to focus on.
Anything? Anything at all?
Does this help?

It is a very long story that I will tell in future posts.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Ice Cream!

One beautiful day early last spring, I loaded Mom and the dogs into the truck and drove to town to go for a walk. Mom loves to walk, but it was mud season and my driveway is gravel (read, mud).

So there we were, walking in the street, because apparently the town doesn't require people to shovel their sidewalks. Don't worry, it was perfectly safe. Like Garrison Keillor says, a dog could take a nap in the middle of the street and not be disturbed. A couple of blocks ahead, we saw a truck on the cross street, which then turned our way, and immediatly parked. Mom saw it, and immediately started walking faster, almost running. She turned to me and said "Ice Cream! Let's hurry!"

It was a Schwan's truck. Do you know about Schwan's? ( They deliver ice cream, and other frozen foods. Mom was a faithful, and regular customer for years. Their trucks have a distinctive shape and color, yellow with a swan on the side. We weren't close enough to read anything on the truck, she recognised the shape and made the connection to ice cream.

So we hurried. I didn't have any money with me, but I thought I could at least talk to him and get on his route. Unfortunately, he got back in his truck and drove off before we could reach him.

She doesn't know who I am, but she recognizes the picklefucky Schwan's truck! Which sort of makes me laugh, but sort of not. The stomach is a powerful thing.

In contest news, you guys are trying to kill me! I almost choked on a ginger scone while reading the contest entries. (Note to self: Do not eat breakfast while reading the comments!)

I also note how many of you have been touched by the dreaded hand of AD. It is so widespread, and still this government ignores that they have a crisis on their hands, and it is only going to get worse. Typical.

( You still have time to enter the contest. Scroll down (or click link at the right) for details. Multiple entries are encouraged. )

Monday, November 12, 2007

Latest project

I am knitting this bag (a modified Sophie) for a friend who has done a lot of nice things for me. (My Thai Lime and Chile Spiced peanuts supplier.) She wanted "naturals" for the color, but I couldn't resist adding a hint of color. The lighter brown/butterscotch is from Ely, and the darker brown from Wooly Bear. The stripe that looks rather pink in this picture, is more of a brick color, and is Ely overdyed with raspberry dye. The maroon color is Wooly Bear overdyed with cyclamen, garnet and a touch of mulberry. It looks huge, but it will felt down to a nice sized bag. I hope.
I made the mistake of setting this down to tend to something. When will I ever learn? I can't just set things down, I have to put them away. Mom got hold of it and unraveled about 5 rows completely, and I had to unravel about another 5 to get to a good row with clean stitches. Urgh! I keep telling myself, you like knitting, you like knitting, so this just gives yourself more opportunity to knit. Yeah, not really working.
(Remember, scroll down for details on the contest, you still have time to enter.)

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Caught in the Act-Art of Alzheimer's

Last night Mom was in her bedroom futzing around. She likes to make and remake (and remake) her bed, so I thought that was what she was doing. I went in there, and luckily my camera was nearby. I found this,

and immediately realized I needed to change the camera settings. Did that, and snapped another.

Wait, what is this? Mom's arm and hand snuck into my picture.

I guess I had interrupted her "installation".

That is Mom on the left, her sister Mary Anne on the right.

Remember, you still have time to enter the contest. Scroll down to Friday's post for details. You could win a fabulous prize chosen just for you! (as opposed to a mediocre prize picked at random.)

Saturday, November 10, 2007


I had a request for the recipe for the peanut butter cookies from a few posts down. Here it is.

Peanut Butter Cookies, from "Favorite Recipes of Home Economics Teachers-Desserts Edition, Including Party Beverages", Favorite Recipes Press, 1963

3/4 c fat
3/4 c brown sugar
3/4 c white sugar
1 c peanut butter
2 eggs (beaten)
2/14 c flour with 1 t soda, 1/2 t salt

Cream fat, add ingredients in order given, blending well after each. Roll into 1" balls and place on ungreased cookie sheet. Flatten with a fork crisscross and bake at 350 F for 10 minutes. Cool on rack before storing in tightly covered can.

Notes: I used butter as "fat".

My newly acquired candied ginger was taunting me from the cupboard, so I made ginger scones. I usually reserve this for guests, but I've never actually made it with the candied ginger the recipe calls for, because I couldn't find any in my local stores. Crystallized ginger was the closest I could find.

Ginger Scones, from "Nancy Silverton's Pastries from the La Brea Bakery"

2 1/4 c unbleached pastry flour or unbleached all-purpose flour

1/3 c granulated sugar

1 T baking powerder

1 t finely chopped lemon zest (about 1/2 lemon)

1 1/2 sticks (6 ounces) unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch cubes and frozen

4 1/2 ounces candied ginger, finely chopped into 1/4 inch pieces to equal 2/3 cup

3/4 c heavy cream, plus extra for brushing the tops of the scones

Adjust the oven rack to the middle position and preheat the oven to 400 F.

In the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade or in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the flour, sugar, and baking powder, and pulse or mix on low to incorporate. Add the lemon zest and butter, and pulse on and off, or mix on low, until the mixture is pale yellow and the consistency of fine meal.

Transfer the mixture to a large bowl and stir in the ginger. Make a well in the center and pour in the cream. Using one hand, draw in the dry ingredients, mixing until just combined.

Wash and dry your hands and dust them with flour. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and gently knead a few times to gather it into a ball. Roll or pat the dough into a circle about 3/4 inch thick. Cut out the circles, (using a 3 inch round cutter) cutting as closely together as possible and keeping the trimmings intact.

Gather the scraps, pat and press the pieces back together, and cut out the remaining dough. Place the scones 1 inch apart on a parchment-lined baking sheet.

Brush the tops with the remaining cream.

Bake for 12-16 minutes, until the surface cracks and they are slightly browned.

My notes: Be sure your baking powder is fresh, or you may wind up with rocks. Orange zest works fine too if you don't have a lemon on hand. Crystallized ginger works fine too. I usually add a handful of golden raisins when adding the ginger. I don't bother with the cutter. I just roll the dough, and cut the scones out roughly rectangular with a knife. Handling the dough too much will create tough scones.

In other news, Mom has made off with the silverware holder dealy from my dish drainer. Can't find it anywhere. Does this mean I don' t have to wash my silverware?

Friday, November 9, 2007

Vocabulary Words, and a Contest!

Gratuitous Mom photo. I was struck by how her clothes matched the scenery. If she were a little further back on the horizon, you wouldn't even see her!

And now, a little vocabulary lesson for the day. Caveat: Before AD, Mom never swore, ever! She would give us the Mom evil eye when we did, too.

Snicky. As far as I can tell, this means dirty. As in, It's all snicky, after the dog walked on the floor with muddy feet.

Oh, shittlefackle. I'm pretty sure she was meaning Oh, fiddle faddle, she often said that.

You snotfart! We were goofing around, and she called me that.

Picklefucky. At Thanksgiving last year, we played a rousing game of Monopoly while Mom colored. We finally wrapped it up around midnight. Mom stood up, sort of plucked at her shirt, and said, "I'm feeling all picklefucky." We laughed until we couldn't breathe anymore and then laughed some more.

Pittypat. It originated in a DQ with my sister, Mom was bothered by all the pittypats on the floor. I think it was bits of napkin, and the paper covering on straws. In my family, this has come to mean anything you want it to mean, and can be substituted anywhere in a sentence, or famous quote, or song lyric. Some examples: I went to the store and forgot to buy pittypats. Friends, Romans, pittypats, lend me your ears! Oh, I come from Alabama with a pittypat on my knee. Happy Hallowpittypat! You get the idea.

Oh, I just had an idea for a contest. Leave your best use of pittypat in a sentence in the comments. Multiple entries are encouraged. The one that makes me laugh the hardest, wins a prize. I don't know what yet, but a prize appropriate for the winner. Handspun yarn, a felted neckwarmer, a handknit something, a batch of peanut butter cookies, a print of Alzheimer's Art? I'll leave it open until next Friday, 7 am Central Time. Spread the word, if you like. Make me laugh, people!

ETA: I've decided to offer up the Polypay roving pictured on Monday's post if a spinner/felter wins, will spin it up as close as possible to winner's specs if a knitter/crocheter/weaver wins, and will fall to plan D if a non-fiber enthusiast wins. Not that I actually have a Plan D, yet.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Art of Alzheimer's

Mom was doing some decorating. She saw an empty nail, and ran with it.

Those scrubby things are great for playing catch. They move slow, so she can catch it, and they are soft so it doesn't hurt if you don't. That is more for my benefit, because she throws hard! She laughs the whole time.

If I have two of them out, watch out. They usually go under her shirt (or she stuffs them in mine), and she does her best Mae West impersonation, strutting around with her chest out, again giggling the whole time.

Life is always interesting with Mom around!

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Heaven on Earth

I got a care package the other day from a friend in California. She knows that I don't have a Trader Joe's anywhere near me, and that I miss spicy food because Mom doesn't like it. The care package included candied ginger, chile spiced mango, and these little nuggets of heaven.
Thai Lime & Chile Spiced Peanuts. I can make a fairly bland stir fry that Mom will eat, add a few of these, some diced chile spiced mango, and a tablespoon or so of Coriander Chutney to mine, and we're both happy. These are great as a snack too. Tangy, salty, crunchy, with just enough heat to leave the lips and mouth tingly. Mmmmmmm!

Monday, November 5, 2007

Mishmash Monday

Or, what we did this weekend.
Mom slept late, so I snuck some dyeing in.

Specs: App 12 oz Polypay roving, using three colors of Gaywool dyes in three different dyepots.

While the roving was cooking, I finished a shawl on the tri-loom.

Specs: 7 ft tri-loom, yarn is handspun one ply white alpaca (Laser Fine, barn name Peach Boy), one ply natural 50% merino/50% silk, then dyed with Gaywool dyes.

It still needs to be fulled.

Then we baked peanut butter cookies.

I did the mixing, and Mom helped with the rolling into a ball and smooshing with a fork. As you can see, she is really good at the smooshing.

The recipe is from a cookbook called Favorite Recipes of Home Economics Teachers. I inherited it from my aunt Mary Anne, Mom's sister. Some people want the crystal vase, or the jewelry when it comes to inheritence. Nope, I want the cookbooks. This one was published in 1963, which makes it 3 years older than me. I love reading the handwritten notes that are made next to her favorites, or seeing the dogeared pages, and wondering what recipe on that page had interested her.

Actually using the cookbook can be interesting. Some of the ingredients require a little research. For example, oleo? That one took a while.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Cud chewing time

I was obviously interrupting.

Saturday, November 3, 2007


Mom has a small collection of stuffed animals and toys that usually sit on her nightstand in her bedroom.

Every once in a while, I find one on my pillow.

Like this.

And this.

I always get a little choked up when I see them. It makes me feel like she is sharing them with me, to bring me comfort. That she is still the mother, still caring for me instead of the other way around. Or at least that is what I choose to believe.

Excuse me waitress, I need another packet of sweet and sad sauce.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

More Art of Alzheimer's

A study in form, color and texture.
Or maybe she was just hungry.