Thursday, July 31, 2008

Summer Haven no more

We had a big wind come through this morning. I can't tell if it is salvageable, because I can't lift the thing up by myself.

This was the only damage, no trees or large limbs were lost, no hail on my brand new roof, so I should consider myself lucky. So why am I still so sad (ok, angry) about losing this?

I want Mom to be able to enjoy the outdoors in safety. With a few cases of West Nile Virus being reported on the news, I don't feel it is safe for Mom to sit outside with all the thirsty blood suckers out there. Aauuugh!

It probably doesn't help that I'm operating on about three hours of sleep. I thought there was a bat in the house all night, because I kept hearing things, but could never find anything when I would get up and look. Just when I finally gave up and was about to doze off, Mom was up at 3. I was able to get her back to bed around 4, then the dogs were barking/snuffling at something, which didn't help my suspicions that there was something in the house, then I was up at 7. I want a nap! Sorry for the whining.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008


I don't know why, but I like the way the rows go into the clouds.

Mom had her neurologist appointment at Mayo last week. I heard what I wanted to hear, that anti-seizure medication is not warranted at this time. Yay! Infections can trigger seizures, so I have to watch for any signs of illness, especially UTI.

She also had an MRI done. That was interesting. I had to hold her hands to prevent her from moving the little cage like thingy that goes over her head. In order to do that, I had to stand bent over, draped across her, reaching halfway into the machine myself. By the time it was done, my back and neck were screaming.

The results were hard to see. The picture was clear. I meant, it was hard emotionally. Seeing actual physical evidence of the deterioration was difficult.

OK, on to happier news. I hadn't set an end to the drawing, but I figure 24 hours is good. The random number drawn was 6, so Mary wins. Mary, drop me an e-mail at annie at maplecorners doooot coooom to claim your set. Thanks for all the comments!

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Barn Swallows

I knew I had several nests in the various outbuildings around here, but I didn't realize quite how many until they started congregating on the wire. What you can't see is there were another 10 to 20 sitting on the granary too.

I can't imagine what the mosquito population would be without these barn swallows.

I've been experimenting with making notecards from some of the photos from around the farm. My sister did some with fancy edges, she scrapbooks. (Rounded edges on the hollyhock card at left, and the blue one on the right.) I may put some up on Etsy eventually.

Anybody want a set? Leave a comment and I'll do a random drawing. I only ask that you give me your honest opinion about them.

Monday, July 28, 2008


Mom and I walked the driveway this morning.

I noticed a few things the first time, so then we had to go back to the house for the camera, and then walk the driveway again. Mom sure doesn't mind!

The sun was coming up, and shining on the dew.

Spiders were busy.

Really busy.

I like our walks to the mailbox. In all seasons.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Art of Alzheimer's

Mom picked a burdock leaf and hung it in the squares of the gate.

It reminds me of when people would hang the severed heads of their enemy on a stick as a warning to others.

I have a new weapon in the eradication of burdock here at Maple Corners. In Missouri anyway, it is called a sharpshooter.

Friends from Kansas City were up for a visit last weekend, and showed me how you can shove this down right at the stem of the burdock, rock back and forth a bit until the root pops, pull out the burdock root and all, then remove the shovel. Step the dirt back down, and you never knew the burdock was there. It might grow back from the root remnants, but it will take a while and won't be as strong as before. They were out there all weekend pulling burdock. I may have mentioned I have great friends?

I had always just cut it off at ground level, and this stuff is so hardy it would grow back almost immediately.

Burdock beware!

Friday, July 25, 2008

It is finally time. These gloves must go. They've done a fine job of protecting my hands from baling twine, shovel handles, rakes, and such.

Not anymore though. Holes in the fingers are not conducive to thistle pulling. At all.

Now that's what I'm talking about! Supple cowskin, with a suede palm for added grip and protection. Now let's see who wins, you thistles! No more, "Ow, ow, OW!"

Gratuitous sky shot.

Thanks for the comments/e-mails/worry on the absence here. Mom and I are just fine. The past week has been bizarre, and rather surreal, but that's really all I can say. I promise to tell you all about it when I can. How's that for a teaser?

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Art of Alzheimer's

You can't really tell on this photo, but the wooden spoon is carefully balanced between the wall and the counter. The matching floss completes the installation.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Public Service Announcement

Beware of clotheslines!

You might think they are perfectly innocuous. They just hang there, performing their service for years on end without complaint.

Until that day. That day when they've been squeezed by that clothespin just one too many times. Or they're overloaded with clothes, and bedding, and towels.

That day, when you least expect it, they will reach out as you walk under the clothesline, tangling themselves in the clasp holding the hair off your neck , and all of a sudden you are pulled painfully back by your head and stuck for a few minutes as you try to untangle the mess.

Protect yourself. Duck further than you think is necessary. Angry, hair pulling clotheslines are out there, and they're gunning for you.

Monday, July 7, 2008

A hat for Judy

I received a surprise in the mail on Saturday.

The lovely and talented Überstrickenfrau sent this sweater and hat set for Judy. Isn't it sweet? Mom loves to play with the hat. She turns it inside out, runs it through her fingers, and just generally carries it around, when it isn't on Judy's head.

My sister, her husband, and her oldest and youngest boys (19 and 6) surprised me on Friday by showing up with their riding mower and two push mowers in the back of the truck. They then proceeded to mow the yard. The youngster and I were kept busy picking up sticks, and rescuing toads from the mowers. We relocated about 12 toads to my garden area. Then we picked strawberries to send home with them.

Sunday, July 6, 2008


Many knitters lament about the huge timesuck that is Ravelry. I haven't really been drawn in that far, I usually just use the pattern browser. I discovered something far worse for me.

My camera came with Adobe Photoshop Elements 2.0. I don't use it much, mostly just for cropping and resizing photos, sometimes brightening and boosting the contrast. I should say, I didn't use it much. I've been reading the Pioneer Woman's photography section, following along as she explains Photoshop, doing step by step before and after shots. When I have played around with it, I usually end up back at the straight out of the camera shot, because I think, "but that isn't what it looked like." I guess I get hung up on showing an accurate portrayal of what things look like around here.

So I was playing around with the Filters that Elements has. There is one called Poster Edges. I am in love. I started out with the many flower shots I have taken over the years. I think it makes them look like botanical drawings, which I have always loved. I have been known to buy seeds for the drawings on the seed packet, rather than the seeds themselves. Yep, I'm a sucker for a botanical drawing.

Most of these have been featured in their original form already somewhere on the blog.

Then I discovered what it does to landscapes.

Those last two are the lunar eclipse from March of 06.

This one was from the threshing bee at a friends farm. It reminds me of a Van Gogh painting.

Then of course are the animals.

Please send help. I have three years of digital photos to play with.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Weeds or wildflowers?

I took a walk through the pasture and was struck by how pretty the weeds and grass seed heads are.



Thistle. Eeek! I need to get this chopped down before seeds develop. How I'm actually going to get that accomplished, I don't know.

This grass is actually in my yard, not the pasture. I don't know what kind it is, but I love it. It tickles my ankles as I walk through.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Turkey on a Hot Tin Roof

Here's a very blurry photo of the wild turkey that is living in my pastures raising about 10 babies. I'm not sure what she was doing up there, but I was imagining the babies all lined up in a little row in the grass, watching mama as she lectured them on the finer points of wild turkey living.

The other day she was right behind the granary as Mom and I went out to water the llamas. She walked slowly away, keeping a close eye on us as her babies bobbed and wove around in back of her. It was hard to get an accurate count as they were running all over.

The other day I was hanging clothes on the line when I heard a marching band. The wind must have been coming from the right direction so I could hear it from town. The local high school marching band was probably gearing up for the big parade tomorrow. They celebrate big here in my little town. The population of around 1500 swells to 37000 for the 4th festivities. In addition to the big parade, there's an ice cream social, the Lions Club pancake breakfast, the craft fair, the tractor pull, the horseshoe tournament, the street dance, the two man underwear race at the beer garden, and it all culminates with the fireworks display. I think the fireworks noise would scare Mom, so we'll probably watch from the screen house here at home. We can see it just above the soybean field. In between the fireworks, we can watch the lightning bugs.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Toad Tummy Yarn

In my quest for a Toad Tummy colorway, I took this

which is from left to right a natural rust alpaca roving, a blended batt of wool/alpaca/nylon/silk in a rust/olive/mushroom colorway, and some natural black alpaca roving. The batt I had blended a couple of months ago, long before the quest for toad tummy yarn ever began. (Cue Twilight Zone music.)

I first took a strip of the blended batt and spun that alternating with the rust roving in varying lengths to form a singles. I then spun the black roving into a singles, and plied them together, resulting in this.

I knit up a swatch to see what it looked like.

I started with stockinette stitch, and then switched to garter stitch. The stockinette is too smooth, and the garter stitch I think the stitches are too big. Reverse stockinette stitch is just right!

Reverse stockinette stitch on the bottom, garter stitch on the top. The difference is subtle, but I think it really does make a difference.

Thinking that the first one might be too much black, I also tried a sample skein of using random lengths of the batt and the black, and then plying them together. This resulted in a yarn with lengths of all batt, all black, and the two in combination. Here is the swatch with the yarn.

It's too linear. I like the allover black better.

A friend has been jonesing for another pair of socks, and he might just get some Toad Tummy socks in reverse stockinette. He will have a very long wait though, too much other stuff ahead of him in line.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Another Hat for Judy

This time Judy/Lucy is sporting a plastic bag that formerly held potatoes. I watched Mom put it on her. It wasn't just set on her head, it is all tucked around in back too. I'm thinking I need to make poor Judy/Lucy a hat. A mini beret? A knit beanie?