Friday, October 31, 2008

Drawing results

I wrote down each name on a sheet of paper, and if you told me you blogged about it, your name went in twice. I cut them up, and had Mom draw them out of a bowl.

That wasn't as easy as it sounds. First she took them all out of the bowl, kept one, and handed me the rest. I put those back in the bowl, saw which one she kept, which is our first winner Olga! and had her do it again. This time she was going to hand me about four. I told her I only wanted one, but she didn't understand. She sat there with the bowl in her lap, and eventually she was down to only one in her hand, our second winner JanetFaye! Please take a look here and let me know which six you would like!

Edited to add:

I almost forgot. I was saving this photo specifically for today.

This web seems ghostlike to me. Happy Halloween!

Thursday, October 30, 2008


Just a quick reminder, comment on the Giveaway post by 5 pm Central time tomorrow to be entered in the giveaway. Just scroll down a ways and you'll see what I'm talking about.

Too tired to do say much else. Mom has decided that staying up all night (ok, until 2 or 3) and sleeping during the day is a good thing. The problem is that I've been working every day 8-10 hours, I can't even sneak a nap in there. I'm not used to working full time using my brain anymore, what a wimp I am. My brain is tired. I haven't been able to do anything fibery in weeks. I need to dye something soon, maybe that will help my brain. Whine, whine, whine, bleah!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

I like old stuff.

You may have noticed.

I like old stuff that tells you what it was used for.

I especially like old stuff that still serves a practical purpose, as well as looking cool. When that purpose is the original, intended purpose of the old thing, I like that even better.

( I hate the word re-purposed. It gets used on HGTV a lot. I hate it. Along with eclectic. And whimsy. Fun. If college kids (or anybody else) played a game where you had to drink everytime you heard one of those words while watching HGTV, you would have a lot of very drunk people.)

The ignitor on the propane torch I use to light the corn stove isn't working, so I have use a match to turn the torch on. This handy-dandy tin match holder hides the box of matches from Mom perfectly.

This model even has openings on the side so you can strike the match.

I love them.

Speaking of Mom, she was on a roll last night. Or very early this morning, actually. I was trying to get her to go to bed, so had her sitting on the bed while I knelt in front of her to take off her shoes. I let out a big yawn, closing my eyes and stretching, with my mouth wide open. I came out of the stretch and opened my eyes, and found Mom with her finger in my mouth. Luckily, I hadn't closed my mouth yet. She giggled. Judy was on the chair next to me. Mom said, "get over here!", so I moved closer. "Not you!" she said, acting all afronted and pushing me away. Then she laughed. Then she pulled the sleeve of my turtleneck out from under the sweatshirt sleeve, so far that it covered my hand, over her hand and onto her wrist. So we sat there awhile holding hands like that. Then she started playing with my hair, twisting it round and then trying to stick it in my nose. Then she let it untwist, and flicked it back and forth, saying "Boing, boing, boing." Then she brought the hair forward on both sides of my head, and said, "Here, you take this side, and I'll take this side," handed me a chunk of hair, took her own chunk, and acted like she was going to walk away with it. Then she laughed some more. She had me laughing so hard I was about crying. I finally got her settled down around 2:30.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Card Giveaway

I really try to keep this blog separate from my business site, and only do commercials occasionally. This is one of those occasions, so I thought I'd make up for it by doing a giveaway. Forgive me?

The cards measure 3 1/2" by 5" and are blank inside. They are printed on acid-free cardstock. Perfect for any occasion, sets also make great gifts. Need a gift $10 or under for that office or guild gift exchange? Here you have it. A set of six cards with envelopes comes in a clear (safe for storage) box.

In celebration of finally getting the notecards up and ready for sale, I am giving away two sets of six notecards by random drawing. The lucky winners will make up their own set by mixing and matching any six of the cards featured here. Over 30 different cards to choose from.

To enter, simply leave a comment on this post telling me one quirky thing about yourself. Blog about this contest (and tell me about it), and I'll add another entry for you.

Go forth, and tell all your family and friends, and casual acquaintances, and enemies, for that matter!

(Giveaway closes Friday, 5 pm Central time.)

Monday, October 27, 2008

Foggy Frosted Webs

Last week when I had my weekend off, it wasn't all work. I spent about an hour Saturday morning playing. It was foggy, we had our first frost, and my world was covered in webs. We should be thankful that spiders aren't bigger, or we wouldn't be able to venture outside.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Bored Henwives, The Next Generation

Who're you?

What is she doing here?

Maybe if we ignore her, she'll go away.

That didn't work.

Mama? A little help?

Time for a little reinforcement.

That didn't help either.

Bring out the big gun. That'll get rid of her.

I was just done, that's all. The thought of Big Daddy's spurs that close to me had nothing to do with it. Really, he is a sweetie pie and has never attacked anybody. None of my roosters have. They're as peaceloving as I am.

By the way, in those photos? I think we have a cockerel (young boy chicken) on the left, and a pullet (young girl chicken) on the right. See the size of his comb (the fleshy part in the middle of his head) in comparison to her's?

It is incredibly windy here today, 25-35 mph, with gusts to 50mph the last forecast I saw. It has since (above photos taken maybe an hour ago) completely clouded over, and the state might see some flurries today. Oh, look. It is snowing right now. Forget the might part. Windchill is 27.

I feel an urge to bake something coming on.

Saturday, October 25, 2008


Can someone please explain this to me?

Tree on the left,

turned a beautiful gold, right on time.

Tree on the right,

is still completely green.

They are right next to each other.

Are the same species of maple, as far as I can tell.

Why is it that one has changed colors and one hasn't?

The one on the right, the green one, might get a little more light based on it's position.

All of the other trees here have changed color, including more maples about the same size as greenie there and getting more light than greenie, and many have lost most of their leaves.

There he sits, fully leaved and fully green. Why?

Edited to add:

Ok, after reading the comment from Anonymous and checking out the link offered up by Rick, I might be more confused.

The leaf from the yellow tree on the left:

The leaf from the green tree prompting the question.

And another leaf from a huge tree towering over both of them.

To my admittedly untrained eye, the first two leaves look pretty much the same, except the color, while the third is markedly different.

According to the article linked above, the sugar maple, which turns color earlier than the Norway, has fewer points and deep rounded grooves.

The Norway maple has more points, and shallow angular grooves.

If comparing the first two leaves only, I see the yellow having more points, but deeper grooves, and the green having fewer points, but shallower grooves.

Throw the third leaf in there, and it obviously has more points, and deeper grooves than both of the other two.

Maybe none of the trees are sugar or Norway maples?

Friday, October 24, 2008


I had a few moments of panic here the other day. I heard a loud thud, and looked out the window to see a llama looking in a particular direction and running that way. Looked out another window and saw this.

I saw other animals milling about the area, so ran out there afraid of what I might find. Luckily, no animals were under the tree, nor had the tree taken down a fence. Everybody was accounted for, and nobody was escaping.

That could have killed something. It is basically 3/4ths of the tree. With my extensive Photoshop skills (hahaha), I'll show you.

My old friends are dropping one by one, bit by bit. They are a huge part of why I fell in love with this place, and are of course the inspiration for the farm name.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Art, or not?

Remember a while back, I showed you the photo of the bench Mom liked to pour things into? Cindy suggested that I put a sponge in there, and maybe Mom would make art out of it.

How about a potholder and a magazine? She folded the potholder around the magazine and stuffed them into the hole.

I don't know if this should be labeled art or not. It almost looks like a flower rising out of the bench. She has stopped pouring liquid down the hole, but does drop other things down it. Bits of paper, her beaded necklaces, my bills (urgh, sorry propane guy, the check is in the mail!), a small stick.

What do you think? Should I give it the art label?

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Simba, Plain and Tall

I don't know what Simba (the taller, and creamier) is looking at. Ursa, (the shorter, and toffee-er) doesn't seem interested.

She seems very intent. Something else has captured Ursa's attention.

Ursa: "You're boring, I'm outta here!"

Monday, October 20, 2008

A new Olympic Event?

A local senior organization paid for Mom's stay at a facility so I could have a weekend off. I had been in contact with them for three years, but they've never been able to help. None of their volunteers was willing to do the drive, and they couldn't find a volunteer closer to me. They got a grant or something, and are focusing a bit of it on caregiver support. Yay!

So I spent the weekend working around here, doing stuff that I can't do with Mom here, or is really difficult to do with Mom here.

I cleaned out the chicken coop, finished the cellar door, including stuffing it with straw, put plastic and some scrap wood over the north wall of the llama barn, because it had a lot of holes and that north wind is a bitch in the winter. Getting that first furring strip up while holding the plastic, the screw and the drill was an adventure. After that it wasn't so bad.

I also shoveled most of the manure out of the llama barn, and put down 6" x 12" cement pavers over the place they poop the most. It is about a 3' x 4' area. The barn just has a dirt floor, so trying to decide when I am scooping manure and when I am scooping floor is difficult. My hope is they will go on the pavers, and that will make cleaning up after them easier. My goal is to have the whole floor made of the pavers, but that will have to wait until I can afford to buy that many pavers. I'll just keep adding pavers as I can afford them.

Cleaning out the llama barn entails the use of a shovel, a yard cart, some muscles, and a few choice expletives. It has really low rafters on one section, so that precludes the use of a tractor, which I don't have anyway. I banged my head a couple of times on those rafters because I was looking down at where I was shoveling instead of where the rafters are.

My yard cart is a wonderful tool, and has dumping capability. The stuff I am cleaning out though is wet, heavy and sticky, imagine a wet clay. If I just tip the cart, most of it stays in the cart and I have to shovel it out.

Here's where the new Olympic event comes in. I have discovered a fun new sport called the llama poo catapault. I take a running start with the cart, building up as much speed as I can, then at the right spot, I hurl upwards on the cart handle with all my might, the front end goes down, and the llama poo gets flung out of the cart onto the pile. If I've done it right, 3/4 of the poo is on the pile, and I only have to shovel a little out. It's great fun, you should all come play it with me!

Since most of my weekend involved poo (chicken and llama), I won't offer any pictures of that. However, here's a couple of the corn field across the road. I'm still fascinated with the row thing, and they've taken down one swipe across the front to hasten drying.

Doesn't it almost dare you to venture down the row?

Thursday, October 16, 2008


Gratuitous cat photo, because her name is Puddin'.

What I really want to talk about though is pudding. Chocolate Fudge Pudding.

Every so often, Mom goes through a phase where she will not take her pill. It gets spit out across the room, or she takes it out of her mouth and throws it across the room. When she is in that phase, I mash the pill into little bits, and put it in pudding.

It serves a two fold purpose. Not only will she eat her pill right up, but she likes to help make it. Yes, it's just the instant out of a box kind. She likes to do the stirring though.

Mom is in that phase right now. Last night I got out the box of pudding, and a little bit of happiness flowed through me. Let me tell you why.

A while ago, I was on the phone with a friend while I was assembling the pudding so Mom could stir. I mentioned to my friend what I was doing, explaining why, and that the chocolate fudge flavor is Mom's favorite, then we moved on to other subjects.

A while after that, I received a package from her. It may have been Christmas or my birthday, I don't recall. Tucked into the package were several boxes of chocolate fudge pudding. I laughed and cried. She had listened, and sent something that makes caring for Mom a little easier. Just a silly little box of pudding can make a difference.

May you all have a friend that will send you chocolate fudge pudding.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Art of Alzheimer's

The bottom layer is a potholder, then a card I received from a friend, and finally the top of a little cardboard type round container/box thingy. The orange top is covering a monogram in the middle of the ring of pansies on the card.

I always try to just take the photo when I find one of Mom's creations. I found this in the living room in a dark corner, and couldn't take a decent photo to save my life. I brought this one into the kitchen for more light.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Greenman Update

Here he is when I put him up this spring. All freshly made and dewey.

Here he is now, after hanging out on the Wall of Junk all summer long, enduring the sun and wind and rain, and possibly a nibble or two from a curious llama.

He seems to have stretched some lengthwise, from hanging there all summer. His hair is falling into his eyes so you can't really see them, but they are still there.

I'd say he has held up pretty well. His color is nearly identical, which makes me happy. At least I know that my dyeing creates a dang lightfast color.

I'll take him down now, since his purpose is to create lush growth for the garden. The garden is pretty much done. Wait, I could create a white one like this, but with the fringe only on the bottom, so it would look like icycles? Winterman. Would that bring lush snow for the winter?

Sunday, October 12, 2008

More color

A combination of an almost full moon and an unnaturally warm wind blowing made for a very difficult, and exhausting, night for us last night. I put Mom to bed at midnight, but she was up at 12:30, 1, and 1:30. I finally just let her stay up, gave her a cookie and glass of milk (maybe she was hungry?), and let her do her "office work" for about an hour. I got her to bed at around 2:30.

Just about the time I hear her snoring, the llamas started doing the alarm call. Out the door in my jammies with the mondo flashlight, but didn't see anything. I was standing there, and all of a sudden the whole herd startles and runs to the yard light. Still didn't see anything. Stood there a moment or two to admire the almost full moon, and wonder at the fact that it was October at 3 am yet I was standing outside in my jammies and not even chilled. Fifteen minutes after I crawled into bed (again), I smelled skunk. Oh, joy.

Up around 8 to try to work on the cellar door while I could. Spent way too much time trying to get the nuts off the bolts on the old (painted over) hinges, but managed all but one. Lack of sleep made me frustrated as hell at the thing, and I gave up. I took my camera out to the pasture for a calming walk. We're not at peak color yet, but here's what I found.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

A new cellar door

Remember my dilemma with the freezing pipes and hay/straw for insulation? Part of that whole deal was needing a new cellar door, because the one that was there had rotted apart.

Mom and I went to town and got materials yesterday. Did you know that a 4' by 8' sheet of 3/4" outdoor plywood is extremely heavy and awkward to carry? I knew that I needed it 39 inches wide, so I had them cut it to measure. I kept the off cut too.

How serendipitous. I needed that off-cut for the bottom.

The opening is a few inches more than 8 feet. Oops. I'm going to pretend that I had it all planned out in the beginning, though, because look.

I need that room to be able to run my sump pump hose out of the basement. My plan is to cut the off-cut to the width of the door, and attach it to the rest of the door with hinges. When I need to have the hose out, I can lift just that hinged section and run the hose under the door. When I don't need it, I can coil the hose under the door, and that little section will rest flush on top of the cement.

See, just like I planned.

This is as far as I got today before Mom started getting restless and not wanting to sit and color. I can't have power tools out with Mom wanting to walk around.

I pillaged the old door for the hinges and door handle. The door handle will go on the left, and three hinges on the right, like this.

Imagine those hinges all attached and the bottom cut and hinged. I'll also give it a coat of primer and paint, although I don't know if I'll get that far before winter hits. I'll fill the whole area with bales of straw as much as I can, and fill in the rest with flakes of straw.

I also want to put a brace resting against a step on the bottom and the door somewhere in the middle, just in case Mom decides to walk on it.

Friday, October 10, 2008

One does want a hint of color!

Don't you just love the golden glow of sunset at this time of year?

These are some volunteer maple trees that are growing in a hanging basket that I didn't bother to plant anything in this year. They're about six inches tall. I guess I never thought about baby trees turning color, for some reason. They're gorgeous in their own right, but here that golden glow is helping them out. I might start planting maple trees in all of my outdoor planting pots.

This year's asters in that golden glow as well. I picked a bunch to bring in the house.

Can you believe we haven't had a killing frost yet? My tomatoes are still ripening on the vine. In the twenty years I've been gardening on my own, I don't remember ever having all the tomatoes ripen. I don't remember that ever happening in Dad's garden either, for that matter. There isn't a green tomato in sight out in the garden. I haven't even covered them yet. Amazing.

I also have one plant loaded with jalapenos. Any suggestions?

Wednesday, October 8, 2008


The Honeycrisp apple. Have you had one? Do you have them in your area?

I've heard people rave about them, but have never had one. Which is kind of ridiculous. My hometown is home to one of the largest Honeycrisp apple growers in the country. The video I linked to up there talks about them. My sisters used to work there, years ago.

Last weekend was the big apple festival in my hometown, so I went and had a booth at the craft fair. One of the orchards was having a special on scratch & dent Honeycrisps, so I bought a bag. $8.95 for a 10 lb bag. Don't hate me! (In this area, they normally sell for well over that. I think it was $2.95 a pound or more.) This morning, after taking the photo, I ate one of those apples.

Um, I can see what the fuss is about. It does explode in your mouth. Very juicy, too. An excellent eating apple. I should have bought two bags.

Apparently, there is (or soon will be) a new apple that is even better than the Honeycrisp. The Sweetango. It is in limited production now, but watch for it at an orchard near you.

I love the smell of the apple house. When I say house I mean store, I guess. We always called it the apple house. As in "Let's go to the apple house for some apples." It was common for us. Nowadays apparently it is an event to go to an orchard. Petting zoos, hay rides, corn mazes...bah, I just want to buy some apples! Just call me Scrooge.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Not stuck under something heavy

Neither is Mom. We're both fine.

I've been very busy with a large project for work.

I did a craft fair last weekend, and actually sold some things.

More importantly, I met a woman on the board of a therapeutic horseback riding program not terribly far away from me. I volunteered 8 years or so with a similar program when I lived in the Cities, and am very excited that I might be able to get involved with this again. The only way this is possible is that the program is located about halfway between my sister and I. My sister will meet me there, and watch Mom while I volunteer. This will be very good for me.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Art of Alzheimer's: The Artist at Work

The artist with her creation.

The creation.

Or not. She wasn't done yet? Or the previous was never intended as a creation at all?

Trying to pull the hang tab off. (She cannot abide labels on anything. Towels, clothing, nothing!)

She successfully removed an offending paper label, but not the green hang tab.




Enough with the beads, these towels need folding.