Friday, July 31, 2009

Wasted Spaces

Last month, I made a couple of Craigslist purchases. The first was a large number of used 40" by 48" sheets of 1/2" CDX plywood. I didn't really have a specific purpose in mind for them, but at $2 a sheet, I couldn't pass it up. You never know when you might need to build something on the farm.

The second purchase was a barely used transport chair for Mom. She still walks fine, but she seems to tire more quickly now. She'll be walking along, and all of a sudden she's done. She needs to sit immediately. It helps to have the wheelchair handy, then she can sit when she gets tired, and I can push her wherever we were going. I just keep the wheelchair in the truck, and we're ready. It is great when we have to venture to a store. She will usually stay sitting in the chair, so it helps tremendously when I'm trying to shop. We go toodling around the store in style!

When we do venture to town, we usually make several stops. The first is usually the farm store, where I buy 50 lb bags of chicken, dog, and cat food, among other heavy things. We then go to the grocery store, where I have usually arranged to just pick up the items. (I order online, and the store does the shopping and has it waiting for me.) There may be other stops too. By the time we're heading home, the back of the truck is full, and I still have to find room for the wheelchair. Or sometimes stuff gets piled on top of the wheel chair, and I have to move everything to get it out. A minor problem in the grand scheme of things, but still an annoyance.

When I saw this on TV this morning, a lightbulb went off. Measuring the wheelchair, I actually chortled. Who chortles anymore? The measurement I needed? A minimum of 36" by 48". Remember the sheets of plywood? 40" by 48". How handy!

It isn't as fancy as theirs, but it works for me. For a grand total of $4.00 of plywood, a few screws, and maybe 1 1/2 hours (it would have been way less, but my cordless drill was only charged enough to drill a few starter holes, I had to manually screw everything) of my time, I have the perfect hidey hole for the wheelchair.

Bags of feed, groceries, etc. can all pile on top of the platform, and the wheelchair fits nicely underneath. There is extra room under the platform too, so overflow stuff can tuck in around the wheelchair if necessary.

Eventually I might take the time to sand the edges down, and maybe even paint it to make it look nice, but I am pretty tickled with it the way it is.

Thursday, July 30, 2009


Imagine this fiber

spun into a fine single, knit into this edging,

and applied all along the edge here.

Would that work? I also imagine incorporating a small bead like this, maybe into each point of the edging? That might be overkill.

(Image from here.)

There is a slight problem with this whole scenario though. I can't knit lace. You'll notice the edging photo above has a strategically placed envelope? Yeah, it is hiding this.

I think I missed a knit row, which then made me start knitting the triangle the other way. Or something. I just know that last triangle is wrong. So very wrong. It is a pitifully easy pattern too. I'm hopeless.

Maybe I could use the fiber spun into a fine single, and use that to do blanket stitch around the edge, incorporating one of the beads into each stitch?

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

A needlefelted shawl

Alpaca/Cormo 50/50 mix needlefelted onto a crinkly fabric. I can't decide if it is done, or if I need to do some type of embellishment on the lapel. I don't know what kind of embellishment though.

The sunset a couple of nights ago.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Of Bees and Pickpockets

Yesterday evening, I noticed bees going in and out of cracks in my chimney. At any one time, there were probably 20 to 30 bees buzzing about. I figured I had a swarm in my chimney. I'm pretty sure there is a metal flue in there, so thought they were between the brick of the chimney, and the metal flue. Hmmm, would the heat from the furnace hurt the bees in the winter? I am all for helping the bees out, but wasn't sure what the best course of action would be. Leave them be, or try to get them out and into one of my hives that I've never used? Well, I may not have to do anything. I haven't seen a single bee yet today.

I've mentioned before how Mom is a skilled pick-pocket. She did it again.

I finally cast on Rusty Nail, all 419 stitches. I knit one row, and then Mom grabbed it out of my hands and several stitches disintegrated. I didn't want to rip and cast on again, so I just counted and dropped another stitch to have the proper multiple for the stitch pattern. I now have 411 stitches. I have little green point protectors I've been using in an attempt to keep all the stitches on my a bit too short needles. When I'm knitting, I put them in my pocket.

Yesterday, the phone rang as I was knitting. I took my knitting with me to answer the phone, and didn't put on the point protectors. In other words, they were in my pocket. (For the non-knitters, point protectors look like little erasers you shove on the ends of the needles when you're not knitting so stitches can't fall off the end.) After I was done on the phone, I herded Mom to the bathroom, and stepped on something. A green point protector. I looked at her closer, and she had something in her mouth. Ala the documentary, I fished it out. A green point protector. She must have fished them out of my pocket when I was on the phone. I didn't even notice. Gaaaah!

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Color Inspiration

A big wind came and scattered clematis petals across my deck. I love the purple against the gray. I sense another color way coming on.

I also sense another project to add to my to-do list. Power wash and seal the deck.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Workshop results

Yeeehaaa! I finally mastered blue. On my monitor at least, this looks just like it does in real life, a very deep indigo/almost black blue mixed with bits of gray. I learned several things at the workshop.

1. I am the boss of my camera. I don't care if it is throwing a hissy fit telling me the shot is underexposed, because

2. My camera lies. My eyes tell me one thing, the camera is telling me another. I learned to trust my eyes, because

3. I am smarter than my camera. Marginally.

4. I need to get my hands on some white foam core board to use as a reflector. It is amazing what a piece of foam core board will do to help reflect natural light back on the subject. I don't have any, so used a white mattress pad (it was the nearest big white thing sitting right there in the clothes basket after being washed) draped over my TV to assist in the shot above.

There is more, I'm sure, but can't think of any thing else right now. We didn't get back home until 12:30 am last night, even though I was a good girl and didn't stop at the Trader Joe's I drove by on the way back from the workshop. A Trader Joe's! I knew it would be late by the time I got to my sister's to pick up Mom, and even later by the time we got home, so didn't stop. I'm kicking myself now though. I should have stopped.

I didn't see this until I was looking through the 80 or so pictures it took to get the color right. The fiber rendition of "The Scream" by Edvard Munch.

Thursday, July 23, 2009


You have to look closely, but it is there.

I wish the rainbow meant that we actually got some rain. We got a sprinkling maybe. I have managed to only keep one pasture burdock free, so the animals are in that pasture. The grass is almost gone. I've been feeding hay to supplement. It is so frustrating. I have plenty of grass in other pastures, but they are full of $#@#@#! burdock in full bloom. If I let them in, there goes my fiber crop for the year, and it isn't exactly comfortable for the animals either. I just need a couple of afternoons (periodically) to get rid of the burdock.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Photo workshop

I'll be headed to St. Paul on Friday to take part in a photo workshop geared to knitters/fiber people. I will drop Mom off with my sister, then pick her up on my way home. It isn't really on my way home, quite a bit out of the way actually, but this is the only I can swing it. I'm happy my sister is willing to take care of Mom so I can go.

Stay tuned for more (better?)fibery photos! I bet you're thrilled.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

An old apron

I was doing some rearranging in the fiber room yesterday, and moved a box of sewing stuff/fabric that came from Mom's house. None of my other siblings are sewers much, so it came to me. I opened it and took a look through. Turns out, it wasn't just fabric. There were some of Mom's shirts in there too. Some of them, I remember sewing together with her. Perfect, threw those in the wash.

I also found this apron.

I don't remember it. I don't remember Mom wearing traditional aprons, really. She always wore what I think are called cobbler aprons. It just looks like a sleeveless shirt, usually with snaps down the front, and seam binding all around. She couldn't find them in the stores anymore. I remember taking apart one of her old ones to use as a pattern, and we sewed up several. A couple of these were the shirts I found in the box. They didn't look like they had ever been worn.

Right, back to the apron. It comes with delicate ric rac edging.

And worn spots. Or maybe bleach spots?


I don't know if the apron was Mom's or not. All of the apron strings were removed. She may have picked it up at a garage sale, intending to fix it for my sister. (My sister loves to use aprons.) My sister may have picked it up at a garage sale, and brought it to Mom's to have her fix it, only to find that Mom couldn't really sew anymore.

There was a partially sewn shirt in the box that only needed the bottom hem sewn, and buttons and button holes added. I will finish that up for Mom. There was also a fairly large piece of that same fabric. A light purple with tiny white polka dots.

I am going to use that fabric to make ties for the apron. My sister will have a new old apron for Christmas. If I can wait that long to give it to her.

Monday, July 20, 2009

I was wrong

When I said that weird sky hadn't dropped off aliens, I was wrong. I am surrounded, as far as the eye can see.

Oh sure, it all looks perfectly innocent. Just corn, right? Kinda pretty, even.

In a graphic sort of way.

So you live in harmony with it. Or drive through miles and miles of it, depending on where you live. Never once suspecting.

Auggghhh! Now I watch the fields suspiciously, wondering if that whole field hasn't just moved a bit closer. Walking to the mailbox, I find myself looking over my back.

Do you ever feel like you're being watched?

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Actual Knitting Content!

This is my swatch for Rusty Nail. Lace and I don't mix, but this is an attempt at slightly lace knitting that I think I might actually be successful at. Only 3 rows out of a 16 row repeat are something other than knit. On those 3 rows, you are doing the same thing the whole length of the row, except for a couple of knit edge stitches. I think I can do it!

The shawl is supposed to be knit lengthwise, casting on 400 something stitches. That makes for a very long row, and gives me pause. Stopping in the middle of a row usually causes problems for me. I might cast on 80 something stitches and knit it that way instead. I don't know, because I do like the long rows of lace effect. Decisions, decisions.

I've also done some spinning.

More deliberately overspun wool singles.

Guess what I'll be doing with these?

Friday, July 17, 2009

Art of Alzheimer's

The beret on top of an empty pie pan. A plastic seal. Circles on top of circles on top of circles.

This one almost didn't get documented. She had left it on the kitchen counter. I saw it, and got my camera. She came back into the kitchen, saw what I was focusing on, and became interested in it again. She almost dismantled it, but I fended off her hand and distracted her with something else just long enough to snap a few. That was close!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

A Mom Story

There was a lightning bug in my bedroom last night. At first I thought it was aliens from yesterday's sky, but then I realized it was just a lightning bug and relaxed.

Last night Mom and I were getting ready for bed. We were standing at the bathroom sink, and Mom was washing my hands. I've discovered that this is much easier than me trying to wash her hands. In the end, we both have clean hands, and I think Mom gets a sense of accomplishment out of it.

While we were standing there, Mom said "upstairs someplace". Now, it might just sound like two words to the rest of the world, but it means something a bit more in my family.

The family home is rather small. Tiny, by today's McMansion standard. The "upstairs" was one large room. It served as bedrooms for us kids, and general storage area for everybody. If you were looking for something, it was probably "upstairs someplace." This was generally said with a slight roll of the eyes and shoulder shrug, meaning, Hah, good luck finding it!

I don't know what Mom was looking for, and she might not have known either, but she damn well knew where to look for it!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Bad Sci-fi Film?

You look to the north, and see a perfectly innocent looking cloud formation. Ah, pretty. Everything's normal. Except for that odd glow. You turn to south/southwest.

Oh, that is what is creating the odd glow. This sky is taking over the normal sky.

This sky is creeping ever closer, obscuring the blue. Like in a bad sci-fi/disaster film, I can almost see the shot of the worried townsfolk all looking at the sky in wonder. Or horror.

I don't get out much.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009


Don't they look sweet?

I picked another 5 cups of blackberries this morning. There are so many out there, I can't keep up. I hate to see them go to waste. Some will have to go in the freezer.

I baked a rhubarb/blackberry/blueberry pie (actually it is still in the oven) based on a recipe from Their site seems to be down or I would link it. (Search for Berry Rhubarb Pie submitted by Susan Gills, if you want more details.) It called for raspberries, but I don't have any of those this year. Instead, I used two cups rhubarb, two cups blackberries, and 2 cups blueberries. The recipe has you combine the fruit with sugar and flour the night before, which I did. It seemed very juicy, so I didn't use all of the juice in the pie. I combined it with another two cups of blackberries, and about 3/4 cup of ginger syrup in a pan. I cooked it a few minutes until it got thick. I just tasted it. It will be lovely over ice cream. Or pancakes. Or, by the spoonful!

Monday, July 13, 2009

Where there's a will...

There's a way. Believe me, there was a will. I wanted those berries with every fiber of my being.

This is almost 4 cups of berries, that I picked in about a half an hour. I took the wire cutter to the fence, and by judiciously snipping a few wires, created windows through which my arm could fit. It was still way too slow though, and I was limited to what I could reach. It is like those berries were taunting me. What can I say, I am a greedy girl. I wanted them all!

I remembered that through another gate, not terribly far off, there was a section of fence that was only four foot. By pushing it down a little, I was able to get over it. I can almost hear my friend P yelling at me. The ankle is still puffy and bruising, so I probably shouldn't be climbing over fences and walking over rough ground through tall grasses and weeds. But the berries won't wait!

Muwahahaha! They were mine, all mine! There were birds cussing me out the whole time I was picking. I just told them that I pay the mortgage and taxes on this land, I'll pick what I want, thank you very much! There are still buckets left to pick, and more ripening. I can only do it while Mom is sleeping, so my time is limited.

Now, whatever shall I do with about 5 cups of blackberries?

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Free Food

I picked this small bowl (maybe 1 1/2 cups) of blackberries this morning. The berries are just starting to ripen, but there are buckets of them. The plants are wild volunteers that started growing in a small square of my property which we fenced off so the llamas couldn't get to it. (Where my electric meter is.) To actually get in there, I would need to climb over the 5 foot tall fence, or walk all the way around. I can't really do either and still be available to keep Mom safe quickly.

This bowl is what I could reach through the fence, or over top the fence. I am contemplating snipping a few wires here and there (it would be a fenestrated fence!) so more of my arm fits through. As it is, I have a hard time even getting my hand in. It is frustrating seeing all of those berries just out of reach!

Friday, July 10, 2009

Wall of Junk Update

I've added a few things to the wall of junk this year. A sweet little garden sign I picked up in Kansas City when I was there in March. A big horseshoe I found in the pasture, along with some rusty metal doodads I have no idea what they are, also found in the pasture.

The two inside panels of this side blew down in the fierce winds we had this winter. I finally re-erected them and put stuff back. Unfortunately it crushed a ceramic wall planter that used to hang there. A volunteer hollyhock is doing well in the compost pile this wall o junk screens.

I planted some sunflower seeds in front of the wall, should have thought to plant them in back. I think I planted them too late anyway, probably won't get any flowers before the frost hits. Next year I'll start earlier, and plant them in back. That will be nice to have some sunflowers nodding over the wall from the back. I have a few short zinnias planted on this side, but still feel like it needs more color. Maybe if I paint the clay pots that are hanging on the steel posts? Any suggestions?

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Color inspiration

I'm sensing a colorway coming on, but I'm still in the planning stages. To accomplish this, I'm thinking the blending will need to happen on the drum carder, not in the dyepot. If the red and green were to mix in the dyepot, I'd end up with a muddy mess.

In my mind's eye, I see a felted bag as the end result. Eh, this will take a while, too much standing involved right now.

Since I am camped out on the couch, I've been trying to do some knitting. I keep falling asleep though. Nothing much is getting accomplished around here!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

More Blessed Bovine

If you're not familiar with the saga of the Blessed Bovine, click on the Blessed Bovine label over on the right to read all about it.

This is the Blessed Bovine herself. She looks fat and happy.

This is her newest calf. Pica, I think the name is.

This is Flower's (the calf featured in the BB saga)calf. Diddy. Or maybe the BB's calf is named Diddy, and Flower's calf is named Pica. I don't remember. No matter their names, they sure are cute.

The weekend was a mixed bag, but still a lot of fun. We would no sooner get the hay raked and maybe one load baled, and it would rain lightly, just enough that we couldn't bale anymore. We finally were able to finish up on Sunday, each with 180 or so bales in the barn. I say we, but really it was my friends and neighbors that did the finishing up. I managed to sprain my ankle on Sunday just as we were about to start picking up bales. The girls took me to the ER while the guys, with the help of the neighbor and her girls, stacked the hay.

I'm lucky it happened when it did, with friends still here, and Mom not. There ended up being an opening at the AD unit, so she was there for the weekend. She is able to stay there until Wednesday, then my sister will pick her up and bring her back here. My sister is trying to get Family Medical Leave for a couple of days, so she can come and take care of Mom during the day. I know I can't keep up with her right now. As difficult as it is for me to let happen, it is one of those cases where I have to let myself heal, so I can continue to take care of Mom.

Meanwhile, the neighbor is taking care of my animals. I'm doing ok on the level surfaces of the house, but the uneven ground outside is expressly forbidden. I keep thinking of all the things I could be doing outside since Mom isn't here, but I just need to stop. Easier said than done though.

Thursday, July 2, 2009


Need I say more?

Probably not, but I'm going to. I have friends flying in from Philadelphia and driving up from Kansas City for the holiday weekend. There is no room at the inn (The AD unit Mom usually goes to has no beds available, and hasn't for the last two months.), so Mom will be here too. Little did my friends know that they would end up slinging hay bales for their holiday. That's what they get for going to a farm for vacation!

I'm sure we'll sneak in some fun too. My little town does it up big for the 4th. Complete with pie and ice cream social, street dance, tractor pull, bingo, Lion's Club breakfast, parade, and of course a fireworks display.

Have a fun and safe long weekend!