Saturday, August 20, 2016

On Gardens and Chickens

I'm pretty sure if you've read my blog for any time, you know I live in the country. I didn't grow up in the country, though my family did have about an acre of yard with a swimming pool - an above ground up until the year I moved out and then they put in the in-ground my dad promised me (my dad owns a pool company). This left plenty of yard for a pretty large garden. Gardening was my only connection to 'farming' beyond seeing fields apon fields of crops - I grew up just outside of Wichita, but we are in Kansas, so you can't really escape that:)

When I met my hubby at the ripe 'old' age of 14, he introduced me to the world of farming. His family no longer farmed the land they owned- having rented it out to a neighbor, but still lived on it and I was able to watch the day-to-day life of farming. My father-in-law loved to garden and some years his garden reached around a half acre in size, though it was often much smaller than that. He grew things that he and my mother-in-law would never eat, but loved growing anyway and giving his produce away to family and friends.

When we moved from town out to the country on 10 acres, we put in a decent sized garden and have grown okra, green beans, tomatoes (of course!!), peppers, watermelon, and even our own pumpkins (edible). I love having a big garden, but umm, remember how I said I didn't grow up in the country. Well, I didn't grow up to love the hot, humid, bug infested summer months either. So while I'm all excited in April/May to get the seeds and plants in the ground, I usually have given up on it all around Mid July/August- yes about the time to harvest, but also weed!! So after several years of fighting the heat and bugs and long hours that it takes to keep up with a large garden (also around the time I found out I have R.A. so crawling around on the ground can be painful sometimes), we decided to scale back the garden a whole lot...
A picture from last year.
We put in 2 of these raised beds instead. One bed for tomatoes and the other for bell and hot peppers. We always had his dad to rely on to grow the rest of what we would need anyway. We had briefly discussed putting in a bigger garden this year after losing his dad this spring, but there just wasn't time. I think growing a bigger garden in the future would be a good/healing thing for my husband though.

This morning, since it wasn't too hot yet, I decided to go out to our itty-bitty garden and take some pictures.

These are tomato horn worms - or that is what we call them anyway. They can get pretty big and they are kind of aggressive if you try to pull them off the plants, so I usually just break off the stem they are on and carry them over to my girls...
The girls like getting treats from the garden. They do get to free range in the afternoon/evening, but I make sure they have laid their eggs before letting them out (lesson learned the hard way!!).
Small harvest from today. Yummy veggies and light green eggs (the girls are Americanas).

Hope you are having a wonderful day!!

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Yarn Along

Ginny over at Small Things started a Yarn Along, probably at the beginning of this year, but since I wasn't blogging, reading blogs, or knitting for that matter at the beginning of this year, I missed out on this. I've decided that I'd like to join in a bit here and there now. Ginny hosts this knitting and reading Yarn Along each week with the opportunity to link up and then follow along with what others are knitting and reading too!! How fun!!

SO here is my contribution for the week...

First, my knitting... I'm currently knitting on a Mystery Shawl called Dockside from Alicia Plummer. The Plum Dandi Ravelry group is doing this as a MKAL and I am a bit behind, but I'm really enjoying this knit. I'm using Ultra Alpaca from Berroco which is an alpaca/Peruvian wool blend in colorway 6214 which I would say is a sand color. I usually have several knitting projects going at one time - and goodness knows I have several others started, but this is the only one I'm actively working on right now.
And now my reading... I got the recommendation for the book 'Counting by 7's' by Holly Goldberg Sloan from Steph at Woolthyme. Her blog is where I found this Yarn Along as well:) When I went to look for the book I found it in the children's section at my library and almost didn't pick it up because of that, but I'm glad that I didn't put it back. The story does revolve around the life of a 12 year old, but it was a really good, thought provoking book and I'm glad I read it. The biggest problem that I had with it, which is a problem I have with any book that I really like and get drawn into, is that I started it in an evening and then stayed up until 1:30 am to finish it. I have in the past forbidden myself from reading fiction books because of this problem, but I think I'm just going to have to deal with it, because I really like to read. :0)

The next book is Sweater Quest by Adrienne Martini and I just started it yesterday. It's not fiction, but rather the thoughts of the author as she sets about knitting the mother of all sweaters. So far, it's been really entertaining. Not one to keep me up all night, thankfully, but one I'll probably have finished by the end of this weekend.

The last book is The Creative Habit - Learn It and Use It for Life by Twyla Tharp. I'm not sure about this one yet, depite having had this book out from the library for over 4 weeks now. I'm only just a bit into it, and although there have been some good incites on growing your creativity and such, I'm thinking it's geared more towards those who rely on their creativity for their professional life. Like if you create ballets (which Ms Tharp does) or are a professional artist, musician, etc. The very first part of the book did seem to relate to the lay person as well, but more and more it's is detaching from that. I will keep plugging along for now and see if I can gleam more out of it before giving up.

Now I'm going to go and check out what books/knitting everyone else is working on and see if I can get myself in trouble 'needing' a new book or knitting project!! :)

Thursday, August 11, 2016

A Finish and a New Start

and another new start, and possibly another??? Oh, and a WIP as well:)

And this post is just about stitching, you should see how many yarn creations I have going as well!!

During most of the early part of this year, my creative mojo was just non-existent. Especially with stitching. I think I only picked up stitching a time or two in the first 4 months or so of the year. I have, however remedied that a bit since then.

I started out working on....
This is 'She Feeds Them Well' from The Scarlett House and I'm stitching this one for my mother-in-law. She LOVES birds (and flowers) and I think the verse on this is just perfect for her. If you can't make out the verse, it says..."They come to feast, And she feeds them well, Who loves it more, It's hard to tell.'  I've already showed it to her as it is stitched on 40ct, and some of that is over 1. I did not want to put the work into this if it wasn't something she was interested in:)

I worked mostly on this for about a month, just long enough to make it look like the birds are carrying the poor woman's head off;) Maybe I can just leave it like this and call it a Halloween chart? Not sure m-i-l would like it so much then, ha!!

Then I decided to join in on an exchange with a stitching group I'm in. I haven't participated in one for a while, so it was a lot of fun. Here is what I stitched...
This is Signs of Summer from Bent Creek. It was a fun, quick project and it turned out so cute, so I decided that I wanted to stitch another one for myself. Plus I really like the Autumn and Winter charts as well (not so much the Spring one though) so I might go ahead and stitch the whole series of them. But here is my problem...
I stitched the exchange project on a random piece of fabric (or possibly what the chart called for even, but I don't remember), so I just picked out another random piece of fabric (the darker one) and started stitching. And while I like how the colors are popping on it, it doesn't look very summer-y. So I put that away and found a lighter color of fabric and started stitching, but the colors are already getting lost. Today I pulled out all the fabric in my stash that I thought would be close and the one I like best is actually what the chart calls for (WHY DID I NOT LOOK AT THAT FIRST?!?!?). Next step, to decide how much I really like this chart, and if I will live with one of the two that I started or start again.. I'll let you know how that goes:)

Time to get off here and tackle the dishes, and the laundry, and, and, and... Or, I might just knit a little first;)

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

It's been a while

A long while, and now it's time to get back to blogging and reading blogs, and all things bloggy!!

We've had quiet a year and it's taken some time to wind down and get things all back in order. First, my hubby has just been able to slow down on overtime for the past couple of months, he'd been on overtime since last July. He and his family got his parents moved off the farm, the farm that his dad had grown up on and he and his brother as well, and into a really lovely house in town last November (took 3 months and an auction all while on overtime). In December hubby was hopeful that things would settle down, both at home and with work, and decided it was time to figure out new transportation for both of us, so he bought me a car....

And I loved it!! We found it for a good deal, but it needed a new engine, which he thought he'd have time to do.

Then his dad, who had been fighting a battle with cancer got sicker. He was in and out of the Dr.'s and hospital for a couple months, then entered the hospital to stay in February. He was transported to a couple different hospitals to find the right solution, but lost his battle while in Hospice in March. His wife and sons where able to be with him when he peacefully left this world for the next.

This is still so hard. He was such a huge part of our lives, a father to me since I was 14, and so, so close to the grandkids.

So the car got put off, until my car could go no further. And with Hubby trying to help with his mom, trying to recover himself and still on overtime, I ended up with a brand new car!! Hubby also bought a used car for himself as his old car was about done for too. And now the blue RAV is done as well, which is really perfect because our dd is 17 and is finally just about ready to start driving too.

Hubby is starting to get some home-time now, but still spends several evenings a week over at his mom's house. She is doing well, and we are so thankful that his dad worked so hard to make sure she was all settled and taken care of before he went.

I have lots and lots of stitchy, crafty, yarny things to show you as well as little critters and gardening things. Will be back in a couple of days to show some of that off:)

Monday, December 7, 2015

Winter Came Crashing Down

My last post talked of how I was holding on to the Autumn season with everything I had. I'm thinking that Mother Nature must have heard me wrong and decided that what I really wanted was Winter to come as fast as possible because within a couple days that is just what happened. Not a nice, calm, beautiful snowstorm, but ice and freezing rain. And it lasted for 3 days:/ Thankfully we never did lose power, thought I don't know how, but it was a blessing as our pellet heater runs on electricity. Here are a few pictures from the storm...

This was a solid sheet of ice and you can see a few branches as they stated crashing down.

This is when it was almost over and it looks like this on all sides of the house. The sound was awful, but thankfully none that hit the house were very big and we had no damage.

I am happy to report that warmer weather is coming back, at least for the time being. I know I can't fight off winter for much longer:)

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Holding on to Autumn

Hello all!! I don't know about you, but these past few months have just been flying by. It feels like we should just be entering into Autumn, not seeing the end of it. I am determined to hold on to the last few days/weeks with all I have before giving into Christmas mania:) Usually I am excited for the holidays to come, but it seems like it is being pushed on us earlier and earlier every year and I just need things to slow down a bit. I do admit that I started looking at a few Christmas things this past week, but I'm planning on waiting until next week before I really get into it.

So instead of working on Christmas related crafting, I've been working on a couple Autumn(ish) themed projects.

1st is...

These are pumpkin shaped wash cloths and they will be a house warming/Thanksgiving hostess gift for my mother-in-law. I had to look up a couple of the stitch instructions on this, but overall it has been an easy project. I just have a bit to do on the second one, have to figure out how to attach the vine and then weave in all the ends:) The pattern is free at KnitPicks.

The second project is...

Yes, I have an orange thing going on!! This scarf will be for me as I only have one scarf and it was the first knitting project I did. It's fine, but not as pretty as this and I wanted something in a pretty Autumn color:) I am using Heartland by Lion's Brand in colorway Yosemite. This pattern is called Chunky Fir Tree Lace Scarf, and can be found on Ravelry for just over $1.00 USD.

Hope everyone is enjoying their Autumn (or spring) to the fullest!!

Monday, October 19, 2015

Well, Hello There

It's been a few months, how are you all doing? We are now a couple months into this school year and I think it's been one of the slowest years yet to feel like we are settling in to a schedule. Partly because of changes in activities for dd, and partly because of dh's crazy schedule. He's been on overtime for about 2 months now, which means he gets up at 3:00 am and would normally get home around 5:00 pm (and then go to bed early so he can get up early:). But this overtime schedule collided with his parent's finding a house in town that they really love. So he has also been spending a few evenings a week and all weekend at the family farm helping his parents pack up, get ready for an auction and moving. It's been a really busy couple of months for him. On top of this, our insurance sent a letter saying they would be out to take pictures of the property for their underwriters. This means that we need the buildings to look kept up or they can drop us from the insurance (they would give us time to make repairs if needed, of course). We knew the house needed painted, so dd and I started scraping and painting a couple weeks ago. Thankfully dh was able to get a couple days off work to help get it finished up. The siding really needs replaced, not just painted as we believe this is the original siding (built in 1920), but paint is going to have to do for now. We really need to replace (and re-wire) the porch light. You tend to ignore things like that until you post a pic on your blog and then it sorta stands out!! :)  
Graci guarding our front porch. She's starting to feel the effects of age (13 years old).

I'm super excited to report that it is starting to feel like Autumn around here!!! We are still having highs in the 80's here and there, but more and more it is cooling off and the leaves are changing. I really love this season:)
Of course, we have to get some Autumn yummy-ness going too. I've not tried the hot apple cider flavor yet, but the pumpkin spice is really good - especially with a bit of pumpkin creamer thrown in, and the hibiscus cranberry tastes like Christmas in a cup - YUMMY!!
As for crafty time, well, I've kinda let it all slide. I did get one knitting project done, and started a couple others, but not much else and almost no stitching. I did start a Christmas Ornie yesterday and I'm hoping to be able to show that to you by the end of the week along with the knitting project I finished. Until then, Happy Autumn!!