Sunday, April 28, 2013

Gardening, More Crocuses, and Moving a Coop

I started digging the weeds out of the older veggie garden today. The weather is beautiful, high 60s, low 70s depending on whether clouds obscure the sun. So far I've cleared about an 18" by 12' patch along the chain link fence side. I'd like to get some snow peas planted tomorrow. My back is aching at the moment so I'm taking a rest and having a glass of water.

I intended to start yesterday but instead helped Hal put the netting back up over the hutch run.
A few days ago he brought his tractor back from hunting camp and moved the hutch from the other side of the driveway where all the raccoon attacks happened and put it next to the original coop in the yard. Then he put the old dog kennel fencing back around it, he had to dig it into the hill on the north side to level it out. Did a wonderful job and today he even made proper perches for the 3 sections. I plan to put some birds in tonight to breed and hatch eggs next month in the incubator.
I also took more photos of my crocuses. There weren't very many yellow or white ones, the purple ones seem to be the hardiest. They are very pretty whatever color they are.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Bought More Yarn

Jo-Ann Fabrics was having a sale so last week I took my neighbor shopping to Alpena and that was the first place we stopped. I helped her get the items she needed for a quilt her friend was making and then I wandered into the yarn aisle I say aisle because it's a small store (lucky we have it being such a small city) and has exactly one aisle of which only half is yarn, the other half is embroidery thread and needles and hooks.

I was looking for some fingering weight (yarn the thickness used for cotton socks) for a shawl I'm starting in May along with a bunch of other crocheters, all on-line. It's called a crochet-a-long. But I digress. There isn't much at this store in that weight except for actual sock yarn, most of which is a dull mat color and most of that was already gone. Then one of the employee pointed to a little stand outside of the aisle with sale yarn and I can imagine the only reason there was still yarn on it was that it was not in the actual yarn aisle. I found yarn on the bottom shelf and found 6 skeins with the same dye lot in a purple multi-color. I bought them all as each skein only contains 185 yards. They cost $2.79 each plus tax.
 On my way out of the store another employee (maybe it was the one, I wasn't paying attention) mentioned there were clearance yarns up front by the registers. Usually, there is nothing interesting to me there but I looked and though I didn't really need any more yarn, at $1.97 a skein, well, I couldn't resist. I bought the last 3 of this champagne colored yarn by Patons. It's only 426 yards total so whatever I make with it will be short but hopefully I can find something.
The other yarn was this angel hair by Sensations, the store brand yarn. I managed to get the last 6 of these in the same dye lot as well but it's still only 720 yards of yarn. I'm sure I can find a shawl for this one though.
Now if only I could find more yarn, there are a couple small local yarn shops, haven't been to one at all and the other it's been years but I don't remember it having a lot either. Otherwise it's a 2.5 hour drive to the nearest larger "big box" store. *sigh*

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Neglecting my Blog, Again

I didn't mean to wait this long to post, but out of sight, out of mind. I really need to keep a tab open in my browser with this blog loaded. I've been taking lots of photos and doing lots of things with the intent to blog about it and now I've got so much I don't know where to begin. This may be out of order chronologically, which sort of upsets my internal balance, but I'll get over it. It's not earth shattering after all.

I'm working on the edging of that purple shawl I mentioned April 11th. I'm feeling my way with it, trying to combine 2 different edgings into one I understand better. Not having done any real designing in crochet before, this could be great or a disaster. The body of the shawl is a couple inches longer than the last photo but I had to stop and start the edging to make sure I had enough yarn as I only have 4 skeins total. Hopefully, next month I'll have a new photo of the finished wrap.

Hal and I bought a bed. One of those foam mattress sets, a Serta iComfort Prodigy. Those things are NOT cheap. I'm pretty happy with it but Hal is having problems He feels the version we bought is too firm. Our salesman (son of the owner) says to give it a month to break it and us in. He says he'll do right by us, supposedly we're allowed one exchange. But the fine print says "of equal or greater value". He neglected to mention that stipulation before we signed on the dotted line. The bed Hal thinks will be better is $200 cheaper but he's willing to lose that to get the softer bed. I'm going to see if they'll at least throw in a free pillow. Those aren't cheap either. Fingers crossed on this one, stay tuned, a month is a couple weeks from now.

Luna's got a limp. It's either a pulled/torn muscle or a torn ligament. I hope it's the muscle because ligaments usually require surgery. It's her left front leg that Ziggy yanked on about a month ago. She squealed at the time and limped for a couple days then it seemed to go away till a few days ago. I'm limiting her walking (and therefore mine and Ziggy's because she looks so sad when I leave her) but there hasn't been much improvement. It doesn't help that she likes to bounce up and down when she gets excited. She gets excited when I walk into the room. *sigh*

As for the weather, spring finally arrived in force I would say. The temps have been better, in the 50s and low 60s and the snow finally melted as did most of the pond ice, only a little there now. In fact my crocus started blooming last week.
And the pussy willows started a couple weeks ago but it's been so cold that they've still barely popped out.
And today I woke up to a dusting of snow. Actually, it's closer to 1/4" of snow but the ground is so warm it's only stuck to the deck and trees. Still, it's rather annoying as predicted temps are only 45f today, colder than normal yet again. No sun either so it will probably stick around most of the day. However, I refuse to take a photo of it. It can just go away to be barely remembered.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Bit of an Ice Storm

Last time I was outside, around 7:30 PM EDT there was at least a quarter inch of ice on the ground. Had to wear my spiked boots to even walk on the deck without falling. It's still going on, could be half an inch out there for all I know. It's been a cold, mostly miserable April weather-wise this year. And when I check the forecast in the morning by the afternoon they've changed it 2 or 3 times and always the temperatures go down. Getting a little tired of this.

But in other news, the shawl goes on. Finished up the first skein of yarn this morning and this is what it looks like.
I'll attach another skein tomorrow and keep on going till I've decided it's big enough to add the edging. I'm also still plugging away on the hexagons for the afghan but there isn't really any reason to show more photos of those till I do something with them.

That's it for now.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Snow? and Owls!

There is a storm the Weather Channel has named Walda heading this way. Apparently, it's dumping all sorts of snow all over the plains and is lining up to hit northern Wisconsin and Michigan. I've been watching the predictions and it changes back and forth from rain to snow to ice pellets, back to snow over the next 3 days. Since there isn't anything I can do about it I find it rather amusing. We're either getting 1 inch, 3 inches, 4 inches, and the latest is 7 inches on Thursday and 1 on Friday. Rather annoying since most of the snow is gone and the icy patches on the trails in the woods are finally melting. Any snow would insulate the ice and make walking treacherous again. I'm tired of wearing my boots with the cleats. It beats falling and getting a concussion though.

So while the weather does its thing I've still been walking the pups and crocheting. On one of our walks I happened to have my camera with me and got a few photos of something that I almost missed.

I'm pretty sure it's a Barred Owl. It was sitting in a dead tree just a few feet off the ground. I was probably about 30 feet away when I noticed it and that was only because it turned its head trying to keep track of Luna and Ziggy behind it and me in front. Eventually, Ziggy got too close and it flew off very silently. These aren't the greatest photos but with all those dead branches my camera had a hard time focusing. Pretty cool though.

Oh, and our new bed arrived today, one of those foam mattresses. We spent a couple hours at a store a little over a week ago just laying about and trying one mattress after another and foam seemed to be the most comfortable to us. We get 30 days to try it out to make sure we like it. Got the funny pillows, too. Hal got a flatter heavy one and I got one with a lot of bounce to it. Now it's time to try reading in bed and then sleeping. Hopefully, we'll sleep well.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Frogging the Monster Ripple Afghan

I finally started frogging yesterday. (For those not in the know, frogging is ripping, ripping sounds like ribbit, therefore, frogging.) The huge, giant, ungainly, unwieldy, monstrosity of an afghan I started many years ago is now smaller than it was the day before. This was supposed to be for our king size bed, in fact I spread it out over that same bed just to show it's size. It was becoming more of a bed spread than a throw on the top afghan. And the yarn is much too heavy to be a bed spread. My mistake was in the starting chain. I made it for a smaller hook then changed to a larger hook and forgot to shorten the chain. Then I kept going even after I realized my mistake because, after all, that was a lot of work. When I finally decided this was insane I stuffed it into the closet where it has been hibernating for a number of years.

I never measured it but it's probably about 9 feet wide.
I've been turning the frogged bits into nice balls of yarn. I even learned how to make balls that let me pull the yarn out of the center. Much better than having a ball roll all over the floor as it unwinds from the outside!
What I decided to do with the yarn was make another king size afghan but this time out of hexagons. I only started a few days ago so I haven't gotten very far but I've made 16. I need at least 81. I haven't decided if I will whip stitch them together or crochet between each motif. I also, so far anyway, have thrown out the plain tan color and am only using the variegated yarns.

Two hexagons made from 3 of the original colors.
 I'm also using some yarn left over from another project to make some bluer centers. This is how things are shaping up now. I don't know the actual pattern I'll eventually place them in but this is what I've got so far. Now time to make some more.