Saturday, January 09, 2016

Saturday Morning :: Eight

He almost always looks uneasy, anxious, bewildered. Our Chango. He's our dear old man cat.

With Infinity More Monkeys, a picture a day.

Thursday, January 07, 2016

Lightning and Thunder and Rain, Oh My!

Apparently, we are taking a "pounding..." our weather has brought rain, hail, thunder, lightning, and flooding, snow, tornado watches, which were downgraded to "gustnados?" To cap it all off, there was even an earthquake! I cannot bear to check the accident reports: We are silly, naive drivers, with no comprehension of the laws of physics; in rain our ignorance is only compounded. If it weren't so true, it would be funny. Oh, heck, it is funny. Yeah, I wanted to bring the kids out of school, early, we checked our candles, made mashed potatoes, debated what room of our house qualifies as a "basement." It's been a blast! It's a novelty. It's exhilarating... huddling together through sky ripping rounds of thunder! Dashing through downpours, clearing blocked drains in the yard, then digging canals, and navigating large puddles that we've named, like lakes discovered by early explorers! We are novices, inadequately dressed, bemused citizens of a sunny and golden state.

It's raining! At last. Take care, friends.

Draining The Pond :: Six

Alex helped me dig drainage trenches, move sandbags, and raise the soil level near the house. We've hardly seen this much rain since moving here, and more to come! The work I did between storms was helpful, but I think there will be some more shoring up to do today for the chickens and goats.

With Infinity More Monkeys, a picture a day.

Wednesday, January 06, 2016

Between Storms

We're between storms this morning. There was hardly a break from all the rain we had yesterday, and the news full of flooding reports, even structure collapses. This morning, under blue skies, with birds singing, I took some time to maintain the coop and run, to comfort and assure the goats. Their yard is deep in mud, and sloshy, not easy to walk across, not ready for the rain to come. So, from our yard recycling bin, I filled a basket with pine needles... load after load to lay down on the mud. I only have to turn the basket over, dumping the needles in heaps, then the chickens take over kicking and spreading it, covering up puddles, making the mud navigable. The goats help, too... eating, nibbling, chewing, munching, and dining on dry, crisp pine needles. It's as though I brought them a tray of irresistible nachos! Their eyes glaze over in snack bliss. Friend, our blue jay visitor, and Shy Friend, followed me around the yard, and waited for their snack... peanuts. A hummingbird, and a mocking bird perched in the potato vine. It's hard to imagine there will be more rain, but we'll be ready. The goat's cottage has a new layer of dry and eatable bedding. The hens have laid, and are rummaging through the refreshed ground cover. It's good we have this time, between storms.

Fair Weather Goat :: Five

Tasha Tudor Goat testing the air for raindrops. Is it safe?

With Infinity More Monkeys, a picture a day.

Tuesday, January 05, 2016


WIP inventory and stash sorting... after months and months of crocheting on the go, I seem to have amassed three bags of works in progress, and a lot of confusion, hooks, snippets, tangles, three shawls, a scarf, and the granny square blanket squares. My sister-in-law gave me new skeins for my birthday, including some of that yummy Angel Hair by buttercream. Another scarf, coming up! I want to finish all of it, each of them... you know what I mean. And that's a nice feeling, rather than having no interest, being bored by it all. But, it's time to asses what's needed, to make some plans, and get organized. {Again}

The blanket demands the most assessing and planning. I jumped in, full of enthusiasm and no idea where I was going! How many squares will I need? How many of each different pattern, color? {It was fun trying new patterns of colors and ratios, but now I have an absolute randomness assortment.} One thing I am insisting on: I will make a large blanket. I have plenty of quilts and afghans that are two feet too short. I can call them "wraps," or "lap" blankets, but that trick is wearing thin, and the taller people in this house would appreciate long, wide, full sized blankets, and I agree with them.

Barely three skeins left, so this WIP definitely calls for going back to the store, hoping they have more in stock, and that they are fabulously discounted. {It can't hurt to hope.}

I also photographed the details about the yarn, because the wrapper will get tossed... it's inevitable. And I photographed the hook, because those get lost, too, and I can never remember what size hook I was using with any given project. {Please, tell me I am not alone.}

Everything laid out. 47 squares. 1 square on the hook. 6 squares by 8 squares? 7 squares by 7 squares? There need to be a lot more squares!

With what I have so far, let's see if we can start to see something pleasing...

My hope is to make the most of the squares I have made, so I don't have too much that I cannot use. {I really did get carried away with playing around with the different color ratios.}

This has a lot of potential. Darker center, optimal use of what's on hand. And... it's obvious I need to make a lot more squares... not surprising.

Missing, I count:
8 medium raspberry Completed January 13.
2 dark gray Completed January 4th.
11 pink Completed January 9th.
3 gray(2) dk raspberry(2) pink(2) Completed February 16.
3 gray(2) dk raspberry(1) pink(3) Completed February 17

47 squares (done) + 27 (to go) = 74 squares + binding stitches, and a border(?)
68 squares (done) + 6 (to go) = 74 squares + binding stitches, and a border(?) January 13

**Update :: January 13**
Now I see that the pattern definitely requires at least two more squares all the way around, which would be what? Thirty-six for one pass, and forty for another?! I can get no more than five squares per skein, so that adds up to fifteen?? more skeins?? In other words the most expensive blanket in the world? How do knitters do it? Never mind... It seems to me that lap blankets are quite lovely, good for winter comfort, and summer nights, after all.

Will that be long enough? Maybe I will add squares on either end. Or maybe I'll make a lap blanket.

Here is the tutorial I used for the granny squares. And I do see that learning how to block my squares is absolutely essential. Any tutorials or tips you can share on blocking will be most welcome, thank you!

**Update :: January 31**
Long delay, because I ran out of the pink yarn. Was loath to make the long drive to the craft store that sells this particular brand. But! Lo! And Yeah! Jo-Anns sent coupons for their online yarn sale, and now I have some pink yarn ordered. It will be another week before it arrives, but then I'll be back to finishing squares, again.

**Update :: February 16**
At last the new yarn was delivered, so I can pick up where I left off. Time to finish: 3 gray(2) dk raspberry(2) pink(2), then
3 gray(2) dk raspberry(1) pink(3)

**Update :: February 18**
Gah! Now what??

Lunch :: Four

Tomato and pepper soup, with grilled cheese.

With Infinity More Monkeys, a picture a day.

Monday, January 04, 2016

Warmth Light Cheer

Is it any wonder I was crestfallen and in denial about the end of our winter break? The end of long days, freedom, no more late nights for fun, and late mornings for sleep. The simple fact is: It's all been too much fun to give up! For sanity's sake, I am not going to list all the reasons it's difficult to end a vacation. We know why, right? For the sake of moving forward with some hope and optimism, I will reflect on what we enjoyed and then begin to lay the ground work for as much warmth, light, cheer, celebration, friend gatherings, and engagement in January, February, and March, as we've enjoyed in the last few weeks!

We enjoyed friends coming by, sharing activities, meeting to skate into the New Year with family, and going out for celebrations, too. We enjoyed assembling new toys, playing with friends, even going to school was a welcome treat when it meant caring for the school garden. Cooking favorite dishes, like enchiladas, was good, and bringing home gorgeous school garden veggies was a bonus for all! It's been a happy, healthy, and satisfying break, without hardly anything to do but what we love to do, with the ones we love.

So. I have this intention about making more deliberate choices, being in the moment, having plans, so that even an hour can be meaningful, gratifying, so that we don't go days and weeks without having a sense of wonder, and joyful engagement, so we can connect with friends, and have common goals for good experiences, and fulfilling projects. I've been trying to grasp what it is that makes winter break, Christmas, the holidays feel quite special... and I think it's knowing there are plans in place, traditions to follow, and having so many people in a like mind and purpose. It cannot all be joyful and sparkling; there are always chores, obligations, setbacks, but I think we achieve more, see greater happiness, because we intend to be happy, to feel joy, to make the light. Our expectations are raised, and it seems to generate motivation to facilitate and create delight, exuberance, meaningful contacts and discourse, play.

Balance, optimism, deep breathing... oh yes, my brain is greatly entrenched in some new year reflection and other musings. It's good, right? We try, and try again, to get things right, to do better, to figure it all out. There's something fortunate and valuable in choosing to make things work, trying a new method, accepting that it may be time to reassess how we see the world, or a day, or how we manage our beliefs.

Now, to the dishwasher, and hanging up clothes, feeding chickens. The messier stuff of life, but with happy thoughts of winter break, and things to come...