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Tuesday, March 31, 2015

A bit of this....and a bit of that....

Was super busy all day but did not do anything that was news worthy. Woke up to the sun shining and all the birds chirping and whipping around looking for the best place to build a nest. Have to remember to get some fleece out and put in the trees for them to use, the baby birds will be hatched into soft alpaca nests! Flipped mattress's on the beds and washed bedding...this is what the first warm sunny day does to a person! Was on my way out to say hello to the barnyard beasties but sister phoned...she was walking the dogs and we ended up discussing our trees, she walking through hers and me through mine, me checking wind damage...and there is damage! Picked up some branches but some need to be cut down, both of us checking to see what was growing...the joy of cell phones. Then I seen RH heading for the house for lunch so in I came. Then watered the house plants I did not get watered the other day.Carded some more of the dog hair/alpaca/wool. Will recard it tomorrow and I can start spinning it up, then the day was going fast and it was time to find something to have for dinner. I had a lady phone and want some knit dishcloths and I said o.k. thinking yes I can just whip them up...and then...why do I do this....I remembered a new pattern to make them so they are a little more sturdy....why oh why did I not just knit the cloths I always do because the new pattern is sturdy but is a pain!! I could have had at least two or more knit in the time it took me to knit this one! Tomorrow...back to the original pattern!
It has been over a year since I finished knitting this sweater, finally got all the ends worked in and washed and blocked it, was just going to sew the zipper in it....and had this thought....maybe I should make a lining for it....so there it is waiting until I can get some fabric. I see a lot of the heavy knit sweaters have lining sewn in, sweaters probably hold their shape better.Well that was my day!! Tomorrow is another day!

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Doesn't Everybody go out and lecture their Plants???

Everything is starting to come up in the flower gardens, look what I found this morning!!!
Two of my Delphiniums are already poking out of the ground!! I have never seen them so early! I am so afraid it is going to get cold enough to freeze....so I gave them a good talking to this morning! Silly girls!! I better find something I can cover them up just incase. I spent the morning planting tomato and pepper seeds in flats in the house, so I have nine different kinds of tomatoes planted, eight kinds I planted five seeds each and one variety I planted ten seeds and I planted three kinds of peppers...one is a chocolate coloured pepper...should be interesting. Most of the tomato seeds came from my Aunt in the U.S. and are heritage seeds. Do not know where I am going to plant all of them...the greenhouse only holds so many. Once the seeds sprout I will have to get them out under the grow lights in the shed and the warmer matt for under them...if I can find the warmer matt......guess what RH used it for this winter.....he put it in the barn cats bed to keep them warm.... And I did find a few minutes to knit a bit, have the one sock finished and got a start on the second one. Tomorrow is another day...which.. could be interesting...RH is going to build a wooden picnic table that folds up into a bench......remember the stress of the bluebird houses.....send me survival vibes please...and Lord...send me patience.....

Friday, March 27, 2015

Where did the day go?? It is almost over and I am still looking for it........

The day is almost over...and I really do not know where it went...what did I get done today....
I know this is what took my whole morning, I added the sugar to the Choke Cherry juice I spent the day yesterday cooking up berries and straining the juice off them. I put the kettle with the juice on the stove to heat up and added the sugar, while it was heating I got the canning jars out and.......I do not have new lids to fit the jars!! Why can I not get my act together!! RH was on his way to town so I gave him an old lid and he was going to see if he could find some in one of the stores....I was worried as it is not canning season......I said call me if you find some and I will get the juice cooking and be ready to put it in the jars when you bring the lids. He did find some and called me so I got the juice boiling and he came with the lids and I have it all finished. Now the recipe I found said add the sugar to the juice and boil for five minutes......five minutes...you got to be kidding....I cooked it for at least two hours before it was the right consistency. The syrup is sooo good, the berries were off the bushes my sister planted in her yard and I have never had such flavourful Choke Cherry Syrup, it is amazing, will have to ask her where she got the plants. Two days to get these few jars of Syrup but when you taste it...it was worth it! O.K. that took care of the morning.....and part of the early afternoon. Then I went out to the shed where I have all my plants I saved over the winter and checked to see if any needed watering.
Look what I found on another of my little vines.....the littlest yellow flowers...I kept the vines over in the shed last year and none of the vines bloomed. look at all my plants I kept over...they all need to be clipped down...what am I going to do with all these plants until I can get them into the greenhouse and then outside in the yard?? I am sure we are going to get some freezing weather before it really warms up. I can put a little heater in the greenhouse but will it be enough if it really turns cold, my plants are like my children so I would be out in the greenhouse all night worrying about them. I also checked my flowerbeds and so many plants are already coming up...do they know spring is really here? Now on the fibre scene....I did get the sock I was working on finished except for finishing the end of the toe, just have a little more dog hair/alpaca/wool to card so I can spin it.....I have to admit...I am not enjoying this! The dog hair is quite short so really sticks to the carding cloth...but am working at it. Tomorrow is another day!

Thursday, March 26, 2015

A Little bit of Everything but not Accomplishing anything......Really...But will do Better Tomorrow....I Hope....

It was one of those mornings that you wake up too early...then finally fall asleep and end up sleeping in so you are running behind all day!! Last fall my sister picked the Choke Cherry berries off her bushes and froze a couple of big freezer bags of them for me. it has been years since we have had Choke Cherry syrup for pancakes. I decided this was the day I would get them cooked up and the juice strained off the berries. Now this took me most of the day....that wasn't taken up with sleeping in and running behind. So they are cooked up and juice is in the pot ready to add sugar and cook until it is syrup!!
I cooked up two pots of the berries and when they were mashed and juice strained off......I only have about three quarters of a pot of juice. Have the juice tucked into the fridge and I will add the sugar tomorrow and make the syrup which I will preserve in small jars so we can have a little treat occasionally. The Choke Cherry Syrup is so good on pancakes. I really dislike picking berries...unless I am putting them in my mouth as I pick....so sister and I have come to a decision....this fall she will pick the berries and I will make the syrup and give her half for picking them...so will be win..win.. for both of us. The berries are off her bushes in her garden and they are beautiful, not a blemish on them. So that was the big accomplishment of the day! Plus the mess of the clean up in the kitchen. I know...I am pitiful!! Now the partial accomplishments.......I carded some more of the dog hair/alpaca/wool fibre to spin for my niece, I almost finished the sock I had started knitting yesterday and I had a lady phone and ask me to knit her a few dishcloths.....yup dishcloths.....so I started one....and I thought about...and laid out the seeds pkgs I want to start some seeds of indoors.....does thinking about something count as an accomplishment???? I am going to say yes.....tomorrow is another day.....

What else....more sock knitting and I did get some of the dog hair/alpaca/merino Carded

Snow was disappearing today but it was still pretty cold because of the wind so not much I could do outside. Did get to the shed and watered the plants out there and brought some empty pots in to wash up that I need to put some African violet slips in to start new plants, the parent plants are older and their crowns are getting too long, not blooming great anymore so better get new ones started.
Look what I found, could not believe it, another little vine had a bloom on it, this is the first year I have had them bloom, did not realize they would bloom!
Here is the new socks I started, did not get a lot knit on them today! one of my favourite colors!
And I managed to get some of the dog hair carded, mixed it with some alpaca the same colour as the dog hair plus this time mixed a bit of merino wool with it hoping it keeps the dog hair from shedding so much, will maybe have to put more twist in the singles when I spin it, thought I had spun too much twist in the singles on the first skein and when I plyed it it looked great and was so soft, will try to get more twist in this skein and get my niece to go down a size in needles when she knits it up. Will finish carding enough tomorrow to spin up. It is supposed to warm up the next few days and hope they are right as I am almost crazy finding a project to keep RH busy until he can get out and do something in the yard. I suggested he build some bluebird houses, so off he went to get the lumber, I had given him all the instructions with the measurements and he got started today...and I thought good...it will keep him busy for a while which worked until he came in for lunch....then he was upset because the inside of the birdhouse was smaller than the instructions.....and he kept fussing about it!! Finally I said....I do not think that the birds carry tape measures around with them for goodness sake!!! He just looked at me and went back outside to work on his birdhouse...he spent all day and never got one birdhouse finished! Well I wanted him to make four of them....so that should keep him busy for the rest of the week...right??? I think I have to find him some little friends to play with.......Kids grow up and leave...and then you are left with husbands!!!

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Yarn and knit socks because it is still Winter at our House!

It is still cold and wintery looking at our house so I reskeined a couple of the skeins I dyed yesterday, it is funny how different the colours look when the yarn is reskeined.
The skeins I reskeined are in the center of the skeins as they came out of the dye pot. I think my friend will be happy with the colours, she knits mitts that look like the stained glass mitts with the colour showing through on the plain colours, have to take a picture of a pair so you see what I mean, the bright colours will be great for ladies mitts and the muted shades men might like.
Here are the St. Patrick socks all finished! Love this yarn, the different colours in the yarn knit up making a great design with the different colors. Will start another pair tomorrow. Time is going so fast and it will soon be time to get out in the yard so am trying to get as much knitting as I can done now. Am also still sorting fibre to get to the mill plus wash and card up some alpaca making into roving for the summer sales. I said I would never process dog hair for anyone......but my niece sent out some of her dogs hair wanted it made into yarn...so ok will give it a try. The dog hair is so short so mixed some alpaca fibre with it, carded it together and spun a skein for her...and for got to take a picture of the skein before I sent it to her, I said to knit it up into fingerless mitts and wear them and see if the dog hair would shed out. She knit the mitts up and has been wearing them and they have shed a bit and really look fuzzy. I am going to mix some wool with the dog hair and alpaca hoping that the wool might hold the dog hair in the yarn better. no sense in spinning it all up into a yarn that does not work, so will experiment with some different combinations first. Got my garden seeds in the mail the other day so should get some seeds started under the lights. These are all heritage seeds and I want to save some of the seeds in the fall for next year, they had a booklet on how to save the seeds......I have been reading it....am not going to complain about the cost of seeds again after reading what you have to go through to get seeds off some of the vegetables, I did not realize plants like carrots are biennials and you have to keep them over so they bloom the second year for you to get any seeds......plus how you have to plant some seeds far enough apart so they do not cross pollinate. Really.....do I really need this in my head...all I think about now is what I would have to do to save seeds from plants...along with trying to fix problems on my computer...spent all day today trying to download a program...either working on the computer or thinking about it while I did other things, trying to solve the problem. and I finally did get it solved!! If I thought it would not have killed me I would have done a cartwheel!! I did a cartwheel in my mind...safer that way.....well tomorrow is another day...right!!

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Well.....Do I have to mention Snow again!!! But I did dye today.........

Well here we were again...and it snowed all day. But it was not bad here as compared to north of us, highway turned into ice instantly and what a mess, cars and trucks and semi's out of control...major pile up. So can not complain at what we got.....(but you know I want to...)
I know it looks like the same picture as I posted before...have to take snow pictures out of different windows.... The good thing was I finally got the dye pots out! It has been a year (I think) since I have dyed more than just a couple of skeins, last summer I had pulled all the muscles over my ribs on my right side so could not lift the dye pots.
I soaked three skeins of what I thought was merino wool but found there was one skein that was a mix of merino and mohair in warm water with a bit of soap, then put them in the dye pot with water, vinegar and a bit of salt, on a rack with a large jar of water in the centre to try to keep the dye separate, I used three colors Red with a bit of magenta, blue with a bit of turquoise and lemon yellow.
I let the pot simmer for about thirty minutes, then let it cool down, soaked the skeins with a bit of soap then rinsed them and here they are, they were still wet when I took the picture, I have them hanging to dry right now.
Will take better pictures when they are dry but there are some beautiful colours in the mixture. Then I put another pot on, I had soaked three more skeins of what I thought was merino and ended up with one skein of merino/mohair, I did not separate them with the jar of water and I only used the two colours Red with a bit of magenta and blue with a bit of turquoise and let the pot simmer for about thirty minutes and it looked like a disaster!! I let it cool down then washed the skeins with a bit of soap in the water then rinsed them......and they turned out not too bad!
I am always stressing out when I see a pot like this, trying to calm myself down saying to myself...I can always redye the skeins black....I can always use more black.......There are some beautiful burgundy colours. Will take pictures when they have dried. I will not be dyeing them black...........

Friday, March 20, 2015

Not a very productive day But this little Viola blooming for the First Day of Spring Made me Smile!

Just love Violas! They are some of the first plants to start flowering through the snow! All you need is one plant and let it go to seed. my front garden was so full of violas I actually had to thin them out. this year I have actually found people who do not have any violas.....so am going to pot some up and gift them!! Not much new to write about, dying yarn was on the menu but we have had a small leak under the kitchen sink and today was the day RH decided it had to be fixed, so everything was moved out from under the sink and the next thing I knew he had everything apart and needed some silicone to seal a piece of the pipe so then had to go to the store, I could not use any water etc.etc.etc.......the leak is gone but everything is all over the kitchen right now. Kept thinking I did not get much accomplished.....but I did a few loads of laundry...redid some items on my website........which took some time as I could not remember how to do anything as it has been a few years, there were still pictures and directions to the farm in the hills and we had moved to a small acreage a few years ago so it was time I got it straightened out. and the St. Patrick sock is finished except for closing the toe...which I could have had done except I just had too much cat help, my poor old girls thought they both needed sit on me, they are fifteen years old so are so needy. They do not have teeth anymore so we have to buy soft food and only the little cans that they like so HB always seems to be buying cat food....I said to him don't keep buying it from the same store all the time or we will be getting a visit from the health department thinking we are poor seniors eating cat food.....

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Snow gone! Mud appears! And the Calendar says it is the first day of Spring! Mother Nature...Take Notice!!

The snow has pretty well disappeared again and I could not believe what happened under the snow.....my plants started shooting up, I just looked at the flower beds not even a week ago and nothing was coming up! I am always excited to discover the little green leaves coming up in the spring!
My large poppies....is spring really here you silly things, hopefully we do not have freezing weather before it really warms up!
And finally the leaves of the tulips have appeared! The calendar says that it is the first day of spring but sometimes Mother Nature does not agree but hope she is in agreement this year and we do not get anymore cold snowy weather.
Here is the progress on the the St. Patrick sock, got carried away so have to rip back a couple rows so I can start the toe. This time I started knitting from the other end of the ball and I think that is the answer with this yarn as the last pair of socks the yarn was untwisting as I knit. Have to get some yarn dyed, my knitting friend called and needs some more rainbow dyed yarn for her mittens she knits, got the dyes all mixed up and ready to go so hopefully tomorrow I can get at least one pot of yarn dyed.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Another hit of winter so will deal with my Sock problems!

We went from this......
To this in a matter of days, with horrid wind for a day and a half between Sun and Snow! But was so glad to see the moisture whether it was rain or snow as wind stopped and we so needed the moisture. So no new animal pictures. Decided to change from fingerless mitt knitting to go back to sock knitting, had a pair of red socks almost finished, had set them aside when a special order came in so they had been sitting for a bit, only needed the toe on the one sock to be finished and was worried about remembering what I had done on the first sock but they match thank-goodness! Why would I leave off knitting when I only had a toe to finish!! I went to the bin where my sock yarn was stashed and just reached in and grabbed a skein and started knitting.....another lesson learned...make sure you have a matching skein before you knit a large size sock!! I picked the only colour that I only had one skein of....so of course ran out of yarn...o.k.....now that pair will be set aside until I can order a skein that hopefully matches and if it does not match...guess I have another pair of socks for myself...Had a terrible time with the yarn for this pair of socks as the twist was so loose so will try knitting from the other end of the skein and see if it makes a difference on the next pair.
Here are the red socks ready to be washed and blocked! Love the red!
Here are the poor socks that are causing all the fuss!I had not finished off the toe because if I was close to finishing the other sock I could have riped back a bit to finish the other one. I found one little left over ball from another pair I made but it will not be enough so have ordered another skein, the good thing is when I get another skein of the same colour, the yarn left over will make a small pair of socks!
And this is the yarn I am started another pair of socks with.....because it is St. Paticks Day!! Can you tell I am trying to be a better blogger??.....Plus I just got my new cell phone so am trying out the camera on it!

Friday, March 13, 2015

Could this be Spring?

Our snow has disappeared and it is warm and so dry, it makes us feel like we have spring already but winter will probably hit us at least once before it is gone. The little violas are stating to poke their heads up, love them, all you need is one plant to go tossed and you will have them forever. Have been out in the paddock taking pictures....or trying to take pictures of the llamas and alpacas..they have found sprigs of green grass growing and you can hardly get them to lift their heads from the ground. But did get a few good ones.
This is little Thistle growing up on the left and Princess who was gifted to us last year with her mother, Princess is such a beautiful large girl. She stands so proud.
And I caught Taffy my little Alpaca gelding just sitting back enjoying the sunshine, chewing his cud, he takes the funniest pictures but is so cute! Will go out again tomorrow and see if I can intice them to lift their heads up from the new green grass and get some more pictures. Will soon be time to shear again and I am still sorting fibre from last year. I will never catch up!!