Wednesday, April 29, 2009

And more good news!

There's just no end to good news, lately! WGS (Wicked Good Stepmother) just let me know she's adopted 2 more alpacas! Now, in addition to the brown and white ones, she's got a black and a gray. There are four (four!!) fleeces waiting for me, whenever I can get my bony little butt over for a visit!

My face is starting to hurt from grinning so much.

I may have to quit my job so I can take up spinning full time...

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Blessed Event


No, not that kind...

I've been afraid to say anything for fear of jinxing it, but I'll explode if I try to hold it in one minute longer...

We're getting sheep!!

Woohoo! And woohoo again!
We'll be picking up two Shetland ewes this coming Sunday. Now the mad scramble for fencing begins...

With the smoking-quitting, (well, we've almost quit. Still struggling, with occasional back-sliding) we'll be able to afford things we want. Like our dream of Shetlands. 8)

I had thought I'd have a little extra spending money for NH S&W this year, but I think I just spent it...

Sheep sheep sheep sheep sheep sheep sheep sheep sheep sheep sheep sheep sheep!!!!!!

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Still checking things off the list

After a windy, rainy start to the day, we managed to get a lot done.
Since I couldn't do much outside in the rain, I declared it a baking morning. Chocolate chocolate-chunk cookies, first.
And then - I blame Norma for this:

Kouing Aman.

I saw the pastry on her blog. Had to google it. All the recipes are the same, almost word for word, from the 1 3/4 cup mineral water to the Fleur de Sel. (I therefore suspect a single source for the recipe, with everyone copying it and posting it as their own...)
So I did the Vermont version. Instead of mineral water, I used tap water - we have fine genuine Vermont spring water at our house. And just plain ol' Mortons for the salt. (Fleur de Sel? Not in *my* grocery store...)
I cut the recipe in half, only making 8 of these luscious pastries instead of 15. Enough is enough...
The dough isn't that hard to make (I've made danish pastry dough before) - a bit of fiddling and then a lot of waiting, repeat, and repeat again. And I was doing lots of other things while the dough was doing its chilling/resting - like helping Madman get the plastic on the hoophouse, weeding in one of my flowerbeds, dividing rhubarb, and building a tootsie bucket*, among other things.
Unfortunately, I discovered I only had 4 little tart pans in my cupboard, instead of the 8 I thought I had. So I had to improvise. Three little round pie tins, and one mini-springform pan later, I was good to go.
Here they are proofing up. Those corners are supposed to be folded into the center, but they refused to stay in place. I kept pushing them back, and they kept coming unfolded. I finally just gave up and let them go.
Not as pretty or fancy as the ones Norma had - but damn tasty, nonetheless... This stuff starts at about equal parts dough and butter. Then you start adding sugar. I didn't make When-Harry-Met-Sally noises, but it was damn close...

We got so much accomplished that I'm going to be glad to get back to work tomorrow so I can get some rest.
I don't know why people get so excited about weekends - I've never been so tired in my life...

*tootsie bucket - It's a self-watering container for a tomato plant, made from a 5-gallon pail and some lengths of pvc pipe. That's not its official name. We just call it that because my dad taught me how to set it up, gave me all the bits I needed to do it, and gave me a cherry tomato plant to plant in it - the tomato variety was called "Tootsie." Through the months of April and May that year, we hauled Tootsie out onto the deck every day and back in at night, until the weather was warm enough that she could stay out fulltime. We'd ask each other "Have you taken Tootsie out yet?" or "Has Tootsie been out for her walk?" - like she was a pet... We had cherry tomatoes in June that year. Big Win.

Saturday, April 25, 2009


I hear peepers!!!! It really IS spring!!!!!!

From To-Do to To-Done

Today was glorious! Sunshine, blue skies, light breeze, temp reaching 83. The first really warm day of Spring! You could hear choirs of angels...
And through a series of misadventures, I ended up with the weekend off - probably the first time in a year that Madman and I had the same days off together. (He always has weekends off; I usually have one weekday and one weekend day)
You can imagine the to-do list... What with the garden to get ready, the new chicken yard to be built, and a new surprise project that just hit our radar, well, our cup ranneth over.

Things on the To-Do list that actually got done:
1) I got the asparagus bed weeded. Now when our asparagus starts coming up, it won't be pre-diced by grassroots.
2) Madman got the frame of the hoophouse repaired/rebuilt.
3) Madman and a friend of ours tinkered with the garden tractor and figured out what was wrong with it. (They didn't get it fixed, but at least they know which parts to acquire.)
4) I weeded the bottom tier of my herb garden. The oregano and French tarragon survived the winter, chives and bunching onions are starting to sprout, some of the thyme is coming back. No sign of the sage, yet, but I've given up hope on it before, only to have it surprise me.
5) Madman got more ground ready for the next batch of peas.
6) I made a trip to the local greenhouse looking for broccoli. No luck, but did find onions.
7) I got lettuce seed planted. We'll probably get frost and/or snow a couple of times before Memorial Day, but seed is cheap...
8) I got the grocery shopping done. Including ingredients for:
9) Barbecue!! (I think I must have spent several previous lifetimes as some kind of barbarian. Meat + Fire = Good. Unh.)
9a) I made potato salad. Madman is exceedingly fond of my potato salad. Even if I wasn't exceedingly fond of it myself, I'd make it just to see that Potato-Salad-for-Supper smile.
9b) As long as I was boiling eggs, I boiled some extra for deviled eggs. The next best thing to the Potato-Salad-for-Supper smile is the You-Made-Deviled-Eggs! smile...

Things on the To-Do list that didn't get done:
1) Repot our tomato and pepper seedlings.
2) Cover the hoophouse with plastic.
3) Finish chicken run.

Tomorrow is another day...

Things not on the To-Do list that got done anyway:
1) Acquire sunburn.


Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Diamond Thrummed Mittens pattern

A dedicated post just for the mittens...
Until I figure out how to host a pdf (I'm trying to figure out how to do it on Ravelry right now...),
email me or leave a comment, and I'll send you the pattern.

ETA: I think I've got it: a Rav link for a free download. Diamond Thrummed Mittens

Friday, April 17, 2009

Flighty and unfocused. So what else is new?

Habit-kicking is kicking my ass. I'm so happy to be hearing from former smokers - ya'll are giving me hope that I won't feel this crazy forever...

So, since I'm feeling remarkably random anyway, here's a remarkably random post.

Random 1: An interesting fact we learned over the winter: basil will root from stem-cuttings. I dug up and brought in the last surviving basil plant last fall. It got pretty rangy and leggy over the winter, and I was afraid that I would have to pitch it out (after plucking it of its few leaves. Not enough for pesto, but enough to graze on...) Then we read that basil was rootable. Had to try it!

The plant had three branches - we cut one off, stuck it in water and waited. Sure enough, roots appeared. We potted it up, then amputated the other two branches and popped them into the water.(Note to self: wash kitchen window.)
On the left is the pot containing the original plant (the stem briefly showed signs of growing new leaves, but they dried up before getting more than 1/8 in) In the middle is the first branch we rooted, growing happily in its own pot. On the right in the red vase are the two other branches, rooting away. We'll pot them up shortly and have plants to set out in the garden once all danger of frost is gone. (Which is June, up here. Damn this Zone 3.)
Since we have time, we may even chop up that first plant and start even more plants. We've always had a hard time growing enough basil - we may have stumbled on a system for growing these tender little plants!

Random 2 - I finally finished (I hope) the pattern for the thrummed mittens. I've got it in PDF form, but don't know yet if I can put that up on a photo site (Like Picasa or Flickr). So, in the meantime, anyone who wants it, please leave a comment or email me, and I'll send you a copy. I'm particularly hoping to get some test-knitters who can give me feedback. I'm used to just dashing down a couple of notes on the back of an envelope and winging it from there, so any help you can give me on writing an actual pattern will be deeply appreciated!

Random 3 - still trying, but had a setback yesterday. Had the Customer From Hell at work. He ranted and raved and swore and stomped and was Generally Unpleasant (a euphemism for Total Asshole), and all because he couldn't understand that the "Store Credit Card" (which he didn't have) and the receipt for the Store Credit Card (which he had) weren't the same thing. He expected us to give him a $50 credit with only a receipt, but not the actual plastic card that the money had been scanned on to. When we (the asst manager and I) tried to explain it to him "It's like buying a gift certificate - the gift certificate is redeemable for merchandise, the receipt for the gift certificate is not", he started screaming about what rude f-ing bitches we were being and that he wasn't a f-ing sleazebag and we could cram that f-ing store policy up our asses and this was a f-ed up store with f-ed up merchandise and this f-ed up store must be f-ing proud that rude bitches like us were out there f-ing over the customers, etc, etc, etc. All at the top of his lungs. He finally made his purchase and left, still shouting and throwing things, and generally behaving like a homicidal 5yr-old.
I was so rattled I ended up outside, smoking 1/2 a cigarette, hands shaking and trying not to cry. Really really didn't need that kind of stress when I was feeling particularly vulnerable to stress anyway.

Random 4: There is no Random 4.

Random 5: I'm on row 5 of Maplewing. Step by step, inch by inch...

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Still hanging in there

Almost a week, and I'm still getting these huge cravings out of nowhere... One moment I'm fine, and the next it's INEEDNEEDNEEDACIGARETTENOWWWWWWWWWWW, and I would sell my soul for a Camel. Five or ten minutes later, I'm fine again. Until the next time.
At least it isn't that constant craving anymore. It's hard to justify living longer if it involves feeling that bad...

I cast on Maplewing Tuesday. I've started row 3. At this rate, I'm going to be knitting this shawl for months... (A true win in the entertainment per yarn-dollar ratio.) I should pick up speed once I'm a little further along and can read the lace. Right now, there isn't enough to puzzle out where I am, so I'm compulsively counting and recounting each section, and hoping for the best.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Day 4 - Still grumbling, but not quite so homicidal...

Still craving, but maybe not as bad. I keep telling myself that this is not forever - it will go away Eventually. Damn. Soon, I hope...

I do know one thing - I'm never going to smoke again, because I never want to go through this again.

Think happy thoughts for me, eh?

And the good news is, I finished the Snowflake hat! Ends woven, and all. So now I can cast on something new!! I've started winding (by hand) the laceweight for Maplewing. Or maybe Aeolian. I'm still dithering.
Hey, with all the money we're saving on cigarettes, I can afford another skein of laceweight! Woohoo!! Aeolian AND Maplewing!
And maybe another Swallowtail.
I've got these twitchy fingers - fiddley lace-knitting sounds just right!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Grumble mumble frazzle dazzit

I think we can step back down to DefCon3. Today is a little easier than yesterday. (So far, anyway.) I just feel like stomping tulips instead of dropkicking puppies.
At least I have today off. Yesterday was made harder by a stream of "difficult" customers. (One in particular -she's a regular, and she's one that, on a good day, I'd like to fit her with cement overshoes. Yesterday I would have covered her with fire ants first.) BUT. Just. Keep. Smiling. Because. That's. My. Job.
At least today, I only have to smile if I want to...

Saturday, April 11, 2009

DefCon 2

I'm stronger than this. I'm meaner than this. I'm stubborner than this.

Man, I'm ready to dropkick puppies.

Breathe. Just breathe.


This is Day Two of quitting smoking. God. Damn.
I thought the first day would be the hardest.
Cold Turkey.
Can't I just get someone to sedate me for a week or two?
Coma. That's the ticket.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Is it finally Spring?

I've got something red stirring in my flowerbeds...

A closer look:

Last fall, I planted tulip and daffodil bulbs, and two Asian lilies in this flower bed. I'm guessing these might be the tulips. (I've never had tulips before, so I don't have any real idea what they're supposed to look like.)

In other news, my second Jury Draw day was today. The good news: I didn't get picked for any juries for April. The other good news: I got a lot of knitting done on the Snowflake hat, which I had been saving for working on during jury stuff.

There was no bad news. Which is yet another good news, I suppose.

Thursday, April 2, 2009


Norma destashed in my general direction...
Now, when she said destashing, I somehow pictured a skein of sock yarn. Possibly with a half-knit sock dangling off it...

Little did I know:

Loot! Woot! And not a dangley-bit in sight.
Two skeins of Happy Feet in glorious colors! (Can't stop nuzzling...)
A Tongue River Farm Sock Collection kit (Icelandic yarn! Six, count 'em, Six patterns!)
And a wonderfully snarky notepad - it says "funny... I don't recall asking for your opinion" Love. It.
Love. All.
Woohoo! Thank you so much, Norma! I'll caption your photos anytime. (Does that sound odd? Or is it just me?)

Now to not cast on socks. (I've had to declare a moratorium on casting-on. Otherwise my house will explode.)

But socks don't really count on the WIP list, do they?