Let the past sleep, but let it sleep in the sweet embrace of Christ, and let us go on into the invincible future with Him. (Oswalt Chambers)

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Simple Woman's Daybook for October 25

These writing prompts are available from Simple Woman's Daybook where each Tuesday we're invited to join in celebrating the beauty of everyday moments around us.

FOR TODAY October 25, 2011...

Outside my window...
There are still a lot of leaves left on the trees and we haven't had a hard frost yet.

I am thinking...
I need to get this post done soon because the forecast is for thunderstorms.

I am thankful for...
GriefShare where I'm learning that getting through grief is messy and can take longer than one might think. At twelve weeks, I'm the newest widow/widower there. Several members are over a year and still going through the process and that is perfectly normal.

I'd like to take care of grief like a regular problem - make a list of things that need to be done to get on with life and check them off one by one until the grief is gone. It doesn't work that way. I can't even predict my state of mind from one minute to the next. The fact that I'm not knitting or feeding the birds is probably a good indication of how messed up I am right now.

From the kitchen...
Blond Brownie Nut Squares from Taste of Home's Cooking for One or Two.

They're even better than they look and would be better yet topped with some ice cream.

I am wearing...
A gray sweatshirt and navy sweatpants that are at least two sizes too big - until I finish eating those Blondie Nut Squares.

I am creating...
A notebook for the recipes I've tried and want to fix again.

Some are new to me, some are old. The recipes in my old notebook that Bob liked more than I did will be quietly retired.

I am going...
To have to take my car in to have rodent stuff removed from the heat ducts again. This time it was chipmunks. I am not amused and neither is my budget.

I am reading...
Serve Yourself, a cookbook from the library.

This is for a serious chef type person who wouldn't dream of opening a can of chicken broth.

In the first chapter there are instructions for making the "basics". For example chicken broth is best when made by boiling corn shucks from the Farmer's Market. Grocery store corn shucks are not fresh enough.

According to this author you should always have some Herbed Lemon Confit handy to use for dishes like Potato and Fennel Pizza, Roast Chicken Leg with Gremolata and Sunchokes, or Tuna, Chickpea, and Arugala Sandwiches.

The recipes in this book are the cooks equivalent to a sock knitter's Cookie A. socks - you have to love doing it or there's no reason to spend the time. Because they're going to take a lot of time.

As for me, I'm glad I didn't buy this book or put it on my wishlist. I won't be keeping any of the recipes in my new notebook. There are an infinate number of yummy things that can be prepared with much less work.

I am hoping...
To have more energy soon.

I am hearing...
Sunny is snoring and Pappy is scratching himself getting ready to whine to go out.

Around the house...
It is very quiet with all the windows shut.

One of my favorite things...
Granddaughter Kimmy who turned sixteen last Sunday.

A few plans for the rest of the week:
Wednesday Pappy goes to the vet to have his anal glands checked with grocery shopping and library in the afternoon. Friday is physical therapy.

As boring as that sounds, it's really all I want to deal with right now.

Here is picture thought I am sharing...

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Simple Woman's Daybook for October 18

These writing prompts are available from Simple Woman's Daybook where each Tuesday we're invited to join in celebrating the beauty of everyday moments around us.

FOR TODAY October 18, 2011...

Outside my window...
It looks like autumn and it feels like autumn.

I am thinking...
Doing Simple Woman Daybooks has been a good way to keep the blog going during a time when I'm not knitting much and I don't feel like blogging. I know this transition into widowhood will not last forever, but today I'm having a difficult time imagining the end. So I don't. It's too soon.

I am thankful for...
Home-made sourdough bread loaded with dried tart cherries sent overnight FedEx from the baker, brother Dave in Oregon.

Yes, it's very good to eat, but what's best about it is the love and caring it represents. Little gifts of kindness that say "I'm thinking of you" mean so much right now.

From the kitchen...
Quiche. Cut into six pieces, it's six meals for one person and so good that I don't get tired of eating it.

Used this recipe and a frozen pie crust. I like the version with green onions and bacon, and I always add the optional Parmesan. Used pre-cooked bacon and chopped it up with a shears, so prep time was quick and easy.

I am wearing...
A plain pink sweatshirt, jeans, and handknit socks.

I am creating...
Still working on Dave's socks. They're both in the middle of the gusset decreases.

I am going...
To a physical therapist to learn how to exercise with osteoporosis. Yesterday was the initial meeting and evaluation. Tomorrow the real work begins.

I am reading...
61 Hours the fourteenth book in the Jack Reacher series by Lee Child.

I think of the Reacher books as guy books with Reacher as an almost superhero. I'm listening to this one as I knit on Dave's socks, and enjoying it for what it is - not great literature but well-written and entertaining.

When I went to Amazon to get the link for the book, I learned that the book ends with a "to be continued". That's annoying, but I've written down the name of the next book and will be watching for it in the library catalog.

I am hoping...
To find firewood for sale this week and someone to hire to plow and shovel this winter. Haven't started this search yet, but they're the last critical things on the plan for hunkering down for winter and I need to get busy.

I am hearing...
Quiet with the occasional car passing by. All three dogs are sleeping.

Around the house...
The bathroom guys are done for now and it's time for me to paint. Then they'll come back and put up hardware and do a final caulking.

They told me there is no hurry, some people take years. I think I can do better than that.

One of my favorite things...
Actually, two of my favorite things. Homemade baked custard and pretty custard cups with violets.

The custard recipe is super quick and easy. I found it in Taste of Home's Cooking for One or Two, but I already had it from years ago when it originally came out in the Taste of Home Magazine. I've made it many times.

A few plans for the rest of the week:
Last night was GriefShare. Physical therapy Wednesday and Friday. A haircut on Thursday. A family sixteenth birthday party for granddaughter Kimmy on the weekend.

Here is picture thought I am sharing...
Do I hear more noisy men coming back here?

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Chat Back for October 15

Responding to comments left since the last time I did Chat Back.

Anonymous asked . . .
Hi When do you clean out your bird houses? In the spring, or before frost? I have a little bird, really tiny, but not a hummer, who builds the nest with sticks only. It looks like so much work I hate to take it down. She scolds me when ever I walk by and I enjoy her so much, I want to encourage her to come back.

Sounds like you have a wren. They're little birds, very opinionated, and they fill a nest box with sticks. Assuming you live in a climate that has winter there's no hurry to clean the box out.

During nesting season I usually wait a week after the little ones leave the nest because sometimes they come back to roost in the nestbox at night. But occasionally another bird pair will start building a nest right over the top of the empty one before I get it cleaned out and then I leave it alone. My boxes are often used 2-3 times a season.

Once nesting season is over, I'm lazy about cleaning out the nest boxes, but it's good to clean them out before the nights get chilly because the birds to sometimes take shelter in them at night.

The picture below is a wren nest built on top of a bluebird nest. The wrens were in a hurry and I didn't get a chance to clean the box out before they claimed it.

Dorothy asked . . .
So do I want to know what you do regarding the potty during the daytime?

The wild paths on the back three acres are very private this time of year. The goldenrod is done blooming, but it's still standing at the level of my head.

I HATE porta pots. This was much cheaper and smelled a whole lot better.

Dorothy asked . . .
Did you remember to take "before" pictures?

I did not take before pictures. I don't want to remember.

The company that did the remodel did take before pictures. One of the reasons I went with them is the nasty before pictures they have on their website. Somehow it made my bathroom less embarrassing knowing they had seen worse.

Marcia asked . . .
Did you make the rug Pappy is resting on?

Nope. It's a cheapy rug from Meijers.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Simple Woman's Daybook for October 11

These writing prompts are available from Simple Woman's Daybook where each Tuesday we're invited to join in celebrating the beauty of everyday moments around us.

FOR TODAY October 11, 2011 ...

Outside my window...
There are leaves covering everything.

I am thinking...
How nice it would be to have a chauffeur.

I am thankful for...
Flu shots. Got mine today.

From the kitchen...
This morning I made two Mini-tuna Casseroles and ate one for lunch with some rice. It was delicious and easy to make. Another recipe to add to my keeper file.

I am wearing...
Jeans, a striped lilac V-neck tee, matching hand knit socks.

I am creating...
Occasionally working on Dave's socks, but the main project this week is the bathroom remodel.

I am going...
To be so happy when the bathroom is done and I have the house to myself again. And a place to pee in the daytime. They did promise me a working toilet each evening when they leave so at least I'm not out after dark with a flashlight in the bushes.

I am reading...
King Solomon's Carpet by Barbara Vine. A novel about a group of people centered around the London Underground.

Not as good a some of her other books, but I'm enjoying it anyway.

I am hoping...
That this little fellow is not thinking of storing things under my hood.

I am hearing...
Someone in the distance has a leaf blower going and there's a plane overhead. Two men are working in the bathroom.

Around the house...
There is no water. Why didn't I realize the bathroom people were going to be turning off the water for some of the time they are working?

One of my favorite things...
Sweet Pappy, my most loving dog.

A few plans for the rest of the week:
Up early every morning to use the water before the bathroom people turn it off. My goal for the week is for the dogs and I to get through the bathroom remodel.

Driving Mom to a two hour long eye appointment on Thursday afternoon and will probably bring Sunny with me and sit out in the car with her. Sunny gets upset about the men in the house and the things going on in the bathroom. The other two dogs will take a nice long nap and ignore it.

Here is picture thought I am sharing...
Before the new, the old has to go.

Saturday, October 08, 2011

Chat Back for October 8

Responding to comments left since the last time I did Chat Back.

Judy S. asked . . .
I just noticed the crocosmia in your header~great color! How much sun does it need?

Mine gets shade for a few hours a day, but is mostly in full sun.

Judy S. asked . . .
How about sharing the recipe for Orange spice nuts?

Orange-Spiced Pecans

8 oz package of pecan halves
1/3 cup sugar
2 tablespoons orange juice
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1/8 teaspoon salt

  • Place pecans on an ungreased 15 x 10 x 1 baking pan
  • Bake at 275 degrees for 10 minutes
  • While they're baking, make the sauce:
  • Combine sugar, orange juice, cinnamon, cloves, and salt in a small saucepan
  • Cook and stir until mixture boils and then 2 minutes more.
  • Stir in hot pecans until evenly coated.
  • Spread in a single layer on a foil lined 15 x 10 x 1 in baking pan to cool.
    (My pan/cookie sheet is no-stick, so I don't use the foil. Works fine.)

Makes about 2 cups.

Kathy B. asked . . .
I'm thinking of getting a bird feeder than shuts when a squirrel gets on it....have you used this type? Does it work?

I did have one long long ago, before we moved here so it was over twenty years ago. It was made of metal and the squirrels dented it so it wouldn't open for the birds.

Maybe they've improved since then?

Judy S. asked . . .
What's your favorite cable needle, or do you cable without a needle?

If I'm only crossing one or two stitches, sometimes three, I cable without a needle. It's much quicker and eliminates the problem of what to do with the cable needle in between cables.

For wider cables there is too much yarn stretching when I don't use a needle. I use a 4 inch straight #1 needle for just about everything.

Stringplay wrote . . .
I love Retro Rib socks by Evelyn A. Clark, from an old Interweave Knits. A classic pattern that works for men or women.

I've used this pattern before and like it a lot.

Dorothy wrote asked . . .
I've sworn off buying more cookbooks, but I'm thinking I may have to get that Taste of Home book. I'm tired of throwing out leftovers!

Instead of cooked left-overs, cooking small meals leaves you with ingredient left-overs. I just bought a bottle of Worcestershire sauce because a recipe called for 1/4 teaspoon.

It’s the partial cans of things that stump me. For example, a recipe might call for a quarter cup of tomato paste. What to do with the rest of the can. Do I really want to keep it? Well sure, no problem. But the little left over dabs of ingredients multiple rapidly and then I feel like I should keep an inventory of what I have and it all gets more complicated than I like.

Lynn asked . . .
I would love to see those socks that are 10 yrs old!!!!

They're in the laundry right now, but I'll try to remember to take a picture when they're clean again.

Jolyn asked . . .
The stitch pattern in Dave's socks looks interesting. will you share the stitch pattern?

Vickie asked . . .
What is the pattern that you're using for Brother's wild socks? I really like it!

It's a basketweave variation.

Multiple of 6 stitches: (I'm using 72 stitches for a man's sock)

X O X X X X Row 4: p4,k,p
X O X O O O Row 3: k3,p,k,p
X X X O O O Row 2: k3,p3
X O X O O O Row 1: k3,p,k,p

X = purl
O = knit

Ann P. asked . . .
I hesitated to bring up this delicate matter before but since you mention it...would you share your method for collecting urine from your dogs?

This is my routine for a female dog. I have no male dog routine. I'm guessing male dogs are more difficult, at least I don't know a good way to do it.

I use a pie plate shaped plastic dish, a funnel, and something to carry the urine in.

The pie plate is labeled so some unsuspecting person doesn't find it and decide it's just what they need for their food or whatever.

  • Take the dog out on a short leash and walk to a place you know they like to pee.
  • When the dog squats, they're committed. Slide the pie plate under their butt. Gotta be quick for this.
  • When they're done, walk them away or let them off the leash.
  • Use the funnel to get the urine from the pie plate into the carry container.

Tuesday, October 04, 2011

Simple Woman's Daybook for October 4

These writing prompts are available from Simple Woman's Daybook where each Tuesday we're invited to join in celebrating the beauty of everyday moments around us.

FOR TODAY October 4, 2011 ...

Outside my window...
It's a beautiful early autumn afternoon and I would be outside if I wasn't waiting for a phone call from the vet about Glory's latest urine sample.

I am thinking...
of taking a week of staycation the week that begins with Halloween. And I really mean stay, as in stay home and knit and read and vegetate and act like a the introvert that I am.

I am thankful for...
The ladies who bath and groom my dogs. They take special care with delicate Sunny and old Glory. The dogs love going and they especially love coming home all clean and having me tell them how beautiful they are.

From the kitchen...
Deviled Crab Casserole.

This is the yummiest thing from Taste of Home's Cooking for One or Two I've made so far and it was also the easiest.

It's in a foil baking dish because I didn't have the one quart casserole dish the recipe called for. If I keep experimenting with small amount recipes, there may need to be a few baking dish investments.

I am wearing...
Jeans, a navy sweatshirt with a basket of violets embroidered on the front, and the first pair of handknit socks I ever knit. They're at least ten years old, knit with Opal yarn, and still looking good.

I am creating...
Brother Dave's "wild" Christmas socks.

I am going...
To attend a thirteen week Griefshare group at my church starting next week. I've learned that grief is much more complicated than I realized and understanding the process helps getting through the bad days.

I am reading...
Listening to The Body on the Beach by Simon Brett while I knit. This was a oops, I've had this checked out of the library before. But it's an amusing, pleasant book so I'm listening to it again.

I am hoping...
That the dogs and I can stay calm while the guys are ripping out the bathroom next week. This is a small, one bathroom house and there are going to be many challenges. If I wasn't running a doggy nursing home, I would have investigated moving out for the week.

I am hearing...
In the distance my neighbor is hammering away on something he's building.

Around the house...
I've been spotting and eliminating spiders. This is the time of year they come in for the warmth.

The spider in the picture is outside and I told him to stay outside.

One of my favorite things...

A few plans for the rest of the week:
Today was dog grooming day. The dogs are now clean, groomed, home, fed, and exhausted.

Also today is urine sample from Glory to the vet. I am now an expert at getting urine samples from female dogs. Haven't mastered the male version yet and hope I never have to do so.

Wednesday Pappy has a vet appointment to see if he needs his anal glands removed.

Thursday is a date with the dental hygienist.

Friday is grocery shopping and all week I'm working on the shopping list for the bathroom remodel.

Here is picture thought I am sharing...
Some little bird is sleeping here to keep warm at night and left a feather on the doorstep.

Saturday, October 01, 2011

New Sock Yarn

Early yesterday afternoon I was roadside getting the newspaper when I spotted the mail lady down the road, so I stood there and waited for her. She handed me a Priority Mail package, said "That's all I've got for you today", and drove off before I could reply "That's all I want!"

It was my special request yarn from Slackford Studio.

When Brother Dave isn't wearing musician black in his trumpet shop or traveling around the globe with his customers, he relaxes at home with partner Karen, their dog Magic, and several cats. And, when he's hiding out at home in the mountains of Oregon, he enjoys wearing the wool socks I knit for him.

Every year I ask him what color he'd like and he frustrates me by saying, "Whatever. Something wild." This year I'm not asking. The yarn is bought. The colorway is called Passage to India. (Top picture.) I've been mistakenly calling it Out of India, but Susan knew what I wanted anyway.

It looks like it's going to pool, so I'll pick a simple stitch pattern with built in ribbing and some purl stitches. If that doesn't do it justice, I'm not afraid to frog.

There are two skeins because Dave has very long feet. There will be enough left over to knit a second pair of socks in a normal size.

Dave's partner Karen always answers my question about color politely and thoughtfully. This year she said brown, which immediately made me think about the Stalwart color Woodgrain.

Woodgrain is the skein on the bottom of the picture. The top skein is Chocolat, a reddish brown that I have no idea why I bought except that I like it. Karen may be getting two pair of socks this year.

Karen is a sock knitter's dream recipient. She always admires the stitch pattern selected for her socks, so I want some time to find something special but practical for her. She wears them for warmth, so lace is pretty much out. And she wears them hiking, so a heavy texture is also out. I'm thinking a basketweave pattern, but it's not final yet. Dave's long socks are first, so there's plenty of thinking time left for Karen.