Sunday, February 23, 2014

Outdoor Exercise

What a week!  Tom and I barely finished digging out from the last 10" of snow when the weather news warned of a second whammy from winter storm Seneca.  We decided to dig out the last two wood piles of this year's firewood and stack the wood inside the garage before the storm hit.  Good thing we did, because no sooner did we finish the task that the wind upticked and it started snowing.  It snowed all night and all the next day, and by the time it stopped snowing we had another foot and a half to two feet of snow.  You should have seen the monster drift at the end of our driveway! Our big snowblower got stuck trying to go through it and we had to dig it out by hand. Then we had to dig a path through the drift so the blower could get a good start throwing the snow.  We started digging out at 8:00 a.m. and it took us till 4:00 p.m. to get the driveway and most of the paths dug out.
Path to the maple syrup rig
Enough room to put in a chair and tend the fire
Maple syrup rig

Path to the chicken coop
Dominiques doing well in spite of the bitter cold
 In the picture below you can still discern the path I previously dug down to the tree line where Tom takes his daily walk to check his deer cam.  After I took this picture Tom walked through this snow and it was still chest deep on him.   

Unfortunately the pictures don't give you a sense of just how deep the snow really is. The snow here in the "back yard" around the greenhouse is just incredible.
Greenhouse path
Needless to say, we have decided to buy a snow plow for the truck with this year's income tax return.  Tom has already been on the phone and is going to go see a guy that sells plows next week. 

Today the wind is bitter even though the sun is shining.  We are supposed to get another blast of artic air by mid-week so I am glad we got everything dug out before it all freezes solid.  Still, as I was digging out the path to the compost bin I noticed depressions forming around the maple trees so I know that the sap is going to start running soon.  I think that I will dig out paths to a couple of trees and be ready to tap them just after the next new moon.

Path to the compost bin
The chickadees have found my bird feeder and are chirping down in the balsams around the big marsh so Spring cannot be far away.

Stay warm and be careful when out in this weather!

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Mercury Retrograde

Well, I can tell that Mercury is retrograde! The starter died on the snow blower, a sensor on the Dodge Caravan started acting up, the computer wound up going into the shop where I discovered it somehow had contracted a Trojan despite just upgrading (with some difficulty) to a more enhanced antivirus program with encryption capability, and Lara's wheelchair belt buckle broke again -- the third time in six months.  After I got the computer home from the shop, the keyboard stopped making upper key characters.  And, I got some kind of stomach bug that laid me low for a week.  Thank God, it was just me that got sick. I was not happy.

All is better now, however. The car, snow blower, computer and keyboard are all fixed.  And Tom came up with the idea of installing a car's lap seat belt on Lara's wheelchair instead of continuing to buy inferiorly constructed and overpriced belts from medical equipment vendors.  The GM lap seat belt fit perfectly and without any alteration on Lara's wheelchair, and everybody is very happy. If you are running into the same problem we were with crappy wheelchair seat belts supposedly made expressly for your specific wheelchair model, do look into using a car seat belt instead. The difference in quality construction is marked.  Now we are wondering if we are going to get another 4" of snow tonight on top of the 4" we got a couple of days ago.  I'm telling you, it has been really difficult keeping the driveway open so the home nurse aides and the postal delivery services can get in and out.  Not to mention all my pathways around the house. Maple Syrup season is right around the corner and on my mind.

Fortunately (as we all know) work is never done and I have plenty to keep me busy.  Here are a few of the items I knitted to sell at the end of the farmers market this year. 

This doll is knitted from Red Heart Super Saver yarn and stuffed with 100% hypoallergenic polyester fiberfill.  All of her clothes are removable.  Her "hair" under the bonnet includes two coiled braids, one on each side of her head that are sewn in place.  There are no buttons, just ties as fasteners.  She is machine wash warm, no bleach, and tumble dry on low or air dry.  I do pre-wash all my knit items to ensure colorfastness and workmanship. These big dolls are a hit with little girls -- just ask my nieces.  I love to make this doll and like to change the hair and clothing colors.  Sometimes I put a coiled braid on top of the head.  I am making one now for another niece who wants her doll to have long braids, so I have to figure out just how to do that.  Her doll will have lavender, lilac, and light raspberry clothes and corn blonde hair with blue eyes.  I have a boy doll knitted and am working out the patterns for his clothes. Instead of bloomers he has long johns.

The Christmas stockings on either end are tall.  The smaller one in the middle gave me a surprise when I reached the end of the "turn heel" work -- there was no more pattern! As I am not used to knitting socks I was not sure what to do, but fortunately, when I bought the yarn for this work I also bought a book on knitting socks, so I looked through the book, found a sock pattern that was similar to what I was knitting, and finished the sock with those directions but using my pattern stitches.  This is a really nice sock because it has a turn down cuff and the pattern makes it double thick and very warm.  I am going to play around with this pattern and see if I can come up with a pair of winter boots for Lara.

Just before Christmas a woman asked me to make her puppy a doggy sweater.  She specifically wanted pink camouflage yarn and otherwise was not picky about the pattern.  Well, I told her I would do it.  I wound up having to order the yarn, which didn't arrive till almost New Year's, and then I spent several days knitting feverishly in between guests and holiday doings.  Ultimately, she stiffed me, so I am now going to sell these for $45 each.  They all fit a puppy or small dog.  The one on the left is a simple rib knit; the next is a small all-over cable pattern (both in pink camouflage); the third one is done in stockinette stitch in green camouflage with beige trim; and the last one is my favorite because it is a little "hoodie" sweater in pink camouflage.

I have two more quilt blocks to sew.  I think I will put the quilt together in a barn raising pattern.  Whew!

It feels good to have the computer back to have something to vent on though I am sure you readers don't appreciate my poor humor. (Thanks for listening!) Some fair weather and time outside can cure that in short order, I think. 

Here's to wishing you are all safe, warm, and not hungry!