Summer Dew Point

Friday, October 30, 2009

What About Bob?

There are some things that make me very angry: someone abusing children; people who cheat the government, system and other people by lying or omission; and anyone who will abuse an animal. And because I want to save all abused animals, most of the pets I have had over the years have come from animal shelters, rescues and drop-offs. And we now have another one.

ANOTHER DROP-OFF! “Bob” as in “What About Bob?” is a skinny, worm infested young tom cat that showed up this week. Hubby makes a lot of noise about getting rid of the feral cats that wander through from time to time, but Bob is no feral cat. As scared as he was, he was hungrier; and allowed me to touch him while he was dining in the dumpster. So I coaxed him into the barn where Hubby (softie) had put a dish of cat food for the ferals that pass by. Any domestic cat knows the old “shake the food dish” trick. Bob responded and started eating immediately. As he was eating he allowed me to pet him, and then pick him up to move him. He then cuddled up on my lap. These are not the actions of a wild cat. And the fact that he was not at all scared of our 3 dogs finally convinced me. So far he isn’t purring and you can tell he hasn’t groomed himself for awhile, indicating stress….as if I couldn’t see for myself.

It is evident someone decided they didn’t want Bob. Or they couldn’t find him a home or maybe instead of paying to neuter him, they just sent him on his way. Whatever the reason, the action was cruel. Some fools feel that turning them loose is allowing them to “run free and wild”. Bull! If an abandoned animal can’t find someone to “adopt” them, they will most likely die in a horrible way.

But Bob got lucky. We need another cat to handle the mice in Hubby’s tractor barn. So he gets to stay. He will be neutered and vaccinated as soon as we can get the money together and I’ll go to town on Monday for worm medicine. His food dish will always be full (just in case he can’t hunt) and he has already laid claim to the warm nest we made for him in the hay.
So welcome Bob. I hope you will be happy here.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Back to Normal

Well, Carissa has gone home. And it is quiet and lonely. I hope she had as much fun as we did. She did want me to post that “Grandpa played 12 hands of Skip-bo before he got ANY points”. I won one game, Carissa won one game and Granddaughter Erin won one game. Guess who lost big-time?

Carissa did get enough wool spun so I can crochet her a small table mat. She really loved spinning and I hope she will continue with it.

hand spinning,spinning wheel
Spinning away.

First Wool
Carissa’s first wool.

So today I am taking it easy: finishing up my I-Cord hat, starting a friend’s graduation gift and possibly combing some of Maple’s peach fleece. The sun is shining and the temperature is in the low 50’s.
Blue and Red,autumn,fall,maple leaves
Look at all that blue sky!

Unfortunately the south wind is “a bit breezy” so it’s not as warm as I had hoped. I wanted to spend some time outside because we have had so little enjoyable weather lately. Oh well, maybe tomorrow.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Wonderful Granddaughter

We have been having such a good time this week. Oldest granddaughter Carissa has come for a visit. She is eighteen and taking a short break before starting college in January. Her focus right now is to find a career that will allow her to work with children. What she really wants is Occupational Therapy, but says she is concerned about the math. However, after spending this time with her, I think she can do just about anything she sets her mind to. We are so very proud of her.
Cards with Grandpa

A hot game of Skip-Bo.

It’s been so much fun teaching her to spin (she is really catching on and DETERMINED), going shopping in Mankato, or listening to her yelling with Grandpa while watching their show “Survivor”. I can’t stand that show so it’s nice that Hubby has someone to share his excitement with. Yesterday, while it was snowing and raining, we made bread, practiced spinning, played cards and watched favorite TV shows.
Ren Adoration

Pure adoration from Ren.

Playing with Noah
Intense play with Noah.

Granddaughter and Gracie
Carissa and Gracie sharing a moment.

All the animals love Carissa too. And she is a cat person, so Gracie is in her glory, getting extra petting. It is too bad that the weather has been so awful. She and Grandpa finally gave up waiting for clear weather and took their walk through the grove in cold and drizzle.

Carissa is a remarkable young woman and we have had a wonderful time getting to know her. We will miss her very much when she goes home.

Monday, October 19, 2009

A Good Day

Yesterday was a very good day. It started out with an actual sunrise. We couldn’t believe it. We haven’t seen the sun for what feels like weeks. And it stayed all day. No gray clouds, no rain, no mist and no fog. It was almost blinding. The wind blew, but that is just helping to dry out the wet fields.
Sun and Shadows
Sun peaking through the trees.

I decided I didn’t want to waste such a day, so I hauled buckets of water out to my shop, aka “the cat house”. My shop is a closed off room in a small garage that we use to store the snow blower and lawn tractor. It also houses the cat’s food, heated beds, and heated water bowl.
Shop Door
Shop door and the covered cat beds.

They have a pet door so they can come and go as they please. In the summer, they only go in to eat. However, in the winter, they can be found most of the time sleeping in the heated beds and getting fat. Anyway….

I started a fire in the stove (I have a wood stove, wash tubs and a ringer washer in the shop) and set the water to heating. I tried some jar dyeing on a Corriedale roving that I had.
Shades of Blue
Shades of blue. This didn’t work like I wanted.

Then I tried a new method of dyeing fleece that I had read about. I dyed some of Maple’s fleece while I was washing it. I put soap, vinegar and the dye in warm water. Then I added the dirty fleece and stoked the fire. I let it heat up and keep it hot for about 20 minutes, took out the fleece, drained the water and then rinsed the same way. When I left the shop last night , it was draining and it looked great. This morning it looks like it came clean with 1 wash and 1 rinse. And the color is stunning.
Peach Maple
A gorgeous shade of peach.

I wanted a peach to comb into some of her natural color and think it is going to be beautiful. I found a shawl pattern to make for myself with Maple’s wool, and hope the peach blend will add an extra zing to it. And I did get to comb a lot more of the fleece that had already been washed. Now there is more to spin.

My brother from Oklahoma is here for the weekend staying at Sister Connie’s house. He and Connie’s husband came over in the afternoon. Hubby and the boys had a football party and watched the Vikings win again. Since they were occupied, I cranked up the music in my shop and I had the best time singing and combing wool. It’s scary what makes you happy, isn’t it?

And although the wind was howling outside, with the new windows we didn’t hear it in the house. No rattling windows, no extra cold drafts blowing through.

Old vs new

New and Old.

OK, I admit it. The new windows were a good move. Next year….. new siding?

PS. As I post this, the clouds are back. The gray is back and rain is on the way. Oh well, it was nice while it lasted.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Is New Better than Old?

Today we get new windows! I am excited and I am sad. This house was built in 1910 and we have the original windows in. With the wavy glass and ornate hardware. We even had the ropes and weights until last year. Hubby took them out to try to insulate against the cold. It helped, but not enough. So today the new windows will be put in.

I guess the problem is: I love antiques, old houses and the idea of them. And I hate to see the past get pushed aside so carelessly. But I also hate being cold; hate the heating bills; hate not being able to see out the frosted winter windows.

So logic won out over sentiment. And thanks to some help from the west, we are getting sixteen new windows today. They don't have the beautiful wood on them; in fact they are white PLASTIC frames. But they are insulated, don't have the second and third storm window covering them and can be cleaned from the inside.

I'll mourn the old windows.....while seeing the view out my window soooo much better. In this case, I guess new is better than old. (Sigh!)

Monday, October 12, 2009

Fall? at Anniversary Grove

It had started to look like fall here. Although most of the trees still had leaves, they were starting to turn various shades of yellow and brown. There are no beautiful red leaves here. Well, there weren’t any. Since we moved in, I have been steadily planting some bushes and small trees that hopefully will give me either bloom in the spring or color in the fall. Anyway… I went out in the grove, looking for some color. It was hard to find good photos in the rain.

Little red maple
My little red maple.

Wood vine in a flower garden.

south trail
The south trail in our grove.

In the last 3 weeks, we have had gray days and 6 inches of rain. Then 1 day of sunshine…..AND THEN…

Frost on the Corn
Frost on the corn.

Snow on Corn
And now snow.

We all know this weather is way too early. And most of us are feeling pretty grumpy about it. Where are our beautiful October days, with the sun on golden leaves and the crisp clear nights? Now most of the leaves are frozen, brown and dropping fast. And there is a lot of worry for the farmers. Most in our area have not gotten their soybeans out yet. I’m afraid a lot of them will lose their crop. Hopefully the corn will be alright.

So what does a Minnesotan do on days like this? Well…Sister Connie and I went to visit a wonderful woman and her beautiful Shetland sheep. We drove 2 ½ hours in the rain to Hamburg. Gail from Little Red Oak Farm was so sweet to allow us to spend the day with her. We talked sheep and wool, apples, cooking, families and just about everything. We met some of her California relatives. Then she made a very tasty chili, egg bread and zucchini bread for lunch. After that we all spent some time sitting out in the pasture in the rain, getting to know her ewes. One of which is Maple, who gave me the beautiful fleece I am now spinning. Connie and I both reserved fleeces for next spring and left with apples and fleece in the car. I hope to be able to go back again soon, when the weather is a little better.

Next I spent time reorganizing my craft room and stringing my loom for a new project.

Rayon Chenille Warp

That’s Magic sitting on the loom, guarding it from the smelly Asian beetles.

Since my disastrous life lesson on the last project, I have decided to try Rayon Chenille. It is very soft and drapey (is that a word?). And hopefully it will be stronger than the last warp.

I finished knitting a hat, tried it on, and found it was too big. So I pulled it out and am starting over again. I am working on knitting the second sock for my daughter and knitting an afghan with some alpaca I got from Knit Picks. I researched the internet and found a shawl pattern that I am going to try using Maple’s wool. Then I started teaching Daughter Brook to can. She now has a winter’s supply of marinara sauce. Hubby and I spent the only nice day we’ve had in weeks outside, cleaning up for winter, putting away the garden art, empting the pond and all things necessary to get ready for snow. Guess that was a good idea. I put away the light jackets, took out hats and scarves, and found Hubby’s favorite winter bibs. Guess that was a good idea too. And I canceled a trip to Rapid to visit the heart doctor, parents and friends. Good idea? I don’t know….but it’s STILL snowing.

The only really exciting thing about the strange, early winter weather is that the adorable (NOT) little Asian beetles are having a hard time finding our house in the cold and snow. Maybe they have found a new habitat. One can only hope.