Thursday, March 15, 2018

I lied.

We didn't get a foot of snow.  We got over 24 inches of snow, from Wednesday afternoon, through this morning.
View from the LR window

A cozy cap of snow

I have shoveled this path
2,000 times.  True.

My neighbor took pity on my
roof situation.

Front deck
After I shoveled before bed (I averaged once every hour and a half-to-two hours yesterday), I woke up to find between 6-8 inches of new snow.  It was enough to almost bring me to my knees.  BUT, since I seem to be channeling a 1930s prairie housewife, I stiffened my upper lip (which had begun to quiver), armed myself with my trusty shovel, and shoveled it all over again.  Followed by Miss Velcro.
I'm coming!

What do we do now?
The smart dogs were inside.
Wake me when it is actually spring.
I made it into the office today, thank goodness.  I was really getting a little stir-crazy.  Plus I needed a break from all that knitting.  We will, hopefully, have a bit of a break in the snow until Storm #4 (5?  6?  20?), which is due next Tuesday/Wednesday.  My boss is all in a flap because she is due in from Florida on Wednesday.  I have to say, I was not exactly a pillar of sympathy upon hearing the news.

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

If you don’t have anything nice to say…

12 more inches.  I have no nice words.

Monday, March 12, 2018

Bracing, battening and other "b" words that cannot be repeated.

After spending some hours yesterday, roof rake in hand (how did I ever live without it?), clearing off the run-in shed, hoop house, fuel tank cover, front and back house roof, and carport, I was not pleased to hear from a neighbor (who seem way too gleeful about it) that yet another storm is headed toward us this evening.  I am being punished for my wicked youth and I'm taking everyone down with me.

I slip-slided my way to the city Saturday morning so that the Drama Queen (aka Peanut Butter) could get his talons clipped.  Then I turned my back on my to-do list and got a pedicure of my own.  While it's not feasible for me to get my toenails all gussied up with some radical color, given the 20 degree weather with deep snow, plus I do not have the patience to sit  and wait - I do get a thin layer of glitter applied.  Just because it makes me happy when I look down at my feet.

On Sunday, I schlepped the baby hippo up to a DIY dog wash about 40 minutes away.  Luckily, I met up with one of the dog rescue staff and we gave Lulu a good washing with her specially medicated shampoo.  I then hefted her back into the car and brought her home.  Poor dolly was so happy that she wasn't being left, shunted, discarded, moved on, that she glued herself like a burr to my legs, which made getting anything done almost impossible.  Once she was sure that I wasn't going to abandon her, she lumbered to her bed, flopped down and snored loudly for hours.  Honestly, if it wasn't for the fact that I don't think she would be great with cats, I would consider making her my own.  But my allegiance is to Slimmie, and that is that.  In the meantime, all contact is carefully monitored.  I am glad that Slimmie (so inaptly named) cannot climb the barricade, nor does he want to.  This morning, I left Lu in her revamped space and not in her crate (I've run out of crate pads - she chews things up if she's anxious) and closed Slimmie in his room.  Once Lu's follow-up vet appointment is over (next Sunday), she will officially be on the adoptable list.  Someone is going to get a gem of a dog.  This morning, as I lovingly massaged her wrinkly face, she looked up and very gently gave me a kiss.  Gah.  She is so soft and fluffy...

And, surprise!, more knitting has been done.  At least I am branching out.
I LOVE this pom pom!
Speaking of knitting, as I returned from my pedicure, I found a box on my front deck.  This threw me, as I had not ordered anything - I am not allowed to - sez me.  The return address looked vaguely familiar, so I trotted in and opened it.
I can't even...
O.   M.   G.

I am not ashamed to say that I burst into tears.  I am not naming the sender, but I am so grateful and overwhelmed, that I am virtually speechless.  And that is saying something.  I'm going to knit a sweater!  And I'm going to follow a gauge!  That just shows you how special it is.  I never gauge - once a wild child, always a wild child.  However, this is very special yarn (as in some that I have always longed for but never could justify the expense) and I want it to be as perfect as possible.  I can't wait!
A little aside.  Why is it that no one - not even the publisher/editor of a local small newspaper - ever bothers to proofread what they write?  I know I grew up when schools were much less driven by technology and more by the book, so to speak, but really?  The irony was not lost on me.  I have half a mind to get out the red pen and go through the entire paper.
I rest my case.
I leave you with the sight I see every morning, lately, as I venture out to the carport.  I cannot even imagine more.  But there will be.

Friday, March 9, 2018

UNCLE, already! Or, Snow is a Four Letter Word.

View of my deck
On Wednesday, we got over 20 inches of snow.  That's on top of the 15-18 inches we got the Friday before.  When I left for the office this morning, it was snowing.  UNCLE!  I give!  Now someone had the audacity to tell me we may be facing another nor'easter on Monday.  They don't know how close they were to getting a thumping.  Even the mention of snow raises my hackles to spectacular levels.
What?  Snow, again?
We are all getting cabin fever and my shoulders and back are taking a beating.  Wednesday night, after heavy, non-stop s-word since morning, I shoveled my front deck and path by porch light and realized that the carport might not be able to take much more, if it was to snow all night.  I went in, clamped on my head lamp and grabbed the roof rake.  I then proceeded to inch through almost waist-deep s-word while I scraped off over 18 inches of snow.  I went inside and enjoyed an adult beverage and worried and fussed until about midnight, when I finally convinced myself I did not have it in my power to stop the s-word, and went to bed.

Thanks to shoveling the front and back decks (or parts thereof) at least six times during the storm, I was not trapped in the house.  Unfortunately, the snow was thigh deep everywhere else, so getting out to feed the sheep, ducks and chickens proved to be quite challenging.  My farmer neighbor showed up with his plow around noon and slowly, but surely cleared the driveway.  I then strapped snowshoes on and plied the roof rake to all I could reach.  I'm holding my breath that the run-in shed will hold up under the load and that a small break in this onslaught will allow some of the snow to disappear before we get more.  I am so over this weather.
So is Slimmie
Even the extra knitting time
is not making me feel better.

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Yo, Farch!

Where to begin...

Last Thursday it began to snow.  It continued to snow until we were covered in 15+ inches of heavy, wet, white stuff.  I don't know that I have ever seen such damage done by any of the storms that have hit my area in the 12 years I've lived on LLF.  And - wait for it - we are due to get another 10-18 inches starting tomorrow into Thursday.  Will the fun ever stop?  Let's hope so.
Not pretty

Downright ugly

There's a barn behind all that.


Maybe the worst of all

Hanging on by a thread

There were no branches there
It was very ugly.  And very heavy.  I had a great deal of tree and limb damage, which means a great deal of fence damage.  My laundry tree was bent in half.  Worst of all - the entire snow load off the back of the roof came down on the pergola and, had I not had the foresight to tether it to the railing post - it would have been ripped down.  As it is, it will need a lot of repair.  Mea culpa, as I did not have the presence of mind to realize that snow comes off the metal roof like an Alpine avalanche and the pergola was placed too close to the house.  Of course, it didn't help to have an inexperienced builder, either.  It was out of plumb way before the snow load hit it - ergo, the tethering.  Another item on the spring to-do list.

It was a long and back-breaking weekend, with much shoveling and re-shoveling.  The only bright spot was that I did not lose power.  A lot of houses around us did.  And for more than two days, too, so I will count my blessing where I find them.

Given that I had a lot of time on my hands (when I wasn't shoveling or recovering from shoveling), I finished my socks and started a new pair for March.  I also had some leisurely, healthy breakfasts for a change since mostly I skip breakfast (I know, I know).
Before washing and blocking

My fav - although not the most appetizing looking -
Avocado/Egg Salad on GF Caraway toast!
I also decided to add to the chaos because, well, that is just how I seem to roll.  Meet our new foster project:
That face.


Before she discovered "her" bed.
I had been thinking about fostering, as there is such a huge need in our area.  But, not surprisingly, I am both leery and drawn to it in equal measures.  I had been negotiating to foster a spaniel from SC, but she ended up ill and was not transported.  Then I was included in an email chain that contained the words, "URGENT" in every paragraph.  Zsa Zsa (who names these dogs?) had been picked up as a stray in a city west of Albany and had reached the critical stage on the animal control list.  She is older, extremely overweight and was so gentle and sweet-natured that the staff kept trying to shuffle her around to extend her stay with them.  But, as it became a matter of hours before she was to be euthanized, the rescue group that I am part of kicked into gear.  She was tested with cats and had many interactions with a Chihuahua, which she ignored.  I still had/have reservations, but I have set up a veritable fortress (there are double barriers - another layer added after the photograph just above).  She has had no direct interaction with my crew and has show little interest - other than barking at Peanut Butter the first day.  She has badly infected ears, needs to lose at least 12 lbs, her gums bleed, her skin is dry, and she was totally exhausted.  She is being treated for a dysfunctional thyroid, although no one bothered to test her - they just medicated her - and needs to have her feet bathed every other day.  She needs to have a bath, too, but there is no way I can get her (she seems to respond to Lulu, so that's what I'm calling her) into my tub.  One of the rescue staff and I are working on getting her to a DIY dog bath place where they have walk-in tubs.  It took all my strength to heft her hinney into my SUV at the vet's. 

She has literally spent the past 48 hours sleeping.  Noisily.  Once she discovered her comfy, orthopedic bed, she has been glued to it.  Who knows how long it has been since she's felt safe and hasn't been surrounded by noise.  She's already perked up and looks less bulky.  Could be the meds or could be the quality (and less of a quantity) of food.  She was once someone's pet, as she sits and offers either paw.  She also leans into you and tries her best to roll her rotund body over for tummy scratches.  The latter reminds me of the Titanic.  I am rather smitten.  But she will remain separated for a week and, even then, I will always monitor their interaction.  She is crated while I'm gone and she does not complain.  Once the snow disappears (June?), we will get out and get some exercise.  We are aiming at a weight loss of approx. a pound a week.  This will help all of us, as Lovey was beginning to, once again, resemble a loaf of bread and PB looks like a fat seal pup.  Let's not even discuss their 'mother'.

I need to clear the paths again before the worst of the storm hits tomorrow.  If the office closes for the day, I have a chance.  If not?  Well, Farch can't last forever, can it?

Friday, February 23, 2018

The Object(s) of my Affection

I have many.  But this is the latest.
The cat's out of the bag.
I am mostly amazed that I could focus on a project this large.  Those are long rows.  I thought about the recipient as I worked on it - how we met, how our friendship grew and became so integral and important to my life, the fun we've had, how much she means to me, how special she is in the world.  It is aptly displayed before the most beautiful little bronze sculpture (center top - although you can't see it's full loveliness) created by the recipient of this shawl.  It is truly a multi-national result - pattern envisioned and designed by a woman in Argentina; named after a woman in Canada; yarn hand-dyed by a woman in Texas; knitted by a woman in New York; given to a beautiful woman in the Netherlands.

Another adorable object.

And, yet another.

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

And, WHAM! It was all over.

I really couldn't think of a better intro.  It sounds way more exciting that it was.  Last Monday evening, on my way over the mountain towards the warm beacon of home, the flu struck.  It was that sudden.  I was going along, minding my own beeswax, then WHAM!  Eyes water and itch, the shivers struck.  Good gawd.  And, yes, I did get the flu shot this year.  I was down for the count for a good four days.  Not surprisingly, this was the view of my surroundings for the first three days...
Hot tea, non-challenging knitting.  LOTS of
I always know when I am under the weather - my morning tastes change from coffee to tea.  And I know that I am not 100% until I can think about a cup of joe without gagging.  As of this morning, I am officially cured.

Thanks to the thoroughly bizarre weather, the chicken yard - and all flat or near-flat surfaces - became skating rinks.  Ice and nothing but ice, as far as the eye could see.  Negotiating my way to barn and coop with 5 gallon buckets of water should have made me a contender for the winter Olympics.  I would have scored a gold, no doubt about it.  I have a couple of chickens who have pulled some tendon or other and have been mincing around, poor dears.  The ducks didn't mind the ice one bit, as they sledded on their warm tummies, propelling themselves with their webby feet. 

Because of the ice, the pups were limited to bathroom breaks on the deck.  Oh, joy.  Not that this would come as a surprise, but Lovey did her best (with a worried look) to do her business in the far corners.  PB left me little 'presents' right in front of gates and right on my path to the gates.  Now that our weather has decided to rocket into summer (forecast is 72* today), the ice has receded and I am able to let the dogs spread the 'wealth' in the back yard.  I still tote PB down the steps and do not allow Lovey to run, but at least I am not cleaning up the deck every two hours.

As a total aside, I had allowed myself to be lured into purchasing a snuggly bed for PB for Christmas, as he is a world-class snuggler and manages to roll himself into any fabric at hand.  Not only did it take MONTHS to receive this product, it was way, way smaller than advertised and would be more the perfect size for a grey squirrel.  Countless unanswered emails to the company, followed by the discovery that their phone number had been disconnected, frustrated any attempt to return it.  They have gotten terrible reviews and I am not sure if they are nothing but scammers or a small company that got deluged over the holidays and were totally unable to handle it.  Nevertheless, if you see an ad from Paw Prime, run the other way!
This was the size to fit up to 20#.
I'm back.  Miss me?  :)  By Friday, I was still slogging around, but had gotten more energy and focus back.  So I hurled myself into the yarn stash.  Holey Moley.  Four hours later, I had managed to just get through about 2/3rds of it.  With images of yarn long forgotten dancing in front of my eyes, I decided to do a rough sorting by weight, to be fine-tuned at a later date, when I was not in danger of relapsing.  I culled out two large shopping bags of old circular needles, some patterns I will never knit, and tons of partial, full and bitty balls of yarn.  They are being donated to a woman who does charity knitting - if she ever makes it over to get them.  My biggest gripe about freecycle or any attempt at giving things away for free. 

I then sat down and wound some yarn into balls.  It's official.  I have enough fingering weight yarn to knit 27 pairs of socks.
Sorry for the dark photo - ball
winder is in the foreground,
swift in the back.
These socks will glow in the dark!

Bonus yarn - for every skein
sold, a tree will be planted in Africa!
By Sunday I was feeling almost 100%, having managed to break my chronic insomnia!  I drove to a trendy and picturesque town about 40 minutes south of me, to meet one of my besties for breakfast.  We managed to get there early enough to beat the horde of weekenders who manage to suck all the beauty out of the place, Thursday-Sunday.  After breakfast and a thoroughly wonderful catch-up session, I found myself inexplicably drawn into the local yarn shop.  I needed an intervention!  I did, actually, pretty much behave myself.  But I am a victim of lovely yarn - just as I am a victim of lovely books in a bookshop.  And lovely cookware in a cookware shop.  I went in with a list and stuck to it.   (Pardon me while I dislocate my shoulder, patting myself on the back...)  My cousin - who has mysteriously vowed to make everyone in my family a handmade quilt - nicely accepted the offer of two pair of hand knit socks as a thank you.  The problem is, she is very conservative and wears only navy, grey, dark brown, and *gasp* sage green.  Why is this a problem?  100% of the sock yarn in my weighty stash is represented by the yarn you see above.  I mean, really?  If you are going to spend hours laboring over a garment, why not make sure it stands out?  Nay, shouts out its presence in a loud, clear tone!  I did manage to find some nice grey, marled yarn and that is about as conservative as I can force myself to be.

Monday, being a holiday, allowed me to work myself into a complete lather over the prospect of having to capture and contain Slimmie for his vet appointment.  He has not been to the vet since the vertigo incident, a couple of years ago.

I had made the appointment for late afternoon, thinking that it is the time for his fifth or sixth nap in his self-warming bed.  My plan?  Creep on him - all nonchalantly - spring on him, towel at the ready, and quickly wrap him like a burrito and stuff him in his crate before he knew what was happening.  Things didn't quite work out as planned - he refused to take his late afternoon nap and I had to lure him onto the kitchen island with a pile 'o treats, THEN I  rolled him quickly in a towel and stuffed him unceremoniously into his crate.  There was much screeching and howling.  There was continual screeching and howling - for the 45 minute drive to the vet and the 45 minute drive home.  He was quiet as a mouse during the visit.  My ears are still ringing.  I was very happy that he didn't need extensive dental work - my vet, bless his heart, is very hands-on and flicked the tartar off.  He does not believe in unnecessary surgery or any other treatments requiring anesthesia.  We discussed Lovey's torn ACL and I got out of there for under $150! 

I had a nice hot cup of tea when we got home to quiet my nerves, and was treated to the cold feline shoulder for about 10 minutes.  I think we were both thrilled it was over.  (Black cats are so hard to photograph!)
The cold shoulder
The warm shoulder
Now I am back to work, shoveling my way through hundreds of emails and piles of paper.  But I have something to brighten my workday - thanks to the very-talented Kristina of Pioneer Woman at Heart.  I had seen these cup mats on her blog and HAD to have one (or four)!  They were even more beautiful in person!  Even my coffee tastes better!
So pretty!

And beautifully crafted!!
Now I have to go and catch up on all the wonderful blog posts I've missed.  Perfect lunchtime reading!