Monday, July 31, 2006

On the road again

Dum, dum, dee de dum, something with my friends again...

Dum, dum, dum, dee de dum, On the road again...

My husband will tell you that I like to sing this song (as described) when we start out on a trip in the RV. Thankfully he loves me A Lot. I cannot sing despite being half Welsh but I like to sing, so I do.

We made our way down to La Honda on Sat. where it was a delightful mid 60's. A mere drop of 40 degrees. I had hoped to be brought to actual shivering but no. Still, it was a gorgeous day and Not Hot.

We left our two adult cats, Opie and Ollie at home, inside with two air conditioners turned on and lots of food and water. We loaded up Otis and Omar, many, many things we might need for this overnight trip and off we went. Otis finds the RV to be a bit of a bore. Omar continues to be a nervous passenger running back and forth between myself and hubby. We now have a nice new collection of scrapes and puncture marks. I found that knitting did not work all that well with two animals constantly climbing up and down your body (there was a fair amount of leaping too). I also discovered that I had not been a responsible sock knitter and miscalculated where the sock began. That meant that after turning the heel - for the second time - I finally noticed that my ribbing was off. Now I can live with a fraternal pair of socks but from entirely different families? Non! So, frog, frog, frog. We are halfway, again, through the knitting of the heel flap.

The wedding was grand. There were several people I haven't seen in quite a while but best of all two lovely brides. Since I haven't asked the newlyweds for permission to blog them I'll just post an edited photo of the cake cutting. (Which was three layers, each different, each fantastic. I ate so much I should be embarrassed but I'm not.)After stuffing ourselves to the point that hobbits would be proud we headed back out of the mountains to my old home in Los Altos to spend the night. This meant several hours of winding our way up, over and down the mountains. Remember, we're in a 26 ft. RV. On one side was a glorious sunset over a sea of spilling fog. No one does fog like coastal California. The tops of the hills looked like individual islands. White and blue grays with red and orange clouds up above. Sorry, no photos I was busy being scaffolding for the animals. On the eastern side the Santa Clara Valley lay bright in stark contrast to the darkness of the wilderness. Well, as wild as a place can remain next to a major metropolis and full of commuter homes. The exposure was long and the camera handheld but it made for an interesting shot. I don't see America becoming less dependent on foreign oil any time in my lifetime.
The next afternoon we drove home and unloaded the RV. I set my knitting bag on the dining room table. A short time later hubby said, "Um, is Otis supposed to be playing with your yarn?" This is what it looks like after I picked it up. It had been spread over about a third of the living room. Did I mention that we have a big living room? Thankfully he used the ball without the sock attached.

Thursday, July 27, 2006


I don't actually have a picture or ten of my favorite orange kitten today. The photos I took with the good camera, the expensive camera, are fuzzy. We still can't figure out what's wrong with the flash. (I am using the martial Royal "WE" here. I don't think I was even in the room when the camera was being assessed.)

In my typical ADD behavior mode I've been working on several things and never quite finishing anything. I am turning the heel on my second hubby sock. I had to frog back a few rows when I discovered that I hadn't knit over far enough. I usually mark major transition points so when I frog there is no doubt when I need to stop. I have a lot of problems with my markers falling off so sometimes I use a piece of yarn. (Note to Self: You buy expensive markers but use yarn scrap - hmmmmm.)

I'm having a LOT of problems with my gauge sample for my Chickknits lacy cardi. I'm swatching with that lovely green DK Silky Merino that I bought from Sundara. It's just like cream in your coffee to work with. It's almost a pleasure to knit swatches over and over and over. Otis loves it too. He can find it anywhere I put it. I found him inside my knitting bag last night frogging away. This bag was UP ON A SHELF. I spent yet more time untangling but thankfully not like my original disaster. Anyway, gauge. I'm off by half a stitch and Sundara says the yarn has a tendency to expand when washed. The pattern size will be a little large to begin with so I want to make sure I don't knit yet another sweater than I can wear and share with a couple of friends. (Are you cold? well, come on in!) I also purchased some metal needles. Most of my wooden ones have teeth marks on the ends.

I continue to struggle with godets. I think I've finally cornered them into submission. At one point I realized: 1) I hadn't actually sewn anything complicated in a very long time. 2) I had never done princess seams before. 3) I had never done godets before and 4) I have a new machine - this doesn't sound like much but it is. I switched from my mother's 1966 Sears Kenmore to a 2003 Husqvarna Lily 535 . Though I didn't manage to get the dress done before my birthday (notice how I'm still talking about MY birthday? That's a middle child for you) I'm hoping I will get it done to wear to the wedding I'm attending in La Honda on Sat.

La Honda where predicts it will be...

Just perfect for a sleeveless dress with kicky godets.


We have a small pond (yes we got to use heavy mechanical equipment to dig a great big hole in the ground and it was FUN!). We have three koi and a whole lot of smaller fish. Apparently the smaller fish MESS AROUND and make even more even smaller fish.
A blanketflower with bee. I continue to be impressed with professional photographers.
A really pretty purple cosmos.
Some much less frilly but still very nice cosmos.
And more blanketflowers of a burgundy color.

Monday, July 24, 2006


This chair belongs to Ollie. The big, 17 lbs., silver and gray cat. He has turquoise eyes. This chair does not belong to a 3.7 lb. pipsqueak (who has an adorable green bandage on his left hind foot from a visit to the vet today - just a blood draw). The couch? The couch is open to anyone but this is OLLIE's chair.

As adorable as Otis is what is really on my mind is ANTS. For months now I have endured ants crawling through my bathroom, ants crawling through my husband's bathroom, ants behind the kitchen sink. I was out of the house for a total of 45 minutes or less this morning when I returned to this:

ANTS, ANTS AND MORE ANTS. I have ants behind the sink, ants in my bathtub, ants next to this very computer crawling up my iced tea, and over my BODY. Ants in the pantry and ants who knows where else. I have bait out. They LOVE the bait. They eat it up. They take it home to Queenie. I assume she eats it like Turkish Delight. It makes them STRONG. Pehaps I didn't make myself clear at the store. I want to KILL the ANTS. Not nourish the little buggers.

Okay. Breath in. Breath out.

Random Garden Photos

A nice red dahlia.
Some small two toned, orange zinnias.
Some melted cats at 9 am this morning with a confused dog (what do you mean you don't want to play?).

It's 104F. We received our electric bill. We sat down. We opened it. We laid down on the floor. I've paid less in rent (a LOT less).

Sunday, July 23, 2006


Friday, July 21, 2006

Otis would like to go Outside I've taken him out a few times but lately it's so hot I would rather stay indoors. Except that Omar the Magnificent knows that early evening is when he gets to chase balls across our meadow and eat rabbit poop. He's a dog - he's very big on poop. Once Otis is outside he runs all over the place and dashes under the fig tree when he is startled. He's also small enough to get into some very difficult to retrieve places. He can be very hard to catch.

I was busy making pickles yesterday so Omar had NO exercise. I was a bad mom. So, today, at 7:30 am, we went down to the canal and walked. He pranced in front of me just full of energy. I was thinking of the iced coffee I had foolishly left on the kitchen counter. His hindlegs were so excited that they kept overtaking his front so he pranced sideways. It was very cute.

Pickles and Chilies

I was a little surprised at how many English cucumbers there were once I started picking them. Just a bit under 23 lbs. I also picked a small bowl of hot chilies which I put in olive oil. I like to use the hot oil when cooking.

I tasted the pickles this morning and I Am Pleased. I found a website that said to have crisper pickles to process at a low 180F. I also bought great spices which all combined to give me something worth all my effort and so many dirty dishes. Random Garden Photo

This is a closeup of a purple millet. It's an incredibly easy plant to grow and a lovely color. It has started making long spikes of seeds so I expect the birds to be very happy soon. You can see a bit of my hardy banana growing to the right and some orange canna to the left.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006


It's really hard to think of anything to blog about when it's this hot. I am continuing to work on the second hubby sock. (We won't mention that my dress, which had been sewing up so nicely is now bogged down at the godet stage. They look so straightforward but...) The sock is just a few inches long but seems to be knitting up much faster than the first one. I sometimes feel a little unworthy when I read a blog and they've cast on a sock and a day or so (or less) they post pretty pictures of perfectly knitted finished socks. I must just be slow or unfocused. I like to watch (mostly listen) to TV or music while I knit. Come summer time there just isn't anything on. I've seen ALL the Law and Orders and I'm bored with all my music. I've watched all of our DVD's and our VCR gave a strangled scream a while back and died. (I think there was smoke too.) So I can't even watch the odd things that we have taped and that are taking up so much space on our bookshelves. I think it's time to try the radio. My friend Sharon mentioned a knitting podcast that I've never checked out.

It's too hot to do much other than an early walk with Otis and maybe a bit of gardening before retiring indoors. Most of my gardening seems to consist of watering. Tomorrow I pick cucumbers and make pickles. My pickling spices from Penzeys came today so time to get the jars and lids out.

Random Garden Photos

By this time I can see what worked and what didn't quite come off in the garden. It's a frustrating time since there is still lots of summer left AND fall, winter and spring to pass by before I can start again.

This is a photo of a sunflower called "The Jester". I like it and apparently the caterpillars do too.
I like the second photo a lot because it has a resident spider. This one is called "Cinnamon Sun". I have one more called "Chocolate Cherry" which has not yet bloomed. My collection of sunflowers is a bit on the low side since "they looked just like weeds" during a weed whacking session done by Mr. I'm going to have a really warm pair of socks handmade for me by my loving wife.

We also have grapes coming ripe. This particular plant (actually there are four of them) has never managed to bring fruit to ripeness since we moved here five years ago. I was assured by the previous owner that they produced so heavily that she "didn't know what to do with so many grapes". We have lost crops to white fly, lack of water, mold and our ever present and ever hungry deer - despite a large fence (Fence? Joe, did you see a fence?).
My corn continues to prosper. This is heirloom corn from the mid 1800's. I'm trying several very old things this year from Native Seeds. I've some much more mundane corn growing behind it.

Monday, July 17, 2006


Sunday we rented a houseboat with another couple and toodled up the Yuba River on Lake Englebright. The lake was created to help control the massive amounts of water flowing down from the mountains from hydraulic gold mining. Cities and towns downstream had been flooding. Eventually hydraulic mining was outlawed. You can still see the eroded hillsides to this day in old mining areas such as Malakoff Diggins.

I was told about the dam by our designated Captain but being myself I wanted to verify my facts. I came across this from a GSA conference, which, had I known, I would have never dipped my precious body into the water.

"Possible management scenarios include lowering or removing Englebright Dam, which could cause the release of stored sediments and associated contaminants, such as mercury used in 19th-century hydraulic gold mining. Transport of released sediment to downstream areas could increase existing hazards including flooding and mercury availability for bioaccumulation." Well, ewww.

This might explain why the bottom of the lake was like stepping into pudding. Pudding that was pushed to the back of the fridge and not discovered for several weeks. Despite the pudding bottom it was a lovely day, and a very hot day. Even the breeze was hot. Sitting in the shade (or not) and pouring cold liquids into your body was the best option. I ate an amazing amount of food. I highly recommend the Triple Chocolate Fudge brownie recipe in this month's Sunset magazine.

Omar and Captain Kim had a good time. I think the Captain had a better time. Oh, the water was very cold.

Random Garden Photos

The Russian sage has reached the peak of its flowering and looking very pretty. If you step in a little closer you can see these guys working hard collecting pollen. As far as they are concerned winter isn't that far off.

Friday, July 14, 2006


Thursday, July 13, 2006


I like to cruise the blogs. It gives me a chance to see how other people, mostly women, are living their lives and a chance to see some really wonderful knitted items. I like that there is a spectrum of ages and ethnic backgrounds. I just enjoy hearing about you all. I comment now and then but mostly I just read. One thread I keep coming across is the subject of "too much stash". My reply is: Is this even possible? Various bloggers say, "Should I limit myself? Here's a plan to stop buying so much...I have more than I can use in my lifetime. Blah, blah, blah.

Not to be judgmental but...


Okay. If you have the discretionary income, your children aren't going without medical care, food, clothing on their backs (you must be knitting something for the little darlings if you're buying stash hand over fist). Your animals see the vet when needed and have proper care. Hubby gets lots of attention and neither of you have a second or third job to support your evil habit. You don't need extensive dental work that you've been putting off because you need just a "few more skeins of this or that". You, the "adult" are getting what needs to be done taken care of in a reasonable manner and you aren't spending ALL your time buying, scheming to buy...

Well? Really now, why do we women (and my apologies to any men checking in) do we do this to ourselves? Life is short. Desserts are full of fat and calories. Yarn gives us PLEASURE. It has a long shelf life. It doesn't hurt anyone. It's pretty and soft and smells nice. You can get a kick anytime by just going and visiting your stash.

PLEASURE IS GOOD. GUILT is over rated.

So says Everything Earin.


I'm a girl but not a girly-girly by any means. Never had my nails done. Could beat my brothers at sports. Either team captain or first picked (boy are those days long gone). That said I look at this photo of Otis and think, "Only a Guy..." My friend Suzy, she of the exquisite gifts, has an orange cat and she assure me that this is Typical Orange Cat Behavior. When not taking up an enormous amount of room on the couch he has been helping me unknot my green mush.


We've had a family of foxes living just to the side of our garage. We tried to get them on video tape at night when they come out and frolic (causing Omar to bark himself hoarse). We have learned first hand why it is nature photographers spend their whole careers working at this exacting craft. It seems to be more complicated than just setting the digital video camera up on a tripod then tromping back inside for another glass of wine and locating the remote. The family has since moved on. Perhaps they were just a little tired of us peering into their den cooing, aren't they so cuuutteee!!??!!

Random Garden Photos

The angled flower photos are because I was too short to get the shot I wanted so I just held the camera up and then tried to straighten things out via PhotoShop.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006


Just a swatch, not a new project, just a swatch, not a new project. Let's not bother to get things lined up let's just GO! Uh huh. First let me state that this exquisite Sundara yarn was wound correctly when it was mailed to me. This pile of gorgeous green knotted mush was created all by my little lonesome. I guess sticking with my current projects might be a Good Thing for now. The mush will have to be sorted out and wound. What was I thinking? (Answer: I wasn't was I?)

In a fit of something or another I decided that putting my knitting pieces in the basket was going to make my house look more tidy. Otis, who has been enjoying the softness of the Manos del Uruguay just climbed in and went to sleep. It's great to see that he's getting so big that soon he won't fit. Over three pounds now my little wild kitty.

Powered by Blogger