Friday, September 28, 2007


I've nothing craft-wise to talk about. An amazing amount of time has been spent sending and receiving emails concerning the care of my mother, talking on the phone to hospitals, convalescent homes both current and possible future places, doctors, discharge planners, nurses, social workers, legal people, siblings, and friends. I am eagerly awaiting the bill on my cell phone since I have long blown through my minutes and of course, most of the calling needed to be done while on the road or away from my home. Bottom line: things are pretty good. It's now seeing the results of tests both physical and mental, then deciding what is to done. I am really eager to get back to knitting and sewing.

I started up a second set of large zinnias late in the summer. They started to bloom a few weeks ago. I love this color.

The sedums are finally starting to bloom.

A yellow columbine which did a surprise second bloom.

More sunflowers and zinnias. Soon the chrysanthemums will put on a display.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007


I have really enjoyed my foray into dyeing with natural materials. It's been a small venture, only 5 skeins of rowan chunky that I picked up on sale.

I ended up using several resources for information on how to dye. There is a very good tutorial that I found on-line which turned out to be the most concise. From my local library I came across, Alma Lesch's "Vegetable Dyeing", and older book which is excellent. I liked it so much that I bought it used from Amazon. This is a very good book for recipes and just what colors you're likely to get from different materials, how to adjust the colors, along with how color fast the dye will be. Another good book is The Dyer's Companion by Dagmar Klos. This is for the serious dyer which I hope to use more of in the future.

I used peach leaves from two of my peach trees and premordanted my yarn with tin. This gave me a lovely mid yellow color with a greenish tint. I liked it but it wasn't quite the yellow I wanted. I adore yellows with an red base but that was beyond the scope of what I had available so I "saddened" the yellow with iron. This produced a lovely golden/olive with a "somewhat solid" tendency. The yarn shifts from a paler yellow gold (mostly where the ties on the skeins were) to a deeper olive. The swatch is lovely. Since I don't have a huge amount of this yarn I am not quite sure what it will be made up into. I think perhaps a nice vest for the coming winter (or the next winter at the rate I'm going).

The Celtic Festival was a lot of fun. I was somewhat stressed though because I had learned the day before that my mother had fallen and was in the hospital. Since she was stable and not really hurt I made the hard decision to not cancel and to see her right afterward. Her health is overall very good but she can no longer make good decisions for herself.

I realized that I couldn't do the job I wanted with the vests in time for the festival so switched over to seat cushions which turned out very well and were much appreciated. Not only are the folding chairs that they use hard they are cold!

Sebastopol has some very whimsical art. And it rained which is very unusual for CA in Sept.

I've done a great deal of driving in the last few days and talked a lot to various medical people and social workers. It seems that every day I get a new batch of people. I got back home last night and will be going back early next week. The time has come to find a care facility up near me and get my mother into a safe and secure environment where I can see her without driving 5 hours and most of all be sure that her needs are being met. Just before the sun went down I saw myself in shadow along Highway 5 hurrying north and snapped this shot.

Friday, September 14, 2007


My stove is getting quite the workout these days. Peach leaves are stewing on the left and gingered fig chutney on the right. The chutney was WAy HoT and has too much cardamon. I was able to pick out a lot of the hot pepper pieces but the spice problem is a stumper. I will can it and hope something magical happens while it is sitting on the shelf. I'm excited about my upcoming dyeing project and hope things go well.

Hubby is still out roaring along the back roads of Northern CA and Oregon. He says it's hotter than he expected. It has suddenly turned cool here by about a drop of 20 degrees F. All of a sudden it is Fall. I put a blanket on the bed.

Next weekend is my annual pilgrimage to Sebastopol to the Celtic Festival. I get to see two dear friends and listen to a whole lot of great music while I knit. I am out of my RY cashsoft so I will be switching from churning out mitered squares and back to Pebbles.


Monday there was a block meeting to talk to the local water people about hooking up to their system. Things are looking good for this to happen as long as we fork over a fair amount of money per household, abandon our wells (sounds so sad - you can still use your well but you have to pay money for a device - and a monthly fee- to ensure that your water doesn't mix with their water - safe water sex?). My best guess is that it will be 2009 before we have to worry about co-mingling our H2O's.

Otis looking a little sleepy and a whole lot gorgeous.

Omar. A study in black and white with a touch of tan.

This poor tree fern could tell you horror stories about the lack of water. He looked so fine last Spring but now he's just hanging on.

A morning glory. What a color.

A grasshopper having dinner on one of my roses. Eat up, it will be very cold before you know it.

Monday, September 10, 2007


Hubby is yet again roaring through the back roads of northern California and Oregon. I heard some complaints about "having seen it all already" but he is having fun and will be back in a week. I miss him but I enjoy my alone time and having just a plate and fork to wash after my simple dinner.

As he was heading out the door I was dicing 12 cups of homegrown tomatoes to make chutney. I am delighted to say that a recipe that I pulled off the web has turned out to be delicious and rather easy to make. I just wish this photo showed what a lovely deep red color it is. That one jar that is not quite full is because I kept sampling. Next up: gingered fig chutney.

I am making preparations to dye 5 skeins of Rowan chunky wool. 550 grams/550 yards.

I quickly discovered that winding from the center pull went much faster when making up skeins. The photos are not true to color. The yarn is quite white. I am going to use peach leaves but haven't decided on what mordant yet. I'm thinking that some type of yellow or an earth green would be quite nice.

A trip to Kmart netted me three enameled pots. I read the blog of a woman in Denmark who dyes with mushrooms and she mentioned that she keeps her pots in the greenhouse. I thought I would give it a try. (I cannot find the link at the moment. It's an excellent site with lots of information about how to dye.) The water temperature went up from 72.5 to 83.5F overnight. The greenhouse has automatic lifters so things could get even hotter if I wished it.
More mitered squares are being knitted. I am almost out of the RY DK cashsoft and have to decide whether to have my local yarn store order it for me or to buy on-line. I am using enough yarn that saving 50 cents to a dollar does add up enought to be a consideration.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007


Ollie has been most obliging and is peeing away. I've almost stopped fretting about him during all of my waking hours.

In between checking the litter box I've been sewing on two of the three vests. I've played with piping (we like) and fabric choices (not too bad). So far so good. I feel that the seams will need some sort of securing but haven't decided what to do yet. Beading sounds good but is time consuming. My machine only does "decorative" stitches which seem not quite good enough for this project. I have a deadline by the 23rd of this month to finish all three.

Three vests don't take that long but I'm busy doing other things like knitting the odd mitered square as I watch the US Open with hubby. I also made spicy pickled green beans courtesy of a great recipe from Elinor. I stuffed those beans in but they ended up floating anyway. I tried a new recipe for plum/peach chutney using my fruit (natch) and some flavored vinegar that I made up (mint/orange peel). I had to play with the recipe until I was satisfied. I added a box of golden raisins, a bit of brown sugar, lemon zest and who knows what else. Don't stand too near me when I'm adjusting flavor or you might just get tossed in the pot. Next up is either fig or tomato chutney. Or both. This has not been a good year for tomatoes, just not enough water but we have enough to play with now and again.

While Kate was visiting we went up to Bowman Lake. It being a three day holiday the place had every camping site stuffed with people. The lake area itself was rather devoid of folks which is fine by me. Like everything water related in CA the lake was also rather low.

Omar and Kate enjoyed the view.


Lene over at The Seated View has asked that people post photos of eyes. Here is one of mine. I'm not sure I really wanted to know just how many wrinkles I have under and around my eyes. A life well lived and all that, right?

The state of California is in the midst of many wildfires. We have a big one not that far away near Lassen. It makes for an interesting sun.

Which also makes the garden look rather soft and nice. Oak trees with bird box.


A rose (with hard water spots) and hyssop.

Zinnias and cosmos.


Sedum. Soon it will bloom.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007


Ollie had another trip to the vets because he became blocked again. After the on call vet from our regular place didn't return my call I drove to the Loomis Basin Vet Hospital which is an hour away. I was pretty grumpy about not getting a call back but the upside is that Loomis is "The Place" to take a sick animal. I saw three different vets and two out of three looked like they had yet to graduate from junior high school. Not to say they weren't educated, friendly, knowledgeable and very helpful. Just Young. Very Young.

Over the next few days I would see a lot of this.

And this guy.

And his friend.

One of the emergency room staff is an avid knitter and we spent some time talking projects and she admired my mitered squares. Yesterday I sat next to an amazing puffer fish as I waited two hours to see Ollie. He was having his catheter redone. He was not thrilled about this but afterward he flowed well I was told. Today I was able to bring him home. Hopefully, he will pee his little heart out and all will be well. Otherwise it's a trip back to see Mr. Puffer Fish.
I should have taken a photo of all the trucks on Highway 80. When we go off in the RV I am constantly impressed with how much of America's products are moved via trucks. I love to read the names: Lincoln, Nebraska, Lansing, Michigan, Zamora, CA. Who even knew there was a Zamora, CA? Being a trucker must be a hard and lonely job. I often see them with small animals at the rest areas.

I am being well rubbed and loving it. I am so grateful that he is back home though my credit card is a little melted along the edges. Now, back to sewing those vests.

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