Saturday, June 30, 2007

"Tomatoes! And other news, too....."

I took a few photos of some of the potted plants that are out front on or next to the deck. I had just recently potted them up and then got the call to go to Michigan. Don did an excellent job in taking care of them. So good in fact, that we have many, many tomatoes on both plants, one of which is a cherry tomato (in the front of the photo) and the other a larger, meaty tomato, behind the green pepper plants, which are on the step. Unfortunately, the green peppers still do not have any flowers on them, but seem to be growing very well otherwise.
The tomato that will be the first to ripen.....or so I think. :)
We found this planter that the orange impatiens are in, at America's Best Flowers, the nursery in Cottage Grove, WI. Neil, our deck architect, had given us a gift card to this particular nursery, and we are very happy that he did! We have looked at other nursery's since, and have not seen this type of planter anywhere else. The plants have just done extremely well.....of course, it is because Don took such good care of them while I was gone, eh? :)

Other news from today....Don went on another training ride with his recumbent. This time it was up to Prairie du Sac and Sauk City, WI, sister cities along the Wisconsin River. It is around this area, that many American Eagles nest. I, again, did the sag wagon thing, taking lunch up and meeting him as he came over the bridge into Prairie du Sac. Unfortunately, the picnic area that I chose (the only one I could find with a parking spot nearby), was right on a busy 4 way stop corner. The noise from the many, many motorcycles taking off from the stop, and other vehicles in dire need of new mufflers, made it a poor choice for picnicking. Next time, we'll head further towards Sauk City and go to the park along the river there.

Also this morning, I met a woman, Becky, from the Mount Horeb, WI area, that brought me a young chicken to add to our poor, lonely Buffy out in the coop. It, too, had been the butt of many vicious pickings and needed to be re-homed. She is a Silver Laced Wyandotte, which we have had before, and Don named her Heather. I had named Buffy (so original since she is a Buff Orphington) so it was his time to do the naming. So far, the 2 girls (both of a similar age, too!) are getting along beautifully, walking near each other and not being fearful or aggressive towards each other. Both walked into the coop on their own tonight and I haven't heard any squabbling about who roosts where yet. :) Hopefully, we are now going to have a very peaceful coop with hen laying eggs again.

Friday, June 29, 2007


This is the before photo of the market bag that I knitted for Hilary, the daughter of my childhood friend, Debby.

And the finished piece, after felting. I am very happy with the results. I hope they will be, too.

We were asked earlier this week by Anna, our neighbor, if we would be having Friday "Happy Hour" as usual. Her parents are coming into town from La Crosse, WI, and were hoping to join us. Luckily, we had no plans that would interfere with it today and so a gathering of neighbors and friends will take place. Come join us! :)

Thursday, June 28, 2007

"Lakeside Fibers Yarn Shop and some knitting....."

Miranda, from Lakeside Fibers, here in Madison, sent these photos to me via email yesterday. When I was in Michigan, Kathy, from the yarn shop in Benton Harbor, asked where I was from, etc. I had mentioned the fact that Lakeside Fibers has all the colors of Cascade 220 yarns and she wistfully said that she would like to see all of the colors at once, as their shop only carried a smaller selection of colors at one time. So....... when I was in the shop yesterday for yarn and help, I told Miranda of my conversation with Kathy, and she volunteered to send me some photos so I could send them on.........

This is a photo showing most of the Cascade 22o yarns, which are along one wall in the back room of the shop, which also holds the Washington Hotel Coffee Shop. Actually, there are a few more yarn bins on the right that are not shown. It is an amazing array of color......
This is located in the front of the store and seen as you walk in. Pretty clever display, eh? :)
This is the back room of Lakeside Fibers, where the coffee shop is located, along with more displays of yarn. One has the choice of sitting on comfortable futons or at tables with chairs to enjoy some time knitting with friends. They also have a deck, accessible only from the shop, which overlooks Monona Bay.
Here are a few more pieces that I did while I was in Michigan. This baby hat was requested by Patrick, my oldest son, to give to some friends of his who live outside of Toledo, Ohio. It was a quick and easy piece to knit.
This coin bag was sitting next to the checkout counter at the yarn shop. It had the pattern on the label and I thought it would be a good "stocking stuffer" for Christmas or another birthday gift for Julie, my son's girlfriend, so I bought the ball of yarn. The shop knew what it was doing by having the impulse item right there. :)
As always........comments are welcome! :)

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

"Helmet Liners....."

Isn't this a grand photo? :) This is a helmet liner that I knitted to give to my son, Patrick, to wear under his snowmobiling helmet. It's made from 100% Merino wool, is extremely soft, AND.....surprisingly enough, it is very comfortable. I now know what to knit for myself, should I feel the need to get some "quick cash". Think I'd be recognized? :)
I also knitted one for his girlfriend, Julie. She gets cold easily, so I hope this helps her "hang in there" longer on the trails.
It is kind of ironic that I post these today with the weather as hot as it has been the past few days. I opened the door to let Copper in this morning and a blast of hot, humid air hit me in the face, and it was just a little after 5 AM! It was 72 degrees already! That temperature by itself isn't bad, but the humidity is so high that it makes it very uncomfortable. Thank goodness for air conditioning! Relief is predicted in our near future, with a front possibly coming in later today.

Also, for those of you who are reading this.........please feel free to post a comment on my blog. You do have to have a Google account, but that is free and very easy to register to get. I would love to hear from you! Thanks.......

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

"Training Ride...."

On Sunday, Don went for another training ride. This one was to Cambridge, WI. He uses the Bombay Bicycle Club maps for planning his rides. The map shows this ride as 47 miles but because the starting point on their map begins a number of miles from our house, his ride is more like 60+ miles. I did some training that day as well. I followed his route and stopped/parked at the base of this long hill, bringing with me cold water so that he could take a short break before continuing on to Cambridge. I met him again in Cambridge, at the park, with lunch (sandwiches, cheese, and chips), comfortable folding chairs, and more cold water. :) It was a very nice rest stop. :) I then met him once again on his return route, at the Cottage Grove, WI, Glacial Drumlin Trail head parking lot. We had a nice afternoon......he rode, having beautiful weather for his training ride, while I enjoyed the scenery, knitting, waiting for him to "catch up". :) After all, I am in training for the Toronto trip, too. I'll really have to plan my projects well for the time along the Toronto route.

I purposely parked the car at this spot (it has good shade) so that I could see him coming easily...and for him to easily see me as well. I used the same spot during this ride last year, too. Unfortunately, the downside to this spot, is that it is almost directly under an overpass of I-90, so can be a bit noisy.

I noticed when we were sitting having lunch, that his recumbent matches the car, both being white and black. It will look very nice up on it's new rack for those one way training rides and the trip home from Toronto.

Monday, June 25, 2007

"Deck Warming Party" Part 2

Due to the "photographer" only taking snap shots early on, I don't have any photos of the larger gathering. I included this one to make sure that a shot of Angela, the hostess, was posted. :) She is talking to Chad, a co-worker of Andy's.Charlie, myself, and Laura. Were we really talking about something serious????
A candid group shot...... again with Laura, Gary, Anna, including Made, another neighbor, Marianna (Franklin's wife), holding their son, David. John behind Sanjaya, Made's son, holding their dog Coal(sp), with Deanna, a friend from "down the hill", petting him, along with her niece (in green), and someone I do not know. :)
Made, Franklin, Rob, and John.
As mentioned earlier, the party was a success and continued far into the night....and next morning, if all we hear is correct. :)

"Deck Warming Party" Part 1

Andy and Angela had added a deck onto the back of their house this past spring and decided to throw a "Deck Warming" party last Saturday night. It was a success and they had a multitude of people show up to "break in" the new deck. Andy had gotten a keg of beer from the Great Dane Brewery and also made some of his now infamous, "Ocean Drink". Shown below are some of the attendees. :)

Gary (Rob's brother in law) and Anna, our neighbor.
Laura (Rob's sister) with their brother, John.
Charlie, another neighbor........
Tim and Amy, former neighbors, whom we'd like back in the "hood". This was one of their first nights away from their 8 month old twins, who were having a "sleep over" at Grandma and Grandpa's house. They didn't seem nervous at all...... :)
Neighbors, Michael (Anna's husband, who we found out the next day had received a concussion playing "ultimate frisbee" that afternoon and had left the party to go to the emergency room), and Lonnie, Charlie's husband.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

"Scared of chickens....."

We had been having a problem with our 2 oldest chickens picking unmercifully on Buffy, our newest chicken. She, by the way, is the consistent egg layer, while the "old hens" lay an egg occasionally. They were picking at Buffy so much that they had created a crater in her back.......... a true hole! She was living in constant fear, not coming out of the coop much and when she did, not wanting to go back inside when it was time to lock them up in the coop for the night. This was happening a bit before I left for Michigan, and only had gotten worse during that time. It was time to solve the problem and that meant getting rid of the "old biddy's"! I asked Franklin and Marianna if they would like the chickens, as they had taken one from us before who'd been eating eggs, and they were happy to once again, help us out.
As you can see by the look on my face, I was surprised and shocked to find out that Andy, whom I asked to help while I caught the chickens, was scared of them!!! Thankfully, he overcame his fear enough to hold the box in place for me, but Charlie jumped in to hold the first one down while the second one was being put in. :)

Here are Franklin and Marianna, with their son David, watching our progress on "chicken catching". The other onlooker is Rob, doing what he does best........supervising (and making sure he doesn't dehydrate). :)

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Continuing "While I was away....."

Don had been thinking of getting a touring recumbent bike this summer for his ride to Toronto. He began this train of thought after riding on his trike and being so comfortable in the upright sitting position. He has been training on his regular 2 wheeled touring bike, but after talking to a few other recumbent riders and knowing how comfortable he has been on his trike, he started doing online research, looking at models that had the same qualities in seats as his trike. He found what he was looking for and they just happened to have it at one of the local bike shops, Budget Bike. He took a test ride on the "Tour Easy" recumbent bike, loved it, but decided to think more about it. As it happened, he went back "while I was away", went for another test ride, then went ahead and bought it. He told me the news when he talked to me on the phone that night by saying, "we need more room in the garage". :) I understood immediately what he was telling me. :) He has been able to ride it some but not on any long training rides as yet, although he has mentioned that he has found a few formally unused muscles while riding this new bike. It is a good thing he got it now so that he will have more time to ride and get every part of his body in shape for the upcoming ride to Toronto.While I was in Michigan, I had a lot of time to kill and luckily I have a hobby which allows me to take it along with me and is easily pulled out to "indulge" myself. As many of you know, I love to knit and have now been knitting for almost 2 years, thanks to our neighbor, Angela, who shared her obsession with me and allowed it to become mine as well. :)
Another friend of ours, Sheila, has learned to knit and is in the process of knitting a pair of socks for herself. I helped her decide what pattern to use and then we talked about "tweaking" it for a better fit. While in Michigan, I decided since I was giving advice that perhaps I should try out what the advice was, and in doing so, knitted her a pair of socks, hoping that they would be a perfect fit for her. I also knitted a pair of socks for Penny..........I didn't want to leave her out. :)
As I mentioned, I had time to indulge myself in my knitting. I did take along a few projects for myself, thinking I wouldn't be there too long, but found out differently soon after arriving! Luckily, the yarn shop of my childhood is still there (this is their 44th year in business), so i went and bought more yarn for more projects. I knitted a total of 8 projects during my time there, getting ahead on my needs for birthday and Christmas gifts. :) Will I slow down now that I have some done? I highly doubt it. :) Hopefully, I will be able to work in some weaving time now.

Friday, June 22, 2007

"While I was away......."

If you are a regular reader of this blog, you may wonder why there haven't been any posts on it for the past few weeks. I have been in Michigan staying with my sister while she recuperated from eye surgery. Everything happened very quickly....her not being able to see out of one eye, the emergency room making an appointment to get into an eye specialist, and he in turn, making an appointment for her to another specialist in South Bend, IN, followed by a physical and the final surgery. She had a torn retina which had to be repaired. She had called to ask if I could come to stay and take care of things for a few days. (her horse, new puppy, be there for Dad, and if anything happened that needed attention for Mom who is in a nursing home) I said yes, of course, and drove to MI the day following Memorial Day (Tuesday). Both of us figured that she would have some sort of laser surgery and be back to normal in a few days. How wrong we were! The surgery was the following Friday and her recovery meant being "face down" for 2 weeks....literally! She had to rent special equipment for this type of recovery, had it shipped immediately, and it arrived the morning of her surgery so that we were all set up for when she got back home. The surgery (done as outpatient) was done on June 1st, and we thought that she would be up and around 2 weeks later (June 15). Unfortunately, at her last visit to the Dr., he added a few more days of "face down", followed by 3 days of 12 hour "face down". leave taking wasn't to be until yesterday, Thursday, June 21. My sister, Sandy, was surprisingly calm throughout the entire time. She was patient and amazingly nice to me. :) Since she lives next door to my parents, it was easy to go back and forth from her house to theirs, taking her puppy with me to play with Copper (who wasn't always that keen on being mauled by a little puppy, but was patient with it), who stayed with Dad the entire time. to the "While I was away" part. :)

Charlie, our neighbor, also has some surgery done in early June. Not being able to sit easily, she persuaded her husband to carry over and place on our deck, a small couch. She was not about to miss any gathering, and so it stayed for awhile, since the weather cooperated and stayed clear. Her mother came to visit while Charlie recovered, who also is a knitter, but unfortunately, I was in MI. I would have loved to taken her to the yarn shop where I get my weaving supplies. Who knows, perhaps she would have gone home with a new hobby, like spinning or weaving? :)
Don stays very busy while I have my extended stays in MI. Last year, while my Dad was in the hospital and physical rehab for a month (my staying with Mom before she was in the nursing home), he scanned many old photographs of my family, from a number of boxes I had brought from my parents house specifically for him to do at some point. It seems that point arrived while I was gone. The same thing happened this time during my absence, too. After visiting in May, I had brought back boxes of "slides" that I had found in my parents basement. A real treasure to be sure! LOL As you can see in the following photos, I was quite thin in my younger years. I was 19 at the time these were taken. Each spring in southwestern Michigan, the annual "Blossom Festival" is held for a week, ending in the "Grand Floral Parade". It truly is a huge event and has been an annual event for many, many years. My mother is 85 and has been to every parade (except 1 a few years back, when she was sick), going to show that it has been around a long time. :) My sister was in the high school band, so marched in it a number of years. My time to be in it came because I happened to be dating the girl who'd won Miss St. Joseph that year. :) Those of you who have known me only in my adult years, who'd have thought I cleaned up so nicely, eh? :) The following photo was taken in my parents backyard.
and this one was taken in downtown St. Joseph, MI. It was a fun time. :)