Tuesday, November 30, 2010

"Christmas Lights....."

We have the enjoyment each night when we look out our front window to see Christmas lights in Andy and Angela's front yard. "Tis the season!" ;)

Monday, November 29, 2010

"Our Thanksgiving........"

This Thanksgiving was "my" first one.....EVER.......that I neither cooked, nor went to family, or a friends home for dinner. We actually went out to a restaurant for dinner. I must admit, I enjoyed it. :) True, no leftovers, which I do love, but they seem to linger on way too long.........

So, not having to decide what to make, but only on where to go, we settled on The Old Feed Mill in Mazomanie, WI, about a 35-45 minute drive from Madison. We'd been there with friends for dinner before, ordering off the menu, but for Thanksgiving, they offered only a buffet, which was delicious! It was large enough to have the traditional holiday foods, but small enough to make the decision of what to take not overwhelming, although the dessert table had a multitude of choices for the taking......thank goodness everything was cut small so you could have a nice little array of taste treats without overindulging. ;)

When there for dinner before, we'd been seated on the main floor and didn't even know there was seating upstairs, where our table was located this time. The room in which we sat was bright and sunny, which brought out the vibrant colors of all the quilts which hung on the walls. A truly "homey" and cozy atmosphere....perfect for the holiday.

Realizing I hadn't taken a photo when we'd sat done, nor during dinner, I made Don sit back down as we were leaving so that I could take a photo to have for posting on the blog........and to document the event of "my" first time out for the holiday.

A quick (and somewhat blurry) photo of where the buffet was set up as Don walks through towards the stairwell. There was another upstairs dining room on that end of the building, too. Don had mentioned at work where we were going for dinner and someone told him they'd been to a wedding reception at The Old Feed Mill....and, you guessed it, it was held upstairs. I wasn't privy to that information until we had already been sat at our table. ;)

Another quick photo on our way out.....a "Threshing Machine" which was used for blowing the chaff (seed coverings/trash) away from the grain.

We had a wonderful time! The weather predictions didn't come close to being correct on what a beautiful day it turned out to be....instead of "possible" snow/sleet, it was bright and sunny. The drive to and from Mazomanie was as pleasant as the dinner. ;)

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

"My Patient Model....."

Poor Copper.......she gets pulled into modeling situations that if she had any premonition I was going to have a "AH HA" moment.....she'd make herself quickly scarce. ;)

I have been knitting some items to be felted, which means the pieces are HUGE when finished knitting. The idea of felting is that the yarn is knitted using a larger needle/stitch and then when washed/agitated with hot water, the item shrinks making the yarn felt into a more solid fabric.

This item wasn't completely finished, but enough so that I thought it looked like a "babushka", or for those of you not familiar with that term, a head scarf.

My poor little girl looks to be suffering, doesn't she? Sigh......the things she tolerates living with Don and me.

She seemed to much happier when it slipped down into a "Wonder Dog" cape. ;)

Friday, November 19, 2010

"Take It Away Barb!"

I'd offered Barb and Geoff our two "Dwarf Fruit Trees", a Sweet Cherry and a Peach. Barb took me up on the cherry tree this past Wednesday, coming over with helper, Robin ("The Muscle").

Here they are ready to start digging.......

I'd offered the trees to them because, #1.....I wasn't sure there has been enough sunlight to really allow them to be "fruitful", and #2.....I "think" the squirrels/chipmunks stole whatever fruit did begin to grow. Call me frustrated/defeated or anything on that order.....and you'd be correct. They also ate all "but ONE", of our strawberries this year, and all, "but ONE", of our Summer and Zucchini Squash (actually they ate the blossoms of those....10 plants!). So....I've pretty much given up with vegetable gardening in our yard. We'll see how I feel come Spring, eh? :)

The Dwarf Sweet Cherry Tree is dug out and loaded into the plastic bushel basket/tub, ready to be transplanted into a friendlier environment at their house. The tree will be in a spot that receives full sun, so that in itself should make a huge difference.

As a bonus, Barb got to meet and hold Griffin, Lonny and Charlie's little boy, for the first time. Her comment was, "Geoff will be so jealous!". ;)

If they choose not to take the peach tree, I will try to be more aggressive this coming Spring and cover the tree with mesh to try and hold off the "hoards" of peach predators. That would be a BIG step in curing any frustration if I could prevent them from enjoying our peaches! Who knows where this could lead, eh? ;)

Thursday, November 18, 2010

"Tuesday's Bike Ride....."

After riding along Wingra Creek from Olin Park, I stopped at the new dam outside of Vilas Park. I must tell you, the air quality had a "crispness" to it that I can't quite define. I think that those of you who have lived in the northern parts of our country with it's changing seasons, will be able to identify with what I mean.

My plan was to walk through the zoo, but a sign said no bikes allowed. I thought at this time of year, with me walking my bike, I "might" have gotten away with it, but chose not to take the chance. So, while riding past the zoo, I was lucky enough to find the American Bison visible through the fence. He/she was ambling slowly over towards the drinking fountain.

Not necessarily a better photo, but another one of this great animal......notice another one on the far left?

The last stop before arriving home from my ride was in Vilas Park, just before I reached the beach pavilion. The Canadian Geese were grazing and I decided to take one last photo........which ended up being 2 photos. ;)

My last photo.....I zoomed in with my lens for a better shot of these beauties.

Yesterday was sort of rainy and not so nice, so I did not go for a ride. Today is "supposed" to be sunny once again, so I plan on going for another bike ride. No destination plans as yet..........

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

"Yesterday's Bike Ride......"

We've been extremely fortunate this Fall with our weather. Yesterday it was once again a gorgeous day! Cool, yes.....upper 40's to 50 degrees, with bright sunshine, but none the less beautiful.

After doing some things around the house (routine chores, but feeding my fiber addiction a little, too), I went for a 9.9 mile bike ride. I should have cruised up and down our street to make an even 10 miles, but didn't. I remembered not only to take the camera, but I actually hung it from my wrist so that I had easy access to it (which wouldn't allow me to forget I had it, too).

My first stop wasn't too far from home. I took the Southwest Commuter Bike Path, which runs right behind our house, towards the University and town. The photo shows part of the wooded area near Glenway Golf Course and Forest Hill Cemetery, where some construction had been done to slow rain water from eroding the gully. I had never seen the "mini dams" before, and liked the perspective, so snapped the photo.

Next stop for my ride's photo documentary was at Oakland Avenue where I snapped a shot of UW's Camp Randall Stadium and the Field House. It always amazes me when I realize how close we are to the University. I guess I drive or ride by it so frequently that most of the time I have become immune to that fact.

Another view of Camp Randall Stadium from further along the bike path.......

I followed the Southwest Commuter Bike Path to Monona Bay, where I turned onto the Capitol City Trail, which took me to Lake Monona. I followed the bike path along John Nolen Drive towards Olin Park.

I stopped to take a photo of the lake because of this flock of migrating ducks. I "assume" they are migrating due to the large number.....I could be wrong though.

Could they possibly be Black Scoters? I admit I am totally ignorant when it comes to knowing ducks....beyond Mallard's that is......[I received an email a bit later in the AM....suggesting the ducks were "Coots". After "Googling" them and checking out photos, Molly Bee is most likely correct.] :)

The final photos for today were taken at Olin Park, where the Christmas electrical display is set up for the annual event. We'll drive through it at night when my daughter, Claire, visits next month. It is always very bright and pretty. Hopefully, there will be some snow on the ground when we drive through........it would add to the Christmas mood.

A view of downtown Madison from the highest part (to my knowledge) of Olin Park.

Tomorrow, the last photos of yesterdays bike ride.......

Monday, November 15, 2010

"A Little "Extra" Heat........."

While browsing in Menards last week, I saw this little propane heater on sale.....how could I resist? It was one that I'd been talking to Don about.....AND ......it was "On Sale"! Can't you just feel the radiant heat?

We set it on the bench so that we'd get heat from the side.......

The same photo without the camera's flash.......the heaters glow is quite beautiful.

So with the new heater on our side, plus the older patio heater up above, we were quite toasty enjoying Happy Hour on the deck.

The glow of both heaters.........

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

"With and Without Extra Lighting......"

I took a couple of photos of a hand dyed yarn tube that I was unraveling and winding onto a paper core in preparation for knitting a pair of socks on my NZAK circular sock machine. I figured I'd try one with a light source above it, and one without.....choosing to post the one which showed the truer color. Trouble is, they both do.....it all depends on what light the yarn is in, so I'm posting both for your comparison, too.

With the light, the colors show their warmer side........so it's pretty clear the light bulb, a regular incandescent, brings out the warmer tones in the dyes.

While using just natural indirect light, their cooler aspects come through.

I guess this just goes to show that you can't really tell what colors truly look like unless you see them in person......and then it will depend on the lighting, but at least it will be seen through your eyes and not someone's lens. ;)

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

"Colors and Leaves......"

I took this photo of the sunrise a few days ago. I thought the richness of the orangey sunshine was spectacular!

In moments, it had changed to a more buttery yellow......

I took this because of the rising sun, but am using it to show you the lack of leaves piled up in front of Rob's and our house.

This mornings view of the front yards. I blew leaves last Friday from our sides and front yard and Rob spent hours on Sunday bringing leaves from his entire yard to the front so they could be picked up the next time the city comes along Gregory St. He has many more than usual this year because of the high winds we had last week, which brought leaves from who knows where into his backyard and left them against the fence that divides our backyards.

A side view of the pile. When he had his car parked next to the pile, all it would have taken was a bit of wind to completely cover his vehicle....perhaps that is why he now is parking in his driveway? He is taking no chances! ;)

I worked yesterday in our backyard gathering the leaves, but I put them into our compost pile, leaving some in the chicken run, too, for the girls to scratch through and break down, adding some of their rich droppings into the mix. It makes for a nice fertilizer. ;)

Monday, November 8, 2010

"Rag Rug Weaving....."

A few months ago, I ordered some "rags" from Great Northern Weaving, a weaving supply business near Kalamazoo, MI. I have actually gone there before and like it very much. It isn't like a regular yarn/fiber shop, but more a mail order place of business, and is open for "walk-ins", too. :) I ordered my supplies over the phone and asked for something blue and white. I was pleasantly surprised with the material sent.....I found it truly beautiful! Another thing that is so nice about this material and others they stock, is it is one continuous piece, so I can fill a shuttle completely, and have fewer cuts/ends to deal with later.

Having never woven a rag rug before, I decided it was time to try it. I'm sure I've mentioned this before, but my Harrisville floor loom isn't really heavy enough for weaving rugs, as the frame is too light so the weft can't be beaten as tightly as it should be, but I have woven loopers rugs on it before and they hold up fine washing after washing. I'm sure they won't last as long as one which is firmer/tighter, but they will do for now.

I set up my loom with enough warp to weave 2 rag rugs, just in case I liked how the 1st one turned out, which I did, so this is number 2. I don't believe I posted any photos of what the material looked like prior to weaving before, so here it is today. The original width was too wide, in my opinion, and I'm sure other weavers would agree, so I cut it in half. I think I could actually cut it into 3 or 4 strips and have a very nice weave, too. I will experiment with that another time........I have left over material and could weave at least a table runner. ;)

The material woven......

Copper hangs out with me while I work and gives me great technical support/advice. ;)

Friday, November 5, 2010


Halloween started out quiet enough, with Don and me going out on the deck to drink our afternoon coffee. Charlie saw us out there and came over for a short visit, so I got to hold Griffin.

Don walked over to Mary and Made's to snap this photo of their halloween decorations.

Jamie brought Maggie over to show us her squirrel costume. Maggie wasn't bothered by it at all but she is such an active dog that it just wouldn't stay in place. She got her homemade dog treat and was quite happy about it. :)

Rob had hosted his brother Todd (far right) and brother John, with girlfriend Crystal, to watch some football game, and Don got a photo of them as they were leaving. Todd has just recently returned from walking the entire Appalachian Trail. It took him around 6 months. Quite and undertaking, eh? Congrats to him!

Made' was getting into the spirit of Halloween......

Angela stopped by for a bit, too, bringing along Becca AND their Halloween candy bowl, so she could pass out candy from our deck, too.

Becca happily sitting on Susan's lap without her costume hat on.....she can see!

Benjamin in his costume. Checking out the chips....he does love'em.

Perry came over dressed as his dog Zoe.....his standard Halloween attire. :)

Kim and Brian's daughter, Ruby, in her frilly lady bug costume.

Neighbors Bridget, Evie, and Tracie, put in a costumed appearance. Ben and Daria (far left) check out a group in the street. It is hard to fully see it, but they have a bumble bee costume on their dog.

Simon on the left, Evie, Simon's brother Oliver, and Mom Robin, with 2 other Trick or Treaters from their little group.

Don wandered down to Kim and Brian's (Red Wings shirt) to take a few photos of their decorations. It coincided with Krista and Jacob's visit with twins Zoe and Kai. Krista's Mom is in the violet jacket. I should know the other 2 guys, but can't remember their names.......Colin on the porch, perhaps?

Host Brian with Krista and "Raggedy Zoe".

Halloween was a big success in our neighborhood. We basically had a small happy hour, which included 4 households and our candy bowls, Lonny/Charlie had friends over and a fire pit burning in their front yard (I hear smores were featured), and Mary/Made' had friends over, too, enjoying a fire pit on their deck, as well. It was a busy and fun filled time! :)