Wednesday, November 28, 2007

The Big Ditch

One more wonderful thing about this fall is that the kids have finally had cool enough weather to go exploring through the woods surrounding our property. There is so much poison ivy around that they really need to have long sleeves and long pants to traverse through much of the wooded areas.

During their exploring, they've discovered and named the "Big Ditch":

It is easily deep enough for a 9 year old to stand in and still be below ground level.

It seems to be an old stream bed feeding into a live creek:

There are all sorts of perils that tempt you at the Big Ditch.

Here Brendan practices the dead log shimmy across the creek:

And here he is climbing almost upside down under the bank and holding onto the roots of the tree by his head:

And if all of that didn't make my heart stop, this site stopped me dead in my tracks:

While walking up Big Ditch, you climb around this huge dirt mound and realize that there is a hole on top. A big hole (as in my children could easily put their heads in it). Right at my eye level. All I could imagine was some whirling dervish of fur coming out at my face. I double-timed it up the rest of the gully.

I think I'll leave this exploring stuff to people more brave than myself - like my kids!

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Why I Love Homeschooling

Erin spent a glorious fall morning practicing reading with Tubby. She joined him in the sunny spot he likes to warm up in the sun after a cold snap.

Tubby is riveted from the start.

"Could you repeat that part?"

Time for a belly rub, but still the story continues.

A little toe scritch - and a lot more story to go.

"Is this story over yet - I need a nap".

And they all lived happily ever after.

I Am So Thankful ...

I am so thankful that my husband called our satellite Internet provider and had them thwack the Big Dipper so that I can rejoin the virtual world. Man, this living in the boonies can get a bit trying.

First up: that turkey recipe was, well, a real turkey. I pulled it out an hour early and still was way too dry. Maybe if I had been there while it was baking I could have checked the internal temperature and pulled it when it was ready. But pulling it out early seems to defeat the purpose of a long bake time. Next year: I'll try the brining route.

We again enjoyed keeping a thankful tree, but this year we upgraded it to 3D! The kids found great twigs from the woods and we made paper leaves to write down things we were thankful for. Chenille stems worked great to attach the leaves.

That's Erin's hand turkey (please don't let my kids out grow this - I know I haven't).

Here's the inspiration for our leaves:

The yellows and reds peaked about the time I lost contact with the world. The draught did nothing to dim their brilliance. It was impossible to capture on film, but I thought that the leaves by themselves would tell the tale. During the peak, I almost drove off the road more times than I care to admit because I was busy marvelling at the trees. What a gift.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Early Bird

We will be visiting family over Thanksgiving, so we are cooking our turkey today to enjoy our own leftovers.

I had to laugh when I saw how our 19 lb. wonder doesn't quite fit into our pan.
Good thing I had an enormous backup pan, whose sole purpose it to save me from goofs like this.
I am trying the long-cook method. I'll let you know how it goes!

Monday, November 12, 2007

Christmas Knitting

I've working on a bit of Christmas knitting lately.

Christmas knitting has gotten a bad rap lately. Some think of it as a rushed, desperate activity performed by uncaring people. I beg to disagree. I love nothing better than waiting for cool weather and starting a project or two with someone (s) specific in mind. The extra push to finish in time is just part of the fun and excitement of the season. I usually pick simple but fun projects that are easy to start and stop, are portable, and enjoyable to knit. These fit the bill, but as the recipients may be eavesdropping, I'll leave the finished shots for later.

By the way, the background is the pile of bricks we pulled up from part of our walkway to accommodate construction of the garage. What? I haven't mentioned the 300-pound gorilla that is just outside my door (and I don't mean ladybugs!)? Well, I'll just have to update you soon on all the construction goings-in around here. Stay tuned.

The Killing Fields

We're under attack! We came home this afternoon to an invasion. Can you see the fierce invaders?

Need a closer look?

Fierce, indeed!

The first lady bug or two was alright, but when we realized that the front porch was crawling with hundreds of them - yuck! We hustled inside to discover that several had made it inside. I don't mind bugs outside so much, but when they are in my home, and especially when they are near my kitchen - it's an all out war.

After a few squirts of Raid, the casualties started piling up.

I'll gladly pay double the market rate for organic milk, but have no qualms about hosing down the kitchen area with Raid. Go figure.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Glad We Got the Big One

Most mornings will find Tubby and I walking down to get the paper. Occasionally, we'll even walk down together to get the mail in the afternoon. The driveway is just long enough to get cold or wet, depending on the weather, but is just the right length to catch my breath and enjoy the wonderful place we now live.

We kid Tubby for always wanting to be the "fuzzy line leader", but he trots down ahead of us, not missing a trick. I can tell how hungry he is by how close he keeps to us.

In many things, I'm a less-is-more person. However, when it comes to mailboxes, I wanted the biggest we could get away with. We mounted our first one on the existing mailbox post, but the increased size made it the perfect target for a rear-view mirror on its first week in service. The family men remounted the post and found a new box and I've been happy as can be. Apparently, the mailman much prefers the mailbox to driving up our crazy driveway, because this is what I found yesterday:

That's a full size copy-paper box! I'm not sure how the mailman got it in there, but I could barely get it out. Glad we got the big one...

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Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Pumpkin Head Beret

I'm not sure what it means when the only head model you can find around the house is a pumpkin.

This is the Tweed Beret from Interweave Knits Winter 2006. I knit the larger size first (22 1/2") for pumpkin-headed reasons, but it came out more like a rasta hat. I tried frogging back and messed it up so much, I just yanked it all out. After all, since it is labeled "Simple Knits", it was easier to just start over again.

The hat is knitted from the center out. A bit fiddly at first, but fun to watch grow. The increases make such a pretty spiral on the top. Reknitting wasn't so bad since I was knitting with Classic Elite Waterlily. Yummo! #9s got me to gauge.

A detail of the rolled edging and the decreases.

I'm so happy I made a garment that fits! Maybe I should finally start a sweater...

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Saturday, November 03, 2007


I've really gotten off track. After moving, suffering the loss of high speed (or any) Internet connection, and breaking another camera, I've run out of excuses. It is high time to get back to blogging.

Instead trying to start from where I left off or to trying to catch up, I've decided to just forge ahead. If fun things from the past few months pop up, I'll be happy to share, but for now it'll be full speed ahead.

Time to get back to the main roads.