Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Hot Chicks and a Trip to the Park

Wow, our chickens from last Spring are HUGE. They are kind of crowded in the coop we have, and I think there is at least ONE rooster. Oldest DS says so, because his room is near the coop and he says there is some crowing going on out there.

In 2 weeks, the kids will each take 3 of their nicest hens to the 4-H Fall Show and Sale. They have to donate the chickens to the auction, but they get $20 each for entering it.

I went to the feed store Saturday for feed for them. I am a sucker for little peeping things. The chicks shown here are Blue-Laced Red Wyandottes. They are a rare breed, which comes in two colorways, both of which are called Red (a mystery to me). The little chick that looks a like a chipmunk will be the darker color, the pale chick will be the lighter color.

Next to and below are some pics of adults and the plumage. You can plainly see that the edge of each feather is outlined in a cool blue color. The body of the feather is either dark red or a cream color.

Monday (oh was it only yesterday?) Richard and I had a date in the morning. We went out a couple places and had breakfast. When we got home, the older kids and I went walking and to take a jack to Allen, who got a flat tire. Richard and the younger kids stayed home and built about a 10 ft. square chicken run on the side of the coop. We can't let the chickens totally free-range because our lot isn't fenced. But the girls seem to like their new "freedom," and it will relieve their crowding a little, until we thin them out.

Des called and asked if we would like a trip to a local park. She and another friend and Des' two kids and Tara's three (a son, Riley, Jeremiah's age [4], a daughter Micah the same age as Hannah [18m], and a 5 month old baby Savannah) were there playing when we got there. This is Hannah, who managed to face-dive off the slide, and Micah, who has wonderful Queen Elizabeth the First hair.

Diantha is holding Savannah, whom they call Banana, and who looks JUST like her daddy. Des says Banana is so cute it could "almost" convince her to have another kid. But not yet.

Veronica peered out at the world through the eyes of a Knight...

And Josiah did too... with the company of Fair Damsel Beverly of Ross.

Beverly, who has been a bouncer since we watched both her little feet kick out repeatedly at the same time, in her 12-week Ultrasound, took an opportunity to bounce in the sand, in the shade.

After the park, we left off the kids at Des with about a TON of fish sticks and fries in the oven, and went to visit with our small group from church. After that and driving back 15 miles to get the kids, and driving home 30 miles from Des' house, we were tired. But it was a nice end to a nice day.

Today I have been a total stupid head. I didn't get my primary objective accomplished for the day. In fact there was a project I wanted to tackle that I didn't even start. Beverly was feverish with a runny nose, and I am feeling about the same, so that didn't help.

But I got a recycled yarn done, called Sonoma Harvest, which is available in my My7kids etsy shop, here. And I dyed some fiber for Diantha to use in her shop, the wrong color, and immediately misplaced the rest of that ONE color of dye we needed. [sigh] Maybe tomorrow. Helped Artemas with some new items for his Got Wood 4 You shop, did 4 loads of laundry, and made a good Lentil Stew for supper (recipe in previous post, here). Diantha doesn't look mad about the fiber. Isn't she gorgeous?

Over the weekend I cast on a little baby beanie for a friend of mine's new grandbaby girl. I was gonna do a K2P2 rib and then a diamond pattern in K and P stitches. Cast on 68 st, no problem. Knitted my first round, didn't have enough stitches. Picked out 1st round, cast on 2 more st, knitted a round, had one stitch too many. ARRggh! I figured, just knit it together with something, won't even show on the 1st round. Knitted 2nd round, found out that I had done a K1P2 at one point early in the 1st round, that's why I had one extra stitch. Picked out round 2 and most of round 1, stopping occasionally to mutter under my breath.

When I got to the pattern, I became a total knitting nah-nah. AND, I broke one of my vintage nylon knitting needles in the process. I have picked out as much of this hat as I have knitted. I am finally down to the bind-off, and so glad. Here is a pic of the Pretty Diamond Baby Hat from hell.

One last pic to leave you with. Des took this when she was down on Sunday. Josiah and B were playing in the fallen tree that serves as Artemas' source of wood for his shop. Beverly doesn't seem too bee too concerned by what appears to be (just off-camera) a swinging metal something in her brother's hand. But she's young yet. And nobody ended up bleeding... so probably it was a good day.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

More B's Eye View Photography

Beverly's been at it again with the camera.

Apparently her Banana Chocolate Chip muffin for breakfast impressed her enough to need to snap a pic of it.

Our weird guard-dog cat, D.O.G., was keeping the last 2 Mountain Dew cans safe for us, and she thought that picture-worthy also.

She snapped a nice shot of her big brother Josiah. Isn't he cute? When he isn't tormenting her, he is darling.

Like when he is sleeping.

And we must have one of Mommy, walking through the house. The lampshade perspective is especially artistic.

In our living room, we have an old Army trunk that I got for $5 once at a yard sale. We used to keep videos in it, but now it's just empty. I do have a really nice, glass-topped, metal-sculpture-bottomed coffee table.

But since my older sons have managed to break like 3 other heavy-glass-topped coffee tables, I like the old trunk. You can put your feet on it, fold laundry on it, and spill your can of soda on it, and not worry about damaging it. Perfect.

B must think so too, as she was inspired to snap a photograph. Notice the extraneous coaster.

One more, a Cheesy self-portrait. Thank you, B, for cheering up our lives with your smiling face. And thank you for allowing us a glimpse into your little world, through your pictures!

Now, a couple pics of me own...

My parents were over to visit for the day on Saturday. This is my mom, Judith, holding Beverly for her nap.

My parents HATE our having kids, and every time since my 2nd, that I have told them I am having another baby, my mom has said, "Oh NO!!," like I told her I had cancer or something. When I am pregnant, my dad takes every opportunity to tell me that I need another kid like I need a hole in my head.

I don't really understand this, because we don't ask them to help us support the kids, and we don't get welfare of any kind. And, once the kids are here, they seem to like them ok.

Here is Beverly explaining football to my dad, Jim. Or maybe I should say James, since he gets ticked off if we shorten Beverly's name to the affectionate Betsy. So maybe NOBODY should be allowed to have a nickname? It's a thought.

The Dr. Pepper-Hoodie big-box store anomaly was gone today, but we found a little-girls' doll fail.

This is one of the reasons my girls don't play with Barbie types, yo!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Hearty Country Muffins and Gatlinburg

We had these for breakfast this morning. They are not only delicious, they are really very healthy for you! This recipe will make about 16 muffins, but they freeze really well!

Hearty Country Muffins
1 can(14-16 oz) pie apples
or fat-free fried apples,
chopped up
1/3 cup butter, softened or melted
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
Beat these together thoroughly.

2 small or 1 large carrot, grated fine
1/2 cup raisins
2 cups flour
1 Tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
Stir these in. Then take another 1/2 cup of flour, toss 1/2 cup chopped pecans or sliced almonds in it, and GENTLY stir it in the mix until barely blended.

Grease muffin cups or use paper liners or Baker's Joy. Spoon cups 2/3 full of mix. Bake in preheated 400 degree F oven for 14 minutes.

~^*^~ ~^*^~ ~^*^~

Yesterday we went to Gatlinburg. We visited with my parents in a time-share condo they have there, then went downtown to walk around.

It has rained here for 8 days and the forecast was for rain the rest of the week too, but it stopped about 3 in the afternoon. Everything was still damp but at least we didn't get wet!

We walked the Mountain Mall, where Artemas and Diantha posed in this nostalgic picture-op.

The street corner at River Road and Parkway had this nicely-decorated Outhouse. the kids wanted their pictures taken in it. Don't ask what's with Diantha's attitude. With her are Beverly and Josiah.

Artemas looks like he has had enough and passed out. Veronica was feeling kinda puny yesterday for some reason, so she stayed back at the condo for a little nap.

We didn't go walking today. Instead I went to the range, where I shot as well with just my left hand as I did with my right hand only or both hands in rapid fire. Then I shot a couple mags with the 22 long rifle, with which I apparently can't hit the broad side of a barn. It doesn't help for me to need to hold it on my right side to shoot, but I am cross-eye dominant. I can't sight it with my left eye. Oops..

Artemas wanted me to share a pic of him, loving a Mountain Dew slushie, with the internet. Would you run out and buy a Mtn. Dew slushie on the basis of this picture?
Maybe I should see if Pepsico would hire him...

Since we didn't walk today, I didn't get a pic of the Dr. Pepper Hoodie anomaly.
However, I do have a pic of a cakewreck to share, which I am going to also submit to Cakewrecks blog. For want of anything else to call it, the kids and I have dubbed it The Leprosy Cake. YUM.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Stuff That Has Happened Recently

Another Big Box store anomaly. Our local big box store/indoor walk-for-your-health club is remodeling. I mean big time, confuse-the-customers, move-the-whole-store-twice remodling. They finally have the new pharmacy in, and the BP machine in a little nook. The machine is separated from the pick-up window by a half-wall topped with glass, which they have obliterated with ad signs in English and of course Spanish. Someone set their Dr. Pepper and hoodie up on the little ledge, probably while they took their blood pressure. For reasons of my own, I am taking my BP each day while we walk. The first day, we didn't think a thing of it.

On Day 2, we took a picture. Today was Day 3, and we took another pic. Shall we take a pic every day until some diligent employee notices the Lone Hoodie and removes it? Hmmm?

B has been at it again with the camera. Her favorite subject matters seem to be Mommy and Daddy, probably because what she looks at and whom she deals with mostly are, um, Mommy and Daddy. So firts thing in the morning Saturday, she snapped pics of the two of us. Thanks, B.

I have a tattle-tale pic of myself to share with the world. The other day as I went around the house doing this, that, something else, I kept having to put on reading glasses. I only wear a +1.00 but still, need them sometimes. I kept getting aggravated, because every time I needed a pair, I couldn't find them and had to go hunt up another pair. I sat down at the table to put on some glasses to look at something, and Diantha said, "Um, Mom... Why are you putting your blue glasses on your face when you have two other pairs on your head?" What is the answer to that? As Grandpa said to the kid in The Princess Bride, "You're very smart... now shut up!"

Artemas has been playing with more pearwood in the front yard. I have a really good stainless-steel hone to sharpen our really good chef-quality knives, but several years ago the oak handle and stop cracked. So Artemas took a piece of pear branch for a handle and a round of a larger branch for a stop, sanded them fine, water-base urethaned them, and mounted them on the hone. I love it. The odd shape fits the palm of the hand perfectly. Bravo, Artemas!

I finished the BumbleBee-nie I was knitting for a toddler boy. I really like the way it turned out. I had what I thought was a really good pic of the crown, but these dress-dummy heads are so WEIRD. Instead of being kind of round like a head, they are narrow from side to side and then really LONG from forehead to crown. The shape of them really distorts anything one puts on them. So the pic of the crown of the hat looked all misshapen, and when I tried to correct it in my photoshop program, it just got worse. So, one view is all you get.

We went to Gatlinburg for part of today, to visit with my parents who are in a time-share there. We really only live about 50 miles from there, so don't ask me why it always takes so DANG long to get there. By now, I am exhausted. So I will try to write some more tomorrow, about the Left slipper-sock to go with the BumbleBee-nie and about our day trip!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Sad, or Mad?

Some things make me just sad. Well they also make me mad, but being mad about something usually doesn't solve the problem, and just saps your energy, and people don't want to hear it. Which leaves me with sad. Sometimes I feel like, in my lifetime, I have never stopped grieving, and like I will never stop having something to grieve over. Thankfully the Bible tells me that the Lord is "near to the brokenhearted." [Psalm 34:18] Otherwise I would never be able to find Him in this world.

Some things that grieve me, I can't share with the Internet. I can share them with my dh and the Lord, and that will have to do. Some things I have grieved and gotten "over," (not really), but they have become Manasseh (which in Hebrew means, "to take the sting out of a memory")... like the babies I have lost.

And some things make me sad just for a little while. Eventually they either work themselves out or go away. So tonight's post is about those.

My 2yo daughter Beverly (whom we affectionately sometimes call "Betsy," and the artist behind the B's Eye View pics I post), the other night discovered scissors on the kitchen table. Now there is nothing unusual about that. We are a family of crafters, and my kids have grown up from infancy with scissors and straight pins and buttons and pointy sticks lying around. They are a fact of life, and not usually even much of a curiosity. But there they lay.

So, while people were milling about dishing up plates of their dinner, she decided to cut her hair.

Snip Snip.

Then perhaps figuring that she would get discovered at her prominent place at the table, she took said scissors into the back hall, sat on the floor, and trimmed some more off the sides. Richard discovered her, disarmed her, and scolded her. She now says, "Cut hair!" and points to her head, and then says, "No!" Too late. Oh, and by the way, try getting an active 2yo to stand still for a pic of her butchered hair.

Beautiful little baby curls, missing.

One of my motorcycles, the one I love best, is the 1983 Suzuki GS450T that I have posted pics of before. Earlier this summer, my SIL Tony got it running for me. But we didn't have the headlight or plates, so there it sat. Today we were working on it again.

The gasoline from 2 months ago has varnished in the heat, so the tank and carbs have to be drained and cleaned. The pipes have surface-rusted from nearly 2 years of sitting in the shed, since it was flipped by my oldest son on a condensation-slick railroad track at a curve on a 42 degree morning. So they will have to be brushed and primered and painted with engine paint.

But here's the worst blow of the day (or rather, 2 blows): now that we have it mechanically together (I mean, ya can ride with ugly PIPES), we tried to switch the petcock from "Reserve" to fuel. It was stuck. In getting UNstuck, it fractured a razor-thin little metal disc in the carb feed, so I will have to go to a cycle shop in the morning and order one. Oh and the plates I renewed in July? The sticker is missing. Could my day get any better? Here is a picture, so that you can share my suffering.

One more little sadness, then I'll go on with my life and find something more fun to talk about. Betsy has come down with hand, foot, and mouth virus. Des' kids picked it up from somewhere, and B picked it up from them. I'm not sad about that. Other kids of mine have had it, it is a relatively mild childhood affliction, and it goes away. She has a particularly mild case, with no fever so far. But it has made her throat sore, so she can't nurse.

I was totally ready for her to wean, as she is past 2 years old and TALL, making it hard for her to lay across my lap. Plus, totally not her fault, but I now have almost 18 years of breastfeeding under my belt out of the 23 years I have been a parent, and I am ready to be done. But I wanted it to be our decision, her decision. The milk burns her throat, so she has tried to nurse and cries. I can't imagine how it must feel for her, for her beloved "nursie" to be betraying her like that. So I realize some of you can't relate, but that makes me sad too.

Ok, on a little UP note... see that pile behind the bike that looks like just some yard debris? My 17 yos is slowly, or really not so slowly, turning that pile into usable and useful items, like buttons, gift tags, spindles, coasters, etc. The new CSPIA rules exempt handknitted items for children from lead testing, unless you add zippers, buttons, etc. But wood buttons are also exempt! Hurrah!

Here are some items from his Etsy shop GotWood4You that each sold in only hours from listing them. Congrats Artemas! More to come!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Range, Redneck, Spindles, Knitting

So I went to the range today w my 21yo DS#1. One of the mags from my weapon is seriously misloading. I do have arrangements already made to send it in for servicing, so I am kind of glad the problem showed up before I shipped it off, so I can let them know.

I noticed that on the X-1 targets I was using, the 8 ring is the same size of the 9 ring on the 12" Dirty Bird targets. Hmmm, if I use the Dirty Bird, my score is even better.

I shot 26 rounds right-handed and 10 rounds left-handed. Pics speak for themselves.

Pic of the dirty bird target up top is from a couple weeks ago but you can see what I mean by the ring size.

Artemas has started making wooden items for his Got Wood 4 You shop at Etsy. Last night he was working, and working, and working on a spindle that we could NOT get to balance. He hit on the idea of putting the shaft of it in the drill and making his own "spinning wheel".

You can see from the pics that he and Diantha had a big time of it. Gotta give them points for creativity.

In the one picture, Betsy had just taken a bite of Cola-slow-roasted pork and looks like she is either in ecstasy, or she can't believe the redneck ridiculousness of her brother. LOL.

Seems like every time Des and Tony are over, the kids get into something like this. Nice that they are getting older and actually get along!

Also it seems like every time they are over, B takes camera in hand and has a heyday running around between all the tall people, taking pictures. so I have included here, for your viewing enjoyment, some B's Eye View pics of the family.

Left, 17 yo big brother Artemas

Right, big sister Desiree with sleeping Hannah

Left, 14yo big sister Diantha, who is a peacock.

Right, Hannah.

Or rather, Hannah's legs, which is all B could reach with the camera.

Left, big brother (in law) Tony. She always makes him look like a giant.

and, God forbid I should get left out, this time she also nabbed a pic of Mom.

Artemas finally did get one spindle done to put up, this one a top-whorl. It has a 2" pearwood slice with the bark still on, screwed-in silver color hook, and 9" oak shaft.

I tried it out and it spins well.

I have been knitting, but not enough. So here for all the world to see, are my latest knitting fails (geez I use Twitter so much, I almost used hashtags. #knitting #fails. LoL)

The right cotton slipper sock, finished. But I did not cast on the left, because I wanted something to knit while I was walking this week, and I can't do the provisional, toe-up crochet cast on while I walk. Call me uncoordinated or something.

The beanie hat to go with the slipper socks, partway done. It keeps slipping off my needles, and true to Ross household form, I can't find any of the 36 needle tips I have lying around here in limbo. So despite my really good idea, I can't knit this while walking either, because I keep having to pick up lost stitches.

I cast on a Mossy Jacket (pattern here) for Hannah for Christmas, though I am going to knit it in a v-neck raglan with centered button placket. Like I need ONE more thing to do, but Hannah LOVED a hand-dyed recycled yarn I made, that coordinates with this one. And, I am a sucker for my grandbabies.

And the best #knitting #fail of the week... I lost the socks I was working on for Josiah. [Hangs head in shame]. But! I haven't looked under my bed yet. There is a very special place under the head of my bed next to my nightstand, where knitting projects left on my nightstand go if ignored for more than about an hour. So there is hope...