autumn to-do list

Now it really is starting to feel like autumn up here in the mountains, and the cottonwoods have the barest tinge of yellow. Something about the change of seasons makes me want to get some things done. I made a list, and I’ve already started working on it:

  • Wash and re-block hand knits.
    I pulled out a couple scarves, and they’re not dirty, just a bit crumpled from being shoved in a drawer all summer. A good blocking will do them all some good.
  • Take a crochet class.
    I went on Saturday for a class, and it was so helpful! I’ve done a little crochet on my own, but was never sure if I was doing it right. I especially never felt very comfortable juggling the hook and the yarn. In my class I learned a good way to hold them both, and I can single and double crochet quite well now. I even found a pattern for a ripple blanket and started on the first stripe. I actually had tried to do a similar pattern years ago, but I was never happy with the way it looked. I thought it would be a great project to use up leftover bits of worsted weight yarns. I’ll be working on it for a long time, but it will be a nice break to do a stripe here and there. 

DSC_1310

  • Make roast goose.
    So, I’ll be brief on this one. We had two mean geese. They were noisy and unpleasant and I found someone who was willing to “process” them for me. And now they are in the freezer. I’m still working myself up to it, but I found a good tutorial for when I am ready.
  • Get some more chickens.
    My girls aren’t laying much, and two of the six hens are now six years old, so it’s time for some fresh young hens. I’ll let my old ladies enjoy the rest of their days in our yard, though. They don’t try to nip at me when I feed them.
  • Finish website re-design/cleanup.
    I want to keep things clean and simple around here. I’ll probably do  a little here and there on this one, but I’m still not in a mood to spend my evenings in front of the computer.
  • Learn to use Lightroom, and organize my photos.
    I’ve started doing this too. In fact, I’ve even switched to shooting in RAW. I’m not totally sure what that even means, but I’m doing it! 
  • Bake a cake (flourless, of course).
    Done, and it was good, but I’m still searching for a really good grain-free cake recipe. I used this recipe, and it was dense and moist, which I expected. It was just a little too sweet for me (which might have been the pears I used, they were very ripe and sweet), and a little heavy. But it was so fun to bake again. I won’t be making it a regular habit, just a now and then treat.  

DSC_1312

  • Make a scarf from a piece of Liberty fabric I’ve been hoarding.
    This should take about ten minutes, I’ve got a yard, so I think I’ll just cut it in half and sew it end-to-end for length. 
  • Make a sweater for Pulley
    He doesn’t have fur like the other dogs, I think he’s going to need some warm clothes for the winter. 
  • Start making soup.
    I need to find some new soup recipes. Do you have any good ones? 
  • Knit the perfect cabled sweater.
    I want something cozy and slouchy. This might be just the thing. I have to decide what kind of yarn to use. 
  • Buy a lot of pumpkins and decorate the porch.
    I’ve got two so far, but I’m going to need some more.

Bonus items:

The Autumn pin board.
I also just needed to share the fact that you can follow an astronaut on pinterest.

summer, a list

A list (this post is brought to you by Instagram (and Magic Hour)):

1.Summer hair. I'm growing mine out, but when it's hot I hate it on my neck. I've been doing this a lot, although I obviously need to work on my bobby pin placement:

image from www.flickr.com

2.Summer nail color. I'm pretending I'm trendy and wearing this lavendar on my fingers and toes. I've only just discovered Essie, so obviously I'm not really up on any trends. It's formaldahyde-free (as well as missing some other yucky chemicals found in most nail polish), and there are so many great colors. You can get some at Target.

3. Summer reading. What are you reading? I've got a stack of books to enjoy, but I'm re-reading Harry Potter just for the fun of it, and I just finished listening to A Game of Thrones, which was epic and brutal, and kept me entertained on my drive to and from work for nearly three weeks (it was 34 hours long!). I'm not quite up for the second book in the series yet, so I took a break and listened to a Stephanie Plum novel, which is definitely a guilty pleasure. In the stack on my nightstand I've got a copy of Centuries of June, which the publisher sent, so I need to get on that soon. It sounds highly entertaining, so I'm looking forward to that one. Also there is a gift from my sister-in-law, called Enslaved by Ducks, which I suspect will hit very close to home, as it is the story of a couple who adopt various animals and the hijinks that ensue. I can't tell you how many times I've watched all the little creatures in our yard, and thought about the comedies (and tragedies) I see and what great stories they would make. 

4. Summer farm. My garden has not materialized as I hoped, as we have had some crazy weather (frost, in June, triple-digit tempuratures earlier this month, followed by another frosty night last weekend), so I have to be content with nurturing the two new little hens I brought home last week. They are month-old Buff Orpingtons. My buffs were all stolen in the Great Chicken Robbery of 2009, and I've missed having some in my flock. These two are sweet as can be, with that same mellow buff personality that I love. 

image from www.flickr.com
5. Summer crafts. I have been cleaning out our disaster area of a shed in the hopes of doing some more wood-working type projects, but until that gargantuan task is finished, I am contenting myself with some smaller crafts. I may even put a few things in my etsy shop again soon, who knows! Last weekend I made some tiny mushrooms for some tiny terrariums, because what could be better than a terrarium? A teeny, tiny terrarium, of course! I've got some moss to add to these, and hopefully enough chain to make them into necklaces. 

image from www.flickr.com

6a. Summer food. Do you know what season it is right now? Fig season! They are one of my favorites. This is a good way to make them: slice in half, and wrap each half with prosciutto. Then drizzle with good olive oil and a splash of balsamic vinegar. Grind a little pepper on top, and enjoy!

image from www.flickr.com6b. More summer food. There was also some yellowtail tuna caught by some co-workers who went on a three-day fishing trip and graciously shared their haul. I sliced up a piece and coated the slices in olive oil and herbs and just seared the outside. Served with agrodolce relish (tomatoes, thinly sliced red onion, minced garlic, all sauteéd in olive oil and finished with a spoonful of red wine vinegar and a spoonful of sugar), coconut basmati rice, and arugula. 
image from www.flickr.com
What's on your summer list? 

chicken thieves

Hey, hi! Remember me? I know, I know, it's been awhile. So. I mentioned this in passing on twitter, but in case you missed it, someone climbed over our fence last weekend and stole eleven of my chickens. Why would someone do something so terrible? I've been completely heartbroken over the whole thing, and not sleeping too much, worried that they'll be back for the remaining six. Those six, by the way, seem pretty traumatized by the whole thing themselves. They stopped laying completely for a few days. In fact I've only found four eggs the last couple days. Of my six newer chicks, they took four. One of the two has lost all her friends and wanders around the yard alone most of the time. I hope the thieves just fell on hard times and really wanted some laying hens so they could have eggs to eat, but I know the chances are slim that any of them are still alive. I feel sick just typing that. In the meantime, I've put a padlock on the chicken coop, and they get locked up tight every night now. The dogs were unusually agitated for several nights in a row, and I think the robbers may have come one night to case the joint, and then dogs may have chased them away before they could get all the chickens. We reported it to the sheriff, but I don't expect much will come from that.

Anyway, I haven't felt too creative lately, as you might imagine. I did have to make a couple quilt blocks for a co-worker who is having a baby. Several other co-workers organized a friendship quilt-a-long, which is so great! I got a square of blue gingham, which I cut up to piece together this little house block.

 House 

It's not too exciting, but cute enough I think.

I've also been writing app reviews for an iPhone blog called Appmodo. So far, mostly just games, but I hope to get to try out all sorts of different apps eventually. I want to work on building a portfolio of my writing, so this will be a good addition. Plus, free apps for me! Of course, I've been using all my writing mojo up, and haven't had any leftover for my own little blog. I'm starting to get more into the swing of it, though, so I should be back here regularly now.

productive

Today I covered my camera strap with cute fabric.

Strap1 

It was a vintage wool Liberty of London tie I had squirreled away, waiting for just the right project. I really love it.

Strap2 

I was feeling like I haven't been very productive lately, but I actually have been working on some things. I'm just a little scattered right now.

Creativemess 

Two little softies will be on their way to Australia this week for a new book, and I've finally figured out a pattern for the pink and brown quilt I need to make.

My new little layer, on the other hand, has been very productive. One of her very first eggs was a double yolker

Double 

And two last words: Greek Nachos. Yum. Okay, that was three words. 

Nachos

remedies

Eggs

I've been a little stressed out lately. Not from any one thing, just little things here and there. The grey, grey weather is not helping, and now there's something digging in my garden and I've lost some plants (again!). I feel a little discouraged. So the best thing to do in this situation is focus on the positive, right? So I'm that's what I'm trying to do.

Sometimes when I gather eggs from the coop there will be a soft little feather attached. It's a nice little bonus.

I moved the bees to their new hive last weekend, they seem to have settled in nicely. Here they are coming home in the evening, after a hard day's work. I was surprised to see them still up, I took this photo at about 7:30 p.m. and there was a steady stream of bees returning.

Beeshome

It was a fun little adventure to move them. The new hive is just about a foot over from where they were, so I don't think I messed their orientation up too much. I set it up and then opened the old hive and moved them over one frame at a time, keeping the order and direction all the same. I saw Queen Maria for the first time in a few weeks. She does still have her green dot, so I'm not sure how I've missed her until now. There are definitely more bees in the hive.That smudgy paint is going to bug me for a long time, I should have fixed it.

One more cheery, stress-reducing, good thing: Luna bars come in a new flavor-white chocolate macadamia nut. Holy Cow they are good. Luna bars are my 3:00 p.m., I want something sweet and crunchy, right now snack. They're better for you than cookies, and they do the trick for me.

garden report

Pincushion, take two. Progress, but still not quite right. I'll keep trying.

Pincushion

Two things I don't want to forget to tell you about:

  1. I've been enjoying Kingdom on hulu. I'm trying to stretch out the
    six episodes to last as long as possible. I've already added the
    second season to my netflix queue. I love these British dramas set
    in small towns (Monarch of the Glen, Ballykissangel), where the
    scenery is as important as any of the characters. Just lovely.
  2. Mary Jane's Farm magazine is now bi-monthly. The last three issues
    are dog-eared and well-read on my nightstand. Every issue has lots
    of helpful information, recipes and patterns. If you're a wannabe
    farm girl, don't miss it!

Well, I played chicken with Mother Nature, and she won, of course. The last frost date in our little town is Memorial Day weekend. I had no patience, and went ahead and planted lots of things a couple weeks early, as you know. Memorial Day weekend approached, and the weather stayed lovely and warm. And then Sunday night, Memorial Day eve, it was as frosty as can be. I thought maybe most of my tomatoes and peppers would make it, but then, for the second night in a row we had frost. That was the end of them. Next year I'm going to try planting at the same time, but covering the tomatoes until the end of May. Last Saturday I went to a beekeeping class at City Farmer Nursery, and afterward picked out some new tomatoes and peppers. They're larger than the original plants, so I'm not really behind.

Garden2

Lots of seeds are also coming up, and I have to say, there's something so fulfilling about growing from seeds. Beans and cucumbers are all sprouting, and three out of four squares of peas are coming up too. Basil and cilantro are very slowly growing, but only one radish out of sixteen sprouted, so I'm trying again and I replanted more seeds yesterday. The potatoes are doing well, and I added another layer of soil to their cans. They've already sprouted through, and I'm going to have to add more again soon.

Cucumber

I also built a trellis, I just followed instructions in the Square Foot Gardening book, it was pretty easy. I used electrical conduit pipes and some tomato netting. We'll see how sturdy it is, one of the bean plants is just about ready to start climbing.

Trellis

All my beans sprouted, so I had to pull a couple out:

Bean2 Bean1

The lavender is starting to bloom, and I found some feverfew that had reseeded itself from a plant I planted several years ago. I think they are so sweet. Roses are blooming too.

Lavendar2

Feverfew

Faded  

I visited with the little chickens in their rusty pen for a bit today too:

Peepers

They have that nice little house to sleep in, and what do they do? The curl up on top of each other in the farthest corner in the pen, out in the open. Silly little pea-brains.

Maggie

Coming soon: cooking news and beekeeping news!

preparations

Beebooks

Preparations are underway for the arrival of the beehive (in case you missed it, that mysterious implement a couple posts ago was a smoker, to use on bees when you inspect the hive). I've been re-reading all the bee-related books I've collected over the past couple years and I think I'm ready. The beekeeper arrives with my hive on Saturday morning. I found him via craigslist, and sent him an email asking if I could buy a hive from him. He's re-queened a nice hive of very calm bees just for me.  I might need to get this hive and make the bees move eventually. How cute would that be once it's painted white and the copper top has developed a nice patina? I am also weighing my options and trying to select a hive tool. I could go with the standard, economical, and utilitarian model, or I can get the cheery yellow, flashy Italian model for twice the price, which looks like the Ferrari of hive tools. It's a dilemma.

In other minor, daily news, chicks are being fed, watered, held and smooched morning and evening, and games of fetch are played with the adorable dogs. Lest you think it's all cute fuzzy chicks and teddy-bear like dog noses around here, this is the state of the living room as of this morning.

Lr

I have strategically not captured the carpet close up. I suppose I should be happy that the surest sign of Spring-the prolific shedding of dog hair-is apparent in clumps and handfuls everywhere I go. I really should get that vacuum out tonight-there was that whole vacuum more often goal I set at the beginning of the year. But that will cut into my chick cuddling time. Also my Buffy the Vampire Slayer watching time. Also, I still need to hem my curtains and slipcover my chair. I just thought I'd keep it real here at chez Lucy. That morning light sure is pretty though, don't you think?

Yellow

On the last visit to my mother-in-law I brought home not only a mandolin, but also another quilt top. This one was made by her mother when she was expecting. My mother-in-law has always said that her mother was never very good at sewing or needlework of any kind, and I have to say, I kind of agree. I may have to take this one apart and re-assemble it, but I love the big yellow pinwheel shapes, and all the sweet fabric prints.

I'm all over the place tonight, but one more thing, because I need your opinion: You may have noticed that I switched my comments to the new Typepad system. About the same time I made that switch I finally figured out how to connect my heylucy.net email to my gmail account. I think this is all good stuff, but it's taking me awhile to adjust to this new workflow (sorry for the technical term, but I do have this job, you know, where I sometimes have to use that office-speak). Before all these changes I would get comments in my email, which was web-based. Unfortunately, the company I use has a really crappy webmail service and I would have to load the messages every time I logged in. That would often take a good 5 minutes because their spam filter was completely useless and so my inbox would be full of 90% spam and 10% actual mail. Half the time the whole thing would just lock up and I couldn't even get to my email. So that is much better, now that it just goes straight to gmail. This is kind of boring, sorry about that. I never know if anyone cares about these long explanations, but I do have a point, so please bare with me!

Previously, when I would get a comment, I could just reply to the email notification I got. I really like responding to comments as much as possible, because I think this is really a conversation, not just me talking at you. Now, however, when I reply to a comment email, the reply is posted directly under the comment for everyone to read. I mostly like this, but I would like it if the reply was also sent as an email to the person who left the comment. I will have to investigate to see if that's possible, because otherwise you have to keep coming back here to see replies to your comments and I don't think anyone has the time to do that very often. The whole point to this uninteresting and long-winded explanation is that I want to know your opinion! Do you like the comments like this, or did you prefer the old way? As a reward for sharing your thoughts I give you another cute chick photo:

Cheeky

birthday week, day six, random things

My final birthday giveaway plan has worked out, so you'll have to read all the way to the end to find out what it is! I'll draw the first three birthday week winners tomorrow night, and then the last three on Friday, so you'll have a little time to enter this one (as well as the last two). That way I can try and get everything shipped on Saturday.

Saturday mornings are all about breakfast around here. I love my yogurt and fruit breakfasts during the week, but Saturday is for something hot and hearty. I was feeling a little adventurous this past weekend and decided to try a little scrambled goose egg. I should have included a fork or something for reference, but that is one big yolk.

Sallyegg

While beating it, it seemed heavier somehow and creamier, it's hard to describe, but it was quite good. I had it on top of my favorite potato hash (of which I make many variations-this one had lots of onion and some leftover pot roast). It was delicious, but that was a lot of egg.

Cookedegg

A little story about something I learned this weekend:

The worst part about having chickens is cleaning out the chicken coop. Once I start raking all the shavings and poop up it gets quite dusty in there and I have to take frequent breaks to get some fresh air. It's not stinky, just dusty. I recently had the brilliant idea to get a dust mask to make the whole task easier and probably much healthier. I tend to do these dirty chores first thing Saturday morning before showering or anything, which is logical, right? But I also went out there with my dust mask just after finishing breakfast, but before brushing my teeth. And here is what I learned: do not ever wear a dust mask when you have nasty onion and cheese breath. Boy was that stinky. Now you know.

Lest you think I'm a complete idiot with poor hygiene habits I noticed today while at the bank that I have a real talent for pulling up nice and close to the drive up ATM. I laugh at the people who pull up and then have to open their door to do their banking (only in the most affectionate way, not mean-spirited). I love discovering hidden talents.

Have you seen the cover of Better Homes & Gardens April issue? It not a magazine that I usually buy, but I was completely charmed by this image:

Cover

So I've blatantly copied them and made my own version (it was pretty darn easy, so don't be too impressed. I also may have gone a little overboard with the little chick and the mushroom):

Eggshells

Eggshells3

 

The pale pink violas are in a goose egg, and I used the ceramic egg carton my friend gave me for Christmas.

And now for the final birthday week giveaway! I wanted to find some more moss to share, but it's been dry lately, and while on my Sunday afternoon walk I only found little dried up bits of moss. The good news is that the dogs were very well behaved and didn't knock me over this time.

I wasn't about to give up, however, so I went to a favorite nursery on my lunch hour, and found a couple fun little mossy plants. The tag says one is baby tears, so maybe it will grow taller, but for now it's quite compact and flat, and the other is a creeping thyme, which I think is pretty hardy, so I hope it can take the high humidity of a terrarium. So I put together a little terrarium kit. You'll have to provide your own jar, but I'll send everything else! I think it will be so fun. There will even be three little mushrooms, because you know how I feel about mushroom-less terrariums.

Terrariumkit

Let's talk about breakfast for this giveaway. What's your favorite weekend breakfast? Do you cook? Or go out? We used to live in Mission Beach and The Mission was my absolute favorite breakfast spot. I loved the zen breakfast or the roast beef hash. I don't usually care for really sweet breakfasts, but their french toast-made from thick slices of cinnamon bread-was also always tempting.

Front and back

I love violas, in large part because that was my grandma's name.

a few pictures from the farm and a list

I’m still trying to learn how to use my zoom lens, and I was practicing this morning. Sally kept walking closer and closer. I think I have a picture that is nearly all beak. In this one you can see her pretty blue eyes. Er, eye.

Sally

The dogs run through the dew and drink out of Sally’s pool in the morning, then go lay in the dirt, so they’re always a bit disheveled looking in the morning. Here’s Winston’s dirty face:

Winstondirty

There has been quite the chicken soap opera going on around these parts, but it will take several entries to share that tale. In the meantime, meet Colonel Sanders:

Colnol

Something I really need to work on: check the white balance before taking pictures! I was so concerned about my aperture and shutter speed that I forgot that the last time I used my camera I was taking pictures in the kitchen in the evening and had the white balance set on incandescent. Doh! So that’s why everything is blue. That’s also not the first time I’ve done that. When will I learn?

And now, a list of movies that should not be viewed on an empty stomach:

  • Big Night
  • Eat Drink Man Woman
  • Howard’s End
  • Mostly Martha

Do you have any to add to the list? I’m just trying to serve the public here at Hey Lucy, and prevent any unnecessary hunger pangs.

I watched Mostly Martha last night, but it was after dinner, so I was okay. Next on my Netflix queue is No Reservations. I’m going to see how it compares to Mostly Martha. I usually hate Hollywood remakes (for example, Shall We Dance, the Japanese version, is far superior to the U.S. version), so I have very low expectations.

extreme cuteness

I know there was a post full of cuteness a little while ago, but I’m about to up the ante. Don’t worry though, I’ll ease you into it. Remember my size 11 shoe dilemma? I’m happy to report that the cute shoe dry spell seems to be ending. I found some awfully cute shoes at Macy’s on the clearance rack the other day. Macy’s never has size 11 shoes. They do have a bit of a heel, but I don’t care.
Cuteshoes1

I don’t exactly know what I’m going to wear them with. I could use some fashion advice. They look cute with jeans, but I don’t have many opportunities to wear heels and jeans. I know that miss-matched colors are very stylish right now, I’m just not sure what colors to wear these with.
Cuteshoes2

And now for the super cuteness. Are you ready? A few of the Buff Orpington hens went broody recently, and I thought I’d just let them set on some eggs and see what would happen. I got home Friday afternoon to a very worried looking Golden Retriever (he’s the Mama Bear around here). Bear kept running over to the chicken coop, so I went to see if everything was okay, and as I got closer I heard the unmistakable cheeping of a baby chick. There were a couple already hatched and running around, and another one on it’s way out of it’s shell. Two more hatched this morning. I kept them with their mama for a little while:
Newbaby2

But I’ve since moved them to their own box, with their own food and water. There are still a bunch of eggs left, and two hens sitting vigilantly, so I’ll give them a few more days before I start shooing them out. The three older chicks are eating and drinking like crazy. The two new ones are still a bit wobbly, but they’re pecking about, and growing stronger by the hour.
Newbabies1

I’ll set up the chick photography studio again this week, and get more pictures. It’s so fun having a few babies again!
Newbabies2