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.

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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? 

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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.

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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

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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.

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