Wednesday, November 25, 2015

The Process Seemed Like It Should Work

We all know, I am a process kind of person. I like to think through how something is going to work, looking at all of the variables and changing things around until I have things just like I want it to be.

And then sometimes I just throw caution to the wind and break all the rules.

But this was not supposed to be one of those times. This was a time when everything was supposed to be just as I had envisioned it.

I should have known.

So, yesterday I picked up the Thanksgiving turkey. It is the last piece of our poultry CSA, the crown jewel if you will. On Sunday it was happy in the field. On Monday it had given it's life for our carnivorous pleasure. On Tuesday afternoon I picked it up, all ready to be brined and then cooked and consumed. I can tell you that if it weren't a part of the CSA then I might think.....about a thousand times.......before buying a turkey that at "retail" costs around $100.

Yes, I said $100. It had better be one damn fine turkey (oops, sorry).

I had taken the time on Tuesday to make my turkey brine, so that today I would be all ready to get the process started. I had my brining bags at the ready, well really just turkey roasting bags cuz I couldn't find anything else at the grocery store to fit the bill so I had to McGyver it.....and not for the last time in this turkeysaga. I had my possibly food safe (or not) plastic bucket that the turkey in the bag and enrobed in brine would rest while being kept at the perfect chill in the basement refrigerator.

All was in readiness.

We went shopping this morning to get the "last minute things" that we had forgotten. I had already been to the grocery store twice in the past four days and spent an entire month's worth of income....and we still didn't have everything. After getting home and putting stuff away and running the dishwasher and making various other things, I was ready to start the turkey brining.

I got the bucket and put in the double bagging for the brine. Belt AND suspenders is what I always say. I washed the turkey and gently, or not, put him, or her, into the bags in the bucket. I had to wrestle the thing a bit as one of the bags got stuck under the turkey and there was a moment of mutterings and imprecations under my breath but I soon had everything set up correctly.

I poured in the brine......and the train came off the rails. Not sure what I was thinking but I had not made enough brine. Not by a long shot. I was going to need, by my rough estimate, at least double the amount of brine that I had made. I had more brine fixin' stuff in the frig so got to going on that and finally had a sufficient amount....sort work. Big sigh of relief. I closed up the bags and hauled the turkey in bag in bucket to the basement.....

Where the derailment got worse.

I had cleared out the bottom part of the basement frig to accommodate the turkey, intending to take out the bottom shelf to make room. Only I found that I couldn't remove the bottom shelf. Evidently this is something that I did not know about my basement refrigerator. No matter how I moved the shelf and shook it and muttered at it,,,,,it would not be moved.


OK, go to plan B. I dug out the big cooler from the basement, took it up to the garage, and then had Slim Jim carry the turkey in brine bag in bucket up to the garage for me. Plan B was to take the turkey in the brine bag out of the bucket and transfer it to the cooler, cover the cooler with blankets and keep it in the cool garage until tomorrow. I lifted up the turkey in the brine bag from the bucket and that is when Plan B spun off into space like Darth Vader's fighter. Evidently, while I was farting around with figuring out Plan B, I hadn't realized that a bit of the brine, which is sticky because of the juice in it, had gotten out of it's brine bag containment field, dripped down to the bottom of the bucket and cemented the bag to the bucket. I lifted the turkey in the brine bag out of the bucket....and tore a small hole in the bottom of BOTH bags. Not a big hole but a hole is never good, whether in a space or in a brine bag.

So we moved on to Plan C which was just to put the turkey in the brine bags in a garbage bag into the cooler and go and have a drink. However, I realized quickly that the brine would just leak out of the bags and into the garbage bag and be absolutely no good to the turkey, which was the entire intent of the brine in the first place.

Cue Plan D. Plan D was just put the turkey into the dubiously food safe, but clean, bucket, pour in the brine, put the turkey in the brine in the bucket into the cooler, go have a good cry...and a drink.

Except that the bucket did fit into the cooler....but I couldn't close the top.


But then I remembered I have a smaller cooler in the basement. I figured I could just turn that one over onto the top of the turkey in the brine in the bucket in the cooler and make a bigger, bastardized cooler of dubious parentage. Yeah, THAT will work....or not. It so didn't work.

Mother of all that is HOLY!

OK. I can figure this out. The bucket fits in the cooler, just sticks up a bit. I can cover it with some newspaper, then blankets and it will be insulated enough, maybe.But the specter of salmonella poisoning and unrestrained vomiting raised it's head and then I decided that it might be better to get some ice to go around the turkey in the brine in the bucket in the cooler, just to be safe. That necessitated getting in the car and driving to the store, the store where everyone else was doing their last minute Thanksgiving shopping. I couldn't even find a parking space. So, I had to drive across the street to the other store and buy ice. All I wanted to do was walk in, grab a cart, walk to my right, open the ice bags case and grab some. So easy and yet, so difficult as I had to maneuver around all the other people with gigantic carts full of Thanksgiving necessities.


Back in the car. Back home. Now the turkey in the brine in the bucket in the cooler has ice around it and all is well.

Except that I decided that it might be better to actually take the turkey in the brine in the bucket in the cooler surrounded by ice and covered with blankets and put the whole thing out on the back patio where it was actually cooler than in the garage. So that is what Slim Jim and I did. I have a timer set to remind me to take the turkey in the brine in the bucket in the cooler surrounded by ice and covered with blankets and move it back into the garage about 9pm so that some marauding animal doesn't help it's to the turkey during the night.

Like I said, this had better be one damn fine turkey.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Quit While I’m Ahead.

Or to put it another way….

I was completely wrong about the yarn.

Just about a year ago, as I was rooting around in a cupboard at work, I found a discarded sweater. It belonged to no one. It wasn’t a style I was going to use. It was obviously wool. What would any self respecting knitter do?

She would bring it home and unravel it to repurpose the yarn of course.

That is what I did. The yarn has been sitting in my stash just waiting for the right project. I knew it would have to wait until the weather cooled because, it just isn’t all that much fun to knit on a wool sweater in the middle of summer. Call me crazy but sweaty hands and sweaty wool are not a great thing. But even though the weather has been warmer than usual for November, I felt that it was time to break out the reclaimed yarn and make something beautiful out of it.

I had already determined that the yarn was Worsted Weight and yes it was wool. You can tell if a yarn is wool, or at least a large percentage of wool, by taking a piece of it and lighting one end on fire. FIRE!!!! If it turns to ash as it burns and actually the flame goes out fairly quickly, it is wool. If it melts like the dickens….man made fiber.

By the way, just as your PSA for the day….do not do the burn test in the house. You think it will be OK but it will not. Wool yarn that you are testing smells like burning hair. BUT burning acrylic doesn’t burn, it melts, and sometimes it melts very quickly and hotly and drops onto the ground….or your floor. Do this OUTSIDE.

Now back to our regularly scheduled blather.

SO, I had the pattern all picked out. Nothing elaborate, just a simple sweater. I started my first (of three swatches) and had my first realization.

This is VERY scratchy wool. Don’t get me wrong, some wool is very scratchy. It is the nature of some wools to be like the woman behind the counter at Walmart on the day after Christmas. Scratchy and there is nothing you can do about it.

Then I realized that the yarn was not fun to knit with. I am being kind here. It was like a continual struggle with a thin rope of two year old child. You want it to do one thing. It is screaming at you at the top of it’s little wooly lungs and refusing to do what you want. Repeatedly. I knit, washed and blocked three swatches and I still couldn’t get gauge. It is not all that often that I cannot get gauge after THREE swatches. Sorry for the knitspeak. All that means is if I knit the sweater with the needles that I knit the swatch with I would have had a coat and not a sweater. A very scratchy coat that I was beginning to think might not be a good idea.

But being the person that I am, and being the fact that the yarn cost me nothing…..nothing except tears of frustration as I wrestled with it, I persevered. I gathered my supplies and I cast on during the Ohio State game last Saturday.

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I managed to make it through one repeat of 12 rows and I could sense that I had made a mistake. Not a mistake in my knitting. No, I had made a mistake in the nature and essence of this yarn. This yarn was a vile and evil beast of ropey wool that would not be tamed. It was almost impossible to knit in my regular swift style. Each stitch was like climbing the mountain of knitting pain. By the time that Baylor lost to Oklahoma on Saturday evening I knew that this yarn was not long destined for my stash world. I made it through a second repeat of 12 rows and called it quits. Yes folks, I knit only 24 rows and a boat load of increases before I threw the knitting down in disgust (or it might have been disgust at the way Baylor was playing) and called it quits.

We are not dating.

We are not even seeing each other anymore.

2015-11-17 17.44.28 Ugly wool yarn you are dead to me! Off to Goodwill you go where someone else can find you and love you.

It will not be me.

The yarn for my sweater arrives on Thursday. Well, I had to buy yarn for the sweater! I didn’t have just the right yarn in my stash.

Stop looking at me and shaking your head.

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I don’t see just the right yarn for my sweater in there, do you?

I didn’t think so.

Friday, October 23, 2015

A Worthy Canine

I am without words. I only have tears that are spilling down my cheeks and dripping onto my keyboard. And all because of a crazy dog that I didn’t even want, who wormed his way into my life (after he stopped barking in his crate) and became an extension of my heart.

I knew I was sunk that day that they all said, “Can’t we just stop by Rescue Village and look at the cats and dogs? We won’t bring one home.” Famous last words. We went in, worked our way back to the puppies…..and there he was. The last of a litter of five puppies of uncertain parentage who had been left in the “No Questions Asked Dog Drop Door” four days before. He was fluffy and black with a skinny tail that had a weird puffball on the end. I think I might have weakly said, “No!?!” but it was of no use.

We came home with an 8 week old puppy. Rescue Village couldn’t even really tell us how big he was going to be……70 pounds it turned out. There wasn’t even anything at home to house or feed a puppy. The cats hated him on sight. And I can tell you that I was REALLY ready to return him after two days of crying all night in his crate. It took a bit of time but we figured each other out. I thought, “Oh, he is going to be so nice and quiet and sweet.”

That lasted about a week, until he got used to us, and then it was all crazy all the time.

Maxwell at 3 months

How could you not love a face like that. Really.

It quickly became apparent that we had acquired perhaps the smartest dog that I have ever know. He was just wicked smart. He house trained in two weeks. He trained to the invisible fence in no time. He didn’t even have to wear the collar, he knew where the line was and he didn’t cross it, even when confronted with a coveted squirrel. He put himself to bed at the stroke of 9PM. We would look around and find that he was already asleep in his crate.

He self punished.

No really. He was so wickedly smart that he knew, after he had done something, or perhaps even as he was planning, that he might as well just go into his crate cuz he was a NoNoBadDog. Most of the time he just took what he wasn’t supposed to eat/chew/have and destroyed it IN his crate and then waited for you to get home and discover what he had done.I'm so ashamedIMG_5593IMG_5886Max messPOD 1-6-07

He was always sorry……but it never stopped him. Until he was about 10 years old he was also quite likely to put his front paws on the counter and help himself to whatever might be in reach.

An entire stick of butter

Most of a pan of lasagna

Half of a cake

Cookies galore

A sandwich

5 pounds of turkey

Once his hind legs were no longer strong enough to go for the counter goodies he was a master at digging through the garbage the minute that we left the house, just to see if we had put something in there that might be delicious. Nothing was off limits, including tea bags and popcorn. He ate it all.

Max hated to be separated from his people. Where you were, that is where he wanted to be. If we were in the water at the cottage he would whine and bark until he could join us. If we went in the car, he wanted to go with. If I worked outside he needed to be there with me. If I was in the basement, he was in the basement. The only time that was not the case was when there were sports on the TV. He wanted to be with you, but he was so anxiety-ridden about sports that he would sit right at your feet and pant in terror….but he would sit there. We found, in the last year or so, that if we just told him to go to bed and then closed the laundry room door, he was fine. He just needed to be told that it was OK not to be by us.

Max also wasn’t all that thrilled about having his picture taken. I had to work at it. And work I did. His eyes would melt your soul but he just didn’t want you to know that.2014-02-27 14.02.012014-03-02 10.53.192014-03-29 09.53.08-22014-04-06 07.13.40-22014-05-11 10.43.53-22014-05-16 20.47.47-22014-06-07 18.58.30-22014-09-05 22.19.45-22014-11-02 14.24.25-22015-01-25 12.19.13-22015-04-23 06.38.00-22015-04-26 13.36.27-22015-05-01 20.07.56-12015-07-04 10.50.57-1

We have known that “This Day” was coming. Last winter was hard on Maxie Poodles. He had arthritis which made it difficult when the weather was cold. He could no longer sit, it was either stand up or lay down. When he would lay down he groaned and once he was down he liked to stay there for a bit as getting back up was a trial. He took to sleeping smack dab in the middle of the floor where you had to walk to get into the kitchen, just so he would be near us. He had a tumor of some kind growing on his belly. We knew it was there. Dr. Jeff and Dr. Jeremy knew it was there. We chose to just monitor it’s size (it was growing and the size of 1/2 a baseball). He had the whole Chryseomonas Luteola thing going on in his sinuses (there is a blog post about it somewhere but I just don’t have the heart to find it right now).

And then there was the incident in January where he had what Dr. Jeff felt was a bleed in his liver. That was very scary. Max was disoriented, he was vomiting, his abdomen was tender. I thought that I was taking him to the vet to have to make this decision that day. Dr. Jeff felt that he could treat Max symptomatically with some steroids and he was right. 48 hours later Max was much better. But he wasn’t as better as he had been before. We could see that we were on a slow slide downward. He slept more. He occasionally turned his nose up at food. He had “gastro-intestinal issues” that we don’t need to discuss here. Yesterday he was restless and would not be denied going out with me while I cut down my hydrangeas. He wanted to be right by my side all the time. This morning when I took him out he seemed a bit slow but not out of the realm of the usual. But when Dan and I got back from the Community Center something definitely wasn’t right. We had only been gone an hour but in that hour he had undergone a change. He wasn’t interested in food. He was restless and couldn’t get comfortable. He had been sick, not once, not twice but three times in the living room. I discovered that when I stepped in it. I took him out and he was sick again in the grass and then didn’t seem to have the energy to walk back to the house.

He wasn’t good.

We called and Dr. Jeff kindly worked us into his busy Friday morning. The news was not good. He was running a fever  and his blood work was whacky in some places and fine in others. His blood counts weren’t good. Dr. Jeff thought it might be a number of things, all of which sounded terrible and, none of which could be definitively diagnosed without putting Max through rigorous tests that we were not prepared to do to him. He might respond to some fluids, some antibiotics and some other medications. He might not. We would have had to board him at the vet hospital kennel for the next week as HHBL and I are going to be out of town. Dr. Jeff wasn’t optimistic. In the end HHBL and I felt that what would break our hearts even more that putting Max down today would be to have him make no progress over the next few days and then have to make that decision without us being at his side to hold him and say goodbye.

We chose today.

The people at the Twinsburg Veterinary Hospital were the soul of kindness and caring. We were able to spend as much time with Max as we needed both before and after. We wept as much as was needed. I spent some time just putting my face in Max’s fur and smelling, trying to imprint on my brain and heart the unique smell of my most wonderful dog. When all was done he was laying as if he was asleep, in one of his favorite positions, no more pain. For once in my life, I couldn’t take a picture. I tried. I really tried. But I just couldn’t do it. 2015-10-23 11.18.38

I chose to remember his crazy Hobbit feet.

Oh my Max the Magnificent. You were a worthy canine and there will never be another one like you. I would give up clean floors and no poop patrol just to be able to have you here for a bit more time.


Max the Magnificent

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Ashland and Peru. Who Knew!

So, today was the annual trek down to the Ashland Fiber Festival….in Ashland, Ohio. You all are smart but I thought I should mention that. It isn’t a long drive from Chez Knit to the Ashland Country Fair Grounds, a mere hour and a few minutes. So close. And the drive was accomplished with my Sister of the Fiber, Cindie. Cindie does not knit but she does other fibery things like wet felting and needle felting. It is National Yarn Day after all. What better way to celebrate.

Cindie and I have known each other for a long time and used to live around the corner from each other, sort of, OK more like a mile apart but you still had to go around a corner to actually get to her house from mine so it is sort of the same thing.

Moving on.

This is our second year to go. I might have bought some yarn……..yeah, I know that comes a a real shock to all of you. A couple of skeins of sock yarn cuz, you know, I don’t have enough of that!

I just went to count how many skeins of sock yarn I actually have. I stopped after 60. We will just go with the “I have enough most likely” scenario and move on.

2015-10-17 10.36.12

I also might have bought a sweater’s worth of yarn in this yummy brown color. Fiber produced here in my great state at Ohio Valley Natural Fiber. If you are so inclined you can go onto YouTube and find a Dirty Jobs episode where Mike Rowe visits. Ohio Valley Natural Fiber has won a customer for life in me and I haven’t even knit with the yarn at the moment. It isn’t the yarn that got me, although it is lovely. As I usually do, while purchasing I spent some time just chatting with the lovely lady who was checking me out. We spoke about all of the batts of fiber that they had and I mentioned that I am still struggling a bit on learning to drop spindle. I have said to myself that I cannot buy (although I am saving up for) a spinning wheel until I can at least drop spindle fiber.

I hate being not good at anything and therefore this is a frustration for me.

This woman, whose name I cannot now remember, looked at me and said, “I don’t want you to give up on this. I am guessing that it isn’t you as much as it is the fiber that you are using. Come with me.” She took me over to the wall of fiber batts, talked a bit about them and what the difference was and then looked at me and said, “Because I don’t want you to give up on this I want you to pick one of these batts, whichever one you like best, and I want you to take it home. The cost is on me.”

Excuse me while I look gobsmacked. She was serious. I took a 1/2 pound batt of fiber home with me in a lovely variegated color. Now to find the time to practice.

And this wasn’t even why I started this post. It wasn’t even the craziest part of the day. Cindie and I were almost done with our second pass around the building, I was slowly walking past a stall that I had already looked at before when I saw a basket with some skeins of yarn that I knew. I knew the brand because I had purchased said yarn in Lima last year. I have never seen it in any LYS (Local Yarn Store) that I have visited here in the US. The MiL and I had gone into a shop (there aren’t that many “yarn” shops in Lima surprisingly) and asked about alpaca yarn. The woman didn’t really carry all that much yarn that was alpaca.

Let that sink in for a minute. Peru, one of the countries that produces the most alpaca fiber, doesn’t sell as much yarn as they do the ready made garments. It is hard to find yarn there. Craziness.

But she brought out what she had and my MiL bought it for me. 6 skeins each of three different colorways: red, cream and cocoa. She didn’t have enough of any one color for an entire garment but I figured that I could work it out. The yarn is in the stash but every time I bring it out I think, boy I wish I had like two other skeins of the red so that it could be the dominant color and the other colors could be stripes. But it was not to be……..until today.

There, in the basket of skeins of Indiecita Baby alpaca yarn, the SAME yarn that I bought in Peru, were two skeins of red. Now it is a dicey thing to buy yarn from the same company but in two different batches because the dye lots aren’t the same and sometimes you can have a big variation in color.

And the other thing was that the woman had $10 PER SKEIN on that yarn. The MiL bought 18 skeins of that same yarn for $60 in Lima. I stood there for a while in indecision. What to do…what to do.

Yes, I did buy the two skeins. Yes, they are different dye lots. The skein on the left was purchased in Lima, Peru. The skein on the right was purchased in Ashland, Ohio. There is a very slight difference but not enough to make me all worried about it.

2015-10-17 13.37.49

Ashland and Peru….who knew.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Unexplained Blogcation

Hi, I'm Debbie and I used to hang around on this blog on a regular basis. At this point I don't even know if there is anyone still hanging around. I do apologize for going dark on you, it was not a planned blogcation by any means. Sometimes things just happen. Let's see if I can do a bit better with this whole blogging thing. I have missed it and I have missed those of you who did me the honor of reading my words.

I just have to say that the last year has kicked my little but ever expansive bahookie. It hasn't been anything bad, mind you, it has just been life in all it's complexity and the fact that I re-entered the workforce on several different fronts.

And honestly, I think that I have gotten out of the habit and practice of writing. I love to write, it has long been a cathartic outlet for me and has gotten me through some tough and emotional times. But writing, like many other things, is a habit that if neglected will whither on the vine. I think that it was Stephen King who said something about that, that he writes every day as a discipline and as a habit that must be nurtured. I am currently sitting on a plane, writing, and there is turbulence and I am holding my coffee so I am not going to look that up. Let’s just say that he said it and acknowledge that I have not been doing that. Oh boy have I not been doing that. I haven't journaled. I haven't blogged. I dropped off the face of the word world.

So lets try to reconnect here and I will try my best to  show up if you will. I have been thinking about why I just haven't been writing and I think there are several reasons for it. One, I now work part time for HHBL, ruling the office as my own little fiefdom. "She who must be obeyed".....or not. I spend 8 hours a day, 3+ days a week sitting in front of a computer. When I arrive back at Chez Knit in the evening the last thing that I want to do is sit down in front of my computer and write a blog post. There just aren't any more words in my brain at that point. And also there is the fact that I have to walk Max the Magnificent and cook dinner and sometimes run back out for a meeting or a function of some kind. I enjoy my job and I am learning all sorts of stuff but that new time commitment is a killer.

Then last year I started working part time as a Wedding "Day" Coordinator through my church. That particular job is as busy or not busy as I make it. There is a team of us covering two campuses plus off -site weddings. I can sign up or not sign up for a wedding as I choose and depending on what is available. By the time 2015 comes to a close I will have coordinated, either by myself or with a partner, 8 weddings. Yes, I said 8 weddings. It may only be a day coordinator job but I end up meeting several times with the bride as well as numerous emails and phone calls, depending on how much hand holding needs to be done and various other factors. All of that takes time.

2015-05-23 13.32.01-12015-08-14 16.06.28-12015-08-28 17.18.192015-09-12 14.08.22-1

I am obsessed with wedding dress trains evidently.

And then there is Hidden Moments, which continues to slowly move along. I have finally decided that photographing weddings is not my thing, unless someone wants to hire me as a second shooter. I would much rather do what I am doing now, photographically speaking, which is families and kids and non-profit work that tells a story.

This year as been the year of the wedding! Besides the whole coordination of weddings thing, HHBL and I will also have attended 5 weddings this year as guests. Every wedding has been different and lovely and fun. Like I said, The Year of the Weddings.

I have lots of stories to tell you and pictures to show you. You nave to meet Spike, a woman I recently photographed for a Towards Employment project. She spent many years in prison for violent crime but now is a manager of a warehouse and can tell you the difference between a boat load of different arugula. She was awesome!


You have to love Spike and her enthusiasm for all things growing.

I am changing things up and doing my actual writing in Evernote and then putting it into my blogging template and adding photos as necessary. That makes it easier for me because Evernote is always with me, whether phone, iPad, laptop or desktop. In fact, at this very moment I am writing while sitting on a plane flying from Ft. Lauderdale to Cleveland. The beauty of technology is that I can write in Evernote at 30,000 feet and Jet Blue provides me with WiFi to sync to the cloud. When I power up the big computer, there will be my blog post, ready to be flung out into the internet.

By the way, just at the moment the plane is bouncing around like a rubber ball. I so love turbulence....


So, lets see if I can do a bit better with this and you won't leave me forever.

Please don't leave. I need all the friends that I can get. And besides, someone has to read what I write!!

Friday, August 7, 2015

Bitty Bits of Blather

The weekly blather that even Donald Trump can’t explain away.

I am a creature of habit. For 29 years I did my grocery shopping on Mondays.

Without fail. If I didn’t go grocery shopping on Monday morning my whole world was out of alignment and the space time continuum would shift on it’s axis and terrible things would happen. And then I went back to work and I work on Mondays. No grocery shopping. It was a huge shift for me to start to shop on Fridays. There are like, PEOPLE, in the store on Friday mornings. No one ever shops on Monday mornings, that is why I liked it. Of course, sometimes the shelves are a bit more empty on Monday mornings, especially if you live in an area where you seem to have some “stock up by cleaning out a shelf” people. I dislike those people intensely. Where was I going with this? Oh yes.

I really wish that I could just wander the halls of my local grocery store all day long and watch how people shop and what they buy. No seriously, can someone pay me to do that? There were the two 20 something guys who were shopping and were having a rather heated disagreement about whether they should buy the “nice squishy white bread”. It took all that I had within me to not stand there and just watch the grocery drama unfolding. Then there was the woman fastidiously removing the corn husks before carefully putting the pristinely shucked ear of corn in the plastic bag. What people buy at the store and how they shop absolutely fascinates me.

It doesn’t take much.

How can it possibly be August already!! Kids are going back to school. There are bins upon bins of school supplies at Target just screaming for me to buy them unnecessarily. I mean, who can resist the siren call of pencils and pens and……….erasers.

August is going to be a jam packed month here at Chez Knit. Every weekend is filled with people visiting or a wedding, both those we are attending and those I am coordinating. There are Blossom concerts on the lawn to attend the fair to go to. I think I also have to stick in some canning and freezing in the hours that are available. I just placed my “order” with my favorite farm stand for a dump truck load of tomatoes. Not really but it is a lot of tomatoes. We are running low on salsa and I need to can some tomatoes for the winter.

And then there is the jam. We go through a fair bit of jam here at Chez Knit. It pained my hear to actually throw out some jam last week but I found a jar (or two) of peach/cherry that for some reason had not jammed up the way that it should. Yes, I KNOW I could have worked on it. I chose not to thankyouverymuch. In stead I pulled out all of the older frozen fruit that I had and made mixed berry jam.

2015-08-07 07.46.48

Perfection. I may try my hand at some peach jam next week. We haven’t bought jam from the store in many years. It would seem a sacrilege. And besides, we are just plain spoiled.

I am complete obsessed with my clothesline. It has been so long since I had one that I just want to hang everything out on it.

I apologize to Chris, my across the back yard neighbor, who is right now being treated to the sight of my not all that small “binders” (bras for those who haven’t ever watched The Trouble with Angels) hanging out on the line. Those things flapping in the breeze would scare anyone.

Off to look around my house to see what I can wash and hang out on the line.

Problem? I don’t see a problem.

The things they never tell you when you pick up that cute puppy at the pound:

Someday he might try to kill you with his farts.

It is both hilarious and nauseating when Max relaxes fully into his almost all the time nap and starts to break wind.




He can clear a room faster than a political candidate asking for money.

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Cinderella at the Connor Palace Theater was absolutely fabulous. The audience was filled with little girls in princess dresses and the occasional tiara. The production was perfection and there were some occasional dress changes that I am still not sure how they performed.

And I might have been quietly singing along to all the songs under my breath. HHBL thought it was very amusing.

HHBL asked me the other day whether I “always had to have a big project going?”


Well, maybe.

I am thinking that this should really be a longer blog post but I have to think it through a bit. I hadn’t really thought about it but I do often have a big project that I am working on as well as all of the usual things that happen in life. I am not sure why that is other than I love the feeling when you have completed something big and challenging.

Hmmmmm. More on this later when I have thought about it a bit…..and when I have finished the big project that I am currently working on. Is anyone else like this? Do you have to have a big project that you are working on or can you just coast through life getting by on the meager satisfaction of small projects?

Over achiever? Not me.

Instagram. It’s better viewing than any political debate
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Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Measure It? Why Would I Do That?

Laundry hanging on the line. It is one of the best things about doing laundry in the summertime. Who doesn’t like sheets that have been dried out on the line in the wind and the sunshine. Don’t tell me that you don’t like it. You know that you do.

At Old Old Chez Knit (that would be two houses ago) I had a laundry line. I had a MAJOR, 5 line laundry line that stretched 30+ feet from the house to the garage. I could hang out a lot of laundry on that baby. Of course, we had babies at that time. And five of us sleeping in beds that had sheets that needed to be washed. Small children who play outside in the mud a great deal make for a vast amount of laundry.

A laundry line was needed.

Then we moved to OCK and despite the fact that I actually lived in the woods where there were loads of trees and often times you can string a clothes line between trees……there just weren’t the right configuration of trees. PLUS, where I might have been able to string a line was directly across the back yard, otherwise known as the minefield of doggie doolies. Have a clothes line give way in that area and you are going to be washing everything again. Also there was the whole having to “tip toe through the poop piles” in order to hang out the wash. There was the ever present threat of stepping in something as I walked through the yard. My compromise was to hang the sheets on the deck railing. It wasn’t great but I made do. Nothing like having to weight your sheets down with big cans of tomatoes so that they don’t blow off into the woods.

Complain, complain.

And then we moved to Chez Knit, where again there was not a particularly great set up to think about a laundry line. The first summer we lived here was short, we moved in August and I was just trying to keep my head above water after having, in the space of 8 weeks, sold our house, bought a house, had a wedding, moved HHBL’s office and then moved to a new house. All the laundry went into the dryer.

Last year….well last year was the year where we finally got patio furniture and I made do with carefully stretching the sheets over the table and chairs and several folding racks. King size sheets are…..king sized. It was not a great system but you make do.

This year I swore to myself that I would figure out a clothes line. So what if none of my other neighbors hang clothes out on the line. Heck, most of them don’t even come out onto their patios in nice weather. I had been thinking about it and thinking about it and today I executed!

I knew that the only way this would work is if I just got a retractable clothes line that had just one line. Oh how I wish I could have one of those 5 line beauties. But I am a realist, sometimes, and I knew that it would only be one line. The question was 20ft or 40ft.

Of course I didn’t measure before I went to Home Depot! What do you take me for? Someone who thinks the problem through? I knew, right off the bat that the 40ft line was going to be too long. I got out my 10ft tape measure that always lives in my purse and right there in the Home Depot aisle I measured out 10 feet, mentally doubled is and decided that the 20ft line would work beautifully between the two pine trees that I had to work with. It will fit perfectly.

Famous last words.

First I had to cut back a few dead branches off of the two aforementioned pine trees. Nothing major, just a bit of trimming here and there.

Then I had to screw the retractable line to the bigger pine tree. Not a problem with the help of my trusty cordless drill.

Then I had to screw the hook into the other tree so that when I stretched the line out the other end could hook to the other tree. Easy peasy.

I stretched out the laundry line and I advanced toward the receiving tree and I…….

Got almost all the way there. My forward motion stopped abruptly about four feet from the tree. I tugged a bit but no go. I looked back expecting that the line was caught on something…..

And that was when I realized that my on the fly calculations about how far apart the trees where might have been just slightly off.


I stood there for a bit, scratching my head in a most Laurel & Hardy like way. No matter how hard I pulled that line wasn’t going to stretch any further. But I am NOT going to be deterred! I raised my fist in defiance and said,

As God is my witness, I will this day have a retractable clothes line! Dangit, I am going have to MacGyver this thing.

So down to the basement I went to root around in my work area. Wire? No. An extension made of old clothes line? I don’t think so. Duct tape? Oh how I wish.


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I am currently reading The Martian by Andy Weir. I feel like I can MacGyver just about anything at the moment.