Wednesday, August 30, 2023

Unraveled Wednesday 8/30/23

 Good Morning!

It's a mild but extremely muggy Wednesday morning here in Eastern PA.  Yesterday was sort of taken up with errands.  And then last night, after several weeks' hiatus, one of our local PBS stations is back to showing Poirot (with David Suchet) on Tuesday nights.  Last night's show was a particularly good one!  I'm hoping today is a day where Fletch and I can buckle down and find our AirBnBs for vacation.  Only 2 weeks to go - we'd best step it up!

But first we are at the last Unraveled Wednesday this year in August.  Hard to believe.  I think my stitching was more productive than my knitting, but here goes anyway.  Time to link up with Kat and her Merry Band of Unravelers to talk making and reading.

My 2nd Allsorts sock is STILL not finished!  I don't know when a second sock has taken me so long!

I did manage to knit a few rows last night, so now there are just 15 rows left until the toe decreases.  I feel like I should chant "yes I can, yes I can, yes I can" like the Little Engine that Could or something.  LOL

And the Shakerag Skirt...the skirt...If you think it looks like last week, you would be only slightly mistaken.

A whopping two more rows have been added.  Oy!  Those two rows.  There was unraveling or I guess technically, some knitting backwards.  The pattern calls for some yarn overs and every 11th stitch is a purl.  No problem.  Except when you start knitting and your mind wanders and you think of other things.  Something was not adding purls were not lining up the way they should.  So I knit backwards.  Then I counted stitches and found myself one stitch short.  I looked carefully at the most recently finished row and found the error!  There was one set that only had 10 stitches...I had forgotten (or just failed to make) one yarn over.  Of course it was near the beginning, so almost the entire row had to be un-knit.  After fixing that mess, I put it away and pulled out my stitching for a bit.

Moving on to the reading side of things.  I've been attempting (key word) to read The Seven Moons of Maali Almeida - the latest choice for the "Read With Us" group.  I just cannot get into it at all!  I put the book aside and downloaded the audio version from Hoopla.  That is proving to be a struggle as well.  I'll give it another shot, but I'm thinking this book may just not be for moi.  Ironically, our new vacation days conflict with the upcoming Zoom book discussion with the Read With Us group and I will be missing that.  I would have enjoyed that even if I end up not reading the book - it would be good to get others' take on it.  As Kym is fond of saying, It's a "chewy" one!

On a more positive note, I did finish Horse and I absolutely loved it (I was not expecting the ending though...).  I highly recommend this book by Geraldine Brooks.  

Fletch and I are continuing to read The Broken Road by Patrick Leigh Fermor and are enjoying that a lot.  I think I've picked the next book for us to read...but I'll wait to share that when it happens (could be a bit of time).  

I'm now in the midst of Vera Wong's Unsolicited Advice for Murderers which I am finding pretty funny.  I think Bonny mentioned this on her blog and...since the name Vera is there and since my daughter-in-law is Chinese - how could I resist?  It's a fast read and I'm finding it rather campy, but fun.  Nothing serious, but rather a good read inbetween more serious books.

If you are still reading, thanks for sticking with this rather long post.  Be sure to head over to Kat's to see what others are up to and have a wonderful Wednesday!

Tuesday, August 29, 2023

Tiny Needle Tuesday 8/29/23

 Good Morning My Friends,

I am pleased to say that vacation plans are underway!  Woo-Hoo, my alternate vacation request was approved by the powers that be.  In just 2.5 weeks we will be taking off and I cannot wait!    The search for Air BnBs shall commence today.

First, however, I do have some TNT updates for you on this last Tuesday in August.  Quite a bit of stitching was accomplished in the past week.  First up is the BIG sampler (Sampler Aux Bouquets by Jardin Prive).  The large vase with pink flowers is finally complete (leaves have been added) and a few more little motifs were added.

And a view of the piece overall:

There is still a bit to add to the right of the vase with pink flowers and then, before you know it, I will be on to page 3 (the final!!) page of this chart.  Still a bit to stitch in the grand scheme of things, but I am still enjoying it.

And now the cacti triptych.  The Prickly Pear Cactus is finished!  And the outline for the next section and the name - Ocotillo - has been stitched.  I also started in on the design.

I love it!  It is fun to stitch and I need to remember to text a picture to Colin so he can see I am working on it!

No major plans for today.  Hopefully work will remain quiet and I can do what I want to do (meaning knitting/stitching/reading).  I hope your Tuesday brings some kind of joy to you!

Monday, August 28, 2023

Weekending 8/28/23

 Good Morning,

It is mostly clear out there, but to me it looks more cloudy.  I'm hoping the rain will hold off till tonight or tomorrow - I have plans for Fletch to grill wings tonight:)

How was your weekend?  Mine was very nice.  Dee and I met up at the Landsale Farmers' Market for a change from our usual venue.  We walked around a bit, bought some corn (not great...) and I got tomatoes and peppers from Frank.  Frank is a high school classmate of Colin & Mailing's and he runs the Kimberton CSA.  It was nice to see him again and catch up a bit.

After the Market, we headed to a Manhattan Bagel for coffee (and I did have a bagel), knitting and chatting.  Bonus for us - there was live bluegrass music and the band/group was really good.  Fun times.

On my way home I stopped at Colin & Mailing's place to check mail and water houseplants.  And, after that I went to the laundromat to wash a few clothes and some sheets.  A thrilling afternoon.  I will say it is wonderful to get two loads of wash done at the same time.  Lugging back all the wet things is not so much fun!  Hopefully I will hear today about when the repair guys can come back with the motherboard to (finally) fix my washer (hopefully for good!).

Sunday was a very nice day too.  I had more laundry to do, but that went quickly and I had a lot of time for stitching!  Fletch put a final handrail along the garden fence and picked more green beans (so prolific this year) and I spotted some tomatoes to pick!!

The Sungold Cherry Tomatoes (so sweet) are finally producing and I spotted the first of the bigger tomatoes.  These are by no means huge, but I'll take them!

Fletch and I also came up with alternate dates for our vacation - these are before Colin & Mailing will be up.  I've emailed my 4 bosses and so far have heard back from one (she is OK with the alternate dates).  Hopefully this will work (and, Dee, I should be able to make BOTH fiber festivals!!).

Enjoy these last days of August.  I'm excited that September will be here on Friday!!

Friday, August 25, 2023

Well, It's Been a Long Week...8/25/23

 Good Morning Friends,

It is a rainy morning here.  It sounded so nice when I first woke up, but it is keeping things a bit darker than normal.  I guess it kind of suits my mood.  Ha!

The washing machine is still not fixed!  The repair guys were out yesterday and installed a new motor and capacitor as was recommended for the problem I was having.  They were in and out before Noon.  After lunch I put a load of sheets in to wash.  When the cycle was done I took them out.  They felt heavier and wetter than normal - almost like the spin cycle hadn't fully run its course or something.  Anyway, those sheets went into the dryer and another load went into the washer.  But, it would not work...again...all the lights flashing but nothing.

Long story - I called the repair place back and the guys came back out around 3:30.  They could not get it to work either despite several different things they tried.  A new mother board has been ordered for my machine.  They are also going to try (if they can get away with it) ordering another motor and capacitor (since those are not always good...which doesn't give one a lot of hope...).  They are hoping to be out much faster than in a week, but time will tell.  Depends on when the new stuff is shipped to them.

Surprisingly, I was not upset or nasty or ugly.  I actually laughed.  I surprised myself (and Fletch!!  lol).  but really, as I said to someone - first world problems you know?  And, it is something completely out of my control, so why get upset.

On another disappointing front, it does not look like we will be taking vacation as planned.  I asked for some time off in October and I cannot take it.  Not really a surprise to me.  Our fiscal year ends with the close of September so between year-end processes and new year processes, I am going to be swamped with reports and things that HAVE to be done.  We could maybe get away at the end of September, but that is when C&M will be in town for a little bit and we do not want to miss them.  So...we won't be taking the week plus that we had hoped.

Oh well, again, I am not surprised and you know what?  Next year will be different...for sure!

Moving on to more pleasant things.  I had 7 inches cut off my hair on Wednesday!!  Woo-Hoo!  No pictures as of yet, but at some point I will show it.  I feel so much lighter!  Actually, I had been starting to get headaches and I think it was the weight of the messy bun or ponytail.  My hair now just comes to my shoulders and I really like it.

And look!  New garden produce:

We have turnips!!  After not doing all that well earlier (we were wondering if they would even sprout), yesterday we discovered they had sprouted and indeed grown!  Last night I cut them up and roasted them with a bit of EVOO, salt & pepper and a sprinkling of sage.  Delicious!  These turnips are actually very sweet and mild - almost like a radish taste.  Fletch managed to plant a bunch more turnip seeds for a Fall crop.

Turnips are one of those things I did not like (at all) when I was growing up.  Parsnips too.  Now I can't get enough of either of them.

Tomorrow's plans naturally include meeting up with Dee - this time we are going to meet at the Lansdale Farmers' Market first before coffee and knitting.  That is near C&M's house, so I will stop there afterwards to water plants and check the mail.

That will do it for me.  Enough said!  Here's hoping we all have wonderful weekends!!

Wednesday, August 23, 2023

Unraveled Wednesday 8/23/23

 Good Morning My Friends,

There is a chill in the air this morning:

Just 56 degrees.  I opened the back door to the patio several times (scaring Peter Rabbit) to put papers and berry containers in the recycling can and it felt delightful!  Yesterday was glorioius - I don't think it got much above 81.  Fletch spent the afternoon planting 5 rows of lettuce and spinach for the Fall!  We also found more giant cucumbers hiding on the vine - lol.

So hard to believe that this is the next to the last August Wednesday!  And it is time, of course, to link up with Kat and her merry Band of Unravelers to talk making and reading.  Luckily no unraveling for me this week.  I think I spent more time stitching (see yesterday's post) than knitting, but a little bit of progress is evident.  The Shakerag Skirt may look much like last week, but it is actually double in size now!  Yup - last week I think 10 rows had been knit and right now there are 20 that are finished.

I actually found myself getting into a rhythm with this and was able to knit multiple rows in one sitting.  One thing I sort of knew, but this has confirmed:  I much prefer K2tog rather than SSK.  K2tog just is so much easier (and, thus, faster) for me.

The second Allsorts sock is progressing too...a bit slowly, but increasing bit by bit.

I'm on the gussett decreases and once they are completed this should speed up.  Naturally when working on it last night I discovered a dropped stitch and luckily I was able to bring it up successfully.

Moving on to my reading.  I finished Tom Lake and liked it.  I thought it was good (but still it seemed a little soap opera-ish to me).  Agreeing with Bonny, I wish there had been more about Joe and less about Duke and St. Sebastian.  At the same time, I guess all those words about Duke and St. Sebastian were necessary for the story.

Several weeks ago Kat mentioned THIS BOOK so I put myself in the queue for it.  Last week it came in.  What a tome it is.  Literally!  It is a huge book (and very heavy).  I confess that I skimmed it - did not read every page, but what magnificent pictures.  Fletch really enjoyed looking at it as well.

Currently I am reading Horse by Geraldine Brooks and loving it.  I'm just halfway through and am finding it a very engaging read.  Fletch and I gave up on the 2nd Master & Commander book.  I honestly didn't have much interest in it, but Fletch got tired of it as well, so we moved on.  We are now reading The Broken Road by Patrick Leigh Fermor.  The author, in 1933, set off to walk across Europe - starting in the hook of Holland and ending up in Constantinople!  Imagine doing that (and just before the war!).  This is the third book in the trilogy by him of his journey (we had read the first two some time ago).  It is not a book that would appeal to everyone, but we are enjoying it a lot.

I'm excited to let you know that our figs are growing - now larger than marbles!!

Probably best to click and enlarge.

And our hibiscus was really putting on a show yesterday.  It is at the edge of the garden enclosure (right next to the fig) and we can easily see the blooms from the patio.

And that's it for me this Wednesday.  I've a busy day ahead of me with a doctor's appointment at 8:30 and then I (finally) made an appointment to have my hair cut this afternoon.  Not sure how much (or how little), but I'm pretty bored with always pulling it up into a ponytail or a messy bun.  Tme for a change!!

Be sure to hop over to Kat's for a bunch of inspiration and have a wonderful Wednesday!

Tuesday, August 22, 2023

Tiny Needle Tuesday 8/22/23

 Hello and Good Morning,

How are you?  I am well.  I slept well (8 hours - woo-hoo!) and believe I am ready to face the day.  We ended up just getting our flu shots yesterday - the new Covid booster will not be available till mid-September.  I'm still not clear why CVS scheduled us (since that's where we have received our other boosters, so they have our records....).  Whatever!

Yesterday Fletch cleaned out the bird house where the wrens had nested.  Not a very pleasing nest - lol

The little wren building it struggled to get twigs, etc. into the house.  It provided for good entertainment watching him/her, but it also provided for sloppy nest building.

And, no frogs at the water feature yet, but some sparrows were sure having fun cavorting in the water yesterday!

(Taken through my kitchen window)  At one point when I looked out there were six birds around the water and more waiting their turn!  While Fletch and I sat on the patio a little later, they would not come in, but they were flying all around hoping we would leave so that they could get back to splashing and having fun.  

Well friends, it is Tuesday, so time for a Tiny Needle update.  A bunch of progress has been made.  First up we have the cacti triptych:

It won't take long to finish the Prickly Pear portion.  This is such an engaging piece to stitch - I'm loving it.

There was also some progress on the Sampler Aux Bouquets.  First an overall view:

And then a close up of what was done this past week - a few more blooms in the vase and another winged friend.

The vase seems to be taking FOREVER to complete and I confess to being a bit weary of PINK.  Fortunately I am still enjoying this piece a lot too.  Good thing as there is still much to stitch on it.  I think I am roughly half way through (yup - it is going to be a BIG sampler when completed).

Good news - the parts for my washing machine already came in!  We got a call yesterday while we were out and about saying they could come today.  However, we already have plans (and I'm sort of caught up on laundry anyway), so we are sticking with our Thursday date.  Good to know that everything is ready though.

Cloudy and grey here today.  Hopefully it will not get too sticky out.  Wishing you all a wonderful Tuesday - do something FUN!!

Monday, August 21, 2023

Weekending 8/21/23

 Heigh-Ho Heigh-Ho,

The weekend zipped by, didn't it?  And mine was not what I had planned.

Saturday started off nicely with a meet up with Dee.  We chatted and sipped and did a little knitting.  I don't think we solved any of the world's problems that morning (but we always try).  We went our separate ways and I headed home to gather up laundry and then head over to C&M's.  Colin had suggested that I run the washer on a cleaning cycle first since it had been sitting for so long.  I put an Affresh tablet in the machine but then I could not get the damn machine to turn on!  I unplugged it and plugged it back in a couple of times and kept hitting the power button, but nothing.  So, the machine is sitting over there with a cleaning tablet in it.  I ended up going to a laundromat nearby.

The laundromat was not bad - very clean and two sizes of machines.  I just did one load, but it was done in under half an hour.  I brought the wet clothes home to dry.  I ended up going back on Sunday and doing two more loads.  While the machines were washing, I walked down the shopping center to the grocery store to pick up a few things and by the time I got back the laundry was finished!!  Again I brought everything home - some dried on the clothes line and some went into the dryer.

Meanwhile, I had heard back from the repair folks and everything had been ordered and they should be back out again on Thursday with a new motor and whatever else had been ordered for my machine.

I did have a very nice surprise when I got home on Saturday.  A number of years ago Fletch built a water feature at the edge of our patio.  We love sitting out there and listening to water flowing - almost like having a little stream.  For a variety of reasons, it was never set up this year and we were talking about missing the sound of water the other day.  When I got home on Saturday from the laundromat, Fletch had set up a new feature as an early birthday gift for me!!

I love it!!

We are scheduled to get flu shots late morning and...supposedly...the new Covid booster.  The CVS we go to scheduled us, but since then we've heard it won't be available till September.  Guess we will find out later.  We wanted to get all this taken care of before we take off for a little bit in October.  I keep hearing that Covid is back on the rise...I'd rather be as protected as I can be.

And that's a wrap for me!  Tell me, how was your weekend?  I hope it was a good one and let's make this next week an easy one if we can.

Friday, August 18, 2023

Friday and No, My Washer is Not Yet Fixed 8/18/23

 Hey Hey and Good Morning,

I woke early and sat up in bed reading (finished Tom Lake) and listened to the rain and the wind!  It was dark - darker than normal thanks to the cloud cover, but it was lovely if you know what I mean...peaceful.  A good way for me to start a day with 3 conference calls.  Yuck!

So my washer is still not fixed.  Oy!  The repair guys (2) came around 11:30, pulled it out from the wall, fiddled with it a bit and then said that there is a "service bulletin" out on our washer - that other folks have been having the same problem (turning on...skipping all the cycles...and then skipping to done!).  The recommended cure fix is a new motor and something else (I confess I sort of stopped listening).  They promised to get the parts ordered that day and I should receive a call in a day or two to schedule their return visit.

Of course, this begs the question why not come prepared?  If there is a "service bulletin" out on the machine about the problem I described, why come out without the necessary parts?  But, I guess that's just my thought (apparently).

Dee had texted asking if the washer was fixed.  When I explained what was happening, she very generously offered her washer and dryer for my use.  Thank you Dee.  It so happens that Colin & Mailing's house is a little closer, so I will be spending a bit more time over there using their washer and dryer and catching up on the piles of laundry.  Colin did suggest that I could leave a few quarters on his workbench when I use the machine!  LOL  

I will just look at it as more found time for knitting, stitching or reading.  I can't be doing any of my own chores while I'm at their house!

No more huge cukes, but then I have not been out to the garden to check.  Some of the giant platter-sized leaves of my rhubarb are beginning to yellow and wither, so I need to get out there and harvest the rhubarb.  Hopefully this weekend...or maybe even this afternoon.

The hisbiscus is still blooming.  It seems to open only one or two blossoms per day.  I can only imagine the beauty if ALL of the buds opened at once.  It would be amazing.  For now it is gentle and lovely.  And the figs on Figgy are growing - they are now marble-size.  Most of our lettuce bolted and Fletch pulled it out in preparation for planning Fall spinach and lettuce, but there is still some red romaine that is good and we had some of that in a salad last night.  

I spotted a couple of larger tomatoes (still green) on a plant and more cherry tomatoes are beginning to ripen so there is some hope there.  Fingers crossed we will at least get a few home-grown tomatoes this year.

Two things to share with you.  You all know how fond I am of crows (really any birds) and Bonny sent me a great cartoon the other day:

And this - I love it.  Saw this on a blog the other day.  Wise words.  Have a good Friday and a wonderful weekend!

Thursday, August 17, 2023

So Big!


A bit of a later start for me today.  I slept 9 hours last night!!  Woo-Hoo.  And then, of course, I had to jump right into work, but things are quiet now so I have a chance to write a brief note to you all.

The other day Fletch mentioned that he had seen a giant cucumber that had been hiding on the vine, so yesterday I walked out to the garden.  There was not one, but four!!

They look more like zucchinis that cucumbers.  LOL  And, they are just as productive as zucchinis.  Our neighbor Rob said he did not need any more (his plants are finally producing), but that a work colleague of his would appreciate some (the work colleague's plants had all died).  So we took 2 over to Rob for his friend.  

Meanwhile, Zhongren had brought over several on Saturday.  So, we are a bit swamped with cukes.  I've started adding them to my infusion water bottle (a nice change from strawberries - very refreshing).  And, I guess I should make some more pickles.  I only make quick/refrigerator pickles - I don't process any, and we still have one jar in the frig from my last pickle making day.  Whew!

When Fletch and I went over to Colin & Mailing's on Tuesday to water plants and trim back weeds, we apparently forgot to shut the garage door when we left!  Geeze.  One of Colin's neighbor's texted him to say the garage door was open...he (the neighbor) went over and shut it.  I might be losing my mind...not sure.

Finally, I received a confirmation call yesterday that the washer repair guy will be here today between 10 and 2.  YAY - laundry has been piling up.  Hopefully it is an easy/quick fix and I can get to washing this afternoon.

That's it for me - short and sweet.  Hope your Thursday is a good one.

Wednesday, August 16, 2023

Unraveled Wednesday 8/16/23

 Good Morning!

How are you mid-week?  I'm doing well.  Just took my first sip of morning coffee.  Yum.  Today I brewed my coffee with some cinnamon sprinkled on top of the grounds - quite tasty.

Mid-August and mid-week...time to link up with Kat and her Merry Band of Unravelers to talk making and reading.  Come on and join in - you know you will find inspiratioin all over the place!  My making these days seems to be a little more focusesd on stitching, but since I showed that yesterday, today it will be all about the knitting.

My second Allsorts sock is coming along nicely:

Hard to tell from this picture, but my stitchmarker is a tiny flip flop - too cute.  I've 10 more rows to knit before the heel flap.  With any luck, I will get there today.

My Shakerag skirt looks just like last week, but trust me - a few rows have been added.

This is not a difficult pattern by any means.  BUT...the rows are so long I find myself getting bored.  I rarely do more than one row at a time.  Then I need to stand up and take a break.  At this rate, the skirt might be finished in 2025, but I'm not positive about that.  LOL  I just need to sit down and DO IT, or rather KNIT it.

On to the reading portion of this post.  I finished A Place in the World by Frances Mayes and thoroughly enjoyed it.  An easy, pleasant read with recipes!!

I had plans to next read "The Seven Moons of Maali Almeida" for our "Read With Us" book discussion coming up in a month, but Tom Lake by Ann Patchett came available for me.  One day I was #35 in the queue and the next day I received an email telling me it was ready to pick up!  I'm about halfway through it and it is good.  I would not call it great, but it's kind of a good summer read.  Ann Patchett is an author whose writing I enjoy, but I would not say I am swooning over this - I am finding it very easy to put down and go do something else...or read something else.

Anyway, I need to step up my reading as when I looked at my requests, I'm in the 1st spot for several of them.  Isn't that the way it always goes?  All your holds come in at once!  As I've said before, a wealth of books is not a bad thing to have.

Time to pour another cup of coffee and get moving.  Be sure to head over to Kat's to see what everyone is up to this week.  Have a wonderful Wednesday!

Tuesday, August 15, 2023

Tiny Needle Tuesday 8/15/23

 Good Morning,

It's a little sticky here this a.m.  I woke at 4-ish to very heavy rain.  But it did not last long - not enough to show any measurable amount in the rain gauge.  The street, however, looks polka-dotted in front of our house: between the rain and the wind so many crepe myrtle blossoms are now on the ground.  There are still plenty in the tree, but the street is covered too, as well as part of our front lawn.

And, as long as I'm talking trees, I will show you how our apples are growing this year - at times they look like huge grape clusters.  LOL  I took these pictures because Colin was curious.

It's obvious in the smaller picture that a lot of the apples are already damaged - mis-shapen, bad spots, etc.  But the sheer amount of them is amazing.

And, finally, still on the gardening side of things, Fletch is using some of our bamboo to create hand rails along the top of the garden fence.  He spread wood chips on the walk-ways, but the other day he tripped and almost fell, so decided that handrails were needed.  He just started to install them late yesterday.

I do love the look of bamboo.  Years and years ago, Fletch built a bamboo bridge over our boggy area.  I wish that still existed, but 3 decades took its toll on that!  You can also see the HUGE rhubarb leaves (like platters) in the above picture.  I need to get out and harvest that (again).

OK, time for a Tiny Needle update.  Progress has been made on both the large (very) Sampler Aux Bouquets and the Cacti Triptych.  First up the large piece.

The vase is beginning to fill with flowers and there is even a little bird perched atop!  I would have been much further along, but I had a lot of frogging to do this week...The center stem on the top pink flower was missing some stitches and once I got the flower stitched and then the bird I could see that it was way off, so it all had to be ripped out (tedious work at best) and then re-stitched with a little more length.  Here is where it stands overall:

This does not show all of the empty cloth to the right...there is still a ton of stitching to do on this one!

Yesterday afternoon I was able to spend some time on the cacti triptych that Colin sent me.  It is a bit more detailed than I initially thought, but I am thoroughly enjoying stitching it.  This is the start of the Prickly Pear section.

There are a few more "paddles" to be added as well as more flowers.  The little thorns! - kind of hard to see, but they are there.

Obviously I have lots to fill any free time I may come across in my life!  LOL  Wishing you all a pleasant Tuesday.  May it be a gentle one.

Monday, August 14, 2023

Weekending 8/14/23

 Good Morning My Lovlies!

How are you today?  It is beautiful outside - just 66 degrees, a few clouds, but otherwise nice.  I've already been out and about!  I needed to have blood drawn and when I woke in the middle of the night, I decided this morning would be the day.  It worked out perfectly.  I did not have an appointment, but was the first person at the lab and was in and out in minutes.  Now my coffee is brewing and my day can start.  There was a lot of traffic at 6:15 a.m. though - I guess more and more folks are going into their offices on a regular basis.

Look what came up in my library queue!!  I started this yesterday and am about 70 pages in.  No opinion yet...but will let you know what I think.  I also picked up "Horse" by Geraldine Brooks, but I think I should buckle down and tackle This Book first.  I want to be ready for the "Read With Us" meeting in September!

So my weekend was very nice.  Saturday I met up with Dee as usual, but for a change, I drove to her house and then she drove us to Hellertown where we met up with Bonny  What a delightful time - lots of chatting and laughing and then a delicious lunch at Braveheart.  It was so nice to all be together again.  And I didn't even think to take a picture of us!  Boo....

Fletch and I tried a new Mexican place for dinner Saturday night and that was a big disappointment!  We cannot seem to find a good Mexican restaurant around us.

The balance of my weekend was spent doing some chores, a little knitting, a little stitching and a little reading.  What I call a well-balanced weekend!

We've been having a bit of rain here and there.  Enough that things have gotten damp and the little white mushrooms are popping up here and there.

More rain is in our forecast for tonight and tomorrow.  

No other news really.  I'm heading to the office soon.  I don't really have to go, but I want to go to Trader Joe's and since I will be there, I'll pop into the office, check the mail, etc.  An exciting Monday!  Wishing you a great start to your week - Enjoy!

Thursday, August 10, 2023

Some Miracles!!

 Good Morning!

Bambi and Peter (Cottontail) are both grazing peacefully in the back yard as I type this.  Plenty of apples and clover for everyone!

My washer is not one of the miracles.  Still not working.  I called for service and someone will be out - but not until next Thursday!  Luckily we have sufficient underwear and other clothes to last us for an even longer period of time...hopefully it will not come to that.

Our little wren babies have finally fledged!  I watched one of them leave the nest - so cool!  Our afternoons on the patio are much quieter now - no chattering wren babies and no parents flying in with food.

Now for the miracles!!  Our winds the other night knocked over a few things in the garden.  When Fletch went out to make sure everything was ok, he noticed figs beginning to form on our fig tree!  Woo-Hoo!

If you click to enlarge, you will see the figs forming along the stem/trunk.  We had been worried because Figgy (the tree) is about half the size it is normally by now.  I'm so happy we will at least have some fruit.

The other plant that was knocked over was our hibiscus.  Fletch had counted 15 (15!!!) buds on it the day before the storm.  He had to stake the plant up, but look what appeared the next day:

What a deep, rich color!  As of yesterday a second bloom was fully open and a third partially open.  The plant is a wonder...yes, a miracle, this year.

OK, that's it for me today.  I'm late getting started and I have all of my usual Thursday reports to run and distribute.  Wishing you all a wonderful Thursday - enjoy!!

Wednesday, August 9, 2023

Unraveled Wednesday 8/9/23

 Good Morning!

The sun is up and the sky is blue.  So far the temperature is nice too.  That's a bonus for an August day.  It's Wednesday and time to link up with Kat and her Merry Band of Unravelers.  On Wednesdays we gather to talk about making and reading...two things very dear to my heart.

Jumping right in to the making...I have one finished sock!

The first Allsorts sock is finished and the second one has been fear of second sock syndrome here!  This yarn is just fun - I love all the colors and the way it has striped up.  sock #2 will not be matchy-matchy, but that is fine with me as I am not really a matchy-matchy person.

Surprisingly I also managed a few rows on my Shakerag skirt!!

The key word is "few."  The above picture shows 10 rows completed.  Still a way to go before the lace portion is completed.  The biggest issue I have is trying to find a block of time to work on this.  Socks are easy to pick up and put down - a row is not that many stitches.  This..this is a lot of stitches in one row and I don't want to stop mid-row at any time since I'm in the lace pattern.  If work cooperates, I will try to put in some time on this today.  That is a big IF though...time will tell.  I do love the color I chose in Rowan's Creative Linen (colorway is "Oasis").  I will say that I am finding the yarn to be a little on the splitty side - I really need to pay attention when knitting this.

Moving on to reading...I finished The Bandit Queens and I'm glad to be finished with it.  A glossary would have helped - lots of Hindi words that I do not know.  I became tired of all the man-bashing and the violence.  Much of  it did not seem possible to me, but that is just my opinion.

I am now in the midst (about a third of the way through) of A Place in the World - Finding the Meaning of Home - by Frances Mayes.  I've read a number of her books - mostly her memoirs but also some of her fiction and I've enjoyed it all.  I love that she shares so many recipes.  The first section is about her place in North Carolina - lots of gardening information which was fun (except for the mention of copperheads in the midst of the jasmine!!).  I'm into the second section now which is about Bramasole - her place in Tuscany.  I'm thoroughly enjoying this book.

When I finish "A Place in the World" I have The Seven Moons of Maali Almeida waiting on my nightstand.  I was able to pick it up within 2 days of requesting it from my library!!  This is the next "Read with Us" book and I'm looking forward to it.

Fletch and I are part of the way into the 2nd Master & Commander book - "Post Captain."  We still have 14 or 5 hours of listening to go!!  Fletch is enjoying it more than me, but it is fine as background to my knitting after dinner.

So far work is quiet today.  I need to TRY to do some laundry.  Yesterday I managed 2 loads and then the washer stopped working.  This is the new washer just bought in January!!  I'm going to fool with it again to see if I can get it to work...if not, a service call will be made.  Ugh!

Have a great Wednesday and be sure to check out Kat's blog to see what everyone is up to making and reading!

Tuesday, August 8, 2023

Tiny Needle Tuesday 8/8/23

 Good Morning!

The air feels somewhat fresher this morning.  We had a major storm warning last night.  There was wind.  Also thunder and lightening.  But we did not get all that much rain.  Nothing measurable in the rain gauge.  My brother and SIL in Delaware had a lot of rain though.  Just depends on where you are I guess.

I slept in this morning and am on the groggy side, but let's talk TNT or Tiny Needle Tuesday.  A few more things were added to the Sampler Aux Bouquets.  A couple of new motifs and some more letters in the alphabet that was started a bit back.

I stitched the vase at the bottom yesterday afternoon and that was a PITA.  It was so humid that the linen and the floss were both sticking to my fingers.  LOL  Here's an overall shot of where the sampler is as of today.

Still an enormous amount to be stitched.  Luckily this is still fun.

I had mentioned that Colin sent me a cross stitch kit from Guadalupe National Park.  This is what he sent:

And here is my start:

LOL - not much!  The kit came with 18 count Aida cloth which I am unable to stitch on, so I dug into my stash and found a piece of 36 count white linen.  I am stitching over 2 threads, so it will end up being the same size as the kit.  I am using the threads provided in the kit - they are all DMC threads, so if I run out, that will not be a problem.  Hopefully I'll have a bit more progress to show on this one next week.

Well, time for me to get motivated.  I want/need to do some chores this morning (cleaning bathrooms and getting bath rugs and towels washed) before we go grocery shopping.  First, however, I definitely need more coffee.

Wishing you all a lovely Tuesday - enjoy!

Monday, August 7, 2023

Weekending 8/7/23

Good Morning,

How are you?  I'm doing well.  It is mild this morning, but humid.  We had a bit of rain overnight and I believe more is expected today.  The garden will be happy.

Another week has started.  Mine started off annoyingly with an email at 5:30 this a.m. from one of my bosses asking me to call him as soon as I got his email.  (I have not yet called him.)  Turns out his flight this a.m. was cancelled and all flights to PHL on Delta were cancelled.  Oh well...he booked himself to fly into Baltimore instead.  Just hoping this is not a portent of how the week is going to go....

I hope your weekend was a good one.  Mine was great!  Plenty of time for knitting and stitching and reading.  Saturday morning started off with a meet up with Dee for coffee, stitching and a whole lot of chatting.  It was great.  When we split up, Dee headed off to meet up with Steve - they had plans for the afternoon.  I decided to check out the Home Goods nearby.  I love Home Goods and I had not been in one in quite some time.  This particular one was a bit too crowded for my taste, so I did not stay long, but they are ready for Fall:

Lots and lots of Halloween decor and let me tell you, folks were buying!

Because of wandering around Home Goods (also Marshalls - no luck) and then heading to a grocery store for a couple of items I got home a little later than usual.  I spent the balance of the afternoon prepping for dinner and then Fletch and I sat on the patio to watch the birds and sip our beverages.  We had a goldfinch appear!

A little blurry zooming with my phone, but do you see him on the green fence post?  Just a brilliant shade of yellow.

Sunday was filled with a lot of cooking which you all know I love!  I made biscuits and sausage gravy to go with fried eggs for breakfast.  Once that was done I started prepping some things for home made pizza.  I roasted some eggplant, a pint of cherry tomatoes and sauteed a bunch of mushrooms.  Yum!  

Then I decided to make a peach crostata because our peaches were very (very!) ripe.

It certainly looks rustic, no?  I used this recipe and although tasty, the pasty was a real bee-otch to work with.  Next time I will use my own pastry recipe.  Holy moly the peaches are so good this year!

Sunday afternoon we went back to Colin & Mailing's house.  I checked the mail (mostly trash) and watered the house plants (no picture, but the yellow orchid is still in full bloom!).  Fletch did a bunch of weed wacking and trimming of plants overgrowing the sidewalk and other areas.  When we got home we indulged in a piece of the peach crostata and then sat on the patio.

Our wren family has been busy!  The parents feed the youngsters non-stop and I think they are getting ready to fledge.  If you look closely at the video, you will see a baby poking it's head out of the house...then a parent comes in, the baby opens his/her mouth wide, and the parent puts a worm or something in the open mouth.  They are noisy creatures!!

And that's it for me!  I hope your Monday is a good one filled with whatever you love to do.

Friday, August 4, 2023

Friday Produce

 Hello My Friends,

Welcome to Friday.  I'm so glad it's here.  The week has been gorgeous (weather-wise) but it has felt very long.  Work once again has been crazy busy (summers have never been crazy busy before - weird).  I've a couple of conference calls (10 a.m. and 1 p.m.) and hopefully after the last of them I can move into full weekending mode!

We had a surprise call from Colin yesterday (surprise because we usually talk on the weekends, so this was a nice change).  They are back from the Bahamas where they had a wonderful time.  They stayed in a remote area where there was not much to do (other than kayaking, snorkling, swimming, eating conch salad and feeding stingrays, etc., etc.) and he said it was wonderful to have 6 days together with absolutely nothing they had to do.  Sounds good to me!

While Fletch was talking with him, I wandered around the yard.  I picked some more apples!

Last night I tried one of them (the tiny one, top center) and it was not good.  Boo-Hoo.  It had just about no flavor whatsoever.  We will try another one or two and hope that they will be better.

That bowl, by the way is gorgeous.  I should take a picture of it empty.  My SIL bought it for me.  The potter used a doily and pressed it into the clay when it was still damp, so the inside of the bowl is patterned with the doily.  So pretty!

Continuing my walk around the yard, I went into the garden and discovered the jalapenos are finally producing!

Also, the yellow squash has finally gotten to a size worth picking!

This particular brand is named "Smooth Criminal" - LOL.  Fletch got the seeds from his brother in Virginia.

On the menu tonight is green bean casserole using beans from the garden.  Fletch is going to grill lamb chops.  Yum!!

I failed to get a picture, but Fletch finally picked the first cherry tomatoes!  There were 6 and we munched them right down at lunch yesterday.

Garden bounty!  Nothing better.  Wishing you all a wonderful, bountiful weekend!

Wednesday, August 2, 2023

Unraveled Wednesday 8/2/23

 Good Morning All,

It is a gorgeous 56 degree morning out there (at least in Eastern PA) and the sun is up (later each morning).

Last night after dinner and after I had cleaned up the kitchen, I took a bit of time with my glass of wine to sit on the patio and enjoy the evening.  The air almost had a chill to it!  There was some bird chatter, but it was mostly quiet.  I was looking at the apple tree.  Our apples are on the small size this year (like our peppers and tomatoes).  The deer don't seem to mind and several apples dropped from the tree while I sat there for 15 minutes.  I decided I'd best pick a few before they rot on the tree...or get infested with anything...or the deer get them.  Many are already insect damaged and some looked rotten on the bottom, but I managed to get a few:

Aren't they pretty?  Red delicious (Fletcher's favorite).  Fletch bought the tree at K-Mart (of all places) when Colin was a toddler.  It was just a sapling, but grew nicely and then started producing apples.  For years we gathered them up in the Fall and made applesauce.  So Good.  Back then, the apples were bigger.  Now it would take an awful lot of these to make just one jar of applesauce, so I'm not planning to do that.  But apple pancakes are not out of the question and Fletch enjoys just munching on one of "his" apples.

That brings us to this morning - the first Wednesday in August and time to check in with Kat and her Merry Band of Unravelers to talk making and reading.  The making in my case is least a little bit.  I really did have such grand plans for the last week, but alas not much happened.

The Shakerag Skirt is now on a longer needle but only 2 rows were knit.  However, it is much easier to knit now (thank you Kym and Kat).  My plan was to start Hitch on the Move using "Wish You Were Beer" and "Weathervane" yarn.  The yarn has been caked, but that's as far as that went.  The purple cowl came out of the project bag.  I looked at it and then stuffed it right back in the bag.  LOL

That leaves the Allsorts socks.  At least some progress was made on sock #1.  I have 10 rows until the heel flap, so not too shabby.

(And now I want to get some allsorts licorice)

I do like the way this yarn is knitting up.  The stripes are fun and the colors are keeping me interested (when I have time to knit that is).

Reading this past week was nothing to brag about either.  I did finish the awful beach read and then promptly started another!  I just thought I wanted something mindless to read.  They were both mindless alright.  But now I'm about halfway through The Bandit Queens by Parini Shroff and am enjoying it.  It is a little different than what I thought it would be (not sure what that was) and there are a lot of characters (with names that are not John or Nancy) and at times I'm having difficulty keeping them all straight.

I'm in queue at my library for a number of books and received notice late yesterday that one is available to pick up, so I will head there this morning.  I've got a few other errands to run as well (I've run out of one floss color for the big sampler and getting low on a few others), so my morning will be busy with non-work things.  Of course, days like this - filled with errands - means not as much time for knitting or stitching.  Oh well, it's not a race of a contest.  I will get to things when I get to them.

Hope everyone has a wonderful Wednesday - Enjoy!!

Tuesday, August 1, 2023

Tiny Needle Tuesday 8/1/23

 Hello Everyone,

It's August!!  I'm excited.  Because, you know, I love Fall and now Fall seems pretty close.  Not trying to wish away my life, just admitting what I really like.

Yesterday Fletch picked more (more!!) cucumbers.  Three large ones.  The cuke plants are producing like zucchini.  We had wandered over to Rob's last night to drop off cake for him and Eva, but only Merlin (the Great Dane) came to the door.  We left cake for them on their porch and wandered back home.  I texted Rob to let him know about the cake and asked if they could use any cucumbers.  Fortunately his cuke plants are still at the point where they are deciding whether to produce or not.  He will get the three Fletch just picked later today.  

Just a few minutes ago, while I was fixing my first cup of coffee, a magnificent buck strolled across the back at the edge of our woods.  He looked so regal!  He didn't linger and I can't be sure how many points he was sporting - at least 6, maybe 8.  Gorgeous!  The bucks don't come down into the yard for apples...they leave those for the does and the fawns.

The first of August and a Tuesday - time for a TNT update.  A little progress was made on the Sampler aux Bouquets:

Remember you may click to make it big!

The interior of the heart has been finished, a flittering blue butterfly was added and an enclosed rose at the bottom was also added.  For some reason it makes me think of a cameo.  There is still an awful lot left to stitch on this piece - I don't think I am quite halfway finished yet!

And yet, I have another piece ready to start!  Colin sent me a cross stitch kit from Guadalupe National Park.  It is a Cactus Sampler - a triptych of cacti:  a Prickly Pear, an Ocotillo and a Claret Cup.  The kit came with Aida cloth which I don't stitch on (my eyes make the holes jump), but I found some linen in my stash which I think will work.  I need to iron it and double check the size, but I'm hoping to maybe start this new piece this afternoon.

If it doesn't get too hot (I don't think it is supposesd to today), we have more weeding to do in the front bed around the lilac.  There is a ton of poison ivy too.  I've never had poison ivy (despite trying to get it as a kid - wacky, I know), but Fletch only has to look at the leaves and he breaks out in a rash, so I guess that part is up to me.  Even though I seem to be immune to it, I will don gloves and be cautious.

Meanwhile though, I need to wake up and get moving!  I've got a dentist appointment (routine cleaning appointment) at 8:30.  Happy August Everyone!