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Saturday, September 29, 2012

Playing Un-supervised in Fabric Stores

I’ve been having fun making a bunch of these little dressesFall dress6-12 006

and some sweet little skirts. 

Only a few have made it to the Katidids Etsy shop & Little Trunks Knits

Last night I decided I needed some color inspiration & to feed the fabric addiction fabric stash.

So, soon to be skirts and dreses…

Playing unsupervised 001Playing unsupervised 004Playing unsupervised 006Playing unsupervised 008Playing unsupervised 009Playing unsupervised 010

For some reason I just can’t pass owls or birdies!

Playing unsupervised 011Playing unsupervised 012Playing unsupervised 013Playing unsupervised 014Playing unsupervised 015Playing unsupervised 016

It’s been a fun way to blend my 2 favorite activities, sewing and knitting. I think the garden clean up may have to wait for an afternoon or 3 longer!


Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Weathers Changing, are you ready?

Looking out the window this morning I see the leaves are finally starting to turn.  Really turn not just the dry brown, drought dead leaves.  Oranges and gold’s are popping through the green foliage.  Time to change the garden flag in the flowerbed


I love these fun little seasonal flags.  A touch of whimsy and cheerful a punch of color in the flowerbeds. I wait till they go on sale and pick them up for pennies. 

Over the weekend our weather had defiantly turned cooler with temps dropping down to the 30’s & 40’s at night… which meant there was a extra comforter added to the bed.   The past 3 days we’ve had a wonderful gentle cold soaking rain.  You can almost watch the soil soaking the moisture up like a sponge which is great because this morning we have heavy sheets of rain. 

First good storm 001 If this heavy rain had come first we would have lost a lot of top soil. 

This week I need to go through all the jackets, coats, scarves, mittens & gloves, tossing everything in the wash to freshen them up.  I like to check for holes, loose buttons and zipper stitching before they become a problem.  Is there any thing more frustrating than being cold or wet, needing that jacket & have the zipper stitching come undone?

I’d like to say this type of mending is done as needed or at least before coats and winter gear is put away but, the reality is we/I get excited about spring, gardening, being outside coatless and winter gear ends up stuffed in the coat closet. 

Have you checked the Farmers almanac for your winter forecast?  This year we’re going to want those coats mittens!

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Monday, September 24, 2012

Puttering Over The Weekend

This weekend went by so fast!

Saturday morning we had another estimate for replacing the windows in the main part of the original house. And, here’s a “Mark it on the Calendar Day” …..Way below what we had estimated/budgeted…installed!

Not only a winner for the funds but for Mr.Fix-It’s time to put them in!! We were also planning on redoing the exterior window trim (30 yrs old I think it’s time) so there were additional discounts for the time and labor which we will do. Hey, I can swing a mean paint brush and hammer by now!

Hubster was able to go to the races Sunday morning so to save time he drove up Saturday night & stayed with friends for an early start of the day. He so rarely gets time off for things he enjoys it was great he was able to go. I missed him like crazy but he had some guy time and what sounds like a lot of fun.

I had a lazy Sunday morning and had the coffee pot to myself! I was able to try my hand at making watermelon jelly with one of my mutant watermelons .

012 Gosh, It was so quick and easy I kept checking the directions thinking I’d missed a step. Looks so pretty in the jars. I keep thinking I’d like shelves upstairs for all the home canned food in the kitchen. Wouldn’t all those colorful jars look wonderful? Eh, we live less than a mile from a rock quarry and the constant dusting would drive me batty (er).  I think it’s one of those things that is better in theory than reality for me.

Mr. Fix-It got home early afternoon and we puttered around doing yard work.  We’d drained the pool a week or so ago but it needed to lay and dry…then it rained so, yesterday we were able to fold and roll it up nice and tidy for its new owners.  We’re passing it on to my “sister-in-law” and her family.  They have 2 young guys Isaiah’s age that will love it & we’ve gotten more than our moneys worth out of it.  Well maintained she’ll have a couple of more years of fun in her.

We (he) got the yard mowed & weed eating, I worked in the garden and got the flower beds tidied  so, the place it looking pretty good if do say so myself.  Not a lot but a few things off the fall “Gotta Do” list.

Glad we got that finished as we’ve rain coming tomorrow.  Sounds like a nice day to knit and sew to me!



Watch your gardens folks…it’s starting already

The weather is changing Fast!

In some areas of the county we had our first frost last night. I was worried this morning because I have Isaiah’s planting of green beans in the garden yet (which are taking off like gang busters again) but, checking them this morning they are fine.   I picked a few gallons & they are processing in the canner now. I’ve put up plenty for the next year but I don’t want them to go to waste and you can always use extra.  I had to run to the store for more jars & lucked out.  Cases of jars were on sale buy 2 get 1 free…same for lids.  I left with 6 cases and 6 packs of lids.  SCORE!


7 more pints of green beans cooling on the counter

But, while I was in the produce section I overheard a conversation…one guy was talking to another about beans, he commented they had a bunch “fresh home grown”  put up in the freezer.  The other guy made comment he hadn’t realized he gardened…to which he responded, “I don’t, I go pick from my neighbors garden at night” & that he’s picked “lots-a stuff from there all summer”.  I wish I knew who he was or better yet, who his neighbor was!  I had to walk away before I hit the slug up side the head with a bag of oranges.  GAH!!

Watch your gardens folks…it’s starting already.


Saturday, September 22, 2012


I was chopping the last of the peppers for the dehydrator & had to sneeze.

I grabbed handkerchief…sneezed blew and wiped my nose.  Washed my hands and started to chop more ….when I realized my nose was tingling…inside and out! About a minute later the fire ignited

I must have had pepper oils on my hands!  A chunk of bread blotted on my face absorbed most of that oil but & can’t get in my nose!

It’s now going up in my sinus cavity, and my eyes are watering like crazy. 

Can you say flame thrower!!!

I have to say I don’t ever remember my sinus’s being this clear.

Hmm think I’ll freeze a few whole to use in the winter when we’re super stuffy

Or, maybe not


Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Bits of Randomness

  I popped into the local grocery the other day for eggs, they had gone up .50, and are now $2.49 –$3.49 a dozen.  Flour in the smaller bags has gone up over a dollar since early spring. Peanut butter (the store brand mind you is up) .75 cents.  It’s going to get pretty scary for some..especially those who either can’t or won’t cook from scratch. 

  I was able to move the blue berry bushes to the new bed built just for them.  They were super easy to dig up & transplant.  I’m sure that is not a very good sign.  I would have expected the roots to have spread out more but, they are moved.  I watered them well and then the past 24 hours we’ve had a steady drizzle of rain which has been wonderful.  We’ll see what happens. I think 2 are dead but, it’s sure worth a try.

The 3 new raised beds are looking good.  Empty… but good. I’ve only had 1-2 weeds pop up so far.  We are waiting out the pumpkin to put in a few more.  The last of the watermelon are nearly ready & think I’ll try out some watermelon jelly with the larger of them. 

It’s been a weird week, I haven’t accomplished much on the home front.  Knitting yes, but outside not much.   Mr. Fix-It and I are both a bit…. lethargic I think is the appropriate word.  Maybe tired?  A bit of mental transition from summer to fall tasks?  I’m not complaining at all, but I have felt a tad guilty when I look outside and see little things that need taken care of like the pool toys still sitting at the table & chairs that need moved back up to the house…but they’re not going anywhere LOL! I can do it in the next few days. 

My sister in law has blessed me with another box of canning jars!  She’s actually my husbands, brothers, wife’s, brothers wife.  (It’s so much easier to just say sister in law!) Anyway, her mother is a bit of a  “collector” of things.  Canning jars happens to be one of those collections. So, as they are gently helping her clear out her “collections” she brings me jars!  Another offer was a dozen or so of the old glass Mr. Peanut jars which seal.  I think she definitely needs to check the value of them first.

  Last summer she brought me a box full of old Country Living, Country Journal and Early American Life magazines..old as in early 70’s& 80’s.

I’m loving flipping through reading recipes, gardening tips ,finding quilting patterns and comments of “modern life style choices”.  There are no slick ad’s, actually there are only 1-2 slick paper ad’s in each. Most are heavy yellowing bond paper but in excellent condition. Some things have changed a lot but, the main points of living simply, taking care of what you have and living within your means are the focus… with out being actually stated.  It’s the calm, common since, matter of fact tone & train of thought through out each that has me reaching for the next issue. .  again and again.

Have a wonderful Wednesday


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Friday, September 14, 2012

Fall Thoughts

What a beautiful morning!

It’s nice and cool with bit of misty fog.  The kind of morning that leaves you no doubt fall has arrived & creates that since of urgency to hurry and finish outside tasks.  All summer I’ve had this strong feeling we will have a long hard winter.  No specific reason, just that stuck in your gut worry. 

That’s what’s weird, it has me worried for reasons I can’t explain…..  We are more prepared for cold weather now than ever before. Maybe it’s the lack of harvest from the garden?  I know I just have this nearly frantic feeling nearly a panic,,, to stock up, batten down the hatches and be ready for anything.  Tell me I’m being crazy, please!

Ugh, It was a near paralyzing fear for a few days but I’m trying to get through it by working on the fall “gotta-do” list.

  • Finish pruning the neighbors shrubs, yes still half done
  • prune or remove our ugly shrubs (still deciding)
  • Plant the last of the strawberry babies (I forgot about them) & mulch the bed. 
  • Finish the garden clean up when the pumpkins are done.
  • Build the new compost bins-using pallets. I need to clear the space backed up to the woods

We also have a few trees who were victim of the draught that will need to be removed & another on the slope by the pond to Isaac.  raised beds 006The storm took out a main branch so we need to determine if it will even survive.  We’ve lost about a dozen trees the past 5 years to storms & would like to keep all we can.  They make nice windbreaks & protect the house.

Add a few repairs to the outside we’ve waited to do in cooler weather.  I know there are a million other things to add to the but these are the most pressing.

So,  am I being neurotic about winter?






Thursday, September 13, 2012

Gonna Be A Dirty Girl!

The Raised beds are going in!

Mr. Fix-It brought “Big Red” home for the evening and made scooching the garden soil back a breeze.  Saved me hours of work.  6 Swipes of the bucket blade and it was done. 

He was able to cut the soil back right up next to Isaiah’s green beans (which need picked). I almost felt like Samantha Stevens from “Bewitched” …twitch my nose and it was done.

Good thing he made quick work of it as we weren’t able to start till after 7:30 pm..

raised beds 004

With the pealed back like this I can really see where I’ve focused my efforts (and need to refocus)with compost and rabbit poo, that soil is like black gold.

raised beds 012

By the time we had the frames placed and lined with cardboard it was pretty much dark. We had a wonderful show of God’s Art work in the way of a sunset poking through the trees…I just wish I could do the colors justice!

raised beds 009

He pushed the garden soil back up by the beds so I could filter weeds and put it back in the beds.  I thought we were done for the night…

raised beds 007

And then he took off across the field for the mound of topsoil. 

Remember, I just wanted the boxes about half filled…

Visible proof….. if you ask a man for “just a few inches”,

his perception is significantly different!

raised beds 018

It was 9 pm by the time we got Big Red tucked away at the shop and back home.

No complaints from me on the late hour & I think I see a strawberry rhubarb pie in his near future.

I’m on the way out the door with a short pony tailed helper to smooth the soil and weed search.

If my energy holds out I may move those blueberry bushes. 

Ahhh, I love being a dirty girl!




Monday, September 10, 2012

Raised Beds

Ok, I drank the Kool-aid,

we’re moving the garden to raised beds. At least part of it for now.  

The stinkin crabgrass that would make a jungle vine proud has won this battle…. but not the war.  After Mr. Fix-It came home and ate supper we went and picked up lumber for 3- 4x8 beds to start with & I plan on adding more as the budget allows this fall. So, raised beds will be built in the next few days.  We want them in & ready to go for spring.

I know in my heart a lot of the gardening failure this year was out of my control & the raised beds are not certain guarantee of a successful harvest but, I think they will help the weed issues. I hate just spending the cash on the lumber but but spending the money seems like the right move.

I’ve been researching as much as I can about growing in raised beds and its funny (frustrating) how so many sources are conflicting in the information provided. 

The Plan” as it stands now is to build the beds, (scrape the top spoil back) lay about 3 double layers of cardboard down first to block weeds, and load it with about 6 inches of my good top soil. Let it set for about a week so it will sprout any weeds that may be lurking and clean those out…then add another 6 inches or so and repeat the weed watch.   By then I should have another good sized load of rabbit poo in wood shaving to add. I’ll top it off with another layer or 2 of cardboard for winter.   The topsoil I’m using is compost rich so it should be fine but, if you see anything else I should/could do please let me know. 

I’ve also contacted a few tree trimmers we know & they will gladly dump their shreds here. (Tornado season is starting soon and well, downed trees are a given)  I plan to use it for mulching the pathways between the raised beds & some to the (new/gonna be) compost bin…which is another project that will be rebuilt bigggggger.

I had no where near enough compost ready this summer…..but then I’m not convinced you ever can have enough compost!


Starting The Garden Clean Up

When I really just want to blow it up.

I went out this evening to pick the last of the green beans.  I thought they were done a few weeks ago but when I was was considering pulling them up, it rained and they were just covered with blooms again.  Well, these beans are hard as rock in any size from those that need a few days to ready to pick.  No idea what happened there but they are being pulled.  There are still a few of the original plants with beans I left to dry.  I should be able to pick those after the weekend.  Other that that the beans are done. Mr. Fix-It was mowing with the tractor and I laid out piles of bean plants on the lawn which he kindly mowed over chopping them up for the compost bin. 

One of the cantaloupe plants that sprouted in May, has just sat all summer with barely any growth.  I started to yank it up also and noticed it now has 6 melons on it.  They had grown into the beans.  I’m not sure how we avoided stepping on them.

The Amish pumpkin I was so excited finally had pumpkins?  Anything smaller than a baseball is rotting at the stem and falling off. The larger ones, so far so good…but I’m not holding my breath.

I know it was a terrible year in the garden for nearly everyone.  The drought or flooding..but I tell you when I was yanking up those beans I nearly started bawling.  I worked my butt off this summer, weeding crab grass that seems to grow a foot overnight, carrots , spinach, ANY greens and peas that did not germinate after 3 separate plantings. I had enough green beans for about 20 pints, 5 darn beets, mutant watermelon, yet tomato’s and peppers out the ears.

I’m having a pity party I know, I can’t stand whining (Love wine) but when I think of most of that darn work was in temps like high 90’s to over 100 degrees, hauling water and the outrageous water bills we’ve had….I’ve nothing to show.  Not even any weight from my big old rear end,  I think that is what has been the clincher!

I did learn quite a bit and will apply that knowledge to next years garden….which the majority of will be in raised beds.

OK, the pity party & whining is over.  Turn in your party hat

There’s always next year right?


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Friday, September 7, 2012

Repurposing & Progress in the Workroom

I’ve been pricing shelves for the wool bins.

Finding shelves big enough & deep enough has been the cause of some serious sticker shock & pricing lumber to build them even more so.(I can’t get over how much lumber prices have risen this past year!)

So the other day we were in the work room talking about design…I need deep shelves as with anything shorter than 14 inches lets the tubs slide right out on the floor.  I also needed a deep top shelf to protect the wool from fading under the light bars.  Shelves tall enough to store the tubs 1-2 on a shelf.  Anything more is an avalanche waiting to happen. Grocery store shelving would be perfect…. & he just grinned like dream on !

  Look what he brought home….SHELVING! 

Shelving 001

When they redesigned the parts store, they had a few extra heavy duty commercial shelving units left over which have been stored in the barn out back.  Sunday he pulled a set out for me and hauled them home.  Within half an hour we had frame up and I was able to load the tubs as we went to set the shelf height. Crazy as it sounds I’ve actually gained floor space.   The added bonus is the these leftover shelves had been stored freshly painted to be nice and clean for the redesign!

This how it still looks this morning.  I’d already had each color labeled in its own tub & now I need to repack a few bulging tubs and arrange colors as I’d like them. 

Shelving 003Shelving 004

I love my new rainbow wall& my hubby who I swear has a computer hard drive built into his brain.

I need to gather bags from prior projects and get them sorted out &, I’m thinking to store the un-dyed on the upper empty shelves with an overflow bin…..I’ve so many ideas & hope this weekend I can dive back in there and start arranging.

On the knitting front I’ve 2-3 WIP’s nearly done and will have photo’s up soon.

Have a wonderful weekend, I know I will Smile



Shave and hair-cut 5 cents

Don’t we wish those were still the prices!

  I need a haircut so bad but can’t decide what I want to do.  Something short-“ish” but still with a tad bit of length…because right now I’m starting to look like “Shaggy” from Scooby Do


It hasn’t been trimmed since April and, this is pretty close to Mr. Fix-It’s expression when I get up in the morning. 

Something else needing a haircut was my chives. They were tall enough to layover..past time for a trim. 

Chives 001

I think I’ve gotten addicted to using chives, nothing is safe….eggs, soups, stews…you name it nothing gets past the chives. It gives so much flavor for so little gardening effort, pop them in a pot and leave them alone, I pretty much ignore them till it’s time for a trim.  In the grocery the other day I saw bundles of fresh chives being sold for over $3.00. The bundles were only about 1/2 the size of this cutting.

Chives 002

I’d made a rather foolish attempt to dehydrate them in the Excalibur…and found them blown all over inside.

  It’s not easy picking up and shaking a Excalibur as you would a toaster to clean them out! If I still had the smaller round dehydrator It would be fine as the air flows up/down on the cuttings holding them in place.  I may try using the ambient heat from the oven next time I make bread & see what happens. Although they take up very little space the less I have in the freezer the better. Besides, I’ve saved a bunch of brown glass vitamin bottles & have them all clean ready to store my herbs.

How do you preserve/store your chives?

Do they loose flavor dehydrated?


Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Got My Birthday Gift !

But it wasn’t a Nexus.  I got to thinking about it and I couldn’t justify it. Besides, I can take the laptop when we travel if we need to stay in touch with family. 

I wanted something Mr. Fix-It and I could do together but, in our neck of the woods Bow season is starting. The guys targets set up in the yard…actually the shooting range runs right through the garden area. YIKES!  What an incentive for clean shots right?

  I’d been practicing with one of our sons old bows and decided even though I don’t hunt, a bow better suited for my frame would be a wonderful gift.  It’s fun, outside, & something we can do together.  (We used to love to target shoot here but, now that we are in city limits we can’t plink at home anymore & the gun range is about 10 miles away. To far for spur of the moment trips)

We chose a “Craze” Mission by Mathews.  Its adjustable from 20 to 70 lbs. so it can be adjusted as my skills develop.  My color choices were Camo, black or PINK Camo.

I figure there would be no mistaking “grabbing the wrong bow” by the guys this way.004

I love it and have had a blast this past week.  I’ll go out 2-3 times a day and shoot 6-9 arrows in a round, take a break and go back out later.  At 20 yards I’m keeping them within a palm width, at 30 within a hand span.

 Placing shots 

At this distance I’ve gotten to the point where I can”place the arrows” & I’d love to get good enough to participate in competitive shoots but, I know that takes some serious skills.

The bow does have a built in tutorial….if I’m holding it incorrectly, the bow string pops me in the arm and reminds me of the fundamentals!


As you can see I’m a slow learner! 

Since Friday I’ve popped myself 5 times. This is actually fading, you can see the green around the edges. A few days ago I started using an arm protector and haven’t been popped since.  I think just wearing it makes me aware of my grip. 

With the targets out, Isaiah has been shooting with us using his birthday present from last year…this is the photo he had me send to his uncle Aaron last week when he “not just hit the target” but placed it where he called it. He was one proud little man.

Isaiahs shots

He’s shooting from 10 yards with 7 lbs. of pull.  Now that we have his sights adjusted he’s doing much better & will have him at 15-20 yards this weekend……maybe. 


Tuesday, September 4, 2012

What Happened or Weird Wednesday!

This has been such a weird year in the garden.  Everything started out so well even with planting late but then the nasty heat crept in….I’m blaming it on the heat.

A bit of What happened Wednesday…

My potato buckets…I dumped the second and this is the harvest from both.  That is a salad plate, not a supper plate.  Next year they will be planted in the garden or with tires.

Potato's and Red Onion

The quart jar is 2 20 foot rows of red onion.  I love them!  But,this is it… they were all so tiny, about 1/2 the size of those I will have to purchase at the farmers market.  I loaded the Excalibur and had it running outside in the shade.  I could smell them clear down at the end of the driveway.

The banana peppers are about the only thing that took off this year.  I’ve had the dehydrator running for about a week straight full of batches of onion & carrots then celery so I’d been freezing the peppers until I found this wonderful recipe at Food.com 

Now, the recipe calls for celery seed and mustard seed which I realized to late I didn’t have….  So I used mustard powder and dehydrated celery I crushed into a powder….I also gave them a hot water bath when they did not seal after an hour.  They have to set for at least 2 weeks so I’ll let you know how the substitutions worked out. I will say those I nibbled on before I sealed them tasted pretty good.  These were made Friday and

First Peppers

this batch was done today using the proper spices.The scent while cooking the liquid was much more fragrant and stronger flavor than the previous batch so

Second Peppers

in 2 weeks we see how they turned out

Looking to add another (as in 3rd planting) patch of peas I where I’d planted and had no germination of the cucumber….I found cucumber shoots!  Seeds I’d planted in MAY! If they fruit, I’m almost afraid to see what grows. A squashcumber or a cumbersquash?

Stay tuned as in this garden weirdness comes!

OK, here is some more weirdness for you.

  I planted Amish Pie Pumpkin from seed and Jack-o-lantern pumpkins from seed….so far, this is what I have!!! What the heck?  All summer the plants were loaded with blooms with no fruit, now this from the Jack-o-lantern seed pack! 


Spaghetti squash & what looks like Sweet Dumpling Squash.

I’m starting to think there is some hanky panky in the garden at night!  The pie plants now have a dozen or so pumpkin starting but on the other plants I have 3 more spaghetti and 4 more of the dumpling showing & I still can’t tell what is forming on the others.   I looks to me like some one scraped the bottom of the seed barrels to fill this packet! I’ll have to check and see if it was processed on April 1 st!

Now, here’s my question, is it possible to can the Sweet Dumpling Squash (if that’s what it is) the same as I would pumpkin?

What weirdness have you found in your garden?






Tips on Tuesday

Peeling hard boiled eggs

I love hard boiled & deviled eggs but always end up with a mess when the membrane or shells stick to the egg.  I’ve tried vinegar, salt, plunging them in ice water etc. All the tips and tricks found on line and still end up with pitted eggs or big chunks missing.

  It’s not so bad if your tossing them in a salad but if your taking deviled eggs to a get together you want them to look nice. 

Some where on line I read to add baking soda.  As you add water to the pan, toss in some baking soda (I used a few tablespoons)  and then add your eggs. When they are done plunge in cold water and they peel sooooo easy.

New 001

I found 2 drawbacks to this method. 

The first is if your eggs crack in the water they may have the soda taste. The second is there are no ugly eggs to snack on!

I wish I could remember which website to credit for this tip as it worked perfect for me. If it was you, please let me know so I can give proper credit!

Another good tip I picked up from Paula is to using your crockpot to cook down your tomato’s while making sauce.   Sure saved time needing to babysit a pot on the stove and cooked down wonderfully!

Thanks Paula & I love your blog

Also, be sure and check Debbie from Our Old Homestead.  She always has great “Tuesday Tips”

Thanks for stopping in