Saturday, May 31, 2008

A Post a Day in May

I'm trying this challenge: Think of something worth posting for every day in the month of May.

What's for Supper? Turkey tenderloin, marinated in garlic, and grilled, with mashed potatoes.

Combine that with a busy day in the sunshine and fresh air and whaddya get? Yep, Barry's asleep on the guest bed and I'm not much more alerzzzzzz....

Col. Sanders is a Proud Papa

It was a warm, sunny day today, and the chicks are about 5 days old, so I moved their cage out near the chicken pen where the flock could get reacquainted. Eowyn was concerned about having any chickens even looking at her babies, but she settled down. Over the course of the afternoon, we let them all look at each other from a secure distance, then we let Eowyn out to walk around the grass with her children, then we let the others out while the little family was in the cage, and finally we removed all barriers and watched to make sure everyone behaved.

I am so proud of Colonel Sanders. He has fallen in love with his chicks! He stays very near them and tries to find interesting things for them to eat. Even when he can't find anything, he still clucks to them and calls them. He likes to have them close to his face, just like their mother does. They make such a cute family, the four of them.

Eowyn made it quite clear that she wants them all in the chicken pen with the rest of the flock, so we'll just let her do that. It makes things easier on us anyway. Everybody can eat chick starter for awhile, it won't hurt the big ones.

Update: As Mrs. Mac noted in comments, this post really calls for a photo. I wasn't having much luck getting everybody in frame. The babies kept hiding from me and the camera, or the Colonel would walk over close to me to make sure I didn't do anything dangerous. This is the best I could do. There is a baby in the picture, if you look very, very carefully. That's a watermelon rind they are snacking on. The Colonel is calling them and urging them to eat some.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Finished by Friday: Sorting Out My Patterns

I'm hereby declaring a new meme: Finished by Friday. I don't care what you have finished this week, whether it's something gargantuous, like your PhD dissertation or your mortgage, or something weensy, like, oh, I don't know, maybe completing one block of a quilt that you were stumped on: Whatever it is, if you've finished it this week, let's see it! I need the inspiration. I have many unfinished things in my life and if I just finished one at a time, I'd be much happier.

I'd love to say that my Finished by Friday for today was a quilt top. Not a chance. But what I did accomplish was something I'd been putting off: Getting all my dressmaking patterns into one spot in the house. I had them in a plastic storage tub where they were jammed in and overflowing, plus there were strays all over the house. So now they are neatly sorted into a 2-drawer file cabinet! Yay!

It was a voyage of discovery. Look at some of the goodies I found:

Click on any of them to embiggen them. I love the fluffy little girls' dresses, that blonde in the flip and A-line, and of course the so-sexy plaid pants on Mister Seventies there in the last one.

Okay, so that's the dressmaker pattern situation taken care of. Next is to find where I've stashed all my quilt patterns and tear sheets and get them organized. I was thinking of a 3-ring binder with clear plastic sleeves. Think that'll work?

Thursday, May 29, 2008

The latest Gorgeous Tiny... featuring Wil Wheaton!

Not supposed to be released till tomorrow, but of course already plastered in many places on the Magical Interwebz:

Wil Wheaton as Mushy Shorts on GTCMS

Last Day of School

This morning, they left as a junior, an 8th grader and a 2nd grader, respectively - and poof! they came home a senior, a freshman, and a 3rd grader.

I thought I'd put their first-day-of-school photo next to it but I found I didn't take one. What on earth was wrong with me?

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

What's for Supper: Venison Stroganoff with Morel Mushrooms

only it disappeared so quick I couldn't get a picture.

She studied so hard...

... she wore out her backpack.

Miss B's backpack after a long, hard junior year in high school.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

What is the name of this quilt block?

Crazy Mom Quilts is doing a Quilt-a-Long on her blog, a star sampler. I'm not doing it, because I don't really like sampler quilts, but I am enjoying watching everybody else. This week's block is a star that is driving me crazy because it looks so familiar but I can't think of the name of it. It doesn't look like much all by itself, but when you piece it into a whole top you get all these secondary reads on the pattern and it's just gorgeous.

I played with it in Photoshop. Here is a simple setting:
And here is a more complicated one that I like a lot better.

So, does anyone know what it's called? It looks pretty in reds and white (everything looks good in red and white), but it would also make a gorgeous Christmas quilt, or in fall colors for Thanksgiving.

P.S. Here's a piecing guide for that second setting.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Eowyn's Blessed Event

We have a happy announcement on behalf of Eowyn the Cochin Banty Hen! Allow me to introduce her two as yet unnamed chicks. She has been setting 8 eggs. Two hatched sometime in the past 24 hours; these babies are really tiny! Lil Miss A found one underneath Eowyn, and the other tucked under Peanut, the younger banty hen who just started setting. Peanut didn't want to part with it, but we gave it back to Eowyn. She is in a nesting box, so it probably fell off the shelf where Peanut retrieved it. We gave Peanut all the rest of Eowyn's clutch of eggs, in addition to those we just let her start setting. I think one more of Eowyn's has a chance of hatching; the others are pretty light and probably no good.

Both these babies look like Barred Cochins, which their daddy is for sure; the eggs were probably laid by Cinderella, our lone Barred hen. Eowyn doesn't lay much anymore; she's an old lady. But an excellent mother. She is so pleased to have chicks again!

Bo is always interested in baby chicks. He feels very protective of them. This worked great when we had a box of them from a hatchery; he could guard them and push between the box and any visitors who dared to look inside, and just generally act like a bachelor uncle to them. It works much less well when the chicks have a possessive little mommy already looking after them. This morning Eowyn did let him get a good sniff of her babies, though, amazingly. He is guarding them and her right now.


This morning's Memorial Day service here in New Albin was well attended and wonderful. Miss B read the Gettysburg Address, and did a beautiful job; very reverent and expressive. And I'm not the only one who thought so; people who weren't related to her felt the same.

Among other things, they honored the gentlemen who are still living who founded the local veterans post in 1946. Seven wonderful old fellows, some still on their own feet, a couple in wheelchairs, a couple with walkers. One struggled to his feet to return the salute offered him. The high school band played a couple of numbers and did quite well (better than usual). Afterward, they played Taps and did a volley at the memorial in the town square and then again out at the city cemetery. After each volley, all the kids in the area dive into the grass; I didn't know what they were doing, but Lil Miss A informed me they get to collect all the shell casings, which they get to keep after the casings are counted and checked to make sure they are no longer live. She got two.

And then Miss B came home and applied online for an Air Force ROTC scholarship in nursing and/or Subsaharan African Studies! It isn't as impulsive as it sounds. She has planned on this for some time, and May is the month to do it, and it suddenly occurred to her that May is nearly over. It didn't hurt that she sat next to Maj. John Colsch, USAF, Ret., whose presentation brought her and me to tears.

We seem to have skipped directly from winter to summer with no springtime. Today it is hot and steamy.

I leave you with some lyrics to Taps, three verses (there are others, but these were read this morning):

Day is done,
gone the sun,
From the hills,
from the lake,
From the skies.
All is well,
safely rest,
God is nigh.

Fades the light;
And afar
Goeth day,
And the stars
Shineth bright,
Fare thee well;
Day has gone,
Night is on.

Thanks and praise,
For our days,
'Neath the sun,
Neath the stars,
'Neath the sky,
As we go,
This we know,
God is nigh.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Bird Life in the Back Yard

First the happy part:
This rather blurry picture is of a papa robin and his teenaged child. We have been watching them for the past couple of days. Son is nearly the same size as Papa and can fly, yet he follows his Papa around and begs. And Papa keeps falling for it. We make up dialogue for them, like this:
"Dad, gimme forty bucks."
"Sure, Son, here ya go."
"Dad, I need another forty bucks."
"Well, okay, here, but be more thrifty next time."
"Dad, I need another forty bucks. And a worm."

And then, there is this mourning dove. While I was stalking Robin & Son, this dove fell out of a tree and landed right in front of me. I'm not using a telephoto for this shot, I really was just inches away from it. It doesn't try to leave, though it is still alive; its mate is frantic.

There is a thunderstorm on the way; I doubt it will survive.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Eighth Grade Des Moines Field Trip

Yesterday's post was brought to you by Blogger's new CheatBlogging feature, whereby you can be nowhere near a computer and still post your post for a Post a Day in May, plus that way nobody knows your house is unattended and thus ransackable.

Here are the many MANY photos I took yesterday while on the Eighth Grade Field Trip to the Big City. It really was a good day. Nobody got lost, the drive went very well, and I think we all actually learned something. I myself learned that eighth graders are wonderful, energetic little people, prone to BO, who do NOT sleep on 9-hour bus rides.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Toilet Paper by Mail

Living out here in the boonies, and gas prices being what they are, I'm trying my best to think of ways to have stuff we need brought to ME, rather than my going to get the stuff we need. Hence, toilet paper by mail! Amazon offers Cottonelle double-roll packs, a case of 48 rolls, for $41.60. I'm trying out a 30-day trial membership with Amazon Prime, which means free shipping, even on this big bulky item. And then on top of that, I tried Amazon Subscriptions, for an additional 15% off. That's right: Once a month, Amazon will Priority mail me a case of toilet paper for $35.36! No sales tax. No postage. No gasoline.

I think I'm on the right track.

Thursday, May 22, 2008


Grilled cheese sammiches. Yum.

You won't believe me, not even with the photo.

Okay, that orange-ish blob there on the rock is an oriole. Really. Yes, I know he looks like more of a pixellated robin, but he's an oriole. He was zipping round the pond and I shot this from too far away, through window glass, with my camera, not Barry's ultima-mega-mega-moltopixel camera that can get the details of a flea's tattoo. But it's an oriole.

Maybe you'll have to take my word on it.

Author Mini-Bios to Love

Here is one:

Elizabeth Bear was born on the same day as Frodo and Bilbo Baggins, but in a different year. This, coupled with a childhood tendency to read the dictionary for fun, led her inevitably to penury, intransigence, the mispronunciation of common English words, and the writing of speculative fiction.

And another:

Patrick Rothfuss had the good fortune to be born in Wisconsin where long winters and lack of cable television brought about a love of reading and writing. His mother read to him as a child, and his father taught him to build things. If you are looking for the roots of his storytelling, look there.

Growing up, Pat didn't apply himself and failed to live up to his full potential. Despite the fact that he seemed to have no interest doing something productive with himself, Pat's parents continued to love him. They also were encouraging, but in a very general way, as he seemed to have no actual talents to speak of.

Having enjoyed the hard sciences in high school, Pat began college as a chemical engineer. He soon abandoned that, and decided to become a clinical psychologist. He eventually abandoned that as well, admitted he had no idea what he wanted to do with his life, and changed his major to Undeclared despite the fact that he had been in college for over three years....

Keep reading that one, it's long but great.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

I'm so excited - my first sale on Amazon!

You may remember that I was unable to sign up as a seller with Amazon. Well, this past weekend I was messing around in my Amazon account (actually I was buying toilet paper and kitty litter - did you know you really can buy just about anything on Amazon?) and I saw this link, "Your Seller Account." My seller account? I didn't know I had one. I found a book I had that is out of print, so not available on the main site, and in fact not available from any used book seller, either, and listed it. And it just sold.

It's nearly as exciting as the first time I sold something on eBay.

What's On my Desk Wednesday: Lilacs

I have been dragging these around from room to room so I am never out of range of their scent for very long. Lilac season being so short, I must make the most of it.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008


My friend Bill called today, asking if I wanted any morels this year. I did, as it turns out. I'm a terrible mushroom hunter. I have found exactly two morels in my lifetime; I have to bum them from friends!

On a less happy note, my Internet and phone were out for nearly the whole day, finally coming back at about 4:00. So I'll be working all evening.

Monday, May 19, 2008

The New Pond is Finished (more or less)

Still need a few more stones here and there, but this is how it looks now (Barry wanted you to see it this way, not just in progress).

Sunday, May 18, 2008

4 - 4 - 4 for fun meme

My sister-in-law V sent me this meme, which I just sent back to her rather than forwarding like I was supposed to. You're supposed to list 4 things for each category.

A) Four places I go regularly: Church, post office, The Way Station, the elementary school
B) Four people who e-mail me regularly: letting me know how many people have signed my guestbook this month and offering to let me see who they are if I'll pay; PayPal informing me my account has been suspended; Prince Mbuthe Kwalinele of Nigeria letting me in on a really neat money-making scheme; and any number of Canadian pharmacies offering me deals on V11AAGGR4
C) My four favorite places to eat: The dining room, the front porch, the couch in the family room, and Famous Dave's
D)Four TV shows I watch all the time: Battlestar Galactica (on hulu because we have only BASIC basic cable), Chuck (before writer's strike), Pushing Daisies (before writer's strike), Supernanny (when I can)

Helping in Postville (You Don't Have to be Catholic)

I was rather discouraged this morning by how my blog has been perceived... as anti US Government, apparently. I'm pro US Government. I'm anti Homeless Hungry Children. I'm anti Splitting Up Families. I'm anti Breaking the Law but I am pro Mercy to Sinners.

Anyway, I did a quick blog search to see if I am truly alone in the world, and found out I am not.

The Lutherans (ELCA) Help: Lutheran Staff Blog
Members of St. Paul Lutheran Church, Postville, Iowa, are responding to the needs of people who have been affected by a May 12 federal immigration raid at a Postville meat processing plant..., said the Rev. Stephen P. Brackett, St. Paul Lutheran Church....

Church members and others in the community have stepped in to help family members who were not arrested but affected, Brackett said.... Brackett estimated that as many as 30 members of St. Paul are helping out at St. Bridget's by providing and serving food, providing clothing, helping with sleeping arrangements, tutoring students and reading to younger children. Also helping out at St. Bridget's are several students from Luther College, Decorah, Iowa, one of 28 ELCA colleges and universities, he said.... A nearby Presbyterian church is housing a few people.... The synod is working with the local Catholic diocese to assist at St. Bridget's, Ullestad said. The synod's greatest concerns are keeping families together, providing for their needs and making sure children are safe, he said....

Bishop Gregory V. Palmer of the United Methodist Church speaks:
We are called to stand in solidarity with our sisters and brothers [...] whose lives were disrupted today... and who are facing... likely separation from their... loved ones. It is our belief that we are all deeply connected to one another through Christ without regard to one’s nationality or legal status...

A (liberal) Jewish website speaks up: It's Our Turn to Help

The Rubashkin’s raid made big news earlier in the week.... But, now, it’s time to help. With hundreds of worker’s [sic] arrested, thousands of their family members are now in limbo. They have no money, no income, and no resources. They are frightened to apply for work, frightened to go shopping, and their kids aren’t going to school. Charities in Postville are pitching and do what they can to help these people, and unfortunately not-surprisingly, Agriprocessors isn’t helping out. I don’t often ask people to give tzedakah, and if I do, it’s a casual request. This is different. Anyone who has ever eaten kosher meat in this country has benefited from the hard, poorly compensated work these people have done, and now that they are in desperate need it is our turn to help....

Agriprocessors might be a large, unscrupulous company, but to these people, it represents one thing - Judaism. Please give. Please write a letter thanking them. Please let them know that you care.

Finally, here are two blog posts that I thought worth referencing.
Blog for Iowa: Support Requested
Prairie Robin goes to Postville

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Shallow Thoughts, Now with Smell-O-Vision

Or so I wish. If only you could smell these lilacs! When the breeze blows through town, it picks up lots of flower scents, with lilacs predominating.

The crabapple tree, which Lil Miss A calls "my cranapple tree," is in full bloom, this after it nearly died a couple of years ago. It's so good to see it so well established.

Bleeding Hearts thriving by the pond. They really took off this year.

And we mustn't leave out these: Dandelions. In my neighbor's yard, not mine. Although I have to say I have felt differently about dandelions ever since I learned from a gentleman named Percy Beier, who was once a beekeeper, how thankful he was to see the first dandelions each year, because they provided nectar for his poor, hungry bees early in the springtime, before anything else was blooming.

This one should be titled, "Mommmm! Did you take a picture of me? Whyyyyy? I wasn't ready. I was slouching."

Friday, May 16, 2008

Loot Report: Syttende Mai Sales, Spring Grove, Minnesota

Ah, Syttende Mai, how I love you! Spring Grove was at its prettiest today: Brightly colored tulips everywhere, everything green and rainwashed, all the classic cars out being polished, the Amish carriages clipclopping around town... Springtime! Lisa Fruitful and I got a bit of a late start this morning but we still found lots of treasures. Above is a lot of my loot arranged on the couch. Here's a partial list:

  • A vintage baby dress
  • A red-and-white checked Christmas apron
  • A pair of pottery chicken shakers
  • A Spring Grove Homecoming directory from 1997
  • Three Spring Grove Soda bottles with the fired-on labels
  • A little Fire-King Philbe covered casserole
  • A "Wagner's" Sidney frying pan, very nice
  • A doll suitcase
  • About 30 years' worth of Syttende Mai admission buttons (in that Cool Whip container there)
  • A beautiful vintage dresser mirror for Miss A's dresser
  • A couple of hardcover books by John Grisham and Tony Hillerman
  • A big wonderful box of miscellaneous junk for a buck
  • Some beautiful old hand-embroidered linens
  • Seven pieces of Blue Ridge China
  • A picture frame that I think I can make look more vintage than it already does

This neat wicker hamper with a cracked-ice vinyl top, in great shape, made in Burlington, Iowa (could use a repainting)

Christmas china, service for eight!

Vintage wooden lawn chairs. There's a third chair but its canvas is rotten. I love these, and best of all, they were just a buck apiece.

A box of hinges. I'll either use 'em when we do our kitchen, or sell 'em.

A beautiful Startex fruit print tablecloth that was a freebie thrown into the hamper. Same with the fabric below. That tannish, stripey piece is linen, I think. It's airing out on the line because it smelled kind of smoky; same with the hamper.

And the best saved for last: A Winnebago basket with tons of color! They used vegetable dyes that fade with exposure to sunlight. All my Winnebago baskets are faded on the outsides. This one is still vibrant and colorful. I bought it to keep, but the more I think about it, the more I think I'll sell it.

Not pictured are two grocery bags of clothes for Lil Miss A which cost me a whopping twelve bucks. I love garage sales! Usually I can sell a few things and end up paying for the goodies I keep. Usually.