Sunday, April 26, 2009

DIY Rain Barrels

Well our spring has sprung and summer is here, it is 90 degrees this weekend and the ten day forcast doesn't have anything lower than the 80s here next week. Which is pretty typical, we don't have long springs here normally, we go right from cold to hot.
So this being our first warm weekend, we couldn't pass up the oppoturnity to things ready for this season. So after two trips to the hardware/garden center store, we built two new garden boxes in the back yard for square foot gardening. (we plan to build two more), hand tilled the area and added some rich top soil. We planted two trees, cut the front and back lawns and built to rain barrels.

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We are very fortunate here to have a store that sells 55 gallon olive barrels. They are made of a very hard durable plastic and have two piece tops which are perfect for converting two rain barrels.

We bought four, and got the supplies for the spouts at the hardware store plus a roll of screen. And in about 20 minutes we have two wonderful rain barrels for less than $28.

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Next, we will get our veggie plants in the ground and have our garden started.

Stay tuned....

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

I am pretty much a purest, there are exceptions of course, but overall I consider myself a purest. I like things to be what they are and not to masquerade as something else. I contribute this attitude to my new found contempt for McDonalds. I am not a big fast food fan. I can count on one hand the number of times I've purchased anything from a fast food establishment in the past year maybe even two years. I don't knock them totally, I mean they are making a living, providing a service and there are many many people who like the various fast food restaurants that are out there. But, they are what they are, they serve food prepared quickly and packaged for convenience. But now, now McDonalds has introduced the McCafe? Seriously? So we are going to go into a place with plastic furniture, a clown and kids running around screaming wildly for their fried, battered, and preservative laden lunch to enjoy a relaxing cup of coffee or a frappe? It is the end of civilization as we know it!
Now, I do love Starbucks, but not for Starbucks sake, what I love about Starbucks is that the furniture is not plastic, the light is not fluorescent, there are rarely kids running around screaming for a biscotti to go with their frappe, at least at my local franchise. But I would feel the same about any such establishment that offered the same atmosphere. I have gone to my local Starbucks and knitting quietly undisturbed while enjoying my favorite coffee based beverage. I have seen other people there knitting or crocheting. People reading, or having conversations in a normal tone using their inside voices. But now, now the atmosphere as been disturbed, the calm has been broken. Wooden stir sticks and creamer pitchers will have to compete for counter space with ketchup packets and plastic spoons, oh the insanity of it all.

Now at this point some of you may be saying to herself, well you do not have to go into the fast food coffee shop, Starbucks and similar coffee shops have not closed completely they can still be found, and why pay $4 for a cup of coffee when you can get it for $2.

And you could be right. It is a choice, I don't have to go into these new plastic, sticky, screaming child filled spaces to have a cup of coffee, which by the way, in my area a coffee of the day at my favorite coffee shop is less than $2. But it is the principle of the thing I tell you. Fast food places should be just that, they have always sold coffee, if you wanted a biscuit and coffee you weren't forced to get the biscuit one place and the coffee in my fav. Coffee shop, it was still one stop shopping, if you didn't mind the neon bright colors, the screaming kids, the sticky seats, or if you were going to dash back to your car and try to eat and drink on your morning commute. Which is another discussion for another day, But, to now try to be “the coffee shop” a place to relax, and do your thing quietly, alone or with friends. Can you even imagine trying to knit in a fast food restaurant? Think about it now, you yarn gets ketchup or syrup on it because the slack in the working yarn hit the table? Or if you dropped a DPN on the floor and had to pick it up and try to use it because you now have empty stitches? The horror! You'd have to run to the nearest medical office or even the veterinarian and ask to please autoclave your DPN before allowing it to touch your hand spun, hand painted alpaca or bamboo yarn.

Our whole society is being prepackaged for convenience and served to us on a plastic tray! To me this is everything knitters stand up against. We do not want pre-packaged mass produced sweaters, we want them lovely hand knit. We do not want mass produced socks that the color fades after the first wash and only last a month before the first hole appears. We want hand knit socks that wear like iron and should a hole appear it can be fixed!

I ask you, have you ever seen anyone knitting in a fast food restaurant? If so, here is your missions should you choose to accept it. The next time you see a person in such a place who has not been overcome by the bright lights, the endless parade of primary colors and has managed to grip tightly to her needles, ask if you can take a picture or even Kinear them and let me know. This is something I would have to see to believe.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

What?

Okay, so I'm pretty lucky I think. My hubby is quite handy, he can fix most things around here, install new things, paint things. But a recent leaky faucet seemed to be a bit more than we had the tools for. So.... in comes the professionals. Lets all hold our collective breaths while he tells me how much it will be to fix the leaky faucet that is about 30 years old....
Ready?
$65!
Yep that is all, one hours worth of labor. Whew! I was seeing major dollar signs there for a minute. He was so nice, and courtious. His work is very neat and clean not even a footprint in the tub (where the leak was). I have found a good plumber, actually he does everything from hanging your christmas lights to room additions! I think my hubby is in love all over again and it is not with me! Just kidding.
He is a handy guy to know, we are working on a to do list for our new "friend" for this summer!

Knitting updates coming soon....

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Next.....

Okay, the jacket is done, I also made some matching wrist warmers and a hat to complete the ensemble. Whew!

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So now on the next project. This time a man's sweater, a chose a pattern from the Winter 2008 edition of Interweave Knits. The Woven Bands Pullover by Hana Jason.

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The pattern in knit in one piece from cuff to cuff. Here is my progress.

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Socks are still in progress as well. Plain black no frills for the hubby. Here is the first mate, playing in the garden and enjoying a warm sunny day with no rain! We are still having lots of spring showers, but today promises to be sunny and bright!

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No further signs of our turtle friend returning from his birthday party, I fear he may have gone on a bender.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Finishing One Thing and Starting Something New

I finished up the side seams and got the buttons on the Barn Jacket, hooray! I started this project in January. I set it aside for a few weeks to do a couple of quick things and when I came back to it, it sought it's revenge for being neglected, once we came to the understanding that I was touch it, hold it and talk to it everyday, it went along nicely.

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Now to wrap it gently and save it. It is a Christmas gift for someone special.

Next new thing, well I may regret this, but I have bought myself a scrapbooking starter kit. I have seen how friends and family members have been sucked into the black hole of scrapbooking only to be seen running madly about family functions with a camera. And stalking scrapbook supply aisle in the craft stores, dressed in black as if they are about to commence a commando raid on the latest felted frames and pebble alphabet stickers. But I vow to control myself to start small, to not get consumed by the scrapbook vortex.

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I have to go now, I have family photos to sort throw in search of every Thanksgiving dinner we have ever had......

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Two Steps Forward One Step Back

That is how it has felt with this jacket. I don't know why, it isn't a complicated pattern, just one of those things I suppose. But I finally have some forward progress. I picked the stitches and added the collar and button bands, added the sleeves and tonight I will seam up the sides. Then the buttons. And then finished.

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Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Cel.a.brate Good Times Come on!

We had the first thunderstorms of the season today. We’ve already had plenty of rain but it hasn’t been warmer enough for thunderstorms until now. After it stopped raining and it started to clear a little, I happened to look out the window and saw this little guy cruising in high speed in the field outside our office building.

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I tried to think what a slider might be doing in a field but it was rainy and there is a lot of standing water about today and there are small bodies of water around. And so I thought perhaps he is an Easter turtle, but after much discussion with my co-worker and considering the speed and determination in which he was traveling we have decided that he was definitely on his way to a birthday party. And since he appeared to be a turtle with a purpose we are pretty sure that the party is in his honor.

His brother, no doubt, is hosting the party for him next door at the lake over in the solid waste management compound. There will be a worm cake of course, something he probably hasn't had since he was a pup. With all the rain the greens will most certainly be moist and juicy. There will be spirits of saw grass juice. Party favors, pin the tail on the fish and music. Mer-music perhaps, if the rumors are true his brother was very fortunate to be able to book the Back Bay Salties home from their recent world tour.

I know they will be partying into the wee hours and it will take our little friend a day to get home again, so tomorrow I will be on the look out to see him making zig zag tracks back to his pond with a bow on his shell and a lampshade on his head.

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Happy Birthday, Speedy, Let your inner turtle rock it out tonight!

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Two of a Kind

We all have hobbies and careers of one kind or another. I have alwasy enjoyed that mine are varied, but I rarely do them all in the same weekend. I usually have weekend devoted to one thing and then the next weekend devoted to something else. A lot as to do with the time of year and weather as I am sure it is for everyone. But this weekend I got to enjoy a little of everything and I started thinking about how it was such a wonderful reflection on life, past, present and hopefully future.

Saturday, I spent the afternoon, draining the gasoline out of hubbies motorcycle, while he cut the grass (I enjoy cutting grass about as much as needles in a doctors office). Some of you may ask, why drain the gasoline? Well he has a carborator clogged and we need to get that sucker cleaned out so that he can go riding with me. His bike is an antique so we have to keep it running. So after it was drained we put some clean new gas in it and it is starting up better and running on it's own much better.

I took my bike out for a spin, it has been a while since the Black Purl and I have had any quality time together and I was so excited to be able to get out there that I may have been too hasty. I made sure I had on high visibility clothing, something to protect my limbs, head, hands and ankles. But still as I got down the street I felt like I was forgetting something and something just didn't seem right. Then by the time I got to the first stop sign I realized what I was missing. My glasses. Well, I am very fortunate that I can see without them. I have an astigmatism. So I went ahead and completed my ride, but didn't venture as far from home as I would have if I had had my glasses on. But it was still fun.

Then today it was to more domestic activities. I baked three loaves of bread using a new recipe and I am very happy with the way they turned out. And then I have been knitting the rest of the evening in between loads of laundry.

I also helped a friend new to sheep learn about some different types and the process for cleaning the wool herself, but did refer her to some good processing companies. Because, hand processing wool can be initimidating for the first time, with no previous frame of reference or experience. I know that was me last summer. She has recently come to have two lambs come to live with her. She is keeping them for a friend, but she has been drawn in, so I think she may be looking for some of her own soon. I hope so. Everyone should have a sheep, if they have the space of course, don't really want one in a 24th floor condo, I can't imagine they'd be too keen on the elevators. And getting a bail of hay past the doorman might be a trick too.
Good thing she lives out in the country with lots of room.

Well for those of you enjoying spring break next week, enjoy! For the rest of us, only 5 more days until the next weekend!

Happy Knitting.