Wednesday, April 30, 2014

This little rabbit is one that has found a home in my wood pile, and I haven't seen him for several days because of the nasty weather.  But today he's out braving the wind and nibbling on new green grass.  It must be tasty.  I love how he's camouflaged so naturally.

I saw on a ukulele instructional DVD that putting a strap on the instrument is very helpful in getting one's fingers at the proper angle on the neck without having to also hold the weight of the instrument.  So, I decided to try it out on my soprano uke and see if I liked it.  I had the buttons put on (they had to drill into the wood, which made me nervous) and bought the best looking strap in the shop!  After I got it home, I tried it out...immediately.  And I love it!  Therefore, I am now willing to let them put buttons on my standard uke, which is my favorite because it has a full sized neck, translating into more room on the frets for my big fingers. 

In the past week, learned the strum pattern and chords for "Seven Bridges Road," by the Eagles.  It's a great piece; I love the sound.  It will be one I'll introduce to my students soon.  Can't wait.

Monday, April 28, 2014

2 FO's

The Raised Diamond mat is off the needles.  It has a nice garter stitch border around the edges, so I'm not sure I need a crocheted edge.  However, I still have just enough yarn left that I could put an edge on if I change my mind.

This Juniper needle-felted wool mat was started sometime in December for a class I taught, but I didn't finish it.  So, yesterday seemed like a good day to get the project off my to-do list. 

Yesterday was simply too cold and dreary to be outside!  I even started a fire in the wood stove to take off the chill in the house.  Oh Spring, thou art fickle!

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Thursday morning musings...

A new cotton mat has been cast on the needles, and the pattern is called "Raised Diamonds."

Birds are still flitting from one bare branch to another in between snatching up bird seed.

The aspen tree is just full of catkins, so I'm anticipating that the little green leaves will begin emerging soon.

Lopee is back this morning, leisurely grazing on the new grass along the driveway.

The grass in my small yard is lucky to get a drink of water this morning.  When I first attempted to run the water, ice in the sprinkler kept that from happening. Yes, ice.   So I had to wait until late morning.  It's a cool start to the day...the warm sun rays are very much appreciated.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Slowly, a spring awakening ...

In the background of this photo of the robin, one can see that the field grass has turned green, and it's very evident along the roadways.  Today I saw farmers working in their fields: plowing and planting.  I think we're just a week away from seeing evidence of green leaves trying to emerge on bare tree branches.  Oh, I'm anxious!

With the warmer temps, I'm noting that I need to get my To-do list going. 
1.  rake up dead grass and pine needles
2   get new gas in the gas can and start the mower
3.  mow grass
4.  get out the hoses and start watering the dry spots

I'm not thinking about planting flowers just yet... but I sure am enjoying other bloggers' beautiful photos of spring flowers in bloom.  They are spectacular.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Happy Monday

Hello, Robin red breast!  What's the news today?  Is it true that spring is here and warm temps are here to stay???

I've been knitting away on this forest green cotton mat, and I'm nearly at the end of the ball.  I think I can squeeze one more repeat out of what's remaining.  Then, I'm thinking a crocheted border would add just the right finishing touch.  I'm planning to make another mat with the remaining ball, but I'm considering using a different stitch pattern, just for fun.  

Friday, April 18, 2014

Spring tunes, wild animals, and runners

This week I attended 3 spring concerts: a high school band, a high school vocal, and a college jazz concert.  They were all well worth it.  So I got a good dose of live music to carry me for a while.

As I was leaving the house yesterday...guess who was on my property?  Lopee.  I don't know why he was all by himself, but he seemed to be enjoying the nibble of new grass recently nourished by the spring snow storms. 

And the birds are happy that there's plenty of seed. Although it appears the feeder needs to be filled again.

Finally, I spent yesterday announcing a high school track meet. It turned out to be a beautiful sunny day, near 60 degrees, and no wind; it's one of the best days for a track meet we've had in years! Here's the view of the long-jump pit from the crow's nest (or announcer's booth).  It's the best seat in the house.   I've done the announcing for WRHS for years, and I enjoy it.  I was only given two days notice, so it's kind of amazing that I didn't have something else already planned.  It all worked out well.  During the field events I play music from my iPod over the sound system.  I think it's all upbeat and appropriate lyrics; although some of the "oldies" tunes aren't particularly popular with the kids... I don't care. Sorry, but no rap. The coaches and more mature spectators love it. 

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

They found it!!

One bird is sitting on top of the sock; the other on the branch.

I had to take these pictures from inside the house, using the telephoto, but I saw two finches eating the thistle seed!  The pictures are not great, but they offer proof.  Yahoo.  I'm looking forward to watching these birds, even if from afar.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Serious snowpack

We have accumulated much more than normal snowpack in the mountains this year; it is great news for the farmers.  And we always need the moisture, as we're trying to revive from about 10 years of drought conditions.  The only drawback is that the spring run-off can result in flooding in some areas.  So, let's hope the temperature warms up slowly and flooding conditions do not become destructive.  The whole county will be keeping an eye on this.

I found a dishcloth pattern I thought would work nicely for making a placemat-sized knitted project for the cotton yarn from kathy b.  Thanks, Kathy!!!  I decided on the pattern and thought this would be a nice tuck & go project.  It turns out I have to count every stitch!  I made a huge mistake at one point and had to frog back about 4 rows!  Dang!  But, I did it and have not made a mistake since.  So, I think I've got the hang of it, and I should be able to knit and visit...if I'm careful.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Here, birdie, birdie...

Yet another spring snow storm blew in and out yesterday.  The wind was blowing hard enough that all the snow was blowing past in a horizontal manner; so I'm thinking that most of the snow (and moisture) I could have enjoyed on my trees and grass,  actually landed several miles south, except for the drifts that managed to gather up a slight accumulation around the sagebrush.  And today, it will probably all melt by afternoon, as we will be about 30 degrees warmer.

Although it was pretty nasty out, I didn't let the weather deter my activities.  I went to brunch, had wonderful visits with friends, and then listened to a bluegrass jam session.  Loved it!! That's a perfect Sunday afternoon!

I've been waiting, but I finally made the move:  I put out more bird feed, but this time it's a thistle sock.  I'm hoping to lure in some other birdies.  Hanging the sock is my version of tweeting... "Here, birdie, birdie... "  I'm wondering how long it will take for the sock to be discovered; I'm watching...

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Quiet on the surface

The catkins are growing and looking more like a kitten's tail.

If there's any visible (exciting) action  going on around here, it would have to be the growing catkins.

You know how sometimes things seem quiet on the surface, but there's plenty going on below?  Things around here seem rather like that at the moment.

I've finished two of three knitting projects.  The third one is a lacy scarf, and the progress is steady, but slow.  So, I'm in the thinking mode to determine what project I want to cast on next.  I have about 200 yds. of cotton, and I'm thinking I'd like to find a great knitted place-mat pattern.  I would like to get started on something like that soon, because I need a portable project.  But I haven't found THE pattern yet. 

Then, I have cotton yarn and a pattern for a sleeveless tee in my stash, and it's time to do something with it; it's been waiting ... well... too long.

I have some music transposing to do on a piano piece for a student.  Also, I need to stay a couple steps ahead and practice a bit more on my ukulele so I'm well prepared on that front.

I also (always) have a few house-cleaning projects vying for my attention. 

Decisions.  Decisions.  Plenty of thought.  Not much action.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Spring... toes

It really feels more like spring.  This week we'll hit the 60's!!  But cool weather will still be coming in sporadically for another month or two.  I find it interesting to watch the clouds as they hang over the mountains or move east across them. 

I'm down to the toe on the 2nd sock!!  I'll have a pair to wear...very soon.  They'll be great to cover the toes on our cooler spring days.

Saturday, April 5, 2014


My Aspen tree is growing catkins.  I first noticed them last spring and got interested enough to do a little research; I wrote one blog about it last March.  A couple of readers have made a comment, so I thought I would make mention of it again this spring.  

The word catkin is of Dutch origin and means "kitten's tail."  In the spring, these fuzzy, cylindrical-shaped tufts of tiny seeds begin to appear.  They grow until they look like fuzzy little kitten tails.  Both female and male Aspen trees have catkins, but the male catkin is the one with the pollen.  It simply depends on these March and April winds to pollinate the females.  Eventually, the female will release her seeds and the wind sweeps them off to other places.  Then the pretty apple-green leaves appear.

I will share some close-ups again next week as the fuzzy tails get more length.  They are a sure sign that Spring really is on its way!

Friday, April 4, 2014

A day late...

...and a dollar short.  Or so it would seem.  OK, OK, here's the deal.  I finally got a  Pinterest account.  I don't know why I was so hesitant to get on board, but I've arrived.  Yes, I started a page ... and I successfully pinned some recipes that  looked so tasty I might even make them.

A page of recipes; that's laughable, even to me.  I'm not much of a cook.  I can totally relate to the poster I saw recently: "The only reason I have a kitchen... is because it came with the house."  Now, I do like to bake on occasion (sometimes even between the holidays), and I have some favorite "go-to" recipes that are worth it.  However, I've cooked many a recipe that I would rank as "not a winner."  It's so disappointing.   But to be truthful, I've done more cooking since I retired  Oh, ya know, I'm home, and I've recognized that whipping up a few things in the kitchen is much better and healthier, than consuming the convenient fast foods. So, I'm interested in easy, tasty, quick-to-fix meals.  And great desserts!

But back to the original point.  I found some Smoothie recipes which I'm pretty sure I'll try, as I really like them in summer months.  AND, I found another recipe: Blueberry Croissant Puff.  I made it this afternoon, and OH MY GOSH, it's TASTY!!  It is perfect for a breakfast treat or could be served as a light dessert.  It's made in a 9X9 pan, so it's a nice size. (Although the recipe says it can easily be doubled and put in a 9X13 pan.)

I've got to share it with you...and if you try it, let me know what you think. 

3 large croissants, cut up (about 5 to 5 1/2 cups)
1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries
1 package (8 oz.) cream cheese, softened
2/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup milk

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2.  Place croissant pieces in a 9 inch square pan.  Sprinkle with blueberries.
3 Beat cream cheese, sugar, eggs, and vanilla in medium bow with electric mixer until well blended.  Gradually add milk, beating well after each addition.  Pour evenly over croissant pieces.  Let stand 20 minutes.
4.  Bake at 350 F for 35-40 minutes or until set in center and golden brown.  You may want to cover it with foil for the last 10 minutes if the tops are getting too browned.
5.  Serve warm, sprinkled with powdered sugar.
6  Variation:  Instead of baking in a square pan, bake individually.  Place croissant pieces evenly in 10 (1/2 cup) ramekins; sprinkle with blueberries and pour cream cheese mixture evenly over croissant pieces.  Let stand 20 minutes.  Bake at 350 F for 20 to 25 minutes or until set in center and golden brown.

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Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Ready for the turn...

OK, I'm ready to turn the heel on my 2nd Dragonfly Sock.  

When I finished the first sock... I went into that "second sock funk" I really have to spend a couple more weeks until this project is finished???  No wonder some gals knit both socks at the same time!  But now that I'm down to the heel turn, I feel better...I feel energized to get to the toe.  

I'm ready for the turn...the turn of the seasons...and it's a slow go.  But I saw more evidence of the turn today with the growing catkins on the Aspen tree.  We're supposed to get snow or rain sometime today, and I think the catkins would love that.