Busy as a bee

It’s Spring!!  A lot going on around here.  Mostly play and no work but sometimes it’s hard to tell the difference.

I can’t really report I’ve been working around here much.  The yard hydrant still has a leak but it’s not costing me money so…..  I call a guy and ask if he can come out.  “well, we’re going to have to bring in an excavator and then I’ll have to charge you $90 each way to bring it out and blah, blah, blah”.  I’m thinking while he’s talking “yeah, yeah, yeah, you’re just telling me that so I won’t ask you to come out.”  He finally says if you need this and that and the other it might be $500.  OK, never mind.  I call Duane in town and he gives me a name of someone local who just might come out and do it.  One guy in town has an excavator but he retired and word on the gravel road is “nope, I’m retired.  Never touching the thing again.”  That was a couple of years ago so maybe he’s softened up by now.  I go outside and stare at the puddle.  Yeah, I really need to get if fixed because it’s becoming the cats watering hole.  They’re all sitting around it like they’re migrating through the Serengeti.

I go outside in the morning and there are two cats intently doing something over by the chicken coop.  Is it a mouse?  Is is something worse?  I go over and say, “Hey, what’s going on here.”  They all jump up and there are four cats.  What the heck?  Oh drat, there is still one female in town that isn’t fixed?  Three Toms are trying to have their way with her.  Poor thing.  You couldn’t even see her there were so many cats after her.  I chase them  all off and they go streaking off after her.  PLEASE, don’t let her get pregnant.  Yeah, right.  I’m pretty sure Mama San has had babies in the cellar again.  I haven’t taken the time to look.  She’s hanging around a lot though and hissing at other cats so I’m sure there’s some down there.  I wish we could catch her but she’s one savvy Mama.  Just can’t get near her.  There’s just too many cats around here  I had 10 in the back yard at one time the other day.  It’s time to find some barns that needs some cats.

Karen and I take off one day and go to Yarn Fest.  Wow, so much yarn candy to look at.  There is only one spinning/weaving place in the center.  We watch a spinning demo on how to Navajo Chain and ply some yarn.  I lust after the blending boards and decide I can’t afford one right now.  I get some cool funky yarn to weave a scarf and some nice fine cotton to weave a bed throw.  The lovely cats are keeping my bed spread filthy laying around on it so I’m going to weave a throw for it that will be easy to throw in the wash.   I haven’t started either of those projects because I found some cool roving to spin (oh gosh, have I done that yet?).  I’m sitting her and can’t remember if I have done that yet because I went and found some other cool  Noro wool and I spun that and then I decided it would make some great fabric for a jacket so I went and bought a really pretty fun yarn to ply it with and I’ve been spinning the alpaca with the merino wool blend and I went and got my fourth quilt block and got that done and then I had some material for Kidz Quiltz and I made a quilt top and then I started knitting some slippers (why? I ask myself).  This is where it gets hazy if I’m working or playing.  Of course I’m doing all this while I look at the kitchen and say “I really need to get this painted.”

Finally some tulips have bloomed.  I’m still waiting for the iris to start popping up some blooms.  Lots of leaves but not much else yet.  Every year I put a little more out and every year it looks a little better.  The clematis I planted last Fall is really going to town.  I’m looking at the other one and it appears to be dead.  Oh no, wait, what is that little tiny green nub I see.  I think it’s going to have a leaf.  Now, it’s about 4 inches tall and really sprouting up so hurray, both survived.

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Those apple trees out front are hanging by a limb.  Last Fall I decided to really go to town on one of them to see if I could save it.  The main trunk is dead for all practical purposes.  There are some new branches coming out above the root ball to maybe there is some hope.  I cut off a bunch of dead limbs and branches as much as I could with a small hand pruner.  I go to Jax Farm Store and I see a nice tree saw.  I’ve really been needing one so I get it and come home and cut the dead top out of the tree.  Doesn’t look too bad and it’s blooming up a storm now  I might even have some apples (if the freezing weather we had a couple of days ago didn’t freeze them).  Hmmm, there’s another one that I hack up but it’s a little late to see if it will do anything this year.  Dang it, as I dig around near the root ball I notice it’s in a plastic bag.  None of the other plastic bag trees lived.  Oh well, I’ll keep working on it and it will either live or die.  It’s got a few blooms and some nice new branches so maybe it will make it.

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Hey, I actually ordered a tree and some shrubs from the Greeley Conservation District.  I’ve been meaning to for three years now.  I barely put my order in on time but the day comes to go pick them up.  I go over to Karen and Bob’s and we head on over to the building on 392.  I get my Native Plum and 30 Lilacs.  I bring them home and admire them.  They are really good looking lilac bushes.  Really green and healthy.  Now, where shall I plant them?

Ok, it’s time to do some real work.  I get up early and get outside.  I’ve decided to plant a pollinator garden so I decide the plum tree can go over in that direction.  I am going to have my two seater glider there, and I brought up my shepherd’s hook that I hang my chimes and bird feeder and decorative fun art ball thing that looks like it’s spinning up and down which is really just an optical illusion (hmmmm, how much crap can I hang on one hook?), and my bird bath (with the handy dandy solar powered pump that I thought was broken but I figured out it had a battery and I replaced it and it works, yea!!).  Oh, and not to forget the cool iron headboard I found at Uncle Benny’s (see previous blog).  I get the plum tree planted and decide I will use four of the lilacs to provide some protection for the beehive I am setting up.  I head on over to the corral and plant four where I think it will provide a wind block for the bees (and hopefully some afternoon shade).  I get those planted.  Then I hand water them with water from the two rain barrels I put out (see previous blog).  I thought it was never going to rain and fill the barrels but it finally happened.  As always it’s a little bit of beauty surrounded by chaos.  Every little bit will help to get rid of some weeds. OK, tha’s only four out of 30 lilacs.  What the heck, I will just go hog wild and plant a whole row of lilacs along the corral fence.  When I finish I’ve planted 15 of the lilacs along the fence.   Karen gave me a clump of tansy.  I split it into 6 clumps and those are my first plants for my pollinator garden.

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Hurray, it’s bee day.  I go over to Karen and Bob’s and we head off to pick up our bees.  We have to go to Evans to pick them up and our time is at 8:00 am.  It’s snowing today of all days.  No snow most of the year but today when it should be warm and sunny for our ladies it is awful weather.  We drive 40 minutes to go pick them up through the snowstorm and when we get there we find out the bees have been delayed.  They had to stop at Silverthorne due to the snow so they won’t be here until around noon.  Well, what to do other than go to breakfast.  We go to the Sugar House in Eaton and have a great breakfast.  Then we head off to Ft Collins so I can get another candy plug for my queen (I got one and promptly misplaced it).  We were told we could stick a mini marshmallow after uncorking our queen (and then the attendants eat her out of the cage because she’s a new queen and if she gets out to quick they will kill her – bees are totally fascinating) but I went to Copoco’s in Ft Collins and they had some candy plugs that I was told should have come with our bees too.  We head back over and the bees have arrived.  We are worried because we have to keep them in the package overnight instead of releasing them in the hive.  It should be warmer and sunny and tomorrow will be a much better day.  We are going through angst and trying to figure out how to keep them warm enough overnight .  At Copoco’s I tell them of my dilemma and they say, “Oh, easy, just take this cardboard box and put your deep in it and put the bees inside the shed and they will be fine.  Well, they were.

I get up early the next morning and go out and the bees are just fine.  They are swarmed around the queen’s cage trying to protect her or at this point maybe trying to kill her if they could get to her.  Until she releases her pheromones and the bees spread it through the hive she won’t be accepted.  I get my bee suit and head over to Karen and Bob’s.  I want to watch them put theirs in their hive.  I get there just in the nick of time.  They are just about ready to put theirs in.  I watch as they take their queen cage and pull the cork out.  You have to put your finger over the hole quickly otherwise the queen will fly away and that’s a whole other problem.  Karen has her finger over the hole and then the candy plug will be inserted so she can’t escape and the other bees will eventually eat through the candy and release her.  This will give them time to get used to her and accept her.  There is a lot of anxiety making sure the queen doesn’t escape during the process.  No, not yet, she at this end of the cage.  Shake her down and try to get te plug in.  No, wait, she crawled back up.  Ok, finally the queen is at the bottom of the cage and the plug is put in.  Then they pound the pack of bees on the ground and the swarm drops and they pour them in the hive.  Hurray, now on to my house.  I get my pack and we go through the same process.  Whew, what a relief that is finally finished.  They are not supposed to stay in the pack too long and with the weather and the delay and on and on we are all glad the bees are finally in their home.  Bees are so fascinating, I could stand watch them for hours.  Just a few guard bees out in the morning in this picture.  I put it on the north side of the chicken coop to protect it from the north winds and hopefully the bushes will give protection on the south.  I will put up some boards on the fence in the meantime while the bushes are growing.  The blue box is their brood box.  As soon as they fill a few frames with comb I will put on a second box.  Those two boxes will be their winter food and where the queen lays all the new bees.  The white box is a top feeder that I put sugar syrup in to feed the new hive.  They’ll need that for a while until they get going.  IF (a big if) they fill the two top boxes I will put on a honey super and possibly get some honey this year.  I”m not rushing them.  I really do it more for the pollination they provide but the honey is a bonus.  I can’t have chickens so the bees are my livestock.

Well, that’s a little of what I’ve been doing around the homestead the last month.  It’s never ending!!  Now,I have to go out and watch my bees.

 

 

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Nothing says silent auction like an insemination syringe

Well, well, well.  Time to blog.  Such exciting things happening.

Around the homestead this week:

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I get up one morning and take Denise for breakfast for her birthday and we decide to go to the Greeley museum.  They have some cool stuff and then we head down to the research library.  We ask for stuff for our little town and there is a ton of old articles and we have a great time going through them.  Lots of stories and pictures of all the old buildings and stories of the boom town it used to be.  We don’t get nearly through all of them before it’s late and we’re pushing out luck for not getting a parking ticket.  It will be fun to go back and continue reading about this area.

I need to get up early this morning to get ready to go to the yarn fest.  Wait, I don’t need to get up at 4:30.  Why am I waking up so early and why do the cats think I need to get up this early  I say “leave me alone” and stick my head back under the covers.

New little Squeaky is such a boy.  I’ve never had a boy cat.  They are definitely different.  Every time I turn around I am saying, “stop dragging around the stopper from the sink, you are such a boy”; “stop scratching the chair, you are such a boy”; “stop spreading the litter all over, you are such a boy”; “stop pulling the drape ties off the drapes, you are such a boy”; over and over and sweet little Sweet Pea just sits and watches.  She won’t go anywhere without him now though.  They are buds.

Squeaky has outgrown his innocence

 

Well, now it’s 6:00 so I can get up  It’s still dark though.  I peek outside and it’s drizzly rain  I can’t complain because we need it to quench the dry thirsty land.  It’s been too warm, too soon.  Wild fires destroyed a town two hours away.  So sad.  Two homes lost and barns full of farming and ranching equipment and the poor cattle.  Surrounded by fire with no way out had to be shot and land owners losing all.  Hay needed for the cattle who survied because the land is burnt.  Thank you for the rain!!

We head out to the yarn fest and it’s really foggy and cold.  Not supposed to be this cold today and not this soon.  Sheep and yak and alpaca oh my!!  Tons of cool yarn and stuff to look at.  I pick up just a couple of things to spin and weave with and then we stop at a great BBQ place for lunch and then on back home.  It’s time to light a fire.  I haven’t had one in a few weeks it’s been so warm but definitely need it to kill the chill today.

We just went for an adventure to Nebraska to the Brown Sheep Wool Mill and I made a wool rug from the yarn I got there.  Turned out pretty nice I think.

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Next morning it’s still raining and drizzly.  It was supposed to snow, then it wasn’t, then it was.  Turns out it didn’t.  Still really cold.  A good day to stay in.

This week I lugged an entertainment center thing from down below.  It’s my prize cash and carry $20 heavy wood cool old thing I bought years ago.  When I get it up here I can’t get it around the corner of the stairs to get a straight shot up the stairs so I give up and call Denise.  I’m sure it will take like 5 minutes to get it up the stairs.  She doesn’t answer so I think she’s gone to town and that takes all day because of course we are 30 minutes from anywhere.  I decide I can take the bolts off the outside and take the shelves and the outside up the stairs separately.  Wow, this thing is really made well.  These bolts are about 6 inches long at least and how many, Oh, I need to take out 15 of them.  Ok, how hard can that be?  I get out my ratchet set and get to work.  Man, have I ever looked to see if there is a ratchet set that fits my drill?  This is taking longer than I thought.  I finally get the bolts out and then I take my rubber hammer and whack out the shelves that are so nicely fitted into the grooves.  Ok, I am getting tired.  Let’s just get his up the stairs and get it back together.  I get it up the stairs and put the sides back on and then I have to lift the inside shelves and get them back in the grooves.  Wow, they came out a lot easier than they are going back in.  I huff and puff and finally get the shelves pounded back in and I get to work putting the bolts back in.  Three hours later and sweating like a pig I finally finish.  Right as I am almost finished the phone rings and it is Denise.  “Hey, I’ve just been sitting here all day, I don’t know why I didn’t hear the phone ring.”  Well, I have been needing to get that up here for a long time and now it is over  Yea!!

Even though it’s a little dreary out I want to head over to Uncle Benny’s salvage yard.  I hear it’s really cool and they have lots of vintage doors and windows and all sorts of cool stuff.  I want to look for table legs to make a table to put my flat file on so I can maybe use it as a work top.  When I get there I can’t believe what I’m seeing  It’s a couple of acres of nothing but STUFF.  Lots of beetle kill wood, old stained glass vintage windows, tons of old doors.  The first thing I spy is an old half of a bedstead.   There is a lone headboard that looks like it might have been a footboard.  Nice heavy white iron with brass knobs.  I have to take a picture and trudge all the way up to the front to show them because it isn’t priced.  They name a price that sounds good to me so it’s mine.  It will be cool in the garden with a vine growing up it.  That is the new pollinator garden I’m going to put in.  I sit and weave and look out the window so I decide it’s a great place for a garden to watch the birds and the bees (I am getting the hive ready to set up again and have my bees on order and just got all new frame foundations for my hive and now I need to decide where to put it – ok I digress).  I see and old ringer wash and I just have to know how much it is.  I take a picture and trudge up front to see how much it is because I don’t see a tag.  Oh man, that’s cheap.  I find table legs but they don’t do much for me so I don’t want them.  I have to drive my car around the loop to go to where the washer is and they load it up for me.  WooHoo.  I get home and plug it in and the motor actually works.  I haven’t fully checked it out yet but if it does work I can wash blankets with cat pee in it and if it doesn’t work I can use it in the garden and plant flowers in it or something.  It’s totally cool.  Picture to come later.

Recently I drug some stuff from my backyard up here that I will put in my new pollinator garden.  My big shepherd’s hook and my Woodstock chimes and a cool art thingy with a ball that when it spins it looks like the ball is going up and down even thought it isn’t.  My dragonfly bird bath is set out there now and it took me an hour to pound the shepherd’s hook into the ground.  I hope it doesn’t take the wind five minutes to pull it out.  Some birds have already found the bath.

I ordered 30 lilac bushes and a native plum tree from the conservation district.  Every year I say I am going to order and I forget but this year I was on time (well, almost, the last day to order).

I’m sitting here contemplating what’s for dinner and Sandy calls and says there is a Rocky Mtn Oyster dinner in Grover for the FFA.  Hmmm, do they have anything else to go with that?  Yes, chicken (just in case).  I head over to Grover with Jerry and Sandy and Ada and I actually eat a few.  Not as bad as I thought they would be (if you don’t think about what they are).  I had more chicken than oysters but thanks to all the new steers who sacrificed their manhood for our dinner.  In the schools up here they have pictures of all the graduating classes back to when the school first opened.  Ada showed me all of her grandkids, great grandkids and it went back as far as when her husband graduated so I saw a picture of him when he was 18.  Her great grandson graduates this year the 100th year of the school so they are honoring the generations of the family that have gone to school there.  Cool!

Along with the dinner is a silent auction.  Now, I just love things up here the way it is just a different set of values and a different way of life.  Some auction items are:

Kenworth t-shirt and bag; Murdoch’s bag; Welding gloves; Peterbilt pink t-shirt and hat; pliers (nice, I could use some of those big ones); a really nice knife with a bone handle; 2 alfalfa bales; Lead Ropes (no, not metal lead, lead ropes for animals); a jack; fishing rod; welding helmet; 2 rolls of barbed wire; trailer hitch; gopher bait; and last but not least, my favorite – an insemination syringe (I’m sure I could figure out a way to use this in an art project if I think long enough).

Well, the yard hydrant has sprung a leak in the line.  My next big project is to find someone to come out here and dig a hole to China to fix it.  Hopefully it’s not costing me much.  I’m forming my own little spring.  If I step just right I can see where the water is bubbling up.  If it’s not one thing, it’s another.

How much more exciting can it get?  Oh yeah, Connie and Jack’s goats had 6 sets of triplets and their final total I think is 32 kids.

Good thing tomorrow is a day of rest.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Congratulations, it’s a boy!!

I got up this morning to snow.  It’s beautiful out there.  I could do without the extreme cold though.  Tonight it will dip down into single digits and tomorrow night into the minus.  If it’s the usual deal it will be way worse or not as bad as they say.  If the wind doesn’t pick up that will help.  That last wind was trying to blow down my fence.

I went out and looked and some screws have popped loose and I don’t think the poles are in the ground very well.  Who knows, they may have broken off at some time but it doesn’t look like it.  I’ll probably find the poles underground someday.  They are not square, they look like tree trunks that were used for poles.  This should be easy, I’ll remove the screws, move the poles and put the screws back in.  I try to move the fence but the next pole need to be moved first.  I get that moved a little and then go back to the other panel.  I try to move it and then the other one bends back again.  I pull the fence way, way towards me so it’s going towards the ground and then I slide one pole back and then go back and the other moves ok but something is just not quite right (actually I did this four or five times).  I try to go to the other side of the fence but the  gate was blown to the wrong side of the latch (not sure how, maybe when the fence came apart and shifted?).  After going around the whole house two times I finally decide I need to fix the gate because it’s taking me way too long to keep walking back and forth.  I have to unscrew the latch from the fence, kick the gate as hard and as high and I can to get the gate back on the right side.  The bottom hinge was ripped out of the fence post by the wind (and it not being on the right side).  I can’t get one little part of the gate back on the other side so I go get a crow bar type thing yand try to pry it back on the other side.  I get it wedged in and with a few good kicks it finally goes back to the other side (that took me a half hour).  I screw the hinge in that has come loose and put the latch back on so now I can get back to the fence (maybe an hour later after starting this endeavor).  I take a shovel and tromp through the snow ( around my cute little white picket fence so I have to walk all the way around, I can’t just walk over to the spot I need to fix and why don’t I have my boots on?).  I remove all the screws that are screwed into air because they have ripped out and remove the outer boards, remove the screws, put the boards back and do it again on the other pole.  The snow is piled up against the fence from the storm so I shovel it all out so I can move the fence back further and walk all the way back around again (thank God I fixed the gate so I don’t have to walk around the whole house).  After two more times of trying to bend the fence over and move the poles back and walking back and forth to the other side of the fence I finally get them back to where I think they originally were.  Who knows.  It looks somewhat straight and is far back enough now that it doesn’t look like it’s falling down.  I take the 2 X 4’s and another old broken pole I found lying around and prop them up against the fence.  I go find some bricks to try to reinforce the poles so when the wind blows hopefully the will not move again.  Whew, that was a lot more work than I thought it would be and after two more trips around the house and then two more back and forth around the little fence I think I got my workout for the day.  So, that is the kind of wind we had up here.  Here’s hoping it won’t be that windy again until Spring.  I think there were gusts up to 70 mph.

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My wood stove is burning away.  Soon I will be able to turn the gas down because it does a really good job of heating the house.  As long as I don’t let it go out.  I get busy putzing around and then all of a sudden I realize I need to put more wood on it sooner than I did.

It’s going to be a great day to stay in and do some fun things.  I went out yesterday and picked up a few pine cones (the neighbors tree hangs over on my side so there were only a few to pick up).  I’m going to dip them in wax and make fire starters.  Maybe I’ll put a touch of cinnamon oil in them.  It will be a test to see if I can actually smell them or not.

I made suet for the birds yesterday.  I just looked out and there are a bunch sitting on the electrical line up above to hopefully they will find it soon.  They will need it during the next two days. My favorite suet recipe is:

In large pan melt 1 cup lard with 1 cup chunky peanut butter over medium heat.  Add 2 cups quick cooking oats, 2 cups cornmeal and 1 cup flour.  Yesterday I didn’t have any flour so I added a cup of bird seed.  You can get creative with it but the lard and peanut butter is a good base.  Put it in the fridge to help harden it. 

I usually use an old square ziploc container (sandwich size) to put it in the fridge to cool.  I only had one so I used one of those, a 16 oz sour cream container, and I needed something else so I took a large size coffee filter and put it in a bowl.  Today when I put it out I just peeled the filter off and threw it outside on a stump for the smaller birds that are more ground or flat feeders.  I have a wire cage that I hang to put some in and cut the square into chunks so it filled the round cage.

Just looked out and I think they’ve definitely found it.

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Thursday last we took cats in to be fixed.  It’s time to take my new little Squeaky (Meow sounds like a squeaky toy) that came in during the blizzard and minus degrees.  It weighs four pounds now and is almost 5 months old so definitely time to get it in and get the deed done.  I’m sure it’s a girl.  It’s so tiny and we held it up the other day and don’t see anything growing.  Denise has her two barn cats she got a few months ago.  They are females and she was pretty sure way out where they are that no male would find them.  She opened the barn door Wednesday morning and a black cat came streaking out.  It had been trapped in their barn overnight.  So apparently they are not too far away from anywhere for the males to find them so she decided it was time to have them fixed.

It’s about 5:30am.  I’m ready to go and decide I will load up Squeaky in the carrier around 6:00.  We need to get going by 6:30 because it takes 45 minutes to get there and if you get there after 7:30 they may have to reschedule so don’t want to be late.  It’s 5:30 and Squeaky is eating up a storm.  She usually doesn’t eat much in the morning but go figure.  I load her up in the carrier so she’ll stop eating.  Sandy has an appointment for 3 or 4 if she can catch that many.  I have an appointment for three, mine and two of Denise’s.  Denise arrives and she has hers in a large carrier.  We need to transfer them into two smaller carriers because each cat has to have their own carrier or they won’t work on them.  I can see why.  Denise and I are in the kitchen and I tell her we need to stay inside until Sandy comes over so I don’t interrupt her.  My phone rings and Sandy yells, I need you right now.  I have Sylvester (a female but named before it had its first litter) trapped but she won’t come out so I need you to come beat on the house (Sandy found these cool houses she put out to insulate and put the food in bad weather) to try and get her to come out.  I don’t know what the neighbor catty corner across the street thought but we were out there at 5:30 pounding on the roof and sides of it to scare the cat out and there was a little more than some swearing going on.  She finally tried to get out and realized she was running to a trap so ran back in the corner.  I found a big branch for Sandy to try and get her out.  Finally after about 10 minutes we got her in the carrier.  She was not a happy cat.  We loaded her into Denise’s car with her other two and I loaded up Squeaky and we headed off to Sandy’s to put Denise’s two cats in the small carriers.   We got that done and Sandy said she wanted to try for one more cat so Denise and I took off and Sandy would be right behind us.  Whew, we got our cats to the rescue spay and neuter clinic and Sandy called and said she was right behind us with another cat.  Yeah, at least she got two.  It’s not the four she wanted but better than none.

We go to have a cup of coffee at our favorite coffee/bookstore in old town Ft Collins.  Bean Cycle.  It’s owned by a brother and sister and they roast their own beans.  Great little coffee shop.  We stroll around to the kitchen store and then it’s time to move our cars.  Parking in Ft Collins is a pain the ass.  Denise takes off and Sandy and I roam around town all day.  When it’s time the clinic calls and the first thing they say to me is “Congratulations, it’s a boy!!”  We could have sworn Squeaky was a girl.  Just personal preference I like girl cats more than boys.  You don’t have to worry so much about them getting their wangers plugged up with the wrong food etc.   Now if he doesn’t go outside and run away like Brother did to Sandy’s house I’ll have another cat.  Since it’s winter and cold outside he’ll most likely get used to being in here so won’t leave.  I would leave too if someone ripped my nuts off.

I smashed my favorite milk bottle on the tile floor this morning.  I’m upset because it was a cool old milk bottle from Longmont Dairy. It had cows on it.  I like to put my milk in a glass bottle instead of leaving it in the carton.  I’ll have to start trolling some antique stores to see if I can find another half gallon bottle.

Well, that’s all the excitement happening here.

 HAPPY NEW YEAR!!

 

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BRRRR – It’s beginning to feel a lot like Christmas

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For purple mountain majesties above the fruited plain, America, America.  Man was it a gorgeous sunrise today.  I am sorry to say it was one day I didn’t throw my camera in the car when I left.  I’m sorry I didn’t .  Stupid me.   To the west the mountain were a gorgeous purple with pink clouds above and to the east there was a yellow line with pink and purple clouds.  When the sun rose the sky turned this incredible violet color.  It’s ingrained in my brain.  I left before light this morning to go down south to Denver and it was a beautiful drive.  OK, that picture was not taken this morning but it’s the best I can do.

I really need to remember to take my camera with me.  I just never know what I am going to see.   Two weeks ago I came up behind a wagon pulled by horses.  A few days ago I was driving down the road past the windmilll and there was a bald eagle sitting on the top blade of the mill.  Last week I had to stop while a flock of chickens crossed the road.  Now, you know I’m going to say it because I thought it at the time.  “Why do the chickens cross the road?”  They were going away from their home.  Stupid chickens.

I finally gave in and put the heater in the cellar.  It was going to dip into single digits at night and then below zero so I felt bad for the cats so I decided I should do it.  I think the lowest one morning was -21.  There is only on little kitten left from the last litter.  In fact, the last two litters from three of the others have all died when a few weeks old.  I brought the last one inside when it was going to be so cold.  It’s getting awfully comfortable already.  It’s taken over Sweet Peas sleeping spot.  She is Sweet Peas constant shadow.  So far so good.  Her other three siblings all died within a week of each other.  She was so tiny and bony.  She is getting a belly now so I think she is going to make it.  She has grown leaps and bounds within the last week.  She was so tiny and now she is jumping the fence.  It’s a rough world out there.  This is Sweet Peas sister or at least half sister.  Notice she has taken over Sweet Peas bed.  When she looks up with that face………  I’m trying very hard not to become the cat lady.

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I’ve been weaving up a storm.  I got my new loom and I made four rugs for Mom for Christmas plus the placemats and table runner.  Oh darn, I forgot to take pictures of the placemats and the runner.  Here is the loom and one of the rugs.  Sitting in front of that window for so long I decided I am going to put a garden outside the window and put the bird bath and feeders there so I can watch the birds and the garden while I’m weaving.  I really need to get that garage/studio built.

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Hmmm, what other exciting thing have happened?  I was sitting at my computer and got a horrible pain in my foot.  For some reason (even thought it was too cold for them) a wasp got on my foot and stung the heck out of it.  I don’t have many white blood cells and after three days it was really ugly so I had to go on antibiotics.  It’s still not cleared up.  Where it stung me is still sore nad red around it so am supposed to be soaking it more than I am.  It’s been a month since I was stung.  There were too many wasps this year.  Stupid wasps.

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I hung up my Ken and Meg wreath again this year.  It’s so windy up here and Ken figured out how to wire it to the door so it won’t blow away.  So sad, Ken had just retired and passed away last January.  I will treasure the wreath.

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Looking back I did accomplish a lot this year.  Got the living room and bathroom painted.  Put in a pathway, expanded some gardens.  I have been quilting every first Tuesday of the month making coverlets for Kids Quiltz to be distributed to disaster areas.  I have been volunteering at the library.  I’m getting more involved in the community.  Started Spinning and weaving.  I went to Wyoming for another FirstLight Workshop (which I really, really needed).  I got the field and brush mower and trimmer which makes life and mowing easier.  The Barn Cats Ladies Society had 16 cats fixed.  It sure cut down on the amount of kittens born but it seems like there is always more.  I feel like I played more than I worked this year but all work and no play makes Patty grumpy.

Everyone have a Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and a Happy New Year!!

 

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Homestead Report

Well, it’s been awhile since I posted.  I’ve been busy.  Not much DIYing but still busy.

Since I last posted I purchased 144 Turkish Veronica (just the 2.5″ pots).  I put those surrounding the pavers I put in the front from the driveway over to the front walk.  They will have pretty blue flowers when the bloom next year.  Of course if I touch a piece of soil up here a weed pops up out of it.  I’m hoping the ground cover will win over the weeds.  It’s a Stepable so you can walk on it.  In fact, it helps it to grow to walk on it.  We’ll see how it goes when Spring comes.  Although nothing has stopped growing yet.  The weather is still so nice out.  Still in the 70’s during the day and not freezing at night.  I still have roses and hibiscus blooming although just the last couple of nights it’s getting colder so they may not last much longer.  I ordered straight from the http://www.stepables.com website.  Less expensive than going to the nursery.  The plants came and they were beautiful.  Nice and green and healthy.  I was really pleased.  The owner is so nice as well.  If you have any questions she answers e-mail promptly.

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I started spinning yarn and weaving.  Denise gave me her dog’s hair and I put it with a nice white wool/silk blend and the cocker spaniel brown looks great with it.  I have two balls of yarn but still have a lot of dog hair to go.

I think I showed in a prior blog the bathroom rugs I wove.  I made some for the yarn shop holiday show.  I’ve sold three rugs there so far.  I still have three there.  I just got a loom and I’m going to start weaving some denim rugs. Sweet Pea loves the soft chenille rug.  It’s her spot now.

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All this to say I’ve been busy but still haven’t started on the kitchen.  I got the bathroom painted and brought a cabinet from home to put in there.  It was wood and with all the trim in this house painted it didn’t look right so I painted it white.  I like the shabby chic look and the paint didn’t go on smoothly but it looks like I want it to so I got that hung up so basically the bathroom is finished.  You can see the color on the back wall.  When I took the old light fixture down and put up the new one you could see that it had been painted a dark lavender.  I changed it from white to a lavender so interesting that it used to be lavender.

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All I have left is the kitchen and the hallway.  I’ve talked about that crazy plaster that scratches like cement with the deep grooves and wondered who the heck did that and when.  I talked to the lady who used to live in this house and she told me the story of how she plastered the hallway up the stairs.  Well, that mystery is solved about who would plaster a wall that looks like it should be on a ceiling.  She was so proud.  She said she made a scaffold out of a board and a chair and a ladder.   Oh well, house character.

My delay in starting the kitchen is I really want a bigger space for a refrigerator.  I’m going to try and move over some cabinets to make a wider space.  I guess in the meantime I could start sanding the paint off the edges of the counters.  I’m changing it from red to white.  I’ll keep the lavender color but get rid of so much red.

I’ve been volunteering at the little community library here.  Over the weekend we had a craft/antique fair as a fundraiser.  We put on  a dinner.  I made a turkey breast, jello salad, two pies, and two bake sale items.  I was cooking for two days.

Last week I went to Galeton to a Community Harvest Dinner.  I had my money out to pay but it was free.  It was hosted by @ ten churches from the surrounding towns.  There was a free will offering bag on the table so I hope they got lots of donations.  The place was absolutely packed.  I was trying to imagine how many turkeys they had there to feed that many people.  They were not stingy with it either.  They had a a band playing country music.  No singing, just music.  They were really good.  I went with a couple of neighbors from here and met a few other that were going.  It was a nice night, especially because I didn’t have to cook.

I joined the Northern Colorado Bee Association.  I went to a meeting with some of my neighbors that belong.  I brought my hive up a couple of weeks ago.  I still haven’t decided where to put it.  I want it to face east for morning light but get shady by @ 11:00 so they’re not too hot, and somewhere where the northern wind is blocked during the winter.  I don’t have many choices but I still haven’t decided where would be best.  Probably on the south side of the big shed.  I can’t believe the bees are still out but the weather has been so nice and I still have clover and some other odd flowers blooming.  In the Spring I will buy a pack of bees to re-start the hive.

The first Tuesday of every month I have been quilting with some of the ladies up here.  We are making coverlets for kids.  We sew blocks and when we back them we just tie them.  They are for an organization called KidsQuiltz.  They are sent to areas that have had disasters.

I have been consumed since August trying to find health care.  Avaya took medical away from retirees.   It’s horrible to wish I was older but I wish I was 65 so I could do medicare.  I can’t find anything I can afford and the deductibles are ridiculous.  There’s nothing AFFORDABLE about this.  I may have found one through USAA.  I have to find something by December 15th.  If anyone has anywhere I can look please let me know.  I’m looking at all options.

Well, that’s about it.  I haven’t started up the wood stove yet because when it’s in the 70’s I turn the heat off during the day.  I’m sure something will be hitting us soon and I’ll fire it up

 

 

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Thank you weather

Wow. The weather has turned a touch cooler which makes for more tolerance to be outside.  Seems like it’s been a really hot summer.  The nights are getting cooler which helps too.

I’ve been trying to get things done but I start melting as soon as the it gets the least bit hot.  Some days when it doesn’t cool off during the night it’s hot by 7:00 am.  We’ve had a few days over 100 and that’s just too hot for me.  It’s impeded my progress.  So does stepping on a wasp and being on antibiotics because I don’t have immunities and who knows what bacteria a wasp is carrying around.  So does avoiding mosquito time in the morning and evening because there is a lot of west nile virus up here.

The last two mornings I’ve sprung into action before it gets too hot.  I finished painting the chicken coop and built a pathway.

The chicken coop was half painted for the last few months.  It was just too hot after doing garden work and watering to stay out in the sun and work.  It was a nice cloudy morning though and it took me three and a half hours to finish painting but it’s nice to get that task out of the way.  It’s still not a chicken coop, it’s a cat house.  It’s also a drying room for some lavender.  I’ve been hanging flowers and herbs off the shelves so maybe it will become a potting house.  Now to tackle that ugly garden where I pulled out all the grass and planted seed that didn’t come up and the weeds grew in.

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Earlier I mentioned I had gone around the property and gathered some pavers that were just lying all over not doing anything that I can tell.  At the driveway out front over to the front sidewalk there were three stones that had been laid there.  The stones to nowhere.  They didn’t connect with anything or take me anywhere.  I took the stones I gathered up and continued the path over to the front door.  I plan to put some Veronica Turkish Speedwell around the stones and possibly one whole section.  It will have nice purple blooms and you can walk on it  It only gets about 2 inches tall and doesn’t attract bees so would be perfect for the path and a sitting area.  Love the bees but don’t want to walk or sit with them.  The four blue mist spireas I have along the fence do a good job for the bees.  The last two weeks the bushes have been loaded with honey bees and bumblebees and I think some ground bees.  I try to see if they have stingers and I don’t think all of them do so they are community bushes.  There are so many I’m trying to teach Sweet Pea they are not to be chased.  She was trying to swat them all and play with them.  Now that I have the stones in it’s the perfect spot for Sweet Pea to dig and poop.  Ah, nice fresh dirt!!

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Sweet Pea is a sweet cat.  She follows me everywhere now.  She helps me garden and paint or whatever I’m doing.  She’s getting to be a real homebody.  She’s been snoozing inside during the day but today she was trying to fall asleep on top of a pole.  Well, that won’t work very well.  Usually if I’m looking for her I will find her tucked into her little place.  Not the place I would choose to nap but I guess she feels safe there.  I was going to pull the weeds there but I think she likes them there  I’m afraid if I mess with it too much and clean it up she won’t go there and then I won’t know where to find her.  I hate all these weeds but the cats seem to like sleeping in them.  They frown at me when I mow them down.

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School is back in session.  I went to the first girls volleyball match.  It was quite a marathon.  All three teams played full matches.  After this I think they split them up so they all don’t play on the same night.  Football starts this week so it’s nice the evenings are getting cooler.  Before we know it we will be complaining it’s too cold.

I still need to finish the bathroom.  I was trying to get away with not putting another cabinet in there but I just don’t have enough room so will need to put it up.  I brought a cabinet from the old house but I need to paint it white.  As soon as I get that done I will take pictures of it.

I did go to my old home and dig up some iris and day lilies.  I think they are special iris.  They are from Israel.  They were in my Mom’s yard and I brought some to my old house and now I’ve separated them and brought some up to the new house.  I gave some to friends so maybe they will start spreading around this area.  I got all mine planted so hopefully they will take hold and will bloom in the Spring.

That’s all that’s happening in this neck of the woods.  With the cooler weather I’m hoping I can charge into action and get more done.

 

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Escape Artist

Whew, I haven’t posted lately.  Mostly because I haven’t done any significant work on the house for the last month.  I’ve been having lots of fun though.

I went to Wyoming for a photo shoot.  Was good for my soul to get back out and snap a few images.  Was great to see some old friends and make some new too.  Here’s a few images from my trip.  Cowboys and Horses – Yee Haw  We stayed at the Absaroka Ranch in Dubois.  A very beautiful ranch.

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Two of the participants ( a lovely couple from Belgium, Peter and Mirielle (pronounced Miray)) bake cookies.  They have a bakery in Mississippi and bake Belgium cookies.  They brought some and I’m happy to say I have found them since coming home  They are Pirouline.  Rolled wafer cookies filled with chocolate.  They make 14 million a day and they come in a tin and we couldn’t believe they sell them for a dollar.  You can find them dollar stores, Safeway, Costco, and a few others stores.  We asked why they came to Mississippi and it’s because it’s the perfect climate to bake the cookies.  They just wouldn’t be the same if they made them somewhere else.  They have a website and are also on facebook.  https://www.facebook.com/DebeukelaerCookies/?fref=ts

Garden

I got skunked on a lot of the seed I planted.  I don’t think I gave them enough water.  I hand watered every day but I think I should have put the soaker hoses out before I did.  I have them out now and things to be growing better.  I planted about 15 different plants and got about 5 that came up  The clover did well in the garden out front; I got Bells of Ireland; osteospermum; carnations; and two zinnias out of two packs of seed.  Hopefully I can dry some of these for flower arrangements.  I planted a bunch of different perennial seed and all I got was clover and one Black Eye Susan Vine.  It’s been a very hot summer  Hopefully more of the seed will come up in the Spring.  I planted a whole bed of catnip seed and didn’t get one plant.  It has to be the water.

The front bed is doing well.  Tonight I found some really pretty blooms hiding in some tall stuff that is growing.  I’m not sure what it is and it wasn’t there last year and I didn’t plant it this year.  It should bloom soon.  I pulled some of it so you could see the plant that was hiding.  Some sort of asters maybe.  I’ll find out when it blooms.  The rose garden I put out front is doing very well.

Funny – all the seed and plants I bought have died and all the free stuff lives.  It’s good to be free!!  I did buy three cherry bushes (tart cherries on bush instead of trees).  They are doing well.

 

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The other night I let the cat in and later was looking for her and I couldn’t find her.  I opened the door and she was outside.  Hmmm, I’m pretty sure she was in but maybe I let her out and forgot.  In the morning when I got up I couldn’t find her  She was outside again.  Little devil, there was a small slit in the window screen.  Enough for her to push through and make it bigger of course.  I closed the window enough so she couldn’t get out it anymore.  The next night she was in and we went to bed and in the morning she was outside.  What??  I know she didn’t go through the window again because there wasn’t enough room for her to get out.  I checked the upstairs windows and the bedroom window screen was pushed out.  She went out the upstairs window on top  of the roof to the front entrance and jumped off.  Ye gads, that is high.  I took a trip to Poulsen’s and got some new screen, and the stuff to hold the screen in.  Turns out I just had to reroll the rubber around the screen.  No more escapes since then.

I have a new passion.  Spinning and weaving.  I found a book at the library sale before I left there that was about hand spinning yarn.  I’ve always been interested in spinning wheels and looms.  Denise cut her dogs hair and gave it to me.  I’ve wanted to try spinning dog hair.  I needed some carders (kind of like combs to comb the hair) so I looked online and found a place in Ft Collins called Lambspun.  I talked to Denise and she said “Oh, I have been meaning to go there, I have some books that are based on that place.”  She gave me a couple of them.  They are cozy mysteries.  Knitting Club mysteries by Maggie Sefton.  They are really fun.  I read the first two and when we went there the place is exactly like the book describes it.  It is an old farm house that Ft Collins grew up around and it’s a yarn, textile, fabric arts place.  Lot of spinning, weaving, knitting, crocheting, felting and other cool stuff going on.  There is a community table where anyone can come in and sit and do their projects and there are always tea and cookies.  I got a class schedule and decided to take the spinning class.  I then took the weaving class and I’ve made 8 rugs (that took two weeks).  Two are for my newly painted bathroom and the rest I can sell at the shop.  There’s a show in Oct/Nov/Dec where I can have a display.  It was first attempt at weaving but apparently I’m good at it.  She invited me to make some stuff and put it in the show.  Their website is http://www.lambspun.com and they are also on facebook.  Just look for lambspun and you will find it.  Here is a picture of one of the rugs I made for the bathroom.  They are made from  linen and French organic 100% cotton chenille.  Reminds me of the bathroom rugs growing up that our grandparents had.  Really soft on the feet!!

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My friend, Sue Randolph, finished her second book in her Trilogy.  It’s called Visions of Magic.  I went with her to Cripple Creek to see if there were any bookstores that would like to carry the book.  It was fun.  We had a nice lunch, found the bookstore and they agreed to carry some of the books, and we both won a few bucks (she won more than a few $500 and I won a $100).  Both were on penny machines.  I’m too cheap to play anything else.  I’ve finished reading it and it’s really good.  It goes into more depth about what we read in the first book.  This one is not on Amazon but will be available soon at an online bookstore.  You can order the books on her website: www.suerandolph.com and soon from Mira Publishing’s Storefront.   She is on facebook too.   https://www.facebook.com/Magichronicles/?fref=ts

Today I got a new DR Brush and Field mower.  I got the 7.25 mower/trimmer.  Wow, wow, wow.  It really does a great job.  Right tool for the right job.  The mower that I cut a fat hog on died (well, the engine still works but the metal it was attached to broke so when you try to pull the cord the engine pulls out).  It got me through the first year and a half when I had nothing and needed something quick to get the job done.  These weeds really are hard on a regular lawn mower.  Things I love about the DR mower/trimmer:  it is so well balanced I can almost push it with two fingers (I think it weighs 50 to 65 pounds).  It feels so light.  I can swing it around into corners so easy (no pushing and pulling and yanking around a heavy mower); I got the one with an electric starter (the pull cord on the other mower almost killed me – this new one will save by boobs from injury); I can trim and mow at the same time; and it cut the job time in half.  I was thinking about getting a riding mower, or another lawn mower and I thought of all those commercials I’ve seen showing people chopping down waist high weeds.

I had a campground place up by Fairplay and I got rid of it two weeks ago.  I went up and picked up my Mom and we went and cleaned out the trailer.  It was a fun day.  We checked out some old places I haven’t been to in a long time. and had a good time.  I forgot how pretty the valley is around Fairplay.

To top off this month I will be going to a 45th class reunion.  Wow, we must be old.

Ok, I’ve played a lot lately so it’s time to finish painting.  Just the kitchen left but I want to see about moving some cabinets before I dig into it.  Of course there is still the ugly cracked stair hallway I’m leaving for last.  And then I need to patch and paint the outside (especially that place where someone ran a truck into the house and then threw cement on it to fix it – such a neat job)., and then there is STILL that stupid cellar door I’ve been talking about for two years; need to get a new electric box; need to build a garage/studio (or a carport and a studio).  I’m sure the list will never end.  Oh yeah, keep purging the old house and moving stuff……..

 

 

 

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