Friday, December 31, 2010

Come for a Boxing Day walk with us!

We had quite a nice snowfall on Christmas day and throughout the night. As usually happens after snow, high winds were due to come in, so we decided to head out for a walk while the landscape still had that pristine, magical calm over it.
                                                     We went out of the gate...

                                                and down the road...

around the mountain past the "house" next door.

Cheyenne, you said you always dreamed of living in this area, well, here's your starter kit honey! You would be welcomed by a colony of about 12 cats, a family of racoons, a stray dog and sometimes a bear!
The illustrator's house.
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the old church. I mean to write to the current owners of this building and see if they would like to sell it. They live out of state and never come here as far as we can tell. I'd like to clean it up and rent it out as a knitter's retreat or place for local quilters to meet and sew! Just hate to see it standing forlorn and forgotten.

              The creek and another abandoned home.

interesting rock formations...

The creek winds its way from one side of the road to the other. Not too long ago these little low-water bridges didn't exist and the road went right through the creek. Even now when the water is high it covers the bridges and sometimes washes them out altogether.

long stretches of nothingness.

all the way to the very end ...

 where our dirt road meets the hard-topped road. Here, our creek meets a larger creek and continues its journey to the river and the ocean a few hundred miles away.

The main road up the mountain...
The long winding road down the mountain.

Looking back to the rickety bridge at the entrance of our road.  I always hold my breath when driving over it!

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Heading home.

Abandoned farmhouse.
The creek and the church.
And we got back just as the wind started to pick up!

Time for hot soup and a cup of tea.

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Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas!

Sending you all warm Christmas greetings. Thank you so much for reading my ramblings and leaving comments. I really appreciate it.

Love, Polly
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Wednesday, December 22, 2010

It's beginning to look...

... a little bit like Christmas!

After working in a nursing home where my dept. was responsible for decorating all three floors for every holiday on the calendar, I swore I never wanted to decorate again!

Up until 2006, Ken was usually deployed to some foreign land at Christmas, so I managed to get away with not doing much at all. The last few years, he's been the one putting up the tree etc. This year, I'm feeling so good I actually want to decorate a little. But not the usual gaudy mess!

Thanks to Alicia, at Posie Gets Cozy , I got the idea to make these little Swedish style hanging wreaths for the windows.  We have a row of Leyland Cyprus trees growing along the fence line by the road and their branches turned out to be ideal! I Love simple and natural! 
That little tree on the coffee table was a  three dollar Christmas Eve clearance item at Walmart. It was the  year that Ken was in Saudi Arabia, and my MIL, on the phone, was appalled  that I hadn't "put up a tree for Joshua". I felt really guilty, and  hauled Josh off to the store to see what could be had. Wow, now I know why guys like to shop on Christmas eve! We got the tree and a beat up box of  tiny broken wooden ornaments for five bucks. Joshua thought it was the greatest thing, finding all the little wooden parts and gluing them back together.  
Poor kid. I was a baaad mama! 
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Sunday, December 19, 2010

Cat TV

Not much blogging getting done lately owing to frantic knitting. I'm trying to get a sweater finished for Ken in time for Christmas. He knows about it, but since we are having a very spartan Christmas this year, I thought it would be nice for him to have something to unwrap.

We really don't go all out for the holidays as we tend to buy things we want or need throuout the year. In fact we've accumulated so much "stuff" over the years, I need to be getting rid of things, not bringing in more! Ken already got what he wanted, one of those tripods with a pully for hanging deer or pigs etc. for butchering. I bought all that yarn a couple of weeks ago and paid the bill for the kidney stone surgery. A pain free Christmas and a pile of knitting is all I want. That leaves Joshua. He just wants a scope for his rifle. He's also been hankering to learn blacksmithing, so I'm going to enrol him in a course locally. Our nearest town, about 20 miles away has a population of only 450 people, but it's a very unique place, full of artist, artisans and musicians and an arts center offering courses in a wide variety of skills. I imagin next year he'll be wanting an anvil and all the blacksmithing tools!

Below are a few pictures taken over the weekend...

Dexter discovers "talking cat" videos on youtube!

It's Sunday, so here are this weeks  'through the kitchen window ' pics.

This is Ken cutting kindling for the stove. Kin'lin' as he calls it. Still a couple of inches of snow on the ground. The storm last week wasn't as bad as we'd expected. The power stayed on, though it doesn't affect us much when it goes out. We just light the oil lamps and transfer the milk and other perishables from the fridge to a cooler outside on the porch. If it's out for more than a couple of days Ken fires up the generator for an hour or two to keep the freezers cold. We kind of enjoy going back to 19th century living once in a while.
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Thursday, December 16, 2010

Winter Pictures

Below are few pictures from around the farm this last weekend when it warmed up a bit outside. Before we degenerated back into arctic conditions.

I haven't been blogging much beacause we've been experiencing such fierce winter weather this week. The day's have been a blur of slogging back and forth with feed and water for animals and keeping the woodstove going, - with a bit of knitting in between. The winds were so high it sounded  as if  there were jets sitting on a runway outside the back door!  The house was shuddering! I slept in the recliner by the stove so that I could keep it going all night. It will hold a fire all night with no problem, but when the winds are so high and variable, if there isn't a good blaze in the fire box  it will suddenly belch smoke right out of the blue. I think it's when the wind swings from the North. The lights kept flickering and we eventually lost  power on Monday afternoon from about 4 until midnight. Just a short outage by our standards. When it goes out, it's usually out for a good few days. Our neighbors across the road lost their water and called for help around midnight. So Ken had to go over and work on the pump in their spring house. Thankfully, he was able to get it going for them.  

Right now we are hunkering down for a snow storm which may be mixed with freezing rain, so there's a good chance we will lose electricity again if ice accumulates on the power lines, or trees fall on them. Never a dull moment here in the winter.

                            Looking back toward the house while taking a walk along the creek
                                                             The pigeons at feeding time.

                                                           Crystal Palace eating her hay.

Through the livingroom window, the sun coming around the mountain at three in the afternoon. Lady bugs on the window frame! (They're now in the vacuum cleaner :)

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Monday, December 13, 2010

One horse and another

I took this shot today. Shady up on the hill eating her hay with her reflected image in the icy pond.

We've had a little break in the weather with two days above freezing but now it's 20F, breezy and snowing again. More high winds and very low temperatures for the week ahead. Yuk! I really don't like wind: it makes working outside very miserable. Nice to listen to while tucked up in bed or sitting by the woodstove though.

I spent the weekend working on the cardigan I started last week, and managed to get it finished a few minutes ago. It's the first (adult sized) cardi I've ever made, due a fear of collars and button bands. Once I got down to it, picking up the stitches for them both was really easy. All those years of avoiding cardigans, now I want to knit a whole closet full! Tomorrow I'm going to cast on stitches for Ken's cardi. It's kind of like a smoking jacket, with a shawl collar. I'll post pics tomorrow because it's really late now and I can't keep my eyes open any longer.

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Thursday, December 09, 2010

Presto Chango Knitted Baby Sweater

Thought I'd post a picture of this little baby outfit I knitted a few months ago. I still have it because the baby it was intended for, grew faster than the knitting! Had to make another one two sizes larger for him to grow into. So now this is earmarked for another little one that's not yet born.

The hat is just something simple I made up as I went along, but the sweater pattern is called Presto Chango and you can download it for free here:  ( I think I added extra moss stitch on the front for some reason,- probably to make up for a mistake :) It's a nice easy knit with quite a lot of room for improvisation.

The yarn is Knit Picks Wool of the Andes but I can't remember the name of it. It's no longer in their catalog. I think it was Mocha Twist.

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Sunday, December 05, 2010

We have snow!

                                            The view from the kitchen window last Sunday

                                       Here's the view from the kitchen window this afternoon.

The wood stove and my knitting.  And a BIG pot of soup. Guys get hungry when they're hunting!

I lost my blogging inspiration for a week or so and now it's hard to get back to it.

Last week was Thanksgiving. One of Ken's brothers came up to stay with us from North Carolina. He always comes up here at this time of the year to go hunting. We had a nice weekend but there wasn't a deer in sight. T. sat up on the mountin for five hours and didn't see any. They are usually wandering around in the yard, at least in the early morning and evenings, but this year apparantly, there's a huge crop of acorns and other goodies that deer love to eat, so they are staying deep in the woods.

As you can see winter has finally arrived. It snowed lightly all day yesterday and now we have a lot of wind. Ken and Josh had to rig up a better house for the goats. Yes, it consists of the usual blue tarps that I'm so desperate to get rid of, but at least the goats are cozy and protected from the howling winds. The man was supposed to have been and fenced the mountain side by now, and I thought the goats would be out of the temporary pen and up on  the mountain by the end of October. We remembered that fence man wasn't feeling well when we last talked to him so we are getting worried that he is still not doing so good. Will have to call and find out.

So, while the weather outside is awful, once the farm chores are done, we're staying inside, cozy and warm by the wood stove. I finished knitting a sweater for Joshua. Just a plain one for working outside in. There's nothing like pure wool for warmth. Now I'm working on a cardigan for me. Yarn was on sale at the store in town so I kind of got carried away and bought enough for sweaters for all of us. Since the doctors and dentist appointments are all done with, we probably wont go to the big town again for a few months.

I'll try to blog more this coming week.



Tuesday, November 23, 2010

A beautiful Morning!

Woo hoo! The kidney stone is gone! Poof! hasta la vista, baby!

And 4 days after the surgery, I've finally woke up! Thank goodness for darling men folk who are capable of taking care of themselves, the house and the farm, as well as the zombie wife/mom. Flat out on the couch I was vaguely aware of dishes being washed, a hot water bottle under my feet, "sit up and take your pill", the smell of pine sol, Ken mopping the bathroom floor and singing, the washing machine running, the chimney being swept, wood being chopped, Joshua bringing the dog in and out and relaying a list of all the chores that were done, and what he was going to do next, cups of tea, hot soup, bacon sandwiches and chocolate truffles! "You're spoiled, girl! you're spoiled rotten!"

But, today, I woke up early and felt so good, I went outside for a wander around with the camera. Ken was at work and Josh was still asleep. The sun was just coming up over the ridge and casting long beams down into our hollow. It was beautiful. We're having amazingly warm weather for late November. Almost 70 F this afternoon! I didn't feel up to crawling around on the floor to finish up the painting so just messed around with a llama fleece that the farrier gave me. I went on line and learned how to wash it, pick it and card it ready for spinning. Hoping to have enough spun to knit up a scarf or something for her in time for Christmas.

Anyway, here are the pictures from this morning.

Looking down the valley and our dirt road. The neighbor's house is visible now that the leaves are gone.

The horses waiting for the sun to move around the mountain a bit. The pond was like glass. Frost still on the back pasture.

The old woods road. This was actually a state road a hundred years ago! It comes right under our front window, through the barn yard, across the creek and follows the creek up around the mountain past a 30 ft waterfall, and on up through another farm to the road on the other side of the ridge. This was a very busy place back then. People used to come down here to trade for goods at the old general store and to bring their corn to be ground at the water powered grist mill that used to be in our front pasture.

Goats enjoying the sun.

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Monday, November 15, 2010

Pride comes before a -wall- fall

Thank you Cheyenne and Judy for the kind comments on my wall. I was feeling pretty smug about it. Alas, a major malfunction this morning. When I tentatively kicked a stone that looked a bit "off", it promptly fell out! Leaving a big hole. Of course it had to be one of the lower level ones too. I hadn't set it with it's length into the wall, and it was kind of wedge shaped, so the weight of the other rocks above it squeezed it out. I'll have to do some dismantling and build it back up again if possible. Oh well, back to the drawing board.

One of those days today. It was raining, so, since Ken had chopped a bunch of wood and kindling for me I decided to fire up the wood cook stove and put a roast in the oven. It wasn't a very cold day, but I thought I'd just keep a small fire in there and cook it slow all afternoon. Boy, locust wood puts out a lot of heat! I managed to keep the oven at about 300 F but Josh and I were sweltering. We had all the windows open. The kitten thought he was on the Costa del Sol. Instead of tearing up the couch cushions and curtains he spent the whole day spread out on the rug, stretching and rolling around on his back with his little paws in the air, blinking and yawning. The beef came out tough as old boots. Ken thought it was great and had two helpings but I couldn't eat it. Joshua cooked himself a store bought pizza.

We're going to have a slew of doctor bills this month.

Ken had to go to the doctor this evening after being bitten by a tick. It left a really nasty bite mark and he felt tired and weak along with a sore throat. No bull's eye rash, but the doctor put him on 15 days of antibiotics just in case of Lyme Desease. Sure hope he doesn't have that. Considering we live in the woods, we really don't see very many ticks.

Joshua's also on antibiotics for an ear abscess, that suddenly came up, and I will be going in the hospital on Thursday to get a kidney stone zapped!

Maybe we'll all be in fine fettle for Christmas.

We treated the cats for fleas tonight. The drops are supposed to go between the  shoulder blades, but Dexter was squirming so much that some of the medicine got on his fur where he could lick it.  Yikes! That's not good. We had to come up with a way to prevent his licking at it.  Here he is in his little catsuit. The leg off a pair of old stirrup leggings ( you can see the stirrup at the back of his neck.) I cut little arm holes in the under side. I'll cut that stirrup off before we go to bed so there's no chance of him getting hung up on something during the night.

He's coping with this undignified contraption amazingly well, for a cat.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

My first drystone wall

Well, I finally started my first, free-standing, drystone wall. It's just about 8 feet long and will be about 4 or 4 1/2 feet high. The horses tend to stand over by the side of the barn when the weather is bad so I thought a wall here would make a good windbreak , and it would be an ideal practice wall. Nothing too challenging to begin with. It wouldn't win any prizes but I'm quite happy with the way it's coming together. It's very time consuming as I have to go hunting for the rocks and bring them 4 or 5 at a time in the wheelbarrow, plus all the rubble for the center "heartings".

When not working on the wall, I've been finishing up the floor painting and getting the doors back on the cabinets. Will take pictures when the kitchen is cleaned up a bit. I also started knitting a sweater for Joshua, and that's what I'm going to get back to right now!

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