About Pattiisknittinginflashes

Trying to get my life in order between the hot flashes

Greenish thumb

Last year we planted tomatoes in our front flower beds.  The front of our house gets more sun than the back and I wanted to grow some tomatoes.

And keep them close enough to the house that the deer wouldn’t get them.

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But a chipmunk decided to make himself at home and steal the tomatoes.

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By that time the plants were too large to do much of anything so we reluctantly shared.

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This year I decided to be a bit more proactive and make the plants less accessible.

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Half-inch hardware cloth (it is not soft like cloth) rolled into 18-inch high circles/columns.  I secured the circles/columns with wire and put some duct tape around the tops to keep from getting scratched when I had to pull weeds, pick ripe tomatoes, etc.

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I wedged the tomato tag from the seedlings in the back between the overlapping screening.

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Red Beefsteak

So far so good.

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L to R: Red pepper, German Queen, Red pepper

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L to R: Roma, Cherry, Better Boy, Red Beefsteak

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Roma

 

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Roma

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Husky Cherry Red

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Husky Cherry Red

 

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German Queen

I followed Martha Stewart’s suggestion for tying up the floppy plants using old panty hose.

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Better Boy

I even tried a couple of red pepper plants.

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Red pepper

From the top clockwise: Beefsteak, Beefsteak, German Queen, German Queen, Better Boy

From the top clockwise: Beefsteak, Beefsteak, German Queen, German Queen, Better Boy

Question:  Why do some tomatoes split or get those lines in them as in the beef steak above?

Those German Queen tomatoes are huge!  They aren’t the prettiest but measure at about 6 inches across the widest part.  Very meaty and makes a great tomato sandwich.  I had not heard of them before but decided to try one plant this year.  It’s an heirloom tomato so I will save some seeds and try to start my plants from seed next year.  Looking forward to eating more fresh veggies soon!

Bacardi Cardi

I knew I wanted to knit this sweater the very first time I laid eyes on it.  In 2007.

(c) Barbara Gregory

(c) Barbara Gregory

This sweater was the reason I bought the book: No Sheep for You by Amy Singer.

No Sheep for You

I loved everything about it.  Colors.  Style.  Over-all look.  And the name: Bacardi Cardigan

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The original yarn was not available anymore when I decided it was time for me to knit.  So I had to find a substitute.

I checked out the various projects on Ravelry to see what yarn other knitters used and narrowed it down to one.

With six different colors of yarn required I knew I had to be budget conscious.  My LYS was having a 20% off sale store-wide.  Yes!  They carried the Cascade Ultra Pima that I wanted to use.  I’ve knit with this yarn before and it is divine.

But my plan quickly vanished when they had only one of the six colors I needed.

Yes, the LYS could order the colors I wanted but the policy in the past was that I would have to buy all 12 skeins/hanks/balls per color as they did not want to be stuck with weird colors.   It’s a small store and while I understand that policy, (in my opinion) it’s a dumb one.  The owner was not available to question the policy so I decided to search throughout the store hoping I could find yet another substitute.  I found many yarns that I could use.  Not in the right colors for me.  Or way out of my price range.

Back to the drawing board.

Wait.  Someone used Drops Muskat.  After some quick (or not so quick) math, I figured out what  amounts I would need and the colors.  And it all came in under budget!  I wasn’t sure about two of the colors so I bought enough of each to make that decision when I saw them together with the rest of the colors.

I’ve never ordered yarn on-line before as I like to use all my senses, well, maybe not taste, when I buy yarn.  It was a giant step for me to go ahead with it.

The yarn was shipped on a Thursday and arrived the following Monday!  Fast, fast, fast turnaround.

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I love the feel, smell, sight, and sound of the yarn.

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I love the colors though if I had seen them in person, I might have chosen a lighter yellow.

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What I bought will work for sure.

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From the top and going clockwise: Warm Yellow #51, Light Olive #45, Apple Green #53, Light Beighe #61, Yellow #30, Dark Olive #44, and Khaki Green #77.  I can’t decide on whether to use the light olive…

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…or the bluer khaki green.  Color in the photo is off.

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Khaki green

Either one will look great.  The warm olive will play off the other warm colors.  The cooler khaki green will add another dimension.

What’s your opinion?

I have other knitting to do before I can get started on this.  In the meantime I might just go ahead with some mindless knitting swatch knitting so when I am ready to go, that part will already be done.

I can’t wait to get started!

 

 

Pieces of eight

Knitting.  Not gold.

Though part of it is gold.

The twins each wanted a knitted animal like the one I made for their little brother last April.  The bunny is still shirtless.

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I got sidetracked with getting the house ready for our anniversary party and other projects had to be done first.  Like the new cushion covers for the new front porch furniture.

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And replacing some screens.

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I had all my knitting projects put away so “outta sight, outta mind” happened.

Over the weekend I decided I should get started knitting again.  The first bunny still needs a sweater but I got the other pieces knitted for a bunny and a fox.  I am using the Little Cotton Rabbits pattern for the bunny and the fox.  So cute!!  A bit fiddly but the cuteness factor outweighs it!

What do you think?  Pieces of eight: one head, one body, two ears, two arms, and two legs.  And a tail.  Ok, so pieces of nine.

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White bunny with pink and white striped tights and pink shoes.

Fox

A golden fox with white socks and pink shoes.

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Yeah, I think I have a tiny bit more work to do before they are ready to be gifted.

 

Garage sale?

I saw this on my way home from work the other day.

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A garage riding down the highway.

Was it new?

Or was it looking for the vehicle that used to be inside it?

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I couldn’t see what was towing it.

It ended up being a pick-up truck.  Must have been a pretty powerful engine to get up the mountains around here.

40 Fabulous Years

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Last month Mr. Aitch and I celebrated our 40th wedding anniversary.

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40 Fabulous Years!

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We had a party at our house with lots of delicious food and drink.

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My very talented sister made these beautiful cupcakes.  I made fans in case anyone got too warm.

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Of course we also had cake.

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And I got the piece with my name on it.

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Cheers to 40 more!

Final tidbits

For your information I was not too enamored with history while I was in school until I had two wonderful professors in college.

Dr. Collins taught Art History at WVU in the early-mid 1970s and I was fortunate to have him as one of my instructors.  Our class was in an interior room of the Creative Arts Center which was cool and dark, just perfect for showing slides of art works.  Along with the cool, darkness, Dr. Collins’ soothing voice allowed some students to think that was the perfect opportunity for a mid-afternoon nap.  But not me.  Instead of just mentioning the painter or sculptor and the name of the art work, he also included some tidbit of information about the artist, obvious as well as not so obvious details about the work, the political and religious atmosphere of the times, and the reactions of the world to each piece.  His dry sense of humor was evident and he interjected his commentary with it daily.  I learned so much about the history of the era we were studying and not just about ART history.

The other professor, whose name I do not remember, was just as fascinating.  Ancient History was dull and boring, or so I thought.  He brought it to life by talking about the everyday people of the time, the culture, the wars, the food, the floods, and how it all related not only to that time but how it related to the present.

Neither class was dull or boring.  It wasn’t solely focused on specific generals, dates, places, and battles.  History was real and about real, everyday people.

I don’t even know if the schools teach real history any more.  And that’s too bad.

 

 

“Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”  George Santayana

Our last day – the Jennie Wade Museum

Our last day in Gettysburg was shorter than expected as we wanted to avoid the thunderstorms and rain as much as possible on our way home.  We did have our rain suits but they are hot.  And on a hot, muggy day the thought of wearing something waterproof makes one even hotter.

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After our delayed breakfast, we packed the Harley, checked out of the hotel, and headed into town to visit the Jennie Wade House Museum.  The Battle of Gettysburg took place in fields, on farms, and in the town.  The fact that  Jennie Wade was the only civilian killed during the three-day battle of  is amazing.

Mary Virginia Wade, “Jennie”, was a 20-year old girl living in Gettysburg with her mother, younger brother and another young boy.  Jennie’s sister Georgia had just given birth and Mrs. Wade was helping her with the infant in Georgia’s house on the south side of town.  When the fighting broke out, Jennie took her brother and the other boy to Georgia’s house as she thought they would be safer there than in the heart of town.

Jennie had been taking bread and water to the Union soldiers near Georgia’s house during the first two days of the battle and she realized that they were running low on bread.  She and her mother were in Georgia’s kitchen getting ready to bake the morning of the third and final day of the battle.  Jennie’s back was to the north facing door and she opened an interior door to shield herself even more.

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Mrs. Wade was in the kitchen with Jennie tending the fire.

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Georgia was in the living room, which had been converted to a bedroom for the birth, along with her five-day-old baby, younger brother and other boy.

During the battle at least 150 bullets hit the house, some going through windows, some still lodged in the bricks, interior walls, the fireplace mantel (see the bullet hole on the left side of the fireplace surround) and the bedpost.

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One went through the north facing exterior door…

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…and interior door that shielded Jennie.  You can see where she would have been standing behind the door at the dough box on the far left side above.

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And right into Jennie Wade as she was mixing dough in the dough box.

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The one ounce lead bullet pierced her back and heart and was found in her corset.   She died instantly.

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A 10-pound artillery shell went through the roof, a double brick wall separating the house (Catharine McClain and family lived in the other side) and lodged in the overhang on the south side of the house.  Fortunately the shell did not explode.

Upon hearing the cries inside the house from Georgia and her mother, Union soldiers came into the house and tried to move the family to the cellar.  The only entrance into their side cellar was outside on the north side of the house in full view of the Confederate army.

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Tour guide Bob

Tour guide Bob

The Union soldiers opened the brick wall that had been damaged by the 10-pound artillery shell on the second floor, moved the family, including Jennie’s body, through the McClain half of the house, and down to the cellar on the north side of the house.

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This artist’s rendering was done after the cellar floor was lowered and does not show Mrs. Wade nor the McClain family.

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Here you can see where the original floor was and the newer lowered, bricked floor.  There were no windows in the cellar so it was very dark and crowded.

Jennie was buried the next day and later moved two more times.  Her final resting place is in Evergreen Cemetery.

I’ve only touched on a small part of this story.  Listening to our guide and seeing the house and original furnishings was astounding.  It is remarkable that the house and some of the pieces of furniture are so well preserved.

You can find more information here, here, and here.

So many of us have not had to witness fighting, battles, war and are immune to the sufferings of those who have.  I, for one, cannot not imagine, nor do I want to experience any of what these courageous people saw and lived through.

I hope you enjoyed this little history lesson as it is so different from my usual posts.  There were so many other things and places we wanted to see but on such a short trip with such short notice (and hundreds of motorcycles), we saw a lot.  Gettysburg isn’t that far from us so we can go back again and plan our trip in more detail.

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These wooden fences line the roads in and around Gettysburg.  Just like in 1863.

Off topic

Mr. Aitch and I needed some sustenance while on our spontaneous weekend get-away to Gettysburg two weekends ago.  The complementary breakfast at the hotel was good.

Coffee, tea, milk, apple and orange juice.  Bread, bagels, muffins, Danish.  Butter, jams, peanut butter, honey.  Three kinds of cereal.  One flavor of yogurt – strawberry banana. Fresh apples and oranges.  “Scrambled” (aka powdered) or hard-boiled eggs.  Sausage patties and links.  And not one but two waffle makers with regular or blueberry waffle mix.

My only complaint about the waffle makers was that some parents allowed their children to operate them.  And in doing so tied them up for more time than necessary because the  children could not follow the directions.  Of course, some of the adults had a hard time following the directions, too.

Fill.  Close.  Turn.  The timer is activated when turned.

The waffle is done when the timer goes off.  Don’t keep opening it up.

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Sunday morning breakfast wasn’t as crowded as we thought it would be  as most of the bikers were still in bed after the BIG doings the night before so Mr. Aitch and I could each have waffles without having to wait.  Monday morning was a different story.

The kids were too short to fill, close, and turn the waffle makers.  But they tried.  And their parents allowed them to try.  There is a reason why the sign says you must be 16 years of to operate it.

Waffle rant over.

I opted for “scrambles” eggs,  sausage links, a Danish and some tea.  Mr. Aitch wanted a waffle so since I had a clear view of the waffle makers, I alerted him when one was free.  Waffles = happiness.

For dinner Sunday evening we decided to go to the Appalachian Brewing Company.  They carry their handcrafted beers and sodas.  Beer it was.  Our waiter was great and since we had not been to an ABC before, he asked what kinds of beer we usually drank and suggested an ABC beer that each of us would probably enjoy.  Mr. Aitch had a Maibock and I had a Hefe Weizen.  Both were very good.

The “Epic” Trail Burgers were hard to pass up.  Mr. Aitch had the Boo-Boo Burger with a side of sea salt fries.

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Boo-Boo Burger is topped with caramelized onions, white cheddar cheese, BBQ pulled pork and cole slaw on a toasted brioche bum.

I had the Sasquatch with a side of ABC’s seasoned homemade Brewhaus chips.

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Sasquatch Burger topped with brown sugar caramelized applewood smoked bacon, caramelized onions, apple slices, and Provolone (my choice) cheese also served on a toasted brioche bun.

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Zeppole for dessert: Deep-fried dough sprinkled with confectioner’s sugar and drizzled with raspberry vanilla sauce.  Yum!

Perfect ending for such a sobering day.

 

Gettysburg – Day 2

Bike Week was winding down and Mr. Aitch and I decided to go to the Gettysburg National Military Park Museum and Visitor Center just a short ride from our hotel.

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We watched a short movie about the Civil War then went up some stairs to view a cyclorama painted in the 1880’s by the French painter Paul Philippoteaux depicting the third and final day of the battle known as Pickett’s Charge.

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This painting is 377 feet around and 42 feet high and is displayed with a 3-D diorama in the foreground full of artifacts from the battle.

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At times it was hard to see where the painting ended and the “real” began.

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If interested, you can learn more about the painting and restoration here.

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I was very impressed with this cyclorama although some reviewers were not.  Two other cycloramas still exist and are free to the public.  This one was not free and we couldn’t really linger to examine or take it all in.  Perhaps Mr. Aitch and I need to take another road trip and see the other two paintings.

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Since it was already a hot, muggy day, we decided the bus tour would be best for us as we don’t have a CD player on our Harley for the self-guided tour and preferred to be in the comfort of an air-conditioned bus with a real guide who would entertain questions along the way.

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This house was a finishing school for young women that was quickly turned into a hospital once the battle began.  There is still an artillery shell stuck in the bricks in the upper part of the house.

IMG_1708-sundaydevils-denI was very intrigued with the section known as Devil’s Den.

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And one confederate sharpshooter shown in the lower right photograph on this marker.

We have many prints in our office by the artist, James C. Groves, who currently resides in Western Maryland.  One of the prints is called “The Desecration of the Shrine“.  Mr. Groves wrote an interesting article about the sharpshooters and Devil’s Den.

Mr. Aitch and I toured the museum after the bus tour and spent more than six hours at the facility.  The museum spanned the entire Civil War not just the battle of Gettysburg.  It was a long day and we did not see everything.

As a child I did not appreciate(?) the horrors of the Civil War or understand the magnitude of it all.  As an adult I cannot imagine the loud, smoky, fearfully terrible chaos for the townspeople for this three-day battle and aftermath during the five-year course of this war.

A very sobering day for me.

 

The art of being spontaneous

I like plans.  I like to know what’s going on.  Being spontaneous is something I have to plan.

I work an eight-hour day Monday through Friday but in the summer I work four ten-hour days and have Mondays off.  Those three-day weekends are great!

Mr. Aitch is semi-retired.  He plays in one community band in the summer and a different one during the school year.  He also has a part-time job and works two days a week.  Plus he is the choir director at his church.  For him to have a weekend off is rare.  Very rare.

Two weekends ago Mr. Aitch had a three-day weekend that coincided with mine.  We didn’t have a lot of time to plan a get-away so we thought about some places we wanted to go that weren’t too far from home and that we could manage in three days.  On the Harley.

I spent several hours on the Friday planning our trip only to discover at 11:00 Friday night that the one thing we wanted to do and see was sold out.  No tickets were available for two weeks.  Bummer.

“How about Gettysburg?”  I hadn’t been to Gettysburg since I was a kid and though we toured the battlefields in the car, we didn’t  have a tour guide to point out interesting details but I wanted to go back and learn more about it as an adult.

In fifteen minutes we had a plan and room reservations for Saturday and Sunday nights.

Saturday morning we packed the Harley for the extended weekend and took off.

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Cheese, crackers, and of course, a bottle of wine.

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Gettysburg is only two hours from our house so it was a short enough ride that we could still do some things on Saturday.  It was a beautiful day.

As we approached Gettysburg we saw more and more motorcycles.  Groups of motorcycles.

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The restaurant parking lot next to our hotel was packed with motorcycles.

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Biker bar?

Our room wasn’t ready so we asked where we could get a bite to eat.  The receptionist suggested the restaurant next door.  Mr. Aitch said that it looked a bit crowded and a little rough. She looked at us a bit strange and said there were more places in town.  I don’t know if you are familiar with Gettysburg but it is a small town.  Hundreds of motorcycles were everywhere.

While we waited for our food, I decided to find out what was going on.

Bike Week in Gettysburg.

In my fifteen minutes of spontaneity in planning our weekend I did not stumble upon it being Bike Week in Gettysburg.

No wonder the receptionist thought we were a bit nuts when we looked for a quieter place to eat.  We did explain later that we were unaware that it was Bike Week when we booked our room.

Most of the activities were held at a campground and I can only assume that most of the bikers were camping otherwise we wouldn’t have gotten a room.

We heard lots of stories from the bikers.

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And saw lots of bikes.

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Unusual trikes.

 

Custom paint jobs that cost as much as or more than the bike itself.

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Bikes pulled on custom see-though trailers.

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Saturday was full of eye candy.

Sunday was more sobering as we toured the battlefields.  More about that tomorrow.

 

The uninvited guest

Mr. Aitch and I had an unwlecomed and uninvited guest swoop into our house Wednesday night.

A bird.

A sparrow to be exact.

He (or she) was sitting on my front door decoration when Mr. Aitch went out on the front porch.  As soon as the door opened, the sparrow made a beeline into our house.  The bird flew into the family room and perched atop the entertainment center as Mr. Aitch and I figured out how to remove him/her without causing a major ruckus.

We don’t have a big fishing net like my parents used to remove similar unwelcome and uninvited guests in their house.  The only fishing net we have is for aquariums and it just wasn’t big enough for the job.

While this brief discussion went on, the sparrow flew back and forth between the family room and kitchen taking in the view from atop the refrigerator then the entertainment center.

Our plan was to open the door from the kitchen to the garage (which is right beside the refrigerator), turn on the garage light, open the garage door, and turn out all the lights in the house and hope that the bird would “go to the light”.

And it worked.

The only presents the sparrow left for us were a few feathers.

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I took my fake-nest-and-flowers-in-a-basket decoration off the front door temporarily so we don’t have any more unwelcome and uninvited guests.

Reflections

Eagle-and-American-flag1Happy Independence Day to all my fellow Americans.

Let’s all take a minute or two and reflect on that.

We gained our independence from tyranny. We gained our freedom and our liberty.

Happy Birthday, America.  May you continue to grow and stay free and independent.

 

June update

Between repairing nine window screens, doctor appointments, hospital tests, a visiting grandchild, a flooded basement, work, and life in general, I finished a couple of things. Nothing knitting related but still creative or challenging.

In a previous post I showed you some pictures of our front porch.   I don’t know if you noticed the screen on the bay window. Probably not. Well, it was torn at the bottom. An over zealous power washer was, um, over zealous and several screens were damaged.  We don’t take the screens out of our windows in the winter so twenty year-old fiberglass mesh screens are fragile.

I learned how to replace window screens. YouTube is wonderful. I could pick all the components locals except for the plunger pins that hold the screen into the window frame.  I found a place on-line and ordered enough to replace all of them in our windows should the need arise.  Good thing I did as I ended up having to replace some in our other windows before the job was finished.

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I also decided early on that ivory cushions on an outside sofa was not a good idea. I purchased some fabric on-line and made new cushions.

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I plan on making new pillows as well but thought I’d give you a sneak peek of my progress so far.

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I even did the top stitching like the original cushions.

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They seem a bit bright and busy but anything would after plain ivory, right?

Unofficially it’s here

Memorial Day is the unofficial beginning of summer in the great US of A.

Last month I picked up some new furniture for our front porch from IKEA (yes, I love that store) which needed assembled.  The assembly could not take place until Mr. Aitch power washed the front porch.

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Ta-da!  38 feet of clean emptiness.

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Four hours later, after some semi-easy assembly and 64 hex bolts.  Those babies are time-consuming when hexing space is limited.  I still need to get some flowers of other plants in the window box.

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I love the ottoman/table which is not connected at this time to the rest of the sofa so it’s easily moved.

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I’m planning on making new cushion covers as I don’t see the ivory staying clean even though it’s just Mr. Aitch and me.  The covers are machine washable but I’d rather make new ones “just in case”.

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Plus I can make new seat covers for the swing and rocking chair as well.

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Red and white planters.

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New front door decor.

Kids say the darnedest things

Last week when I was at my daughter’s house, one of the twins asked me a question, “Nona, you’re her mom, right?”  She pointed first to me then to her mom, my daughter.

“Yes, that’s right.  I’m your moms mom.”

“Then you can tell her what to do, right?  Since you are her mom, right?”

“Well, not exactly.”

The other twin said, “Why not?”

“When she was a little girl, I told her what to do but now she’s a grownup and I don’t tell her what to do anymore.  I still offer her suggestions but she doesn’t have to listen to me.”

“Oh.”

We never found out where this was going or if they wanted me  to make their mom listen to me.  We did get a chuckle out of it though.

Happy Mother’s Day!