A View From the Field








March, 2009

March 31

Gee, March is history. I just don't know where the time goes.


I also don't remember what I was doing last night, except that I didn't turn out the light until 1:00. Not what I intended, but I don't remember why...it was an interesting day.


I didn't sleep very well. I kept waking up all hot and having to walk. I do think it was warm in the house, but I don't know why else I might not have been able to sleep. I got up around 10:00 and did the usual morning stuff. The sweater is coming along well. Somehow it seems to go faster when I do it in 7" squares.


I did a little on the surprise jacket, and I have not entirely decided whether to keep working on it. The yarn is white, pale blue, and pale pink, and it seems to look more like a baby blanket than anything else. I'm not completely sure I want to go around wearing a baby blanket...


I got an email from Ron, who is on his way to Cleveland for the funeral of his brother-in-law. It interests me that both his wife and her brother died of cancer at relatively young ages.


I went to the post office this afternoon, where my amended tax return arrived, but not the couple of packages I am looking for. After that, I went around to talk to the lady about a job, and it seems she has already filled her staff for the summer. Even she admitted that was early, but with the economy, everybody wanted to get their names in early. So I told her I am available, we had a nice conversation, and I went away disappointed. Poo.


When I got home, when I opened the door from the breezeway, I could smell alcohol...oh-oh! So I hauled myself down to the basement and into the mechanical room, and I discovered that half the floor was wet and there was a constant drip out of the main 2" pipe into the boiler. Oh-oh! What interests me is that I could smell the antifreeze when I came in from outdoors, but not after I had been inside for a while. Apparently, that is an odor that over-saturates the nose very quickly.


So as soon as I could get myself upstairs, I called the plumber. Sigh. I had some hope that maybe, just maybe, I could get through one winter without having to call him, but no...of course not! I know he is expensive, but he was here in an hour, and it seems there was a hole in the pipe right below the pump, which has some brass fittings on it, and I strongly suspect that the hole was caused by the reaction between the fittings and the pipe underneath. So he replaced the fittings and the pipe and 10 gallons of antifreeze (which is awfully expensive these days) and he also put the heating pipe back where it belongs, so Adam doesn't have to come up here and do that. Sigh. As far as we know, everything is all right now, but we'll see. There is no way of knowing how much fluid leaked out into the drain, and it is entirely possible to get air in the pipes again. I hope it's all right, because he is going to Florida next week.


That rather took the shine off my day. I looked through the box of cross stitch patterns and found some I want to look at further. I got into that because I had discovered a piece of cloth I have no idea what it is or what I got it for and I wanted to see if I could find the chart it went with. No such luck, but in the course of going through all the bills I could find, I discovered that I had bought a biscornu kit I'd forgotten about. It's cute - it's called "Cat Lover's Biscornu". I don't know if I will do it. I've just about had it with biscornu for a while. There were some other things, but I can sort of get to the sewing machine now, and that was my aim all along. So I should clear off the desk so I can use it for cutting and fire up the sewing machine and see what I can do. There is always the box project, if I get finished with the two tote bag projects and the porch cushions. We'll see about that on Friday.


The weather was - blah, again. It was cloudy and windy and while the Marquette radar seemed to say there were rain showers over us, I didn't see a drop, even a little one. The temperature started out around 30 and has now risen to 36, and there was a strong and gusty south wind, in the 10-30 mph range, although it has now risen to 35 mph gusts. It was very humid, even if it wasn't raining, and I hurt. I would rather it snowed, please.


So now it's time to trudge up to the north end and hope I can sleep better tonight. It's a dark, windy night in the field.


March 30

In spite of saying I wasn't going to, I went back to the scissors fob and did all the Rhodes hearts. Sometimes just laying something aside for a little while will clear up a problem, and it did that. However, it took some time, so it was nearly 1:00 when I got to bed. I didn't get up until 10:45, so my day was somewhat truncated.


I finished another square in the summer sweater and started a new one, all the while with Buster on my lap. More about him later.


I started out the morning by dropping a two-cup glass measuring cup on the floor in the kitchen, where it of course shattered into a million pieces, and of course, Buster walked through it. So I had to sweep the floor thoroughly before I even had my orange juice. And o of course, it was one of the newer, stackable measuring cups. Drat.


While my cereal was cooking, I put away the pots and pans and washed or put in the dishwasher what was in the sink and on the stove. Now I have another pile of pans to put away, but oh, well. I am going to have to try that cereal in the microwave. It takes 10 minutes to cook on the stove, and it sticks to the pan so badly that I don't get to eat all of it. Maybe it will work better in the microwave.


After I did my morning surfing, I threw the towels, the sheet Buster barfed on, and anything else of that sort I could find, in the washer, then I sorted, folded and put away everything that was in the dryer. In the course of that, I discovered that my newest Lands End polo had grease spots on the front, so I had to rewash it. I hope that doesn't signal a change. I've never had a problem with Lands End knits before - only Eddie Bauer's. Anyway, now I have more stuff to fold and put away - tomorrow. For the first time in a long time I have three empty wash baskets.


The wash and the drying was going on when Nancy arrived to cut my hair, and now I have nice short hair again. It may be a little too short, but that's all right. It seems to have been growing pretty fast lately, but unfortunately, it isn't getting any thicker.


Then I refilled the bird feeder on the deck (or I should say, squirrel feeder), because it was empty except for those little round seeds nobody likes. I mention that because if you just happened to look at the camera right around 3:51, you got a beautiful picture of the doorframe. There was some birdseed in the corner of the track that was keeping the door from locking, so I fixed that. I fixed the picture at 3:56, so you had to have caught it by accident.


Once that was over, I got back at the scissors fob. I started attaching the beads, but when I got to the back, I discovered that I hadn't finished the little flowers, so I had to do more little curlicues over one, which I hate. There aren't many beads, so that didn't take long and I could go on to the finishing. Since this is a scissors fob, it has a string and a tassel, so I had to hunt up some floss for those, during which I proved that I can indeed get to the sewing machine now. I finished the fob sometime after 10:00, and it came out fairly well. I will try to remember to take pictures of all those things once we have some more sunshine.


It was a beautiful day, completely clear during the morning and early afternoon, although it was starting to cloud up by 3:00, but there was still lots of sunshine. The temperature was steady at about 30, and while there was a strong wind in the morning, it died down in the afternoon and has now been calm for several hours. The snow is coming! The snow is coming!


Buster spent most of the afternoon on the sofa in the sunshine. He didn't even move when Nancy came, although Jasmine went and hid. Later on, when I went to get my dinner, I looked at him, and they were curled up together, sound asleep, head to tail, with Buster using Jasmine as a pillow for his head. It was so cute, and Buster is busted. He would like me to believe he doesn't like Jasmine, but I know better, especially after seeing that. They were so comfortable! I will say, she finally got him in the ear. When he wants to chase her away (from me, usually) he bites her ears, which I've always thought was sort of nasty. Well, this morning, I noticed that he has a little scab on one of his ears, so she got him back. Slowly but surely, she is getting the idea that she is part of this family and she has rights, too. Now if I can just get her to believe I'm OK...


So that was my day. I don't know where this burst of energy has been coming from, but I'll take advantage while it's here. I'm keeping the kitchen relatively clean, and all the clothes are finally put away where they belong. Amazing.


It's a cloudy, cool night in the field, and the snow is coming...the snow is coming...


March 29

I knitted for a while last night, so I got to bed about 12:30, and I got  up around 9:30, so I should have had a long day, but I knitted a lot more, with a cat on my lap, and today was the day to fill the pill dispensers, so I didn't get to the office much earlier than usual. I didn't eat breakfast until nearly 1:00, because I had the long breakfast for a change - very good, thank you - and the longer the bread can soak, the better it is, and the more defrosted the sausages are.


The tasks of the day were to wash, and to put away the two wash baskets full of clean clothes from the last two times I washed. All that is done, and I also put away a wash basket full of stuff from the old dresser, which has been in my closet for over a year. The fleece is in the washer and needs to be hung up to dry, and the clothes in the dryer need to be folded and put away. That and the towels are for tomorrow. 


While that was going on, I worked on the scissors fob. One of the tests of a master embroiderer has to be to make 36 diamond eyelets, side by side, and get all the central holes the same size. I didn't pass. They don't look bad, but they aren't all the same size. That took most of the afternoon, and then I made the mistake of trying to start the Rhodes hearts. Clearly I am too tired to count accurately. I got one done (of four), and when I started the second one, I discovered that I had screwed up another part of the pattern and had to rip that out, including some backstitch over one - yuck! I tried the heart one more time and was getting nowhere, so I will leave that for tomorrow, too. Something was wrong, and I don't know if it was how I was stitching or how I was counting. When that stitch works right, everything falls right in place. When it doesn't work right, it seems to be impossible to get it straight.


The weather was OK, I guess. The temperature hung right about 30 all day, although a brisk wind, in the 20-35 mph from the northeast, sprang up around noon. It's the back end of the storm that passed south of us, and the wind is slowly turning north. It was cloudy until 2:00 or so, and then it began to clear up. By 6:00 it was completely clear, although at sunset, there were a couple of little clouds in the west. I just went to the bathroom, and there was a nice crescent moon shining high in the northwest, so pretty.


Venus is gone from the evening sky, so I won't see her for a while. There was a day, March 25 -26, I think, when it would have been possible to see her set in the evening and rise the next morning. Of course, it was cloudy. That apparently only happens every 8 years or more, and it would be cool to see, except that you need clear horizons in both the east and west...and you need clear skies. In these parts, if something interesting is scheduled to happen, odds are almost certain it will be cloudy. That's just the way it is.


Along about sunset, it was so pretty over in the west that I sat down in the ugly chair for a while, with my knitting and my cat. Buster is exceptionally clingy, and I don't know why, but it concerns me. He would sit on my lap all the time if I'd let him. Earlier in the afternoon, when he got up from his midday siesta, he came in and I let him sit for a while, and a certain other kitty came in behind us and scratched on the back of the chair...ahem! She came in when I was sitting in the ugly chair, too, but when she saw me there and Buster on my lap, she went away. Maybe she thought Buster was there by himself and she could cuddle.


After it got sunny, Buster curled up in the middle of the couch, with his head on a throw pillow, and Jasmine curled up in the pink chair. She certainly does love that chair! I have a blanket in the chair, which I liked to keep over part of the back, too, but she has pulled it down and arranged it the way she likes it. The inside back of the chair is covered with hair. I though my mother tried to select fabric that was cat-resistant, but she didn't do very well, at least with that chair. Anyway, they spent a long time sleeping in the sun. Every time I would walk by on my way to or from the laundry room, Jasmine would look at me, but she didn't run away or anything. She is just not going to trust a human.


So that was our day, and it's time to trudge up to the north end again. My back and my knees were bothering me today (not to mention my hands), and it will feel good to lie down.


It's a cool, clear night in the field, and there will be stars.


March 28

After I uploaded this thing last night, I started working on the scissors fob again, and when I got up to the north end, I knitted a bit, so it was 12:45 before I got to bed. I don't want to start that again. I got up around 10:45, and I knitted and petted a cat for quite a while.


I didn't do much else. I worked on the scissors fob again, and I took my taxes to the post office, and that was about it.


The weather was cold and cloudy, but how cold and how windy, I don't know yet. I have been having trouble with the Weather Underground all day, and I think it's them, because I haven't had any problems with anybody else. It was bright-cloudy, which was better than dark-cloudy. Ah! Got it! The temperature was nearly steady around 23, with winds under 10 mph from the east, although after a calm period they have now switched around to the north, very light.


When I was waking up this morning, Buster seems to have been sleeping behind me, on the window side of the bed, and he, of course, walked over me, to get to my hands. I suspect, from the sounds I heard, that Jasmine was sleeping with him in bed. So as long as I don't look at her, apparently she likes to be around me, although it was really Buster she was sleeping with. She just adores him, which is a sentiment he does not return. I think he does like having her around, especially when I'm not here, but otherwise, he is jealous and she bugs him. It's amusing to watch, but I feel sorry for Jasmine.


I ate the last of the chili stew this evening, and it still tasted good. I made too much macaroni, so I think I will pour some grated cheese on it when I warm it up and have macaroni and cheese. Not a bad way to use excess leftovers. Now, what to eat next...


So that was a very slow day, and after I work on the scissors fob a bit, I will try to get to bed at a reasonable hour again. It's another cold, cloudy night in the field, and I'm glad I made my observations of Orion when I did, because I sure haven't seen him since.


March 27

I was finishing a row on the surprise sweater when I realized that I had screwed up the decreases, so I had to fix that, or I might have gotten to bed earlier than 11:15. Oops. I should know, by this time, that I know where those magic square decreases go, and I don't have to try to use markers to find them. 


It was an off and on night. I didn't sleep quite so long before I had to get up, then I had about an hour of wakefulness, then I slept well for a couple of hours...and so on. I got up around 9:45, petted a cat, and worked on the summer sweater for a while.


When I got up, there was a dusting of snow on the ground and on the garage roof, and there were a few snow flurries off and on all day, and it was cold and cloudy. The temperature went down to around 20 overnight, and it hung there all day, with a north wind in the 10-20 mph range.


I discovered, last night, that Buster had barfed on the sheet I use for a bedspread - fortunately, it didn't go through to the comforter - and he has felt much better today than he did yesterday. He is shedding so much I am sure he is bothered by hairballs. He has always had a delicate stomach, and as he has gotten older, he has had a harder and harder problem with hairballs. I brush him as much as I can, but he is extraordinarily clean for a black cat (or any cat), and he swallows much more fur than I can brush out of him. I still think it is a little early for them to start shedding, but oh, well.


Let's see. I made another appointment for my trip to Detroit, for a little later than I had hoped, but I will be able to eat lunch between my mammogram and my appointment, so that will be good. And I made an appointment to get my hair cut on Monday, and that will be very good. It is getting to the length where it is beginning to bug me - it needs to be either longer or shorter, and I guess I've opted for shorter, at least for the time being.


I called PastyNet and complained. I have noticed, for a few weeks now, that my broadband seemed sort of slow, and when I tested it, I am only getting 192kb...and I am paying for 256kb. If they have a problem because of their equipment, which is old, that's fine, I just don't think I should be paying for something I'm not getting.


I filled the bird feeders, and that was fun. My knees were bothering me, but I refilled my pail of sunflower seeds anyway, and when I brought the feeders in, I chased away quite a number of birds. I sat down to rest a bit after I filled the pail, and while I was sitting at the computer, we had a short power failure - 15 minutes, maybe. Ron called to say he had called UPPCO, and we had a nice conversation, and while we were talking, the power came back on. I must say, my generator has gotten a workout these last couple of weeks. We are not pleased that we got through all the really nasty weather in the winter, and now we have had a bunch of power outages.


I put the feeders out around 1:30, I think (these long days confuse me). While I was filling them, I put the full ones outside the door, and a little chickadee came twice to grab a seed out of the white feeder! When I got them all hung up, I had goldfinches, pine siskins, blue jays, chickadees and nuthatches all flocking around. Nuthatches are crazy little birds. There was one clinging to the bottom of the cedar feeder, reaching up around the edge of the tray to get a seed. When the jays get into the feeder on the deck, they look like those toys you perch on the edge of a glass of water and they bob their heads. They look like little robots - peck, peck, peck. I was glad to see the siskins. They are eruptive, and for the past several years, they have not been around. It seems they are back.


In the past, I haven't put out the thistle feeder in the winter, and that was a mistake. Even in the winter, both the goldfinches and the siskins will eat from it, and I had to fill it today, too. That white feeder is interesting. I'm sure it was nearly full a couple of days ago, then one morning, it was nearly empty! I suppose it was some very hungry flying squirrels. It doesn't hold a lot of seed, but the birds do seem to like it, particularly the little chickadees, who sneak in, grab a seed, and sneak out.


I went to the post office and my taxes came back, and I caught my accountant in an error - the first one ever, in 16 years. It won't make any difference in the numbers, since I already had more deductions than income, so I will file what I have and she will send me an amended return. It seems I make my phone calls in bunches.


On the way back from the post office, I was going to stop to talk to a lady about a job, but she chose this day not to be in her shop. I will try again.


I had toyed with the idea of going to dinner, again, but my chili stew is so good, I just stayed in and ate it. I haven't made that in quite a while, and as they say, it hit the spot.


So that was my day. I knitted on the surprise sweater a bit, but my hands are sore (not to mention my knees and my back), so I didn't do much. Now I will try to get to bed at a reasonable hour again. It does seem that I need close to 11 hours of sleep, which is a shame.


It's a cold, cloudy night in the field and it's time to trudge up to the north end for another long winter's nap...after Beethoven's Third finishes, of course!


March 26

When I went up to the north end, I read what I had written the last time I wrote, and since I couldn't get a feel of where to go from there, I picked up the knitting and worked that for a while. I still got to bed around 11:15, so that was good. I think I set some kind of record for continuous sleep. It wasn't until about 6:15 that I woke up for the first time. Wow! How nice it was not to be running to the bathroom all night!


I finally got up around 10:00 or so, and I petted a cat and finished the triangle I was working on and started the next square, so the sweater is coming along all right. I am still having some trouble changing tension between the knit and purl rows. I can see it from the wrong side, but it isn't obvious on the right side.


I had done my morning surfing and while I was waiting around for the repairman to come, I began to cast on the surprise jacket, even though I didn't understand the instructions very much. More about that later.


The repairman appeared around 1:30, and there were two of them, for heaven's sake! One of them fiddled with the stove while the other one attacked the fridge. The stove problem is the switch, which I think I told the guy when I made the appointment, and they will have to come back, because they have to order it. Grr. Anyway, in the meantime, he showed me how to get that burner to light. Apparently there is one and only one igniter for all five burners, so the way to get the middle one on is to turn on another one, then turn on the one with the bad switch. You know, I think that happened when I discovered the problem, and it didn't work, but I'll try it anyway.


The guy working on the fridge determined that the icemaker itself was OK right away - when he took out the ice tray, the heater on the back of it that heats the cubes so they will come out was hot enough that he burned his hand. I was glad to hear that. So they hauled the fridge out - I was glad to see not very many dust bunnies and no dead mice under it! - and discovered that the problem was that the plastic tube from the pump to the ice maker had cracked right near the bottom. Oh. No water, no ice, right? So they changed that and I am making ice, slowly but surely. By tomorrow, I should have enough to use. I have a hard time understanding why they would make an appliance that should last 20 years or more and put into it plastic tubing that cracks and breaks in 6 or 8 years - this is the same problem I had with the water dispenser a couple of years ago.


While they were here, I got them to look at my dryer. The interior light has never worked, and I couldn't get the bulb screwed in far enough. I thought it might be something to do with the socket, but the guy has stronger fingers than I do (my hands are programmed more for agility than strength), and he got the bulb screwed in tight and it seems to be all right. I will be using it this weekend, and we'll see how it is then.


All that only took about 45 minutes, and while I am a little irked by the return trip, at least I have ice.


So I continued casting on my jacket, and finally got it done,  and it is going to take a while to knit that sweater. I was thinking about the instructions I didn't understand, so I went out to the Schoolhouse Press website, and lo and behold, there were errata for just that pattern, and they had left out a big piece of the instructions. No wonder I didn't understand it! Now I have the complete instructions, and everything makes much more sense. Now I can proceed. This is a good one to knit when I'm doing something else - it is garter stitch (all knit), with just a couple of decreases every other row, at least for 120 rows, and the rest is straight knitting. It is a cool pattern. It is knit flat, with decreases like the magic squares, and increases like reverse magic squares, then you sew up the shoulder seams, make a little edging, and there is a jacket. Some of the knitting is horizontal and some is vertical in the final jacket, and it looks particularly nice in stripes, but this is a printed yarn, and I think you will be able to see the shaping.


The weather was blah again. When I got up, there was a little line of snow in the valley between the breezeway and the garage, but it had melted away before I left the bathroom. There was even a little gleam of sunshine for a minute or two, but most of the day was dull and gray. The temperature hung at around 29 all day, and there was a northwest wind in the 15-25 mph range. The wind has finally switched around to the north-northwest, which is, no doubt, why the temperature has dropped. We might get a little of the snow that is out west of us, but it won't be much to talk about, and most of it is likely to be lake effect, if the lake has opened up.


When I went to get my dinner, my left knee was acting up to the extent that it was hard to step on, so I can say that this weather is bad for arthritis. Getting my jacket cast on was difficult enough that my hands are very sore, so I think I will give up on the knitting for the evening. It is all right now, but when I have to push and pull at the yarn and the needles, it isn't good for my hands.


So it's another cold, cloudy night in the field, and as soon as Vivaldi's Gloria ends, I will toddle up to the north end and try this new early-to-bed routine again.


March 25

I looked at a magazine for a short while last night, but I was determined not to stay up all night, so I got to bed around 11:15, although I admit that was without a bath. I slept pretty well, although I was up any number of times, and I got up around 10:00. 


I petted a cat and finished the first square of my sweater and started the next one. As I get into that pattern, I am discovering that it is full of typos and omissions. I believe I have said it before, and apparently most people who publish knitting patterns don't feel the way I do, but I would not let anything that full of errors go out under my name. Maybe that's why they've published something and I never have. Anyway, I am making a little progress, and I am adjusting my tension to the yarn, which is mostly cotton and doesn't stretch at all.


I didn't do a lot. I got the dishwasher unloaded, and I moved some things around in the office so there is more floor visible. I guess I will be putting the CraftStors back in the closet. It has been handy to have them out; not only is there stuff in them that I use occasionally, they form a stable, flat surface to put stuff. Maybe it's better that I do put them away.


This evening I finally cooked my chili stew. I had been putting it off, but the ground beef wasn't going to last much longer, so I did it. It turned out very well, although I had to dig into the box of spices to find some of the things I need...funny, I'm sure I've made that before, but I couldn't find any celery seed or cayenne pepper. So far, I managed not to glop up the clean stove very much, although I haven't put everything away yet. It is a mixture I like a lot, and my alligator chopper makes it easier to chop all the onions and green pepper. The recipe says to dice the green pepper and slice the onions, but I didn't and it came out fine. I couldn't see using two different tools when by just chopping the onions rather than slicing them, I could get by with one. The alligator chopper is the first thing I have ever found that chops green pepper nicely.


I decided that one contribution I can make to lowering the food bills is to only have JD on weekends, so I have been drinking wine for the past couple of days. My tastes in wine are not expensive (although the reds are a little more so), but I do have my likes and dislikes. I am drinking a nice Riesling right now, and I will have to check out its price the next time I shop. I know a red would have been better with the chili, but I only have one bottle of that, so I am saving it. Anyway, the wine tastes good for a change, not that I am getting tired of JD or anything...


The weather was yucky again. The temperature got up to 43 late in the day, and early on we had winds with gusts up to 39 mph from the south, again. The wind died down later. It was dark and cloudy, but there wasn't any rain after early in the morning. Accuweather has a revamped website, which I checked out, and I'm not impressed, but one thing they have which I found interesting is what the weather will do to health conditions. This weather is bad for arthritis and migraine. I don't know about migraine - I haven't had those in years - but I can attest to the arthritis. I am one big creak, from my fingers to my feet. It is also bad for sinus, and my head is a bit achy tonight.


Now I have to put my dinner away, and then I can go up to the north end and try to get to bed early again. I still have the feeling I am fighting off something, and the only thing I know to do for that is sleep long and hard. It's a yucky, warmish night in the field, and something is coming our way, but whether it will be rain or snow isn't clear yet.


March 24

I'm tired of this. I'm going up to the north end really early tonight, and maybe, just maybe I will get to bed early, and maybe, just maybe I will sleep?


I got to bed around 1:00 last night, I think, but I didn't sleep at all well. I was hot all night, and my head was stuffy, and it was a night of strange dreams. I did sleep between 8:00 and 10:00 this morning, though. Strange how that works.


I can't tell you when the power came back on, except that it was after 2:00, when I finally got to sleep. The switch from the generator to line power is so seamless, I couldn't have noticed it if I had been awake. I was fearful for the camera, and as it turned out, I was right, but more about that later.


So I got up and petted a cat. Last night, I was looking at the first square of my new sweater (hereafter the "summer sweater" since it's mostly cotton), and I realized I had missed a decrease. That's the only problem with those magic squares. This one does not use a triple decrease, but decreases one on each side of the center, and it's easy to miss one if I'm not paying attention. Since I couldn't see where I had made the mistake, I ripped out everything I had done after the first row, and this morning I knitted it up again, and I am doing better this time. Buster was disgusted, because I wasn't paying enough attention to him, and the needles were sometimes hitting him. 


This sweater is on #6 needles, and I am faced with the same problem I have had before: sometime between 1960 and 1990 they changed the size of US #6 needles from 4 mm to 4mm. I have been afraid that switching between the two would make a difference in the stitches, although the difference in circumference is less than a millimeter, so I guess maybe it wouldn't. Anyway, the 16" needle I started working with is slippery enough that I thought maybe one of my old all-nylon needles would work better, but the 16" nylon one has gotten so stiff (if it wasn't in the beginning) that it was bothering my hands. I guess I will just have to take my chances with my Knit Picks interchangeables, which are 4 mm. The cables on them are so soft and bendable that they are much more comfortable to work with, and I have a 24" cable, which should make the whole thing a lot easier.


At any rate, I did about a third of the square before I quit.


While I was knitting, I noticed that it was really windy, and while it was very cloudy, there were a few rays of sunshine, and when I looked at the tops of the tall pines to my north, I could see glitters of light in the branches at the tops, as well as in one of the small birch bushes that is growing in the side yard. It looked like the roof of the garage was covered with ice, or at least it was when I got to the bathroom.


When I got to the office, the camera was down, and as I discovered later, it had never connected this morning. I talked to Ron later, and he said the broadband was up until about 7:00...well, the camera doesn't wake up until 7:10, so by that time we had lost something. I thought it was Brockway, from what they said when I called, but evidently it was power to some other link...except when the power finally came up, Brockway was down. According to Charlie, the wind (which was strong and from a most unusual direction - south) had pulled part of an antenna wire loose. That didn't get fixed until around 7:00 this evening. 


The other day at the ladies' meeting, some of the ladies were muttering about the problems we had had the preceding weekend, but they just don't understand the problems of datacom, nor do they remember that that was the first time in ages that there had been a real outage. I guess you have to have been in the business to understand the problems. I was happier when I realized it was an UPPCO problem and not a PastyNet problem that kept us down for most of the day.


Anyway, I was groggy again, and besides, I was sneezing occasionally, so I didn't do anything...in fact, I don't remember what I did do today.


The weather, needless to say, was bad. Ron reported that the roads were sheets of ice this morning, because not only had it gotten below freezing overnight, it did rain. I guess, from what he said, that school was canceled. The temperature peaked at 38, which it is now, so the light rain we had during the day didn't freeze, and the ice did melt eventually. The wind has been in the 15-30 mph range from the south for most of the day, although we did have 40 mph gusts around noon. I didn't want to go out, and I didn't.


In fact, I didn't want to do anything, and I didn't. The weather has made me creaky, and my hands have been particularly sore. I read a couple of the magazines that came last week, and that was about it. 


I am endeavoring to keep the kitchen clean, because the repairman is coming on Thursday to fix the fridge and the stove. I do have to cook chili stew, but I just didn't feel up to it today. There is a lot of chopping and standing around in that recipe. Tomorrow, maybe.


So that is about all I have to report. I'm sorry the camera was down for most of the day, but the pictures you didn't see are just about like the ones you did - dull and gray and nasty. I have said before that this is my least favorite kind of weather, and my bod feels like it.


So  now it's a dark, dank, and windy night in the field, and I'm going up to the north end and crash.


March 23

The third time is a charm, maybe?


Instead of going up to the north end like a good girl last night, I decided to hunt up the pattern for the big-needle sweater. It is in an Elizabeth Zimmermann book, and that got me reading the commentaries in the book, and that led me to another book, and...well, it was after 2:30 before I got to bed. Sigh. I got up around 9:45, and what with starting the other sweater and all, I was late for my massage and I had to spend some time in Johanna's bathroom. Sigh.


I made it home without getting stuck in anymore snowbanks, which was nice.


I didn't do much. I was sleepy and groggy, so I reread the pattern and did a few calculations, and that was about it. That is going to be an interesting project. EZ's directions are not all that clear, and the commentary suggests making several baby sized jackets before trying the adult size. I don't have either the interest or the yarn to do that, so I guess I will just cast on and have at it and see what happens.


The weather was nasty...is nasty. The temperature got up to about 35 during the afternoon, with a brisk south wind, in the 15-30 mph range. Sometime after 6:00, it started raining lightly and the temperature dropped to about 32, which is not a good combination. Yuck. There is a winter weather advisory out until 11:00 tomorrow morning for wind, rain and freezing rain. The wind is certainly rising, and it is certainly raining.


About an hour ago, we started having power glitches, and about 10:45, the power went out altogether. I am now on generator power, and I will try to use the dial backup to upload this. I understand the phone lines are only good for half an hour or so, so we'll see what happens.


I was sitting at the computer, with my back to the office earlier in the afternoon, and when I turned around, Jasmine jumped down from then hearth, where she had been curled up on a strange afghan I made several years ago. I knew she was lying there, and I moved the stuff on top of the afghan, and she has apparently appropriated it. She doesn't want me to know she is there, but she wants to be with me. Ever so slowly we make progress. Buster spent most of the day asleep, although he did try to get some of my steak, which he can't have.


So that was my quiet day, and I am tired, so tonight I think I won't be reading any more books. It's a nasty, rainy, windy night in the field, just what you'd expect in March. Yuck.


March 22

I made it into bed around 12:30, which is something of a recent record, and I caught up on my sleep, I think - it was nearly 11:00 when I got up. Buster had been making a pest of himself, and I got back at him by hauling out the sweater and working in all the yarn ends. He was not happy, but I am. The sweater is very nice. I am going to block it, just for jollies - I don't like to block, but I think this one needs it.


I was eating my breakfast when Syd called, and did I want some help. Well, sure, I can always use help. So she came over, replaced the two burned out light bulbs and did most of the work on the kitchen. Except for the stove and the stuff lying around, it wasn't bad, so it didn't take very long and I now have a really clean kitchen again. I did the microwave, and put things away, mostly. It is hard to get two pairs of hands in the sink at once.  So that was very nice of her, and I really appreciate her help. She is so nice!


That meant that I didn't do anything in the sewing room, although I did finally get the #3 and #4 needles put away and the #6 and #10 needles taken out, and I hunted up the instructions (not very clear) for the one on the larger needles. The one on #6 needles is a pullover made with those magic squares I like so well...although the other one uses that same technique in a different way. I suspect I will be working on both of them alternately, since they would both be useful for summer.


The weather today was lovely. The sky was clear until near sunset. The temperature only got up to 32, for a while in the afternoon, and there was a wind out of the south that was in the 10-20 mph range, which didn't affect us. I guess we are in for several days of rainy weather now.


It is so good to have the kitchen clean, because there is a chance I will not be able to wait to call the appliance repairman. I have one stove burner that doesn't work, but I was going to wait on that. However, last night, I discovered that my icemaker doesn't seem to be making ice. I fiddled with it today, and I think I heard it fill later on, but I'm not sure if it is working again or not. I will check it tomorrow, and if it isn't, I will have to call. One burner on the stove isn't a problem, but no ice is. So we shall see.


The kitties were quite rambunctious again this morning, and when I sat down to eat my breakfast, which I do in the office, Buster jumped up on the printer and Jasmine jumped on the desk. Buster went off after a while, but Jasmine settled down in the sun on the fleece throw in the south windows...and went to sleep! I could hardly believe it. For a while she looked at me every time I turned around, but she didn't seem to want to run away, and finally she went to sleep. She didn't move until I got up to go to the bathroom. So we have taken another tiny baby step.


Of course, they both disappeared when Syd showed up, but that's normal. Better than them getting under our feet while we were working.


So that is another day, and I got sidetracked by the book one of the knitting patterns is in, so I'd better toddle up to the north end and sleep fast, or I'll never get to my massage. It's a partly cloudy night in the field (I think), and it's rather cool.


March 21

It's a little earlier tonight, and that's a good thing. After I posted last night's entry, I started fooling around with some of the stuff I brought upstairs, and as a result, it was after 3:00 before I went to bed. Buster doesn't get the concept of hours asleep, so he was fussing around on the bed beside me about 10:30. I had to walk anyway, so I got up, not that i wanted to. That is just not enough sleep, so I will have to make up for it tonight.


I finished the knitting on the sweater! It's not "done" yet, because I have to work in all the loose ends, of which there are many, since the balls of yarn were small. I ran out of yarn on the ball I was using about 10" from the end of the bind off row, which has happened to me before and really makes me mad. So I had to start a new ball to finish binding off. Grr. I did not try to find the center of the new ball, because I knew it wouldn't show. I just started from the outside. Buster was not entirely happy, because he wanted lots of love, but I managed anyway. He will be even less happy tomorrow, when I start doing ends. That involves a lot of hand motions, and that irks him.


Jasmine felt really good this morning. She was dancing up an down the hallway and pounding her little feet on the floor. And a bit later, when Buster was someplace else and i was in the office, she was out in the great jumping around with her tail all fuzzed up and her eyes big and bright. Of course, that didn't last long, and I was a bit puzzled, but the barometer was beginning to rise, so maybe that was it.


I didn't do much today. I began to load the dishwasher and I got some of the pots and pans put away. I started the scissors fob, but I didn't get much done on it, because the sun came out and it was in my eyes.


The big thing was, I went downstairs again. I wanted that other yarn, and I did find it, as well as a lot of other interesting stuff. I decided to see what was in the box of embroidery fabric I knew about, and while I was looking through it, I said, duh, why don't I just unpack it and put it in a plastic tub? I had consolidated two tubs, so I had one right at hand (I have lots of them, but getting to them is a pain), and I now have one tub that is only embroidery fabric, and I have another empty packing box. I also went through the tubs that were behind a row of boxes, but I didn't find a lot that was interesting. There were several pieces of fabric I might use for lining some of the things I have to complete, which I brought upstairs, but not much else of use right now. I seem to have a large number of fat quarters of blue fabric. 


In going through the embroidery fabric, I found some nice black 28 count stuff that will work for my bible cover, which I have designed myself but not written down or made. I also found a piece of black Aida that is blacker than what I had up here, so I can use that if I want to. I sure wish I could find that other box of fabric! I will probably have to go through every file box in the place to find it, and some of those boxes have magazines or charts in them and they are heavy. I hope the platinum Belfast is in that box, because if it isn't, I have no clue where it might be.


Anyway, that consumed a couple of hours. I didn't get sweaty today, but I was not dressed as warmly. Now there is even more stuff in the office - oh, my. I really need to get at the sewing machine.


The weather was  so-so. When I got up this morning, the garage roof was completely covered with snow, about an inch, I would say, and it was completely fogged in down the harbor. While I was sitting and petting a cat, I watched the snow melt away before my eyes, so I knew it was over freezing. It was. We hit the max at 10:00, 36, and it was about 34 for the rest of the day. It was cloudy until about 7:00, and then it cleared up. The wind was mostly under 10 mph from the north, and it was very humid. The fog didn't lift completely until nearly 4:00.


I did go outside for a minute or two around 9:30 tonight, but it was too cold for the amount of clothes I had on, and my eyes weren't acclimated, so I didn't stay long enough to see much. It is clear, but not any more so than it was the other night.


So that was my quiet day, and I guess you'd say I accomplished something. Now I am going to try to get to bed a bit earlier tonight and catch up on my sleep.


It's a cool, clear night in the field tonight.


March 20 - Spring Equinox!

This turned out to be a mixed up day, but spring is here, and that's good.


It was about 12:45 when I went to bed, and except for an hour or so between 5:00 and 6:00 when I started thinking about my financial situation (bad idea, but inevitable), I slept well until 10:30. Buster was getting anxious, and I finally got up when he settled down right beside my head and started taking a bath so vigorously that he was almost shaking the bed. Since he was leaning against me, I could feel every lick.


So I got up and petted him and did four rows on the sweater, and I will finish it tomorrow. I think it is going to be a nice sweater, and it is a good weight for this time of year.


I was working on the biscornu when Bonnie called and invited me to join them for a benefit dinner at the Pines. It seems that the owners' younger daughter decided that instead of a sixteenth birthday party or big present, she wanted to raise money for the St. Jude Children's Hospital. So they had a spaghetti dinner tonight. She is a nice young girl, very earnest, and I commend her. The spaghetti was very good, more like mine, and there was a small salad and a chocolate sheet cake for dessert. I don't think as many people came as they had hoped, but there were quite a few, and a couple of groups of outsiders came over from the bar and ate, too, which was nice.


It was good to see Bonnie and Rich. Since she has been so busy we have not had bible class this winter, it has been a long time since we got to talk. We didn't have enough time, but we sort of got caught up. Her left knee has finally given out and she is going for a replacement on April 6. She had thought she might be able to wait until next winter, but she soon found it was too debilitating and painful, so she decided to go now. I admire her. I wouldn't do that unless I couldn't walk at all, and she is still sort of ambulatory. But everyone sees these things differently, and I've never lived in her body.


Anyway, that was a nice evening, and Buster was waiting when I got home, but he had his tail high, so he wasn't too mad at me. Funny little cat. He is still peeing in the sink, so once I get it clean and disinfected, I will have to cover it up to discourage him. I don't know why he picked the sink. If I was him, I would have used the bathtub, but evidently since he has never seen water go down that drain, he doesn't know it does.


Before I left for dinner, my accountant called, and I will get a hefty refund from my property taxes, and I don't owe anybody anything, which is a nice state of affairs. Of course I will send it in as soon as I get it from her.  Being poor has some benefits. It always irked me that they taxed my social security.


On my way home from the post office, I stopped at the general store to replenish the eggs and milk, and had a nice chat with Staci, and she suggested a possible place I might find a job. I will have to follow up on that soon.  It wouldn't start until after Memorial Day, at the earliest, but I might be able to earn a few dollars over the summer. We'll see where that goes.


So I got back at the biscornu, and that is why I am so late. The two sides are whipstitched together, with a bead added in every stitch. The stitching is done through a line of backstitches, and I discovered that I couldn't see them, since they are just about the same color as the fabric. So I ended up with my glasses off and my Mag-Eyes on, holding the fabric about 4" from my nose. I am happy to report I did not poke my nose with the needle, which I have done in similar circumstances in the past. However, it was very slow going. It had to be stuffed and sewn closed, and now I am kicking myself that I didn't hunt up my fiberfill before I finished the scissors fobs. I used cotton balls (or the cotton they put in pill bottles, really), and they came out rather lumpy, I'm afraid. Oh, well. 


The final step in finishing the biscornu is to pinch the center together, like a flower center, and that was the hardest part of all, because I had filled it very firmly. Besides, I was following the directions in the kit, and I was using invisible nylon thread, and boy, is it invisible! Not only was it very hard to get it anchored under the buttons in the middle of the biscornu, I kept catching it on the beads, and I couldn't see where it was. Yie! Ending off was particularly hard, because I had to knot the thread under the button which I had just pulled very tightly into the center. I did it, but my hands are sore. I may try something else if I make another one of these things (I have two more kits). It came out very nicely, though. I will take a picture when there is more light and I will post it, as well as the scissors fobs.


When I was downstairs, I found several other kits where I had done the embroidery but never done the finishing, and I brought them upstairs. I would like to finish them, but we'll see. I think they require lining material, so I will have to dive back downstairs and see what I can do about that. It may be that that was the reason I never finished them - I didn't have any lining fabric. Or maybe I got the lining fabric and lost interest before I finished them. Hmm.


The weather started out beautiful but cold. There were stars all night long, but the temperature got down to 5 at 6:00 this morning. It rose quickly, though, with the sunshine, and it got up to 35 around 8:00 tonight. The winds were mostly light and mostly from the southwest. It clouded up by about 3:30, and when the camera took the last picture at 9:00, there were no lights in it, so I turned on the floodlight and there were wet snowflakes coming down. I think that is about over now.


When I turned on the floodlight, I saw a squirrel go up the tree, and when I looked at the cedar feeder, there was a little flying squirrel scarfing down sunflower seeds as fast as he could shuck them. They are such cute little critters. I don't know why one was so timid and the other wasn't.


So now it is past bedtime, and I am about to toddle up to the north end and crash. It's a cool, cloudy night in the field, and there won't be any stars tonight.


March 19

Instead of going up to the north end after I posted this last night, I finished the cross stitch border on the second side of the biscornu, so it was probably 12:30 or 1:00 before I got to bed. I got up about 10:30 this morning, because Buster was making a pest of himself. I knitted the sweater, and I should finish it on Saturday...in fact, I intend to see to it that I finish it on Saturday.


The task of the day was in the basement, but I postponed it as long as I could, and I finished the beading on the biscornu before I went downstairs, taking two bottles of kitty litter down one step at a time - backward.


Cat pans were the first task, and finally, after all this time I think I have figured out how to do it without breaking my back and getting all sweaty (that came later). In the basement is the stool my grandmother Smith, who had had a stroke, used to sit on in the bathroom when she washed. I sat on that, and I didn't have much trouble emptying the pans into the bags at all. So that problem is solved. However, the two bags are still down there, because I had other things to bring upstairs.


The next task was to hunt up some things that had gotten taken down there that I want - and I just realized that I forgot one thing. Drat. Tomorrow. Some of the things were easy to find, among the last plastic tubs that went down there - the yarn for my next sweater, some yarn I want to wind into balls, the imitation suede to back beaded brooches, and stuff like that. 


However, then came the hard part. I want to make the scissors fob that goes with the biscornu, but it is not a kit, so I need a small piece of platinum Belfast linen. I know I have most of a yard of that, but after going through a lot of the tubs against the front wall, I couldn't find it. Fortunately, I ran across a small piece that I had zigzagged the edges of, apparently for some project that never got done. Well, I will just use that. I also came across a bunch of little things, scissors fobs, needle cases, and so on, that I had done the embroidery on but never finished, so I brought those too. 


I never did find the platinum Belfast, and I never found the box of embroidery fabric that was in the sewing room at Champine. Where those have gone, I do not know. I was frustrated and dripping before I finished hauling boxes and tubs around, and as I said, I forgot one thing...the yarn for a summer sweater that I would like to do this year. Drat.


However, I did accomplish a few things, so all was not lost.


The weather was cold. The temperature hung in around 19 for the past 24 hours, although it has now dipped to 14 (10 on my thermometer). It was cloudy through early afternoon, and there were even a very few lazy snowflakes for a few minutes. Then it cleared up, and the evening has been lovely. The wind died down overnight, and it was in the 10-15 mph range from the north, although that has died down, too. A little chilly for the day before the equinox!


Tonight, I decided I was going to go out and make some observations of Orion. I went out around 9:00, like Globe at Night suggested, and it wasn't completely dark yet, so while I could see the main stars of Orion and the other winter constellations, I couldn't see a whole lot. 


So I came in and finished the backstitching around the biscornu, cut off the excess fabric and put Fray Check on the edges. It is drying now, and tomorrow I can sew it together. 


Then I sat in the dark for 15 minutes to get my eyes acclimated and went out again. Oh, my. Seeing isn't that good - I could only see some 5th magnitude stars - but besides Orion, I could see all the other winter constellations, including some I'd never seen before. When I was a kid on Champine, my south was completely blocked by the house, so I had never seen all of Canis Major, and when I saw those stars near the horizon, I didn't know quite what they were until I looked at my planisphere when I came in. And wonder of wonders, I could see the Milky Way all the way from Cassiopeia down to the southern horizon! I don't think I have never seen the winter Milky Way before. It isn't as spectacular as in the summer, of course, but it certainly is pretty...and I could see it without any problem at all. The winter sky certainly is pretty. Maybe before it all goes away, we will have some seeing that is better and I can stand on the deck again and admire the sky.


I didn't take any binoculars, so I couldn't see many faint fuzzies besides the Pleiades, and besides, the temperature out there is something between 10 and 14. Fortunately, there was no wind to speak of, but I didn't want to stand there much more than 10 minutes or so without a hat and mittens on. If I decide to try any more sky watching, not only will I get my coat and hat on, I will take a chair out there, so I can sit in comfort (sort of) and use my binoculars. Unfortunately, it is supposed to cloud up tomorrow night, and I don't know if we will have any more clear nights for a while. I'm glad I went out tonight.


So that was my day, and I guess I accomplished something. At least the kitties have clean litter and maybe Buster won't be peeing in the bathroom sink anymore...in fact, I will cover it up so he doesn't. He has his little ways of telling me the facilities are not up to his standards, and since I knew they weren't, I let him pee. Now I can clean up the sink and fill the basin to wash my face again.


It's a cold, calm and clear night in the field, and the stars are so pretty!


March 18

I guess I've given up trying to get to bed early. I didn't last night, and I won't tonight. I got up around 10:30, but I knitted the last three rows of the body of the sweater and started the ribbing, so I didn't get to do much but eat before it was off to the ladies' meeting. 


There weren't many of us there. The other Sharon is still sick and didn't want to spread her germs (for which we all thank her). I don't know where the others were. Andrea came again with baby Mia, and she is a real doll, about 8 or 9 months old, and a very good baby. Of course, she is the hit of the show when she comes.


I took the two 20s era dresses to show the ladies, and the yellow one is beginning to deteriorate badly, I'm afraid. It is chiffon, and it hasn't been kept very carefully. I should get some new chiffon and try to support it so that it doesn't go any further. It is a real flapper dress, with 12" or more fringe on the bottom, and some very interesting beading. The one I really like, the black beaded shift, is still in very good shape. I know it belonged to my great-grandmother, and since she took the trouble to add sleeves (!) and do up the hem (she was under 5' tall), I guess she wore it at least once, but you'd never know to look at it. The ladies liked both of the dresses, but the person I really wanted to see them, Staci, didn't make it, so she called later in the evening, and sometime after the road is a little better, she will be out to see them.


So that took the afternoon, and I got a couple more rows of ribbing done, but I found I need to concentrate more than I could with all the talking going on. I am not quite so able to doing two things at once as I used to be. When I got home, I started working on the biscornu again, and I am now doing the row of cross stitch around the outside. Then there is a backstitched row and all the beads, and I can try putting it together. That is going to be the fun part.


The weather was beautiful again, but cooler than yesterday and very windy. The high temperature was at midnight to 2:00 am, and it was in the middle 30s for the rest of the day. The reported winds were in the 10 - 20 mph range from the northwest, which I don't believe, and there were some 40 mph gusts for a couple of hours between 4:00 and 6:00 this afternoon. Out here, I think the wind was much stronger. There were no clouds at all for most of the day, until late in the afternoon, but then only a few, and I think they went away soon after sunset.


The wind was so strong that I brought in the bird feeders, except for the thistle feeder, which I couldn't get off its hook. It doesn't blow around so much anyway, but the others were swinging around so much that I was afraid that they would blow away or hit something and break. I am sure no birds were on that side of the house today anyway, with that wind!


I was going to go out and observe Orion. This is the Globe at Night time (http://www.globe.gov/GaN/), when everyone is encouraged to go outside and look at Orion and see how many stars they can see. Since this is also the International Year of Astronomy, and light pollution is such a problem, I think this is a good idea, and since we are having clear skies this year, I want to participate, but Venus wasn't in the last picture from the camera, so I guess there were some clouds at the time to go out (an hour after sunset). I will try tomorrow, when it is supposed to be better. This goes on until March 28, so there is time. Last year, I couldn't participate, because we had clouds for the whole two weeks. We'll see what happens this year.


I did see Orion last night. Rigel was behind the hill, but the rest was standing up on Brockway, and it looked like it was quite clear - clear enough that I couldn't figure out what I was seeing from inside the bedroom. I think I saw Capella and Castor and Pollux and probably Aldebaran and the Pleiades low in the west, but I didn't look for very long and I was too tired to really study it. I will look again tonight, but I am going to be a little later, so I don't know what I will see. 


The Globe at Night site has a bunch of pictures of what you should see when you look at Orion, and I am sure I was seeing 4th magnitude stars through the window last night, which is pretty good.


So that was my day, and it's late now, so I will toddle up to the north end and do my thing. It's a cool, windy but clear night in the field.


March 17

St. Patrick's Day is another "holiday" I don't observe. The Irish in my background were Orangemen, from Northern Ireland, and besides they were all Protestants. If you do observe it, I hope you didn't drink too much green beer (yuck!).


I went up to the north end at a reasonable hour last night, but then I picked up my pen and it was 1:15 before I got into bed. It was 11:15 when I finally got up, but I had been wakeful for a while before that. I was really thirsty yesterday, for some reason, so I was up any number of times during the night.


Even though I got a late start, I did a few things today. I got to the post office and retrieved another pile of stuff, including a bunch of magazines and several bills, as well as a lot of stuff that went right into the trash.


I almost completed unloading the dishwasher, and I finally got my ledger up to date and correct. It is always a problem in the middle of the month, but I managed to get it fixed. Wonder of wonders, I filed the stuff that was sitting on the desk, so it is relatively clean again, at least on the open end. I straightened out the part to my left on the desk a bit, so that I can grab the note pads.


I am beginning to get the yearly mailings of greeting cards. I don't care for most of the ones I get, so I throw the cards away and keep the envelopes. Spare envelopes are very useful, I find.


Short hiatus while I rush to the bathroom and clean up after myself. This doesn't usually happen at night, and I ignored the signs just a little too long. Oh, dear.


The weather was rather nice, although not as nice as yesterday. The temperature went up and down between 40 and 48, depending upon the wind, which was light and from the west until 1:00, when it went calm, then it shifted to the northwest and picked up, died down for a while, and now is in the 10-25 mph range. It was mostly cloudy, although the sun managed to punch through a little bit, but it cleared up at sunset, as it frequently does. Deciding what to wear is hard these days.


I left the window open for most of the day, and both kitties were delighted. Jasmine kept jumping up to look out, and running away if I looked at her. Around sunset, Buster laid down on the fleece with his head toward the window and his nose in the air. It did smell good. It was cooling off enough that I have had to close it again, which is too bad, but I don't want to try to heat the great out of doors.


So that was another day, and I accomplished a few more things. Now I think I will toddle up to the north end and probably pick up a pen again, although I would like to get to bed earlier. The ladies' meeting is tomorrow, and I want to go.


So it's a clear, breezy night in the field, and the temperature is still over 40. It's an early spring, for sure.


March 16

The broadband came up around 10:30 again, and it took me so long to do my surfing that it was 2:00 or later when I finally got to bed. I slept pretty well until about 9:30, and while I didn't get up then, I only dozed until about 11:00. I think it was the heat. It is warm in the house, with all that sunshine.


I petted a cat and knitted until after noon. I attached the final ball of yarn to the sweater - now I only have about 10 rows to go, plus the ribbing. This hasn't taken as long as I thought it might. It is going to be a nice sweater, and I have enough yarn left for a pair of socks (which was the original reason for the yarn, although I liked it so well I bought more).


Otherwise, I talked to my accountant and packed up the tax papers, although I didn't seal the envelope yet. I was too late to go to the post office today, so I will take it tomorrow. Otherwise, I finished the green vines in the biscornu and started the little over-one doodads. So that is coming along, although it won't be done in time to take to the ladies' meeting on Wednesday.


I forgot to start the dishwasher last night (oops - had to go to the backup cat dishes today), so I got that in shape and washed the pans in the sink. I also did toilets, and I attacked the calcium rings with my pumice stone. I only used the stone on the rings, so there are still reddish streaks, which might be iron. I think there are things you can get to remove iron stains from ceramics. And I got the cat food stashed away.


Gee, it looks like I really did a few things today after all. I didn't get enough sleep last night, though, so maybe I can get to bed a tad earlier tonight? If I try, I can. One problem is that I was looking over my 2008 expenditures and my 2009 needs, and the finances really look bad. Oh, well, I have some money now, so I will try to be careful, and sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.


The weather was amazing. The temperature only got down to 36 this morning and it got up to 54 for a couple of hours this afternoon. There was a very light wind from the southwest, and while there were some clouds in the sky, there was plenty of sunshine.


I had opened the east window a crack yesterday, and it was so warm in here, I opened it further this afternoon, which made Jasmine really happy. She spent a long time sniffing and looking around outside, just as long as my back was to her. If I looked at her, she ran away. She even got onto the fleece in the south windows, and I believe she really wanted to settle down there in the sun, but I started looking at her again, and she was just too doubtful. I don't have any clue what she thinks I might do to her, but she just will not trust me.


Buster liked the open window, too, although not as much. I think he is over his tummy upset. At least he ate very well this morning, and he was sitting on the scratching post and looking out the front windows afterwards.


All the sun and warm temperatures has melted the top layer of ice at this end of the harbor, so there were still pools of water all over it this afternoon, which was very pretty. There were still a few clouds in the sky tonight, but the sun set almost in its equinox position over the mountain, and Venus was shining brightly after dark.


So it was an unseasonably warm day in the field, and tomorrow is supposed to be almost as warm, before it cools off a bit. I am afraid we are in for an early spring, and that could mean a really hot summer. I hope not, but who knows. This could be just a glitch.


Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.


Now it's a calm, warm night in the field and it's time for bed.


March 15

Well, I really did it last night. When I rebooted the computer, I tried the broadband connection and it was working. So I did my daily surfing (less those webcams that would be dark at that hour), then finished one half of the backstitch on the biscornu, and then I got started playing a game, and...well, it was really late.


I dropped into bed after 2:30, and Buster meowed me up at around 11:15, which really isn't enough sleep for me, but oh, well.


When I got to the office, after knitting for a long time, the broadband was gone again. It apparently went down around 12:30, and this time, according to the message on the tech support line, it is Brockway that is down. It is still down now, at 9:30. It is an inconvenience for me, but I was talking to Ron, and Trevor has homework due tomorrow that he needs to do the research for online. Maybe he can get an excuse from Charlie. This is the longest it has been down since I've had my connection. Mike said they need to do some upgrades to the equipment, and I hope they are taking this occasion to do it.


So I couldn't do my surfing, and it was after 6:00 before I gave in and dialed up. I can't really do my surfing on dialup, it just takes too long, but there were a few pictures from the camera to show what kind of a day it was.


I crossed off another item from the to-do list: I got my tax information together for the accountant. I just hate to do that, and I have a couple of questions for her before I pack it up and send it off, but it is all in neat little marked bundles, ready to go. Whew! I will be glad to get that out of my hair! I hope it comes out all right. Last year I had to pay quite a bit, although I got even more back for my homestead property taxes. The Feds taketh away and the state giveth.


I also changed the batteries in the weather station and its sensors. This morning, the one I have hanging on the door handle wasn't transmitting, although it did have a reading on the unit, so I guessed that the batteries were going. While I was at it, I looked at the one inside, and it was blank, and I figured that if the sensors needed new batteries, the base unit did, too. What interested me is that within an hour of replacing the batteries in the base unit, it was displaying the date and time. Usually that doesn't happen, and during the time of solar max, I had a hard time getting it to sync up at all.


About the same time, I finally opened one east window a crack. The temperature had gotten up to 80 in here, and I was sweating. That caused quite a bit of interest, although Buster doesn't feel well. He has a hairball again, and it is giving him a stomach ache. I was about to set his breakfast down when he emitted the saddest yowl and went off and barfed. He did feel better then, and ate and took a drink, but he hasn't been acting right for the past couple of days. I think he is starting to shed, which I would say is a bit early. Jasmine was extremely interested in the open window. She would probably like to go outside all year around, and she has the coat to do it, so she has been jumping up and sticking her nose in the crack. It feels good, and it smelled pretty good, too, until Aaron fired up his wood stove again.


The weather was sunny and warm. The temperature hit 49, and it was in the upper 40s all afternoon, with almost no wind. It was mostly sunny, too, so the house got really warm inside. I will take (almost) all the free solar heat I can get, but I wish I could store it. We will have another couple of days of this before it gets back to more normal conditions, including possibly some snow.


So that was my truncated day, and I am happy to say I actually accomplished something. Now I will aim (again) to get to bed a bit earlier tonight. It's a warmish, clear night in the field, much too springy for March!


March 14

Well, it was 2:00 before I got to bed, and I didn't get up until 11:00. I am obviously still on standard time! It was too bad, too, because not only did I miss a lovely morning, I missed the broadband, too.


Sometime shortly after 11:00, it went down, or mostly down, and it was down for the rest of the day. I finally did dialup, just to get a few pictures out on the site - including a lovely one of the twilight with Venus, which I will probably post after the broadband is back up. The dialup is so slow (26.4kb download) that I couldn't do any of my daily surfing. Fortunately, I only had advertising emails.


I was so late that I didn't do anything much at all. I played with the computer and I worked a little bit on the second side of the biscornu, and that is about all. I tried to sit in the ugly chair for a while - it was lovely - but the light wasn't right to embroider, so finally I moved back to the desk, but then the setting sun was shining in, and I really couldn't do anything much. Aw, too bad!


While I was in the ugly chair, I watched the birds, and I discovered that the little white feeder that I hung out after the platform feeder blew down is extremely popular. It doesn't hold very much seed, but everybody likes it. I saw chickadees and goldfinches and a number of common redpolls, including a male with a lovely pink breast. They are cute little birds. They do winter around here, but I think they are stoking up before they fly north, to the very top of the continent, to nest. They are smaller than my chickadees, and that ruby-red spot on their foreheads is so cute. According to my old journals and my bird list, I have had them before at this time of year.


Oh, that was what I was doing last night. The highest temperature recorded for yesterday was in 2006, and I wanted to read what I had written (see - that is why I keep these things). It turned out that there was a high that day, and the next day we had a real humdinger of a late winter blizzard, with about 18" of snow coming down in 24 hours. I wish that would happen again. Blizzards are fun. 


Anyway, after I read that one, of course I had to read on to find out why I left for Detroit on March 30, with Buster, and then I read April and May. That was the year I put the house on Champine up for sale, and I spent six or seven weeks sorting and packing up all the stuff that had to get out of the house, and dealing with building inspectors and backing up sewers and all that sort of thing. I remember how glad I was to get back here.


The weather today was beautiful, but more like early spring than late winter. The temperature got up to 48 for several hours this afternoon (a new record for the day), with not much wind at all. I was able to go outside without a coat, and it was pretty nice. There were a few clouds in the early afternoon, but they finally went away, except for one little lenticular one over the Mountain Lodge, and the rest of the afternoon and evening were just lovely. I did save one picture (which I may or may not publish when the broadband comes back) with Venus shining brightly just under the top of the picture in a perfectly clear sky.


They are claiming it is going to be even warmer tomorrow and Monday, before it cools down a bit. I guess I can handle that. I appreciate all the free solar heat, although it did get rather warm in here.


I need to point out, as far as those temperature records are concerned, that they have only been keeping records for Copper Harbor since the late '90s, when the NWS station was erected, so setting new records is not such a big thing. Unfortunately, that means my personal record of 105 measured in the shade at King Copper Motel on July 4, 1988 (I think - it could have been 1987) isn't part of the official record for the town. Too bad.


So that was a nearly lost day, and maybe I can get to bed a bit earlier tonight? We'll see.


March 13

Now I don't remember what I was doing last night (probably something I shouldn't), but it ended up that it was about 3:00, what with my bath and all, before I got to sleep. I got up around 11:00, because Buster was beginning to get antsy and I had to walk anyway, but I really didn't want to. So I missed a good part of the lovely day.


I didn't do much again, but I did get the trash off the kitchen counter, and the dirty dishes into the dishwasher, so that was something. I also went through the baskets of catalogs and threw out about half of them, so now I can move them under the desk. I am still trying hard to get to the sewing machine. Otherwise, I did nothing, not even embroidery.


The weather was nice, and I probably should have gone out. The skies were partly cloudy all day, I would say, and there was lots of nice sunshine. The temperature got up to 33 briefly, around 6:00 this evening, and there was a little northwest wind for most of the afternoon. It cleared up, mostly, around sunset, and the camera caught Venus again.


Venus is dropping fast into the west, so camera should catch her every night from now through the 25th, when it is clear. There is one day near the end of the month when a person on the top of Brockway could see her setting in the evening and rising the next morning, but you'd need clear horizons in both directions to do it. Brockway won't be open to car traffic then, and I don't know any other places around here where one might see both the northwestern and northeastern horizons. It will probably be cloudy anyway.


So that is about all I have to report, and I hope to maybe, just maybe, get to bed a bit earlier tonight. Clearly we are all still on standard time, but that was still a bit late to get to bed. It's a clear, breezy night in the field, and the bright moon will light the way.


March 12

Whew! I just about had a disaster. I have a picture to share tonight, and when I started doing the work to create the page and add in the links, all of a sudden my top and left-hand borders all disappeared! Egad!! So I closed everything (saying "no" to everything) and when I reopened FrontPage, thankfully, everything seems all right again. It's probably a good thing I started this early tonight, because there is a finite chance that I might end up having to load most of the website. My heart!


I went up to the north end around midnight last night, and when I got there, I read through the new story and started writing...and it was 2:30 before I got to bed. Handwriting is slow, and I keep forgetting that when I get into the middle of something, I lose track of time.


So it was after 11:00 before I got up this morning. I was dozing for a while before that, mostly because a certain cat of my acquaintance decided he wanted to get under the covers and settle down between the body pillow and the body...and he had to wiggle around for a while before he got comfortable. I got  up because my left hip was getting sore, and that meant either turn over and take the body pillow (without the cat) with me, or get up. It was time anyway, even though I didn't feel like I got enough sleep.


I knitted and petted the same cat for an hour or so, which made me late enough that I didn't do anything much at all today. I did finish the first side of the biscornu and I started the second side, and I got the dishwasher unloaded so I can begin to reload it.


When I was up in the night, the just-past-full moon was shining so brightly on the snow that it looked like early morning daylight all night, and for quite a while it was shining right in the front windows. So it was a clear, cold night in the field last night, and I think tonight is going to be just the same.


It was a clear, cold day, too. There were a few little clouds around during the afternoon, but nothing to interfere with the sunshine. The temperature got up to a whole 10, and there was a 20 mph wind for part of the day, mostly from the north, although it was backing westerly at sunset. All that nice sunshine is so lovely, and it warms up the house so nicely!


I had stopped and restarted my browser to delete all the nasty cookies and cache that people leave on my disk, and when I saw the last picture of the evening, I had to save it. Here it is. See why I wanted to save it? Not only is there the last of the sunset, there is a snowmobile coming down off the top of Brockway (this must have been a great night to be up there!), up in the right-hand corner is Venus. You can see I haven't been exaggerating how bright she is. I thought that was one of the cooler pictures the camera has captured lately. It was worth eating my dinner in the dark to capture that.


It looks like the branches of the tree have finally flexed back almost where they belong, although you can still see the branch the bird feeder hangs from. I think I mentioned Tuesday night, that the temperature was above freezing and some of the snow was mixed with rain. Evidently that was the case, and the branches of all the trees were really bowed down yesterday, since the slushy snow had frozen when the temperature plummeted. In fact, there are icicles on the tree south of the house (a red pine) and on the big cedar feeder. The nice thing about that is that in spite of the high winds we have been enjoying, all the beautiful glaze is still on the trees, even on the tops of some of the tall pines, which makes it much prettier. Usually, with strong winds, all the snow would have been blown off the boughs by this time. Evidently a healthy tree has branches that are flexible enough to bend with the weight of the ice, even though I have noticed when I have to pull down that branch to hang the tube feeder, that it isn't as flexible as it is in the summer, as though the sap has frozen, which I think it has. As my mama used to say, ain't Nature wonderful?


So that was my rather truncated day, and I think I will make Rhodes hearts for a while and listen to Mozart before I go up to the north end and maybe write some more. It's a frigid, clear night in the field.


March 11

Well, that was a nice, stormy night.


I don't remember now quite what it was last night, but it was 1:30 before I finally got to bed. When I went to sleep,  the temperature was still 33 and there was no wind at all, and it was still quiet at 2:00. Well...about 2:30 all hell broke loose, if the weather history is any indication. The temperature had dropped to 23 and the wind got up to 33 mph with 48 mph gusts from the north...oh, here we go. The temperature continued to plummet, and by 3:00, the north wind was at 43 mph with gusts to 54 mph. That, friends, is a gale.


That seems to have been the high point, although there were still 50 mph gusts at 6:00. I was awake for a few moments around 4:00, and the wind was battering the house enough that I wondered if something had broken loose and was pounding on the hurricane shutters. Of course, it was snowing. I couldn't see the lights of town all night long. I was awake again about 8:00, and while the wind wasn't quite so wild, it was still banging against the house, and it was still snowing. It was cool in the bedroom, but it was so nice and comfy under the covers that I went back to sleep and I didn't get up until 11:15!


I knitted and petted a cat and took my time, so it was after noon before I got to the office. I had my new cereal this morning, but I am going to have to try to figure out how to keep half of it from sticking to the bottom of the pan while I am cooking it. It is an 8-grain natural cereal, and it needs to cook for 10 minutes, although I ended up letting it cook for about 5 minutes longer than that - it's hard to hear the timer when I am engrossed in the office. Anyway, it is very nice cereal, and it was perfect for a cold, snowy morning.


I was so late getting up and it took so long to do my morning surfing that I didn't do much of anything more for the day. I did partly unload the dishwasher while my dinner was cooking, but otherwise, all I did was work on the biscornu. I am now adding beads, then there are a couple more rows to go and I will be done with one side. It is going to be a pretty thing, especially with the beads, although I think it will be too delicate to use as a pincushion.


The temperature got down to 3 at 9:00 this morning, and the wind was in the 30 - 45 mph range for most of the day, although it has warmed up a little (to 10) and the wind has died down a lot (20 - 30 mph) now. I think it is still snowing lightly, although it is hard to tell with all the blowing across the ice in the harbor. There actually wasn't very much snow at all (which is a good thing, as you will see), maybe 3" - 4". If it had been more, it would have been bad.


The real story today was the drifting and the side effects from that. Ron was out early, and he said it was really bad down in the culverts, which isn't surprising. I think he had cleared the drifts twice - the second time leaving only a narrow path - when Aaron and Amanda put in a fire alarm. I'm not exactly sure what their whole problem was, but it had to do with the exhaust pipe from their wood stove, which is how they heat. Probably it needs cleaning. Anyway, the fire truck just made it in beyond the culverts, and when they were through, they decided they couldn't get out again, so they had to call the fort to get their big tractor to widen the road. As Ron said, it would only happen on a day like today. I guess everything is OK there now, and the fire truck got out. Ron came around again about 7:00 and did my driveway and the road again, and so far everything is clear. That is one of the problems with living on a private road with a spot that drifts badly that I guess I hadn't thought about too much.


It was 64 in the bedroom this morning, which I found a very nice temperature to sleep, and it wasn't too cold in the house all day, so that was nice. The wind is backing northwesterly now, so if it gets strong again, it will get cold in here, but for now, it's fine.


So it's a cold, windy night in the field, and I think it is still snowing lightly. It will be another good one to cuddle up under the comforter and sleep long and hard.


March 10

Tonight is the full moon, but we sure aren't going to be able to see it.


I got to looking at a couple of the catalogs I got yesterday, and with one thing and another, it was 1:30 before I finally fell into bed. Oh, well. I got up around 10:00 this morning, forestalling Buster's idea of settling down beside me. So he sat on my lap for over an hour while I knitted. I am making good progress on the body of the sweater. It looks like I might even finish it before I go to Detroit in April.


Other than that, I didn't do much. The weather - not too cold and very humid - did a number on my back, so I sat. I did get most of the stuff out of the car, because I want to try some of my new cereal tomorrow. Doing that told me I wasn't going to do much more that required standing and a lot of the other things on the list require at least some standing.


The weather was not good. It started snowing around 11:00 this morning, and it has been snowing lightly ever since, but the temperature has been at 32 or 33 all day, so it was slushy snow and probably rain sometimes. The wind has begun to rise into the 15-25 mph range, and the forecast is for 30-40 mph winds with gusts up to 55 mph overnight. Now, that I want to see or hear. The wind has been from the south, but it is now beginning to shift slowly toward the east and it will go to the north overnight. So it sounds like, if the forecast holds up, we are going to get our March blizzard. If we do get northwest winds with gusts to 55 mph, I'm going to know about it, especially up a the north end. Stay tuned. The low is right over the Keweenaw right now, so it's coming...it's coming...


I worked on my biscornu this evening. I like the design, but I do not like making little backstitches over one thread of 32 count linen! That's what you get when you do something lacy and delicate. It's coming along, but I keep thinking, then I have to do the other side, too...I decided to do one whole side before I do the other, and I'm wondering if maybe that was a mistake, and I should have done both sides at once. However, I will persevere.


I forgot to mention that yesterday Jasmine spent nearly the whole afternoon in the office with me. She was mostly sitting on the footstool by the patio door, but for a while she was curled up under the south windows. It was partly because of the sunshine, and partly because of the birds and critters at the feeders, but that can't be the whole reason. When I moved, she ran, but she evidently wanted to be someplace near me, as long as I didn't know she was there. Poor little Jasmine. I hope someday she learns that I am really a good guy and I only want to be her friend. Slowly but surely we make a little progress, but it certainly takes patience.


So now I am really going to go up to the north end, take a nice shower, and hope to spend a long winter's night cuddled up under the comforter. It's going to be a hairy night in the field, and winter isn't over yet.


March 9

It was about 1:45 before I got into bed, and I don't remember why. For some reason, I was up any number of times during the night. The moonlight was so bright that I couldn't see any stars, but it was so bright I think it was mostly clear. I got up around 10:30 and knitted and petted a cat for a while before I got to the office.


I had just begun my surfing when the broadband went away. I did the usual things, including shutting everything down, and nothing worked, so I called and apparently there was a failure between Horace Greeley and the Mountain Lodge. It's always something, isn't it? So I took a magazine to the powder room, and by the time I was through there, it was back up, although I must say it was responding a bit slowly for a while.


It was a beautifully clear, sunny morning, and the sun held up until almost 5:00 before the clouds began to roll in. Sunset was partly cloudy, and I notice that the sun is setting over Brockway now. We are gaining daylight at over 3 minutes a day, and daylight is now 11 hours. That certainly is nice.


I set out to do nothing, and I was doing a good job of it when I remembered that I wanted to pay some bills today, and there was one actual check I had to write...the first in a long time. Paying bills over the internet certainly saves on checks and stamps...no wonder the postal service is going to have to raise prices again. There was also the Bible cover I wanted to send back, so I packed that up, wrote my check, and went off to the post office, where there was the usual package of catalogs and pleas for money, as well as a couple more bills. It never ends, it seems.


When I got back, I finally filled the pail with sunflower seeds, then eventually I hauled in all the feeders and filled them. It did not have anything to do with the grumpy email I got this morning. It was something that was on my list all along, but I had postponed doing it because of my back, which was about broken by the time I had all the feeders hung out. I don't think there were any birds this afternoon, but there may be some tomorrow, stoking up before the storm. I'm sure the squirrels will be here. 


Almost all the snow is off the deck, and when I went outside, there in the corner by the house was my platform feeder! Two of the chains are missing, but I have one for length, and I think I can replace them if I want to. I filled the feeder and put it on the deck, and so long as we don't get too much snow, I think the squirrels and bigger birds can get to it. I have no clue how that chain came apart, or how the feeder managed to get from in the tree to on the deck, but I'm not going to complain. I was sure it was in the next yard south after those winds.


I have been meaning to mention that several times when I was at the post office, I could hear the birds twittering in the trees. There are more birds in town than there are here, I think. And I heard a female blue jay singing her mating song...this was when the temperature was in the teens, but it was sunny. The birds know that spring is coming, in spite of the weather.


So I did do something today, and that was good. Maybe tomorrow I can scratch something else off the list?


The weather was nice. The temperature got up to 32, and there were only light winds that started out from the west, swung around to the north, and ended the day from the south. Preparing for the deluge, no doubt. The weather forecast is for a winter weather watch tomorrow and Wednesday, and they say the snow could get very heavy tomorrow night - eight inches or more. We'll see about that, but everybody seems to agree something major is heading in our direction.


We haven't had any lake effect snows since the end of January, and that is because, for the first time in several years, Lake Superior is almost frozen over. It's not complete, and it's not solid, but the NOAA satellite pictures show that there is ice right out into the middle. With all that frigid weather we had, it's not surprising, although it was a disappointment that we didn't have more snow in February - only about 40". I'm sure Ron and Aaron wouldn't agree with me. George Hite does, though, so it depends upon your point of view.


Now, with all the strong sunshine and the warmth, the road is solid ice, and a good new snow cover would be good for us. Navigating the road is, um, interesting at this time of year. And the streets down to the post office are a mess. Sixth Street, which goes by the west side of Mariner, is where the runoff goes, and there are channels in the ice and running water down the street. I'm not sure where it ends up, but there are ditches where it probably collects.


So first we have the thaw, then we have the mud, and then we have a short respite in May before it's black flies and hot weather. Maybe this year, I can have the house opened up. Days are going by so fast, I have been losing track of what day and what date it is. And another one is gone.


So it's a quiet and cloudy night in the field, and I'm off to the north end to maybe catch up on my sleep.


March 8

Last night, I thought I was going to get a jump on the time change, so I changed the computer's clock...and I forgot to change "PM" to "AM" so the camera didn't come up (or if it did, it was during the night, I'm not sure) until I got to the office and discovered that the computer thought it was 1:30 tomorrow morning. Oops. Sorry about that. It's only one reason I hate DST.


I think it was about 12:30 (DST) when I made it into bed, and I got up around 10:30 this morning. I felt like I could have slept longer, but I had to take a walk anyway. I managed not to have an accident today, for once, by paying careful attention to what my gut was saying, and that was nice.


I worked on my biscornu. The only problem with them is that you have to stitch two sides. Some designers make the two sides different, but this one doesn't, so I will have to stitch the whole thing over again. It's kind of fun to stitch, although it has lots of little two- and three-stitch flowers and leaves, which I don't like to do, but I knew that was what I was getting into with this designer. I think it's going to be a pretty thing, although it is purple and green - not my favorite color combination. Better than purple and orange, I guess.


And that was about all I did.


I forgot to mention yesterday that while I was in the laundry room doing my jeans, I had a brainwave and fiddled around with the GRD receptacle...and now all my receptacles work! Such a simple thing! Usually when a GRD overloads, a little knob pops out and you can see it, but I couldn't see or feel anything with this one. So I reset it three or four times and now I have power in my laundry room again. I should have done that last November, and I don't know why I didn't. Now, any time I feel like doing something (hah!) I can set up the ironing board and iron tablecloths and the (unfortunately) 100% cotton shirt I got from Eddie last summer. There were some other things I wanted to do with an iron, and now I can't remember what they are, but they will come to me eventually. Now that I have my rolling stool, I don't feel quite so afraid of ironing. However, since the ironing board won't collapse, it has been in the back hall on its side all winter, and I have been using its legs as a very useful clothes tree for my jackets. At least it's been useful for something.


I roasted my little chicken tonight, and it was good. I do like that convection oven. I use the temperature probe, although it didn't work very well, because the chicken is so small. It sure does make roasting things like that easy, and the convection oven leaves the skin nice and crisp. It was good. I discovered that you can cover up a lot with Alfredo sauce. I had some frozen veggies from Schwan's that I didn't like the seasoning - it was supposed to be rosemary, but it had a strong and rather unpleasant flavor. So I covered it up with some frozen Alfredo sauce, and it was really good. I sometimes think Schwan's is rather expensive, but their things do tend to be good, and they have things nobody else does.


The weather was nondescript. There was a little sunshine this morning, but it was mostly cloudy until sunset. I forgot to look for Venus, but it was quite clear in the west, and there was some orangey color in the sky after sunset. Nothing to warrant a rush onto the porch, but it was nice to see some color for a change. The temperature was about 24 all day, and there was an east wind, mostly under 10 mph.


When I got up, there was a fishing hut right out in the middle of the harbor between the fort and the lighthouse, but it went away before I got the first picture from the camera. Personally, I think the guy was a little foolish to be that far out in the harbor, after the warm weather we've had. Even though it was cold today, the ice has to have softened up a lot.


Tonight I read through another unfinished story that is on the computer. I would like to finish it, but I didn't feel any creative urge when I read off the end of it.


So that was another quiet day, and it's off to the north end for a quiet night...oh, after I put the chicken away and fill the dry cat food bowls.


March 7

It was out at 11:30 and on at 9:30 again, although I will be later tonight. And it was another one of those days. I knitted for quite a while and counted rows about six times before I got the number right. The exact number of rows isn't critical on the body of the sweater, but I like to keep track.


It was another one of those days. I was in the middle of cooking my breakfast when I had another accident, so it was somewhat overcooked, and I ate in my underpants. Then I had to clean up what I had been wearing, and I washed three pairs of jeans. This might have been partly my fault, but the whole thing came upon me so suddenly that I didn't know I had a problem until I stood up, and then it was too late. Oh, well.


I didn't do a lot more, although I got the dishwasher pretty much ready to run tonight and I washed up the pots and pans that were in the sink. The stove side of the kitchen is a real mess, and the sink side has trash on the counter again, but it looks a little better with all the dishes off it.


The weather was blah again. It was sunny when I got up, but it soon clouded up, and it was cloudy and dull until around sunset, when it cleared up again. The temperature actually fell slowly from midnight, and it was around 30 all day, with light north winds, and it is now 25. It was clear enough to see Venus after dark, but it is supposed to cloud up and maybe snow.


We have lost a lot of snow over the past few days. My deck is almost all clear, especially down by the office, and there is bare ground on the driveway and over the septic tank. We need some more snow and soon.


One reason I would like more snow and a late spring is that it has been my observation, over many years, that when spring comes early, summer is hot, and I can certainly do without a hot summer. So I will hope that we get lots of new snow in March and the leaves don't start to show until close to the beginning of June.


When I went to bed last night, the almost-full moon was shining brightly in the windows, then the clouds came and it disappeared, then it reappeared...several times. It was setting over the lighthouse the last time I was up, and it was behind a rather thick cloud cover, so it was on and off all night, but it was very bright. The speed at which the phases change is only another indication of how fast time seems to fly these days. Sigh.


So it is a late winter night in the field, and I need to go up to the north end and jump into bed. Stupid Daylight Savings Time starts tomorrow, so I will be totally discombobulated.


March 6

I turned out the light at 11:30 and I got up at 9:30 this morning, so I should have had enough sleep, but it sure didn't feel like it. I didn't want to get up, but I had to walk anyway, so I did. Buster was happy, but I wasn't. I knitted and petted him, then after he got disgusted and went away, I counted rows in the sweater and I have 70 out of the 120 rows done, so I am making good progress. It is beginning to look like I really will have enough yarn left to make a matching pair of socks.


I was still so tired that I didn't do anything much at all. I brought in some of the stuff I got at Wal-Mart, and I started a new embroidered thingy, but that was all. With any luck, it will be an early night tonight.


The weather was not conducive to doing much. The temperature has been over freezing for the past day, and it was foggy and yucky down the harbor all day. I didn't even look at it much. It was fairly windy, especially this afternoon, with winds in the 15-25 mph range, from the north. The sun came out maybe twice, although it cleared up as the sun set, and Venus was shining clear and lovely in the windows when I went to get my dinner.


I spent some time this afternoon going through an email folder I called "savethis", and sorting out the stuff there. It had everything in it from instructions on how to turn these files upside down in Word to the keys for the software and games I've bought for the past 8 years. It at least needed sorting out, and there was stuff there that shouldn't have been. I had that folder before I had my "orders" folder, and some things got stuffed there that shouldn't be. I have a few more things to straighten out, mostly subscription renewals. Curiously, I seem to have bought a few games I don't have the files for, which is interesting. Anyway, that consumed quite a good amount of time, then I cleaned out the "orders" folder. I only keep outstanding things there, and I don't have any outstanding orders right now.


It never ceases to amaze me how cluttered my email folders get - almost as bad as the printed catalog problem, and mostly for the same reason.


Tonight, I got my flat iron steaks into the freezer, except for the one I ate. I am so glad those things are now available. They are much less expensive than most steaks, and they are quite tasty and tender, so I can eat steak when I want to. Poor Buster wanted some, too, but even the juices don't sit well in his picky stomach, so he couldn't have any.


Which reminds me, I forgot to remark on a curious thing I noticed in Econo yesterday. They had these little whole chickens (about 3 lbs) on sale for a very modest price. They also had some roasting chickens, which ran between 4 and 6 lbs, I think. What interested me is that they were asking more than $7 a lb for the roasters, which is more than they were getting for steak - my flatiron steaks were only $3.50 a lb, I think (on sale, of course). Now why in the world that would be, I just don't know. I am not about to pay $18 for a chicken - I think that's more than I paid for my turkey last Thanksgiving! I miss having the giblets (I love liver), but it sure isn't worth that price to have them. Just one of the strange things that happen in the grocery store these days.


The new embroidery is called a "biscornu", which I think is an Italian word. It is a small pillow, usually less than 4", that is put together in a neat way to make an eight-sided thing, then pinched in the middle with two buttons. I have directions and kits for several, and I've been wanting to make one, and I got this kit not too long ago. It has been sitting on the desk, so I decided it would be fun to make. It is by a designer who uses counted thread stitches other than cross stitch, which makes it fun to do. We'll see how it comes out. I got all of two stitches done on it this afternoon.


So that was my quiet day, and I'm hoping to get to bed early and sleep long again tonight, so that maybe tomorrow I an do a little more.


It seems to be a clear, warmish night in the field, so maybe there will be some stars.


March 5

I read for a while, then I got to writing the new story again, and before I knew it, it was after 1:00. Oops! That was not what I intended! And besides, when I woke up at 9:00 and couldn't get back to sleep by 9:30, I got up. So I didn't get my quota of sleep last night.


I started slowly, and I was doing well when I had another accident - this one my own fault, for ignoring the signals, which didn't make it any better - and I had to change all my clothes, so it was around noon before I finally left the house. There is something wrong with my garage door, probably having to do with the weather, and it won't close without keeping my hand on the switch in the garage. I think I've had this problem before, and I believe it goes away when the snow does. Anyway, I had to leave the door open when I left for the afternoon.


I went to Wal-Mart first, because I needed kitty food, and I got a number of other things besides. I think I have the fabric for my Bible cover (less the embroidered part) - a quilted fabric and something like Trigger cloth, which is a heavy pants-type fabric. Between the two of those, I should be able to create a nice, sturdy cover with pockets and pen holders, handles and a closure. The quilted fabric was on sale, which was even nicer. Now I have to decide just what to do the embroidery on...Aida or an evenweave. Hmm.


I decided to stop for lunch, so I went off to Ming Bistro, and it was better than it was the last time I was there. Of course, it was 2:30 before I got there, and there weren't  very many people there, which certainly helped. They have several Sichuan style things on their buffet, so I get my spicy fix when I go there. The soup wasn't as watery today, either, and all the trays were full.


I think I got everything on my list at Econo, and I didn't get some things I had been getting - no deli, and no yogurt. It's not that I'm tired of yogurt; I love it, but it's 170 calories a day that I don't need, and I've decided to try to watch my diet a little. Probably it wont' help, but we'll see. It will also show if the yogurt was doing my elimination any good. The deli stuff was mostly because I was eating sandwiches for breakfast, and I haven't been doing that lately. I did get a couple of packages of flat-iron steaks on sale, and two small roasting chickens, one to eat now and one for the freezer, maybe even for some soup. My mother had a wonderful recipe for chicken soup. I didn't get my usual Stouffer's frozen stuff, either. I'm getting tired of it, and I have some Schwan's frozen dinners. There is still enough in the freezer to keep me eating for the next month.


I started so late and it took me so long at both places that it was after 4:00 before I got to the gas pumps. Gas is up to $2 a gallon, darn it. I don't know why, when crude is so cheap. I guess they're getting ready for the summer already.


I didn't get home until about 5:30. The drive both ways was good. US-41 is mostly clear (although wet in spots) from Copper Harbor south, and I was able to get up to my usual speed for most of the trip. There was a little slushy snow in the woods, but not much. It's not that good between Copper Harbor and here, but then, there isn't much traffic here. There was very little traffic, and more on the way back, from people coming home from work.


I was so tired when I got here that it was 8:00 before I got the cold stuff out of the car, and the rest of it is still there. Tomorrow is soon enough for all that. And I am so tired that I doubt I'll do any writing tonight.


The weather was the kind I hate. The temperature got up to 41, and it was humid without much wind. Yuck. The skies were still clear when I got up this morning, but it had pretty much clouded over before I left. There was no precip. This is not good for my arthritis, and it told me so.


It is also the ugly season. The snow is all brown and black where the sand and road dirt have splashed up over it, and it looks dirty and dreary. The piles are quite respectable, though, even though we only had 40" of snow in February. In spite of our two thaws, there hasn't been that much lost snow. The only bare ground I saw was in my driveway, when I got home this afternoon. And there is ice and puddles of water in all the parking lots, which doesn't make it any easier to walk around.


So that was my day, and I am really tired tonight, as well as having sore feet and knees. It's time to toddle up to the north end and crash. It's a warm, cloudy night in the field tonight.


March 4

I was in bed before midnight last night, amazingly enough, and I slept well, although it took me a few minutes to get comfortable - the ear problem again. Besides, the almost-quarter moon was shining directly in the windows into my eyes (aw - too bad!), but I had to turn over anyway in order to get to sleep. I was up several times, and I got to see some stars. It seemed to be quite clear last night, although since I didn't have my glasses on, I couldn't tell for sure. I woke up about 8:00 and decided that wasn't enough sleep, so it was 10:30 (or later) before I finally rolled out of bed. It was a beautiful, clear morning again, with lots of sunshine, but before I finished my morning surfing, the sun was starting to go away.


It also got quite warm. It got up to 34 late in the afternoon, right about the time the southwest wind started blowing in the 15-35 mph range. I hate this kind of weather. It does my arthritis no good at all.


This afternoon was the ladies' meeting, and while it was a small group - two of the regulars were missing - it was a good one, and we had lots of things for show and tell. I took the scissors fobs, and everybody thought they are cute. Then my neighbor Andrea came with her baby, Mia, who is now eight months old, and she was the hit of the afternoon. She is a very good baby, and she seemed to feel right at home with all the old ladies. Andrea had brought some handcrafts she had brought back from Ecuador, and there were some beautiful things. Unfortunately, nothing I could use in this house, but she had lovely embroidered pillow shams and sets of placemats, some jewelry, and a lovely woven wool table cover that one of the ladies bought. So it was a nice afternoon, although it ended a bit earlier than sometimes.


On the way home, I stopped and got the order of needlework stuff I put in last week - very fast service! - and I discovered that the Bible cover I bought is way overpriced, and besides, it doesn't fit my Bible. So that will get sent back, although now I know how to make one, if I can ever find my embroidery fabric. Besides, I want mine with handles, since the Bible I use most is about 3" thick and very heavy, and beginning to fall apart from use. I will still be able to do the pretty pattern for the front that prompted me to order the cover. I guess I am going to have to make a foray into the basement and see what I can find. I don't remember if I have any black Aida...or any other black fabric that is heavy enough. We'll see about that later. Oh, there is the stuff I bought for the loon pictures, before I decided I didn't want to do them on Aida...hmm... Handles, a pocket and a pen holder would all be nice to have...


That Bible is really too big and unwieldy to be carrying around all the time. It has four translations, side by side, so each section takes two pages, and there isn't very much on a page. I might be tempted to start using the one I got last year, which is a new and very nice translation, except that I have had this one so long (it was my birthday present to myself in 1985) that it has all my favorite passages marked in it, and I just don't want to transfer all those markings to another book. I have even had to reinforce the spine with book tape, and I just noticed that the back is starting to come off again. Now I wonder where that book tape is? However, if I could make a sturdy cover for it, it wouldn't matter so much that it is coming apart. Hmm... There goes the mind...


Anyway, that was it for the day. I thought maybe I could do something more, but it didn't happen.


I wrote about a page and a half on the new story last night, which was enough to tell me it isn't ready yet. So maybe I will go back to the other one I was writing on and see what I can do with that, while I let the new one percolate. I do have some idea where the old one is going, or I think I do. Of course, that means reading over the entire episode first, so the writing will have to wait.


When I finally got out the tote where my Bible is, I found the pencil case I thought I lost which has a pen and pencil set in it that I've been wondering about. So that mystery is solved, and I can take the tote up to the north end where I can use it.


Now it is time to go up to the north end and maybe get to bed even earlier tonight. Tomorrow is shopping day, even though the weather forecast isn't the best. I just can't wait any longer. I will drink the last of the OJ tomorrow morning, the fridge is beginning to look pretty bare and the shopping list is getting long.


It's a cloudy, breezy and rather warm night in the field.


March 3

Instead of going up to the north end early, like I intended, I got to working on the scissors fobs and I finished both of them. I made it into bed around 12:30 or so again, but it didn't help much. It was nearly 11:00 when I got up, I think. I was up several times during the night, but not for long. I did get to see some stars, which was nice. 


About all I accomplished was to go to the post office and get the car cleaned out. I don't know exactly why I hadn't done the car, because it wasn't all that much work. There was 140 lbs of bird seed and 40 lbs of kitty litter, plus a few things left over from my last trip to town. Using a hand truck for the birdseed made that not a bad task.


It really wasn't a very good day, though. I started out by burning my pinkie on the toaster oven, chasing toast around on the rack. Then I had a small accident, which was bad enough for me to have to change every thing from the waist down. When I started for the post office, I heard something hitting my right front wheel, and along about in front of the waste management ponds, it fell off. On the way home, I picked it up - one of my fog lights. That must have happened when I buried myself in that snowbank yesterday. I think there was another small incident that I can't remember. At least these things all seem to happen at once.


The mail, a 5" pile, included a lot more catalogs (sigh) and pleas for money. I suppose with the way people are cutting back, the charities are hurting, but I'm afraid I just can't help. However, there were also several magazines, including two of my favorites, and two of my favorite catalogs, so now I have something to read again. I did get my black jeans and finally, at long last, a pale aqua turtleneck, something I've been looking for for years. The way the colors and styles in the catalogs look this year, I won't be tempted to buy very many more clothes, which is good.


The weather was lovely. The temperature is finally moderating a bit. While it got down to -7 between 6:00 and 8:00, it warmed up fast, and it was 21 for most of the afternoon. There was little to no wind, almost completely clear skies, and it was actually nice out. I didn't have to wear my parka. My hands got cold while I was moving birdseed, but I only had my lined leather gloves on, and they aren't really warm enough for that kind of weather. I like to wear them, if I can, because I can do more than I can with mittens or my big insulated gloves on. Buster was basking in the  morning sun on the back of the sofa, and Jasmine spent a good part of the afternoon on the pink chair in the sunshine. We all like to bask in all that free solar heat!


I finally paid the bills I was supposed to pay on Monday, and that was interesting. The bank's website apparently crashed right before I tried to log on and nothing but the home page was there for a few minutes. Well, no code is ever perfect.


Otherwise, I put away the needle rolls. I like the stitching on them, but now I am thinking of finishing them as little pictures instead of needle rolls. A scissors fob I can use, but what good a needle roll is, I don't know. With all that stitching on them (one is silk), I wouldn't want to use it as a pincushion. So I put them away to think that over. There was a little picture (on Aida cloth, unfortunately) that I started stitching way last spring, and I got that out. I am looking at a sampler by one of my favorite designers, but I haven't decided for sure what I want to do next. I also toyed with the idea of transcribing the next episode from the big blue binder, but that gets boring, too. 


I guess I keep thinking I should either be doing something to make some money or I should finish something (like the angel)...or I should do some sewing. I still have too much stuff on the floor to get to the sewing machine right now, so that won't happen. It isn't likely to be much of a decision until Friday. Tomorrow afternoon is the ladies' meeting, and Thursday is shopping day, no matter what the weather. I am running out of OJ, and that is critical.


So that was my day, and tonight I will go up to the north end and maybe write a little. The story that follows the white binder has been gnawing on me for quite a while, but I haven't quite decided just how long after the end of the first one this one starts. I think it will be seven or eight years, but I have to work out the ages of the characters and figure out where everybody went. There were a lot of characters in that story.


It's another clear, frigid night in the field (although not quite as frigid as the past few), and there are stars.


March 2

I was in bed before 1:00, but not much. I think I fiddled around in the office for a while before I went up to the north end. I slept well, and I didn't wake up for the first time until almost 7:00. It sure is nice not to have to get up every three hours, which I did for at least 30 years. I went back to sleep then and I didn't wake up again until 9:45, which made getting to Johanna a bit rushed. No knitting, although I did pet a cat for a while. I had a fast breakfast, and I did get to look at the weather before it was off to town. 


I was on my way back when I ran into Aaron coming up the hill in is 2WD drive pickup full of wood, so I took a hard left into what I thought was a turnoff, and, well...I got stuck. Really stuck. My first thought was to walk back to the house and call Ron (who, as it turned out, wasn't home), but I couldn't get out of the car on the driver's side, so with great difficulty, I managed to get across to the passenger's side and get out there. My legs don't bend very well, and space is tighter than I might have expected, with the console in the middle. Finally I made it, but when I got out, I noticed that my front wheels were at an angle, so I decided to see if straightening them would make it possible to get out. So I had to get back in and back into the driver's seat. Well, no such luck. I was really stuck


Just as I was considering what to do next, Aaron's dog Deuce came bounding by. Deuce is a black lab, and he can't be more than about nine months old, so he is a bundle of energy. And behind him, there was Aaron, who could see that I was stuck. He went home, got a shovel and came back (on foot), and dug out the front of the car enough that I could go forward, and then after a couple of tries, with his help pushing on the front end, I finally managed to back out. Part of the problem was that I was trying to back up a hill, and part of the problem was that I had used too much gas when I first tried to back up and I had dug a hole, but mostly it was that I had put my front end into a snowbank. So I have had my stuck for the winter. I hope not to do that again.


That meant it was nearly 2:00 before I got home, and I didn't do much for the rest of the day. Scrunching up my knees like I had to when I was trying to get out really left them sore, and all that moving around, on top of my massage, left me pretty tired. 


I cooked tonight, chicken breasts, and while the news was on, before it got dark, I sewed together and stuffed two more scissors fobs. I still have to sew the cording on both of them. They are a little bigger than the first one, but they are both cute.


I am tired tonight. I didn't get enough sleep, and massage always does that to me.


The weather was beautiful but cold. The temperature bottomed out at -12 at 7:00 this morning, and it got up to 12 for most of the afternoon. It is now dropping off again. What very light winds there were (under 10 mph) were from the north. It was mostly to completely clear all day, and there was plenty of beautiful sunshine to warm up the house.


It's a problem at this time of year, because the sun shining in the sliders falls directly on the computer screen, and even though this one is better than my old one, it is still hard to see anything for several hours. Not that I am going to wish it to go away. It's wonderful. It looks like we may have one more day of it before it clouds up and warms up. I may not have picked the best day to go to town (Thursday), but I have too much to do around here before I go to go tomorrow. I thought I might get some help getting the birdseed out of the car, but they didn't show up, so I will do that myself tomorrow.


Now I am tired and ready to go up to the north end. I may write a bit, for a change, or I may just crash. It's going to be another clear, frigid night in the field and it will be a good one to cuddle under the comforter. Venus and the moon are still shining in my windows, and maybe tonight I will get to see some stars.


March 1

By golly, February disappeared on me. I wonder where it went? You'd never know it's March from the weather.


I think it was around midnight when I turned out the light, and I did not have any more strange dreams. I slept well, until about 9:30, when I sort of woke up with a headache, so I just dozed until it went away. Buster wanted me to get up then, and he had just settled down when I decided to get up, around 10:00. So he got his petting this morning, and I knitted a little bit.


The task of the morning was to fill the pill dispensers, which ended up meaning I had to come down to the office and get some that were still here, and I had to go into the fridge for some of my probiotics, so that took time.


The other task of the day was to wash. I discovered that I had been washing my jeans as they got dirty, so I only had three loads to do - dark stuff, underwear, and fleece tops. The first two loads are in the dryer, and are probably done, and the fleece is in the washer. So I accomplished that task.


I also sewed together one of the little scissor fobs, and I stuffed it with cotton balls, which is not a good idea. It turned out rather lumpy, but oh, well. I am in the process of sewing the twisted cord to the fob. It will be cute. I will wait until I have all three fobs finished before I take a picture. There are also two needle rolls (whatever you want to do with those, I don't know), and a little envelope that may never get finished, since it needs lining and I have not been able to find a calico that goes with the embroidery. We'll see. I like the fobs, anyway.


The weather was, um, frigid. It was sunny when I got up, but a while later, I looked up from my cat petting and my knitting to find it snowing! That went away in five minutes or so, and it cleared up again, and it was mostly sunny for the rest of the day. It was a pretty day, but oh my, was it cold! The high temperature was 6, and it was around 5 for most of the afternoon. It has now plunged to -5 at 9:00. There was a north wind in the 15 mph range for most of the day, although that has died down. It was perfectly clear at sunset, and again Venus and the moon were shining brightly in my windows.


Ron came over this afternoon and cleared out the driveway and the drifts that were closing in on my garage door opening, so I am in shape to go to my massage tomorrow morning. He said the part of him that gets really cold when he is sitting on the tractor is his knees, so we are trying to come up with some knee warmers for him. He is so little and skinny, I'm not surprised he gets cold, and of course, he is leading with his knees when he sits on the tractor.


So that was another quiet day, although I did accomplish a few tasks that needed doing, which is good.  Now it's time to toddle up to the north end and try to get to bed at a reasonable hour. It's a clear night in the deep freeze in the field, and it's time to hunker down under the comforter.


Last  updated 08/04/11 08:45 PM