Finally A Finished Pair!

I’m happy to report that the Vincenzo Socks are done. It took a small threat of imminent mental breakdown but I got a most- of – the – day break from the baby on Monday and knit my little hands off. The socks are done and I felt a bit better at the end of the day. They are a Debbie Bliss pattern in Baby Cashmerino. I love knitting these little socks!

And it’s a good thing Monday was relaxing, because yesterday wasn’t. At least not most of the day. I did manage to pass out on the couch after morning bus stop and woke up, mouth hanging open, drooling. I must’ve really needed that nap.

Then the dog pooped on the bedroom floor. And again on the driveway, twice. Then the neighbor’s dog paid us a visit and tore open the garbage bags that were awaiting pick-up, and it was very windy out, so I spent a good long while chasing it all down and rebagging it. Nothing like old food and dirty diapers all over the muddy, rain – soaked ground.

And I didn’t care. Because a new Deadliest Catch was on last night, and there was no one home to complain about me watching it.


I’m Not Crazy….I Just Want Some Chickens

Seriously.  It’s been a dream of mine to own an orchard (with a big old farmhouse) for quite awhile.  I usually keep this one to myself because most people, when told that I want to live on a farm, shake their heads and tell me it’s too much work, or farm animals are “yucky”, or they just think I am abnormal somehow.  Well, now word’s out.  (Hey, just because most days I’d rather lounge on the couch in my jammies doesn’t mean I can’t do real work…….it just means I don’t WANT to)

Thing is, I know how hard it is just to care for the inside of my house right now with all these little kids around, nevermind actual agriculture.  So I’ve been slowly and painfully learning to compromise and start small.  Right now I have a struggling herb garden and some flowering bushes.  We’ll put in a few raised beds and I’ll grow some tomatoes and basil.  Easy stuff.  Maybe next year when Oona’s less of a barnacle (you know, completely stuck to my side) I’ll clear out some land in the back for a pumpkin patch.  An apple orchard is in no way feasible, but a decent sized pumpkin patch is.

And I’d also like…..chickens. Now don’t look at me like that!  Why must everyone assume I must be off my rocker because I want a few chickens out there running around, eating ticks and fertilizing the grass?  And don’t tell me chickens are a lot of work, because they’re not.  I’ve done my research.  They actually make decent pets if you get the right breed.  And the added bonus: fresh eggs.

When my cousin Libby and I were small we would argue over who got to carry the egg basket out to the chicken coop every morning (she lived on a horse farm, and her parents had chickens, geese, ducks and rabbits).  We even chased the poor critters around trying to dress them in doll clothes.  We loved them.  The geese were another story.  You couldn’t turn your back on those meanies or they’d run you down and try to bite you.

Point is, I’m looking into getting some chicks at some point in the not too distant future.  But don’t worry….I won’t give in to my desire to get sheep to supply my ever increasing desire for wool.  Yet.

Playdates in the Park With Neve

So the kiddies got to hang with my in laws over the weekend and I am well on my way to being done with the Vincenzo socks as a result.  It was a pretty relaxing time…..perhaps due to my consumption of too much of this:

Vino, courtesy of an uncle who owns the vineyard from whence it came.  And while I was getting good and full of wine, Neve was getting good and full of sugar:

A WHOLE BOWL OF SUGAR.  It’s that Fun Dip or whatever it’s called.  A late Easter gift from the extended family.  But, it turned out ok.  She was put to work in the kitchen.

Neve and Emily helped learned from grandpa how to make Hamantaschen cookies.  Yeah, they didn’t last very long.  Good thing I recorded them for posterity before they all disappeared into our bellies.

SO after all the cookie eating and wine drenching I figured it would be best to get out of the house and walk a bit this week.  Wednesdays are our day for going to the Children’s Museum on our pedestrian mall downtown, and we thought a picnic lunch at the park afterward was just the ticket to enjoy the weather and prevent permanent hermitude from setting in.

It was fun – we had a big group, as always, and the playground was a hit (fortunately for Neve, not literally).  My little daredevil continued to make me cringe while she climbed all over the various play equipment.

The lurky dog guy was there (a local who lets his do run free contrary to our leash law.  Last time his dog caused a bi problem for a woman with a toddler, an infant and her dog, which was leashed.  I grabbed the loose dog before the poor woman got knocked down, and the lurky guy couldn’t seem to understand why I would do that).  There were tons of kids and parents of both genders, which I found refreshing – it’s nice to see dads out with kids on a weekday.  Normally it’s just us over-stereotyped SAHM’s being told our large groups of wild children and SUV sized strollers are too much for their boutiquey stores (true story!  And it was a children’s clothing store!!!!!)  Wow, I digress.

Anyway, the big hit was this:

A push – button operated waterfall!  It turned out to be overly chlorinated and bleached some shirts, but the kids LOVED it.

SO we decided next week we’d bring their bathing suits so getting totally wet would be okay.  I was feeling all happy and excited for our kids until Paul had to ruin it by telling me that “drunks and hobos probably use that thing for a urinal”.


Say Hello To My Fermented Friend

So my mother brought me 3 bags of cinnamon sourdough bread starter and some instructions last week.  For those of you that have never heard of such a thing, it’s basically a chain letter/pyramid scheme type of thing.  Seriously.  For every ONE bag of starter, you yield TWO loaves of sweet yummy bread plus FOUR more bags of starter.  This pretty much forces you to either bake like mad ALL the time, waste a ton of food stuffs, or foist a ridiculous amount of starter off on your friends and family.

This is what I started off with:

Looks innocent enough, right?  You’re supposed to mush the bag every day for 6 days, and on the 6th day, you add a bunch more sugar, flour and milk.  The bags puff up a lot with the fermenting going on, so you have to let the air out every so often.

After 10 days you get to dump out the bag into a bowl and add yet more stuff:

This is where you take out 4 cups of the batter and put them into 4 separate ziploc bags with which to terrorize everyone you know.  The rest goes into 2 loaf pans along with a generous amount of cinnamon and sugar:

And then you bake it.  I have to say, the house ends up smelling pretty yummy at this point.

And it tastes pretty yummy, too.  The first batch I made with no nuts; the second I added some chopped pecans, too, and it was even better.  But that’s a lot of baking to do , people!  Those 3 bas made 6 loaves (good thing for the big freezer!!!) and, horrifyingly, twelve bags of starter.  TWELVE!!!

And if you’re counting, each of those 12 bags will make 2 loaves, plus 4 more bags of starter.  See?  Pyramid scheme!!!!!  Work – intense chain letter!!!  And though it is very yummy, I have way more than I need.  So I forcibly nicely sent a few bags home with the in laws.  And all of you that live close by??  You’re next.

Creature Feature, Early Spring Edition

We live in the country in Virginia.  That means lotsa critters!  I never saw this much wild animal/insect action growing up in upstate NY, I can tell you that……even when I stayed on my cousins’ farm.  Heck, I spent a lot of summers hiking around the Adirondack Park and never encountered enough to scare me into staying away from the woods.

Now that I live in a more mild (read: HOT) climate I spend most summers threatening to move to Canada.  But it’s not all bad.  Some of what I see around here is pretty darn cool.  Last August I had a flying squirrel that would come to my bird feeder every night.

Pretty cool, right???

So here is a smattering of what we’ve seen around here this spring.

As always, tons of venison deer:

(That was taken from my living room window)

There’s the territorial little finches at my feeder every day:

(I tried to get a good one of the downy woodpecker and nuthatches we also see, but no luck yet)

A few nights ago, we spotted what we think is a luna moth:

It was HUGE!!!!

This next poor little critter was long dead………we found this shell and bones down by the stream:

It was way cool, but kinda disturbing, too.  I found all of his little vertebrae and bones there.  There was a ton of little tadpoles in the stream so we’ll have some amphibian action soon!

Then yesterday when I moved the garbage can I found this guy:

What I thought was steel wool was actually a wooly bear caterpillar. After I made a call to the local wildlife and pest authority (mom) and ascertained that he was harmless, I went back out to collect him with a jar, but alas, he had gone. Freaky though, huh?

And now that we’re talking creepy / crawly, I found a redback spider in the sunroom yesterday, a lonestar tick on my living room window, and spent 3 hours picking live, crawling nasty lice out of Emily’s hair today.  No pics of those.

Canada, ho!!!!

0 Accidents Since…..ummm……Oh Well

For those of you keeping track, here’s another cracked skull to add to my tally.

Neve was running in the house again (totally against the rules, not that she cares) and managed to trip over her own feet (happens more than you’d believe) and fell and cracked her head pretty hard on the hinge (!!!) of the front door. That’s like a one in a million shot, there I might add….I mean, what are the odds, really?

Anyway, I am sure that the lovely nurses at our doctor’s office thought I was a nutcase when I called, frantically trying to figure out if I should attempt a drive to the ER or just call 911. All I could see was the blood dripping from her head and pooling onto her shirt and then the inch long gash and I about passed out. By the time my mother came over to help out (about the longest 10 minutes of my life) I was shaking.

As it turned out she required 3 stitches to close a nice clean hole that went clean to her skull. 3 hours later she is happily playing on Webkinz and waiting for her papa to come and cuddle her. And did I mention she is thoroughly taking advantage of her “poor baby” status? Pudding, chips, mandarin oranges, cookies, crackers……all the goodies she can stuff down her little throat. Good thing she’s cute.

Hotel Update!!!

Yes, it’s still for sale. You can see the ad here.

The price has been slashed. I’m hopeful the lower price will make it more attractive, considering it needs a lot of work and all of the antiques and furniture (pretty much every thing) was removed and sold off by the last (um, total jacka**) owner.

Anyway, I’m wiped out from a long day of driving but I’ll have more to say on this topic soon.

Stay tuned!!!!

Of Dogs & Sisters

It turns out that the “unidentified object” that our mentally challenged canine ate was one of Neve’s socks.  Fortunately for said mentally challenged dog, it was not a hand-knit sock.  She puked it up whole this morning and we were right there to collect it.  SO the drama is over and the dog is fine…..a few hundred dollars and one peed – on van seat later.

With all the happenings this week I have had woefully little time to knit, but I am chugging away on the Vincenzo socks and the first one is just about completed.  Baby socks are tres fun to knit.

This week has been spring break for the kids and we ended up having Maddie here all week….which has been mucho fantastico, because it never hurts to have another pair of hands to help with the baby and the other kids.  My sanity has been saved on more than one occasion by having someone here to help see the humor in the disasters.  And my parents got a week all to themselves (lucky!).  Sounds like a win-win to me.  She goes home tomorrow, sadly, and it’s going to be rough without her.  Back to managing things on my own.

Monday is going to be a challenge.  I have to be at Emily’s appointment at 9:30 am……and it’s quite a drive, so we’ll be having to leave here by 7 am at the latest.  But like I said, there’s a Dunkin Donuts 3 miles from the dentist’s office, so the trip home will at the very least be delicious and well caffeinated.  (Incidentally, I’d like to thank the geniuses who brought us little tv’s and dvd players for our vehicles.  Kids are much easier to manage on long trips when Dora is on.)  It’s too bad I can’t knit while Emily is being treated.  That would make these things much more pleasant for me.  But Oona just won’t allow it!

Anyway the weather’s been getting warmer and the bees have decided they like our living room a lot. We’ve had 3 in the last 2 days.  I don’t know how they are getting in, but the Dyson has proved a most valuable bee – capture – and – containment unit.  There was also one spider sighting in the same room, which means I’ll have to find their little entrance and plug it up before things get worse!  It also looks like I’ll be turning on the A/C before too long.  Yesterday was int he 80’s in here and I just could not get motivated to do anything. I totally wilt in the heat.  By evening it was perfect for a nice walk outside (saw some cool bats flying around) but it was pretty warm in the house.  Today it’s much more bearable, but if I am going to do any amount of baking it will just get too hot.

Here’s hoping for a cool and uneventful rest of the weekend!

Today’s “To Do” List

Make sure everyone eats breakfast and gets dressed

Clean up kitchen

Battle teething baby for a moment’s peace in which to take a shower

Inspect dog poop every couple of hours for partially digested toy

Start laundry

Make lunch, change baby

Spend 2 hours preparing craft project for kid’s afternoon “busy time”

Get bitched at by husband for not doing enough

Battle baby to make phone calls to endodontists and insurance company

Decide insurance company is worst in the world

Make appointment at a provider 2.5 hours away

Curse repeatedly

Do online search for Dunkin Donuts in that area – find one 3 miles from Endodontist’s office


At Least You Have A Story For The Blog

See this poorly framed picture?

This, my friends, is a tall, cold, frothy glass of Guinness Stout.  It is my reward for not going batshit crazy today.  And it is the best cold Stout you’ve ever tasted.

What?  You ask why my day has been so trying?  Well, let me just tell you.

1.  Oona was up all night being fussy and unhappy.  I got very little sleep.  Then she was up and wide awake bright and early.  I nearly fell over from exhaustion trying to get to the coffee maker.

2.  While holding the baby and the coffee in my grogginess I misjudged her ability to inflict damage with her new teeth.  I now have a giant angry bloody red gash between my thumbnail and knuckle.  And it hurts.

3.  While I had the baby on my lap she made one little grunt and shot poop out the side of her diaper, into my lap, all down my leg, all over the couch and onto the carpet.  And it stained.

4.  She screamed the whole time I cleaned her up and the whole time I showered.

5.  The vet let me know I’ll have to dissect and carefully inspect all of the dog’s poops until she passes whatever she swallowed.  And it cost $350 to find that out.

6.  Fussy baby won’t sit still, nap, or let me put her down.

7.  On the way home from the vet, the dog did a huge pee on the van’s backseat.  A huge, 10 gallon stinky pee.  We had to smell it all the way home……along with the fresh poo in Oona’s diaper.

8.  I had to thoroughly steam clean said van.  Stupid crappy cloth seats.

And at the end of it all, Maddie had sage advice for me:

“At least you have a story for the blog”.