Knitting, spinning, pets, food and other thoughts

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Winding down …

from a busy few days. We had a great visit with our daughter, son-in-law and grandkids. The rest of the family wasn’t able to come, but we did manage to catch up with everyone by phone at some point. It was good to have them here, and the critters got along well most of the time, except when Stella (white poodle, still fairly wound at 1.5 yrs) stuck her nose in Amber’s face once too often, and got swatted.

Friday was a beautiful day (unlike today, which has been gloomy, grey and spitting either sleet or snow all day), so most of us went for a walk in the woods, while Himself and our son-in-law hung out at the house. We used to go for hikes and picnics back there a lot when our kids were around the ages our grandkids are now πŸ™‚

We had more construction progress Friday β€” they put boards around the top of the walls and installed the beam that runs the length of the basement. It was neat to watch, and it has to take a lot of practice to lift and fit the pieces into place as smoothly as they did.

For anyone looking for a way to use up leftover turkey (or chicken, ham or …. ?), I found this recipe for Turkey & Dumplings. This is what I grew up thinking of as dumplings, while around here and in many places, dumplings = thick noodles. The recipe I’ve always used cooks them on top of the stove, half the time covered, half uncovered, but this one cooks them in the oven, which I want to try. Since I rarely have buttermilk on hand, it’s nice that there are a couple of suggested substitutions (diluted plain yogurt or sour cream).



Thanksgiving Week

I very much enjoyed reading Ireland by Frank Delaney! It’s a big book (556 pgs), but I found it hard to put down. He has a 2nd Irish novel out, which I’ll look for, and a 3rd coming next year. From the dust jacket:

Ireland travels through the centuries, interweaving Ronan’s quest for the Storyteller with a richly evocative unfolding of the great moments in Irish history, ranging from the savage grip of the Ice Age to the green and troubled land of tourist brochures and political unrest.

The first Trekking sock is nearly a sock – just another decrease round, and the toe will be ready to be grafted. The UPS truck dropped off yarn for another deadline project today, so the 2nd sock may not go as quickly as the first.

Trekking XXL #175

Trekking XXL #175

More progress in the Construction Zone, including waterproofing on the outside of the walls. It’s coming along, and plans are to work every day this week except Thursday, with the ever-present qualifier “weather permitting.” Some of it has had to be worked out on the fly, due to some of the unique construction features



of the existing house.

Wednesday evening, we’re expecting one of our daughters & her family, so we’ll have 2 adults, 3 kids and 2 standard poodles added to the mix. Given that most of our “yard” currently looks like the photo, it’s going to be interesting, to say the least πŸ˜‰

The Saturday evening sky was pretty – with the traffic and lights, it was a little different from my usual view. It was chilly, so we got our frozen custard and sat in the car to eat it.

Saturday evening sky from Ted Drewes

Saturday evening sky from Ted Drewes


At last …

another stealth knitting project revealed. The Meilenweit Multieffekt yarn that followed me home this summer made a fun pair of socks. Since they’ve gone to their new home (a birthday gift – she likes them!), I can show them now. They’re in Georgia’s Pattern from Ribbing-Plain & Fancy.

Meilenweit MultiEffekt #3122

Meilenweit MultiEffekt #3122

A couple of happy dance things: Lace Leaf Cardigan in the February 2009 Knit ‘N Style (4th row, center), and my friends tell me that Fade to Grey is in Knitter’s Winter 2008 edition, even though my copy’s still floating around out there in the mail somewhere. [ETA: My copy finally came on Saturday!]

I’ve been on a cookie-baking kick lately – the latest batch was Snickerdoodles, using the recipe from my old Betty Crocker looseleaf cookbook. It has lots of annotations, additions, some cooking spills, and also a lot of the little round page reinforcements to keep the pages from falling out, but it’s my main go-to most of the time. Himself really went after these, even though there’s no chocolate involved, just cookie dough, rolled in sugar and cinnamon πŸ˜‰


Progress in the construction zone – the basement walls were poured on Tuesday. They finished removing and hauling away the forms yesterday, and it looks more and more like a basement all the time. It was in the teens last night and the only reason our water didn’t freeze (the line from the well is still on the ground) is that we left it running a little all night. Next step is to seal the walls, and I suspect that doesn’t work very well in the cold.walls
I’m trying out a new place for the birdfeeder that’s not too far from this window. I think Amber approves of the Kitty TV β€” there was a whole lot of tail swishing going on πŸ˜‰

New bird feeder location!

New bird feeder location!


Cookies again!

I found this cookie recipe on the Bakers’ Banter blog from King Arthur Flour. I need more recipes almost as much as many of us need more yarn, but these were very tasty, even if Himself thought they’d have been better with just chocolate chips and “none of that chewy stuff” (approximately equal parts of chocolate chips, pecans and dried cranberries). I thought they were just right πŸ™‚

I was looking for a listing of books in a series and found this site – it says it has bibliographies for over 15,000 authors, and a very long list of books (over 700) that are “coming soon.” It’s certainly one of those web sites where I could spend a whole lot of time!

There’s been progress in the Construction Zone! When we had to leave for an appointment* today, there were 3 (!) concrete trucks already here, and we met a 4th truck coming in off the highway at the bottom of the hill. The basement walls are all poured, and they’re supposed to take the forms off tomorrow. Now if we can just avoid having the water freeze up again overnight, like it did last night – yes, cold weather is definitely here.

*Hopefully the last of the after cataract surgery appointments. I’ve never seen the waiting room that full – I knitted an entire heel flap on the latest Trekking sock, and almost finished turning the heel while I waited, it took that long. I was very glad I had something I could do even with the eye drops!


Warning …

clicking on Ravelry links can lead to impulse stash enhancement! I saw lovely yarn and I should have known better, but I clicked anyway.

Angel Blue

Leprechaun Lace: Angel Blue

Very quickly (great service!), this beautiful skein of laceweight alpaca/silk/cashmere (~1300 yds/100g) and a nice set of stitch markers appeared in the mailbox from Ellie at So far I’m still just petting it and waiting for it to tell me (more specifically than just lace) what it wants to be, as simply winding it will be a long-term commitment.

Since I finished the Regia socks, I dug another ball of Trekking (it’s a little darker than it looks here) out of the stash and started another pair of socks. They’ll probably end up as a gift πŸ˜‰

Trekking #175

Trekking #175

We had pretty good progress on the construction yesterday, at least until it started raining. The guys gave up after a while, and since today was the beginning of deer season, I really didn’t expect them to be back today. Maybe Monday … at least we’re getting closer.

Today was cloudy all day, with bits of sleet/snow/yuck during the afternoon, but Thursday evening, the sky was gorgeous!

sunset11 sunset2 sunset3


This ‘n That

One of the really wonderful things about blogging has been making new friends, and blogging just reconnected me with a friend and editor with whom I’d lost touch for much too long. She left a comment, I emailed her, and we had a nice phone chat this afternoon – color me very happy!

In spite of the lack of cooperation from the weather (it keeps raining!), we do have progress in the Construction Zone. First we had a trailer load of forms, and then another, and now the new basement is mostly formed up – I haven’t decided whether it looks more like a fort or a flood wall. There’s still some tweaking to be done, but it sounds like it should get poured either Friday or Monday, which may depend on the availability of the big truck with the conveyor.

Someone mentioned cooking oatmeal in the crockpot, which sounded like a good idea – I like oatmeal, but not the standing and stirring part. I looked around and decided to try this recipe for crockpot steelcut oatmeal. It calls for 2 cups of Irish/steelcut oats – I used 1 cup of oats, 2 cups of milk, 1/2 cup of water, a goodish handful of dried cranberries, and the waterbath method she describes. It turned out very well, except that next time I’ll use a little more liquid, and either set the temperature slightly higher, or start a little sooner, as I thought the oats were still too chewy when I first checked them. Next time, I also plan to spray the bowl with cooking spray πŸ˜‰

Since I’m a certifiable Chocoholic, and chocolate is now officially good for you, this dense hot chocolate sounds like a must-try!


A shopping spree

Saturday we had lunch at John D. McGurk’s Pub – yummy clam chowder, soda bread and fish & chips! (I didn’t realize until just now that my knitting bag and our leftovers were in the photo πŸ˜‰ )

mcgurks sodabread

The next stop was Soulard Market. Many of the vendors have been there for a long time, and it’s really fun to visit with them. Our main objective was to order a turkey for Thanksgiving β€” several years ago we decided to order a fresh bird from someone at the market, and have done it ever since, they’ve been so good! While we were there, we had to see what else was available, and asparagus, mushrooms, a head of cauliflower, a stewing hen, some really meaty-looking ham hocks, a case of Himself’s favorite Pink Lady apples, and a few other edibles came home with us. The hen and ham hocks went right into the freezer, and I need to get some of the rest cooked soon!

The construction is creeping along – there are now some forms in the hole and a forest of wall-high reinforcing rods wired to the shorter ones set in the footings. The weather forecast doesn’t sound really encouraging for this week, so I’ve got my fingers crossed (at least mentally, otherwise it’s too hard to knit).

I went outside alone earlier, but look who was watching through a slightly fogged-up door (it’s chilly!) …