Joyknits!

Knitting, spinning, pets, food and other thoughts


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Birds …

The big excitement this week has been centered around the bird feeders. In previous years, rose-breasted grosbeaks and orioles have made brief stops in the yard, but never stayed. So far this year, they’ve been hanging around. The grosbeaks seem to like both the sunflower and safflower seeds, and the orioles (at least 2 pair – yay!) started out with the suet cake, which they’re still working on, but have also decided the grape jelly feeder is a good deal.

Oriole on suet cake, grosbeak on seed feeder.

Oriole on suet cake, grosbeak on seed feeder.

grosbeaks 2

I finally tried a recipe I found a while back for Spicy Chicken Thighs with Apricots and Olives.

chicken 1

Fortunately I’d saved it in Pepperplate, so I could find it, and it turned out as good as it sounded – I was a bit careful with the heat level and will add a bit more the next time. It’s really easy, as you put the chicken in a bag with the marinade and let it sit for 24 hours, then cook it in the oven, and serve over rice or cous cous – yum!

chicken 2

Toby went to the groomer today, so he’s nice and soft and a bit less furry – when I picked him up, there were drifts of fur out in the reception area that had just rolled under the door from the grooming area πŸ˜‰ toby 0413b

toby 0413a

Another bit of spring – the sassafras trees are in bloom. sassafras


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April showers …

in this case, can cause problems! Starting way too early this morning with a wake-up call from Toby because it was storming (time for his Thundershirt and Rescue Remedy!), it kept raining most of the day (almost 4″ in the gauge), and a pond that’s nearly overflowing. We’re usually lucky to have a foot or 2 in it! pond

At times like this, we’re very happy to be 200-300 ft higher than the highway, because the creek running next to it went over the road in at least a couple of places (pictures on Facebook), and it was even worse in a number of areas around the St. Louis region.

While I was over by the pond, I sneaked a peek into the bluebird house, and saw what looked like a blue tail sticking up on the left, but didn’t want to disturb her, so it’s not a very good photo.Β bluebird house

Meanwhile things are blooming, and I saw the first hummer of the season this morning, though only briefly.

Serviceberry (top); flowering quince (left); lilac (right).

Serviceberry (top); flowering quince (left); lilac (right).

I tried a recipe from Essential Pepin today; Red Snapper with Leeks, Mushrooms & Shallots – with a few substitutions, that is. The recipe said it was suitable for any firm-fleshed fish and I had a piece of flounder, green onions, dried shiitake mushrooms and 1 red sweet Italian pepper, so I sliced, diced and seasoned a bit, simmered everything but the fish in a cup of white wine, then put the fish on top of the sauce, simmered until the fish was just done, and the recipe’s definitely a keeper! dinnerTalk about getting out of one’s comfort zone! Anyone who knows me knows that I don’t crochet very much – my skills there are pretty minimal, but a friend asked for help with his Mom’s treasured afghan. She’s in a nursing home, and the afghan had been sent through the big washer. Unfortunately, some of the yarn in it was wool and didn’t tolerate that at all well.

Granny square: before.

Granny square: before.

It would be nice if it were possible to insert rows/rounds into crochet like you can with knitting, but as far as I can find out, crochet doesn’t work that way, so I ended up taking the square out, adding 2 rounds with new yarn, then recycling the original yarn for the last 2 rounds. She was very thrifty with her ends, so it wasn’t easy πŸ˜‰ Hope I don’t need to do it again!

Granny square: after

Granny square: after


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Running a little behind!

I meant to do a post yesterday, but somehow it just got away from me. I did, however, finish Cat’s Paws & Feathers, which is now on Ravelry. It was really fun to knit, but it sure fought back when it came to getting the color to come out in the photos!

Cat's Paws & Feathers.

Cat’s Paws & Feathers.

The swatch from the last post is turning into a sweater, and going faster than I expected. The back is done, and this is the first front.Β knitting As the sleeves will be somewhere between short and 3/4-length, I’m hoping to have it done fairly soon. I stopped by Hearthstone Knits in St. Louis last weekend, and found the perfect buttons for it too πŸ™‚

We’re still getting a wild mix of weather – after several very warm days and a big thunderstorm the other evening (but not nearly as bad as the 3 tornadoes that went north of us!), we have a frost warning for tonight, but it’s still looking more like spring all the time. The buds are getting bigger on the buckeye, and the hummers usually show up around the time they open.

Buckeye buds.

Buckeye buds.

Maple leaves.

Maple leaves.


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Busy weekend and beyond.

We had a lively Easter weekend β€” a total of 8 were here; our kids + friend, 4 of 6 grandkids and one of the girls’ friends joined us for dinner. We had a blast, but not many pictures got taken. It also hit nearly on my birthday, so I got flowers, cards and other goodies. The trick with flowers is keeping Amber from munching on them πŸ˜‰cards

flowersI’ve been yarn doodling again – I think this may just grow up to be a sweater soon. The part at the bottom is a little bit of a stitch pattern I didn’t like in this yarn, but the top part looks like a winner.

Swatch (Webs Valley Yarns; Southwick (52% Pima cotton/48% bamboo viscose).

Swatch (Webs Valley Yarns; Southwick (52% Pima cotton/48% bamboo viscose).

The amaryllis ended up with all 4 buds open, and what a display! amaryllis0402Toby’s been going after moles – unfortunately they mostly seem to be staying ahead of him and making a mess of the yard, but he’s having a great time trying. toby 2

There's dirt flying in this one!

There’s dirt flying in this one!

Trying to go in after it.

Trying to go in after it.

And a little more spring …

Forsythia.

Forsythia.

ferns

Love the little fern next to the quartz rock here.