Joyknits!

Knitting, spinning, pets, food and other thoughts


3 Comments

Peeking around the corner …

hope someone’s here – things have stayed busy and the poor blog has been seriously neglected for much too long! The garden’s long gone, though some of it (mostly green & wax beans, and roasted tomato sauce) lingers on in the freezer, knitting projects have come and gone, and of course more’s on the needles.

The most recent one I can talk about, Tangerine Leaves can be found in Knitter’s K113, and was lovely to knit!

We got a pretty good snow (for us – probably 6-8″) starting on Thursday, and it’s been Bird Central, with cardinals, juncos, chickadees, titmice, canaries, some rather unexpected robins, bluebirds, yellow-rumped warblers, a couple of pileated woodpeckers and swarms of cedar waxwings, which are going after the berries on the cedars, and the year’s bumper crop of persimmons.

Cedar waxwings feasting on persimmons

Cedar waxwings feasting on persimmons

IMG_8145 copy

IMG_8186 copyToby’s been loving the snow, in fact it’s been hard to get him to come in, even when it’s been in the teens & 20’s, and he comes in with snow sticking everywhere, including ice balls in his feet Toby 1

Toby 2Maggie’s more into cozy spots – here’s why it’s hard to get the bed made around here πŸ˜‰Β MaggieWe’re trying to get ready for the holidays, but there’s always something more to do! wreath


3 Comments

Out & about …

We’ve had lots of birds and critters in the yard, including this wren, who was exploring below the deck yesterday,

Wren (again)

Wren (bug hunting)

(the rock “mulch” is the only way I’ve found to keep the chipmunks from digging up my plants)

Wren

Wren

and one of the pair of phoebes that’s nesting down under again (closer than usual – I snuck this shot over the railing)

Phoebe

Phoebe

and more of the local wildlife – I’m glad I’ve got a rabbit-proof fence around the veggies!

How many bunnies?

How many bunnies (trick question)?

and even caterpillars – since they’re Swallowtail caterpillars (actually 5 of them), I just picked up another dill plant πŸ˜‰

Swallowtail caterpillar

Swallowtail caterpillar

Prairie Sunrise has been spectacular, though the rains have made it a bit droopy. I counted 24 flowers and buds on it.

Rose bush

Rose bush

Prairie Sunrise bud.

Prairie Sunrise bud.

Just a little ways over, the hollyhocks are getting ready to bloom – can’t wait to see what color(s) are there.

Hollynocks

Hollyhocks

This was the sky last evening, and it’s supposed to be more of the same, which makes Toby one unhappy dog, even with his ThunderShirt!

Stormy sky

Stormy sky


1 Comment

May, and still with the showers!

It’s raining again today – about 2Β½” when I looked earlier, and no signs of stopping for a day or 2. The creeks and rivers are up again (some of the low water bridges were covered), though it’s not nearly as deep as a couple of weeks ago. I just hope it doesn’t quit entirely like it did last summer! Things have gotten so green it’s amazingly beautiful.

Red buckeye in full bloom.

Red buckeye in full bloom.

Kitchen herbs.

Kitchen herbs.

I decided to add more cooking herbs in the end of the bed closest to the door, so I planted more chives, cilantro, 2 Italian parsley, and dill next to the first clump of chives and the thyme on the right. There’s also more thyme, oregano and mint in another bed even closer to the door πŸ™‚

I had a supervisor while I was working with the plants.

Toby0513

On the knitting front, I’ve added a jacket and tank set, Chesapeake Twinset, to Patternfish – please take a look!

We still have lots of birds on the feeders – the grosbeaks and orioles are still around, along with all the “usual suspects” (cardinals, goldfinches, chickadees, titmice, nuthatches and small woodpeckers). orioles

Also most or all of the wren houses seem to have been claimed.

wren 2

House wren.

Β wren 1

Phoebe feeding Brood #1.

Phoebe feeding Brood #1 under the deck.


1 Comment

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


2 Comments

To repot or not …

suddenly was no longer a question when I tried to move the amaryllis the other day. The old plastic pot practically exploded in my hands, unfortunately bumping the tips when it fell, but I hope it will recover.

Before.

Before.

in its new pot.

In its new pot.

It’s a pleasant change today not to have all the winter storm watches/warnings blaring from the media. While it’s important for people to be warned, I do think they go way overboard, and then there are always those who go out in it anyway, and have to be rescued … never mind, I won’t go there.

Yesterday was quite different – we had this on the TV (we’re in one of the pink areas) and ended up with mostly sleet, some snow and fortunately relatively little freezing rain …radarand outdoors around noon noon 0221then about an hour and a half later 0221_130I was very glad I’d gotten out to fill the feeders the day before this all hit πŸ™‚

We stayed inside and enjoyed leftover sauerbraten, cabbage (would have fixed red cabbage which would have been more colorful, but I only had green on hand) and potato pancakes. It’s a good thing that I like ginger snaps – they’re used to thicken the gravy, but you only need 6-8 per batch, and they only seem to come in 12-oz packages … sauerbraten


2 Comments

Happy Valentine’s Day!

We’re not doing a whole lot for the day, but I did embellish his dessert this noon – it’s the best I could do with a Reddi-Whip can on a small dish, and it IS chocolate underneath πŸ˜‰ dessert

This week I was the delighted beneficiary of Margene’s Month of Letters – her lovely note reminds me just how nice it is to receive something handwritten, an area in which I’m woefully deficient. While we do have some signs of spring outside, I’ll enjoy these flowers in here by the computer. Thanks, Margene!

Paperwhites card.

Paperwhites card.

Right now we’re on the up-side of the temperature roller coaster (supposed to change very soon), so I looked around outside. Due to a couple of pretty heavy rains, there’s actually water in the pond (bluebird house in the foreground, where a pair raised 2 or 3 broods last year) … pondcatkins on the hop hornbeam tree …

Hornbeam catkins.

Hornbeam catkins.

and snowdrops over close to the house – I really must plant more of these!

Snowdrops.

Snowdrops.


2 Comments

Trying to catch up …

and it seems like one of those the faster I go, the behinder I get deals. Does that happen to everyone?

The car is back, it looks wonderful, and they completely cleaned the inside too!!! I was almost as pleased by that as by having it fixed πŸ˜‰

It's back :)

It’s back!

I also finished a pair of socks for a friend – the yarn is Rachel’s Dyeabolical sock (color: Themyscira) – love that the heels are fraternal twins. They were a big hit!

Dyeabolical socks!

Dyeabolical socks!

I was in the mood for stir fry the other day, so we had a nice big batch of Ma Po’s Tofu – of course now I’m out of tofu, so will have to get more.

Yum!

Yum!

The critters continue to be great entertainment – this new box has gotten a lot of attention from both cats, though Amber seems to be more interested that Maggie. The fact that it’s probably bison-scented may come into that.

New cat toy.

New cat toy.

The weather’s been a real roller coaster, from highs around freezing or below (more normal) all the way up to around 70 (definitely not normal). We’ve had a little bit of snow, more rain, a few storms, and I think there’s more of the same likely in the next week.

I’ve gotten out to trim bushes and see what’s coming up when it’s been nice; found this great little nest (about 3″ across) over near the mail box.Β  nest 1 nest 2Does anyone know what kind of bird builds like this?

ETA: I think it’s most likely an American Goldfinch’s nestΒ – size and location seem to fit, and we have plenty of them around!