Wednesday, February 24, 2010

The waiting game.....

Every spring means calving season here. Our aim is to turn whichever bull is in residence at the time out with the cows sometime around Memorial day. In 2007, we failed miserably waiting until Memorial Day, and ended up having calves on Valentine's Day in 2008.

Last year we did better. Tyler's heifer Mittens was the first to be bred on May 28th. And she never came back into heat. So her calf should be coming on or around March 6th. But she is a first calf heifer. And a shorthorn. And when the vet was out last week to draw blood on several of the cows to get it checked for genetic birth defect possibilities, he said she could calve at any time. So twice each evening at the very least, one of us goes out there and checks on her. If it is Todd who does the checking, he'll stand and watch her for 15-20 minutes. Me? 30 seconds tops. If she is stuffing her face at the roundbale feeder....she's fine. If she is laying in the shed with the rest of the cows.....she's fine (we won't mention the cow and new calf I drove right past when they were out in the field last spring....and then proceeded to tell Todd over the phone....nope, no one is even close to calving!).

Tyler is bound and determined that his heifer is having a bull calf. Why? He knows that steers will be eventually eaten by someone (and he does not realize that most bulls are turned into steers and should be - good bulls are so few and far between) and he has something against heifers and does not want the girls on the farm to outnumber the boys.

Jessie on the other hand wants bull calves. She knows that it takes a very, very, very good one to remain a bull and she's banking on several good ones to be her 4-h feeder calf project for this year/market steer project for next year, and that her daddy won't refuse her the best steer calf on the property.

Todd's hoping for heifers to increase the size of our herd. This year we will have 7 calves on the ground. Next year? A possibility of 10 calves if all of the genetic testing comes back ok.

Me? I want healthy.......and I want them to calve when it is warm out. I don't want to be out there in 30 degree weather.....

Monday, February 22, 2010

Basketball, baking and knitting

Hope everyone had a fantastic weekend. We had a good one.....I won't show a picture of the 5 trashbags full that I took out of the kids' rooms on Friday night in my efforts to clean the house:)Well, my pictures are out of order but here goes:

My newest knit - short lucky. I'm 8" into it and loving it. It's knit from the bottom up, which was causing me a panic attack hoping it won't be too short, but I'm simply knitting the length longer by 2 inches or so if it works, so all should be well. The color in this picture is not exactly right - it's more of an olive green than this grey toned green. I'm hoping to have it done by the weekend. I want to wear it in the worst way......

Jessie and I went shopping yesterday. For nothing fun (Jessie's medication, jeans for Todd and Tyler, a new wisk attachment for my KitchenAid mixer) until we stopped at the junk store. You know you will find something good in a store with a name called "Useful Junk," right? I had to have this scale and wait until you see the bench. The best $20 I spent all day. And that girl can shop with the best of them....

Jessie's comment was "good - we can use this scale to weigh out the pig feed this summer for her fair pigs." My postage scale goes down to a tenth of an ounce - I will use that again - what can I say - my obsessive compulsive tendencies come out when I'm weighing out pig feed.
I was in the mood to bake when we got home. Had to try out my new wire wisk and the silicone pastry mat I brought, right?

Sorry I didn't get a picture of the pie before we cut into it. What can I say - the kids and Todd love berry pies.....

And the basketball? 16 to 6 in our favor... The girls were a little intimidated when they first got out there - 3 of the girls on the other team were easily 5'6" tall.

So we now have 1 more game this weekend and then a tournament game. Right now our girls are in second place overall in their division.
Have a great day!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

9-3 Husky girls win....

That was our basketball team's score against one of the better teams in our division.

And Jessie scored her first basket.

I keep trying to get a picture of her face as she plays - she gets this really nasty, mean look on her face when she is playing defense. But I am usually sitting in the wrong spot to get the picture. I'm going to really try this weekend, it's pretty funny.

She had a couple hours to rest before going off to cheer during the halftime of the varsity basketball game. Once again, it was a real hoot.

She came out of this saying.....I like playing basketball much better than being a cheerleader....

They are finally back at school today....with a 2 hour delay this morning but school nonetheless. I am so glad to be getting back to my normal routine....I just really hope that the weather forecast straightens out.....we don't need anymore snow!

Be back later,


PS....and the duvet cover? It was a big hit....which is a relief:)

Monday, February 15, 2010

11 days

was all the time I had to make this duvet cover for my brother's girlfriend. From start to finish.

What guidelines was I given? "yellow tulips in the center, with purple and green." For a double size bed.

I came up with a design in EQ5 on Wednesday and ordered the center panel off of ebay. Had it on Friday. Went fabric shopping on Saturday. Cut the borders on Sunday. Sewed it all up on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. Including backing. Re-did the backing on Saturday as I was having a very hard time coming up with a way to keep the stupid thing closed.

Delivered it Sunday morning (Valentine's Day) bright and early.
I really hope she loves it!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Snow day finsih

This is such a quick and easy knit - I think the hardest part was actually getting the pattern, the first two places that I tried to order it from it was on backorder! I started it Thursday night (along with another project) and worked on it maybe an hour here, an hour there, and finished it up Tuesday afternoon. Instant gratification is pretty nice sometimes!

It's knit in one big rectangle, you fold it in half and sew up the sides, leaving an armhole opening and voila!

I've had this yarn laying around for a while - it was on clearance at Webs online. I've tried making 3 different sweaters out of this yarn, with no success. It's a very pretty handspun/hand dyed, but the thick and thin differences in the yarn make it really hard to get guage on some sweaters.

One note - when you put even a few hours into something to wear, remember to try it on with nice clothes. Yoga pants and a ratty tshirt will make ANYTHING look horrible....

What can I say? I was home due to the snow day.....good thing I thought to put this back on with nicer clothes......

Details - ribbed vest
Size - small (40")
Yarn - Cascade Jewel hand dyed, 3.25 skiens
Mods - I cast on for the small, but knit the length for the M/L. And I am so glad I did. This is borderline to short for my taste, but I haven't blocked this yet either....

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

12+ inches

I'm trying to get around to everyone, but things have been hectic here!

12+ inches of snow between Friday and Saturday meant that we had to get the farmer sized snowblower to dig ourselves out:

Which happened around 1:00 on Saturday. In the meantime, I occupied myself over the weekend cleaning out just our bedroom, closet and my computer/sewing room:

This is most of the trash. And I had to stop because we don't have unlimited trash service anymore:( But I will be back at it tomorrow if we have no school - in the kids' rooms, so they had better watch out.

On Sunday afternoon, we hooked the snow tube up to the 4 wheeler and took the kids for a ride. It was a little dicey the first couple times around the field - just because the snow was deep and Todd wasn't sure the 4 wheeler would go through the snow.

Last night we spent pushing the snow drifts back further with the skidloader - it is rumored that we could get another 12+ inches between today and tomorrow. So while Todd was running the skidloader, the kids and I did chores and made sure all of the animals had plenty of bedding.

I'm home from work today due to there being no school - which we found out as we were down at the end of the drive waiting for the bus. I do have a quick finish to show you, which I will be back later with! It's snowing and blowing (again) and I really need to get out there while it is still light and do chores.


Saturday, February 6, 2010

Digging Out

I'm not sure how many inches of the white stuff we have, but we are supposed to receive 3-6 more inches yet this morning.

Jessie is supposed to have a basketball game at 2:00, but we are guessing it is canceled with the level 2 snow emergency.

Everything up around the house is drifted over my knees. I'm not sure what it is like when you get further down the driveway - and I'm not walking down there right now to find out.

I'll hear soon enough when Todd gets done digging the driveway out with the skidloader. I'm guessing it's pretty bad, as the comment he made before going out was if he could just break through with the truck, he wouldn't dig out the driveway as we are supposed to get snow every day this coming week but Monday.
Sounds like a good day to stay inside and clean the house, bake, cook, sew and knit.
Stay warm! I'll be back to visit you all after I clean the house....

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Jessie's Central Park Hoodie

Next time I say I am knitting a sweater for Jessie, I am not saying a word to her......
Because last night I was up until 1:00 a.m. finishing the knitting on this sweater, and this morning I got up a 1/2 an hour early to sew the buttons on. I know myself, and if I didn't sew the buttons on before she wears it for the first time, they would never get sewn on.

This started out as a sweater as one of her Christmas presents. You can see how well I did with that deadline.....Actually, I had the back and the fronts all done in time for Christmas, it was the seaming, the hood, the button band and the sleeves that I dragged my feet on!

To me, that twisted cable sticks out like a sore thumb when the hood is up. Maybe because I know where I am looking?
Thank goodness it doesn't show with the hood down. And as she informed me "the hood is just for looks - I probably won't ever wear it up."

Honestly, I had visions of making this sweater for Jessie, my Mom and I for Christmas. All in different colors of course. That obviously didn't happen - and isn't likely to any time soon! This sweater is supposed to be knit in 6 pieces, then seamed together and you put the button band on. I knit the fronts and the back separate and seamed them up, then picked up and knit for the hood. Also the full length sleeves with the double cable (like what is running up the center back) didn't happen. I think she knew that it wouldn't get done.

It must run small - I knit Jessie the 32" size, and I don't think it will fit her next year. Maybe I'll be surprised.

I was working on it while waiting for her to finish up basketball practice, and her three BFF's came over and requested matching sweaters (they even gave me the colors they want - lol). Two birthdays in April and 1 in June. Might have to find a quicker pattern and do all 4 of them matching ones for next year.
This yarn is good for this - it's cascade 220 superwash - I wanted something that I could toss in the washer and dryer. I know Jessie will get this dirty. And I'm not into hand washing a sweater once a week for her.

As for portability - you can't beat knitting. If I am organized enough (as far as dinner being mostly done and the house sort of picked up before we head out the door), I don't run home anymore even when she is at practice. I can sit on a chair in the corner and have an hour and a half of uninterrupted time to work on stuff. This tested my limits with the cables (I think that's why one is backwards - I was trying to work on it during a practice) but simple stuff like dishcloths and scarves and mitts - are super portable. And the 100% cotton yarn at wal-mart (I think it's Peaches and dreams, peaches and something anyhow) is only 1.57 a skien, and you can get 2 dishcloths out of a skien on size 7 needles).
Next up? A duvet cover by valentine's day for my brothers girlfriend, which he called me and requested yesterday.....

Tuesday, February 2, 2010


Waiting on calves to be born*.

Waiting on cheerleading practice to be over. picture of cheerleading. I couldn't see through the sea of 150 girls last night to get a picture of Jessie in the very, very, very back.

Waiting on basketball practice to end.

And while I wait? I work on this:

The back is above and the front is below. Can anyone see the mistake I made in the cables on the back?

See it now?

Todd asked if I was ripping back to fix the twisted cable. Um....NO. All I have is the hood, the button band and the sleeve bands to do**. Jessie opted not to have long sleeves so it would get done girl! Since this was supposed to be a Christmas present, I'm flying through it now....hopefully tonight it will be done for her to wear tomorrow


*technically, the first cow is not due until March 6th, but they could calve early, and the suspense nearly kills me this last month - heifer or bull - good or bad - healthy or not?

**if I had noticed the twisted cable sooner than 10" away from it, I might have ripped back. But since I didn't notice it until everything was seamed together and I was several inches into the hood - I'm not ripping out that much.....

Monday, February 1, 2010

Weekend fun

Hello again. We had a super busy, super fun weekend, despite the freezing cold temperatures.

I finished Tang:

Actually, I finished it Friday night about 10:30 the last end was wove in. Then I hurried up and blocked it and had to wait and wait and wait for it to dry. Today I'm wearing it. It's super warm, if a tad bit scratchy (berroco ultra alpacha wool) - any ideas on how to make it less scratchy?)
I was a little worried while knitting this one. This yarn is smaller than what the pattern calls for, so I knit a size larger than I would normally wear, hoping to end up with the size I needed. It worked and it fits perfectly. This sweater is in the Custom Knits book that I got for Christmas, and I have to say, I'm already thinking about the next sweater I am making from this book. Classic sweaters, nothing fancy, but this is what I love to wear.

I finished up this dishrag. I'm embarassed to say that all of my store brought ones bit the dust, and I've been using more and more papertowels. So about 6 weeks ago I cast on for this (wanting some small, mindless knitting while waiting at various events) and finally finished it up.

I'll have to get right on the next one.....these things are great cause they are so thick and sturdy.

Did anyone see the moon last night? This was about 8:00 - the orange ball - not the white one. Couldn't crop that house light out. The moon was huge - and orange. Todd said he heard this was the closest the moon has been to earth in a long while. I can believe it.

And Jessie's game on Saturday. 18-4 (we won)!

There was some practicing our offense (notice the #5 guarding her from very far away? yes.....none of the other team wanted to get to close to our girls at the end). hmmm.....

Lining up at the start of the second half....

And practicing of defense. I tried to get a picture of the girls on the ground shortly after one of these shots, but I wasn't quick enough. They do like to hang on and not. let. go. at. all. costs.

But they are having fun - and that is what counts.
Todd did manage to get cow pens cleaned, manure hauled and wood chopped this weekend. We still have enough wood to get us through the rest of the winter, but he likes to get a head start on next years wood. Plus it burns hotter and longer if it is dry wood that we are using.
Have a great day