Monday, January 31, 2011

Pictures! Yay!

Ok, it's time for some pictures! I haven't put any up in a little while, so here we go:

First off, a picture from a few weeks ago, showing the results of cabin fever and constant Butt-on-couch-itis. This is our driveway after a foot of snow fell, and I decided that I WAS going to get out of the house. It took me 2 1/2 hours to dig my car out and salt the driveway so I could gain precious freedom.

Also? It's not easy shoveling snow with a dirt shovel. Although the broom helped some too. But needless to say, I could hardly move for 2 days afterwards. But oh, sweet freedom.

It's been warmer the last few days, so today while out running errands, I took a few minutes to walk around a bird sanctuary at Beaver Lake, in Asheville. (It was cloudy today, so these pictures don't have a lot of color to them - sorry!)

There were some gorgeous trees.

With really cool roots.

And amazing bark.

Last weekend I broke my own fabric probation (yes, I know, I know). However. I found some fabulous medium-weight polyester from...oh....probably about the time I was born. 1 1/2 yards, and it was only $1! How could I possibly pass this up! See? It's so Sonny & Cher, I couldn't stand it.

It's awesome. You know what else is awesome? Sewing help of the feline variety.

I had to make some alterations, basically morphing 2 patterns into a dress. Here's the sleeve in progress:

And the final dress! This is a terribly unflattering picture, and doesn't show the dress well. Maybe when Noel gets back from TX (or when I go to visit) he can get a picture that shows it better. It's a simple dress with a V-neck, and the sleeves are slit on the outsides from the shoulder to the wrist. Very retro!

And all for $1! (Say it with me: "Can't beat it with a stick!") Pass the cosmos.

What else have we been doing here lately? Well, frankly, with Noel in TX working, life is pretty dull. I've been looking for jobs too, and doing a lot of sewing and knitting and writing and such. Oh, and handling The Adventure of the Dried Basil Leaf That Poe Tried to Eat. Speaking of, here's a pic of Poe when he came home from the vet!

(p.s. He normally doesn't look so surly, but getting a good picture of this cat is like getting a good eyes-open picture of the Loch Ness monster.)

He had to have a catheter, so they had a little bandage on his leg. This came off soon after we got home, because he kept chewing at it. He now has a little bald spot on his leg, but it's growing fur back quickly.

Also, he and Loki are chasing each other around the house, so he's obviously feeling back to his old self again. We are thankful. :)

What else have these guys been doing? Jostling for territory on my legs, while I listen to audio books and knit. Actually, in this pic I think we're watching tv.

Oh, and Loki's been doing a lot of this:

And this (This one cracks me up - he looks like Garfield collapsing from a Nap Attack. Can he breathe? Does he care?):

And this:


Thursday, January 27, 2011

Poe's Home!

Just a quick update to let everyone know:

Poe is home! He's doing fine, feeling much better, and is currently napping on my lap.

Glad to have you back, Poe! We missed you! Thanks for all the well-wishes everyone!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Poe Update

Well, Poe is spending the night at the animal hospital. He was dehydrated when I took him in, and wasn't eating. The vet is giving him IV fluids, and said he's already eaten a little and is keeping it down. She's going to keep an eye on him, give him more food to build his strength up, and hopefully he'll be back home tomorrow afternoon.

We aren't sure what the cause of all this, but I have my suspicions: dried basil. I found...let's call it evidence...that Poe had decided to spice up his life and eat some dried basil, stem and all. We think the stem might have been agitating his stomach until he was able to get it back out, but by then he was already getting dehydrated and didn't want to eat because he kept getting sick.

So! Lesson learned. The basil is going in the trash. We hope that's all it was.

Thanks, Cima, for pointing out the dangers of possums, and so sorry to hear about the run-in your kitty had with one. We'll definitely keep an eye out for this big one.

And thanks to everyone for your well-wishes for Poe. I'm sure he's feeling better already. :)

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Get the SWAT Team!

Yesterday, as I was pulling into my driveway, some questions were answered. Namely, what was the nature of the beast whose footprints we had seen in the yard (and questionably on the porch)? We thought it might have been a raccoon or dog. But no. Because yesterday, as I pulled into the driveway, someone was strolling OUT of the driveway.

The biggest possum on the planet.

Seriously, this thing is the size of a large raccoon. I've never seen one get this big in my LIFE. It froze in the headlights, and I'm not embarrassed to say I froze too. Was this thing going to eat my tires? Was it going to attack the windshield with its pointy face?

It stared for a second and then walked off, onto the other side of the road. I just sat there. Seriously this thing was HUGE.


In other animal news, I had to take the kitties in to the vet on Friday for their semi-annual checkups. Everything went well, although there was a lot of drama. It went well, that is, until yesterday, when I noticed that Poe was having some stomach issues. He wasn't able to keep his food down. He seemed better this morning, able to eat a little, but then got sick again this afternoon.

So tomorrow, we get to go BACK to the vet. (Don't tell Poe). Hopefully it's nothing. I think he either has a bad hairball in his tummy or he ate something that disagreed with him. We'll keep you posted. Poor little guy. It's so sad when your pets are sick and they can't tell you what's wrong, except by barfing on the carpet.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011


Pie safes are beautiful, elegant, and practical pieces of furniture, designed to protect pies and other baked goods from insects and varmints. (They do not, however, protect against varmints that can actually open the doors and retrieve said pies, namely men and teenagers. But I digress.)

These lovely items are crafted from wood, with doors that contain small ventilation holes. Homemade versions often feature thin wire mesh over the door panels, while more high-end models, such as the one below, showcase handworked copper or tin door panels, with designs punched into the metal.

It's been said that many of these unique hand punched door panels were crafted up in the high north, during the bleakest days of winter, as a way to pass the time and avoid the ravages of cabin fever.

Which is why I may soon be starting my own pie safe making business.

It has been snowing for DAYS, people. DAYS. We have about a foot of snow on the ground right now, and it's STILL SNOWING. I haven't been out of the house since Sunday, and that was only because my kind and loving cousin came by with his tractor to plow out the driveway.

(Side note: Noel is in Texas. He got out of here on Saturday morning, hence he missed the brunt of this Apocalyptic Misery weather. Again. I am perhaps starting to take this personally. Just kidding, honey! Enjoy your tacos!)

So! What have I been doing with myself this week, seeing as I have no way of getting out of the house and no cable? And crappy internet so I can't download tv shows? And I can't take a walk because the windchill is SIX DEGREES and my Wellies are under the RV, which is buried in an avalanche right now?

I've been pacing. Oh, and reading, and knitting. And knitting. And....pacing.

And I fear going outside because of things like this:

The Icicle Of DOOOOOOOOOOOOOMMMMM!! Hanging by the kitchen window, this thing is about 5 feet long now. Scary!

However, despite my Oscar-worthy overdramatics, there are those who have it worse off than I do right now, namely the little birdies who need food and are cleaning out the bird feeder daily (thank you Camille, for the lovely feeder - the birds love it too!).

The porch has been popular among the Avian set.

We've been getting so many birds at the feeder when it snows, and when this weather started getting bad (Saturday late morning), the number of birds visiting our porch skyrocketed. I went out on Sunday to stock up on supplies (propane, food, cat treats (no mutiny forthcoming, hopefully!), and wine), I got a big bag of birdseed too. And it's a good thing! Noel filled the feeder up before he left on Saturday, and by Sunday it was empty again.

Well, the bird feeder seats about 3-4 smaller, community-minded birds. Or one fat territorial cardinal who is mean to the little chickadees. So I decided to make sure that everyone got a shot at the birdseed. I rifled through the drawer under the stove and found a muffin tin that was in the house when we moved in. I ain't usin' it for us, so might as well feed wildlife out of it. ;)

I put the new "feeder" on the wicker table on the porch, rethought it, and put some paper around it first.

The birds are happy. But the funniest aftermath?

The cats are going INSANE.

I call this one:

Portrait of Frustration

(Note how the cardinal is staring them down. Cue theme from The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly.)

And this one:

Don't Fear The Reaper (He's Stuck Inside)

This is their newest favorite spot in the house. Loki loves to paw at the window, I throw yarn balls at him, he glares at me, then turns back and chirps at the birds. I wish I could get a video of this. It's hilarious. He stares at the birds, then his whole head starts vibrating, then this bizarre whimper/chirp/whistle sound comes out of his throat, and I crack up.

He thinks he's the Bird Whisperer. So far it hasn't worked.

Part of me wonders if this is cruel, to taunt them with birds that they can't get to. Then again, it's interesting for them, and hey - these are the cats who didn't want to chew pieces of roasted turkey at Thanksgiving. I seriously doubt they want to deal with actual BONES. Besides, apparently a lot of native songbirds are less common because of cats eating them. And Loki would probably try. Poe would chase, Loki would just wait for one to get tired and fall asleep near his paws.
Anyway, I've been so busy with my hectic Pacing/Eating/Knitting schedule, but graciously took some time to take pictures of some of the birds we've had around:


This has a pair of cardinals (male & female), and a chickadee:

We've had LOTS of cardinals, at one point 5 males & 4 females. Other birds we've seen:

Tufted Titmice
Purple Finch (too fast to get a pic though!)
White-Breasted Nuthatch
And several mystery birds, which after an hour online trying identify, remain a mystery.

(Another side note: ornithological website people? How about an idea? For a website designed to help people identify birds (who obviously don't know much about them, hence the need to ID them), try NOT organizing your photo galleries by Latin genus and species names. We don't know their names. Thus the need to try to ID them. With pictures. How about: Black Birds. Blue Birds. Red Birds. Brown Birds. Then a picture, then the name! See how easy that is?)

I took pictures of a few of them. The only one I didn't manage to photograph was a little bird about the shape & size of a sparrow, but black on his upper half and white on the lower half, like a black sparrow who sat in Wite-out. So scientific!

Here's one of them. Anyone have any ideas? It's about the size of a robin, maybe slightly smaller. Brown wings, black upper feathers, white tummy:

This is a woodpecker, a little guy, about the size of a titmouse. He's black & white striped, but has a red dot on the back of his neck. I didn't see any red anywhere else on him:

(Also, they may be females. Birds are one of those things I always assume are male).

We've had another visitor to the feeder, a very acrobatic squirrel.

I call him Elmer.

Even though I think Elmer may be a girl. Elmera?

Anyway, Elmer/Elmera has the amazing ability to eat upside down. The cats don't seem as interested in Elmer/Elmera maybe because he/she doesn't flutter around and make a scene. Just up the post, down to the feeder, crunch crunch crunch, back to the tree. All business. I was chasing Elmer/Elmera away from the feeder for a while, since squirrels ostensibly save up food for winter. But then it occurred to me:

Perhaps Elmer/Elmera just didn't plan for this harsh of a winter. Perhaps he/she is *gasp* a procrastinator! Perhaps he/she went through some kind of squirrely hardship this summer and fall, and was unable to gather what was necessary! Perhaps it was Squirrel Flu! Tree-ridden for weeks, Elmer/Elmera pinned his/her hopes on the generosity of the hairless mega-squirrels living in the big gray cave, to keep seeds out there for everyone to enjoy!

Thus Elmer/Elmera now has uninterrupted time on the feeder every day.

Well, the sun has gone down, the snow is still falling, and I have a fat kitty sitting on my lap (quite a feat, considering there's also a lap desk & computer on my lap - he's determined).

Time to get back to knitting! And pacing. If the snow doesn't stop soon, send the National Guard. Or the whisky St. Bernard. Actually send the St. Bernard first. Thanks!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Hope everyone had a great New Year's celebration!

We had a great holiday season, and actually had a white Christmas! And while we enjoyed the snow while it was here - we ended up with a foot! Lovely, but not so easy to get around in.

Thing in Sky!:

Two of Noel's kids came down for Christmas & New Year's, and we had a really nice time. We went sledding:

Please note, this was only about 1/4 of the total length of this hill. It was possible to hit Mach 5 on the sled. Noel & the kids went down at one time.

It didn't end well:

As you can see from the sky, it was a gorgeous day. Perfect for lounging in the sun! Katie demonstrates:

We also went target shooting (Fun family time activities! Speed sledding & shooting stuff!):

Noel demonstrates Proper Shooting Form, and also Proper Serious Face:

Logan does an excellent job, hitting the target really well despite it being his first time. He also has Serious Face down pat:

Katie shows a more elegant clothing option for target practice:

And I, in true form, manage to strike fear into the hearts of many with my blue tassel hat. Call me The Intimidator:

Or maybe The Scary Doofus With a Gun.

What else did we do? Of course, we ate a lot. Including one of my favorite new recipes (not written by me, so I can't take credit): Homemade chicken pot pie! YUM.

All in all, we had a wonderful time.

Now, since this is ostensibily a knitting blog and therefore should feature pictures of my knitting...

Oh wait. I didn't take any pictures of my holiday knitting. Oops. I have been busy with it though. For Christmas, I made 2 sets of accessories for my nieces' American Girl dolls (a poncho, a cape, a hat, and a purse - all my own design, and with no pictures. Great.) I also made some socks for my sister, and am most of the way through another pair of socks, these for my mom. I also did 3 hats.

Now as many of you may already know, each year I like to do some charity knitting/crocheting. It's a nice way to give something handmade to someone who may be having a hard time, and the fact that it's handcrafted means all that much more.

This year, the plan is to make some Snuggles (blankets) for Hugs for Homeless Animals ( Basically they're simple little blankets that are put into the adoption cages of animal shelters. They provide comfort for the animals while in the cages, and are given with the animal when adopted, so the animal has something familiar in their new home. So sweet. :) They're easy to do, so if any of you are looking for a fun project to work on while the weather's crappy, consider making some Snuggles.

Speaking of animals, 2 certain someones had a good Christmas too. Santa brought them Fancy Feast! (He's got their number, that's for sure!)

Anyway, time to head into the kitchen. Tonight we're having venison stew, courtesy of ol' Davy Crockpot.

Also? It's supposed to snow again tonight! Brrrrr!!!!!