Saturday, March 30, 2013

bits for Easter weekend

We had a 'surprise' this morning, but it wasn't my kind of Easter bunny.  One of the cats had brought in a dead rabbit and was hiding under the bed with it.  Esme told me there was a small grey rabbit there - but I thought she meant a toy... her cookie rabbit toy.  She said it was real, and under the bed, just laying there.   I said we would have to get it out of there before it ate all the food in the house.  She said it wouldn't do that - it was just dead.  Of course that got me to worrying.  She insisted she wasn't fibbing, and I went with her to look, and we ended up wrapping it in a dish towel and taking a sad walk into the woods to deposit it far from the house.  She told me the black Minion cat brought a grey thing in her mouth, when she had opened the door for her, and she had went to look at what it was.  Then she was worried that Easter was ruined, and the rabbits would not make Easter this year because they would be sad and crying with the Mama rabbit.  Poor child.. she does have a soft heart.  So do I - it wasn't easy for me, either - as it was only as large as the largest kitten we have, and limp like a rag doll.  I'm sure I'll hear about it for years just like the squirrel we found in the woods when they were doing the logging -- she still reminds me of exactly which direction we saw it in, and asks about how it happened and for me to retell the story to her.

After all of that - we came back in, washed our hands thoroughly, and made some chicken noodle soup and carrots and milk for Esme all at her request, to make her bones grow and vegetables to make her heart grow.  I've done some laundry, and fixed Esme's patchwork pillow that was coming apart at the seams.  She has been using Spongebob and a sheep pillow together since we noticed the tears in it - and now I finally had enough time to take it all apart and put it back together.  Looking at the rest of the fabric I used to fix it with, and wondering if I can make her a matching lightweight quilt with it... maybe mix with a few other things.

In other news Esme has been playing Pet Society and Minecraft.  She is getting the idea from P.S. of getting coins, spending them and then not having any left until she goes and does more activities to get coins... I guess that is education in a way - she has been sad she spent too much on cupcake trays and then could not buy a shirt etc..  She is also amusing herself at her desk more drawing and writing and using playdough.  She cleaned out her spaceship from all of the toys that she had built up in there, cleaned up an area on her desk and began drawing 'brown eyes' on her clean paper.  They were eyes like her Loula dog has, because she was at her feet, and she didn't have a blue marker for her own color eyes.  **roll eyes** ha.  I helped her spell the word 'EYE' so it was something someone else could tell what it was, too.    Right now she is trying to encourage me to play with a red plastic disk she found while wandering around the house.  I told her I would play with her in a minute and she hangs over my leg and asks 'Are you lying to me?  Will you play with me, or not?'  *the time does fly*

Also, we made real cupcakes last night after work.  She liked that, a lot.  We measured all the ingredients and mixed it up with the electric mixer and cooked them.  Then she ate a full one with her dinner - and ate some more of it this morning.  It is French Vanilla flavored cake mix, and it has strawberry icing on it this morning (but not last night).  Good news in that the kitten Loula had stolen is doing well - and Loula is not constricting it to the couch as much, has relaxed etc.. the kitten is eating cat food and playing with the others and looks in much better condition than she did last week.  We are still calling it 'Yoda' because it has a huge head with long ears and a tiny body... but she seems much healthier.

Notes for self : project prattle etc.
//Cleaned up Esme's room, with hopes that it will produce results similar to when I cleaned her desk earlier in the week - she will find more interesting things she has to play with and work on more complicated things by herself etc...  I ordered a level three reader of The Secret Garden, as well - so we will have something more substantial to work on as a bedtime story.  I read the first 9 pages in Aamzon and it was good enough to try out:  0448407361 ISBN.  If I can read something like this to her and hold her interest (with lots of pictures) maybe we can explore a lot more great books together, and widen her attention span past the same picture books she has read for years etc etc...  For the record:  Grandma did give us a series of illustrated classic books for Christmas but they are on her shelf and probably 2-3 years above her level atm.

//Went through Esme's clothing to see what I need to make more of again.. and weed out things that are definitely too small.  She is actually riding 'good' at the moment.  Pants will be a priority again soon, but are okay at the moment.  She has plenty of shirts and a few jackets, and even some store bought things that fit her.  This would probably be a good time to focus on prep for summer items or bedding, or toys.  I do intend, when the net afghan is finished, to start another midsize afghan blanket for her room.  I said that about the last one - but it turned into the queen size afghan for our bed *ha*.  She picked out some eyesearing pink yarn for 'something' a few weeks ago and I have put it in a bag with my other remnant skeins waiting for such a project.

Wave Blanket pattern I would like to try

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Spring sweet pea fence

 Strutting around the garden playing dirt.  I called her a garden fairy.
 Showing off the blue fingernails she got last night - she was very good and it was her reward.

The sweet pea fence I put up while she was at Grandma's.  She came in the house and asked me where all the food was that I had made - I told her I wasn't planting yet, just putting up the fence.

Cat snuggles from Mouse cat, our older Manx cat who is usually far too dignified for these things.

Another moment of indignity having fun rolling in the dirt.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013


We had a relaxing day at home.  Esme played a lot of Spongebob on the computer - and watched movies, and visited Grandma.  Nova dog had ten puppies.  *yikes*.  We ate a watermelon Esme had convinced me she needed at the store yesterday, and it was good.  Loula dog (who was spayed) has been carrying one of Pollywog's kittens around as if it is her puppy now .. very sad, but so far the kitten does not seem harmed by it.  I worry, but taking it away from her only means she goes and grabs it again - and if I let her sit with it for hours and it doesn't object... well....  I have been making sure it gets to the food dish and water several times a day, and it can eat dry cat food, so it could be leaving Loula more often than it has been, but chooses to stay there with her on the couch.  I also worked a bit more on the net afghan and measured it against the air bed - it will fit, and is about half the length it needs to be.  There are tomatoes, cabbage, broccoli and poppies up in our seedling trays.  The poppies are bright pink showy blossoms and we never got them to grow in the garden - so Mark suggested trying to start them early.  The pansies and snapdragons are taking longer, as are the peppers and eggplant.  Back to work tomorrow.  Wanting this cold streak to END - and for it to get warm... it feels almost like it is still the middle of winter.

homeschool article.  I like her reasons... At times I wish Esme had a sibling or nearby cousins etc etc.., as we are so far out from everywhere and it IS very hard to work and spend time with your child learning as well - my work is never a set schedule so it makes timing and consistency hard.  Add 15-20 miles to the nearest town for any other activities and the price of gas - not wanting to go back to town once you are home, or on a day off if it isn't necessary.... it makes it hard to get one child the socialization she craves.. and Esme is such a social child, so much more than either of the two of us are.  The park and the playplace and the library.. anywhere with kids - is her dream idea any day and every day.

Note: Esme has been singing along with things again - we've heard her singing the lyrics to My Little Pony and DuckTales and a few others...  we tried to get her to say 'I am the very model of a modern major gentleman' the other day - and she got the first line down *so close*... she enjoyed how happy we were to hear her try.

not taking the gifted education exam.  I don't want Esme under pressure, either.  But, I would like for them to encourage that she can read instead of discourage it.  I don't want them telling her she is 'too little' to want to know things, or have plans and big ideas.  I don't want the 'structure' of school to teach her that learning is not fun just because it is going slower than she does...  and that is wherein the hard parts lie.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Dyeing Easter Eggs 2013

Some of my tomato seedlings are up today, and I am thinking if we should repot them into something bigger. I don't have a lot else going on.. some sewing or knitting I could do.. laundry. I have tomorrow off, too but work next weekend. So, we dyed our Easter eggs today.  Mark said when you're over 40 it's not that interesting to dye eggs anymore.. but, he did get sucked in to make a few while we were down there.

 Dripping the leftover dye onto cardstock to see how it mixes.  Esme called it big rivers and lakes for tiny people to swim in.

 Cats came up and made faces at us : 'What are you doing?  Oh.  That.'
Pollywog had to sniff it to make sure.

 Does she like the green one best, or the pink one?

Staring at all the eggs.  I like this picture the best as it really looks like her.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Fun and toothbrushing chart

 Esme having fun at night after a bath with some novelty sunglasses (without the lenses) and showing off the stickers that are climbing up her wall towards the ceiling.  She will find a toy under her pillow from the toothfairy when it reaches the upper border by the ceiling.

Sitting on top of her bed showing off the stickers.  This is the green 'dragon born' raglan shirt I made a while back.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

It's that time again - garden plan 2013

Sweet corn in upper left corner, tomatoes on fences in the middle, limas, pintos and bush beans in the bottom left corner, cabbage and carrots in the bottom right corner.  Flowers and coleus in pink on the right bottom and yellow square.  Indian corn, pumpkins and cowpeas in the upper right corner.   Gourds in brown.  Sunflowers along the top and back.  'Gray' color for pole beans.  Eggplants, okra and pepper, zucchini and radishes and cucumbers.  

The entire garden is 47 feet wide at the top, and 33 feet at the bottom.  31 feet from front to back.  I thought I was a little obsessive in planning, but Mark said we should go all the way with measurements and be 'realistic' if we were going to plan... hmm.....  The corn is spaced 24 inches apart and thinned to one plant every foot...That is realistic according to University standards, but I doubt our garden will be that measured!

The broccoli I planted the other day is already sprouting in the little yogurt cup it was planted in.  I think that is a little under three days... wow.  I need to put the new tomato seeds and coleus in starter flats - but need to rearrange so I have somewhere to put them.

In other news:  Esme wrote a love letter today for one of her classmates.  I'm not sure she realizes exactly what that means.. but she put it in a bag and wants to bring it to him at school.  It has daisies and a puppy on it and says 'LOVE Esme (Name)'   

A day after the equinox, the first day of spring.  It is 24 degrees out and they think it will snow.  We will likely not plant outside for at least another week...

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Pink Archer, velociraptors and afghans

I finally finished the pink dress.  It's nice to have something 'done'.
My sewing machine had been down -I tore into it and it had a sewing pin stuck underneath the fabric feeding plate.  I must say, I'm very happy with this machine - the Singer Heavy Duty.  I got the pin out, cleaned out some fluff, closed it back up and off it goes merrily sewing again.  The Advance I had would have choked and half killed its workings on a pin like that, not just started grabbing the fabric badly until I opened it.

Daddy says the dress can be seen from orbit

Off to Grandmas in her super pink coat and dress. 

RAR - watch out for velociraptors!

Eggplant seedlings started today, and there will be more tomatoes to start.  I just received the Black Prince and Principe Borghese seeds in the mail.  My zippers (international shipping!) came today as well - very glad to see them.  They are longer than the ones I've used for several years - and will be in dresses for the next years to come.

The net afghan in progress... it is actually as wide as the one under it when it is stretched out.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

planted bits

Snapdragons, Pansies, Oriental poppies, a few peppers, cabbage, broccoli, tomatoes, virginia bright leaf (try again this year although it all failed last year).  Seeds started in peat pots and flats today and put in the window.  We probably won't see anything stirring there for over a week from now.  I started a bright pink dress for Esme the other day but I have not finished it yet.. probably should have done that this afternoon.  The cotton net afghan/cover is about a third of the way done, and into a second color of yarn.  Esme's sticker chart for the toothfairy is going well - it is climbing her wall vertically from the table up to the border at the ceiling.  I told her she gets a sticker every time she brushes her teeth at bedtime if she does it all correctly - and I have to be honest with the toothfairy too, so she has to get all of her teeth.  When the fairy sees that the stickers have reached the top she will find a nice toy under her pillow.  But she has to keep it up - or the stickers will not grow.  So far I think we are four or five nights in a row with not anywhere near the complaining and 'can't do it', 'it is too hot', 'it is too hard' etc. comments.  All I have to say is she has to do it right to get a sticker and she is on the ball and 90% cooperative - with tiny pushes needed just to make sure she gets all the back teeth.  Mark came in the other night and took his false teeth plate out and brushed it with his toothbrush to show her 'like this'.. and she cried loudly 'Daddy my teeth don't come out!  See?' and pulled hard on her teeth to show him.  It was all he could do not to snort too loudly at her.  It was very cute to watch them both brushing their teeth together in the mirror, too.

Laundry in the wash - put it in the dryer later when I wake Esme up to 'drain'... she has been needing reminders two to three hours after she goes to sleep or we have wet sheets.  I think her kidneys are growing faster than her bladder - but hopefully this will pass again or she will get the habit of getting up on her own.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Tilling in Spring

Baby's breath bush under the tree - Mark grabbed a picture of Spring :)

 Daphne dog is growing up... she was born just last summer.

 The cub cadet tiller.  We had to clean vines and weeds out of the tines a few times, but it is going pretty well.

 Esme and the Kitty goat pose for a picture while Esme keeps the goat occupied 
and out of the garden fence.
 First groundbreaking for year.

I notice this is the same dress she was wearing last time we tilled in November... it is one of her favorites.  Yay for outside roll-in-the-mud clothes and for sewing that holds up. I do need to sit down and make her another one like it, as I said on my 'to do' list earlier this week.

 gourd seeds from a very small gourd found hiding in the garden fence

Mark came back for a second pass.
We have gladiolus growing where the stick is and around it.

Mark hanging the garden gate back up after we are done for the day

Now to decide where to plant things.  It will be raining much of this week, and we tilled some compost in so it will have some time to warm up.  Mark says we will plant 'some things in this general vicinity'... ha.

Thursday, March 14, 2013


I had what Esme had the other day - and now Mark has it.  It is a vicious stomach wrenching type bug.  A few things to do whenever I get the energy to...

clean up some, just dishes and laundry have been tough with everyone sick - want to go another step beyond that again and clean up for spring etc... throw some things out, organize - that may be too much to take on until we are all feeling quite a bit better.  My schedule at work may change soon - reorganizing time matrices.... I don't like that at all, but it is what it is...
work more on getting Esme to brush her teeth - with toothpaste (she says it is too hot) - daily.  She is all ready daily to tell us to brush our teeth, but then wants to get out of doing it herself.
work up at least one new dress for Esme like her pink 'spiderman' dress.  She was wearing it downstairs and telling me it was just like in a movie, a pretty twirling circle dress.  It isn't really - but it is fairly nice.  A lady at work last night commented that she loved what Esme was wearing, and a coworker told it was handmade by me.

to remember:  The other day when I was sick Esme was standing in front of the mirror with half of her ponytail out framing the hair around her face.  I said I needed to put her hair back up and she said no, she likes it like that, it looks like you - I want to be like you.  That is one of those moments you just go 'wow - they said that would happen, this feels weird'.  She said she wants to be a mama, and wants to be good to everyone.  Sweet.  And today we talked about whales, and how they are not like fish, they strain 'plankton; tiny water animals, through their 'teeth', blow water out their blowhole, and they feed their babies milk just like cats feed the kittens milk, and sing to each other over long distances.  She remembered a lot of what we talked about corn the other day - how it grows in the dirt, and the leaves come up, and the 'ears' have lots of seeds that can be every color of the rainbow.  I reminded her again that every seed can grow more corn - and how important that was.  She remembered that chickens eat it, and other seeds, and bugs.  I like these times - hope to have more of them like this.

random pictures

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Weaving a primitive rag rug

Very primitive.. but it will get use for the few hours that was put into the making of it.  I thought I could string up the wooden frame that was rescued from some packaging for a tight woven item I would hate to put on the floor whenever it was finally done - or do this with some old flannel shirts and be done in a few hours.  The product is thick and warm - not great to look at... but a good learning experiment.  All of the cotton flannel was cut 'spiral' so the back of each shirt and each sleeve etc etc.. became one long strip each.  That also made a 'ruffled' look to the outcome as the spiral made interesting fluffy areas here and there. I added a little crochet yarn to the edges and a few strings along the middle and it became much more compacted and sturdy.  I told Mark it almost looks like a saddle - he said Esme wouldn't get very far trying to ride the dogs so a rug is a better use for it :)

on the loom
36 by 18 inches
after tying up the ends and running a few lines of crochet through it.
These are three flannel shirts and a little bit of extra strip cloth left over from clothing projects recently. Scraps are as scraps are, but with some care to color choices this kind of project could look very neat and decorative.  This one being '80s country' colors are not really what I would decorate with - but for practicality it is much more use than the fabric might have gotten otherwise - it was coming apart at seams and probably not a good investment for a patchwork as it might come apart more after all of that work.
  I have that happening to one part of our bed quilt and it is awful - I want to fix it, but I hate to just slap a patch on it... also hate to take it apart and redo that area... *sigh* I honestly had a nightmare the other night about that part of my quilt coming apart... odd how that goes.

Now I will get back to the other project (not pictured), which is a knit cotton netting material... It is on my circular needle strung about five foot wide, and I have about six inches of length on it.  I was knitting on that last night while Esme was in the bath and at my lunch hour at work.  Mr. Harold at work said I was 'going to town on it' - but the open network means it goes twice as fast and is half as heavy as the afghan I knit last.  That afghan is the purple and green and blue one shown in the pictures - and it is getting a lot of use.

Esme and Daddy clowning around by the loom while it was hung up - give Daddy a hug :)  Sweet.

Here's looking at you, kid...
She had to try to look through the loom at me here.

Friday, March 08, 2013

The Box of Corn and other seeds

It was warm today, but not warm enough - and not for long enough.  I am staring at my seeds - a box of corn all separated out into little containers.  And at the six bottles plus other containers of beans in so many different varieties.  It is like an archaeological expedition for the future - what of these specimens will we continue, what will happen?  How much can one year change the outcome of this seed - it's progeny... Will I find the item useful or only interesting, or both?

The strawberry popcorn is finally popping.. so much work for so little return, but it is pretty.  Should I plant it again or just leave it as an experiment done?  I have the brown popcorn that was ordered - if I want to try something new - and a black small kernel corn that came from the main garden the first year in the Indian mix... it might actually have been a popcorn.  I want to plant more of the Indian corn - the colors draw me in and peak my curiosities - but have little actual use for it at the moment.  We do want to have chickens some day..maybe, and they would enjoy it.  The 'Mandan Bride' smaller picture center top is the corn that I ordered for that purpose... and to mix with others that have grown here in years previous.  The last small cobs of last years failed west field crop are also shown here - tiny nubs with striped and colored corn kernels on them.  I can't say it was entirely a failure - as about that much seed went into the ground and the goat ate all of the other failed ears that did not make even this good of seed.  Are these cobs hardier for that year?  Will their seeds produce something even better suited to this ground?  

:Last year was a very hard year - with the drought, and that being a new plot of ground never planted with corn before.  Even our main garden had a hard time plugging along, but it did - and we did benefit from it.  The blue aleurone seed (towards the right, two containers) are from the crossing made in the small garden.  I need to decide which beans to plant as well... the black shackamaxon and the cowpeas are givens, but the others I am wondering which others - pintos again?  I like the triple use beans.  I grew Kenearly yellow eyes last year but they were purely decorative because they have to wait until dried stage to use and there were so few but very pretty -  it wasn't worth cooking them. Pictures of the beans in bottles from December.

NAMED corn varieties:
strawberry popcorn
painted mountain flour corn
mandan bride flour corn
japonica striped maize (ornamental sweet)
brown sugar popcorn

other combos pictured:
a flinty peach colored bag
a yellow/white flinty colored bag
red with striped pericarp floury mix corn (2 different, one has more flint)
greenish purple flint corn
bluish purple flint/flour mix type
tiny pastel popcorn
small black popcorn
larger black floury type corn
blue aleurone with striped pericarp - 2 mixes from cross
a few small ears of the hardier ears from last year's attempts

Thursday, March 07, 2013


Ninja cat displayed mouser skills last night - I think another cat had brought it in, though, as it was actually a shrew.  She lost it once during the night and then delivered it to Mark this morning for disposal.  Impressive, as she spent the first few years of her life abhorring outside entirely - and has been very much the hunter this past year inside and out.  Not a lot going on here, Esme got 1.25 from the tooth fairy in a 'message' under her pillow.  She said she was happy it was the lady and not the tooth beaver... oh how we warp her poor mind ;)  I have to get used to seeing that little gap now when she grins at me.  I have been knitting a few other things for the house, and thinking more about the handmade home book.  The kittens Pollywog had a few weeks ago are walking around the house and being baby dinosaurs at us.  Mark downloaded a few more classics onto the e-reader... it is easier to read on but I still find crafts take precedence, as they include the sense of 'productive' accomplishment.

I had someone mention the word 'deutero' copy in a dream the other night - I thought it was a computer term about keeping records, turns out it means deuteroscopy - 'second sight'.  Very odd... I think 7 day stretches of work with up and down schedules are not good for my sleep cycle!

Monday, March 04, 2013

Mama and Esme picture for Nana

Picture by Mark.  My mom's birthday is in a few days, this will be a late send out, but I know this is what she wants in the mail.

Sunday, March 03, 2013

Walking to our west field in winter, Esme and Daphne

Esme and Daphne walking outside in the cold with me. We didn't go far - just to the west field and back. I so want it to be warm so we can do our garden, again. Daphne puppy is growing, too. Esme has a super eye-blinding pink ensemble.

Yelling Hey Dogs come back here. 

As happy as a puppy with a stick... 

The West Field in winter 

All sticky mud that gets on your boots...

Then we filled up the outside water trough for all of the animals and came back inside where it is warm.

Dahlia dress and almost first lost tooth

I know we've used this doorknob as a height indicator for a while in pictures - now her head is actually even with the lock above the doorknob. She is 46 inches tall.

This is also the Dahlia dress I made last night out of the modern (2012 copyright) pattern.  McCalls M6594.  The elasticized neckline took so long to make - and I worry that it will not hold up.  We will have to see.  It looks very different on her, as well - it is growing on me, but I am used to seeing a fitted neckline.  She says it is 'amazing' - so that is a good review there ;)

She said she had to have her arms all the way up... it shows the elastic on them pretty well. 

Making her cow into a walrus with stick on suction darts.  He has also been a unicow lately.

Esme is also about to lose her first tooth.  Fittingly, it is the first tooth she ever got as a baby, as well.  She is worried about it, and not sure what will happen when it is gone.  She knows what is supposed to happen - a new one grow in, but she is still worried ;)

I have also knit/crocheted a hat to match my gloves, it is nothing spectacular but it fits better than the other one I had made.  I have some yarn for dishcloths and a lot of laundry to do today.  

Saturday, March 02, 2013

Modern pattern... doesn't feel like dressmaking

This is one of the new style patterns I got in the mail the other day - and I am working myself up to working with it.  Reading through the instructions it doesn't 'feel' like dressmaking... the elasticized neckline is part of it.  But I need to sit myself down and start to cut out pieces... and maybe I will get committed to it.  I think the one on the left in a Japanese style dahlia fabric (not shown) would look gorgeous.  I wonder how it will hold up over time with that thin elastic casing.  Half of me wants to just run back to the raglan sleeve pattern and make two more of those.. I did buy more plain fabric for those.  The other half of me says - you should do this one, but it is a whole different cup of tea, so the waters may be murky.

Esme chose the ribbon as a compromise for not making an entire dress out of glitter tulle.  Now that would be an exercise in futility!  It was pretty, though.