Olive (1997ish to 2011)

Posted on

Olive was the last kitty to join our family before we realized we had enough kitties. Andy was in school in California, and for some reason he decided it would be good to browse the humane society web site in Michigan. One day he told me about a little gray kitty who needed a family. I don’t remember if he was about to come for a visit or if he was on his way home for good, but he came home and the little gray kitty was still at the shelter. She was already grown up, and her info card said she came from a house with lots of other cats. Her tail was just a little stub that waggled when she was happy. We figured if she was used to lots of other cats, she’d do well as a ninth cat at our place. We took her home and named her Olive.

Olive was always pretty quiet. She didn’t get into trouble or do any neat tricks. She did like to sleep in the bed with us, but for the most part she stayed to herself.

Back in January she began to slow down. She started to lose weight and we took her to the vet. We hoped she’d perk up after the vet removed a bad tooth, but she didn’t really. She stopped going downstairs. Eventually she spent most of her time snoozing on the couch, walking to the kitchen for water, and hanging out in the bathroom hoping for food time. We finally realized she had gone blind and was almost deaf, too. She kept getting thinner and thinner. Her body started to shut down a few weeks ago when we noticed her drinking large amounts of water and leaving many puddles about. We decided yesterday that it was time, so this afternoon we all took her to the vet and gave her hugs and kisses and said goodbye. Andy made her a spot in our pet garden and found a nice rock to mark her place.

Night, night Ollie.

10 Down, 180ish to go

Posted on

Days 31-35: Continued 114 | Needlework | Cross-Stitch | Wall Hanging.
Day 36: Completed 161 | Craft | Holiday Decorations | Fall; Continued 114 | Needlework | Cross-Stitch | Wall Hanging.
Day 37 (today): Completed 21 | Food | Canned Fruit | Apples.

Today I decided to work on some canning since the canning stuff is still spread out all over the kitchen. I need to redo the apple jelly and work on a mixed fruit jelly, but jelly sucks. I don’t even eat jelly often. Darn jelly. Last week I used the last of our canned apples from 2005 (Anya, these apples are older than you!!), so I decided I would can more apples today. I peeled, cored, and quartered 18 pounds of apples (Andy helped peel about half). [After making cider, dealing with only 18 pounds of apples seems like sewing doll clothes.] Although it took forever to get everything boiling and assembled and into the processor, I was pleasantly pleased with the jars when they came out of the canner. I went and had dinner and came back to oogle, and I noticed that two of the jars (including the one I planned to enter into the fair) were half empty. The lids didn’t seal, and all the liquid was gone gone gone. I had lots of liquid left over, so I filled the jars back up, put on fresh lids, and popped them back in the canner. Hopefully they behave this time around.

With less than 330 days to go, I have only completed 10 items for next year’s fair. I thought it was more. Surely it was more?? Darn cross-stitch sucking my life away. Stitch, stitch, stitch, that was 20 days of my life sucked away. At least the end is in sight for 114. I think 115 | Needlework | Cross-stitch | Afghan is going to be the last thing I work on. Whoever heard of cross-stitching on an afghan?!? I think that would not only suck a few months of my life away, but it would probably also suck out my soul and put it in a jar and make it into jelly.

Look, we got rid of our windows!

Beautiful Bee Barf

Posted on

Day 26 (wednesday): Continued 114 | Needlework | Cross-Stitch | Wall Hanging.
Day 27 (thursday): Continued 114 | Needlework | Cross-Stitch | Wall Hanging.
Day 28 (friday): Continued 114 | Needlework | Cross-Stitch | Wall Hanging.
Day 29 (saturday): Continued 114 | Needlework | Cross-Stitch | Wall Hanging.
Day 30 (today): Continued 114 | Needlework | Cross-Stitch | Wall Hanging; Completed 194 | Honey | Jar of Strained Amber Honey.

I’ve been feeling rather homesteady this weekend. Yesterday we went back to Andy’s chiropractor’s assistant’s house and picked another 360 pounds of apples, and then we spent about 7 hours making about 9 gallons of cider. Today, Andy started 5 of those gallons on the journey to being hard cider, and he bottled his blackberry wine. I worked on cleaning out the garden and replanted some strawberry runners. Our garlic order came in, and I was cleaning the garden spot for that…then I found all these runners that needed new homes. Maybe I can put the garlic in between the strawberry runners? We also collected four frames from our beehive and began the painfully tedious and sticky process of harvesting the honey without a honey extractor. We scraped the goop, comb and honey together, off the frames and then strained them into jars through cheesecloth. Not ideal, but it works.

The honey has a nice, but minty (?), flavor. It looks like we’ll get about a quart and a half. Not a lot, but since we haven’t had any honey since we moved here, it’s a step in the right direction.

Work on 114 continues.

I miss vacuuming

Posted on

Day 12: Continued 114 | Needlework | Cross-Stitch | Wall Hanging; Started 146 | Craft | Handicraft | Jewelry.

I made a pendant for #146 using a kit I bought at the scrapbook convention I went to a few weeks ago with some of my Crafty Buddies. I really want to say the piece is done and check the box on my list, but I have to find a chain or ribbon on something to hang it on. Bother. Still, it was easy to make, inexpensive (I’d already bought the kit), and pretty enough for a gift.

The work on #114 continues. I got very frustrated with a knot today, grabbed the scissors, and hacked a dozen or so stitches out. I must admit, though, that I am finding something satisfying about filling in the little squares. I finished a large leaf this afternoon, and I felt the same sense of accomplishment I get when I hear those little “pingpingpings” of dirt being sucked up when I’m vacuuming. I miss vacuuming. Sure, I could vacuum the wood floors, but it’s not the same. I could also vacuum our couch, but the couch scares me. Stink bugs live under the cushions. And other things…things that hunt stinkbugs…or that stinkbugs hunt. I’ll sit on the couch, but I will only vacuum it when people come to visit. Maybe. If I really, really, really like the people. And I can’t figure out a way to get Andy to do the vacuuming.

Worker guys are finishing putting in some new playground equipment at Anya’s school. I mention this because I found a picture of her playing on the climby-spiral-stumpy thing.

And the winner is…

Posted on


For the last four years, I’ve wanted to enter something in the county fair; this year I finally did. Anya’s stocking won second out of four, and a quilled piece won first of one. Yahoo!!

My wins have inspired me…and I am hatching a plan for next year. More soon….

It’s schooooool time!

Posted on

Anya returned to school last Tuesday, and by Friday someone in her class had lice. Welcome back!

Interesting fact #1: One is less likely to get lice if one screams like a banshee at hair-washing time, resulting in infrequent hair washes, resulting in oily hair.

Interesting fact #2: Flea combs can double as lice combs.

Interesting fact #3: Plastic fire hats should always go on the top shelf of the dishwasher.

Step by step, SWING!

Posted on

When we first got Anya’s playhouse, she couldn’t swing on her own unless she was on her tummy on the swing. One day, though, she figured out a method and a little chant to get her going. She would say and do, “Step by step, SWING!” Over, and over, and over. Now at the end of the summer, she is a real pro and has worn an impressive spot in the grass. Not only does she swing but she does tricks, “Momma! Look at my trick!” She points her toes on one foot and tucks the other foot back, or she swings at an angle, or she does a little wiggle.

As summer comes to an end, the gardens are also finishing up. I remembered to get a few photos of the sunflower garden before it went kerput. (It’s now rather a mess.) This garden wasn’t quite what I (or the book I read) planned, but most of the seeds didn’t grow or were eaten, and the morning glories didn’t bloom until their weight pulled the taller plants to the ground. Still, it was fun, Anya got a kick out of it, the bees and birds were fed, and we will definitely try again next year.

The cherry tomatoes (volunteers) went nuts, and we have a few gallons in the freezer. The chickens perhaps ate more of these than we have. Anya discovered the birds’ love for the tasty treats, and I had to watch her or she’d have fed them all to the girls. I was a bit concerned about the chickens overeating, but after a while they seemed to have enough and went in search of bugs.

Alas, our bigger tomatoes didn’t do so well. We do have two vigorous plants still plugging along and toting HUGE tomatoes, but who knows if they will ripen in time. I got quite a few cucumbers, too, before the dry weather demolished them. A couple dozen tomatillos and some almost ripe Dragon Peppers round out the harvest for the summer. I wanted to plant fall crops, but I don’t think that is going to happen. We do want to plant garlic at least.

The blueberry wine Andy started at the beginning of the summer found its way into bottles this evening. I asked him if it was good and he said, “Yeah, I think so!” The blackberry wine is in the works. Or, rather, it is in a vat in the kitchen, and the place smells like sour fruit. (Or maybe that is the compost bin.)

I keep thinking of things I want to write down and not forget, but then I forget:

  • Like how Anya has recently started matching words. “Grass and Green! They sound together!” Sometimes the words rhyme, sometimes they start with the same sound, and sometimes they have the same or similar meanings. “Radio and CD! They sound together!”
  • When we are driving along, she’ll suddenly shout out, “HEY!” And I say, “Hm?” And she says, “HEY!” And I say, “Yes?” And she says, “LOOK! HAY!” I love how hey and hay sound together.
  • Babies. Anya is all about the babies. She has half a dozen or more dolls/stuffed animals that she carries around the house, lines up in bed, takes in the car. Yesterday we ran errands, and not only did she bring a baby, but she also needed the baby’s stoller. And her pink poodle handbag (Anya’s, not the baby’s). Anya’s love of babies does not stop with toys; she talks often of her baby cousin. Last week, she got to talk to her cousin on Skype or a Skype-like product, and likes to tell about how “…and then my baby cousin barfed!”
  • When you ask her to do something (that she wants to do) she may say, “Of course!” Or perhaps, “My pleasure!”
  • Anya is a top class chicken wrangler. Once she learned to pick them up and carry them, they didn’t have a chance. She loves to chase them and pick them up and move them around and herd them into their house at night. She’s even been pooped on once; sort of surprising it hasn’t happened more often.
  • She picks out all her clothes and loves to ask, “Who made this?” (See picture below for awesome Anya outfit.)
  • And she is a great problem solver. She couldn’t fit all her babies into her stroller, so check out the picture below to see how she worked that one out. (Yes, those are her rain boots.)

Summer is good, but it is almost over.

It only took a year…

Posted on

Last summer, I started working on a Christmas stocking for Anya, and I finished it when I was in Georgia this July. (Okay, it still needs the lining, but I finished the knitting.) This stocking was a big first for me. I’ve never done color work before, and I’ve never done the duplicate stitch stuff (where you sorta needle point over the knitting like the green lines in the argyle part). I got down to the snowflake layer last fall, and it drove me absolutely nuts. I put the whole project away for a few months. I don’t have much knitting time these days. I used to knit on my commutes to/from work while Andy drove. It’s also hard to decide which craft I want to work on when I do have time: knitting, card making, scrapbooking, quilling, yo-ing. Anyhow, I am rambling. The point is, it took me a while, but it is done. I am very happy with it, mistakes and all.

I present, Anya’s stocking….

The pattern is from the book, “Mason Dixon Knitting: Outside the Lines.”

Summer Update

Posted on

I’ve been avoiding blogging in part because I haven’t in so long and feel behind. The other part is that we’ve been pretty occupied, what with all the naps summer requires. Here is another picture list of what we’ve been up to lately.

We went to Georgia and put Anya to work folding laundry,

overseeing the peach plant packing line,

washing dishes,

wrangling tiny, new kittens and tomatoes,

vacuuming, and

driving a tractor.

Back home, we played live-action Candy Land at the library,

bounced at T’s house, and

painted a bunch of benches for school.

We also yo-yo’ed. A lot. 300 down, 100 to go!

Who knows what exciting adventures the last few weeks of summer holds!