Tuesday, March 31, 2009

And the weather changes

Monday I enjoyed another beautiful sunrise.

Many thanks to those bleepin' dogs with the internal alarm clocks. Don't they realize this is vacation?!

We geocached our way north to Grand Marais.

While we parental units walked more sedately on the walkway of the breakwater,

Girl of the House jumped rocks along the edge.

(Me? I've grown quite fond of all my never- before-broken bones, thank you very much.)

We were informed there was a big storm coming in on Tuesday.

Sure enough, by the time we made it back to our temporary home the winds had changed, rolling around to the North East.

The wind change started to blow the thin sheet of ice remaining on the lake to our shoreline.

As it hit, it shattered like shards of plate glass

The sound was that of old glass windchimes, clinking and clanging in the breeze.

There is a remarkable resemblance to plate glass, don't you think?

This morning around seven, the snowstorm really began.

There's no ice left on the lake beyond what is far out in the depths.

GotH felt brave.

She headed out with the camera.

We, less brave, took her picture from a warmer environment.

The lake is amazing this morning.

This will be a good day for snuggling in with the fire.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Sunrise, Lake Superior

Up early to take the dogs out.

It's so much easier to just let them out the door at home. But I don't get to see the sun rise over the big lake when I'm home.

That's a pretty fair trade.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Gone Camping - Well, sort of

We drove past the frozen icescapes pushed up against the shore in Duluth,

and we arrived a place only two miles north of our favorite state park campground.

As recently as the past weekend, when the weather was gorgeous, we had planned to head to the North Shore to camp for a long weekend.

But the weather returned to its normal March Minnesota weather, and we flat-out chickened out.

We thought perhaps we would go for a bit more space. Our camper has heat, but it is not spacious. (And it doesn't have an indoor fireplace like our new digs!)

But we're going to hold to the remainder of the camping experience.

No TV.

All the music, reading, knitting, playing games, and cooking that we want.

We brought the snowshoes. We're planning to hike and explore.

Or maybe, just look out at the great lake outside our window.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Spring is coming to Minnesota - finally!

We got out early Saturday morning and grabbed some brand new geocaches in the cool, crisp, sunny morning. It was unusually warm for Minnesota in March.

We got to see some wild turkeys doing their spring chase of the females.
Can you tell one of these males has a beard that goes all the way to the ground? We've never seen one quite that long/large...

There were some beautiful panoramas to enjoy.

On the geocaching site, someone mentioned that this area looked like a Maakestad painting. We weren't familiar with Maakestad.

Apparently, we should be.

See the silos on the right, with the barn roofline? Now, go look at this painting.
The silos and barn are the same - I should have taken the picture a bit more to the left.

We may be in the market for some oil pastels. These are gorgeous, and they are local. And they're amazing.

It was good to get the cache-mobile out of the shed and rev her up for the spring weather.

The nice weather continued. Today I even got the sheets out on the clothesline. Now that will be a treat for sleeping tonight!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

A Picture for My Mom

I'm babysitting her Christmas Cactus while they are wintering in Texas.

We tend to keep our house too cold for the cactus to be happy enough to bloom, but apparently this year it's hardened up and decided it HAS to bloom, cold weather be damned. (We aren't telling it that it missed Christmas.)

Of course there are only four blooms so far...


In other progress, I've finished both sleeves on the Kauni cardigan.

I'm particularly proud of the way the sleeves match in color. I attempted to get them both started at the same point in the color sequence, and I think it worked!

Now, on to the collar and the front bands.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

I just flew in from Canada

and boy are my arms tired!

Paul spotted a Common Redpoll outside on the ground under the feeders.

According to the information we've found, they're rare around here in the winter. They prefer Canada and north.

This little Redpoll was sleeping peacefully, head tucked under his wing.

When Paul started snapping pictures, he raised his head and looked right at him.

Apparently deciding that Paul was safe, he tucked his head back under his wing and resumed his nap.

Perhaps where they normally live, they don't have predators to worry about?

We were glad to see him fly away before one of the outdoor cats had some Canadian bird for supper. We later spotted a female on another feeder. His mate?

This has been my carry around knitting project lately.

It's a scarf from the silk caps I finished spinning in October.

There's about 2 feet so far, and it's light as a feather.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Junior cook

One night a week here at the NoSheep homestead, Girl of the House makes supper.

Tonight's her night. (Especially after last night she gave me the "It's good, and I like it, just not tonight..." line. Gotta say, she learned that one from her older brother - thanks so much Ben!)

We've got a mighty fine pasta dish coming to our table, full of tomatoey goodness.

I've got a good start on the second sleeve of the Kauni cardigan.

I catch myself saying "just one more repeat - when the next color starts, I'll quit for the evening."

And then knitting another round or two. Help! I'm mildly obsessed!

Saturday, March 7, 2009

How many of these books have YOU read?

A thought provoking meme lifted from NuttyKnitter.

I've boldfaced the books I've read. 46 of 100 - not so good, but not too bad. I can see quite a few classics here that I need to check out of the library.

I haven't been doing so much novel reading the past few years. It's hard to read and knit/spin at the same time. (That's just not fair!)

My most recent reading has been the interwebs, newspapers and magazines. Nothing of any size or time commitment. However, I recently stormed through a Stephen King book, and it was very satisfying to be back in the reading groove.

1 Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen
2 The Lord of the Rings - JRR Tolkien
3 Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte
4 Harry Potter series - JK Rowling

5. To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee
6 The Bible
7 Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte
8 1984 - George Orwell

9 His Dark Materials - Philip Pullman

10 Great Expectations - Charles Dickens
11 Little Women - Louisa M Alcott
12 Tess of the D’Urbervilles - Thomas Hardy

13 Catch 22 - Joseph Heller

14 Complete Works of Shakespeare
15 Rebecca - Daphne Du Maurier
16 The Hobbit - JRR Tolkien
17 Birdsong - Sebastian Faulks
18 Catcher in the Rye - JD Salinger
19 The Time Traveller’s Wife - Audrey Niffenegger
20 Middlemarch - George Eliot
21 Gone With The Wind - Margaret Mitchell
22 The Great Gatsby - F Scott Fitzgerald

23 Bleak House - Charles Dickens
24 War and Peace - Leo Tolstoy
25 The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams
26 Brideshead Revisited - Evelyn Waugh
27 Crime and Punishment - Fyodor Dostoyevsky
29 Alice in Wonderland - Lewis Carroll
30 The Wind in the Willows - Kenneth Grahame

31 Anna Karenina - Leo Tolstoy

32 David Copperfield - Charles Dickens
33 The Chronicles of Narnia - CS Lewis
34 Emma - Jane Austen

35 Persuasion - Jane Austen

36 The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe - CS Lewis
37 The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini
38 Captain Corelli’s Mandolin - Louis De Bernieres
39 Memoirs of a Geisha - Arthur Golden
40 Winnie the Pooh - AA Milne
41 Animal Farm - George Orwell

42 The Da Vinci Code - Dan Brown

43 One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
44 A Prayer for Owen Meaney - John Irving
45 The Woman in White - Wilkie Collins
46 Anne of Green Gables - LM Montgomery
47 Far From The Madding Crowd - Thomas Hardy
48 The Handmaid’s Tale - Margaret Atwood
49 Lord of the Flies - William Golding

50 Atonement - Ian McEwan
51 Life of Pi - Yann Martel
52 Dune - Frank Herbert
53 Cold Comfort Farm - Stella Gibbons
54 Sense and Sensibility - Jane Austen
55 A Suitable Boy - Vikram Seth
56 The Shadow of the Wind - Carlos Ruiz Zafon
57 A Tale Of Two Cities - Charles Dickens
58 Brave New World - Aldous Huxley
59 The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time - Mark Haddon
60 Love In The Time Of Cholera - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
61 Of Mice and Men - John Steinbeck
62 Lolita - Vladimir Nabokov
63 The Secret History - Donna Tartt
64 The Lovely Bones - Alice Sebold

65 Count of Monte Cristo - Alexandre Dumas
66 On The Road - Jack Kerouac
67 Jude the Obscure - Thomas Hardy
68 Bridget Jones’s Diary - Helen Fielding
69 Midnight’s Children - Salman Rushdie
70 Moby Dick - Herman Melville
71 Oliver Twist - Charles Dickens
72 Dracula - Bram Stoker
73 The Secret Garden - Frances Hodgson Burnett
74 Notes From A Small Island - Bill Bryson
75 Ulysses - James Joyce
76 The Bell Jar - Sylvia Plath
77 Swallows and Amazons - Arthur Ransome
78 Germinal - Emile Zola
79 Vanity Fair - William Makepeace Thackeray
80 Possession - AS Byatt
81 A Christmas Carol - Charles Dickens
82 Cloud Atlas - David Mitchell
83 The Color Purple - Alice Walker
84 The Remains of the Day - Kazuo Ishiguro
85 Madame Bovary - Gustave Flaubert
86 A Fine Balance - Rohinton Mistry
87 Charlotte’s Web - EB White
88 The Five People You Meet In Heaven - Mitch Albom
89 Adventures of Sherlock Holmes - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
90 The Faraway Tree Collection - Enid Blyton
91 Heart of Darkness - Joseph Conrad
92 The Little Prince - Antoine De Saint-Exupe
93 The Wasp Factory - Iain Banks
94 Watership Down - Richard Adams
95 A Confederacy of Dunces - John Kennedy Toole
96 A Town Like Alice - Nevil Shute
97 The Three Musketeers - Alexandre Dumas
98 Hamlet – Shakespeare
99 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - Roald Dahl
100 Les Miserables - Victor Hugo

Kitchen details

We found a place to put the mixer!

It involved rearranging, cleaning, and organizing the pantry closet.

Criminy - we've got alot of stuff in there.
And I tossed some really outdated goods.

Which led to rearranging, cleaning and organizing the fridge.

We put together the two bottles of Irish Cream we found hiding in the dark back corners.

Hanging out in the far back, deepest corner of the fridge was this bottle of Bartles and Jaymes berry wine cooler.

Neither Paul nor I have ever liked wine coolers. We used to keep some in the fridge for a visiting friend.

However, this particular bottle of berry cooler was purchased two houses ago - in 1994. How do they age? Do they improve like fine wine? Now we have to keep it, don't you think?

How 'bout you? Whats the oldest thing in your fridge?

Back to that mixer:

We purchased it at Kitchen Collection at the Medford, MN outlet mall. It looks like they have locations all over in outlet malls. This is the one we bought - it's refurbished and only has a six month warranty. But it was a heck of a good price, and we figure it's been looked over in detail, so it should stand up. So far, so good!

Our last mixer, a Mixmaster, lasted about a year. If this one lasts two years, we're about the same on yearly mixer expenditure - so we'll gamble on the refurb...

We were out for a walk today.

Paul's Retrofit sweater is just the right weight for this 30 degree weather.

(And I think he looks darn good in it!)

Friday, March 6, 2009

Lake 20AcresNoSheep

We headed out for a walk before making our Friday pizza. (Tonight the movie is Australia)

It was also a good opportunity to get pictures of the Lopi cardigan in action.

The snow's all melting, and we are now owners of a lake property.

It starts by running through the pasture.

Heading down to the corner, becoming the official Lake 20AcresNoSheep.

Eddying in the corner, traveling under the road in a gradually thawing culvert.

What can't make it through the culvert flowed over the road earlier in the day, leaving parts eroded away.

The remainder comes out on the arboretum side of the road.

Rushing to meet more melting snow from the arb.

And, finally, heading toward the river.

We returned, and my screwy family commenced playing Mario Cart on the Wii.

Of course, you must dress appropriately for racing!

But it makes it difficult for that Friday night adult beverage!

(Really shouldn't drink and drive. I'll bet you can guess who won the race.)

PS. Hang tight - tomorrow I'll post info about purchasing the mixer!

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

random wednesday

We've been baking up a storm lately.

Finally got us one of those new-fandangled mixers. We killed off the old mix-master.

We got a good tip on where to buy a nice mixer for a reasonable price (thanks Coleen!) and bit the bullet. Now we feel like we're on the Martha Stewart show!

However, for those of you who have one of these big old beasts of a mixer, a question. Where do you keep your mixer? It's too tall for my lower cabinets, and it's WAY too heavy to lift into an upper cabinet. It's too tall to fit on the countertop under the upper cabinets by a hair. The pantry? Then where do I put the food?! So, for now, it's just out on the countertop.

Girl of the House is becoming the master of it, and we're eating cookies and fresh bread. Yay for dough hooks!!

The Kauni cardigan has one whole sleeve!

I'm crocheting the other steek and picking up the stitches for the other sleeve this evening.

(We just returned from the Alpine Ski team banquet for GotH, so there's not that much time...)

The merino/alpaca/silk is plied and skeined. I didn't try to match up the two bobbins - just plied as it came.

I rather like the randomness of the color.