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Home > Archive: November, 2006

Archive for November, 2006

Up Before Dawn

November 29th, 2006 at 09:55 pm

I had to go tend the chickens, but not before running back in to get the camera to share my view from the kitchen window here at our "ranch". Breathtakingly beautiful. I was cold & almost didn't care. Smile

Forgot to take the camera to the coop with me, which is silly, since I had to go back & forth several times just to get the 'ladies' all taken care of today.

All the chicks are still alive, but no thanks to me & my so called system here. Their water container had frozen, the fresh food was of course frozen and the heat lamp had sheared off right at the fixture....so no light, no heat either. Needless to say, they were pretty excited to see me come to visit!

Chipped all the ice out of the water container & added some warm water.....told them all to drink fast before it froze again! Chipped out the frozen food, gave it to the birds outside......and dumped in pumpkin innards for the chicks, again telling them to eat up.....before it is a pumpkin popsicle again. Then, tackled changing the light fixture situation. Out of heat lamps here, so just put in a BIG lightbulb. Couldn't read how many watts, but it seemed like it was putting out some heat. Hopefully it will work. Have never had a light break from the cold........but can't figure out how this could have broken off this way otherwise???

Frozen solid by this time, I hiked my way back inside for some knitting by the woodstove. Almost finished with my first sock of a 100% wool pair for me. This weather is pushing me to finish these & quick!! Smile

I Don't Do Snow!

November 29th, 2006 at 02:46 am

Our snow is still here. Not just a little dusting, but a whole bunch of the white stuff.........everywhere. And, there is no thaw in the immediate future.

We're dipping into the teens tonight for our overnight temps....brrrrrr......... Cancelled one knitting class today and already cancelled the one for tomorrow.....hoping to get out of here by Thursday as I'm in bad need of my monthly haircut (which I have a half price coupon for & really want to use)

Week end kiddo still here, as his mom can't/shouldn't be driving in this weather, so still "working". Have almost caught up on my sewing projects too, with this enforced house bound situation.

Received several freebies in the mail today, along with $25.00 from a survey site. Did cash in MyPoints for a gift card for my sons' Christmas gift. Have some baking & sewing type gifts to work on, but I believe most of my purchasing is already done. Retailers had better not be counting on me to help their totals!

Chick update: All of the chicks are doing well, even under extreme weather conditions. Lowered their heat lamp and have been feeding them tons of food. They are all feathered out now, and are starting to look like grown up chickens, just in miniature. When the snow melts I'll get another picture...

Dreaming of spring, gardens, hanging clothes outside, walking the dog, sitting outside on the deck with a cup of tea watching the sun come up......

Month End Bills & Christmas Prep

November 27th, 2006 at 07:26 pm

Paid bills on line (as usual) today, so it really isn't a no spender here. Scary to see the amount of money it takes each month to keep this place going.

I did notice this months cable bill has jumped up, must have had some sort of special for a year when I moved in. Have the bill out & on the TO DO list to see if I can get it reduced. Will make some other calls or check out a few websites, so I have some numbers on hand for other providers. I have all 3 services with the same company, so we should be able to come up with something a bit more budget friendly.

Making turkey enchiladas today with leftovers.......have all the rest of the ingredients either in the freezer or pantry. Cheap AND Yummy, can't beat that.

Still pretty much snowed in today.....with approx 12" on the ground. Beautiful! I'm so grateful we still have power, as many in our county don't. No power would mean no water for all of us with wells, so I'm very happy we're still flushing without thinking here! Smile

My week end young man is going to stay over, as his mom is really no good in the snow, so technically, still working here. Also spending time finishing up a large sewing order, should be able to call the client & arrange a pick up time (which means a paycheck too) for anytime after the snow melts.

Might do some fine tuning on my Christmas list here today.........cashing in on My Points account, using some gift certificates, etc. Have a couple ideas of things to make for a few people, might even get to cracking on those. Definately in the Christmas spirit here, my classical radio station has begun to play carols and with the weather outside; I do feel like getting busy. Might even set up the 'wrapping station' here.........& start with the gifts I've already finished or stashed around here.

Grateful I'm ahead of the gift game, grateful I've never had a Christmas on Credit and grateful I've got friends and family who don't keep track of gifts, costs, etc. LOVE, LOVE, LOVE Christmas!

* * * * Snow * * * *

November 27th, 2006 at 02:58 am

We don't usually get many snow days here in Western WA......at least where I live, but tonight we're getting blanketed! I'm not sure how one is supposed to measure snow, as it packs down as it lands....but it seems like we're in the 6" range right now and it's still coming down.

I've got nothing on the schedule for tomorrow, so it's fine by me. Will keep the fire going and finish some sewing projects (that's IF the power doesn't go out).

My gardens are all covered, the trees are dressed for Christmas and my yard never looked so good. One benefit of a great snowfall...........everything looks like perfection, no matter what it looks like on it's own... Smile

Prevention Saves Money Here

November 25th, 2006 at 11:16 pm

I just received my usual reminder call from my mom (used to be from my dad when he was alive), giving me the run down on all the things I should be doing for the cold snap we are expecting tonight and tomorrow night. Had some of the things done, but she pushed me into action:

I just came in from unhooking all my hoses.......even the ones from the "back yard people". So, no water for them until the thaw. Covered all the faucets & wrapped them against the lower temperatures. Too cheap to buy those insulated little cap things.....just make my own with old towels, plastic & some twine. No money out....AND, mine stay on all winter without blowing off.

Turned the lights on in the pump house, hoping to raise the temp in there a bit during the day........note to self to get a small space heater out there over night too. The Navy man has already cut & installed covers for all the windows in the building, so no need to jury rig those this time....Nice! The idea of my pump or it's parts freezing doesn't sound like a good time at all.

Will leave a slow drip of water in my faucet furthest from where the water comes into the house overnight..... Also leaving all the under sink cabinet doors open overnight, so the pipes stay warmer.

My faucets in the back are those fancy kind that have a valve or something in them, keeping the water below ground I think, so it won't freeze back there. Will double check to see that they are all closed before it gets dark here.

I think that's it. I do all these religiously, not sure which combo of them prevents my pipes from freezing....but I'm not about to mess with the program. All I need is a plumbing problem! The thought spending money to fix something I neglected to handle when I could ......makes me nuts. I'll stick with my cheap fixes; even tho folks here think I'm being obsessive. (none of them would be responsible for getting things back to normal, so they aren't nearly as interested in all this as I am)

Off to add wood to the fire & brew another cup of tea.....Going to daydream about spring and better weather!

Much to be Thankful For

November 25th, 2006 at 04:35 am

My week end is beginning to wind down......which is nice. I love the work leading up to the holidays and I truly love the company; but it is so nice to not cook and have a turkey sandwich all by myself with a book & some quiet music.

I am so blessed, my family doesn't have 'issues' like so many I know. There are never incidents or personalities to work around. We have a terrific time, yesterday being no exception.....laughed so hard, played some great games of Upwords, scrabble and even rummy. Lots of free fun.

Grateful everyone enjoyed the conversation, food and fun and didn't care one whit about the mismatched corelle ware, dinner served right off the stove or the Freecycle table & chairs. The important things truly weren't 'things' at all.

Grateful that our Christmas celebration is as low keyed........so I've got no hurdles to leap, no entertaining/decorating/gift giving contests to participate in prior to 12/25. Looking forward to another house full of guests, great food and more of that free fun my family is used to.

Record Breaking Weather

November 23rd, 2006 at 03:58 am

Living in the Pacific NW, I'm used to rain; but this is getting way past the ridiculous stage now. We've just shattered our own record of the wettest Nov. on record and there are days left in the month.

My yard is so wet I'm beginning to question how septic tanks work when the ground is so saturated. (Having it not work is not a pretty alternative) Hoping by some magic, the system still functions even tho we are all building arks here.

Beyond the rain, life continues here. I got paid for another months private knitting lessons, in addition to taking on an Emergency hemming job so someone could wear new slacks to their family dinner tomorrow. I had assumed my ad wouldn't pull anyone in this week due to the holiday, but it has been the busiest so far. Nice.

I'm up to speed for the dinner tomorrow, as well as the overnight company. Hoping to get to sleep early so I can be up with the chickens (literally) & get the pies in the oven before the cheesecake has to go in.......then the turkey, and on and on. Just need to get the clean linens on all the beds & I'll be good to go.

Sold another book on Amazon........plus received another invite to evaluate a product I had answered a survey about. Love those.

Did get the battery charged on the new Sonic Care toothbrush system & wow, I've never had cleaner teeth. What a deal this is. Even came with a travel case.

Hope everyone that will be observing Thanksgiving has a blessed day indeed!

Adding a Meal + Two

November 21st, 2006 at 06:15 pm

I am usually ready to add more potatoes to the pot, and set out more plates.....round up a couple extra chairs (we don't have dishes OR chairs that all go together...who cares anyway??), but today I'm doing a mini dinner; BEFORE the holiday. A new one on me.

Got a call last night from a friend who will be picking up the Autistic Wonder Child who used to live here, then they will both be coming here for of all things.......haircuts and the Mini Thanksgiving meal.

Fortunately, with a pantry & freezer up to par here, I set out a mini turkey tenderloin roast to thaw....and I've got oodles of pumpkin for a Pre Holiday pie. Can't imagine dealing with life without my well stocked larder here. Makes the odd seem almost normal. Anyone else offering hair cuts with their pies??

Knitting student cancelled today, so I have more time than usual.....love when things just seem to work out! I'm crossing things off the Master TO DO list and have time to spare. Heading to the sewing room for the afternoon while the pie is baking, have an order due next week, 20 small cushions for hand made rocking chairs from a local craftsman.

Back to work here............

Catching Up

November 21st, 2006 at 01:40 am

I've been playing a long game of "Catch Up" here, and I'm not winning! Seems I get more behind each day/week.....

Spent a couple days last week at my moms, getting some BIG things off her list, but not making any headway around here. I'm having a Thanksgiving dinner, plus overnight guests here for the week end, so this week is pretty booked.

Started last night.......during the middle of the night. I couldn't sleep, so I got my tablet & started making lists. Shopping, TO DO, what to cook when sorts of lists. Finally got to sleep around 4AM. (can't wait for lights out here this evening!!)

Did the shopping for the week today, and have a couple of the menu items started already. (gotta love things like frozen salads, etc.......a do-ahead dream)

Sold a book on Amazon yesterday, so got it mailed today. Would love to see this little venture a tad more active. Not going to get rich with this one. But, no expenses on this either.

Did have to spend money today, on a new feeder for the chickens. They had quickly outgrown the chick feeders and needed to graduate. I have no idea where the feeder is from the old house, so this was a stupid expense, replacing something I already have......had??? Should last the rest of my lifetime however. Plus, I now have it set up so I won't need to fill grain containers 2X a day! Nice.

Picked up fabric for a customers order, re lining slacks.......which is such an easy do, but people are willing to really spend on this repair.... Should get this done & be paid the first week in Dec.

Anxious to try my new SonicCare toothbrush system from BzzAgent. Just got it in the mail today & will set it up this evening. Probably needs to charge, now that I think of it......

Also got an invite from a food co, to participate in a survey. I'd requested a sample from the freebies pages here ages ago. There was a list of thank you gifts they will send when I complete the 20 minutes..... Nice!

Timers' ringing, means I'm due back in the kitchen. Hope everyone is up to speed on their Thanksgiving prep....

Adding 2 More for Thanksgiving

November 14th, 2006 at 04:07 am

My "Little Dinner" is getting bigger it seems. We were 5 adults which seemed small compared to previous years, but was just about right for the house I thought.

So much for what I thought. Smile

I learned that my one guy that comes on the week ends, didn't have his usual place to go on Turkey Day as he calls it. So, it would be just he & his mom, in their apt. (she can't cook, they don't really have a functional kitchen either) So, tonight I asked them if they would like to come for dinner then my guy can just stay for a long week end, so his mom still has to do just the 2 trips to my house. With about 5 seconds, she replied....."Sure!" They're bringing the beverages; so one more catagory crossed off.

Next, I get a call from my mom & yes, her twin is coming too. Early in the day to help with dinner & they will bring a salad, fresh veggie & 2 pies. (reminded them there were just 7 of us!!) They then asked if they could stay overnight......so we'll bump the kiddo out of his room, toss him in the living room on the aerobed and have the twins in the bedroom. Too fun. But, now we've got meals to plan for Friday!!! Smile

So, my one little dinner has spread out to a couple days, several meals and we're up to 7 adults. (still haven't got a commitment from the new couple out back in the trailer.....planning in my head for 9, just in case.)

Love the pantry & freezer for holidays....as I've got many of the items I'll need already put away here. I will be spending some for the food, but nothing over the top. All my baking ingredients are already in the pantry, bread has been set aside for the dressing, other people are bringing items.........so I think I'm getting the turkey roast and whipping cream. Not bad!

Located the staple gun & received a free to me battery operated drill..........so I can finish the Re-Do on the Freecycle table event before Thanksgiving. I have free fabric too....the cushions are in great shape, so a little work and the set will be all ready to go. I actually LOVE the table & chairs .......couldn't have found anything new that I like as well. Gotta love it when that happens!

Fortunately, no one I know expects anything but a fun day here; so I'm not compelled to pit myself against Martha. We'll be reasonably cleaned up, the food will be outstanding & plentiful and everyone won't have to worry about a think. We don't stand on ceremony, or which fork to use...or any of that. (although I would love to set a formal table once before I die... Smile )

So, it's looking like a no to low stress day.........plus I'm feeling really good about having others here that wouldn't have somewhere to go otherwise.... I used to think I'd like to go help serve holiday meals at the mission in town or something, then I finally realized I do that......just at home! (on a tiny scale)

Note to Self: Be Careful What I Write

November 13th, 2006 at 04:17 am

Wow, did I not get what I planned today!

I said yesterday (or early this AM....can't remember anymore) that I was going to take a lazy day today. The fire going, leftovers all ready for the day.......and me; knitting on my 2nd sock!

I just now got some knitting time in........and I did light the wood stove.......but the day was just as busy as ever.

Started out with sewing customers this AM and they just kept calling. Good, but not helping the knitting time! Took in the most money since starting the sewing/knitting business back up.

Drop in company.......took advantage of them & had them help me move furniture, so we're ready for Thanksgiving. (they are the ones moving back in, so they will be here for the Big Dinner) We got the Freecycle headboard moved to my room, so that meant I needed to do some real rearranging to get it in.... (think REALLY heavy......very big) Might as well clean & organize since the bed had to be moved, right? Can you see where my day was headed at this point??

And, for some reason, the planets were all alligned or something........several of my freecycle & Craigslist posts brought people out of the woodwork today, so I was busy rounding up the items & helping load pick ups! Again, nice........but hard to knit while loading trucks! Smile

So, the theme here is going to be ......no telling anyone that I plan on taking some ME time. Not ever. Smile

Still in Harvest Mode Here

November 12th, 2006 at 06:30 pm

So much for relaxing the entire day ....I just couldn't resist getting a few more pumpkins roasted up and in the freezer.

I did one yesterday and am feeling compelled to get the rest of them cooked up and in the freezer before we get another freeze & I loose them all.

Just chop in hunks, (saved all the insides for the chicks....they love all the gooey stuff) toss in the oven & roast til tender. Scrape off the rind and cool.......(saved the rinds for the chicks too). Put in zip locks, label and toss in the freezer.

So, the ovens chalk full of pumpkin & I haven't even made a dent on the pile at the front porch. At this rate.....perhaps I'll be done at Christmas! Smile
I think all my pumpkin is going to be headed to the soup pot, as we have a new favorite soup here Creamy Pumpkin/Curry Soup. It's a lick-the-bowl sort of event!!

Busy & Grateful

November 12th, 2006 at 06:15 am

It seems like I've been packing 2 days worth of work into each day here......... Sewing has taken up most of the last couple days; I had a huge order that was to be finished by tomorrow. I worked on it all week, then today really didn't do anything but this order. The customer called, said he couldn't get here tomorrow, could he come tonight?? I said yes, sewed faster....and guess what? The time I gave him as the cut off tonight has come & gone & he isn't here, hasn't called....and I'm cranky. His total might go up on the bill before he gets here! He is a first time customer, but will be a regular, as he has a very odd body shape & isn't able to get clothes off the rack. (good for me, bad for him)
Maybe I'll be more tolerant in the AM, after a nights sleep....

Worked a bit the last couple days getting the house a little closer to Thanksgiving-ready. Cleaned, dunged out stuff & Freecycled most of it today. Yeah! Love when piles of "stuff" make their way down the road...

Grateful I am not living in a flood plain. With all our rain here, almost everyone knows someone who has lost their home or the contents of their home. Although I can't understand building where there is a risk of being underwater; I do feel sorry for the folks that are displaced.

Grateful Room mate persons truck is finally back from the body shop. Insurance did cover the repairs; no idea of the damage to our policy at this point. Said room mate person added another $150 to her rent due for Oct tonight. Glad to have something.......hope I live long enough to see her be able to pay her way on a regular basis.

Planning on an off day tomorrow. Not even going to venture into the sewing room. Thinking a yummy pot of coffee, the wood stove going and my knitting.... My version of contentment!

Putting the Garden To Bed

November 9th, 2006 at 02:22 am

I found a break in the weather over the week end and spent the time outside doing the not-so-popular end of season chores in my garden.

I don't know about the rest of you, but after the rush of spring planting and watching things sprout and grow...........and then the fun of harvesting and cooking with the things I've grown; I'm just about done with gardening.

So, it was with no enthusiasm whatsoever I headed outside. Pulling out spent flowers & vines, harvesting the last of the squash and cleaning up the weeds that had the nerve to come up in the garden.........I'm not done, by any means....but I'm DONE for this season.

If I could figure out a way to make a layer of leaf mulch on top of my garden beds I would, but with the wind blowing so hard; it would be futile. So, the beds are cleaned up, weeded and raked smooth; ready for spring. What a good feeling! I'll start next season with a good top dressing of compost and be off and running to do the same thing again!

Note to self: Do this end of season clean up marathon BEFORE the first freeze of the season. Afterwards, the vines & such get really slimy!

End result for the work........no money spent, good exercise (also free) and the great feeling that I'm already a step ahead for spring. Can't beat any of that!

Bzz-ing for all I'm Worth

November 8th, 2006 at 03:23 am

I didn't think this Bzz Agent thing was going to turn out to be anything at all, but the last 30 days have shown me to be wrong.........again!

I'm involved in 4 campaigns now & am finding it to be fun, informative and the freebies don't hurt either.

First off, there was the paint......which is going in my bedroom (slow project here) but it is going to be great. And, the product seems to be just as advertised. Says it only takes one coat; which isn't a problem here as I'm covering white walls.......but the no odor is pretty cool. I can work in here during the day and still sleep in the space at night. (this is pretty significant, given how many other people are staying at my home...there are no empty beds for me to move to!) Successful all round on this one. Since I have so many people in and out of this house, there is no shortage of folks to chat with re; the paint.

Number 2 is the Swiffer all in 1 duster deal. I was waiting for this, as I was hoping it would work on my piano. And, it does a bang up job. Good thing too, as my housekeeper is out of the country on a missions trip for a month. Good Gads, we're doing our own cleaning here. Thank goodness for the novelty of the All in One........Everyone wants to dust!! (works for me!!)

Number 3 was just waiting for me I think.......an American Express Business Card account..........which I do believe I am going to open for the new sewing/Knitting business........which now has a name..........- - -Stitches- - -
Don't know enough about this account yet to share info with other small business owners I come into contact with. Soon......

And, just today, I got signed up for a sonic care toothbrush system. There won't be many areas of my life that aren't Bzz-ing pretty soon.

Since I'm an overly chatty person anyway.......and I do come into contact with many people, this Bzz-ing activity seems to be pretty darned normal to me. I have to remember to log in the conversations, etc.......because I just seem to have them, not schedule them or anything. All in all........a fun way to try new products and services!

Chick Update

November 6th, 2006 at 02:47 am

It's been 3 full weeks & here's the updated picture, taken today.

Today was also moving day for the chicks, as they have outgrown this tub they are in. Got some much needed assistance & created a contained area of the coop for them, so they are no longer crowded. (somehow forgot how quickly they grow)

They are old enough to be eating all the kitchen scraps now, in addition to their grain. Nice that they earn their keep!

Thankful the weather has warmed up, or I'd have to be knitting chick sized blankies or something to keep these little ladies warm. Have a heat lamp on all the time, as they are still too little to generate much body heat. Just getting their grown up feathers now....and looking way less cute & fuzzy.

I either counted wrong, or we were sent an extra chick....... I ordered 24, they advertise they send a Fancy Breed Chick along with each order........which would make 25. One was dead in the box when it arrived, so I assumed I was down to 24......and when I transferred them to the new abode, I counted 25 again. (never have been good with numbers!!)

Furnace Decision Time

November 4th, 2006 at 06:14 am

Furnace Repair Person #2 was here today, and has complicated the issue considerably. We have a heat pump, and there is apparently no way to resurect the furnace part of it at all. The bill to put in the new heat pump would be at least $5,000. Yikes. Not leaning that way at this point......... The bill for the service call $139.00.

He did show me a trick or two with the back up furnace we do have......and it IS wo