Friday, December 17, 2010

Snow is Magical

I've forgotten how wonderful a snow day can be.  Today wasn't a work day for me, but still there is magic in that first snow.

I also forgot how peaceful and quiet my house is without a puppy.  Don't get me wrong - love her - but, damn.

The vet-assistant says Haley did great in surgery.  She'll be all set in the morning.  I've completed the laundry, washed windows (the horror!), washed dishes (I'm ill for sure!), dusted, watered the plants, updated my blogs, watched "Julie & Julia" AND "You've Got Mail" (which is one of my new favorite Christmas movies) and even made a little surprise for John.  And yes, they are totally for John - I HATE peanut butter cookies, and don't particularly care for blackberry or blueberry jam, all of which he'll enjoy right after he digs the HUGE splinter I got in my finger washing the out side (call a doctor!) of the windows.

Snow!

We woke this morning to the first snow of the season.  We received 4 inches of very heavy, wet snow that packs and ices easily.  John barely got out of the driveway!  I was up at 4am shovelling, trying to help John get to work on time.  Once he was off, I cleared the driveway and put in some time rescuing laden trees.  Just when I was beginning ache from shovelling and wishing it hadn't snowed quite so much, I found joy again - Haley experienced her first snow.  This is the only good picture I got of her, the rest are blurs - she loved the snow and was running all over the back yard, diving through the sagebrush.  It was a relief for her after spending all day yesterday cooped up in her crate while it rained and we worked.  But sadly, her joy was short lived.  Haley went to the vet first thing and is still there having her spay surgery.  She'll be home tomorrow morning and under orders to take it easy.  She'll just have to wait for the next storm.  Until then, Stinky and Chica are napping quietly, grateful there isn't a wet puppy pulling at them to play outside.

Christmas Knitting Officially Finished.

I'm officially finished with my Christmas knitting, and honestly amazed it's still December (I've been know to give I.O.U.'s for knitted items).  I love giving handknit items, but I never give myself enough time to actually knit them, and so here it is that I set one of my New Year's Resolutions.

In 2011, I resolve to begin my Christmas knitting in January, and work to complete all gift projects before Thanksgiving, allowing time not only to ship affordably, but to sneak in last minute projects.

My very last project was these socks, made of Paton's Kroy Socks yarn in "Coal".  The pattern was "Mr. Pitt's Socks" by Kaitlyn Wong.  The pattern is available for free on Ravelry.  The recipient of these socks has tried them on and declared them a wonderful fit and very warm.  He will be wearing them proudly Christmas morning.  Thank you Kaitlyn for a fantasic pattern!  I love how you came to name them.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Giveaway Winner Announced!

The random number generator has provided me with the number 7 - Amanda!  You are the winner of the Set of 5 Caribbean Stitch Markers and Your Choice of Any One of my Knitting Patterns.  Please contact me with your mailing address and pattern choice. (I will also attempt to contact you by email.) 

Thank you to everyone who participated!  This was fun and I look forward to hosting another giveaway soon!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Last Minute Holiday Sale - 15% OFF

The holidays are quickly approaching - are you done shopping?  I'm hosting a Last Minute Holiday Sale in my Etsy Store for all my blog readers.  Simply enter Coupon Code: JKHOLIDAY2010 for 15% off anything in my Etsy Store from now until January 1st (New Year's is a Holiday too!)

And... the holidays are about sharing - feel free to pass this coupon code along!  Blog about my sale and comment with a link to your blog post and I'll give you a secret coupon worth 20% savings, just for spreading the good cheer!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

New Design to the Third Power

Cowl, Cowler, Cowlest!  I've created a new cowl pattern that will actually be three patterns in one.  The concept is simple - sometimes you want a functional Cowl, sometimes you want a fashionable Cowler, and sometimes you want a dramatic art piece Cowlest.  Each of the three cowl versions will have the same basic construction, just turned up a notch or two in the exaggeration department.  Stay tuned... the test knitting has begun!

Monday, December 6, 2010

"Brandy at Sea" PDF Pattern Available!

At long last, "Brandy at Sea" is active and available for purchase.  For this hat,I created a stitch to represent rolling waves, and matched it up with a lovely Aran stitch that just makes me think of the twisted rope netting you see in old pre-wire wooden lobster traps.  It has a little bit of a lacy feel, created through simple yarn overs, representing seafoam and spray.  I think this will be a lovely addition to any ocean lovers wardrobe!

"Brandy at Sea" has been posted to my Etsy store, MyKnits.com and Ravelry.com for sale. Both MyKnits and Ravelry provide automatic delivery / download of the PDF file upon receipt of payment. Etsy sales will receive an email containing the PDF file directly from me.If you are interested in purchasing "hard copies" please email me!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Giveaway!

I recently won a blog giveaway and have decided to pay-it-forward by hosting my own giveaway!

PRIZE: Set of 5 Caribbean Waters Crystal Stitch Markers and a Digital Copy of one of my Knit Patterns
VALUE: $11.75-$13.75 (depending on pattern selection)
# WINNERS: 1 (one)
END DATE: 11:59 PM MST, Saturday, December 11
WHERE PRIZE CAN BE WON: United States and Canada Only


To enter the giveaway to win a Set of 5 Caribbean Waters Crystal Stitch Markers (free shipping) and a Digital Copy of the Knit Pattern of your choice from my designs (emailed to you), first, go browse through my shop at www.etsy.com/shop/northwind; then come back here and leave a comment on this page telling me what your favorite item is from my shop.

You can also earn additional entries by:
- Following the Jesse Knits Blog at http://www.jesseknits.blogspot.com/
- Visiting http://www.myknits.com/ and joining the mailing list
- Adding a pattern to your favorites on http://www.ravelry.com/designers/jessica-morin
- Sharing this giveaway on your Facebook page
- Posting a link to this giveaway on your blog
- And, finally, a purchase from my Etsy shop www.etsy.com/shop/northwind this week will earn you an additional 5 entries to this giveaway!

To get credit for your additional entries, please be sure to let me know what you’ve done by leaving separate comments for each entry that you've completed.  You must list your blog address if you post a link.  Be sure to include your email address, substituting "at" for @.

This giveaway will end at 11:59 PM MST, Saturday, December 11. A winner will be chosen using a random number generator on Sunday, December 12.

I look forward to reading each of your comments!

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Available in My Etsy Store...Crystal Stitch Markers

Great for gifts or your own collection, I'm offering two different color sets of stitch markers, Napa Valley (pictured right) and Caribbean Waters.  Each set includes 5 markers and is packaged in mini envelope with ribbon tie closure for safe keeping. Holes are reinforced with eyelets for extended life (see picture below).  To purchase, please visit my Etsy store or follow the links above directly to product pages.


Additional color options are on the drawing board, including some beaded designs, so be sure to check back often!

Friday, December 3, 2010

Crystal Stitch Markers!

It's not the traditional red and green decorations that catch my eye during the holidays... it's the sparkle.  So, in celebration of the holidays and all their twinkling, glittering glamor, I'm making stitch markers for sale with beautiful crystal beads. 

They easily glide over needles as large as US Size 10 (6mm) and will be available in sets of 5.  Keep an eye out on my Etsy store for them!

Happy Holidays!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Haley!

We've found a name - Haley (Hay-Lee).  She has settled in very nicely with Stinky and Chica, and even managed to learn "Sit" in her first week.  In house accidents have been kept to a minimum (3 total).  We had to purchase a specially shaped bowl to slow her eating.  It seems to be working so far - we've actually heard her chew a few pieces rather than just gulping!  She has been teething, but there are a million toys and rawhide for that.  Nothing has been inappropriately chewed, but for the occasional arm, hand, finger and John's hair.  She loves balls and ANY toy with a squeaker - squeakers are the BEST!!!  She had her first bath last night and, like Stinky, she pretty well hates water.  Haley is an "All or Nothing" kind of girl - she's either fully alert and running about, obsessed with a squeaker toy, or dead asleep.  She is very fond of John (he has a way with the ladies) and is convinced the sofa is hers.

Life Lines aren't just for gameshows!


The prototype pictured to the right is a new pattern I'm working on for my dear friend Joann - the pattern will be named after her of course!  She asked/challenged me to create a pull on turban-type cap with a cabled edge.  I LOVE projects like this!!!  Designing is fun, of course, but working through the challenge of fulfilling someone else's vision is problem solving at its best!

In the photo you will notice two lines in the cap that have a dark line of thread running through them.  These are "Life Lines"

Life Lines are very useful in both knitting and designing/prototyping.  When knitting particularly complex patterns, running a life line gives you a safe point to frog back to if you discover an error.  I also like to run life lines on the last row of repeats; they provide me with an easy visual mark to count my repeats against.

When designing or knitting prototypes, life lines can also be used to mark pattern transitions for scaling.  For this particular project, they are worth gold.  The above cap appears complete, however, the reality of the matter is the fit is wrong.  The overall length falls short.  Because I ran a life line through the last row before closing the cap with decreases, I can unravel back to that point, add body length, throw another life line, close it and re-test the end product, making edits to my written pattern along the way.  I have no risk of over frogging.

Incorporating life lines has saved me a lot of hassle and guesswork.  You can use them in any project.

To run a life line, simply run a contrasting color of scrap yarn through stitches on the needle using a tapestry needle, as if to "hold stitches".  Simply continue on with your pattern ignoring the life line.  Life lines can be removed once your project is finished.  Should you need to use one of your life lines, simply unravel back to the life line.  You'll easily be able to reload your "held" stitches back to your needle.

Friday, November 19, 2010

More Baby Gnome Hats for Christmas

I've just made 4 more of the Baby Gnome Hats in Christmas colors for sale in my friend's maternity resale shop.  This was the first time I've used Red Heart Shimmer and honestly, although I'm not normally attracted to sparkly or glitzy yarn, I LOVE it for these baby hats - it made them very festive!

Click on the Patterns Link above to get this pattern for yourself!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

New Arrival!

It wasn't entirely planned, just an incredible opportunity that fell into our laps.  Here's our new little girl!  She is a purebreed German Shorthair Pointer (same as Stinky) from wonderful Field Champion stock.  No, she hasn't been named yet.  We've toyed with a number of names, but she hasn't agreed to anything yet.  We are open to suggestions.

Stinky and Chica have sniffed and decided she can stay.  She's already following along nicely with the daily routine.  Nature Boy (the cat) puffed up to approximately 3 times his size upon awareness, but still managed to eat his dinner before going about his way.  She was interested in meeting him, but gave him space.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

"Baby Gnome" PDF Pattern

Announcing my latest pattern, "Baby Gnome".  This whimsical pattern comes with instructions for four sizes; newborn, 6 months, 1 and 2 year.

"Baby Gnome" has been posted to my Etsy store, MyKnits.com and Ravelry.com for sale. Both MyKnits and Ravelry provide automatic delivery / download of the PDF file upon receipt of payment. Etsy sales will receive an email containing the PDF file directly from me. If you are interested in purchasing "hard copies" please email me!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Available in My Etsy Store...

I've made a couple of hats and a few of my beaded balloon earrings available for purchase in my Etsy store.  Be sure to check them out at http://www.etsy.com/shop/northwind

Also, anyone interested in custom ordering hot air balloon earrings is welcome to contact me.  I have just about every imaginable color bead in stock and a number of different color scheme layouts.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Knitting Again!

"Brandy" is complete and looking lovely.  I need to complete final pattern edits before making it available for sale.

I'm not working on any new pattern designs right now, in fact, I'm working on a number of other projects including some Christmas gifts.  This little design break is causing a buildup of ideas.  When I'm not knitting, I'm making notes and researching ideas.

I recently discovered the "pinwheel" bag construction technique and I have a plethora of ideas for incorporating either aran stitches or a modular technique.  I hope to develop a pattern utilizing this construction technique.

I also attended a wonderful class on Creating with Color & Texture at Oodles Yarn & Bead Gallery in Santa Fe that has really pushed me to be more daring with both my color selections and combining fiber types.  I'm working on an amazing cover-up with a huge variety of materials such as merino, llama, silk, cotton, polyamide, acrylic, rayon and beads ranging from lace to super bulky weight.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Steam Engine Experiment & Jelly Day!

1. Roasted Garlic & Onion Jam (recipe follows)

2. Roasted Red Peppers (recipe follows)

NOTE: When Pressure Canning – Jars CAN be stacked and touching. Stove setting “2” on Double Burner maintains 13# pressure.

NOTE: Add 2 tbl white vinegar to processing water to avoid white stains on jars.



 
Roasted Garlic & Onion Jam

1 cup finely diced roasted garlic
1 cup finely diced sweet onion
6 cups sugar
1 ½ cups white vinegar
2 – 3oz pouches liquid pectin

Combine garlic, onion and vinegar. Stir in sugar. Over high heat, stirring constantly, bring to full rolling boil that cannot be stirred down. Stir in pectin. Boil hard, stirring constantly for 1 minute. Remove from heat and skim off foam. (Stirring quickly in the center forces foam to edges of pot.) Quickly pour hot jam into hot jars, leaving ¼” head space. Process in hot water bath canner for 20 minutes (Rio Rancho altitude). Makes 1 pint, 5 half-pints and 1 small refrigerator jar.
To enhance suspension of solids, cool jars uprights 15-30 minutes or until lid pops down but jelly is not set. Carefully twist and/or tilt jars to distribute solids. Do not shake.


Roasted Red Peppers

5 large fresh picked Green Bin Farm red peppers
Water
Roast, skin and seed peppers. Quarter, then halve. Hot pack into hot PINT jars. Add boiling water, and remove air bubbles. Top off leaving 1” head space. Process at 13 pounds (Rio Rancho altitude) in Pressure Canner for 35 minutes. Makes 2 scant pints.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Doctor's Orders...

Sorry folks, there is going to be a minor delay in getting "Brandy" finished.  I seem to have injured my shoulder knitting a skirt (it's a contact sport, you know) and the doctor has told me I need to take a break and let it heal.  I only have 20 rows to go to complete the test knit on this hat, which I really should have finished before I started work on this lovely cabled skirt, and as tempted as I am, the doctor also reminded me that if I push it, I will regret it later and will have to take an even longer break, so for now, I'm being... good?

This "no-knit" break is providing me with a healthy dose of creative frustration.  I'm being bombarded with ideas, but don't have the luxury of casting them on.  The upside of this is I'm thinking past that first creative notion and refining the concepts mentally.  I'm hoping to have a couple fully developed ideas ready by the time I'm allowed to needle again, including a two-color short row shaping piece that's more fun than the functional feminine stuff I have been working on.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Glutton for Punishment Salsa!

1. Tomato / Green Chili Salsa recipe (see August 16, 2009), made 3 qts and 4 pints.

2. 2/3 batch Tomato / Green Chili Salsa recipe with original recipe quantity of Habanero peppers, made 8 pints and 7/8 pints refrigerated.

Total Salsa canned today – 3 qts and 11 pints.
Total Salsa canned this year – 12 qts and 15 pints.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

"Brandy" is on her way!

No picture yet but I'm very excited about my next offering - way too excited not to give hints of what's to come! 

"Brandy" is finally on the needles for final pattern and chart accuracy checks.  I've been working behind the scenes on this design for over a month now - it's actually been the most frustrating design yet.  I wanted to do something with a shoreline / seaside kind of motif.  I've stitched and restitched about 30 different swatches trying to find the right balance.  In the end, I actually have created a stitch to represent rolling waves, and matched it up with a lovely Aran stitch that just makes me think of the twisted rope netting you see in old pre-wire wooden lobster traps.  It has a little bit of a lacy feel, created through simple yarn overs, representing seafoam and spray.  I think this will be a lovely addition to any ocean lovers wardrobe!

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Crazy People Can like Crazy Day!

1. Double recipe of Carrot Pickles (pg 34, Ball Blue Book), made 7 pints, recipe follows. Used 6# fresh picked Green Bin Farm carrots!

2. Double recipe Pickled Hot Peppers (pg 318, Complete Book of Home Canning), made 2 qts and 5 pints, recipe follows with modifications.

3. 1 ½ recipe Green Hell (see September 25, 2009), made 1 qt and 5 pints plus 1/3 pint fridge jar.
Took approx. 7 hours with breaks.

Carrot Pickles (Double Recipe)

6# fresh picked Green Bin Farm carrots
4 cups vinegar
3 cups water
2 cups sugar
2 teas canning salt
2 tbl mixed pickling spices
2 sticks cinnamon

Wash, drain and peel carrots. Large julienne cut carrots, steam until just tender. Combine vinegar, water, sugar and salt. Tie remaining spices in spice bag, add to vinegar mixture. Boil 5 to 8 minutes. Pack carrots into hot jars, leaving ¼” head space. Remove spice bag. Bring liquid to a boil. Pour over carrots leaving ¼” head space. Remove air bubbles. Adjust caps. Process pints and quarts 40 minutes (Rio Rancho altitude) in hot water bath canner. Makes 7 pints.


Pickled Hot Peppers (Double Recipe)

3# yellow hot peppers (Wagners)
1.7 # jalapeño peppers – red & green (Wagners)
12 cups white vinegar
4 cups water
6 cloves garlic
Roasted garlic cloves for jars

Combine vinegar, water and garlic. Bring to boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat and boil gently for 5 minutes, until garlic flavor has infused. Discard garlic.

Pack peppers in jars, either whole with slit through, or ½” sliced rings, adding roasted garlic clove, leaving ½” plus head space. Ladle hot liquid into jar, covering peppers, leaving ½” head space, air removed. Process for 20 minutes (Rio Rancho altitude) in hot water bath canner. Makes 2 qts and 5 pints.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Conspiracy Day Salsa

1. Made TWO batches of Tomato / Green Chili Salsa (recipe from August 16, 2009) using:
• 25% Burbank Slicers (Heirloom – Green Bin Farm!)

• 25% Brandywine (Heirloom – Green Bin Farm!)

• 50% Beefsteak (approx 5# commercial – Sunflower Market)

• 50% / 50% Jalapeños and Habaneros peppers
Diced tomatoes by hand using fork for stability and “onion dice” technique. Made 9 qts and 4 pints canned plus 1 ¼ pint refrigerated.

2. Made more Evil Oil (see August 21, 2010) from drippings in green chili Ziplocs, added to existing Evil Oil in refrigerator.

Took approx. 5 ½ hours with breaks.

Friday, September 10, 2010

"Karen" PDF Pattern

"Karen" has been posted to my Etsy store, MyKnits.com and Ravelry.com for sale. Both MyKnits and Ravelry provide automatic delivery / download of the PDF file upon receipt of payment. Etsy sales will receive an email containing the PDF file directly from me.
If you are interested in purchasing "hard copies" please email me!

Monday, September 6, 2010

"Karen" is coming!

"Karen" is in the final stages before release for sale.  I'm completing final stitch counts for pattern accuracy and completing a chart for this pattern (Yeah!).  I'm very excited about this pattern.  I modified an Aran stitch, and improvised/invented a stitch to achieve the particular look I wanted.  I hope you enjoy knitting it as much as I enjoyed creating it for you!

Errata Report - "Gracie"



Please Note: Rows 1, 5, 9 and 13 of hat band have 32 stitches, NOT 33.  The PDF pattern has been updated. 

Customers having bought this pattern prior to today will be notified by email and sent the updated pattern.

Please send error reports to jessica@myknits.com.  Thank you!

Labor Day!

More Canning...

1. Single batch of Sweet Pickle Relish (pg 32, Ball Blue Book), made 6.75 - ½ pints
2. Dill Pickle Kosher Style Short Method (see August 28, 2010) using 5# fresh picked Green Bin Farm cucumbers ½” sandwich slab cut, made 7 pints.

Took approx 3 ¾ hours.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Do-Dad-Dilly of a Day!

Made up 2 Quarts of our Dilly Bean recipe,  then canned 4 quarts and 3 pints Dill Pickles Kosher Style Short Method (recipe from page 28, Ball Blue Book as follows.) using cucumbers from our garden!

Dill Pickles Kosher Style Short Method

6 ½# fresh picked Green Bin Farm cucumbers, sliced on the diagonal
¾ cup sugar
½ cup canning salt
1 qt apple cider vinegar
1 qt water
3 tbl mixed pickling spices
2 heads dill per jar
1 bay leaf
2 cloves garlic
2 pieces dried red hot pepper
½ teas. mustard seed
Combine sugar, salt vinegar and water in a large saucepan. Tie pickling spices in a spice bag, add to vinegar mixture, simmer 15 minutes. Pack cucumbers into hot jars, leaving ¼” head space. Add dill, bay leaf, garlic, peppers and mustard seed to jar. Bring vinegar and water to a boil. Pour hot liquid over cucumbers leaving ¼” head space. Adjust caps. Process pints and quarts for 25 minutes (at Rio Rancho altitude) in hot water bath canner. Makes 4 qts and 3 pints.


Wednesday, August 25, 2010

How Our Garden Grows!

John and I have been very fortunate with our garden this year.  We have a huge collection of amazing heirloom tomatoes!  I have never enjoyed such an delicious variety of tomato flavors - each variety has a flavor unto itself.  We are picking approximately a pint of Cherry tomatoes and 3-5 full sized tomatoes every other day.  We're quite literally eating tomatoes 3 meals a day!  I'm partial to the yellow variety (whose name escapes me) and the Brandywines, but I have been caught eating fistfuls of Cherry tomatoes right off the plant.

Last year we lost all of the cucumbers.  This year we have cucumbers and are eager to attempt pickles again this year.

We did suffer some losses - the zucchini failed all together after a squash bug attack, the broccoli just never got a stable start, and about half of the peppers died in an early heat wave.  Our potato boxes produced a couple of small potatoes before failing.  We believe this was a irrigation issue, and look to attempt again in the fall. 

We have plans to build a cold box and start lettuces for the winter months.  We may also re-attempt brocolli.  There are several vegetables that grow over the winter here and we are game to give them a try.

Projects in Progress

I'm editing several other patterns to make available for sale.  If you are interested in test knitting any of them, please contact me.  I have an adorable Blueberry kid's hat.  There is also the unnamed hat you see to the right.

Test knitters get a copy of the pattern for free!

"Gracie" PDF Pattern

"Gracie" has been posted to my Etsy store, MyKnits.com and Ravelry.com for sale.  Both MyKnits and Ravelry provide automatic delivery / download of the PDF file upon receipt of payment.  Etsy sales will receive an email containing the PDF file directly from me.

I'm considering offering the actual print version by mail as well.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Processing Day & Evil Oil

Purchased 1 bag and 1 bushel from Wagner’s Farm in Corrales.  Processed into 13 freezer quart (4 cup) Ziplocs and 2 ½ - 1 cup Ziploc freezer cups for a total of 54 ½ cups total. Took approximately 4 ½ hours – breaks not included.

We've discovered that dicing the peppers now makes future recipes a whole lot quicker to assemble.

Evil Oil:  Boil to reduce remaining wash bowl water with seeds. Pour into jar through sieve. Cork and refrigerate.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Sam's Visit 2010

It's been a very busy summer.  Sam flew in alone from PA on July 9th.  Chris and I were both very anxious about him flying alone, but financially it was the best option, and he did great. 

His first week here I was on vacation from work.  We had tons of fun together.  We went to the Museum of Natural History and Science and saw huge dinosaur bone displayes.  Many of the bone displays were from the area.

We spent one day at Cliff's Amusement Park.  I chose to surprise him. I packed a lunch and towels, snuck them into the car before Sam woke that morning.  We had breakfast while he quizzed me about our "Surprise" trip.  On the drive over, Sam read, so he didn't even see the rollercoasters when we pulled in.  He had no idea where we were until we walked in the main gates and straight on to the rollercoaster.  We both had a ball, but for the motion sickness I suffered due to the "Tilt-a-Whirl".  We road on two different rollercoasters, the log flume, each of the water tube slides, bumper cars, and spent a couple hours in the splash pool park gaining the sumburn of our lives.  Sam even went on the big scarey rollercoaster all by himself.

We all went out to the movies and saw "Despicable Me", had our family portraits taken, and visited my friend Jessica's art studio where Sam got to experiement with a couple of different mediums.  We went shopping for books, and in the end, Sam flew home with several new reads.

Sam and I made soap.  He picked out the scent and colors and designed some really cool looking bars.  Sam also created a t-shirt for himself with a hand drawn design on both the front and back.

Sam spent his 2nd and 3rd weeks here attending day camp at the Albuquerque Zoo and Aquarium respectively.  He had a great time and learned a lot at each.  At aquarium camp, Sam's group put on a puppet show.  I tried to record it, but light and sound were an issue.  He made a brilliant jellyfish puppet and had the clever idea of taping it to his hat.  Unfortunately, he was shorter than the scenery while on his knees performing his multiple rolls, and no one really enjoyed it until the show was over. 

Josh and Molly came for a weekend visit. It was great spending time with them and sharing photos.  We made an unexpected trip to Santa Fe, had a lovely lunch and visited the plaza.   We visited the capital building and saw some of the amazing art on display there.  Sam got a private tour of the govenor's offices. 

Sam, John and I went for a motorcycle ride one afternoon.  Sam had grown so much, and I've had so few opportunities to ride this year that we decided to put Sam on with John this time.  It was a great ride, complete with a biker joint burger!

Sam flew home August 3rd.  It was really hard to put him on the plane and watch him fly away alone, but like Sam said..."It's no big deal, Mom."

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Ready & WAITING...



We've completed almost all of the garden projects.  We've replaced the fence and given it a very proper gate.  We've installed the new compost bin, added soil to the gardens, fertilized, and even rigged dividers out of left over fence for the potato boxes.  Green Bin Farm is ready and waiting for the seedlings which are quickly taking over their starter boxes.  Now if Mother Nature would stop screwing around and get down to business, we could plant.  I'm grateful we held off planting as we had hail and snow off and on all day yesterday, but the zucchini threatens to flower already.  We have had to transplant seedlings to larger pots.  John and I have agreed Mother's Day Weekend should be safe enough for planting.  We will be setting up our irrigation when we plant.  The only remaining garden project will be building trellis(s), trelli...trelliesses... whatever... to withstand the pressures of high wind and 5 foot fully loaded heirloom tomato plants.  We've tried tomato gates and posts.  This year we're trying architecture.

Outside the garden, we are realizing it's time to address stucco maintenance.  Stucco is odd.  Siding be damned... let's wrap a house in chicken wire and mud it up with a plaster mud like mixture that bugs like to burrow in and cats like to scratch on.  That'll last!  It's actually really cool - our house is very insulted from the elements and you don't need to paint it really - only repair it from time to time.  But that repair thing is what scares us.  Stucco chips off.  We see a lot of chips/chunks.  We're afraid once we start scraping off the loose stuff we'll discover it's all loose stuff.  Barring Fear's hostile takeover, we'll be on the roof once the weather stabilizes to stucco-ing conditions.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

We seem to have a nasty case of Spring Fever this year.  We spent much of April trying new things to keep us entertained.

We attended First Friday Fractals at the Museum of Science in Albuquerque.  It was a beautiful presentation in their planetarium of fractal art with locally composed and produced music.  The lecture included some information about fractals but mostly just visual displays and explorations.  We've since downloaded free software from the Internet to build our own fractal images.  You can check out information about fractals and get the software yourself at http://fractalfoundation.org/.  You can play with that software for HOURS and never get bored.

John and I went to a small Día de los Muertos art exhibit / sale in Albuquerque.  If you ever have a chance, check this art form out.  Very interesting.  The celebration of the dead is so vibrant, the colors used are so vivid, and the carnival atmosphere so upbeat you can't help but look differently at death.  It is definately worth the experience.  Images online just don't do it justice.

We recently had Showtime free preview, so we filled up our DVR with anything and everything that seemed remotely interesting.  This behavior usually yields some very weird results.  If you've never seen "The Amateurs" or "Lars and the Real Girl" give them a go.  I laughed through "The Amateurs" until I hurt.  I honestly couldn't believe I'd never heard of it or seen it before.  I think I might have lived in this town at some point, or read about it in the Bethel Citizen.

"Lars and the Real Girl" was an incredible look into mental illness and how far we'll go for the people we love.  Very moving.  If you didn't watch it because it's got a sex doll in it... get over it - she's dressed, chaste and an amazing woman.  Oh, and NO, this isn't "Mannequin 8".

Saturday, April 10, 2010

April's Curse


There is something about us... something that just calls to us, lures us into purchasing vehicles in April. Last April John bought his truck, and I bought my dual sport. This year "we" bought this guy - 2005 Suzuki GS500f. The concept is we will share it until John either fixes up the RZ or buys another street bike. Although it's a little rough, and could use some parts, it's in decent shape and only has 3500 miles on it. It was a good deal. I look forward to getting it on the road, as does John!
I suggested to John that we could actually go for a ride on it together. He looked at me like I was growing a second head. "Do you really want to ride b*tch again?!? I wouldn't want to after being what you've been through." John references the TWO years I rode on the back of his dualsport (Mom, dual sports DO NOT offer ANY form of comfort to riders, PERIOD. It's not foam you sit on, it's frame. Ask Bob.) I just like excuses to hold my man.

Life in general...

As the weather improves, it seems like we have more and more to do, but nothing ground shaking to report, so here's just a couple general tidbits from our home & lives.


Audrey the Aloe


Audrey is our aloe plant. I inherited Audrey from Jane (who owned the house before us). At the time Audrey was a sad, olive colored, wilted looking thing with just three leaves, about 4 inches tall. Jane told me she didn't figure it would live, but it was mine if I could make it survive. Survive it did. Audrey grew to about 30 inches tall before it suddenly chose to bloom. It's got two current babies, and one earlier offspring that is already approaching 10 inches. Audrey didn't really get his name until it got big enough to stab me everytime I walked by him (as John was kind enough to demonstrate for you), reminding me of "Audrey 2" from Little Shop of Horrors. He is a most impressive plant. We are a little concerned about how much larger he could get. Most websites report them reaching 2 feet in diameter. We aren't far from that. I'm hoping his size isn't his doom, but if it is, we are due to harvest a whole lot of aloe juice.


Monster Burger
We don't eat out very often. Our dining options here are limited to chain burger joints, chain pizza joints, chain taco joints, and a few independent restaurants that are never open when we do want to go out. So, when the burger cravings come, we only have a couple of choices; risk e coli poisoning, or make it ourselves. Hence, we re-wrote the definition of burger and the Monster Burger was born. Monster Burger is a hollowed-out loaf of toasted Artesian garlic bread heavily painted with English BrewPub Mustard, a monster patty of grilled Moraccan seasoned ground bison, thick slices of tomatoes, romain lettuce, and almost too many sandwich-stacker-style dill pickles. Ta-Da! Dinner for two. I like to dip mine in lavendar gorgonzola mayonaise. If you haven't re-defined "burger" yet, I highly recommend it! Light the grill and get to it.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Bad John!


On Sunday, March 28th, John was arrested and dragged through a Las Vegas police department...

April Fools!

On Sunday, March 28th, John WAS arrested and dragged through a Las Vegas police department by Officer Morin in the television pilot filming of "The Odds" starring Donald Faison. IF "The Odds" gets picked up as a series, you might actually catch of glimpse of me roughly leading John, handcuffed, through a police department scene.

You just never know.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Sproutings at Green Bin Farm


Green Bin Farm continues to grow. John and I finished construction on yet another raised bed garden. We now have three 8' x 4' raised gardens and two potato boxes. We started seedlings March 21st in our windows and already we have broccoli, several varieties of tomatoes, zucchini, cucumber, peppers and two varieties of potatoes peeking green buds up out of soil for us. We are eager for the hot afternoons in the garden harvesting our crops.

Why do we call it Green Bin Farm? Couple reasons - first of course, it's our "green" effort. We are trying to be a more economical (cheap), self sustaining people. We compost everything we can, recycle and reuse avidly. Secondly, a large portion of the structures we've built make use of materials from the discount end cuts bin from our local Home Depot. Each board in the discount bin is sprayed with green paint on one end to designate its $0.51 discounted price, thereby "Green Binned". We buy out of the Green Bin because it's cheap and all discounted lumber is cut to 4' lengths - less cutting. We built the entire dog house in just 2 or 3 cuts!! The only downside to the Green Bin is you have to be careful about selecting boards without twists, turns, knots and warping, and because its the discount bin, you can't count on anything in particular being available when you need it. When we find a good stock, we stock up. As a rule, at $0.51/board you can't go wrong.

Featured Post

A whole new direction...

Well, this wasn't what you were expecting when you went to my site today, I'm sure. Things have changed, in some cases quite dramati...

Popular Posts