Not just a hobby, it's a way of Life

Archive for February, 2018

The year so far

I have a plan. (Don’t I always?)  Or maybe a goal.  Anyway, what I would like to do is record stuff that happens in life so that I have a back-up memory when we’re trying to figure out when the last time was that we saw Ramblin’s parents or dear family/friends Ragged and Cynical.  So, since I’m behind this year, I’m afraid you’ll have to settle in for a bit of a catch-up.

The first weekend of the year found us heading south to see Ramblin’s parents.  He took off Friday so that we could leisurely drive down and arrive in the daylight.  If we leave after he gets off work at this time of year, we would arrive well after dark.  We had a good visit and found a few treasures at the ‘junk stores’, as Ramblin’s momma calls the second-hand resale shops.  My big score was a Teavana infuser pitcher for $2.  I’ve discovered/became obsessed with loose leaf tea and cold brewing said tea.  This pitcher is perfect for making iced tea.

The next week, we were supposed to get all kinds of wintry mess, so it was good that we traveled the week before to see his parents.  I decided that the warmth right before the impending storm would be a great time to dye yarn!  Now, you’ve heard of micro-brewers of beer, yes?  Well, indie dyers are like the micro-brewers of yarn.  I consider myself a nano-dyer.  I’m not at the capacity of amazing people like Knitting Notions, but I can make little batches of stuff that I tend to squeal and eee over.

yarn drying

Yarn pile

That’s really just a tiny, tiny bit.  However while dyeing 100+ skeins before the storm hit seemed like a good idea, I kind of forgot the whole rinsing and accommodating the drying of said skeins in the house.  I was not going to brave the ice and snow and cold to get to the yarn room.  But it worked.

The next weekend, Jan 20-21 was ice-free, so we traveled down to the family farm to check in on my uncles.  The family farm house is the gathering spot for Sundays.  They all live at their own homes, but they are very close to the homestead.  We travel the farthest, at a little under an hour.  Our family has owned the land for five generations, and there is five generations’ worth of junk there.  You could argue some of it is treasure, but much of it is junk.  What astounded me is last fall, after years of talking about it (long consideration before taking action is a family trait), my uncle was contacted by someone who scraps to clean up the place.  Car bodies, farm combine bodies (that had sizable trees grown up around them), and scrap metal of all sorts was finally hauled off.  Two outbuildings that had been collapsed for a good 15-20 years and the treasures/junk inside them are being cleaned up.  I would have taken before and after pictures, but I never imagined there would be an after.  I really thought it would fall to me and Ramblin’ to take care of it.  But it is looking great.

On Jan. 25, Ramblin’ and I celebrated 21 years together.  He reserved a cabin in southern Illinois, and we traveled down on Thursday to enjoy some time away from it all.  The main draw of the cabin was the hot tub.  With my connective tissue disorder, aching is a reality of daily life.  The buoyancy of the water plus the heated jets is so restorative.  If I win the lottery, a hot tub is the first purchase.  I do not play the lottery, so I’m not sure how that’s going to happen.  We spent the extended weekend soaking and eating oreos.  So. Many. Oreos. I regret nothing.

The first weekend in February, there were chances for ice/snow, so we decided to stay in.  Of course, the weather promised never showed, but it was nice to have a weekend of down time.

The next weekend, there were chances again, but we didn’t believe them.  Besides, I needed to get my tax papers to my uncle as we have all of our taxes done together because of the farm. We woke up to a glazing of ice.  The roads didn’t seem too bad, but the further south we went, the worse they got.  Bridges were particularly treacherous.  As there is a fairly long bridge between us and the farm, we opted to turn around.  At this point, I would like to mention that the weather had been consistently cold this year.  Lots of single digit highs.

However, the next weekend was going to be warmer and no ice, so we took that opportunity to visit Ragged and Cynical.  We finally determined that the last time we saw them was June of last year.  Too long, but busy lives get in the way sometimes.  It was great to see them and catch up.  I also discovered a Starbucks drink I don’t mind at all – the Blonde Espresso Latte.  It doesn’t have any of the bitterness I’ve come to expect from there.

We subjected them to a movie made locally to us.  (Sorry about that, guys.)  It wasn’t very good (okay, it was awful – mostly the f-word, which is fine when used for a purpose, and questionable filming technique), but you do have to give the creators credit for taking the leap and putting it out there.  If we wait for perfection, we might wait our whole lives.  “Done is better than good” and “Perfect is the enemy of good” are common phrases that essentially push us off our rumps to do something.  That is the root of my procrastination, but what do I miss out on waiting for things to be just so?

So this past weekend, we finally made it down to the farm – and I forgot my tax papers.  Argh!  So, I’ll have to get those down at some point so we can get the process started.  All of the uncles were well. (There’s been a couple of hospitalizations they’ve neglected to inform me of in the past.  I swear it’s like herding cats.)  More of the buildings were cleaned up.  We did pass some fairly high water on the way down, and the backwaters are coming up in our field.  The house is probably about three miles from a smallish river, so not in danger, but the woods and part of the farm ground do flood pretty regularly.  We didn’t get nearly the rain threatened.  The farm wound up with about 5″ for the week.

And lest I forget – the Olympics!  I love the Winter Games.  We’ve been binge-watching pretty much anything NBC wanted to show us.  We even got Sling TV for a month just to have another option.  Yesterday was our first post-Olympic evening, and it felt a little sad.  But now we can catch up on all the other shows that we put off.

I’ve been knitting up a storm.  So much so that I have not done any spinning or weaving.  I have so many plans.  But today I should finish off yet another big shawl wrappy thing, so maybe that will push me to get a warp on the loom.  One thing that is slowing me down is on Saturday I developed back spasms while grocery shopping.  It’s left me pretty much unable to do much of anything, but today it finally feels more like sore muscles from a hard workout than an injury, so some gentle strengthening exercises are in order.  The irony is I just started slowly getting back into exercising a couple of days last week (I don’t think the two are related), and that put a temporary halt to that.

In other news, I got Ramblin’ a ‘pro-sumer’ coffee roaster.  We had been roasting coffee beans with an air-popper, which did a surprisingly decent job, but it was obviously limited.  I didn’t know what else to get him for xmas, and I wanted it to be something good.  This has adjustable roast profiles and can roast up to a pound of beans at a time (in comparison, the air-popper did about 3 oz).  I believe he was pleased and simultaneously peeved that I spent what I did, so he retaliated by getting me a bath bomb press.

So let’s talk plans for this year.  One goal is to add craft shows to my lineup. My ‘day job’ has taken a serious turn, and it appears it will no longer be sustaining.  So, other avenues will have to be found.  For right now, I can’t make a living off of my creativity, so I will need to find another ‘day job’, but I might as well stick a bit more than a toe in and see what happens with the other creative pursuits.  I’ve always approached it as I like making things, and selling things means I get to make more things.  Otherwise the house just fills up.

Yay!  You’ve made it through my year so far!  I can’t promise how often I will post, but I know I need to record things for my own benefit, and maybe some of you will be entertained as well along the way.