Scrub-a-dub dub, baby!

Wash-Cloths-Bright-Solids

Mundane?  Yes.  

Plain?  Never! 

Wash-Cloth-Stack-2No two are alike.  No, it’s true.  I love the juicy enthusiasm of that orange cotton.  I love it so much that I couldn’t stop with just one- so the second one was a little different.  More knit stitch-less garter.  It jacked my stack.  The negative impact to the glorious uniformity I sought is a little painful for me to behold…but that’s life isn’t it.  Sometimes you have to let go of uniform perfection and just follow your bliss.  And if bliss takes the form of chain knitting seven different painfully  simple dish cloths because your brain is fried and you just can’t deal with any more decisions-even if that decision is simply what to make next?  Well, so be it.

Big-Orange-Wash-Cloth

They’re pretty and I love them.  Not only are they pretty, but they really are better than your run of the mill terry dish cloth.  They do a bang up job.  I know this isn’t exactly a newsflash for  anyone, but you know how it is.  You read lots of stuff about how old school domestic products really are better, you try a few, and then you face facts that although you may feel better about them, they don’t actually work better.  You know what I mean?  If we’re honest with ourselves, we know Mr. Clean Tub and Tile really does work better than vinegar or baking soda or bleach water.  It is what it is.  But these sweet babies put our old dish cloth to shame!

Scrub-a-dub dub, baby!

Wash-Cloths-Macro

RIP Catniss…

Catniss passed away today, leaving a soul-sister, Buffy the Buff Orpington.

Buff-and-Cat 

Cause of death is unknown, the family speculates that her heart couldn’t take the stress of her first molt.  She always had a weak constitution and was prone to inexplicable seizures.

Catniss-2

Catniss the Chicken- A freakier chicken there never was…

March 2012-May 20, 2013

Rest in Peace

The Eternal Optimism of Spring

Azalea-bud-header

Spring! Despite the fact that I live in a climate that really has only two discernible seasons, I love Spring! My love overcomes the adversity of the blizzard of pollen that coats every surface including your teeth if you open your mouth at the wrong time. How can you not love the blooms of spring?

Iris-front-pollen

Spring is that golden time in the garden where nothing has really gone wrong yet. You labor, and your labor is rewarded by restored order and new life.

Flowering-bush-front

I am committed-I repeat-committed (!) that this will not be a repeat of last year (or what I like to call “The Year of the Fungus”).

Kentucky-Pole-Bean

We shall overcome! We shall overcome the beetles, slugs, black spot, powdery mildew, blight, fire ants, birds, squirrels, moles, and dogs! We shall overcome and we won’t spend a thousand dollars doing it. We will be thrifty and the garden will be lush and organic.

potatoes-flower

And after we accomplish these things, we’ll actually go outside and enjoy it …instead of retreating to the realm of air conditioning and tv.

Ahhh, the eternal optimism of Spring… ;)

Stuff and Nonsense…

Jen-and-MinThese two make me want to start singing “Sisters” from White Christmas….I’m going to do it, “Sisters! Sisters!  There were never such devoted sisters….”  Minerva on the left is definitely Rosemary Clooney.  I love the was she’s staring down her schnoz at Vera Allen, I mean Jennie Weasley.

Buff-and-CatThese two just want some more grass clippings.  You’ll note Buffy has saved a tiny piece for later.

Ash-climbing-TreeA tree blew down during a storm last week.  It was dead and we were actually pricing having it taken down when thunder storms eliminated the issue for us.  Blessedly, the storm was traveling in a rare southerly direction, thereby preserving the fence you see behind it.

Kids-on-TreeThat’s not the only miracle either-you’ll note that not one, but two of my children are playing outside.  Playing! Outside!

Ashton-Garterstitch-scarfI tried to coax this one to model my Keyhole scarf-he was not pleased.  Looking back with the clarity of hindsight, I’ve had better ideas.

Flowering-weedYou see that?  That’s a weed.  The picture is pretty, but the weed is not.  It has stickers in addition to the little flowers and it is vining through my dwarf azaleas in a way that is not ok.  Weeds, we have lots of them…

Budding-Live-OakWe also have lots of these.  At the moment this picture was taken, this sweet little Live Oak Seed pod was still attached.  I don’t think any of them are attached anymore and they’re covering every square inch of the place with their polleny presence.  I don’t think “polleny” is a word, but I’m going to pretend it is.

And just when you think you can’t stand the pollen any more-not even one more minute…

Purple-Iris-BudYou remember…that pollen, it has a purpose.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Behold, my Garter!

Garterstitch-scarf-3

 

New can be fun.  It’s exciting to accomplish something that you weren’t able to  do previously.  It can also be difficult…frustrating…awkward…tedious.  I’ve introduced a lot of new into my life as of late.  Some of it voluntary.  Some of it involuntary.   Today, I’d like to talk about some of my voluntary newness!

Garterstitch-scarf-5

 

Behold, the Garter Stitch!  Totally new!

Garterstitch-scarf-4Behold the “keyhole” and the oh-so-lacy ruffle!

Garterstitch-scarf-1

Behold, me knitting!  I’ve been on Craftsy again (of course).  The class is called Knit Lab. The instructor, Stefanie Japel, is pretty cool. I love the format, and she’s a natural teacher. It wasn’t easy for me, however.  The sticks have been a challenge.  They feel awkward compared to the a crochet hook.  And it takes for-ev-er….I’ll press on, however.  It’s bound to feel natural eventually.  Right?

 

 

 

Molting…Not Revolting

Molting-Girl-009I’ve been having to travel quite a bit recently for work, and my sweet, wonderful husband has been taking care of the girls full-time.  So one phone call, he says, I’m worried about one of your Barred Rocks.  I don’t know if the other chickens are pecking her or if she’s sick, but she looks terrible.

Luckily, I had noticed that one of the girls was shedding a lot of feathers the weekend before. So I felt relatively confident when I told him not to worry about it. I was pretty sure one of them had started her molt. As long as she wasn’t acting sick or bleeding, “Don’t sweat it, sugar lips.”  Sure enough, I arrived home to this sweet little victim of nature.

Molting-Girl-018

Luna.

Luna lovegood

Totally makes sense.  Jenny, Hermione and Minerva are full-feathered, laying and content.  Luna goes into a winter molt.  Poor dear-she’s weathering it well, though.

Always antisocial, now she seems a little more so.  She’s stopped laying-who can blame her.  This process looks exhausting.

Molting-Girl-020She was, not surprisingly, a little camera-shy.  Especially of her caboose.  Again, completely understandable when one has an uncharacteristic bald spot. She really is a hot mess.

I can’t help but wonder when the others will succumb to this annual ritual of renewal.  They’re all the same age (almost a year old) so I would think, very soon.  They’ve been such rock star chickens!  Their egg production didn’t even really slow across the shortest days of winter.  Superstars!  And although they are a little freaky and stinky, they’re always interesting and sweet.  Molting, not revolting…

 

 

 

 

 

Resolution #2 and New Year’s Miscellany

Happy 2013!

chair-fire

At my house today, we have napped and eaten, eaten and napped.  I have two very lethargic and slightly fussy rascals due to a New Year’s “Lock-In”.  Little brother came home at 1am.  Big sister stayed the night. Hubbie and I rang in the New Year at the grocery store.  We laughed-did not kiss-and enjoyed the fact that we were at least grocery shopping together.  (What can I say?  We had time to kill between our  movie and picking up the little man. and we needed milk.)

I found a great and “non traditional” recipe for black-eyed peas yesterday at Simply Recipes.  Well, scratch the non traditional piece-apparently it’s traditional in Greece.  It’s a black-eyed pea salad, and we had it for lunch, ensuring good luck in the new year.

black-eyed-pea-salad-a

A Greek medley of black-eyed peas, spinach, kalamata olives, feta and sun-dried tomatoes-I cut the sun-dried tomatoes in half and added some beautiful red and yellow bell pepper.  Festive and delicious! We’ll have our cabbage (for prosperity) this evening.  I even picked up a head for the chickens!  Goodness knows, they deserve it.  We’re having our brief but very chilly Texas winter, and those little rascals are still laying like champs!

Finally, I’ve decided that two is the perfect number for this year’s Resolutions.  The reality is that I have so many self-development concepts underway already, I don’t want to dilute their progress or add undue pressure with additional formality.  It’s all about self-discipline after all.  They all utilize the same muscle.  So I picked one resolution that’s somewhat personal and supercilious (i.e. Great Literature I’ve never Read), and one that’s truly for the greater good. So, number two on my very short list of 2013 New Year’s Resolutions

Improving my kiddos eating habits and nutritional intake-limiting their access to junk

I cut back on their junk and increase the number of home-cooked meals consumed at table, ergo I cut back on my own junk and increase the number of home-cooked meals consumed at table.

veggies

This will be challenging for three reasons.  1) They’re nerds  2) They’re picky nerds with texture issues 3) Their father and I are often weak-willed due to fatigue and stress.  I’ll even add an unofficial fourth-their dad and I have wicked travel schedules this spring and we tend to utilize the drive-through pretty exclusively when the other parent is away.

Guilt is a powerful motivator, however, and I’m committed to turning the tide on their junk food habits.  May the force be with me….I’ll certainly need it.

What are your resolutions? How are you taking your black-eyed peas and cabbage this year?

Comfort and Joy!

I woke up this morning and cuddled with my six year old.  He still likes to cuddle with mom, thank goodness!  I made Nutella cocoa and a rich, strong latte and sat down with my family in the morning light.  And I felt happiness.  In that way that you feel it in random moments.  Tired, but relaxed and content.  So lucky. Such Comfort and Joy!

LatteAnd I spied our tree sitting there in the morning light and it was beautiful.

Latte-treeSo I grabbed my camera, because that what you do, right?

Christmas_Tree_Wideangle

 

You take pictures of things that are beautiful!

Christmas-Tree-Day

Pictures of Comfort and Joy!

 

 

 

The List

It’s been exactly a month since my last post.  In that time, I’ve worked…hard.  Work, work, work….makes Amy a narrow and creatively void soul.  Not really, but I did feel sorry for myself a little.  I had to travel for business in November and I returned Thanksgiving week with three days to ready our home for my husband’s family Christmas.  Yes, Christmas.  Twenty of my in-laws descended the Friday after Thanksgiving for what can only be described as two days of typical, quasi-dysfunctional mayhem.  It was nice.  I then careened back into work.  Today, I took a deep breath.  I poured a glass of wine, and for the first time in a month, I sat down at the computer and logged into my WordPress account.  My friends, it’s been too long.  I missed you.  I missed me.

But the reality is, I have bupkis for content.  Not a lot besides work, family, etc,  happening here.  I have managed to get a lot of my Christmas shopping done.  It was one of the priorities I had to slot in front of my time here.  While shopping, I have happened across some pretty neat stuff.  So in the absence of anything substantive, I present you with my official 2012 Christmas list.

1.  Denise Interchangeable Crochet Hooks….I chalk this one up to Jennifer Hansen’s Craftsy class.  I’ve coveted them for months now.

Denise Hooks

2.  Boots!  I can’t get enough of them….all kinds…all of them!!!

UGG

Frye

6pm grey wedge

Frye CindyI freaking love them….seriously…good to know there are areas in life where I can magically morph into my 25 year old self.

3.  A great general purpose lens for my Canon Rebel…maybe this one?

Canon lens4.  Some watercolor pencils and paper

Watercolor pencil5.  A really good stovetop espresso maker.  I paid 9.99 at TJ Max for the one I use and it’s a pain in the arse.

Bialetti TrioBialetti Musa6.  PJ’s!

Santa PJ'sI love me some Santa Claus!

Sock Monkey Santa PJ'sI love me some sock monkeys!

7.  Slippers!

slipper flip flops

Mukluks

Tall Mukluks

clog

I wear a lot of black and brown.  Slippers should express your colorful self :)

8.  Earrings! Of any description…not terribly picky.

Aga Earrings

These are by Aga Designs.  I find I love everything she does-including her Craftsy class.

EtsyI found these on Etsy….

David YurmanDavid Yurman….a girl can dream, can’t she?  But really, who needs David Yurman.  Last year, my sweet baby girl helped her daddy pick out a pair of dangly gold and turquoise earrings at Target, and they are the bomb! Mama likey the earrings.

9.  Time

10.  Energy

There you have it! The first installment of my 2012 Christmas list. Hubbie asked for it weeks ago.  Better late than never! Have a great week my friends!