Thursday, April 30, 2009

A New Kind of Bird

6 yr old- "Hey Mommy, I saw a bird with yellow on its tail, like this:" ('air-draws' stripes across back-side)
8 yr old- "What other colors did it have?"
6 yr old- "Just black and yellow."
8 yr old- "Doesn't sound like any bird I've ever seen..."
6 yr old- "Must be from New York."
(heard 4/27/09, at the dinner table, 6 yr old & 8 yr old)

??? Don't even ask- I have no idea... but they sure do make me laugh, repeatedly.

My parents have kept filled birdfeeders (as opposed to the kind we used to keep, empty ones) for many years. Some years back, I started to notice that there were more than just Chickadees, Robins, and Blue Jays in their yard. Thus began my love of birdwatching.

We bought a birdfeeder, and my husband placed it on a pole just outside our dining room bay window. The kids love it. We get so many good views of lots of bird varieties. Over the years we've added a couple Finch, Oriole, and Hummingbird feeders. The fun continues to grow. We have a couple bird identification books, and a cd of Minnesota bird calls. Oh, and we regularly read from Thornton Burgess' Bird Book throughout our homeschooling year. I love that book.

This past season we all enjoyed the frequent visits from some Red Bellied Woodpeckers (pictured above, you can't see its belly though.) I don't remember seeing those before. They're quite a bit bigger than the Downy and and slightly larger than the Hairy Woodpeckers that also stick around all year. Very cool birds.

Interestingly, this was also the first year we noticed any Pine Siskins. Maybe we're just becoming better observers...

It's time to refill the Finch and Oriole (my favorites!!!) feeders, and I'm feeling the urge to get another big feeder for the front yard, though a person could go broke buying birdseed for too many feeders, yikes. Every hobby has its costs, eh? (Birdseed, yarn, birdseed, yarn, this could prove difficult.)

The windows on the front of the house need replacing, but we'll have to settle for a good washing this year, and soon. Decent bird pictures are much more likely when taken through clean windows...

So, the near future list grows-

  • acquire new feeder
  • wash & fill Oriole feeder
  • fill Finch feeder
  • while you're at it, get the hummingbird feeders cleaned and ready
  • till the garden bed
  • transplant runner strawberries that are taking over back yard
  • plant some blueberry bushes
  • plant some raspeberries
  • get 2 new apple trees, for Mother's Day, I strongly hinted
  • transplant tomatoes to bigger pots until garden soil is ready
  • keep an eye on the rhubarb, harvest and freeze more than you waste this year
  • plant a couple more hostas, my love of hostas is growing
  • further divide the crowded mystery lillies, dunno what kind they are, I just like having them grow
  • plant garden with kiddos!!!
  • build some raised beds
  • keep up with the garden (is this a to-do list or a wish list? hmmm...)
  • build that sandbox! I told you, I'm determined this year.
  • knit some good knits
  • get another indie pattern or two ready
  • drink plenty of water
  • enjoy each day

Enjoy your weekend-

Resources to enjoy:

Birdsleuth- real science for real kids

Project FeederWatch

The Great Backyard Bird Count

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Friday, April 24, 2009

A Cozy Hat on a Windy Day

4/29/09 eta: Cozy pdf is up on Ravelry! Will get it on the sidebar shortly...

Guess who's 6 months old already!! Wow. That was a fast 6 months. Okay, the months are all fast these days. Can you believe this year is almost half gone?! I'll stop now. Before the panic attacks set in all across the country...

Let's see, 6 months and he has 6 teeth, just like all of my other babies, and he is now big trouble when let loose on the floor- he can roll and roll, and roll some more and get over to (and probably underneath) just about anything. He's working on his sitting up, but right now it's more fun to roll...

We had some 'fresh air and sunshine at the park' time today and I was able to get some cute shots of Baby J and the Cozy hat I knit several weeks back. I love the way his little feet are just dangling, it makes me smile. I just need to polish up the pattern a bit and I'll get it and the Comfy pattern pdfs into a pattern store (these hats will be free!!) in the very near future, like, maybe, this weekend.

I'm finally done seaming my Drops Jacket! Hopefully, I'll head out for some buttons this afternoon. I am so excited to wear this one! 3 1/2 weeks isn't bad, considering the wave of sickness that swept through our household during that time... I loved working at this gauge- this sweater simply flew off the needles! Knitters like to throw that phrase around, but really, this one flew.
Off to edit, and enjoy some of today's sun, before the much needed rains move in...
Happy knitting-


Thursday, April 16, 2009

Little Sisters

(6 yr old took this pic of Baby J!)
I'm 7 & 9 yrs older than my 'little' sisters. (They are both shorter than me, I will always call them little...) When they got married, I was pregnant with child number 6- I had a bit of a head start (and got married a bit younger than they did.)

When the youngest sister had her first baby (a boy), a little over a year ago, it all seemed so weird- I had been the only sister with kids for so long... Then our other sister announced that she was expecting, and that seemed really weird, that soon, we'd all have kids.

Looks like that soon should be sometime today... her water broke in the night (10 days early, I'm not sure if I can fully forgive her for that) and she is at the hospital awaiting the probability of requiring some pitocin, as nothing natural has kicked in so far. Hugs, thoughts, and prayers in her general direction would be greatly appreciated.

We are all looking forward to meeting her new little sweetheart, and smelling that intoxicating new baby smell... (No, for the cynical out there, I did not mean the smell of spit up or poopy diapers. For the experienced mothers and grandmothers out there, you know what I meant...)

In the meantime, while we all await news, have you SEEN this?! I cried. Clearly, being tired from a week of sickness and now sinus presure (thanks to spring tree pollen, and apparently DUST, according to the allergist, trying Nasonex, so far, I'm still dizzy and my head hurts, and yes, I know that qualifies as whining) has apparently made me a bit emotional, but seriously, watch it and see if you don't get choked up- especially if you know the song... oh, how incredibly appropriate... (Okay, it's not just me. Really.)

And then, for a laugh, watch this, and this, and this, oh, my goodness, they make me smile big smiles. Seriously, watch them all, it'll be good for you today.

Oh, and the knitting- sickness delays, sigh, working on the sleeves, colder weekend coming, I think I'll still be able to wear it yet this spring... it's all good.

Gotta get outside.
Happy knitting-

Monday, April 13, 2009

12 Years and Counting

Yesterday was our Anniversary!
12 years is a long time.
I know I'm blessed,
and I thank Him for it.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Not So Focused

Focus, for me, was brief. There I was, cruising along, having finished first the back and then the Left Front of my Drops Jacket, when I was sidetracked by a kids' bulky jacket design idea. I wound a few skeins, crunched a few numbers, knit a few rows, and so, I'm kind of focused on 2 things now...

Well, 2 main knitting projects, then there's the dealing with another stinking stomach bug waging war with my children's digestive systems, waging my own wars on dust and clutter, starting some flower and vegetable seeds, a little embroidery project, and staying on top of the learning that goes on around here from day to day.

As a part of that learning, we went on a little adventure this Tuesday. Drat! I just remembered that we forgot to get a pic of the kids in front of the "controversial" Mary Tyler Moore statue. Oh well, guess we're gonna hafta go back to Macy's someday...

Tuesday was Family Day at the annual Macy's Flower Show in Minneapolis. I suppose the most 'educational' thing there was the Wollemi Pine.

Fun Facts about the Wollemi Pine
  • The Wollemi Pine is one of the oldest and rarest ancient plant species in the world.
    Only a select few researchers are permitted to see the Wollemi Pine in the wild.
  • Members of the public can view the propagated plants at select locations in Australia, the United Kingdom, Scotland, Ireland, Belgium, The Netherlands, Austria, Germany, Japan and Taiwan.
  • Macy’s Spring Flower Show in Minneapolis is the only public place to see the Wollemi Pine on display in the U.S.
  • The Wollemi Pine belongs to the 200 million year old Araucariaceae family. Its cousin is the Norfolk Island Pine.
  • The Wollemi Pine narrowly escaped extinction. It is known from fossil records and presumed extinct until it was discovered in 1994 by a bushwalker in the Wollemi National Park.
  • Dubbed the botanical find of the century, the Wollemi Pine is the focus of extensive research to conserve this ancient species.
  • The oldest Wollemi Pine type fossil dates back 90 million years and it is believed that the Pines may have existed since the Jurassic period 200 million years ago.
  • Before the Pine was rediscovered in 1994, it was presumed extinct for around two million years.
  • The Wollemi Pine is named after the Wollemi National Park, the location where the Pines were first discovered in Sydney’s Blue Mountains.
  • The Wollemi Pine is characterized as a conifer with attractive, unusual dark green foliate, bubbly bark and sprouts multiple trunks.
  • The Wollemi Pine’s scientific name is Wollemia Nobilis.

Source: Wollemi Australia Pty Ltd.

Seeing a plant that rare was pretty cool, but I do think the much larger than life flamingos truly did steal the show.

How cool are they?! Fun stuff, almost as fun as the ladies twisting balloons into various shapes on the 4th floor (somebody was thinking when they planned this event, placing the kids' events in the FAO Schwarz toy department...)

My kids are really pretty good about not whining and begging for every toy that strikes their fancy, but my 4 yr old was overcome with love for the big red dog.

I was able to dodge that bullet with a couple pics of them together, you know, for posterity's sake. No more stuffed animals- have I mentioned I'm decluttering? No stuffed animal is safe with me these days...

Okay, now onto that Right Front, I want to wear this thing next week!

Happy knitting-


Thursday, April 02, 2009

Rusty Orange Progress

I am happy to report substantial progress on my Drops Jacket- the back is done and I am plowing through the Left Front. I am even happier to report the appearance of that glorious thing known as the SUN. Aaahhh, yep, it feels good, and it's making short work of that latest spring snowfall (which wasn't as much as the 6 inches they were saying, thankfully. While my thoughts and prayers are with those in and around Fargo, I'm ready to be done with the snow. Our local river is quite high as well...) It's anybody's guess as to how long the new snowmen will last...

Things will start getting busy around here very soon. Some of you are thinking, start getting busy? The woman has 7 kids, at home, all day, every day... (we homeschool) Well, yes, every day is busy around here, at least compared to some, but spring and summer, well, things will really get moving. We're in serious garden planning mode now, and this year we're even considering getting some chickens. Okay, I'm considering it a wee bit more than my husband, so we'll see how that one shakes out. There are more seedlings to start, more strawberries to order, ground to till (as soon as it actually thaws), strawberry beds to renovate, a blueberry bush or two to plant, some raised beds to build to keep some herbs nice and tidy, a sandbox to build (because I am determined to get one built this year!), parks to hike through, farms to visit, books to finish up, new books to start, zoos to peruse, and, well, there is always some knitting going on, even some designing and pattern writing... (oh, and a wee bit of decluttering)

Oh, and a little baking, because Leslie keeps making me hungry, for things with sugar. I'm pretty sure less than an hour went by between the time I saw her pic of these Chocolate Oatmeal cookies and the time I started preheating my oven and gathering ingredients. I'm not even kidding. Apparently I'm powerless to the power of suggestion. Our air conditioner is ancient, I may need to have a couple baking marathons and stock my freezer full of cookies for the summer...

Which cookies freeze the best?

Happy knitting-
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