Saturday, February 27, 2010

Tessa's Birthday Embroidery

Here is a picture of the embrodery I just finished for my sister's
birthday. I was going to sew it into a pillow, but I may mount and
frame it for her wall instead. I was pleased with how the work came
out, as it is only my third project and the first of my design. I
first laid out the design on paper, and then I drew it on the fabric
with a "mark-b-gone" sewing marker. I was nervous that the blue marker
would not fully wash out after I had done all that work, but I simply
hand laundered the fabric in warm water, and the marks came out
immediately to reveal my colors and design. I think this is going to
be a long standing hobby for me. It's just so relaxing and convenient
to do before bed, and I delight in even minor accomplishments. And, as
I mentioned before, this is a skill that will allow me to make gifts
for loved ones instead of buying them. I hope as my skill improves
that family and friends will feel my embroidery is worth having. More
to come...

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Baby cows!

My husband can vouch for the fact that I am positively mad for baby
cows. I scour the herds we pass in the car for any calves, and I
unfailingly let out a yell when I see one. Today, driving to the dump
we saw, not one, but two new baby cows in this pasture. On the way
back, my husband stopped to humor my obsession, and I pulled out my
phone to take a picture. As I did, the grey brown cow put his head
down and began to push it into the head of the little brown cow with
the white face. I said "Oh, how cute! They're playing!" But as the one
young cow charged a few more times, it seemed that the other cow
didn't like it. In a moment, we saw the offended cow's mother chase
the instigator away, and the baby cow nuzzled his mother
affectionately in thanks. Awwww! If that ain't the cutest thing I've
seen in a long time! In the photo, the babies are squaring off just
left of center, and momma was just behind the white faced cow to the

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

At the local watering hole...literally!

Some of y'all urbanites get thirsty on a weekend and hit up your
favorite figurative "local watering hole" for a few drinks. What you
get is poison in a glass priced too high, and it leaves you feeling a
little polluted. Now, sometimes of a weekend, we run out and head over
to our local watering hole, literally. It is about ten miles from our
house, but we can't drink our well water, and we know that at over six
dollars for a 5 gallon jug, we couldn't buy water for our cooler as
cheaply as the ride runs in gas. More importantly, though, is that
this water isn't for sale. It comes from a mountain spring deep
underground, pours out of a plastic pipe a the roadside, and tastes
like no other water you've likely ever had. It is fresh and pure,
without those funny undertones that make one not want to drink water.
It is life in a glass, free, and will make you feel clean and healthy
for drinking it. Now I'm no teetotaler, and I like a glass of red wine
or a cocktail myself, but I declare this the best watering hole I've
seen or tasted from yet, and I dare you to argue with me any "morning
after." Cheers!

Monday, February 22, 2010

Productive Relaxation- Embroidery

I bought some secondhand books on crewel embroidery, and expressed a
desire to learn to stitch early on in my pregnancy. My mother in law,
who was raised rather traditionally, learned this skill among others
as a matter of course while being brought up by her widowed mother and
spinster aunt. She bought me two embroidery kits for my birthday of
the kind that have wash out designs printed on them and tell the
crafter what stitches to use and what color floss. This was the first
of the two kits that I completed, an apron with the quaint design
comprised mostly of cross stitches. I washed away the blue under-
pattern and was pleased with my stitchery. Next I embarked upon the
embroidering of a pair of pillowcases that required me to learn some
new stitches and practice some I had already learned. I am presently
working on an original design for a decorative pillow that I intend to
give my teenaged sister for her birthday. This is part of my
resolution to minimize the consumerism in my life by making gifts
instead of buying them. I realized recently why embroidery has proven
to be such a satisfying hobby for me. I am, by nature, a motivated and
energetic person. Pregnancy has sapped me of some of that for the time
being, and I have had to make a serious effort to regulate my
activities and not to exert myself. For instance, at 36 weeks pregnant
I came down with a cold. I tried to make myself stay in bed, but
absolutely could not resist painting the top of my picnic table and
stools a glossy red. Embroidery allows me to be physically sedentary
without being idle, and most projects contain satisfying little bits
to be done in one sitting. I can say, "Oh, I'll sit and embroider
until I've finished this flower, and then I'll start ____." I usually
stitch for at least an hour before bed, and I find it to be a very
soothing undertaking, especially when accompanied by a cup of hot
green tea or cocoa. As I complete other projects and improve my
skills, I will post photos. I will probably start something for the
baby's room next.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Pond scum

In other news...upon taking Brian's cousin and his wife (who I met for
the first time today and liked surprisingly well) out back to see the
catfish pond we discovered that there has been some kind of an algae
bloom that wiped out every single fish in the pond. The cats were just
big enough to start eating, and this is a real dissapointment. We'll
have to see what we can do come spring.

Let it Snow!

We have had a snowy winter so far here in WNC, but we have not been
buried like our friends in other parts of the country. Around here it
tends to look pretty for a day and then melt off. This was one snowy
evening when my husband and I couldn't resist going out for a drive.
Pulling back down our driveway, I decided to take a picture of the
snowfall entirely without realizing that there was a serene aqua-blue
sky overhead. I love this photo, and I look forward to a few more
snowy and snuggly mornings before the big thaw when gardening season
will be upon us again. We have big plans this year! In addition to the
organic vegetable garden, our four free range chickens, and our two
beehives, we plan on growing a larger scale herb garden for a summer
income. We also want to experiment with Stevia, and maybe lure a few
more swarms and raise a few more chicks. So...let it snow a little
longer while we rest up for the work and reward that lie ahead. I will
be photographing and writing about it all this summer.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

What we do on Saturday Nights- Part 2

On the other hand, this is what my husband war strategy
games and look at the Tractor Supply catalog. We are a lively pair
these days!

What we do on Saturday nights in rural Western Carolina

There isn't a whole lot to do here in W.N.C. when it's a cold Saturday
night in winter. My husband and I are not big t.v. heads, so I have
been busying myself lately with embroidering pillow cases with printed
patterns. I plan to move on to creating my own designs after I have
learned some of the stitches. Though perhaps not very exciting, this
is a relaxing and productive hobby-even more relaxing with some good
green tea squirreled away from the Asian market that is sipped in bed.
I have come up with one nifty little trick, and that is when
separating threads, I make little snips on either side of the
cardboard that came withthe pattern. I wrap the loose threads into the
snips and around the board by color, so they stay handy, knot free,
and are ready to use when the color is again needed.

Sometimes it's the little things

My husband brought me breakfast in bed this morning. There is nothing
like waking up to a hot tall stack made from scratch with real maple
syrup. The bump in the foreground is my enormous pregnant belly, so as
you can imagine, breakfast was doubly appreciated. We were snowed/
rained into submission on the farm this a.m. I love to take advantage
of these days and relax guilt free.