Let the past sleep, but let it sleep in the sweet embrace of Christ, and let us go on into the invincible future with Him. (Oswalt Chambers)

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Wednesday Wings - Late Summer Bluebird Nest

The first bluebird nests of the season in spring normally have five eggs. With late season nests like this one my bluebirds have always stopped at four.

So four it is. As of tomorrow they're one week into the incubation period. Hatching will be on or about Thursday, August 5.

Mama Bluebird takes the occasional break on the power lines.

Daddy Bluebird proudly sits on the nest box happy that he doesn't have to sit on those eggs for two weeks.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Monday Miscellany for July 26

This may look like a pretty cloud, but it's actually the humidity boiling up in SW Michigan.

It's been very very hot and humid for the past few weeks. Today high was in the mid 80s and it felt like a cool spell. 90s returning mid week.

When I hear the word "frontier", I think about Davy Crockett, King of the Wild Frontier, an old Disney series from my childhood when Walt Disney was still alive and TV was black and white.

So imagine my concern when we received a letter last week informing us that as of July 1 (a little late with notification, don't ya think?) Frontier, "more than just a communications provider, we're a conversation company", was my new land line telephone service provider. It was the first time I'd ever heard of Frontier.

After a little investigation it appears Verizon has sold our middle of nowhere, antique and inadequate phone lines to Frontier who "wants to bring high speed internet to rural America." Well, that's us. Bring it on.

Seriously, has anyone ever heard of Frontier? Could this possibly be worse than what Verizon was doing for us?

One of the advantages of aging is not having to go the polls and stand in line to vote. Anyone 60 and over can get an absentee ballot and vote at home in leisure. I love my absentee ballots and have the August 3 primary version sitting here by my side.

In Michigan we have a governorship up for grabs with so many candidates it's difficult to keep them straight for those of us who aren't serious political followers.

As soon as I get this posted, I'm going to look up a few candidates online and get the ballot marked.

Judy S. left a comment on blackberries:
Your blackberries must be gentler than ours are! Ours have the most wicked thorns and are not to be messed with. We often joke that they form the infra-structure of our state.......

If Judy's blackberries are nastier than ours, she's in serious trouble!

Ours have the ability to sense human warmth, grab the human to draw blood on bare skin and snag clothing where the human tried to protect itself. Unless the clothing is leather, a blackberry thorn can do both at the same time - pierce and snag the clothing and draw blood under the clothing.

This time of year, the blackberry stalks are arching over the mowed paths where the dogs and I walk. Before I mow the paths again, I need to go out dressed in armor and prune them back or they will attack me and the tractor.

And, even wearing armor I know they're going to get me.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Summertime Blues

I keep looking for reader comments and haven't been getting any. Is that because I haven't posted in eight days?

It's the middle of an exceptionally hot summer here in SW Michigan. Day after day of temps in the 90s with high humidity, occasionally just enough rain to make steam, and a bumper crop of mosquitoes.

I haven't been knitting. The dogs and I take short walks without the camera. They're sweat and swat walks.

The hostas are chewed. These former beauties are/were three feet from the house.

The deer know they can outrun anything that lives here, so they're not shy about walking up to the porch for the good stuff.

On a happier blue note, a bluebird couple decided it's not too hot for some bluebird love.

They needed a nest in a hurry so they built a dainty grass bluebird nest over the top of a partial wren stick nest.

The second half of July is extremely late in the summer for a bluebird nesting. I'm hoping the eggs don't cook before they hatch.

I walked out without the dogs this morning so I could sweat and swat and snap a picture.

Daddy bluebird obliged by posing on nearby mullein while mom bluebird lay the second egg.

Monday, July 12, 2010

The Dogs Take a Short, Hot Walk Out Back

What some old dogs do when the temperature is over 90 and they get taken on a short walk out in the field:

Sunny, the youngest dog at nine years, likes to bask in the sun.

Pappy is an old male Papillon, but not too old to do his male dog duty marking his yard.

Glory is checking to see if the blackberries are ripe enough to eat. She loves them and will eat them right off the stalk when they're ready enough to pass her sweetness test.

Not yet. But almost.

This was taken last week. This week some berries are dark. Glory will be helping herself by the end of the week.

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Simple Woman's Daybook for July 6

These writing prompts are available from Simple Woman's Daybook where each Tuesday we're invited to join in celebrating the beauty of everyday moments around us.

FOR TODAY July 6, 2010...

Outside my window...

The milkweed are blooming. Their sweet scent is pleasantly strong.

I am thinking...

How interesting that the only dog of our three who likes to lay in the sun and bake herself was named Sunshine before we knew this about her.

I am thankful for...
Dr. Mark Swank, our new Senior Pastor at Lighthouse Community Church. We've been a year without one.

From the kitchen...
Not much. We've eating cold things because it's too hot to cook.

I am wearing...
Denim shorts and a sleeveless apple green tank top. It's very hot today and we don't have air conditioning.

I am creating...

Sleeve 1 of 4. But not today. It's too hot to knit anything so I've been sitting in front of a fan eating sherbet and reading.

I am reading...
The first two Inspector Morse mysteries by Colin Dexter, "Last Seen Wearing" and "Last Bus to Woodstock".

They were picked randomly from the library stacks. They're very English and a challenge to my vocabulary. For example on page 3 of the first book I read, "Kilroy, inevitably, had visited this shrine in the course of his infinite peregrinations . . .". I had to look up peregrination: To journey or travel from place to place, especially on foot.

The books were entertaining but didn't leave me with the urgent desire to find more of them. Inspector Morse seemed to be always jumping to wrong conclusions which he explained in great detail just before having his solution disproved by some piece of evidence he should have discovered before the jump. After two books of this, I found it tiresome.

Tomorrow I'm picking up the first Anne George Southern Sisters Mystery expecting it to be lighter reading more appropriate for easy summer relaxation.

I am hoping...
It cools off soon. The last four days have been in the 90s which is too hot to do anything active. That's OK for a day or two, but we've had enough now.

I am hearing...

Around the house...
The dog hair is piling up because it's too hot to vacuum in comfort and it's not piled high enough for me to to vacuum in discomfort.

One of my favorite things...

A few plans for the rest of the week:
Today I had lunch with a good friend of many years. Tomorrow is grocery store/errand/library day. Thursday is DH Bob's blood draw. Friday is a movie and snack with my Sisterhood group at the Portage Senior Center. I may skip depending on the movie. I've heard it's going to be Three Stooges which I totally dislike. Saturday is lunch with another good friend of many years.

Here is picture thought I am sharing...

If we were all as smart as Glory, we wouldn't be so hot.

Saturday, July 03, 2010

I Need Four Sleeves

How did this happen? Sleeves are known for being the black hole of sweater knitting, and I need four of them. During a time when I've lost most of my knitting incentive.

This is going to require some super self-discipline. I may need to start a pair of socks for sleeve relief. Or maybe that's not a good idea if I ever want to get these sleeves done.

First in need of sleeves is the Cotlin Vines and Leaves Cardigan.

This has been a pleasant knit and I'm looking forward to casting on the sleeves and doing some more of the lacy pattern. It's the sewing in of the sleeves that I'm likely to procrastinate.

Pattern: Vines and Leaves cardigan from the May issue of Creative Knitting.

Yarn: Knitpicks Cotlin and I'm getting exact stitch gauge and row gauge with US 5 needles.

Color: Planetarium. (Navy)

Needles: Options #5.

I've been calling this sweater the unimaginative name "Hedonist Redo" because a) it's being knit from Slackford Studio Hedonist yarn and b) the yarn is frogged from a former project that didn't please me.

The body has that crinkly look because of the frogged yarn. Once it's washed it will look much smoother.

This yarn is soooo soft. And the contrast after knitting on the Cotlin causes it to feel even softer.

I have enough yarn left for 3/4 sleeves. Maybe even full length sleeves.

Pattern: A basic pullover. The border across the top of the back and front is Pattern #177 from The New Knitting Stitch Library by Leslie Stanfield.

Yarn: Hedonist Sock from Slackford Studio, 80% Superwash Merino, 10% Cashmere, 10% Nylon, 4 Ply Fingering Weight

Color: Cote d'Azur

Needles: US #4, 3.5mm

Gauge: 6 stitches/inch, 9 rows/inch in stockinette.