Entries to Win Afghan


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Winners are: 3rd place- e-book of your choice: Wendy Nystrom. 2nd place- book of your choice, paper or e-book: Sue Ann Crawford. Winner of the afghan: Elaine Hull.

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Fun, Friends, Food

 
We just hung out today, ferried the girls to their activities, ate a lot of food and had fun.

Casper the cat is a new addition since my last visit. Quite a handsome fellow.

white cat

We played a game that was new to me called Forbidden Island. It was only the fourth time they had played it. Instead of a competitive game, it's collaborative. You have to work together as a team to collect certain items from the island and then all airlift away before the island sinks under rising floodwaters. They had never won it before, but had learned a lot of strategy ideas from the previous attempts. We managed to win, with much cheering and high-fives.

Forbidden Island

Then we had dessert. Of course I forgot to picture it, because then all we were interested in was eating it! We had brownies with ice cream, chocolate sauce, whipped cream and raspberries. We did a great job at making empty bowls.

empty bowls

We also decided that Monday will be flower show day, so tomorrow will be more family/friend fun.

See Arriving in Philadelphia
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Friday, February 27, 2015

Arriving in Philadelphia

 
Another day of mostly driving. Pam, Marie and I arrived in Philadelphia just after dark. Dave (Marie's son, and my "extra" boy) had managed to save us a parking space in front of the house.

Philadelphia

We had a late dinner because the girls were out seeing a play some friends of theirs were in. Then we played a game of Apples to Apples, which was extra entertaining since nearly everyone was falling asleep on the table!

family game

I haven't seen the girls for two years, so it's pretty amazing how much more grown up they are.

See Slow, with Friends
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Thursday, February 26, 2015

Arrival

 
I'm in NY. Didn't take a single picture today.


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The First Free Motel

 
Who says internet friends aren't real friends? Baloney. Two people whom I met through blogging have turned out to be some of my best friends. That's Chuck and Sylvia (of Secondary Roads). Almost two years ago we turned that electronic connection into a real one, and I've stopped in to see them as often as I could since then.


Chuck

Sylvia

We spent the evening visiting, made a little music, discussed and compared good books we'd read. We always part reluctantly, wanting to spend more time together. I guess that's part of what makes a good friendship!

Tomorrow I'll be on the road all day.

See The Truth about the Blog-Posting Murderers Fest
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Tuesday, February 24, 2015

So Far So Good

 
This wasn't what I was going to post, but right now I can't access my pictures, so I'll just tell you that I'm thankful for small favors. To be specific, that I actually have the pictures from the last few months.

I was backing up my SD camera card, in preparation for leaving on a trip tomorrow (that's the real news), and the card wouldn't read. Hmmm. Card or reader?

The readers are notoriously finicky, but I hadn't had trouble with the one built into the computer. I went and grabbed one of my old ones. It read it a couple of times but then crapped out when I tried to move files.

The only one that would read it is my oldest and slowest card reader. See, it pays to be a packrat.

I'm currently copying all the files to my external hard drive. So far I got October, November and December. It's working on January.

Of course, the irony is that this SD card is supposed to be a high-speed card. I didn't necessarily want that, but it was the only kind I could find at the time I bought it. Is "better" always better? Not. Anyway... OK... I got January. And now February.

That was a job I wasn't planning to do tonight! We'll have to be content with a nice pre-sunset taken today as I left handbell practice.

sunset

Here's the real news. I'm leaving after work tomorrow for the trip east which includes the Philadelphia Flower Show. Stay tuned!

Guess I'll add a new SD card to my final shopping list.

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Monday, February 23, 2015

The Deerskin

 
A precious piece of ephemera surfaced at our house today. It's addressed to my dad.

postcard from 1952

I read it with moderate interest at first. In case you can't decipher it, it reads, "Dear Sir. The deerskin received. Same to be tanned into glove leather. File 4884. Crosby Frisian Fur Company, 752 Lake Avenue, Rochester 13, NY."

postcard from 1952

So, "What's the big deal?" you ask. It's pre zip codes. Larger cities had zones.

I found a postcard image of the building on line. Their motto was "Let us tan your hide."

postcard of Crosby Frisian Fur Company

Dad had skins tanned fairly regularly, so I was thinking this was nice to have, but not too meaningful. Then I noticed the date. 1952. I would have been four. Suddenly this became a very important piece of personal history. This had to be the request to tan what was my first deerskin. MY deerskin.

I didn't have a Linus blanket as a kid. At least not until Dad received this deerskin from the tanner and asked me if I'd like it. I discovered it was one of the most wonderful things in the whole world. It was cool in the summer and warm in the winter. The outside was soft and smooth and the inside was a fine suede. I loved the smell and texture of it. I slept with that deerskin every night of my life until I went to college. It totally wore out. I still have a piece of it, but it really became brittle and disintegrated. I know where it is, but digging it out for a picture was more work than I wanted to get involved in today.

However.

Dad rather shyly asked me if I wanted a new one. Even though he knew I wasn't your average girl, I was, after all, nearly grown up. He needn't have worried. Of course I wanted a new one.

It's hard to believe that deerskin is now close to 50 years old. It never suffered the abuses of the one I had as a child, but that's a lot of years. It's now stiffening and coming apart too. That said... here it is. I still keep it on the bed. Just call me Linus, I guess. And I'd have to say these were the best gifts (of something material) that Dad ever gave me.

deerskin

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Sunday, February 22, 2015

Need Something Green

 
Last month, my friend Vanilla posted a picture of a cute little grasshopper that he had taken in his backyard in the summer. It was so much like a picture I had taken a few years ago that I had to hunt mine up.

It's a favorite. I've used it as my computer wallpaper off and on for a long time.

grasshopper

You can go to Little About Nothing to compare the two pictures. Vanilla's sentiments fit my day today, as well.

And with that, I bid you adieu for the day and raise you two grasshoppers.

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Saturday, February 21, 2015

The Reality for Wildlife

 
Things aren't always kind and beautiful for animals that live in the wild. This is one of the bluejays that comes to the feeder, but it seemed to be moving a bit strangely today.

injured blue jay

Here, it's contemplating jumping up to the feeder. But the jays rarely have to think about that motion. What's going on?

injured blue jay

Look at its right foot. See how oddly it's holding the toes?

injured blue jay

Except when it managed to fly up and land on top of the feeder, it only held on with the one foot, while the other one seems to dangle uselessly. You have to wonder if it pulled a muscle and may recover, or if it escaped from the literal jaws of death but was injured, or the foot froze to a branch in this extreme cold and it got hurt tearing itself away. There are so many things that could have happened.

injured blue jay

A small injury like this increases the likelihood that it will be caught by a predator, or not be able to get enough food. For today, however, it managed to get something to eat, and eventually flew away, hopefully to heal.

injured blue jay

Follow the link below for a very sad ending for some jays in a bad cold snap last year

See The Cute and the Sad
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Friday, February 20, 2015

No More Cold Hands

 
This isn't a product review blog, and I'm not trying to turn it into one, but I have to tell you about a new item that actually exceeded expectations. That happens so seldom anymore, and the results are so positive, I'm making it my quality item of the day.

I bought this huge snowblower in 1992. It was an easy decision what to wear while using it... the trusty Carhartts, with a hooded sweatshirt underneath. I've never really been cold. Not at my core. I'm not crazy about snow blowing into my face and down my neck, but sometimes it's just part of the job.

On the other hand (haha), I've never been able to keep my hands warm while doing this job. Part of that is related to the fact that I've always relegated the "almost worn out" pair of mittens to the assignment. This is because the snowblower is really tough on mittens. You have to hold down a metal lever on each handle to keep the impeller and drive chain engaged. The edges of those aren't really sharp, but over time they just tear up the palms. That leads to air conditioning that is not pleasant.

This year, the snowblower mitts really couldn't even be mended again. So I went hunting, thinking I'd buy a cheap pair locally. Apparently no one even buys mittens any more. None of the box stores I have access to had any. I wasn't willing to downgrade my recreational mittens yet. They were expensive and are in really good condition.

Finally, I looked on line. Believe it or not, Carhartt makes mittens that don't cost an arm and a leg. I quickly ordered a pair.

Carhartt mittens

I'm impressed. They are really warm. My thumbs got a little chilly today with the temps below zero and a wind blowing, but not bad. They have a polyurethane palm that should take the abuse. The wrist straps locks out the snow, and the cuffs are a soft jersey. And... are you ready for this? They offer them in SMALL. Do you know how hard it is to find work quality gloves for small hands? Nearly impossible.

My only complaint to date is that they are difficult to get on if your hand is wet (like when you pull one off to fiddle with something and then try to put it back on).

So, today I will celebrate warm hands while running the snowblower (12 times this winter).

See A Hard Day in the Carhartts
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Thursday, February 19, 2015

It Just Keeps Coming

 
Had to drive about 100 miles today. Fortunately only on main roads, but even those looked about like the back roads from yesterday! This is the main east-west road.

snowy highway

Watch out! Here comes the plow.

snow plow

Everything looked like a powdered sugar fairyland! Couldn't really stop to take pictures since the shoulders weren't plowed. I just pointed the camera through the windshield, and then looked to see what I got later on. Nothing great, but you can get the idea.

snow covered trees

snow covered trees

snow covered trees

It's been a long, long day. None of the machinery worked well this afternoon and I'm headed for a nice long nap.

See On Such a Winter's Day
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Wednesday, February 18, 2015

On Such a Winter's Day

 
The day began with one sliver of sunlight which stabbed through a crack below the clouds. That was the end of that!

morning light

Snow was falling hard, and the best scene on the way to work at the paper was this crabapple tree with a mound of snow on every clump of fruit.

crabapple tree

That was sure the end of any color in the day! I had to go out to the boonies to do a case for the other job. That would have been a lot of fun if the visibility had been better. I tried to get to the address from the north, west, east, and south, and not a single road that leads to where I needed to get to is a year-round thoroughfare. In other words, they haven't been plowed all winter. The roads I was trying to find are actually some I've never been on, so now I HAVE to go back in the summer, just to see them.

What I did see was a lot of this. Please notice the farm down the road on the left. Just to clarify things, this is a road that is open and driveable.

whiteout

I really like this one. Don't rush over it. It's not all white. There is a large man-made object hiding in plain sight.

irrigation sprayer

However, tree silhouettes are wonderful all lacy and slightly fuzzy against the snow.

tree

tree

Have to go out tomorrow morning, and then work at the paper in the afternoon. I'm going to bed early, because the only way that will happen is if I get up even earlier and clear the driveway.

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