Although it is a beautiful day, it is rather cold and the weather people still have a chance of snow in the forecast for this week. The temperatures are slowly moving upwards and it is supposed to actually reach the 60’s later this week and into next weekend. Around the house, my husband has a long list of things that needs to be done to ready the house and yard for spring.
Last weekend we made the first trek to the home improvement store for mulch and organic soil. The mulch is to spruce up the flower beds around the house and the soil is to start the prep for our garden that we will be planting. This weekend was the second trip for the rest of the mulch and to also start looking at brick landscape pavers. We would like to take out the stones that are in the front, which sort of blend into the scenery and replace them with something that goes more with house. That will be on the list for next spring. As for this year, the mulch is now finished so that is one item that my husband can mark off of his spring list. Our pug is happy because he has fresh mulch to frolic in and kick out of the flower beds, so tidying up the mulch will be on the list all summer long.
This morning, even though the temperature is only 38 degrees, my husband is currently prepping the lawn mower, as all of the weed and feed that he put on the lawn to help it grow is doing its job. The weeds are growing very nicely and the grass is too. It will need to be cut soon, so that will be on the list for next weekend.
So has spring finally arrived where you are?
Photo © Lenalee
So one of my wishes for the 2017 New Year was to teach myself how to crochet. Being left-handed, I continually frustrated my mother and grandmother when they attempted to teach me. I can crochet a simple single crochet stitch, but anything more than that and I am at a loss. So my search for crochet tutorials led me to tons of websites and YouTube. Yes, YouTube is now my friend. One of the first videos that I watched was Bella Coco from the UK. Shout out to Sarah Jayne!!! You rock in teaching someone how to crochet. She has a lot of videos showing left handed crochet. Yea!!! She also has a website, which you can find here.
I dug through my sewing box and pulled out the crochet hooks that I already had and then hit up the local craft store. My hubby is always my biggest supporter, so while I took in the yarn aisles searching for yarn for my first attempt at crocheting, he was picking out some yarn for me to make him a scarf. I thought it would probably be finished in time for next winter, but I bought the yarn and several others, as well as a few more hooks. The first stitch I learned from Bella Coco was the left-handed waffle stitch. I took notes, bookmarked the video and wrote down specific times when she transitioned from one row to another and I was off.
The first scarf took about 4 days. It was done to match my winter coat. Once I realized that it looked normal and not misshapen, I started the one for my husband. I kept checking the length and told him to tell me when it was the length that he wanted. His took about a week. Of course it was finished and the temps were in the 50’s and 60’s. The temps finally dropped and he was able to wear it for the long walk from the parking lot to his office building. His report was “it was warm and toasty and people asked where I got it from.” Mine will have to wait until next winter to be worn. I park in a parking garage and walk about 30 feet into the building.
Next up was several cowl’s to wear with some of my sweaters at work. They were my response to the no v-neck sweater policy at work, so this helps me cover up the “V” while wearing something I made. I did those in a light weight yarn and learned another new stitch. I have also learned the basket weave stitch from her site as well. I picked up two pillow forms and plan to use them on the couch. I completed the bolster pillow, which was done in the waffle stitch pattern, and I used the basket weave stitch to cover the second pillow. For my first attempts at making pillows, they came out better than I thought they would.
I then started working on an afghan to keep warm on the cold winter nights. The only issue was that winter turned into spring and by summer the yarn was too warm to work with so I put it aside to finish in the fall. I did attempt to make a pair of baby booties for one of my coworkers who was expecting and I have to say, they turned out pretty good for my first attempt.
When the weather turned cool, I started working on the afghan again and realized I was only three rows from the end. I could have finished it a lot sooner. My husband requested one for when he and the pug sit in the recliner at night, so I started working on his. I have six more skeins of yarn to go and we are only 3 weeks into the official winter season, so I am hopeful it will be done in time for him to actually use it. The photo shows the afghan and the two pillows that I made. Now I just have to figure out what I want to make next.
While I love touring the countryside and capturing pictures of wildlife, I don’t necessarily like to see them up close and personal in my yard. This summer has been rather interesting around my house as several different animals have decided that our neighborhood makes a good place to live.
We have always seen deer around the area, but rarely see it near our house. One morning, we saw four deer making their way across the field behind our house. They came up from the river at the end of the block and were on their way back home after a night out. A few days later, I was on my way to work and I saw something in the road. It looked like a cat at first, but I realized that it was bigger than a house cat. As I got a little closer I realized that it was a red fox. It was headed out of my housing area, so I’m not exactly sure where it was coming from. I just hope it doesn’t live near.
My husband was working from home the next day when he sent me a text that a groundhog had apparently taken up residence under the shed in the back corner of the yard. When I asked him if he was sure, he sent me a picture. Since it was about the size of our pug, I was concerned and wanted it gone. We called a wildlife company that will trap and relocate the animals. The price was close to $200 to put in a trap so we decided to buy one ourselves. At the same time I saw a story on the Baltimore news that a rabid groundhog was found on the grounds of the Baltimore zoo, so I definitely didn’t want that living under our shed.
After about a week we didn’t catch anything. We were going to put the trap away but we ended up lending it to our neighbor when he said that a groundhog was living under his shed and eating from their garden. I figure it was like an all-you-can-eat buffet at their house for the groundhog. After a couple of weeks he returned the trap and said that he didn’t catch anything either. So apparently the groundhog moved on.
Last weekend my husband went outside to mow the lawn. He saw a tiny bird alongside the shed and he thought it was injured. We put some water near it and when he checked a little later, it looked like it was trying to drink. After he finished the grass, he looked for it again and it had hopped up on a low board of the fence. My husband took a picture of the little guy (who looks a little grumpy) and I texted it to a co-worker whose husband volunteers for a wildlife rescue organization. It seems the little bird is a newly fledged mockingbird who may have overestimated his flying ability. He said the mom and dad were probably close by. When we checked an hour later, the bird was gone, so the water must have worked. The next day we noticed mom and dad mockingbird chasing one another around our trees. I think they might have been celebrating their empty nest.
Christmas is behind us and New Year’s will be here in a few days. Looking at our tree, it looks so sad with all the presents gone. I love looking at the lights, especially at night if we have a fire going in the fireplace, but we haven’t really been cold enough for a fire lately. We didn’t have any snow for Christmas this year and that has been the case since we moved to Maryland. Snow seems to come in little bits until February. That’s when we get a lot…should I mention last year and the 3 feet plus snow storm that we got in one day?
Our pug only managed to get one present out from under the tree. He somehow managed to sniff out one of his new squeaky toys from among all the wrapped gifts. It was cute to watch him stretch his little body under the tree. He kept his back feet on the carpet and used his front paws to bat the package closed and then he tugged the string holding it together. After all of that effort, my husband and I let him have his toy. There is something so precious when a dog gets a new squeaky toy. He is just so exited and happy. He wore himself out playing with it. I was worried he would try to find his other gifts, so we moved them up higher.
My husband also gave me one of the best gifts. It is a hook that attaches to the headrest of a vehicle. It holds my purse and that means it doesn’t get tossed around the backseat of the car when we are together. It also means that I don’t put it on the floorboard when it is wet. I can hook it behind the seat, his if he is driving, and I can reach for my phone or wallet. I never knew I needed it, but now that I have it, I wished I had it sooner.
Hope everyone had a wonderful holiday!!!
Do you ever have one of those rare weekends where you stay home and do absolutely nothing? If you’re anything like me, those don’t happen very often and when they do, you almost feel guilty that you didn’t really accomplish all that much. This past weekend was one of those for us. On Friday, before leaving for work, I had put a pork loin in the crock pot with some Sticky Fingers Carolina BBQ Sauce…yummy, and my husband and son did the yard work that would normally be done on the weekend. Fridays are usually one of the days that we will eat out, but my husband had gotten off work early, so he started in on the yard and it was done before dinner. That left Saturday free and he was looking at his list to try to figure out what he wanted to do next. Washing the cars was on the list, so he figured he would tackle those on Saturday.
When he woke up, he said that his throat was scratchy and a little sore. As the day wore on, he began to talk like he gargled with gravel, and while he wasn’t running a fever, he didn’t feel good. So he made a beeline for his comfy chair and dozed off. Now usually, when the hubby is sick, he can be needy, so I tend to be busier. That wasn’t the case this time. I made him a cup of tea once in a while and offered to make him soup, but he said he didn’t have much of an appetite, so I found myself with time on my hands and not sure what to do. I needed to vacuum, but hubby was sleeping, and that can be done one night after work. I read for a while and searched the web for recipes for vegetables. Yes, I am still trying to find ways to cook veggies that I will eat :). And I did get all the laundry done. But mostly I just relaxed and enjoyed the quiet time. Well, as quiet as it is with a pug and a husband snoring in the background, but you get the idea.
Unless your team actually made it to the Super Bowl, the only reason a lot of us watch the game is for the commercials. I am originally from Chicago…Go Bears…so having moved around a lot since getting married, I cheer for the local team where ever we are at the time, unless they are playing the Bears…Go Bears! Since the Bears haven’t been to the Super Bowl since January of 1986, it is all about the commercials for me.
Our Super Bowl tradition is the food, wings in several different flavors, chips and dip, pizza rolls and something sweet for dessert, which was fudge brownies this year. So no, it isn’t a gourmet feast, but it is perfect for the Super Bowl. Eat, eat, eat and watch a commercial. Eat, eat, eat and watch a commercial. Past favorites are anything with the Clydesdale horses and the Doritos Pug, (probably because I have a pug).
So this year, who decided that it would be a good idea to release the commercials early? I understand trying to create a buzz about a product ahead of time, but that didn’t seem the case. Maybe when you are paying $5 million dollars for a 30 second spot, you want to have your commercial aired across the nation for free as many times as you can get it. There were numerous news articles about the ads for this year and they included the videos of the commercials. I could skip reading them, but when I watched the news, they discussed the commercials and then proceeded to show them. No, no, no. Don’t show them early. I want to see them for the first time during the game and then play Monday morning quarterback to discuss with family and co-workers which commercials were the best and which were the worst. But this year, that discussion happened during the week prior because companies decided to show their commercials early.
So now that is it all over, what is my opinion? I didn’t really enjoy them like I usually do. And my Super Bowl watching experience was just that. I watched the Super Bowl. I didn’t care who won, and because I saw most of the commercials ahead of time, there was no anticipation or excitement. I did like a few though. The Mt. Dew Puppy Monkey Baby one was rather funny (probably because the puppy face was a pug) and they did have the Clydesdale horses. The one for Jeep’s 75th was very moving, while Steve Harvey for T-Mobile made me laugh. But it just wasn’t the same.
So next year, please keep the commercials a secret. My Super Bowl watching experience could use some excitement…unless the Bears make it…one can only hope…and dream…and keep fingers crossed…and say prayers…lots and lots of prayers. Hey, it can happen.
Okay, I have to admit that I am one of those that love fall. I love it when the leaves start turning and the nights get cool enough that you can keep the windows open. There is nothing like sleeping in on the weekend, all bundled up in the blankets because you just can’t bring yourself to get up and close the window. Nope! I will gladly pile on the blankets instead of stepping one toe out of bed to close the window. It’s the principle. I gladly trade a cup of coffee after dinner to a mug of hot chocolate with marshmallow fluff or marshmallows. I’m not picky.
I spent too many years living in several southern states where you only really had summer and February. February was the month where you would have lots of rain, a cool spell (maybe about 45 degrees) and yes, even a flurry or two. Or the one January when we were living in Tennessee and we actually woke up to 8 inches of snow. Our pug had no idea what snow was and refused to go outside. We would carry him out and set him down and he would race back in the house. Eventually, my husband had to shovel a path around the yard that showed him that the grass was still there. The little guy stuck to that path and did all his potty trips along that route until the snow finally melted.
When we moved to Kansas, where it snowed a lot more, we bought our pug little snow boots. Yea…good intentions, but an epic fail. Our pug went out with them on once and began to shake each leg until his little boots flew off, landing in the snow, and then he proceeded to kick the snow until he was sure that he had buried them for good. Of course my husband had to dig through the snow to find them, much to our pug’s disgust.
This year, the weather gurus are calling for a colder, wetter winter courtesy of El Nino. Of course, that translates into lots and lots of snow. Before that happens, I hope to enjoy fall. I want to get in the car and drive into the countryside to look at the beautiful fall foliage. I want to go to the pumpkin patch and pick out the perfect pumpkin for our porch and stock up pumpkin bread, pumpkin muffins, pumpkin butter. Oh so yummy good!!