Amway and Appaloosas

Snow on tree vineYesterday I forgot Ma’s medicine at the cabin and didn’t realize it until I got all the way into town. Idiot! Thus I had to drive back with Ma in the swirling snow last night. Of course my brother was there taking full advantage of my not being there, his big old truck blocking the driveway. Surprised him!

Anyway, I set the alarm very early to get in to work this morning as it takes well over an hour to get there from the cabin. The county had the roads cleared well, we only got a couple inches. I cruised up the ramp onto the Parkway, four lanes with little traffic. I set the cruise control on 70 and relaxed some. I pointed outJanuary Cold Geese snowplows to Ma, I pointed out chilly flocks of birds. Then a big pick-up passed me.

This huge black Guzzlero 350 had prominent mirrors on either side. I told Ma those giant mirrors had turn signals incorporated, so the guy must pull a trailer. To have them that nice installed instead of the clip-on kind, he must haul something valuable, regularly.

The pick-up wasn’t the newest model, but had the appearance of being kept up. The black body gleamed, the chrome shone through the crusted snow, no dings or rust. With those mirrors he had to pull a long trailer and have enough money to maintain the truck, the trailer and whatever he hauls. Horses. Maybe he had a line on some horses for sale and was on the way to give them an experienced look.

Snow UPS leaving farmMeanwhile, his wife accepts yet another Amway box from the UPS carrier that knows her name and asks how her sniffly rat dog is doing. “He died”, she told him, and then thanked him for her wonderful package. She wanted to sell Amway but all her neighbors avoid her anymore. She gave Shelly artful make-up sets, lip glosses and blushes for her wan face every Christmas, birthday, Easter and Earth Day and many cologne arrays to her son; he’s only 12 but was growing into it.

Shelly opens the front door, sees the boxful of all night mascaras and pineapple candles and feels the strong urge to go right back out before Ma looks up. Too late. “Hi, Ma.”

“Look honey, I got you these nice gloves that match this bracelet that matches this necklace that goes with this combination flashlight and Pumpkin Spritzer for your purse!”

Dad walks in and shakes off the snow, a rotten habit that makes the carpet soggy and it Snow Close foot printscatches so much dirt. “Hey Shelly! Arnie Butz up in Fordsville has a spunky appaloosa that he’s gotta sell to get his wife some kind of exotic medicine. Dunno, but he’s selling it rock bottom. Help me hook the trailer up and let’s go get it!”

Shelley slumped, ‘There goes more of my meager inheritance.’ Aloud, she said, “Sorry Dad, Ma and I were heading out for breakfast. It’s the eleventh anniversary of my braces coming off and I need to celebrate. We might get some shopping in after that. Want to come along?”

“Hell no! You girls have fun, I can get this myself.” He goes out mumbling.

After a country ham and scrambled egg breakfast, Ma insists on going to the Goodwill. Shelly knows better but relents. Surely all of the Amway plunder Ma had sent her over the years and had donated was off the shelves, in some other ditzy woman’s house.

Ma got a cart because she didn’t like using a cane, it made he appear old. She leans on it and starts wandering. In the geegaw aisle, there laid in a perfect row, were the 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2016 versions of Santa’s Favorite never-opened lip gloss in hot pink. “Shelly, looky there! I wonder why some are missing?”

Shelly knew…

 

Ah, end of the Parkway, click off of cruise control, coming into town and traffic. Isn’t funny how a mirror on a passing truck can make a tedious drive more bearable?

The Wind In The …Oaks

End of Sept Cabin 053Cabin Curved treeTrees skinny leaning

We had severe storm/tornado watches around the cabin in the last few days, which made me think of the thousands of wind-twisted and hard-weathered trees around here. Heck, let’s just make this an Odd Tree edition! All of these charmers are in my woods, and the pictures are my own from last September. Enjoy!

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Story Problem Disintegrates!

The other night when reviewing my Otto and Socks storylines, I could have sworn I had a Me puzzleddisconnect between the 2nd episode and the 3rd. This weekend, I set time aside to resolve this annoying problem. There was no problem. Why I thought there was is beyond me…I be mystified. Maybe that shows why I shouldn’t attempt to write in town after my job and fixing supper and watching TV with Ma because she wants me to: brain drain.

Saturday I did a more final draft on the second episode, renamed Two Peaceful Maidens after the cult that has Otto experiencing visions. Then I wrote out half of the next one, Hooch. Sure, it required a preface paragraph, but it seemed to flow okay to me.

Sunday my brother came over and STAYED, so no more writing, phooey. Instead I took that stained glass piece of satin I got last week and, seeing no suitable pattern, cut it by intuition and made a fabulous two tiered skirt Ma adores. Success! I know, I should have taken some pictures…Sorry!

 

On a sad note, I did not see sweet Bridgette last weekend nor the Tuesday before. Her food dish in her little cozy Download 090915 072cat-house had plenty left. I fear Bridgette either went away as cats do when they get really old, or she was too slow for a coyote or bobcat. I have not seen the secretive and shy Scaredy Cat either, so maybe that bobcat got them both. Scaredy Cat showed up one day and my brother caught her so we could get her fixed. Apparently she harbors a deep resentment because she runs furtively anytime anyone gets near. I did dream about Scaredy Cat last night; she walked up to me shyly and looked straight at me. That would have been very uncharacteristic. Hmmm.

Dreaming of Beverages To Be!

I made an astounding batch of mead a few years ago, but have been inhibited more recently by the high cost of authentic honey. Imagine, here at work I happened to see a little jar of honey with a local address! HoneyThe guy’s son works here! I haven’t had a chance to hook up with them yet, but did talk to a homesteader-type that works in the back and he verified that place, plus gave me a line on local sorghum molasses.

Wow! The fella really near the cabin had a bad sorghum year and had none for sale blog june 052this fall. Apparently 40 miles to the northwest, they did okay. I’ve been buying quart jars of sorghum from the IGA, and it is from Kentucky. I don’t brew with sorghum, but it is a local sweetener.

I’m a firm believer in buying locally when I can, but it can be tough finding these guys. I don’t know of a proverbial Farmer’s Market where I can find them…there’s a small one in Beaver Dam but it’s closed whenever I go by. I need to seek more diligently, there has to be something like that around.

As I let visions of ribbons of honey going into a fermentation bucket play in my brain, the homesteader fellow mentioned a variety case of stouts he’d recently tried. Stouts! I’m particularly fond of a thick oatmeal stout and made a fine batch of it once. As I told him, the cheater kits I get make six gallons of ales, Porters and Bitters. Stouts? Only about 4 gallons, and the kits cost more. Cabin June 2015 086Being frugal, I stick with Porter when I want something inky. Yet, he made a thirst for genuine 20W50 grade stout cry out, “Life is too short NOT TO!” I haven’t actually bought a bottle of beer in years, but if I did I would seek out an Old Peculiar. They aren’t stouts, but are so good and any stout lover ought to appreciate them. If you haven’t tried one of those yet, I encourage you to get directly on it! Theakston’s Old Peculiar.

News Flash: Both the county I live in and the one a half a mile south of me are dry, as are half of Kentucky’s 120 counties. That means no alcohol sales, no beer in a pub, no wine with your meal, no picking up a six-pack at the grocery. The south county just had a referendum. The Baptists rallied their congregations. By 54%, they elected to stay dry. My county is going to vote soon. That’s not why I make my own (I love to make things), but it is very handy that I do!

 

Ma’s Church Skirts

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Ma loves to wear skirts to church; they’re easy to pull on, she has a variety and they have a tailored fit. You might note they all feature an elastic waistband. That is her preference. The length is her request. She also picked out all of the cloth. I’ll tell her, “No more! You have enough!” She will agree! Then we’ll spot a gorgeous piece of greatly discounted material and…

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I made her some dresses, too.

Ma Porch DanceSmile Pillow

This shows that a couple yards of material and about an hour total time can make an 85 year old woman that can’t get around very well anymore happy. That’s happy when her custom skirt or dress is first finished and then again each time she saunters into church with a big grin. Worth it.

No Cabin This Weekend, Wahhhh!

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This is the high part, it goes steep at the end of what you see, down to the road. Note, no snow. Imagine it.

Snow PrintsGosh Durn the 1ooo mile wide winter storm…the little goat roads to the cabin are all iced up with a foot of snow atop that. Plus the narrow roads have precipitous shoulders, follow sharp contours and probably have trees down across them. I with my trusty 2005 Subaru Forester with the shovel in back would brave the elements, but I have frail Mama now and don’t want to risk it. Good thing is, I left enough food and water for the animals down there to last a few more days. Monday should be warmer so I can hie on down there and replenish the feed bowls Tuesday. At least I hope so! Melting would increase flood potential, but greatly reduce SHOVELLING that great long driveway.

With most of the business closed and the roads dangerous because of the other drivers 😉 I suppose we’ll watch videos and listen to music all weekend. Amazingly, I brought my laptop up to town Monday morning, thus I can work on my new stories!

I guess I’ll have time to resolve the problem of how Otto and Socks get from the Better Ore Worse to the Baling Wire asteroid mining ship. At least I should have time…unless the power goes out. Shhh! I didn’t day anything about the power! No, I didn’t! I hope no gremlins subscribe to this blog.

Not that I don’t stay extremely busy here at work…but check out this magnet conundrum. Why does that scraper razor stand straight up instead of being drawn up the magnet? That’s a ready strong magnet and any other ferrous item I put up to it is difficult to pull off. The anti-magnetonic razor! Go figure!

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Updates!

Snow South Trees
View From Front Porch

I heard we’re getting at least 5 inches of snow before morning, oh yip-yop-yippee! Out with the shovel!

That blue paisley rayon I got last week is not a floor-length, long sleeved dress with a full skirt. Ma wore it to church Sunday. It fits her, she likes it, good enough for me! The thick blue fleece became a very cozy nightgown; she likes that too.Sew pattern on Blue

 

I got through the new book  about Otto and Socks, draft 2. Now I’m not sure aOtto Socks bluebout the title…I called it Outpost 1 at first since that in the common thread of the story. Then I changed it to One Valve Away because that’s all there is between life and death at the beginning and again at the end of the story. I have Outpost 1 on my timeline but edited the One Valve Away version last weekend. Titus gives ET the advice to make the references accessible. He referred to her writing Outpost 1, but the same applies to my situation. Outpost 1? One Valve Away? Which sounds like two young folks caught up in a dangerous mechanical situation out in space, all because of the fella’s Mama’s hit series – Outpost 1?

Being short of time, I’ll finish this off with random pictures. Have Fun!

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Mama!
Mouse reading
Everybody Ought to Read!
harp
Of course I cannot play it…yet.
Cabin Chicken
Do I really need a caption? Bye Bye!

Amish Market, Anyone?

I have a sister that lives in a podunk little town in Pennsylvania. While Ma lived there, I drove or flew up on occasion. Seeing family is great, but the town is moribund. The big deal is the Wal-Mart, right. Except for me.

Cabin June 2015 073The Amish market there sprawls across a mini-mall sized lot. It has all manner of furniture on one side. The other side specializes in baking needs. I ALWAYS spend a gob of time and a wad of cash in there! Specialty flours, dried fruits, various sweeteners, a cornucopia of spices and more. I admit I go overboard and still have buckwheat flour from three years ago. You can see I have my (self-made) shelves loaded, and I use most all of it. I did get semolina flour to make pasta and haven’t even attempted it yet.

I have to go on a business trips to Wisconsin every year or so. Last year, my host hooked me up with the local Amish Store and I left with a big ball of butter among my usual haul of local cheeses. Yum and a half! They say there’s one south east of here. I drove all over the place and saw buggies but no store. I shall keep an eye out where ever I go because they are great!

Other than that, yes I did got to the cloth store though I have an Everest stack of sewing projects already. I got stuffDownload 090915 017 that was originally $20 -$25 a yard or item at 60% to 80% off PLUS a blanket 25% off my entire purchase!  My theory is when receiving a huge discount, get the pricey stuff. I would not splurge on the expensive fabrics otherwise, and some are very beautiful. I would rather save $10 than 10 cents!

Ma will have a new long sleeved, floor length fleece nightgown so when the one I made her last month is in the laundry, she’ll have a back-up. She also gets a blue paisley flouncy skirt of rayon, floor length do she can wear long johns under it. I can knock those out in an afternoon. For me I got a slate blue cotton-poly blend, very nice, that I’ll use a Vogue pattern with. I got a few yards of dark brown long fur because I downloaded those stuffed animal patterns from Pinterest a few days ago…I shall make a big dog with moveable legs. We’ll see what the cats think of that! No pictures yet, I’ll get some this weekend.

Speaking of pictures, hover over most pictures and the Pin It icon now shows up! Except this post, I have no idea why not. Try on some of the other recent posts, I think the work there.

More Ambition than Time!

Where I work, we can buy an extra week of vacation a year. For Non-Americans, we are notorious for being driven by work, work, work, thus blog june 039adding one week to the provided two or three weeks is a great increase. I did not buy any vacation as I have difficulty using all I get. Sad I know. Yet if I could buy weekend days at the cabin without impinging on my job (must stay in good graces at the job) I would probably break the bank.

One Project Example: I have the t’Hoot series with  one book ready to edit, then publish…most of what I have to do with that project – except trying to sell them – is done. So of course, I started a new series Otto and Socks that is Mouse readingdifferent than I every tried before. Learning curve. Research. Fifteen drafts of the first one until it feels right. Writing umpteen storylines for subsequent stories since all will (probably) be only 5, 000 to 10,000 words each. They won’t write themselves, either. Learn new formatting and cover software. Design the cover with the series in mind. Plan publishing. Will I establish my own publishing imprint and buy my own codes or not? It-would-take-TIME.

I have that big ol’ canvas that isn’t painting itself (amazing if it did). All I did with it last weekend was cut out paper bubbles of several sizes and fit them up under the crackly part Brushes topto see how it might look. Maybe. If I hee-hawed over my writing as I do with the painting, I’d have never got the first one published!

I have a super cool blue suede jacket, long and flouncy, that is cut out and 1/3 done. I worked on that last in early December. Don’t even remind me of the great stack of My Sweetheartsewing projects by my machine that the cats keep climbing on and knocking onto the thread-strewn floor. See photo of Krink Pestercat saying, “It wasn’t me!” Yet I spent an hour printing out polar bear patterns…and a leopard pattern…and a doggie. I have cloth store coupons in my wallet and visions of thick white fur bounding about in my head. Smack me!

My kiln in the basement awaits an electrician to install the proper electrical outlet, but that has not deterred me from buying all sorts of ceramic instruction books and DVDs. I have a scroll saw collecting dust, as are the wood working saws and such in the garage. The last bookshelf built was in May of 1821. I found a mouse nest in my big box of yarn with the knitting project, needles still stuck in it, mid-purl. I shall not go into the tasks begging for the cabin upkeep or gardening or podcasts or a thousand other things. And right now, I should be hard at work at my job.

Mary holding Hate thin

All I can say is IT IS WONDERFUL TO NEVER BE BORED!

Gargoyle pair

Since I Don’t Have Enough To Do…

I had heard about Citizen Science for a long while, but equated it with birdwatchers getting eaten up with ticks out in some snaky woodland. That can be great fun, including the monkey-like tick-picking afterwards, however it is time consuming and risks horrid diseases. Then I found Citizen Science for couch taters and cubical residents:

ZOONIVERSE! People-Powered Research

The Zooniverse provides opportunities for people around the world to contribute to real discoveries in fields ranging from astronomy to zoology. Welcome to the largest online platform for collaborative volunteer research.

They have lots of projects from wildlife in Gorongosa to old sailing ship logs to weather patterns – you select a project and they tell you the way to count and identify what you see. They show you pictures. You count or circle or describe. If you like, you can join a chat on the subject.

I have indicated the illustrations in old horticultural journals. I have compared one storm track against another to discern the stronger. I have counted wildebeests and indicated what direction they ran. I have categorized Mediterranean plankton (least favorite). The newest one is spotting and identifying Wisconsin wildlife, looks very interesting. For all y’all that have jam-packed days already (as I do) yet wish to contribute in a meaningful way, give it a try as you can do as many counts as you have time for. It’s fun!

Painting pre-crackle runsPainting crackle detailOooh, update on the painting project – CRACKLE. Check out the before and after; neat effect after drying a couple days. I propped the canvas up at various angles until I got the drip rate I wanted.  I have tons left to do on this. I love the ‘fractured sky’ look and the way it dripped down, but not so much the solid brown right below the crackle. There are plenty of ways to fix that. All I have to do is tear myself away from my laptop and the SF new series…I have more ideas for that too. How long before the weekend starts?