Wednesday, December 9, 2009


Ryder thinks he's an OTTER! Here he is this morning (his first snow with us). He was LOVING the huge drifts (deeper than he is tall!). He was digging and playing and running (trying to). He stayed out the whole while we shoveled...and didn't want to go inside.

Thursday, December 3, 2009


Gauntlets are DONE! I had to rip these out 3 times before i "figured out" the thumb. i know, i know - it's NOT that difficult - hind site being 20/20. but the PATTERN WAS WRONG! (well - i interpreted it wrong).

for anyone that knits. 1 ST means ONE STITCH.

BUT - thanks to "typesetting aids" that computer programs provide (fix your spelling and capitalization for you...) when "they" had typed this pattern and put "1 ST" - the typesetting made that "ST" into a little above the line "superscript" so it LOOKED LIKE 1st (FIRST)!

Well, they're finally done and i NOTED the correction on the pattern - the second one went REALLY fast! and now i have BAGPIPING gauntlets. I made them just long enough so that i can still reach and cover all the chanter holes! I have a little "winter" gig coming up this next weekend and i'll need them.

I practiced with them on yesterday - good thing too! Bagpiping is one of those things that requires your FULL attention - the slightest distraction and it's all over. They will take a little getting used to....i mixed in a little fuzzy wool...and they're a little scratchy.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Just in time for Halloween?

Friend Kim brought a couple of CAT gifts with her. Two wall sconces. Ryder is really interested in the one with the glowing eyes. I lift him up there and he goes nose to nose with it.


I woke up with CRUD this know the stuff. It hangs out right at the top of your lungs.....and when you cough - you make a funny face.

It seems everyone around me has been sick and I guess I'm not going to escape this one.

My kidney's are tender....and my eyeballs are hot.

On the menu today: Ibuprofen, decongestants, Hot Tea, Cinnamon and HONEY. I have a craving for bananas. Maybe I can ward off a total collapse.

It turns out that Ryder is a MILK kitty. I wanted to see what he did with SOY MILK this morning - as you can interest there.

It's really interesting - the personality differences between the cats. Limie (the old girl) LOVES tuna - Ryder tries to BURY IT! Apparently Ryder also has a sweet tooth! He likes peanut butter....and I have to HIDE the bags of (BEE) sugar stored in the basement - or he finds them and rips them open!


Welcome to Wisconsin - land of drunk drivers. My friend Kim (from Iowa) was outside Waupun - heading here for the weekend - when a drunk driver hit her in the right rear - spun her around - and rolled her over on the highway!

The only injuries she sustained was some bruising (from the seatbelt) and scratches (from all the glass). Every window but the back glass was busted out. WEAR YOUR SEATBELT!

Why is someone DRUNK at 6:30 in the evening? This was his second offense - probably no license - no insurance.

Good news is that KIM is's just her "world" was (literally) turned upside down!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

origami rabbit

up early with the cats this morn and was inspired.....this is an origami rabbit. it's really cute in that when you're done folding - it's flat. then you put the "breath of life" into it (it's nose) and it puffs up. there's a little space there where you can "feed" your bunny....candy corn or jelly beans.

cute project for easter...and a handy candy container.

i did come across a "close" instructions with a google're looking for "origami puffed rabbit" or "origami inflatable rabbit".

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

this is serious.

my husband INFORMED me - quite seriously....that there was nothing sweet to eat in the house.

what? the cookie jars are EMPTY?

no problem! i've got this recipe down to 8 minutes and the cookies are IN THE OVEN.

who can resist gingersnaps - this time of year - spicing up the house? cinnamon, ginger, clove ...mmmm

here i'm showing my "arched cat" cookie press - also appropriate for this time of year.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

more trees today

don wanted to check out his hunting spot. this is LAKE TETAGOTIC (pronunciation is ???). it's REALLY FULL of wild rice this year - maybe because the water level is down. don had the idea that "it can't possibly be entirely covered"...and that we should canoe to the middle. guess's ENTIRELY covered! luckily our canoe doesn't require much water to glide along the surface.

we proceeded to dry land (where he hunts). he walked to his hunting area...and i set down on a birch to read, "BEES IN AMERICA - how the honey bee shaped a nation".

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

days 2 & 3

road trip to duluth. we have a tradition: eggrolls and eggdrop soup at our favourite vietnamese restaurant....and don has a cashew turtle from the candy store across the way. we spend 1/2 an hour at the DULUTH PACK store....dreaming of bags that we MIGHT need when we camp. don bought an extra blade for his saw....guess you want one of those, in case.

biking and hiking today. enjoying the dry, warm day (70's). enjoying the start of the COLOUR CHANGE.

Monday, September 21, 2009

off the bow

we got up fairly early this morning and hit the water. don's been ACHING to fish. we did the whole length of LAKE OWEN (cable, wisconsin). he fished and i read one of three of my new BEE BOOKS. "increase essentials". i'm determined to "fill up" those empty spots in the bee house this spring. i'm surprised to learn so many ways to increase colonies.

we caught a few little fishies - took their picture and threw them back.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

i registered! the site is ALMOST ready to load.

RYDER or rider?

Ryder and daddy - picking strawberries. I didn't put him there - he does this by himself! For some reason, he likes to climb aboard....


Sunday, August 30, 2009

pitty for sore putties

POOR Ryder! See his little glowing eyes in the back of this picture? the blanket-runways are for his sore little putties! he was declawed in the front this last week. he's one sore putty-tat this weekend.

Rest, rest, rest - little guy. We don't HAVE to play right now.

daddy's boy

here's a picture of RYDER's favorite position....on daddy's shoulder. the two of them are out in the tall grass exploring.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

a REALLY good find

since i'm in the honey bizzzzz - i'm constantly on the lookout for honey pots. WHAT A STEAL! i found these hand-made beauties at the UWFDL Prairiefest Rummage Sale (where i gave my beekeeping presentation!).

How Much???? ONE DOLLAR EACH!!!!

Dilly Beans...the first batch. i might have to do this AGAIN tonight.?

Mom says....DON'T COOK YOUR PICKLES! (or pickled items) the book calls for a 10 minute water bath - forget the book and listen to MOM. take them out of the bath when they FIRST START to change color. that's about 5 minutes for dilly beans. they'll be NICE and CRISP.

Lion's Head

what is my fascination with cats....large and small? i'd say: i have many cat-like qualities. this is one of my totem animals.

don picked this guy up for me at eaa this year. he is currently guarding the patio door entrance - through which the morning sun rises.

the symbol of the lion's head often appears at water sources: springs, fountains, wells. this symbolism has traveled from egypt where the ENTRANCE OF THE SUN IN THE CONSTELLATION LEO coincided with the rise of the NILE - thus bringing new LUSH LIFE to the valley.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

irishfest school follow-up

school was good. my flute class was canceled - something about the inability to obtain visas.? flute was at the same time as don's guitar class - so i filled in with CALLIGRAPHY (concentrating on the font UNCIAL - which is the "IRISH" looking font you so often see). i'm not new to calligraphy - but i found it to be quite enjoyable and relaxing. it was really nice to have 2 designated hours to hold a PEN (instead of a mouse).

i noted quite a while ago that my skill with a penmanship....has gone down the toilet - i blame it on my daily use of the keyboard and mouse. many times when i'm writing (with a pen) - i have to go back an fill in letters that i skipped over - it's like my brain gets ahead of my hand.

it was suggested that next year they might bring back a "related" class that they've had in the past...ILLUMINATED LETTERS. now THAT interests me!

slow, methodical lettering can be a sort of MEDITATION....very relaxing.

where has the summer gone?

here it is - august - and we're getting our july heat. the beans in the garden have TAKEN OFF! beans - what a GREAT plant a little row....and they give you SO MUCH back.

what do you do with so many beans? ....make DILLY BEANS! mmmm....

i like to plant varieties of POLE BEANS - they take up less room in the garden and they make for interesting (and shady) arbors.

Friday, July 31, 2009

Web Gallery

For those of you who like to see pictures...I added "My Web Gallery" to the sidebar.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009


We'll (don and I) be going to IRISHFEST SCHOOL, August 10-14. I'm signed up for 3 areas: Bodhran, Flute and Whistle. Don is taking his FIRST EVER accompanying guitar.

For me, long time blower of woodwind instruments....I'll be learning THE STYLE OF PLAY. (Embellishments, phrasing....oohh...I HOPE I CAN KEEP UP!) I purchased a couple of additional instruments, which I'll be taking. Though I already had a tin whistle - I got onto a "brand" of whistles on the internet: SUSATO. I got another high whistle in D, a LOW whistle in D....and a "weird" LOW whistle in E flat. (why E flat? - i figured out that I can play this whistle WITH SCOTTISH HIGHLAND BAGPIPES) plays in the same key! They're a heavy plastic...and they have a really nice SWEET sound.

Don - doesn't read a STITCH of music (though he knows the "basic chords")...and he's never played with anyone else. He's a wonderful "by ear" player - and not just a strummer....he has some nice finger picking styles. My guess is that he'll learn WHY "groups of chords" stay together - and chord transitions - and some different rhythmic patterns. Again - since it's Irishfest School - he'll learn IRISH STYLE....jigs, reels, airs, hornpipes, strathspey....

I hope the teachers are "patient" ....and good. I hope I chose the right classes!

Sunday, July 19, 2009


i've been periodically harvesting and storing herbs. i find that the best way to harvest/dry them is to TAKE TIME TO DO IT RIGHT-away. i strip the leaves/flowers/seeds from stems - thereby decreasing the volume the things take up in the house. in a somewhat thin layer - put the leaves on paper plates and leave out on the counter to dry. within a week, they'll be dry and you'll be able to "grind" them in your coffee grinder to whatever consistency you like.

i store them in plastic baggies (and in the dark cupboard) until and if i find a nicer container for gifting/whatnot.


here's a picture of a successful graft. there's a couple of earlier blog regarding this subject. i'm very excited to try this again this next February/March. I'd very much like to graft over as much of these trees as possible.

Powder Puff Derby & a new word i learned

Last week, Terri and I entered/joined in a powder puff fishing derby on Lake Michigan. The night before a storm system blew through here and out over the lake. a late call the night before from capn' joe said, "TAKE DRAMAMINE" (oh - icky).

Boats went came right back in (but those gals were "old" and we were "young"). we were also on THE HEADHUNTER II (and it's BIG). ok - so the capn' said those were just "rollers". but combined height with trough looked A LOT like 6' to 8' waves.

NO FISH! we were going over them according to the bites. i think the fishing derby MAYBE registered 30 fish (some of them caught in the harbor!)

my new word? CHUMMING (that's the act of blowing your stomach contents overboard) apparently this is a good thing - appeases the fish gods?!?? i'm sorry - i don't buy it. we had one gal "pop"...and i just had the "reflex" then i was over it. but EVERYONE was green around the gills...even the capn' admitted to taking precautionary measures.


My "pet" name for RYDER. his sister still hates him. i guess she (limie) was an only child for too long. we really trying to break him of his 4:00 AM "wake-up" mode!


this is a HUGE plant. i remember planting it "awhile ago". i think the first time it came up - it didn't blossom - so i wasn't really sure if it was a weed or not. i moved it and split it when i saw how big the leaves were.

here it is in it's glory. it's 4 to 6 feet tall.

backyard evolution

here are some pictures of the backyard to date. things are flowering...and according to the bees - smell irresistibly sweet! (borage and oregano)

Monday, June 29, 2009

life is "discovery"

there's new life in the house with the addition of our kitty RYDER (the black tasmanian devil cat!)

we have to get back to "child proofing" the house. things you never think of ....are now suddenly CAT TOYS!

bagpipe tassels, toilet paper rolls, earphones, ribbons, strings. heaven forbid i leave any "projects" laying around.....BEADING, sewing....

there was a "fuffy" of cat hair on the counter this morn???? i haven't seen him up there???? he could have done quite a bit of "damage" to the piles of herbs drying on plates....i wonder....maybe it just "flew" up there.

he got "trained" last week regarding the kitchen table. the spray bottle.

i can't believe i'm doing this

i can't believe i'm doing this...yes - i'm about to BLOG about a vacuum! ready?

it's a "bissell lift-off (pet) revolution". anyone who has pets - this is a must. they really did design this for getting into tight spots and pulling hair from carpet/furniture.

i can't say enough about "feels" heafty and solid...and it's a TRANSFORMER! you can detach the thing - from itself and use it as a canister vac. it has a nice feature in "turning off the brush" for hard surface much more quiet.

it's bagless and easy to clean.

spring graftings

i was just about to give up on the spring graftings. examination of the apple tree grafts two weeks ago revealed SUCCESS!!! we have leaves on about half the grafts!!! (i'd say that's about 10 out of 20). i think this is an acceptable first attempt.

i'm going to do more grafts in 2010 now. i'd just as soon graft the entire tree over (finger pointing to the mouth gesture "YUCK" at the thought of the yellow delicious apples these trees bear)

gardens around here are LATE by about 3 weeks. it's an odd year to be sure. some things just didn't want to come up. earlier this spring, going through the herb garden - i had some things die off that SHOULDn't have!

i'm predicting a LONG HARD WINTER - the bees are already PROPOLISING the hives (they're making them tight with "bee glue". we'll see if the bees know......

Monday, June 8, 2009

addition to our family

Welcome RYDER to our family. (i'm assuming maybe it's "midnight ryder") He's a nice, calm, no-issues 1+ year old fixed male from our local shelter. I had gotten him as a companion to our 9 year old spayed female.

so far....she HATES him.

i told my girlfriend that we have "SIRENS" at the house...and she asked, "WHAT???" yeh - you know the sound they make when they're upset - like the wind-up to the HISS/REAOR/PFFFF (i can't do it here - you have to hear it).

i wasn't sure if i was doing the right thing last week - picking this guy. he was pretty "rough". apparently he and his brother were surrendered to the shelter back in april - because the guy lost his job. his brother was going home with another family on friday too (the day i picked RYDER up). i think he was REALLY stressed - he was skinny and he was stinky and kinda a rag-doll in your arms. they bathed him as part of my "conditions" (so stressed - he wasn't taking care of himself?)

like i said earlier - this is a NO ISSUES kinda cat. i know limie will come to like him. everyone is eating and going in boxes. the sirens still continue - but she's allowing him to get closer.

Monday, June 1, 2009

beekeeper's diary

the presentation went quite well. lots of intelligent questions! hmmm...the question of the day? from a first-grader, "how does the bee get the nectar from the flower?" this is when i got to tell them that the bees tongue is like a straw!

how did the observation hive work? good - but it requires some rework....needs more ventilation! the girls were getting pretty warm. i waited till the last minute to take them from the hive and put them in there.

now regarding the hive!? in popping the top to get two frames for this observation hive - i was PLANNING on grabbing end frames (which usually have LITTLE activity on them - mostly honey) WRONG! the hive was bursting with bees and SWARM CELLS and i knew i would soon be fighting nature to keep the girls in their box!

last week i hived 5 swarms - MY OWN! i managed to keep 3 in the "emergency" deeps i made for them. two disappeared for someone's garage/house/barn . i recombined one boxes swarm (back with itself) after a week. and i moved two of my swarm boxes and "supersceded/combined" them with two week hives that i keep off premise.

i'll be checking them this weekend - but NOT SATURDAY! we're competing! (Celtic Nations Pipes and Drums) This is our first year as a grade 4 band. (we're moving up!)

the buzz in the backyard

the buzzing tree! the ladies were taking full advantage of the close proximity of this crab apple tree to their hives. i stood for about a half an hour just watching and listening.


the old way. one of our bee-suppliers has a collection of skeps and smokers. they're just the archetypal image of beekeeping, aren't they?

spring tonic

doesn't get any better than this....our spring tonic - asparagus and morels. this is what we ROAD-HUNTED in one day.

Friday, May 1, 2009


Limie has a new friend - though he's quite the "stiff". i don't know why - but i feel that i have to name my gargoyles and statues....for some reason....this one said, "Lester".

Every time she goes exploring on the deck...she has to visit him.

backyard bees

Backyard Beehive Update: WOW! two whoppin' full hives - spring inspections revealed VERY FEW dead bees.

The girls were taking in pollen early. Some were SO FULL and YELLOW with pollen - from tip to tail - that in a quick glance when passing the hive, i thought they were "bad" bees - or something "new".

All is well with these hives and i'll be making my first "split" and starting a third hive somewhere in the yard. The other hive i may split and reinforce the two other hives i have off-site.

Next Friday - i'll be giving a presentation at a school - an assembly program for a "late" earthday celebration. this will also be a "first" with my OBSERVATION HIVE. i had a friend build one for me. it holds two frames of bees. it doesn't have a feeder on it - it's not meant for more than a couple of hours. THE GIRLS ARE GOING FOR A RIDE!

"Grandma" has agreed to help for the day.


Martins. I remember dad relaxing in the backyard - just sitting there with a Milwaukee Brewer's game on the radio, watching his martins. aerial acrobats.

There's a trick to getting martins - but once they're established, they come back. the first year we put up our martin house, we got some - must have been shear luck. the next year - they didn't return. something must have happened to them.

If you are going to keep "nest boxes" for birds - you MUST keep sparrows & starlings out! sparrows have been well known to kill everyone in the box and lay their nest right over the previous occupants. i won't say here what i REALLY call these birds. starlings must be kept from martin houses - or martins won't nest.

i used to just shoot "bad" birds, but now we have a house in the backyard (that's another story).

with a little engineering...and because i have all this stuff that i work with....this is what we came up with this year.

SHOWN is: velcro "doors" that go over the holes - until i remove them. i just have to watch for any martins to arrive....and open a few holes - to see if they're interested. we'll see very soon, if it works. i've yet to hear any in the yard.