Misc. Monday

moon

Wooooo dog, this post has it all. It’s been months since I’ve done a general, non-postcard update. So here it is, the fruits of the summer.

tomatillos

Our veggie garden did great this year. I made two batches of salsa verde (tomatillos, onion, garlic, jalapeno).

tomatos

In addition to tomatoes for eating, I made a batch of sauce and cooked down two batches of tomato paste (boil and peel tomatoes, puree, cook down, put in pan in 350 degree oven and bake until paste).

cabbage

And I made a batch of sauerkraut. We got a fair amount of radishes. Three heads of cabbage. Lots of tomatoes. A few carrots. Good lettuce and arugula. Next year we’re planting more green beans and more peppers. This year we also got a compost barrel (and inside bucket) and we’re composting our kitchen waste. Right now I also have a batch of hard cider cooking. It’s exciting!

crochetblanket

I’ve been crocheting up a storm. I made a mint lap blanket for a friend. Then I made this lap blanket with a ruffled edge. LOVE the ruffled edge. The yarn is Simply Soft Paints Yarn in Rose Garden.

crochetscarf

I loved the yarn so much (and overbought), so I made a scarf and sent it to a friend who needed a scarf. Now I’m working on another scarf for another friend.

I’ve been reading, too. Just finished Interpreter of Maladies by Jhumpa Lahiri (very good) and Me Before You by Jojo Moyes (excellent). Here’s how I turned out with the Summer Reads 2015:

 

What Comes Next and How to Like It: A Memoir by Abigail Thomas

The Bone Clocks: A Novel by David Mitchell

American Ghost: A Family’s Haunted Past in the Desert Southwest by Hannah Nordhaus

The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

All the Light We Cannot See: A Novel by Anthony Doerr

Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline

The Wishing Thread: A Novel by Lisa Van Allen

The Paying Guests by Sarah Waters

Beach Town by Mary Kay Andrews

All but two done, but I made up with two others. Not bad.

I’m getting ready to start sewing again. I have to make my Halloween costume for Howl-O-Ween at the shelter. And I have a new pattern to make a dress. Just need to pick up the fabric and I’m ready to go.

How about you? Can you believe summer is over and we’re well into autumn already?

Michigan Fiber Festival 2014

Friday, August 22, 2014 0 No tags Permalink

Michigan Fiber Festival 2014

Contrary to the belief of my coworkers, the Michigan Fiber Festival is not a place to bulk up your colon.

michigan fiber fest 2014

Featuring the wool and fiber of alpacas, goats, rabbits and sheep, it is one of the Midwest’s largest fiber festivals, and there were tons of vendors. Mom and I went to the Michigan Fiber Festival 2014 on Friday, August 15.

michigan fiber fest 2014

Held at the Allegan County Fairgrounds, the vendor booths were held in small tents, large tents and barns. In addition to the vendor space, there were also animals there for judging.

michigan fiber fest 2014

I spent quite a bit of time petting the goats.

michigan fiber fest 2014

Mom knits and crochets and was interested in getting into needle felting. She also seemed interested in the looms. I crochet and occasionally needle and wet felt. But I was mostly interested in alpaca yarn for crocheting.

michigan fiber fest 2014

As I expect to have surgery on my knee at some point this fall and should have extra time on my hands, everyone should plan on receiving something crocheted for the holidays.

michigan fiber fest 2014

The amount of vendors is overwhelming. If it’s your first time visiting, I’d suggest you do one solid loop through all the vendor areas first and make notes which ones to go back to before you purchase your items. I wound up picking up some buttons for the purse I was working on, and two skeins of alpaca yarn. So, so soft.

michigan fiber fest 2014

When we finished up at the MFF, we headed up to Crane’s Pie Pantry for lunch. It’s right across from the famous Crane’s U-Pick, in Fennville Michigan. Due to the cool summer we’ve had, the U-Pick was closed as the peaches are not quite ready.

Crane's Pie Pantry Restaurant

Crane’s is a cool little place. There was a line out the door, but it moved quickly. We had unpasteurized cider, a bowl of homemade chili and fresh peach pie for dessert.

Crane's Pie Pantry Restaurant

Here’s a picture of the orchards. The Fennville area is just lovely! After Cranes, we stopped over at Fenn Valley Vineyards & Wine Cellar. We did some wine tasting and picked a few bottles. I did not get any pictures, though.

Crane's orchard

On the way back to Battle Creek, we stopped in downtown Allegan to look around a little. It’s such a nice town.

Allegan

I had to take a picture of the Regent. Fabulous sign!

Regent Theatre, Allegan

It was such a nice summer day! Couldn’t ask for more.

Like yarn? More here:

Crochet lap blanket

Chroma Crochet Bag

National Crochet Month

Memorial Weekend

Can’t believe we’re already on the other side of Memorial Weekend. We were busy, but we got a lot done including cleaning up the tree in the backyard and hauling a truckload of wood chips from that tree to the shelter trail. We also did the cemeteries with Bob and Iris. The weather was lovely!

summer

The garden is already looking pretty good. This year I put herbs in pots including three kinds of mint (for tea!), lemon balm, chives, curry and parsley.

herbs

Everything is looking good so far. It is so nice that the weather is back to normal for this time of year. All the trees have full leaves.

frontplanter

Even the side garden looks pretty good this year.

sidegarden

We treated ourselves to Mr. Don’s for dinner Monday night. Hands down the best french fries in Battle Creek.

mrdons

I have not finished my latest crochet project, and I’m not allowing myself to start  my summer reading until it’s done. I was hoping to deliver it tonight. I expect I have one more week to go on it if I hustle.

Greenhouses and Cemeteries

Thursday, May 22, 2014 0 No tags Permalink

Monday Mom and I went to the greenhouses and cemeteries for our annual trip.

rsfl

We started at River Street Flowerland in Kalamazoo. It’s one of my favorite places in the whole world. This year, they had re-done the back area where all the trees and shrubs are. It is now a zen paradise. It’s what I’d like my garden to look like.

rsfl2

This year they had a few new varieties of catmint (nepeta). I have three plants of the walker’s low already, and added two more.

Next, we stopped by K Drive Greenhouse to pick up the hanging basket and flats of bedding plants. I also got a ‘Coconut Surprise’ Scent First Dianthus and a new color of yarrow.

After the greenhouses, we stopped in at Station 66 for lunch. Love Station 66. Love.

Wednesday we went up to Lansing to get the cemeteries ready for Memorial Day. We started by driving past Great Lakes (landscape sadly lacking), Long Blvd (which looked amazing) and 435 Regent Street:

435 Regent Street

After our driving tour, we started at Mt. Hope with the Thorne/Cleary plot:

thorne

They hadn’t been by to cut and trim yet, so we hand-trimmed all the stones, and planted two brunnera and some marigolds.

Next, we headed over to the Beaubiens and put in a couple of marigolds:

beaubien

After that, we drove to Evergreen. Again, the grass hadn’t been cut. We cleared and planted zinnias and marigolds on Grandma and Grandpa’s:

ledyard

And then did some clearing and planted a little on Aunt Betty and Uncle Nick’s. The day was warm (80 degrees) and humid. We worked up a good appetite and headed back to Diamondale  to the Village Ice Cream & Cafe for lunch before heading back home.

MIC

We spent all day talking about family, both those who are with us and those who have passed. We laughed and shared good memories. It was a very satisfactory day!

Misc. Monday

Well, we actually missed Monday, but nevertheless here we go.

We had our first oriole on the feeder on May 6. This year we have at least three males and a couple of females, too.

oriole
We had our first hummingbird at the feeder on May 9.

hummingbird

The garden is growing like crazy. We finally have leaves on the maple trees. Spring is late in coming, but it really is here. We’re supposed to get a bad drop in temperature unfortunately just in time for our Martini Madness event this Thursday.

may12

Mom and I are going to the greenhouses on Monday and to plant the cemeteries next Wednesday.

maverick

 

 

Maverick came to the shelter as a stray. He has a wound on his hind quarters and something going on with his ears. He is not enjoying his ‘e’ collar.

Later this week I’ll have a crochet project update and a vintage postcard. Really.

National Postcard Week 2014

Wednesday, May 7, 2014 0 No tags Permalink

It’s National Postcard Week 2014! Here is the card I designed and sent this year:

postcard2014

The card highlights things that I blog about on catobear.com…cats, vintage postcards and gardening. Celebrated May 4 – 10, this is the 31st year celebration of National Postcard Week.

Learn more about postcard collecting here.

Read about why I collect postcards here.

Misc. Monday

Monday, April 28, 2014 0 No tags Permalink

Even though it was a three-day weekend, it went so quickly. We took care of some yard work, which involved a yard of top soil and a fair amount of manual labor.  A few of the daffodils are open, as are the hyacinths. Mom and I attended a class at Southern Exposure Herb Farm (an annual tradition).

We planted a little tree to replace the pine that died last year:

tree

Maxy took his first walk-about of spring:

maxy

We said goodbye to the Equinox:

equinox

And hello to the Outback:

outback

Though tomorrow is supposed to be warmer, we’re in for another cool-down next weekend. Can’t believe Thursday is May 1st. It doesn’t feel much like it, weather-wise.

forecast

I am still working on the Moogly Chroma Crochet bag, though I expect to finish it up this week. I’ve been watching Mad Men while working on it. Looking forward to starting a new project.

Easy Crochet Bag

Tuesday, April 1, 2014 0 No tags Permalink

My latest crochet bag is Yolanda Soto Lopez’s Easy/Beginner Crochet Bag project (youtube video below). It calls for two colors of yarn.

yarn

The pattern calls for making a front, back and gusset and then attaching them all either by whip stitch or crochet.

easybag

To make the front and back:
1. Chain 37
2. SC in each chain. SC for a total of 12 rows. Chain one and turn for each row.
3. On last stitch of row 12, cut off yarn of contrast string and add second string of other color.
4. Rows 13-19, DC. Chain three and turn for each row.
5. On last stitch of row 19, cut one string, join contrast color back in.
6. Rows 20-27, SC. Chain one and turn for each row.
7. For the handles, SC five stitches, chain 50 stitches, SC back in last five stitches, followed by two rows of SC.
8. To make the gusset, chain as wide as you want the bag (I did six), turn and SC in each for about 30 inches.
9. To assemble, either whip stitch or crochet the gusset to the top and bottom
10. Line the bag as desired.

bag

It truly was an easy first bag to make. I encourage you to watch Yolanda’s youtube and try it for yourself! I believe the bag will be used to haul around my crochet items. Next project? The Chroma Crochet Bag from Moogly.

Week four on the 52 week crochet challenge is a discussion on who taught you to crochet. My Mom did! And she is still teaching me. We started with learning how to crochet a border on a knitted scarf I made for a coworker. Today at lunch, I brought my recent project and she showed me the half double crochet stitch and reviewed the pattern I was going to be making. Thanks, Mom!

More Crochet Here:

Vernal Equinox

National Crochet Month

Sunrise at the Shelter

Tuesday, March 25, 2014 0 No tags Permalink

mar24

The past few weeks have been a good reminder that in life, not everyone is on your side. Not everyone is your friend. Some people, especially people you meet in various ways through your employment, have their own agenda. Spending a ton of time with them out of the necessity of work does not confer friendship.

And those people who, despite no longer working with them or seeing them much, are still close to your heart? Those people who you can call up and ask a favor, and they can do the same of you and you’ll gladly help? Those people who, despite time apart or distance, stay in your life and thoughts? Count yourself lucky because they are friends, and friends like that are rare and true.

I am thankful for my family, my friends and my homelife.

It’s supposed to stay cold through Sunday, the first day the temperature is predicted to rise above 50 degrees. I’m not holding my breath, though. It seems like every time a 50 degree day is in the extended forecast, it is pushed out another week. Today’s high is supposed to reach 27. More than 20 degrees below the average high for today. We still have a ton of snow, so I’m not sure if there are any signs of spring poking up through the earth. This is the latest spring that I recall. Monday’s sunrise at the shelter was lovely, though.