For the first time in my illustrious career, Central New Jersey has had daytime temps in the sixties in February. This is not normal. Also not normal: garlic shoots.
Garlics, making cameo appearances.
Maybe this is what our winters will be like now. I can’t say, but the chance to spend an afternoon in my garden at a time when I expect to be cooped up in the house was a peculiar delight. The chickens were pleased to have company. They told me so themselves!
Annual report time, Poor Impulsives! I am reporting, most annually, and only somewhat timely-ly! Perhaps you’ve noticed I haven’t posted much lately. I’ve been stitching as fast as my tiny hands could crochet, so my annual report is somewhat tardy.
Let us report:
This started out as the Cat Blanket Project. The Lovely Georg, Ceiling Cat Remember Her With Fishy Treats, asked friends to knit or crochet blankets for animal shelters, which I did. But then people from all over – possibly including you – sent me yarn in large boxes, and agencies/organizations ask for yarny help. So! You trusted me with art supplies. This is what I did with them in 2014, and last year:
cat blankets These go to Georg or to a shelter with which Georg is in contact.
baby blankets A hospital near me has a baby blanket project. A friend coordinates. I try to make blankets early in the year or if I have a long car trip or a lengthy illness. You know: if I’m sitting, I’m knitting and I buy special yarn for this.
scarves There are a number of projects that ask for scarves. I send or deliver them all over the place. Mostly, I buy yarn for this that I think will be fun and soft to wear.
hats Several agencies ask for hats for infants, children and adults. Infant hats are quick to crochet, but I’m still learning adult hats. Mine are still a little odd.
lap blankets There’s a chemo facility nearby that asks for lap blankets for patients. I send these through a friend. She feels they are greatly appreciated.
In 2016, 50 blankets went to one cat shelter and 4 to a local animal rescue. Once I switched from knitting to crocheting, this went a lot faster, but took up more yarn. Crocheting does!
Jacqui the organic farmer gave me a sourdough starter as a pet. As you know, I adore a new pet! But I knew less about taking care of sourdough starter than I did about feeding giant pandas. Did you know you can learn anything on YouTube?
The procedure is this: you dump out about half your sourdough starter, feed it with a water and flour mix. I had some trouble with this. The mix ratio is 1:1 water to flour by weight or 1:2 water to flour by volume. You can use almost any kind of flour you like. I’m using whole wheat.
There are variables. If you keep the starter on the kitchen counter, it bubbles and grows. You have to dump out and feed quite often. If you keep the starter in the fridge, it sleeps. You have to pick a feeding schedule, say once a week. When you get up in the morning, take the starter out of the fridge and let it come to room temperature, feed it in the afternoon, then put it back in the fridge before midnight. It sounds complicated, but that’s because it’s so easy.
When life gives you sourdough goop, get yourself going on some pancakes.
Once I’d worked out how to care for my new pet, I was left with one more problem. Each time I fed my pet, I would be pouring out some otherwise useful goo, which I could not bring myself to do. I looked out in the backyard and realized I also had chickens to feed.
Discarded goo makes a good basis for pancake batter. Add it to your favorite pancake batter and feed pancakes to your chickens – or my chickens. My chickens are very nice people with an excellent sense of humor, but every morning, they’re going to want breakfast.
My final exam is Tuesday night and I’ve reached a sort of saturation point. I’m having trouble telling similar ASL signs apart. I’m probably in grave danger of starting fights in the wrong bars.
Wet hen does not seem particularly mad.
I’ve spent my Fourth of July studying, digging up potatoes and prodding the other chicken to leave the coop. Apparently, Other Chicken is trying to hatch an egg, which cannot happen without a rooster. That is the kind of help we do not need.
It’s drizzling tonight. I’m trying to be reasonable about taking and exam and not punishing myself for losing a couple of points here and there. There is literally nothing at stake for me. My career will not change. My work will not be affected. I am not going to get some dream job if I finished a degree. So I can relax and do my best, letting the chips fall where they may.
Sez you, lady.
Yeah. That’s going to happen.
Baby trash panda looks totally adorable when not lunging for me.
The raccoons have been gently evicted from the eaves of our house and relocated to a more rural locale. We hope for the best for them, but at least one did not have the best survival instincts. Fingers crossed, they live long, happy lives, full of delightful and mysterious leftovers. We hope so, but they couldn’t stay here. Pete found one of the babies inside the chicken run, nibbling chicken food, near very alarmed chickens, so that had to be the end of that.
I have one more week of American Sign Language class. Earlier this evening, I suddenly realized I’d acquired enough of the basics to tell a story. As you know, stories are my thing; being able to tell a story is kind of hip, kind of cool, kind of Charlie. Tomorrow, I’m going to tell a story in class, which would be much like tearing off my Foster Grants to reveal my superhero identity, but since I am a middle-aged person, I have zero doubt my young classmates will notice a bird, a plane, Superman.
The American Sign Language class I’m taking involves improbable amounts of studying, possibly because I’m not a child prodigy anymore. Even so, spring is in the air. Strawberries are in the markets and leaves are on the grapevines. After work today, Pete and I stopped at the secret organic garden one town over, where we have permission to trim the grapevines that are slowly turning a garden gate into a fragrant wall. Pete brought my left-handed scissors, but the gates were seven feet tall, leaves were mostly out of my reach and Pete’s pruning shears won the day. We stuffed our tools and unusual produce into the trunk of Pete’s car and drove home.
This evening, Drusy went missing for more than half an hour. I should say we realized we hadn’t seen her in some time and frantically searched the house for her. She is so tiny she had tucked herself into a little corner under Pete’s desk in the attic and fallen asleep. Pete crawled around with a flashlight while I struggled with panic. When he found Drusy, she seemed impatient with us for disrupting her beauty sleep.
The task at hand, however, was more pleasant. Before I go hog wild on weeds, I like to find good instructions. This lady seems pleasant and methodical, so I took <a href=”http://www.maureenabood.com/2013/06/05/how-to-identify-clean-and-store-fresh-grape-leaves/”>her advice.</a> I cut leaves off vines, grouped them by size, wrapped them in cellophane and froze them in freezer bags, careful to label them precisely. It’s a drag to find an unlabeled freezer bag in January and toss the contents, but sometimes I do make mistakes.