Sunday, November 18, 2018

Time for a Catch-Up

Hi, all. I seem to be as spotty and disorganized in my blogging these days as I am in other parts of life! 'Tis the busy season. Tonight is our Community Thanksgiving Service -- ecumenical, crowded, beautiful, liturgical, warm and welcoming, musical. I'll be in the musical part.

Adam is nearly finished installing our new heating/AC system.
 The machine above is the compressor, which is outside. It's mounted on sturdy braces well above the flooding line.

This (below) is the inside unit - there are three of them, so we can zone the house. We operate them with little remotes that have little cradles on the wall.
The lines that run from the inside units to the compressor were all over the side yard as Adam organized them for hooking up.

That sad space heater above just died the other day. It's served us well for over 25 years. The house is chillier, and I'm ready for Adam to get our new heating cranked up tomorrow.

I've spent lots of time shipping out copies of "The Thanksgiving Mice." It's sold so well, much better than "Punkin and the Littlest Mouse." I've sold 40 copies so far.
Adam says the more books you have, the better they sell. I'm already working on my next one.

We took our church's OCC shoeboxes to the drop off location across the river. We had 34 boxes, our usual amount.
 The ferry was running on a reduced schedule, so we stayed over there and ate Mexican for lunch.


I'm curing gourds this winter outside. A good video I watched said to let them cure in the weather and grow their normal mold. Isn't it cool-looking?
A rosemary plant a friend gave me -- it was not feeling well -- is now recovered and replanted in the garden.
 Adam does the cooking now in our family, but this week I had a yearning to make a pot of spaghetti sauce. I used some of the last of our fresh herbs. Soon they'll be frozen and gone.
 I tidied up that scarf that I thought was so messy. It actually turned out really interesting. I cut the warp yarns that I'd left unwoven, and tied them up in knots, and it gave lovely texture to the scarf.
And I wove that autumn one. Then I pulled out this funny lap loom I bought for $5 at the thrift store, and gave it a try. It worked!
 That rigid heddle (the rectangular piece with all the slits in it) is tricky to handle, but otherwise it worked.

I bought a magazine about using herbs. I love herbs.

I like that quote.

My "teenager" hens are now laying. Their eggs are darker brown than my silkie hens', and rounder. 
This will be an evening of Thanksgiving in our community. I'm thankful for my life, for my husband, for the closeness of God in the middle of life's griefs, which are many. I don't tell you my griefs, and I know you don't tell me yours, here on our blogs. But we know they're there. May you find comfort and joy in spite of them, and the strength to keep moving forward. Love to you from our little farm!

Friday, November 16, 2018

November Day

There are days that should be cold but aren’t,

Days of balmy peace in mid November.

Full but never overflowing duties,

Chickens, herbs, and simmering pots of soup,

Windows rimming tranquil skies and beauty,

Barns and dripping eaves and stillness ~

These are perfect days of soul, I warrant.

Days with nothing I shall long remember,

The summer suckers stretch from the fruit trees

Into greyness, the long-forgotten fruit

Rotting warmly into winter’s cruelty,

But not yet. Not yet that illness ~

This day harks back to nothing, bodes nothing,

Perfect in its breath-holding twilight hour.

Bayboro, NC
November 12, 2018
copyright by M.K. Christiansen

Friday, November 9, 2018

Doings This Week

We remain busy. I told the Prayer Shawl ladies yesterday that I wish I could have some minor injury that would keep me in bed for a week, so I could stay in my pajamas, eat popcorn, and watch shows ... and slow down. One lady laughed and said, "One day would be enough. You'd be ready to be up again." She's right.

I made a (what do the British call it?) ... a pig's breakfast of this long scarf. I'll be messing with it for a while to make it work.
 But it's off the loom, that's what counts. 
Now I've moved on to a scarf weave with some pretty autumn colors. I love that Wool-Ease yarn. Such luscious colors. {{{Sigh}}} I love autumn. I know, I said that before, haha!
 I made a batch of soap: tea tree, vanilla, and warm cider scents.

And I've spent much time folding, stapling, signing, and mailing out "The Thanksgiving Mice" books. Quite fun! Thank you so much, all you readers out there! (Don't forget to send in your payment to get your book shipped to you!)

The dogs are snoozier and snoozier.
 Despite cute little mouse stories, we are at war with mice in this house, and we've pretty much won the war! We have safe poison traps scattered around, but Adam's carefully sealing up all their access points. Ha!
This little fellow died after nibbling one of my old Chopin albums.

Here's some of my homemade deodorant. I delivered it to a fellow who lives on a boat.
 I mentioned the storm damage to the Methodist church. Well, they threw a big fund-raising party on Wednesday, called a Mad Buffalo Party. It was delightful and so festive!
 A HUGE baked potato bar ~
 Hot chocolate with a stunning assortment of sprinkly things to add to your cup ~
 And fabulous desserts. I chose this one, a mixed apple pie baked in cast iron. Oh my ... so, so good.
 See the buffalo plaid? It was everywhere, a warm theme.
They set up a little Christmas Shop in a closet. It was so fun to finger ornaments, wreaths, Christmas nibbles in cellophane! And everything that wasn't nailed down was for sale.

 They even had a crackling fire on the screen overhead, plus cozy music playing.

I found some prizes at the thrift store this week. This skirt I wore to the Mad Buffalo Party.
 I found two panels of sheers that are a vast improvement over what I had (dark maroon).

Yesterday we had a sad loss; one of my chickens, Autumn, died. I didn't know she'd been ill -- some respiratory sickness. Bless her heart :(

I won't enlarge that photo, because who needs a bigger picture of a sick chicken? I'm now down to a rooster and five hens, and one of undetermined sex who I think will present himself as a rooster here soon. One doesn't need more than a single rooster, and sometimes even he is too much.

Today I'm weaving, knitting, writing and painting a bit, and preparing for the farmer's market tomorrow. I hope your Friday goes well and your weekend is lovely!

Monday, November 5, 2018

Second Printing!!!

Guess what? I had such wonderful response to my new little book, "The Thanksgiving Mice," that I had to go back for a second printing of 50 copies!! Squeal!!! (Or should I say "Squeak" since this is about mice?)
I feel so grateful to my friends who've asked for copies - thank you!
Each time I get a little book copied I try to improve the printing process. Watercolor pages are too big, so I have to remember not to paint all the way to the edges. (Oops!!) And watercolors are pale and often don't copy well at all, so I have to go back and darken/brighten those colors. I do think this printing is the best yet.
I'm using Copy & Print Warehouse in New Bern, a local business started by a lady and her 3 friends. It's friendly there, and they're hard-working and meticulous and skilled.

Plus, they keep chocolate on the counter for customers All Day Long. How lovely!
{If you want to purchase a copy of "The Thanksgiving Mice," please leave me a comment saying so, and I'll reserve one for you. I'll email you back, and then you can send me $10, either via Paypal or by mailing me a check. I'll give you those details in email. Once your payment arrives, I'll mail your book to you.}

One of you dear ladies mentioned that the busy time of year has come because nobody's posting as often. It's true. I'm forgetting to blog until a week has passed, and then I desperately cabbage together all the stuff I've been doing. Well, here's what I'm reading now:

I trust Trollope, even though this is a massive tome. I trust him to slowly, steadily build a fun, fascinating plot and compelling, complicated characters. Plus, with a book this huge, I have good reading for weeks to come!

We had friends over for dinner, and how nice it was to set a pretty table.
Plus, I cleaned the house, which I dislike doing, but oh how nice it is to have a clean house afterward! Adam made a dish called Pig in a Pumpkin that I'd never heard of before, much less eaten.
It was yummy scrummy!
He made some Moroccan bread, Khobz.
The farmer's market on Saturday was very good. Even with businesses still closed from the hurricane, and vendors still gone for the same reason, and only two of us there to sell, it was still an excellent day for me. It's my busy time of year. There's simply not enough time to get all the knitting/weaving done, plus making soaps in time to cure them, and keeping other orders filled ... and now also printing, assembling, and mailing out the books. But it will all get done! Today was insanely busy, and tomorrow I plan to STAY HOME, assemble my books, gaze out my window, think of stories to tell, and pet Beau on the head.
Good night, all!

Friday, November 2, 2018

Busy, Busy, Busy!

This week our winterish weather reversed a bit, and now it feels like autumn. I'm happy to see rain pouring down outside my studio window this morning because that means I can stay home. I've been dashing around All Week Long! I'm not exactly sure where all the hours went, but I know I didn't get done the things I wanted to get done .... I didn't finish this weaving, in spite of sitting up from 10 - midnight last night because I couldn't sleep.

I made a second jewelry pouch for my customer, but messed up the placement of the magnet. Ugh. So I have to go back and redo some of it.

One morning I remembered I wanted to dig some volunteer tomatoes from the veggie garden, nestle them in pots for the winter, and put them on the front porch.

See the ladder? Adam has so many different projects going. That ladder means the porch soffit still needs to be repaired from the hurricane. He's also refinishing our kitchen door.
 He got nearly all the paint off and put on a nice stain, but our poly sealer was hard as a rock in its can, and that will have to be done another day!
I taught Bible study, enjoyed Pamlico Chorale rehearsal, had a most lovely visit with a friend in New Bern (plus lunch in a cool restaurant!), and drove to Greenville with another friend who had a doctor's appt., after going to Prayer Shawl and teaching a piano lesson. The church where the Prayer Shawl ladies meet was heavily damaged by Hurricane Florence. 
 Oriental United Methodist Church

 The roof was not sufficient to the storm. They've had to strip one wall back to the brick.
After months of procrastinating (okay, honestly, just putting off doing it for no good reason!) I finally had my "The Thanksgiving Mice" children's book printed in town.

If you liked my Punkin book, this one is sillier :) The arrival of Thanksgiving on the horizon motivated me to get them printed so I can sell them at the market. If you'd like to buy one (soft-cover, $10 which includes shipping inside the U.S.A.), leave me a comment, and we will try to email or facebook message to exchange addresses.
Punkin, Bernie, Ethel
I hate to tell you this, but last week my three old chickens disappeared. They probably disappeared in the company of a coyote, but we don't know for sure. I miss them; my other chickens are not as friendly. Bernie never, ever attacked me, and Punkin and Ethel laid such nice, big eggs.
Plus, Ned got a hold of one of my other hens this week and traumatized her. She's not recovered yet.
She looks pretty raggedy.

What else? Hmm. I think I decided I don't care what people think about how I dress, haha!
I love wearing mismatched Bohemian clothes to the local thrift store because I know I'll find kindred spirits there.

The pre-rain light this morning was strange. The trees have dead leaves (or no leaves) from autumn and the hurricane, but the stress of the storm also informed the plants that they'd just endured winter, and it was time to put out new growth. So they did.
Please don't look at the mess. We are not tidy people.
Speaking of not tidy ... after the hurricane somebody decided the house down the road was not habitable anymore, and they tore it down.
Can you tell I haven't posted in a while? I'm rambling on and on. I'll end with something pretty and yummy, a pastry Adam made for me a few days ago.

Have a happy weekend!