Saturday, July 31, 2010

Back to the Socks......................

Things are getting back to normal around here. With the fire now at 85% contained, there's no smoke in our area and all the copter and fire truck activity has stopped. So, it's time to get back making some socks. I'm just about to crank out the second one on "Doris," but thought you'd like to see the first sock. The yarn is Austermann's Step which has aloe vera and jojoba oil and just glides through my antique sock machine.

Have a great weekend and try to find some knitting time if you can.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Fire Update...............

As of 6:30 this evening the fire has a containment of 44%. It's still heading away from us but the smoke clouds are tremendous and are out over the desert now. Strike teams are here from all over the state and have set up camp at our local high school. It's actually a city within a city.

We can't thank these men and women enough for all they do for us.

The staging area for all the copters are at the glider airport. I spoke with one fireman and he said they never like it when these things happen, but the facilities that we have in Tehachapi are fantastic for this type of assault on mountain fires.

The copters start early to fill their tanks. The news said their capacity can be up to 500 gallons per load. This is one of the largest on the scene and he flies right over our house after filling.

We have an even larger fire way to our north which has burned over 16,000 acres and now another has broken out down in the Palmdale area.

California's fire season is basically year round now. I'll keep you updated. And thanks to all of our dear friends who have emailed and called to check on us.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Fire Season

Yesterday afternoon as I stepped out our front door, I noticed a little smoke rising up from Old West Ranch. Not good I thought. Within minutes it escalated into a major fire. This area is just about 3 miles to our east with tons of dry brush and fallen trees.

The fire and forestry departments started hitting the fire with everything they had - 6 water dropping helicopters which "gas" up from a special water tank at the end of our street and 4 flame retardant planes. Once dusk arrives, all air power has to stop. We watched throughout the night as the eerie orange glow hovered above the mountain. I think about 30 homes have been lost with over another 100 threatened.

Today it looks like the fire is burning away from us, but the copters are back refueling down the street and the fire department has made a staging area at the glider airport.

Pray for these brave men and women and for all the families in these areas.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

A Tiny Give-a-way...............

I have a leftover sample from when I made the "Luggage Finders" for Skacel Yarn Company. Thought it would be fun to offer it as a give-a-way to one of our readers. Between today and Saturday, July 31, 2010, just add a comment to this post and your name will be entered into the drawing. On Sunday, August 1st, one name will be randomly drawn and I'll email that person with the good news and request their mailing address so that we can send this little item to them.

The "Luggage Finders" are free downloadable PDF patterns on the Skacel website. If you love to travel and hate trying to spot your luggage at the airport as it goes round and round, this little tie on mitten is perfect.

Good luck and I'll be waiting to hear from you.

Have a great day today!

Friday, July 23, 2010

Hot Off The Knitting Needles.....................

Here's our next design in the "Crumpet and Tea" collection. It's for Mrs. Crumpet's knitting bag. If you're like me, Intarsia knitting is my favorite. I like to refer to it also as "picture" knitting. The pattern is now available on our Etsy and Ravelry sites for $2.00.

Think I'll take a break over the weekend before starting some new ideas. Here's a hint of what's to come.....................designs totally for your dogs and cats!!!

Have a great day and be sure to include some knitting time.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

I've Declared War on the Little Thieves................

Remember my brilliant idea of the stuffed animal from the thrift store? Maybe it wasn't so brilliant afterall. This morning I went out to water the garden and trees, and out jumped 4 ground squirrels from my apple trees. Little thieves!

This is war! Living up here on the side of a mountain, off the grid with no services but the ones you provide for yourself - you're on your own. I know what some of you are thinking, 'squirrel killer, small creature abuser.' This is war!

Twitter and Facebook have nothing on these little beasts. These guys have networking capabilities that exceeds the highest of human standards. One literally stands at attention (he's the lookout) and when he spots me in the yard, releases a high pitched frequency declaring, "warning, warning, the mean human is coming." Then the others scramble for their burrows. This is war!

I no more like this than you, but it's time for the big guns. I have no other choice, it has to be done. I'm heading to the music store to buy a new bow for my violin that I haven't played in 41 years! If I played lousy back then, imagine how bad it'll sound now. That alone should run 'em all out of town!

I'll keep you posted..................

Oh, be sure to check back late tomorrow. The next design in the "Crumpet and Tea" collection should be ready to post and place on our Etsy and Ravelry sites.

Have a great day out there!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

A Money Saving Tip

Be watching the news headlines today - they just might read, "Thrift Stores Across America Overrun by Knitters in Search of Purse Handles."

My dear friend and mentor, Jean, gave me this superb suggestion...........don't buy expensive purse handles until you check out used purses at thrift stores. Needless to say, I rushed to the two shops in town that very day. Don't even give the purse a second look, but check out the handles.

Here are two sets from used purses and one is real bamboo! The purses themselves were in terrible condition, but as you can see, the handles were absolutely perfect. Each purse was $2.00! YES, two dollars! I'm not kidding, I paid all of four dollars plus tax - total for both purses.

Hope this inspires you to create some new totes. Enjoy this day!

Monday, July 19, 2010

Saving the World

I've come to the conclusion that it's knitters that will save the world. Well, maybe not knitters themselves, but all the handy dandy contraptions that we keep in our knitting bags, baskets and "fish tackle" containers. (Yes, that's what I use for all the little tiny gadgets that I can't live without)

Yesterday at the concert in the park, I was knitting happily away on a pair of socks when I heard all this crumbling and crushing of paper behind me. A very nice elderly couple had brought a bag of chips to munch on during the concert. (You have to understand first tho, that living at a higher altitude does something to potato chip bags - they self-inflate and will burst if not opened properly - can you imagine being taken out by a bag of chips? And I was certainly within the target zone) There was just no way this man was gonna get this bag to rip open without a major catastrophe. I quickly reached into my little tackle box and pulled out my tiny scissors and politely offered them to this nice gentleman.

He gladly accepted and made a small cut to release the "combustible" air, returned the scissors with a smile and a thank you and proceeded to enjoy his snack.

If you ever end up on a desert island, be sure it's with a knitter!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Teddy Bear on Guard

Why is it when you think you've come up with a brilliant solution to a nagging problem, that there's always someone out there who thinks you're nuts? Do you know how many scarecrows I've seen in the fields up here now? And are there any less squirrels amongst the apple orchards? HELLO - exactly! These little varmits aren't stupid. If they've seen one scarecrow, they've seen 'em all.

It's watch dogs that they're afraid of. Of course, that would mean that you'd have to have a watch dog that is awake, walking fence lines and generally on the ball - not one that seems to snooze the day away on the front porch while flys buzz around his face.

So, I decided to hit the thrift stores this morning in search of a scary looking stuffed animal - preferrably a dog. I managed to find one teddy bear dressed in winter attire. I asked Rick, "does he look scary enough?" One of the employees was standing within earshot and looked at me rather funny and felt obliged to ask, "do you want to scare kids with a stuffed animal?"

I'm a grandmother for heaven sakes! "No, I don't want to scare kids, I WANT to scare squirrels!" With that, she marked the price tag down to one dollar - no doubt to get me out of the store as quickly as possible.

I placed him under the tree and kept watch throughout the day. When my husband got home, I had him move the bear to a different tree - gotta try and confuse the little buggars, right? So far, not one squirrel has ventured into the yard and left with a green apple in his little mouth.

We'll see what happens tomorrow.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Another Pattern Almost Ready

I've spent the afternoon getting this pattern ready to add to our Ravelry and Etsy sites. It's called a "Lacey Car Trash Bag." You just add a quart size storage bag to the inside and more messy papers and cups laying around the inside of your car.

And if you're like me, you'll make one for your hubby's truck! I bet all his friends will want one too!

I'm aiming for Friday to have this pattern up and running.

Have a great day and don't forget to throw in some knitting along the way - even if it's only a few rows.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Concerts in the Park

The Sunday afternoon "Concerts in the Park" began today here in Tehachapi. It's a marvelous way to spend an afternoon. We were treated to some fantastic music by the Tehachapi POPs Orchestra and the duo of Lauren and Max.

We were invited to set up a table with our hand cranked socks and will be back for the next 5 concerts. We sold some socks, donated a pair for the raffle and met some wonderful people.

There's just nothing like small town life in this great country. God bless America.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Round and Round We Go..............

I read an article some time ago about a year of socks - I think it was in Interweave Knits. Anyway, it occured to me that a "year of socks" would be the perfect Christmas present for my best friend. That's (if you haven't done the math) a pair a month. In this case, I have some catching up to do, so maybe two pair a month for awhile.

I decided on Fortissima Colori Socka Color by Schoeller + Stahl. It's a nice wool/nylon blend with great durability - the color (if you're wondering) is #13. Once they're done, more photos will be on the way.

Yesterday I mentioned a "secret knitting project" that kept me busy all of last week. One that I really enjoyed doing for a favorite company of mine. I'm not at liberty to discuss it yet, but I can tell you this - the yarn and fun colors were a delight and I'm seriously thinking of doing a sweater in this very yarn. As soon as I hear that it's up and ready for all of you out there, I'll share. Promise!

Have a super day.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Time With Our Munchkins

The other day when I said, "Calgon Take Me Away" - well, it didn't happen. Seriously, I've been here all along. Our two oldest grandsons came up for a visit and boy did they keep me busy. We had a grand time and now the house is far too quiet and we miss them terribly.

They opted for an outing to Tangleweed Farm where they got to feed the chickens. Who would've thought that rose petals are like candy to roosters and chickens. While there, we bought 2 baskets of ollalie (maybe it's olallie?) berries to make a crisp. (YUMMO) They also helped me make a scarecrow - whom we hope will keep the squirrels out of our fruit trees. Of course, Mitchell wanted to know why they're called scarecrows.

We also chopped some of our culinary rosemary from our own garden and made a rustic rosemary bread. It's amazing that a six year old can make a loaf of bread as good as an adult! (ok, the truth? - his turned out better than mine ever have - happy?)

Guess I'll settle back in with some serious knitting now and start Mrs. Crumpet's knitting bag. Tomorrow, I might share a little secret about some other knitting. (might not, too!)

Monday, July 5, 2010

Guess Who Came to Dinner?

You always wonder what you're gonna talk about on your next blog post and then opportunity knocks.....................

While grilling up some bratwurst yesterday afternoon, my husband happens to look up and sees movement by the truck. At first it looks like a big brown mound and then it starts moving. From a distance, he couldn't tell what kind of snake it was, so immediately Bo was put on a leash. Rick runs in to tell me that we have a snake and I quickly grab my camera. (think blog pictures at all times) Nope, it wasn't a rattler, but we decided (not totally knowing the different species up here) that it was probably a Bull snake. They'll still bite and apparently hiss loudly when angered and many people mistake the sound as that of a rattlesnake.

We walked behind him to make sure that he left our property. That he did and slowly went off into the brush on the adjacent parcel - no doubt looking for a 4th of July morsel.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

The World of Macintosh (Mac for short)

Now, don't get me wrong. I absolutely love this little guy. He's hysterically funny, a great companion, ridiculously intelligent and has the heart of a big dog. But, when nightfall comes he turns into something just short of a wart hog. He falls asleep (on our bed - which I know is totally my fault) within 30 seconds and then the nightmare begins. First, his body begins to vibrate and then it happens - deep, deep, super deep snoring. Honestly, it's as if he's about to erupt. We gently nudge him to try and awaken him, he snorts several times and falls back asleep. Within a few minutes, the process repeats itself. And if that weren't bad enough, my husband occasionally joins in unison with him. Calgon take me away!

Enjoy your holiday weekend!

Friday, July 2, 2010

Another Pair Cranked

I sure hope you don't get tired of seeing our socks. This pair is made with Skacel's Trekking XXL and Doris just loves this sock yarn. She definitely whistles a happy tune while cranking 'em out. They'll probably go on our Etsy site later today.

Looks like it's gonna be a great 4th of July weekend here in Tehachapi - lots of festivities planned. There's a parade, pancake breakfast, hot dog festival, pops concert and the much anticipated fireworks show once it's dark. Lots to look forward to!