Sunday, March 31, 2013

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

3 Grandsons and an Ostrich.......

Our three grandsons are spending part of their Easter vacation with us and today we all headed over to the Ostrich ranch in the Cummings Valley.

Normally, the boys are totally fearless of just about anything.  But,....................

when we took them into this special enclosure where you can feed the birds and they came running towards us, the boys scrambled as fast as they could to the opposite side!  The birds are on one side of the fence, humans on the other! When a 6 foot bird towers over you by several feet, it can be a bit intimidating!

My husband showed the boys how to take the feeder and lift it as far away from you as possible while the birds ate their pellets. 

And of course we just had to get a picture for mom and dad!

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Maintenance Day on the Homestead

When you live totally off the electric grid, you're responsible for all your energy needs and keeping your equipment in tip top shape.

My husband does a marvelous job in maintaining our main source of backup power - the huge diesel generator.  Without it, we'd really be up a creek.

Battery maintenance is crucial as these store the electricity that is generated by our wind turbine.  Once they reach a certain low level, the generator comes on to restore them to full capacity or to assist the batteries when there's a large drain on the system - like the well coming on to fill, washing machine going or I'm cooking.

With spring finally arriving here in the California mountains, everything is coming to life.  The blackberry bush needs an enclosure to keep the critters out, so that's being built today.

The lilac bushes are showing their gorgeous greenery and will have blooms in no time.

One of our new dwarf nectarine trees is in full bloom and so lovely.

 The entire orchard will be spectacular in a matter of weeks.

 2 1/2 acres isn't all that much acreage, but when you have to walk back and forth to the garage to get tools, it definitely becomes tiresome.  This little Polaris Ranger has been so helpful for the guys hauling things all around.

The "girly girls" love watching all the action - definitely little "sticky beaks!"

And if you look real hard in this photo, you'll see two awnry little squirrels watching the activities, too.  I know they're watching everything in bloom and thinking of all the tasty meals that they'll try to sneak in the months ahead!

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Pinterest, Photoshop & Socks

I've been spending hours online trying to learn how to add text to photos using Photoshop.....
And if that wasn't challenging enough, I'm also learning how to navigate around Pinterest.  I'm sure there's one of those "Dummie" books for people like me! 

And if my time isn't crunched enough learning all of that, I'm still cranking away making socks for next month's craft show.  Can I do this?  Absolutely!

Friday, March 15, 2013

Baked Apple Donuts - YUMMO!

I have an aunt that is a fabulous cook.  I mean fabulous!  I recently asked her to send me some of her favorite recipes and this one was in the batch.

They aren't really donuts as they are a muffin with a cake-like-donut-consistency.  They are fantastic and especially good the next day.  The hint of orange is delightful!  Here's the "pattern" for you:

Combine and cut in the first 7 ingredients:

3 cups flour
1 cup sugar ( I used Splenda since my husband can't have sugar)
3 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon grated orange peel
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
3/4 cup butter or oleo

Then add to the above mixture:

1 cup grated apple
1 cup vanilla yogurt
2 beaten eggs

Spoon into greased muffin tins (I used the large ones) and bake at 350 degrees for 20 - 25 minutes or until done.

Remove from tins once cool enough to touch.

Melt 1/2 stick of butter;  roll the top of each  muffin in the butter then in to a mixture of 3/4 cup sugar and 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon. (I used regular sugar for this step)

Now put on a pot of coffee or a cup of tea and indulge!

And if I'm not in the kitchen, or working in the garden or taking care of the "girly girls," you'll find me knitting feverishly for next month's craft show.  Why not take a simple hat with a rolled edge and add two crocheted flowers and a little duplicate stitch and french knots?

All of a sudden you have a "one-of-a-kind" hat!

Sunday, March 10, 2013

The Happy Hat

Thanks so much for your comments on Mitchell's hat.  It is a happy looking hat, and that made the pattern title choice very easy - "The Happy Hat."  Here I modified the final design, changed the ribbing to a rolled edge and changed out some of the colors.

I've learned (finally!) that hats really should have negative ease so that they'll stay snug on the head and not slip up or down.  This pattern is a "one size fits most adults" and uses 11 colors of worsted weight yarn.  Since Cascade 220 is one of my favorites and I have a ton of leftovers, it was the perfect choice.

I just listed it in our Etsy and Craftsy shops.  Hold a good thought!

Saturday, March 9, 2013

The Weatherman Got It Right.....

It definitely was a snow day yesterday in Tehachapi.  Even the eastbound lanes of the freeway were closed all the way past the city of Mojave which is in the desert.

And the clouds were so dark all day, too. Here it's mid morning, but looks like late afternoon.

We eventually made it down our dirt road but waited until the plows could clear the city streets.  Up here at our elevation, the roads aren't plowed so we have to rely on our 4 wheel drive frequently.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Hats, Chickens and Snow Tonight?

Mitchell's hat is done and now I want one just like it!  Isn't it amazing what you can do with leftovers?  Sure hope he likes it.

I have this huge zippered bag that I keep my worsted weight remnants in and I just grabbed randomly for each color change.  In two spots, I added rows with two colors just to add some eye appeal.  Just when you think that certain colors may not match, they somehow all work together quite nicely.

This morning I was out getting the "girly girls" all ready for tonight's big storm.  Plenty of crumble, fresh shavings, clean water and new hay laid down on the ground.  One even left an early morning egg for me!

Later Rick and I will head to the gas station to fill our diesel jugs.  And my hubby is stopping by CostCo this evening for a few essentials.  Then, let it snow!  They're calling for 4 - 7 inches at our elevation with possible freeway closures.  I'm ready and so is my knitting!

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

An Aggressive Agenda......

With next month's craft show scheduled, it's time that I really get busy and finish up some projects and start some new ones.

This little granny square purse was quick to crochet and will be perfect for the show.

Today I've decided to stay home and get the following 3 projects done.  Above is a hat for my middle grandson, Mitchell.  Mitch will be here on Sunday so my goal is to finish it up by bedtime.

 Sock number one just came off the machine and this afternoon I'll make the second one, close their toes and weave in the ends.

This apron is all cut out and everything is pressed and ready to be sewn together.  Will I manage to get this done, too, today?  We'll see!

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Mac Gave Us a Scare.......

Those of you who have followed my blog for a long time know Macintosh.  He goes by Mac and is our family Boston Terrier.  Mac will be 7 this month, although it doesn't seem possible!  A few weeks ago we noticed a lump on his tummy and have watched it closely.  At first, we could see it  yet really couldn't feel it.

Finally, our worry grew and we decided to take him to the vet.  I'd heard wonderful things about Dr. Billingsley up in Sand Canyon so we made the appointment and Mac and I drove up there yesterday.

Her facility is absolutely amazing.  Even tho it was only a 20 minute drive from our house, I felt like we'd been transported immediately to Kingman, Arizona.  This red barn is the clinic and if you take the other turn in the road, you'll find yourself at her equestrian clinic.

The outside premises are immaculate and decorated with beautiful antique pieces.  What a place!  And the inside was beyond words!  Even Mac was impressed and loved Dr. Billingsley!  We both will look forward to our next visit.

Sand Canyon is remote and of course a box canyon - meaning one road in and one road out.  And the beauty that is up there is spectacular.

The rock formations so remind me of Arizona.

We'll go up further into the canyon on another visit and share more photos with you.

And you're probably wondering about Mac's was a fatty tumor and nothing to worry about.  Apparently, they come with age!