Saturday, May 28, 2016

We're Having a Heat Wave!

      We've been experiencing a heat wave complete with high humidity and late day/evening thunderstorms.  Luckily, the thunder and lightening have been around us and not over us but Fanny's still been spooked, hiding under the kitchen table, between my legs and the chair I'm sitting on and panting.  Ah, summer in the Mohawk Valley.  But it's only May??!?
   Jeff has been busy working on the greenhouse.  The cripple wall on the back side ended up being

difficult due to the roots of the silver maple tree and the slope of the yard.  He had to dig a trench and cut some of those roots until he got a level route for the bottom board.  By then the other sides had lost their level so he had to keep working his way around the base of the cripple wall digging and leveling until the whole thing was right.  Then he was

finally able to cut the
back door and put in the
corner supports. Remember this is not a 'permanent structure' so Jeff is making it as stable as he can without fastening it to the ground.  The woodshed is now between the compost bin and the greenhouse so
Jeff decided to put in a
series of smaller compost bins that will be easier to get to from the back door of greenhouse.      
   This morning I got up to find him outside digging in the greenhouse, digging up sod and leveling ground so he can cover it with mulch and landscape cloth
before he puts in the gutter pipes.  As long as the danger of frost has passed, Jeff wants to get the gutters planted this week and do the final work on the greenhouse after the gardens are planted.  We've been sitting in there having coffee and it's been pretty warm without any plastic so the plastic can wait!
   I haven't been taking it easy, either.  I actually cut some of the lawn but the heat got to be too much and my arthritis and screwed together bones complained about being stuck in my rubber boots so I'm waiting for a cooler day.  (Or maybe I'll just buy a pair of cheap sneakers to wear when cutting the lawn.  They would be a lot cooler.)  I also broke out in my annual 'cut the lawn' rash.  Happens every year.  Itches like crazy but only with the first cutting.  (Jeff says it's psychosomatic.)  I washed the
bedroom windows(glass and frames)...on the inside...and opened them to get some of the cooler nighttime breezes into the house...and other windows thru the house before going back to knitting and doing this size 1 sweater set.  I call it 'Little Girl Chic' and it has always been a
good seller...hope it still is this year!  The hat is a beret with a pink band. I'll take it and the 4 hats I've done (2 baseballs and 2 with flowers) to the shop with me tomorrow.  I'm splitting the day with another worker.  That will work out great for me coz Jeff's sister, Sherry, and my cousin, Ed, are coming over for supper tomorrow night.  (They can inspect the greenhouse and give Jeff words of encouragement.)  I've got to get my salads...potato and macaroni...finished today, just leaving the steaks to throw on the 'barbie when they get here tomorrow.  I'll try to get some photos of that to post!!

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Cripple Wall

   The time has come to start raising and leveling the greenhouse.  Because the yard is very uneven with a slope and plenty of tree roots, a cripple wall system is necessary.  Jeff has
decided to raise this front corner of the greenhouse about 18"...and it's level...for now!  That's a cripple wall under the corner of the frame of the greenhouse Each corner has to be raised and level independently...then the sides between them will be built to fit and leveled.
It's a time consuming procedure.  Here's Fanny 
inspecting the hydraulic
lift that Jeff's using to raise and stabilize the front of the greenhouse while he installs the cripple walls on the sides.  She likes the position of the greenhouse right now...
easier to get in and out for her, no jumping over 2x6's!  Her only complaint is that there isn't any standing water in the 'gutter' pipes!  And with this closed system, there won't be!
   Jeff  busy preparing
uprights for the next
cripple wall.  What's that old saying:  'measure twice, cut once?'  He's using new pressure
treated lumber for the bottom of each cripple wall with regular pine for
the tops and recycled pine for the uprights.  There's a recycled patio block under each corner, too.
There's a couple of days work left before we start to skin the house with plastic.  The 'floor' has to be leveled and covered with landscape fabric and mulch, too.  With a little luck the gutter pipe system should be up and running in a couple of weeks.

About Me

   I've had to write/revise my bio for the shop's Facebook page for some time now but kept putting it off.   I finally got around to it last night and I sent it to Theresa, our Facebook Guru.  When, just before I went to bed,  I found a question about it that she had emailed back,  I sent off an answer right away.   But when I got up to let Fanny out at 4am, I had a different idea on how to answer her question so I sent another email.  That surprised her!  Hey, what else am I suppose to do at 4am while I am waiting for the dog to finish outside???  [Jeff goes outside as Fanny's armed guard but I sure don't!!]  Anyway, this is what I sent and what will be appearing in a somewhat modified version on Cooper Country Crafts' Facebook page complete with photos soon:

"I'm a 60-something knitting fool, changing occupations every ten years or so as I worked to support my knitting habit until I retired as a senior library clerk a few years ago. Now I'm trying to support it by designing and selling children and baby sweaters for the shop in Cooperstown.

I have knitted for as long as I can remember, teaching myself to knit as a child after my mom taught me how to cast-on the long-tail method to keep me busy while she rested, recuperating from pneumonia. I even used knitting as therapy after carpal tunnel surgery! I usually have a baggie in my purse with a sock or hat going for when I get stuck in traffic or a doctor's waiting room.  I've been lucky to find a guy who enjoys wearing wool socks and I try to make him several pairs a year even if he is 6'3" and wears a size 12 shoe!

I use mainly 1 pattern, a raglan-worked-from-the-neck-down, that I found in an old Leisure Arts booklet 30 years ago that I modify and add details to that I see in other patterns.  I use raglans because they are more comfortable and fit kids better and longer and have few or no seams coz I hate sewing, and also have a larger space for designs worked from a chart like sheep or a baseball

While I like working on baby and children's sweaters and hats because they take less time to finish and just look so cute, I enjoy knitting anything because the textures and colors available in yarns today make the simplest items look unique."

Too bad I can't add this:
I have knit on a boat and when there's a mouse in the house I do knit with a mouse!   
   Then this morning I really got ambitious and edited this bio down to 1200 characters so it would fit in this blog's "About Me" space.  Now that wasn't fun!!  But it was fun was ordering yarn this morning!  One of my Crocus Shawls sold this week and that left a hole in my display. (Actually, a rather large hole, since the other Crocus shawl is in the display case at the Key Bank on Main St., in Cooperstown.) So I started asking other shop members what color I should use for the next shawl and after a phone conversation with Sharon this morning I decided to see what
yarn JoAnn's Fabrics had in stock at the New Hartford store before I drove up there.  What a good idea!  By using their 30% off on-line coupon,  the 2 skeins of Iced Aqua Love yarn by Red Heart--complete with tax and shipping--was cheaper to order than if I had driven to New Hartford and picked it up off  the shelf! And since I'm waiting for a new set of size US 10's interchangeable needle points that I ordered from KnitPicks last week to get here, I can't start the shawl right away.  With a little more luck, the yarn and the needles might arrive at the same time!!  Now I just have to find something else to knit.  What skein of yarn that's just sitting next to my chair shall I start???  Decisions, decisions!  A baby sweater?? Socks for Jeff??  Socks for me??  A baseball hat??

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Pin-Stripe Hoodies, Roof Supports and Other Things

    I'm finishing these 2 Pin-stripe Hoodies today.  The one with the blue sleeves just needs it's baseball buttons but they're on-order or in-transit and should be here tomorrow (fingers crossed!!) while the other one...with the white sleeves...needs it's zipper sewn in and, honestly, I don't want to do it right now.  Later, tonight, tomorrow, just not now.  I finished pin-striping the blue-sleeved sweater this morning  AND sewed in that zipper and my right hand hurts.  Time to give it a rest. One of these sweaters is a special order and the other is for the shop.  As soon as the woman decides which one she wants, the other one can go to Cooperstown.  They're both size 1, raglans worked from the neck down in Red Heart acrylic worsted Blue and White on US7's.  The baseball buttons are from and the zippers are 18" All Purpose Zippers from Coats and Clark, one in Yale blue and the other white.
   Since the purchase of our new lawnmower Monday I've been asked twice when I was going to cut the grass.  I've given the same answer both times.  I need to buy a pair of rubber boots first instead of ruining another pair of sneakers.  I've picked out a pair of shiny red boots with wide legs at Walmart that I'm going to try on the next time I go into the store.  Either them or the black ones...they look like patent leather...but not the polka dot ones!  Jeff thinks I should check out Tractor Supply but I know the price is higher over there and these will be used for garden and mowing only so I'm not going to spend a lot for them.  If they're too wide I'll put in some innersoles.

    Jeff's been busy putting up the wooden supports in the greenhouse.  He'll have an 1/2"plywood arch supported by 2x2" trusses fastened every 2' to the cattle panels along the entire 14' length.  All the extra support is because while the greenhouse will sit in the open in the backyard and while it won't be a target for falling tree branches it could be buried by snow.  When the arches and trusses are all fastened, Jeff's planning to raise the
greenhouse...with our hydraulic jack...and put an 18" cripple wall under it so he'll be able to walk thru without hitting his head on the bottom of those arches!   Then comes the great job of skinning the greenhouse with plastic.   It was an 'interesting job' with the first/smaller one.  I can't wait to see how it goes this time!

Monday, May 16, 2016

New lawnmower and Other Things

        We were off to buy a new lawnmower today.  My old Craftsman finally gave up the ghost last year and the mowers Jeff's sister gave us kept breaking down (that's why she got rid of them?).  [About one, an ace mechanic said to never bring that **** machine back to him again! He rebuilt the motor a couple of times but it still won't keep running. He doesn't know what she did to it.]  Her 2nd machine has the blade bent so bad everything is jammed.  And both those machines are Cub Cadets and less than 2 years old.  My Craftsman's was the cheapest one Sears' had and is at least 10 years old.  Jeff's been checking Lowe's and Tractor Supply for awhile now so we just have to look at what's available and see what's in our budget. 
    I called the oil company this morning and ordered a 100 gals of fuel oil.  Price was good, only $209.00, so we'll go to Frankfort first and pay them before we shop today.  Usually I just leave a check taped to the screen door and the driver takes it but Jeff isn't thrilled with that payment method, so....  I'll order another hundred gallons at the end of June and we should be good until the end of the year when the HEAP checks come out.
        Jeff took a day off from working on the greenhouse Thursday and went fishing with his nephew, Tim, Jr.  They spent the afternoon at Lock 18 but didn't catch a lot of fish.  After supper, Jeff's brother, Tim, joined them and they fished by the Thruway Interchange in Herkimer.  Again, not a lot of fish, but they're sport fishing so they are throwing back what they catch.  They had a good time and that's what counts.
    I had made potato salad and macaroni salad for supper and we cooked steak on the Ronco.  Either they were hungry or things tasted good coz there wasn't much left over!  Tim, Jr suggested making up a dish to take with them when they left to met Tim so his father didn't have to stop at McD's and that finished the steak and potato salad!  So much for planning for the next day!!  And I had used 5 lbs of potatoes and pound of elbow macaroni! And the last half dozen eggs.
   Jeff must have talked about the greenhouse a lot because when I got home from working Saturday in the shop in Cooperstown, Tim was here again.  He had come down from his house in Floyd to have Jeff go shopping with him for the parts for a greenhouse.   Tim's greenhouse is going to be smaller than Jeff's, but it's his first try.
   ` Here's the new Huskee lawnmower 3-in-1 that we just got at Tractor Supply.
It was only $199.99 plus $29.99 for a 2-year replacement warranty.
The price was really right!  In fact, we had enough left over in our budget to get this Big Wheel 4-wheel wheelbarrow...only $ Tractor Supply that Jeff's been thinking/dreaming/drooling about. (That's the bag to

the lawnmower in it.)  I think he has to make the doorways to the greenhouse wider now.  We were in the Forester this morning and they both wouldn't fit so after we stopped for lunch at Belly Busters Jeff  hitched-up the trailer and went back with the Outback for our major purchases.
      The shop is lucky to be able to use the display case in the Key Bank on Main St, in Cooperstown.   We
have seasonal and themed displays from time
to time and starting today, this Crocus Shawl of
mine is part of a color
display.  It's a shawl/

scarf done in Red Heart

True Teal acrylic on US9's.  It can be worn
over a coat or jacket as
a scarf or alone as a
shawl or shawlette.  I like the way it worked up and won't be too terribly disappointed if it doesn't sell.  I won't mind keeping it for myself!
   Jeff got the lawnmower together and had it running.  Now he wants me to try to start it (pull the cord) and push it around a little...but I'm not mowing any lawn today!  I've got knitting to do but I better go out there and try to start it....hey, it started right up!  Wasn't hard to pull at all! And because it has large back wheels, the lawnmower is easy to push.  Guess I'm going to mow the lawn...just now today!

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

The New Greenhouse, Part I

   The new greenhouse has been started.  Jeff got the frame finished Tuesday (5-10) and started to fasten the cattle panels in place.  I was asked to help, but I
don't think I was much help.  The ground is so uneven, I was afraid Jeff would pull on the panel and I'd go flying!  So there was quite a bit of under-the-breath muttering coming from Jeff...while I hung on for dear life...and I don't blame him one bit!  One panel got bent out of shape on the ride home but he used it anyway.  I thought it should have been the one to
Those pipes with holes are the 'new' gutter system

to be cut since he has to cut one to fit but he wasn't taking suggestions from me at that time... but it went back into shape ok.  Now he has to finish tacking all the panels to the frame before
fastening them together with zip ties. He even bought a new tool to make it easier to do

that!  (Personally, I think it was

just an excuse to buy another tool but who am I to say anything...she who has at least 4 pairs of US7 knitting needles, all different lengths?)
Potatoes will be grown in that plastic basket in a 'gutter'

   Today Jeff decided he wants to lift the greenhouse about 18" so he can stand upright in it is, he just clears the wire he's going to get some more 2x4's and build a frame to go under each side.  (We had gotten a hydraulic jack on special this winter and it will come in handy now to raise the greenhouse.) Jeff found the landscape fabric at
Tractor Supply in the size and price he was looking for so he got that today, too.  After the walls are raised, I think he's going to put down about 6" of mulch on top of the landscape fabric to slow the grow of weeds around the 'gutters'.  Then he wants to finish the ends of the greenhouse with doors so he can walk in or out pushing a wheelbarrow...and maybe keep the critters out. 
 5/16:  Here's the back door of the greenhouse with the studs nailed in.  The doorway is 40" wide and after the greenhouse is raised 18-20" and the crippled wall is fastened under the frame, the bottom crossbeam will be cut out so there is a clear opening to walk or push a
wheelbarrow through.  Here Jeff is fastening the studs in the front wall.  Next comes the curved ceiling braces that will run the entire length of the greenhouse.  There will be a 3-4' hallway down the center to move around in.  The 'gutters' will be on legs along the long walls.  Jeff says there will be a 50 gal drum of water in there that will help to heat the place at night.