More on peepers

When we first heard them on Thursday night, they were so loud it hurt my ears.

Posted in Animals, Antler Lake, Rural life | 5 Comments

Riding the links.

chain bike sprocket

Fairy tales >6,000 years old.


Power washing is magic.

Living without artificial light.

Coupla feel-good storiesThanks to Kat for introducing me to Good News Network!

“They look like haunted marshmallows.” 

Um, no.

I love to give advice.



Posted in Links | 5 Comments

Ice out!

The ice finally went out of the lake a couple days ago, May 1. That is the latest since we began coming here in 1991. What a weird spring!

Let us review our history of the lake.


May 23, 2007.How we like to think of our lake.


October 7, 2007. A rare day: our lake is small, so we seldom see whitecaps.


April 3, 2009. Migrating waterfowl are enjoying the open water. The aeration system keeps a small area open, but the size of this open are indicates that the ice has started to retreat.


March 16, 2011. This must have been a particularly hard winter. A bit of open water by our sunken pontoon. It was probably kept that way from the outflow of our geothermal heating system. Note the wildlife tracks at the edge. Everybody likes to get a drink!


March 15, 2011. Here is one of the wildlife now!


March 16, 2011. Bald eagle looking for the open water. “Hey, buddy! It’s over this way!”


January 13, 2013. A very windy day.


March 27, 2017. Most of the lake is clear of ice; only that rotten sheet in the middle is left.

The sounds of the lake are interesting, too.

The spring peepers tonight. They were absolutely screeching! I have never heard them so loud. Guess they are trying to make up for lost time; ice-out and spring are about three weeks late this year.

Posted in Antler Lake, Spring, Winter | 7 Comments

Knit the rainbow.


Knit without injuring yourself!

The perfect Aran.

How to knit the long-tail cast-on.

Our eyes are still closed.

OMG, the Israelis — but not their government — did something good for Arabs.

How to knit the perfect edge. Other perfect edges.

Oh captain, my captain!

Tax refund? Lots of good stuff at that link.

Thicc. via

How to know.

Posted in LInks knitting | 6 Comments

Surreal links.

links interlinked cgi.jpg

The Brother.  (listen)

“I think we can all agree life would be better were giants required to disclose their recipes.” It all started here.

The big enemy is apathy.

Time capsule from hell.

Links from Chris.

Posted in Links | 4 Comments

Knitting gone wild.


Welcome to 1984, when Native Americana was fashionable. Another one.

Nice rings. Sorry about the rest of the sweater.

Computer-generated knitting patterns. Here is an Atlantic article about the project. On TwitterThanks, gayle!

No shade zone.

I love this story!

Plenty of time to knit this before Halloween.


Posted in LInks knitting | 4 Comments

Smokey update.

  • He was discharged on Friday with a long list of follow-up appointments.
  • Feels fine, slightly better than when he went in.
  • Basic questions remaining to be answered: why prostate so enlarged, why hemoglobin so low. All other symptoms stemmed from those.
  • Complicating matters for me was the fact that Saturday night was to be the annual dinner for our county party, and as co-chair, I am heavily involved.
  • I had planned to spend Thursday doing all the last-minute stuff that couldn’t be done earlier, with Friday to clean up any loose ends.
  • That plan went out the window.
  • Friday became the day to do my stuff — finalize the PowerPoint to accompany the candidate speakers, figure out Mail Merge to print 100+ name badges, print sign-in sheets and miscellaneous signs, etc., etc.
  • It all got done by 1:30 Saturday, 10 minutes before I had to leave.
  • Dinner went off perfectly, in spite of last-minute changes in the speakers, mainly thanks to my army of volunteers.
  • The Skype call with a candidate (projected on the wall) worked, the video from our US senator worked, the PPoint worked.
  • When was the last time ALL the technology worked?
  • When I texted that to a friend a few minutes ago, she recommended that I buy a lottery ticket.
  • Today is reserved for Netflix and knitting,  perhaps accompanied by an adult beverage later in the day.
  • To top it off, the snow is melting!


(Before you ask, that black square is a Post-It note stuck on the window to discourage a persistently determined bird last summer. It was pretty sure it could fly through my office and out the other side of the house.)

Posted in Smokey VA, Spring, Winter | 10 Comments

Rusty, dusty links.

Links rusted

“She had a rump like a silken waterfall, and I trembled to admire it.”

This is a bit long but worth it.

Kittehs will find a way.

Life advice that we all can use.

“…I am now the morale officer of my workplace…”

In the US, it would be the theme from Law and Order.

Bank Butt, Burf Pink, Dorkwood, Sreeterd Gray, Gray Public, Flumfy, and Dondarf: let those paint names flow! Thanks, gayle!


Posted in Links | 7 Comments

“Well, Jane, it just goes to show you, it’s always something — if it ain’t one thing, it’s another.” — Roseanne Roseannadanna, SNL


Smokey went to Minneapolis yesterday for a routine appointment with his nephrologist. I had opted to stay home rather than accompany him; usually we both go and make a fun day of it, but I am kinda sorta swamped with stuff that needs to be done by Saturday, so no fun day for me.

Workingworkingworking Phone rings noonish.

Smokey: Well, I am gonna be here awhile. Quite awhile. [He goes on to list a bunch of abnormal lab results, plus an alarming EKG.]

Me: Are they going to admit you?

Smokey: Yes. I’m not in my room yet but I should be by the time you get here. [He goes on with instructions as to how to get Younger Son’s Volvo, which has been sitting in our pole barn for several months, started and running. Smoke had taken my car, and that Volvo was my only option. Said instructions included a socket wrench with a 10mm socket.]

I packed an overnight bag, including knitting, told the dogs to be good, and headed out to the VA*. When I got there at about 3:30, he still was not in his room. The unit secretary knew he was coming but had no idea where he was nor why he wasn’t there yet.

Me, in my head: WTF? Did something else happen?

I waited around in a nearby lounge, and eventually got a call from Smoke.

Me: Where are you? What’s going on?

Smokey: I am in the emergency room…

Me, in my head: OMG, he had a heart attack/stroke/something horrible. [Never mind that he is actually talking to me, wide awake and apparently normal.]

Smokey, continuing: …because they didn’t have a bed available until someone is discharged.

A bit later he was wheeled up to the unit on a gurney. Younger Son arrived an hour or so later after work. We all hung out and chatted while various medical personnel stopped by to draw additional blood samples, inquire about his medications (pharmacy resident), his medical history (hospitalist), do another EKG (nursing assistant and someone else), talk about what he needed right then (nurse), weigh him (student nurse, who is a 40-something male Army vet who had done a pre-med major in college), do a routine nose swab for MRSA (nurse and nursing student), yada yada.

I had texted both sons earlier in the afternoon about Smoke’s admission and been on the phone with each of them as I learned more. Elder Son wanted to know certain of the lab values, which I got from the hospitalist when she stopped by. Earlier he had been able to tell me what was going on, based on what I remembered from my first conversation with Smoke. To simplify his explanation, one thing — enlarged prostate — had led to another thing, which led to something else, which eventually led to abnormal heart rhythms. Our bodies are a bunch of interrelated systems, doncha know.

I left about 7:30 to head home to the dogs, whom I found prancing about with their little legs crossed, doing the potty dance (but had not relieved themselves in the house during my absence, yay!).

Today’s email report from The Bear:

My labs are coming into normal ranges and I feel fine. Sleep was hard to achieve due to hospital routines, two roommates, no APAP, no dogs, and an uncomfortable mattress. No guesses as to causes of the problems or length of hospitalization. My EKGs were reviewed and judged normal. Minor annoyances abound, but the care is overall adequate.

Breakfast included limp toast, canned fruit, room temp milk, and a small scoop of scrambled eggs. The high point was the packet of grape jelly — so different from the excellent food at United [Hospital in St Paul, where he had his knees replaced last year] and not near your feast at Applebee’s [where I had stopped to eat on my way back to WI]. I tried to keep in mind that many in Syria would be grateful for my humble breakfast.

I was able to watch Rachel’s interview with Comey on MSNBC. Nothing new.

My nurse is Kathy.

I know this is a busy time for you so don’t worry a bit about not visiting. I’m fine, probably less stressed than you.

Dog treats — both canisters are almost empty. The bag for refills is on the wire shelves in the closet right outside our bedroom at about butt high.

See you soon (I hope!)’


…and back to work for me, with a measure of relief in my head.

* I stopped for gas on the way, and, because the car had been sitting for so long and I thought I had seen an oil slick on the garage floor after I backed it out, checked the oil. Oil level was fine — I had to call YS to find out how to open the hood — and I was once more on my way. Until a few hundred yards later, when the hood flew open, yikes. I was still in a 30mph zone coming up from the river valley, so it wasn’t as dangerous as it might have been. Pulled over, slammed the hood firmly shut, and drove on keeping my fingers crossed. No more problems with the hood, amen.

Posted in Smokey VA | 12 Comments


Progress continues — two steps forward, step-and-a-half back — on Carbeth. Funnily enough, I am not bothered at all by having to rip and reknit repeatedly, probably because the knitting, on US#10-1/2 needles, goes so fast. Plus, I got to learn German short rows, which are a big improvement over wrap and turn.

red sparrowWhat I really want to talk about today, though, is reading — specifically, Red Sparrow by Jason Matthews. This is by far the best spy novel I have ever read; I have been recommending it to everyone who might be remotely interested. The author was a CIA operative — a real spy! — for 33 years, and the novel is filled with authentic detail, including Russian idioms and adages. And, of course, lots of spy stuff.

As soon as I finished Red Sparrow I requested the next book in the palace of treason.jpgtrilogy, Palace of Treason, from the library. It was a bit clunky in the first few pages but then settled down to being as fabulous a read as book one. And I have requested book three, hoping that it will arrive by the time I finish book two.

I know there is a movie out based on the first book. Based on the Atlantic’s review, I think I will avoid it. But I highly recommend the book if you are at all into thrillers.

Aside: this Guardian article from 2016 goes along with Red Sparrow quite nicely. Another article here. Clearly, I need to watch The Americans. (Yep, just requested Season One from the library.)


Posted in Books, Carbeth, Unraveled Wednesdays | 7 Comments