Saturday, June 28, 2014


Markers from roses long gone

I have always thought that I was a fairly good gardener:  flowers and shrubs my specialty.  But I was just outside pruning overgrown plants and found way too many corpses of plants past.  

In my defense, I broke my ankle early last fall and then broke my wrist early this spring. No gardening for me. In the previous years, I really did try to keep things going, but we had multiple years of drought and then last summer, I swear that ALL it did was rain.  

Also, we drastically changed the conditions in the backyard when we had six 30-40-foot Leyland Cypress removed a few years ago. We had NO sun in the backyard before we took them down and they were dying from the bottom up so they were no loss in any way.

Man climbs tree.  Man cuts tree.

This morning while I was pruning the lilac bush, which, unlike nearly everything else, has done really well here, I found TWO rose bushes tucked under it.  I won’t move them until the fall, but for now, I spread some fertilizer and systemic insecticide on them, watered them in, and I’ll keep track of them. Getting some sun should help too, now that the lilac is not blocking their sun.

It's Alive!!!  Really, it is.

It's dead.  Really, really dead.

AND, here are the other failures:
  • Japanese Iris:  a few spindly leaves, no flowers
  • Gardenia:  one and one-half flowers
  • Purple Coneflowers:  nothing, not even leaves.  I was once told by a gardening expert (Hi Sue!) that anyone who can’t grow coneflowers will have her trowel confiscated.  I’m waiting for the authorities to show up.
  • Hydrangeas:  no flowers
  • Daylilies:  a few have returned, but most are missing.  

RIP indeed.

I did think we had one success in the yard, this pretty box turtle in our pond.

He had been in the pond for a couple of weeks and we thought that he liked---no, LOVED---being there. But Alas and Alack!!! We contacted a friend who is a retired UGA professor and nature expert, and also called an animal rehab staff member at the Chattahoochee Nature Center and both said that box turtles live on land, not in water. So either someone put him in there, thinking that’s where he should be, or he got in and couldn’t get out. The rehab worker at the Nature Center said to take him out and put him in some nearby shrubs for cover.  Ideally, he should go to within one-half mile of where he hatched, but since we have no idea where that might be, just out of the pond will have to do.

Bon Voyage, Turtle!  We scarcely knew yeeee. 

The rest of you plants, shape up or else.

Or else what???  

Lawn??? I hope not.  I'm not good at lawn either.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

An Actual Finished Project

It only took two evenings to make.  It is the Sanibel Cowl (free pattern on Ravelry) by Classic Elite Yarns.
The color is not accurate in the photo; it's actually a teal blue-ish color.  The yarn is Quince and Company kestral in urchin 505.

An immediate-gratification project to give me a break in the endless stockinette stitch of the Nuvem wrap.  

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Could I????

This is why I bought a DNA spit kit.

Well, not exactly this.  I don't even know if I will find out if he was my great...however many.......grandfather, but apparently he might be an ancestor of millions of people today. He ruled a huge empire, and, let's just say, he wasn't a nice man when the spoils of war were involved.

I am more intrigued by the Neanderthal/Homo Sapiens mystery. Scientists speculate that before the Homo Sapiens won out in the Taking Over the World contest, some of them might have had marriages relationships with Neanderthals, and people who come from Europe are more likely than people from anywhere else on the planet to have a Neanderthal ancestor.  I already know I am British, Dutch and mostly Irish.  But that's all I know.

I ordered this kit from and in 6-8 weeks, I'll find out who I REALLY am.

Did Neanderthals have royalty?

Friday, June 13, 2014

I know that I am not the first person in history to use one of these covers, but they are usually seen outside at picnics to keep bugs off of food. When I came across this at the newly-opened Sur la Table near me, a lightbulb went off. I can use this to keep Bad Boy Baxter from checking out food I am cooling on the counter.


In this case, the cover is protecting bread cubes for a chocolate bread pudding.  I don't know where the recipe came from, but I am sharing it with you.  It is wonderfully rich and chocolatey and gooey and...

Well, just give it a try!

Chocolate Bread Pudding-

1 teaspoon unsalted butter
4 large eggs
1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips, melted
1/4cup Grand Marnier or other orange flavored liqueur
2 cups half-and-half
8 slices day-old white bread, crusts removed and cut into 1/2-inch cubes (about 4 cups)
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
Spiced Cream


1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease a 6-cup (9 1/4 x 5 ¼ x 2 3/4-inch) loaf pan with the butter.
2. Whisk the eggs, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla, melted chocolate, and
Grand Marnier together in a large mixing bowl until very smooth. Add the
half-and-half and mix well. Add the bread and let the mixture sit for 30
minutes, stirring occasionally.
3. Pour half of the mixture into the prepared pan. Sprinkle the top with the
unmelted chocolate chips. Pour the remaining bread mixture over the
chocolate chips. Bake until the pudding is set in the center, about 55
minutes. Let cool for 5 minutes.
4. To serve, cut the pudding into 1-inch thick slices. Top with the spiced

Makes 8 to 10 servings 

Ingredients for Spiced Cream

1 quart heavy cream 
1/4 cup granulated sugar 
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg


1. Beat the cream with an electric mixer on high speed in a large mixing bowl for about 2 minutes. Add the sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg and beat again until the mixture forms stiff peaks, another 1 to 2 minutes.

Makes 4 cups

This is it, HOT out of the oven.  It's missing the whipped cream, but I will make that just before I leave for book club, which is where we will eat the bread pudding. We read
The Poisoner's Handbook: Murder and the Birth of Forensic Medicine in Jazz Age New York by Deborah Blum.  It's an interesting read from an historical perspective; up until the early 1900s there really was no forensic science, but the popularity of arsenic as a murder weapon, and then the development of other toxins led to the study of new methods of hard-to-detect murder. So, it's interesting as history, but the autopsies and procedures described as pathologists and toxicologists tried to figure out what killed someone does not make for good bedtime reading. Consider yourself warned.

Off to eat some chocolate.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014


I ordered a new camera, a DSLR, which I have wanted for awhile. I did lots of research, asked people about theirs, and finally chose one.

It arrived yesterday and I haven't taken a single photo. Why? Because while I thought I bought a camera, what I really bought is apparently a construction project.

I don't know where to begin.

I do hope there is a camera in there someplace.  

Monday, June 9, 2014


I passionately hate going to the grocery store more than is reasonable. The larger the store, the more I hate going there. I don't mind going to the Post Office, even though lately they have disappointed me with a package torn open (by, the PO says, sorting machinery) and delivered empty, and with a package sent to my Texas daughter, last MONDAY that is still not there a full week later, so go figure. I make no sense.

Back to the grocery store, figuratively. When I inevitably run out of milk---or food---I reluctantly haul myself to the store to restock.  And reward myself with a small bottle of chocolate milk.  I LOVE chocolate milk.  Good reward, right?

I love it so much that you would think I would go to the store more often.

Not if I can avoid it. But the Post Office? I know where everything is there and I love that it is open, 24 hours, and that it has a machine that lets me print labels and postage. Any time, day or night.  My kind of place. 

The grocery store?  Pfttttt.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Dental Floss Saves the Day!

Not really.  I saved the day.

I had knit a pair of socks using size 1 needles for the first time.  The socks were too short, even though I had added rows to my usual recipe.

SO, do I rip them out and start over using size 2 needles?  Do I find a short-footed person to give them to? 

Nope.  I decided to pull out the dental floss, thread it through stitches just below the beginning of the toe decreases, frog the toe, and then knit up from the dental floss stitches.
Sock with dental floss

Sock back on the needles

Original sock plus one inch---Perfect!
Both socks are now the right size.  I used dental floss rather than thread because it's skinny AND strong.  Worked perfectly.

Now off to soak and block.

Friday, June 6, 2014

OK, Knitting Perfectionists

You know who you are.

From television legal shows (fictional, yes) I have learned that it is never wise for a lawyer to ask a question of a witness or client that he doesn't already know the answer to or doesn't want to know the answer to. A surprise in front of a jury is never a good thing.

This works in real life too. Never ask for knitting help if you sort of didn't want to know the answer.

Last night at knit night I asked two knitters if the mistake I found in a project was really a mistake, and if so, did it need fixing, and if so, how would I do that?

Because (I discovered) they are apparently perfectionists, they said Yes, it's a mistake, yes, you MUST fix it, and yes, here's how.

Rats. I kind of wanted to ignore it and then use some thread when the whole thing was finished to sort of hide the error. I really shouldn't have asked for help and I kind of think I knew it. What I had really wanted was confirmation that I could just ignore it.

So here it is, all fixed, perfectly, I might add. No one will ever know that there was even a mistake.

This is the first of the two rows I ripped back to get to the mistake.

This is what the final fix looks like now---completely and perfectly mended.

Now I know not to ask for help and advice unless I really, really want it.  
I am prepared for law school.

On an almost completely unrelated note, this is what the sky looked like when we left the shop at 9:00 last night. This was not sunset; that had occurred earlier. The purply-red was redder than this, and extended left and right for a ways. It almost looked like pictures from California fires, but it was just a weird storm. Behind us was a rainbow, in the dark sky, something which Sallyknit said that the news reported was a very rare occurrence--a nighttime rainbow. 

We were lucky to have gone outside when we did. Seconds later, lightning filled the red sky. Very weird. And very beautiful.

[Thanks to Candi for the photograph.  It is much better than my washed out one!]

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Oh My.

Is this something we should want?

I learned about this from Betsy, and I am not thanking her.


Tuesday, June 3, 2014

The Google

I read the other day that knowing things is becoming extinct.  Why? Because of Google, that's why.  

What's the difference between a turtle and a tortoise? Google it.
Who played Marianne in Gilligan's Island? Google it. 
What the heck was Gilligan's Island?  Google it. (You young punk.  Get offa my lawn!)

No need to know anything? I wonder if it's true. 

Anyway, since we are speaking of the Google, I also learned about this site and I am sharing it with you. (You are welcome!) You can enter any name and find out what Google thinks about that person.  

I googled my real name, and Google claimed to know nothing about me.  That's good, I think.

I googled Knittergran and this is what Googlism said:

Knittergran is not alone.

I don't know whether this means:

a.  I am not alone because I have readers. Yay!
b.  I am not alone because there is a stalker. Ummmm....
c.  I am not alone, and neither is anyone, because, well, WE are not alone. 

b and c are potentially creepy, except that it's only on the interwebs. Right?

But I guess, no matter what it means, it's reassuring (?) that I am not alone. 

Mulder? Scully? Hello? 

Monday, June 2, 2014

Souvenir Yarn

Yes, there is such a thing, and here is some:

I bought it last week at Williamsburg. It is from a sheep named Meathead (because no one likes him and everyone says he is mean and a pain to work with), and it was hand-spun and hand-dyed---with indigo---on premises.  Meathead is a Leicester Long Wool sheep, which means that the fibers are long and spin up nicely into a strong yarn.

Now there is a rule about souvenir yarn (I just created it) and that is:

*It doesn't have to be bought with any project in mind.  It's a souvenir. It might never be made into anything.  It might just be admired.  

So proclaims Knittergran.