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I’m learning…..

to spin yarn on a handspindle.  I’m using one I made myself out of a dowel and toy wheel from Michaels and a cup hook from the hardware store.

The dark brown “yarn” at the top of the picture is about a half ounce of Blue Faced Leicester roving that was gifted to me by an internet friend.  The yarn on the spindle is variegated Jacob roving purchased at the Maryland Sheep & Wool Festival last weekend (picture-laden post coming).  I was at first drafting with my left hand and controlling the spindle with my right; after watching a couple of Youtube videos I decided to try switching hands and that has worked out better.   My initial effort varied between worsted and super-bulky after I plied it back on itself; the Jacob is better but still inconsistent; it goes from heavy fingering to worsted.  My goal is to get consistent fingering-weight singles.

And yes, I remember that I promised a rant about First Holy Communion and Prom.  Next post, I promise.


Spring is Bustin’ Out All Over

What’s poking up out of the ground where you live?  The tulips have been up for a while here, and I noticed several buds earlier today.  The mint – all three kinds – in the tulip bed has come up, and the iris and columbine that border one side of my driveway are greening up nicely.  At the corner by the street I’ve got pretty yellow daffodils, and one of the raspberry brambles has sprouted a new cane.

The wild rose has leaves; the rhubarb has leaves the size of salad plates; and all of my perennial herbs except the rosemary – that would be thyme, oregano, parsley, sage, chives and lavender – have new growth.

I’m going to have to cut my grass soon, but first I’m going to make some MacGyver-ized lawn aerators for my kids to stomp around with, to poke holes in the sod and hopefully improve the health of my grass a bit.  Here’s what I’m going to do:

Cut a pair of thin boards (I’m going to use leftover pine floorboards, but any easily-sawn thin lumber would do OK) each a couple of inches longer than the shoes of the person who will be using the aerators.  Use a skinny bit and drill several holes right through the boards; these are the pilot holes so the nails don’t split the lumber.  (From five to eight per board, depending on the size of the board) Then drive regular old sinkers, 10- or 12-penny size, through the pilot holes out the bottom of the board.  To use, tie the boards securely but not too snugly to the shoe, and stomp around your yard with abandon.

So there you have it – the garden report and an easy way to aerate your lawn for spring.  I’ll post pictures soon.

I’m still here!

I was working on getting my other blog up and running and decided it wasn’t too much more effort to pop over here and update.

It’s Great Lent, as you’re probably aware, and boyoboy is there a lot to do penance about nowadays!  My prayer list grows longer with every passing day; one person I pray for specifically every day is the VPOTUS Mr. Joe Biden.  Pray with me that he will have a true conversion of heart and wake up to the fact that being Catholic isn’t just part of one’s identity, is IS one’s identity.  He and Speaker Pelosi have done more, in my opinion, to foster distrust and misunderstanding of the Catholic Church in recent times than anyone else I could name, including that censured European SSPX Bishop.  He expressed a personal opinion (although he should not have been so public about it, I think), while VP Biden and Speaker Pelosi have deliberately and methodically mis-stated and perverted definitive de fide Church teaching to conform with the pro-death platform of the Democrats.

Enough politics…..I could stay on that soapbox forever but this isn’t really a political blog.

The day before Clean Monday we had our 2nd annual “Fat Sunday” gathering here, and it was a great success.  Lots of good non-Lent food and munchies, fellowship, and we closed the evening with Second Vespers from the Divine Office.  This year’s attendance was 28, the same as last year, but we had some new folks from out of town and a couple of families had sick family members and had to send regrets.  Our priest even stopped by for a bit and seemed to enjoy himself.

I’ll post the link to the other blog as soon as I have some more substance to it; there’s not much to see there at the moment.

Odd fruit of the week

Although I probably won’t purposely shop at the store where this was purchased very often due to the ridiculously high prices on staple items, we couldn’t resist this:

It’s called a Rambutan, and it’s a fruit related to the lychee. It is dark red and has little spiny things all over the outside, that are brushlike rather than prickly. After consulting the internet about how to eat the thing, we did this:

The rind comes off very easily. It reminded older boychec of a grape, taste-wise. I thought it tasted like a slippery apricot, only not as sweet. There is a pit in the middle that is like an almond:

And as if that wasn’t enough excitement for one day, on the way home from the store, just as we turned into our neighborhood from the main road, we saw, in someone’s yard:

I stopped the car, whipped out the trusty camera phone, and clicked this pic. As we were going on again, I noticed that there was someone behind us; I feel a teensy bit bad about holding up their progress to snap pictures out the window of the car, but I couldn’t pass up the opportunity.

Hope everyone had a wonderful, if soggy, Independence Day – we had hamburgers and hot dogs cooked out on the grill (which moved to the porch due to the rain), and tonight if the rain holds off we’re having Antarctica Night in our International Menu World Tour.

I never dreamed I’d find….

A Five leaf clover

Originally uploaded by raising3saints

a five leaf clover. There I was, sitting in the yard, when I looked down and saw what I thought might be another four leaf clover off to the left of my lawn chair. I bent over to take a closer look, and woo-hoo! It has FIVE leaves!
Now, does that add to, or take away from, any luck obtained from a four-leaf clover?

Rain, rain, go away….

It isn’t raining as I write this, but it has rained twice today.  Once to the point where the power went out briefly.  I’d like to have a dry weekend so we could go camping with our new tent.

Every time I turn on my computer in the morning, this blog enters my mind and I think “I should write a post about why I cover my head in Church.”  Then I think, I really don’t want to bore people with that….it’s quite a sticky issue to some people, and I don’t want anyone to think I’m trying to say all ladies ought to cover their heads in Church.  So, suffice it to say that I do, whether at Divine Liturgy, the Ordinary Form (the Mass formerly known as the Novus Ordo), the Extraordinary From (nee’ Tridentine Latin Mass), or even occasionally an Orthodox Divine Liturgy, cover my head with a thing I call my “mantibushka”.  It’s a semicircular piece of black heavy tulle trimmed in lace, like a mantilla, but it snaps at the nape of my neck like one would tie a babushka.  Because it’s the same Jesus, wherever He is validly confected in the Eucharist.

OK then, that’s out of the way.

Really cool websites that aren’t yet linked on my sidebar – how about Recipezaar, Chore Wars, and Ravelry.

Recipezaar:  only the mostest wonderful cookbook and recipe website ever….the checs and I have been doing these monthly International Menu Nights, and I’ve been getting recipes from the different continents and serving a dinner.  Tonight was Europe, and we had Norwegian Chicken and Dried Fruit, Dutch Red Cabbage, and Austrian Bread Pudding with Apples.  Yum, yum.  Geography class, and you get to eat the lesson, how cool is that?  Next we have Antarctica, then Australia, then we’re going to choose individual countries’ foods to try.

Chore Wars:  earn adventure points for doing the stuff you do every day around the house, kind of like a role-playing game.

Ravelry:  “A knit and crochet community” that also includes spinners, weavers and dyers.  Places to organize your projects, pictures, yarn stash, hooks/needles, a queue of stuff you’d like to do, and message boards and groups for all sorts of people and interests, even people like me who are Irish-dancing, homeschooling, “Orthodox-in-union-with-the-Pope”, small-dog-owning, cat-free, possessed of very curly hair, a bit on the crunchy side, way on the conservative side, non-swatching knitters.  Right now it’s by invite only, but if you’re a crafter who’s been under a rock and therefore hasn’t signed up for your invite, pop on over to the site and sign up.

So, how’s the summer going?  I’ve got blooms on my eggplant, and the brussels sprouts are coming along as well.  I’ll make another big batch of pesto tomorrow (thanks ByzCat for the baggie of pine nuts, yum yum!)

I’m determined I’m going to finish my very first pair of socks tonight.  I am starting the decreases for the toe of sock #2, so I just have that to do and then the grafting (argh!) and I will have a nice hand-knitted pair of bed socks for this coming winter. Are you doing anything with your hands?

And here I thought I was cheap and lazy!

A couple of days ago my mom told me about a segment on “Good Morning America” about the increasing incidence of Vitamin D deficiency and rickets in kids…..seems that the constant use of sunblock, and in some cases the adoption of vegan and other dairy-deficient diets has caused a rise in these things over the past few years.  You can read the story here.

The story mentions that breast-fed babies ought to perhaps have Vitamin D supplements and I don’t quite agree with that – especially if the baby in question gets exposed regularly to natural light.

I’m one of those people who thinks that the increased amounts of allergies – to stuff we as children were never allergic to – is partly due to the presence of phenomenal amounts of additives and artificial ingredients in food.  (Latex allergy, anyone?)  Until about 10 years ago, I didn’t know anyone who was allergic to latex, and now it’s so widespread that you think you’re in the minority if you don’t have a sensitivity to latex.  As a consequence of my motherly opinion and hunch, I try to feed my kids only “real” food, that is, foods with as little artificial ingredients as possible.  I don’t watch their intake of fat, since an a diet short on fats in childhood can affect nerve development (nerves are insulated by fat).  And I’ve never been one to slather my kids with sunblock every time they go near the door to go outside.  In fact, a couple of years ago older boychec was getting ready to go to a week-long day camp for which he needed sunscreen, and we went to 6 different stores to find something less than SPF 15.  And the bottle is still half full.  It’s not that I forget, it’s just that my kids don’t have a tendency to burn so it’s never been high on my list of priorities to keep them from getting a suntan.

Same with bug repellent…..a few years ago it was all about DEET, now DEET is bad and no one should put it on their kids.  Well, I found something that works and although it has DEET, we use so little of it I’m not worried.

Ergo, the title of this post.  I thought I was cheap, not being motivated to spend a large chunk of my not-so-disposable income on gallons and gallons of industrial-strength sunblock and DEET-free bug repellent – and lazy because I don’t make sure they’re covered head to toe in either clothing or one of the above products when they go outside.  Turns out I was just listening to my instincts.

I also heard on the radio news the other day about more beneficial antioxidants being found in red wine.  Now, I am NOT going to begin feeding the checs wine with dinner, but more and more I see that the French and other European countries have a good thing going with their use of butter, olive oil, and red wine.  Real foods.

I feel a bit vindicated, actually.  Maybe I’m not so bad after all!