Wednesday, March 31, 2010

The view...

... out my kitchen window first, then the basement windows yesterday:

(Be sure to click to enlarge.)

And one of them insisted on pecking on my sewing room window... off and on for hours! Really hard! I'm surprised he didn't break the glass!

video

At least there were only 3 of them this year... 2 toms and a hen. They sort of belong to a neighbor, but they're allowed to run free, and they usually make numerous visits to our place over the warmer months.

Speaking of warm... it got up to 79° yesterday!! It's certainly making short work of those snowdrifts. Dale, methinks you'd better start picking out your photos, 'cause it surely isn't gonna last beyond April 10th!

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

The view...

... out my sewing room window on March 21st:

... out my sewing room window (and a little to the left) on March 28th:

AMAZING, isnt it?! (The white stuff in this photo is not snow... it's the rain spout.) The temp hit 68° yesterday, and it's supposed to get even warmer today! Snow continues to melt, and with a pretty strong wind, things are drying up fast. The grass is even starting to green up a bit. Hurray for spring!

Monday, March 29, 2010

Progress on the melt

Here's Courtney last Tuesday having a (final?) fling on the snow. The drifts were still hard enough that she could walk on top of them (and so could I, for the most part). She, on her own, decided to slide down this little drift behind the house a few times.

Then she tried making a snow angel, but the snow was a little too hard for that.

When she discovered the sandbox was no longer buried in snow, she wanted very much to play in it. Grandma said "no, it's too cold to play in the sandbox". Courtney didn't like that answer... notice the arms crossed, and there was a pouty look on that cute little face, too. But it didn't last long. Kitty sharpening her nonexistent claws (yeah, she used to be a housecat... apparently somebody got tired of her and dumped her and she ended up here) was a good distraction.

For those of you who participated in my little "guess the date" contest (which, BTW, is now no longer open for guesses), you may be wondering how the snow melt is progressing. I took the pics below this morning.

(Click to enlarge for a better look.)

It has melted incredibly fast! I am amazed! I'm also amazed that we haven't gotten any more snow this month, since March is usually one of the snowier months! I love those grassy areas, even if they aren't very green yet... at least they're not still white!

The upper left picture shows the snowbank you were guessing about. It's gone down a LOT, but there's still a lot of snow there. However, the predicted 60's and 70's temperatures for this week may make short work of it. If you guessed a late date, I'd get worried if I were you. ;-)

In case you wondered, 60's and 70's is NOT normal for here. I heard on the radio this morning that the normal low for this time of year is mid-20's and the normal high is mid-40's. Methinks we'd better enjoy the warmth before it gets back to normal (or below).

Friday, March 26, 2010

Definitely spring!

(Click to enlarge.)

More signs of spring

Courtney and I found some other sure signs of spring on Tuesday besides the dandelion.

Below is some sedum coming up. It looks pretty big here, but it's actually very tiny. It's the purplish red stuff, BTW. The green is clover that's crowding it out. Lots of weeds are crowding it out, unfortunately. I really need to do something about that this year. Maybe. It's a lot of work.

Here are the tulips making nice progress.

I can't even remember what these next ones are called, but they're neighbors to the tulips. Looks like there's maybe a dandelion working its way up there, too. *sigh* Where is that bottle of Roundup?

On the north side of the house we have "Snow on the Mountain". How appropriate! But at least the snow is gone off of them, and they're growing! Looks like we need to do a little rock picking, too. Good job for Courtney, huh? Heheh....

Finally, we have the day lilies bravely peeking out.

They, too, are very tiny. How tiny are they, you ask? See the next pic to find out.

Yeah, that tiny! But they're coming, that's the main thing! Hurray!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

A new 'do

New for Courtney, anyway. I used to 'do' this kind of 'do on Jess's hair when she was much younger, but it's probably been 15-20 years since I've 'done' it. French braids. I've been wanting to try them again on Courtney's hair for quite a while. Tuesday seemed to be the right day.

Soooo... how to get a little wiggly 3-yr-old to sit still long enough for such a project? I decided to show her a little online demo video. She thought that was pretty interesting, and she wanted to have Grandma do that to her hair. I warned her she would have to sit very still, and she said she would. So then it was off to the bathtub and a shampoo. And here she is in all her curly glory!

I'll admit that I'm rather rusty, and the fingers aren't as flexible as they used to be. Also, that fine, slippery hair was a challenge. But I think it turned out okay, for an experiment for both of us. Courtney did very well. She was coloring or something at the time, so there were a few wiggles and head turns, but she was VERY patient and didn't mind sitting that long.

I'm only going to show you a close-up of the better side. ;-) I did the other side first... twice. It's kinda bloopy. But I got better as I went along. (Lori, don't look too close!!)

Hopefully with more practice (and more of Courtney's patience), I can get better at it.

Beautiful hair, huh? (And I don't mean the 'do.)

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Now I KNOW it's spring!

I was amazed to find this yesterday when Courtney and I were wandering around outside! All by itself, in the middle of nowhere. Look closely! You can click it to enlarge.

Yep, it's really a dandelion, looking kind of unreal there, with barely any green for it to come from. When I showed it to Courtney's daddy, he even touched it to see if it was really attached.

Here's a closer look. You can click this one to enlarge it, too.

See any green dandelion plant there? Hardly.

But this means it's GOTTA be spring now! And it was 50° out, but it sure didn't feel like it with the wind we had yesterday.

Snow's melting!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

It's spring! (Part 2)

Whodathunkit? That Courtney would still be able to go sliding on such a huge snowdrift on the first day of spring?!

Here she goes... all the way up by herself!

video

And here she goes down.... !!

video

Oops! Not quite what she had in mind, methinks. :-) But better than the first try, when the snow sorta scooted her off to the side and she ended up under the evergreen tree. ;-D Anyway, it was still tons of fun!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

It's spring! (Part 1)

The "maid" (see previous post) did such a good job with all her work yesterday that I took her outside to play in the snow.

Yes, we still have snow left.

A LOT of snow!

(Click photos to enlarge.)

But, the calendar tells us that indeed it is spring! The calendar KNOWS! The tulips are coming up, I've seen a robin (one... a couple miles from here), and today I saw two blackbirds here. Yep, only two blackbirds. They must've been the brave scouts for the rest of the flock or something. (I wonder what they reported to the others!) Anyway, I have great hope for warmer weather and green growing things in the not-too-distant future. (And then I can complain to you about having to mow lawn all the time.)

Sooo, it being officially spring, let's CELEBRATE! Let's have a little fun! Let's think ahead! Let's think ahead to when the snow is ALL GONE!! And I would like all of you blog readers to guess what day you think will be the first day that the snow Courtney is standing on in the bottom picture above is entirely GONE! I'll go out and check it each day when it's getting close and snap some pics so you can see the progress.

Here are the rules: 1) You may only submit ONE GUESS per person. 2) You MUST submit your guess by leaving a comment (emails will not be eligible). 3) You MUST leave me some kind of way to contact you (if I don't already have that) in case you're the winner. 4) In case of a tie, I'll draw for a winner (so you may want to check previous comments to make sure you don't duplicate a date). 5) You only have ONE WEEK to submit your guess... anything after midnight CDT, March 28th, will be ignored.

Wow, that's a lot of rules! But no fine print (unless I think of something to add later). Oh, yeah... what does the winner get, you ask? The winner will get a pair of 5" x 7" prints of this past winter's scenery that I've posted on this blog... your choice. (Or, if you're totally sick of snow, I could maybe be persuaded to print something else you've seen and like better.) <-There, some fine print. ;-)

Okay, have at it folks! And good luck! I just hope the snow's all gone by the first day of summer!!!

Saturday, March 20, 2010

WOOHOO! The maid came today!

video

Friday, March 19, 2010

Grandma's little computer gamer

Courtney LOVES to play games on Grandpa's new laptop!

She likes the MS "Purble" games that came on the laptop. What she's playing in the pic is on Starfall. She's very adept at playing those games! Anybody else know of any good online sources of games for toddlers/preschoolers?

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Yes, Dale... it's still spring!

Until today, we hadn't seen the sun in over a week. It was foggy all day most of those days. However, the temperature never got below freezing, and it stayed around the mid-upper 30's during the day. So the snow kept up a slow but continual melt.

Today the sun came out, and it actually hit 50°! This was a common sight as I drove into town today... water standing in the fields. But look at all the bare areas!

It's been melting in our yard, too, although it has a long way to go. But at least we can see grass now in some places. Courtney's sliding hill is shrinking, too.

We can even now see her sandbox (at the base of that tree) for the first time in months!

(Click photos to enlarge.)

To celebrate the sunshine and warm temperature, I grilled these for supper. YUM!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Our poor maple tree

While I was up on the snowdrifts in the treetops a couple weeks ago, I took some pictures of our poor broken maple tree. It's in pretty bad shape due to all the frost/ice we had. These are all the big breaks, not to mention all the smaller branches that are down on the ground.

Pretty sad, isn't it?

Monday, March 15, 2010

It's coming!!!

SPRING!! I know it is! There are signs! Really!

Okay, so here's the current view from my sewing room window (which is in the basement, for any of you newcomers who might not know that). Yeah, still a lot of snow out there. But it's melting! At least I can see the trees now... major improvement from the snow being right up against the entire window!

And if I put my head up close to the glass and peek to the right, here's what I see:

YES!! My tulips are coming up! WOOHOO! Here's a closer look:

A peek to the left shows more tulips coming - hurray!

The green is from my dianthus plants that got covered with snow so early that they never did die off completely.

Look not much farther out, though, and you see our miniature lilac bush (which is now quite huge... not very "miniature" anymore) branches which are still weighted down by snow. I wonder if they'll be able to stand upright again when it's all gone.

Back in the house, not related to spring, but still pretty, is a rerun of the pink and white amaryllis. Yep, it had a second flower stalk. It also has a baby... an offshoot bulb. I've never had one of those before, so I'll have to do some checking to find out how and when to separate them.

You may have noticed that the pot is in rather bad shape. Not only does it have a lot of dirty scratches from being out in the ground during past summers, but it's also gotten very brittle and whenever I pick it up getting ahold of part of the brim, it breaks off. Time to repot... probably when I remove the "baby". I think I'll go for a clay pot this time.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Ponies!

Yep, from Cooties to Ponies... y'never know what Grandma's gonna have at her house. Ahh... but aren't they pretty?!

The day I took the picture, I could remember the names of them all. But I don't think I can now. The little pink one I think is Pinkie Pie. The purplish one is Cheerilee maybe. I'd have to have Courtney refresh my memory on the other two. Oooohhh... I think the blue one is Rainbow Dash.

I just now noticed how their heads are facing this way, but their bodies are facing the other way. The blue one had me wondering there for a bit, looking like its tail was coming out of its chest! LOL

And here's their little groomer, keeping notes on each one, I'm sure.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Snow update

I know you're just all waiting to see snow pics again! Aren't you? Okay, maybe Mark is. Here are some that I took the day Courtney went sliding down the hill. Most of them were taken from the treetops. Previous to this winter, I'd never thought I'd be up high enough to see over the tops of those evergreens! But I was, and I had to take some photos, just for a different perspective. So that was March 2nd.

(Click to enlarge.)

Yep, that actually was an airplane flying overhead as I was taking pics.

Believe it or not, we haven't gotten any more snow since then! Unless you count the few big fat flakes we got yesterday morning in the midst of rain showers. I'm not holding my breath, of course, because after all, it is still March. But the forecast looks hopeful (for not getting snow) for the next week, at least.

The snow we did have has been melting, slowly but surely. We have tons of it left (literally), but it sure is nice to see that it's leaving. Below are some pics I took on Sunday morning, March 7th. It's nice to see bare ground again, even if it is muddy. Lots of snow has melted since then (though you'd never know it by looking toward the evergreen trees), and we have lots more mud and puddles. We've also been having fog for several days. Blech. But spring IS coming!!!

(Click to enlarge.)

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Speaking of Etsy sellers

I just have to show you one of my favorite Etsy sellers... Lightning Bugz. I stumbled across her shop sometime before Christmas last year, and I found her stuffed animals to be irresistible! I ended up buying the bunny below for Courtney for Christmas. Its name, "Candy", just seemed to call out to me! Lightning Bugz (whose real name also happens to be Candy) also makes little play packs for the animals, containing blankets, pillows, some clothing items and a little bag to carry them in. I bought one of those for Courtney for her birthday in February, custom made to match "Candy". Soooo CUTE!

Checking back at the Lightning Bugz shop later, I noticed she had many of her stuffed animals on sale at half price, so I quickly snatched up "Cupcake" (green and pink kitty below) that Courtney had admired via the computer, and I got a blanket/pillow set for it, too... all to keep and play with at Grandma's house.

Now Lightning Bugz is making and selling Waldorf inspired dolls (bottom right pic below). They are so adorable, and I'm sure take many, many hours to make! No, I haven't bought one of those... yet. ;-)

Here's some good news: Because Lightning Bugz is so excited about making the Waldorf inspired dolls, she has all of her stuffed animals on SALE to make room for the dolls! Check 'em out and maybe grab one (or more) while they last. Make a child happy like my favorite one below. :-)

One final note on Etsy sellers: Jess's shop is permanently closed. It was fun while it lasted, but she has gotten so busy with her freelance design work that she just doesn't have time to "play" with it anymore. I considered taking it over or opening one of my own, but at this point, I don't think I will. Thanks to all of you who purchased our products! We're both very happy with our 417 sales!!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Mystery project revealed!

Here it is... what you've all been holding your breath waiting for! (Well, okay... maybe a couple of you have been waiting for it, anyway.) This is my latest sewing project, FINALLY completed!


It has a carrying handle, plus a large pocket in the back for storing books. The cover has zippers in the bottom to remove it for washing... but I hope I never have to take it off, because it was a wrestling match to get it stuffed. ;-)


It's for Courtney, of course. To stay at Grandma's house, though.

Jess was offered a free pattern from an Etsy seller, Abbiesolutely, to try out and possibly blog about. Since I've been Jess's official 'sewer' for her Etsy items, she asked me if I wanted to give it a try. I said "sure".

I'll have to admit that it was a challenge. Not quite a pull-my-hair-out experience, but it did make me have to think a lot. ;-) It was not a project for the novice seamstress. I learned some things, the most surprising of which was how expensive high density foam is!

I'm glad I made it. I'm glad it's finished. ;-) And I'm happy with how it turned out. I believe Courtney likes it, too. She seemed to enjoy giving it a toughness test, so it was kind of hard getting a good pic of her on it, but here are a few.







She seemed to think it made a great launching pad. :-)


video

I was really glad I spent some extra time reinforcing seams! It is a tough little chair, and I hope it'll last many years.

Update: She discovered the chair was also good for reading. She didn't even know I took this picture. She also thought it was great to be able to store some books in the back pocket of the chair. All in all, it's a winner. :-)

(For anybody wondering, the fabric was designed by my daughter, Jessica Jones.)

Sunday, March 7, 2010

More color on white

With all the snow, the cats just don't make it to the house anymore. Here's as close as they got one day awhile back... the backyard. It's Mama (the calico) and her sons from last spring... "baby kitties", as Courtney still likes to call them.

They don't look too happy, do they?

"When is all this white stuff gonna GO AWAY?"

Actually, it is starting to go away... slowly but surely. And that's the best way for it to go. If it melted too fast, we'd have a bigger mess (mud and slush) than we do now... there'd be flooding in some areas. There still probably will be... time (and temperature) will tell as to how bad it gets. It's been in the low 30's to around 40° the past week or so. I guess spring is on its way. Just so we don't get the 30-40" of snow that someone said the Old Farmer's Almanac has predicted!

I've acquired another cat outside. I don't know where she came from, she just appeared one day and stayed. She's quite tame, black with white paws, kinda like the brother to the orange guys above who just disappeared last summer. I told Courtney we ought to name the cats, and she said the black one should be called Blackie. I then asked her what we should name one of the orange ones, and she said Orangey. So I asked her what the other orange one should be called. "Orangey." :-) Of course Mama is already Mama, so that simplified the multi-color identification problem. And the other calico out there just doesn't have a name yet. We'll work on it.