Updates!

10/02/2014

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Most of you are probably interested in an update on the little guineas, so before anything else I will let you know they are doing great.  They are 3 or 4 times bigger than they were when they hatched.  They are even getting little wing feathers on their little stubby wing, soon they will be flying.  Their mother is still deadly serious.  She calls them under her whenever something scares her and has taught them all to eat and drink so they are growing like weeds.  The daddy guinea is still patrolling around and under the pen.  He will even fly at you when you get too close.  Unfortunately, the little guys are not photogenic.  Yesterday, they were all looking out the window of the pen and you could just see the top half of their little heads with their little eyes looking out.  Unfortunately, they didn't show up in the picture.

So, instead, I am showing you a couple of  pictures from  the sewing class we had on Saturday.  We didn't use the flash, so they are a bit dark.  Husqvarna Viking provided the instructor and the machines for students to use.  The bottom photo is of our instructor in her crabby outfit.  The crabby outfit is to demonstrate how machines make you feel when they don't work do what you want them to do.  Fortunately, the machines we were using were doing everything and way more than we had even imagined, so the instructor didn't get to wear her gear any time at all.  We had a lot of fun and learned about the Husqvarna Viking Diamond Royale while making monogrammed towels.  The Royale is a fantastic machine, a machine to be coveted by any one who sews a lot.

 
 
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...but what an exciting morning.  This morning a helicopter, a very tiny gold and blue helicopter, kept buzzing and buzzing around the area.  It was flying very low and in what looked like a grid.
We watched it for awhile during the dog walk and then I went in to get ready for work.  
     A few minutes later Mack came running in saying that we had work to do.  I couldn't imagine what so finished dressing and rushed out.  The Mama Guinea had hatched her eggs and left the nest.  I haven't written about the mama guinea.  She has been sitting on a nest under the elderberry bush in the driveway for the last 3 weeks.  This morning she was in the driveway with her 12 or 13 babies (we aren't sure which--we never could count them)  trying frantically to get everyone together and organized.  The daddy was on the other side of the fence trying to help, the cats were a bit further out licking their chops and waiting for a mistake.   The babies shot under the fence when we tried to catch them and the daddy  took them under his wing. The mama, by this time, had made it under the fence and was dive bombing my head.  I was wishing I had put on safety glasses.  Eventually I caught all the babies. They are so tiny, just little fluff balls.  If you grab them with your fingers, they crush, so you have to put your hand under them and scoop them up.  I put them in a tub and tried to use them to lure the mother into a pen we had ready for them.  She was so frantic, she couldn't catch on.  She kept running back to the nest to look for the babies.  Mack finally caught her and we put her in the pen with her babies.  At first she panicked, because she though she was trapped away from her babies.  But, then she realized they were hers.  It took her a few minutes to organize them, but when we left she had everything under control. With all the excitement, we were a couple of minutes late to the store.  I apologize if anyone was inconvenienced.

 
 
Parkersburg is having a block party on Saturday, September 13.  TAKE NOTE--Market Street will be closed to traffic starting sometime in the morning before 10:00 am until about 3:00 pm.  That means not only no parking, but no driving!

To "celebrate" and reward customers who decide to come into either of our stores during the block party--Market Street Yarn and Crafts and Sew Creative are having a one day sale.  Everything, except items already on sale, will be 20% off, Saturday, September 13, only. 
 

Thanks!

08/14/2014

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Thank you Linda Hall and Viking for the great trunk show you put on August 12!  I believe all the attendees had a great time, I know I did.  Everything went very well, in spite of all the technical difficulties.  Two people have called with special thanks and many others expressed their enjoyment and appreciation before they left on Tuesday.  It is so much fun to get together and spend time doing what we truly enjoy.  The new ideas and motivation are fantastic.

Thank you Stephanie for the excellent scones!  We are truly thankful that you took the trouble to make these fresh for us the morning of the event, when you had to make a trip to Cleveland that day.  The poppy seed-lemon scones were an absolute favorite.  There was a draw though on whether we liked the lemon curd or the Devonshire cream the best.  I am still debating and can't speak for anyone else.  Your treats were a great hit!

Thank you attendees!  We very much appreciate your support.  An event like the trunk show takes a lot of work and can not be successful without you.  Some of you even took a day off from work to attend.  Your enthusiasm and ideas are truly motivational.   Thank you so much for being you!

I hope you all enjoyed yourselves, I know I did.
 
 
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Yes, those blue brown things are potatoes!  Potatoes out of our garden.  The yellow pepper is there for scale.  It is about 10 inches long, so as you can see the potatoes are pretty big.  In fact they are the biggest blue potatoes we have ever grown and I am quite looking forward to eating them since this type of blue potato is my absolute favorite potato.  It is the same color inside as outside so mashed potatoes are a bit blue gray looking, but they are the best!  My mouth is watering just thinking about eating them.  Today, for lunch we will have a microwaved blue potato, but this weekend we are looking forward to my favorite mashed blue potatoes.  We also grow red skinned and yukon gold potatoes in our garden and they are good, maybe someone else's favorite potato, but they don't even compare with the blue ones in my opinion.  If you get the chance try some blue potatoes!

 
 
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Does anyone know anything about coffee trees?  I have had a coffee tree for years.  It lives in the sun room and has always been a beautiful green plant.  This year, however, it decided to do something big and different--it bloomed.  There were thousands and thousands of blossoms as you can see from the couple of branches in the picture.  The blooms lasted about a day and were gone just as fast they showed up.  Of course, since it is inside, there are no bees, and not much of a breeze, so the question is were the blossoms fertilized; i.e. will there be coffee beans on this tree? Or even for that matter, can coffee trees self fertilize?  Does it need a companion tree?
Well, whether or not we get blooms, it was lovely for a day and during that day the sun room had a lovely fragrance, not a bit like coffee, though.

 
 
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One of our pleasures every day is taking our two dogs for a walk in the morning before coming to work.  We generally spend a half hour or so walking in the woods behind our house.  It is generally cool in the morning and we love seeing what wildlife we can spot.  It is rare that we don't see some deer or turkeys, although now that the corn in the field is over our heads it is harder to spot things.  (What you say is a cornfield doing in this blog when we are talking about walking in the woods--We walk along the side of the field to get to the path in the woods.)  
When we came back the other day, Mack felt something on his leg--ick, yuck, a horrid tick.  He pulled it off and threw it to land on the walk so he could smash it, but before it landed a guinea flew up out of nowhere and ate it quick as a wink.  I'd always heard that ticks were guineas favorite food and I knew we have had fewer ticks since getting the guineas, but I never witnessed one eating a tick before.  I certainly never expected the enthusiasm and relish with which that guinea gobbled down that tick.  Yeah guineas, maybe you earn your keep after all!

 
 
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A brand new Noro (hardcover) book--so gorgeousl, it makes a great coffee table decoration!  All of the projects use 1, 2 or 3 skeins, so it is possible to make some beautiful items without investing a fortune.  There are 30 great designs by several different designers using various Noro yarns.   Each design is laid out in a 4 page spread.  The first has a picture of the yarn and the number of skeins, the next is a full page picture of the front.   Pages 3 and 4 are the pattern and generally a picture of the back  of the project.  It is yummy !  Charts for those requiring them are in the back.  The books are going fast!

Pictured below are three of the projects.  Pictures 1 and 3 show pages 1 and 2 of those projects and picture 2 is a pattern and back.  

 
 
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 The goslings are growing up very fast, with some making it faster than others.  This year LG adopted a family.  It included a Pilgrim goose and another gander--that is right 2 daddies and one mom--an arrangement which seems to be fairly typical with our geese. (The picture is of LG, the baby and Mom.  The other  father is mostly out of the picture.  The orange bill and white chest are his.  Note that he is standing guard, while the others are eating.)  I suppose it gives the moms more protection and gives the goslings a better chance once they hatch.  Mom sat on a nest of about 8 eggs located on the edge of the hay storage area in a shed.  After about 34 days one egg hatched--a little girl gosling.  We watched for two weeks but no more eggs hatched and Mom finally moved out with the baby to join the two dads.  (Our suspicion is that the little gosling was fathered by the Pilgrim goose and the eggs that didn't hatch were LG's, which makes a lot of sense because LG is a Canada goose.  Canada geese are brants capable of cross breeding with ducks or geese, but the offspring are generally sterile like mules.)  It doesn't matter to LG who the father is, that baby is his and he is a most attentive father.  He is busy protecting her and making sure she has everything she needs.  He attacks anything that comes near that baby and leaves a trail of feathers in his wake.  As a result, LG's baby is the biggest, fattest gosling we have in spite of being two weeks younger than the other goslings.  (The poor mother that hatched 13 has lost one and her babies are much smaller than the others.)  LG's baby is also spoiled and lately, now that she is the equivalent of a teenager, she has been tormenting poor LG, her mother, and other father by slipping under the fence into our yard.  She waddles about eating grass while her parents stand by the fence frantically calling her and trying to get under the fence as well.  (The adults can all fly and could easily fly over the fence, but they don't.  Who knows why?)  In a way it is sad, but it is also pretty funny-- watch them and their struggles.

 
 
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Today is Alpaca shearing day in the local area.  That meant we got up at 6:00 and loaded Machu and Picchu into a truck and drove them to one of the centralized locations for shearing.  Loading isn't as easy as it sounds.  They know what is coming and try to stay at home as hard as they can.  The situation wasn't helped by all the mud from the rain last night, not to mention that it is a big step into the truck even when we had a semi-loading dock for them to use (actually the foundation to a tiny greenhouse we are building). It is amazing how hard they can put on the brakes--lying down is tried and true. Poor Mack had to heave and heft while I applied tension to the leads.  We got them loaded, and as you can see by the photos, they are back home sheared.  Getting them back in their field was not a struggle, they could hardly wait.  The only problem is I got some mud (and alpaca smell) on my work clothes.  Ah well, that is the way it goes.  They feel better--the heat was stressing them and we don't have to go through this for another year.  That is Picchu in the top picture and Machu in the bottom.