The actual temperature this morning was -5F and with the windchill, it feels like -25F! I don't know what's going on with our weather, but I do know it's way to early in the season for such cold temps. I'm trying to stay optimistic by hoping this means that winter will end a month early!
All my stitching is for gifts and I've been overwhelming myself with all that is on my To-Do List. The length of my list, coupled with the fact that I only have a short time to get everything done, caused a panic attack. Does that happen to you? The panic attack actually rendered me unable to do anything.
After much reflection and prayer, I've re-evaluated my To-Do List and cut it down considerably. Whew! I'm feeling much more relaxed now.
Since I can't show you any of my stitching,
how about some backyard pics?
It's so cold, even the birds were less active this morning.
Only staying at the feeders momentarily
before returning to the branches
All puffed up
I have at least 3 pairs of Cardinals that visit my feeders.
It's almost like they were posing for my photo shoot!
Woke up to dense fog yesterday morning and when I took Dottie Dog out, I barely noticed something was occupying the hole in the big Maple tree. The fog lifted just enough for me to get some pics.
Remember that Eastern Screech Owl I told you about a few weeks ago?
It was perched in the hole!
In researching owls, I learned that Eastern Screech Owls will stay perched in a tree like this for the entire day and their feather markings help them blend into the tree bark.
These photos were taken from my upstairs deck which allowed me to be almost level with the owl and the tree is about 20 feet from the deck. The hole in the tree is only about 5 inches wide by about 7 inches tall.
When I got home from work just after dark, I took a flashlight out to see if the owl was still in the tree. It was gone, but it was a nice little surprise visitor for my birthday.
I received this beautiful project bag from Meari for my birthday. It is just so perfect and brings a smile to my face every time I look at it!
Thank you so much, Meari!
Hubby made dinner and a cake to celebrate my day.
DD and her fiance stopped by with a few gifts.
Bird seed and a new feeder
In the card, DD wrote "One pound of bird seed and one skein of floss for each year of age".
I had to chuckle when the kids told me how much bird seed and how many skeins of floss they were giving me because they think I am younger than I am!
I'm not sure if they were just trying to make me feel better about getting older or if they really think I'm younger, but either way, I really don't mind, lol.
What are you working on? Are you shopping and decorating or busy making gifts?
First, I must apologize to any of you who commented on my blog but never got a reply from me. Between not having my own computer, internet issues and yahoo's email problems, I have lost track of who I sent replies to and who I didn't.
I appreciate hearing from all of you and every comment means alot to me, so please don't give up on me if you didn't get a reply after you left a comment. Hopefully I'll be getting a new laptop soon and with any luck, yahoo will straighten itself out so I can keep everything in order.
Every now and then, something comes along that completely captures my interest and that's how I get side-tracked.
Not long ago, I let Dottie Dog out early in the morning. It was pre-dawn, but still light enough to see without needing to turn on the flood light. Hubby had already left for work and it was one of those rare mornings when I still had alot of time before I had to leave, so I sat on my swing with a cup of coffee. It was a warm fall morning and Dottie enjoyed exploring the yard looking for critters.
Then we heard the loudest, most unusual noise. It's not uncommon to hear wildlife where I live, but this was unlike anything I had ever heard. Even Dottie stopped and looked up into the trees. Whatever it was, was in the large maple right above us.
It wasn't until later that afternoon, when I met my neighbor as I was walking back from getting my mail, that I found out what made the noise. George is very familiar with the outdoors and wildlife, so I tried to describe the sound to him.
I explained that it sounded kind of like a combination of a dove and high pitched horse whinny. George knew immediately that it was an owl. An Eastern Screech Owl to be exact. Now, I'm used to hearing owls that hoot, but I've never heard a Screech Owl. Have you?
If you would like to hear what an Eastern Screech Owl sounds like, listen to the audio clip here. Scroll down and click on Typical Voice under the owl silhouette.
When I saw Just Nan's Oakley Owlet, I just had to get it -- and stitch it right away!
Isn't Oakley Owlet just the cutest little thing!
Started November 1, 2013
Finished November 2, 2013
Stitched on 28 count gray-blue fabric
with various hand-dyed threads
Yep, I really needed to be working on that BAP, but, like I said, I got side-tracked!
Not much stitching due to 3 apple trees in my backyard
and tons of beautiful apples.
This year's apple harvest is the best my trees have ever had.
What to do with all those apples? I've only ever made apple pie with the few apples I got each year. I thought about apple pie filling, but the thought of peeling all those apples was just too much. I can hardly stand to peel apples for one pie and there was no way I was going to peel hundreds of apples.
A little research on the web led me to several applesauce recipes that don't require peeling of apples. That sounded great to me and I pulled out all the canning stuff that's been tucked away under the stairs for the past 20 years.
My nightly ritual has been washing, coring and cutting a 5 gallon bucket full of apples. I put all the cut up apples in my large 22 quart electric roaster and let it cook on low overnight.
In the morning, the soft apples were ready to be turned into applesauce. Some recipes say to use a potato masher or immersion blender to create the applesauce leaving the peels to get chopped up along with the apples, others say to put the applesauce through a strainer that separates the peel from the apple flesh. I sort of did a combination of the two.
First, I used the potato masher to combine the soft apples with the juice and then I ran it through the food grinder attachment on my mixer.
There were still pieces of peel that weren't small enough for my liking, so I put the food strainer attachment on and ran the mixture through. The result was perfect for me.
I also took some of the applesauce and made Caramel Apple Jam. It turned out pretty good considering I've never made any type of jam or jelly.
After the applesauce was made, it then had to be heated on the stove to boiling before it could be put in hot jars and processed in the water bath canner.
Just so you know, I did make a few apples pies too. Hubby and my future son-in-law were very pleased.
I won one of Nancy's giveaways. Instead of picking my own colors, I asked Nancy to pick out her favorites. I love the colors Nancy sent.
Doggie sat Skye the Grand-dogger.
Oh my goodness is she cute, mischievous and fast!
í í í í
Went to the area's largest fair.
There were so many entries in all the fair categories. One whole
building was just photography. Another building had
artwork, sculpture and various collection entries.
This is one side of the six sided, 12-15 foot tall floral entry display that was in the center of the Horticulture Building. Shelves and display racks lined the walls and were filled with fruits, vegetables and even more flowers.
Unfortunately, my phone battery died and
this is the only pic I got from the fair.
When we stepped into yet another exhibit building, my mouth dropped open. I could have spent the whole day there. Half of the building was canned fruits and vegetables, breads, cakes and pastries. The other half of the building was knitting, crocheting, quilting and needlework. There were hundreds of cross stitch entries including ornaments, pillows, fobs, framed pieces and towels.
Hubby and I also walked through the commercial buildings. As we walked into one of the buildings, before I was even able to see through the crowd of people, Hubby remarked that he had never seen so many sewing machines. The large display was at least 20 feet long and I don't know how many sewing machines were there. I really had a hard time walking away from the machine demonstrations! Another building had a large display of a different brand of sewing machines that was equally as impressive as the first one we saw.
Of course, we had to walk through all the farm buildings and see the cows, goats, sheep, bunnies, chickens and pigs. Unfortunately, the horse barn was closed. We also saw antique gas and steam engines, antique fire trucks and farm equipment and toured all the RV's on display.
After all that, we had to sample the fair food!
Come back soon for the rest of the story....
Hubby is on vacation tomorrow, so we get a 3-day weekend!