Saturday, March 25, 2006

What I've been up to & South Dakota update

First, to South Dakota. Voters in South Dakota are collecting signatures to get a ballot initiative in time for the November elections to stop the abortion ban. If you live in South Dakota and support the cause, make sure you get your name on that ballot. Don't know how... but you really want to do it. They need every signature they can get or it will be a couple of years before they can try again. Also, NARAL is collecting donations for it. See their website for details.

We no longer have Road Runner and BrightHouse at my house anymore... This week we switched to Verison because they gave us a really great deal. We're trying it free for a month to see if it really is a great deal... Now our TVs and wireless internet are run on Verison's fiber optics line. It took a team of three guys two days to set it all up. They had a problem dropping the line in the attic to set up the internet hub thingy... don't ask me why or how or what because I'm not that technical, but they couldn't figure it out and had to come back a second day. They were really nice guys... Asked me all about making jam and why and how and about my roses and my spinning wheel... They seemed to think it was all really cool. I like personable people.

I've been out in the garden pretty much all this week. Joe and I are revamping the herb garden which was slowly being taken over by weeds after the winter die-back. Joe's discovered a coriander and a peppermint hiding among the weeds. And Joe has seen several ring-neck black snakes hiding in the cool mulch. That's good, they'll keep away bad snakes and rodents. The revamp should be finished in a few weeks and then we can start planting all the new herbs that I started in pots many weeks ago. I was able to get the corn sprayed for worms (corns the only thing I can't get around spraying with chemicals. there's no organic deterrent in the world that will keep them away from sugary, yummy, melt in your mouth corn). I also sprayed the squash, zucchini and cucumbers with an organic soap-based concentrate to keep the powdery mildew down before it ever gets going. I have beer traps in place for when the slugs come out to play. I planted sunflowers along the pool screen edge. We planted azaleas in the side yard to block the view of the finely clipped hedges in the neighbor's yard... There's nothing wrong with them. I just prefer a flowery, wilder look than neat hedge rows provide... And azaleas do that with very little maintenance. So yay! Joe and I also planned and laid out beds around some of the new construction side of the house to cover the base where house meets ground. We're going to put in two trellises with wisteria, blue daze as a ground cover and a custom-made flower box in front of the master bedroom window later this summer when the herbs and veggies are all in place, producing or already done for the season. And at the same time, we're going to tackle finally finishing up the pond. I have a whole plan laid out with native Florida water plants, grasses and flowers. It should look very nice once it's done.

I finally found the canning equipment I needed for a water-bath canning system and should be able to start that as early as Tuesday. I don't know yet if I'll be able to sell it... but at least it will be made and preserved and I can give it as gifts to everyone I know for the next year if necessary.

I'm also continuing to work on the knitting projects I've already mentioned. The sontag is coming along, not as quickly as I'd like, but it's coming... I cannot remember if I mentioned that I finished the Mrs. Beeton cuffs from yet or not, but they are both finished as of about a week and a half ago. I think I'm going to do some knecklaces with the fine silk/angora yarn that was left over from the cuffs. I have to double-check the gauge, but I think it will work. I also haven't decided what I want to do with the knecklaces once they are done... Gifts? Sell? Keep one for myself maybe? Don't know... But I *do* want to make them. I haven't decided what to do with the bit of Rowan Cashsoft that's still in my stash. It's maybe a little less than half a skein.

I'm also being very bad right now taking time away from my historic knits to make Starsky. I have found that my natural gauge in Peaches n' Cream is 4 sts to the inch, instead of 5 sts to the inch as it says on the package (This was my problem with Cinxia and Belle Epoque apparently and will teach me to start a project without checking gauge first!), and that's the gauge that Starsky is made in... I have a whole bunch of Peaches n' Cream of same color and dye lot (what I bought to make Belle Epoque with), it's enough for Starsky and I've always wanted a cool sweater coat, so I'm making it... and I'm more than half-way done with the back section already.

Right now, I have to go look up my homework for Monday night and do it. We're covering the Vikings (only in one night - boohoo!) and I want to have interesting questions to ask and annoy the rest of the class with... perhaps even make a few as interested in the Vikings as I am. The only issue I have with the way Medieval History is taught at USF (and from the impression I get in most universities in the country) is that, unlike other parts of history, it is still taught almost exclusively from a French/English/German/Italian Christian perspective, and if the people weren't in one of those countries and Christian, the only time you hear about them in class and in the books is when they interfered in some way with the Christian people in those countries. ::sighs:: So I have to do all my study outside of class if I want to find out about what the Vikings were *really* up to and what the Jews were doing and why during the early Medieval period... Most disappointing... I want to talk about them in class, darn it! At least the Medieval History classes at USF include curriculum about peasants and women of France, England, Germany and Italy... They used to not even do that!

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