New cat bed, and Turmeric status

With Nosencrantz insisting in spending her days tucked into an empty shelf behind my nightstand, I decided she should at least have a bed. So last night, I quickly crocheted one for her.

Before I was done, Turmeric was isolated in my room with me, Butterscotch and Nosencrantz for her fast. B & N were not impressed with the company. Turmeric is one of the cats that has been the most aggressive towards them. Particularly towards Nosencrantz. So they were both hiding in their nests, while Turmeric roamed the rest of the room.

Which is why Turmeric got to test out the new bed, first!

It looks so tiny compared to her from this angle. Trust me; it’s large enough for a cat to curl up in! 😀

When the girls did the evening cat stuff (which is when they get wet cat food), Turmeric was tucked into the bathroom until B & N were finished eating.

It was not a good night.

Normally, once the other cats are closed out, so that B & N can at least get some wet cat food, uninterrupted, that’s when they come out and eat, drink, use the litter, and play.

I don’t get a lot of sleep these days.

They couldn’t do that as much, last night. Of course, there was no other food once the bowls with the wet cat food were cleared away. Just water. At least three times during the night, I had actual cat fights happen as Turmeric went after Nosencrantz! Poor thing. Then, when I wasn’t breaking up cat fights, I was fending of Turmeric attention, as she decided the best way to get at Nosencrantz’s cubby hole was by first snuggling my face and licking my nose (because noses are delicious, apparently), then making a dash for the opening behind my night stand.

So adorable and nasty, at the same time!

I finally got some sleep, just in time for my alarm to go off. I had given myself extra time, so I figured I could set my timer for half an hour and still have time to get ready to go.

I think I forgot to hit the start button.

An hour later, I woke up and had to start scrambling! I didn’t have time to do the morning cat stuff, though once I had Turmeric in the carrier, I had enough time to put food out for the outside cats – startling away several deer in the yard – before we left.

Turmeric wasn’t too impressed with being carried, but once in the van, she settled down very quickly.

She even took a bit of a nap.

What a face.

Drop off time was for when the vet clinic opened, and I got there early – though when I checked my phone, the appointment was for a half hour later. I hadn’t needed to rush so much! No matter. They had no problem taking her when they opened.

My daughter usually has been doing this part, since the mask thing because an issue. The restriction is lifted, but there were still signs all over, stating that they were a “health care facility” and required masks.

They had zero issue with my maskless face.

The paperwork was done. The Cat Lady and her new rescue are covering the cost of the spay, while the tattoo is a clinic freebie. The pain meds for afterwards is not covered, but we might still have enough left over from when Beep Beep and Fenrir were done. I checked the bottle when I got home, and I think we’ll pick up more, just in case. The doses are low – especially for such light cats (Turmeric weighed in at just over 5 pounds) – but I’d rather have extra than not enough.

As I write this, she should be out of surgery and recovering. We’re set to pick her up at 3:30, though they’ll call us when she is ready.

Today also happens to be my and my husband’s 34th wedding anniversary. He’s not up to going out for dinner, so I’ll be picking up some pizza on the way home, courtesy of my daughter. We’ll be trying a different place this time. I’ll have enough time to drop off Turmeric and the food, then head out again to pick up our meat order. I just got the invoice this morning, and will be picking up the order this evening.

Now that’s my kind of anniversary gift! 😀

We do get a giggle out of the fact that we’re meeting up in a parking lot to get meat, like it’s some sort of drug deal. 😀

It’s going to be quite a day for running around from town to town! Worth it, though.

The Re-Farmer

Getting cozy (crochet talk)

One of my favourite crafts to do is to crochet. I am even a teacher, certified with the Crochet Guild of America, and quite enjoyed doing classes, back in the day.

These days, I don’t crochet very much, partly because my hands have become so rough, most yarns catch on my fingers, even pulling the loop off my hook at times. I don’t like the idea of working with high end, $30 skeins of yarn, only to have my hands catch on the strands and tear them apart. And no; working with gloves on is not an option!

Also, hand lotion does butkiss.

One kind of yarn that doesn’t do that is cotton. So when my daughter came to me with a request for a basket cozy for her teas, it was the perfect project for some nice, sturdy cotton!

With a special appearance from Ginger!

For her birthday, we got her a set for making matcha, so of course she had to get a nice selection of matcha blends to use it with. Taking advantage of a sale at David’s Tea, she was able to get a whole bunch of mixes, plus some straight up matcha. I didn’t realize the basket was for just her matcha teas, and used what colours I had. They just happened to suit the intended contents!

This was done with two strands on the hook, with the main colour a darker green, because I had enough of that yarn for the entire project. The other colours I had were in much smaller amounts.

To make this box, I started by making a flat rectangle for the base, a couple of rows smaller than the size I wanted, in single crochet. Then the base got a round of single crochet on all sides, which brought it to the desired finished size. Then, a loose round of slip stitch was worked into that last round. The slip stitches formed the base the sides were worked from. Each side was worked individually. I did the long sides, first, using a mint green I had just barely enough of, then switched to a sort of periwinkle blue for the short sides. I used just the main colour, in a single strand, to stitch the corners together with a modified single crochet. Then I went back to the blue and green combination to go all around the top to tidy it up. Finally, I used a single strand of bright green and a smaller hook, to tighten up that top, so it won’t flop around as much. To keep the corners from becoming rounded, I just added a little picot that doubled as decoration.

As the sides were worked from the slip stitched loops on the base, that left open loops facing outwards. Switching back to the larger hook and using the bright green with the main grain, I did one last round of single crochet into those loops, to make the base a bit more stable, and balance out that bright green at the top.

My daughter was very happy with it!

It was so much fun, today I made another tea cozy. This time, for one of my tea cups.

I think these were actually sold as soup cups. It’s about twice the size of your basic coffee mug.

Normally, when I make cup cozies, I make them with a strap that goes through the handle and buttons into place on the other side. It not only holds the cozy in place, but it protects your fingers from coming in contact with a scalding hot cup. Which is a big deal for people with nerve damage in their hands that prevents them from feeling heat!

That design works great with regular mugs, but with a cup that’s short and fat (like me!), they would slide off on the side opposite the handle.

So for this one, I made an over-the-handle loop. I started with a round, flat base that was just barely the same size as the bottom of the cup, then worked a couple of rounds without increasing, to start building up the sides. After that, I worked in rows, leaving a 5 stitch gap for the handle. I had very little of this yarn, and Nosencrantz had gotten to the purple, chewing through in several places, so I used the little bits for the stripes. Between the two colours, I managed to finish it. 😀

After finishing with the last two rows in blue, I joined the purple at the handle gap, working down from the right hand side, then around to the top of the other side. This closed up the handle gap from a 5 stitch opening to a 3 stitch opening. After making a little 3 chain loop at the corner, I then slip stitched into the last row of blue, all the way around, with the last slip stitch worked into the first stitch in purple. Next, I made a chain 3 to close the gap, slip stitching into the 3 chain loop at the opposite corner, then finishing off the yarn.

The slip stitches keep the top edge from being too stretchy, and the loop stretched over the handle pulls it all in. There is no way this cozy is going to slide off the other side!

I’m using it right now and, in retrospect, I would change one thing. I would make it one row shorter. That would require making the handle loop a chain or two longer to reach over the handle, without too much strain on the strands. When drinking from the cup, the cozy is juuuust tall enough that it gets in the way of my lips a bit.

We have three more cups like this (alas, our fourth one broke). I think I have enough cotton yarn to tweak it a bit and make a couple more. 🙂

I really love doing structural crochet. I also love making useful, rather than decorative, things. I’m glad I can still work with cotton, because it’s perfect for both.

The Re-Farmer

Of course…

I recently crocheted pairs of fingerless gloves for my daughters, to help keep their hands warm while at their keyboards upstairs – the little ceramic heaters my husband got for them do keep things warm up there, but fingers still get chilled! Especially my older daughter’s drawing hand.

That left me with a few little balls of leftover yarn. I had a few things in mind to possibly make with them, so I kept them in a bag of yarn I keep by my office chair.

Tissue discovered them.

For nearly two weeks now, I’ve been finding them all over. I’ve followed trails of yarn down to the basement. I’ve unwound yarn from around the dining table and chairs. I’ve had to untangle them from the wheels of my office chair. I’ve discovered yarn barfs in cat hair dust bunnies the size of Alberta. I’ve repeatedly had to untangle the yarn and rewind the balls. Any potential projects I had in mind went out the window, as there was just no way to get all the cat hair out of them.

While Tissue has been the one so dedicated to pulling out these balls of yarn, no matter how covered or hidden they were, once the yarn was out, there was usually several other cats involved in the destruction by the time I find them.

I couldn’t let the yarn go to waste, so I figured, what the heck. They want the yarn that badly, I’ll make a mat for them and they can have it. It’s not like it can be used for anything else than cat toys, now!

While I was working, I had the two balls of yarn at my feet while stitching and watching a video on my computer. Part way through, my husband wanted to look up some information about my video card, so I put the mat aside by my keyboard and stepped away for a bit. There was just a couple of minutes in between my husband leaving my computer, and my returning to it. In that time, I found I had to unwind the red yarn from the wheels of my office chair again, and both strands had been chewed through. I had to knot them together to be able to continue. Which I normally wouldn’t do with crochet, but it’s for the cats, and they don’t care if there are knots.

I finished off the leftover yarn and gave the cats their new mat.

Which they are now completely ignoring.

I have made a number of mats and cat beds for them. Usually, the moment the item hits the floor, there’s a cat on it, checking it out. I’ve never made one out of yarn they’ve been so eager to steal and play with before.

Not one came over the check this one out. Not even to sniff at it.

Because, of course.

*sigh*

The Re-Farmer

A little gift

I’ve had a bit of a dilemma lately.

What do you get a 90 year old for her birthday?

I mean, by the time someone reaches 90, they pretty much have everything they want and need by then.

Ah, but there is an added twist.

The 90 year old in question is my mother.

My mother is… difficult. And often obliviously cruel.

Still, the family is planning a birthday party for her, and I will be driving her to it.

Yesterday, I finally settled on getting her a necklace. I already know she will complain about it but she might actually wear it anyway.

I also decided to make it a double gift, and stayed up late last night to make this little bag, rather than wrapping the necklace in a jewelry box.

It’s about 3 inches square, and the necklace is already in it in the photos. I figure she can use the bag to hold her rosary or something, afterwards.

This was done using a tulip stitch, which I’ve never done before. Here is the video tutorial that I used. It’s really quite simple.

The main difference is that I worked the bag in the round, rather than a flat panel, so I just needed to have a total number of stitches divisible by three, without the +1 needed in the starting chain when having to turn rows. The single crochet rounds in the bag are 48 stitches.

The yarn is from a package of cotton mini skeins in 8 colours, similar to Lion Brand’s Bonbons. It was gifted to me, and I’ve hung on to it for years before finding a project I wanted to use it for! 🙂 The bag used four colours, and I used a 2.25mm hook. After the bag was completed, I did a round of single crochet to finish the edges and create a button loop, then crocheted bobble stitch flower petals around the button loop. The button itself was from a bag of mixed, vintage buttons.

I’m happy with how it turned out. My mother will probably hate it. At least out loud and in public. Privately, she might actually like it. It’s really hard to know, with her! 😀

The Re-Farmer

All tucked in

There was a break in the rain, giving me a chance to test out my squash hammocks.

This is a melon, not a squash, but “melon hammock” doesn’t roll off the tongue as well. 😀

I’ve made three of these so far. I think I got the size right. None of the melons or winter squash will get much bigger than this. The ties need to be a bit longer, though.

For those who want to know, it’s basically just a filet crochet square, with chain stitch ties woven through the openings on opposite sides that act as drawstrings, to keep the fruit snug. I used medium weight cotton yarn and a 6mm – J/10 hook.

I think I’ll make a few more to have handy, if needed.

The Re-Farmer

Ginger baby, on the hunt

I finally got some Ginger pictures!

He’s been running around all over the house, but I managed to catch him and lure him with some cephalopods.

It’s not the squidlies he’s hunting.

It’s my phone!

😀

As a side note, my spell check dictionary does not recognize the word “cephalopod”. Which is weird enough on it’s own, but the alternative spelling it suggests for the plural is “hydrocephalus”, while the suggestion for the singular is “cephalic”.

Excuse me while I “add to dictionary.” 😀

I dug up the patterns to make more of these. I am in error. Neither of these are squids. The pink one is a cuttlefish. 😀

The cats love them!

But not as much as Ginger loves to attack my phone while I try to take his picture. 😉

The Re-Farmer

Ginger Squid and general update

Last night, I introduced Ginger to a new toy.

I’d crocheted an amigurumi squid, years ago, trying out a new pattern. When I realized we’d closed the other cats out for the night and Ginger had no toys in the room, I decided to see if he would like it.

He did.

Squidly is now Ginger’s favourite toy! The other cats like it, too. 😀

Speaking of other cats…

His sister, Cabbages, and Keith were pretty adorable, cuddling together! 🙂

This morning, as I put kibble out for the outside cats, most of them eventually made their way over.

I did not see Butterscotch.

I have my suspicions that she’s tucked away with somewhere, with new babies.

If my suspicions are correct, I hope her nest is nice and cozy, because they’re now predicting another 7 inches (almost 18cm!!) of snow on Sunday! We’ll have more snow in April than we’ve had the entire winter.

The slow melt we’re having now is perfect, except with the overnight temperatures going below zero, the freeze-thaw cycle is destroying the roads! I had to run some errands today, picking up our newly sharpened and tested electric chain saw while dropping off a lawn mower for servicing, then going to another town to drop some stuff off, and the gravel roads in particular are just awful. The paved roads and highways are going to be crumbling even worse than usual in the next while.

I don’t mind the snow while we’ve got these milder temperatures. I think most people on the farms out here will happily put up with rough roads, if it means they will have enough moisture when planting their crops.

I must admit, though, it’s rather disjointing to read other people’s blogs where they talk about all the stuff growing in their gardens, or their latest transplants. 😀

Speaking of which, we did decide to start one of the squashes we’ve got now, rather than later. The Crespo squash is the only one of them that grows large fruit. In trying to find the “days to maturity”, all I can find is “harvest the the skin is very hard”. Which doesn’t tell me much at all! I’ll just assume large fruit means longer time needed to grow them, and will give them a bigger head start. I set the seeds to soak last night, and will plant them later today.

I’m not finding a lot of information about this specific variety at all, so I’m really looking forward to seeing what happens with these.

And now I have to de-cat myself (hello, Susan) and get some work done! 😀

The Re-Farmer

Kitten adventures

The pharmacy my daughter works at now has a small yarn display. Yay! I saw some t-shirt yarn and grabbed it, because I haven’t seen t-shirt yarn in stores in ages.

I made a basket.

It’s 5 kittens big.

Beep Beep tried to get in with them, but it’s not 5 kittens plus mama big. 😀

For my fellow crocheters, the yarn is Madolinni, 97% cotton 3% lycra and 130 meters. It’s 100% “recycled product from the textile industry”. Unfortunately, it turned out to be much coarser and unpleasant to work with, compared to what I was expecting from a t-shirt yarn, but it does make a very sturdy basket.

The base is a disc done in single crochet, starting from 7 stitches, and increased rounds worked in a spiral until about 9 inches across. The first round for the sides is single crochet worked in the back loop only. The next 4 rounds were done in split single crochet, then I switched back to normal single crochet for the remaining rows. This resulted in an almost cauldron shape. The handles were made by making chains of 10 and skipping 7 stitches, on opposite sides. In the next round, a single crochet was worked into each stitch, including into each chain stitch. One more round of single crochet was done, then it was finished with a round of slip stitch worked into the sides of the final round of single crochet, to add stability and reduce stretch.

For those who are not into crochet, here are more kitties!

Of all the cats that were curious about the kittens, Two Face wasn’t really one of them.

Until we started taking the kittens out and putting them on my bed to run around.

She suddenly turned into a mother!

Beep Beep is her mother, but now Two Face is jumping into the nest to mother her mother, and her little siblings. The kittens are even trying to nurse on her! With her belly still half nekkid from being fixed, the nips are easy for them to find. 😀 I think they are confused about not getting any milk, though. 😀

The kittens are almost big enough to start scrambling out of their nest! We’re going to have to find a way to get them back into the basement, and walling off a corner or something, where there is less for them to get into and potentially hurt themselves. Plus, they are going to need room for food/water bowls and a litter pan, so they learn how to use them, soon!

What a bunch of cuties. 🙂

The Re-Farmer

A day of rest – and crochet yarn bowls!

Usually, my daughter works a short shift on Sundays, so I spend time in town as part of keeping Sunday as a day of rest. It feels weird to not be doing that, but the pharmacy is now closed on Sundays. It’s also totally messing with my sense of time! 😀

When my husband called in his prescription refills, he was asked to get our daughter to pick them up during her break, so we figured she was getting another weekday to make up for the loss of Sundays.

We were wrong.

Her hours have been cut back to just 3 shifts every 2 weeks. The pharmacist must have assumed she’d be in. I’ll just have to make a special trip in to town for the refills.

I just checked the government website. An $82 Billion aid package was recently passed to help people who are struggling financially due to the Wuhan virus shut downs. Last I saw, people who lost more that 8 hours a week could get aid, but that was before the bill was completed and passed. That is gone now. She’s have to lose all hours completely, in order to qualify for aid. :-/ Thankfully, she’s okay with that.

Once again, I am so incredibly thankful for my husband’s excellent private insurance disability payments. That and living here on the farm, where we pay “rent” by taking care of the place.

Last night, I managed to find a Canadian Orthodox Lutheran church service for this 5th Sunday of Lent to watch this morning. Celebrating Easter this year is going to be another strange one. No blessing of the baskets at church this year!

One of the things I decided to do to recharge my batteries today was finish a small crochet project; a yarn basket. I’ve made three slightly different versions of them so far, and am quite enjoying the process.

Here is the first one I made. (click on the images to see them better)

I used 2 strands of Handicrafter Cotton yarn, which holds structural shapes quite well. (I can get the little skeins of this yarn at a dollar store in town, but have to go to the city to be able to get the large skeins it also comes in.) I had no pattern, but saw one on Pinterest and realized it was just a simple bowl shape with an opening for the working ends of yarn.

This is the one I just finished.

This is actually the third one I’ve made, and the first where I added an extra colour. I wanted to use up some of the little balls of yarn I had left over from other projects.

I like to reball my yarn into centre pull balls, and the first yarn bowl I made was large enough to hold two full sized and one little centre pull ball of yarn. Having the yarn threaded through the opening in the bowl helps keep it flowing smoothly – especially when using multiple strands at once.

It also helps protect my yarn from cats! 😀

The second one I made used one strand of solid gray and one strand of variegated yarn that included the same shade of grey in its colours. My daughter picked that one for herself. 🙂 Each bowl is slightly different in size and shape as I experimented with the design.

I’m quite happy with how these are turning out. They are great to work on while watching a movie or something, since they’re made almost entirely with one stitch, and require very little counting.

Tomorrow, it’s back to work. The girls plan to do baking, so I plan to head out and shovel away the drift in front of the barn doors, so we have someplace to store the things we will be taking out of the basement. Then it’s time to start clearing things out, so that we can clean it and turn it into …

A maternity ward. From the looks of her, Butterscotch is pregnant, and may have kittens before things melt away and dry up enough to empty and clean out the sun room, so we can use it as a maternity ward like we did last year. Plus, we have to get Two-Face indoors as quick as we can. She’s booked to be spayed in mid April, but there’s a risk of her going into her first heat before then.

*sigh*

So we’ll have inside cats, outside cats and basement cats!

The Re-Farmer

A perfect fit

I made myself a hat today.

I’d made myself a ponytail hat last winter, but forgot it at the clinic during one of our doctor’s visits. No one turned it in to the lost and found. I finally got around to making a new one. 🙂

I used two strands of medium weight yarn and a 6mm hook. The main body of the hat is just half-double (hdc; known as a half-treble in the UK) worked in a spiral. To figure out where to put the opening, I just kept putting it on my head until it was long enough to reach where I usually wear my braid, then did a chain 4, skip 4 stitches to make the opening.

Warm hats are, of course, a necessity for this time of year, but most hats irritate the heck out of me. If they’re long enough to cover my ears, they get into my eyes, and every time I move my head, the back of my hat gets pushed up. My ears get uncovered and the hat gets pushed into my eyes. My long hair, of course, also gets in the way of having it sit right on my head.

The joy of making my own hats, is that I can figure out how to work around that.

Along with the opening to pull my braid through (which then helps keep the hat in place), after a few more rounds, I switched from hdc in the back to dc (double crochet, or treble/triple crochet in the UK) on the sides, and sc (single crochet, or double crochet in the UK) across the front. The end result is a wavy edge with longer sides that snuggle warmly around my ears, while the slightly shorter back doesn’t get pushed up when I move my head around, and the even shorter front doesn’t get into my eyes, but it still long enough to keep my forehead warm.

I probably should have done this at the start of winter, rather than the end, but it’ll do the job just fine! 😀

The Re-Farmer