Archive for January, 2012

An interesting take on an old tale

January 31, 2012

I continue to read “Guide to the Bible” by Saul Levin, my Hebrew teacher from college, 100 years ago, which must make him about 150 years old!  Anyway, his take on the exodus, based on his literary and linguistic criticism and knowledge of the background material and cultures of the Egyptians and the Hebrews in those days is that Moses, respected still by some Egyptians, though he’s been away, having slain an Egyptian who was beating a Hebrew, and knowing the history and culture of the Hebrews as well, was in a unique position to pull off a guerilla and psychological war against the Egyptians, and trained and convinced the Hebrews to assist him at contriving the plagues to set the Egyptians on edge, and then, on a night when the Egyptians were celebrating some festival or another, a religious ritual of some sort, to strike at the Egyptian homes (all the ones without door lintels spread with blood) and kill all the firstborns, silently and carefully, and steal all their treasures, and while they were mourning and in chaos, trying to come to grips with what had happened, leaving en masse, and crossing the “Reed Lake” safely on foot, while the Egyptians couldn’t pull it off because of heavier equipment and the tides coming in and out, and hence drowned, managed to escape from the Egyptians and start their journey to a new land.  He suggests that the Hebreews were untrained in traditional warfare, so stealthily slitting throats and causing mayhem was a brilliant and only way they could fight the oppression they lived under, and this was their revolution.  And that the code word for this venture was a phrase about the “Lord God of Israel” and when they heard that code word, each guerilla new it was time to strike and flee.

Now, I admit that I am one to examine “miracles” and find ways that they might be explained in terms of ordinary phenomenon, but this is taking me awhile to deal with.  I could more easily accept some sort of influenza outbreak or other sickness, that they turned into a plague with propaganda and on top of the other plagues so that the Egyptians had begun to lose faith in their religious system and gods.  To have the Hebrews turned into sneaking murderers who slaughtered first born children and animals (not all first borns are adults) is just too much for me to accept outright, without condemning the Hebrews for slaughtering young children as immoral and out of line, not as heroes but as cowards.  To slaughter oppressors is one thing, but to slaughter their children to confound them quite another.  I realize we’re talking about primitive peoples here, but that seems outrageous.  Then again, look at the story in the Gospels about Herod ordering all male babies under age two killed in a effort to kill off the possible Messiah, or at least the rumor that there is such a Messiah born at that time.  Is that story a midrashic commentary based on the Exodus story?  Who knows!  I just find the whole thing disturbing.  If stories like this are universally believed, it is fuel for anti-Semitism.  It doesn’t make the Hebrews look like the fine upstanding god fearing oppressed people we have come to believe they were.  And I can’t say as I think that’s a great model for rising up under oppression.  Go ahead and kill your oppressors, but not their innocent children.  And then to make a cover up, rationalization, by saying God did it.  Well, that much, at least is typical. Forever, people have been blaming God not only for the good things that happen in their lives but the bad as well, suggesting that these things are punishments for the behaviour of some group or another related to them or just personal vengence.  To make God vengeful I guess justifies a human being’s own sense of vengefulness.  I’m not buying it.

On a different subject entirely, and one less troubling to contemplate, I am in the midst of a plying marathon, with about 20 skeins of yarn that have been spun and need plying.  That is today’s task, probably not ALL of it in one day, but making a big dent.  Today is Upper Valley spinning, but the weather looks like it might be a little iffy. It’s currently snowing but wintry mix, the plague of us all, ice and sleet and snow and rain and slippery roads all mixed up together, is being forecast for this afternoon, so it remains to be seen whether I travel 35 miles north or sit and spin at home.



Interesting phenomenon

January 28, 2012

It is interesting to me the way things work out, (or one might say, if one were so inclined, the way God uses events in our lives to enrich them, even if we think those events are not worth thinking about.)  Here I’ve been ranting and raving about reunions and such.  BUT, I did contact a woman who was my best friend for most of high school, and with whom I lost touch when we went away to college.  And lo and behold, she had been googling me, trying to find me as well.  We have begun to forge a new relationship as adults, and she is quite a wondrous woman.  I am enjoying getting to know her again on this new level…all of which wouldn’t have happened if Philip hadn’t sent me that list of those for whom the alumni committee had contact information.  Very interesting phenomenon.

This is Sauerbraten night.  My great grandmother, and then my mother, with her guidance, used to make what we called sauerbraten and geduffleglegs… which is really Sauerbraten und Kartoffelkloesse.  About once a year, generally in deep winter, I get the urge to make it…and find some folks who’d like to eat it with us.  It’s not exactly high on the list of modern trendy gourmet meals, more like German comfort food!  But I’ve found six people, friends, who think they’d like to experience THIS phenomenon.  So, I’ve gotten out the Royal Bayreuth china (German dishes for German food).  My sister has my great grandmother’s platters, so I have to make do with this set, which John and I bought in an antique shop the first year we were married, when everyone else was looking for Limoge, so we got a good deal.  It’s a very pale sort of pattern, white with pink flowers and green leaves (tell me you care!  Doesn’t sound like the farmer I usually sound like? Oh, well…) but I love setting a nice table, and so I’m into it.  The potatoes are boiling on the stove in their jackets, later to be peeled, riced, formed into potato dumplings, and set aside for boiling later tonight.  The meat is in the frig, making the whole frig smell like vinegar and spices, despite the “tight” seal on the bowl.  The apple pie and Quakertown pie (a cousin to Shoo-fly pie) are ready, as is the Sacher torte, a Viennese cake, first time I tried it; lots of chocolate and apricot…we shall see.  John is vacuuming (bless his peapickin’ obsessive compulsive little heart.  So, for the rest of the day, it looks like I can mostly take it easy.  Company comes around five, dinner around six.  I’m excited. I love having people come for dinner, in a world where that doesn’t happen much anymore.

It looks like we may see the sun come today. I hope so, as there is a clump of snow left on the porch roof, which dearly needs to slide off so it doesn’t form ice dams and back up the melting snow into the living room!  (rarely happens, but…) It is supposed to be well above freezing today, which will help. The driveway is a sheet of ice, so John will have to go out with gravel/salt and get some traction later today, so people can drive up to the house.

And now, I think it’s time to do some knitting.



January 26, 2012

So, anyway, I think I’m missing a gene.  My friend, Philip, who somehow reconnected with me a few years ago and whom I knew slightly in high school, is trying to get me to go to our 50th class reunion.  Why?  I have absolutely no interest in reunions. I’ve never been to one, not high school, college, seminary, family…it’s just not part of my make-up.  When we lived outside of Princeton, N.J., years ago, occasionally we’d be in town during reunion weekend.  Every class had a different outfit, including a memorable one with pinwheel beenies on heads of 70 year olds, and white trousers with orange and black tigers on them…They would wear these outfits for what seemed like a week, or at least a weekend, even wearing them to church on Sunday.  They were all having a blast.  I had to keep trying not to roll my eyes.  They had a big parade down the main street of Princeton. I remember, once, hearing that Jimmy Stewart, who had graduated from Princeton eons before, was going to be in the “P-rade” as they called it.  Mere peons from the countryside were planning on lining the streets to catch a glimpse of this movie icon.  Not my thing.

Every year, Princeton Seminary sends me out a tri-fold on reunion. They hype it in their alumni magazine.  Oh, wow!  Look at the speakers!  Oh, wow!  Not my thing.

Every year, my college sends out information on reunion.  Come meet up and reconnect with friends from your class. Huh? FRIENDS from my class are my friends. I AM in touch with them. I don’t need an institutional, expensive weekend hundreds of miles away to connect with my friends.  I’m not a bit curious about John Smith or Jane Doe, whom I didn’t know in college, maybe passed in the hallway, or shared a class with, and what they have done with their lives.  As I said, I think I’m missing a gene…because everyone else I know (except most of the people I count as friends from those years!) are all gung ho on reunions.  Nostalgia for institutions and people I never spoke to in my life just isn’t there.  Schools were for education. I paid. I went. I got it. Sometimes I wonder what’s wrong with me!  But not often.

End of diatribe!

It is starting to get light here on the farm.  Lizzie, the border collie, is starting her “squeaking” at the door to my “study” (?sewing room, private room, whatever), which means “My sheep need feeding.”  Well, actually, no they don’t. They still have a half hour or so before I will go out to feed them. But she is hopeful that this morning, for whatever reason, I’ll give in early, stop what I’m doing, and go feed her sheep.  Not bloody likely.

There are conflicting weather reports this morning. My regular online weather, which is usually the most reliable, has been very weird for the last week or two, wrong most of the time. This has never happened before, and I’m wondering what’s happened at their weather central to have made such a change in their prediction percentages.  Anyway, they say no precipitation til Saturday.  The National Weather Service, posted on my regular weather site, says, however, that tonight there will be snow, 5 inches of it possibly, and then l/2 inch of ice.  Very strange to be so far off.  It will be interesting to see which one is right.  Probably neither.  With climate change, probably we’ll get a warm spell of 50 degrees, OR the temperature will drop to -5 by tomorrow morning.  It’s been a very weird winter. We still only have about 3 inches of snow on the ground.

I can see in the semi-dark that the sheep are starting to stand and look this way.  They are suggesting it’s getting close to feeding time as well. The roosters are crowing; the big one with his cockadoodledoo; the little one with cockadoo…The third one doesn’t dare open his mouth, apparently…The new hens are finally starting to lay. I’ve found three different shaped pullet eggs in the last 3 or 4 days.  Hopefully, egg production will increase.  My idea of freezing eggs was a good one.  I still have a few “disks” of 3 scrambled eggs, frozen solid in the freezer, with a tiny bit of milk in them to hold them together.  I took two of these out the other day to try; made a poundcake that called for six eggs. Worked wonderfully. That means, basically, that even though the chickens were on strike, resting, during their moult for 3 months, I had enough frozen eggs to get through, and didn’t have to buy any of those pale, confined hen eggs they sell in stores.  Yahoo.  More sustainable living!  I froze some eggs in ice cube trays, so I had individual eggs, and some in the blocks, for omelets and pound cakes.

I’ve just about finished Catherine Friend’s “Hit by a Farm”, her first memoir about the farm she and her partner, Melissa, have in Minnesota.  I think the second one was better (“Sheepish”) but it was good, nevertheless.  I love seeing other people making the same mistakes I made.  I’m wondering, if, like me, she finally has figured out most of the stuff, and has stopped making mistakes funny enough to laugh at, one reason I stopped blogging for so long.  Couldn’t find any funny material, and it just seemed silly to keep repeating the same stuff happening, year after year after year.  Same with a column I used to write for “Black Sheep Newsletter”.  You can’t write about other people’s mistakes!  It’s okay to laugh at yourself, but not to expose others making the same mistakes you made, and don’t anymore.  So, I ran out of stuff to write about sheep raising.  Now, I have other topics as well, so I can keep on keeping on.

But, I don’t think I”ll be going to any reunions any time soon.

I love winter…but…

January 22, 2012

I really do love winter. I love the snow; I don’t mind shoveling.  I don’t mind having to bundle up.  I love staying in during a storm and watching the snow accumulate during the day, venturing out every few hours to shovel the walks.  But I can’t say as I’m enamoured of the last week and a half, when temps have rarely gone above 20 and have been below freezing, sometimes well below freezing at night.  We heat with a woodstove, and the front room, where the woodstove is, is mostly toasty warm…as long as we keep the stove loaded and cranked up.  Sleep late and come down to a cold house!  However, when it’s been this cold for this long, the back rooms (where the DVD player and TV are in one room, and my computer in the other) are COOOLLLDDDD.  Afternoons I try to either make a roast or a pound cake, which adds some heat to the equation for the evening, and that helps, but how many pound cakes can two people eat?  And still be able to walk around, that is?

A friend emailed me today, wondering if she might come down and we could skirt her fleeces from last spring…at 15 degrees?  I don’t think so!  My hands don’t do skirting or anything else without mittens in winter.  The capillaries close down and those hands BURN.  So, I had to say no.  I’m trying to figure out how I might get the skirting table into the basement, but it’s 4 x 8, which doesn’t promote negociating around halls and down stairs, so I am not sure how we’ll manage this. I think it will just have to wait until the weather is warmer.

I’ve called Gwen for a shearing date in mid-March, but she hasn’t called back yet. Shearers don’t really seem to call back promptly!  Oh, well, she’s a great shearer and worth waiting for.  I miss her dad, who was our former shearer.  He NEVER answered the phone, but would call back after a while.  I think sometimes, they’re away down south shearing and wait til they’re home to call back.

The weather site online says that starting tomorrow, daytime temps will be in the 30’s all week, and nighttime lows won’t go below 25.  January thaw?  I’m sure it will get cold again before winter is over, but I’m looking forward to mornings answering emails before doing chores without sweater, hat, fingerless gloves, scarf, and quilt!


Adjusting to new situations

January 20, 2012

How difficult it is for some of us to adjust to change.  I well remember as a child in sixth grade, moving from the town we lived in to one not 15 minutes away.  How sad I was!  I was not a very outgoing child. I had a few friends, and I would miss them dearly. I did not make friends easily. I remember going into the basement of our house in Farmingdale, and finding a bit of wall board that was exposed, and writing my name and date on it, and sobbing quietly (for my parents didn’t allow us to cry, irrational, you know.  Strange parents, another story!)  I was distraught.  For a few months I had a respite in that our new house wasn’t finished, so we lived with my grandparents and were driven to the old school each day by my grandfather on his way to work, and then went home with friends after school til he picked us up to bring us back to his house.  But then, it happened. The house was finished. We moved in.  Wow! Waterfront property, my parents’ dream.  How great it would be for all of us, they thought!  It was horrible.  New school. New teacher.  A bunch of strangers. And the teacher picked the most popular girl in my class to show me around…who was decidedly not interested in this Farmingdale hick!  It took a long time for me to find new friends.  And since I was an A student all the way, and it wasn’t popular to get everything right all the time, it took even longer.  Add to that the teacher did spelling pretests. I got them all right every week, so he rewarded me by letting ME give the spelling tests.  How to recommend a student to her fellow students! NOT!  I buried myself in my school work for a long time…and finally, I found a few friends.  Until summer, when suddenly, I had LOTS of friends, and then had to come face to face with the fact that the friends were there because I had waterfront property, and they would leave in the fall, which they did.  It was hard.

As adults, we moved with our children when they were in sixth and eighth grades. It was very hard on them, too, and took them a long time to adjust.  We moved because we wanted a better school system for them and a better lifestyle.  We got that, but it was a struggle all the way.

Yesterday, I read a book, another Catherine Friend book. (Remember “Sheepish”?) I frequently read children’s literature and count among my favorites “My Side of the Mountain” and “The Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler”, both of which, according to one of  my sixth grade students years ago, got “Blueberry awards.” (Newbury?)  At least I think they did.  Anyway, this book, called “Barn Boots Blues” was about a 12 year old girl who moves from the country to the city with her parents, whose lifelong dream it is to move to the country, and who feel that giving the child a country experience, with no cable or tv reception will broaden her life and improve her perspectives.  (and I agree with all that, actually…I would love my grandkids to move up here to my farm. I have seen how caring for farm animals brings responsibility and joy into the lives of children and improves their sense of self and of the wonder of creation.)

Anyway, Taylor, the young girl in the book, has a very hard time, with new school rules, with farm chores (all of which involve dealing with poop…on boots, in hair, on clothing…)and the mortifying effects of showing up at school smelling of the farm, with making new friends, with the isolation of living out in the middle of nowhere with no neighborhood kids…and with the fact that the farm and the consequences of the move means that her parents are largely unavailable to her.  IN one touching chapter, she has to design a house with another student, a boy (naturally) who is very popular and who had dubbed her “Boots” because she ran for the bus one morning forgetting to change into shoes, mortifying her at school.  The boy, typical of 12 year old boys, wants a house with lots of privacy, where one could get away from younger, annoying siblings; Taylor wants a house where the fanily can be together, reflective of her missing her parents and the things they did together in their city house, which are now superceded by working and commuting and by farm chores.

The book put me in mind of my similar experiences, though I think Taylor was a more together kid than I was and had more resources to bring to the problems she had to face.  And the passages and chapters where she learns to spin from an old lady and delivers some lambs made my heart sing.

I know a couple of kids I want to recommend this book to.  I want their opinions on it.  I wonder if they will like it as much as I did.  I’m thinking they will, but time will tell.  If you know of a middle schoolish, fifth or sixth grader who’d like a good read, you might check out this book.

And now, I just had Catherine Friend’s other memoir type book, “Hit by a farm” I think it is called, put on my Kindle, so when I finish reading “Below Stairs” a memoir of a woman in servive in early 1900’s in England, I’m off for another frolic with a beginning farmer, who apparently had a hard time adjusting to that life, as Taylor did!  ‘

Time to do chores.  John is out shovelling the snow from last night off the walks.  The sheep are waiting for breakfast. Lizzie is out there telling them “five minutes”.  So, I’d best get with it.

It worked!

January 16, 2012

I”m not exactly sure WHAT worked, of if nothing actually worked, but she got better by herself, but Octavia is up, eating, running around, and back to normal, pushing her way to the grain just like the rest of them this morning…and I can hardly blame them, since it’s about -13 out there on the meadow.  It was -10 on the back porch this morning, way lower than the weather channel online suggested. That weather report is seldom off by much, but today, they sure blew it.  It was very cold out there.  Thankfully, there was no wind, and with no “special” stuff to do, I could get chores done in about 10 minutes.  Then, I needed to bring a load of wood inside from the porch, to last us through the day.  So, now, decisions, decision, decisions: do I go back to bed, it being very warm under the covers and a bit chilly in here (especially in this back room, the farthest from the woodstove!); do I work on my Einstein jacket (the third I’ve made, but this one, I think, I’ll keep. So far, it’s turning out really nice.); do I continue reading “Sparrowhawk”, the first in s series of historical novels that lead up to the American Revolution (though currently, we are still in England in 1944.); do I wash fleeces (No, that I reject outright; don’t want to have to trudge big buckets of dirty washing water out into the woods at -10 degrees; do I go to the gym (Yuck, too cold, tomorrow will be better…if it doesn’t snow and ice and wintry mix…); hmm…I think probably the best thing to do is bake a cake, which puts the oven on for an hour and a half, which supplements the woodstove, and it will be toasty in here…and I can read or knit (alternating?) while the cake bakes.  Good, a plan…

Stay warm.

Always on the coldest day of the year!

January 15, 2012

Okay, so this morning it’s -3 on the back porch, which probably means -6 on the meadow.  But there’s no wind so feeding the sheep wasn’t difficult, except…Octavia didn’t get up and run for grain. Oh, no, what’s with her?  She’s about 250 pounds, which means  not an easy chore to take a temperature…so I didn’t. I wormed her, though she showed no signs of needing worming…(Some worms don’t show signs.)  I gave her 30 cc’s of baking soda and water mixed, in case she has a tummy ache.(Hard to see a distended rumen with 8 inches of fleece all over her.  Couldn’t feel it, but…).  And I gave her some LA200, an antibiotic whose allure is that you only have to give it every other day.  THe only thing I didn’t give her was propylene glycol, but it seems way too early for her to have pregnancy toxemia, it being only the third month of pregnancy.  The only other possibility I can think of is that a fetus died in her womb and she’s about to abort…which I really hope is not the case.  I will check her again in a couple of hours and see how she’s doing. The big question, of course, is if she dies, how do I move her?  John is away this morning, hopefully back by noon, but…ah, I have a big low to the ground red plastic toboggan which ought to do the trick.  I’ll bet you think I”m heartless thinking about such things.  But the reality is that on a farm, you deal with dead animals.  I don’t want her to die. I don’t want her to be sick. I especially don’t want her to abort and hope that if that is the situation, it is an instance, not the beginning of an epidemic.  She is, in fact, my favorite coopworth.  I’m hoping she filled up with hay early this morning, left over from last night, and is cold, and just having a bad day, and by noon, will be up and around.  If not, I’ll just have to deal with whatever happens.

When I got up this morning, the fire had burned down, with almost no cinders. It was interesting getting the fire back at full force, but finally I got it.  Twigs are marvelous things!  So are logs. So are woodstoves. It is now nice and toasty in here.

I didn’t sleep well last night, so instead of heading to church this morning, I will take a little nap and then goi check on Octavia again, hoping all will be well.

A Good Book

January 14, 2012

I just finished reading “Sheepish” by Catherine Friend, a “memoir” for lack of a better term, about Catherine and her partner and their farm in Minnesota. The book is chock full of interesting facts about sheep, wool, farming, cotton, carbon footprints, and other way cool topics. I learned a lot, on top of laughing at a lot of the mistakes they made, similar to ones I’ve made, and empathizing at sad times. Farming is both joyous and tough at times.

Yesterday we had some snow, following on Thursday’s snow.  Still not a lot, but at least the ground is covered and it seems like winter. My guess is tomorrow morning when it is zero or even colder, I won’t be quite so gung ho on winter, but for now, it’s sure nice to see the snow.  Because the temperature is to drop significantly, I gave the sheep a bit of hay this afternoon…they really don’t need it, but a little extra fuel might help them, or at least console them when the cold hits.  Or they can burrow down in it…(probably the goats will, anyway!)

I sure wish I knew why these chickens haven’t started laying yet.  They are 7 months old and ought to be laying.  They sure are beautiful, many different kinds of wyandottes, but they aren’t here to be beautiful; they’re here to lay eggs!

I started another Einstein coat today out of some handspun yarn which is a combination of blues and purples I bought from Spunky Eclectic plied against silver grey coopworth.  I’m eager to see how it turns out…but since it’s a coat, it will be awhile before I’ll have it done.  I also have tons of roving to knit before shearing…which reminds me, it’s time to contact Gwen for a shearing date in March.  One more month of kind of reduced farm chores, before preparing for shearing and lambing, and then the spring shows start again.

I did it!

January 12, 2012

Well, for someone technologically challenged, I’ve had a good week. First off, I contacted Norton because my internet security, they said, had expired, and after a few conversations, I got it downloaded and activated not only on my laptop, but on my netbook as well. Then, feeling very brave, I contacted Rosetta Stone, since when my last laptop died, my Italian lessons died with it.  After a couple of emails back and forth, they restored my license so I could put it on my new laptop, so I’m back to studying Italian again.

AND, as if that weren’t enough, it is snowing!  For the first time this winter (I’m not counting the October freak snow as winter!) we have snow.  I had been worried that we were in for a N.J. winter…all damp and rain and yucky, but it is snowing. Probably won’t amount to more than four inches, but hey, it’s snow, and it’s beautiful.  Hopefully, it will be over for a few days by Saturday morning, as I’d like to go to the Poultry Congress at the Big E in Massachusetts, if possible.  My little wheaten Old English Game bantam hens have both died, and poor Napoleon, their roo, is very lonely, and eyeing the big girls, but he’s WAY too small to be of interest to them.  We shall see.

I’ve been slowly working my way through a book on the Bible written by my college Hebrew professor from about 100 years ago…or it seems that long. (Sometimes, and sometimes, it seems like it was yesterday.)  It is slow going and pedantic in places, but informative and interesting in others, so I will continue…One interesting comment he made in the introduction is that most people don’t register the fact that the New Testament is some of the finest writing by Jewish authors of the first century, AD.  (or CE, I guess, to be politically correct.)  That was something I’d never thought of, and it makes good sense.


I hate updates!

January 10, 2012

This morning when I came to this site, there was a window that said I needed to update my browser. Like a fool, I did so, and now everything is different, and I’ve no idea how to navigate the bloody thing!  GRRRR!!!  Why do they have to change it all around, I want to know. It’s like the grocery store, when you finally know exactly where everything is you need each week, they rearrange the shelves so you can’t find anything.  There, I guess the point is, in looking for the flour, maybe you’ll buy some fancy dancy prepared somethingorother that was where the flour had been.  So, is that the point of changing the browser?  That in trying to find the spot where I type in the URL (why are there three choices suddenly?  And why is there a Y in one of them, which would seem to indicate yahoo, not just URL place…), I’ll stumble across some new thing called Bing which I have no interest in at all?  And suddenly “favorites isn’t where it’s supposed to be…but I finally found it under a star.  Why is a star preferable to the word “favorites?”  Reading words isn’t in anymore?  GRRRR!!!

Okay, end of tirade.  Lizzie woke us both up at 4:45 this morning with a very impressive barking fit…at what?  The rooster was crowing, because the lights came on in the henhouse.  Did she hear a fierce monster outside? Coyotes?  The fisher who lives in the woods behind the house?  No idea. We heard nothing. Sometimes I think she fakes monster protection noises because she’s lonely and wants us to get up.  So, we’re up.  It’s 6:24 and pitch dark out.  (It IS getting lighter earlier and darker later, though…I have noticed that.)

Yesterday, I managed to install new internet protection on both this computer and my little netbook, which took me a couple of hours. I really am technologically challenged. But having succeeded at such a daunting task, I proceeded to attempt to install my Rosetta Stone Italian series on my laptop. (It was on the old laptop, which died, and the Italian died along with it.)  Got it sort of installed, but couldn’t get it activated.  So, I finally managed to find a place on the Rosetta Stone website, to contact them. I’ve had an answer requesting information, and am hoping they can somehow activate the program on this computer.  (When you buy it, it is good for two computers, but it doesn’t say what provision is made for when one’s computer dies, which seems to happen quite regularly after a few years for me.  There ought to be a way you can continue to use it on your new computer, so long as you are the same person…so how can they tell that, online, I wonder.  We shall see.  If they can manage to let me activate it, then when I finish level 3, I might just buy levels four and five, so it would be to their advantage to let me do it.  If not, I doubt I”ll invest that much money again.

Bored yet?  Well, remember, I was up early, and am groggy as a result!  John and I went to my sister’s house this past weekend for a wonderful family party.  We haven’t been together in years.  It’s been almost 10 years since I’ve seen some of my nieces and nephews.  It was great re-connecting with them.  Why so long?  Lots of reasons, including Navy family all over the globe, family feud, getting away from farms…but not important. What is important is that we all got together: Jo and her kids and families, me and my kid and family.  Cousins met cousins for the first time, in some cases.  Plans were made to get together more often.  Jo cooked sauerbraten, served it on Great Grandma Fischer’s dishes, it was a great event.

Yesterday, I had planned to go to the gym, but then I remembered (thank God) that the piano tuner was coming to fix some loose hammer or another on the piano.  That took the whole morning.  He is thorough but slow.  Luckily, I had my knitting.  I’m working on a Baby Albert jacket, the small version of the Einstein jacket from the Knit Stitch book.  I’ve recently bought both the Knit Stitch and the Purl Stitch.  They are meant to be beginner’s books, but I’ve learned a great new cast on with crochet hook accompaniment, and a new way to weave together parts of a sweater.  (Usually, I do only sweaters from top down or bottom up that require no sewing, but this weaving thing is far superior to sewing, so I don’t mind doing it.)  There are several other patterns in the books I want to try. But for now, this little sweater is for Sue for the store (Hodge Podge) because she has some great yarn which isn’t moving and she wanted a “sample” of what one could do with it, so I volunteered.  I’m hoping to finish it today, bring it to her tomorrow.

And today is Upper Valley spinning.  We’ll be at Gen’s today instead of our usual winter location, the library.  I much prefer peoples’ homes, but in winter, parking can be interesting. With snow piled up…or so the theory goes. We still have no snow!

Not a whole lot going on at the moment.  Winter can be like that…But with events to look forward to: the yearly knitting retreat at St. Thomas’ in Hanover (not a religious retreat; just a day of knitting) and SPA in Freeport, Maine, both in February, then shearing and lambing in March, and before you know it, Spring will be upon us.  My guess is we’ll be deluged with snow in February and March, but maybe that’s just my hope.  I don’t quite trust a year without our quota of snow.

Lizzie is now making “I want to go out” noises, so I guess I need to quit this and pay some attention to her.