February Photos

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

First Flowers, Last Day of March

Crocuses and glories-of-the-snow are blooming, as well as a few miniature lacy daffodils.  The bigger daffodils are coming up, and there are buds amongst the leaves.



Hyacinth buds

Miniature lacy daffodil

Daylily leaves

Crocuses and little black bee

Tulip leaves

Daffodil leaves

Autumn Joy sedum

Half an egg shell -- the baby grackles are hatching!

Tabby always follows us around the yard -- and he rarely sits still long enough for us to take his picture, but must come and see us the minute we aim the lens at him.

Victoria planting candy red onions in a pot

Pansies Victoria planted -- she brought them home from Earl May Gardening Center, where she works

Welcome stump with baby birds is from Lura Kay, bluebird-and-purse planter is from Janice

Monday, March 30, 2015 -- Sailboats, Cats, and Crows

The neighbors have company, including a few kids.  One is doing cartwheels.  Another is somersaulting down the grassy hill. 
I remember being astonished at a girl in my first grade class who could cartwheel like an elegant, long-bladed windmill.  When I got home, I gave it a try.
I looked like a drunk frog.  With palsy.
By last Monday, Larry was feeling better, thankfully.  I was getting a bit concerned, because it seemed like such an odd sort of stomach flu, if that’s what it was. 
One morning last week, Amy was cooking breakfast – eggs, toast, etc.  Leroy, age 3, was hungry.  “I want some grumble eggs!” he announced excitedly.
He meant ‘scrambled’.  But I think we’ll call them ‘grumble eggs’ from now on.
Victoria has always used big words – but, especially when she was little, she’d often use a totally wrong word in some odd place.  One time we drove over a rickety wooden bridge.  I’d told everyone to roll their window down, the better to hear the boards rattle.  (Well, I thought it was nifty.)  But Victoria, age 3, and very wide-eyed, shivered and said, “That bridge makes me really embarrassed!” 
She meant ‘nervous’.
We’ve used the word ‘embarrassed’ instead of ‘nervous’ ever since. 
Do you ever have troubles mixing up your offspring’s (or relatives’ offspring’s) names?  I really topped it once when I came around a corner, spotted Keith doing something inadvisable, and yelled, “Don’t do that, Aleutia!!!!” 
Aleutia was our big ol’ Siberian husky.
Once everyone cracks up, it’s pretty hard to work up another head of steam and re-yell at Keith. 
Impossible, in fact.
Our poor old Black Kitty is getting quite feeble.  I think she nearly starved in the last few days, because she wasn’t eating the dry food we always have out for the cats, and I generally only give the soft food to Tabby.  It dawned on me that I hadn’t seen her at the dry cat food bowl crunching away for quite some time, and I remembered that she had acted a little more frantic than usual to get to Tabby’s soft food.  I just thought it was because she is partially blind, more on some days than others, and she’d get all excited and run lickety-split after the food dish as I was picking it up to put it in the refrigerator. 
But finally my feeble brain put these things together, and I got all alarmed, and gave her a fresh little container of soft food, and she ate nearly half of it.  Poor little thing, she was really hungry!  She had to work at it, eating the soft food – I think her muscle tone has deteriorated, so that even chewing is a bit of a chore.  But a couple of weeks of having all the soft food she wants has strengthened her, and she’s doing much better now.
I don’t want my animals to suffer needlessly, but neither do I want to put down old animals just because they are old, if they can still be comfortable and happy.  She’s at least 19 ½ years old now.  She was a stray before she came to Larry’s shop, and the vet estimated her age at about one year.
I think she’ll be all right for a while longer now.  She can see better... she hops up on my lap, purrs, goes up and down the stairs better...  Poor Kitty, she was starving, and we didn’t know!  Food is good.  Food is necessary!  Food is helpful!
Sigh.  Why can’t our animals live as long as we do?
And why do our sweet, lovable pets invariably rise to their feet when we try to step over them, or plant themselves right where our foot is planning to land?? 
Black Kitty seems to watch... calculate... and then, at precisely the right instant, she swishes her big fluffy tail into the spot I am stepping.  This, I believe, is because she immensely enjoys the apologies and pettings afterwards – and if she shrieks loudly enough, and makes us feel badly enough, she just might get a tidbit out of the refrigerator.

I once did a triple back flip and a double attitude spin in the middle of the night, on my way to feed the waking baby, just to keep from killing Calico Kitty.
Only it was a stuffed panda.
I like weather stuff.  I have five locations on WeatherBug (since that’s the limit)... and West Yellowstone, Wyoming, was a couple of days ago under a winter weather advisory.  This always makes me want to be there.  Viewing weather reports in far-flung places (especially mountainous places) has the same effect on me as hearing tires on big trucks on the highway:  I wanna go somewhere!
Tuesday after he got off work, Larry bought an LED light and a new shower head at Menards, along with a couple of other necessary items for our bathrooms.  He put the shower head – a double, including one that can be hand-held – in place downstairs; but it turns out, it was the valve on the faucet that was bad, not the shower head.  Ah, well.  The new one will doubtless work better than the old one, which is a bit clogged up with hard water deposits.
He got a new faucet and shower valve Saturday, and put them on that night.  So Victoria is back to using her downstairs bathroom again, and I don’t have to share mine (usually right when I wanted to wash or curl my hair).
Norma sent some scrumptious cinnamon rolls home with Larry Tuesday night.  Mmmm, mmm.
Late that night, I arrived at the two-thirds mark in the quilting of the Mosaic Sailboat quilt.  Teensy lay at my feet and kept me company, and I studiously avoided stepping on him as I guided my machine back and forth across the quilt.

Wednesday, as soon as I ate a Little Something (a la Winnie-the-Pooh), I headed back down to my quilting studio – which now sports a brand-spankin’-new LED bar light over my frame, compliments of Larry.  It’s bright, wheweee, is it ever bright.  It’s so bright, it creates a shadow where my machine is.  I ordered four more of the little LED cluster lights that go in the underside of my handles.  They’re pricey... but... I like to see!  I could’ve ordered eight... but I like to eat, too.  Mustn’t spend all the grocery money.  ;-)
As mentioned last week, I’ve decided to let my website expire (in 90 days) and migrate things to Blogspot.  Big job.  But I’m tired to death of old glitchy software (FrontPage), and too busy to learn all the necessary HTML for Expression Studio 4, which I purchased two or three years ago.  Besides, Blogspot is free!  Blogspot will load quicker... pages save quicker... it has a very good auto-save...  and a better way of looking at photos.  There are pros and cons to Blogspot, compared with a personal website; but, for me, the pros are greater than the cons. 
All my Blogspot pages are listed on my About Me profile page.  The ones with active posts are on the right Sidebar.  I’ll add other pages and posts as I have time.  I’ve had the Nature’s Splendor blog (journal and photography) for several years, but the rest are new.
Wednesday afternoon, I took a look at WeatherBug, the better to find out what to wear to church that evening.  !~!  <surprised face>  ... Oh.  I thought it was only 26° – until I realized I still had it set to West Yellowstone, Wyoming.  I switched to our home town.  Wasn’t much of an improvement:  it was only 39°.  Never mind that it was actually Spring; I chose something warm to wear.
Some friends were discussing crocheting.  One was making lace, and decided to take it out and remake it. 
“Isn’t that difficult?” asked one lady.
“Naaa,” answered the first, “you just have to make it backwards.”  :-D
Thursday, a lady wrote and asked to buy my rooster mug rug pattern.  This isn’t the first time someone has asked me for a pattern.  Trouble is, I make most things sans pattern, or draw it out, cut it apart, and never save the original drawing.  I sent her pictures, and links to coloring book pages that might work. 
One of these days, I should draw up a few of the patterns I’ve concocted, and put them up for sale.  One of these days.  Stupid of me not to have drawn patterns and saved them when I was making them! 
The next inquiry I got was in regards to grammar, perhaps the results of complaining about it last week. 
“Can you put the explanation point (she meant ‘exclamation point’) before the question mark?”
This being a friend who knows me, I take liberties:  “No, no, for heaven’s sake!” I responded.  “Unless you are amazed, and then wonder about it later.”
The question mark and the exclamation point are put together to denote a surprised question.  ‘Don’t you know that?!’  Like that.
By mid-afternoon Thursday, I’d reached the three-quarter mark with the quilting on the sailboat.  Hannah called to ask if I would have time to sew a taffeta Easter dress for Joanna.  I would.  Easter dresses are more important than sailboat or lighthouse quilts.  Besides, taffeta just might be relaxing, after these one-inch squares and all this thickness.
Hannah has not been well, and there is a spot on her pancreas that is some cause for concern.  The surgery she had in February has not taken the abdominal pain away.  It’s hard to get things done, when one is in pain.
I glanced out the window – and discovered it was snowing up a storm.  But the ground was warm enough that it wasn’t sticking.  Fire danger has been high, so we’re glad for the moisture.
We had lasagna for supper, and then I headed back down to my sewing room to finish the quilt.  By 11:30 p.m., I was sewing on the binding, and soon it was done.
Friday, I put a bit of embroidery on it to help define the sails, using all six strands of DMC 100% cotton embroidery thread.
After embroidering the rigging on the sailboat, I made some supper for my brother, took it to him (he’s busy dreaming up things to do for my kids, since he’s run out of ideas to do in return for me, though I have a very long way to go before I ever catch up with things he’s done for us)... then went to my sister’s house.  I’d called her earlier in the afternoon, and when she answered, I inquired, “Is this the Bible bookstore?”  (We tease her because she has – and gives away – so many books.  She has several large, beautiful bookcase sets, all chock-full of books.)
She laughed, and asked if I needed a book.  Yes... I wanted something suitable for my former coworker, LaVonne, who has just had a double mastectomy and is probably going to be starting chemotherapy soon.  Lura Kay had exactly the right book:  Strengthen My Spirit, by Charles H. Spurgeon.  It’s even a ‘gift book’ – that is, it’s bound in dark burgundy naugahyde, and has a dark red satin ribbon bookmark attached to the spine.
Victoria has the book in paperback -- and Lura Kay gave it to her.  Click book below for a link to the eBook:
 Strengthen My Spirit eBook
I picked up the book, bought an armful of flowers at Hy-Vee, and took them to my friend.  She hugged me, almost cried, and said, “You’re a good friend.”  So that was worth the small effort I gave to let her know I cared.  Please pray for her; I fear the road ahead of her will be rough. 
Next, I went to our new Hobby Lobby and got a Simplicity Hotfix Crystal Applicator Tool.  It cost $13, as opposed to $20 for the Swarovski Elements Hotfix Tool or the KandiKane Professional Touch Hotfix Tool for $22.75 or the Hot Fixer Commercial Rhinestone Applicator for $36.80.  The one I got has only the flat tip, which is the best tip for the crystals I want to apply.  I bought several packets of crystals to put on the Mosaic Sailboat quilt, as a trial run before putting them on the Mosaic Lighthouse quilt, and the Simplicity Crystal Pick-Up Tool with wax tips.  I also got a frame for ribbon embroidery I plan to give my sister for her birthday. 
Then I went to Hannah’s house to get Joanna’s fabric—and by 9:00, Larry was calling, wondering where his supper was.
I’m glad I did a practice piece – the Mosaic Sailboat quilt – and it was actually good that it turned out as big as it did, because I learned something that will be quite valuable in quilting the big Mosaic Lighthouse quilt:  I must put a whole lot of tension on the top, much more than usual, or the small squares and narrow rows will become distorted, and I will wind up with a few puckers.
As for the crystals... I’m going to look back at all the pictures I took of quilts at the AQS show in Grand Rapids, Michigan, a year and a half ago.  Many of the quilts there had crystals on them, including some of those that received ribbons.  I had never seen crystals on a quilt before --- and I liked it.  I especially recall one that was of the most intricate paper-pieced, overlapping snowflakes.  It had crystals in every V of every snowflake.  The overhead lights made that quilt twinkle and sparkle.  It was done in soft blues on a white-on-white background, with graduating darker blues in the borders.  I hope the lady who made it was standing nearby at least some of the time it was on display and heard the gasps of amazement and admiration as people walked by.  Mind you, that spectacular quilt didn’t have so much as an Honorable Mention ribbon – because, of course, there were spectacular quilts in every long aisle of that huge building.
We’ll see what happens on this sailboat quilt, and, depending on how well I like it, I’ll then decide whether or not to use crystals on the lighthouse quilt.  If they don’t look so great, I can always pick them back off.  (I think.)  I do have a bad habit (especially with clothing) of continuing to add things until a suit or dress goes from tailored-looking to “Oh, you made your own dress, didn’t you” looking.  There’s a difference.  heh
When we were at that AQS show in Grand Rapids, we came upon a small quilt/wall hanging that was made of various fibers, with doodads glued and sewn on it here and there – it was a prehistoric man’s cave, with his cookware, fire, and even a bone or two from a done-et wooly mammoth, I guess.  Get this:  It had a Third Prize ribbon on it.
Larry stood there staring at it, agape.  (I surreptitiously took his picture; couldn’t resist that dumbfounded expression.)  He then turned and looked at me in amazement.  “That doesn’t look any better than my wool hunting hat, after I’ve been out hunting in the rain all day!”
hahaha  (I didn’t laugh out loud until I took a quick look around to make sure no one was listening – and then I scurried the Calicack away before someone DID hear him, because he wasn’t done yet, and I knew it.  Victoria came along behind, giggling.)
I have to say, the workmanship on that prehistoric cave piece was absolutely exquisite.  And it sort of grew on me ... each time I walked past it again (it was in a central aisle), I stopped and looked at it again, and ----
Well, actually, I just got a bit gladder that I didn’t live in a prehistoric cave and eat wooly mammoths.
And speaking of raw-edged things... quite some years ago, a friend started making doll clothes with raw edges – nothing was finished.  Not the hem, not the neckline, not the cuffs.  And people said, “Oh, how cyyyyyewwwt!”  I wondered (silently), Do they really mean that, or are they just being polite?! 
Come to think of it, I don’t mind such things now as badly as I did then; but when I see another friend’s doll clothes that are hemmed and cuffed and lined just as neatly as if they were topline attire from Whistles of Dover Street, welllllll...  I like the latter loads better, that’s all.
Some friends and I once, long ago when the world was very, very young, tried making some of those paper beads from strips of magazine paper.  That is, they made paper beads; I tried to make paper beads.  Mine looked more like gum wrappers that someone had already stuck their chewed gum into.
I’m not sure yet what I’ll do with this sailboat quilt.  I think I’ll make a wall hanging of it, and I might enter it in our county fair... maybe the state fair, if I get really ambitious.  And then... well, I might save it for Ethan.  Teddy is going to be building rooms in their walkout basement, and one will be Ethan’s.  He’ll need decorations for the walls, right?  But in the meanwhile, perhaps I’ll just hang it on my quilting studio wall, to keep it straight and unfolded.
All the above is subject to change with any given whim.
Have you been confused between the lighthouse quilt and the sailboat quilt?  Don’t worry; lots of people were.  I should’ve chosen, oh, say, a woolly mammoth, or maybe a pickup truck, for the practice quilt; then people would’ve known! 

Spring is here!  The grass is starting to turn green, and the little buds on the trees are starting to look nubby on the ends, and the maples are slightly fuzzy and maroon from tiny leaves beginning to emerge.  Birds are picking up more than seeds from the ground – they’re collecting bits and pieces of hay, old grass, tiny twigs, and cornhusks, too.  Nest-building has begun.  The daffodils and hyacinths are emerging, and soon I will remove last year’s old growth from the flowerbeds.  I leave it until danger of frost is past, to better protect bulbs and new shoots.
The surviving little trees that Larry and I planted last year are starting to look greener.  I want to buy two or three larger trees to take the place of the dead and dying trees Loren took down for us over the fall and winter.  I was sad to lose all those trees; I liked our little forest.  The pine sawyer beetles killed them.
I envy people who have bluebirds and hummingbirds.  We have bluebirds, too – but not right around our house.  I put out mealworms, and attracted the local baby opossums.  An indigo bunting landed at one of my feeders once, but the English sparrows threw a fit and ran him off.  The hummingbirds only come through as they are migrating.  I keep hoping, if I always have nectar on hand, they will decide to set up housekeeping here.  Ah, well.  We have no shortage of birds.  I just want more.
Saturday, I washed a heap of dishes (did the Russian Army eat here?!!), and then trotted downstairs and started sewing Joanna’s Easter dress.
I have no idea what I’ll wear for Easter, other than the new sweater set, scarf, and necklace Victoria got me for her senior dinner.  But my closet is chockfull, so there really shouldn’t be a problem (besides the fact that everything must be ironed, once I pry it loose from whatever it’s hanging between).
Hannah sent links to videos of Nathanael and Levi playing the piano...  another of Levi sprawled on the bench playing Day by Day with his left hand...  and one more of Levi counting money.
When the video ends, I am offered a selection of other YouTube videos:  “Because you watched that, we are sure you will like this.”  Soooo... because I watch a four-year-old counting money, Mr. Chad Hurley, Mr. Steve Chen, and Mr. Jawed Karim (founders of YouTube) assume I now want to see a tutorial on how to make no-lye soap, Dave and Becky’s ‘There Goes a Train’, a ‘Crazy Cat Compilation’, a Wisconsin basketball player having an embarrassing moment, and ‘Mean Tweets’ about President Obama.  Hmmm...  which one to choose, which one to choose...
I know, I know!  I’ll choose this ‘X’ right up here on the YouTube tab.
There.  I no longer have to decide on any of them.
Saturday night’s supper consisted of a Mediterranean vegetable mixture combined with scrambled eggs and some slices of sausage for flavor.  And we had plums for dessert.
At the grocery store one day a couple of years ago, a pretty little lady who looked to be in her 80s was coming along on a motorized scooter.  She caught up to Victoria and me... where we were all stalled out, because a flock of well-fed ladies and girls were totally clogging the aisle, regardless of shoppers on both sides of them longing piteously for safe passage through. 
The little lady looked up at us, smiled, shook her head, then said in a high, piping voice, “Where’s the horn on this thing?  Better to honk first than to just run people down without warning.”  
The entire lot of women moved.  Sorta fast, they did.
Little lady buzzed through, beckoning us on through behind her, giggling as she did so.  She winked at Victoria.  “It’s nice to be young,” she told her, “But there are advantages to being old!”
Here’s something I discovered about the taffeta I’m sewing:  because it has a heat-sensitive metallic thread running through it, ironing it with too hot an iron or using steam shrinks the metallic thread and makes the stuff look like seersucker.  (I tried it on a little corner of the leftover pieces.)  I have my iron turned way down to the wool setting – it’s a steam pressure iron with a separate reservoir – and I don’t steam the taffeta.  The nice thing about this iron is that you can adjust the temperature of the water in the reservoir separately from the temperature of the iron, so no matter how cool the iron is, you can still steam.  This way, I don’t have to switch temperatures back and forth to iron first taffeta, then steam cotton lining.  Even with very low heat, the metallic thread draws up a bit. 
“Can we all just pretend that it came that way,” I asked Hannah, “and we like it, and it’s better than ever, and everything’s hunky dory?”
She thought we could.
I finished a sleeve and trotted upstairs to refill my coffee mug.  It’s actually a great big heavy ceramic beer stein that one of the girls got at the Goodwill, not at all realizing what it was.  (I didn’t either, until Larry told me.)  

There is a beautiful picture of ducks on one side, raised-relief ducks and a pond with cattails wrapping the rest of the way around it, and ‘Ducks Unlimited’ engraved at the base.  It is really pretty.  Plus, it’s big and heavy, holds a whole lot, and keeps the coffee warm for a long time.
It was windy, windy yesterday.  In the morning as we headed out the door, the wind blew me right off the bottom step of the porch and into the flowerbed, and I escaped sitting in it by the skin of my teeth, winding up in a squat, trying hard to avoid dropping Bibles, purse, and Maria’s birthday gift (she turned 21 yesterday).  I managed to rise back to my feet, all in one piece, but with some of those pieces protesting in indignation.
I gave Maria this quilt-block apron (the block is called Fox Paws):

That afternoon I took a 45-minute nap before our evening church service.  Four hours of sleep Saturday night was not enough, and I didn’t desire to make like Rip Van Winkle during the sermon.
Once upon a time, there was an old man who kept falling asleep during church.  This was a sore embarrassment to his wife.  She lit upon what she thought the greatest deterrent she’d ever come up with:  she would put a generous smear of limburger cheese on his top lip just under his nose, the moment his eyes winked shut.  Grinning to herself, she tucked a sealed packet of the odorous stuff into her purse, and off they went to church.
Five minutes into the sermon, the old man’s eyes grew heavy and soon fell shut.  Quicker’n a wink, the old woman whipped out her little parcel, and, with a feather-light touch, applied the cheese.
The old man stirred.  But he didn’t wake up.
He muttered in his sleep.  But he didn’t wake up.
And then, to her horror, he suddenly bawled out good and loud, “Honey, getcher feet offa mah pilla!”
Kitty is sitting on my lap purring away, having just eaten some soft food.  I’ve been feeding her and Tabby together most of the time now.  It didn’t take long for them to realize this, and they seem to have synchronized their hunger pangs.
There is only one more day of March left.  I’m doing laundry as I type my journal and weekly letter.  And feeding the cats.  They eat small amounts at a time – often.
It was 72° outside, blue and sunny, so I headed out onto the back deck to hang the first load of clothes a while ago.  However, the wind is blowing at 30 mph.  I got one line filled... then tried putting a sheet on the other line – and it kept blowing wildly across the glass deck table, which is none too clean.  I moved the table as far as I could – but the wind blew harder, the sheet flapped farther, a king-sized pillowcase from the other line wrapped around my head...
Properly mummified, I gave up, brought the sheets in, and flung them into the dryer.  I may have to collect Larry’s shirts home from the neighboring woods.
My stomach growled, and it occurred to me that I had forgotten to eat breakfast.  So I had cranberry flaxseed oatmeal and a glass of milk.
Okay... over here on a kitchen chair lies a damp towel... on one side of the table are all the ingredients for cornbread... the remains of a pan of fresh and aromatic cornbread are sitting uncovered on the stove... in the middle of the table sits one of my Taste of Home cookbooks with flour liberally sprinkled over the cover... over the back of a chair lops a dark brown leather jacket... yonder lies a toppled pair of dark red patent pumps... over by the stairs door sits a basket of once-folded-now-pawed-through clothes... on the loveseat is some crocheting in progress... on the back of that same loveseat is a bag with a new striped, ruffled knit top inside... on the far loveseat arm lops a burgundy leather jacket... there’s a dryer sheet drifting across the floor... and the front door is not latched.
Whataya bet Victoria has breezed through? 
Furthermore, she’s at work, sooo... if I want her to clean up after herself, the place will look a wreck and ruin all afternoon. 
Hmmmm...  nobody is coming to visit... I have a gazillion things to do... 18-year-old daughters should pick up after themselves...  ...  ... I do believe I’ll finish the laundry, sit by the front window and type, and enjoy the birds.  Well, first I’ll put the cornbread into a bag.  I might want some later, and it’s a whole lot better moist than dried out.  (Victoria does make good cornbread.)  No sense in cutting off my nose to spite my face.
Oh!!!!  The mail lady just arrived with a box containing two books:  Log Cabin Restructured, and 500 Traditional Quilts.  Wheeeee!  I love new quilting books.  Ooooooo....  these traditional quilts are pretty.  (You can click ‘Look Inside’ on the above link for this book and see some of the photos.)  There are no patterns in the book, but most could be done without a pattern, or with instructions from Quilters’ Cache or EQ7 or suchlike.  Now I certainly don’t have time to pick up after Victoria, do I?!
I once put Caleb’s dress shoes into the freezer after tripping over them for positively the last time.
And then I forgot about them.
Sunday morning dawned.  At the last minute before time to go, there was Caleb, dashing hither and yon through the house in a harried manner.  He didn’t ask for quite some time, because of course he knew why the shoes he was in search of were missing, and who had shanghaied them, too.
I belatedly took note of his agitation, wondered momentarily – and then remembered.  Oh!!!!  And uh-oh.
I scurried to the freezer, extracted some extremely cold shoes, and sheepishly handed them over. 
Caleb stared.  He attempted to put his foot into a rock-hard shoe. 
“Warm them up with the blowdryer!” I advised, and he trotted off to do so.
Minutes later, he headed out the door to our vehicle, walking a bit stiffer than usual.
Gave new meaning to the term ‘cold feet’ that day, I did.
I never hid any poor offspring’s shoes in the freezer again. 
On the other hand, Caleb never forgot to put his good shoes away in his closet again, either.
A little English sparrow just picked up a piece of a cornhusk and tried flying with it – but what with the size of husk compared to size of bird, and the strength of the wind tallied in, she couldn’t do it.  She gave up and hunted for something smaller to tussle into her nest-in-the-works. 
One time I watched as a grackle gathered up bits of dried grass until it looked like he had a big ol’ bushy mustache.  
He turned around, hunting for more, and came beak to beak with his mate, who was so startled over his altered appearance that she jerked and bounded two feet into the air with a surprised squawk.  He peered up at her, and back down as she re-alit, obviously wondering, What gits inta them hens, anyhow?
This reminds me of the time when Black Kitty had three little kittens.  We got them some little mouse toys made of soft rabbit fur.  I opened the package... tossed the mice down – and those lively little felines immediately launched into a fast, fierce cat-and-mouse fight-to-the-finish.  Two of them grabbed the same mouse, one at the tail, one at the nose, and a terrible tug-of-war ensued.
Suddenly, tail parted from body, and kittens went tumbling in a froth of fur and mews.  The one with the tail hung onto it, grasping it in the middle, so that it drooped down comically at either side of his mouth like a prestigious little handlebar moustache. 
He turned.  His sister turned, too – and came face to face with a newcomer, never mind the fact that he smelled the same and looked the same as her very own brother, other than the ’stache. 
AAAAAAAAAAaaaaaaaAAAAAAA!!!  MEWWWW!!!!!!  Hulk Kitten, as I live and breathe!!!
POOF!!!  She turned into a miniature Halloween cat, back arched, fur sticking straight out in alarm, and wee tail twice its normal size.  She hissed, spit, and then with a thin, high-pitched shriek, she launched herself high into the air.  She alit running.  Or spinning, to be more accurate.  Her tiny paws slipped and slid on the wood floor, until she finally hooked teeny claws on the throw rug and launched herself forward.  With one last cry of sheer terror, she shot headlong under the couch, and then was silent.
Meanwhile, this splendid display shocked her brother into similar action, as he had no idea under the sun what had scared his sister out of at least one of her nine lives.  He, too, hissing and spitting (though in a somewhat muffled fashion, since he was still hanging onto the mouse tail), arched, jumped, and ran for the cover of the couch.  The third kitten followed suit.  They aren’t called ‘copycats’ for nothing.
In the darkness of the underside of the couch, the other two kittens evidently didn’t notice that their brother still sported his handlebar.  Directly, three pairs of bright eyes and three pink little noses appeared as they peered inquisitively out from under the divan, wondering if the danger had passed.
Ah, kittens.  Not many things are as entertaining as a kitten!  Add a kitten, and more than double the entertainment.
I have now remade the bed with the newly-washed sheets and pillowcases.  Mmmm... nothing like freshly laundered sheets. 
When I was a teenager, I had a waterbed.  I really liked it, and the newer, better ones we got later, after we were married, were even better.  The children had waterbeds too.  These were especially nice in the basement bedrooms, because they were so toasty warm.  Ours was quite comfortable.  It conformed to body shape, no matter which way one laid.  But there were drawbacks:  the mattress got brittle after a few years.
I once rolled over and propped myself up on my bony elbow – and said elbow broke right through the mattress, ka-POP!, immediately creating Old Faithful Geyser. 
“Get out, get out!!” I yelped at Larry, springing out myself and trying to jerk the covers and pillows off quickly before they got wet. 
Larry groggily opened his eyes and stared at me, wondering what in the world I was going on about now. 
“OUT!” I cried, and gave the covers and sheets a mighty jerk.  And he, not expecting it, neatly rolled straight out of bed and landed PLOP on the floor on the other side.
We camped out on the floor that night.  The hole was too big and the mattress too brittle to fix, and I was having a bit more trouble with arthritis and needed more support anyway, and Larry was tired of waterbeds and patch kits, so we got an excellent, long-lasting mattress from Nebraska Furniture Mart that was especially made to fit into the king-sized waterbed frame.  We still have it.  It was expensive, but has proven to have been worth the money.
I’ve now had a lunch of two soft-boiled eggs, milk, and a bowl of sliced pineapple.  Buns are rising in the oven; they should be done in time for supper.
Just because the mail lady brings a box to my door, that’s no sign that there isn’t something else in the mailbox over on Old Highway 81.  <siggghhhh...>  Every other postal person (sounds like a bad, nasty person) ...  Post person.  That’s bettah.  Every other post person we’ve had, if they must come down our lane to deliver a box, they also bring the rest of the mail.  Seems logical enough.  But not to this one.  Logic plumb evades her. 
Still, she’s a nice enough lady, despite the fact that the obvious does not occur to her.  I will not complain.  There are other things to complain about.  The less I complain, the more people will notice when I do complain. 
Now, where was I?  (“Oh!  Here I am!” she said.)  Anyway, there were a whole bunch of packages wedged into the mailbox, including skirts of Victoria’s, my Magic Opener (for small lids and tabs), and! – the lights for the underside of my HQ16 handlebar. 
The lights were the 3-pin style for the newer machines and Avanté, instead of the 1-pin style I need.  Bother!  When I ordered them, I took a light cluster out of my handles and made sure I was getting the right ones!  I looked it up at Mike’s Machine Shop to see what I’d ordered.  There it was:  four 3-pin light clusters.  Botheration!  It was me who made the mistake.  The Buy It button for the 3-pin was right by the picture of the 1-pin, and I clicked it by mistake.  Siggghhhhh...
So I stuck a check for $5 into the envelope for shipping, wrote on the receipt what I needed, taped it shut, put a new address label on it, a heap of stamps, and trotted it off to the mailbox.
It’s 9:00 p.m. now, but the sky is not quite dark.  Stars are glistening brightly, and there’s a big plane moving through the sky.  Venus is absolutely brilliant.  It’s still 60°; I only needed a sweater.  Yep, spring is here!
Larry just got home from work.  Caleb is gone this week with a crew to a big hog barn they’re pouring in Burwell, by Calamus Reservoir.  It’s the first time Maria has been home alone while Caleb was on a job. 
“Don’t worry, I have a gun!” she assured me. 
!!!!!  “Now I’m worried!” I told her, making her laugh.  “I will be sure to let you know before I come visiting.”
Bedtime!  I’ll reread and post my journal tomorrow.  I’ll gradually add posts and pages to my blogs as I have time.  You can have 100 separate blogs on one account and 20 stand-alone pages with each blog, in addition to the regular posts.  The amount you can post is infinite. 
Another thing in favor of Blogspot:  it won’t get outdated.  I should’ve just stuck with it after I first started using it.  But my former boss at our local Internet Service Provider saw me making a post – and thought she’d do me a big favor by giving me FrontPage software to start my very own website.  And of course I bought web space from her, so everybody was happy. 
Except I soon exceeded their limit on data.  I moved to BlueHost, which had no limit on data, or so they said.  But a year later, I’d exceed their data limit.  Good grief.  So then I had to wipe out a bunch of pages I’d slaved over.  With Blogspot, I won’t have that happen.
Playing with blogs is my recess – what I do ‘on break’, as it were.  When my back or neck or shoulders or hands announce, “We’re done sewing/quilting/gardening!” I sit down with my laptop, read email, news, and add something to a blog.  Or create a new blog.  You can have a hundred, after all.
However, don’t try making more than five or six new blogs in one 24-hour period!  Mr. Google will personally drag you off to Town Square and extract one toenail per extraneous blog, sans anesthetic.
Actually, that last rule is to keep spammers from overrunning Blogspot.  You’d think there’d be a better way... haven’t they ever heard of a ‘Captcha’?!  And couldn’t they at least have a message pop up that actually tells you why you aren’t being allowed to create that blog, instead of a page that says only, “This page is invalid!  For shame!  Go give alms to the poor!” 
I had to hunt far and wide before I found an explanation as to what was causing the hangup.  <grum grum grum grum grum> (in a Yosemite Sam voice)
How in the world would anyone manage a hundred blogs?  They must hire little minions to post gibberish on them now and then. 
Time for bed!  (Didn’t I already say that?)

P.S.:  The Crow Facts
Researchers for the Massachusetts Turnpike Authority found over 200 dead crows near greater Boston recently, and there was concern that they may have died from Avian Flu.
A Bird Pathologist examined the remains of all the crows, and, to everyone’s relief, confirmed the problem was definitely not Avian Flu.  The cause of death appeared to be vehicular impacts.
During the detailed analysis it was noted that varying colors of paints appeared on the bird’s beaks and claws.  By analyzing these paint residues it was determined that 98% of the crows had been killed by impact with trucks, while only 2% were killed by an impact with a car.
MTA then hired an Ornithological Behaviorist to determine if there was a cause for the disproportionate percentages of truck kills versus car kills.
He very quickly concluded the cause:  When crows eat road kill, they always have a lookout crow in a nearby tree to warn of impending danger.
They discovered that while all the lookout crows could shout “Cah”, not a single one could shout “Truck”.