Monday, April 21, 2014

Our Easter Tribble

While this Easter season finds most families searching out fuzzy, yellow chicks or long-eared rabbits, we've opted for a tribble.* 

Serious discussion regarding new animals to our Homestead began several months ago.  My daughter has been championing for a horse for the past six years, but my son would prefer a squirrel.  My husband, Hank, tends to lean towards the more exotic fish and reptiles.  I have always maintained furry and cuddly as my highest priorities (and yes, sheep qualify).   So imagine my surprise when Hank walked through the door last night with this little guy, quietly nestled in the crook of his arm.  "I went to the pet store looking for a beta!" were the first words out of his mouth.

This was the immediate response.

The only bonafide farm animal that is noticeably lacking on our Homestead is, in fact, a horse.  And Hank turns into a big softee whenever it comes to our daughter.  So naturally, the animal talk revolved mostly around the how and when of getting a horse.  Hank has been bombarding my inbox with emails linking me back to craigslist posts for horses, ponies and even miniature donkeys.  But now I realize that it was the classic bait and switch.  Slowly I was bracing for the large-scale commitment of a horse which made my acceptance of this small, unassuming guinea pig almost a guarantee.

Admittedly Mr. Tribble, as he's been named, does meet my requirements of fuzzy and cuddly.  He's quiet and stays put.  Perhaps most importantly he's distracting my daughter from the whole horse conundrum.  I've been okay with taking on all sorts of farm animals over the years (chickens, sheep, ducks, turkeys, geese, steers, pigs), but horses are intimidating because I have no experience with them whatsoever.  Intimidating and expensive.  And they live forever!

So perhaps I can stall on the horse for a few months months yet.  Shouldn't we wait at least until the pastures come in?  And maybe after lambing?  And after shearing (I could keep up this line of defense forever)?  In the meantime, the kids are thrilled with Mr. Tribble.  They were even up early before school to pet and feed him.  Boy, do they feed him!  So Hank did good, even if it was a complete surprise.  I suppose it's only fair considering how many kittens I've brought home without consulting him first. 

* And in case you're not a Star Trek fan, a tribble is a faceless, fuzzball alien critter from a classic episode entitle "The Trouble with Tribbles."

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Retro Restyle: Felix and Val's

This past winter I scored a fabulous wool club jacket at an estate sale.  It was dirty and moth-eaten and my husband couldn't believe I actual put it on to take these photos, but the embroidery on the back was too cool!  Felix and Val!  Well, that's almost as slick sounding as Lenny and Squiggy! 

Hoffman Construction Co.
On the front of the jacket was a large patch advertising the Hoffman Construction Company.  After a little online research, I found that they were started before the turn of the century and based in Appleton, Wisconsin.  So why was Wausau listed on the patch as well?  Did Felix and Val own a local branch office of Hoffman's?  Like a lumberyard?  I immediately sent an email off to the company to find out.  

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Spring means dirt!

Well, guess what happens when one - just one - temperate day comes to Wisconsin?  One measly day above average, lost is a season of sustained twenty degrees below average?  You guessed it.  Spring Fever.  We finally hit 40 degrees yesterday, and the first thought in my mind was of that wilting houseplant languishing in the dark stairwell.  I whisked it away, presented it to the clear, sunny out-of-doors and proceeded to dig in the dirt. 

Friday, February 21, 2014

Krusty Korn(bread) Kobs

WagnerWare Krusty Korn Kob mold

I love cornbread.  I have a shirt that says so.  And when the wind comes a'whipping across the fields, nothing goes better with that simmering pot of chili than hot, buttered cornbread.  Several years ago I had the good fortune to find a Krusty Korn Kob cast iron mold at a car show swap meet.  It was indeed very crusty, rusty and generally the sort of thing you only picked up with two fingers. Once the years of use were removed via my husband's sandblaster, I found quite a lot of writing on the backside.  It reads "Junior Krusty Korn Kobs Reg. in U.S. Pat. Off. Wagner Ware Sidney OH Pat'd July 6, 1920."  It hangs above my stove, and the kids whoop for joy when they see it missing.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

The Shepherdess in Winter

No matter the weather, the Shepherdess is on duty.  Might as well make it fashionable! 

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Knit for Victory Challenge: My entry

I'm coming in just under the wire here for the knit-along over at By Gum By Golly.  The Knit for Victory challenge started before Christmas, but mercifully we have until the end of January to finish up.  I chose a small project that had been floating around in my head for a while, but the story of this simple piece is a bit convoluted so I'll explain.

Two years ago I purchased a fabulous coral-colored coat and made a simple tie-on hat to match.  Details are over at the Hometown Victory Girl blog (here). Well, I've worn that hat to death and decided that I needed more. 

Enter a pair of alpaca gloves from my wonderful husband.  Warm and gorgeous, I decided to make a jacket to match.  So this past Fall I restyled a 1960s wool shift dress into a bell-sleeved jacket (here).  The gloves were great with the jacket, but (you guessed it) I wanted a hat.  Enter this knitting challenge! 

Monday, January 27, 2014

The Magic of the Swants

Have you heard about swants?!  The can't-help-but-stare, gotta-try-for-myself trend coming out of Europe?!  Born from his sheer love of sweaters, Stephen West, of Westknits, is the mastermind behind this recent trend. Originally hailing from Oklahoma, Stephen currently lives in Amsterdam, and I suspect the change in scenery really affected his creative arts.  He has written three knitting books, offers patterns on his website (some free, too!), and heads up a FunSquad that hosts online knit-alongs.  Talk about building your passion into an enterprise!  But enough about his business savy, let's talk swants.

Quite simply, swants combine two of my most favorite things: (1) a restyle project involving (2) sweaters.  I had to be part of this movement.  And I'm not kidding when I say movement.  Swants were showcased on Good Morning America shortly before Christmas (if that's any barometer on cool).  I have never been so trendy as I am in this moment.