Thursday, December 27, 2007

This and that...

In my November 28th post I talked about the giant egg one of our chickens gave us. I did have that egg for breakfast and when I opened it up it contained two fully developed eggs. No wonder the egg was so large. Well, in order to show balance in life, another chicken, or even the same one, gave us the smallest egg since we started to have chickens. And here is a picture of it. This egg look more like breakfast for Thumbelina.

As you can see it's just a little bigger than a quarter. Our chickens have been laying diligently, anything between 12 to about 15 eggs a day. There is no way we can eat all of them, so yesterday we dropped off over 100 eggs to the local food bank. Hopefully someone besides us can benefit from the overabundance of eggs we have.

Knitting wise, I've been slowly progressing on the Secret of Chrysopolis shawl. I am on the last part of the shawl, so it should be finished by the time the new KAL starts. I've also been using up the scrap yarn for socks and caps for newborns for Afghans for Afghanistan.

Moving: It seems that many people are abandoning their 360 blogs and setting up shop somewhere else. I've tried Multiply but found it somewhat intimidating. I liked 360; it was so user friendly and intuitive. It allowed me to learn as I went. Angie believes that Multiply is set up similar to Dreamweaver and, thus, is more technical. On top of that I am unable to transfer it over automatically. So it's cut and paste. Well, last night she surprised me big time; she's been transferring the blog, post by post, to Multiply for me. Hopefully, I'll be able to learn how to post to it eventually. I know, you've heard the same complaint over and over again -- you'd think Yahoo would be interested enough in our business to keep us up-to-date on what will replace the 360 blog format, but alas they do not seem to be interested in their 360 blog customers. Could that have something to do with ageism? Are they going after a younger audience that is more programming savvy? Then they ought to just say so.

So, you ask, are you moving your blog or not? I am continuing with 360 for now, but will duplicate posts on Multiply. May be that will allow me to learn Multiply to the point where I might actually like it. In the meantime, against all odds, Yahoo may just actually come up with a proper solution for the dilemma they have created.

So "Knit on!"

Friday, December 21, 2007

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!
Ein frohes Weihnachtsfest und ein glueckliches Neues Jahr!

Photo by Stan Honda - Rockefeller Center, New York, New York, USA
From Renate and Angie

Saturday, December 15, 2007


A few links which were of interest to me or were just plain fun. Angie's sweater will be blocking over night and so will my son-in-laws socks.
Here is a link to create your own snow globe. If I remember correctly the site is sponsored by Johnson and Johnson.

Here you'll find a marvelous scarf. It's knit in a cabled brioche stitch and is reversible.

Berroco Yarns has a group of special free patterns for little sweater ornaments.

And most important, if you have odds and ends of wool sock yarn laying around and have a little time after the holidays, Afghans for Afghans are looking for newborn socks, not preemies, just regular newborns for a shipment next year. Due date right now is February 2, 2008. They are also looking for hats and blankets, but ask that those who knit make socks and hats while those who crochet make blankets. They have certain stipulations. You'll find all the information in the link below. If you do not have a sock pattern for newborns, let me know or just "Google" for "baby socks". The first few links gave me plenty of patterns.

** Focus on Newborns Continues Through February ** Good news that CURE Hospital has asked us to continue sending wool blankets, hats, and socks for newborns! We are more than happy to fulfill this request -- knowing that knitters and crocheters love making these small gifts that are greatly needed by the most vulnerable. CURE Hospital delivers newborns every day -- more than 300 babies each month. Specific newborn campaign details are here for reference:

Our general guidelines and mailing addresses are here:

Our next due date is sometime in February. We'll announce a specific day a little bit later. (You may send in your newborn items as soon as you are ready.)

So, let us "Knit on!"

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Of Bookburnings and other mishaps

I said yesterday that living with my Aunt Emma was a story in itself. So here is one story worthy of her memory. It must have been just before the war ended, and it was obvious to everyone except "the Fuehrer" that the war was lost. Somehow Tante Emma got it into her head that she had to destroy all the books she had gotten during the Nazi regime because they all had the Swastika stamped on the inside cover. I don't know what she thought would happen if the allies came through our little Spa village, but I can assure you this symbol was not placed in the books by my aunt or her husband. There was a quiet resistance to the Nazis in our family which was never spoken about. But you knew instinctively that "Sieg Heil" was not welcome.

Now, both on my father's and my mother's side were voracious readers. Emma loved reading romance novels and collected new stacks of them after the war. On my father's side the reading was more learned and high brow which was wonderful for me; I got to read a wide spectrum of literature which was alright with me.

Anyways getting back to the books which my aunt decided to burn. I can still see the picture: My aunt and my mother standing by the coal burning kitchen stove, bickering over the strength of the fire my aunt managed to build up. The oldest telling the youngest she didn't know what she was talking about and the youngest (my mother) telling the oldest there was going to be an imminent catastrophe of an unknown nature.

And then the door bell rang:

The door was opened to welcome the visitor, and there stood the woman from the upstairs apartment, covered with soot. There had indeed been a catastrophe; my aunt had created such a fire that the kitchen stove pipe in the upstairs apartment blew out and covered the dear lady and her kitchen with soot. I think I heard later on that my aunt and mother went upstairs and helped the dear lady with the clean up.

An example of an old coal burning kitchen stove. See those round rings and the steel plate on top of it? That was split in half.

Eventually peace came and my mother and I moved back to where she and my Dad had lived before the war started. And that leads me to the second story of mishaps with coal burning kitchen stoves.
I must have been seven years old by then. I came home from school one afternoon and found my mother sitting outside the old farm house we lived in with three other families, declaring we were not going into the room which was big enough to hold the kitchen, living room and bedroom furniture since an explosion had occurred, and she was waiting for the neighbor's husband to come home from work.

Mother had picked up small wood shavings, etc. which were laying around the chopping block in the yard and started a fire to cook dinner. She was so proud of herself that she was able to scrounge up some potatoes, a little ring bologna and an egg and had made a dish called "farmer's breakfast."

But alas, after she had put the frying pan on the stove, there was a small explosion inside the stove. She apparently went towards the stove to see what was going on when a bigger explosion occurred and the frying pan landed on the ceiling and the stove top split in half. This caused her to head for the exit and then the third explosion occurred. No sirree, she was not going to go inside our living quarters even though nothing had happened in over an hour and the fire was out by then.

Well, my pal's, Seppl, dad came home and cleaned out the stove. Along with the wood scraps my mother had also picked up three empty shell casings which apparently had enough gun powder residue on them to cause the explosions. We lived with the grease ring on the ceiling and the split stove top till she finally decided that the place was not fit for a mother and her child to live in and finagled a real apartment in the city out of the city bureaucracy.

Ah childhood's adventures.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Hppy Belated Birthda!

No knitting content today. I still have one sleeve left on my daughter's "Plain Jane" sweater. I tried to jazz it up a bit on the sleeves, but she didn't go for it. I'm also attempting to finish up the Secret of Chrysopolis shawl before the New Year.

Since it's December, and after reading Joansie's blog about her aunt, I decided it's time to honor one of my aunts. She was the oldest of seven; my mother was the youngest, and one of the brothers died at Soisonne at the beginning of WWI. But Emma outlived all her siblings, and she could heal anything from a skinned knee to boyfriend trouble by simply looking at me and saying "Oh Menschle" (Oh little human). Her birthday was on Nickolaus day, December 6. She would have been 107 this December. Emma had one living daughter, whom I adored.

While we never talked about it, I once found a photo of a child who obviously had Downs Syndrome. The only time, I ever saw her flustered and angry was when I asked her who the girl was. She half yelled "Hitler took her" and there was no doubt that that was the end of the conversation for ever.

Her husband, Emil, was an inveterate, seven-days-a-week, "Spaetzle" (noodles, pasta) eater, and her home made Spaetzle were to die for. During the War (II), we lived with her for a while since we had been evacuated from the town we lived in. And that's a whole story by itself.

The building with "Cafe - Konditorei" was the family home in which my mother and all her siblings were born.

After the end of the War, Emma would get care packages from her husband's relatives who lived in the US. She would share her stash with my mother and me, by repackaging some of the food and sending it to us. That's how I learned about chocolate chips, except by the time the package arrived, someone or something had eaten most of them. When my mother complained to the Post Master, she was informed to be glad that the package arrived at all. I guess lots of people were hungry that year.

One of the forest paths I used to roam with my cousin Walter.
But, most of all, I remember my summer vacations with her. We only had a six week summer vacation, not the three months kids get in the US. But the first day of the break, I was either on the train to what I called "home" aka Aunt Emma's place when I was old enough to travel alone which was about age 8 or 9. (Talk about "child neglect"; my mother would have been locked up if I was a child today.) Before age eight, Emma's husband, Emil, would somehow engineer a trip delivering soda to a nearby distributor, so he could pick me up. Now that was an adventure, traveling in the company semi with my uncle. You see, he was working for the soda and bottled water (ala Perrier) manufacturer in Bad Teinach. Emma's one mission in life was to fatten me up during vacations. And she always succeeded.
View of Bad Teinach, Black Forest, Germany
The last time I saw Emma was at my mother's funeral. Her husband Emil had died and she was living near her daughter Lisa in an extended care facility. She was still going strong, outliving all her siblings.
Happy belated Birthday Tante Emma!
Your Menschle

Monday, December 3, 2007

Disasters...or just daily life?

I am so far behind that I'm not even catching up with myself. Today was one of those days were life "400 miles from anywhere" is trying enough that I wish for the big city. We've had our first snow fall this past weekend, including sleet, ice, rain and 6" of snow. Now I know that isn't much in comparison to New England, but when the guy with the snow plow decides not to show up, it's an awful long way to the road with just the right slant upwards at the end of the drive for the car to get stuck. And it did! Then the AAA customer rep decided that they no longer pay for such things as pulling out cars from snowdrifts. Oy weh. Luckily the tow truck operator decided that the car was stuck according to AAA rules, and they could charge them rather than me. On top of that, I need to buy four new tires for the car and Angie's car needs a new motor mount. Another "Ouch!"

And another "on top of that" is another bout of clinical depression; usually I don't have these episodes in the winter time. No Seasonal Affective Disorder for me. I came by it honestly; it was pervasive on my mother's side of the family. Sometimes I wonder why I didn't inherit my father's genes. He had lots of "happy-go-lucky" ones; enough for the two of us.

But this too shall pass.

I have been busy knitting a pair of socks for my son-in-law. It's a Gansey-type design by Monika Eckert from Klabauterwolle and the Christmas Surprise Yahoo Group (Weihnachtsgeheimnis). Unfortunately this dear man wears 11 size shoes and the 100 grams of sock yarn I had on hand aren't quite enough. The yarn is from Switzerland and the company no longer manufacturers the sock yarn. So I called the LYS owner from whom I had originally bought the yarn to see if she didn't have 50 grams hiding in her basement; alas, she hadn't. But she called the distributor and they actually had one 50 gram skein left. Whoopee! Now I am just waiting until it's delivered to the LYS. I have like 3 rows and the toes to go on the second sock.
On the needles is a sweater for Angie. It's the "Perfect Sweater from Mason-Dixon Knitting. I found it on the Internet. The back is finished and it looks like it will fit. Besides it's my kind of sweater, a back, a front and two sleeves that can be sown together. I am not the biggest fan of knitting sweaters in one piece from the top down. My personal opinion is that sewn together sweaters fit better. But that's me. I've put the shawl aside for now, so I can finish the sweater for Angie.
Let's "Knit On!"