Sarah Jane Humke

The life of a traveling, reading, writing, spining and knitting shepherdess.

OMG!!! February 8, 2012

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We’re FAMOUS!!!!!!


(Thanks to Tini for pointing this out for us.  This particular picture has really made the rounds.  I guess we really DO look happy [we were practically wallowing in fleece, how could we not be!])


Walking the dogs May 9, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — Sarah Jane Humke @ 5:25 pm
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We live in a lovely place that gives us the opportunity to take our dogs for a walk every day in wonderful field up the road.  Every day I see things that I wish I were a better photographer to be able to capture.  Today was the swallows.  They may have been back for a while, but I’ve not noticed them in the field before today.  Mal likes to try to chase them as they fly low, skimming over the top of the grass in their search for insects.

While I didn’t get any photos of the swallows, I did get some of the slower moving dogs.  First is Meara, lagging behind probably looking for something stinky to roll in.

The grass is already getting deep, to the point that we are starting to worry about losing Weezy in it.  She doesn’t fret about it but we do when we suddenly can’t see her anywhere.  Here she is in some grass that is just about as tall as she is.

Malcolm doesn’t really mind the grass getting taller, though it does tend to make his run more bouncy as he leaps through it.

Here’s hoping that your day was as beautiful as ours was!


May Day May 5, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — Sarah Jane Humke @ 11:35 am
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On the first we went to nearby Aldbury for their May Day celebration.  It seemed that a lot of the things going on in it were to support the local primary school, so there were lots and lots of small children around, thus we didn’t stay very long.  It’s not that I have anything against children, I really don’t, but if I want to get my face painted I’ll do it at home with chocolate:-)  Anyway, here are a few photos that are mostly of the village that we caught before we left (it was too crowded in the celebrations to get any good photos).


Travel Tips and Hints March 27, 2011

So, I travel a fair amount.  More than some, less than others.  I almost always travel for leisure, in fact I think that I have only ever been on one business trip ever!  Anyway, I’ve decided to compile this list of tips and tricks that I have learned so that you don’t have to!  If you have a great travel tip, please let everyone know about it in the comments section!

Things to Pack

*Travel Panties (and socks):  When you have worn-out panties (or socks) that have holes in them, or worn-out elastic, or whatever, set them aside.  I quite often toss them in the empty suitcase.  When you travel the next time, just throw them away after you have worn them.  It’s not a lot of weight or space, but it does keep you from having to haul back dirty underwear (and socks).

*Thrift store clothes:  Buy some clothes at a local thrift store in your size (and that you would actually wear).  When you are done wearing them, leave them at the hotel on the bed, preferably with a note saying (in the local language) that whoever would like these clothes can have them.  This saves a LOT of space on the way back if you are a big shopper.  It is especially good for jeans, sweaters, sweatshirts, bulky items that take up a lot of space in a suitcase.

*Soak sample packs:  This is a great rinse-less delicates wash that can be really useful when on the go.  It’s sold in little sample packs that are great for one or two loads if you don’t do the whole “travel panties” thing.

*Shout travel wipes or tide pen: Cause it’s easier to treat stains now rather than later.

*Purex 3-in-1 laundry sheets:  My mom found these before our big Alaska trip and they work great. If you are going to be on a longer trip where you are going to be doing laundry, these are the ticket!  You just toss one of the sheets in and it has the detergent, fabric softener and anti-static for the load already embedded in sheet.  Genius!  No more detergent getting spilled and making a mess of the car!

*No Whites:  This one I got from my friend Malin at KC last year.  Don’t pack any whites, then you don’t have to do a load of whites!  So simple yet so easily not thought of!

*You get what you pay for:  If you are going to be doing a LOT of traveling, invest in a good bag for goodness sake!  The Hubby’s folks bought him a good TravelPro roll-aboard a few years before we were married.  If that bag got frequent flier miles, it would be in the pilots seat!  It’s still in really good shape, you couldn’t tell that it’s over 6 years old at this point (and used to get lived out-of for probably 45 weeks of the year for years!).  I also have a TravelPro and am really pleased with it.  Another bag that I have that has stood the test of time really well is a Boyt bag that my mother gave me when I was 12.  You read that right, 12.  It still looks really new.  If you are going to travel any significant amount, just get a good bag.  If nothing else, it’s better than shleping a busted bag around a foreign city! (Ask me how I know that one:-))  Another bag company that we’ve really liked is Reisenthel.

*Personal Med Kit:  Take a zippered bag and put in it a selection of OTC drugs for sicknesses that you get.  I get sinus infections, thus I have a sheet of Sudafed pills in mine.  Also, antacids, sleeping pills, ibuprofen, etc.  I also throw in a little tiny sewing kit for good measure.  It sucks to get sick when you are traveling.  It really sucks if you can’t get any meds.  A few packs of pills are light and will save your bacon if you do get ill!

*A light wrap: I usually carry a light pashmina-type wrap with me on the airplane.  It can be used as a scarf sure, but it is great as a little blanket if you get chilly.  Plus they are usually really light.

*Underwear, Socks and toothpaste:  Put a pair of socks a pair of underwear and your toothbrush and paste in your carry-on.  If your bag gets lost, you’ll thank me!

*Print-outs:  Print out the details of hotels, flights, etc that you have booked prior to your trip.  You may not be able to easily get to the info on your computer or smartphone once you get in the cab from the airport…  Also, a copy of the front page of your passport is a good thing to have on hand in case it gets stolen or lost.

*TP: I always carry a little plastic clam-shell that contains a mini-roll of TP.  It’s Charmin to go, but other companies do similar things.   It’s saved my ass many a time! (Yes, pun intended!)

*Plastic Baggies: Just throw a few extra Ziplocs in the suitcase when you leave.  I really love the Jumbo Hefty zipper bags (2.5 gallon!!).  They are good for putting that bottle of exotic booze, perfume, or whatever it is that you want into.  I’ve saved myself a damaged suitcase and clothes many, many times by doing this.  They don’t take any space, and when you get home, just leave them in the suitcase for the next trip!

*A flashlight:  This one I’m a little OCD about.  I usually have 2 or 3 of them in my purse on a normal day (including a headlamp, yes I know I am a serious dork!).  As good as the LED technology is now, there is no excuse not to have at least a little key chain light in your bag.  This is more for safety than anything, dark streets, dark hotel rooms are all a great way to trip and fall.  In a power outage, you’ll be the most popular person around!

*A Collapsible shopping bag:  Handy to have when you hit the markets in a new city.  Carrying a crappy, ripping plastic bag with something breakable in it as you are sightseeing around a city is NO FUN.

*Scale: If you are staying at a hotel while you are traveling, a luggage scale can save you a lot of money at the airport.  Especially if you like to shop:-)

*Earplugs: Screaming baby + 6 hour flight.  You’ll thank me!

(I know that this sounds like a ton of stuff, but most of it is quite small and a lot of it you wouldn’t take on every trip.)


*Hotel: Take a matchbook, business card, whatever with you when you leave the hotel.  If the crap hits the fan and you cannot, for whatever reason, remember where you are staying (believe it or not, it’s easy to happen) you have a name and address.  However, do not keep it in the same place as your room key in case of pick-pockets.

*Carry-on packing: Remember to pack for how long you are going to be traveling for.  A flight of a couple of hours doesn’t need as much stuff to keep you entertained as an over-seas flight.  Don’t pack 3 books, a 2 knitting projects and a selection of magazines for a 2 hour flight!!!

*Allergies: If you have an allergy, make sure that your travel companions know about it.  If you are unconscious in a foreign hospital, you want someone other than you knowing that you are allergic to morphine.

*Sleep:  If you don’t sleep well on planes (I don’t) , don’t try to force yourself with sleeping pills unless you absolutely have a serious meeting the next morning.  Otherwise you will end-up cranky and feeling unwell.

*Sleep Part II: Take a 3 hour nap after a red-eye flight then get up and have a full day.  Your clock will be pretty much reset.

*Driving: Don’t drive in the UK if you’ve taken the red-eye and have never driven here before.  It’s dangerous.  Trust me.  I would be wary of driving in Europe in general (cannot say for anywhere other than N. America and Europe) as the laws are quite a bit different from the US.  Spend a day on foot or public transit before hitting the road.

Tips for Knitters

*Needles on Airplanes:  You can, you can’t…. who the heck knows?!?!?  Here in the UK it is different from airport to airport and even airline to airline in the same airport.  So, take your knitting, but don’t take your favorite needles, don’t take metal needles and don’t make a big deal of it.

*Don’t take big, long, straight needles.  They freak people out.  Take dpn’s or circulars.

*Leave the knitting in the bag during take-off and landing.  That sometimes freaks out the flight attendants.  I think that they are afraid that you will stab yourself if there is an accident during take-off.

*Have knitting on the needles when you go through security.  That makes them freak out less:-)

*If you are really worried about having needles taken away, put them in with a bunch of pens and pencils.  They look more or less the same.

*Only carry-on the needles that you need for the project.  Put the rest of them in your checked-baggage.

*If you’re still really nervous about knitting on the plane, take up crochet!


Please feel free to add your favorite travel tips and hints in the comments!  I’ll hopefully blog tomorrow about Amsterdam…..


A Sunny Day March 19, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — Sarah Jane Humke @ 6:24 pm
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Today was absolutely beautiful here.  It was one of those days that reminds me why I moved to this often grey and rainy island in the first place.  To take advantage of the lovely weather we went for a family walk.

Malcolm loves to run in the field:

Weezy was doing her best modeling pose:

There was lots to sniff…

…and paths not taken.

Even Meara came out, though she clearly longed for home.

There were puppy paws on picnic tables…

…and little wet noses in the sunshine.

Malcolm loved rolling in the green, green grass…

…and then playing with his girlfriend Kali.

After Kali passed on by, Malcolm came upon Harris, another doggie friend.

Kali caught back up with us, a Frisbee was added, and much fun (and panting) was had by all!

A very good walk indeed!


2nd socks and dog pee… January 21, 2011

Since I am pretty sure that she doesn’t read this (at least not in anything close to real-time) due to having an extremely active toddler in the house, I feel that I can post pictures of these without any major repercussions.  It might even be a good thing given how the UK and US postal services have done me this season*.  I will put pictures of her presents up and then I can point to it when she never gets it and say, “this is what you were going to be getting!”  Anyway, this is a long-winded way of saying that I have finished another pair of socks!  Yea!  Considering that the first pair took me nearly a year to complete, this is moving along quite a lot faster with only about a week for this pair!  They would have been done faster, but I kept having gauge issues for some reason on the second sock.  It kept ending-up significantly smaller than the first one.  Perhaps I was more stressed?  Anyway, here they are (and don’t worry Sarah [if you are in fact reading this], I washed them after modeling them!).

See! Proof that I washed them!

Pink Socks

Yarn: Wetterhoff Sivilla, 30% Silk, 70% Wool.  From my Finnish friends:-)

Pattern: Sock Recipie: A Good, Plain Sock by Stephanie Pearl-McPhee except for the cuff which is the Prestige Cuff from SWTC Socks a la Carte.

Since finishing the socks I decided to plug away on my sock yarn blanket for a bit.  No photos as it is only a little larger than it was the last time I photographed it, but it is still taking up some time.

I know, I’m just soooooo exciting.

Part of the reason that I am sooooo exciting of late is the dogsitting that I am doing.  It makes it rather difficult to just hop in the car and go somewhere more involved than going to Tesco for groceries.  There are feeding schedules and all sorts of stuff to deal with, not to mention a lovelorn Malcolm whining a LOT because Kali won’t… well, I’m not sure what exactly he wants her to do (they are both responsible pets if-you-know-what-I-mean) but she doesn’t do it while in the house.  Because there are new animals in the house there has been jealousy pees and lots of barking whenever anything happens.  It’s been exasperating to say the least because all of these animals have known each other for years!!!

There you have it, a brief look into the über boring life of mine.

*I mailed seven packages to the US (various parts) on the 20th of December.  I knew that they weren’t going to get there by Christmas, so I used the post type that the postmistress said could take up to 2 weeks to get there.  They are still not there, not a single one of them has been delivered as of today.  {Note to self: Try slightly faster shipping method next time so that they will get gifts in same season at least.}


Favorite things December 31, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — Sarah Jane Humke @ 12:52 pm
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So, it’s been a few weeks since I last wrote for you my faithful readers.  I’m sure that you have also been busy with the holiday season so I hope that you don’t hold it against me too terribly much.  I’ve had an interesting holiday season working in the department store.  All I can say is that it makes me more glad than ever that I usually do all of my Christmas shopping super early.  And for all of you out there let me tell you something.  If you are rude to a store clerk, we will find ways to pay you back!  (this makes me really not to be rude to wait staff as they have control over FOOD!!!!)

However, overall, it has been an uneventful Christmas.  I got lots and lots of goodies and wanted to share a few of my favorites with y’all.

First up is this gem from my husband.  We’ve been talking about getting one of these since, oh, well…. March.  But, better late than never!

(Water Butt)

This is, what they call here, a water butt otherwise known as a rain barrel to my US friends.  Really, these make so much sense here that I find it hard to understand why everyone doesn’t have one!  The water that comes out of the tap here is loaded with calcium which makes it so that my indoor plants get that lovely crusty white stuff on the soil surface and on the pots.  This crust isn’t just unsightly, it is also in the end, harmful to the plants.  By collecting rainwater, I am hoping to avoid the whole darn issue!  Oh, yeah, and save water, always a nice thing!

Another thing that we got this Christmas was sort of a present from the hubby and I to each other.  We got a new bed.  It is a UK sized “King” which is more or less a “Queen” in the US.  We went to IKEA and each of us got a different mattress given that we both have different firmness requirements when it comes to a good nights sleep.

(photo of bed)

I also got a stand mixer to facilitate all of my making of cookies and baked goods.  The hubby and I went on a baking spree right before Christmas so that we could share yummies with the neighbors and friends around us (helps to solve the “what are we going to get the neighbors” issue rather well!  Anyway, I’m sure that it will get lots of use, just not in the month of January as my neighbors have all said, “no more!” for a little bit as they are all having trouble getting their pants (I mean trousers) fastened!

Stand Mixer

We got lots of lovely gifts from all over.  My mom sent a great care package with Campbell’s cream of mushroom soup (can’t find it over here) French’s onions (ditto) and chocolate chips (can find but not quite the same and way more expensive).  I got lots of books and a wonderful gift certificate to the pub and other fun gifts, all in all it was a very fun and relaxed holiday.

Part of the fun of it was that it was the first time that I have had a white Christmas where I was actually living.  This isn’t a totally good thing as British drivers do not know how to drive in snowy/icy conditions! One night it took me about 2.5 hours to get home from work.  It normally takes about a half an hour.  It wasn’t really the road conditions that were the issue rather the other drivers on the road and a plethora of accidents littering the main roads.  But, as long as I’m not needing to be anywhere, the snow is fun and really, really pretty.

This is more or less what the whole neighborhood looked like!

Malcolm, the new dog, really loved the snow.  He would go outside just to play in it, which got old for those of us who were letting him in and out all of the time!

And then after all of this playing and running we get a much needed rest…

I hope that all of you have a wonderful evening and a fantastic 2010!