Sarah Jane Humke

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

I (Heart) Mailman June 16, 2009

There is really nothing much better than getting real mail and the past 2 days have been most excellent for that here at The Old Chapel.  Monday I received my graduation pictures from Florida.  Still haven’t gotten my diploma yet, but that’s ok.  Anyway, I had ordered a package with four 5X7’s in it to share with the family.  I’m keeping one and the other three are going to get sent out as soon as I can get to the post office.  I also got a lovely letter from my friend Sarah Jane.  It is always just so good to get an actually snail mail letter.  Don’t get me wrong, e-mail and phone calls are nice as well but there really isn’t anything to compare to an actual hand written letter mailed to you with actual stamps.

Today, I got a package from my friend Tini in Germany.  She sent me a couple of books that she thought that I could use:

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I know, I'm such a big fan of Debbie's and I didn't have this book!

I know, I'm such a big fan of Debbie's and I didn't have this book!

She also sent CHOCOLATE!!!!

 

Always accepted into the Chapel!

Always accepted into the Chapel!

 And to top it off, she sent the note written on the back of a Tori Amos postcard.  Does this woman have my number or WHAT?!?!

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There is a package going out to her today so check out her blog to see what I sent her!

So, I did a bit of a stupid.  I sort of knit a few too many rows on my sock before I stopped to count it and now I am going to have to frog, well, a lot of rows.  Here’s what it looks like currently:

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Oh well.  Now I get to learn about frogging with knitting!

Edited later to add:

Holy crap!  There were stitch markers in that package as well!  Tini mentioned them in an e-mail and I went, “Huh?  Stitch markers?  Better go check the packaging again.” and voila! there they were!  Such a cool package!

 

Three little stitch markers sittin' in a row

Three little stitch markers sittin' in a row

 

The Graduation and Maryland Sheep and Wool Post May 11, 2009

So, I have been a very bad blogger!  Are you gonna spank me now?  Huh?  Didn’t think so.  I know that I’ve been bad but I actually have a pretty decent reason for it.  I was in the US for the past week+ and I didn’t have a whole lot of internet connection nor time to connect.  And, for the past few days I’ve been catching up on important things like sleep, laundry and all of my page-a-day calenders.  Oh, and puppy cuddling.  Lots and lots of puppy cuddling!

I'm a total lover despite my tough exterior!

I'm a total lover despite my tough exterior!

 

We even cuddle with each other at times.

We even cuddle with each other at times.

It is now all very official.  I am now an alumna of the University of Florida.  I graduated on Friday with 600+ other Ag students.  It honestly felt sort of silly.  The hat, the tassels (I had multiple since I graduated cum laude) the dressing up.  But I’m glad that I did it as it put a very serious period at the end of that sentance of my life.  

 

Out at the MREC in full regalia in the plant ID hell courtyard

Out at the MREC in full regalia in the plant ID hell courtyard

 

Out in front of the Big Sign

Out in front of the Big Sign

 

There were bagpipes.

There were bagpipes.

 

A baby gator on the Jumbotron of course.

A baby gator on the Jumbotron of course.

 

Largest class to graduate ever!

Largest class to graduate ever!

 

Me on the Jumbotron

Me on the Jumbotron

Can you tell I'm pleased?

Can you tell I'm pleased?

 

Cesar and Pam brought me flowers and drove all the way up for my graduation!

Cesar and Pam brought me flowers and drove all the way up for my graduation!

 

Diane, my advisor and friend and I.

Diane, my advisor and friend and I.

 

 

The Commencement Booklet

The Commencement Booklet

 

Proof that I was supposed to be there!

Proof that I was supposed to be there!

Prior to graduation there was my Thursday night hookers meet-up!  It was great being back with the gang again.  We got loud and we more than shut the place down.  I missed these guys even more than I knew.

 

Look at that rowdy bunch!

Look at that rowdy bunch!

 

Jessi came all the way from Sarasota for the hooking and parties!

Jessi came all the way from Sarasota for the hooking and parties!

 

David's got big, um, cameras....

David's got big, um, cameras....

After my graduation party (lots and lots of fun at my favorite restaurant with lots of my favorite people there)

(I don’t have any pictures of this just yet, still working on it)

I caught a few hours of sleep and then I caught a Southwest Airlines flight to Baltimore to go to Maryland Sheep and Wool.  Now, I probably shouldn’t compare the two sheep and wool festivals that I’ve been to of late, but I’m going to.  Maryland Sheep and Wool is always purporting to be bigger than Rhinebeck.  I personally, didn’t see it.  It seemed to be about as big as Rhinebeck and slightly more disorganized.  It was nice that it was free, but I would prefer to pay a little bit than to constantly have t-shirts shoved down my throat.  The fleeces and the food were both a great deal more expensive at the Maryland Sheep and Wool.  The sheep fleeces were going for around the same prices as the lower quality alpaca blankets were at Rhinebeck.  I’m glad that I wasn’t looking for either at Maryland.  Both festivals aren’t particullary organized when it comes to getting their shit together on the internet.  There is really no excuse for stuff going up on the web about a month prior to the festival.  Even if you have to change it later, put it up now to give people an idea to start planning around!  I thought that the facilites overall were better at Rhinebeck.  The one very big thing that Maryland has going for it was just how easy it was to get there.  I have to admit, being off a major interstate is nice.  All in all, I’m glad that I went but I won’t be all that strung out about missing it next year.  And my advise to anyone thinking of doing one of these two sheep and wool festivals is to go to Rhinebeck if you possibly can.  It is a bit of a pain to get to, but it’s so very worth it.

(The photos of this are captive on my phone.  As soon as tech support [aka the wizard] releases them from their small phone sized box I will post them)

I also hung out at Yarn Therapy night on Tuesday night with Terri and Co.  I think that I surprised her a little bit by being there:-)  It was good to get to hang out in the lovely Infusion Tea once again and get some tasty food and drink and see everybody there.  I was bad and didn’t take any photos of that night since I was having so much fun!

I got lots of presents that are seriously cool.  I’m not going to put pictures in here of them as it takes a while to upload things.  Lets just say that these made a serious dent in my suitcase space!

And I also did a fair amount of shopping while I was there.  The Micheals, JoAnns, Hobby Lobby and Sip and Knit were all calling loudly while I was home.  “Sarah!  Sarah!  We have lots of new clearance/sale items/new stuff to check out!  Come visit as soon as possible!”  Then there was the Target and Barnes and Noble voices that were more like the families with bull horns at graduation.  Barnes and Noble was especially bad since I had gotten several gift cards as graduation gifts.

Now I am home and starting on a new adventure.  Catch the next post to find out what it is…..

 

Fully Caffeinated April 28, 2009

I am fully caffeinated for the first time in about 2 months.  Yesterday, I went out and filled big blue (my trusty 52 ounce insulated mug) up with flourecent yellow Mountain Dew goodness and ice and drank deeply.  It was oh so good.  I think that I finally understand serious drug addiction.  So, I was slurping on this as I went, well, shopping and errand running.  First I went here,  then I spent a great deal of time just breathing in the crafty fumes here.   A lot of time and a fair amount of money here, and I finished with meandering around here.  I then went back to the house and worked on a few things and then went over to Cesar and Pam’s house for dinner and to meet the newest member of their family.  His name is Sydney and he is a greyhound that they just adopted a few weeks ago.  He’s such a doll that I totally forgot to take a picture of him even though I had my camera right beside me the entire night.  

Today has been more errand running.  In fact, I think that a LOT of what I am going to be doing here until my graduation is just that, running errands.  Today I took Willma the cat to the vet for her health certificate.  I then went to Mt. Dora to finalize the plans for the graduation party.  Then I just was sort of all over Orlando getting this and checking that out.  Nothing all that exciting to tell you the truth, though it is the first time I’ve actually been hot without walking at least a mile in a while, so that was sort of exciting.  Currently I’m sitting in Infusion Tea waiting for Yarn Therapy night to start.  There is no internet at the house so it was easier for me to come here to do the blog than it was to, well, do it anywhere else.

It’s good to be, but sort of confusing at the same time.  I keep turning on the windshield wipers rather than the turn signal as they are on different sides on the different sides of the Atlantic.  I’m home, but I’m not.  Only Willma is in the house to greet me and she’s sort of manic from 2 months of infrequent visitors.  I am probably going to get some crap for this, but I think that I prefer the weather in the UK to that of Florida.  Yes, you read that right, I like the weather in England better than here in Florida.  It’s just so oppressively hot here.  It makes it difficult to do anything outside besides shuttling from your car to the building and back.  

I promise that I will take some pictures for y’all tonight and tomorrow.  Oh, and hopefully have something more interesting to say than “I went shopping”.

 

Bluebells and Blueballs April 25, 2009

Ok, so I am not going to say anything about blueballs, I just couldn’t stand not using it.  I accidentally typed in blueballs the first time I tried to type bluebells.  What can I say, that’s where my mind goes!  So, I’m sorry if you found this post hoping for a cure for blueballs or thinking that it was a porn site of some ilk.  No porn here unless you get off on yarny and flowery stuff!

Today the hubby and I went to Leighton Buzzard.  Saturday is market day and the LB market is a tad bigger than the Tring one.  Since I am leaving in a day, there were also some supplies that we needed to pick-up.  The hubby was nice in taking a couple of photos of the market for me.  It’s really hard to get the entire feel for the place since it is down both sides of a street and there are lots of folks wandering around.  We were both wishing that there was some way to record some audio as the sound of it was really cool.  The vegetable sellers trying too woo shoppers in at the top of their voices with deals that change by the minute, the music coming from some sellers stalls and the general din of a market day.

 

Leighton Buzzard Market

Leighton Buzzard Market

 

Lots of spring plants for sale

Lots of spring plants for sale

We went home and dropped off the things that we had picked up and loaded the dogs into the car and off we went again.  This time to the top of the Beacon for a look around.  First we stopped and got some pictures of the fields of rapeseed blooming on the hills.

 

Is this not the coolest commute view you've ever seen?

Is this not the coolest commute view you've ever seen?

 

What an amazing day!

What an amazing day!

Then we meandered on up the hill, huffing and puffing much to the amusement I am sure to the much more fit Brits on the path around us.  Hell, even the dogs weren’t winded!

 

The Whipsnade Lion in all of it's glory.

The Whipsnade Lion in all of it's glory.

Sitting enjoying the view.

Sitting enjoying the view.

 

Ivinghoe Aston from above

Ivinghoe Aston from above

From there is was just a short drive to the closest bluebell walk.

 

Is this not REALLY cool?!?!

Is this not REALLY cool?!?!

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It smelled as good as it looked as bluebells are in the same family as hyacinths.  It sort of smelled like being in a room where some laundry was drying that had been washed with some very posh washing soap.

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The dogs behaved the best that they have towards other people and even other dogs that they have, well, ever.  It was sort of amazing, they just walked right on by people not paying them the least attention.  Normally, Meara wants to KILL! KILL! KILL! everyone, especially if they have a penis.

Tomorrow I fly to the US for my graduation and then on to Maryland Sheep and Wool.  Oooooo, Maryland Sheep and Wool…….

P.S.  Here’s a little teaser for a finished object that I just got done today…

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Goodies! April 24, 2009

Today I got this package delivered to me.

 

Milo MUST inspect all packages upon entrance to the chapel

Milo MUST inspect all packages upon entrance to the chapel!

 

It is from the British Wool Marketing Board.  I placed an order with them for both some posters and some wool for spinning.  Today, I got my posters, as well as a few other goodies.  I ordered the posters to help decorate my attic yarn area.  A chandelier just doesn’t do it all for me you know.  Anyway, I got the British Sheep Breeds poster, a bunch of the posters of individual breeds and a rare breeds poster.

 

(did you really think that I would unroll them with Milo around?)

(did you really think that I would unroll them with Milo around?)

 

They sent along a bunch of the fact sheets about processing the wool as well as about some individual breeds of sheep.  They also sent me a cute bookmark and a calendar for this year as well as a booklet on British Wool for Handknitting.

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Sorry about the flash splotch.  Trust me, the ram is plenty handsome!

Sorry about the flash splotch. Trust me, the ram is plenty handsome!

 

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The fleece hasn’t come yet and there was a nice note enclosed in the package saying that she wasn’t sure when that part of the order was going to be processed so she sent out this part first.  I love getting things in the mail.  In fact, I know of few people who don’t enjoy that.  Well, the exception may be my dogs, who hate the mailman and any delivery folk with a vengence that is usually reserved for rapists and people who have a full cart in the 10 items or less line at the grocery store.  

Today was market day in Tring and since I missed it last week, I was determined not to miss it today.  I’m glad that I didn’t as the plant and flower sellers had streptocarpus for sale.  I adore these plants as they are related to the African Violets that I enjoy so much.  These plants were quite nice looking and reasonably priced so I got one of each kind that they had.

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I somehow mentioned to the seller that I collected African Violets and he said that he would bring a bunch of “unusual” ones for me the next time that I was there (I had mentioned that I was going to be in the US the next week).  When I told the hubby of this on the phone he groaned and said that the whole house was going to be full of plants before he knew it.  Well, what did he expect when he married a horticulturalist?  I mean really, it would be like marrying a photographer and not having any pictures on your wall!  But it did get me to looking around and I realized that we have an awful lot of plants blooming around the house (and that isn’t counting outside!).  

 

The little lemon tree.  Doesn't look like much but the flowers perfume the entire lower level of the house.

The little lemon tree. Doesn't look like much but the flowers perfume the entire lower level of the house.

A gardenia plant

A gardenia plant

 

Stephanotis in bloom

Stephanotis in bloom

Bose soundock with blooms

Bose soundock with blooms

 

The upstairs landing

The upstairs landing

 

 

 

Yesterday I ventured out to Milton Keynes as I knew that a lot of my yarny magazines were on sale by now and I needed more potting compost.  I went to Hobbycraft to get some yarn for a gift and then across the road to Borders for the magazines.  I sort of fell off the wagon and got a couple of books as well.  One is Loop-d-Loop Crochet, which I had wanted for a while and, well, just couldn’t resist anymore.  It isn’t any cheaper in the US so I just got it.  The other book that I picked-up was Knit Knit which had also been on my want list for a while.  Right now with the exchange rate the way it is, books that were priced when the rate was 2 to 1 are actually a bit cheaper here in the UK than in the US.  This is unusual and I am going to take advantage of it:-)

I am getting ready for my trip to Florida.  I have my graduation dress all ready.  It was nice as I had shoes that matched it perfectly already in my closet.  I’m trying to get the house ready for us to be gone a week.  I have been busy potting up plants so that they don’t dry out as often as they would if left in their little pots.  Right before I leave I am going to move all of the houseplants downstairs so that they are centrally located for watering purposes.  

I also made banana bars this week that I am very proud of for how they turned out given the fact that I had no time nor temperature to work with.  Also, going from a standard oven to one that is convection.  I think that they turned out ok:-)

 

Yum!

Yum!

 

Perfection!

Perfection!

 

A day in the life April 22, 2009

This week I started a project journal.  I want to be able to look back and see what it was that I made and what kind of yarn it was and where this object ended-up.  Since nearly all of my projects are given away, this is a thing to track.  I have my “things I’ve made” bit up in Ravelry, but pixals just aren’t the same as having samples of the yarn stuck in it.  We’ll see if it sticks.  I’d like to have something to pass down to my children’s children (and since I have no children at this point I guess I’m being optimistic!) to show what I worked on that is written in my own hand.  One of the things that I have always had a problem with in regards to computers is that you only can hear my voice, not see it too.  I remember the first time that I came to England.  My mother had the travel journal that my Grandmother had made as a teenager on her first trip here in the very early 20’s.  Reading her thoughts on England in her crisp teenaged hand was a different experience than had it been typed up.  This is part of the reason that I like writing letters so much.  They become a part of the history.  It just isn’t as nice to dig up old e-mails to re-read them as it is to pull a letter out of a trunk or a bundle tied with ribbon.

The weather here has been fantastic this week.  Today I went outside and planted my 3 tomato plants in very large clay pots in the courtyard.  I need to get all of my little plants planted before we go back to Florida for my graduation as I don’t want whoever is looking in on the cats to have to spend a ton of time watering.  Hopefully, it will rain the entire time that we are gone!

 I also finished crocheting the flowers for the commissioned blanket.  I may actually finish these things in the time left for me!

 

Casa la Puppy and the American Curiosity April 21, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — Sarah Jane Humke @ 1:16 pm
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Today I found the local boarding kennel.  I say the as there is only one that is, what I would call, nearby.  It’s in a small village (about the same size as Ivinghoe Aston) called Horton.  Every time we drive through it I think or say, “Horton hears a what!!!?!?!“.  It’s an illness, I really can’t help it.  I am however really glad to have found a reasonably priced place that seems nicer than some hotels I’ve stayed in in the past.  One in Washington DC stands out in particular.  It was a Days Inn and the carpets were sticky!  Sticky carpets!  And that was just the beginning, but I’m not going to go into it.  I wouldn’t make my dogs stay in a place like that hotel room.  Anyway, this kennel is great and I hope that the girls are as pleased being there as I am to have found it.

Today we also had a visit from the electrician.  He fixed a few small issues that we had quickly and in a professional manner.  However, the curiosity in the house was not the dogs trying to nip at his ankles rather, well, me.  He had never met an American and had several questions for me.  One of them was, “Are you really scared of gun violence like they say on the TV?”  It was sort of a hard question to answer honestly.  Here you so very seldom hear of people getting shot that it is a big, huge deal when someone does.  I had to answer him with a qualified, “Sometimes.”  I mean, there are areas of the little town of Apopka that I wouldn’t drive down after dark if I could avoid it.  There are parts of Orlando that I was nervous traveling through even at noon on a Tuesday.  He then asked if guns were as common as they seemed and I had to answer yes once again.  Here, most farmers have a gun for killing varmints and possibly livestock if they are needing to be put down.  There are some people that have guns for hunting but there are very few guns that fall into the “self security” or “people hunting” guns.  It is so non-gun here that they are actually trying to make it so that no-one under 18 can buy a knife (as that is how thugs here try to kill each other).  Coming from a place where 12 year-olds have guns, the idea that knives were restricted sort of blew my mind.  

I’m really starting to look forward to coming back to Florida.  The list of things that I want to pick-up is both long and eccentric.  Just a sampling of the list: Magic Erasers, Squeegee from Target, Fabric from JoAnn’s, Chocolate Chip (seriously, there aren’t fraking chocolate chips here!), Good Ice Cube trays, a pounder bag of M&M’s (they only sell them in little bags here), snack sized plastic baggies (the plastic baggy culture is about as developed as their yarn store culture) and cardboard cat scratchers from IKEA for the cats (as the IKEA here doesn’t carry them!).  Another thing that I would add to that list if it wasn’t so damn heavy is Tidy Cats cat litter for multiple cats.  I would never have imagined the dearth of affordable cat litter options here.  Had I, the whole damn back-end of that container would’ve been a big yellow wall of cat litter buckets!