Sunday, June 29, 2014

Stormy Weather

I live in Minnesota and we have some pretty crazy weather here. This past winter was one of the coldest and most miserable.  This June we are full of floods and heavy rain, and it looks like we are going to have our wettest June in recorded history.

Last night after yet another round of heavy rain blew through we had the most amazing pink sunset and this huge Rainbow was out in the sky. It was actually a double rainbow - hard to see the second one in these pictures - but it was just amazing. I stood outside, swatting mosquitoes the size of dump trucks, and tried to capture the magic on my camera. It was so pretty!

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

The Monarch Butterfly

FINALLY I have gotten to do a little gardening. Not much  - lack of funds and lack of time and too much rain have made it a challenge, but I have added a few things and made myself happy with how things are looking. I was popping some flowers in my bird-bath garden and found a few monarch caterpillars on the milkweed. Nice to have the garden support butterflies AND birds. And since the milkweed showed up courtesy of the birds - it's kind of cool. Circle of life and all that.

All the rain means we have lots of REALLY big mushrooms in our yard right now. We have lots of varieties and they are all over the place. They seem to pop up over night and you can see them from inside the house. They are big and I wonder if smurfs will show up next?

So nice to be out in the yard again!

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Shepherd's Harvest Festival 2014

The Shepherd's Harvest Festival is an annual event held at the Washington County Fairgrounds near Lake Elmo, MN and I have gone for the last four years. It was me and my mom hitting the festival again this year. I like to get there when it opens on the first non-class day so I get to see the most amount of yarn and wares from the vendors. (Greedy little yarn diva that I am - I don't want to miss a thing with building up my yarn stash!) 

This year we decided to start in the last building first as that building tends to get high traffic and is hard to maneuver, and that is all because of the gentleman above who graciously welcomed me and my mom when we walked in the door. That is StevenBe who is also known as The Glitter Knitter and he is just the warmest, kindest person. He is doing a tour this summer across America with Stephen West and my head kind of explodes to even think of that level of awesome combining. (Ok - Enough with the fan girl!)

So the festival this year had three buildings set up for vendors rather than four, so it did feel a little scaled back to me. This is also the first year that they charged for entry, so I thought that was interesting. Frankly I think they should have charged all along as it is such a wonderful festival, and anything that they can do to sustain it is good with me!

There were spinners here and there, like this gentleman from the Blackberry Hills booth. So fun to watch! This was a busy booth and is you can see behind where he is spinning, they had some gorgeous handmade shawls for sale along with their other items. The shawls were just beautiful!

This is another example of a vendor booth. So much yarn and fiber goodness! This was at the entrance to one of the buildings and had great light and you pretty much just walked right in to an explosion of color and fiber fun when you walked into the building. So awesome.

Although I am not much for fleece, I do appreciate what it gets turned into, so that makes me like the fleece even if I have no use for it. (I WILL NOT SPIN! If I keep saying that it will be true, right?) It was pretty much impossible to walk buy a bag of fleece and not plunge your hands into it.

Here is a picture of me holding the reins of Lonnie the Llama. Lonnie is about 8 years old according to his human and he was so majestic. We were walking across the fair grounds and I spotted him and had to go meet him. My mom snapped this shot of me grinning wildly up at Lonnie. I just wanted to hug him and take him home!

After meeting Lonnie we headed over to the critter barn and got to see some llama's and alpaca's. It is always so fun to get up close to these guys and see them in touching distance.

Next we were off to the Sheep shearing which was just impressive. This gentleman can shear a sheep in no time and we watched him shear several breeds of sheep and learned a lot about the sheep as well.  Really neat!

So I managed to control my splurging this year better than years past. This is the haul I came home with. Some ridiculously reduced price yarns at one booth - like the Boku and the Nashua yarn. The white skeins are 100% alpaca from a vendor that I search out for at this festival every year. Really nice guy and the yarn is like touching heaven. Am quite pleased with my stash enhancements this year and also proud that I controlled myself a little bit.

My other bit of wonderful I picked up is this mug. Both me and my mom got the same mug and I use it all the time. It makes me smile every time I see it and it's just a fun addition to my festival memories.

All in all it was just a wonderful time. I love going to this festival and it was great fun spending the day with my mom and touching fiber and talking yarn and eating deep fried egg roles while sitting in the grass and watching the people with all their hand knit items being worn (quite a fashion show!) while they walked the fair grounds. I look forward to this every year and it's just something special.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Ketchup.... er... Catch-up.

Hello! Classes are over for the semester and FINALLY I have a minute or two to stretch and breathe. So let me catch you all up on whats new in Jen's World:

✔ Straight A's this last semester.

✔ I received a letter of commendation for outstanding academic performance in the Spring Semester 2014 as well as my name appearing on the official Dean's List. (Go Me!)

✔ I achieved my second certification when I passed the Microsoft 98-349 MTA: Windows Operating System Fundamentals exam. (YAY!)

✔ My dog Emma has had two surgery's this year: The first was to remove tissue from a cyst on her back that burst and get her teeth cleaned and her dangling dew claw (that I always feared would get caught and rip off!) removed. That surgery went fine, but then about two weeks ago Emma tore her ACL and had to have knee surgery. She is still recovering from this - but is doing well!

 ✔ Was told 2½ weeks ago that I am losing my job. (boooooo!) So I have been shooting applications and resumes all over the place. Also not sleeping and crying inappropriately. Yup - I am just a stressball!

✔ Partly because I neglected myself and partly because I just want to get healthier, I rejoined WeightWatchers online about two weeks ago and have been trying to eat healthier, exercise more, and in general take care of myself  a little better.

So  - I have been a busy bee with work and school and dog surgeries, and now that the semester is over I am searching for new employment and hoping I will gain a job that is positioned closer to the IT world than the retail environment I have been existing in. (I don't think screaming at my laser printer counts as "IT".)

I didn't get much time for fiber fun over the last 6 months, but am slowly getting my knitting mojo back and will post about that soon. (But let me say how MUCH I missed the knitting needles!)

Hope everyone out there is happy and healthy!

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