I got it!

I have been in the waiting room for the past few days. Yes. I was waiting for my copy of Letters for my Little Sister to pop through my door.

Letters for my Little Sister

Letters for my Little Sister

I knew it was on the way. Each day there was news from The Fellowship’ of the Farmy, that readers and contributors had received their books. They were actually holding a copy in their hot little hands.

I write as I speak. My contribution is my story, in my words. Simple words.

Mine was an instant response, I wanted to write it before I changed my mind. Once begun, my fingers would not stop. I wanted to share. To let other women know they were not alone, what was happening to them, had happened to other women. Just as there are no text book bodies, there are no text book/alarm clock menopauses. Each is unique, but there are similarities in the symptoms.

As I waited, I worried: Did I ramble rubbishingly with unnecessary detail? Then I consoled myself…


There are 68 contributions, no, strike that, there are SIXTY NINE contributions altogether. Number sixty nine comes in two parts – the opening and closing of this wonderful book. No better way to begin and end than with the words of Cecilia B W Gunther, the inspiration behind the project. A project to share personal stories about a hidden and sometimes forbidden topic: The Menopause.

Tales long and short in poetry and prose, from all corners of the globe, with just one aim: To help our sisters, cousins, aunts, nieces and granddaughters. This book will have you laughing one minute and close to tears in the next, so tissues at the ready….

Letters for my Little Sister is available on Amazon.com go check out the reviews, you know you want to.

Cecilia Buyswheeler Gunther, originally from New Zealand, is now married to an American living on the prairies of Illinois, USA. She spends her life writing and managing her own sustainable farm, She is the founder and writer/photographer for the blog The Kitchen’s Garden. We the contributors, are part of a band of regular readers who comment on the blog.

Now all I need to do is deliver the other copies to my little sister and to Elly, my daughter.

Link in or out

LinkedIn is a business-oriented social networking service. Founded in December 2002 and launched on May 5, 2003, it is mainly used for professional networking. In 2006, LinkedIn increased to 20 million viewers. Wikipedia

Supposedly, it is the most useful social media site for business. An online source to manage your professional identity and build and engage with your professional network. A way to access knowledge, insights and opportunities. The first entry on my search results tells me that LinkedIn has 300 million+ members!

Why am I a retired old lady writing about this topic?

Last week I received yet another email with the following invitation:

I’d like to add you to my professional network on LinkedIn.

This came from someone long retired and even older than I am. So I emailed back:

Sorry XXXX
a) I am not a professional anything these days and..
b) I do not use LinkedIn.

The correspondence continued:

Sorry about that Marie. The request to link has gone automatically to all my contacts once I became an unwilling member to oblige someone. I am really sorry that I have troubled you.


I smiled at that one. Had this person joined because of a spammy invitation like the one above that I received?

I replied:

XXXX, from past experience, LinkedIn seems to send several invitations from the same person over a number of weeks. I find it humorous that a website supposed to be for professionals, seems to enjoy spamming non users. Maybe you should point that out to the powers that be! 

I also found it rather ironic, since you have cut contact with me, from almost all other channels. Stay well,

Do you use this social media site?

Does it help manage your professional identity and aid you to engage with your professional network?

Or, like me, find LinkedIn a nuisance?

For Cathy

Cathy left a comment on my post on Wednesday about the knitted cowl I featured. I decided to answer her questions here in a separate post.

Now that looked like an awful lot of stitches to have on the needles at one time. How long did it take to do one round? For years I just used a piece of contrasting wool for a marker, then some swish plastic things, then discovered something similar to Elly’s creations that are so much nicer (and for some reason easier) to use. Will you be using them again soon?
An old knitter here – my fingers never got the hang of that crochet lark. Or maybe it was my mind that couldn’t cope with the different method and process.

First off. I will certainly reuse the stitch/row markers that Elly made when knitting in the round. The more traditional stitch markers will be used for marking increase(s)/decrease(s) in forward and backward knitting.

I was never a fan of the traditional long straight needles. I always manage to bump them against my upper arms leading to a multitude of bruises. Not a pretty sight!

One year Elly gifted me with a set of interchangeable circular needles from KnitPro™, for Christmas, and I never looked back. The detachable cables range from about 30cm to 120cm and with a set of cable connectors, they can be joined to suit any number of stitches and make for very smooth knitting. The actual ‘needles’ fit neatly into my hands and are warm to the touch and very comfortable for anyone with arthritic hands.

For the cowl

Cathy, I regularly get an idea and see it in my head, in 3D. Most of my best efforts are worked that way. It may float around in there (plenty of empty space to do so! :lol: ) before I begin to play about with it, making the pattern up as I go along.

A year or so ago, I saw a lady across a crowed café with a softly draped silk scarf, and it gave me the idea for the cowl. I was working without a pattern and wanted to knit the cowl in the round, using a random rainbow yarn. As you can see from the photo below, I had a selection to choose from, most were single skeins that I had inherited.

Rainbow random tones

Rainbow random tones

I chose the middle one, They are all the same brand and suitable for needle sizes 4mm/3.25mm. A skein is - 100g/300m.

Bliss Baby D.K. in blue and beige

Bliss Baby D.K. in blue and beige


I had to think about the number of stitches I used…… One hundred and ninety, I think. #190. I become so engrossed when I begin a project, that I forget to write down the details.

The stitch I chose was stocking stitch throughout – changing from plain to purl stitch after about five rows – on occasion I worked ten rows before changing. The plain rows of stitches allow the fabric to curl. The purl stitches curl in the opposite direction.

After about four groups of pattern, I reduced the number of stitches evenly around the circle of stitches. I think it was one stitch in every ten at the end of a plain pattern group. Does that make sense?

By turning the cowl inside out, it takes on a slightly different look

Cowl_right side out

Cowl_right side out

Cowl inside out

Cowl inside out

The tiny scrap of yarn above the cowl is all that I had left over from the skein.

Cathy, you talk about having difficulty with crochet. I too, had trouble in the beginning. Holding the yarn in my left hand while working the needle in my right proved to be a total disaster. Eventually I mastered the craft by holding the yarn as I would for knitting!

In 2011, I made three mini videos, to show how I go about it. You can see them here:

Crochet Grannymar Style 1

Crochet Grannymar Style 2


Crochet Grannymar Style 3

This one might be helpful for Joining yarn with a knot in either knitting or crochet:

I hope this answers your questions.

Thursday Special ~ Proverbs


Today for a change, I share some old Irish Proverbs:

‘For every mile of road there’s two miles of ditches’
Meaning: The are two sides to every story. (This comes from some parts of Ireland, where ‘ditches’ means hedges.

‘There’s no use boiling your cabbage twice’
Meaning: Stop going over and over worries in your head because it solves nothing.

‘The older the fiddle the sweeter the tune’
Meaning: Things and people improve over time.

‘A woman planted feathers in the dunkel* and thought she’d grow hens’
Meaning: Just because you ‘thought’ something would work doesn’t mean you were right.

It’s often that a man’s mouth broke his nose
Meaning: Watch what you say because it could get you in trouble.

As the old cock crows the young cock learns
Meaning: Children learn by example.

If there was work in the bed he’d sleep on the floor
Meaning: Used to describe people who are very lazy.

No need to fear the ill wind when your haystacks are tied down
Meaning: Once you’ve prepared properly than there’s no need to worry the outcome.

The longest road out is the shortest road home
Meaning: If you invest time and effort into something then it will pay off in the latter end.

You’ll arrive back with one arm as long as the other
Meaning: You heading out on a thankless quest. You’ll arrive back with nothing to show for it.

You’ll never plough a field by turning it over in your mind
Meaning: Merely thinking about something won’t get it done.

He didn’t lick it off a stone
Meaning: People actions are influenced by those around them.

What I’m afraid to hear I had better say first myself
Meaning: One must be honest and wary of their own shortcomings.

I wouldn’t call the Queen my aunt
Meaning: Being in such a contented mood that even becoming royalty couldn’t improve upon it.

Now you know you’re home
Meaning: You’re in a happy state.

It’s a long road there’s no turn in
Meaning: No matter how bad the situation is things always change.

An empty sack does not stand
Meaning: Bluffers and ignorance will always be found out.

Even black hens lay white eggs
Meaning: You should never judge a book by its cover.


*dunkel – in the dark.

I wonder how many of them you agree with?


“In. Around. Out and off! That is how you make a stitch.”

“Use your finger. Use your finger girl! You are not driving a car around a corner, you are wrapping the yarn around the needle. Keep your elbows close to your body and hands on the needles!”

A few sentences drummed into my skull as a young junior school girl. I was learning to knit. It was a long slow struggle, I seldom had the same number of stitches in any consecutive row. Mind you, I was an expert on lacy knitting, pity the holes were unintentional and grew by the hour!

I remember one winter’s afternoon that mammy sat patiently by the fire with me, struggling to show me how to go about the task. The weeks of belittling in school had me so tense that the stitches were too tight to move along the needle, never mind from one needle to the other.

One of my brothers (two years older), came to ask a question, but became intrigued as he watched what mammy was doing. He eventually slipped quietly out of  the room and headed for the kitchen. Ten minutes later, as I was still struggling, he returned to ask “Is this the way to do it mammy?”

He found a ball of twine and two wooden skewers, then set up about twelve stitches and arrived back with about six inches of perfect garter stitch!

I eventually succeeded but preferred to crochet, it is less of a problem losing stitches or having to rip back if an error occurs. Knitting has made the slow comeback for me in recent years and I am enjoying that form of needlework right now.

In Dublin last week, I was playing with a cowl worked in the round. While decreasing stitches, I struggled with the stitch markers I had. I think Elly was frustrated with me constantly counting stitches so she appeared with a beaded stitch marker that she had made and asked if it would help. It was just perfect for slipping over the needles so next day she made a selection of them for me.

stitch markers

stitch markers

Beaded stitch markers made by Elly

Cowl knitted in the round

Cowl knitted in the round

Finished circular cowl.

While browsing online the other day, I came across this: Knitted Glass

Maybe this time, I will sit on my hands and leave the hard work to Carol Milne.

Who made the world

Who made the World_1

Who made the World_1

Cé a dhein an domhan?
Who Made The World ~ Cast Bronze
Sculptor ~ Cliodna Cussen

On my way to the Craft Beer & Cider Festival in Dublin’s RDS, last week, I discovered this beauty outside The Herbert Park Hotel.

Cliodna Cussen was born and educated in Co. Limerick. She attended third level education in Dublin and Florence and is presently based in Dublin and Kerry.

She works as a full-time sculptor using mostly bronze and stone.

Cliodna does graphic work in the Graphic Studio Dublin and she also illustrates and publishes Irish Children’s Stories.
She has exhibited widely and won a number of awards for her work, including the Listowel Gold Medal for sculpture and the sculpture prize at the Oireachtas.


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Do you think They found the answer?

The End is never the End ~ Part 14

Part 14

All the while Alice was distracted with surgery and after care for Lovell, Morgan, Mr Yates and Carolyn Ashby kept working on the various tasks to upgrade Hour House. She was quite surprised at how far things had progressed. The house had a warm glow as she moved from room to room.

Furniture pieces were now returned with a rich new polish and shine and sitting in their appointed places, the Art work cleaned and restored and the Curtains & Drapes hung. Hour House was certainly coming back to life, in a good way. The ceiling was restored in the Oratory, the door looked like it had always belonged at the outer wall along from the lancet windows and the sunshine glinted through them to the Refectory tables now set in place with the well polished pews. A curved table in front of the Oratory window seat looked like it always belonged. Carolyn had done a wonderful job and oozed with an infectious excitement as she took Alice on the tour of the house. Large boxes of china, glassware, cutlery and table vases were temporarily stacked on tables & chairs in the banqueting room.

“Oh joy of snobbish, asparagus fork-waving joys, this house is coming alive. Close your eyes and listen: You can almost hear and smell the satisfaction of happy customers enjoying the fruits of our labours.” It was Morgan who spoke as he entered the room.

Not long now, Partner, until we are ready to open for business and live our dream.
In the mean time, how does a rasher sammidge grab you? For myself, I don’t mind if I do, thanks very much. I am starving and I am sure that you and Carolyn must be hungry, after wandering the house all morning. Come on girls, I will do the honours, I am dying to test out this new kitchen of ours.”

After the tasty snack prepared and served by Morgan, Carolyn left them to go check on the delivery of the library seat and the copy one for the private quarters, It was promised for this week.

Sitting quietly for a few minutes finishing lunch, Morgan suddenly broke the silence saying:

“Alice, healthy relationships don’t just happen; they take time, patience and two people who truly want to work together to create something meaningful. I think we have that patience in abundance. Look at what we have achieved so far, with help of course, but we are getting close to our dream. The next task ahead of us is to choose our team. The staff. When they are in place and Lovell comes home, we can concentrate on ourselves a little more. You never did answer my question. Good grief woman, you cannot keep me dangling like last years Christmas decorations forever!” He winked and smiled as he uttered the last sentence.

“You mean I was not dreaming? That question was for real, you were not just playing along with Lovell? No bended knee malarkey?” Now it was Alice’s turn to wink and grin.

Morgan was on his knees in a flash. Right here on the new kitchen floor, grinning from ear to ear. Always a step ahead, he pulled a small box from his pocket, opened it and presented it to Alice’

“Don’t get too excited, it is not new, just some old thing I bought from Mr Grimes! By the way, I paid him full price for it, no cheating our Alice of her inheritance!” I know you liked the stone, you always took your time with this one.”

Alice was awestruck, this was indeed her favourite piece from all the items designed by Andrei Shuyski. Not alone was it a treasure, but so was Morgan to think of buying and saving it for her. There was only one answer to the question, and now was the time to say the few words long awaited.

“Morgan, when Sidney died, my world was shaken like an earthquake. You came to my aid and helped me steady the ground. You encouraged, cajoled and urged me out of that darkness. Your kindness to both Lovell and I was heart warming, but remarriage never entered my reckoning.” She paused as if thinking what to say next.

Morgan waited.

Alice began again.

“Working side by side as we have done for months, I have not alone appreciated your expertise in areas I know nothing about, your gentle drive to get me to test the waters of this adventure, your sense of fun and the dreadful singing!

That night when Lovell asked the question, I realised deep down, for the very first time, that although White Knights don’t usually have names, my White Knight certainly did.

You have wormed your way into my heart, how could I say no?

My answer is YES!”

Morgan jumped to his feet, danced about in front of her singing: “Yes. Yes. Yes. She said yes!”

With that he pulled her to her feet, wrapped his arms about her and kissed her.

The spell was broken by a tap on the door. It was Carolyn, “The chairs are ready and will arrive in the morning. She also had news that her friend George Knowles, a three star chef, was looking for a new direction to get his teeth into. “He would be interested in speaking with you both in the next week, otherwise he will head to fresh green fields across the sea!”

The spell broken for the moment, they discussed George Knowles with Carolyn. It turned out they had eaten his food in the past, enjoying not alone the food, how it was served and the ambiance of the restaurant. They agreed to meet and asked Carolyn to get him to call for an appointment.

When she left the room, Morgan kissed Alice again. Slowly.

When the moments passed. He said. “I think it is almost time for visiting. Let us go together and share our news with Lovell. Now she will have another reason to get well, we have a shopping spree to think about and plan. Remember, I promised her a new dress. We have plenty of time for that, first we need to engage a chef and all the other staff to get Hour House up and ready for a very grand opening!”

Thursday Special ~ A Spot


Man’s wife notices a green growth on top of hubby’s bald head so he goes off to see a doctor.

Doctor feels it and looks at it but is stumped so sends him off to see a specialist (and we all know how long that can take).

Some years later he sees the specialist and by now the green spot has grown larger.

The specialist gets out a powerful magnifying glass and peers at the growth – he is amazed to see a lake surrounded by grass and trees – some swans are floating around the lake and there’s even a picnic area – “ah” says the doctor “nothing to worry about – it’s just a beauty spot!”



Thanks to Noreen for this little beauty. My stash of Thursday Specials is now empty. Should I try to collect some more or find something new for Thursdays?