Sunday, December 2, 2012

The Holidays Begin

With the advent of December, the holiday season has begun.  Gilligan came running and got my attention!  It seems we have a visitor to Pieceful Harbor...but first, I must tell you a story.

The Elf Tradition

Have you ever wondered how Santa knows who is naughty and who is nice? The Elf on the Shelf®: A Christmas Tradition is the very special tool that helps Santa know who to put on the Naughty and Nice list. This interactive holiday hide-and-seek tradition is perfect for children and families of all ages.

The tradition begins when Santa sends his scout elves out to Elf Adoption Centers. Waiting for their families to bring them home, these patient elves hibernate until their family reads The Elf on the Shelf, gives their elf a very special name, and registers their adoption online. Once named, each scout elf will receive its Christmas magic and become a part of the family’s Christmas each and every year.

Excellent listeners and even better observers, these scout elves are the eyes and ears of Santa Claus. Although they cannot be touched, or else they may lose their magic, the elf will always listen and relay messages back to Santa. Taking in all the day-to-day activities around the house, no good deed goes unnoticed; these scout elves take their job seriously.

Each night, after the family goes to bed, the scout elf uses his magical Christmas powers to fly back to the North Pole. Once there, the elf will make his or her daily report to Santa and visit with elf friends where they will tell stories about their beloved families, play with the reindeer, and of course, sneak some of Mrs. Claus’ cookies!

Before the family awakes each morning, their special scout elf will fly back to their home from the North Pole. However, since these elves like to play games, don’t expect to find them in the same spot!  While some like to hide in the freezer (probably because it reminds them of the North Pole) and others prefer to sit on the fireplace mantle or hang from the chandelier, these elves love to play hide-and-seek with their families.

On Christmas Eve, the scout elf will listen for Santa’s bell and then fly back to the North Pole until the next season, wishing every girl and each boy a Christmas of peace and a year full of joy. Join the tradition and adopt your own Elf on the Shelf now!
(taken verbatim from the Elf on the Shelf website)

What was Gilligan so worked up about?  Meet Lucy!

Lucy showed up yesterday.  I suspect she is the sister of Larry, who comes to visit the Utah Knotwells for the past couple of years.  I'm hoping Lucy reports John's and my behavior favorably cause I don't want coal in my stocking or underwear under the tree.  

Stay tuned for more of Lucy's adventures.

Thanks for stopping by.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Catching Up

Each October, my mom visits for at least a month (we're trying to convince her to move to Missouri and live with us).  She loves going to Silver Dollar City and we do, too, so there is always a day designated for The City.  This year was no different.  Mom had never gone on the train ride and we hadn't been on it in a while either.  Here we are, well, most of us...Someone had to take the picture!
Halfway thru the ride, we were stopped and threatened with a you see the two 'robbers' and the conductor...not very frightening, are they?  But funny and entertaining, as they were meant to be.
November of this year brought our election process to a head. Thank goodness it's over for another 4 years.  While I'm entirely sure the wrong man was elected, I can take solace in the fact that it's only 4 more years...Then we get to do it all over again and maybe someone else can get the U.S. back on track!  

On the other hand, the Utah State House of Representatives have gained a new member that I am equally sure will benefit that state a good deal.  Our son, William John Knotwell III won his bid to the State House of Representatives by a margin of 72% to 23% to 5%!  We are so proud of him and he will do an amazing job!

Finally, we were blessed in mid-October with a new addition to the family.  Meet Claire Elizabeth Knotwell, born October 19, 2012.  She came 3 weeks early and decided to present breech so she was born by cesearean section but everyone came thru with flying colours and we can't be happier to welcome this newest addition!  Note the middle name?  My middle name is Elizabeth and my mother's first name is Elizabeth.....and, modestly I state this, she looks like me!  Mostly she looks like herself, but she has some of my features.  

Thanks for sticking with me and putting up with the long silences between posts...I wont' promise to try harder - that doesn't seem to work for me. I'll just say, "Thanks for stopping by"...

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Preparing for Winter

The past few days have been beautiful!  Gentle breezes, temps in the 70s, blue skies and no clouds.  Our friend, Terry, rented a seeder to seed his fields in preparation for the winter and he had some more time on the seeder before it needed to go back.  So, since he needed to bring it back thru Marshfield, he stopped at our property and offered the services of the seeder.  John decided to seed the south field with winter rye (he has a more detailed description but it boils down to winter rye!). Here they are, along with our neighbor and friend, John P. loading the seeder.
John and John are removing some temporary stakes so the tractor can get as much of the field as possible with the seeder.
My John is one happy guy to be able to seed this gives us a chance to feed grass to the cows thru the winter instead of relying on  hay.
Terry put that seeder in every single place he could get to make sure that we get as much seeded field as possible.
 Back it in, Terry.....he's an expert with that big tractor!

And John and John watched the whole process....the cows will be in the north field for the next two months to give the south field a chance to grow some lovely winter rye.
It feels as though Autumn has arrived in the Ozarks....but it could change at a moment's notice. I hesitate to say it's a permanent thing.  But it sure is nice today....not too hot, not too cool, a slight breeze, sunny and a blue, cloudless sky.

Thanks for stopping by.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Ten on Tuesday

This week's Ten on Tuesday is:
Ten Things You Love About September
I am all over this one!

1. Cooler weather
2. Apple season - Time for apple pies and applesauce.
3. I love the fall colours.  Orange and rust and green and olive.
4. Cooler weather.
5. It's closer to October.  October is the month my mom comes to visit and we always look forward to it.   
6. Festival of Craftsmen (Harvest Festival) at Silver Dollar City.  This is our most very favorite festival and the reason we get season tickets! Of course, we adore the Old Fashioned Christmas Festival, too.
7. Cooler weather.
8. We are only 3 1/2 month away from Christmas...and I truly do love Christmas.
9. This year, September means we are only 2 months shy of getting a new grandbaby.  November 9th is the due date and we can hardly wait!
10. Cooler weather.

Sunday, September 2, 2012


We are in the worst drought in over 50 years!  Missouri is right in the middle of the area that has been designated as a federal disaster zone regarding the drought.  We haven't had any measurable moisture in months.  John hasn't mowed since mid-April - mostly cause 1) if the mower blades hit a rock, it could cause a fire that would quickly get out of control, and 2) there was no grass to mow.  Most of you folks have been watching Hurricane Isaac down south of us...we were, too. But only because we were hoping to get some of the rain that he is producing.  Late Thursday nite, it began to rain...a gentle, constant rain that soaked into the parched ground.  It rained, and it rained, and it rained some more.  Finally, it stopped raining on Saturday nite.  It is calculated that we got a total of 3 inches during that 2 1/2 days.  I cannot tell you how excited we are to have gotten that much needed moisture.
This is what it looked like when I got off work on Friday.  The rain fell gently, hardly making a sound as it hit the ground.  I worked on Saturday and that was the only subject folks talked about all day long. No one complained, everyone was grateful.
On the other hand, Gilligan couldn't have cared less.  If it had been noisy rain, it would have disturbed his nap.  Thankfully, it didn't! 
Thanks so much for stopping by. 

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Preserving our Harvest

 John has been happily tending his gardens each evening when he comes home from work.  Yes, we are in the middle of a drought here in southwest Missouri. Yes, there isn't much grass for the cows to eat. But he waters the garden at least every other day (the water comes from our own well so we aren't taking it from the town's water supplies). 
The other day he came in with a literal armload of zucchini. I mean there were probably 7 huge, HUGE, squashes in his arms.  Those things were probably 14 inches long and 4 inches in diameter!  So what does any good farmer do?  He preserves them.  This morning he washed them and cut them in thick slices.  The he placed them in batches into boiling water for 3 minutes and transferred them to me where they were placed in cold water to stop the cooking process. 

 I put them into stacks on towels and let them continue to drain. Once they were all done, we put enough for a meal for the two of us into bags and then sealed them. 
  Into the freezer they went.  Now we have 9 quart bags filled with zucchini.  And John says there are many more on the vines that will need to be harvested and processed before the growing season is over.  And don't get me started on the tomato vines and the spaghetti squash...I've said it so many times, that man has got a green thumb all the way to his elbow!

Some of you might ask what is in the red packages in the pictures...that is 450 individual one-pound packages of hamburger from our most recent steer - Pepper.  At least half of that will go out to Utah to the kids. We are spoiled.  And so are John and Jill...they don't like anything that hasn't been grown at Pieceful Harbor.  We have two piglets currently that will be going to Freezer Camp in September. One of them will go to the kids and one will stay here.  When asked what we should name them, C & W decided we should name them Rosie and Batman.  I love letting the grands name the farm animals!

On the knitting front, I'm currently working on socks for my eldest granddaughter.  I finished the ones for the younger 3 and E's are the last of them for a while.  I talked to C the other day and she told me thank you for her socks..."they are great to wear and slide on the wood floors, Nana!" Gulp!   I'm also taking part in a Mystery Shawl Knit-Along (KAL) from Stephen West.  He is a fabulous designer and I've never done one of his KAL's before.  Clue 1 came out on Friday; I've got it half done so far.  Must knit faster to be ready for the next clue.  Here is a picture of my progress - colours are a bit out of my usual range...that's what makes a mystery such a good thing for me. It takes the 'control' out of my hands.

I don't know whether this is the top or the bottom but it's coming out so nice.  And I know from looking at his other designs, it's going to be a knockout!  So far, it's quite easy to knit. Will probably finish the first clue by the end of today.  There are 14 wedges there and I need 32...easy peasy!

Well, I probably ought to get some more knitting done.  Thanks for stopping by.

Saturday, June 16, 2012


John and I recently spent 10 amazing days in Salt Lake City with our son, his beautiful wife and our 4 grandchildren.  When we arrived, this is what we got to see!  Sorry, Jill is the one taking the picture so she's not in it.  More about her later!

The first thing we did was go to C's & W's dance recital.  The recital theme was Fairy Tales so C's group did Puss 'N Boots and the Swan Princess.  W's group did Trolls and The Lost Boys. Here they are just before the performance. 
The Swan Princess

The Lost Boys

The next day was H's 2nd birthday...he is just the cutest little boy!  

 What could a visit to Utah be for me without Jamba Juice?  It was just a girls day for us so we hit the stores.  And Jamba!
 Jill and I have tried on 3 different visits to get out for a pedicure, just the two of's never happened till now.  We took off after dinner one evening, leaving the children with the men.  I got red and Jill got neon purple.  As told to me by the technician, "Red is lucky color."  I certainly felt lucky to spend so much time with my dear daughter-in-law and my son and my amazing grandchildren!
 Also while we were there, John and Jill invited a bunch of neighbors over to make S'Mores.  In addition to being very involved with the Republican Party (as a candidate for State House of Representatives - more on that later), he is also a lifelong Boy Scout.  He currently serves as the Cubmaster for the local Cub Scout Pack.  The scouts have a tradition of Flag Retirement and the flag that John and Jill had needed to be retired.  He read a beautiful rendition of how to retire the symbol of our country.  All the while, his friend helped him fold the flag.  Then, having already cut the old flag into strips, he invited everyone, especially all the children, to place one piece of the flag in the fire.  W got to put the star piece in. It was lovely reminder of not only how to retire our national symbol, but why we fold it the way we do.

 On Memorial Day, John and several other local officials cooked breakfast for the community.  We went to eat breakfast at the park with the rest of the town.

 See that little spot there with all the people in it?  That's Jill's garden.  It evidently takes a village to plant a garden.

And, finally, it was time to go home.  We left really early to get to the airport.  Made it to Denver and had a 2+ hour layover.  Here is the gate....Branson, MO is our destination.  They had problems with the plane so we were delayed another 2 hour while they determined if they could fly with the problem, or it could be fixed, or if we needed another plane.  Finally they decided to commandeer another plane and we were off!  Got home in plenty of time to unpack, play with the dogs and the cat, and get a good night's sleep in preparation to get back to work the next day.

Whew!  That's a long post...but it's gotten you mostly caught up with what's happening here at Pieceful Harbor and beyond. 

Thanks for stopping by!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012


Instead of the occasionally posted Ten on Tuesday, I'm going to switch it up a bit. We had an unusually warm winter and an early spring this year. The Bradford Pear trees bloomed really early and lasted less than a week. The tulips and daffodils and dogwood trees also has a very short blooming cycle this year. And the spring rains came with much-welcome moisture. See what I get to look out at each day?
Yesterday brought an amazing gift to me, and to John. My former teaching partner and dear friend, Jan, and her husband Bill were driving home to San Diego from a recent trip to North Carolina. On the way, Jan wanted to stop in Mountain View and Joplin, Missouri to see where her mother was born and then later grew up. We live almost exactly in the middle of those two towns and they stopped to spend the night with us last night. Oh, my goodness, how Jan and I talked, almost through the night. We finally gave up and went to bed at 3:30 this morning and then got up so they could leave for Joplin at 7:00. I had seen Jan briefly in 2008 when I went out to visit friends but she was still teaching then and we just didn't have the time to sit down for a real natter! Last night we stalked and laughed and remembered incidents from trips we took to Europe and Washington DC with our students. Oh, my, I miss those days. Jan brought along the parts of a quilt she is making and we worked for several hours on a design and I pulled a bunch of fabrics to add to her pile. They were here for less than 18 hours but the memories of laughing and smiling and just being together again will last for a much longer time. Safe travels, my friends. I love you!
And, finally, what would a post be without a quick (and I DO mean quick) snap of my Quality Control Officer here at Pieceful Harbor? Gilligan wanted to make sure that the camera is still working at optimum so he graciously agreed to pose - for all of 15 seconds!
Thanks for stopping by.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Happy Easter 2012

Today is Good Friday...frankly, every Friday is a good one if I don't have to work on Saturday. But I digress.....

John has been taking advantage of the spring weather and is building another 4 raised beds for his gardens...I can look outside my eastern windows in the studio and see them. He has 2 beds that have asparagus growing - one of them has asparagus that is 3 years old this year and one has plants that are 2 years old. The 3 year old plants are starting to yield - we've gotten one stalk so far! I know, it's hard to imagine the joy here at Pieceful Harbor when John brought in that one stalk...there was laughing and jumping and dancing!

On another note, since we moved into this house, I've always wanted shades of some sort in the quarter-round windows in the studio. Late afternoon sun streams through the windows for about an hour and it is fading fabric, blinding me, and hitting the screen of the TV (I'm sure it isn't doing any good for that screen). We finally broke down and ordered shades for them...they arrived earlier this week and John spent an evening installing them....aren't they gorgeous? They allow light thru but not glare.

And finally, here is Gilligan....he heard there might be Easter Baskets somewhere this weekend...perhaps there will be treats for fur people...

From all of us here at Pieceful Harbor, Happy Easter.

Thanks for stopping by.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Catching Up

This past weekend was idyllic. The sun was shining and the temps were temperate. Finally the spring has come to the Ozarks. John and our neighbor spent the morning replacing the fencing on the west side of the pasture. Before, the cows would push their giant heads thru the strands of barbed wire to get to the grass on the other side. The constant pushing and shoving of their heads stretched the wire and forced the fenceposts to lean outward. So John removed the barbed wire, replaced the fenceposts, and then they strung field fencing along that west side. Now the cows won't be able to push their heads thru anymore.

Tonight when I looked out the bay window I saw two deer grazing in the meadow. Probably teenagers by the size of them. Maybe a year old. The picture is fuzzy cause I had to take the picture from inside the house and use the zoom on my little camera. But you can clearly see them. Aren't they just the cutest? Just hope they don't start eating out of John's gardens once he finishes building them all.

I'm currently knitting my fingers ragged in Round 2 of Sock Madness. Will try to post once I finish this pair...they are turning out quite pretty.

Thanks for stopping by.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Hand Cream for a Year

I read a lot of blogs each day, along with Facebook and Twitter. One of my favorite blogs mainly deals with quilting but she occasionally puts a recipe or a knitting project out there. One day, she mentioned making a cream for her hands, feet, elbows and knees. She even posted the recipe. I printed it out and decided to try it myself.

Homemade Hand Cream
16 oz. Baby lotion
8 oz. petroleum jelly
8 oz. Vitamin E cream

Mix together in a glass or ceramic bowl with beaters till it resembles frosting.

That's more....I used the cheapest ingredients I could find a the dollar store. I found small round travel-sized containers at Walmart for $1.00/2. Also found some small 1/2 pint food containers there - really inexpensive.

The whole operation took less than 1/2 hour and that included putting the cream in the jars and washing up. I gave one of the small travel-sized jars to each of the girls at the library and told them when they needed more, let me know. I think there is probably enough for an entire year on my counter. It takes a VERY little bit of this to moisturize your hands, elbow, or heels. Really, with the petroleum jelly in there, it's quite moist! I put a bit on my feet before I go to bed and my heels are really healing up nicely.

So if you're in the area, and you need hand cream...stop by. I've got plenty to share!

Thanks for stopping by.