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Archive for July, 2013

A myriad of things need my attention today. A list maker I am not. I find it too organized, and in being too organized, too constricting. I know what needs to get done, I’m not that forgetful yet. (Still searching for the baby sweater skein of yarn I hid from the Yarn Rascal. And it’s been years since I’ve seen the box cutter I hid from The Skipper so I would be able to find it when I needed it.) But let’s not digress.

I have tech editing on a pattern for a client to do. I need to contact her with some questions. It’s a lovely pattern, that’s about all I can say right now. When it becomes available I’ll show you the pictures.

I need to get the pictures and videos off The Skipper’s cell phone and onto his computer. Not a small task as the phone has no drivers to sync it with the computer. The maker of the phone wrote me a small tome on ways I might be able to do this. Who makes a phone that can’t transfer pictures and video to a computer? Kyocera. At the time, I begged The Skipper not to get that phone. Now it falls to me to deal with it.

The zucchini are out of control in the garden. I have six loaves of zucchini bread stored in the freezer and still the zucchini are amassing on the kitchen counter. I have bought so much organic flour that the checkout person at the store asked if I was starting a bakery. Seven more zucchini appeared over night. I don’t want to develop a phobia, but I am starting to fear going into the kitchen in the morning.

My camera broke. Yes, little black plastic pieces, can’t repair those, just broke off. The Skipper’s remedy for everything that falls to pieces is duct tape. Here are 3 pictures it took before the little black pieces broke.

yellow sunflower

I love having sunflowers in the vegetable garden. They make me smile, and I don’t have to bake them into bread.

red sunflower

I love my Echinacea too, but they don’t seem to have done well this year.

echinacea

The Yarn Rascal needs bathing and grooming, all of which I do. Since his access to yarn has been severely limited, he has developed a new talent: shredding. But that is another post entirely.

Also on the list that I don’t make of things to get done is knitting the sleeves of the baby sweater. The math is complete, now I need to find a block of time to sit down and knit. Yeah, right.

The afghan needs at least two more rows of motifs to make it 60 inches long. Why did I think that 10 rows measuring 5 inches each equaled 60 inches? Lucky me, I decided to measure it just to make sure it was long enough before I started the border.

Finally, food shopping for something to eat with the zucchini, and while it is embarrassing, I need more flour.

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A wildlife weekend was had around here. While I love animals and respect nature, I prefer not to be in close proximity to some of those animals,such as snakes.

Late Friday night, 2 am to be exact, Randi, my little Yarn Rascal, was up and looking for trouble. Still half asleep, figuring he had to go outside, I put on his leash and out into the yard we went. He ate grass, he ran after moths, he walked into a giant spider’s huge nest where the spider fell on him and I, now wide awake, swiped it off.

“Go the bathroom,” I hissed and gave the leash what I thought was an authoritative tug. He chased more bugs through the grass instead. I picked him up, headed for the sliding glass doors of the kitchen and was just about to step through them when I noticed a strange black hose coming out from The Skipper’s grill. I hesitated, Randi started squirming like he was possessed, and I walked though the doors instead, slid them closed and went back to bed.

“There’s a strange hose coming out of your grill,” I said to The Sleeping Skipper. I got no response.

I eventually fell asleep after ruminating about the hose that shouldn’t be where it was. Admittedly I know nothing about grills, and it was this lack of knowledge that kept stopping me from getting up, going out and picking up that strange hose to check it out. Also, Randi had settled by this time and I certainly did not want to wake the sleeping dog.

Somewhere around 5 am I suddenly woke, sat up in bed and screamed “Snake!” The Skipper propelled himself from bed where he had been sleeping on his stomach to running around the bedroom trying to pull on his jeans all in one quick motion and at the age of 70 too. Randi didn’t know what happened so he ran and tried to hide under the pillows.

“It was a snake,” I said. Realizing my sleeping mind had figured it out. It wasn’t a hose at all. I got up and ran from the room into the kitchen. Sneaking up to the glass doors, not wanting to see but wanting to see, I looked and there was no hose where there was a “hose” earlier.

“What are you doing,” The Skipper asked.

I explained about the early outdoors experience. “You’ve got to get the snake out of wherever it is,” I said.

“It’s gone. It’s not around here anymore,” The Skipper said and went back to bed.

But I knew it wasn’t gone. It was somewhere close by and just by the way Fate works in my life, I knew I’d be the one to run into it.

Saturday was going to be finish crocheting the afghan day. Around 2:30 pm I went outside for I don’t know what reason, past some underbrush and froze. My toes curled under, my knees locked. I slowly turned my head and peered into the underbrush and there was the snake curled into a bizarre position. It was maybe 11 feet from where I saw it last. It had got caught up in some ancient deer netting the previous owner had put down many, many years before. With toes curled under (it hurts to walk that way) and knees locked, I used my hip joints to move myself as fast as I could back to the sliding glass doors and into the kitchen.

“Snake!” I screamed once I found my breath again. The Skipper came running up from downstairs. “Snake!” I said pointing out the glass doors. “It didn’t leave! Oh. My. God. Oh. It’s. A. Snakeeeeeeeeee!” At that, Randi stopped dead in the middle of the kitchen with the teal Berroco Twist Yarn hanging out of his mouth. The Skipper was calm. He used to keep snakes as pets when he was a kid.

The Skipper verified that the snake, a Black Racer, was caught up in the deer netting and that he would have to slowly cut the snake loose. “Go do whatever it is you were going to do and don’t watch.”

“You’re going to touch it? It’s gonna bite. Are you nuts? Oh, my God, it can’t stay there.”

“Go. Do something time consuming.”

Needless to say, I should never doubt The Skipper. He has a way with animals, be they domesticated or wild like coyotes, foxes, snakes, birds, fish, woodchucks, chipmunks, squirrels, turkeys, you name it. The next I peeked out the window, The Skipper had the snake laying calmly in his lap and was softly talking to it while gently cutting and removing all the netting it had embedded in its skin. The snake, head turned, chin resting on The Skipper’s thigh watched as the netting came off in bits and pieces. When he was done, The Skipper took the snake to the far corner of the property and released it back into the wild. He said that when he put the snake down, it turned it’s head and looked at him for a minute, and then it slithered off into the woods.

I am glad The Skipper was here to rescue the snake. I may not be fond of them, but they have a right to exist too. I prefer it not be close to me, but I also prefer not to see it die.

The afghan I had planned to work on, still needs to be worked on. Sunday was crickets, and I don’t mean the British game.

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I should be knitting. I need to start the sleeves of the baby sweater.
I should be knitting. Socks are waiting to be knit. Shawls are waiting too.
I should be knitting.

Instead, I am crocheting;
The last 12 motifs and border of the Cape Ann Afghan.

Yarn Rascal is close by watching, waiting for a chance to steal a skein. Sometimes he cuddles up close so he can secretly hold the yarn in his mouth. The yarn is wet when it reaches the hook to be worked into the afghan. I look down and he looks up at me, all innocence, except for the yarn going in one side of his mouth and exiting the other.

I should be knitting.

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Resist much, obey little;
Once unquestioning obedience, once fully enslaved;…

Walt Whitman Leaves of Grass

Our adult purple finch actually had 5 babies in this brood. The last little one fledged yesterday. It’s a little sad to see the nest so quiet and empty after all the activity there this summer. Yet there is a good feeling too, 8 babies in one season, a wonderful addition to the purple finch numbers.

Yesterday was also a stellar day for the little Yarn Rascal. When I was a kid in elementary school and my sister was in kindergarten, Mom had a calendar she made for my sister and me. The objective was to help us be mindful of our conduct during the day and behave more. Before our bedtime, she would review our conduct and assign us a star reflecting said conduct. A red star meant bad day, blue meant I was just above being real bad and skating on very thin ice, silver meant overall I was good, and gold meant I had stellar comportment that day. I remember having more blue stars than any other color. My sister racked up the gold and silver ones. To this day I am not fond of the color gold.

This is all to say that if the Yarn Rascal kept a calendar he would have, by his standards, had a Golden Paw Day yesterday.

Picture2

He managed to gain entry into one of my more serious yarn stashes. Lorna’s Laces, Dream in Color, Berroco. This stash also had patterns in it along with notes I made on adjustments to the patterns. The nice thing about the Yarn Rascal is he just can’t help but share his success with me, which means he dashes to wherever I am and ecstatically wags his tail while from his mouth hangs the yarn or in this case the yarn and a frayed piece of paper with writing on it. Immediately the chase is on, which causes him further glee.

I am debating whether there is an obedience class at Petsmart in his near future.

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Go, little brook, and wish to all
Flowers in the garden, meat in the hall,
A bin of wine, a spice of wit,
A house with lawns enclosing it,
A living river by the door,
A nightingale in the sycamore!

Robert Louis Stevenson Envoy

The two fronts of the baby sweater are done and I will block the back along with them today. I hope to start at least one sleeve today. I am reworking the numbers regarding length and width. The stitch count of the border pattern and eyelet pattern has to agree with the width requirements. To work it out I need a block of quiet time where all my attention can be given to finding the solution to the problem. The obstacle to this is the Yarn Rascal. He is feeling much better and is up to his old tricks along with some new ones he must have cogitated on while staying quiet during his recuperation. The cone is off his little head and the house and all its nooks and crannies is his oyster once again.

I am also getting close to needing the second skein of yarn for the sweater set. I bought two and hid the other one so the Yarn Rascal wouldn’t get it. The problem? I don’t remember where I hid it. But let me take one issue at a time today.

Outside we are in high summer. Everything is drying up and browning nicely, especially the grass. We had nothing but rain from March to early June. Now not a drop.

The deer are eating the pears from the pear tree.

bambi deer

This is good. Nutrients and water are what they need. The pear tree is unusually full of fruit this year. And it is all for the deer.

pear tree

A handful of sunflowers have made an appearance. I love sunflowers in a vegetable garden.

sunflower

sunflower 2

Many more should be on the way. The birds love the seeds.

Surprisingly all the hot weather has not caused our lettuce to bolt.

lettuce

Our zucchini is doing its amazonian thing. Each day we pick zucchini and the next day there’s more. We are inundated with zucchini. We use it in salads. I make bread with it which I store in the freezer for eating during the winter.

squash

The Yarn Rascal has just dashed by with a skein of yarn. However, it is not the particular skein I am searching for, I can tell by the flash of color it’s not. Maybe I’ll slip out to our local library for some quiet time and leave the little one to daddy.

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The poetry of the earth is never dead:
When all the birds are faint with the hot sun,
And hide in cooling trees, a voice will run
From hedge to hedge about the new-mown mead;
That is the Grasshopper’s—he takes the lead…

John Keats On the Grasshopper and Cricket

I can’t recollect the sound of grasshoppers, having not seen one since I was young. But the sounds of the Cicadas fill some of the quiet times of these heat heavy days. Our baby birds grow bigger each day. The parent purple finches are doing round the clock feedings and when they are away from the nest two purple finch aunts guard the wee ones. One of the babies is already flapping its wings, a prelude to leaving the nest. In a way, I will be sad to see them go because I know there won’t be more babies this year. In another way too, I will be happy to see them fly for the first time. I can only imagine the freedom and joy in such soaring. My hope is that they remember their little home and come back to have babies of their own next year.

purple finch feeding babies

purple finch birds babies

The other item growing fast is the baby sweater I’m knitting with the MadelineTosh yarn. The right front is started and hopefully will be complete this weekend. Then onto the sleeves.

baby sweater madelinetosh yarn

I’ll block the fronts and backs before I sew them together. I like to block the pieces before sewing because it makes the sewing easier. I have a clearer view of what to stitch together and where.

Despite the knitting progress, I admit I’d rather be crocheting. I have an afghan design in mind for Dad and am searching for the yarn and colors.

tranquil color palette

Including the light blue book, count 4 to the left and that is the color scheme. The afghan will be called Tranquil. All the while I am knitting, I am thinking of this afghan. I need to work on staying in the moment.

To all: Have a happy weekend!

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The purple finch that nests in our porch wreath has 4 babies this go round. Her last brood was 3. Yesterday, one of the hottest on record for the area, I saw 4 little heads pop up. I love the little feathers that stick out on the top of the little heads. It makes them look so cute. The poor babies have their mouths open because that is what birds do to cool down when they are too hot.

baby purple finches

The second group of babies of blue birds fledged this weekend too. They too had 4 babies this time. The last little one to leave the blue bird nest took all afternoon before it decided to leave the blue bird house. There is always one in a group that’s a little reluctant to venture out into the world. The Skipper and I watched the little head poke out from the house, go back in, then nothing, then the little head appeared again, poked out, went back in. The excitement of would it or wouldn’t it fly from the house increased with every appearance of the little head until we were actual cheering it on: “Fly, fly, fly.” The mother and father birds worked furiously in the heat trying to get the last one to leave the nest. Then finally it did. It soared from the house up into the apple tree, where the mother greeted it with food. We were able to watch it’s progress and it turned out to be a wonderful flier in the end.

This is the sweater I want to knit next.

rowan sweater full

It’s from Rowan. The Magazine Number 53 has a lot of fun designs in it. The flower part of the sweater is done in intarsia. All the Rowan yarn is purchased. I think it’s a good project for the Fall and Winter. It’s a spring sweater. I am eager to work with Rowan’s Purelife yarn, Revive, made from all recycled materials: silk, cotton, and viscose. The flowers are knit in Rowan’s Wool Cotton yarn. This is the first time I am working with Rowan yarn. New yarn always excites me. It’s a little like driving a new car for the first time, you don’t quite know how it will respond and you are aware of feeling your way along. Working with yarn I haven’t used before, is like that, it increases my knitting awareness.

Here’s another look at the sweater.

rowan sweater front

Oh yes, this sweater is on my radar.

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