floating snowflakes

These last two mornings have started with a slight skiff of snow; fine, tiny flakes falling softly. It’s cold out there, and the wind catches you off guard. I’m watching the snowflakes being blown across the deck, and I’m watching the clouds slowly drifting into the sunrise as the light shines through the snowflakes falling onto my neighbour’s roof. I have really big windows.

We weren’t in the house yet, this time last year. We were frantically getting ready for the move out/in date on the 25th.

Two years ago, this weekend, there was a lot of snow. We had gone to the Legislature for the Remembrance Day ceremony, and we stood in knee-deep drifts.

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We had never gone to see the ceremony, but I had imagined that it would be similar to the one in Ottawa. Instead, there was only the cannons. The explosions are astoundingly loud in person, and your imagination can’t take you that far into hearing them hour after hour, day after day.

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I am so glad that Sonja went to see Normandy and the Beaches with her school trip, and that my brother carried the Canadian flag for the ceremony there. One day, I would really love to be in Ottawa for the Remembrance Day ceremony.

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as long as it’s not pink

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Can you see the pink haze? Can you?

A while ago, I offered to knit a Gap-tastic cowl for a friend of Sonja’s. They are a super-incredibly popular accessory for the teenage crowd, and Sonja is happy enough with hers that she wouldn’t even mind another one in another colour. They are also done on 9 mm needles, so can be done zippity-quick.

Her friend requested pale pink.

The people who stock the shelves at my local yarn shop must feel the same way about pink as I do, because pink, pale or otherwise, was hardly to be found, and especially not in the yarn weight I was needing. In a bit of a frustrated panic (because Chadd was waiting in the car), we grabbed some cream Cascade 128 and a pale pink ball of Kidsilk Haze.

It turned out nice, which is good, because that’s about as pink as I’m willing to go. Pale, pale pink, and dreamy, dreamy soft.

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back to the weeks just past…

You know when that first cup of coffee tastes so good, you should probably just brew a pot of tea, because you know the second cup doesn’t have a chance of tasting as good as the first…

I am not a morning person, and that sweet Loki hound is. He opens those big eyes anywhere from 4:30 to 6:30, which is not Odin’s idea of morning either, God bless him. But Loki whines from the confines of his kennel until I get up. When it’s closer to 6:30, (and summer) he’s a great alarm clock.

But mornings are a bit groggy. Thank goodness I’m off work for a couple of weeks while the garden centre transitions into Christmas. The dogs like morning naps, and so do I.

Morning is also for knitting. I wish it was for blogging. I feel lost when time passes without a blog post, because this blog is my memory bank. I’m not one of those people who remembers things, so having the blog to go back to, to remember stuff I should know (like what year I started knitting, or what the girls went as for Halloween last year) is important.

And this year, well, was our first Halloween at this house, and only 15 trick-or-treaters showed up at our door. I ended up handing out fistfuls of candy to the kids that made it to our door. I had wondered how many we would get, because we don’t have many neighbours built along side us just yet. Although I could see lots of kids in the subdivision across the main road from us, few wanted to cross the street just for our house. The costumes were great, though. One kid showed up as a hunter, in full camouflage, with deer antlers slung over his shoulder. My dad would have liked that one.

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Elena went as a can of Monster Energy drink. Poster paper and packing tape, and she was so happy with her costume. I love the creative energy that goes into a Halloween costume (since I refuse to buy one!) And the ideas that started flying after realizing what you can “be” as a tube! A trash can! Oscar the grouch in the trash can! Diet coke! A video game character (I had forgotten that Mario jumps into tubes)! An Energizer battery (if you had a friend willing to go as the bunny)! Oh boy…come see me next year!

There is still traces of blue glitter on the floor and daybed from Elena’s early Halloween party the weekend before Halloween. She had such a great plan for the evening. Starting with pumpkin carving, then pizza, cupcake decorating, the rest of the night turned into a dance party. I got to sit out by the bonfire in the backyard with beer and marshmallows. It was an absolutely perfect night for a fire, and we watched through the windows as the girls danced to “Just Dance” until the party ended at ten o’clock. The best night, all around.

Yard clean up happened in the days just after Halloween. So nice to have it all tidied away. Except for the two half-boxes of parsnips still on the summer kitchen. I’m slowly bringing them in, soaking them in the kitchen sink to get rid of the rest of the dirt, and then storing them in the fridge. I have trouble getting things done with the produce as quickly as I should, though. I’m just not the chef I used to be (sometimes, I don’t even want to cook!) Last night, though, I dragged out the bag of leeks that I was worried were rotting in the fridge (they weren’t) and made potato, leek and bacon soup. Excellent recipe from off the internet, although we were guessing at some of the ingredients. I had no idea a rasher of bacon was an actual measurement, but we just threw a bunch of bacon in, because…it’s bacon. It also called for pot single cream, and all we had on hand was whipping cream. But it was all good. (Because it’s cream and bacon.)

And the knitting? Currently, a cowl with a little KidSilk Haze thrown in. Not a hardship, either!

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it wasn’t working for me

It was hanging over my head, but I was in no way prepared to face it. To add to the problem, I had decided that I was going to leave it buried until I had at least a week to dedicate to the effort. I even stopped knitting because of it.

Chadd’s pep talk almost backfired.

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But it didn’t. Instead, I picked up the problem.

I wove in all the ends on that Icelandic sweater that I had been knitting (ignoring in the craft closet) for my sister in law, and I went on Google to find out “how to steek a Lopi sweater.” I followed a bunch of really sweet links, and that sweater is now blocked and ready for the first cut. I do have to find a zipper, but now I even know how to put one in.

And I’m a little embarrassed at how I put off finishing the sweater. I was nervous of doing it wrong; scared that I’d bitten off so much in this one project that I never should have promised as a Christmas present last year. This was becoming a bit of a disaster. The guilt was actually stalling any new knitting projects. The whole thing, (which my mother in law had unthinkingly declared, “it will never fit her,”) had no end in sight. Until I just picked up the darn thing.

My mom used to read us a book called, “The Monster at the End of This Book.” The main character (Grover from Sesame Street) was told that there was a monster at the end of the book. Well, he didn’t want to get there, so he put up a whole bunch of obstacles to prevent the pages from being turned. Funny how that zipper had become my monster, because I had left off the sweater with the ends not woven in. Usually, the ends mean the sweater is almost done. In this case, I would have been just one step closer to the zipper…

Moral of the story? Never promise, as a Christmas present, a knitting project that you’ve never done before. Or at the very least, face the monster. Grover was so embarrassed at the end, but I suspect I’m going to be very proud!

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of the hounds

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We collected some milkweed seeds, just as the pods were bursting. Elena and I, on one of our walks with the dogs. The dog walking trails just beyond our front door are wonderful, full of prairie grass, mature trees, lots of shrubbery, and a view of the river. Which means that the hounds are almost always on the scent of some creature; deer, racoon, skunk, rabbit, squirrel or mice. Some days, we are lucky enough to see a family of white-tail deer grazing in the distance, but usually we just hear rustling in the bushes. We absolutely love it. I used to insist on going back to the farm a couple times a year, just for my nature fix, but now I have my own, just down the street and around the corner.

I want to take the camera, I’ve been encouraged to take the camera; but it’s not easy getting a good photo of anything, especially when you’ve got fifty-five pounds worth of a basset who is not interested in that shot you want to get but very interested in that smell just about ten feet ahead. Not that I ever feel like the bassets are taking me for a walk, oh no, not me!

I took Odin to the vet yesterday, and I admit to having been nervous about the appointment. Loki had to come with, because he has never been left in the kennel or house alone, yet, and I was worried he would find that too upsetting. So, I had two bassets that I was trying to get out of the back hatch of the car, and herd into the vet clinic. In the end, it didn’t go too badly. I got to have Loki weighed, and he is now at a decent forty pound heft. I’m very happy, but it also means that if I have both dogs for a walk, I’m managing ninety-five pounds of active hounds!

But the arm workout is all worth it, because after, well, I get this…

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it’s barbershop pole purple

The spinning workshop was absolutely wonderful.

The only problem is…what to do with the yarn?

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I have always been baffled by thick and thin yarn. And, until I get much, much better, that’s exactly what I’m going to be knitting with hand spun yarn. I love seeing my knitting filled with consistent, even stitches. Rustic isn’t really in my vocabulary.

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The other problem could be that I picked purple. I do not love purple, and I’m going to have to reserve judgement until I knit it up. It’s going to be mittens, because mitts seem to get worn out the fastest, what with dog walking and all.

I am also going to switch up the bobbins for the second skein. I had too little twist while plying the skein on the first go round, so I’m going to use the larger bobbin end for the singles of the second skein. It could also be that I am plying two different types of wool. There is just so much more practice that I need, with the weight of yarn I seem to be spinning…but what to do with all the yarn I’ll end up making?

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blue skies

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Yesterday was beautiful out, and the day before that, and the day before that. Today, too…beautiful days to get my vegetable garden all cleared out, the harvest sorted and cleaned, and my tulips planted. Yellow, red and white. And I’m making borscht, grating the beets while wearing a white shirt. Not kidding, I just realized.

The photo issue seems to be resolved for now, but will require some interesting hoop-jumping. Thank goodness for Chadd, the facilitator of my everyday life!

It seems like it should be a crazy, intense day where I get everything done on my list; but truthfully, today and yesterday pretty much managed to be everything I needed. I still have a few more planted flower pots that I have to empty, and there is always, always laundry…but even at that, a load of wash dried on my new clothesline today. We had a small bonfire in the brand new firepit, and kept it small when we realized that it was a bit too windy for a fire. The s’mores were great, and the marshmallows golden; and after we raked the fire to coals, it started to rain. So we came inside, and Chadd built a fire in the fireplace.

I even practiced spinning on my spindle, in anticipation of my spinning wheel classes this weekend. A whole weekend of learning how to spin. I’m worried that I might like it too much, when I actually sit down in front of a wheel. Luckily, the machine is borrowed, so I can’t get addicted just yet!

More tomorrow; there always is. With photos.

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