Thursday, September 27, 2012

Now With New Content

 Last Saturday some friends from my knitting group (as seen in the newspaper article highlighted in the last post) went on a road trip. We had a Google map, an iphone app and very poor sense of direction. But the Lower Mainland Sheep Producers Association did a great job of signage and we were being very brave. There were 85 fleeces judged and spinners and vendors. Almost as soon as we arrived, we were directed to the sheering.
 Lamby is about 5 months old and this brave man sheered it in one go. They placed it on a wire frame, "skirted" it (removed the poo) and then did a tutorial on judging. Now I know some of the important facts for choosing a fleece. Plus I got to compare the fleeces of different breeds. There were wheels there, too. Oh, the siren song of spinning.
My rule has been that I have to finish my novel before I can buy a spinning wheel. But Caroline and Patricia (my niece and my aunt) from electrictree yarns, have been open to doing an introductory spinning lesson, maybe in the spring or next fall. It makes me pretty excited.
Lots of the podcasters I listen to are also spinners.
I bought some handspun. I have access to some pretty great batts.
So I started writing. I'm using the Scrivner program which is set up so nicely. I can go from plugging in character details to plot line to back to the chapters with their summaries. I don't remember where I heard about it, but I am on my way.
Plus I went back to yoga yesterday because my sore muscles had healed enough that I wasn't afraid to hurt myself further. I'm so glad I went. It takes quite a bit of courage, especially when you've been away for a while. But I had a great class!
One of my friends came up to me the other day and said, "I hear you make the best French onion soup. I have to give you some of my onions." How great is that?!! These are the most beautiful, large, sweet onions ever. Thanks so much. You can see my chicken soup behind them, she caught me finishing it.
We are having roast tonight, so I think I'll make a small pot with beef broth.
The mornings are chilly and soups and stews are just hitting the spot. The days are still warm, so I have been fighting the ironing. I like to watch DVDs while I iron in the basement, and I don't like to go down there in the bright daylight. But when the weather changes, it doesn't matter. I may even get my quilt made.
I finished the scarf that is a gift and I can't talk about. I'm a bit disappointed in the colours of the wool. I ripped it back because it was too long, and spliced the good colour for the end. Totally cheating.
Colour Affection is started over with the yarn over edging as per Paula's Hyla Brook shawl. I have 8 stripes, but couldn't work on it at knitting night because I was teaching our newspaper reporter how to purl. I worked on the nephew sweater last night and am almost up to the arm holes.
My time is wildly scattered, but I am able to focus on each project a bit before I flit to the next one. I feel like I'm reinventing myself again.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Living In a Small Town

We are so lucky to live in a small town. Our knitting group was featured in our local paper, The Progress. I was the first girl to deliver the paper when I was in grade 6. I took 71 papers to the trailer court next door after school on Wednesdays, mostly in wind and rain.
Our reporter has been to our house to take photos of our kids in their kilts for band events, followed them at music festivals and joined us for our Festival Chorus practices. She is a great photographer, and I like her writing, too.
Tonight we will gather at Starbucks and laugh about the photo and bump into neighbours who will remark on it.
I expect scarves will start falling out of the sky. Because that's the kind of town we live in.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Pregnant Pause

 When I got home from the ranch, there was a wonderful package for me from anotherhornfrog (Ravelry name) of the Knit Girllls Afghan Square Swap (KGASS).
 This is a group that has 4 squares swapped a year, and I love adding goodies. The post is starting to get expensive, but the treat of receiving is so delightful. She also gave me the Pagona shawl pattern from Stephen West. I have sent my fourth square package and now have a wait for the next sign ups.
 This is what I'm not knitting. Last year the short rows and the math of the lovely Volna scarf stopped me. I picked it up again this year (it's for an October birthday) and tried again, ripped it out again, and just ditched it. Now I'm knitting the Argosy scarf, which is a bit narrow, and the Fame Trend yarn has an unfortunate dark grey colour shift, but the math is just right. A real Goldilocks scarf. I shall knit it again from other colour change yarn. No pictures until after the birthday. She says she doesn't read blogs, but she's travelling and may miss me. I miss her.
The window at electrictree yarns in Kamloops says Winter is Coming. I'm still wearing sandals and capri pants. I bring my sweater with me, because I've got a good mother, but I can't wear it for the heat. Still I'm starting to panic as I look at all I need to knit before Christmas.
The two babies I needed to knit for this September are still not here. I haven't been to yoga for a while (aiming at next Tuesday) but the other one will be induced today I heard. Last year at this time I was knitting for Theo who will soon be one.
I have planned two almost matchy stripey sweaters for the December twins in our clinic. I can start them when I finish this scarf and the nephew #8 sweater which has most of a back and both sleeves.
I'm also deep in my book, Forty Words For Sorrow by Giles Blunt. It's a mystery set in Algonquin Bay in Northern Ontario. It's a bit grim for me, but look at the title. I accidentally read the second book first and enjoyed it enough to pick up this one.
I had my own little work bee in the garden this week. Several wheel barrows full of weeds were torn from the hard, dry earth. Poor roses were clipped back to about 3 feet. D cut down a tree last year, so the flowers that thrived and those that faded are all different. I will let the garden decide gradually who want to grow there. But I feel the urge to plant some hydrangeas. I just need to wait for the rain to return. This is not our usual weather. But the fog has begun in Vancouver, and the weather is set to change.
D and I finished watching MASH last night. We were part of the fans who watched it a lot while it was on air. I remember it being a big gathering show when I was at UBC in the '80's. MIL gave it to me for Christmas a few years ago (5?) and we have been watching it when 30 minutes is all the time we have to share. When it finished, I was just out of the Reserve Medical Forces, and they used our tents for a party at the Bayshore Inn. I was at home preparing for nursing school, so I also had all the emotions of the loss of my army friends and the fear of a move to another province.
Now I'm in my own home with my own stash and my own garden, and the kids are away at school. It didn't take long, really.
But I made it through. I remember knitting then to soothe me and reach out to my nephews. A lot of what I knit didn't fit me, so I knit blankets and baby things.
Not much has changed, but I knit better blankets and baby things. And now the babies are all tall men. And there are new babies on the horizon. I bought the yarn, but can't start knitting for my next great-niece/nephew until the Christmas knitting is done. We do look forward to the baby.

Saturday, September 15, 2012


 I drove the 3 hours to my sister's ranch on Tuesday. We enjoyed a BBQ dinner around a fire that evening, but she warned me we needed to get up early for round up the next morning. We were saddled and on our way by 0530h to meet her neighbour at "four corners" and go the 30 minute ride to the first field of grazing yearling cattle.
 Knutsford is east of us and we were in the hills at about 4,000 ft elevation. See the frost on the grass? We had to be careful of slipping. That's my sister, my boss. She's riding a 2 year old that she already has ready for cattle work. Amazing! She gave me her old stallion who was gelded about 3 years ago, but he didn't get the memo, so he had to be the boss of the other horses and ride in front.
 My long shadow, taken about 0830, when we had already ridden 3 hours.
 Every direction has a beautiful vista. I love the old fences with their piled up rocks, the semi-arid fields, so different from my home rain forest, and the big sky.
 Jake is still doing well in his old age. I would call him up when Chex got too antsy. The horse never tried to throw me or run away, but he is a real tank and has a trot that is all jiggle. My sides are so sore, I can hardly tie my shoes or take a deep breath. But he is a beautiful creature and a wonderful cow pony when we are working the cattle.
 See my fingerless mitts? I only brought them to show my sister, but I really needed full gloves for the cold morning.
 We found some strays after the main group were herded to the corrals. We had to keep them in the corner for a good while. It's hard to take pictures when there's action, because you're focusing on the cattle like you would kindergarten kids crossing a busy road. I delved into my grass hockey defense mode to not get too close to the action, but to be within a good kicking distance if one of the silly heifers decided to break away.
 The lake was like a sheet of diamonds when the sun came up. We were glad to get a cup of coffee while they loaded the cattle. I was afraid to get off Chex in case I couldn't get back on because we had a second set of cattle to run, closer to her ranch. There were almost 400 head in all. The second group had to be channelled into a corral next to the lake and some woods. Not such a good plan. A few snuck off and we were told to just leave them because the 5 liners were full enough.
 The fear and anxiety of the poor beasts was palpable as they were chuted into the trucks. They really loved their days on the big range.
 I took a risk to take out my camera as we moved the yearlings over the hill. I'm lucky I didn't fall off! Seven hours took us to 1:30 pm and a much deserved beer at lunch.
 Being around horses again gives me great respect for what my sister does in her training and her daily feeding and care. This is little Tulle whom she rescued and is repairing her club foot. She is so tame no, she's like a kitten. Love her red roan coat.
 The next day we had a short ride of only 3 hours (!!!!) At least we didn't do any trotting this time. Up to Chumway view.
 Me and Chex. He likes me well enough, but he loves my sister.
 Who's a pretty boy?
 From the top of the hill we can see far across south to the states. We had lunch of sandwiches and juice boxes. One of the horses learned to suck the juice out of the box.
When we got back, Ginny was snacking in the front garden, just loose and roaming around. Such a charming place. I drove home the three hours, went to choir and got up early for work. I'm still a bit stiff, but so glad I got to experience the early fall up there. With the cold weather approaching, it won't be long before it's really winter there. But not here at home where it's still mild.

Saturday, September 08, 2012

What I Have Learned

September is a season of newness. I'm not going back to school this year, but that doesn't mean I'm not learning a few things about myself. I've had to take a few weeks off yoga because I was battling an infection and I learned I can count on my friends to help me realize when I am unwell. Thanks for the gentle hints. 
I learned that it's worth it to scrub the bathroom and lay out towels and flowers, because tomorrow they will still be tidy. And you can have your friends over without a fuss because the house is free from teenagers.
I can still take the old black dog for short walks as her hips allow, and I love walking next to the corn- as much as I used to love riding my horse next to it. 
Even though it's nearing fall, this is glorious summer weather and it doesn't want to quit. The evenings and mornings are cooler and darker and it is such a blessing to sleep in a cool room.
I have learned that I love modern architecture and I lust after this house, built in an older neighbourhood.
It just popped up between a "B.C. box" and a bungalow. But the use of space and windows is so intriguing. I'd love to put one up where the cheap, sad houses are falling apart on the street where we get our mail.
I learned that I can manage 12 hour shifts, so I may not have to look for a new job. I was sad when they took away my 8 hour shifts. But right now I feel I can give better care because it's the same amount of work spread over a longer time. Next month I will try night shifts, yuck. But they know they need to hire another RN because I can't cover everything. I like the nurses I work with and I love my patients and caring for them. I only work about 1 shift a week now, so I can keep up with everything else.
I am loving the time to knit and read. This book, bloom, by Kelle Hampton of Enjoying the Small Things blog, is so rich in its openness and sharing of love and grief. You'd think I would get enough grief in hospice, but I have loved reading her blog. I like learning that it's not just shiny pictures, but fine print.
I have learned I can finish a project even when there is no deadline and I have run out of yarn. I love the One Skein Sock Book, and the Socks That Rock lightweight. With this project I have achieved two goals: knitting from stash, and knitting from my book shelf. There will be a baby girl.
I have learned that it's OK to have a busy weekend. We can go to friends' houses for BBQs two night in a row and not be exhausted. We usually protect ourselves. Friday night is home made pizza and videos with the kids. We have always looked forward to the cocooning. But they have moved out and we can eat anything we like, or even go to a concert like we did last night, Al Stewart, a fundraiser for the Great Blue Heron Reserve. Today we are having the pipe band over for a BBQ and I made a few salads and set out some bowls of chips and we are OK.
And I learned that we are liking this quiet home. I miss my kids and keep in touch by text almost every day. But they are strong and capable. I am already excited about having them and their friends over for Thanksgiving (October 8) and I think I'll make turkey stew and biscuits because we'll get the full turkey dinner at other homes.
Next week I get to go to the ranch for the round up. I am so excited to be moving cattle on horseback again. Scary, like canoeing down the Zambezi, but I have learned I can handle a little dose of scary.

Monday, September 03, 2012

Seasons Change

 My Mom gave me money for my birthday because she wanted me to choose my yarn. I sure did. The Vintage DK knit up beautifully in the Piper's Journey,
 and the complementary honeycomb mitts were quick, too. They really are closer to equal size in real life.
 I finished this baby sweater with a band of fuchsia because I didn't start with a full ball. I love the pattern from Single Skein Sock Yarn book, but would probably substitute another 8 stitch lace pattern next time.
I haven't blocked anything yet because our living room was full of boxes. For over a week we lived as if under siege. But the day has come.
Our baby has her own apartment. 
This is going to be a bit of a shock when it settles in. We have already done some major house cleaning (and it will stay clean for a while), and can only dream of having a bit of order in my life.
With the big carnivorous boy back at university, and the daughter and all her hair accessories and clothes and trumpet music ensconced in her own place, we will be living with change every day here.
But the kids are grown up and managing fine. There will be speed bumps, but they have good friends and tools for living.
I will take it easy today and tomorrow as I'm recovering from a pretty serious bladder infection and will be launching my new 12 hour shifts on Wednesday. Everyone say, "ick" with me.
Right now I'm just knitting the little mittens. I didn't have the space to wind my Colour Affection Shawl  yarn that I bought for when the heat broke.  
Maybe I'll do that now and be reinvigorated for the new season.