Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Away Again

I thought I should do a quick post before I disappear for a few days. Tomorrow I am driving down to Spokane, then Friday my mom and I are flying to Chicago to visit my brother. I think this might turn out to be my lowest budget trip ever. My brother has air miles running out his ears, so he got the tickets. And my mom is not in great health and isn't really able to do much in the way of tourist activities, so I don't see it costing us very much when we are there. Unless, of course, I happen upon a yarn shop.

I always enjoy reading your comments, and wanted to respond to a few things from the last couple of posts I have written. Several of you wondered if it would be possible to have the cougar moved to a different location. Unfortunately that isn't a possibility. There are several reasons for this, the main one being the cost involved. Generally speaking, in this province when there is a bear or cougar that is proving to be a problem they are put down. It's the reason the conservation officer said he wouldn't come out unless several other complaints were made. To come out meant he would have to shoot the cougar.

As for the heron nests, I was very surprised as well when I saw how small they were compared to the size of the birds. We had binoculars with us, and when I got a close-up view it looked rather silly to see such a big bird in such a small nest. I have no idea how there could possibly be room for eggs!

Also, when I mentioned I was starting a sweater called the Plain Grandpa Sweater there was a comment saying the sweater seemed too nice for its name. I agree. Here it is, finished and ready to be gifted to a friend.

Plain Grandpa Sweater, size 12 months

The instructions didn't say how to make the button loop, so I did some Googling and came up with this YouTube tutorial. I was really pleased with the result.

Now it's time to do some packing. I hope you have a great week!

*Edited to say this is a baby sweater, meant to fit a a 12 month old. It looks bigger than it really is in the picture. Ravelry details here.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

A Nature Walk

When my three youngest children were small we would often go on nature walks. One of our favourite places to go was Grohman Narrows, a small provincial park just ten minutes down the road from where we lived. We would amble along, looking for turtles, dragon and damselflies, wild ginger, interesting rocks, ant hills, and anything else that caught our attention. Sometimes when we returned home I would have them sketch something they had seen in their Nature Notebooks, but more often than not the walk itself was enough.

Grohman Narrows borders the Kootenay River, and just before the park entrance the highway goes by a tall pole, and on that pole was an osprey's nest. Right around this time every spring we would all guess what date we thought the ospreys would return to their nest. My children are all adults now, but they still talk about making their osprey guesses. It's nice to know this seemingly small thing has remained one of their fond childhood memories.

I was reminded of our nature walks when Rebekah was visiting. On her last day here we went to the Great Blue Heron Nature Reserve, a place I have written about before. The last time I was there was on my birthday in February, long before the leaves were out, and well before the herons were nesting. What a contrast this visit was to the previous one.

There were new inhabitants at the pond.

The leaves were making an appearance on the trees along the Vedder River.

The warmer weather meant there were more people on the trail, and not all of them were walkers.

We continued on the path until it left the river and took us up on a dike. The river was to our right, and to the left was open farmland with the mountains in the distance.

Do you see the trees just beyond where the path curves? That's where the heron nests are located. Here's a closer view.

It was hard to get a good picture of a heron. Those nests are quite high up in the trees.

Just beyond the heron nesting area we spotted this pair of eagles. Did you know that eagles mate for life? I wonder how many years this pair have been together.

I hope you've enjoyed today's nature walk, and I would love to hear about any traditions you've done in your family to encourage a love of nature.

Saturday, April 4, 2015

In Between

In between knitting projects...

I am waiting for some yarn to arrive to start a couple new knitting projects. So in the meantime I cast on a baby sweater to gift to someone here at The Cottages who just had her first baby. It's called the Plain Grandpa Sweater, and if you can get past some of the rather quirky Norwegian to English translation, it's a fast and interesting project. I know it looks like a lump of nothing in this picture, but the pattern promises it will all work out.

In between countries...

Rebekah and Anton are moving back to Canada! I am so happy about this I can hardly contain myself. Rebekah is here right now taking care of the some of the details involved with that move. She's taking advantage of my sewing machine while she visits.

We were in Vancouver on Wednesday, and found our way to the Button Button store. I wished I had the yarn for the baby sweater I'm knitting with me so I could have purchased a button.

In between trips to Spokane...

I was just down to see my mom a few weeks ago, and am now planning for my next trip down which will be in less than two weeks. My mom wanted to fly back to Chicago to visit my brother, but didn't want to travel alone. I'm the official escort.

In between fear and courage (or stupidity?)...

Yesterday was the first nice day in awhile, so I decided to go hike Teapot Hill instead of doing my usual walk to Lindell Beach. It was Good Friday, so I knew there would be lots of other hikers and I wouldn't have to worry about being alone on the trail. While I was hiking Teapot the neighbours behind us had come over to our cottage to let us know they had just walked down to Lindell Beach and encountered a cougar. They said it obviously had something wrong with it. It looked very thin, had a cut on its head, and was attempting to jump over a chain link fence but couldn't make it. They also said it was big. Very big.

They spotted the cougar before it spotted them. They slowly backed up and were trying to decide what to do when someone drove by, pulled over, and gave them a lift home. I wrote a post about my walk to Lindell Beach back in January. If you scroll down through the pictures you will see one of a mossy stone hanging on a pole. The chain link fence in the background is what the cougar was trying to jump over. If I hadn't decided to do Teapot Hill I would have been walking by that spot at the exact time the cougar was there. Of course, hiking Teapot doesn't guarantee one won't have a cougar encounter either.

Here's the thing. This is my daily walk. My meditation. My exercise. My routine. I am not going to stop walking to Lindell Beach. However, for the next week or two I do think I'll take my walking stick.

In between Good Friday and Easter...

We are having a fairly quiet holiday weekend. Alexandra is driving down from Kamloops today, so it will be a treat having both girls here together. Happy Easter!

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Sunless Sunday

I used the word soggy in my last post title, so needed to come up with a different word to describe this very wet day. Sunless seems inadequate, but I can't seem to come up with anything better. You know how it's hard to think when you have a cold? The same thing happens to me when it's a rainy grey day. My brain seizes up.

This has been a busy week. On Wednesday I met up with Lynne the Sock Lady. We had a great visit, and I even won a free coffee in the Roll the Rim to Win game. For those of you who haven't experienced going to a Tim Horton's donut shop, during the Roll the Rim to Win contest you roll the top rim of your paper tea/coffee cup and hope to see the name of a prize hidden there. I rarely go to Tim's so I gave my winning cup to Lynne. If it had said Toyota Camry or $5000 Visa prepaid card I might not have been as generous.

Thursday I met with my friend Cindy in Langley. We did some shopping together, then went to her daughter's home (she and her husband were there for a visit) and played a game of Sequence. It was a great game, and one I think I will add to our family collection.

Then Friday Rebekah came for a visit. She flew into Bellingham, Washington, which is a bit closer and a whole lot cheaper than flying into Vancouver. This is the first time I have picked someone up in Bellingham and had everything go as planned. It was even a dry, warm day on Friday. On the drive home, about a half hour from where we live, there was a field of daffodils. I couldn't resist stopping to get a picture.

When we got here Rebekah needed to borrow some 5.0 mm knitting needles for a project she wanted to start. We went up to my small craft room to find them, but there didn't seem to be any in the bag of needle packets. There was, however, an empty Hiya Hiya packet for that size. This was bad news. It meant the needles were "in the wild." I dug further down in my basket to pull up the rogue needles, which, I must confess, slightly resembled a curled up mass of snakes hibernating for the winter. At that point Rebekah gasped. Then she started laughing.

Thanks to her great organizational skills my circular needles are now all sorted. The weird thing is those 5.0 mm needles never showed up. They must be attached to some UFO (unfinished object), which is where they are going to stay for the time being. Given Rebekah's reaction to my knitting needle jumble, I think its best to leave the stash undisturbed.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

A Soggy Saturday

When I got home earlier this week the weather was quite nice. Traffic, meaning the two cars ahead of me and the one behind, got stopped for a few minutes on the road while an accident was dealt with. It wasn't a spot I normally stop, so I decided to take a picture while I had the chance.

I wish it was like that today. We have our first garden committee meeting this morning, followed by our fund raiser, which is delivering truckloads of bark mulch to various cottages. This involves standing in the back of the truck shovelling the mulch into waiting wheelbarrows. I'm not sure which job is the hardest, the shovelling or the wheelbarrow pushing. What I do know is they are both going to be equally wet. It's pouring outside, with no sign of letting up in the near future. To give you an idea of just how wet it is out there, I just took this picture from my back door.

On a different note I have been meaning to show you the yarn I won in a giveaway over at the Knitionary blog. It's five skeins of luscious Rowan yarn! Sorry for the horrible picture. It's so dark and stormy the light in our cottage is not the best for taking photos.

I've got several knitting projects on the go right now, including this secret project. Miles and miles of garter stitch. I'm not sure if that's a good thing or a bad thing.

Finally, before I head off to my meeting and subsequent drenching, if you want a good laugh go read this post of Mel's at Coal Valley View. It's her letter to Mr. Zuckerberg. Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Back and Forth

This is a quick hello. I've just returned from visiting my mom, and in a few hours Alexandra will be here. I've got a Guinness stew in the oven, and some blackberry fool in the fridge to have for dessert when she arrives. Tomorrow we have to be in Vancouver by 10:00 for an appointment, then we are planning a shopping trip to IKEA. All of this means I won't be able to catch my breath until Thursday, but I'm not complaining. It will be nice to have Alexandra here for a couple of days.

I had a very nice visit with my mom, and she seems to be doing well. She's still telling me how to drive, and trying to get me to eat the low fat yogurt she has in her fridge. I followed her driving instructions, except for the time they would have had us on the freeway heading to Seattle instead of her apartment on the east side of Spokane. But I put my foot down about the low fat yogurt. We even took in a movie. Well, I took in the movie. My mom slept through the whole thing.

The drive to my mom's takes about seven and a half hours as long as there isn't any snow and I don't get stuck in rush hour as I go through Seattle. Much of the drive is through central Washington, which is rather stark. However, there are some things that are interesting on that section of the trip. I love this wind farm. They certainly found the perfect spot. The wind never stops blowing there, and there are signs warning drivers to take care.

My years in Kamloops taught me there's beauty to be found in the desert. There are also rattlesnakes, so it pays to watch where one is walking.

This is the Columbia River Gorge. I always like to think of Lewis and Clarke making their way along this river as they explored the West.

Heading back home the desert gives way to the mountains. If you look closely, in the distance you can see Mt. Rainier. I wish I had been able to get a better picture, but there was no place to pull off the road where it was the most visible. I had to settle for this view from a rest area.

I'll be back again once I have time to catch my breath.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

In March!

It was fun reading through all your comments regarding kitchen hygiene. Opinions ranged from preferring that hands are washed at the kitchen sink so as to save the good bathroom towels from getting dirty, to people like me who think the bathroom is the only place dirty hands should be washed. One topic that was brought up that I hadn't mentioned was the "hand shakers." Those are the people who wash their hands at the sink, then proceed to shake them, coating everything nearby in drops of water. Yes, this is also very annoying. Several of you have two towels in your kitchen, one for hands and one for dishes. This is a brilliant idea, and I might try it next time we have a houseful of people.

Thank you also for identifying the Japanese quince. I suspect it's blooming a bit earlier than usual. Our weather has been more like the middle of May than March. To give you an idea of just how warm it has been, here is a picture of Lucy that Karsten texted me Sunday. Barefoot at the beach. In March!

My crocus are already past their prime, and now the narcissus are starting to bloom. At least I think they are narcissus and not daffodils. Or are they the same thing? Anyway, I planted the bulbs last fall and now I can't remember what I put in. I seem to use the phrase "I can't remember" a lot lately.

This week I planted some broccoli. In March! I have no idea if it will survive. A friend gave me some of her extra plants, so the only investment I have in them is the time it took to plant them. You can see my garlic in the background. It's at least six inches high already, and the garlic patch down at the community garden is even taller.

Today we have dark skies and rain for the first time in a couple of weeks. It's been a welcome change. Things were so dried out here I actually had to hand water some of my plants over the weekend. In March!

I've managed to finish a pair of socks. This yarn is from Fibernymph Dye Works, and is one of their Inversible Sets colourways. I'm saving them for next fall. Given our warm spring, I think wool sock wearing weather is almost finished. Plus, I always like to have a few new pair to pull out come the beginning of October.

I'm off to Spokane to visit my mom in the morning, and will return Monday. Have a great week!