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Saturday, August 23, 2014

Slow moving

Just getting moving today as I was out late last night with Stefani. We hit the fair, ran to the Mooses tooth and I got home around midnight. 
The fair was wonderful as usual, but it is the Alaska fair and we might have some confusion with things like farm animals. I am pretty sure those are sheep they have labeled as pigs with that sign. 
Stefani wimped out on the rides... So sad. I thought she was going to hurl on the tornado. So we went down the kiddie slide and gave our tickets to a family that would use them up. 
And now I've had my bear tooth, and Mooses tooth fix. Don't worry Betsy, I'm willing to go again.  What is the Mooses tooth I hear you non-Alaskans say? The best darn pizza and brew house ever! If you ever get up this way, you have to stop in. 

Friday, August 22, 2014

Final Farewell

We tore through the "honey-do" list yesterday mornng and we added a couple more things as we went but ended up with an open afternoon, so Mom and I hit the road to Hatchers Pass. 

Shiela came with as you can see here and I spread her ashes up near Summit Lake. Not a bad place to take your final rest, eh?  

I realized that I hadn't quite said my last goodbyes to her until I was spreading her ashes. Hopefully now I can quit turning around to look for her when I'm walking the boys and count only three dogs, or try to find the missing dog bowl at feeding time. 

As I was walking out of where I went to spread the ashes I realized that after all these years gone, I am still set to an Alaskan thermostat. It was 55, sunny, with a sporadic breeze and I was comfortable in my shorts and tshirt, and even got a little sweaty rock hopping when the breeze stopped. Someday perhaps I'll get rewired and not find 70 hot. There was a dog left in the car while his owner para-glided down the Willow side of the pass. He showed up between glides to open the windows and give this big King Corso who was panting hard a little bit of water. Some people can't figure out that it may be only 55, but your dog is I a sealed car in the sun. Open the windows and at least take him down to the lake to get wet and cool off between glides. Better yet, leave the big deep chested boy home when you go play. I am guessing he was gone well over an hour per glide as they drifted down and had to drive back up the gravel road to the top of the pass. Ugh, you think I could dog nap a big boy like that back to Michigan?

Stefani and I are off to the State Fair today. I'll tell you about it tomorrow!

Thursday, August 21, 2014


I realized as I wandered around O'Hare for 3 hours yesterday that I had forgotten how great airports are for people watching. Especially big city airports. 

I had great fun roaming the concourses taking in the sights of well dressed business people, one lady with some snazzy blue suede shoes that tempted me to ask her if she was headed to Memphis. There were many Southeast Asian men that were probably sharply dressed for the streets of Singapore, but looked somehow out of place and slightly uncomfortable in an American airport. A large population of Orthodox Jewish men in their black with their more relaxed dressed young sons in their yamaka's. I'm not sure which was my favorite though between the Amish woman resplendent in her calico dress, snood, and sensible shoes pulling a leopard print suitcase with wheels or the flamboyant European gay male in his purple with green paisley's pants and matching mauve cashmere twin set buying chocolates at the "haute chocolate" shop on the H concourse. 

I know this would be so much better with pictures, but I find snapping pictures of strangers to be somehow rude. They don't know me, and to take a picture to talk about them on my own blog seems crass and disrectful. So I'll just talk about them instead. I know, there's a lack of logic there that we are going to overlook. 

After sitting with a Chatty Cathy from Grand Rapids to o'Hare and then next to a child from hell and his worn out mother from Chicago to Anchorage, I was ecstatic to get off the plane before I spanked a strangers child for them, but it was a close call. As I pelted down the hallway I couldn't wait to get fresh air and feel a breeze on my face. And let me tell you, have I missed my view of the Chugach mountains. As you can see here, I still miss it because the clouds hung over them, but it was still wonderful to see what I could. 

Right off we hit REI so I could grab a new pair of hiking boots since my last set of Merrils never really worked well for me, and then hit the Bear Tooth for lunch. Ahhh, how I've missed my spicy bear wrap. I also hadn't eaten since 4am eastern time and it was now 2pm Alaska time. Okay, the beer doesn't count, and why does the airlines offer a menu if they aren't going to have any of the food on it? Anyway, it was time to eat before hitting the road north to Palmer. 

All in all a pretty good day and I was out like a light come 9pm. I can still fall asleep regardless of the sun shining in the windows. Good training as a kid I guess. But, I better get up out of bed and stop writing this to get showered and ready to do Mom's chore list for me before I get to go play. 

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

On my way

Just landed in o'Hare and found my gate and then a place to sit down. 
Early morning flights are so much fun? Could it be the early morning beer? Quite possibly...
As predicted, I wrapped up the leg of the sock as we were landing. I learned an important lesson shortly afterward. Don't try to cast off on a dark plane. Yes, I can knit a simple 2x2 ribbing by touch but not  cast it off appropriately. 

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Another Very Ruff Weekend

As you can see, the kids have been super stressed out this weekend.

We just push them so hard.

They never have any down time to just relax.

Can you tell? Sullivan loves to lay with his head going down the hill in the front yard and catch his sunbeams. That's why his new nickname is sunbeam. I guess it feels good to get the blood flowing down into that thick skull of his.

But it wasn't just all laying around this weekend, despite what it appears. Can you tell they're ready to get on the move?

It's funny, they've only been here once before, but I swear they recognized where we were going.

That's right, the beach! Yay! I even had The Guy along with so I could play a little more effectively with the camera. Hey, I try.

But it's still a piece of crap camera. I am looking for a new one, hopefully soon. But this can remain the beach camera, as it can be tore up by the sand and I wouldn't care.

If you can tell, there was fog on the lake when we got there. It was actually a nice cool sunny day on the beach itself with a good breeze that was bringing the surf in. The fog stayed off shore and let us play, as you can tell.

Since we hit the road early to go to the Dogo'rama in Zeeland we hit the beach in the early hours too and missed the crowds unlike last time. It was much nicer without all the other people. Still, laying in the sand and sun will never be my thing. Instead, I prefer to get my walk and romp in, and head home so I could mow the yard and The Guy could keep re-painting the deck. Next on the list is to get the clothesline up.

So, I am hoping to try out the blogger app this next week while I'm traveling.

Traveling you ask? Yes, traveling. I'm coming home to Alaska for a visit!

I know, I never announce such things here, but The Guy and the Kids will be home protecting the house (teeheehee) while I'm gone.

I thought my mom would appreciate a visit for her birthday this year, so I'm doing it. Got tickets and am ready to go. I leave in the morning and have a goal to try to do a little short mini post every day with a picture.

I've never used the phone app for blogger before, so we'll see how it goes. In other words, I'll keep you "posted". That was for you Sarah. And I plan on trying some of those recipes and will give you a critique. Okay?

It was a fight to keep the dogs out of the dune grass. I have not seen any signs here to do so and maybe it's not an issue with erosion on the lakes like it is on the coasts, but I don't like them breaking down the dunes and causing the grass trauma.

Some pretty flowering bushes I ran in to on a walk this last week. The bees and hummingbirds were truly liking these blossoms.

And spinning is on hiatus while I'm gone. Imagine me making a sad face here as I type those words, but I will have plenty of knitting with me. This sock should be finished before I step off the plane in Anchorage, and I should have started the hat by then. Fingers crossed anyway.

And look at that fiber on the wheel, will you! I love it, and I know it's a bad picture but it make me think of mourning doves. Which then the other night got a song stuck in my head called "Turtle Dove" from one of my favorite bands, The Duhks. Who are on tour again with the original singer! It appears that has been some other changes to the crew in the band which makes me sad but it seems that since 2009 the bands membership has been in a state of flux that sounds like it works for them; however, the original voice is back! I'm so excited I had to share these songs with you, it is a Tune Tuesday after all.

All right everyone, I have to get my last minute stuff done and packed so I'm ready to hit the metaphoric road tomorrow. Hope you all have a wonderful day! Oh, and if you like such silly movies, check pout guardians of the galaxy, it's kinda cute.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Cool Fact Yo...

If you Google "Squirrel Recipes", this is what you get.

Now, look real close at that second listings parents site. That's right, the Missouri Department of Conservation. Does Missouri have that big of a squirrel issue that to conserve it, they have state government approved recipes for the culled critters? I guess I should assume that Missourites are connoisseurs (lets not discuss the google search involved to spell that word right) of squirrel based on the fact of how they pronounce their own states name. If you haven't been paying attention to the news the last week, please make sure you say "Missour-ah" should you ever be passing through the state, less you be spotted as a tourist. You know I'm pointing at you Pat.

And, you may be asking, "Q, why are you  looking up such recipes?" This is why.

We has a small arboreal rodent issue here. Okay, not small, these suckers are big! And as I was hefting this momma that I got with a clean head shot out of the yard so the boys don't get her, I realized that perhaps I was missing an opportunity to lessen the price tag of trips to the grocery store. Hey, I'm not above eating a bit of squirrel, it's less wasteful. And I know they have been eating good sunflower seed, so they should taste pretty good. And they won't be making nests in the garage, the roof, or eating through things they shouldn't. The other day there were 4 of them, fully plumed and the one without a tail on the deck. Then the chipmunks. After a successful Thursday morning culling the herd of two adult squirrels (both head shots) and one chipmunk, things have been quiet in the back yard.

Now, before anyone gets upset, these are rodents. Granted, cute rodents; but rodents none the less and destructive to boot. I do not like waste so that is why I am looking at possibly cooking with them. However, I think getting them with a pellet gun, is much more quick and painless than traps, poison, or letting my dogs get them. Which, my dogs have tried to many many times. Who wants to be tore to pieces as a way to go? Not I. And I will not do the relocation gig. You are just giving someone else your issue. It's rude, and squirrels are territorial. They end up in strange surroundings with squirrels that will fight them, and both possibly die, or be unable to find shelter from predators or the elements. And, if they survive, the chances of them migrating back, are pretty damn good. So, no, they get a quick one to the head if possible. If that doesn't do it, I'll follow up with a second one to finish it and feel poorly about my shooting and hope whatever PETA sniper decides to come after me is a better shot than karma should allow.

Now, let's move onto the biggest killer of squirrels. Cars. okay, maybe they are second or third on the list, but I'm changing the subject. Got it? Did you follow? Cars.

Every few months I peruse cars to idealize what my perfect car is. And as I have been enjoying this last week such a perusal, I have noticed something. People are getting dumber and cars are getting smarter. It's true. People no longer no how to use a side mirror. I don't even know why we put them on cars anymore. Truly, I don't. You don't even have to roll down your... errrr... I mean, push that little switch so the window lowers and fold your own mirror in. Nope, the car will fold it for you! I know, I did that once and my triceps and deltoids were screaming for DAYS. I won't do it anymore, like all motion and exercise, it's unhealthy and will kill you, I swear. Just like that circular motion we used to have to do to lower our windows. Do you know how many rotator cuff injuries that caused annually? Yeah, I don't either.

And now, you don't even have to look in your mirror, because cars will now tell you that there is someone to that side, and let you know that you are leaving your lane. Because God Forbid, you hang up the phone, stop texting, smacking the mouth little $&%@'$ in the back seat (oh, wait, you actually should keep doing that more often) and pay attention to the road when you get behind the steering wheel. But, all kidding, have you seriously seen the crap cars are doing for us now? Blind spot detection so you don't have to use a side mirror or do a head check. Just wait for the first recall when that fails and people blame their accidents on that little function instead of recognizing their own crappy driving. Auto stop crash prevention, where the car observes traffic and will stop for you. Funny, I thought that was what the job of the driver was. Lane departure sensors. Automatic windshield wipers because flipping that lever down a notch causes finger and wrist strain. And I love'd that Volvo has pedestrian sensors.

Now, I'm not a complete troglodyte. I think some of these functions are cool and want those air cooled seats like a meth head craves their next fix. However, what is the driver doing when the car is doing all this stuff for them? Weekly it seems, I am narrowly missing having an accident due to drivers not paying attention on the road. Just the other night I had a driver coast through a stop sign and turn left in front of me when I had no stop sign and therefor right of way. She proceeded to go 35 in a 55 and when I passed her, she did not once looked up from her cell on the steering wheel. When are we going to start treating driving like the responsibility it is and not a human right for breathing and having a heart beat? When you are behind the wheel, you have not only your own life in you hands, but that of your passengers and all other drivers and passengers in any vehicle that you are in striking distance of.

Okay, let's get off that soap box. It's starting to wobble and who will I blame when I bust my bum? So instead I will discuss happy things, and introduce you to the newest family member. Meet, Siam Sam

Yes, I know Siam is no longer a country, and they are technically called Betta's, but when I was a kid we grew up calling these Siamese Fighting Fish and since they are from Thailand's rice patties and that was formerly French Indochina or Siam speaking in historical terms, I am sticking with the name. I like it. I guess I could have gone with Thai Thom, but that seemed more insensitive as if assuming a fish has an ethnic background. So let's leave it alone. Isn't he pretty? Admire his beauty, forget his name. I will get better pictures soon. This was his first day at home with us and since then he has grown and his colors have exploded.

Today, I went with a friend to the West Michigan Fiber Festival in Allegan. It was a nice little festival as it got moving. There were some missing vendors and the animals weren't all there yet but I got to see some of these guys...

What is that exactly? It's Pygora goat wool. It's like a little cloud of heaven. It's about 2 oz.

I may blend it with this beautiful wild Muga Silk that is naturally this lustrous champagne color. It was half off, I couldn't pass it up. What originally pulled me into the booth that had the silk though was this.

What is this? Well, it was a mystery as I first saw it. The crimp and feel was Merino, but Merino is white, right? Go with me people, Merino is white. At least all Merino I've seen. But it was short stapled, fine and fluffy soft even in it's locks, just like Merino, but it was gray! Trust em here too, it's gray, but I was taking pictures in the sunset so I could blog for you all. It's a beautiful gray.

And lo and behold, it is Merino. It's one of the last herds known that is the original color before we bred them white over hundreds of years. I had to buy some, and it was only 9 dollars a pound! So I bought a pound.

Okay, I'm off to heave my cake and do some spinning before bed. Hope you all have a great night. We are either hitting the dog beach or going to a couple other events tomorrow and I will try to remember a camera so I can do another post soon.

Oh, what was that? What am I spinning and knitting lately? Okay, quick before I log off.

I just finished up this polwarth/silk 80/20 blend and it's a 2ply fractal spin dk weight at about 350 yards. Look, it's not blue or green!

I have a really cool Merino/Silk blend on in a neat grey/peach/yellow blend. The grey and peach makes me think of mourning doves.

Due to it's size, it's more of a long term project. In the end I am going for 8 oz's of a 6ply yarn.

And I've been working more on the MKAL design I'm doing for the store. I'll give you more details when I can. Have a good night!

Friday, August 8, 2014

Patience Young Grasshopper

Ran across this guy while puttering around the house and lawn today. On a high note, I don't think we're going to have to mow the lawn this week... Mainly due to the fact that we haven't gotten any rain in a couple weeks so we're now scrambling to figure out how to water our three acres before we end up with three acres of dirt.
In the process of watering today I heard the racket of the cranes and realized they were in the field right behind us. Yeah, see the marks still present from the last weeks mowing? That's how little the yard has grown this week.
It just figures that the cranes are finally visible and near the house for some quick photos, and I don't have a decent camera or lens to zoom in.
So sorry.
I'm sure we'll get around to replacing cameras someday here soon.
The dogs and I are just laying low today as I do some needed things and it dawned on me that I needed to get a blog post up. Perhaps this evening I might even catch up on reading some blogs? Yeah... Keep dreaming boy-o.
Wednesday I took the boys back to the Provin trails for a walk before going to knit in Rockford. I noticed all these little spider spun nests all over the pine forest floor. Kind of Harry Potter-Prisoner of Azkaban'ish, but then those people like me who find such things kind of neat, if creepy. Every tree had them at the base.
Not that the boys paid any attention. They were just happy to be out and about with me. They actually stayed with me all day. We knit on the porch at JT Stitchery and then a friend and I went to the new restaurant Ramona's Table (Excellent Nosh) and sat on the back porch while the kids chilled in the grass beside the porch. Then they ran my errands with me.
All in all, a pretty good day with the boys. On our first walk of the day we found this neat weed on the trail. They've been blooming for the last couple of weeks but I just noticed this ones flower unfurling for the morning sun. Had to snap a quick shot with the phone.

So, I know I've been promising to have house photos up, so I'm finally going to get to it here in just a minute, I have to go move sprinklers, so why don't you enjoy this artist I just discovered today on Youtube.

It looks like she is more than just a youtube artist and is getting big, I've just never heard of her before.

So I had to share with you all here, since I haven't done a Tune-Tuesday as of late.

Be right back.

Okay, let's get started with these house photos.
We'll start in the dining room. It's the room I didn't change, just freshened up a bit. Haven't put art up yet. The chair rail was previously distressed and I just repainted it and we took down the maroon blinds.
I know, I know. In a blue gray room, who puts up maroon shades? And to boot, they were tore up by their dogs.
Next, we'll move to the living room. Here I could understand the maroon shades with the red and gold walls.
Again, the front window shades were canine shredded. So, for security and privacy, the torn up ones were the first to go.
Even before we repainted. Like all those holes I had to fill? I keep finding random nails and screw in the walls we haven't gotten to. and isn't that a lovely wall sconce? Between the CFL bulbs that are two big and poking out, to the one that is broken and dangling, they all just say "classy", don't they?
So, we started by covering the red with a deep chocolate brown. Remember our Wyoming "cowboy" art in black frames and brown matting? They will all go in a montage over the fireplace. I should have gotten a new picture today that has things a bit more picked up and together. So sorry.
The end walls are a tan and the long wall is an off white that will set off that big black and white picture I had over the fireplace in Casper.
And let's not forget the new wall sconces that are rated for higher wattage bulbs and three instead of two.
Not really needed now, but come winter we will appreciate the extra light, I'm sure. We are going oil rubbed bronze slowly though out the whole house as we replace things.

I even found two fans I like in wood and bronze to replace the "kiddie" fans in the spare bedroom and F & F (fiber and firearm) room. So lets head there.
Remember the pink and green room *herk*?
Yes, it was quite lovely.
It's now a happy gold and white.
It's a bit much right now, but I think when we get low setting sun through the windows in the winter it will warm it right up and seem like a sunny retreat.
The spare bedroom we just toned down from this bright key lime pie.
Unfortunately it's kind of the upstairs "work room". Especially since we yanked out the carpet that was particularly fragrant with dog urine. Now we can spill paint all we want since we'll be covering it back up with a wood of one kind or another in the near future.
This picture makes the green still look rather bright, when it's more of a mellow green with a touch of yellow in it more like the previous picture shows. You can see the fans that I would like to replace in both these rooms.
The master bedroom wasn't bad. It needed holes patched and sickly sweet decals removed from the wall. It was just rather blah with a taupe/putty color on all 4 walls.
It probably went very well with their bedding. I decided we were ready to return to blue and bought a nice light blue for the short walls and when I got it on the walls, I realized it made the putty color a little nicer. Since I wasn't able to locate any left over paint I went and bought the sandstone you see here to compliment it. Again, we put up the roller shades in this room. Mainly we needed something for privacy because there was nothing left here, and something to block the sun from heating up the south facing rooms.

As we finish up rooms and polish them off, we will have new flooring to install, art to put up and I will be putting curtains in all the rooms. Curtains will make things look a bit more finished and help insulate come winter. They just aren't a priority right now. Any of you that have redone a place of your own, know the art of prioritizing. These shades are good for the moment, and will be incorporated into the finished room with curtains to hide the top of the window roll and sharpen it all up. On top of that, they were affordable, as window covering often are not. At some point to I am looking to get a real bedroom set. A head and foot board, matching night stands, that sort of thing. It all may be down the line a bit. A nice floor, and the electrical and plumbing work are higher priorities for us.

Now that the tour is done, fiber has fallen to the back burner. However, I did finish my last tour related yarn.
My four ply fingering came in at over 300 yards of cushy softness in a merino, super wash, silk blend.
I finished up my September socks.
Started Octobers retro looking socks, and started designing the Mystery Knit Along piece for the store as planned. And that's it for me guys. You all have a great weekend and I'll post again soon!