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Sunday, March 30, 2014

Coming Back To It

Okay, weekends almost done and I'm finally getting around to posting. Not that I have a lot to post, but a bit.

The weather here is starting to become more springlike. Even this past week when we got snow, it was joined by rain and warmer temperatures that kept things from being too miserable. Well, I'm sure some people think that freezing rain and sleet is miserable but the dogs here don't which means I can't.
Friday was bath day for the kids. Since our local walking place has been "Closed Due To Flooding" per the sign on the trail I thought I would take the kids there, let the boys run wild in the wet before going to get bathed. That way they were "pre-wetted" for the washing. It worked like a charm except the flood waters were already receding. In their wake they left sone neat ice structures though.
You can see where the frozen slush and ice crumpled and buckled as the water it floated on drained away. At one point it was open water but then the temperature dropped and things refroze for a day or so.
There were still a few spots of water on the trail or flowing across it. Here we ran into a little crustacean creature wondering across the path were the water was flowing across the trail.
As best as I can tell from looking things up, this is a Virile or Northern Crayfish. One of the native species, to a rusty crayfish that is not native, but an evasive species to this area. The dogs were quite curious about this little monster as we passed it. Unfortunately due to the rain and sleet, I didn't take a real camera with me, and these are all off the iPhone.

The walk believe it or not was quite nice. There was one area of the trail I had to break ice from about 8 inches of standing water for the dogs to pass safely through with out getting cut up. They did great and the  boys ran and ran and ran. They were good and tired after we got baths and finally got home. I was soaking wet and chilled to the bone but they had a good time, which is what we were going for. Had to get them all washed up so they could have their beginning of the month flea and tick treatment. Unbelievably I even found a tick on Tucker as I washed them up. Wasn't on his skin or blood filled, seemed slow moving and cold but still... We are in tick country now.
We also ran into this area where the ice flowed on the water across the trail, then the water drained away and left the ice that slumped in a curve over the trail. The dogs had a heck of a time staying on it and kept sliding off to the side. I was surprised how well my waders stuck to it. It was kind of funny watching the normally nimble boys have to dig in claws. You can kind of see Tucker has his paws splayed here to get those class in. I carried Shiela across it when she was struggling. It pays to be a senior citizen sometimes.
On the walk I of course didn't have a good enough camera for birds, and we saw few, but boy were they singing. Songs I don't know so they are still moving into the area. Spring is coming, even if we can't see it. Of course, that is how I felt on Friday. Today, it's in the high 40's and I had to strip off a layer as we walked the kids on the White Pine Trail out of Rockford. It defiantly smacks of spring today. On the sides of the trail there were shoots coming up, birds singing, geese honking and the trail filled with others needing to get out.
As for knitting, I got those bright orange socks done and have been working on these. They are the Kalajoki socks which is a free pattern on ravelry if you're interested. Besides having to tear back a couple times due rot being tired and the original ones were slightly to large, they are going well.
I am past the gusset now and am cruising down the body of the foot. Fingers crossed I will wrap them up this week and get a box shot off to Alaska with socks for my brother and his entire family. Then, I think I will take a break from socks. This is my 6th pair since January. That means I am 3 months ahead of schedule for the 12 months 12 socks challenge on the Wyoming  Fiber Skeinks group. I think I deserve a break, don't you? Although I do think I will be returning to this pattern for a sock for me, because I really like it. I REALLY like it. Which means I need a pair for myself.

And what does a break from socks look like? Something like this right now.
What exactly is it? It will be a shawl in a few weeks I hope. After some internet nastiness and to be honest, absolute ridiculousness I decided to borrow the concept from that Mystery Knit Along shawl I did last month and create my own design. I'll keep you posted as to how it goes.

Now, back to knitting with me so I can write those socks off as complete and move on with something not a sock for a bit. Whew... Have a great rest of your weekend everyone!

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Fighting It Off

Okay, I'm sorry for the delay in posting, much less this rather small useless post. I've been feeling a bit under the weather. Not truly sick, well, sat Saturday I deed feel rather sick, but more that wore out feeling as your immune system is in overtime fighting some bug off.

Because of this tiredness. Okay, exhaustion is a better word for it, I have done very little. I have done the usual walking the dogs but beyond that I've got some knitting done and that's about it. I haven't been carrying a camera and don't even have any real news to share.
Among the little news I have, I finished the next pair of socks. You may remember them. They were... er... bright.
I was able to tone down the color a bit and show it more true because they are not quite this bright. Not quite, but they are loud none the less.
And then I cast on the Kalajoki socks for my other nephew. When they are done, O plan on taking a break form socks for just a bit. I have the idea of a shawl pattern bouncing around my head and need to get it started.

And that's all I have at this point. I'm off to vacuum the apartment and do a touch of house keeping. Hope you all are well.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

As Promised, pictures pictures pictures

For any disbelievers (Kim). Okay, it's just proof that I wasn't crazy yesterday, look.
I got one on camera. Which was pure luck since it's the only one I saw, though once again I heard plenty of them today.
Today, that spring that has been creeping in, has quit sneaking and just hit us hard. It hit 44 degrees!
There were signs everywhere of the warm temperatures. I first removed my outer gloves, then unzipped my jacket and finally had to lose the hat due to the heat.
All the while we listened to the black birds, and the laughing woodpeckers. Then there was this loud boom. People from cold places know that boom. By the time we got back to the river, this had happened.
Grrrr. Blogger is screwing with videos now. Google, you're starting to make me hate you. Okay, back on track. What we had heard was the ice go out on the river.

We watched for quite sometime and I truly wished that I had my bigger camera and not just my little point and shoot. However, handling four dogs and shooting pictures doesn't always work well together. So the point and shoot it was, especially since I had to clean it's lens
Even with the ice rotting, and melting away, the day was beautiful.
In fact, because of it, it may have been more beautiful.
As you can see the river is running a bit high right now, as to be expected with the run off.
Judging by the remains we keep finding on the trail, I'm guessing it's helping these guys and the ever present red tails eat well. Even if I wish they wouldn't eat their goodies over the trail. I have to ride the dogs hard to get them to leave such remnants alone.
It seems we hear the woodpeckers every day. If they aren't calling and laughing in the trees, you can hear them searching for food. I never realized how much it sounds like grouse mating until a couple times I thought it was until I realized we aren't in grouse territory. I'm sure there's a species or two around, but not that we've seen yet.
On the way back, as we looped near the river again we saw it clear of the ice that had already moved down the way. The waterfowl quickly got into the soup.
These two were talkers. Sorry again for the lack of a good zoom.
I think they were the same two we saw walking back as they flew in low. I was able to get a lucky shot.
Ahhh, if only I took the better camera!?! I probably wouldn't have seen any of it then. You know how it goes.
I had to clean the little camera up, yesterday I hadn't noticed that I had something on the lens until I was looking at photos. I caught Emmitt dog on the bed using my pillow. He knows better as you can see the look of shock at being caught here. He thought I was still doing my morning knitting.
And speaking of knitting. The Mystery Knit-A-Long is done.
Denise at the Clever Ewe modeled it for me.
I had several people tell me that I should have tried to ease in the new color, but after I pointed out that the new color was a solid unlike the previous kettle dye, they agreed I couldn't do much of that. So it is what it is, and I am off to other projects.
Seriously, because these are done too.
So today I am casting on these ones that I have been busy working out a cable chart for the top of the foot today. We shall not discuss that though. It hasn't been fun, but it is done. In the end, who knows, I might have a nice sock pattern. They aren't quite that bright, but I wasn't able to get the colors to look right. Everything I did made them even brighter. There's actually some darker orange and coral in them.

So, let's discuss the yarn store I'm working at. I asked Sally the owner yesterday if it was okay to speak of it here. I like to make sure the boss knows what I'm doing before I put the product of their handwork on my blog. The good thing is, she said yes.
So I snapped a couple pictures. This is for you Lisa... This is the entry way. The artier yarns and some of the pricier items like interchangeable needle sets, project kits, and the quiviut is here.
Then there is the worsted room. Yes, I've said this is a big place. The major weights have their own rooms.
DK/Sport room from two different angles.
Gotta love the windows.
Then the sock/lace room. One of my favorites.
If you look, you can see the smudge that was on my lens. Let's not discuss it further. It hurts me.
The bulky room, and the social gathering site. And see that back there, a fireplace to keep you cozy!
Oh, and let's not forget the class room. Yep, a room to teach in!

I won't even show you the stock rooms. Another employee asked me how in other yarn stores I have worked we had handled storing and refreshing form back stock. I kind of looked at her and tried to be sly as I said, "Back stock? See this room here? That's how big both stores were. They didn't have a lot of back stock, or any place to put it." She seemed surprised.

Long story short, it's a great store. It's a big store. It has a lot of stock and I am still learning what all we  have. In fact, I will be learning for some time what all we have because it's a lot. I think I'm loving it.

All right, we need to get the kids out for another romp and find dinner for us before I go into a sugar slump and punch my computer to try and strangle someone high up at google. Yeah yeah, a hungry man's an angry man.

Monday, March 17, 2014

A Little Error

Well, I think it was more of a miscommunication involving todays work schedule. So my lucky dogs got a second walk/rompus this morning. Long story short, I went to work, was just running through some of the mornings check list when another employee showed up. We had a little schedule discussion and I left, to come back and close the shop instead of open it. Either way, it matters to me little. It's not like I have a lot of other things on the schedule today.

Long story short though, on the later walk we heard something. Something that I've been told that just like in Wyoming is a Harbinger of Summer. What was is you ask? A Red Wing Blackbird. For those of my readers who aren't familiar with this sound, i will see if I can find a way to record it and put a recording of it here. After many times floating the Platte on a hot morning and having these guys all around you, it makes me feel the sun pounding down, and hear the lapping of the water on my kayak hull. And especially with yesterdays 5K walk at 6 degrees with a -10 windchill, it is appreciated. Not that I mind winter, but I felt like I was back in Wyoming yesterday with chapped lips, windburn face, and stinging ears/nose and all.

Now, back to work with me. Have a good one. I'll share knitting pictures later. I got the shawl done...

Friday, March 14, 2014

Out & About

I guess I really didn't want to work on my knitting this morning. I got up about 5, thinking that was what I would do, yet here I am on the computer playing with yesterdays photos.
I pulled out the big camera yesterday and put on the 300mm lens to see if I could get some better bird shots.
As you can see, while I was digging out the camera and various pieces and parts from the spare room (large closet) someone figured out what was happening. Cute little shit that he is. Who can say no to that face? But do you notice something wrong with that photo? Such as the blurriness? I think I need to get my big camera looked at because you will notice over and over again that the days shots are blurred. In fact, at times the auto focus wouldn't even function until I shut down, pulled off the lens and replaced it and powered up again.
Could have been the cold as it was about 6 degrees while shooting these... and it needs a serious cleaning from the Wyoming dust. Too boot, shooting birds in trees with branches surrounding them, not easy, but we went for a Rogue River stroll with the frisbee to see if we could catch some elusive cardinals.
And I should have pulled out the big camera earlier because it's mating season and all these guys are high up in the trees shouting out their mating call (which is very pretty by the way). No longer down by the trail where they would be easier to catch on camera.

"Mating call? How do you know it's a mating call?" I hear you ask.
Because I accident'y caught this on camera. What is this?
Two woodpeckers going at it.
I didn't realize what I had snapped until I was looking at the shots at home. Whoops. But hey, I finally got those shy woodpeckers on film! And here in MI, these guys have that chuckling laughter of a call that made woody woodpecker famous, though it is not near as annoying as his. The other day on the Grand River we saw a woodpecker with a bright red head. The whole head, not just a cap. Of course, he was right on the trail, bold as could be and me without a camera just trying to get the kids walked and to the vet before heading to work for the day.
Despite my camera problems and the fact that every time I went to catch a shot it seems, Shiela would tug on her leash; old bitch that she is, I did get some shots.
Including a coupe neat ones as I was just snapping when I saw the birds.
I think these are the female Cardinals.
Their calls are similar, just a bit quieter, higher and more feminine sounding. Less whistle like and more tweet I guess.
I loved this head on one.
And do you ever notice there is always one in every crowd?
Everyone is trying to have a little sleep in and there's that one that has to get up early to have a bird bath and preen early?
He was just getting ready for his photo session. But it was kind of funny, The other ducks did seem to be trying to sleep and seemed a bit disgusted with this guy.
When I moved forward on the river to try and snap some shots of the golden eyes that are also shy and easy spooked, I made the dogs wait back further. Then it seemed like the perfect opportunity for some shots.
The vet down here was amazed with these guys particularly Shiela. We had to do some blood work and Shiela's came back looking perfect, again. I swear, her heart, nor kidney or liver are ever going to give out. She is on a huge amount of rimadyl for a dog her size (which we started a new pain med that is working! We are down to half the dose of rimadyl) and yet it's going to be those back legs I think that give out. As you can see in the second shot, she is slow to sit these days. It takes too much to get up and going again from the ice. Yet she always wants to go. One of these days she will let me know I guess, until then she's the normal trooper. Besides walking stiffly, never lets you know she's hurting, just keeps trucking. Unfortunately, they confirmed her eyes are getting worse. She is seeing very little these days, is deaf, but that nose still works! That's what happens when you move into the ancient zone. Who knew she'd make 18.
I was able to catch some Golden Eyes and what I think is possibly a Merganser in the right of the shot.
But enough was enough for these shy water fowl. As it was, I really had to zoom out for most of these shots.
And a mallard in a flight shot that I didn't realize I had caught, though you guessed it. Blurry.
This was the last one I saw as I headed out, Again, way up in the trees which made getting decent shots difficult.
While we were on the river though we had to stop at the dog park.
Can you tell someone got in trouble. What a mope. Has to go lay by himself and look pitiful. I swear he would have gotten along with my older brother and the next youngest one. They were all mopers too.
What's going on here?
Sullivan really doesn't want to be a frisbee dog as he won't retrieve it though he has learned how to catch!
He just likes to tease Emmitt when he gets his jaws on it.
It becomes a game of Keep-Away
This next one is for you Milllie because he looks like one of those big AT-AT things from The Empire Strikes Back.
What a silly dog, but he does have a great time. Here I thought he looked like a high stepping horse.
We are supposed to be a bit warmer today.
I noticed this tree seems to have a bunch of little goiters in it's branches...
Yesterday was in the high 20's later in the day (not at 730 on the river I tell you) but there was a cutting little breeze. Windchill values were -3, and after walking the kids, I believed. But it was a nice sunny day. Today is supposed to be 40's.
Spring is slowly creeping in I think.

Fresh leaves, berries, and blossoms to come.
I better get to the knitting here so I can get some done before I have to start the day.
I got the 4th clue of the Mystery Knit Along Done and am waiting today for the 5th and last clue. Ran out of the blue yarn (don't get me started on Mystery Knit-Alongs). Now I am working the gusset of the socks awaiting the last clue's release today.