I prefer winter and Fall, when you feel the bone structure of the landscape — the loneliness of it, the dead feeling of winter. Something waits beneath it, the whole story doesn’t show. ~Andrew Wyeth

Friday, February 28, 2014

Be careful what you wish for...

You know how we, here in California, have been doing rain dances and praying for rain? Well, somebody was listening. It's RAINING!!!
On Tuesday I drove to San Andreas. It was sunny, warm... I didn't need a sweater or a jacket. We commented that it was "scary" how nice the weather was... for February.
 Later, on my way back up my dirt road to my house, I stopped to take a picture of a California Alligator lizard. He was sunning himself on the warm dirt and didn't move.
At first I thought "Snake!"... because of the long tail, but it was just a small lizard and he wasn't moving.
I think he was as curious about me as I was about him. They are such interesting creatures.
I finally touched his tail and he ran off into the grass.
Tuesday night it rained hard. We had lightening and thunder. It woke us up. Carl and Cutter were whining. I had to talk to them and tell them that everything was OK. Finally, we all went back to sleep.
Wednesday it rained and during an afternoon break in the weather... I took a walk up to the top of the property.
I walked over to the old mine where I found the creek dry in one spot ,(where I cross it) but filled with water in another. This small creek had water that was doing a disappearing act, and then reappearing below the crossing.
Lots of water.

No water.
 It must go underground on bedrock, because the water appears again further down the creek. The rain wasn't sufficient to make the creek flow all the way downstream. A few more days of rain and the whole stream will be filled.
On Thursday it rained all day. I finished my first knitted slipper and started another one. It seems that you have to make two of them.
Right now the finished one looks like a small, fuzzy alligator...
... but when I sew it together, put fringe on it and felt it, this oversized attempt at thinking I know what I'm doing should turn into a cute little felted, fringed slipper. This will definitely be a feat of magical proportions. "Abracadabra." These will be felted on a retreat in Nevada next weekend.

It didn't rain too much last night but the wind blew hard. This morning  I was up early because I had to drive down to Sacramento for an appointment. Our neighbor called and said that he had been heading to work and couldn't make it to the highway because there was a huge pine tree that fell across the road.
He said he would go the other direction, across the bridge and into Calaveras County. The Prospector called the county and told them about the tree. They said they would be right out. We were the first to call about a road problem so they were ready and waiting.
I left early and drove south to the river.
It wasn't raining.

I was on a schedule. I had to add at least 25 minutes to my travel time because of the downed tree. I would drive south and come back on highway 49 into Jackson and then do my normal drive to Sacramento. When you are on a schedule... and have an appointment... it's kind of like working for a living again. I knew that I couldn't stop for any reason or I wouldn't make it in time.
Well, guess what I saw down at the river... when I couldn't stop... even though I had my camera with me? A beautiful Red Tailed Hawk was sitting in a dead oak tree. It was close to the road and I would have been able to get some really good shots of him.  And, then, further down the road, I saw something move. The elusive GREAT BLUE HERON that a photographer friend has seen at the bridge a while back, flew up from the side of the road and spread its amazing wings... right in front of me.  I almost had a heart attack.
(I could not stop. I was probably going to be late , as it was.)
I almost cried. Finally, this beautiful bird shows up and I'm in such a hurry I can't even stop and capture its image in my camera.
As I drove along the ridge down the river canyon and into Jackson it started to rain... again.
I turned the news on and listened to the reports of Southern California flooding and felt almost guilty about all the rain dances I did for two months... all the hoping and wishing for rain.
There seems to be no middle ground this winter. Everything is extreme.Whether it is cold and snowy east of the Rockies or rain in the Northwest and now here, were are definitely having a strange winter. Here, in the west, it seems to be either  feast or  famine. There's no in between. We are still in a drought and it's flooding all over the place. There are mudslides in S. Ca.  The mud is sliding down all the hills that were burned in the fires this summer. It's awful.
 
I drove down to Sacramento and back. I made my appointment with five minutes to spare. On my way back home I stopped at Starbucks for coffee and one of their great egg salad sandwiches. The sandwich was wrapped in cellophane and tucked into a cute little box. When I opened it, there was a piece of tape holding the wrapping around the sandwich.
Enjoy more. Worry less. 
So, I enjoyed my sandwich... and the coffee was strong, hot and wonderful.

I guess I will take a walk in the rain tomorrow... and enjoy this wet stuff that we so badly need.
Maybe it won't rain and I can still take a walk.
Maybe I will worry less about what the doctor told me today and try not to anticipate disaster.
It's wasn't anything horrible. He just wants to "explored" a different path... a direction I didn't expect.
Life is like that. Some days it rains and some days the sun shines.
Sometimes you don't get the photo of the Great Blue Heron that you wanted, but maybe it will be there tomorrow.
Sometimes you have to take a detour because of a "tree" that fell in your path.
and sometimes... you just have to hope that an unexpected "mudslide" doesn't come down the hill behind you and wipe out all of your well laid plans.

It's still raining outside.
I wonder what will happen tomorrow.
Oh,yes... my sister is coming up.
It's suppose to be a "non" rain day.
But don't count on it.
Crazy weather... maybe we'll have a tornado.
Don't worry Farmlady... Be happy.



Monday, February 24, 2014

Number 9 needles and my personal best

I'm going on a art retreat next month and all I wanted to do was take my camera out into the Dayton desert and try to find some wild mustangs to photograph. But sometimes you have to do things that aren't on the top of your list, in order to have a consensus.  Our group is a wonderful and agreeable group of woman that are all very talented in many different ways. So we always try to do things that everyone is in agreement with.
Case in point...
Our art group (SCAT) meeting was here at my place last week. We had decided, early on, that a fun project for the retreat would be a felted hat with a felted flower and a pair of felted slippers.  We would make the hat and slippers ahead of time and teach everyone how to felt them and make more felted flowers for those who hadn't been to the meeting where we learned to make them.
As for knitting slippers... I though it would be fun, but not ever having followed written knitting directions before... I was very intimidated . I had only done scarves and flat, straight knitting.
These slipper directions are a real learning curve. These directions called for RS, LS, SSK, and K2tog. They wanted me to "kl,ml,knit and stop before last stitch, ml, kl" one way and purl the other.
Then the writer tried to introduce some humor with, "Ready?... let's go. ( Make two).
Of course... make 2... it's a PAIR of slippers.
And then there were the (parentheses) with snappy little insider comments.
 I started one slipper at the meeting and got off to a pretty good start. I had two friends that not only knew how to knit well... they also finished their pair of slippers already.
I decided on the yarn I would use and mixed three LION brand wools together so I could achieve "bulky" status, which I needed, to felt these slippers when I was done knitting them. I still maintain a "STASH" of yarn, even though I haven't done any knitting in over two years. The yarn is in three containers out in the garage. You never know when the knitting bug will hit. You have to be prepared. I'm probably "prepared" for the rest of my life.
On Wednesday, I was doing really well. I had support. Both ladies were patient and understanding. I was surprise how much I did remember from a few years ago, when I went a little crazy with the "knitting scarves and felting them" portion of my life. Some of it is like riding a bike... the basics come back... BUT... The ladies went home.
That was last Wednesday. I'm still on my first slipper and today was a hard core bad word day. It was a "Should'a called someone" day. But I didn't. I guess it was pride. I don't know.
I finally went to my Knit Aid book for abbreviations.
 SSK was not there.

So I went on line.
Here, I found a woman with brown fingernail polish to go with her orange yarn, explaining how to skip,skip, knit (SSK) and how to knit two stitches together (k2tog), how to increase and decrease and what the right side (RS) of the knitting looks like. Wow! I love the Internet.
So I continued under the tutelage of the lady with the brown nails and learned all kinds of stuff.
I also went to the Tiny Owl Knits site that makes the pattern for these "moonkoosa boots". It's a fun site and this is the link... for you.     (The gray slipper on the top left of the website is the one I'm knitting.)

I love the yarn colors I'm using. 
By tonight, I am almost finished with one slipper. I've found that I'm very good at decreasing... but awful at increasing. Could be that I'm knitting right handed and, even though I can do a lot of things with both hands, I'm basically left handed. It's a good excuse anyway.
So... My next step is to repeat rows 1 and 2 until I have decrease down to 4 stitches(sts.) and then there's another page telling me how to put this "boot" together.
I may not be leaving this computer all night.
It's a matter of achieving a goal... like the athletes in the Olympics... which I watched from beginning to "closing ceremony" end... which was wonderful... and made me realize that, with training and talent, you can do just about anything.
EVEN when you think you can't.
There were some tears this afternoon... and that's when I went for the chocolate in the freezer...  I do know what comforts and motivates me.
I'm buying a wool hat from someone who knitted more than one hat... just for the fun of it. Imagine that! She loves making them. I can only take so much of this endurance knitting, so I opted for a homemade, already done, knit hat.
Because... I'm almost out of chocolate.

I will post my slipper/boots when I'm done with them. Any mistakes will be felted into oblivion.
I figure I may come in about 7th or 8th in this boot competition. I won't "metal", but it's about the accomplishment... and endurance... and my personal best.