Friday, February 24, 2017

Spring Has Sprung

Took the kids to the marsh yesterday for a short, but much needed walk in the woods. Our temperatures have risen quite a bit since last weekend, and yesterday it was 15C. Lots of folks are uneasy saying it, but Spring has sprung! I even saw and heard a grackle down at the marsh, which is a sure sign for me. The grackles return with the red-winged blackbirds in early spring, and to hear their chucking call through the bare branches of the trees while the wind is blowing warm air into our faces is just wonderful.

The turkeys were there in great numbers when we walked one way down the path, but when we returned along the same path a few minutes later, they had all melted into the deeper woods. I got a few shots of these comical birds. I like watching them foraging through the leaves of the forest floor looking for food. They blend in so well, that you don't notice them right away.

The geese, swans and ducks were a noisy bunch along the shores of the marsh. All happy greeters if you have brought some food for them! I was taking a photo of the geese in front of me and turned to stand up and there was another one inches from my face.

Oh! Hello there Mr Goose!


There was a pair of Whistler Swans on the other side of the bridge. I like these swans better than the Mute Swans, maybe because they're a little less common to see around here. These two had big ugly yellow tags on their wings. I wonder how far they have travelled to arrive in my town. You can see there is still ice covering much of the marsh water.

The trees don't have any leaf buds on them just yet, but the sound of the warm wind roaring through their branches gives the impression the trees themselves are moaning and stretching after months of winter weather (which quite honestly, seems to have gone in a flash with our relatively mild winter this year).

Don't you love it when the tree devours these signs
Thanks for stopping by!


Hey Slim!
Joining up with Eileen's Saturday Critters.
Thanks for hosting Eileen :)

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Winter Storms

Last Sunday morning I noticed it had started snowing. I figured it was just a few flurries, but was glad that I had gone to see Dad the day before in clear weather. 

I was busy in the kitchen all day baking a birthday cake for my daughter, and the birthday meal, which at her request was lasagna. My son has also been requesting a certain quiche and I decided to make that on Sunday as well. While in the kitchen for the balance of the day making all this stuff, I watched the snow come down.

spinach quiche for lunch
The snow changed from happy little snowflakes dancing up, down and sideways in the light wind, to heavy, wet flakes that came down faster and faster.

Snow was piling up and clinging to the pine tree and everything else. The pine's boughs started to hang lower and lower as the day wore on and the snow continued to fall. It looked even worse out the front window. Traffic was slowing down and thinning as people realized it wasn't worth going out on the roads.

Because I'm a terrible planner, I still had to head over to the mall to buy my daughter's birthday gift. My husband came with me, and the mall was empty. Only a few people were in the stores, which was actually kind of nice. Our truck has 4 x 4, so it wasn't difficult to navigate the roads. We didn't see any snowplows even in the afternoon. I guess they were all at work on the major roads and highways.

By the end of the day we had a good amount of snow. I thought it was great because now I would have some entertainment for the daycare kids through the week (and it was great entertainment!).

But our paltry "dusting" of 20 cm of snow was put in perspective for me later in the week when Halifax was digging out of 70 cm of snow one day, and another 40 cm of snow the next. I love snow. But I gotta hand it to our eastern folks who really know what it means to cope with a Canadian snow storm.

the last shot of the day taken through the kitchen window
The snow is still with us, although it's been hardening with the sunshine melting it in the day and then it freezes again overnight. I took the kids tobogganing a few times, right up until we had an injury on the hill ... a spectacular spinning crash with grazed cheeks against the ice and snow and lots of tears. It has to happen at least once to kids here, but that was the end of our time on the hill. Now the hill is mostly ice and too dangerous for my little guys.

I hope you all had a great week! Today is sunny with a predicted high of 8C! Of course, with the high temperatures today, everyone figures that's it for winter. We'll see ...

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Saturday, February 11, 2017

Knitted Results!

I have now finished my dad's lap blanket, and I think it turned out pretty darned good. I'm happy with the colours and with the pattern, and the yarn is quite soft and machine washable. I don't think there's anything that I don't like about this blanket ... except that my hands have been aching for a while with all the knitting I've done on it! 

I finished the last 12 rows of garter stitch border this morning, wove in all the ends and added my dad's name in duplicate stitch in one corner. I've not worked duplicate stitch before, so it looks a little sloppy, but it'll do. All my dad's things have to be labelled at his care home, so decided this was the best way to label the blanket. 

As soon as I finished the last stitch, I wrapped it up and drove the hour's trip to take it over to him. He was asleep when I arrived, asleep while I visited for two hours, and asleep when I left. So I unwrapped the blanket for him and lay it across his lap. He instantly grasped at the coziness and seemed to quite enjoy the comfort the blanket provided. Although it was kind of sad not to be able to tell him I had made it for him, the effect was perfect, so I have to console myself with that.
Dad's hands were squishing the blanket up and enjoying the feel of it :)
I wanted the blanket to cover him well, and it's big enough to do just that. The final measurements were approximately 50-inches square.

You'd think after knitting this blanket for the past month, I would have had enough of knitting. But I have a couple of other quick projects to knit for Valentine's Day for the daycare kiddies, and will be working on that this weekend. I'm so glad the blanket is finished and delivered to Dad though. I've been wanting to knit this thing for probably three years now! To be able to cross it off an on-going list in my little notebook is greatly satisfying. 

This year my husband and I have agreed that this is the year to get things done. We call it the "Pitter Patter" list ... Pitter, Patter, Let's get at 'er! (This is some phrase that my son heard on a show he watches, so he helpfully provided the motto to keep us focused.) My blanket is now crossed off the Pitter Patter list. It's only February, but we've already dealt with the furnace and water heater replacement as well!

Our old furnace and water heater being hauled away :)
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Sunday, February 05, 2017

Winter Project

I'm joining up with Jennifer of Thistlebear for her Winter Project Link Party today. We're getting some snow falling today, and the thermometer reads a mere 2 degrees below 0 Celsius ... not too bad ... but the grey overcast skies are gloomy again. Perfect day to knit!

I've been working diligently on a new lap blanket for my dad. Every so often when I visit him his room is quite cold, and the only blanket he has in the closet is a cotton one. It's a bit big and if I lay it across his knees, he throws it off again. I thought he might like a smaller blanket and finally decided to knit one for him. 

I've been dithering over this idea for a couple of years for one reason or another. The cost of the yarn was a drawback, but then I found some yarn on sale for $2 a ball just after Christmas. I scooped up ten balls ... five of teal and five of grey. I had to buy acrylic yarn since the nursing home has to be able to throw this in the washing machine and dryer (can't really ask them to handwash a blanket, can I).  This is Impeccable yarn by Loops & Threads and 100% acrylic. It's quite soft and having it sit in my lap I can feel that it's also warm. The yarn suggests six 6 mm (US 10) needles, which is what I'm using in circular needles (knitting back and forth though, not in the round). 

At first I wasn't sure about the colours together and thought they might look too dreary. But now that I've worked them in stripes I think it will be just fine. My dad has always liked the colour of teal. The actual colour is much more green than is showing up in the photos. 

I'm knitting this in a basic stockinette pattern with two rows of each colour. This way I can twist the yarn at the end of the second row to catch up the second colour all the way up the side. I also knit a garter stitch border across the bottom and up each side. There are 12 rows of garter stitch across the bottom and eight stitches on either side. This will help the blanket lie flat without curling up at the edges. 

I was doing fine with the stockinette stitch at first. I wanted a mindless pattern so that I could work at this while watching a movie or while the kids had their naps. I've finally gotten to the stage where I can knit without looking at my work if there is no pattern to follow. If I have a detailed pattern to follow, I just cannot do anything else except knit or I make mistakes. But then I got bored at about 36 rows and added eight rows of a basket weave pattern. Not sure if I'm really happy with that break (I don't like the way it rises up above the flat stockinette), but I've added those eight rows three times now, and I guess it looks okay. I am not ripping it back to change it.

The blanket is a generous size at 55 inches across. I'll make it at least that long, or maybe even a little longer ... Dad has very long legs! So far I have used two full balls of yarn and the next two are close to finished ... so almost four balls of yarn. As I say, I have ten balls for the entire blanket.

I also wanted to show you the scarf that I was working on with the Noro yarn. Love all the colour changes! As you can see, the scarf is not very long with just two balls of yarn. I'm either going to purchase more yarn to complete the scarf the way I would like, or else maybe make a hat like Karen of My Little Home and Garden showed on her blog here! Love this hat, and Karen says it only takes one ball of the Noro yarn. I'll share that when I get back to it after finishing Dad's blanket. My dad is 93 and I really want to be able to give this to him in the next couple of weeks.

I got quite a few rows in yesterday while our furnace and water heater were being installed, and again this morning with cups of tea before the sun came up (well, the sun is up there somewhere, I just can't see it!). Now I'm ready for more tea ... "mighty chai" by David's tea is ready for brewing :)

Cody was enjoying the snuggle on the couch with me this morning. He gets too hot quickly though and hops back down to his usual spot at the top of the stairs where he can be the first to alert us to visitors.
Blob of fur that is my dog
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