Thursday, August 30, 2012

Not quite a done deal

The Porcupine Blanket is finally done, or at least I've finally finished knitting the bulk of it and all that's left is the trim.  First it needs to be washed and blocked in preparation of the trim.  I'll do this before what's left of Isaac makes its way to Michigan.  By the weekend, I'm fairly certain it will be wet around here--not that we're complaining-- and I won't be able to count on the blanket drying well.  Today is the day for blocking, and I will be attaching the fringe, for as Rose stated in the comments from Sunday's post, all of that fringe is what drew me to the blanket in the first place.

In the comments of that post, most thought it would be fine to leave it fringeless for the safety of the baby, or that it looked good unadorned.  It was a mixed bag of opinion, so I put it to a bigger vote on Ravelry, and here are those results:

Out of 368 votes, 191 fiber artists agree with Rose:  put the fringe on the blanket.  There were many comments about baby safety, so I'm thinking this will be finished as a wall hanging with a rod pocket sleeve.  I'll also give the mom a quilt hanger so it'll eventually make its way to a wall.  

I'm working the midnight shift Saturday, which is really Friday night into Saturday morning.  With luck, I'll finish attaching the fringe during those hours, but first I need to find the book so I can reference the pattern.  For the life of me, I don't know where it might be.

One last note...this morning, I caught Leo--red pawed--standing on the dining room chair.  He was trying to be silent while he was reaching across the table to snatch a piece of cheese.  BUSTED!

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Crimes against baked goods!

Someone took a bite from the side of a loaf banana bread I baked last night.

Hmmmm. Who could it be now?

Though I don't have a crumb of proof, I think it's the big nosed family member. 

Like any good thief, he's not talking.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

And all good things must come to an end

Quake Lake.
Wish I was there instead of going back to work.
It's been 25 days since last I worked and I head back into the fray tomorrow.  I kind of miss working, so maybe it's not a bad thing.  If nothing else, it'll keep me away from watching the madness which is American politics on the television.  I did venture into the office this week to pick up equipment I'd left in my employer's safe keeping in the event I'd had a run in with a bear while on vacation.

Unadorned porcupine.  AKA a hedgehog.
 The Porcupine Baby Blanket is also coming to an end and while I've flown through the last 40 or so rows this weekend, for some reason, I can't make myself pick it up and finish the last 12 rows!  What?  Why is that?  I think I my subconscious is dreading all that fringe.  When I mentioned that on a Ravelry forum, another knitter thought perhaps I should ditch the fringe and call the critters hedgehogs.  She thought all the fringe may not fair so well in the hands of a baby.  I've been seriously considering that knitter's advice.

Hedgehog with quills?  AKA a porcupine or how the designer finished the piece.
What do you think?  Porcupines or hedgehogs?  Will my critters look naked if unadorned?

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Doggie Pergatory

Porcupine Baby Blanket from 60 Quick Baby Knits

 Poor Leo is out of sorts.  For two days, men have been in his backyard putting up the neighbor's privacy fence and he is not taking the intrusion on his personal space well.  If they aren't gone soon, I fear he won't be able to hold it much longer because the only space he can do his "business" is in his own backyard.  He will hike his leg and anoint every tree in the neighborhood on a walk, but when it comes to more serious things, he wants privacy.

The contractors removed the cyclone fence that divides our house from our next door neighbor's yesterday and with both gates closed, he was able to finally go out last night.  This crazy dog ran up and down the now imaginary fence line and paced like mad, but he would not cross into the neighbor's yard...until he saw a squirrel.  That meant war.

Not being able to see my neighbor's trash will be the real bonus of a privacy fence here!

The squirrel, first unnoticed because his head was deep inside a hole he'd dug and only his bushy tail was showing, barely got away.  Three more inches and Leo would have bagged his first ever squirrel.

Leo...all tuckered out from chasing squirrels. 
You'll have to imagine the melee for yourself as I neglected to take the camera out in the rain with us.  After we washed the mud off him, Leo was more than happy to model the porcupine baby blanket for me.  I do believe I'm 2/3 done and ready to start the third and final porcupine.  There are approximately 100 ends to weave, but who's complaining?

Friday, August 17, 2012

Failure of Prior Proper Planning

See Teddy Roosevelt in the back there squashed between Presidents Jefferson and Lincoln?  We also "read" about him in The River of Doubt while on holiday.  It was an extraordinary and harrowing tale of adventure.  I highly recommend this book, by, Candice Millard.  It was most excellent, if not a little gruesome.
The schedule never changes.  The third Saturday of every single August draws car buffs from around the country with the lure of cruising Woodward Avenue in their vintage--and some not so vintage--cars.    There is very loud rock and roll music to be heard from the corner of Woodward and 13 Mile Road and I'm about a mile away!  I can hear the roar of engines, helicopters overhead, sirens as police and EMS tend to the people who are likely drinking and driving, and the voices of the constant parade of humans outside my door.  The noise levels are deafening, certainly not as peaceful as a cabin in the woods, and it's only just getting started.  By tomorrow, the noise will reach a crescendo and I will regret that I forgot to plan for this.  Usually I duck out this weekend and head to the Michigan Fiber Festival.  Not this time, though.  I haven't the heart nor the gumption to get back in my car and drive west again.

Wall, South Dakota
Two weeks ago we realized we'd also not planned well when we pulled into Keystone, South Dakota for a look-see at Mt. Rushmore.  There were a bazillion (no exaggeration!) cyclists with their Harleys, Triumphs and Hondas lining the one and only road to the top.  Yep, they were there for their annual pilgrimage to Sturgis, South Dakota where they all do Heaven Knows What for an entire week.  We pulled in at the same time they did and there was not a hotel room available for love nor money.

Again with the poor planning.  What was I thinking?

Last year the Dream Cruise got rained out when a bad storm rolled in.  I guess it was awful.  I wouldn't know as I was hobnobbing with sheep, alpaca and pygora goats.  This year, I'm stuck and I hear the weather is to be gorgeous.

This must be purgatory.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Driven to delirium

Finally saw some elk, but got only one good photo.  I dunno.  I think I'd obsess if my butt were a different color than the rest of me.  It looks too much like a target.  Why do dark brown elk have light brown butts?
We're finally home after a marathon push to finish the last several hundred miles.  To accomplish this traveling feat, we went through 6 states in one day, and I'm not talking about east coast states where you can visit several of them in the span of a couple of hours. Yesterday we drove from Fargo, North Dakota, through Minnesota (lost hours stuck on 694 in the Minneapolis area due to construction), Wisconsin, Illinois (more hours lost to construction traffic woes) and Indiana before finally entering Michigan.  We pulled into our driveway at 5:05AM, said hello to Leo who showered us with dog kisses and went promptly to bed.  Gotta say, be it ever so humble, there's no place like home.  I have officially seen enough fields of wheat and corn to last me a lifetime.  And I'd like to apologize to the beavers I ran over on I-94 in North Dakota.  There were 3 of them crossing the road at midnight and there was no place for me to go with the car racing at 75 miles per hour.  At least I think they were beavers.  Could have been possums but I couldn't see because my windshield was covered in bug guts.  It kind of made me sick to think I'd hit them and for the whole day yesterday, I could only think of those beavers as road kill lying on the side of the freeway in full rigor-mortis with their little beaver paws pointing stiffly up toward the heavens.  Oy.  I think too much.  

Today I'm curled up on the sofa with a dog, a cup of coffee and my remote control.  Last week, I was taking pictures of signs warning me to beware of snakes near the Missouri River.  This week I'm thankful not to see more road signs--especially toll signs in Illinois.  I lost count, but I think it cost close to $15 to drive one way from Indiana to Wisconsin.  Every time I thought we were making progress around Chicago, it was time to pull over and pay another toll.  I'm sure a hundred years ago, we likely would have met highway robbers along the way.  I'm here to tell you they're still around, only now they're state sponsored.

On our way west, we listened to the audiobook, Undaunted Courage, while driving.  Signs of the Lewis & Clark trail were everywhere we looked, especially throughout North Dakota. The book helped me imagine how difficult it must have been to accomplish what Lewis and Clark did without the Rand McNally Road Atlas, or a Tom-Tom.  They were undaunted, and incredibly courageous and maybe a little nuts.

There were lots of these signs within Yellowstone.  There are also signs warning the water bubbling out of the ground is both toxic and hot.  That didn't stop one teenager I saw from sticking his finger in the water.  I overheard him say, "Ow! That's hot!"  Now there's a genius in the making for you.

I saw absolutely no bears in Yellowstone.  Of course, I did no back country hiking, either, so I'm not surprised.  I wasn't disappointed though.  There was plenty of beauty to feast the eyes upon in this very rugged country without having a bear cross my path.

As proof of how picturesque this place is, here is a picture of the falls on the Yellowstone River.  This picture of the lower falls takes the sting out of the knowledge that my pictures of the upper falls didn't quite turn out the way I thought they did.  My iPhone got a better picture than the Nikon with the zoom lens.

Since I'm all over the place with this post, I think I'm still rather tired today and though I didn't get up until noon, I think it's time again to make an appointment with my Tempur-pedic mattress.

Do you think there is a beaver heaven?

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Meet the neighbors

Yes, that's an apple in her mouth. I couldn't resist sharing the market's bounty and she rewarded me with a great photo.  

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Color Affection

Artist's Paint Pots
It's hard not to be influenced by the beauty that surrounds me here in Southeastern Montana.  One only has to look to find something interesting.  The color alone is simply amazing.  We've gone into Yellowstone two days in a row, and while we took separate routes both days, the major difference to color was yesterday's lack of sunshine.  It was cool, overcast and drizzling most of the day.  By the time we left the park around 6 PM, torrential storms struck the area.  Since there are a few fires already burning in the park, it was probably good that the 300 lightening strikes Yellowstone received yesterday were accompanied by heavy rain.  Hopefully they cancel each other out, but it is awfully dry there and fire risk is extreme in some areas.

Quake Lake
On our first day in the park, it was quite hot and sunny.  I'd forgotten to put the polarized cover on the lens of the camera, which probably would have given me better color description in the photos I took.  The second day, Mother Nature provided her own cover, so the polarized one wasn't necessary, which was good because I don't have one for the wide angle lens.

Gibbons Falls
After walking miles around Mammoth Hot Springs, dodging rain drops (not successfully), and stopping at just about every scenic spot we could find, we made one last stop at Artist's Paint Pots.  It's about a 1/3 mile easy hike into this beautiful spot and I had only brought the wide-angled lens.  I for sure wasn't walking back to get the other.  I even forget my iPhone which has a decent camera.  Oh well, you get closeups shot with the only lens I had here.

The bridge to Mammoth Hot Springs
The colors have inspired me to want to knit another shawl using the milky light blue with rich salmon colors.  Will it be another Cameo?  Or maybe Color Affection?  Whatever it is, bobbins and butterflies won't be involved.  I haven't been knitting much here, though I did finally cast on the second Lismore Cable Sock last night so there is hope for an actual pair of socks coming out of this trip.  The porcupine blanket sits ignored for the time being.  Maybe later today.  Or maybe not.

More Mammoth Hot Springs because one picture is never enough to show the beauty that surrounds us here.
I know why I haven't been's because I literally can't take my eyes off the path.

The plan for today is not fully formed, but I think it will involve walking down to the farmer's market and maybe taking in the local art fair.  I hope your weekend is great!

Friday, August 10, 2012

Eye Candy Friday

Mammoth Hot Springs
Yellowstone National Park

I have no words for this natural work of art, nor the mystifyingly beautiful road we took to get there.  Sadly, I think the elk had the day off.

Photo: Rudeek

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Greetings from Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming

After a couple of days acclimating to the altitude here, we finally took on Yellowstone.  I'm so glad we waited because if 5,000 feet of elevation gave me trouble, I know 8,000 would have been awful without the wait.  Anyways, I've talked enough.  Here are a few snapshots of the most beautiful day I've had in a long time:

We drove many miles without seeing any wildlife, just enormous ravens.  I began to despair there were no Bison.  Just then, one appeared so close to the road, I could have stuck out my arm and touched him.  Still no bear or elk sitings.  Maybe we'll get lucky on our next trip in on Saturday.
Bacteria growing in sulphur & heat

The colors are magnificent

Rapids on the Yellowstone River

Yellowstone National Park
All photos Rudeek

That's all for now.  You can thank me later because between 3 cameras, I snapped about 200 photos. Hope you're all well.  I'm off to soak in the hot tub.

P.S.  Seeing Old Faithful in person, well, it's nothing like it is on a National Geographic documentary.  Take my word for it and pencil this park into your agenda.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Classic way to end disputes

Rock, Paper Scissors statue, Gillette, WY.
Greetings from Gillette, Wyoming, where I am just about to pour myself back into the car for another long day.  Thought I'd say hey and share this statue I found.  Next stop, Montana and home base for a week.

Gillette is a modest town that looks to be dependent on the energy industry.  They have a Starbucks here though, and for someone who has driven about 1500 miles with mostly awful coffee, I can now state emphatically that today, at least I'll be driving awake!

Have a good one.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Following in some big footprints

Though we won't follow the entire route, we're sure to bump into more than a few areas first described by Lewis and Clark.  In the spirit of things, we've downloaded the unabridged audiobook, Undaunted Courage, to listen to along the way.   We have Last of the Mohicans as a spare. The gas tank is full (ouch) and we're well stocked on water, Twizzlers, gum, maps, coffee, yarn, patterns and peanuts.  The batteries are charged on the Tom-Tom, laptop, iPad and iPhone.  We will make much better time than those brave explorers who blazed the path, thanks to the Toyota, and expect to hit Montana no later than Tuesday.

See you here and there with pictures from our trails and adventures.

Stay tuned.

Photo: Wikicommons