And All the Craziness In Between

While WordPress dutifully posted my writing over the last week or so, I actually haven’t turned my computer on for almost two whole weeks. Sure, I used my smart phone, but I use it mostly for reading and posting to Instgram regularly — I really love that little app — but that’s about it. Suffice to say, it’s been busy here as I’m sure it’s been where all of you are, too, and it’s kept me from tending my little corner of the interwebs here. This morning though, in between math lessons and over my lunch break, I’ve managed to not only catch up on my blog comments, but also on the Socks with Sarah Discussion Thread on Ravelry as well as a couple long overdue email replies. I feel like I’m back in the saddle, refreshed and ready to go here.

I thought today I’d share a brief little overview of what I’ve been up to. It’s true that I don’t have photos of the less glamorous goings-on — like dentist appointments and my husband being very under the weather with the flu and having to jump start the car — but I did snap some photos of the more picturesque moments. And you know me, I love to tell a story with good pictures (it’s the art historian in me, I can’t help it).

On a sort of semi-last minute decision, we spent Thanksgiving at my parents’ house. It was snowy and quite cold. After a yummy meal, we walked around the property in the snow…

tractorAnd froze a bit in the icy winds off Lake Michigan…

lakeiceBut it was nice to come back to a snug fire, family time, and knitting.

fireOne word: Cozy.

The day before Thanksgiving, we discovered that where my husband expected only a couple days off, he was able to take the whole week after the holiday, so at o’dark hundred Sunday night/Monday morning we packed up the car and headed to my husband’s parents’ home in Southwestern Missouri for a little pre-Christmas celebration/visit. We usually don’t get to see them this time of year, so it was a special treat.

On the way there, I worked on my DesertVistaDyeworks Oh Clark! socks and finished one up just as we pulled into their town…

christmassockI seriously love these babies.

While there we visited with my husband’s parents, watched Christmas movies, had many many laughs, got to have dinner with his brother, and somehow I ended up taking photos of their cats. I’m really not a cat person. My husband is very allergic so mostly what I think of when I see them is his asthma going bananas, but apparently I can still photograph them all right…

cat1This one did not like me a whole lot, but I think she mostly was just annoyed that we had invaded her house with two children and a giant dog.

cat2This one was pretty friendly — he mostly liked everyone, including the two kids and giant dog. And clearly had no trouble sleeping through me getting all up in his grill for this photograph.

While in Missouri, we also visited a local quarry for some fossil hunting…

fossilIt was pretty amazing. And excellent little homeschool field trip site, indeed.

On the final night of our visit, I finished up the second Oh Clark! sock…

christmassock2While we watched The Christmas Story together. I reserved the afterthought heels for when we were home (actually I started them this morning).

During our visit my mother-in-law very sweetly asked if I’d be willing to make her a pair of socks and, of course, I’d come prepared just in case this happened.

newsocksSo in the car on the way home I cast-on this pair for her in String Theory Colorworks Orbit in the Solanum colorway. She loves greens and I thought these would be fun for her, plus I just love knitting with String Theory Colorworks’ sport-weight Orbit base. It is such a great yarn!

Along the way home, we took a teeny tiny detour through the Amana Colonies. For all the times I’ve driven through Iowa and past them, I’ve never stopped. It was a rather foggy day and those little old towns looked haunted like no place I’ve ever been. My husband and I agreed we’d love to live in a little spot like that — those big rolling hills, those little old towns, that whisper of what once was — it’s just gorgeous. In any case, we made a brief stop at the woolen mill to get a wool blanket for my husband…

amanaIt was pretty amazing to see the mill & all the beautiful woven blankets. In the end, my husband didn’t find anything he couldn’t live without (he has quite a stockpile of wool blankets already), but we did find something for a special family friend.

Upon arriving home, for some unknown reason I became compelled to clean ALL THE THINGS. It started with the mountain of laundry — everything anywhere near the cats gets a thorough washing when we get home to try to stave off further asthmatic issues. Then the bathroom got a thorough scrubbing… and the refrigerator needed to be cleaned out… and while I was at it I scrubbed that and the freezer… and then I discovered our chest freezer needed to be defrosted… and the kitchen counters… and the cast-iron skillet needed to be restored…

castironIt was about right here that I realized I was going a bit overboard for having just arrived home and that I had a yarn to spin for a holiday gift… so I got going on that.

I had hunted and hunted and hunted for the perfect skein of green for one of my knitting friends and I just could not for the life of me find it. And then I remembered the braid of Cloudlover merino/sw merino/silk in the Ponderosa colorway I had in my stash and before we left I pulled it out so I could start it when we got home.

ponderosaIt turned out a much richer green than I expected which was wonderful. I started this Saturday and spun like the wind so I could ply it and get it washed by Sunday night. I had a knitting date for Wednesday and just in case I didn’t see my friend until after the holiday I wanted to be sure I got it to her. I will share the finished project in the coming days, but suffice to say it is delivered and already being knit — wow!

So along with all these other things going on as well as getting my kids back on the straight and narrow path of school, my husband has been quite under the weather. I’ve had on and off sinus headaches, but nothing terrible — thank goodness. True to form, I’ve been sleeping a whole lot and getting lots of fluids to try to avoid the brunt of whatever my hubby has. Yesterday, however, to get us all out of the house we took our first real family excursion to find Snowy Owls. It tends to take a fair bit of driving around, so it is a pretty low-key thing to do, but effectively gives us a change of scenery which is very nice when you’ve all been a bit couped up.

As you probably know, we look for Snowy Owls every year and it just never gets old. I swear every time we find one, it’s as exciting as the first time for me. Now I am the first to admit that I may be the world’s worst Snowy Owl spotter. I mean it. I’m absolutely awful. If not for my husband, I’d probably never see one even if it was directly in front of me. So, as a little joke, my husband has taken to finding them and then stopping the car and nonchalantly scanning with his binoculars just to see how long it will take to find them. Well, yesterday, he had to finally pull my attention from the pretty rough-legged hawks to point out not one, but two amazing Snowy Owls in our field of view. One beautiful nearly pure white one and one with the signature black stripes of the immature or female.

We got this very blurry photo that my husband took with the phone camera through his binoculars…

snowyThis photo isn’t anything fabulous, but I must say that just before finding this perch, I watched this bird finish a meal and then fly a couple hundred yards. If you have never seen a Snowy Owl in flight, let me just tell you it is absolutely awesome. I don’t know that there’s much in nature that takes my breath away quite like a snowy owl in flight. It’s something about the icy cold in which you view them, the pristine white of their plummage on the wintry landscape, and that incredible, almost other-wordly owl face that just slays me. And to see not one, but two owls so close to each other was truly special for me.

This morning, I woke early to wrap-up the socks for my mother-in-law…

ggfinishedThey are all done and washed and once they are dry I’ll pop them in the mail, hopefully still in time for the holiday.

And I started the heels on those Oh Clark! socks as well, but I’ve been waylaid by those usual suspects — laundry, dishes, school lessons and correcting, and catching up here in my little corner of the internet. It sounds and looks like so much when I write it down here and it is indeed a very full life, but after the last couple weeks ‘away from my desk’, I feel so very refreshed. Ready to face each day, ready to tackle the hustle and bustle of the season, and ready and greedy for those little amazing moments — like haunted towns, ancient fossils, two owls in one field of view, hearty laughs with my family, and all the craziness in between.

6 responses to “And All the Craziness In Between

  1. wow, you have been busy!

    I have only seen one owl in my life tie, and I don;t know enough about them to know what it was, but I hear tell we have snowies around here – I will have to learn more about them so I can spot them. πŸ™‚

    • All I can say is that there are a lot of them around here this year & I find their camouflage insanely hard to,pick out! If you really want to see one, I’d check with birdwatchers in the area (most groups have facebook pages) – they often share locations of sitings!

  2. I think that is pretty awesome your family can spot so many Snowy Owls where you live–Merritt wants to head out this weekend now & try to do so here. πŸ™‚

    We literally live 30 miles-ish north of the Amana Colonies and were there on Saturday Dec 6th visiting Santa in the restored barn! So crazy. We also visited the mill as you did. Were you there on the 6th? Maybe someday our pen pals can meet up in the Colonies. πŸ˜‰

    • I had to look — we were there are the 5th! I was wondering how close we were as we were passing though — apparently we were pretty darn close! And yes, we will definitely have to keep a meet-up in mind!

      Like I said, my husband is pretty awesome at finding Snowy Owls. I had two basically right in front of me with cars pulling off the road to look at them and I was totally oblivious as I was looking at the Rough-Legged Hawks. I’m lucky I have my husband around or I’m pretty sure I’d never see any of them!

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