Later, Dudes!

Last week the weather here warmed up and with temps in the 20s on Mr Knitting Sarah’s day off, we were excited to hit the trail. We’ve been exploring the area around where I saw the ermine from my last post — the trail is just a couple miles from our house and the more time we spend there, the more interesting things we see.  This hike took place in a lovely January… fog?

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Not pea soup fog, obviously, but definitely spooky fog conditions. We were actually surprised by how cold it felt. After coming out of weeks of subzero temps, we all felt a little nipped by the cold. We’re guessing it must have had something to do with the moisture in the air making it feel cooler than it was. Humid cold feels colder than dry cold, just let humid warm feels warmer than dry warm? That was our best guess anyway.

In any case, we struck out and as is his way now, Mr KS was on the prowl for tracks to see what kinds of creatures were about. It wasn’t long before he called us out to follow a trail into the woods…

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At first glance, we figured it was either 1) a beaver or 2) something somewhat large dragging something else. We found our pretty definitive answer by following the tracks for a little while…

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That is pretty unmistakable. And just in case you don’t see what I’m talking about…

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A close-up. Tracking is a new to our family pasttime and it’s astounding what you can learn from it. It’s a lot like birdwatching in that it teaches you a lot about the landscape, things you might not notice if you weren’t looking as carefully.

This is a hard to see image, but this is a fisher track, I believe.

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I could include one of Mr. KS’s images of the trail for better identification purposes, but I just wanted to share the size with you with my mitten as a comparison. And check out those claws! These tracks we find everywhere and while I’ve never actually seen a fisher, I’m keenly aware that they are all around me! Bobcats are the same up here — They. Are. Everywhere. including right in the city limits!

After a nice long hike through the humid cold, we settled in for some lunch and I had a little spinning time. I’m working my way up to another long draw project, but until I washed and dried the first skein and see the finished results, I didn’t want to start that — you know, so I could go into the next one a little more informed. Instead, I opted to work on something a bit simpler. I selected a braid of 75/25 BFL + Silk from Three Waters Farmto spin as singles, continuing my recent love affair with spinning singles…

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I love BFL + Silk. And I’m looking at winding this lovely off later today…

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I am very interested in seeing this one finished as well as I was a little less on top of the whole uniform weight thing with this one and the twist is a little higher than I’d like. We shall see!

I also finished up the mittens I was working on late last week and — I’ll be honest — my Fairbanks sweater pattern was upstairs and I didn’t quite feel like picking up that big project anyways, so I cast on sock #2 for my Clever Girl gradient socks from Dyeabolical

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These are just simple vanilla socks, so they are great for road trips and just all around auto-pilot knitting. I am slowly but surely working my way through my UFOs from 2017 here and this will be the 2nd to the last that I have still lingering out there. It feels good to be making steady progress on that UFO list — I’m definitely not one who handles those unfinished projects well.

Over the weekend I also got over 20oz of freshly spun & finished handspun yarns on the drying rack, but while they were drying we had another family day. This time, we opted for some tubing a couple towns over.  For those who don’t know, “tubing” is basically taking an inner tube down a snow hill. Usually it’s billed as the family/kid friendly alternative to skiing or snowboarding — you know, good for all ages. The bigger tubing hills sometimes have tow ropes, just like the beginner ski hills. We’d never done it, so we thought it would be a fun new family pasttime.

We made a day of it with lunch out and we timed it so we’d get there right when the hill opened to hopefully avoid the worst lines. Very reminiscent of when my son & I went on the fatefull lumpy Apostle Island boat tour last summer, we had the head of the tubing hill come out when the ticket booth opened and announce that since we’d had two 40°+ days and the temps had just dipped down to the teens and low 20s. It was ICY and the runs were FAST and that they’ve tried to make it as safe as they can, but if you don’t like speed today might not be the day for you to go tubing. Only the main hill would be open because those 3 runs were at least straight and at the end of the speech he added, “we’ve done our best to slow you down at the bottom of the hill.”

Okaaaaay. So I’m not exactly sure how much confidence we were supposed to be instilled with after that, but we aren’t ones to turn back when we’ve come that far. We got our tickets, grabbed tubes, and hitched a ride with the tow rope. At the top we found what could only be accurately described as 3 luge runs that you happened to ride down on in inner tubes.

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You can see here, that it really is just bumpy glare ice. The brown half circle at the bottom of the hill is a 45° bowl full of woodchips. They laid down rubber mats right at the end of the ice run, too, just for added brakes because you seriously were flying. But still… really the only way to explain this is experience is…. well, have you seen National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation? Yeah, this was basically us:

Standing in line next to the woodchip backstop, it literally sounded like you were on an aircraft carrier while the flight deck was in use with the regular WHOOSH of the tubes nearing and then hitting the woodchip brakes. While we were there, no one breached the upper fence, but many definitely came close.

Our little family all survived (somehow), though, and it was admittedly really fun. We all did 4 runs — the line became very slow very quickly because it was hard getting around, so aside from the flying down the hill, everyone was moving pretty slowly and carefully and those 4 runs took a couple hours to complete. We headed home exhilarated, amused, and genuinely a little bit stunned that we all made it home without injury.

And so, with new and exciting memories under my belt — from tracking beavers and fishers, to spinning singles and knitting socks, to my very first luge in a tube, I wish you all a great start to week. And until next time — later, dudes!

12 thoughts on “Later, Dudes!

  1. What fun you have had!!! Fishers are scary little animals, very vicious so be careful!

    The yarn looks lovely, as does the knitting. Bfl silk can’t be beat!

    1. Oh, don’t worry, we always are. We are very alert and cautious — I mean, we regularly have mountain lion and bear spotted in the area, so we are always very careful and aware of our surroundings — or at least as careful as we can be!

  2. I love the things I learn on your blog. I’d never even heard of a Fisher before. And you were right about the wet cold being colder. I had a friend who’d moved from Alaska to Virginia. She ended up moving back to Alaska after only one winter because Virginia was too cold. (We do have a special kind of humidity here.) Glad you all survived tubing. Wow! Looking at that hill…. I think I’d rather tangle with the fisher’s claws than a pit of wood chips.

    1. 😀 I’m so glad! I am the first to admit I’m not great at all my woodland critters, but the tracking has definitely helped us to be more aware of exactly what lives around us. It’s really amazing!

      As for the hill, it was pretty intimidating — I definitely am glad none of us wound of going off the track or dumping out of our tubes because I think that would have been bad, but the speed wasn’t so bad (kind of sort of).

  3. Is a Fisher the same thing as a Beaver?

    Anyway, it looks like you have been busy and having a lot of fun family time. Good job on getting so many UFOs done. 🙂

    Luge in a tube sounds kinda scary to me. I think I am getting old!

    1. Nope, the Fisher is the same family as a wolverine and the ermine and the marten, the mustelids (or commonly known as the weasel) family whereas beavers are technically in the North American rodent family. In this case, we saw the Fisher tracks because he’d been using the trail made by the beaver. Pretty cool!

      I think luge in a tube sounds scary to everyone — it has nothing to do with age!

  4. “Bingo” nailed it! Laughing SO hard at the video. It’s wonderful that you guys take and MAKE the time for family outings. From the tubing to the tracking – how much better can the quality time get? As for your alone time, that was well-spent too – the fiber looks like a cloud and I want to squish it! Can’t wait to see those finished mittens AND socks too. Gee, you sure are lazy. 🤣🤣🤣

    1. Seriously! That is what we felt like!!

      The gloves are almost dry and I’ve been dutifully making sock progress. I may circle back to that rainbow warrior this year yet! XD

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