Farewell, Quietude

It’s been a longer than normal lapse between posts here. Truth be told, there’s just been a lot happening here. We reached our necessary hours for our homeschool and are marching toward wrapping up our main subjects. I joined a local Rotary club in January and I’ve been helping to organize a fundraiser event at the end of this month. We’re planning and organizing an upcoming vacation. We’ve been attending puppy manners classes with the Bear and working hard to drive home good manners in him as he’s topped 70lbs at his ripe old age of 5.5 months (we’re being told he may not reach full-size until 18months). And a bunch of other things are in the works. Suffice to say, we’ve had a lot of things in motion at the same time and it’s left me with little extra energy.

Perhaps as significant has been that we’ve started to see a real shift toward spring. Granted you wouldn’t know it today as we awoke to 6 or 8″ of fresh snow yesterday and then it rained ice all day. Walking the dog and shoveling was sort of like what I would imagine microdermabrasion to be like, but less pleasant. Alas, spring is springing even if there is currently fresh snow on the ground. The birds are coming back and singing their hearts out. And while I love the birds and all the sounds of nature and the life that is present in summer, there is always a part of me that feels wildly overwhelmed this time of year. Don’t get me wrong, it has been a long winter here and I’m ready for the warmth of the sun, the birds singing me awake each morning, and being able to just go out and enjoy the fresh air without my protective layers of wool and down. As an introvert through and through, though, I am always a little sad when the quiet respite of winter and all its solitude is ending for the season and a little overwhelmed by the constant busy-ness of spring. But I digress.

As a family, we have managed to enjoy some fresh air and, of course, the blues and neutrals of this time of year are beautiful.

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Even if the wind off the icy water is still awfully brisk.

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And this guy is pretty happy with the change in the weather. He is not a huge fan of the bitter cold or the deep snow, so we will often let him stay home if it’s not weather he’ll enjoy, but he loves the cool days where he can get a good hike in.img_6606We’ve been taking Bear out whenever we can, too. With his heavy coat he is much more of a lover of winter and we’ve been taking advantage of that and exposing him to new a lot of new experiences while the trails are still relatively people-free. We’ve been working through a fear stage with him — basically if he’s not familiar with something, he is afraid and barks at it. We’re told it’s very normal at his age and thanks to some guidance in our manners class and a whole lot of time and patience, he’s been showing remarkable improvement and is growing in confidence daily.

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All that work is pretty exhausting for li’l Bear though.

On one of our hikes, we spotted this guy….

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Oh, how I do love a good porcupine sighting!

And on another…

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Moose looked particularly stoic and handsome.

And after one very rainy walk…

Bear did a pretty epic impersonation of Puss in Boots. He wound up getting a bath after this that he did not like at all, but upon his release from the bathroom, he then got wildly excited when Moose jumped in the tub and requested a bath for himself. I was soaked and ready for a nap after that.

 I’ve still found time for some knitting and I’ve been wholly addicted to my latest sweater knit, Tanis Lavallee’s French Braid Cardigan.

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Usually I steer clear of variegated yarn with cables, but I had a feeling this one would be all right.

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And I adore it. I mean, just look at that main cable! The yarn is also a Tanis Fiber Arts creation, their Pure Wash Worsted in the Driftwood colorway. I bought it a while back on a whim during one of their Boxing Day sales and I am really overly excited about the fact that it is working so well with this pattern. The construction is unique in that you are working the front panel right along with the rest of the sweater. It’s the first knit in a long time that I will actually cut time out of my spinning for the pure joy of working on it. 57650553472__a8880bf4-358c-4e93-8de4-05fe07760452

I even snuck a glorious 30minutes of this with the sweater and my boys one morning when Mr. Knitting Sarah had to work early this week. It was incredible.

I have been spinning as well. One project is under wraps as it’s a test spin to check out a colorway and I’m nearly done with it. It involves some attempts to take some video while I spin, so it’s been touch and go time-wise as I work with moody lighting situations. My other main project has been spinning singles for the chain plying Skill Builder in the Three Waters Farm group and I just finished them up last night!

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I have to double check, but I’m fairly certain this is the March TWF Top of the Month Club colorway, Spring Loves Caprice. I’m very much looking forward to plying this soon!

We had a bit of a rough night last night as poor Bear had an upset stomach, so he and I were up every couple hours to make a trip outside. Poor guy! We are both pretty tuckered and I’m hoping for a quiet weekend ahead with some relaxing walks, easy on the chores, and with a fair bit of relaxation. I’m not sure, frankly, if it would be better just to get out there and embrace the spring time hubbub in a baptism of fire or if easing my way into it is better. Whatever the case, time and seasons and all the changes that are coming will keep on coming. I will do my best to meet them, to bid a graceful farewell to the quietude of winter and the embrace all that is on the horizon. Thankfully, I’ve got a killer knit and some colorful spins to help ease me through the transition.

 

Playing Catch-Up

You may have noticed some general quiet from me over here. Nothing is wrong, that’s just me doing a very poor job of prioritizing my time. Once the polar vortex moved on, we were excited to get outside.

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We found this spot — that little triangle in the lower left is a spot where an otter was entering and exiting the water. You can tell because you can see his little otter slides straight out in front of the point.

And we found some super cool icy prints…

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This one we believe is from a skunk!

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And of course there was ample sign of the mighty beaver!

We also made a quick trek out to my parents’ house where we got to play with grandpa’s “tank.”

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And then we drove back in a snowstorm.

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This photo was probably during the best driving conditions of the trip. We started out in rain, then it turned to freezing rain, and then heavy snow. Suffice to say, the trip took about twice as long as normal and the car was coated in a sheet of ice when we got home.img_5890

This photo was taken after we dug ourselves out from getting stuck trying to get in our driveway. Ah, winter in Wisconsin!

Oh, and yesterday we had another snowstorm.

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No big whoop, just another 14 inches.

Bear is ecstatic with this development.

The snow is probably another 8″ deeper now than when I took this video and, as you can imagine, every trip outside is mostly hilarious with this little dude as he tries to navigate through snow that is basically at eye level with him.

In between shoveling and school and more shoveling and and laughing at the dogs and more shoveling, I’ve been managing to get some knitting, spinning, and setting handspun yarn done. I finished my Weekender Sweater and it is washed and dried and ready for photos. And I started a new knitting project, a Milliken vest in Quince & Co Ibis.

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I missed the announcements provided by Quince & Co and was sad to hear that this yarn is discontinued. I used it for my Fairbanks sweater last year and now the Milliken vest. I’ll be sad to see this base gone, but I’m sure Quince & Co has more goodness coming, they always do!

I finished some spinning, too. I’m foggy on the timing of everything because I’ve just kind of kept on spinning, but I have this pile of handspun to photograph and share with you.

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With the return of my maiden from Schacht, I finished the singles for my 2-ply challenge over in the Three Waters Farm Skill Builder SAL.

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I had so much fun with this and I cannot wait to talk ply twist when I get into it! For those who didn’t know it, I did post up a video on prepping fiber, especially when it relates to this Organic Polwarth/Cultivated Silk blend. I have a set-up now that is pretty easy to do tutorial videos so if you have something that you’d like to see, please just let me know and I’ll see what I can do to create the content.

While I let my singles rest, I spun this bobbin.

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It’s from Nest Fiber Studio and the colorway is called Young Woman at  Half-Open Door. I had a bag of Organic Polwarth and I was gifted a second bag in the Organic Polwarth + Silk blend, so I broke both bags in half and am mixing the two. The blend may turn out to be a disaster, but I’m optimistic it’ll work out just fine. These things usually do.

I’ve got some school tasks, more shoveling, and snow pup play on the agenda for today, as I slowly work on playing catch-up here, but expect a post that is largely a finished handspun yarn dump coming up later this week and hopefully a few snapshots of my newly finished Weekender as well. I just wanted to touch base today and catch y’all up on where I’ve been. While you’re waiting, I’m answering “Ask me my top 3” over in my Instagram (@knittingsarah) stories today — pop over and ask me for a top 3 list!

 

 

 

 

The Adventures of Moose & Bear

It’s been a flurry of activity, even more than normal around the Knitting Sarah homestead over the past week. We had a visit from some very special out-of-town friends over the weekend which was extraordinary and wonderful — I’ll get to that recap soon. Today though, I have a different, yet also very special story to share.

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While scrolling through social media, Mr. Knitting Sarah showed me a picture. One of his co-workers has a small family farm that primarily raises pigs. They had bred their farm dogs — who work their pastures, helping protect their animals from the area wildlife — and had puppies for sale.

We’ve been flirting with the idea of a second dog for a while now and have been watching rescue and shelter ads online for the right fit. Since we have a great family dynamic with Moose and the kids, the fit was our primary concern. We would happily remain a one dog house, but we felt that both Moose and kids were at the perfect age to welcome a new addition. So we waited and we watched. And months passed. We popped into local shelters from time to time. Nothing really felt right though.

We came to adopt Moose when one of Mr. KS’s co-workers had a sister who had a small farm and had bred her beloved lab to keep her line alive. Moose had been held for a family member who then decided against taking on another dog. We felt great supporting the small farm and I’ll never forget the day he waddled out to meet us, all paws and fat belly and ears. He was and is, truly, the perfect dog for us.

Monday night, though, the picture Mr. KS showed me of a little black pup with white mittens, well, it stopped both of us. Something about this pup’s calm eyes and focus on the camera said, “I’m chill. I’d fit right in with you.” The whole similar situation of a family farm, beloved pets, etc, echoed our good experience with Moose. Mr. KS messaged his co-worker asking all the relevant info and set up a time to go meet the little guy.

At work yesterday, Mr. KS got a little more info on the pup from the owner and we became pretty optimistic that he was going to be the right fit for us. We also learned that he was ready to go home right away, so my day quickly turned into getting ready for a 7 week old puppy. Getting his food, a collar, some flea treatment (since he’d been living in the barn), a couple bones to chew on, and a vet appointment set up for him while also getting through our school day and then setting the kids loose to clean the crate up (which we have from Moose, but haven’t used in years) and do some beginning puppy-proofing. My girl, who has been asking for a puppy for at least 2 years, vacillated all day between excited chatter and tears of joy. By the time Mr. KS got home from work, my introverted self was exhausted!

And so the time came to meet the pup. I was all nerves, of course, because that is me. First we met the pup’s mama, a Newfoundland/German Shepherd mix and just about the friendliest, sweetest dog you can imagine. She actually reminded me a fair bit of Moose’s mama. And from the pasture, the pup’s dad, a Great Pyrenees gave a couple hearty woofs. We went into the barn, mama leading the way to her pups. And they we came to stall FULL OF PUPPIES. This is about the time when my heart and head exploded.

We watched the whole litter and the one we’d picked was definitely one of the most mellow, relaxed, easy-going personalities. He liked saying hi to his mama, didn’t mind being picked up, and mostly just looked ready for a nap. Yep. This was definitely our dog.

We carried him out to the car and mama followed along. We gave them a minute to say good-bye and we thanked her and promised to take good care of him. The two times I’ve been a part of this transition, it always strikes me as a kind of a heart-breaking moment. Mama dog is so stoic & pup never quite knows what’s happening, but both times I’ve felt a connection and understanding with the Mama.

He rode on my lap for the 20minute ride home. He cried a little, but mostly he just drooled excessively so that my sleeve was soaked. And then he threw up. Seeing as though this guy is 7 weeks old, just left the only home he’s known without his mama, and was with strangers in a car (which is also probably a first!), I’m not going to blame the little guy. I’m exhausted and stressed out just thinking about it!

Nevertheless, we made it home and he met Moose in the driveway. Tails wagged and, having made the acquaintance, Bear laid down in the middle of the driveway, exhausted. We carried him inside — to go up stairs is still a bit of a puzzle — and Moose gave him another sniff test…

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He looked around a bit…

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And then he basically lost all energy and kind of just went flat.

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He did eventually make it close to the dog bed…

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It seemed a little too much for him to try to get his giant paws up onto the bed, but eventually he flopped over.

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Aside from a few minutes of crying when he went into his crate, he didn’t make a peep all night. I finally went in and retrieved him at 5:30 this morning.  I was not expecting that!

This morning — as will be most days for a good long while — was all about playing and eating and training and house training. It’s kind of exhausting.

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He had another car ride to the vet where he got a clean bill of health, his first vaccines…

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And another nap.

For all that he’s been through in the last 24 hours, he’s done great though. And, under the guidance of his big brother Moose, he’s definitely going to be an asset supervising Knitting Sarah headquarters.

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And there is no doubt he’ll be providing many more stories for y’all to read. Stay tuned, The Adventures of Moose & Bear will soon start rolling in!