The last couple of weeks have been a bit of a whirlwind around here as we attempt to settle in to a new school year. Fighting with computer programs, learning a new schedule, and still squeezing a few last hurrahs out of summer have made for a busy house. I’m very happy to say I’ve conquered the misbehaving software, think we’re finally on target for our schedule today, and we did manage to squeeze some fun into the last couple of weeks. I don’t know how we got there — on any of it — except to say that there was a lot of stubborn perseverance involved at times and a commitment to just making it all work.
Our first adventure was to spot a new-to-us bird, also know in the birding world as a “life bird” or simply a “lifer.” A Swallow-Tailed Kite‘s range does not reach north beyond Louisiana normally, but there were reports that one of these birds was hanging out about an hour and a half away from our house. We aren’t huge “chasers” when it comes to birds, but since even Mr. Knitting Sarah hadn’t yet seen one in his lifetime and it wasn’t too far, we had a day off and decided to go for it.
It’s a very elegant bird — sized sort of like a red-tailed hawk, but much lighter and sleeker as it puts on an aerial acrobatic show grabbing bugs and dragonflies from the air. We were lucky enough to watch this beautiful bird for at least an hour even mingling with a kettle of nighthawks for a bit. My favorite part, however, was when it would grab bugs from the tops of the trees and then while in flight, it would feed itself with its feet! What a crazy behavior! It was a grand memory indeed and we celebrated with a yummy lunch out and then raced home to meet my parents who were incoming for a visit.
My parents arrived mid-afternoon and we were very fortunate that my dad brought his boat along, so the kids and my dad and I explored some new waters nearby over the next couple of days…
I try to never pass up a day on the water…
We got a tip from an old friend to try this new-to-us lake and it was wonderful. With the kids, we tend to fish for panfish and just catch and release and this spot — while it has other kinds of fish in it as well — provided a pretty steady stream of bluegills for us.
Almost as good as the fishing, we have a tradition when we fish with my dad that we usually grab a bite to eat somewhere and on day one of our fishing exploits we stopped at what may be the best named restaurant on Earth, The Thorpedo, in Thorp, WI.
Family dining fare at it’s most Wisconsin-y.
Somewhere amid the hub-bub, I did make some headway on a couple fiber-y projects. Remember the latest Top of the Month Club from Three Waters Farm that I shared in my last post?
Well, I got to spinning it. I haven’t (at least in my memory) spun with a Cultivated (also known as “Mulberry”) Silk blend before and I’ll admit this one took me a bit to get the hang of. I’d broken up my fiber into small 1-3gram nests for short color repeats and in using the short-forward draw, I found it was kind of tough to draft. It was clear that I was missing something in how I was approaching and handling this blend. I played around with different ways to make the drafting easier and finally landed on heavily pre-drafting. Really pre-drafting out each nest made it spin like a dream and I’m happily cruising along now. I’m sure there are other ways of drafting this beauty, but this method worked for me! I’m very happy to have cracked the code, too, as I have a companion colorway headed my way soon as I’ve been envisioning stocking my shelves with some two color companion skeins for future 2-color projects.
I also finally started plying my Sunshiney Day skein for my sweater spin.
I don’t know what else to say other than I adore this yarn. I think that bodes very well for the sweater to come! Now to get it finished so I can swatch and then continue with the spinning!
I’ve been focusing most of my attention, however, on my Honey Trail Shawl for my mother-in-law. It’s at the large, difficult to photograph stage, so pardon the quick & dirty version of a photo here…
But I’m now flying toward the end…
I believe I’m under 10 rows from the last section now and it’s at the point where those rows are nice and short and I feel a little like a kite that really has caught the wind, so I’ve on a mission to wrap this project up.
The sun is shining here today after over a week of almost constant rain and I have to say it’s a nice change. I was beginning to feel a bit like this guy that my husband found at a nearby botanical garden we visited yesterday…
I love rainy days and I love sunny days, just too much of one thing for a period of time tends to wear on me and I think this dragonfly was 100% with me with that sentiment. Today’s change is most welcome. I’m finally washing all my finished skeins of handspun (there are 7) and am hoping to have them dried in the sun & breeze that is abundant today. I’m baking bread because it’s 70F and not at all humid. The computers and all the software is working today, we are right on schedule for our school day, and I’m thinking we are going to have a beautiful afternoon outdoors once we are through with out studies for the day. Yes, my friends, it feels like it’s been a long time coming, but I believe we are at long last, truly settling in!