Dispatch from Early Spring

I may be a couple of days early, but it is definitely the early days of spring here. Our record-breaking snows of the last couple of months have started receding at an alarming pace — those of you downstream, be prepared! — and what was thigh and waist deep snow a week ago now is ankle deep or less. In fact, for the first time in quite a while, I saw a couple patches of actual ground in my backyard last night.  The birds have erupted in song and we’ve had our first Brown-Headed Cowbirds and Grackles of the year visiting our house. I even caught a glimpse of a Robin flying over our yard yesterday. Yes, it seems spring is on the way.

As it goes in these parts, however, winter to spring is not a smooth transition. Worries of too much snow on our roof have morphed into dealing with a sump pump pipe that is still frozen. While we did not have any issues with damage or flooding in our basement, I did spend a fair bit of time last week preventatively hauling water out of our sump well in 10 gallon Shop-Vac loads (thank goodness there were no stairs involved!) until we were able to rig an outdoor waterfall pump to do the heavy lifting for us until we can give the system enough time to fully thaw. It’ll be a while before we know the fate of the actual sump pump or what the blockage is, but we are hopeful it’s just a matter of letting things thaw out. In the grand scheme of things, I’m thankful that this was just an inconvenience and that we were dealing with the issues before there was actually damage to anything and that now I just have to roll the hose out and plug in the pump. You do what you have to do, but I’m happy to not have to take those multiple trips lifting 10 gallons of water (google tells me that’s about 85 lbs) anymore!

While we awake to the flurry of spring and deal with all that entails, I’ve of course caught the spring cleaning bug as well. No, I’ve not been watching Marie Kondo on Netflix (I read the book when it came out) like the rest of the world. I’m not sure if it’s normal or not, but every year I actually enjoy spring cleaning. There is something about the seasonal change that inspires a fresh, clean start in me. We’ve been in our “new” home almost 2 years now and I’ve been making some minor adjustments in functionality — a broom rack in one closet, a couple hooks in another — and trying to formulate better ways to make tidying more accessible and easier to do regularly. I’ve just, I’ve got a hankering to make things around here a bit more efficient, I suppose you could say. I don’t anticipate this lasting long, so I’m going to ride the wave and enjoy the benefits of it while I can!

But it’s not been all work and fighting the elements and tidying up around here. There has been time for play. The footing on the rotten snow is terrible for hiking, but we’ve been going out anyways. Bear likes to protest a little on the front end as he’s still not very happy about riding in the car. When we start to suit up and ask him if he wants to go on an adventure, he bolts for his crate and does this.

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Moose, for those who might not be aware, has always loved going along, no matter what we’re doing. If he could open doors, Moose would be the first one in the car every time. It’s definitely new for us to have to convince a pup to go.  Isn’t that just the case with siblings though? What one loves, the other loathes. C’est la vie!

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In any case, once we’re out of the car, Mr. Bear is a happy fellow and is proving almost as good of a trail dog as his big brother. I saw “big” with a grain of salt as this is my hand and Bear’s paw print.

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While it’s true that Bear is much fluffier so size comparisons are deceptive with these two, they are growing ever closer in size.

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They are both very happy good boys though.ee2ab9b8-dae4-492b-aa15-fd3742b8b750

And they are enjoying the last hurrahs of winter, to be sure.

When not tearing up the trails wit us, they are proving worthy spinning and knitting supervisors.

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And I’ve been working on a few things in my spare time as well.

This morning I turned the heel on sock #2 of a new pair of socks for Mr. KS.

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I’m going to try to work on this over morning coffee — I think that’s the best recipe for getting it finished in a timely manner.

I also started a new sweater!

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It is Tanis Lavallee’s French Braid Cardigan. It’s an interesting construction so far — this is actually the collar which you cast-on with a provisional cast-on, work one direction and then go back to the cast-on and work the other direction so you have live stitches on both ends. My center pick-up is a little messy, but I think it’ll block right on for me. In any case, I’m about to pick-up stitches and begin the actual raglan part of the sweater. So far, I’m really enjoying this one.

I’ve also got 2 spinning projects ready to ply!

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This is Tranquil Gleam on a BFL + Nylon base.

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And this is Common Ground on Falkland, both from Three Waters Farm and both destined to be traditional 3-plies for the Skill Builder SAL happening over in the group. I’m hoping to start plying later today as I just pulled fiber out of my stash for my next traditional 3-ply spin! I was totally inspired by a member in the group to spin a gradient and I’ve got just the perfect two colorways with which to experiment!

And with this dispatch, this little update from the wee moments of spring, I’m off! I’ve got things to tidy, dogs to play with, yarn to spin, and socks & sweaters to knit! I hope that spring is springing where you are and you are feeling inspired today, too!

Tina Takes a Road Trip

Last week my family and I loaded up the aptly named Adventuremobile (also known as our van) and headed South. Mr. Knitting Sarah’s parents live in Southern Missouri and we were off to spend a week visiting with them. Knowing we had a pretty slow, relaxing week ahead of us and we had a fair bit of room in the van, along with — you know — clothes and toiletries and dog food, I packed an obscene amount of fiber, my Jensen Tina 2, a sweater knit, and a sock knit. I was planning to spin. A lot.

We figured with our puppy, Bear, the drive would take about 12 hours. Puppies require frequent bathroom breaks and poor Bear is not a huge fan of car rides. He struggled through it with a lot of TLC from the kids…

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If you’re wondering about the towel, he is a nervous drooler, so unless you want to be drenched we’ve found towels to be a necessity.

About an hour and a half from our destination, we were making plans for the following day with my husband’s brother when the tire pressure alarm went off and shortly after we felt the tire go. On a busy interstate with almost no shoulder, rather than risk someone being injured, we called in roadside assistance.

While we waited, a very kind state trooper stopped to help out and with his coverage from behind, we were able to start work on getting the spare out. Unfortunately, in order to get at the spare this had to happen…

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There is something pretty humbling about splaying your belongings out on the side of the road. I mean, my poor Tina!!! In any case, in order to avoid too many cooks in the kitchen with the tire, I hung back in the car with the kids and the dogs until I heard from the back, “Let me go get my expert.” Mr. KS and the trooper were having trouble releasing the spare from its bizarre locking system, so I was called in as the “expert” at figuring this kind of thing out. A couple minutes later the spare was free (go me!) and shortly after that a very kind gentleman with roadside assistance showed up to help finish the job.

img_5206As you can see, the tire was pretty much toast, so when we made it to my husband’s parents’ house just a couple hours late, we were feeling thankful that nothing else had gone wrong. Tina — and the rest of us — had made it safely to Southern Missouri!

As you probably have heard me say, very few plans survive contact with realty around here. Saturday morning with the car at the tire shop getting all new tires (Happy early Valentine’s Day to us!), I settled in for a few minutes of spinning. Those 15 or so minutes were the extent of my awesome spinning week though. After all my lofty goals and ambitions and the huge load of fiber I’d packed for my quiet week of spinning, I discovered that when you aren’t in your own space and you have a puppy, spinning is pretty much impossible. Between exercise and play and trying to keep the pup out of the cat food, your time is pretty much spoken for.

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He’s probably worth it.

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All right, he’s definitely worth it.

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I like the little guy. A lot.

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And this guy, too. He’s pretty majestic and awesome (in this photo he’s watching Mr. KS try to photograph an armadillo we spotted — so focused!).

 

And they are both pretty good porch sittin’ knitting buddies, too…

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We did enjoy some beautiful weather and I managed to get quite a bit of knitting done on my Weekender sweater. In fact, I am almost done with the main body and the front up to the shoulder seam as well.

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We did take the short drive over to Prairie State Park on the Missouri-Kansas border to see their bison. In addition to the bison, we saw loads of different hawk species, had a very brisk picnic (does anyone else have picnics in 30F temps? I didn’t think so!), and took a nice walk through a freshly burned area.

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It was beautiful.

And it was good practice for this guy…

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Who is slowly learning to handle being in the car with a bit of zen and slightly less drool.

As our week came to a close, it became apparent that the drive home would be a snowy one…

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And it was. It was pretty grueling through Missouri which saw much more snow than they are used to and most of Iowa, where the weather was worse, but the roads were clear. We were thankful for the flat tire we suffered on the way down which allowed/instigated us to invest in better quality tires, something we’d been putting off because they weren’t a necessary expense. Thankfully we’d saved a few pennies to be able to afford it and the investment made the snowy trip back markedly safer.  Even when things go wrong, they often work out for the better at the end of the day.

To pass the time, we listened to an audiobook as a family, I knit on my sweater, we made a playlist and sang along, and the pups…

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Well, they figured it out.

After a long day in the car, we were all happy to get home. We ate some dinner, I sat in my chair, and promptly fell asleep.

The next day, we took the pups out to one of our favorite spots where they frolicked and played…

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Happy to be back among the land of snows and marshes and trees downed by beavers…

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And skating on murky ice.

And after that nice long walk, it was nice to come home and do some spinning after that week long, puppy induced hiatus…

 

I on my Schacht Reeves…

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And Bear chose the Lendrum.

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Tina, well, she’s tired from her little adventure. And even if Tina’s road trip ended up being for naught, we made a lot of wonderful family memories, basking in the glorious and fleeting days of the puppy while Tina stood stoically idle. Sometimes that’s just the way it should to be.

 

 

 

 

 

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!

 

Baskets, Bobbins, and Piles Of Things Not Yet Finished

Sitting on my desk is this basket…

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Still full of Tour de Fleece handspun yarns that I haven’t shared with you. What can I say? I just haven’t quite gotten there yet. There’s a shawl the back of my chair that’s in the same boat, too.

Sitting next to my spinning wheel are these bobbins…

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Plied and ready to be skeined and finished, these are my spindle spun singles from the Tour de Fleece.

On my wheel, a true spinning WIP…

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This is the latest Top of the Month Club fiber from Three Waters Farm. I think I’m in love.

Across the room, my yarn and fiber stash…

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Freshly sorted, cataloged, and rearranged. Note my mannequin has been binocularized. I know what ladies do to earn bead necklaces at Mardi Gras in New Orleans, so I’m kind of afraid to know what my mannequin in Central Wisconsin did to earn her own binoculars.

And in my knitting bag is this start of a shawl…

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This will be a shawl for my mother in-law. She really liked it and bought all the components, but hit some roadblocks in the pattern-writing, so she asked and I agreed to take it on for her. Now that I’ve got the pattern memorized, I’m cruising an enjoying it

Sitting next to my desk is this humongous pile…

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School books and school supplies, just waiting to be organized and distributed to various shelves throughout the house. I’ve got the preliminary schedule set, books are purchased (obviously), and I am working on getting whatever components exist online set-up. It’s also prime time for me to familiarize myself with where we are starting and how the new programs we’re trying will work. Starting school? That will be a piece of cake, the weeks of preparation are the busiest time for me!

Feeling school and a busy September bearing down on us and all that comes with the fast-approaching end of summer, we took a couple nights this weekend to spend time at the family cabin up in the Northwoods. There is no running water, let alone cell service or wifi, and we’ve come to really appreciate spending time there. We love being in a spot where we get to set down our smart phones & be unreachable for a while. A place where we get to make the kids step away from their screens without the usual resentment toward us for forcing the issue. We play board & card games, read, hike, and — introverts that we all are — generally enjoy the quiet. Inspired to check it out after attending an author event for Michael Perry at our local library, I read 2/3 of one of his latest books, Danger Man Working.

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It’s a collection of essays he’s written over the years and it’s a great way to get a feel for his writing, I think, as he touches on a wide variety of topics.

Before homeschooling, I read a lot. Since homeschooling full time, it’s been very hard to find time to read for my own pleasure because I’m constantly side-tracked and in the middle of any number of other topics and stories. I’m also generally drained at the end of the day sometimes. These essays are just the right length for me to be able to sit and read and actually finish a story line before being derailed. I wish this book wouldn’t end. I laugh out loud, I cringe, I identify with people, I have vicarious low-level panic attacks, I tear-up — it’s good stuff. A great way to spend a quiet weekend. I did a little sock knitting while I read, but that project is still buried, waiting to be unpacked so I’ve got no updated picture for you today.

We did find a new hiking spot. I mean, of course we found a new hiking spot…

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Mr. Knitting Sarah loves trails that are more game trail than human trail. I… well, I am learning to dislike them less. My main beef is that the poor footing wears out my faulty hip a lot faster than the more groomed variety, so I get frustrated when pain starts to seep in sooner than I’m ready for it.  But these thick woods…

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They are beautiful and generally worth the effort. Any frustration melts away when I stop to take in the scenery…

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Because there are so many little wonders all around.

We did not see any bears or wolves or other large carnivores and while Mr. Knitting Sarah is always a little disappointed in that, we did see more than our share of deer and fawns and I was lucky enough to see an ermine lope across the road in front of us. Oh, how I love those guys!

From this beautiful spot we watched at least 15-20 Cedar Waxwings catch flies…38513908_10155339465112000_8363549941024423936_o

And a Red-eyed Vireo darted down from the tree tops to see what we were all about.

As the day marched on toward lunch and our stomachs started to grumble we turned back to the car, to a picturesque picnic spot that Moose loved…

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And ultimately back toward the baskets, bobbins, and piles of things not yet finished. Believe it or not, they are all right where I left them and ready to be picked back up again.

 

Go North, Part 2

What I am inclined to tell you about today is the beautiful weather. I want to tell you that I spent the day outside tidying the yard and potting a few annuals for extra color and dining options for the pair of hummingbirds that have started visiting. I’d like to share that I have that itchy skin reaction I always get to the first couple of times I’m out in the sun and that I’m positively swoony for all the color and flowering trees that are suddenly everywhere, so much so that I took the kids on a golden hour bike ride around the neighborhood this evening and it was heady, like I was flying.

But that’s all I can say about that. I have a story to tell, after all. A story that my spring-intoxication (springtoxication?) kept me from continuing with until this very moment. Now where was I?

Ah yes. It was the end of day two at the campfire and the clouds were rolling in. We went to sleep and I briefly heard the neighborhood Saw-whet owl (or something that did a mean impression of one) before falling asleep. The clouds, of course, kept the temps more mild overnight and we all slept like logs from all the fresh air. I awoke before Mr. Knitting Sarah which is nearly unheard of and even more miraculous is the fact that I managed to sneak out of the tent without disturbing him. I stumbled around with shoes half on and found the kids both awake. I got them set-up and our boy off on an early morning bike ride and then on to the business of starting water for coffee. As I waited for the water to boil, I did a little spindle spinning. In the campground just as in the kitchen at home — some things remain the same.

Within 30minutes or so, Mr. Knitting Sarah groggily got up. Roughly 4 minutes after that, the wind started to pick up with some noticeable gusting. I knew it was supposed to rain that day and the next, but I didn’t think it was supposed to start this early. I looked to the south at a dark, slatey wall of clouds and realized that sometimes in the campground, as in the kitchen at home, the weather report is not dependable.

Mr. Knitting Sarah and I looked at each other and I said, “I’ll start getting camp buttoned up for the rain.” And he volunteered to get a simple breakfast set for the kids. While he cut sausage and cheese for cracker sandwiches, I sealed up the windows of the tent and moved all the important things away from the walls and up off the floors just in case of leaks. I got the car cleaned up and ready to go. We all grabbed a bite to eat and then piled in our van, commonly referred to in our house as The Adventuremobile. Rain or shine, adventure always awaits us!

We stopped at the visitor center of our campground, Gooseberry Falls State Park and sat by the waterfall for a bit. It wasn’t yet raining and the falls were nearly devoid of people. We sat with our travel mugs and sipped coffee and chatted…

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We hopped in the car and headed back to Split Rock State Park, but this time to check out the lighthouse…

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The wind was brisk and the skies were gloomy as we read about a ship wreck not far from that spot that inspired the eventual construction of the lighthouse, we could totally believe the weather was bad enough to cause it. Despite our layers and our water and windproof coats, that chilly Gitchi-gami wind blew straight through us. We took in the beauty for as long as long as our bones would let us…img_0968

And then we took our leave.

After a warm lunch at a local Scandinavian spot, we discussed our options. The weather was not improving and as this was Tuesday and it would likely not stop raining until Thursday after which it promised to dip near freezing at night, Mr. Knitting Sarah made the executive decision to take our Friday night hotel reservation and extend it starting immediately. Hypothermia is a real threat when you have no means to really warm up from being cold and wet and with two kids and the dog along, we were not interested in pushing that envelope.

And thus, we headed back south. South through the tunnels and the rain, south along Lake Superior until we came to our basic, inexpensive little inn in Duluth. And from this new base camp, I think we may have seen almost everything in the area over the next few days. Hiking in the cold rain is not bad at all when you know you get to return to a hot shower and warm, dry bed.

And so we hiked through the rain in so many beautiful little city parks…

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We had fun like only we can in these conditions…

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Except maybe Moose. He was less enthused about it all. He prefers his water in the form of a lake, not falling from the sky and the only thing he likes less than rain is walking over rocks. You’ll see, though, desperate puppy dog eyes, eventually he forgives us.

Through the rain we drove to a park outside of town, spotting a fox along the way, and we were rewarded with yet another impressive view…

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The Dalles of the St. Louis River…

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Dynamic, upturned broken layers of ancient rock jutting out or a river creating white waterfor as far as the eye could see. Like the mysterious, brooding cousins of the Flatirons of Colorado, I felt like I was glimpsing the heart & soul of this Earth. Humbled by the unrelenting landscape, and chilled to the bones from the cold and the rain, we headed to our base camp for pizza delivery and an early bedtime. Having halted the sweater knit I’d started for the vacation due to some unresolved gauge issues, I did knit a few stitches on my Clayoquot Hat…

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Before falling soundly asleep.

And we awoke the next day to blue skies. Glorious blue skies!img_1006-1

And a hike up to the famed Hawk Ridge that did not disappoint. We had a ramble here and then on to a few more parks. Now that our home is close enough to Duluth to make it easily accessible, we decided to take advantage of our extended stay there to do a kind of survey to make notes as to all the places we want to investigate further.

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There were more than a few places that made the “must revisit & expore further” list…

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My son & I even grabbed our bikes and took a spin down the lakeshore bike path…

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It’s a well-maintained path and a very pleasant ride along which I even spotted a small raft of Buffleheads. It was so fun to bike out and then look back toward the infamous Aerial Lift Bridge.

There were so many places we saw and things that we did that I could not possibly share them all here or I’d be here for a month, but I will add that on our last day in Duluth, we grabbed a picnic lunch (my favorite!)and headed back to the Dalles of the St. Louis where we had a nice long hike through the forest…

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and along the river…

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And eventually Moose forgave us.

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Whether Moose is making this face because in that moment he was so in love with us and happy to be there or because Mr. Knitting Sarah was holding a baggy of leftover picnic lunch meat and cheese, we may never know. Or we do know, but we are pretending it’s the love. Whatever the case, Moose was happy and life was good for all of us in the sunshine along the Dalles of the St. Louis.

Back at the inn, as we all started to organize and pack for the trip home the following day, it was hard not to be a bit sad that our wonderful North Shore vacation was coming to a close not to mention that the giant laundry bag seemed to weigh at least as much as I do. Thankfully, there was one last treat left in store and it was something that Mr. Knitting Sarah had planned just for me. He’d actually planned this entire vacation around the final day’s event. I was so excited, I could barely sleep that last night in Duluth.

Stay tuned later this week for the third and final installment of Go North!

 

Where the Birds & Bears Take You

It’s been a while since I’ve shared an outdoor adventure here. Partly because I’ve had a lot of good crafty things going on and also because our family adventure time has been a little more limited lately. When we’ve made the time for gallivanting, I’ve been more focused on being in-the-moment than snapping pictures. In any case, today I thought I’d share a couple recent jaunts with you. Brace yourselves for wintry landscapes! Because you know what? It’s still winter here!

A week or so ago we actually got about a foot of fresh snow. It was not bomb-cyclone style intensity, but it was snowing for a good 24-36 hours straight. On the evening it was meant to wind down, my hubby saw on social media that someone one street over had had black bear tracks in their yard the night before and Mr. Knitting Sarah was instantly in adventure mode. “We have to go take a walk to see if it’s out there tonight!”

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How I get talked into these things, I will never know.

For those worrying or thinking we’re those people — you know — the ones who ruin it for everyone, winding up attacked by bears or provoking bad behavior, I promise we are not. We have a lot of experience viewing wildlife in nature and have great respect for nature in all its forms. We always give animals large & small plenty of space and follow proper etiquette to keep everyone safe. We will, however, obviously go out to view wildlife when possible. But I digress. Suffice to say, on this particular evening we enjoyed a peaceful, quiet walk and once the wind was at our backs, it was easy to appreciate the beautiful snowy night. No bears nor bear tracks were spotted, but we made a wonderful memory as we marked 1 full year in our new home.

The following day, we made a trip about an hour or so north of home to one of our favorite parks.

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There’s a waterfall in there and, obviously, the falls were more treacherous than normal because the deep snow — up to my thigh in some drifted spots — made it hard to see where one boulder stopped and the next started or, more perilously, where one boulder stopped and the waterfall started. We were extremely careful and cautious, of course.

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Thankfully, in this landscape the picturesque does not require endangering oneself. It’s all around.

This day also took us to a slightly less scenic outpost…

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You see, a power plant not too far from our home is the nesting spot for a pair of Peregrine Falcons and as birders and amateur naturalists we went to see what we could see. The truth is, from this spot you cannot see a whole lot at this point because the birds spend a whole lot of time warming their four beautiful orange-y eggs.

Thankfully, there is a camera that has a live stream of the nesting site.

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You can check it out here, but be warned that it’s very, very addictive. Sure, 95% of it looks like nothing more than a bird sitting on gravel, but if you leave it on or watch long enough, you’ll hear these amazing birds calling to each other and possibly to their own little ones still in their eggs. We’ve been lucky enough to see the birds off the nest and once we even heard what have must be them circling over the nest because you could hear their constant calls come close and then fly off repeatedly. Was there a predator? Were they flying with their mate? Oh, the intrigue! Forget humans on realty television, this is so much better!

I often have the live stream open in an extra window on my desktop with the volume on very low — you can usually hear when something is amiss and then the kids and I run to the screen and toggle over to see what’s happening. Sometimes I grab screen shots when I can. This is a personal favorite…

adorable peregrine

Because, you know, hello there Birdie!

Somwhere after the waterfall and Peregrine adventures I finished my Iron Blue from Three Waters Farm

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So I can finally finish up my handspun Brillig project one of these days. It’s a bit less overtwisted than the first skein and I believe it’s because I plied on a faster whorl, more suited to the whorl I made the singles with. Thankfully, I believe the weight will be close enough that it won’t stand out from the first skein despite being spun 6months apart. Alas, this project will need to wait just a bit longer.

You see, I’m working on a very special handspun project that has a deadline.

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It’s currently miles of moody purple handspun garter stitch soon to meet a lace border and edge. I’m loving working on it and it’s “due” in a couple of week, so I’m devoting most of my free time to this to be sure I have plenty of time to finish, wash, and block this dreamy piece.

Just in case, this all wasn’t adventure and scenic enough for you with my customary dash of fiber arts…

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We had a beautiful (and less wintry!) day yesterday as we trucked ourselves down to Necedah Wildlife Refuge. We saw nearly 40 species of birds including a pair of Red Shouldered Hawks, two separate Whooping Cranes, a Loon, Buffleheads, Purple Finches, and, well, about 35 other kinds of birds! (One of these days I swear I’m going to get a bird list going somewhere here on knittingsarah.com) Oh, and I best not forget, we also spotted this guy…

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Mr. Knitting Sarah trekked the kids into the woods to get this photo while I stayed back at the car as my hip does not love bushwacking. I do, however, get credit for spotting him. For the record, if you are ever driving down a backroad in the central forest or northwoods of Wisconsin and you see a large dark circle in a tree, you could very possibly be looking at a porcupine. You had better stop, grab your binoculars or spotting scope, and take a closer look!

Is that enough adventure for one day?

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Moose says and emphatic YES. After running most of yesterday followed by what could basically could be called an aromatherapy bath with coconut smelling shampoo, this morning Moose was super tired and had no interest in getting out of bed.

8 hours later if I just swivel my chair…

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Yup, still tired. I wonder if he’ll be up for his afternoon walk today? Poor Moose, we can’t help that you’re so tuckered out — we just go where the birds and bears take us!