Waiting For The Fog To Lift

Yesterday Mr. Knitting Sarah had a day off and we decided to take the day to have a little adventure, to see what we could see out there in this late summer world. As it was scheduled to be a scorcher, Mr. KS proposed we set alarms, get up early, and head down to Necedah National Wildlife Refuge before the heat of the day set in. We prepped the kids, warning them of the expectation to be up and out the door early, and let them know what they needed to bring — book/s, binoculars, hat, water — and what they needed to leave at home — screens, complaining, general impatience. When morning came, things went mostly according to plan and we were on the road by 6:30am.

Necedah National Wildlife Refuge has a good variety of hiking trails, but they also have a wonderful network of mostly maintained gravel and sand roads to traverse by car. These roads are pretty good for wildlife spotting as they are largely unused and go through some rather untrammeled areas. It’s been a long time coming that I admit the full extent of the mileage limitations I have for what I can cover by foot, but I am learning — slowly, but surely — accept those as my reality. And Necedah is one of those places that I can still enjoy being outdoors, still experience a certain level of wilderness without the stress on my body.

In any case, we did a meandering drive through the Refuge, spotting a few fawns and deer, an immature Hood Merganser, lots of Turkeys with their youngsters in tow, and had one close encounter with a Red-Tailed Hawk that literally flew along side the car for a short time. After an hour or so, we headed up to a wildlife viewing tower and we gazed out over thick fog…

img_2302

And we waited. We brought our picnic lunch and even though it was early, we dug in. As we munched our simple meal of sandwiches and veggies and chips, we listened to the Sora, watched a pair of Sandhill Cranes foraging, and spotted a little fawn half-hiding half-perusing the edibles around him in the thicket below us. Somewhere hidden in the fog, we heard the unmistakable call of Trumpeter Swans — ko-hoh! ko-hoh! We waited.

The fog slowly began to lift…

img_2307

And we spotted Canada Geese…

img_2303

And a pair of Trumpeter Swans farther out. The kids began to lose patience so we sent them off to run the trails below while we stayed and watched the sun slowly burn through the veil of fog.

img_2311

Even Moose was interested to see what secrets would be revealed…

img_2306

And before we knew it…

img_2317

The fog had all but lifted, the temperature had climbed considerably, and it was time to try out a new trail. After a nice smoldering hike, we piled into the car and Mr. KS googled an ice cream stop after which we made a quick detour to check out the petroglyphs at Roche-A-Cri State Park. It’s a rock outcropping, once an island of Cambrian sandstone jutting out of Glacial Lake Wisconsin.

img_2319

It’s still a pretty impressive hunk of rock and one I share because I don’t know that many people know these kinds of things exist in Wisconsin. I assure you, they do.

We stopped at another little wayside along a new way home that had similar geology and our daughter found a Five-Lined Skink…

img_2328

Such a beautiful little lizard, a native of our state but the first we’ve seen. How lucky we were to have found him on a random whim of a stop!

We got back home in the mid-afternoon and enjoyed and early dinner and a movie. I spun…

img_2330

This is Butte Shadows on Rambouillet from Three Waters Farm. I am behind on starting my TWF Handspun Sweater-along spin and this spin was another impulsive delay. Beautiful and fun and I love it, but a delay nonetheless.

I’m not quite sure why I’m putting off the sweater spin. Part of this particular delay was because I’d just re-tied the drive band on my Schacht Reeves and wanted to make sure it was just right. Part of it was that I really just wanted to spin this colorway asap. I think another part of me is also a little nervous about the Big Sweater Spin though. I’ve set myself a lofty goal spinning for a Tecumseh sweater. Even though I know that if I don’t quite get the yarn right I’ll have no problem finding a pattern that will work, I am still a little worried I won’t get that yarn quite right. Because I want it to be right.

So I’ve been kind of sidling up to these fibers, waiting for my own trepidation to lift…

img_2283

For the fog to dissipate on my own vision & determination & motivation in this project. It’s all here, carefully curated; Grey for the main color, Iron Blue & Sunshiney Day for the contrasts. I just need to bring it out into the light and get working on it.

I woke up today and it was still warm, but there was not a bit of fog or haze. The light breeze meant the sun shone brightly. The fog has lifted and I think I’m seeing clearly. It’s time to wrap up my distractions and get a move on, I think.

The Sum Of All The Little Pieces

I kind of don’t know where to start today, my friends. This past weekend had it all — a little stress, a little drama, some spinning, an injury, a lot of joy, an endangered species. You name it, we had it. And at the end of it all I awoke this morning a little bit tired, but feeling… well, feeling good.

Saturday was my day to get yard work done and I did. And how. As these things go with me, my plan to just mow the lawn and use the clippings as mulch quickly escalated to 2 additional landscaping jobs. Insert your eyeroll emoji right here. I need to learn how to pace myself better with the physical activity around the house. I’m cautious in recreation, but a total moron about it when it comes to house and yard work. It’s not great and I really need to plan better and learn to stop much earlier.img_6986

In any case, I’ll share one little happy spot in my yard. It was not bad to begin with, but a little spare with just a couple hostas. I added about a dozen more of different shapes and color patterns. It could still use some wood chips instead of the 4 wood chips still present from whenever the previous owners put down mulch and the bed of pine needles, but I will get there eventually. For now, I’m really just delighted that this should fill in and be a really pretty green spot.

Unfortunately about midway through this project something happened to my left foot. I suddenly had a very sharp pain smack in the center of it. Ouch! Of course, I went on to finish up the hosta bed and then some minor excavation on another front bed before this…

img_6970

No wheel spinning for me Saturday evening, just a whole lot of ice! My husband dubbed it my “hosta injury” and we’ve since diagnosed what I did as “Hosta Foot” because painful as it was, it was super ridiculous. I had a rough Sunday morning, but by the end of the day I was walking fine and I can only feel it a bit still when I’m spinning. I’ve never been more excited that in 29days my new single treadle wheel will be shipping!

Sunday morning, however, I thankfully didn’t need to do a ton of walking as I was right here.

img_6971

Catching these guys…

img_6974

We just had a catch and release day, but it was a beautiful, peaceful spot and I really do enjoy fishing. We’d hoped to stay longer and fish for a family fish fry, but a combination of a poor attitude from our more & more independent-minded daughter and then rain sent us packing early. We’re generally a very happy bunch and work very hard to stay that way, so it can be especially trying and disheartening to address those unkind moments that can arise with a 9year-old who really wants to be in charge of her own life. I am wading through those uncertain waters of knowing when to de-escalate a situation with love and when to push back with hard and fast rules. It feels like it should be simple, but of course it is anything but simple. I suppose practice, unfortunately, will be a good — and hopefully swift — teacher. I had very little heart to spin as these kinds of things are mentally exhausting to me (and everyone I’m sure), but I did spent a little time in The Tower spinning with my spindle when we got home

img_6988-1

It always comes back to these little things. And I am so thankful to have this type of release in my life that helps me to find my zen and my center through it all.  Exhausted from the day, we all went to sleep early and slept in Monday morning.

Mr Knitting Sarah had a rare 2 days off in a row and we were determined to make the most of day 2, to hopefully not spend it butting heads again. We had coffee, decided to take a trip down to Necedah National Wildlife Refuge, and had a clear discussion about expectations and how to have a good attitude even when you aren’t doing your favorite thing with a certain young lady. I had high hopes.

The adventure started out with the cutest welcoming party…

img_6999

Or maybe he was the fiercest. I’m not sure. In any case, we stopped to help this little snapping turtle get across the road safely whether he was pleased or not. He certainly delighted us.

It was hot and muggy, but the air smelled wonderful.

img_7140

I realize we go to a lot of places that look just like this and I wish I could better convey how unique each place is. If they all appear the same to you, dear readers, trust me when I say that they are not. Necedah NWR has a wonderful visitor center as well as some truly great trails available. The sun was blazing and the deer flies were abundant though, so we stuck to a relatively short trail that we thought would be breezy enough to make the bugs bearable.

The highlight of our hike was this little guy (or gal)…

img_7104

Our son found this Karner Blue Butterfly. Our boy hung back on the trail and quietly observed for a few moments to be sure of the ID before calling us over. It’s an endangered species and he/she was the only one we found, so it felt like the most amazing treat. I was fortunate enough to spend a good half hour attempting to get this photo with my phone. He is only the size of a quarter and — as I mentioned — it was breezy so it was no small feat. I loved the time I had with him. In addition to this little wonder, we also saw a loon, catfish, teeny tiny baby catfish, loads of enormous bullfrog tadpoles, red-headed woodpeckers, and a family of trumpeter swans. Thanks to the heat and humidity we were drenched by the time we got back to the car, but it was so worth it.

W grabbed lunch and headed home where we relaxed with a movie and I did some spinning.

img_7141

It was technically a rest day for the Tour de Fleece, but since I’d missed Saturday I decided to spin away. I’m about halfway through the first 8oz of this spin and I’m absolutely delighted by and smitten with it.

As I look over this long post, it strikes me that in our house it always comes back to the little things. Fishing. Spinning. A quarter-sized butterfly. Bullfrog tadpoles. A conversation with my daughter to try to find our way through her coming of age. A movie at home. Spinning again. Planting hostas. It may not be on a grand scale, but this life is definitely a grand one. It would have been easy to have given up on our second free day together after the disaster of the first, but if we had, we’d have missed the chance for our daughter to be a total delight, the thoughtful, patient, lovely young lady she can be. We’d have missed that little butterfly and the giant bullfrog tadpoles and the loon and that hilarious/ferocious baby snapping turtle. I will take all the ups and downs as long as we  can always remember to come back to the simple things. In the end, it’s the sum of all the little pieces — not one or two highs or lows — that makes life so grand.