Life Lessons From A Red Fox

Today we awoke to our second snowfall, the first that actually lasted beyond the sun breaking through the clouds for more than an hour. There’s probably still an inch on the ground, but it is melting in the bright sunshine. I really do love winter. As soon as there is snow on the ground, the whole world changes color because the light is so different. Everything looks crisp and defined in this light. The world becomes all hard lines and blinding lightness. It is the same world I strolled through in summer, but somehow it’s also totally different.

As I look at our outdoor thermometer, I see that in the sunshine at midday it is reading 28°F and the winds are due to pick up, potentially bringing some more snow tonight. It’s cold. And while I have a warm house and plenty of wool to keep me warm, I can’t help but think about a special someone…

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I shared an image of this Red Fox at the beginning of October and I think it’s time I share his story.

I’d spotted this fox around the neighborhood a handful of times during the past year — once loping across the street, once chasing a rabbit in an open lot — you know, doing what foxes are supposed to do. In early October when it slinked into our yard, though, it was almost certainly suffering from sarcoptic mange. Nearly blinded by its swollen eyes and clearly starving, it was resorting to stealing sunflower seeds from our ground feeder.

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Its posture and body language were all wrong.

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It was clear that it was desperate — with eyes almost completely swollen shut, we assumed hunting was difficult if not impossible. With winter coming, things were not looking good for its survival.

Mr. Knitting Sarah shared a photo on his social media and had feedback from some biologist friends for courses of treatment that might help. He dug further and researched treatment plans and then set about getting the inexpensive medicine available at our local farm store.  We set up a dosing calendar based on helpful instructions from a red fox rehab center. Since we wanted to remain hands-off (I’m not interested in wrangling sick wild animals) for our safety as well as the animal’s, we opted to inject food with meds for treatment. We set-up trail cameras on our feeding stations to be able to monitor them, making sure the fox actually was getting the meds. We’d talked about getting trail cams for a while to see what kinds of animals were coming through our yard at night and this was just a good reason to finally do it.

Because treatment needs to happen over a 3-6 week period to effectively treat mange, the key is that you have to get the fox to return regularly. I don’t think this one had an iPhone on which I could set an alarm, so per instructions we set out his favorite foods daily — a mix of wet & dry cat food and a couple cut up hot dogs. The hot dogs were key as they were his favorite. In the early days, I’d refill the stations if I knew he’d been through to make sure there was always food available.

When dosing day rolled around, I would be in the kitchen carefully hollowing hot dogs, injecting them with the appropriate dose of medicine, and then placing a couple pieces of dry cat food inside to soak up the meds in case the piece of hot dog should happen to fall over. Then I’d set the medicated “fox dogs” around the yard and wait, hoping that he’d take them and hoping I’d be able to get a glimpse of him to observe his appearance and body language for comparison.

Sure enough, he came back. And like a good patient, he took his meds every time.

Over the course of the next month, we watched carefully and we set food out and we dosed on schedule. At first, the images taken at night would catch eye shine in just the one eye and he’d return multiple times each night with that same insecure posture.

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We were ecstatic with each successful dose and I read vehemently about the progression of the healing process for this disease. I promise you that at this point, I know way more details about sarcoptic mange and treatment for it than I ever thought I would. Within a couple weeks, we started to see him spacing out his visits a bit and the eye shine of the second eye started to show up, first a little slit and then…

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Both eyes wide open!

His slink became more like prancing punctuated with the occasional leap and pounce. We started to get images that indicated the fox was pushing the feral cat that stopped by sometimes off the food station instead of skittishly ducking away from it. I even watched it once scare off a bunch of deer!

One evening, our red fox friend popped by just before dusk and we were astonished — our scraggly friend had transformed into this much healthier looking canine!

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Still  a little skinny maybe and his tail was taking its time growing back in, but his posture and body language was so much better.

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His winter coat was coming in nicely…

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It looked like an mostly healthy fox! He pranced around looking in all his familiar spots for his fox dogs just long enough to for Mr. KS to catch these photos. He was on his way, leaping and bouncing like he was walking on air until he was out of sight.

The last evening we caught a picture of him was October 30th. I’m wondering if the hub-bub of trick or treating on the 31st paired with the feral cats who were occasionally dropping by to take advantage of the feeding stations made it competitive enough that with his improved health he finally had the incentive to move back out into wilder terrain. We’re right on the edge of town, so it would make sense as he has a lot of fertile hunting grounds just a little farther afield. Of course it could be that the mange came roaring back. It could be that some other predator or the cold proved too much. We might never know.

I do know, however, that when you have a very big heart and you’re a little bit of a control freak, this kind of investment can be taxing. I started out very resistant to the whole endeavor, afraid to be hurt or disappointed or to fail, and only got involved because Mr. KS pushed me. I’m glad that he did. As time went by and I saw the fox’s health improve though, I realized that it wasn’t about making sure this animal survived  the winter (although that was and is the hope). Each easy meal and each successful dose of meds gave this animal an extra day; a day that was better than his last, a day he likely would not have had otherwise. And that was… meaningful.

It is easy to go through life and in the hustle and bustle forget just how precious each day is. It’s easy when we aren’t struggling, to forget what it means to struggle. It’s easy to take good fortune and good health for granted. And it’s easy to not recognize just what an impact you can have on another’s life with just a small investment of time. These are the life lessons I learned from our Red Fox and that is… meaningful.

I hope that our Red Fox friend is healthy and pouncing and prancing and leaping in a place that makes him happy. I hope his belly is full and his coat is warm. I hope that maybe someday I’ll see him again. But most of all, I’m thankful for the days we had each other because for as much as he needed us, I think there is part of me that needed him.

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One Last Hurrah

Today we are starting our school year. We like to ease into these things, so we’re starting mid-week with partial days and will dive in in earnest next week. Before taking the plunge into the 2018-2019 school year though, we took advantage of a fortuitous and not very common two days off in a row for Mr. Knitting Sarah and had a little mini-adventure over the weekend, one last hurrah before the end of summer.

As it is mid-August and the peak of vacation season in these parts, finding a spot for camping or a hotel that was dog friendly on short notice was not easy. Mr. Knitting Sarah is nothing if not determined and creative when it comes to unearthing a good adventure though and I was not in the least surprised when he announced a plan. Destination: Clam Lake, WI, Population: 37 and a herd of wild elk.

We left as soon as Mr. KS was done with work on Saturday with homemade brown bag dinners in hand and made the two and a half hour drive north. Scanning the roadsides as we went, I spotted a large Snapping Turtle and our son pointed out a Red Fox. We talked and sang loudly along with the radio as we went, pulling in to our destination around 7pm in high spirits.

Located in the heart of the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest, Clam Lake is one of those places that if you blink you might miss it. Downtown it’s got a small motel, a tavern with good food, and a gas station/general store/motel with all of 8 rooms, the latter of which we called home for a two nights. Clearly a hub for the locals, the folks behind the counter take impeccable care of the place and know most people who stop in by name. It is a true gem! We checked in, peeked at the room (it was literally one of the nicest kept hotel rooms I’ve stayed in), and got back on the road to see what we could see. Twilight is, after all, one of the best times to see wildlife.

The first thing to note is that these northern woods are incredibly dense in summer. I always feel like it’s kind of a miracle when we see things. I fully believe all manner of animals are likely watching me from a mere couple of feet off the trail and unless they want me to, I will never know it. It never stops us though, the joy is in the looking. The more you look, the more you see. The elk — reintroduced in Wisconsin in 2016 — were the goal, but we knew there was potential for lots more — wolves, black bear, bobcat, mountain lion, fox, snowshoe hare, and a whole host of birds are all common in the area.

Before long, we spotted this guy in the waning light…

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We got a good long look at him, but with low light and shooting with my phone’s camera through binoculars the quality of the photo is not fabulous. It does, however, serve as proof that with my own eyes I’ve seen wild elk in Wisconsin. As we kept driving along the old forest roads, we also saw loads of White-Tailed Deer, Snowshoe Hares, and a particularly animated American Woodcock dancing in a tremendous display in our headlights for quite a while. It was magical and incredible to witness — such an unexpected delight! I just won’t ever forget it. What a night!

The following day we rolled out of the racks early, stopped for a quick breakfast, and headed to the Namekagon River Visitor Center — the kids love a good visitor center and we were looking for a trail recommendation, so I waited with Moose while the family checked it out. It just so happened that as our daughter talked up the local ranger, he asked if she’d like to help name and release a monarch butterfly…

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Of course, she did…

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She named it “Steve” because, of course, what other name would you give a monarch butterfly?

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Godspeed, Steve! Safe & happy travels to you!

After saying farewell to Steve, we hit a trail that skirted the Namekagon River. The trail was lined with the most gorgeous Red Pines…

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I find Red Pines have the most extraordinary bark. And we enjoyed the quiet of the woods and the flow of the river below. After 20 or 30 minutes, we took a moment to sit along the river while the kids played and the dog swam and the multitudes of Cedar Waxwings acrobatically snatched bugs from the air above the river…

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And I spun.

On the way back, hearing birds in the tree tops I looked way high up in the canopy…

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And I saw some immature American Redstarts high up in the trees along with some Chickadee friends. Thank goodness for my binoculars! And on the ground…

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Signs of autumn to come or our incredibly dry summer? I’m not sure. And a feather left behind by a Yellow-Bellied Sapsucker…

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We finished out our hike and continued our car safari over toward Spooner and coffee…

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And after a rest and refreshments at the hotel, we finished the night off with a little more wildlife viewing and a spot of fishing…

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We didn’t catch anything, but sometimes it’s just nice to throw a hook in the water.

We finished our weekend out with a jaunt up to Copper Falls State Park and another hike…

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On a new-to-us trail which ended with some time just sitting by a waterfall, a favorite past time of Mr. KS. Poor Moose, though, was growing tired and anxious to get home and after a while hanging out he started to cry a little. He’d hiked and swam and had begun snoring loudly during the car rides, a sure sign that he was running out of gas and this was just his last straw — time to head out, family! Along the way back to the car, notables were immature Yellow-Bellied Sapsuckers and immature Scarlet Tanagers and a Golden-Winged Warbler. It was a beautiful, quiet hike. An excellent end to a fantastic weekend.

On the ride home, I managed to make decent headway on the Honey Trail shawl for my MIL…

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I’ve turned the corner and am beyond the halfway point now. I was worried initially with all the little cables that I wouldn’t finish in time to give to my MIL when they visit at the end of September, but I’ve got no concerns now. Hitting the point of decreasing always feels like such a victory, even more than finishing sometimes, I think.

Arriving home, it was hard to believe how much we squeezed into just two days, but still we found ourselves deliciously refreshed. We came home to construction beginning on our street, the promise of school starting, the need to begin the process of tidying up the house before it’s closed up for winter, and an empty hummingbird feeder. In addition to all the young birds we saw on our mini-adventure, we’ve had 2 immature (or 1 female and 1 immature or 2 female — I can’t tell) Ruby-Throated Hummingbirds camped out in our backyard. I’ve never had much luck with regular hummingbird visitors to my feeder, but I noticed them a week or so ago and quickly moved the hummingbird feeder out to where I’d seen them. Ever since, 9 out of 10 times I peer out the back windows one of them is there, sitting on the brush pile or the feeder. Sometimes preening, sometimes eating, sometimes stretching their little wings, sometimes just sitting and looking around, these little birds are surely preparing for the autumn changes to come and their long journey South to Texas or Mexico or maybe even Costa Rica.

I plan to keep the feeder full as long as our hummingbird friends hang around. After all, we all need a little break, one last hurrah of summer to ensure we’re rested and refreshed and ready to go when the next leg of our journey needs to begin. We got ours in Clam Lake, so it’s only right that our little friends get theirs in our quaint little backyard as well.

 

10 Days of Quiet

I had the best intentions to keep this space up over the last week and a half. “I have a backlog of FOs to share,” I told myself. “I’ll use this time to periodically catch up on all of those,” I said. “I can share bits and pieces of what’s on my needles and my wheel,” I thought. It didn’t work. None of it did. Hence, crickets for 10 days.

You see, I had a private project I needed to work on that was destined to stay behind the scenes and I thought I could balance the secret work with everything else. Truth be told, though, I’m not great with balancing things like this. When I have a deadline, I am nose to the grindstone, a total maniac of tunnel vision. It’s not that I can’t work on multiple projects at a time, it’s just that if it’s time sensitive and there is work to be done I really struggle to step away from a project. It makes for an incredible ability to see projects through, but can really muck up a regular schedule. Add on top of this that my son’s birthday took place over this weekend and we were hosting family for it, so there was planning and cooking and baking involved in that. Hence, those 10 days just slipped past me.  Ah, hence.

Today, on the other side of both the birthday and the behind-the-scenes project, I am sitting here, a little groggy, wondering where exactly to start. After such an unhinged pursuit to finish the other project combined with the clinging chocolate-brownie-chocolate cake sugar coma from yesterday, I have been daydreaming about just turning the computer off and taking a nap. As the blank page stares at me and the cursor blinks unrelentingly, I am tempted. I know that picking up after a break from this space is just like riding a bicycle, but in order to ride the bicycle, you need to — you know — get on the bicycle and start pedaling. I suppose that means I just need to start typing and share a bit of what the last 10 days has involved.

I could tell you about how green it is here now.

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Mr. Knitting Sarah and I stole a quick break for a hike last week. It was serene and beautiful. I watched a juvenile Wood Duck learning to swim with all exaggerated, awkward movements. And I spotted this perfectly imperfect daisy…

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I love how all wildflowers are perfectly imperfect. Sometime after seeing this flower and the Wood Duck swimming, the mosquitoes lifted us up and carried us out of the marsh and back to the car. They are large and they are many this year.

In our own yard, we have at least our one Blue Jay nest and one Robin nest as well as a Robin nest we can clearly see across the way. Whether from one of these nests or some other nearby, Mr. Knitting Sarah caught this photo of a baby Robin who was squawking & hopping about in our backyard…

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Such a proud little one he is!

While the Blue Jay babes appear to be hatched, they remain in the nest, silent and doted on by equally silent parents. Silent until crows or other predators are nearby and then they are relentless in chasing them off. Thankfully, they don’t seem to mind me putzing around a bit in the backyard. I take that as the highest of compliments. In addition to our birds, we also had a fox visit the yard and we caught a glimpse of him a second time the following day.  What a delight, this place where we live is!

In between all the hubbub of baby birds and fox and mosquitoes and birthday prep and celebration, I did finish some socks.

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Nothing outside the norm for me…

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Just a simple pair of Churchmouse Yarns & Teas Basic Socks for my husband. I started them back in March and — honestly — after finishing the private project, I just didn’t have it me to start something new yet, so I went to this project and just worked on it. So familiar this mindless task, it was just what I needed.

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Alas, they are done, and it is time to start moving forward again in a real way. Cast-on something new, get plying my spinning projects that are ready to be plied — you know the drill. The spinning has been easy to ease back into, but I’m having trouble finding the right knitting project. The next couple days will be about knocking those cobwebs out and reacquiring that mojo. I am a little stuck with where to start, but I’m sure it’ll come to me…

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Moose, however, thinks I should reconsider that nap, no matter how ridiculous. I think he’s going to have to just accept napping nearby for the both of us though, while I get to work. For I am sure I have yarn to wind, a cast-on on the horizon, and those FOs are not sharing themselves! It’s time to get back at it!

Apple Pickings, A Rusty Meat Hook, and The Many Things You Can Do With Yarn

Sometimes I sit down to write here and I just have no idea where the story will lead. Tonight is one of those times.

It’s been a while since I’ve sat down to write here. It wasn’t because I haven’t wanted to, but just because I haven’t been sitting much lately. Shortly after I published my last post, we jetted over to spend a couple days at my parents’ house while Mr. Knitting Sarah had meetings. The highlight of the trip was the tried and true fall pastime around here: apple picking. My parents have an orchard a short and scenic drive from their house, so each year the kids and I go with my mom.

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This year the rainy, rainy spring and summer led to an apple crop that was not the best looking. The proprietor explained that many of the apple skins had blemishes because of the weather, but that the actual apples were still good, even if they weren’t necessarily pretty.

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We managed to find pretty ones. They were also quite tasty.

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I’m usually a Pink Lady kind of girl and I rarely, if ever, buy Golden Delicious, but these were magnificent. I grabbed as many as I could find. We bought roughly 7 tons of apples and have been eating them nonstop since. My girl really wanted to make a pie, so we tried, but it kind of came out more like chunky apple soup encased in a nice crispy crust. It tasted good, but the presentation left something to be desired. I definitely have to work on my pie skills…

In any case, while there, I finished my Elbert Hat

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Since this photo, I’ve blocked the hat and made it a pom. I’ll attach it and get some FO photos soon.

I also started my Wildflowers Cap

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I finished it once we got home and then I asked Mr KS and got a hard no on the pom, so there will be no pom. I have it soaking and will get it drying shortly.

Since getting home, it’s been an all out sprint to get things tidied up before Mr KS’s parents arrive tonight. It was equal parts making it nice for when they arrive and a blast of autumnal cleaning. You know, the big push to get things zipped up before things get cold. The kids and I finally conquered The Great Multiplying Rock Pile. I washed all the windows. I got the oven cleaned. You, know, all the things that you don’t want to do during the nice weather and you can’t do during the really cold weather. I’d say 90% of it got done in the last 6 days.

Somehow in there, we managed to go some antique shopping. The mister is addicted to American Pickers and -we’ve agreed that we love the stuff they find, but would rather pay people like them to dig through the junk to find the stuff we like because, yeesh, they have strong stomachs! In any case, we’ve been checking out local antique shops for bits and pieces. So our house is definitively North Woods Cabin meets Yarn Shop which, you know, is pretty specific and weird. And, in case you were wondering, it involves a lot of conversations that go like this:

Mr KS: Hey, check this out! [holding up a rusty meat hook attached to an old piece of wood that may or may not have been a barn once]

Me: Uhh….. [insert reactive grossed out face here]

Mr KS: Seriously?! This is great!

Me: What would you do with it? It’s a rusty meat hook.

Mr KS: [looks at it & shrugs] Hang some yarn on it?

Me: [face instantly brightening] I like that. Nice! Let’s get it!

So in case it wasn’t clear before, you can pretty much show me anything, tell me that it’ll look great if I hang yarn on it, and I’ll instantly love it.

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It’s totally impossible to photograph this spot in our house, but there it is. Yarn hanging on a rusty meat hook in my house. Looking awesome.

We are special people. I’m glad we found each other.

But I digress.

This week I also speed finished my second sock from my Three Waters Farm Storm’s End yarn

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Better photos to come, of course, but you can get the idea from sock #1 that I shared in July. A friend who was using the same yarn was worried she might run short for the shawl she was knitting, so I was inspired to whip through the second sock so she could have my leftovers if it came to that. In the end she didn’t need it, but she finished and I finished. What a happy ending all around!

I’ve been spinning quite a bit, too, in the evenings when the body & mind are tired and, of course, despite all the cleaning and tidying around here, the spinning area is a low-level disaster…

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That little end table should have a coaster and a bowl on it, but instead it’s strewn with full bobbins, empty bobbins, and random do-dads. I really should be emptying bobbins, not filling them, in anticipation of Spinzilla next week, but it’s my meditation, my release, so I just keep spinning.

Oh, and you’ll notice the dress form in the background of that photo (also why the photo is at such a weird angle…) — this is another of Mr KS’s decorative genius moments. We had that weird corner space next to the shelving and wanted to put something there. Mr KS didn’t even really ask, he just ordered it and now I have a really cool little spot to display things and it fills the weird space and it’ll make taking FO photos a bit easier. She’s currently donning my Hitchhiker, as you can see. I’m a big fan of this addition, too.

And there you have it, an update — disjointed and scatter-brained though it may be — from the North Woods Cabin meets Yarn Shop, where there is always something new and interesting happening with yarn. On my needles, on my wheels, on the walls — I wouldn’t have it any other way!

 

Fresh Air & Preparations

The end of last week we were lucky enough to have my dad stay with us for a few days. We celebrated his birthday (a bit late, but better late than not at all!) and spent a good deal of time outside. We fish a lot when visiting with my dad and it just so happened that he brought his boat along this time. While the weather didn’t always cooperate, we were able to scope out some local waters for possible fishing spots when the weather wasn’t ideal. And when we did get out on the water, we didn’t catch any particularly large fish…

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But it was all smiles, all around. Fishing with Grandpa always is though.

My dad headed out Saturday, so we planned a family day for Mr Knitting Sarah’s day off on Sunday. We headed back to Necedah National Wildlife Refuge.

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It was restorative, as these things generally are. You can see without the optics, but in this photo are loads of Trumpeter Swans, Sandhill Crane families, ducks which I didn’t identify because as I was counting swans I was distracted by a lone coyote prancing across the field of view. We watched as he zigzagged back and forth around the field, seeming to delight in upsetting the birds around him. Most excitingly though there were five Whooping Cranes present. It’s not often we see that many in one spot and this just felt very special indeed.

We took a slightly longer hike on the backside of this little spot.

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It was quiet and peaceful aside from the last quarter mile or so when the deer flies decided to attack poor Moose. We walked fast and he was so tired when we got back to the car from the heat and annoyance that he laid down to drink his water. Poor guy!

Sufficiently tired, we headed home and had a little campfire. I’d purchased the ingredients for s’mores to enjoy while my dad was around, but we’d use up our sticks, so we set our youngest to work.

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She’s decided she’d like to have a Marshmallow Roasting Stick business when she grows up, as one does when so enamored with whittling.

We’ve got a very busy calendar the next few weeks, so I took it upon myself to take the day to do a somewhat boring job.

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Some “Friends of Knitting Sarah” are planning a bit of a retreat to the WI Sheep & Wool festival and I was asked to demo spinning, which, of course, I’m glad to do. I was also asked to bring along some handspun to a little pre-festival get-together, so I needed to measure and label some handspun. It took the better part of the day, thanks of course to numerous distractions, but by the end of the day, I managed to mostly fill the green tote above.

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I still need to wash and set these skeins (plus one already in a bath) and I hope to have a few more skeins done before September, but I am resting a little easier knowing that if I manage nothing else before then, I should still have plenty.

So that, my friends, has been my last week. Fresh air and preparations. There’s been some spinning & knitting, of course, but it’s been somewhat slower than normal. I’ve got a basket full of prepped fiber though and 4 projects on the needles, so I’m excited that the preparations are mostly done and I can get back to the business of making yarn & things with yarn!

Reclaiming Space

As is always the case, the summer is busy and flying by. I’ve become increasingly aware that I’ve been writing little of the more personal stories here as it’s been all I could muster just to find the time and space in my mind to get the knitting & spinning news shared. As I was working on the gardens project the last couple weeks, I finally had some time to really reflect. A lot of my writing happens in my head while I’m on the trail or out for a walk with the kids and the dog or while I’m spinning or when my hubby is taking the lead with the kids, but those times have been more… cluttered the last few weeks than in the more structured moments of the school year. I’ve been struggling to find those peaceful moments where I can find some clarity.

As I dug (and dug and dug) in the gardens, I thought about the act itself and I watched as the gardens were transformed from weedy, cluttered, neglected messes to tidy little beautiful spots.

img_3798I thought about reclaiming that space and it occurred to me that the last few weeks in the garden and before that the decluttering in our house, it’s all been about reclaiming space in one way or another.  And now, in this post, I thought I would share some of those more personal moments from my last few weeks to finally organize and reclaim that space in my mind.

A few weeks back we stopped at this small park in a neighboring city…

img_3631It was a warm morning, but the mist was cool and the whole hike was just lush with greenery.

img_3628While the kids ran ahead, I lingered over wildflowers…

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We moved onto a damp forest trail and there were more wonders to be seen…

img_3635And little details that it would be easy to walk right past…

img_3639I’m glad to have had the luxury of time to pause here and there.

One day, we also took a trip to the very popular Devil’s Lake.

img_3669It was beautiful as usual and the trails were wonderful, but crowded as they always are, especially in summer. We turned back a bit before reaching the top of the bluff — when it comes to being out and about hiking, hoards of people all talking and shouting back and forth tend to send us packing and this day was no different. I’m so glad people are out being active and using the park, but this kind of outdoor experience is just not for us. We’ll save a return trip for quieter seasons.

We did find a miraculous little secluded spot on the lake so that the kids could swim…

img_3686-1I could knit a few stitches, the mister could read a bit…

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Somewhere in these last few weeks my daughter finished her first ever 4oz of handspun singles.

img_3548-1She was anxious to start another project, so I offered to ply them for her.

delia skeinThe resulting skein is so much fun, I think.

delia detIt’s full of texture and the essence of sheer determination that comes from an 8-year-old learning to spin. We’re going to knit it into a cowl we can share, I think.

Reflecting over these images and experiences as I weeded and dug through my final overgrown garden the other day, I couldn’t help but think about how big of a deal I had made of and how long I’d put off undertaking this garden project. I thought about all the excuses I had and all the obstacles I saw and in retrospect I really just needed a leaping off point and some direction. If it were knitting, it was like I had the yarn but couldn’t figure out what pattern to use and didn’t know where to start looking.

As I thought about all the stages of the project, what I kept coming back to was the image of my gardening genius friend, the architect of the gardening exploits rolling up in her little compact car. Each time she came over to help & direct me, all she brought with her was a trunk full of plants, a shovel, and the enthusiasm to get the job done & make it great. Every technique she taught me, every aspect of the process was so simple and basic and inexpensive. I was reminded that reclaiming space is really just about making the time and taking the time to make it happen. No elaborate tools or plans or loads of money were necessary. Time and effort, that’s the true secret to reclaiming space — in your house, in your garden, in your mind, in your life.