Spring in Wisconsin

Just a couple days ago I was sharing images of sunshine and open water and praising the oh-so-glorious vitamin D rich day. And this morning, we awoke to this…

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That’s a solid 8″ of fresh snow (our neighbor measured!), the first 2″ of which turned into ultra-compacted slush when it hit the warm-ish spring ground. I know because my son and I shoveled it! Fellow snow aficionados out there will know that snow that has a layer of slush next to the ground is the toughest to move because not only is it heavy, but it also likes to stick to your shovel. This means that with every scoop and dump of the shovel, you need to add a “thump” as you need to smack the shovel against the ground to get the sticky bottom layer of snow off.

This could have taken a very long span of back-breaking labor which my son & I were settling in for, but for our wonderful, wonderful neighbor who came over and helped us dig out with his snowblower, a fact for which I will forever be grateful. Coincidentally, I am pretty sure the time has come for a snow blower to reside in my own garage, even if just for the couple times a year we have this kind of snow. That heavy snow is just… heavy and I’m not the youngster I once was!

In any case, if this isn’t exciting enough for mid-April, we are bracing ourselves for the potential of 9-12″ more between now and Monday morning. I’m happy to share that I did manage to run to the grocery store yesterday and grab the couple of essentials we were low on, so beyond clearing the driveway so Mr. Knitting Sarah can get back home after work and possibly filling bird feeders, I will be cozying up at home. Welcome to spring in Wisconsin!

I’m prepared, of course. I’ve got my new Making magazine to peruse…

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And just a few rows left in my special handspun knitting project…

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Isn’t that border looking nice?!

And then I’ll be digging in to a new spinning project. Long draw is on my agenda, but I may spin up a quick worsted weight single first to get reacquainted with that slow treadle on the big whorl speed before getting back into the long draw. I’ve got a new technique I’m going to try with it and I’ve been looking forward to it for a long time, so I’m very excited to get spinning!

While I’m sipping hot coffee out of the wind and snow, I haven’t forgotten the Peregrine Falcons on the nest I shared in my last post. This kind of weather is hard on this little family…

imageAs evidenced by this snapshot of  poor bird around 11pm last night. I usually turn the live feed on in the morning while I wake up and get ready and this morning through the snow I watched this exceptional pair of birds make the quickest tag-off on the eggs I’ve ever witnessed. I heard one of them call from off screen, the bird on the eggs called back, took off, and less than 5 second later the second bird was settled down on the eggs.

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Such good parents already! Send warm thoughts their way — they are going to need them tonight!

Stay warm, stay dry, stay safe, my friends!

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…

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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!