Sunday, February 24, 2013

Two Trees; One Ring

I feel like I just wrote this post.  Either the week flew by really fast or not much has changed out in the world of my trees.  Actually, its a bit of both.

The maple is just about the same as it was last week, I think.  Maybe those buds are fluffed a bit more.  Maybe I'm imagining that.

And copper beech hasn't changed at all.  Such a slow-grower.  I could say that the spots on the branches seem more pronounced but that may be because of the rain slicking down the bark. 

It's a rainy day and I took these while sheltering under an umbrella.  That seems to change the light a little bit even though I used my white umbrella.  It has been mostly rainy this week, feeding those rings up nice and plump.  But yesterday was a cold and clear day with wind.  It felt like March but maybe colder.  A huge amount of snow on the mountains which suits me just fine.  All the beauty but none of the work.  My kind of weather. 

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Saturday Stash

My apologies for not showing up last Saturday.  It was newsletter week and all I knit on was the white sweater since it was pretty simple stuff.  This week, I crossed all kinds of finish lines. 

The Downton Abbey KAL aka Concordia Gauntlets are all finshhed.  And so is this season of Downton Abbey.  I'm not sure I want to watch any more...they killed off my favorite character.  No chance of it being a cliff-hanger and wondering for months if he's really dead.  Pretty sure it's a done deal.  Oh, I know I'll be back for more but won't be quite the same again.

Still in Downton Abbey land, my Lady Violet Shooting's Socks are all finished, too.  The yarn - a Blue-faced Leicester from Fleece Artist - is absolutely wonderful to put on your feet.  And it's very easy on the hands while knitting, too.  I love them.  They won't see too many pheasants or grouse but I can promise a whole bunch of heather.  Once I get them out in that garden.

The Spring Trees shawl is blocking and I took that photo rather than one draped over my shoulder.  The main attraction to this pattern is the branching of the fractal pattern.  It was a tricky pattern at times but definitely worth the effort.  And the charting and pattern-writing was top-notch.  The trees here are not quite getting their spring haze of new green but that is what this shawl reminds me of. 

And the last project which is not finished but getting much closer.  I spent some time this morning with the neckline.   This is not the clearest pattern-writing.  They explain some things and then just leave you to figure out others.  It is not written for inexperienced knitters.  Although, once you get what they haven't told you, it's quite doable for almost any knitter.  I only have the sleeves to go now and I think it's going to be  a smashing sweater.  Spring in Alberta sounds like a great time to test it out. 

The nice thing about so many finished all at once is I get to start a whole bunch of things now.  I'll have to get see what's in the stash chests and spend many hours some time checking out likely patterns.  Now that's fun.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Fifty Fridays #28

Today, I am sharing color photos.  And, more than one.  It''s my older son's birthday and I've been thinking about him in his baby life. In particular, I've been thinking about first meeting him.  I have my own memories which are not recorded.  So I thought I'd share how he looked at some other first meetings. 

Here he is with my mother, his Gran.    Unfortunately, their first encounter took place at a sad time: my younger brother's funeral.  But we thought Mom would be cheered having a new baby to cuddle.  And I believe it was a comfort to her.   She always claimed to have no memory of that year but I'm sure she remembered this scene. 

And this is the first - and only - time that he met his father's mother:  Grandmama.  None of the kids ever got to know her as she lived quite far away.  This was a long weekend marathon drive so that she could meet them. We had that kind of energy in those days - and that little money and time from work.   Big sister took time from her swim in the hotel pool for a photo op. 

 Happy Birthday, Alex!

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Two Trees; One Ring

It's been a week.  A pretty mild week weather-wise.  Some rain, a bunch of sun and quite a few clouds.  But it seems to be doing the trees some good. I took these photos yesterday afternoon as I wasn't sure I'd have time this morning.  It was much later in the day than I usually take these pictures.  It's interesting to see the difference between morning light and that of late afternoon. 

Progress for the maple is not just wishful thinking any more.  It really is sprouting some leaves now. At least I assume they are leaves.  Will we be surprised?

And the copper beech is just slowly doing its thing.  It doesn't seem to have dramatic turns in the spring.  Can you see how flat the light is at this time of day? 

And,  here are some winter blooms which I couldn't resist sharing.  Ivory Prince, our lovely hellebore, is making his way to the stage.  I'm sorry to report that his friend, Hot Flash, is not going to perform this year.  She seems to have taken her prickly leaves and gone into retirement for a while.  

Friday, February 15, 2013

Fifty Fridays #27

Today I'm bringing my mother back on stage.  I've been studying a lot of  her 'little girl' photos, trying to identify the girl in last week's.  I thought I was sure last I'm not as confident that the squidgy-cheeked poppet wasn't my mom.

Look at this one.  A little older and less cheeky.  But the eyes look the same.  And I know this is her.  I guess I'll just have to say it's a bit of a mystery.

I do like photos that tell a story.  This one really is clear.  Poor wee mom has been all dressed up for something special.  But, oh my!  Whatever has happened?  Did she fall and hurt herself?  Or is she crying because she's gotten herself all dirty and now faces someone's wrath? Yet, it seems that even in tears, she's a bit defiant.  Just daring someone to laugh at her.  This fits perfectly as my mother was known as for her temper.  Don't you just love her fancy knickers? 

I can't imagine that there was any wrath directed her way since the camera came out first.  Someone probably was laughing at her.   I am always amazed at the number of pictures there are of my mother as a little girl.  Of course, she was the baby sister to several older brothers who would have doted on her. But I was always told that there was little money for extras.  Her brothers were older and at least one might have been working when this was taken but I can't imagine he had extra money for a camera. 

She lived in a city but spent time on a farm with her stepmother's family near Digby as well as at her mother's family farm on the Gulf Shore of Nova Scotia.  Her father was a ships' carpenter and was often away at sea.    The family did all live together until her brothers began moving out of the home.  Then I think she went to live on the farm on a more permanent basis.

Someone could afford a camera - and the film -and liked taking photos of this cute little girl.  I'm very glad that person did. 

Tuesday, February 12, 2013


The garden is slowly changing as the season advances.  While I was out photographing tree leaves, I found these little signs of the times.

Last fall's maple leaves are becoming nicely mulched now.  The maple seeds are beginning to look like moth's wings as the weather and insects take their toll.  These are not sprouting but I have seen some - when I had no camera - on the sidewalk that were.  They had tiny green roots emerging from the seed.  Very cool.

The Stellars jays don't eat their peanuts in front of us.  They gollop them up into their beaks and fly off to hide them.  They are not very sophisticated hiders, though, and we find them in all sorts of fun places.  Partly because the birds put them there and partly because the squirrels find them and have a feast on the jay's dime. 

The squirrels will also dig up bulbs to eat and take them to another site for storage.  That means that we have bulbs growing in places we didn't plant.  I like the serendipity of these surprise bulbs.

But, the squirrels will also dig up a bulb which has sprouted.  This seems to be a disappointment to them.  They always leave them uneaten and unstored.  Does the sprouting take away nutitional value?  Are squirrels smart enough to know that?  I squirrel bias is showing.

And, under the shelter of a rhododendron, this small clump of bluebells has emerged.  An eye-popping green in a sea of brown.  Definitely, a change is on the way.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Two Trees; One Ring

Things are definitely heating up out on the rrees..  And it's not just because the sun is shining.  look...

The maple tree buds are fatter and fluffier.  The branches are greener now but still have the red tone.

The copper beech has added another 1/4 inch to the baby leaf growth.  I love the shadow it sends over the  branch.
The sun is a glorious sight today.  The air is warmer even though there was frost last night.  It has been more or less rainy all week.  Plumping up those tree rings. 

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Saturday Stash

This is the off-week.  Last time, I had lots of projects to share.  Today, not so much.  It's been a meeting kind of week and I could only take the knitting to one. 

But I did cross one off the list.  My Gardening Pullover is finished.  It was the go-to knit this week as it was so easy.   The pattern is easy so I didn't have to refer to it very often.  Minimal shaping and just knits and purls.  Knitting for minds that are already numb...or that are trying to process information and stay awake. 

I do like this sweater, though.  It ticks all the boxes for outdoor active wear.  It is stretchy, stretchy, stretchy and retains its elasticity.  So, it sticks close to your body and doesn't flop around, catching on stuff when you're working.  It is short-waisted and short-sleeved.   Again, out of the way of the work while keeping you warm.  The yarn was not expensive so I won't worry about it.  It is totally washable so I can get as dirty as I like.  And, being an acrylic/wool blend, it will wear into the next century.  It is perfect. 

I spent some time with Mork - or Kissing the Frog, as I call it -  as well.  One more pattern repeat and I'll have the back done.  Backs are always the biggest pieces and I feel as though I havecrossed the mountain when I finish it.  The rest is all downhill. 

I only managed a few rows on the shawl so no changes worth capturing on the camera.   I will leave you with some good news from my garden: snowdrops!  Maybe it will give hope to those who are struggling with mountains of snow today.  Spring will always does.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Fifty Fridays #26

Those Fridays are really piling up quickly.  Over half done today.

This is one of those photos that is labelled but I'm not sure that it is correct.  So, the first reason to put it up is to say that.  It says that this is my mother.  But the hair looks all wrong as Mom was quite dark and had bone-straight hair.  Not a frizz in sight. 

The second reason is all the detail in this picture.  I love her wrinkled socks and the kind of grubby smock that this little girl is wearing.  Clearly, she loves to be outside and she likes to have fun.  She has a very sweet face and is probably a cousin of my mother's.  But I really don't know.  I would say that the photo was taken between 1920 and 1925 but that's as good a guess as I can make. 

I see what looks like a graduation cap on her head.  I wonder who graduated?  Where from?  I would guess - again - that it might be an older sibling. Probably a university graduation as I wouldn't have expected a high school to have the cap and gown thing as they all do today.  I certainly never experienced that until university. 

There's a story here.  I am sad that I will never know it.  But she is an engaging little character and I would love to know who she really is.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Two Trees; One Ring

Ready for another week's growth?

The maple tree seems to be getting ready to do something dramatic.  The whole tree looks like this.  From inside the house, I can see these light green buds on the ends of every branch and twig.  The branches are seem to be a kind of reddish color - even though they look quite green close up - and most are very slender and whippy. 

The copper beech is very undramatic this week.  In fact, the branch seems to change more than the bud-like part.  It is now covered in a whitish bloom that rubs off when you barely touch the branch.  And the color of the bark at the join has become greener. 

The weather has been about average for this time of year.  Mostly mild with rain now and then.  There was one frosty morning and lots of fog last night.  I love the fog which rarely visits us here on our mountainside.  There's a soft diffused light that changes how I see things.  And all the evergreens are mysterious soft silhouettes somehow trapped inside the pale glow.  I think the trees are happy in the fog.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Saturday Stash

Good thing we don't do the Groundhog Day thing out would mean six more weeks of winter!  And that's why we don't do it, I guess.  It would be meaningless.   As it is anyway.  However, there are those who think knitting may be meaningless, too.  Each to her own.

This week the theme was Variety.  I found myself switching between five different weights almost every day.  Now that's a varied workout. 

In the lace-weight corner is the Spring Trees shawl.  I'm up to the tops of the trees now and those branches are mighty small.  Lots of yarnovers and lots of opportunities to make a mistake.  But I'm done with that chart now and working on the second last section which is almost all yarnovers.  Then the edging and I'm done.  I have touched up the color a bit so that the green doesn't look as gray as last week.  This is the real color.

And under the sock yarn banner is a newcomer:  Lady Violet's Shooting Socks.  This is my BFL that I got for Christmas.  And I confess to a little Downton Abbey influence.  I can imagine Lady Violet taking part in the shoot.  But I think she would appreciate the birds and the hills more than she would really shoot.  So, I have birds against the heather as they are flushed into the open.  Or the birds flying against a gray sky.  The lace at the top is a nod to her always being a lady no matter where she is.  Otherwise, the sock is plain-spoken without much nonsense - just like Lady Violet.  They will be perfect in boots.

Sport-weight was a weekly entry.  I have finished one-half the  Downton Abbey KAL and the trim at the top turned out to be a few rows of feather and fan lace.  Not expected and very pretty. 

I began working on Wendy's Mork sweater and it's a pleasure to knit with this worsted weight. It's a strong and springy yarn and should knit up quite well.  Halfway up the back already.  The yarn almost knits itself  - it's that lively. 

Last is the bulky section.  Oh, that doesn't sound right. does it?  But, here is my Gardening Pullover with the back completed.  I have pretty much decided on the knit side to be the right side.  As I work I just like it better.  No other reason.  I also seem to be knitting two sweaters the same as Mork begins with a heavy rib pattern, too.  No cables for the garden, though. 

I think an adventure outside is in order....while the sun shines. 

Friday, February 1, 2013

Fifty Fridays #25

Bicycles.  Every kid wants to ride one when they see the bigger ones flying by.  I can remember how I longed for a bike when I was about seven.  That's when my best friend got hers.  She could whiz down the road so fast!  She tried to teach me and I remember ending up in a ditch.  Terrified that I had broken her bike.  Even more terrified to try again.  Our bikes then were very big for our size and we could just reach the pedals enough to make them work.  The rider had to sit up straight to hold the handlebars.  Hardly surprising that balance was difficult to achieve. But I did learn to ride.  And I did - and do - enjoy that flying sensation.

My mother loved her bike as well.  I know there was a photo of Mom as a teenager standing by her bike but I don't seem to have it.  She spent some time one summer cycling from Weymouth to Wolfeville.  It must have been a huge adventure.  I remember - vaguely - her telling me about it.  The story that sticks more in my mind is the one which explained the tiny blue dots that she had under the skin of one knee.  When she was little and learning to ride, she ran into a  parked car and fell on the road.  The dots were grit left in her leg.  I'm pretty sure she told me the story to comfort me when I thought I would never get the hang of bikes. And to encourage me to get up and try again.

As you can see, my mother loved to get on a bike from a very early age.  Here she is with her three big brothers: Howard, Seymour and Ira.  No chance of falling with that much support.  I believe the photo was taken in or around Pugwash given its farm-like setting.    I'm just not sure and there's no indication on the back of the picture. 

I always think of bikes and spring together.  Somehow, the weather is better for bike riding then.  There was no riding in the rain when I was a girl.  Of course, as I remember my childhood, there were no rainy days.  Fog, yes.  Snow, yes.  But no rain.  Really.  And I grew up in and around memory must be very selective.


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