Saturday, August 27, 2005

Men in trees...

These guys were out here on Thursday and Friday to take down about 12 mature Ash & Elm trees. I don't know how much national play the Emeral Ash Borer has recieved, but southeastern MI has been devastated by this little stow-away from China. It's really sad. The only official attempts we see at stopping the spread is to not carry firewood out of the area. From what I've seen, this little insect has no trouble travelling on it's own! So, I'm sure that it will spread over the northern part of the continent in due time.

The lot around our home looks quite a bit different without our old tree friends. Thank God we still have oaks, maples, lindens, cottonwoods (not my favorite..but), and a couple of beeches, not to mention the pines.

The one good thing to come out of this is that we have more songbirds this summer because the brushy undergrowth is fuller. Songbirds love to hide in the brush. We have one neighbor who would love for us to clear all of our land and turn our 1.3 acres into grassland so she could gaze over the land from her front deck. Of course she's also the lady who doped the little pond on our shared corner of land, so there are no more spring peepers. I say, "Fat chance lady!" Oh, yeah...I also caught her making a foray into our "forest" to snitch wild trillium a couple springs ago.

Knitting: I'm ready to start the lily of the valley pattern on the first border of the Estonian scarf. I have weaving ideas and plans in my head. Fixing and cleaning up are a big part of recent activities...just like Sara, Judi, & Margene.

Blogging: Lately it seems I've been drawn more to the blogs where fiber people talk about the other interests in their lives. Check out: Goldfinches & Fiber, Knitagarden, & Greenberry House

And for a laugh at the blogworld, check out Rachael's entry for August 25.

Monday, August 22, 2005

The Thousand Dollar Weekend....

We took ds back to Purdue this past weekend, once again experiencing sticker shock. First there is the motel room for Mom & Dad on this trip. In a college town they adjust the rates for any event that will bring the parents to town...and I don't mean they discount them.

Then you help the kid move into the new digs. As with any moving process, the absence of certain necessities (?) becomes very evident. So you head out to Target and Meijers to exercise Mom & Dad's plastic. (There's a wonderful Super Target in Lafayette....metro-Detroit's pale in comparison.)

Last summer, ds became obsessed with having his room 'lofted' and spent hours with dh building the perfect loft for the dorm he was in last year. Now that he is in his second year, more housing opportunities are available. So the loft had to be redesigned and built on the spot in the new dorm room. (The loft was stored in a storage shed down there...we didn't lug it home to store for the summer.) Did I mention that it was 97 degrees in W. Lafayette on Friday?

So, the loft was rebuilt and the room was (re)furnished. Next stop: the book store. One semester: $700. So...there you have it, the thousand dollar weekend.

I decided to start some more lace for the car trip which is 5 hours each way. With 97 degree temps, the helmet liners had to get in line behind some cooler knitting.

The yarn is Artisan Lace Weight. The pattern is Fibertrends Estonian Garden Lace Stole & Scarf The stole is shown in this picture from the pattern.

I'm about 2/3's of the way done with the body of the shawl (little flowers pattern) Then I get to start the Lily of the Valley Borders. It's fun to be knitting something with 8 row repeats, much easier to set mini-goals that way. For me, mini-goals are the only way to accomplish larger projects. More about that in a later post.

It's cooler here now and I have work to do my own 'Not-Estonian' Garden. But first, I have to pack up and send the book that ds thought he wouldn't need this semester.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

A worthy application of "charity knitting"
An anonymous commenter noted that they are knitting helmet liners for our soldiers in Afghanistan. That prompted me to google and find this: knitting helmet liners

I thought perhaps the comment was from my friend, Mary, whose son returned home from Afghanistan a few months ago. But it wasn't her.

Anyway...we do know Rob and we've seen his pictures from Afghanistan. We know that the weather conditions there are harsh and the dust is beyond anything southeast Michigan can imagine.

Therefore, I will jump on the bandwagon and dedicate these orphan skeins of Kid 'n Ewe from my stash to knitting a helmet liner or two. If you want the pattern, click on the link above. If you care to join in, let me know.

Saturday, August 13, 2005

'Tis Finished:

'T ain't Finished:

And that about sums up life right now. I'm grateful to have something (anything!) finished. But there's plenty of unfinished business ready to be picked up.

The lower level bathroom is fully primed. It turns out that you need a grey or tinted primer when painting with a dark color. So once the primer is dry, I can mask the walls and paint the ceiling. After that's done and dry, I can mask and paint the walls. I've been warned that it will take about 3 coats to cover.

As I said, " 'tis finished....'tain't finished..."

Monday, August 08, 2005

Come with me on a trip up north....

Door to Old Presque Isle Light House Tower
Originally uploaded by vmusselm.

This the door to the tower on the Old Presque Isle Light House. We spent this past weekend in this area. Dh went scuba diving in the Thunder Bay Underwater Preserve. Ds & I went photographing.

This is a special area for us. We own undeveloped property right on the shore of Lake Huron that looks right out onto the point where the Presque Isle lights are located. It was a fluke of an investment 27 years ago. Ds has memories of visiting the old Presque Isle lighthouse when George and his wife were docents. George was a crusty old guy who allowed ds to operate the pump foghorn one year. The next year we went back and George had passed on to his reward, but his wife was still there. She told ds that after George died, the light in the tower would inexplicably come on any evening she was out after dark. She said George was leaving the light on for her until she was safely home. She hasn't been there in a number of years and I assume that she too is now safely home. Of course, ds has never forgotten that story.

Old Presque Isle Light House circa 1840's
Originally uploaded by vmusselm.

This is the old light house. Inside the home are artifacts from the mid 19th century. Things that the light house keepers may have owned and used and other bric-a-brac. One rather disturbing piece is a 11" x 14" shadow box with a wreath worked in hairwork. This may not be a mourning piece...but it's my understanding that hairwork was typically done in the 1800's as a means of mourning.
The gardens have some old fashioned plants such as the yarrow, that this monarch was enjoying:
Originally uploaded by vmusselm.

This new lighthouse was built in the 1890's and is about a half mile up the point from the old light.
New Presque Isle Light House
Originally uploaded by vmusselm.

On Sunday, ds and I were hungry for pasties, so we decided to take a road trip up to Mackinaw City and the Mackinaw Pastie & Cookie Co. They make the best pasties that we've found anyhwere. While munching our lunch we noticed that they don't ship pasties anymore, so we bought a cooler, some ice, and a bakers dozen of frozen pasties to bring home with us. YUM!

On the way back to Thunder Bay we discovered another light we had never seen:

40 Mile Point Light House
Originally uploaded by vmusselm.

It's unusual because the house is a duplex and the tower is integral to the house. The Fresnel lens is intact and they still operate the light with a halogen bulb. The name 40 Mile Point Light House comes from the fact that it is located 40 miles from Thunder Bay and 40 miles from Mackinaw.

With all this driving, photograhing, and light house tower climbing, I did get some knitting time in. The Bergamot Peace Shawl needs 25 more of these:

Originally uploaded by vmusselm.

Then the I-cord across the top and it's done except for the blocking. With the 90 degree temps this summer, lace and shawls have been the perfect knitting project.