Last night I was awakened by a sound that once I realized what it was, made me smile as I lay in the dark. I strained to hear it over the little babe's breathing next to my head. After several minutes, I wanted to see if I could hear it better so I entered the main house. Immediately the sound was drowned out by the drone of the refrigerator. I walked through the laundry room to the cat room, which is closest to the corner of the yard where I thought the noise was coming from. It was about 1 am, the sky facing town was a pale mauve color, and the world was - to use the quaint description - a winter wonderland. The temps had dropped enough so that heavy wet snow had fallen, sticking to everything in sight - fence tops, individual strands of chicken wire, pushing down the bushes and tree branches. I wished I could step outside, but I was afraid that opening the door would cause the sound to stop, plus the dogs would wake up. So I returned to bed, to the quiet room, and just listened. I wondered where exactly it was coming from, since we had to take down two peach trees and a pine this past year, leaving only a holly on that side of the house. Maybe it was farther away than it sounded or maybe I had the direction all wrong. It continued for about half an hour, the same rhythmic pattern repeated over and over with slight variations. I counted the beats on my fingers so that I would remember the rhythm; most times it was 8 beats, sometimes 6. And then it stopped. And I lay in bed wondering if it was alone, if it was listening to the rustle of mice in our shed, if it lived in the wide stretch of woods down the road, and why it had ventured amongst the houses.
I've been doing some reading lately about nature, silence, and sounds. During the day, the sounds of the suburbs are constant around here. But at night, at least last night, I heard only one passing car, my little babe's breathing, and the owl. It was a good night.
Snow. More than a couple of inches. I don't know how much exactly because I don't listen to the weather reports and I don't really care. It is more than enough for skiing and it required me to dig a path through the yard for the Corgis. The best snowfall of the season (some would say the worst) and it will be the last for the year. I'm glad I'm not old enough to be a snow curmudgeon yet.
I am not a fan of random picture posts. I feel like there in no point in sharing a post if I can't put together something coherent. But I do have an excuse. The little babe (who is not that little any more - 4 1/2 years), now only naps about twice a week. And so that means I have absolutely no time to sit in front of a computer. As it should be. I'm not truly complaining about it, but in a way I am, which I don't like. I get 15 minutes while I eat breakfast to check email and then maybe a 10 minute check in the afternoon. Other than that, whenever I sit down to do any "work" the little babe seems to amp up the "Mom, pay attention to me" factor. I then feel guilty and slam the computer shut. For really, I don't have actual work to do on the computer. So it seems I am down to a once a week post on Tuesdays. Here are random shots of what I was doing this week other than sitting in front of a screen.
Interactive play that involves costumes of all sorts. (And pet hair of all sorts too.)
Trying to capture the most handsome Romanian dog lying calmly on the deck while the snow falls down upon him. He hates having his picture taken.
Giving it one last shot (so I thought!) to ski with the little babe. The temp was just around freezing and the snow was too sticky, so I had to give up and carry them out. This did not affect the little babe's enjoyment (or position on the sled).
Whacking up the last longneck squash. It lasted almost until Spring - there was one quarter sized spot that I needed to cut out.
Enjoying the luxury of a snowy mid-morning in the woods, not seeing another soul.
I am not at work somewhere in the "outside world" because I chose to spend my days with the little babe. I have a greater appreciation for nature because of her. I learn something new every day while I learn about the world with her. So if I only have time to share one post this week, I'll use this to say that I am truly thankful to have a little babe who demands my attention and forces me to live life instead of documenting it.
~Trying to capture the morning light, which is beginning to look and feel like Spring.
~Hanging out with the little babe, who has decided to revive the monkey hat style. I thought she couldn't wear this anymore and she proved me wrong. And just to let you know, because you'd never guess - she is not a monkey, she is a cat and those are her braids (as in, Laura Ingalls braids).
~Knitting (Bonnie G. - spoiler alert!),
and knitting like crazy, trying to finish another Nutkin tunic, this time for my mother-in-law, so that hopefully she gets a chance to put the super warm alpaca and wool to good use. The forecast is calling for a chance of snow any day, so I think there is a little more time. And I ended up giving the Nutkin I made for myself to my mom (the alpaca blend is super drapey and ended up fitting her better), so I am now on my third Nutkin. However, I added length to the pattern for the above version and played around with the sizing, and for mine I am going to spice things up a bit (maybe a cowl neck?), so I'm not totally bored with the Nutkin yet. (Or of having my fingers wrapped in alpaca.) March can keep acting like a lion; I'm still happily knitting.
~my curious little babe who doesn't discard any nature find as too little or dull.
~the warmth of a wood burning stove. We love it, the dogs love it, the cats love it. Ash, wood chips, melting piles of snow, random bees and beetles awakened from their winter slumber - all part of heating with wood, but none of that diminishes my love for this important part of our home. A rosy cheeked little barefoot babe sitting on the sheepskin rug, mug of hot chocolate in hand and book in lap - the image just wouldn't be the same if she was seated in front of the forced air heating vent.
~sudden displays of independence - wood gathering from the back forty, delivered by sled. (If we asked her to do this, she wouldn't. But because it was her own idea, she'll now do it multiple times a day.)
~a walk with the little babe through a garden area at the local park, still full of dried stalks and seed heads, rustling in the breeze.
~that little babe of mine with the sharp eyes who spotted the tiny flowers that normally announce the coming of Spring. And I am normally happy to see them. But on this 75 degree day in FEBRUARY, I found it upsetting. Another mother at the playground made a remark about the pleasant weather, probably expecting me to make a similar comment about how lovely it is. Honestly, I do not think it is lovely. I think it is strange. I think it is a bad sign. My husband told me that some climate scientists said that we are three weeks ahead of season. So what, right? Just three weeks. Okay, so three weeks this year. Then maybe another three weeks next year. What about the year after that? Shorts in January instead of hats and scarves? My daughter could grow up not knowing what Winter is supposed to be, used to be like, in central Pennsylvania. So while those crocuses might be pretty, I told my daughter that I am not happy to see them. Doom and gloom. Reality.
~gifts from the late Winter/abnormally early Spring garden. The little babe has been feeling independent lately, donning her wellies and going out to take care of Peg, her metal chicken. After discovering last week that the herbs are starting to grow, she has been bringing me tiny pieces of brown tipped chives and frost damaged immature lemon balm and sage leaves. Also small carrots that she decided she now likes and has been nibbling on.
Sorry to be a bit grumpy, but wearing a t-shirt, getting a sunburn, and sweating while walking through the park in February in Pennsylvania just feels wrong. And it worries me. I'd mention the polar bears, but you'd think I'm being melodramatic.
This is a VERY modified version of the Harbor Pullover. I used the pattern's sizing information, but knitted the entire sweater on size 7 needles (because I don't have a small size 8), which is not what it called for. I added the chevron pattern which is from the Antrorse sweater that I attempted for myself, but then frogged. I only had three skeins of O-wool worsted in my stash, so I seriously shortened the length and made it a mock turtleneck, which I thought the little babe would like better than a big bunched neck. (Her scarf covers it in these pictures; it is just a simple 1x1 ribbing, about 1 1/2" high. Oh, and I altered the sleeve length and did garter stitch cuffs and hem instead of ribbing. So it is really not like the Harbor Pullover at all! The color is Peacock. I'm not sure why I originally chose this color two years ago; it is too bright for my liking now.
The temps were warm today - low 60's - and so I cleaned up the herb garden. The little babe did some digging and raking. However, I am NOT ready to start full garden mode yet, and I would be very happy with colder temps and more snow. While I wistfully hold out hope for another snow storm, this sweater is perfect for these warm winter days.
A new adventure place, only 10 minutes from home. Blocked from a semi-busy road by a row of trees, yet feeling like we were in our own forest world. Two plots of fir trees and the surprising discovery of a grove of American Chestnut trees, managed by the state for some reason. Two small "ponds", simply depressions filled with a couple inches of water that was frozen over, enough for the little babe to go "fishing". Active animal burrows, the beautiful remains of a large bird, a tiny bird's nest, tracks in the remaining patches of snow, and milkweed seeds to throw to the wind. The little babe had wanted a playground; I chose this place. We both declared it was a good day.