Wednesday, May 26, 2010

May 4, 2010 Sunset

I forgot to post this earlier, but feel it's worthy of sharing, even after the fact.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Of Mice and...Frogs

Every summer I plant some herbs in garden planters to keep near the kitchen. Yesterday evening, as the day's temperature dropped, I thought it would be a fine time to transplant my herbs. Today after work, I dutifully watered the plants, and found this little frog nestled in between the thyme and dill!

I don't have the heart to move him, so I guess he's here to stay.

We have had an incredibly dry spring, the water level is very low and our rivers which are normally high at this time of year sport levels that we don't even see in the middle of summer. Suddenly, there are beaches where there used to be water. Our frog pond is dry, observe:

Maybe that's why Mr. Toady McToaderson is in my herb planters?

The weather has been beautiful - but dare I even say it? - it's almost too hot outside! We reached a scorching 31 C today with no end in sight for the week. It's hard to believe we had snow just a month ago. I always say it's all or nothing here - our climate can go from -30 to +30 in no time at all. In 2007, the last time we had wheat planted, it went into the ground at the end of May. This year it was planted on Easter weekend, nearly 7 weeks earlier.

Today I found my seed packets I kept inadvertently hidden (that's a nice way of saying I put them somewhere for safe keeping and forgot the location). I have some ornamental grasses and small sunflower seeds that I keep meaning to plant, but keep forgetting about. This is the year! I went to check out the potting shed where I put my potting soil from last year.

Behold my contraption:

A 20-litre pail with a lid, and an overturned terracotta pot for good measure.

I lifted off the pot:

And underneath the lid, I found this mouse nest:

Finding something like this always makes me laugh. I can picture the little mice family, crawling through the hole in the pot, and then into the hole into the lid, and furnishing their little mouse den with bits and pieces of fibre glass insulation and grasses. They are so smart!

We had mice at work this spring, and after much deliberation, someone brought in a Hava-heart trap. We managed to capture 7 mice, and convinced our equally animal-loving boss that he needed to relocate them a minimum of 2 miles away so they wouldn't return.

He obliged.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Lopi Problem, what Lopi Problem?

I like Lopi. After I started the Flower Power series of slippers, my like has been transformed into lust bordering on obsession.

As the Lopi is washed and felts, it is transformed into a miracle fabric, so incredibly touchable, yet infinitely durable. It sounds cliché, but I think I am in love.

When Ram Wools had their anniversary sale, Lopi at 25% off seemed too good to pass up.

Observe the damage:

That's 20 skeins of Lopi, dear friends. Waiting to be transformed into more little slippers. That means 480 little !@#$ing flowers to crochet, but who's counting? I'm in love, remember?

These 4 skeins of black Lopi are going to be transformed into a surprise:

I've got high hopes for this Lopi - The Selfish Knitter strikes again - it's all about ME ME ME! I just need to do a bit of math, and we're off to the races...I CAN'T WAIT!!!

And speaking of selfish knitter, observe yet more damage:

20 skeins of Acorn Létt Lopi. I am trying to redeem myself for The Wrapigan Disaster, a story I will share at a future date, to make this:

I love this wool! Wholly and unconditionally! Little bits of vegetable matter that get stuck into your skin as you knit I can overlook, it's good, all good...I can't get enough of it!

Probably by the time I am done with the slippers and the above cardigan, I'll have to enter Lopi Rehab.

Hi. My name is Ann and I am a Lopiholic.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Leaning Tower of Malabrigo

Malabrigo, at the best of times, is luscious and knitting it is like putting a hot knife through butter.

At the worst of times, it turns into the Leaning Tower of Malabrigo:

I have been flogging this dead horse for far too long now. It was time to put it out of its misery:

The colour, Pearl, was so varied that I ended up with 2 different coloured fronts on my cardigan. Don't ask me why I kept plodding along - my optimism that maybe the knitting fairies were coming to fix this baby while I slept wore off a long time ago - so it was time to admit my shortcomings and revitalize this project once and for all.

I frogged the entire sweater, and wound it on my yarn swift. I was going to soak the hanks in some Eucalan, and then dry them with weights on, but in the end I wound them into balls on my trusty ball winder, and my hopes are that by the time I am ready to use this wool again, it will have magically transformed itself into straight yarn. We'll cross that bridge when we come to it (more knitting optimism)!

Not quite sure what this wool will become, I can guarantee you it won't involve getting gauge. It's been manipulated, knitted, frogged, wound, and one can only hope its next and final incarnation will be more fulfilling. I keep trolling Ravelry for a pattern and no doubts something will come up, for now I am pleased I have one less UFO to deal with...

Monday, May 3, 2010

Turkey Vultures and Other News

I've had my eyes on the sky for the past 2 weeks, looking out for my barn swallows, and was already getting worried by their late arrival given that we have had a very mild spring thus far.

On Friday, I noticed 5 large birds circling the field as I walked the dog, and figured they were probably turkey vultures riding the thermals. They aren't common-place here, but not rare sights either. They are known to nest on Mount Rigaud, QC, about 25 kilometers away.

As I looked out of the kitchen window on May 1st, not only did I see my swallows swooping into the small barn beside the house, but I watched as a turkey vulture landed on the roof of our large barn:

Not exactly the prettiest of birds, but graceful and elegant in flight.

Here's a Starling in comparison, to give you an idea of the proportion of these vultures - they are really big!

...and finally, joined by its mate, here are both birds:

I was glad to see these birds up close, they are impressive, mainly because of their size, but something tells me our little swallows will provide us with more antics this summer.

On the farming front, our field is planted with wheat this year - my favorite crop. Soy is boring, corn is claustrophobic, but wheat can't be beat. By my records, the wheat was planted a month early, and the field is already green and getting greener by the day. The snow a few days ago did no harm (the same can't be said about corn), and I hope the weather will be conducive to a good crop this year.

We had a high of 26 degrees C on Sunday, May 2. Not only was it warm, it was very humid - the Humidex came in at 30 degrees C. The sweat was just beading on Eric as he hauled the Gyproc upstairs to complete the guest room. Here we were, one of the first HOT days of the season, and we were cursing this infernal climate already. Every year it's the same thing - moderation is not our forte. It's either prohibitively cold and we complain, or it feels like the Bayou and we complain

At least our house is comfortable.
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