Thursday, June 12, 2008

Hat Trick

Knitting Content:
EZ Hats, done. There's a couple more coming, but this covers the basics - special thanks to model Girl who did not even need to be threatened.

Orange Sherbet Watch Cap: Look, I Brioched!
Much easier if you call it Prime Rib Stitch and think EZ thoughts. No clue why this made my brain hurt for so long. It was so easy.

Snail Hat: Raspberry, really.
This is the matching hat for my Mitered Mittens, and good news - it doesn't look half bad on even me!

Tams: a study. One is bulky, the other worsted. One is very drapey and soft, the other rather stiff.

Very easy, very fast, very fun. Girl will, I believe, appropriate the brown one come Fall.

Mr. Wonderful's Kitty-Kicker Socks.
No, my husband does not kick cats (mostly). Just a gentle nudge. The pattern is from New Pathways, Ridgeline Architecture from the mind of the supremely wise and wonderful Cat Bordhi, with a Barbara Walker cable down the ridge - Windblown Cable, left and right.The yarn is Brooks Farm Acero, and the pattern is not distinguishable due to the silk and the flash coming together in an unhappy way. I'd shoot them outside this morning, but they left for work at 6:30. Busy socks, these. I adore Acero's heathery softness. Mr. W. seemed pleased as well.

Non-Knitting Content:
This weekend we trekked into the White Mountains while the rest of the knitting world was at TNNA in Colombus. We were thinking quiet, cool, maybe some hiking. We were so wrong. First, this is Mr. Wonderful's new buddy. Just a simple Garmin GPS for my use when traveling alone. After the whole lost in Rhinebeck, NY debacle, where Kristen's TomTom saved the day, I decided I needed one. I snagged this Garmin thing reconditioned for some very low price (as is my wont). Mr. W. spent a significant percent of the driving time playing a new game he calls "Messing (replace with correct expletive) with the GPS". It says go left, he goes right. It then directs him to turn around, he continues straight. I have this vision of a little tiny British lady sitting in a box on my dash trying desperately to not scream obscenities at the idiot Yank who won't just GO WHERE SHE SAYS.
Our eventual destination was North Conway, NH. We stopped along the way at Clark's Trading Post because I just don't think you should live in New England and not see some of the stuff we have around here, and Mr. W. had not yet been to this one.
Moral Rant: A long time ago, back in, oh, the 1970's there was a place where you could "feed the bears" up on the Mohawk Trail just above Greenfield. It basically consisted of black bears in body-sized cages, trapped and miserable. They were fed dog chow through a chute that you paid a quarter for. I always found it sad. The roadside animal based tourist trap seemed the thing to do from the 40's until the 70's when it fell out of favor, and it extended to other wildlife as well. I have seen a host of other native wildlife on display in tiny cages with concrete floors and no stimulation. The Clark's began their enterprise in I am sure, much the same way; sled dogs and black bears on display at a roadside stand as a way to make a living. The idea of this as exploitation just didn't occur to many at that time. Eventually they began training their bears to do things, like ride bikes. They added a bear show. That show is still in existence today. They love their bears; of that I am certain.They are well fed, well loved, given affection as far as it's safe to do so. The female in particular was lavished with affection that she lapped up every bit as greedily as she lapped the ice cream used to bait her. Like a domesticated dog, she's a giant cub in many ways, and utterly dependent on humans. Their enclosures are a bit larger than I remember from my childhood and contain dens and a small pool for swimming. They are given exercise and mental stimulation in the form of native foods and balls with treats inside, much like those used for bored house pets and zoo animals. The bears at Clark's are born in captivity, and would not likely survive if released to the wild.They serve a purpose in bringing revenue to their handlers/owners, providing entertainment for tourists, and employment for a whole host of smiling young folks (think Disney, but with bears). But Mr. Wonderful noted that not once during the show did the handler point out that one should never approach a bear in the wild. There are references to "their wild cousins", but no clear delineation between wild and not wild. Those cuddly, fuzzy, well-baited bears in their performance ring are potentially confused with their wild counterparts. The ones raiding bird feeders and trash cans and chicken houses all across New England, the ones that occasionally are shot for doing what bears do (because Black Rasp-Beary ice cream just doesn't do it for bribing the wild ones into submission). The ones that, if human error is made, will hurt the human making the error, and be every bit within their rights to do so. End Moral rant.
We drove over the scenic Kancamagas which was basically bathed in a super-heated haze.At every trail head cars were stacked like cord wood. I don't think I've ever seen so many people and cars in a State or National Forest, but then I've only seen two National Parks, and then out of season, so my experience is limited. People, people everywhere. Bikes, feet, motorcycles, cars. Endless steam of people. And this is not even the busy season yet. The air was so thick you could cut it, even higher up. In the end we saw nothing more than strip malls, the inside of an air-conditioned hotel, and a whack of people everywhere we went. Seeking nature, we found none. Mountains in the distance framed by outlets, hotels, and the ubiquitous golden arches. But the room was nice, and not-home is often better than home, and we found good food for dinner and enjoyed some "us" time. We scored some good outlet deals; Mr. W got new sneakers - I should show you the old ones. He's got this badge of honor thing with shoes. Faded, holey, soles all but gone, laces frayed to nothingness. His hiking boots are the same way. It's sad really. Cheap, but sad.
Late Sunday morning we headed home. It was hotter than Saturday, so air-conditioning in the car came into play. I will generally resist it, but Mr. W has no such scruples. I must say I was glad for it. We drove between lakes Squam and Winnipesaukee. I searched for, but could not find Patternworks. I saw a huge sign for a quilt shop that I suspect was actualy blocking Patternworks, but as Mr. W does not go backwards I'll never know. We got hungry and almost every single place we stopped at was closed. We finally found a place in Laconia called . . . I don't remember any more. On the GPS it said Bonanza Steak House, but in reality it was something with sandwiches and salads and nothing like Bonanaza. It was open, there was food, and that was the important part.
Practically into Keene, nearly 30 miles from home we finally found wildlife. There, by the side of the road in a pond was an oblivious moose. I say oblivious because there were cars lined up on both sides of the road stopped to take pictures of this natural beauty, complete with screeching tires and near-miss rear-endings and shouting humans. The property the moose was on is for sale. Anybody got $399,900 they want to blow? 44 acres, a pond and a 3 bedroom log home can be yours...moose included at no extra charge.
Then the next night things got even wilder. While waiting for my in-laws to arrive for dinner, I saw something with four legs and a tail by the chicken house. Something Scary, even though I could not see it through dappled sun and shade and shadow. Sinister for certain or why would it be near my birds? I yelled to Mr. W. who was watering the garden and had shoes on (important for chasing off wild animals), but he just stood and looked at me like I had lost my mind. The chickens were quiet. If something were after them they'd of course make noise? Right? I convinced him to JUST GO LOOK while I ran for my shoes and a pellet gun. What I really needed was my camera.This little guy or girl was about a foot long, with tail. Wobbly on it's feet but fearless of the humans, he sniffed and started to approach. I approached faster, and he coiled back and growled and hissed and became very, very angry. Which, if he lives, is a good thing. Fear humans, buddy, they are so not your friends. We put the chickens to bed and hope he ended up back in the arms of his mother. Last night we heard chattering in the trees over us, which means either mom's looking for baby, or baby is still looking for mom.
Speaking of mothers - this is Eleanor. I had no intention of setting eggs this year. Eleanor had other plans. When I found her with a raft of them under her, her breast feathers all pulled out (they do this so their skin can be close to the egg), and an attitude of motherhood oozing from her person, I changed my mind. She's now established in her own private quarters, with 12 eggs under her. She started with 8. I did not have the heart to remove all of the extras. When the other hens figured out that she was going to sit, they all jumped in on top of her and laid more eggs around her. My original 8 with green permanent marker spots (smart thing to do) on them grew to about 20. I tossed some as 12 is enough for one hen. So in a few weeks we'll have chicks. And I was wrong about hatching, it's 21 not 28 days. But, Betsy if you're reading this far (kudos for that) it will still be months before they're feathered and ready to be on their own.
Lastly - I find this disturbing.It's on North Adams at the Mass MOCA right outside of the Storey Publishing offices. Look closely. They are upside down. It's just not...right.


Yarnhog said...

Are you preparing for some sort of Great Hat Shortage of which the rest of us are unaware? ;)

My husband got me a Garmin for Christmas last year. It's completely taken the adventure out of finding my way to the grocery store, but I love it anyway. My favorite part is how exasperated she gets when I don't listen to her. "REcalculating..." My husband took her on a trip to Florida with his brother (who has issues with women generally), and reported that the whole trip was one long argument between his brother and "Carmen", and we call her.

That is so funny, that chickens try to cash in on one of their own sitting on eggs! It's like when my kids were babies and other moms would always ask me, "Since you're going to be home, could you just watch Johnny/Steven/Allie for an hour?"

Maria said...

Upsidown trees?? What is this world coming to??? That's neat that you are letting your hen sit. We will hopefully be doing that if we get a rooster in our next batch coming in July...

tina said...

The raccoon just wanted a hat. I mean c'mon, you have knitted one for everyone else! (great hats btw).

Love my Garmin---- Without it, I'd still be out there wandering the streets-- no doubt.

Anonymous said...

My hubby's had a handheld Garmin for almost 4 years - love that thing.
Cherry tomatoes also grow very well upsidedown - my BIL's been pretty successful with them.
And you should let Girl abscond with that hat - too cute

Kristen said...

GPS rules!! It must be a guy thing - Toby loves to "mess" with the TomTom. And sort of holds conversations with it...very strange!