A Rough Start

This week start has not been a smooth one. For some time, we have observed the “newer” of our two vehicles, it is only 13 years old compared to the almost 16 year old one, has been not running well and leaking oil. We wouldn’t drive it farther than town and kept our fingers crossed that if it broke down, that daughter would be available to get us home or to a rental car location. Because it is the larger vehicle, we loaded the trash and recycling in it yesterday morning to take down to the “Convenience Center.” Don’t you love that as a name for the fenced in area with the dumpsters and recycle trailer boxes in it? As soon as hubby put the beast in reverse, I could smell the clutch and suggested we take both cars and leave the Xterra at our local shop for diagnosis and state inspection. The decision was made to take it the next time we had to go out and not yesterday. The garbage was dispatched, the package I had that needed to be dropped off at the USPS was dropped off, we drove into town to get lunch and a birthday card for a grandson, but didn’t make it home. As we started up the first hill, the smell got stronger, the car got slower, and before we got to the top, there were no gears that the car would go in. A call to daughter, but she was an hour away headed home. A call to the local mechanic and he sent a masked driver in their “Shuttle” van and another driver in the tow truck to haul it in. Once we get an estimate, we have to decide if a 13 year old car, leaking oil, with 246,000+ miles on it is worth the repair, leaving us at least for the moment with the 16 year old car with 240,000 miles on it as our sole transportation.

Last night as I prepared to address the birthday card, I realized that one of my favorite pens was missing. I can’t find it anywhere. Usually it is clipped to the small leather notebook cover that I carry in my bag, but it isn’t there. Isn’t in the bag. Isn’t stuck down the cracks of my chair. It has at least temporarily gone missing. I’m sure it will turn up at some point, in a car, a pocket, or some place I normally wouldn’t set it down.

Also yesterday as I continued to knit on my fingerless mitts, I realized that somehow, I had crossed yarn balls and both mitts were knit from one ball, linking them together with a piece of yarn too short to just cut and weave in, so I had to begin tinking (knitting backwards) for a row on one mitt and another row on both. After doing that, I decided I didn’t like the thumb gusset on the fingers down pattern as I tried one on for fit, so I pulled the needle and frogged (ripped out stitches) for many rows to get back to where the thumb stitches were picked up. Then tediously and carefully picked up the stitches again in an order that would still allow me to knit two at a time, knit a couple of rows to make sure there were no missed stitched and all the stitches were turned the right way and decided to work the wrist up vanilla pattern I always use with a classic thumb gusset that will allow me to knit a real thumb. I am probably back about to the total length I was before yesterday’s error.

During this reknit project, the television was on to the news and talking heads that analyze everything going on and I was appalled at how a congresswoman who had been in the Capitol during last week’s siege would throw a toddler tantrum over not being allowed to carry a gun into the chambers, and how dozens of the rioters from last week and people interviewed at Trump’s bazaar charade of a visit to the Alamo and his incendiary speech there yesterday, exactly parrot his language to the exact phraseology. And they call those who don’t agree with them sheep. They call themselves patriots and true Americans, yet they attack our halls of government and threaten our lawmakers.

Next disaster, a relatively minor one today. Lunch was prepared, just grilled cheese sandwiches still sitting on the griddle pan on the stove, the plates with pickles served out beside them and I called hubby down to eat. In reaching up to get a glass for my water, he knocked another to the Silestone counter below the cabinet and it exploded sending glass shooting across the stove top, the adjacent counter where the plates were waiting, and all over the floor. After glass was cleaned up, lunch tossed in the garbage, counter tops and griddle and dishes washed, I started over.

On the positive side, the hydroponic herb garden that Son 2 and family gave me for Christmas has sprouted all 6 herbs. I check each day to see how much growth has occurred. The dill, thyme, and parsley are putting out secondary leaves, The mint and basils are above the rims of their planting baskets. That was such a great gift for a gardener suffering the off season doldrums that houseplants just don’t satisfy.

Back to chores, knitting, and spinning. Hmmm, I wonder where the pen is?

A Spirit Lifter

After not seeing Son 1 and family for almost a year due to COVID, we arranged a socially distanced meet up on the Skyline Drive in the fall. We met again at Natural Bridge State Park just before Christmas, and again today, this time at Douthat State Park. Each of these meet ups has been around lunch time with a picnic where we both provide part of the food and condiments, and the two state park meet ups also included a walk.

We walked along the creek at Natural Bridge to the falls and back and today, we hiked around the lake at Douthat.

Son 1, Grandson 1, and Hubby after lunch, letting the meal settle in a bit before our walk.
Hubby and me at the top of the dam as we walked around the lake.
The beach on the opposite side of the lake is where we had our picnic.

Son 1 took a couple of selfies of us lined up down the path with all of us in the photo, but I haven’t gotten any of them yet.

The drive was just a couple of hours, with about 3 1/2 hours “together” outdoors to visit and share a distance picnic spread out between a couple of tables. We took a totally non Interstate drive home which took a bit longer, but was a pleasant drive getting us back to the town near home before it got dark.

The after dark lock up of the hens provided a pleasant surprise.

After having to buy eggs for about a month, it looks like production might be ramping back up. It will be nice having eggs from our own flock again.

On the way out the door I grabbed a skein of yarn and a long circular needle, hand wound the skein into two equal balls and cast on a pair of fingerless mitts for me. I was going to knit them with the second half of the Parrothead BFL, but it spun up too fine for the pattern and I had plenty of gray Jacob spun last year and they can be worn with any coat or jacket. I didn’t get a lot done, but I’m doing them two at a time so when one is done, they both will be done.

These meet ups, even without being able to hug are spirit lifters for hubby and me. Weather permitting, we will look for another meet up at a park somewhere between their house and ours in February. Sandwiches and chips shared, a walk or hike together, conversation, and just knowing that they are ok is wonderful.

A Year for me?

When I resumed knitting about 16 years ago, it was because the first grandchild was expected and I learned a lot knitting soakers, shirts, socks, and other baby items. I have knit several adult sweaters and vests along the way, a few for me, a few for family. Hats, fingerless mitts, some mittens, a few scarves for family and a few for me, but then most of my handspun yarn and nearly all of my knitting has gone to my shop for sale. The inability to have craft shows and slow business in the online shop have meant that the stock isn’t moving and more doesn’t need to be added, but spinning on my spindles is soothing, destressing, “serene” as the spindle maker’s wife posts.

I spin about 4 ounces of fiber a month, that is one skein of yarn, a dozen or so in a year and I don’t need to add more to the supply, but I need the craft and activity, so the year long challenge to spin 12 different breeds of sheep wool, one per month, on Jenkins Turkish spindles and making a blanket from them is just what I needed. I can spin and use the wool spun on something for the house, for us. There will probably be a bit extra spun and used for hats or fingerless mitts for family, the shop, or me, but most of the effort will go to the blanket. It isn’t going to be a heavy, weigh you down blanket, the yarn is going to be fairly fine, but being wool, it will be comfortable to provide a layer when an extra one is needed on the bed, or laid over a snoozing body in a chair.

The gray square and the colorful square are about 10″ each, the gray one doesn’t count as it wasn’t spun this year, but it will be part of the finished blanket. The colorful square and the green above are a single breed and fiber that hubby gave me for Christmas. I am going for a log cabin type blanket.

What a great and fun way to keep up my spinning and knitting.