Crafting frustration

About 22 months ago, we were rear ended while stopped at a stop light. After weeks of dizziness and headaches, I was diagnosed with Post Concussive Syndrome. A couple of years prior to that, I had taken a spectacular fall skiing when I hit an icy patch and once gathered back together and down the mountain to assess the damage, concluded that the blow when my helmeted head hit the ice, that I probably had a concussion then too. I recovered from that one with no obvious effects, but the accident one is a different story. I ended up in vision therapy because my eyes weren’t tracking together, the dizziness continued for months and still certain visual movement like waves on the pond or water beads from rain on the windshield can trigger a wave of dizziness.

Another side effect is a short term memory issue that I never had before. I used to be able to make a grocery list and if left at home, could still remember all the items once in the store. Now if I don’t have a list in hand, items get missed. I only go in the grocery when curbside can’t fully fulfill my order and doesn’t provide alternate suggestions. The most noticeable short term memory issue is that I can’t seem to remember even a 4 line knitting pattern any more. I have to keep the pattern close at hand, carefully note what row I’m on and refer to the pattern.

I have no trouble with spinning on the wheel or spindles, no pattern required there, but other than plain vanilla hats and mitts, I have trouble knitting. As a result, I haven’t been knitting much. In May and June, I spun a gorgeous skein of gradient yarn in peacock colors.

My initial plan was to knit a sweater for me with that skein as the yoke with gray Shetland yarn as the body and sleeves, but hesitated to knit a sweater, so I put the skein in my Etsy shop to see if it would sell. With no craft shows because of the pandemic and few purchases being made from the shop, I decided to knit it into an asymmetrical triangular shawl, a pattern I have knit several times. I started it day before yesterday, knitting while hubby was watching television. Last night while he was watching the football game, I realized that there was a glaring error that was causing the lace edge to grow wider which it wasn’t supposed to be doing. I ended up ripping out about 30 rows to get to a point where there were the correct number of stitches on the lace side. That was about 3 inches, 1/5 of what I had already knit. The shawl is back on the needles, the two lace rows completed again and I have the correct number of stitches, so I will continue.

I will have to make sure each time I complete the lace edge, that I count to make sure I haven’t managed to add any stitches. Eventually, the greens fade to blues, then on to purples. If I can keep my focus on it, it will be a pretty finished shawl, but the frustration of not being able to knit anything that isn’t plain vanilla wears on me.

The Snowstorm that didn’t

According to the weather gurus, it was cold enough up high, cold enough down low, too warm in the middle. Snow was forming, falling into the warmer layer and melting, dropping into the cold area near the ground and freezing. The temperature here hovered between 26 and 32 until after dark when it went up a couple of degrees.

After the near catastrophe with the ice covered stone path first thing yesterday morning, we just stayed put. Fires were kept burning in the fireplace and the woodstove in case the ice took out the power.

As ice accumulated on the deck and walkways.

It seemed prudent to stay inside with chili simmering on slow cook in the Instapot, started early before any real accumulation and knowing that if the power did go out, it could be put in a large cast iron pot on the woodstove in the basement to keep it simmering until dinner.

Mid afternoon, the falling ice let up and I donned all my outdoor gear again to take the rolling log cart over to refill it and to walk up to see if the mail delivery braved the icy roads (she did but it was just junk, not worth her time nor mine.)

The trees were pretty, but I worry about ice crusted pines. Especially since there was still snow expected late afternoon into the evening. As we were eating our chili and cornbread, it began to snow and quickly accumulated just an inch or so on the ice that had already fallen. It was pretty in the outside lights on the house and covered the lawn and fields, but as the temperature rose overnight, the snow all but disappeared. You can see traces of it in the woods, under the pines, in deeper areas of the yard and fields. The top of the mountain where it stayed below freezing looks like a wonderland from down below.

We should have no trouble getting out and down the mountain to get the flat tire checked, hopefully repaired, and reinstalled on the car. Though my car is the older of the two, it has a few thousand less miles on it and is the more reliable of our cars, so it is the one we want to use for our socially distanced meet up with Son 1 this weekend.

What a Mess

The Winter Storm was supposed to begin around midnight with snow to be capped with freezing rain as it ended around 1 p.m. today. The storm must have dallied southwest of us because when I arose, it wasn’t white and quiet out as expected. The back deck has some tiny white pellets on it, but otherwise didn’t look like much had occurred. After getting some coffee in me, I donned boots, barn parka, hat, and gloves because it is 26f outside and went out with full bird feeders. There was some solid precipitation falling, but not much. As soon as I stepped on the stone step leading to the retaining wall where the feeders are, I almost went down. The stones looked damp, but were coated with ice. Carefully backing down to the garden soil, I crossed on the edge of the garden to hang the feeders.

Knowing that the chickens would probably not even come out of their coop, I tossed in a scoop of scratch, gave them a bucket of water that wasn’t covered in ice and observed the ice encrusted coop.

It appears that the storm is finally here, but is freezing rain mostly, some snow is still expected, but instead of being an ice crusted snowfall, it is going to be a layer of ice covered in snow. For the sake of my bones, there won’t be a snow walk today. And instead of ending mid afternoon, it will continue on into the night. Unless the sun comes out early tomorrow, the roads will be treacherous on the mountain even though they treated them early yesterday. I was hoping for a brief, early snowfall that would be pretty to look at for a few hours.

Yesterday we prepared to go down the mountain to get a newspaper and run an errand. Hubby asked me to drive so we loaded into my ancient CRV and as soon as I put it in reverse, I realized something wasn’t right. It didn’t handle correctly. The front left tire was flat. Our driveway is not and is gravel, so I didn’t want to try to change it with the wimpy jack that comes with cars. We switched to the Xterra and he drove (I don’t like driving the truck though I can). Once home, I put the little compressor that plugs into the auxillary power jack on the tire, but it wouldn’t take air. We pay for AAA every year, the extended version since we don’t live in town, but rarely use it, so I called them to send out a truck to change the tire. We live 13 miles from Blacksburg, about 13 miles from Pearisburg, the county seat. You would think that service would come from one of those two towns, but no… they sent a man from Princeton, 48 miles away. A nice guy about my age that owns the business, but is “retired” from working it daily. He said Pearisburg does not have a AAA service provider, that Blacksburg has one, but that he could drive from Princeton, West Virginia, do the job, and return home before the one in Blacksburg would come out and that he comes to our area at least a dozen times a winter. Maybe AAA isn’t such a good deal after all. But the spare is on the car and it is a full sized tire. When it is safe to drive down the mountain, the flat will be taken to our local mechanic where we bought the tires and let them see if it is a bad valve stem or a puncture and hopefully get it repaired and reinstalled on the car.

No pretty pictures of snow to show, no chickens running around in the yard. I can end with the goofy mastiff as he sunned himself yesterday morning. And the German Shepherd that has decided that the toy she was given by our grandkids for last Christmas is now her favorite toy a year later.

Maybe tomorrow, there will be snow pictures if it isn’t too icy to go out and take them.