Monday, April 27, 2009

Beyond Ribbit

We've been doing our amphibian monitoring, now that spring seems to be here and found this lovely specimen recently. It's an American toad, not the most attractive of our native species, and not particularly endangered. It does have one of my favorite calls, though. It's a long trill, lasting nearly 30 seconds. Strangely, this guy was out ahead of schedule. We heard him at night and found him in the morning. Don't these animals know we have a schedule for them, understand the temperatures they like and predict when they'll be around for us to observe? He's about a month early and the frogs I should have heard - chorus frogs, spring peepers, leopard frogs, etc. - were no where to be heard. Oh well, at least he was there.

We went on a bike ride as a family yesterday, using Small's new tag along trailer on the back of Mark's bike. It worked like a charm, mostly Small did no peddling, but got the hang of hanging out on a bike. And I saw a muskrat in the water! That was exciting. It was too windy for our warty friends, and a bit too rainy for some of those on the bikes, but we had a wonderful time.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Ta Da!

Probably the only good thing about us being sick for so long was that I was finally able to finish Mark's cabled sweater. Just in time for spring to arrive! He has managed to wear it on a few cool mornings, but a nice worsted weight wool isn't going to work again until November, I should think. Luckily he has been the same size and shape for years.
It was a really fun knit - Kathy Zimmerman's Rhapsody in Tweed. My only real problem was in reading the directions. I took Mark's measurements as the finished size and produced a cabled sausage casing.

Before seaming it together - and how I hate seaming - I added this garter edging from both sides and did a three needle bind off. That way I could add a few inches and avoid doing a side seams. It made the armhole and sleeves a bit trickier but was the right decision in the end. Only another knitter would notice my mistake, and only then if looking at Mark's armpit.

I'm not so afraid of seaming now and will keep my mind open to patterns in pieces. Seamless knitting seems so much more fluid, but a busy pattern like this would wind up with a jog anyway.
Go me!

Friday, April 10, 2009

What We Are Doing

Large has not left the compound in 2 straight weeks. He's barely left the couch, and then only to get to the bed. Today, however, he is reading and doing more than just whimpering, so I can see the light at the end of the tunnel.

Medium has taken a liking to pulling dandelions. This is an excellent hobby as our front patch of grass is mostly dandelions and I'm not interested in putting chemicals on it. As an added bonus, the rabbits and pig love dandelions and the carbon footprint of their meal is considerably smaller when we can forage.

Small has mostly spent his time driving everyone crazy. He's NOT sick, NOT interested in staying still and expends more energy running around the place than I would believe possible. Yesterday was nice enough that he could play outside for a couple of hours. Mostly, when he's in a quiet mode, he's been making get well cards for Large and I. These involve cutting tiny bits of paper, coloring them, gluing more little bits of paper on and presenting them with a flourish. It's very cute, very messy and a little bit wasteful.

I'm hoping that with the improvement today, much coughing but no fever and less of the sunken eyes and ghostly pallor, the kids can be convinced to play cork forts again. I had been saving corks and wanting to make something with them. The kids have taken them over, setting up forts and armies and elaborate rules of engagement.

We'll see. And maybe today is the day I will seam Mark's fabulous cabled sweater together. How I hate seaming. I made a rookie mistake in picking the size to knit (finished size versus body measurements) and had to fudge a bit to widen it. So, the seaming, which I normally hate, is even trickier than normal. Plus, it's a wool sweater just in time for spring. None of these things are as motivating as Brain Age's virus buster game! See, we really have been too sick for too long.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Tell Me Something Good

I know spring is just around the corner because I can read the calendar. But it's still cold. And we are still sick. This is our second time around with the flu and this one is even longer than the last.

Aside from that we went to a funeral for a friend last weekend, I got the flu the day after. He was only 50, a gifted musician, a loving father and husband, a kind and generous man. He broke into our house one Christmas morning to feed the cats after the keys were left inside. He spent a great deal of time assembling bunk beds we took off their hands when they decided to downsize and move to a smaller place. Even after they moved, the family remained a part of our community on the block here. Now that family is smaller and our world is sadder.

What else? Oh, yes, my sister has a lump in her breast and my brother just got laid off. And a friend's husband just had lymph nodes removed.

When you are in the midst of things like this, especially with a fever thrown in, it's hard to see the forest for the trees. But spring is coming, we will get over this minor illness, the Harry Potter exhibit will be at the Museum of Science and Industry in a few short weeks, soon we will go camping for the first time with no child in diapers. I'm trying to think happy thoughts.