22 July 2007

a moose a canoe and some very small rocks

well, our ideas of garden invincibility came crashing down last week when a moose discovered our garden and stomped on my zucchini, ate half the lettuce and stripped our pepper plants they had so many small peppers starting, and tons of blooms. now we're down to two peppers the moose missed somehow, and a few straggly leaves. *sigh* so yesterday we bought a fence and guess what we're doing for FHE tomorrow? other than that the garden's doing fine, still getting cherry tomatoes. those yellow ones are sweet, we really like them.

i got called in to work on wednesday, and while grateful for the hours, was bored out of my skull. i'm not sure if it beats out factory work or not. i typed up some photo logs, copied a book for their library (and isn't that like a violation of copyright or something? whatever, i just work here), and now i'm analyzing some lithics. all of a sudden i'm very very grateful i didn't pick lithics at field school, cuz they are so boring. 8 hours in a small hot room, looking at little flakes (although they're not microscopic thank goodness). i'd much rather be in the field. but i'd rather get paid to look at those small flakes than sit at home getting antsy and bored.

chuck hooked us up with a fishing trip wednesday night, rather unexpectedly. he meets all kinds of people at the bank, and of course they all like him cuz he has the gift of gab. they always promise him fishing trips and stuff, but this guy just wanted an excuse to take his boat out. so we went out on the chena river, looking for king salmon. we saw some heads on the shore, so someone caught a couple, but we didn't see anything but grayling the whole night. it was gorgeous though, sun shining, beautiful clear water (lots of rivers here can be silty and yucky kakas) and Bill was a nice guy too. so that was fun.

then last night our ward had a canoe trip down a slough (pronounced slew, and i still haven't figured out if it's man made or natual and why you'd call it a slough instead of a creek cuz that's really all it is). it was awesome. nice weather again, beautiful water, lots of fishys, and underwater flowers blooming. we even came across a moose feeding in the slough, a couple canoes got past her before she spooked and decided to run for it. that was cool to come so close. moose are so awkward looking but man can they move fast! so now chuck and i are wanting to get our own canoe but i'm sure the checkbook won't let us do that either. it's so bossy sometimes. at least i sneaked that yarn for chuck's sweater by it ;) oh, and it was lots of fun to get to know people and chill with them. being in outer darkness, i mean primary, i don't get to interact much with anyone at church and it's fun when i get to.

i started the silk cami too. added an extra inch and figured out the lace so it only shifted by one stitch. i actually did a swatch of the 1 vs 2 stitch shift, and the 1 stitch shift looks way better. so that's started. the irish moss yarn hasn't come yet *sigh* and what's up with the usps having tracking numbers and never updating them? it's like teasing, come see where your package is, but we'll still show it in ohio until after you've already got it. augh. but it's ok. less knitting time now that i'm working again, but it's not as hopeless as the 12 hour days.

and this week i have some herb/garden books to read. since i'm starting to harvest some of the herbs i want to decide which i'm making vinegars and oils with. it's exciting and fun to try new stuff like that. i've been converted to deadheading by the way. it really works. our jacob's ladder is blooming again, and the salvia. yay!!

we took my bike in to the bike shop, and they siad the pedal coming off is a common problem in lower end bikes. ouch. did he just say we bought a cheap bike? cuz i could swear we padi over $300 for them on sale. apparently it's the kind of crank they use, and over $500 they just don't have that problem. they'll warranty fix it, so it's free but only once. if we tighten it every month it should be ok. too bad they didn't tell us that when we bought them eh? the guy said all it really meant was i had been riding it. ha ha, chuck's isn't coming off yet. what's that tell you about how often he rides?

i've got garden pics to post, and maybe some of kennecott. you'll have to look and see what i've got, cuz i sure don't remember. but for those of you who complained, there are some with us in them this time ;)

17 July 2007

irish moss

yesterday we ordered yarn for a sweater for chuck. yay!! somehow once i order yarn and know it's on the way, i want it yesterday. but i'm glad we had a little extra for that. also ordered a couple books at knitpicks' 40% off sale: mason-dixon knitting and favorite socks. yay and double yay! the favorite socks was in my stash (otherwise known as cart on non-knitting sites), and went out of stock over the weekend. but just as i was checking out it became available! i figured it was a sign too good to be ignored. mason-dixon is a book less about patterns and more about experimenting, which is what i like about it. there are some cool patterns in there too, but they focus on how i can change it. i hate the very static patterns, that focus on one very expensive brand name yarn, with sizes for anorexic models and not real people like me. the sock book has cool patterns from interweave knits magazine, and i've been drooling over it for at least 6 months. so aside from the socks, there's some linen hand towels i want to make from mason-dixon. too bad 100% linen yarn costs $20 for 100 g.

but anyway, the sweater is from aran knitting by alice starmore, called irish moss. lots of fine cables/plaits, so it's nice enough chuck can wear it to work too. for some reason whenever we talked about what kind of sweater he would like, he thinks first about what he would wear to work. so maybe once we've got that out of the way, he'll get more ventursome. i'm glad we like the same type of elaborate cabled sweaters though, cuz it'll be fun to knit this.

the real disappointment is that aran knitting is out of print. *sigh* what a travesty. although if i was rich, i could buy it for $200 on amazon i don't like it that much. it starts out with a history of aran knitting, then explores the different patterns used in traditional aran sweaters and various permutations of them. so again, it's more of a primer to learn from and make my own stuff, although it does have some very nice sweaters in it too. that's where my lazy side shows up i guess, because i have lots of ideas for things but it's easier to find a pattern by someone elseso i don't have to do the math. small things like socks and scarves or shawls (although not complicated lace triangle ones) i don't mind doing, cuz the math is pretty easy, but i haven't planned my own sweater yet. someday.

speaking of math, i got some patterns picked out for the mystery present. some hints: it has pockets and plaits. the final choice of which braids to use hasn't been made yet, but i kind of want to pick the yarn first to finalize the gauge first so i know how many stitches i have. the other math problem i have is with a silk camisole pattern from last minute knitted gifts by joelle haverson. i need to add about an inch, and it has plain stockinette at the sides so i figured i could just sneak them in there. but after messing with the math for a bit, and then casting on, the pattern didn't come out how it should. so i went back to the math board last night and haven't quite figured out the problem yet. the lace border is simple, and i noticed the smallest size 28 (and please, who do you know that's a 28? not size but measured around the bust? i always felt like a giant but things that make it worse) only shifted 1 stitch for the wavy lace and all other sizes shift 2. so maybe i'll just take the total stitches and figure out how many reps i can do with 1 stitch shift. i still haven't figured out why my 2 rounds didn't come out right, they did on paper.

on the positive side, i wove in the rest of the ends on fjörgyn, my viking knits sweater. and i took out the button band. i decided to wait until i find the buttons i want for it to do the button band over, so the button holes match the buttons better. now that the long trailing yarn ends are gone from the sleeve i can wear it in public. yay!! i've been wearing it at home, specially these cold rainy days. we went to the lys saturday, inua wool, because they were having a sale. what can i say, i'm from a scottish puritan background. they have nice yarns, but they're the expensive designer kind, and knitpicks has equal quality for less. we did buy the fjörgyn yarn there, it's even the kind the pattern specifies! (it was chuck's christmas present and he made me splurge). but anyway, i wanted to check out their buttons, since i remembered some cool interwoven knot buttons. alas, they didn't have the ones i remembered. but chuck did get me 2 skeins of reynolds whiskey on sale, that match cathy's scarf. there's about half a skein in my stash, so it may be enough for another surprise present.....hmmmm. and the sock yarn was 25% off, so we got a skein each for a pair of socks. sock yarn is hard to resist because they're so practical, and use so much less yarn, and it's easier to justify buying "just one skein". ah me.

knitting daily had a comment today, from an older lady asking for more challenging projects, and saying the blog seemed to be aimed at young, new knitters. i agree that it seems to be mostly basic knitting, and definitely the people posting are asking very basic questions. but maybe the experienced people aren't posting. i don't (not that i'm superknitter or anything). but people ask super easy questions, and then get 25 answers saying the same thing. like they couldn't read the first answer that said to use thread and say i agree with that instead of writing it all out again. but whatever. it's a cool site, run by interweave knits, and has their free patterns. they have some posted especially for the blog, but none of them have appealed to me yet. except possibly a shawl in faroese style, with shoulder hsaping so it supposedly doesn't move. now that sounds cool. there's lots of cool lacy shawl patterns out there, but i don't want to have to keep pulling it up and re-adjusting it. the pattern they gave for it is rather simple, but i'm thinking of doing it as a sample to learn the shoulder shaping bit and then use a lace pattern of my choice. maybe reading the pattern through will give me the lesson, but doing something usually gives me a better idea of how to apply it.

so.........knit-wise, i'm waiting on that irish moss yarn, figuring out what's wrong with that silk cami (it was supposed to be a mindless project *sigh*), finishing designing the mystery present and binding off one other project that i finished the knitting on a while ago what can i say i'm a bad finisher.

16 July 2007

det helige skriftet

sunday night our home teacher came to visit with his wife. they're really cool. probably about chuck's age, but they just talk to us like we're people. so many people seem to have mental blocks for certain groups, like married, single, married w/kids, old farts etc. chuck and i are between most of those groups, so it's nice to run into people who don't care. but anyway, pam has Norwegian roots which we've talked about since i'm so into sweden. she brought over a family bible, printed 1890. old norwegian is about as fun as old swedish. it was cool just to look at it. there's these random scraps of a norwegian newspaper in minnesota, from the language around 1890 too. it's cool just to read old stuff like that.

and at church a lady introduced herself, a new move-in, and she's an anthropologist. so we had a short conversation before i had to go to outer darkness, i mean primary. hopefully we can talk more sometime, it's fun to have another anthro geek to discuss society with.

today i've been in the yard a bit harvesting some herbs and deadheading flowers. it really does help them to bloom longer! who knew. the chamomile was so top heavy it was trying to lie on the ground, but now it's standing up again. and i have flowers for tea! i'm not very fond of chamomile tea alone, but it should make a good add in. there's only the one plant but if it keeps blooming like it is, i should have plenty to last until next summer. of course i'm hedging my bets with most of the herb plants and bringing at least one of them in for the winter, but it would be nice if some of them survived. about half of our flowers should come back next year, and i'm planning on stealing some iris next spring from the roadside for our beds.

i've got an overdue library book to read this afternoon, and some plant ones. i want to be able to save seed from the plants we have for next year. why buy them if i can keep them? the borage has so many blooms (which tasted ok in salad btw) that we should have lots of them coming up next year. self seeding is the preferred method for us lazy gardeners.

my bike needs a check up too. i've had it over a year but the last 2 times i rode it, the pedal has been coming off. somehow it started binding against the nut holding it to the frame, cuz it loosens as i ride, to the point of falling off. so i'm going to take it apart and clean it and see if that helps; if not, it's going back to the bike shop for their expertise - it's free since we bought it there.

last night we took out the busted dishwasher. yay! now we have undercounter storage space for juice, potatoes etc. i'm glad we can do small things like that without it costing lots of money. now if only we can put in those last 2 closet door handles we have.....

it never rains in southern california

but man it pours

it poured all day saturday, and then yesterday it was raining while the sun was shining. go figure. but today it's gloriously sunny, so i've got garden work on the schedule. gonna put some mulch on my flower/herb beds, and maybe finish the raised bed for the lilacs. since this raise bed business has taken so much time to implement, we stuck the lilacs in a small pile of topsoil, oh about a month or two ago. they've been fine, but i hope the roots aren't too established. who knew it would take so long to put in raised beds. it sounded oh so easy, especially in the lasagna gardening books by Pat Lanza. the basic idea there is to make your own compost in layers like mother nature, and add to it over time so you're always making new soil and adding nutrients. i like the idea, but there are some down sides. lanza promotes the use of peat moss, which is dumb expensive if you're planting more than 2 square feet. so we gave up on that pretty quick. and she claimed you could make the beds in a day, and maybe we were just too ambitious (which we have considered) but it took a LOT of time to get beds up around our deck. it is a big deck. the beds seem to be doing well though, so i'm not discontented. i did not, however, put a top layer of mulch on the beds hen i was done, since i wanted to make sure i had enough chopped leaves for all the beds we were planning. so now some of the rose hips are coming back up oh well. but since the beds are finished now (except for the poor lilacs!) i'm getting on the maintenance.

we just wish we had taken before pics, so everyone could see the change. we've had neighbors and friends of the previous owners come by, and say the yard looks tons better. so that feels good.

we have all kinds of stuff in our yard/garden. i get all excited about i. me and chuck are like 2 kids really, when something come up or blooms, we take the other over and show them. it's fun, and somehow satisfying to grow things. we've got some wildflowers groing along the driveway, and flowers mixed with herbs along the deck. there's lemon balm, borage, chives, lemon verbana, pansies (a gift, i wouldn't buy them), lupines, canterbury bells(which may not bloom this year ), some struggling muscali that had some very pretty blue bell-like flowers, blue star flowers, tarragon, chamomile - german and roman although i think the romans gave up once we planted them, jacob's ladder, 2 kinds of flax (wish i knew how to make it into linen!), basil, lavendar, purple and yellow mini daisies, rosehips (wild rose really but i'm not in school so who cares), oregano, rosemary, purple salvia, sage, morning glories, peppermint, these silvery-leaved purple flowers whos name i forget, and some red-green leaved shade plants whose name also escapes me. then we have 2 pots we put together - it was cheaper than buying them pre-made - in the benchboxes on the deck, with african daises, blue and lilac lobelia, some orange things and antique yellow bells of some kind. they make an AWESOME combo. there's an upside down cherry tomato plant hanging on the deck, along with a basket with lobelia, creeping jenny that hasn't really bloomed at all, and fushia. the greenhouse has a big boy tomato, another cherry tomato and english cucumbers. the cherry tomato plants are yellow tomatoes too, they're kind of sweet somehow. the big boys are just starting to grow, and we've got a few cukes on the vine. and in the actual garden itself, which chuck made with railroad ties, we have red and yellow onions (our neighbor says they won't get very big since it doesn't get dark but that's ok), yukon gold potatoes - yummy!, yellow squash, zucchini, green peppers, black beans, leaf lettuce and the sharp mescaline kind, spinach and leeks. whew. it sounds like so much more when it's all typed out. hopefully the beans will produce, i unthinkingly planted the whole packet (duh) so we have about 30 plants i think. image the storage we'd get from that! beans till next year and then some! haven't had any problems yet with animals, although something ate the flowers off the one mature squash plant we bought (we planted the others). hopefully whatever it was got its fill and won't be back.

last week i got some more plant books from the library cuz i'd really like to be able to get seed from our plants this year. maes more sense than buying seeds every year. and chuck bought me a little guide to alaskan berries, which revealed that lingon berries are just low buch cranberries! yay! so i really want to go find some patches and make my own lingonsylt. that would be fun - as longs it jells right. i know lots of places where wild berries are, they're just all on military lands who knows, maybe we can get a rec pass. i'm sure no one else goes there for berries.

13 July 2007

2 days in a row!!!

some dreams do come true...........if only once :)

so yesterday around 3.30 the sun starts peeking through, and has the temp up to 73 by 5 (the sun makes all the difference up here). so me and chuck plan on going biking after dinner - he passed up the bike ride/picnic i offered him. which turned out to be a good thing, as it clouded up and started pouring right as we finished dinner :( so that was that.

we stayed home and watched a random movie, girl with a pearl earring. i wouldn't recommend it. random sort of plot that didn't seem to resolve any of the conflict it brought up. at least it was short.

this morning started out all cloudy and cold again, but the sun's coming out again and it's clearing up. good thing cuz i'm riding to meet chuck for lunch.......and have to leave soon.

i did finish the I-cord for a project yesterday, so it's all done. YAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!! but i got hung up on the cool blogging thing, trying to figure out how to do stuff, so the knitting got kind of ignored. it'll get some attention today though - probably outside if the sun stays out. it'll be a designing frenzy. more or less. if i can distract myself from the lure of sweaters i want to knit and not let the misery of the math distract me. since i have an idea of what i want to knit, and the stitch patterns, but not the yarn, it should be a bit tricky and therefore more interesting. i hope.

strange how short the posts are if you do them more often ;)

12 July 2007

helicopters, sweat, envy and cold feet

how's that for a start? it's been raining 2 days now, and that means no sun which = COLD. 55-65. flashbacks of winter with hot tea and wool socks, my nice new knit sweater (which unfortunately is just a bit too baggy in the sleeves for comfortable knitting ).

this a.m. i was checking out some knitting blogs and got technical envy. some of them have these supercool bars showing knitting progress on projects. of course the one site that had a link to get your own DIDN'T WORK. not that that bothered me of course. and this blog isn't very flexible (or i don't know how to use it very well, which could be the case since i don't spend much time on it) so i can't seem to make seperate photo lists of finished projects.

and those knitting blogs have HUGE lists of blogs they read, and i don't know how they have time for it. and time to blog and describe their projects, and take and post pics of them. *sigh* i'm so jealous. and they seem to knit loads of things. right now i'm struggling with sweater envy, because i'm soooooooo bored knitting small things and want to knit sweaters galore. but do you know how much yarn you need for a whole sweater? the checkbook is just not cooperating with me on this one. chuck tells me to go ahead, but those black numbers in the checkbook won't let me.

and i just can't seem find any local knitters to hang out with for friendly crafting conversation. it would be nice to have some idea exchange going on.

but on the other hand, i am forcing myself to finish some projects. i hate finishing projects. not finishing the knitting but seaming and weaving in ends and making any adjustments i discovered after the knitting was done. augh. and i've gotten an early start on some christmas presents - please don't stone me. small things using up yarn. and there's several ideas i've had rolling around my head for a while, so i'm going to set myself down and figure out the math and plan out the designs. that's another thing i'm not very fond of in this knitting business. who knew it involved so much math? i still feel jipped on that. but planning/designing everything ought to take me a while - and then i'll have to find me something else to distract the checkbook so i can sneak past it and buy enough yarn for a sweater.

so now we're to the helicopters and sweat. the last entry i was still suffering through the last days of school. that was done in mid-may, and i got hired by NLUR, the local CRM company, in june. so i've been working crazy hours, 12 6's was the norm. (which didn't leave much time for knitting or blogging or anything). i worked on 4 projects so far, and the most interesting part (outside of meeting cool new people) was the logistics. for the main survey we were dropped in by helicopter every day. that was fun, especially the tight turns perpendicular to the ground, and flying with the doors open. how'd you like to try that mom? check out this video-that's the same helicopter we used, but we didn't do any fun tricks like that. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RGu45s1_QPU
another site on the river was boat accessed, not as exciting as the helicopter, but fun. the last project was a railroad side extension that we got to ride a highrail on. that's the cool trucks with dropdown rail wheels. it sounded cooler than it was though, just like riding in a truck at 30 mph. but i can say i did it!

which brings us to this moment, heather in between projects, at home feeling like it's winter. i'm dying to go ride my bike but that wouldn't be much fun in the rain. so here i am, finishing small christmas projects and putting off redoing the button band on my fjörgyn viking sweater. i should have picked up more stitches for it cuz of my selvedge stitches . oh well.

last week chuck and i went on a "fishing trip" that ended up not having much to do with fishing. we went down to valdez. everyone talks about it lie it's cool so i was expecting maybe a real town or something. don't know what i was thinking. it's a small village with not much besides fishing. we went to their dinky museums, where i got going about the poor displays and the info not being accessible. luckily chuck was very understanding about my archaeologist quirk. and the pinks were running so we fished for a couple hours, but they weren't biting. some people were snagging them, but i don't think that's fair, plus it's against the regs. we got some cool pics of them swarming the mouth of this one creek with a weir. that's why they snag, there's so many of them the hooks get caught on fins and bodies since they're not biting. too focused on reproducing. hmmm.........know any people like that? hehehe.

valdez took about a day, then we drove up to chitina, our main destination. the reds were running there. for some reason these different salmon species get called bycolor names here, not their real names, so i forget what they really are. sorry. but anyway, the reds don't bite either so you dipnet. that's all anyone goes to chitina for, and it's even smaller than valdez. (i did forget to mention valdez has some glaciers and hiking, but we didn't have time for it.) but there's 2 places to fish in chitina: off the shore under the bridge, or downstream by climbing down cliffs or getting dropped off by boat and tying yourself to rocks. we of course were going for the free, less dangerous route of fishing off the bridge. alas, the river wasreally high, chuck said about 3 times its normal size, and there was no dry ground to stand on. the ghetto campgrounds (just clearings with gravel on the side of the road) were packed because one of them was flooded out. crazy. and the boat charters cost 90 bucks a person, which we were not prepared to pay. not to mention we didn't bring rope or thermals for staying out all night to catch our limit. that was the other thing, the fish weren't coming in very fast cuz the river was high. so we're hoping to go back in a week or so and try again.

we moved on to kennicott mine then. so we made it to all 3 places we planned on, but without any salmon kennicott was the coolest place though. they had almost normal campgrounds, and it was very peaceful. kennicott is a historic copper mine from the early 1900s. so we checked it out, it was cool. the nat'l park service bought it a few years back and they're slowly restoring the buildings around it. there was actually a survey crew there on one of them, and we learned more from them. they won't be restoring all the buildings, but stabilizing them so people can still wander around them. they're on a steep mountainside, and already leaning something awful, so that's probably a good thing. but it'll be cool to have a few restored with machinery etc. there was one semi-restored cottage but it was totally empty so we didn't learn much from that. there's also a glacier there (it's part of the wrangell-st. elias nat'l park) with some trails up to the old mines too. plus there's a tour that actually goes through the main refinment building. we thought it was a rip-off at first (why pay for something if you don't have to?) at $20/pers but found out it takes 2 1/2 hours. so we were all for taking it, but still had to drive home that night. so we reserved the tour and the glacier hikes for another trip. we figured if we had only gone to kennicott we would have been happy. there's a good variety of things to do there, and the people are friendly. some places you go treat you like dumb tourists even if you tell them you're from AK. so we liked it there.

so i'm going to see about getting some pics posted. promises, promises. and maybe i'll start blogging more often.

we can dream, can't we?