Sunday, May 23, 2004

Summer arrived early this year and we spent the week getting ready for it.

On the back of our house is a lanai closed in with glass. Each summer the glass bakes in the sun and creates a heater that fights the efforts of our air conditioners.

We always knew we needed shade on the glass. A few years ago, I planted trees. They are growing, but we still don't have shade. However, when Kurt saw the reflective surface on one of the tarps we use for camping, he thought we could cover the glass roof of the lanai and turn back some of the sun's heating rays. So up onto the roof he climbed.

Kurt is brilliant. He spent hours working to secure the tarp to the roof. It isn't hurricane proof, but it has substantially decreased the heat on the north side of the house.

Meanwhile, the kids took part in one of their favorite summer activities.

The big blow-up pool survived another year and we inflated it for a day of fun!

The kids wet down the slide and slip down for a dramatic splash into the pool. (Now why didn't my mother ever come up with ideas like these???)

How much fun is this?

Aside from a trip to the beach, this is the kid's favorite summer activity.

Gregory actually learned to snorkel in this pool. (Gabrielle is still working up the desire.)

Gregory has also maintained his ability to swim from year to year as a result of time spent in this pool. Gabrielle, however, likes to play and splash.

And when they needed a break, there was no better place for them to watch their dad work.

Meanwhile, up on the deck, I opened the umbrella and scrubbed the table for an al fresco luncheon of grilled hamburgers and gluten free onion rings.

I had put off opening the umbrella for some time. You see, snakes eat frogs and lizards. We no longer have snakes because we have a Golden Retriever that chases snakes out of the back yard. Sooo. . . .

As I expected, when I opened the umbrella, a shower of frogs rained down onto the table. Yuck! A couple managed to sleep through the ordeal however.

This is one of the gray frogs that like to swim in our pond. It is supposed to be a water feature in our garden, next to the deck, but the frogs have designated it a breeding ground.

By the way, the lawn swing in the background is fabulous! I got the entire patio set for want of that swing. It has two seats with a console like thing in the middle. The middle part has cup holders and a basket large enough to hold my knitting bag. Now I can sit outside and knit while enjoying the beautiful Florida weather and scenery!

A green tree frog managed to cling to the top of the umbrella. There had been another frog peeking out of the opening with the rope, but he left before I could get the camera out.

Despite a very busy and productive week, I did not forego all things fibery. I cleaned a pound of Corriedale fleece.

This was a gift from a delightful lady from the Christian Artisans List. Her name is Cary and she owns/operates Serenity Farms. She raises fabulous old fashion Corriedale sheep. While I am not familiar with Corriedale as a breed in general, the fleece I received from her is soft and incredible. I have to believe it is everything I have heard it to be!

I also received my new shawl kit from Blackberry Ridge. It is another design by Hazel Carter, who created the Legends of the Shetland Seas stole and is made from a beautiful silk yarn.

I discovered my *need* for this kit while browsing Pamela's blog.

Addendum: I heard about a fun quiz and wanted to post it:
You are Ephesians
You are Ephesians.

Which book of the Bible are you?
brought to you by Quizilla

You are Revelation
You are Revelation.

Which book of the Bible are you?
brought to you by Quizilla

I couldn't make up my mind on a couple of points so I did it both ways. I think both books fit me pretty well.

Wednesday, May 12, 2004

A woman sits in a computer chair and leans back just as a manufacturing defect in the only bolt securing the seat back to the chair manifests in the shearing of the bolt. . . What happens?

Well, so far some reduced range of motion and pain in the upper back, numbness in the right wrist, a headache and a growing concern about morning stiffness on the morrow. Sigh. Ever had one of those days? This is turning into one of those weeks! But, on the bright side, if I need a couple of days to rest and recover, I should get plenty of knitting done!

I've been plugging away at Kurt's sweater and it is growing.

Kurt is beginning to believe he will one day get to wear this! He is a very tall man and it is hard for him to find sweaters that are long enough in body and arms. My aim is to provide him with a great fitting sweater!

I have been more hit and miss with my Legends of the Shetland Seas stole.

I have been working on this too long and that fact can get discouraging. But, it was worth every frogged stitch for the tighter material I am presently producing.

Once more, I am determined to master sock knitting. So, I picked up the socks I started last year once again.

Despite meticulous adherence to pattern directions (or due to it?), I think the leg of the sock is too long. (I discovered the pattern is from a very old issue of Vogue Knitting magazine, incorporated into a modern sock knitting book, so that might explain it.)

Now I am on the foot portion of the sock and the directions say to knit until the sock is two inches shorter than the desired length of the finished sock. . .

. . . Well that is helpful! How long is the foot supposed to be??? I don't know how much stretch these things are going to have! I'm new to all of this sock stuff! Sheesh!

Frustration is not going to stop me, however, nor is a failed sock or two. But, it did get me thinking. If the actual knitting of socks themselves is not turning me into a sock knitter, shouldn't owning lots of sock patterns and kits?

In the Computer Age, Blackberry Ridge is only a couple of clicks away! (I need to stay away from this incredible place!) Now I'm really a sock knitter, right?

When I am not squeezing my knitting around our homeschool schedule, I am still working on Barbara's shawl.

I am so close to being done with the weaving, leaving only the fringe. I've been spinning as I go and I will admit that it will be quite awhile before I tackle boucle yarn again. Still, this is the prettiest shawl I have constructed yet!

Sunday, May 02, 2004

I feel like I took a walk in the past this week. We live in a "rural" area, though I suppose it is more "semi-rural" in truth. On the other side of our neighbor to the west is a woods fronted by a drainage ditch or perhaps a small bayou, since fish and other creatures call it home. In the Spring, wild blackberries grow along its banks. This week, the kids and I, plastic Easter buckets in hand, picked the first "crop" of berries.

We brought home enough berries for blackberry jam! Within a few hours of picking, our berries looked like this:

The jar with the ribbons is for a new neighbor we met on blackberry picking day. Gabrielle, ever friendly and cheerful, greeted Ms. Rebecca while she walked in the early morning sunshine. She had just moved into one of the large waterfront homes almost directly across the street from us. She stopped to chat and then to help Gabrielle pick berries. After telling us how much she loved fresh blackberry jam, we knew at least one jar would go to Ms. Rebecca.

In keeping with my "visit to days gone by" theme, I finally allowed myself the pleasure a newly shorn fleece brings to a handspinner. I opened the box from Margrett of Running Moon Farm. For me, it was like a gift on a holiday!

This lovely amber colored fleece came from a Gulf Coast Native Improved sheep named Merlene. Now, I will admit I am something of a clean freak, so I knew I would need to wash the fleece immediately.

I couldn't believe how much fleece was in what appeared to be a relatively modest size box! Fortunately, my new relationship with the Fly Lady, has left my Saturdays free of chores. I spent all day washing and washing and washing. For my efforts, I now have a gorgeous, soft, CLEAN fleece drying on the love-seat in my Mary Kay room!

The amber color of this fleece almost matches my hair color. Thus, Merlene's 2004 fleece is destined for a sweater for me!