Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Sunrise Sunset

April treats us to both warm and cool days. All are beautiful in their own way. A robin builds a nest up high in the birch outside my window. The male accompanies her as she flies back and forth with nest-building materials.

This April we attended a celebration in honor of my uncle's hundredth birthday. Although he is frail physically, his mind is sharp as a tack. He and his wife of 97 continue to live independently. At his party, they greeted a large group of family and friends. After dinner, he thanked his family and guests for their presence and told a little anecdote about the number of heartbeats in one hundred years. He participated in a Q and A with his six grandchildren. They shared a memory and asked him a question about his life and times. As an adult, this gentle man created and ran his own milking equipment and dairy barn building business. During that time, he invented a device to make life easier for dairy cattle and their farmers. He continues to be a presence in the lives of  his community, church, and family. We were honored to help him celebrate one hundred years. The next day we met my brother and sister-in-law at my sister and brother-in-law's home for brunch. We were joined by a niece and husband who are expecting a new baby in August. The family connections as well as the sunrise and sunset of these two lives made for a memorable Easter weekend.

My shoulder is nearly healed and I am knitting more stitches. This shawl is finished and I like it. I surely enjoyed knitting with the yarn. I omitted the tassels as I am not a tassel kind of girl. The picot edge is enough of a feminine touch for me. I cast on a wee little cardigan for my niece's baby. When using the Madtosh Merino Light yarn for other projects, I learned that it stands up to ripping and re-knitting so this will make a sweet but wearable sweater. 

I continue to reread books from my shelves. This week I am midway through The Forest Lover, a novel of historical fiction about Emily Carr, a Canadian woman artist. I am enjoying the story of this independent woman determined to be come an artist and paint the totem poles of Native Americans before they are lost. According to this story, Carr showed a good deal of respect for the indigenous people.

As I link to Kat and the Unravelers, the robin couple is still working. Rather the female is building and male is keeping watch. Above them, the sky is clear and blue. I plan to walk today and then pull a few weeds from the flower bed along the fence. The lilacs have buds and bleeding heart is blooming. They both need room to grow. Enjoy your week.

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

April Poetry

Spring urges us to see the world with new eyes. I'm not sure who chose April as poetry month but it seems fitting to me.  Poems are open invitation to think about something in a different way. New possibilities bring wonder to life. In honor of poetry month, I've been reading randomly from The Extraordinary Tide: New Poetry by American Women.  I am drawn to some poets more than others. A few poems are too rough for me but all are beautiful. I also respect the women who write from their hearts and experiences.

Projects by other makers inspire us to create. Now and then a poem I've read sparks one of my own. Several years after reading "Something Else" in Tether by Kirsten Dierking, I was with family at Homestead National Monument on an April day. I jotted a few notes about our walk on the trails. Later when I pulled them out, I thought of Dierking's poem. I have revised and refiled this poem many times. It is ready to be abandoned. Some famous poet (I can't remember who) said poems are never finished. They are just abandoned.

April at National Homestead Monument*
April 17, 2019

Be something else, the poet urges.

Walking a path through wooded draw, I touch
            bumps on hackberry bark,
            wide furrow of old oak,
            splinters in a hollow trunk.

Circling the prairie, I smell
            sharp edges of blackened grass,
            sulphur cell of butterfly wing,
            gusts of wind across the land.

Winding down the draw, I consider
            roots under my feet,
            earthworms chewing soil,
            dry leaves, and other debris.

Then, up in an oak,
            two coffee eyes above
            streaked breast of barred owl.  
Luminous beads, strung from tears,
            set in a head, that turns
            toward the prairie.

*copyright Jane A. Wolfe

Last night I finished knitting the Rewilding Shawl. This was definitely a process project. I enjoyed the knitting, the pattern, and the yarn base. I am not so sure about the pastel colors. I am anxious to see how it looks after a good soak and blocking. My shoulder isn't quite up to pushing a tighter gauge of stitches along a needle so I'll have to think carefully about the next project.

I am linking with Kat and the Unravelers where there will be plenty of inspiration for creating. However you celebrate Spring and your faith, I wish you a joyous season filled with new possibilities and inspiration. 

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Easy Knitting

On a warm day last week, my husband helped me pot pansies on the front porch. Some beautiful Spring days have come our way. I love the color returning to the landscape. When the sun shines, the gray birch bark gleams silver and the blue sky is bright above the new green of leaf tips. The yellow of daffodils warms my heart. Spring wouldn't be spring without the ups and downs in weather. Today is down right brisk and some kind of precipitation, either rain or snow, is forecast for Thursday and Friday. I have two brave daffodils blooming. I may pick them and bring them inside. We might as well enjoy them for a day or two.

My shoulder is healing and feels quite a bit better. I've been reading more and knitting carefully. Thank you for your kind thoughts. I am still rereading books on my shelf. I finishing The Thirteenth Tale, quite the gothic tale. I can't say it's great literature but it was entertaining and I enjoyed the references to Jane Eyre. I don't think I'll read it again though - twice is enough. Currently I am rereading a book of short essays, An Unspoken Hunger, by Terry Tempest Williams. Williams is one of my favorite non-fiction writers. This book was published in 1994 so some subject matter is dated but her words and thoughts still carry a message for today. She writes of family, place, and the environment.

The Rewilding Shawl is coming along. The second color in the gradient is a soft lavender. As I've learned again, focus on one project equals progress. Over the weekend, I looked at Norah's sweater, checked the gauge, and then ripped back a few inches to the neck ribbing. The stitch count of the sleeve areas was incorrect. Rather than count stitches in every row, I ripped back. It was an easy problem to solve. As soon as my shoulder is completely well, I enjoy knitting on it.

Linking with Kat and the Unravelers this week. May the Spring flowers in your neck of the woods bud and bloom soon, if not today.

Wednesday, April 3, 2019

Early Spring

These early spring days swing between sunny 60 degrees and cold rain. Gentle rain falls as I write this afternoon. The neighborhood maples sport red fringe buds and the catkins on our birch are visible. We are planning a small landscaping project for warmer drier weather. On the next sunny day, I hope to pot pansies for the front porch. My husband will have to help as I have a sore shoulder/neck/upper arm. I have good but painful range of motion so I gently stretch, take an anti-inflammatory, and (darn!) knit less and more carefully. I hope to get over this latest ache in a week or so. My daughter, the physical therapist, reminds me inflammation lasts from six to eight days. 

I turned the heel and knit the gusset on the second pink sock before I set it aside to heal up this latest injury. After a few days of knitting hiatus, I cast on this mostly garter stitch shawl, Rewilding. I needed a project that would slide across the needles. The yarn was a Christmas splurge and a photo on a brighter day will show the true sunrise colors. I am anxious to finish piecing Norah's Christmas Quilt top and knit on her Flax sweater but for now I need to be patient with my aging shoulder.

I finished Letters from Yellowstone and enjoyed it immensely. Jonah and I are reading Curious George books over FaceTime. The curious mischievous little monkey reminds me and perhaps Jonah of a preschooler who wants to be helpful but can't resist fun and exploration. We have talked about pizza dough, different kinds of ovens, the birthday cake frosting flying out of the bowl, and more. He loves George and so do I. He also likes a good shovel. The story of the authors' escape from the Nazi's, with the manuscript is a story worth telling to older children.

I am linking with Kat and the Unravelers on this rainy day. I hope your April is off to a good start with some sunny days that favor a shovel.

Jonah, my Curious George buddy