Wednesday, June 30, 2021

Summer Season

Sweet June days come to an end as bright flowers, firebums*, high humidity, weeds, and early morning walks arrive. This morning I walked what I call the flower route to take my mind off the weeds and the humidity. A few neighbors maintain a naturally wild look with coneflowers, daisies, day lilies, and untrimmed lawns. Some yards are meticulously landscaped with a profusion of annual flowers and while most fall somewhere in between. I confess I have mixed feelings about perfectly manicured lawns with numerous annuals. They are beautiful but I worry about the amount of water needed to maintain them. Then I come home to the pots of geraniums on my porch and water them. My vegetable garden and herb bed couldn't survive without watering. Life is a puzzle sometimes. 

I am linking with Kat and the Unravelers to write about knitting and reading. Thank you Kat for hosting this link. One project is never enough so I cast on two smaller projects from partial skeins. About a year ago, I knit a cowl from the royal blue yarn and never knit matching mitts from the remaining yarn. I had the hand of one mitt finished before I created a project page. 

I cast on a tried and true baby sweater from partial skeins of Pixel yarn by Berroco because it is always good to have a baby sweater to give or donate. Ravelry tells me this is the fifth project with this pattern. This go around will involve a game of yarn chicken. Berroco doesn't sell this colorway any more which is too bad because it is my favorite. If I run out of yarn I could buy another colorway and stripe it into the sweater. Isn't it always the way? In an attempt to use partial skeins, I need to buy another that will make another leftover. This is one way to never run out of yarn scraps.

Saturday I cast on a little cardigan for Norah. I'm using KnitPicks Swish DK, a great yarn for kids' knits as it washes well. I chose the pattern for the contrasting pockets. At the moment, she wants her clothing to have pockets. So I'll deliver pockets hoping they prompt this strong willed little gal to wear a sweater in the fall. Besides the pockets in a contrasting color are just cute. I love a girl with a mind of her own.

My sister suggested The Narrowboat Summer as a peaceful pandemic read and I am glad she did. I thoroughly enjoyed this novel. I'd like to spin some yarn in the same colors as the cover but spinning is a post for another day. In this book, three older women, previously unknown to each other, become friends as they face change and challenge in their lives. Two of them agree to pilot a narrowboat belonging to the third woman through canals in England. The story is driven by well written characters and a subtle plot. As a bonus, a secondary character is a knitter. It's obvious to me that Youngson is a knitter. This book makes me think about the seasons in the lives of the characters as well as my own life. Each season brings us a gift, some more welcome than others. This author also wrote Meet Me At the Museum that some of you have read.

As I leave you, I think of the line from a James Russell Lowell poem that my Mom used to repeat on beautiful June days, "What is so rare as a day in June?" The rest of the poem is flowery and old fashioned but that line is timeless. Happy Summer.

Ravelry Links

Leaf Mitts

Little Nugget #5

Norah's Cricket

*Seven years ago a grandson discovered fireflies - "Look their bums light up!"

Wednesday, June 23, 2021

Hello Summer

Saturday evening we returned from a road trip to the Minnesota North Woods. The five hundred and fifty miles include a stretch along the Missouri River bluffs in far northeast Nebraska and then a north route through the Minnesota prairie into the lake country. The wildlife, including pelicans, swans, eagles, cranes, and a doe/fawn pair as well as the sky are beautiful. The darker color across the top of the photo is due to the color of the windshield. My husband prefers to drive so I watch for birds and knit. Once in Minnesota, I finished a pair the socks that also traveled to Connecticut. They need a bath before I pop them into the Christmas 2021 gift bag.

My sister and brother-in-law hosted us at their lake home. The weather with warm days and cool nights  was a nice escape from the 100 degree days in Nebraska. The company was even better. My sister and I knit on the screened in porch. My youngest brother and his daughter (Montana residents) joined us for kayaking, a jigsaw puzzle, meal prep in the kitchen, and sitting on the dock with our feet in the lake. On our last night, my other brother and one of his daughters drove in from Iowa. My sister, brothers, and I had not been together for at least two years and maybe three. We are the four J's, named in the 1950's: Jane, Julie, John, and James.  

Saturday morning, my sister scrambled eggs while I baked semmels, a traditional hard roll recipe or as my brother-in-law says, a vehicle for butter, jam, peanut butter, or cheese. We joined hands and sang the Johnny Appleseed Grace, a tradition from gathering with Mom and Dad and all of our young children. There were many good moments during those days but the sound of our voices around the breakfast table will carry me until I see and hug them again. Then we drove home. 

On Sunday, our son and grandson spent Father's Day with us. Austin will be a senior in high school this fall. They left early Monday morning for their Fort Worth home. As this summer begins our hearts are full and ever so grateful to be together again. 

Autumn 2020

Now to catch up with Kat and friends by linking to Unraveled Wednesday. Before leaving for Connecticut, I finished the Antler Mittens. I continue to work on this shawl,  playing with the pattern and adding the eyelet sections as I like. I need a new project or two. Hopefully this weekend I'll have a few quiet moments to pull something from stash. 

I read two books from my summer list. I finished The Soul of a Woman by Isabel Allende. I found it refreshingly direct. This nonfiction is a strong statement of Allende's opinions about feminism and women. She brings her wide ranging life experiences to this book. I listened to The Water Dancer by Ta-Neihisi Coates. This is a powerful beautifully written story about strong characters who show resilience and create family in spite of a brutal culture. It contains a touch of magical realism and a vocabulary that respects the dignity of people who were enslaved. I highly recommend this novel. Listening to the end of this book on the flight from NYC to Kansas City as the sun went down above cloud cover was a magical moment. 

Now we are home for the summer to tend the house, yard, and garden. Hello summer - hello you. 

Ravelry Links

Summer Latte Socks

Spring Rewilding Shawl

Father's Day 2021


Saturday, June 12, 2021

Real Hugs All Around

If you think I've been away from this spot, you are right. Fair warning: this post is a record of a joyful family visit. I knit a sock and a half while traveling but that can wait. You are welcome to come back later if family photos aren't for you.

We are home from a glorious week of ordinary days with our Connecticut family. Days filled with buttering toasted bagels for bright morning faces, sitting on the patio while grandchildren play in wading pools, playing board games, snitching potato chips out of a bag on the kitchen counter at lunch time, and reading bedtime stories. Time with the six of them was absolutely wonderful and precious. 

We were welcomed by hugs, handmade posters, and drawings that Jonah rolled up for the trip home. We cheered the three boys at T-ball, coach-pitch baseball, and kid-pitch baseball all on the same day. We raced so many Hot Wheels. 

Jonah had gardening gloves at the ready, his and mine. Kate and Jonah drove Pops to Home Depot so Jonah could show Pops the riding lawn mowers (he likes lawn mowers) and purchase herbs. Then at home, he hauled the soil, pots, and plants in his wheelbarrow. He and I planted them. We hugged often.

We dodged bikes and scooters as we walked the cemetery loop. At Emmet's request, there was a trip to the Dairy Queen with Blizzards all around. My daughter and I were shoulder to shoulder in the kitchen. Micah showed us his new karate belts. I gave him a big hug. 

Then the week was over. Weather delayed our flight and then the pilots timed out. We were fortunate to catch a later flight that same evening. My motto is if you get where you are going at the end of a traveling day, it's a good day. At 10:00 p.m. we were happy to be in our own car. I pulled up Broadway music and we sang ourselves home, arriving at 1:00 a.m. Our full hearts and poor voices kept us from getting sleepy. Not bad for a couple of oldsters. 

Norah, Emmett, Maddie (the dog), Micah, Jonah

Everyone on the plane, the airport, and airport shuttle was masked. The airline was no nonsense, announcing the possibility of criminal prosecution for anyone who didn't comply. Some restaurants at LaGuardia were checking temperatures before allowing customers in for dining. We welcomed the regulations meant to keep us as safe as possible. 

We are so grateful for the time together. I hope never to take these moments for granted again.  May your June days bring moments of joy with those you love. Did I mention the hugs? 

Tuesday, June 1, 2021

Simply a Moment

June 1, 2021  1:21 p.m.

Under a brilliant June sky:

A mama cardinal works on her nest. 

The breeze is still.

The garden grows.

The handspun really looks like yarn. 

two ply Cormo 

Ginger tea cools as I cast on a pair of socks.