Monday, November 24, 2008

Monday walk

It's been a while since I've posted pictures of Miranda. That's because whenever we go walking, she's always right beside me, and it's difficult to take pictures of her. She has appointed herself my bodyguard, and she follows me more closely than a secret serviceman follows a head of state. She's 8 and a half years old now, and although she has a problem with a torn cruciate ligament in her knee she is still fit and happy. She enjoys her walks very much. There is always so much to sniff out in the woods, it's a dog's favorite activity here.

I called her over to the house while I got ready -- we had a warm 6 degrees today, so all I needed was my Carhart jacket and my boots and camera. She and Kylie had been out in the front yard sniffing out a fox from the front hedges. The fox often likes to sit on some old straw bales down there and hunt mice.
Mindy came up on the porch and opened the door to see whether or not I was ready.

Then Miranda, Cricket, Kylie and I set off. We passed by these three lovely girls who were having a snack on the hay up by the house. This is Jemima, Black Betty & Brown Betty. They were all born last summer.

We walked to the west, where there is a little marsh where the coyotes like to congregate.

Sometimes we see them sunning themselves along this bank of aspen.

Sometimes we find remnants of cattle who have died nearby. This bone has been here a long time judging by how polished it is.

We also found that a huge number of trees had been blown over by the winds we've had in the last month. I would say that in some areas on the north side almost half of the trees have been felled, some from the roots, and others have been snapped in half, leaving man-high stumps.

We walked for about an hour and half, until magic hour and time for us to go home. The sun begins to set here around 4:30 now. We caught it going down behind a hill.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Wednesday sky

How beautiful is this?

This is a photo taken from my back porch, straight from the camera, no photoshopping or colorization.

My house has views like this all around it, from every window there is a magnificent scene. It's like living in a gallery, where all the art is changing constantly around me. It is so good for the mind to be surrounded by natural beauty like this all the time. I can't even quantify the changes it creates in my outlook -- I only know that I would find it almost impossible to live without it now.

On a more mundane level, here is my latest project -- it's a cotton pullover with a Viking design at the neckline. I'm making it up as I go along. It's knit from the top down with raglan sleeves (it will be long-sleeved) so I just try it on as I go. It's good plain movie-watching knitting for the most part.

Knitting is very meditative, perhaps the best kind of meditation for a pragmatist like myself, because I don't have the nagging feeling in the back of my mind that sitting still is wasting time.
I realized this year that colour is very important to me -- I look for color all the time, and find it inspiring.

Here are some yarns I bought online -- they have magnificent colors in them -- they're Araucania Magallanes, from Chile. This color mix reminds me of the winter sky. The one below it reminds me of autumn. I saw those colors, the reds, wines and greens echoed over and over in the autumn landscape, from the marigolds that were going to seed on my front porch, to the rhubarb that was dying a stately death in the back garden.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Beautiful November

We've had a warm fall this year. I came here in November 2001, and it was a similar year -- it was dry and relatively warm. I remember standing on my porch the day the moving van arrived, and just a dusting of snow was falling while the movers brought my furniture into the house. This fall is an echo of 7 years ago. We had 3 years of drought after that, then gradually more rain, until this year was wet enough to fill the empty sloughs and make the fields and forests lush again. The last four years have had blisteringly cold days in the winter (down to minus 40, sometimes with a windchill to minus 76). If this winter is like the one 7 years ago, it will be mild and dry, and usher in a dry summer. We shall see. This photo is from our walk on Sunday, when it was a beautiful 15 degrees C. That's one of the pretty llama girls reflected in the muskrat pond.

And this little salamander was swimming around the pond by the house.

Last weekend I went to visit my friend Penny who is a florist. She gave me this fantastic flower arrangement. It contains parrot tulips, birch bark, peppers, foliage from the garden, and some green plants.
Penny has a very artistic eye and can make a beautiful arrangement from "just things I find"-- she had a gorgeous fall group in her house that included dried leaves from her yard, and some fallen apples.
I liked this Vermeer lighting, but here is another picture of the same arrangement with the flash so you can see the vibrant colors.

On the knitting front, I've been piling up sock presents for the nephews. These are all in Knitpicks washable Felici.

And I recently completed this circular sweater. It's in Araucania Magallanes in a green variegation that is all the colours of a spruce forest in the mountains. The design is ingenious, it's a circle with the sleeves at 10 and 2 o'clock. You can wear it with the "noon" position at the top for a shorter collar and longer back (as in this picture), or with the "6" position at the top, for a deep collar and extra warmth on the back.
The stitch pattern is in bands of twisted stitch with a dark brown contrast, and in garter stitch. The edging is done in Suri alpaca, which is as soft as cashmere.
The pattern is from Vogue Knitting, Anniversary 2007 issue, though it's also in 2005. It's by Annie Modesitt.

And here's the last one I finished. It took me about a week, and I did it freestyle without a pattern. It's in Suri Dream by Knitpicks, color is Aqua. It weighs only 200 grams, and is super warm, soft and light. It's a self-striping yarn, and I like how the colors pooled along the neckline and on the sleeves. I only used 4 x 50 gm balls of yarn for this, it has excellent yardage. I think I used needles size 6 mm.