Let the past sleep, but let it sleep in the sweet embrace of Christ, and let us go on into the invincible future with Him. (Oswalt Chambers)

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Four Day Power Outage

Pappy and I were in doggy school when the storm hit SW Michigan last Thursday evening. It was short and severe. By the time we thought to worry it was looking better outside and we continued on with our obedience.

When we left to drive home an hour later the roads were covered with downed branches. Even worse, it appeared that doggy school was the only island of uninterrupted power for miles around.

Before I could pull into the driveway at home, I had to get out of the car and pick branches up to get them out of my way. The porch light was not on. Bad omen.

Friday morning we spotted a downed old willow tree right across the hedgerow in our neighbor's horse pasture.

All the silvery stuff on the ground is the willow leaves tangled with downed electric wires from the power pole on the right side of the picture.

With 305,000 power customers without power, we figured we weren't on the top of the repair list. A call to the automated update line confirmed that theory. Our estimated restoration time was 11 pm on Sunday.

11 pm on Sunday came and went without a sign of a repair truck.

A little after 12:00 noon on Monday, six trucks pulled into the neighbors yard and split up to handle their section of the downed line.

Not wanting to get anywhere near downed power lines, I took this with my zoom lens. The poles are farther apart than they look in this picture.

The lines hanging from the poles are supposed to be up in the air and horizontal. Four poles of dangling lines were created by that one willow tree.

I sat in the back yard and watched the guys bouncing around in their cherry pickers stringing new lines. What a pretty sight - the guys, not me.

The lines in the downed willow were cut off and left on the ground with the branches.

When everything was done, the six trucks drove off and we still didn't have power. They had other downed wires to fix before they could turn it back on for us.

2:30 pm on Monday, the refrigerator (standing open and empty) started humming and life began to return to normal.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Saturday, August 25, 2007

No Power

No power since Thursday evening when the storm that hit Chicago jumped over Lake Michigan and landed here, taking down trees and many power lines.

Our estimated power restoration time is Monday.

All is well, but by candlelight, not electricity.

Will post again when things get back to normal.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Ravelry, Reality, and Rant

This morning my Ravelry invite was in my mailbox. Oh my!

My Ravelry name is knittingviolet.

I've entered my profile, my three current projects, and the few friends I could find.

Herbstlied (Autumn Song) was listed as a project but I seem to be the only one actually knitting it. That was a disappointment. I'm hoping my project will inspire some others to cast it on.

First impression - Ravelry is a work of genius and I'd love to spend hours and hours looking around.

Reality - I have dialup and a life. I'm not sure how Ravelry is going to fit into my online hours. Some of it is redundant to my blog postings and blog readings.

Rant - Why don't they do something really needed on my road like install a high speed internet connection? Isn't that more important than paving?

After several days of quiet, the road workers are back in front of our house today. They're removing tree stumps across the street with a Track Hoe that beeps while it's going forward as well as when it's backing up. Some of their work makes the house shake. It's so noisy here that DH Bob gave up listening to his audiobook.

This afternoon the Track Hoe and the Low Boy finally took the stump from the Biggest Oak. I see a trench in our front yard's future.

Tonight after the workers leave, we'll head down to the flooded end of the road to see what they've done.

The people in charge put up temporary mail boxes for us at that intersection. We need to get the mail - a perfect excuse to gawk at the roadwork. They're the smallest, flimsiest, mailboxes I've ever seen, but it beats having to drive to town and stand in line at the Post Office window.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Wetland means Water

We live in a wetland. The area is full of spring fed ponds (we have two) and creeks, both natural and man made for drainage. The man made creeks are old. They never dry up and are impossible to distinguish from the natural creeks.

When we were thinking of buying this house sixteen years ago, I was apprehensive about all the water.

An intelligent fellow worker with a home on this road talked to me about life in a wetland. He summed it up like this: "It's different. It's not bad, just different."

He was right. The houses here were planned and built to avoid water problems. We have above ground septic systems.

In the low areas, the ground water is only a few feet underground. I'm not sure the Road Commission or the construction firm hired by the Road Commission understands our wetland.

Friday afternoon the bulldozer started digging a trench for the new part of the roadbed.

The trench hasn't reached our frontage yet, so I missed most of the entertainment when the water started seeping in and the bulldozer got stuck. I heard that it took him some time and effort to haul the bulldozer out with his track hoe.

Once the bulldozer was out, he parked it and went home early.

The trench is five feet deep, deeper than it looks in the picture.

By Saturday afternoon the water averaged about a foot deep. It would be deeper if SW Michigan wasn't suffering a Level 2 drought.

Saturday night and Sunday morning we got some much needed rain.

When I drove to church Sunday morning, the trench water was almost up to road level.

Later in the day when this picture was taken, the trench had about three feet of water in it. The side of the road next to the trench is mush.

It's still rainy today. The trench water is overflowing into a nearby creek. None of the road workers has been seen. The neighborhood is anxiously waiting to see what happens next.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

I Love Gansey Socks in Progress

Click on picture to see more detail.

Both cuffs are done, one with a heel flap.

The cuff on the left shows the pretty cable panel that goes down the left and right side of the sock.

The seed stitch hearts go down the front and back of the sock. The cuff on the right is turned to show the back of the sock with a heart on the heel flap.

Pattern: I Love Gansey Sock designed by Janine LeCras for the Six Sock Knitalong

Yarn: Opal sock yarn, 75% wool, 25% nylon

Color: UNI-Solid red

Needles: Addi Turbo #1, but with all the two stitch cable crossings in this sock I wish I had some sharp pointed Options needles.

Gauge: 8 stitches/inch, 10 rows/inch in stockinette

Friday, August 17, 2007

Friday's Feast for August 17

It's Friday, so let's have a Feast.

Describe your laundry routine. Do you have a certain day when you do it all, or do you just wash whatever you need for the next day?

For the last few years I've been doing it all on the same day.

Lately, to vary the process, I've been using a three week rotation schedule:
  • Week 1: a) Darks including jeans and b) reds
  • Week 2: a) Medium cool colors and b) medium warm colors
  • Week 3: a) Whites and b) Miscellaneous fragile things

Bedding is washed on the day I change the bed.

Throw rugs are washed when decide they're dirty.

I'm not strict with myself about this schedule. All types of variations happen depending on how disciplined I decide to be in any given week. Right now I'm behind with the laundry schedule but we're not out of anything critical.

In your opinion, what age will you be when you’ll consider yourself to truly be old?


What is one of your goals? Is it short-term, long-term, or both?

My long term goal is to maintain my weight at five pounds less than I weight today.

My short term goal is to get back to that weight.

I'm blaming the extra pounds on the road construction. Why not? Road construction is a very convenient scapegoat for everything.

Main Course
Name something unbelievable you’ve seen or read lately.

Dorothy, a blogging friend who lives in the Northwest is getting the road where she lives lowered eight feet. Her driveway will be unusable for at least 56 hours twice.

Trying to guess why the road lowering is necessary and how they're going to match up the newly lowered road with her driveway both stump my imagination. I'm hoping she posts pictures and explanations on her blog.

On a scale of 1-10 with 10 being highest, how happy are you today?


Although I have no major life problems, the stress, noise, and dust of the road construction continues.

The bulldozers are digging a huge trench for the new road bed (the road is moving 5 feet in our direction). Looks like they won't reach our former yard until next week.

Road construction disrupts normal life and upsets the dogs.

Pappy finally gave in to doggy road construction stress by scratching and chewing on himself creating two hot spots, one on his right rear hip and one on the base of his tail.

Hotspots grow quickly. I rescheduled a haircut to get him immediately to the vet for a steroid shot, antibiotic, and a topical power for the pain. When he stopped his frantic scratching and biting, he was so tired he didn't even want to go for a walk. He's been sleeping almost constantly for more than 24 hours.

Good thing he's getting rested before the bulldozer arrives.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Six Willows Down

Although we never thought we wanted our road paved and we certainly never thought we wanted the trees along our frontage removed, there are some benefits.

For the past several years it's been obvious that the six willow trees on a strip of land between the pond and the creek needed to be removed.

Before the county took down the huge pine trees lining the road, there was no way to reach these willow trees with the machinery needed to safely down them.

In this picture taken last weekend, the trees were old and falling apart. There were large, lethal, broken off branches hanging in the remains.

By the time our frontage trees were gone, we knew the owner of the tree service by first name. He was a nice young man and we contracted with his company to take down the willows, and grind the stumps down.

Monday morning they arrived once again to cut down more of our trees. This time we were happy to see them.

In this picture four trees were down, two still standing, and brittle, broken willow branches were everywhere - in the pond, on the land between the pond and the creek, in the creek, and on the land on the other side of the creek.

Tuesday morning when they came back for most of the clean up, one of the men was wearing waders to fish branches out of the creek and from across the creek.

By the time they finished and left Tuesday afternoon, the strip between the pond and creek was empty.

Ready for grass and maybe something else - but it won't be willows!

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Autumn Song Update for August 14

If this was the start of the front, then this is the start of the back.

If all is knit according to pattern, they are exactly the same.

The graph for the next two leaves has been constructed in low tech - scissors and tape - and I'm ready to knit on with this piece. When I reach the top of the second graph, I'll switch back to the front and knit on that until I reach the top of the second graph.

Then, I have to figure out the neckline. I think I've got the gist of it, but I need to make sure before constructing the graph for the last two leaves.

Pattern: Herbstlied (Autumn Song) from New Style of Heirloom Knitting.

Yarn: Knitpicks Wool of the Andes, 100% wool.

Color: Firecracker heather

Needles: Options #5.

Gauge: 5.5 stitches/inch, 8.4 rows/inch in pattern

Click on the label Herbstlied at the end of this post to see all posts on this blog mentioning Herbstlied.

Other knitting projects on the needles:

Mystery Stole 3 - Clue 6, the next to the last clue is done. It looks like it did after Clue 5 only now it has more feathers.

We're still not done picking up live stitches for the wing. Looking forward to Clue 7, the last clue, on Friday.

Gansey Socks - I was a charter member of the Six Sock Knitalong, but it's been over a year since I've knit one of their socks. The Gansey Sock, the current pattern, caught my attention and I cast on yesterday.

I'm knitting it in red Opal UNI-Solid because I'm on a red kick and because it has hearts as part of the pattern.

There's not enough done to post a picture yet.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Thursday's Tale

Two huge backhoes spent Thursday afternoon in our front right of way removing tree stumps. They clanked, roared, banged, dug, and hissed. And there was the almost continuous DING DING DING compliments of OSHSA - (Occupational Safety and Health Standards Act).

In the US, OSHSA requires most equipment to loudly DING DING DING while backing up. While OSHSA was busy coming up with rules to keep us physically safe, they forgot to consider our sanity.

Dozens of stumps on our frontage and across the road came out easy. The biggest oak stump didn't. It required both backhoes working together. I could feel the house shake when it came loose.

Once they got it out of the ground they threw it around, banged it up and down, and pounded on the top of it to
  • a) try to get as much soil out of it as possible because it had left a large crater they needed to fill
  • b) attempt to get in into pieces so they could fit it into the truck that hauls stumps away.

In this picture, the backhoe on the right is taking his turn with it.

They were unable to break it up. They are going to bring in a low boy (whatever that is) to pick it up and take it away.

Meanwhile, here it sits in the corner of what used to be my front yard.

The top part where sawed is five feet across. The entire trunk mass including root stubs is about twelve feet across.

The dogs were totally nerved up all afternoon. They even did some "marking" in the house in hopes that claiming it would save their home from the horrible creatures destroying their front yard.

Doggy naps were impossible.

When it was time to go to doggy school Thursday evening, they were tired. Very tired.

When it was Pappy's turn to do the agility course which he normally loves, he ran across the building and jumped up in the chair where we'd been sitting.

When it was Sunny's turn to do the agility course which was mostly jumps, her very favorite, she ran along side the jumps instead of going over them.

When we got home, the men were gone and all was quiet. Pappy sacked out to sleep in a limp pile. Sunny slinked under the bed for safety and went to sleep.

Bob reported that after the men left, Glory enjoyed walking out to one of the backhoes and peeing next to it.

They're not done yet. The backhoes are still parked here and they'll be back 7 am Monday morning for more stumps.

To make things even more interesting, a tree crew is scheduled to arrive Monday morning and take down 6 large willow trees along the creek on our property. More about that some other day.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Friday's Feast for August 10

It's Friday, so let's have a Feast.

What is your favorite kind of pie?

Mom's apple pie made the old fashioned way with totally unhealthy stuff in the crust.

In this picture from March my little brother Dave from Oregon was in the area and Mom baked an awesome apple pie in his honor.

We had a great visit and ate every last crumb of the pie.

Name something that made you smile this week.

It rained!! We got a little over an inch.

We've been suffering and are still suffering from Level 2 drought. There has been irreversible plant damage. Many of the none damaged plants have gone dormant for the year.

Since we live in a swamp wetland our damage was not as extensive as other places in SW Michigan. It still hasn't been pleasant with the trucks and heavy equipment on our "under construction" dirt road. Remember the dust clouds when they took the trees down?

Other summers the county has watered our road on a regular schedule. They're not doing that this year. My theory: They want us to get as much dust as possible so we will be grateful they're going to pave the road.

What do you do to cool off when the weather is hot and humid?

Do all chores that require effort in the cool of the morning and then sit in front of the fan during the heat of the day.

Main Course
You receive $1,000 in the mail with a letter that says you can only use the money to redecorate one room in your home. Which room do you pick, and what do you buy to spruce it up?

The only pretend part of this is the someone giving me money to spend.

With the missing trees and more missing trees to come next week, the house is now exposed to the road and the neighbors. I need to buy curtain rods and curtains for the windows.

For this question I pick the living room because it has the biggest windows and will be the most expensive.

Fill in the blank: My _________ says __________, but I __________.

My birth certificate says I'm 62 years old, but I don't feel it most of the time.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Raupe Socks Done - SAM4 for August

August sock for the Sock A Month KAL 4 is done. Click socks to embiggen picture.

Pattern: Plain wide ribbing, k7, p1, on 56 stitches to fit my narrow ankles and feet.

I tried several stitch patterns and frogged them. None of them were pretty with this colorway. It begs to be by itself and show its caterpillar colors.

Yarn: Opal sock yarn, 75% wool, 25% nylon

Color: Rainforest II, Raupe.

Raupe is German for caterpillar. I found this picture showing the caterpillar that almost perfectly matches the socks.

Needles: Addi Turbo #1

Gauge: 8 stitches/inch, 10 rows/inch.

Thanks to helpful and knowledgeable readers Mireille and Kristin , I know that this raupe turns into an Old World Swallowtail
(Papilio machaon), found in Europe and Asia.

It is closely related to the Eastern Tiger Swallowtail (Papilio glaucus) common in the Eastern United States including SW Michigan where I live.

I shot this Eastern Tiger Swallowtail in May when it visited my azaleas.

Monday, August 06, 2007

MS3 Clue 5

Clue 5 of Mystery Stole 3, Swan Lake, is done. The stole is back in the basket waiting for Clue 6 on Friday.

The right hand side of the stole (left side of the picture) is a swan wing, knit with short rows. Some Mystery Stole knitters were not pleased the stole is not going to be symmetrical and have come up with various ways to omit the wing and make their version match on both ends.

Normally I like prefer symmetry. It took me a minute or two - not more - to adjust my thinking when I saw the fifth clue. I didn't want to give up the fun and anticipation of knitting a mystery pattern by a competent designer like Melanie.

So far I think it likely the end result will be lovely. It can't be judged by this unblocked picture of a third of a completed wing.

Pattern: Mystery Stole 3 By Melanie Gibbons

Yarn: Regia silk fingering weight. 55% merino wool, 20% silk, 25% nylon.

Color: Black. As part of the KAL (Knit-A-Long) we were told that white or black best fit the stole theme.

Needles: Options #4.

Young Blue Heron hunting in the pond.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Catching Up on Memes

Son John unofficially tagged me for a meme to list things I can't live without. Since it was unofficial and the rules are totally vague, I think I'll skip. Thank you for giving me the choice, John.

Lisa has nominated me as a Rockin' Girl Blogger.

This is so not me, including the Barbie pink color of the button. I'm more like Creaky Grandma Blogger.

It was nice of her to think of me, however. And I'll take the opportunity to nominate 5 Rockin' Girl Bloggers casually selected from my Bloglines list.

These blogs may or may not have been nominated previously. I haven't kept track and I'm not going check with my totally non-Rockin' dial-up connection.

Bunchkin. A talented, fearless young knitter. She lives in Alaska, is currently in the process of moving to Fairbanks, and sometimes has a moose in her yard.

Kathy. Newly retired, she sticks to a few projects at one time and knits them to perfection. Sometimes her little dog, SofeeSu steals the blogging show.

Sue. Recently moved to Cody Wyoming and has been posting beautiful pictures of the area on her blog. She's a new mom to Milo, a rescue Weimaraner.

Alwen. She lives near me somewhere in SW Michigan and does all types of interesting Lost Arts like tatting, netmaking, chair caning, and even weaving. It wouldn't surprise me if we meet someday, but we're both introverts and it could take a while.

Trish. Another Michigan knit blogger with awesome garden photos. This week she is showing roses. Beautiful!

I dislike tagging people to do things they may not care to do. So this branch of the award ends here - unless you're one of the five bloggers mentioned above, this is your first nomination, and you want to nominate five Rockin' Girl Bloggers of your own.

Friday's Feast - two days late.

On a scale of 1 to 10 with 10 being highest, how polite are you?

9. Sometimes I mess up, but rarely on purpose.

What was the last thing that made you laugh out loud?

Pappy licking my neck.

He likes to sit on the back of the loveseat behind my right shoulder while I work on my laptop. Sometimes he can't resist sneaking in a few doggy kisses. They tickle.

Who is your favorite cartoon character?

Shrek. I enjoy the Shrek movies and the pleasant memories associated with seeing them with Granddaughter Kimmy.

Main Course
Tell about the funniest teacher you ever had.

A math teacher in Junior College who frequently came to teach evening calculus in his slippers.

Years later I met his daughter. When I mentioned this to her as part of my fond memory of her father, she was horrified and told me, "My father would never do anything like that!"

Well, he did. But with respect for her, I won't mention his name.

Complete this sentence: I strongly believe that ______________________.

I strongly believe that the Bible is the key to the meaning of life.

Friday, August 03, 2007

Knitting Log for August 3

Yes, there has been some knitting going on in the heat. I'm happily down to three projects and enjoying each one in its turn. Three seems to be my project number of comfort.

A new Mystery Stole 3 clue (a clue is the next part of the pattern) comes out every Friday. Knitting this stole is most fun if I'm ready for the new clue when it appears, so I've been making this my number one knit each Friday until I catch up.

The clues are small enough so I can get them finished in a few days at most.

Today we learned the theme: Swan Lake. The final three clues are going to create a swan wing on the final end of the stole. What fun. There's still some mystery. We don't know how the wing is going to look when finished. I can hardly wait to start Clue 5 this evening.

Project details and picture of my finished Clue 4 are here.

For the August Sock A Month KAL 4 I'm knitting myself a plain, wide ribbing pair of socks out of Opal Rainforest Raupe.

I tried several stitch patterns, but none of them were pretty with this colorway. It just begs to be by itself and show its caterpillar colors.

Raupe is German for caterpillar. I found this picture showing the caterpillar that almost perfectly matches the color patterns I'm getting on 56 stitches with #1 needles.

Identification of the corresponding butterfly has not been accomplished yet due to painfully slow dial-up connection and a desire to go knit instead of searching.

Anybody know what kind of raupe this is?

Last, but not least, is Herbstlied/Autumn Song.

One piece is the front, the other the back. At this point it doesn't matter which is which.

The first section of my chart is done on the big piece. It's time to work on the second piece until it gets to the same row. Then, it's time to cut and paste together a new chart for the next section up.

The stitch patterns all have different row repeats - 8,24,14,6, and 52 rows for the oak leaves. It's easier to knit if I can follow the same chart all the way across.

Pattern: Herbstlied (Autumn Song) from New Style of Heirloom Knitting.

Yarn: Knitpicks Wool of the Andes, 100% wool.

Color: Firecracker heather

Needles: Options #5.

Gauge: 5.5 stitches/inch, 8.4 rows/inch in pattern

Click on the label Herbstlied at the end of this post to see all posts on this blog mentioning Herbstlied.

Thinking it would be fun to knit the Sock A Month KAL 4 completely in the month of required completion, I whipped up a pair of CIC socks the last week of July while postponing the start of my August socks.

I like to have something simple around to pick up when I'm tired and/or want to pay attention to something other than my knitting.

They're knit from worsted weight Knitpicks Swish, obviously red, on 40 stitches and #3 needles. Made the pattern up as I knit.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Dog Days of Summer

There are a few days each summer when we think we should have an air conditioner. We're having those days this week.

It's very dry. The grass is dormant and even the weeds are looking droopy.

Hey Mom! Remember that thing that used to happen sometimes? There were big booms that scared Glory and then water came down out of the sky?

How come that doesn't happen anymore?

By the way, thanks for the haircut. It feels great on a day like this. But I hope you're planning to let some hair grow back before winter.

The water level is so low in this creek that I can wade in on one side of the bridge, walk through the culvert, and come out the other side.

I'm Glory, the big dog in the family, and I love going into the water to cool off.

Sunny and Pappy think I'm nuts but I know they'd love swimming if they'd only give it a try.

My name is Sunshine. Mom and Dad usually just call me Sunny. On hot summer days I like to sunbathe.

Some dogs, like my crazy sister Glory, think going into the water is the answer to the heat. I worry about Glory when she does that and try to herd her to safety without getting myself wet. It doesn't work, but danged if I'm going into that cold creek to rescue her.