Friday, June 20, 2014

finished object and home improvements

Proof that I do occasionally finish something! These mittens are a pattern that I sort of made up on my own, taking about 120 yards of worsted weight handspun Corriedale wool. One mitten is larger than the other, and the thumbs are wonky, but they are soft and warm. I like the rustic look and feel of them. The wool was "moorit" a reddish brown color of sheep. I started these mittens on my winter knitting retreat in February, knit one, and promptly forgot about them, until two weeks ago, when I decided I simply had to get stuff off the needles. I'm suffering a terrible bout of startitis, and am refusing to respond to it...

We're getting a flurry of home improvements done this next week or so. Today is day 1 of the HVAC servicing; ducts being super-vacuumed and cleaned out, plus a chimney/fireplace cleaning. Next week, the actual heating and AC unit will be tuned up. While our AC is working, it isn't working very well, and we're hoping to put off a system replacement for another year. Keep your fingers crossed!

Meanwhile, the presence of 3 service guys, a giant sucking hose and air compressors are causing Cricket to have a major meltdown. I crated him, but it didn't stop him from growling, barking and hurling death threats to the home invaders from hell - errrr, duct cleaning men. P took him out for a walk, just to keep everyone happy and safe. In retrospect, we probably should have just taken him out before the guys arrived, and kept him gone til the service was done, as they're all over the house right now...

Last week, I had the trees inspected, and was going to set up a trimming of some dead branches and trees off the power lines. The tree man pointed out a big oak on the side of our property and said "that is coming down!!" It wasn't even the tree that was causing me concern, as it seemed overall pretty healthy, with big leafy branches, and an annual acorn production that feeds our army of squirrels. It does grow at a leaning slant, but seemed well-rooted. Distressed, I called in an actual arborist for a consultation, and he and I walked our property, including the unfenced forested ivy jungle part of it. We actually own close to an acre, about 1/2 of which is fenced and more or less domesticated.

The arborist felt the big oak was healthy, and because of its angle of growth, and the lack of erosion around the tree, particularly at its tension roots on the back side, it was safe. But in the overall examination, he felt our big pine tree in the backyard was more of a hazard, as it showed a lightning strike scar, dead wood on high, and holes low down at the base. Further inspection revealed 2 rotted out dying poplars that also needed to go, as they would probably hit the house when they went down...

He recommended that I do the removal and any surrounding pruning in the fall or winter, during their dormancy period, rather than right now, mostly for the health of the remaining trees.

Anyway, I feel like money is flowing through my hands like water, and probably will continue to do so, for the time being. Good news is that I have work for next year, and work I actually enjoy, so that's reassuring. I can always sell stash to put food on the table...amusingly, I have managed to sell a few things recently, just because I idly put it on Ravelry as "trade or sell" status, though I wasn't actively trying to market it or anything. I might list a bit more, just to see what happens.

P retires at the end of this month, and will be solidly established back here by the end of July. Hilariously, he's already getting calls from colleagues about private sector work. He's pretty dead set on a serious vacation, first, as befits someone who's worked for 20 years straight in the same agency. After that, well, we'll see... I will be glad to have my husband home for more than a week or so. We have not lived together w/o him being on a regular travel schedule since 1996, if you can believe that! It will be an adjustment, but a happy one, I think.

sigh...I just got the news that the Atomic Lodge chimney needs repairing and a damper replacement. Arrgh.

Monday, June 09, 2014

summer edition: hello red kayak

Greetings from the other side! As in summer. Oh the solstice hasn't arrived, but summer's most significant indicator: school's out, came a week ago, though I was swimming in paperwork and workshops, so Friday was my first real summer day.

I celebrated by going kayaking early Saturday morning, with my friend Angela, who has a new boat she needed to break in. My own red kayak sees so little action, and I plan to change that this summer.

We put in at a local park with a lake, and paddled around in the flat cool water for a couple of hours. Relaxing and a great way to kick off the weekend. Promising each other we'd scout out other likely urban waterways for paddling fun, after it was over. Angela is also a knitter, and I'm thinking next time that I'm going to bring a sock to work on, though she doesn't seem convinced that this is a good idea. 

Nothing new on the needles, or rather nothing much that I've photographed; I'm making the Forest Canopy Shawl in some pretty handspun. I wanted easy lace that could go somewhere and be semi public knitting without too much drama. I am desperately trying to find my knitting mojo out there. 

P's retirement is imminent, and I'm looking forward to having him here again, while being acutely aware that we haven't lived together without him being on a regular travel schedule since 1995. So having someone around every day will be an adjustment. I'm quite used to being the unquestioned chatelaine of the Atomic Lodge, and I'm hoping to somehow maintain my zen when we encounter this huge domestic shift. P doesn't seem nearly as worried about it as I am, which is typical of his optimism, and usually it's contagious. Sometimes I think we should think about getting a completely different place together, so we could start on a more equal footing...but really, in my world, I want to stop flipping houses everytime someone needs a change. 

 Spinning continues to be my main fiber pursuit these days: 
I spun up this beautiful dark gray shetland over the past couple of weeks. It was a Christmas gift from my mom. Rather, it spun itself, into a light worsted. 8oz =405 yards of the pretty stuff. Two washings in Eucalan, and it still smells sheepy. I'm hoping that tones down a little over time. Our humidity is so intense right now that it didn't dry out completely when I hung it in the bathroom. So I put it in the truck, on the dashboard, and parked the truck in the sun. Now the truck smells faintly sheepy. I was actually spinning for a project, Lisa Lloyd's Tilly scarf. I love her book "A Fine Fleece," which is knitting for spinners, and I would love to spin for one of her sweaters, but for now, a scarf will do. I got the suggested 400 yards, so this is actually dedicated yarn. So nice to have a plan. To the someday goal of spinning for a sweater, I'm continuing to spin up mixed gray BFL, at roughly a dk weight, and just keeping it in my stash. At some point (4 oz at a time) I'll have a sweater's quantity of more-or-less uniform yarn, then I'll get serious. 

Today's project is continuing the deep cleanse of the kitchen. I cleaned the fridge yesterday; it was unbelievably filthy, and now it's pristine. This makes me incredibly happy, and in the mood to keep pushing with the scouring of the house.