Sunday, October 23, 2016

Friday's Hunt v 2.17

Almost didn't make it under the time limit this week.  Again, it's been a busy week and I was away this past weekend at a yarn spinning retreat.  I just got home, and here's my Friday's Hunt post, to keep myself going on the meme hosted by Eden Hills!  The three prompts for this week are "Starts with Q," "Week's Favourite" and "Fall or Spring."

Starts with Q
As I mentioned, I was at the Maritime Spinners' Retreat this weekend, and I had a great time connecting with fellow spinners and knitters.  We were able to participate in a fibre challenge by spinning 4 oz of merino fibre any way we wanted, and then creating a project with the yarn we had spun.  I needed to make something QUICK because I received my fibre quite late, and then had very little time to get it finished.  Spinning coiled yarn is fairly quick, but it also makes a short amount of yardage due to the structure of the yarn.  Short yardage meant a smaller project, and thus a quicker project!  I decided to use my rigid heddle loom to weave the coiled yarn into a short runner or even a neck scarf, just to emphasize the nature of the coiled yarn.  So, this was my quick project.  I'm hoping to do a blog post soon showing all the other projects made with the same fibre.

I like the way it turned out - it makes me think of ocean waves or ripples in a pond.  I might use the woven fabric to make something else eventually, when I have more time.

Week's Favourite
While in PEI for the retreat, I visited McAusland's Woollen Mill, where they make yarn as well as a lovely blankets.  The mill was built in 1868.  It was originally a lumber mill and then became a wool mill.  One of my favourite pictures is this shot showing bobbins of maroon coloured 3-ply yarn which are waiting to be skeined.  I love the contrast of the maroon and the steel and the wood of the empty bobbin.

Here's a bonus shot of the skeining machine where those bobbins are headed next!

Since I'm in the northern hemisphere, it's definitely fall for me!  Here's a picture of a young maple on our slope in the front of the house.  I do love the fall colours!  I had hoped to take some nice fall pictures at the retreat but it rained buckets all weekend - not very conducive to pictures outside.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Friday's Hunt v 2.16

I'm late again with Friday's Hunt.  I almost didn't get to it this week - just super busy!  This is going to be a quick one!

As usual, we have three prompts provided by Eden Hills:  Starts with P, Week's Favourite, and Whole.

Starts with P
I am a pajama kind of girl.  I love pajamas - especially warm, fuzzy, fluffy ones.  It's that time of year when I get out the warmer pajamas because the temperatures are dipping down at night and we've already had a few frosts.  Sometimes, I even work in my pajamas, because they're comfortable, and because I work from home, so nobody minds!

I was at Walmart recently (I really dislike shopping at Walmart because I don't like their business practices and ethics, but I do make the occasional foray there for a certain brand of cappuccino mix that I can't buy at any other store).  I do not normally buy clothing at Walmart, but these pajamas were there and...well, I could not resist.  So, for the letter P, I give you me, in my new raccoon pajamas, sort of pretending to be a raccoon.  They even have a tail, and you can see the raccoon face on the hood, complete with ears!

Really, I love them!  They are so warm and cozy!

Week's Favourite
I have been so busy this week that I haven't taken many pictures.  I took this one on Monday when I took the pictures of the tree that fell down.  The fall colours are really beautiful now.  This picture is one of my burning bushes (Euonymus alatus) that has turned a gorgeous shade of deep reddish-pink, and there were some yellow birch leaves caught in spider webs that really contrasted with the red.  I thought it made a lovely shot.

Here's a bonus shot of the driveway with fall colours so you can see how it looks now.

I was really stumped for this one, especially with not having taken many pictures this week and being so busy with work - my creative ideas are at a bit of a standstill.  Marc brought home more pallets from work this week.  He has been taking them apart to get wood to build the inside walls of his workshop.  All I can think of for "whole" is that we have a WHOLE LOT of pallets right now, as well as barn boards that he collected from an old shed!  And pallets start with P, too.  Double points!

 There are pallets against the house as shown above, and others in separate piles.

There are also some nice organized piles of pallet boards from those already taken apart.  That is a WHOLE LOT of wood!

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Wind Casualty

My work has been really busy lately, and I've been missing my regular bird and plant walks around the garden.  Today I decided to take one of those walks, even though I felt like I didn't have time.  I was pleased to be back from my trip and able to feed the chickadees again.  I noticed a lot of leaves and small branches on the ground as I began walking.  We had some extremely strong winds, and other parts of the Maritime provinces have been very badly damaged by the storm that was the tail end of Hurricane Matthew passing by.  There were record-breaking rainfall totals in several provinces and many power outages.  New Brunswick fared better than Nova Scotia and Newfoundland, but we still had the damaging winds and fairly heavy rain.  I wandered around to the front yard and discovered, much to my surprise, that we had a tree fall down during the night!

The tree was an old spruce that was positioned along the lower edge of our driveway.  When it fell, it broke with about 2 or 3 feet of stump left in the ground.

The tree fell outwards, towards the road, and spans between the road and the bottom curve of our driveway.  The wood doesn't look rotten, so I think it was just the heavy winds combined with the height of the tree.

It's probably a 75 foot long tree, or thereabouts.  These tall spruce have branches without many needles along most of their length, with the green and vibrant part right up at the top where it gets the sunlight.  I wonder if that also makes them a bit top-heavy.

I noticed that it also took down a large bough from a pine tree in its fall.  Here you can see the top (green) part of the spruce pointing to the left, and the pine bough underneath it.

When he came home after work, Marc was able to help me move the pine bough and the top part of the downed tree into the goat and sheep area, so that they could snack on the pine and spruce needles, which they love to eat!  They also eat the lichen on the branches.  Now there is a bit of an open patch where the sunlight comes through - no doubt it will lead to a new tree being able to grow up into the space that has been left.

I was sad to see that we'd lost this tree, but it's part of the natural cycle of woodlands, and many creatures will benefit from the old wood as it decays.   We will have to cut up some of the largest portions and move them, but some of the branches and smaller pieces will stay on the ground.  Here's a young spruce just starting out in the area that the old one was shading - maybe this one will be the next towering tree!

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Friday's Hunt, v 2.15

It's time for Friday's Hunt again! Except it's now Sunday!  That's because this week, I had a very busy week (again!) and I had to travel to Las Vegas for a work conference from Wednesday through Saturday.  I am tired and there is a lot on my "to do" list, so this will be relatively brief.

This week we have the usual 3 prompts:  Starts with O, Week's Favourite, and Eyes.

Starts with O
This week, O is for Opulence.  Las Vegas is all about opulence, excess, and extravagance.  I'm really not a fan of the place - at least not "the strip" as it is called, and the casino-based culture.  In some ways, it is an exciting place, with much to see and do, but it's all done in an "over-the-top" kind of way.  It is a kind of oasis of wealth and extremism in the midst of a parched land.  On the outskirts of the strip, on the way to the airport, you see a lot of poverty and run-down buildings and streets.  It's such a contrast to the glitter and glamour of the Vegas strip.

There's a lot of money grabbing going on as well.  For example, you can't get room service (at least, not at the Excalibur hotel) except between 6 am and 2 pm.  So, if you want supper in your room, you have to go out and find it and bring it back, which means you have to walk through vast, smoke-filled casino areas just to get to a place that sells food.  It's an obvious ploy to make people put money in the machines.  I have no interest in that, so I just found it annoying.  The check-in desk at the hotel is nowhere near the main entrance, so you have to walk through a vast cavern of clanging, ringing, chiming machines just to be able to check in.  Then you have to walk through another whole area of gambling just to get to the elevators.  It's insanity.

Here's another word that starts with O:  Overjoyed (to be home again!)

Week's Favourite(s)
One thing I did really enjoy about being in Las Vegas was the plant life that I saw.  I didn't have an opportunity to explore much, but instead of walking through the hotels all the time to go between my hotel and the conference hotel, I walked outside.  Seems that most people don't do that there! Anyway, the various hotels have some interesting landscaping (much of it done with astroturf because of the lack of water).  There were many plants that I would not normally get to see, especially not growing in "the wild" so to speak.  You can't grow barrel cactus outside in New Brunswick!

Here are some favourite shots from the plants I saw in Vegas - I cannot identify them for you because I have no idea what most of them are!

A palm species!

I think this is a rosemary species - it smelled like it!

A yucca perhaps, or an agave species?  I like the little barrel cactus in front!

I had to go from my room in the Excalibur hotel to the conference in the Mandalay Bay hotel each day.  This took me past the Luxor hotel, which is a large pyramid-shaped building.  Out the front, it has a large sphinx statue, with very large blue eyes.  Here it is!

Friday, September 30, 2016

Friday's Hunt v 2.14

It has been a VERY busy week.  My work has just been crazy, and I haven't had time to blog regularly.  I am trying to keep up with Friday's Hunt though, just to keep myself blogging during this busy time.  Thanks to Eden Hills for hosting the Friday's Hunt blog.

This week our prompts are:  Starts with N, Week's Favourite, and "I made this."

Starts with N
My N story is a sad one.  I had finally managed to convince a nuthatch to start taking seeds from my hand.  I was thrilled to have this new wild bird visiting me over the course of 3 days, and it was an avid sunflower seed lover.  On Wednesday, I was feeding it seeds on the edge of my woods and it flew off with a seed in its mouth, across the yard, and straight into one of my windows.  It died almost instantly.  I was deeply saddened by the loss of this beautiful bird, and felt particularly disheartened about losing my "friend" in such a horrible way.

It has made me investigate ways to prevent bird-window collisions, since almost all of my windows face the woods around my home, and they all reflect that view.  I have learned about a product that I plan to use to help my feathered friends.  It's a do-it-yourself treatment using a special tape with spaced markers on it that prevent the birds from flying into the window, even when there is a reflection.  It's a product recognized by FLAP Canada (Fatal Light Awareness Program) - a program dedicated to reducing bird deaths as a result of window collisions.  Did you know that across North America, estimates of birds killed in window collisions annually ranges from 100 milllion to 1 billion birds.  That is tragic.  I do not want to contribute to that statistic.    I'll be installing "Feather Friendly" marker tape soon.  If you have bird collisions with your windows, consider doing the same thing.

Week's Favourite
My week's favourite is this photograph of yet another new warbler species for me.  I have now had a total of 9 warbler species at my new home, which is really exciting, because I didn't have warblers before.

This is a female Blackburnian warbler.

So far this year I've seen and photographed the following warblers:  Nashville Warbler, Yellow Warbler, Blackburnian Warbler, Magnolia Warbler, Black-throated Blue Warbler, Yellow-rumped Warbler, Pine Warbler, Black and White Warbler, and the Common Yellowthroat, which is a warbler even though it doesn't have warbler in its name.  I'm hoping to keep adding to that list!

I Made This
I make lots of things.  I spin my own yarn on a spinning wheel.  I knit.  I crochet.  I weave.  I do wet felting and needle felting.  I do beading.  I sew and quilt.  I bake and cook.  I've also dabbled in book binding, basketry, origami, quilling, rug hooking, pottery (hand building and wheel throwing), silk scarf painting, tie-dyeing, woodworking, and I even did a blacksmithing course once.  I love to make things because I find it relaxing, rewarding, and an enjoyable way to spend my free time.  I wish I had more time to make things!  Anyway, here are some recent knitting projects!

Here I am wearing a shawl I made - it's knitted from two different skeins of my handspun yarn.

In this close-up, you can see the green yarn, which is a 3-ply blue-faced Leicester yarn (that's a breed of sheep!) and the blue/mauve yarn is 50% merino, 50% tencel, in a 2-ply yarn.

You can see the shawl here along the top of the fence, and with it is the Sea Dragon shawl which I knit last winter.  It is made from handspun yarn from Peru.

Here is a close up so you can see how the blue and green colours meld together - I just love the colours in this shawl.  It took a long time to finish knitting it though!

My little chickadee friend was inspired to check out my knitting too.  I think it's a bit big for her!

This is the Woodland Hoodlet designed by Tiny Owl Knits.  I love it, but I finished it in the spring of this year, so I haven't had a chance to wear it yet because it hasn't been cold enough!  I do love knitting cables!

My little chickadee friends were hanging around for the whole time I was taking pictures with the tripod and self-timer.  They think that all the time I spend outside should be dedicated to feeding them more seeds!

Finally, here's a scarf that I wove on the rigid heddle loom last fall.  Nearly time to start wearing scarves!

Friday, September 23, 2016

Friday's Hunt, v 2.13

Friday is here once again - seems to happen every week! This week has been extremely busy for me, but I appreciate having the work, so I'm not complaining.  I'm still making time for Friday's Hunt, hosted by Eden Hills. As usual, there are 3 topics for today: Starts with M, Week's Favourite, and Work.

Starts with M
I meant to do a blog on this topic a little while ago, but I didn't get around to it, so I'll do it today!  I wanted to showcase some of the interesting mushrooms I have found growing here around our new home.  Fall is mushroom season here, and there have been some really pretty ones.  I've missed a few, but there were still plenty to photograph this week, so here's a little tour of Claire's Mushrooms.

This yellow one is really vivid.  There are several clumps of it around.

It has a spongy underside, rather than the typical "gills" that you see on many mushrooms.  I think that might mean that it's a bolete species, but I'm not sure.

I do have a mushroom field guide, but at the moment, I haven't got time to look all these up in an effort to identify them.

This is a wood fungus growing on a birch.  There are quite a few of this style of fungus around. This one is on a tree that fell a while ago and is slowly decomposing.

These ones are on live birch trees.

Here's a new mushroom just emerging - I love its bright orange colour.

There are a lot of brown mushrooms of one sort or another.  Some are small and kind of trumpet-like.

Or umbrella-like!

Others are large (I put a sunflower seed on this one to indicate size).

I'm quite sure some are edible, but I don't want to take chances until I properly identify them.  Most of the boletes are edible, so that might be a good target group.

This is an interesting fungal species - some kind of orange jelly-type growth on a stump.

This is my favourite mushroom from the ones that I found on my mushroom walk-about.  It has a vivid red cap with bright white gills underneath.   

Week's Favourite
I managed to photograph a new warbler this week, so that's my favourite for the week.  This is a Nashville warbler.  Thank goodness it doesn't sing country music!  Haha!

There's a lot of work still to be done here in our new home.  Even though we moved in back in June, we're both busy, and this week has been especially busy for me with work projects.  Since I work for myself, I have to take the work when it comes, and that can be a bit of a feast-or-famine situation. So, the work of unpacking and organizing (some things which have been packed for over 5 years since I moved back from Iowa), has been on hold this week.  This is a picture of one of my bookshelves, which is currently in a state of ongoing organization (the left side still needs a lot of attention!).  It's a lot of work to go through all my many books and organize and arrange them.  This shelf is all non-fiction:  cookbooks, gardening books, craft and hobby books, art books, animal care books, etc.  My field guides are on a separate smaller bookshelf right next to my desk, since I use them a lot.

Anyway, the work continues!  It's not exactly a pretty picture, but I didn't have a lot of time today so that's going to have to do!