May 30, 2013


Botanical Knits by Alana Dakos of Never Not Knitting

The theme or, rather, Leaf Motif

My copy of Botanical Knits finally arrived! I pre-ordered this book in February. Now before you start to turn purple, I did immediately, well, before I could sigh properly, receive, with the click of a button, the digital e book.

Inside the book's cover, I found some nifty leaf stickers. And a few days ago, to thank me for my purchase, I also received the Ivy Trellis Hat digital pattern.

The patterns are beautifully written and illustrated and easy to follow. If you haven`t seen these patterns, pop on over to Never Not Knitting for more great books and patterns or check for Botanical Knits, Coastal Knits, and NNK on the Raverly groups.

Did I mention yarn? Of course, its a matter of preference, coupled with your, no doubt, enviable, houdinic ability to obtain gauge, but the yarns chosen for these patterns are absolutely gorgeous.

After a fine, luxurious look at the book, I did, probably like countless others before me, run to my stash, while I am grateful for it, I found it severely lacking.

For those of you that I know that do not knit, (banish the thought) I hope this book entices you to pick up the sticks.

Since I find it easier to mark up an annotated copy of the patterns with on my iPad, I may give this hard copy--minus the stickers--away. Any takers?

So many beautiful things to knit, so little time. Happy stitching!

May 28, 2013

Calling all Ships

No ships on the river today. I am always surprised when I see one.Why? Because they are huge and it is a river after all, but with deep channels--deep enough to pilot a ship through and part of the St Lawrence--Great Lakes Seaway. 

The Seaway, in case you require a refresher on its length like I did, covers 2300 miles or 3700 kilometers. It winds its way through all five Great Lakes, the St. Lawrence River and all the way east to the Gulf of St. Lawrence.

Last year, further west, I watched a ship clear a lock. After his perfect piloting feat, the captain came out on deck and waved to the crowd on the hill. Needless to say we all cheered! 
Today's aphorism:  If you are trying to ride out a storm, stay calm or you will swamp the boat.

May 24, 2013

Walk on the Wild Side

 That barely discernible Rose-Breasted Grosbeak actually turned around to sing for me. 
A beautiful ditty, enhanced by a large backup chorus.
Last year, in this area, I watched a red-winged blackbird perform his noisy mating dance. He stuck, first one leg and then the other leg out sideways, shook each leg vigorously, while showing off the line of his wings.
      Beyond hilarious...
Knock, knock anyone home? There was no sign or Ma or Pa. I decided not to intrude though I did want to sneak a peek inside the nest, but, unfortunately, I left my extension ladder at home.
Does anyone know the builder?
So you think you can hide?
Got ya! Jack-in-the-Pulpit
 A fiddlehead fern dressed in new frills.
Unknown but admirable.

May 21, 2013

Clicking the Sticks

My In the Pines after wet blocking 

Before the magic of wet blocking with many rows left to knit.

The Fleece - Merino
 Malabrigo sock - approx. 425 yds

Pictured above, my finished version of the Shetland Triangle: a beginner's lace shawl designed by Evelyn Clark.  In case you are new to knitting, or have decided to pick up your needles after a long hiatus, Evelyn  can also be found on the wildly popular knitting site Raverly, along with a myriad of other talented knitwear designers and knitters.

About three weeks ago, I joined a great group of knitters for a Shetland Triangle KAL, ( knit-along)  hosted by Girls in Sheeps Clothing. Recent and past KALS, with a group of talented knitters, have turned out several intricate eye-popping creations!

For new and non-knitters, (I know you are out there) wet blocking involves immersing the item, or, in this case, shawl in tepid water for about 20 minutes. Then after rolling the shawl in a towel and gently squeezing out the excess water, the shawl is pinned out and left to dry on a blocking board, or rug, bed, etc. (I use a yoga mat.) Since I do not have blocking wires, I use T pins to pin out the points, and I weave yarn through the top of the shawl and pull it tight to even things out; it works just fine. As you can see, blocking unfolds, like butterfly wings, the beauty of the lace.

It is time to pick up my sticks. I've got a few wips (works in progress) to finish. And if I was in a mood to confess, there might be, in some oblivious corner, one or two ufos (unfinished objects) to complete.

May 18, 2013


Joanie's only Rhodie

The picture courtesy of my long time garden pal, and my good friend, Joanie, is of her one and "only rhodie." I would like to add, that Joanie has earned, among her many other accomplishments, the title of Master Gardener. If you've been reading the comments, you may have noticed that Joan will be facilitating, I'm certain, "a course to attend," this fall, in her area, called The Spirituality of Gardening.

Every rhododendron has a certain beauty. But the ethereal, pink blossoms on Joan's rhododendron are particularly beautiful!

The rhododendron is the national flower of Nepal. Can you imagine trekking along a trail in the rhododendron forests of Nepal? Yes, forests!

While my imagination never fails me, on this day, in the face of reality, I will soon be flatland trekking at the local greenhouse.

May 16, 2013


Bird song fills the air and
hard-headed woodpeckers do the drill. 

Over the winter the willow trees took a bit of a beating, but they, too, have been touched by spring. When the wind blows, their long branches sweep the ground like a conceited maestro taking bows. 

What could be better than a day spent under the willows with a good book? And if you should grow tried of reading, you can walk to the pond and check out a family or two of turtles sunning themselves on a log. 

The willows remind me of the Coleridge's poem:  This Lime-Tree Bower My Prison. A touch of self-pity  invades the first verse of the poem. [ Because of an injury--perhaps a sprained or broken ankle?, Coleridge had been left behind while his friends went walking, so he wrote Lime-Tree Bower. 1]  By the time he was penning the second verse, he realized that his friends were experiencing the delight that he, too, shared by remembering the walk and by being in the bower. Nature, the great liberator, never failed, it seemed, to renew his spirit. 

May 14, 2013

Move Over Bowie ;-)

Space Station

Click to see when the space station will be flying over your area.

Earth from Space

Of course, song recorded with permission and the goodwill of David Bowie.

Canadian Commander Hadfield.  Welcome Home!


May 13, 2013

Spotlight on Márquez

My well-fingered copy
At the time, the price of One Hundred Years of Solitude:  $2.95.
Great book jackets

Several years ago, I bought One Hundred Years of Solitude in a wonderful shop somewhere in the wilds of Jasper National Park, Alberta. At the time, I'm not sure, given the annoyingly small print, my lack of a dictionary, and my grasping inexperience as a reader, what I gleaned from it, but I was vaguely aware that I had found a treasure. And luckily, although somewhat daunted by the novel and with eye strain, I pressed on. As I read, I did, however, find that One Hundred Years of Solitude more than lived up to its back cover promise of surprise. In fact, the book proved as amazing as the elk that sauntered around, on too tall legs, outside my rented cabin--close yet distant, understandable in form yet wildly mysterious.

Márquez's seamless ability to incorporate magic realism into his novels does surprise, delight and astound.  In One Hundred Years of Solitude, there is a focus on ice.  Nothing unusual--sans magic, but try to explain ice to someone who has never seen it. For example how would you explain ice to an individual from Amazonian Lost Tribe?  (And, yes, speaking of amazing there are still a few tribes  out there!) Could you describe ice so that they could understand? And, more importantly, if you put a piece of  ice in the person's hand, how would they react? What would they think?  In that context and in the context the novel, ice moves from the ordinary to the miraculous.

May 11, 2013

Your way


Today's aphorism:  If you follow the herd, you'll step in a lot of crap.

May 09, 2013


Crab Apple

Today's aphorism -  If you can't carry a tune, sing anyway. The world can use the laughter.

(My May Day Dally post disappeared. Although I've tried, I can't resurrect it.  For those who asked, it is available, for sure, via Feedly.)

Thanks to everyone who signed the petition!
And for those who haven't signed, there's still time.

May 06, 2013


Photo by: Schlaier public domain via Wikipedia Commons
Shakespeare's Globe, London
Original Globe opened in 1599
Rebuilt and opened in 1997

Digital Theatre, one of  my recent on-line discoveries, offers wonderful performances from several different British theatres including Shakespeare's Globe.  And for less than the price of a movie ticket the viewer, with the click of a button, gets the best seat in the house!

Review of All My Sons

All My Sons by award winning playwright Arthur Miller delves into the sins of the father. The father played by David Suchet (famous for his portrayal of Agatha Christie's Poirot) dazzles as Joe Keller. Although opinionated, intense and set in his ways, jovial Joe (he provides the much needed comic relief) appears, at first glance, like a character the viewer can relate to.

Joe's tormented wife, played by the extraordinary actress ZoeWanamaker, who you may remember as Madam Hooch in Harry Potter, lives with an unspeakable secret. Unable to accept reality, Kate's denial of past events forces others to tip toe around her and serves to drive most of the play's action. 

May 03, 2013

The Bloomin' Trees

Capturing pictures of magnolia trees, in my opinion, amounts to a good day. I only found a few, and one was on the wane, but that's okay.

Like the ancients before us, most of us, after a hard winter, long for the warmth of the sun. In Chaucer's era, (ca.1343-1400) spring was synonymous with liberation. Picture if you will the common folk hunkered down for the winter in a cold, dark dirt floor dwelling with, for added warmth, a cow and other livestock. By spring the dirt floor strewn with straw or herbs was, no doubt, as smelly as the inmates. After a winter in such a hovel, who wouldn't long to go on a pilgrimage?  Off to Canterbury -- acceptable to be sure!

 On the weekend, although I don't have a pilgrimage in mind, I do hope to soak up some sun. Vitamin D caps are fine, but I prefer to manufacture D the natural way.  And if it should rain☂ Undaunted, and with medieval liberated intend, I'll walk hither and yon and admire the green grass, daffodils, and sprouting leaves.

 Today's aphorism: Giggle often. It's liberating.


Love, whose month is ever May,
Spied a blossom passing fair
Playing in the wanton air.
(Love's Labour's Lost) 
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