Friday, 27 April 2012


How is it that even with something I love doing, I can still manage to procrastinate?  I have made the decision to knit several gifts for Christmas.  In addition to this, I've recently found out that a dear friend is expecting her first child in October.  So what am I working on right now?  Socks.  For me.

I've just bought this fantastic baby hat pattern (Greenleaf Baby hat by Evelyn Uyemura)I really want to make an Elizabeth Zimmerman Baby Surprise Jacket as well as a few other things so why don't I get moving on it?  Oh wait - I know.  I need to pay a visit to my local yarn shop as I don't like any of the several pounds of wool I have stashed away.  I'm not yet a good enough spinner to make what I want and the roving I have is all wrong anyway.  And the wool in the stash is all too heavy, too light, not suitable for a baby, not machine washable, the wrong kind of acrylic, the wrong colour, the right colour but the wrong know how it goes.  After all, part of the joy of knitting for a new life is to go to the shop and buy something new. 

Then, a few days ago, I found this pattern for a great casual cardigan that I simply must have.  It's called French Braid Cardigan by Tanis LavallĂ©e.  Yeah, you and I both know how this is going to end.  Its probably a good thing that I have so much lead time to get these things done.  Its also a good thing that baby clothes are so fast.  Even still, I bet I'll be racing the clock because I had to have another pair of socks.

Thursday, 26 April 2012

Collective abdication of responsibility

Part of the price I pay to live in rural Lanark is that I have a very long commute to my job in Ottawa.  Today I left the house at 7:10 and arrived at work at 8:20.  It was about average.  During this time, I usually listen to the radio.  I could use the time to listen to an audiobook, or learn a new language but I like the fluff that is commercial radio.  It’s brain candy.  And like all candy, it will cause rot if you don’t pay attention.

I have noticed lately that there are A LOT of “buy a new car” type commercials on the radio in the morning.  Today I counted them – 13 in 70 minutes.  Now I admit that one ad for was for an RV/trailer business and a second one was for a marina flogging pontoon boats but still; that’s 13 ads in 70 minutes.  One ‘buy a new expensive toy’ ad every 5 minutes.  Every one of these companies offered financing if you needed it.

What are even more interesting are the ads in the afternoon.  This is where you hear all the “get out of jail free” ads – the get your debt reduced ads and the dodge your speeding ticket ads.  But the one that really winds me up is the business that will help you “Dodge your drunk driving ticket”. Really? In a society which claims to have zero tolerance for drunk driving, how did this ever become a viable business?

Am I the only one who feels that there has been a wild swing towards a collective abdication of responsibility?  When did it become acceptable to ignore the rights of everyone around us, to spend and live well beyond our means?  The argument seems to be “Why wouldn’t you if you can have a huge chunk of your debt forgiven if you apply to one of several companies”.  Well, someone has to pay for that sooner or later and as someone who has always paid my bill – I don’t want to be stuck with yours too. 

Now I don't believe the radio station is directly responsible for causing brain rot - they're just making money from advertising.  But whatever happened to “obey the law”, “don’t drink and drive” and “live within your means”?

Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Gift Stash 2012

Last Christmas was a pain in the arse.  It was our first Christmas in the new house and even though we had been there since the end of September, we still struggled with every aspect of a traditional Christmas.  Well, almost every.  The previous owners left a string of lights on the top roofline.   Yeah, I would have left them too.  So that was the only thing we had done at around the usual time.  One string of lights.  Whoopee.  The tree was put up the day before Christmas; we never actually got the stockings out (because we couldn’t find them.  It’s now April – I still don’t know where they are) and I was still shopping on the 23rd.  Dinner, while delicious, was a crapshoot for quantities as I had difficultly confirming numbers (a whole other story – don’t ask) and I felt like I was running the whole time.  I was almost relieved to go back to work.

So this year, in an effort to simplify my life,  I’ve made a promise to myself.  The men in my family are pretty easy to shop for – a few movies, a computer game or two, something for the Wii....a DS game or two and some sort of hunting/fishing paraphernalia and all is good for them.  But the women....the women are another story altogether.  None of the women are difficult in the traditional sense of being picky, but they have everything they need.  I’ve agonized for years over shopping for these ladies and I think I’ve finally figured it out.  Scarves – good ones.  Made of luxury fibres that I can’t afford to buy in the shops.  I’m not talking just a nice merino wrap – I mean the good stuff.  Silk and cashmere. 

I’m pleased to say that the first item is done and ready for “Gift Stash 2012”.  I’ve completed Almost Ovals by Anne Hanson in Marrakesh by HandMaiden.  Marrakesh is a marvelous blend of 70% Silk and 30% Camel.  The skein is enormous - I used less than half of it to make the scarf in the photos.  Finished sizes are 10.5 by 52 inches. I haven’t fully decided who is going to get this, but at least it’s done.
"Marrakesh" in Cedar


Next, I'm looking at a hat and scarf set.  Time to get moving - only 240 days until Christmas!

Monday, 23 April 2012

Me vs. the Northern Flicker

For the most part, I take a “live and let live” approach to dealing with the various species of wildlife around my house.  I’m not too worried about the two pigeons roosting under the eaves of my porch and I don’t think twice about the assorted birds nesting in my barn.  But I gotta say, I’m getting tired of the Northern Flicker that has decided it wants to live in my dining room.

A week ago, she(?) was banging away on the back wall of my house.  Now part of my house is stone, but the majority of it is wood.  Board and batten panelling to be exact with lots of room for little bugs to winter over which is what I thought it was going after.  At that time, I didn’t worry too much – after all, if the birds want to help get the bugs out of the wood, I’m good with that.   But then I noticed that this bird – which is truly lovely by the way – kept  coming back to the same spot.  So I thought I should go and make sure I didn’t have termites or something of the sort.

Nothing prepared me for finding a 3” hole in the back of my house with numerous “test holes” scattered around the back wall and a great deal of fibreglass insulation strewn around on the grass.

After consultation with my husband, we decided we needed to fix this so we filled the hole with that expandable spray foam insulation.  Then, because I thought the bird was so pretty, we put up a birdhouse over the hole she had made. 

Birdie had different ideas and was of the opinion that the house we had gone to the effort to build, paint and mount for her was substandard so she banged in a new hole.  Right beside the first one.  So we filled that one, painted it over and went to work the next day.  While watching TV that night my husband made a snare out of fishing line....

You know how this is going to end right – there was another damn hole in the wall of my house the next day and nothing in the snare.  By this time, the ladder had become a semi-permanent fixture in the backyard, my husband had a twitch in his eye and I’m fairly certain that we are single-handedly responsible for any rise in the stock price of spray foam insulation. 

I no longer consider it “a pretty bird”.  It is now “that damn bird” and it had to go.  It’s telling that I actually condoned my husband getting out his shotgun and going after it. 

He missed.  Yes – he missed the house and all the windows too.

The next day, the bird was back.  He missed again.

The next day was my son’s birthday and he (how appropriate is this??) got a pellet gun that doesn’t make nearly as much noise as a shotgun.  So the two of them went out with the pellet gun to try and persuade the bird that she really wanted to live somewhere else.  The violence in this neighbourhood is no place for babies.  They’d been out for maybe 10 minutes when with much fanfare, they returned to say that they’d managed to hit her but she flew away.  Half an hour later, the bird was back.  They shot her again with a plastic pellet  and again she flew away. 

I’m honestly not sure how many times they shot this damn bird with pointy plastic pellets but it’s been 24 hours and she hasn’t been back.  All of a sudden, I understand Woody Woodpecker cartoons and I can tell you with a great deal of confidence that there is a whole lot of truth there.