Sunday, June 07, 2015

Warm Hands Equals A Warm Heart

As cold as we get sometimes here in the bush, it's good to remember that there are others who get colder than us. Over the last couple of years, I've done some charity knitting for women's shelters, preemies who have to start their lives in hospital, homeless folks here in the north, and for local folks struggling through chemo treatments.
Last year my charity knitting went to two groups; scarves for our local homeless and chemo caps for folks in Sault Ste. Marie.
This year, I'm going to add knitting for folks in the FAR north. Like Rankin Inlet and Resolute.

I stumbled across Warms Hands Network, a group that collects, packages, ships and distributes knitted and crocheted items that communities in the north have expressed a need for. Sweaters, socks, vests, blankets, hats, shawls, mittens and neck-warmers are just some of the items commonly made and donated. I think this is a great idea, so I'm in! Mom has decided she's going to donate as well, I think it will be interesting to see what we can come up with between the two of us.
WHN also has a Ravelry group, which is how I found them. The group has been going for a few years now and is an inspiration with conversations about donations, photos, where the items are shipped and sometimes even responses from the receiving community.

If you knit or crochet, take a look at the Warm Hands Network website, and/or their Ravelry group and consider jumping in with us. It's a great feeling to do something nice for our fellow human beings.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Our Regional Bird

Life in the woods, or bush as we call it out here, is more often than not, great!
Private, beautiful scenery, clean air, and if you hear any sounds of other people it's chainsaws or trucks driving by. If we're really lucky, we'll hear the occasional owl or maybe coyotes. We were fortunate enough to hear both those last week, mere hours apart.
This spring we were spared a much-dreaded flood, and it didn't really rain much until yesterday. We live across from a beaver pond and I'm happy to see a beaver back in in it. (I was a tad concerned the beaver lodge was empty last fall when we moved here)

But there is a price to pay for watching the beaver or being able to take stunning sunrise shots with my camera.
With a beaver pond comes mosquitoes.
Hoards of them! There is a reason we northerners call them our regional bird!
They may not be very big this spring but they make up for it with sheer numbers!
I am not exaggerating when I tell you that I tried to stop and take pictures this morning and got swarmed!
It was lovely...the sun slicing through the tall pine and spruce trees...sound of birdsong...Before I could even get the zoom focused, my hands were covered and the bugs were flying up my nose!

Usually, mosquito numbers peak like this for a couple of weeks and then drop off. We get a few days reprieve and then the black flies pick up.
I keep trying to remember the perks of living out here...

It's great as long as the bugs don't carry you off!

Friday, May 08, 2015

Anatomy Socks and Why I Need To Knit More Socks

Many of you know I like to knit, and some of my friends look at me knitting and scratch their heads. Apparently, I'm not 'what folks think of when they think of knitting'.
Or so I've been told.
Good! Just goes to prove you shouldn't judge by first impressions.

Anyway, since I know a few of my readers are also knitters, I thought I'd share a bit of my knitting passion.
I finally finished my Anatomy Socks. (See left, above) Plain tube socks that I knit while watching television or surfing the web, Mindless, easy knitting.

  I'm also pleased  to have finished the Dark Cable Socks
It was a new pattern for me, and really very easy. The socks even turned out to be the size ordered! Yay! Mens size 11.

I'm getting ready to cast on another pair of socks, this time in special sock yarn we picked up years ago, tucked away and promptly forgot about.
(More on that later)
I've been asked why I make so many socks, and my first answer is, why not? But once we get past the knee-jerk response, here's the best answer in the words of the Yarn Harlot herself;

"Hand knit socks are 100% better than store bought.They feel so fabulous on your feet that there's almost nobody who doesn't want to only wear hand-knit socks from the first time he or she slips them on."

Time to go smoosh some yarn. Next post, another very good reason to knit socks, the life and times of Buttercrunch lettuce and the secret life of basil.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Moose, Lettuce and Spinach, Oh My!

I've written before on how relieved I am that spring is finally here, as evidenced by the warmer temperatures, more birds and the moose coming out of the bush.
Speaking of moose, a friend of mine (Sara Mealey) got some great photos of that same moose I shared with you the other day.
Apparently the moose likes paparazzi. Or should that be people-razzi?

I tell you, spring couldn't get here fast enough for me. 
Okay, I should amend that...
I want spring, but I really don't want it to arrive with a body slam that will flood my little town. I mean, let's be reasonable, very few of us are ready to be cut off from our main city an hour away.
I know we aren't.

We've started our plants with lettuce and spinach first. I'm very pleased with how they're thriving in their little south-facing window.

On the left is Buttercrunch lettuce and on the right, though looking less vigorous, is spinach.

It's not a huge start, but it is a start. This morning I started some more lettuce and spinach, because, hey, we'll want more. I also started some basil.

So why do all this when I can get it in town? 

  • Because veggies aren't cheap, and neither is the gas required to get them
  • Because nothing beats the taste of homegrown veggies and spices
  • Because it satisfies my green thumb and there is an undercurrent of hope in growing things yourself
What about you? Are you growing anything at home, whatever form that takes?

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Spring: Not Just For The Birds! For Moose Too!

Sometimes we forget that with the spring sunshine and birds, come the wild animals.
Like the moose.
They come out looking for food, warmth and salt. The warmth and salt they find on the roads, dangerous though it may be.

Have you ever seen a wild moose? Ever seen one up close?

They are much bigger than we think, being mostly leg, and frequently moose vs vehicle encounters have catastrophic results for both vehicles and moose.

Fortunately this one lived to wander another day.

This photo was taken by Tanner Davieaux on the Searchmont Highway (#556) near the Ranger Lake road cut-off while he was staying at a delightful local B&B, Austin's Wilderness B&B
Our thanks to Tanner and Austin's for the photo!

We'd love to hear about your encounters with all things wild. Tell us all about it in the comments below!

Friday, March 06, 2015

50 Birds Can't Be Wrong

For all the complaining I do about winter and cold and how tired I am of splitting wood, I have been lucky enough to watch our local bird population grow slowly.
This past week I've seen an increasing number of grosbeaks, purple finches, doves and an assortment of swallows. It helps that a neighbour a kilometer down the road has a cluster of bird feeders.
Spring is on it's way, slowly but surely.
All those birds can't be wrong, can they?

Sunday, March 01, 2015

So Ready For Spring

Like everyone else here in Ontario, I'm so over winter, I can't even begin to tell you how frustrated we are.
It's been a season of inconsistent firewood, a smoky house, beyond bone-numbing cold temperatures, a chimney fire, and now a broken chimney tile.
Last year, we had more snow than this winter but this is absolutely the winter of cold.
An acquaintance shared a theory with me yesterday at breakfast that Northern Ontario is on it's way to becoming a miniature Arctic, and apparently there is historical evidence to back it up.
While you ponder that, I leave you with this shot after the road-grader went by our house yesterday.
Yeah, I'd say he pushed the snowbanks back fairly successfully.
Right up to our house.

In fact, if they go by again, that snowbank will end up on my side of the bed.

Spring is coming, right?