Monday, October 20, 2008

Still Wrestling with Peacocks

There is still nothing whatever happening over here but Peacock Feathers and more Peacock Feathers. It's driving Shana crazy, and she's complaining to everyone alive about how I hole up with this project and do nothing but count stitches for two hours every day. That is nothing but the truth - that IS all I do. I'm on Chart 7, row 197, and it looks exactly the same as it did last week, except bigger. I does seem possible that I will finish on time, but I will probably be insane when I get to that point. On the other hand, Shana has ordered a dress for the wedding which will match, so maybe it's growing on her...

Monday, October 13, 2008

Down to the Refuge With Biscuits

Friday Shana and I went down to the Wichita Wildlife Refuge for a little peace and quiet and a few days away from the increasingly distressing news of the stock market and the presidential campaign. We don't take a radio, and our cell phones have no reception there unless we walk to one of the very few places where a signal is available. We had not been out camping for months due to the combination of cycling season and heat. Not only did we miss the quiet and beauty of the Refuge, but in the interim Shana had acquired the long awaited Dutch Oven and was eager to try it out. I was anxious to try out my two new pieces of equipment, too. For my birthday in April I had received an axe and a camp stove toaster.

Before heading out to the Refuge, I zipped over to see Alex and to watch Vivian while Dad and Mom took my car to get registered to vote. The deadline had crept up on them and I did not want them to miss out due to car trouble. Vivian was her usual cutie pie self, and showed no signs of having been sick the weekend before.

Shana had to work through mid afternoon Friday, so I went on ahead to reserve our campsite and set up our camp. The thought had crossed my mind that I was being obsessive by always insisting on packing up the night before and leaving right after work at noon to get us a campsite, but once I arrived at Camp Doris only a couple of hours later than usual nearly all the campsites were already taken, so this time we had #5, which was not one we had ever had before. I was glad that last time we were there Shana and I had driven around evaluating all possible choices should our favorites not be available. We liked #5 all right because it is on the outside, and has no close neighbors on either side. What we did not know was that available tent sites on #5 were not really large enough to accommodate the Taj M'Shana without putting us on a bit of a slope (and rocks) but it was still nice and quiet. Once Shana decided that she would not actually slide off the bed we were quite cozy.

Friday night we had a good skillet dinner cooked on the camp stove. Saturday morning we had a quickie toast and coffee breakfast because we were riding into Lawton to have beer and football (our team lost, boo hoo). The best part of that junket was trying out Blue Moon beer. It's a wheat beer, which I do not generally like, but I enjoyed this one. I did not know it was a Coors product, but I won't hold that against it. For Saturday night and Sunday morning Shana tried out her new toy. She had prepared by reading up on about a million recipes and watching the video (really!) that came with the Dutch oven showing you how to set it up and what balance of coals on the bottom and top would give you the temperature you wanted for various dishes. We had a yummy pork chop casserole Saturday night and perfect biscuits Sunday morning. The Lodge Dutch oven came preseasoned, and was very easy to use and clean. There are a couple of accessories we want for the next time out, but in general it's a big success. We had not packed the long tongs we already own, which would have been very welcome. Lodge makes a lid stand which not only gives you some place to put your hot lid besides on the ground but which can also be set in the coals to convert the lid (turned upside down) into a griddle. I'm a bit choosy about adding new equipment to our camping gear, but this item has earned its place.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

All Peacock Feathers all the Time

I am finally ticking right along on the Peacock Feathers shawl. Post it notes with the stitch numbers lined up along the row I am working on has made it easy to keep my count, especially since the charts have to be read one way from the edge to the center, and then backwards to complete the other half of the row. This is my second Fiddlesticks pattern, and I cannot recommend them enough. The charts are wonderful and the patterns are lovely. I am about to start row 149 of 250, and I am more than halfway through chart 5. I figured out exactly how many rows I have to complete per day to have it finished in time for Kate Humphries' wedding in early November, and at the moment it sounds possible. For purposes of my calculation I am ignoring the fact that it gets wider with every row, so every row should take a little longer to knit. As anyone can clearly see, in spite of many hours of work it looks very little different from the last picture I posted. The main difference is that I can tell the ball of yarn is getting smaller. By the way, this yarn came in a skein of over 1500 yards with no knots at all. Not one. It's Madil Super Due Merino, which I have seldom seen. I only paid about $14.00 for the skein, and would definitely buy this brand again, although I suspect this particular yarn is discontinued. The color is very rich and even - we'll see later how colorfast it is. The shawl itself is all bunched up on the circular, and is now too large to stretch out and see the pattern. It's not going to look any better until I bind off.

Vivian came to see us today, but did not have much play time. She wasn't feeling well, so after about an hour of running around she climbed up into my lap. I had the pleasure of reading to her for a little bit, something she is seldom still enough to enjoy. Pretty soon even that was more entertainment than she wanted, so she slept in my lap off and on for the next three hours until it was time to go home.

I also had big news of Logan this week - The Little Prince is crawling and pulling himself up now. I'm sure this is a great frustration reliever for him. He was very unhappy that everything he wanted was just out of reach. Now EVERYTHING is in reach, and when someone carries him through a room his eyes are taking inventory for his next chance to get in there by himself.