theory of trash, wind velosity and my yard

I was going through my drafts and discovered this old post. I’ve decided to revamp it slightly, but the main story is the same.

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The last few weeks I’ve enjoyed having time to work in my yard.  Please keep in mind that I am entirely new at doing any sort of yard work and what I might reveal to you about my lack of any sort of real yard work experience may shock you.  Be forewarned.

As many of my faithful readers (all 3 of them) know, my basement flooded in December of ’09 due to a collapsed pipe in the front yard.  The “repair” men, naturally, didn’t put everything back, i.e. they did’t regrade the lawn to level it out.  So that was my task yesterday.  To till and level out the dirt patch that they left me and to hopefully get it to a point to where I can plant some grass.  After about 3.5 hours of hard labor, I accomplished that task.  I toiled with the tiller, slamming it in the dirt, twisting it back out.  Both knees got quite a work out (and quite a pampering session afterwards with ice and heat).

One of the things that I did notice yesterday, and have noticed on previous yard work days, is that my yard seems to accumulate a lot of trash.

This map is not drawn to scale, but you can see the gist of everything. In the year since I started this blog post I have continued to experience a lot of trash in my yard. My slightly revised theory is that while the wind tunnel is still the primary way trash gets into my yard, I’ve also come to realize that my yard maintenance skills are so lacking that the lack of such skills actually attracts trash as well – its almost like a magnet. So, basically, my yard is doomed: wind tunnel and trash magnet will always place trash in my yard.

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I survived!

Yes, I survived the Midwest Fiber and Folk Art Fair! How, you may ask? Here’s how: I didn’t purchase a spinning wheel!  Yey! This makes 2 fairs/festivals I’ve attended from which I have NOT purchased a spinning wheel. My track record is 100%! Yes, I am a winner!

There was a moment, though, that Kate was so concerned that she had to sneak up on me and question my intentions. It was rather startling, I have to admit, but she was a true friend to me in that moment, and reminded me, in a gentle way, of my goal of NOT purchasing a spinning wheel.

I did, however, purchase 1 pattern and 1 skein of yarn to go with that pattern. 🙂 Just one each. Thank you very much.

storms and the aftermath

I’ve driven in a few really bad rain storms in my life, the first being when I was 16 and had just got my license. I was on vacation with my family to Louisiana and we were on our way home. Dad had been good about letting me drive on the interstate, giving me practice merging onto the interstate with other traffic and then getting off. We were in El Paso and as we approached I asked Dad if he wanted to drive through the city. He declined and I got real nervous: my first time driving through a big city on an interstate. As it turned out they had a little, very sudden, summer storm and by the time we passed through it my parents were both white-faced and white knuckled. But we survived.

Fast forward a few years and I was going to college in Louisiana. My Aunt Sarah was coming for a visit but she was flying into New Orleans, which meant that someone had to go and pick her up and, naturally, I volunteered. The fastest way to get from New Orleans to Monroe, Louisiana is actually through Mississippi – take I-55 north to Jackson and then take I-20 west to Monroe. Well, we were about 2 hours south of Jackson when the rain started. It was blowing so hard that going 35 miles per hour was almost too fast. We decided to try to drive on through, not knowing how long it would take. Normally it takes about 2.5 hours to get from Monroe to Jackson, which meant that we were about 4.5 hours away. It ended up taking us more than 8 hours to make that 4.5 hour drive. When we got up the next morning we discovered how bad the storm really was: extensive flooding in the ArkLaMiss area. Roads were closed – bridges were closed – even some of the streets and houses on my Grandparent’s block were flooded (their house was fine). It was bad, really, really bad.

But the storm that I drove through 2 nights ago was the worst. In part because I wasn’t expecting it and in part because it just simply freaked me out. I was at a meeting in Mundelein and left a few minutes before 9 PM. Normally it would take me about 30 minutes to get home. On my way, not realizing what was about to hit, I came upon a power pole that had caught on fire. My first thought was “should I drive past this or turn around and go a different path?” and then my second thought was “who do I call to report this?”. I decided to drive past and almost as soon as I had passed the pole it made a huge “BOOM” sound and then the thing sparked and lit up the road. It totally f.r.e.a.k.e.d. me out. It did this booming/sparking thing a couple of more times, freaking me out a little more. So I pulled over and called 9-1-1 for the first time ever in my life. I don’t even know if it was the right place to call, but it was the only place I could think of to call. The person answering the phone was polite and said they would send someone out to investigate.

But then something else happened. I got to thinking about how nobody knew where I was and what if a funnel thing dropped from the sky and sucked me up into it and what if it was days and days and days before anyone found me and then it was even more days until the could identify me? What about that? I think that thought freaked me out even more than the transponder blowing up. So then I got to thinking who could I call? Mom and Dad were asleep and even if they were awake they had no idea where I was and really, what could they tell the police and all my friends were probably scared in their houses and didn’t have time to think about where I was and so I needed friends who were out west of me and were still awake and then I thought of Stewart and Terry. Yes. Stewart and Terry = safety to me. They are my surrogate parents and, really, when I can’t call my parents I call them. Thankfully Stu was home and stayed on the line with me until I got home. Whew! I don’t ever want to live through a storm like that one. Blown up transponders, downed power lines, fallen trees all over the place.

If you really don’t believe me about the magnitude of the storm, here is evidence #1:

This was a massive tree in the middle of Middle Campus. Look at it. That takes power. Plus the fact that the Library has been out of power for 2 days now (as well as half of Lake Forest, but we don’t really care about them).

starting to come out of the fog

I have to admit that I’ve been in a fog for the last few months. I’ve been depressed, tired and basically lifeless. It feels like I have a lot going on but, really, I don’t. Something is changing, though, because I’m starting to feel good again. I got home yesterday and mowed my yard. That felt really good. I got up this morning and busted a move on to work, and yes, oddly enough, that felt really good too.

K1Frog2 (aka Kate) and I are volunteering at the Midwest Fiber and Folk Art Fair on Friday – so if you’re in the area, are interested in fiber arts and are looking for something to do…then stop on by. There will be something for everyone: knitting/crochet, spinning, felting, quilting, cross-stitching, classes and people!

And Dad…all of it is for you. Really. 🙂

Midwest Fiber and Folk Art Fair

Just when I’ve recoved from the massiveness of the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival, the Midwest Fiber and Folk Art Fair happens. (At last I will get some rest between this and the Wisconsin Sheep and Wool Festival which is not until September.) MFFAF is much smaller, but has been growing for the last several years. This is year 5 and I’ve been attending since year 2.

What makes this different from a Sheep and Wool festival is, well, the lack of sheep, to put it bluntly. That is, until this year. Okay, not sheep exactly, but fleece. Another distinctive is the focus on all of the fiber arts from the traditional knitting and crochet, but also quilting, felting, spinning, cross-stitch and anything else that uses natural fibers. I love the diversity of what this fair has to offer.

There is also a garment competition, live folk music, folk art (using textiles) and a fashion show. Plus, lots of workshops! In fact, Franklin Habit will be teaching again this year. Kate and I took a class with him last year and it was most fabulous!

If you are in the area, plan on comming out: it is at the Lake County Fairgrounds (and is air conditioned – another distinctive!) the weekend of June 24-26.

not enough time in the day

My knitting fetish (for that is what it really is) comes in waves: there are times when I struggle to be excited about knitting and there are times when I am excited about too many things to knit. Right now I’m in the latter – I have way too many things going on!

Project #1: Baby Sweater
My friends Laura and Kendrick are expecting their first and I’m knitting them some baby clothes. Granted that the baby (a girl, glad you asked) probably won’t be wearing a nice wool sweater in August, when she is due, but still, I think it should be done in time for the shower, don’t you? The shower is on July 16th and I’m about 1/4 of the way done.

Project#2: Blue Waves Shawl
As with my winter time excitement over cowls, I am in a wave (no pun intended) of shawl activity. My “Waves in the Square” shawl is in progress…but has languished for a couple of months now. My problem is that it has three really long sections of repeats…we’re talking now 100+ stitches per repeat, and my attention span is wavering (again, no pun intended).

Project #3: Cabled Sweater
I cast on for this just one month ago (actually less) and I’ve knit about 6 inches on the front. This is being knit in cotton, which actually hurts my hands to knit because cotton is completely unforgiving on the needles: re: I’m a tight knitter and pulling tightly on unforgiving yarn is unpleasant at times. I’ll continue to progress on this one, but it will be slow.

Project #4: Citron Shawl
This is more of a “shawlette” in that it is kinda small. I’m about 3/4 of the way finished. This one is going to be a gift..hopefully to be given in early July…but we’ll see. Baby sweater first, this shawl second.

Project #5: Vesna Shawlette
This is another little shawlette, this one being a nice lace pattern. It is currently stalled because I’m not liking the yarn. I’m using a wonderfully soft alpaca (natural color) but it is beginning to fuzz a little, making the lacework a little difficult to see. I may have to do this one in larger needles to make the lace more prominent.

So, those are the projects that I have ON the needles…but, I have many more on the sidelines patiently waiting their turn.

Waiting Room Project #1: Socks
These are actually more like warm, thick booties, but in a sock pattern, sort of. My grandmother has very bad water retention and her legs are very swollen, making her feet hard to find socks that are not too tight for her. I’ve promised a pair of “slippers/socks”. I’m planning on visiting her in mid/late July, so I guess I need to move this one out of the waiting room.

Waiting Room Project #2: Wendy’s Summer Mystery Shawlette
One of the blogs I follow is one called Wendy Knits. Wendy designs many lovely things, primarily shawls. This May she put up a pattern for a knit-a-long for this shawl…I’m trying not to peek at the results…but it is in my queue.

Waiting Room Project #3: Rosevine Shawl
This is also more of a shawlette but is knit in laceweight yarn, so this will be my first knitted item with such a fine-weight yarn. Laceweight is very, um, thin. It will probably take me forever. This is currently #1 in my Ravelry queue, for those who are on Ravelry and interested in the pattern.

Waiting Room Project #4: Irtfa’a Faroese Laceweight Shawl
Anne Hanson is another one of the blogs that I follow and who is also a designer. I’ve been admiring her work for a few years now, so this little Faroese shawl is going to be my first project of her designs. It is currently #2 in my Ravelry queue.

Other things going on in my life: designing a database application for someone’s business (which is a paid project…!), doing a pro bono database for a small charity organization (whose deadline isn’t until November, thank goodness!), and doing my normal things like Wednesday bible study.

Whew, I’m exhausted! I sure wish there was more time in the day….