Saturday, May 24, 2008

They Only Come Out At Night...Wrong!
This post started out with a different name and completely different subject matter. I was going to talk about something I was knitting on, but then there was a really shocking event and that threw my whole weekend out of whack.

I have four very noisy dogs and bark for no reason at all. The wind shifts, they bark. A blade of grass moves, they bark. Saturday after listening to endless minutes of barking, I finally got up and looked out the window in the living room. I thought I was seeing things when I saw this...

I went outside and nearly had a heart attack when I realized that the little fuzzy thing on the roof was a baby raccoon. Last year we knew a mother raccoon had nested in the attic in the house next door. The owner of the house bought the place in 1999 and has never lived in the house. We are perplexed as to why this man bought a house he has no intentions of living in. Better yet, he doesn't seem interested in taking care of the house. Hence the two holes on opposite sides of the house up under the eves. Momma had a litter last year and sadly one of my dogs got a baby who was a little too curious about the world outside the nest.

I knew that something was wrong when I saw a baby raccoon at 4:30 in the afternoon. We watched the baby for 2 hours while discussing the whereabouts of the mother. Something was really wrong, but we didn't know just how wrong until we went next door to tell the neighbors that there was a baby raccoon on the roof . The person who is currently a renter could care less about animals period. So it wasn't much of a surprise that he resisted calling someone to get the baby off the roof. So being the animal lover that I am, a two story ladder was thrown up against the house and two neighbors (not the bonehead who lives in the house) rescued two baby raccoons. As soon as the two squiggly babies were put in a cage, two more heads popped out. It was getting dark so we gave up. While talking to yet another neighbor, we discovered that he had captured the mother and she was handed over to Animal Control. Animal Control put her down for fear that she was a carrier of rabies. The neighbor didn't know that would happen to her. He was under he impression that she would be turned loose someplace in the woods. He also didn't know she has a nest with four babies. So he was a determined as we were to get those babies to a safe place. I placed a call to a Wildlife Rescue group and a vet tech agreed to take all four providing we could get the remaining babies. Two very skinny babies were handed off to a loving volunteer. The babies mother has been dead for over a week so the baby's have had no food or water for that time.

We tried for three nights to get the other two babies but were not successful. Last night we banged on the side of the house, brought food and water to the hole on the second story. No luck. We were all afraid time had run out for the last two. We talked the renter into letting us go into his attic and see what happened to the other two babies. Two very brave guys climbed up a ladder inside a closet with flashlights to check out the attic. No babies. The nest was empty. We have no idea what happened to the babies or where they went. Where ever they are, we hoping that if someone finds them they will call a Wildlife Rescue group and let them take care of the babies. I am keeping positive thoughts about what happened to them.5/28/08
Sadly there is an update to this story that I hadn't wanted. Yesterday morning the renter next door came over to my house at 7:30 in the morning to tell me there was very wet and cold baby at his door and to come get it. I threw on some clothes and dashed out in the pouring rain to scoop up a near dead baby. I tried to dry it off and give it comfort but sadly it was too weak to fight off the rain and the cold and died. There is another baby out in someones yard but we haven't heard anything about it and I have to assume that baby number four will not have a long life since it was malnourished and is just too young to survive outside the nest on it's own. I wasn't going to post such sad news but it really is all about the circle of life and how we have forced Mother Nature's creatures to try and adapt to living in our subdivisions that were built in their neighborhood. The renter got up on the ladder yesterday to try and start patching the hole on one side of the roof. I am hoping we don't have to go through this next year. It was fun watching the babies but the sad ending only drives home the point to me that we are all guests on this earth and it is our responsibility to make sure that we are good stewards.

Since everyone I have heard from is amazed about how the babies got to where they were, let me add some more shots that I took while we were trying to figure out how to get them down from the eve over the roof.

Here is a shot from the ground of two of the babies thinking about how to escape. This is a two story house and the one outside the house is sitting on a corner piece of siding that is about the thickness of a nickel. One piece was missing and he is digging his little nails into the wood trying to stay up there. No, one one fell because after deciding there were only two places to go, the one hanging by his toenail got talked into coming back in by the other sibling. So what you are looking at here is the sibling number one looking down at us and sibling number two changing his mind (you are looking as his rear end tyring to climb back in). It was a comedy act provided by mother nature! How could someone not want to help these guys??

Friday, May 16, 2008

In the beginning...
there was an idea to knit with two other knitters at my favorite LYS. Since I love socks and we have all made them together, a sock was declared the winner in the slightly organized KAL for our Thursday knitting group. We all agreed on one sock pattern and off we went. Each of us picking out a different kind of yarn. Since my sock yarn stash has expanded to more than one drawer in my storage system, I decided to dig into my stash. I am using my sock yarn purchased at MS&W from last year. I fell in love with this soft baby yellow yarn. I am usually nuts over shades in green but for some reason, the yellow spoke to me. Don't tell me that the rest of you haven't heard those two little words, "buy me". So being the obedient person I am, I did, not one but two.

So here is beginning as shaky as it was. I can see in the beginning that there were some misplaced holes in my sock, so it was frogged. I knit two at the same time on dpns. I do the cuff on one then move to the cuff of the second sock. Then it's on to the leg and then back to the other sock for the leg. I want a pair of sock done at once. No orphans here!
I got past the funny misplaced holes in the beginning and moved on to the body of the sock. Again I could see glaring errors and one of the socks was frogged back to the cuff when I was shamed by my knitting peers. What went wrong here, I do not know but I do know that it was fixed after many attempts.

I was having one of those "how can I make a photo of my latest project look really good" thought. I was working on the Eye of Partridge heel, which I have never done before. I noticed that there is a subtle pattern developing. I know how to count the rows in my short row heel already but not for this heel pattern. I started looking at it by holding the heel up to the light. I could see a nice diamond shape appearing. I was amused. So this is how it is developing. I have now turned the heel on one sock and am working on the heel of the second sock. Next the gusset. I will have to read that a few more times before I understand how to do it. It's been fun knitting this sock and will plan on knitting another set using this same pattern but a different color right after these. I love the pattern and since I am one for getting stuck in a rut, this new rut will be fun!

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

A No Knitting Day...
As much as I want to be a sheep farmer, it's not happening living in a large city environment. We live on a zero lot line so there is no privacy unless you spend all your waking hours indoors. Living near a beach is wonderful if you are a fun in the sun sort of person. I am not. I miss trees and I miss the shade with dappled sun light. So we have tried to create a little farm here at the city dwellers house. Yes, this has nothing to do with knitting other than the fact that I was so exhausted from working in the garden, I couldn't get any knitting to speak of done.

The weather here is getting warmer and wetter so we figured it was now or never to get our little city garden planted. Not only did we spend some bucks (I could have spent that money on yarn you know!) but we spent a lot of Mother's Day digging in the dirt. The fruits (really veggies) of our labor should be happening in about ten days. The earth is warming up and so are the temperatures.

A few weeks ago when we were at one of the big box hardware stores, one of my weaknesses came seeping out of me. I just love decorative garden do dads. Last year we used PVC pipes for our climbing veggies. I just couldn't bare to look at those again this year so hubby indulged my need for pretty garden things. We had to amend our soil and when I sent him to the store on Sunday he came back with these. The large one in the back will hold our Snow peas provided we haven't planted them too late in the season. The leaning tower to the left will also have Snow peas. The plants in the front are different colors of bell peppers. We love to grill them!

This bed has more Snow peas, some bush beans, spinach and assorted micro greens. I am never really sure how they will turn out but I keep trying. Last year I had a great crop, but they bolted and I didn't get as much out of the planting as I had wanted. The sticks are to remind me what was planted where. Once they come up the sticks will go. I am hoping that the birds didn't get all my seeds before it rained.
This next bed has another variety of bush beans, cucumbers, squash and of course more Snow peas. Can you tell I like snow peas??

This last bed has a some Jacob's cattle (a bean meant for drying), three different kinds of tomatoes, red and white onions and zucchini. We want to plant more things but will wait and see what comes up. I still have to purchase three or four basil plants and we bought some lavender. I have two plants in the front garden that are really going gang busters so I wanted more. I have the lavender because of my wool. I usually get my lavender from a farm NC and this year will be no exception.

I can't help myself with the containers. So here are those plantings. We did more tomatoes and I sneaked in a few flowers too. I am hopeful that my garden will yield wonderful things. As far as knitting it's back to normal. I have made some progress but that's another posting. Enjoy the out-of-doors before it gets too hot!

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Laundry Day
I bought the neatest contraption from Ikea over a year ago, but have never used it. I actually bought two; one for me and one for my mom who never dries her unmentionables in the dryer. I have yet to send one to her but I broke out mine for laundry day. I like the fact that some really smart person came up with Superwash Wool. I am not big on hand washing my knitted items. Frankly I am just too lazy. There it is on the table. So washing my hand made socks in the washing machine and drying them in the dryer is great for me. Having said that, I just love this new toy.
This is the cutest thing to dry your socks or knee highs on. I have used it for my wool socks to try it out. It worked great, but there is a problem. We are not allowed clothes lines in our subdivision so it's hard to find a place to hang my Octopus for drying. I don't think that hooked on the branch of a tree is a good idea with breeding pairs of robins and doves looking for nice soft things to line their nest with. I don't want to have a theft of my socks. Since we don't have a rod running down the middle of our shower, there really isn't anywhere to hang these to dry. The only problem I have found with this sock dryer, is the hook is a bit too small. So I will try some new places to hang my socks safely.
Here is the shot that shows all the socks I have made since learning how to make socks. I laid down on a wet bag of compost to get the "art" shot. It reminds me of Spanish moss hanging from the trees in the south.

Here is another lay on the wet bag of compost shot. Now they just look like tube worms.

Here is the last shot of the socks. Now I guess I can give my MIL the socks that I knit for her in Jan...maybe later.