Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Clicking the Sticks

To combat cabin fever and house dysfunction I have been clicking the sticks big time. It has been a truly productive time since the beginning of the year, with me taking on some knitting techniques I had been reluctant to try. Above is a shawl for someone's sister (can't mention her name just yet). I am a small projects knitter for several reasons. I like to throw the knitting in the bag, have it fit nicely, and knit where ever I am. This shawl was big for me. I tend to lose interest in big projects, with so much in my daily life being left undone, it is satisfying to have small, accomplishable projects.

Here is a detail of the edge. I really liked the edging on this, it really finished this piece nicely.

Next is a cap for the same sister. It is done in a super soft baby alpaca. With Zoey modeling it, it looks huge. I think for an adult it will be a nice fit. At least I hope.

Next are these spiffy half mitts. I love this pattern! I do not think I have ever knit anything so popular. I have been wanting to do this pattern for a year now, and just have never had the right yarn, the right time, the right needles. My co-workers in our little worker's paradise warehouse are asking for these.

And this is a faux crochet hat. I love the look of crocheted hats, but my crochet skills are seriously lacking. So, I came across this little gem. It knits up fast once you are over the moss stitch banding.

And here is Vivi in a headband I made for her to run in a costume race when she was three. She was completely jealous of me using Zoey as a hat model, so I had to appease her somehow.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Ten Hours

Prepare for blinding light bouncing off snow. Got your shades? We were hanging with Cojo this weekend. The state cross country meet was over on Saturday. Sunday dawned all gorgeous and bright. Zoey had a date with her godmother.

Tom and I got to hang out in the morning, leisurely drink some coffee. We then decided to amble over to the eponymously named Powerline Pass. Vivi and Cojo were ecstatic to be out.

Everyone seemed to rejoice in the feel of some serious sunshine on our skin. Oh, it did wonders for my outlook.

We walked back on the flower trail. That was fabulous. I walk this trail all the time in summer. It is always full of wild geraniums, chocolate lilies, wood violets. Now it is all under at least six feet of snow. It is such a different perspective. Being that much higher really alters the view.

All too soon we had to walk back home. I had to go to work, Tom had to meet Zoey for a range opening. The real world was beginning to intrude. I did go to work with an altered mindset. I took that walk with me into my grey warehouse.

I think the willows are enjoying the increasing daylight. We passed ten hours of the sun above the horizon today! YIPPY!

This Boreal Chickadee has a fantastic view, he has the sunset on the highest peak in North America.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

February Funk

Now wind torments the field,
turning the white surface back
on itself, back and back on itself,
like an animal licking a wound.

Nothing but white--the air, the light;
only one brown milkweed pod
bobbing in the gully, smallest
brown boat on the immense tide.

A single green sprouting thing
would restore me. . . .

Then think of the tall delphinium,
swaying, or the bee when it comes
to the tongue of the burgundy lily.

Jane Kenyon

February is flying fast. I cannot seem to get anything done. My house is a mess, my road is too narrow with wet, heavy snow. Work is a grind, not enough work in winter, too many bosses, too much TSA. All I want to do is knit and spin and hang out with my family.

I am longing to walk in a conservatory or some serious greenhouse. I need to smell things growing. I want to smell wet dirt. I am hoping Ohio will bring me a peek at the next season when I go next month. I am not dreaming tropical vacation, I am thinking of just seeing something sprouting. I am dreaming of not having to hunt around for a lost mitten, snow pants, warm socks.

On the up side, the chickadees have come back. All the chickadees (with the exception of one black capped chickadee) left us for about six weeks. The suet dough was languishing. Now we have about six black capped that visit us every day and about three boreal chickadees. Two of the black caps have deformed beaks. One has a long, curving top bill. The other has a beak like tweezers.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008


Nowcast as of 6:00 PM AST on February 19, 2008

High Wind Warning remains in effect until 5 am AST Wednesday along Turnagain Arm and the hillside... Winds have started to increase along the hillside and turnagain. Southeast winds gusting 69 to 76 mph have been observed along the Upper Hillside and Turnagain Arm. A peak wind of 86 to 94 mph was recorded in Bear Valley this evening. Elsewhere...winds around town and Eagle River will see southeast winds gusting 40 to near 60 mph with the strongest being near the outlet of valleys.
Forecast for Anchorage Hide
Updated: 6:30 PM AST on February 19, 2008
High Wind Warning remains in effect until 5 am AST Wednesday along Turnagain Arm and the hillside...
Strong wind this evening through early Wednesday morning for the rest of Anchorage...
Rain tapering off to scattered showers. Showers mixing with snow after midnight. No snow accumulation. Lows in the upper 20s to mid 30s. Turnagain Arm and along higher elevations...southeast wind 60 to 90 mph. Elsewhere...southeast wind 15 to 30 mph with gusts 40 to 60 mph...strongest near channeled terrain.

Statement as of 3:59 PM AST on February 19, 2008

... High Wind Warning remains in effect until 5 am AST Wednesday
along Turnagain Arm and the hillside...

A High Wind Warning remains in effect until 5 am AST Wednesday along
Turnagain Arm and the hillside.

Low pressure moving across the Gulf will bring dangerous winds to
Turnagain Arm and the hillside through tonight. Southeast winds 50
to 70 mph with gusts to 90 mph along Turnagain Arm and the
hillside will persist through the overnight hours. Winds will
begin to slowly diminish early Wednesday morning and then quickly
fall Wednesday afternoon.

A High Wind Warning means a hazardous high wind event is expected
or occurring. People are urged to secure loose objects that could
be blown around or damaged by the wind.

Above is the classic forecast for a Pineapple Express. We are getting a low direct from Hawaii. Thanks, guys! Our temperatures are now in the high thirties and low forties. The wind is moving snow that was so wet and warm. We normally have fluffy, dry snow not Sierra Cement. The light, cold, fluffy stuff is easier to drive through. So far the highest gust here in Glen Alps has been 62 Mph. My gut feeling is that this will not develop into the winds they are predicting. At least I hope.

Friday, February 15, 2008

The M.D.A.D.

I am wearing a new hat these days. In addition to being a worker bee at my job 30 hours a week, I homeschool Zoey and Vivi, I taxi Zoey to her range openings, her ski practices, I am the mommy and the chief cook and bottle washer. And now I am the assistant coach.

Tom has taken on the task of coaching Zoey in biathlon. Right now there is no biathlon coaching happening in Anchorage. These kids have a fantastic range, nice adult volunteers who help them out, but no real program. We are trying to fix that, but in the meantime, we are doing what we can. Tom coaches nordic skiing. He loves to preach the gospel of skiing to kids. He loves to work with kids on the snow and help them succeed. We know nothing of coaching biathlon. Zoey really wants to be a biathlete, not just a skier who shoots. There is a big difference.

Tom has come up with a strength and interval work out that we can do at home. It targets her upper body so that she can control her rifle. It gets her heart rate up so that she can learn to control her breathing. It involves dry firing so she can practice sighting, breathing, shooting. It is fun to do. It also involves me, I am the timer, the motivator and the model (ha, ha). I have never before had to teach someone how to do a push up. It has been an interesting road. Tom has dubbed it the M.D.A.D. which stands for My Dad is A Dork. Zoey loves it. Her control and breathing are getting way better.

The best thing about all of this is that Tom is so excited to share the experience of Arctic Winter Games with Zoey. He is so proud. And he should be.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

The snowshoe hares belong to the tracks.

I think they make the most interesting tracks. And they LOVE the suet dough.

Racy Sunday

Zoey had another biathlon race on Sunday. While the cold snap was starting to lighten up here at 2300 ft, it was still snapping right along at sea level where the race was held. The temperature was legal, but chilly with a breeze at +1f. This was a race with penalty loops, not just time added on. It was a tough race, but really excellent experience for Yellowknife. That place was having highs of -35F last week. YIKES!

Zoey had a strong cheering section. Her godmother, Sarah, boyfriend Brian, and Auntie Jane all came out. They deserve medals, it was chilly.

Then Zoey's best friend, Megan, came with her dad and brother, Ian, to add to the crowd. I was impressed.

The head coach for Arctic Winter Games did a little meet and greet with all the parents and athletes afterward. He is an Olympian, Todd Boonstra. He is now teaching physical education out in Galena. He brought about seven athletes with him from Galena for the weekend. None of them complained about the cold. Look at this boy's hat and mittens. Are they not beautiful?

Vivi had a good time, she is so social. She kept running up and hugging the course marshall, Teresa Neeno. Thank heavens we know her! Her daughter, Jasmine is a really good biathlete and is so sweet to Vivi. It was a blast to watch them together.

It felt good to get home where it was about +12F. If you look closely at the above photo you can see the temperature inversion creating a gorgeous fata morgana with the volcanoes across the inlet.

Friday, February 08, 2008


Squint really hard and you can see that my spiffy after-market thermometer reads -19F. Yup, that is correct. That was the temperature in Eagle River when I took my girls to Pepere's. It has been getting highs at the house of -2F for about a week. Hot water bottles are a must to go to bed.

Can you id what is making this super highway in my yard. They like the suet dough, too.

Here is the white wine-sicle. Yummm...

The girls with Cojo at the Burtner's yesterday. Judy's wood stove was the center of activity....or inactivity.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

You Make My Day

My cheeks are pink, and I am stammering at the mike, the orchestra is starting up and the super model is about to escort me off the stage. Okay, I would like to thank my lovely friend, Loribird, for gifting me with a "You Make My Day Award."

I would also like to add a few folks to the list. These folks never fail to make me feel less alone, teach me something, bring a smile to my face:

Susan at Susan Gets Native -- Susan is a riot, she is smart, and a smart a#%!

Tom at Mon@rch's Nature Blog -- What photographs! And he offers painless education!

Liza Lee at The Egret's Nest -- Birdy, crafty, busy and funny.

Laura at Somewhere in New Jersey -- This is one of the most polished blogs. Her writing is always thoughtful and considered.

Mary at Mary's View -- She has made me laugh and cry.

Julie at Julie Zickefoose -- Can I be Julie when I grow up?

John at Prairie Ice -- Another amazing nature journalist.

I need to award three young bloggers, their work is fresh.

Phoebe at -- She is so funny and a keen observer.

Helena at Adventures of Bird Girl -- she is going places. Take a look.

Zoey at Zoey's Birding Blog -- What can I say, I love this child.

I read more than these blogs, when I have time. I know I have left off so many interesting reads. Feel free to pass this award on, no hard and fast rules. And enjoy checking out some favorite reads.