Happy tools

You cannot tell me this tractor from Czechoslovakia is not smiling. It should be sad because it may be leaving the island soon.

Tim thinks this laundry pole is meant to look like a wallaby.

And look at this chess set. Someone with time on their hands carved the entire set. Up until we found this, I thought the handmade cribbage board (Tim is killing me there too) was ingenious. But look at these pieces. Each one is hand carved, the bishop has his face shield carved. And the knights are Cape Barren Geese. Might as well have a smile while you work. The queen has a flower nailed to her head and the king has a star and a screw. So clever.

Once again the universe delivers

I’m an eternal optimist, perhaps bordering on pollyanna-ish. But in my experience if you expect good things, good things happen. Perhaps it’s just about being open. What follows is a very small example, but I assure you I have had bigger examples as well, it happens all the time.

We received some food, including a jar of apricot jam, when our research neighbor completed his work and left the island. Then I received an email,  with a recipe for Almond Puff Loaf, that needed jam(!) and sliced almonds, which I just happened to have on hand. Today I whipped up a loaf to have with coffee. It was simple, delicious and photogenic.

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And now for the birds. I saw this eagle join its buddy at the water’s edge. I’m not sure what they were investigating.

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We spotted these two eagles feeding on a seal when we went out in the boat the other day. A young eagle was off to the side and a third adult was waiting in the “wings”,

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This group seems pretty content. Who wouldn’t be with that view?

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This heron had a surprise visitor with ruffled feathers.

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The house that formerly stood here may have been a little too close to the bluff. This fence now stands at the edge of a 200 foot cliff.

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I liked this vanishing point.

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And that loon we saw the other day is no Common Loon. It’s a Yellow-Billed Loon, identified by people other than me who know. It’s relatively rare with less than 10,000 left in the world. And one is here in our little marina. Ah, the universe.

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Chasing rainbows

Sometimes the most beautiful images occur on the dreariest days.  Rainbows don’t appear on sunny days.  Yesterday was gray with freezing rain predicted.  I went for a run and minutes after I got home, it started pouring with a little sun peaking through.  I got the camera out because I thought for sure a rainbow would form and wasn’t disappointed.

First a dull, double rainbow emerged.

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Then one dissolved and the other became more vivid.

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Finally, it widened across the sky.

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If it had been a sunny day, I wouldn’t have this to talk about.  I followed the rainbow all the way to work and when I got there, found the pot of gold.  Apparently, I have been accruing vacation time and don’t take enough time off!!  Lighthouses and sailing, here I come. And more rainbows to chase.

 

 

Media handoff

Tim hiked a High Peak today and I was left home alone. It’s a good thing because it was cold outside and I had plenty to do. I wanted to finish my two rainbow blankets. Naturally there’s a problem. First I didn’t have enough yarn to keep weaving and took a trip to the not big city (mostly small haven) 45 minutes a way and bought one skein of eight colors to finish my project. Oops. So much for my weaving calculations. Then I became so enthusiastic about the first blanket, I didn’t leave enough warp for the second blanket. So the first blanket is 46 or 48 inches long and the second is 21″. Good for a newborn baby for a few days. I now have to bind it to make it. They are beautiful though. One is a twill and the other is plain weave.

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While I wove, I had another project to keep me busy (in addition to keep the wood stove going). I am converting my VHS tapes to digital format. To do it, I bought a video converter, the Diamond One Touch.
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After working through a couple of kinks, it worked great. I plugged RCA wires into the VHS player and connected to Tim’s computer with a USB. Not exactly one touch, but close to it. I had a couple of glitches. Tim’s computer kept not quite going to sleep, but would lock down despite power settings, which said never sleep. After a search, I found the solutions. I had to disable the setting which said, on resume, display the unlock screen. Voila. I no longer had to sit at the computer swiping the touch pad every five minutes. There was initially some terrible audio static, which went away, perhaps because I moved the VHS and computer apart.

I had a chance to watch my old family videos in the process. First let me say I have the absolute cutest and sweetest kids in the world. Just sayin’. We were mostly a Christmas, birthday and sports video family. I learned a few things I the process. My kids got way too much stuff for Christmas, or I let them down big time this year with only a white elephant exchange. Audio recording should not be on during football games. I have a 90 minute graduation film, bought from the school, with about 10 minutes of footage I really want to see. My son’s swimming coach critique gave me a few pointers I may incorporate.

What really struck me though, was the responsibility I have to my family. At some point, my father converted all his old 8mm tapes affectionately known as the Lynne Bahlkow story, to VHS and gave the tapes to his three kids. As the oldest, I had the most footage by far. My younger sister was a newborn, next she graduated from high school and then became a parent herself. Now it’s my job to get the VHS to a format that my kids can use and look at in the future and then ultimately convert to the next generation to keep our family film history alive. I’m going with MPEG 4 for now.

Whoa, what just happened?

First of all, Christmas has already come and gone in my house. Kids live afar, families are complicated, so we celebrated with the whole famn damily thus weekend. It was a blast.

But, how did this weekend pop up so fast? I look forward to it all year long and suddenly it was here. It arrived in the middle of an ice storm, during which our county was in a state of emergency and travel was strongly discouraged due to iced roads and fallen trees and power lines.

As a result, we stayed inside for 36 hours before we broke out and went skeet shooting and sledding, wearing microspikes and snowshoes. And a good time was had by all.

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To keep things simple we had our first white elephant gift exchange. I supplemented it with a white elephant knitting exchange. I included four hats, two woven scarves and a rope trivet. Gifts were stolen, trades were made, everyone was happy and it warmed my heart.
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We spent three nights (short for me since I went to bed after 2) in the cabin to make room in the house and I slept like a baby. The wood stove kept us warm in the loft, while I heard trees cracking outside and coyotes howling in the woods.
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And now they’ve headed off to other family gatherings, the house is quiet and only the ice remains.

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I’m happy I received a digital photo frame, which already has this year’s pictures to make me smile.

Counting the miles

In the Pool and on the loom. I am hanging in there with Master Swimming. I may still be the worst swimmer in the pool but I am also the most improved. I’m able to swim at least a mile already, doing the freestyle, without gasping for air, but still with a few cramps. I may grow to love this. As I learn to relax, I get the sense of floating in the pool. Just wait until I wear my handmade red bathing suit!

I decided I needed to make a few towels for gifts for this weekend. I haven’t been on the loom for ages! I set it up to make about six towels at once. It took 508 strands of 7.5 yards of cotton which ran through my fingers at least twice: when I measured it on the warping board; and when I threaded it and wound it on the loom. That’s more than two miles of thread.! My arms are tired this morning from swimming a mile and weaving two. I may even be getting exercise at the loom. My exercise ball is the perfect height seat when I sit inside the loom for hours fiddling with it. It took me at least eight and maybe ten hours to measure the warp and dress the loom. Then it took about an hour to weave each towel. Six towels may take 16 hours. But as with socks, there’s nothing like hand knit or woven.

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