Pre-winter winter

It’s not officially Winter yet but we got almost two feet of snow so I’ll call that winter. I cut my trail in the woods next door. I love the first ski of the season when I have to knock the snow off the trees to get them to rise back to the sky and make room for me. Now I can just ski in my tracks in the trail I broke.



Yesterday we skied a part of the Jackrabbit trail, which is a 24 mile trail in the backcountry. I took two face plants but since it was in 2 feet of snow, it was like falling on a pillow. And I managed to get up. The we had lunch at a lovely lodge, Cascade Ski center. The fire was huge, the snow was high and the oatmeal stout was on tap.



Now it’s back to work. I have a warp for towels on the loom. 20141213-202942.jpg


Why not? There’s still time until Christmas.

Spring things

It’s hard to believe it ‘s Spring in the Adirondacks. We have two feet of snow on the ground and the temperature was three degrees f today.

But the sun is stronger, the days are longer and I have heard a few new bird songs.

My gift to me is a fair isle vest, knit with three commercial yarns and three handspun skeins (one skein was dyed from all the onion skins we collected during our three month idyll at Deal Island Lighthouse, Tasmania).



My cleaning and organizing obsessions continue. This time in the spice rack. Last fall, I hung several bunches of herbs and peppers to dry and it was time to put them to use. One big mistake I made was not labeling them in the fall when they looked like the actual plant and not dry , shriveled weeds. I could confirm sage but the rest were more subtle. One I made into a tea to sample and am calling it Lemon. Perhaps it was lemon balm or lemon basil but Lemon it is. I’ve called two unidentifiable bunches parsley. One may have been parsley and the other possibly cilantro. Who can tell?

Once the herbs were store in jars, They needed to be easier to find. I keep my spices in two baskets: one with sweet spices for baking; and the other with savory spices for cooking. I could never tell from the top what was in each of the jars. So I decided I needed to label the tops. I was able to use a permanent marker for the later tops and opted for nail polish for the black tops.

The nail polish did not work so well so I had to get creative with the names. Chili powder became “Hot”, Rosemary became the picture of a rose, garam masala is GAR M. I hope I remember my creative code.


Snow is great and the private ski area right next door was open on Sunday so we threw our skis on our shoulders and walked next door to go skiing. Just pinch me. I had to relearn how to use a rope toe, a very fast rope toe. I brought old leather lined mittens for the task but they weren’t strong enough. I had to trade them in for a pair of industrial cowhide gloves which worked beautifully


S’no work

Tim started to make noises about needing new mittens because both his pairs of double knit mittens (essentially two layers of fabric knit at the same time) had shrunk, felted and developed holes from grabbing trees on the way up and down mountains. They were a lot of work to make because it is as if you knit four mittens per pair. I had a better idea.



I added cuffs and darned the holes. This was much quicker with two finished projects in no time. Now I have more time to play in the snow.


We finally had a decent snowfall yesterday and I put on my cross country skis and skied the woods next door. Every year, I make a loop track, shaking the snow off low branches and skiing initially through snow almost to me knees. Then once cut, I ski it for about an hour. No thinking about where to go, just keep skiing and the track is laid out in front of me. I think of it as my meditation labyrinth with a little exercise thrown in. I enjoy this much better than the indoor nordic track. And my new mittens held up and started to felt a bit, just the way they should.


When you have lemons

When you have snow…go skiing. Travel and surgery caused me to miss the past two winters. I downhill skied once 3 years ago, traveled to Australia in 2010 and was on crutches in 2011.


Yet a beautiful mountain is only 30 minutes away. And we just had 16 inches of fresh snow. And it was midweek. I gave it a try on Wednesday and was reminded how much I enjoy it. Best of all, my ankle worked ( the one that had me on crutches last winter).

What fun, even if my style hasn’t changed in 40 years. I tried out the newfangled skis, shorter than me, had a group lesson, which turned out to be a group of only me, and relished the day. Sweet.

I returned yesterday with DH who immediately wanted to go to the top – he’s a mountain hiker after all. Even though I had been to the summit, three years ago on my one day skiing, I balked.

Some male-female dynamics automatically triggered in my brain and I resisted, initially. Perhaps I have been led astray in the past? Lets just say I had not been to an ER before I met DH and now I have been there twice; first due to broken face in a boating accident; and then due to an ankle injury, which occurred while following him up one of his high peaks. Just sayin’.

So away we went and it was lovely. I’m sold. And I didn’t visit the ER. The view of Lake Placid was stunning.


I’ll be back today after a half day of work. After all, we have snow.

‘Sno fun

Yes it is. We’re still playing and working in the snow. I earned my chaps (kind of like a Girl Scout badge but cuter) and got to run the chainsaw. Our woodpile has a lot of wood too long for our stove so first I chainsawed, vroom, it to the right length and then spilt the logs with the axe, wedge and mawl. Very gratifying to see the burnable wood pile grow. Tim wasn’t impressed.

Today we skied Kingdom Dam Road and ran into a prime example of birth order personality differences. I’m the oldest and follow rules to the tee. Tim is youngest and thinks they don’t really apply to him. So when we came upon this sign, I hesitated.

The “This Means You” cinched it for me. This was in addition to the standard “No Trespassing” sign. I was cajoled into blatantly ignoring it by the youngest child but turned around after the downhill portions became a little steep and bumpy for me. A likely story.
I rationalized that i was in neutral colors and wouldn’t be seen while Tim wore bright red and would be picked off first.
The river scene was beautiful before and after the boundary.

There were snowmobile tracks, actually they broke a nice trail, and coyote tracks and yellow snow but no other people.
On the home front, I am test knitting a pair of thrummed mittens. A piece of merino- alpaca roving is knit in every few stitches and creates a thick warm lining, which should felt to the wearer’s hand. It’s a free pattern from called Newfoundland thrummed mittens.

The pattern link is here


Over the top

A cold snap has arrived and brought beautiful, crisp, clear weather. I’ve been snowshoeing or skiing every day and remember how fabulous it is to be here in the winter. Except, of course, when you wake up to a temperature of minus 17 degrees Fahrenheit outside and find your oil burner isn’t working, as we did this morning.

We called the plumber at 0800 and by 0830 we were cranking out heat again. Nice!
I’m prepared though. I finished a double layer hat – naughty and nice. While in town, I wear the Nordic side out.

But when I am among friends I can reveal the dark side.

I am getting my cross country skiing mojo back – sort of controlling downhill speeds and confident I can get up again when I’m down. OK I haven’t actually practiced but I think I can. Yesterday I went through the river valley and came upon my favorite junk in the woods – an upended, rusted old car, balanced on the side of a steep cliff.

I warmed up in the hot tub to crystal clear sky. The Milky Way was like a ribbon, there were shooting stars, it was beautiful. I almost got to enjoy it for longer than I wanted though, because after I got out of the tub and was shivering in the wind, my fingers stuck to the metal latch when I tried to secure it. Yikes!