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A knock at the door a week ago Wednesday; a neighbor girl handing me an invitation to her mother’s baby shower happening Sunday afternoon. Stash diving brought up the remaining ball of  handspun Picperfic Twinkle left from knitting Aurora’s Kensington Wristwarmers (Jane Austen Knits). Twinkle  (70% superwash Merino 30% Trilobal Nylon) has been such a joy to spin, knit and now crochet. The deep raspberry colors set off by the sparkle of the nylon shout  jubilation.Casting on for another Norweigan Baby cap – the tried and true fast baby gift, I blissfully knit the first seven rows. Oh no! Those rows were supposed to alternate between knit and purl for a more elastic edge. I went to bed.

While ravelling the knitted rows the next morning I remembered how quickly the Crochet Beret I’d made for Feather had worked up so switched tools to crochet a wee hat for the new baby girl. Three days to crochet a baby hat in an otherwise busy schedule? Piece of cake. But, which pattern?

I love the look of Lene’s Pikku-Lilli and enjoyed knitting it for a friend’s granddaughter in September so decided to crochet something along those lines, except without the piping and starting at the back of the head then working forward. It was a quick little project that turned out great. I even managed to write down the steps before wrapping it in tissue with the idea of crocheting a couple more and making the pattern available. When the little one is born I hope to get a decent picture of her modeling the hat. She’s due within the next couple of weeks. I encountered mommy, daddy and two young daughters last night out for a walk. She was having a few contractions though nothing serious or regular. Mostly she was craving a peppermint latte. I think she caved. It wasn’t long before they were driving away in their van, returning about half an hour later.

Until then, here’s a sneak preview.


Immediately after the baby shower Sunday afternoon I headed up Crooked Finger Road to practice for an upcoming 60th anniversary. The slanting sunshine shimmered on this tree next to my friend’s house. Burgundy colors surprisingly similar to the deeper raspberry of the baby hat.
When Aurora came to pick up Violet Tuesday afternoon she causally mentioned that Haymaker would love a hat for his birthday coming up the following Friday. No time to dither over what to make or what yarn to use! The perfect fiber was in my stash. Almost half of it was knitting into a partial gigantic sock knit directly from the roving using #19 / 15.75mm needles. Diving into the fiber stash for the sock and the remainder of the 8oz hank of pencil roving I pulled it into the light of day and gently dismantled the sock into a squiggly heap of pencil roving.

The roving was skeined then gently placed into warm water to help erase the memory of the knitted kinks. Using my hands I pressed out as much water as possible then rolled it up in a thick bath towel and stepped on it several times. After that I stood on the back porch and whirled the skein round my arm encouraging the last drops to fly away before hanging it up to dry while spinning commenced on the remaining 4+ ounces of the roving.

Violet thought the container of roving waiting to be spun was great entertainment.

By the end of Thursday the first bobbin was spun.

By the end of Tuesday Haymaker’s hat was finished with plenty of yarn left over… enough to make a matching hat for Violet.

This yarn reflects the autumn colors abounding in the natural world outside my door.

What ‘s an option when a thick handspun, crocheted hat needs to dry quickly? Place it on the warm wood stove and rotate frequently.

It’s quite aggravating that my family just doesn’t understand my need to photograph evidence of my projects, especially the people who are supposed to be modeling them.
His daughter wasn’t any better at cooperating, and at that tired point in the evening she only wanted mommy to hold her.

I hope to get a picture of the two of them together. Sitting still!

Selling spindles makes for quick setting up time. We store the spindles in bins that ride on a trolly and sit under the cloth covered table. Assemble the display shelves hang our sign and we’re ready in less than half an hour. Which gave us time to look through the market to see others setting up without the pressure to scurry back to the booth.

The pleasant slanting evening light drew people out of their RVs to sit in scattered circles chatting to friends and acquaintances.  The ladies of Abstract Fiber had set up their RV across the way from us and soon we found ourselves sitting down to pies that Susan had made the night before. Yummy! A huge marionberry as well as a huge apricot pie. Enjoyed every morsel of a sliver of each,  and their delightful company, which included an engaging African whose booth was right behind Abstract Fibers, selling baskets, bags and jewelry. Sadly, his name is gone from my memory.
It was still light when Ed and I crawled into our sleeping bags. All night it was light. The nearby parking lot light was so bright I literally could have read my book.

Pitter-pattering against the tent woke us up. Rain. What started out gentle turned into a cold, day-long deluge.
Diehard fiber and fiber animal enthusiasts braved the rain.

Sights and goods like these were well worth it. Such tempting vibrant colors and beautiful skeins.I was quite taken with the young lady who was elegantly dressed as though for high tea. She and her friend sat there for some time as he knitted away. Our booth was right beside the main door and when I caught a glimpse of them leaving I couldn’t resist a picture of contrasts.

The rain hadn’t let up at all during the day, and at times it poured hard. About 4 that afternoon Ed decided to check on our tent and soon return with a gloomy face. The rain had managed to seep through one spot  where we hadn’t been able to completely pull the rain fly taut. Being on asphalt we used the car to tie down two sides and water jugs for the other two corners. His sleeping bag was seriously soaked.

In January when I’d tried booking a motel room for BSG all the reasonable rooms were already reserved. Any motels/hotels with a room were asking close to $200 and up per night. The Olympic Track & Field Trials were beginning the same weekend as BSG, and Eugene as Track Town USA draws the running fans. We were prepared to pack it in and drive home if absolutely necessary but hoped to find a cancellation. Having a smart phone turned out to be a huge blessing! (We’d not owned one before but knowing there was no wi-fi in the barns we bit the bullet and bought one to use our card reader. Almost the very first thing after setting up and trying to run a card we discovered that the signal wasn’t strong enough and the call was dropped. The customer happened to be the very person who’d talked with us at Sock Summit about a new contraption he carried around to connect to the internet. Next thing we knew, he was back at our booth, mi-fi modem in hand with accompanying power cord. God bless him! He gave us his Mi-Fi to keep! )

Wow, the info one can access with a smart phone. Typing in motels, Eugene OR, a list popped up of all the motels with vacancies, and the number of rooms available, plus rates. Even as I scrolled through the list rooms were filling up so I frantically called one with decent rates (just over $100/night!) and secured a room for two nights. Apparently enough people who’d made reservations last January had last minute change of plans. (High gas/bad economy)

Shortly before 6pm the skies lightened a bit and the rain stopped. At six we were closing shop and rushing out to gather all of our camping gear, stuffing it in the car, wetness and all. About five blocks from the fairgrounds is a Five Guys. We were starving so pulled in for the first decent meal of the day. Just as we sat down with our hamburgers and fries the sky grew black and the rain drummed down.

Saturday brought a number of previous customers who stopped by to buy another spindle and/or show us what they’ve been spinning.
John, a friend of several years now, had just taken a workshop and one of the things they did was grab random bits of fibery fluff and spin it all together. His yarn is from various silk bits.

Ilisha, whom we’ve had the pleasure of getting to know since last year’s Sock Summit, had a bunch of yarn turtles she’d recently spun.And what does she do with these relatively small batches of yarn?
She’s the Jazz Knitter! Look at what her creative mind does with yarn! There’s no end to the scope of her imagination for using colorful yarn.

Lauri stopped by not only with her spinning but with a tool that are over a hundred years old: Turkish distaff! How exciting it was to see her putting one to use.

There were a number of weekender kids who gravitated to our spindles (and probably all the other spindle makers!) Their enthusiasm is contagious. These two were in an RV next to our tent the first night. They were at BSG to show their sheep. The girl took home at least one blue ribbon, and they both took home a Delight. :)

Hope everyone had a great Independence Day! I made good headway on the new website and hope that by this time next week it will be finished. I keep getting badly sidetracked by needing to maintain the ongoing regular office work.

This afternoon Ed and I headed in to town to help with the weekly community dinner (served 187 people tonight, down from the usual 450+). The core team had finished most of the prep work by the time we got there at 2:30 so we headed to the street fair happening downtown.

We saw a sweet, old spinning wheel that was in good condition for a terrific price, but alas, she didn’t take credit cards and we hadn’t taken the check book. My Tour de Fleece spinning was quite happy not to have the extra competition.

Tour de Fleece began today!  I don’t think it’s too late if you’d like to join Team Jenkins Spindlers, just reply to the very first post so Blumzie knows you want to join. Today was the Time Trials for the Tour de France so I chose to pedal the exercise bike for 20 minutes while spinning.

Digging through my fiber stash yesterday the natural selection pointed to the fiber Ed brought back to our booth at BSG: BlarneyYarn Merino/Silk Top, 2.2 ounces of each colorway
Apparently he saw a couple of shawls at Blarney Yarns booth that stopped him in his tracks and thought I’d like to spin some of the beautiful fiber.

A walnut Aegean seemed the right spindle to show off the fibers.

As usual Black Sheep Gathering was a lot of fun, and very exhausting. An apt description of an introvert is someone whose energy is drained by people, whereas an extrovert is energized by people. So true! While I do enjoy the interactions and meeting people by the end of a show I want to disappear into the woods and hide for a week.

Once again all the visual stimulus, activity, people… put my brain on overload and other than a couple of quick dashes around to see booths I pretty much stayed at our booth. With the exception of drooling over an 8 shaft Baby Wolf that Eugene Textiles had marked down. Ed first alerted me to the loom and suggested I check it out. Very tempting. Except. We drove our Ford Focus. It was packed to the roof top with display materials, spindle boxes and camping gear.

Yep, we decided to camp this year and save motel costs.
Upon arrival the young man in charge of camping reservations gestured the huge parking lot with a broad sweep of his arm, “set up where ever you want.” Really? There was one nice grassy verge under a large fir tree that looked perfect. He phoned the supervisor, “is it okay if they put up a tent on the grass?” “Um, sure, if you don’t mind automatic sprinklers going on.”

We picked a likely spot not too far from the barns, between friendly people in RVs who come from CA every year for Black Sheep. (Rats! I can’t remember their names.)

Oops, bedtime! It’ll be an early, and long day for us tomorrow. More on BSG to come…

Groan, not that I’m likely to fall asleep soon, a bunch of fireworks (illegal) are blasting through the air with accompanying shouts of cheer. Ha! It’s begun raining. If we’re fortunate it’ll pour hard/long enough to put a damper on their early festivities. :D

We’re almost ready for Black Sheep Gathering! Ed’s been cranking out the spindles left and right. If you’re in the area please stop by our booth, just inside the main doors and say hi. It’s fun to meet readers and Jenkins spindle fans. Please forgive me when I seem to be in a fog. I’m terrible about remembering names and faces, a problem made worse when my brain feels swamped by all the stimuli, noise and senses overload.

Exciting news for all you spinners out there who love spinning with your Jenkins spindles! There’s a Team Jenkins group on the Tour de Fleece forum at Ravelry this year. If you don’t have a Ravelry account, and you’re hesitant about yet another social network … hesitate no longer! This year I have spent very little time at Raverly except to swoop in to scope out patterns. When I’m in search for  a certain type I almost always check in Ravelry first – their patterns are practically limitless. And now, you can join the Team Jenkins and spin during every day of the official bicycle race known as Tour de France. The days they race, we spin. Your spinning efforts will be cheered on by all your teammates and there will be some prizes at the finish. The TdF begins on June 30th – just enough time to dust off your spindle, check your fiber stash and decide what challenge you want to take on. The main guideline of TdF is that the spinning project can not be started before June 30th. Just like the bike racers you may prepare ahead of time and get all set for that wild dash at the start of the race on June 30th. Take pictures and post them in the TeamJenkins page of your spinning progress.

Hope to see you there!

The weekend away was just what I needed to restore a sense of balance and positive outlook on life. By noon on Friday I had packed up the last of the orders that were ready to mail, threw my gear into the car and took off for Sisters, OR stopping to pick up Hope and Grace on the way out of town. Despite the forecast for showers and cold the sun was shining between scattered clouds. We weren’t about to let the cold, stiff wind dampen our spirits. Constance had obligations on Friday but drove over the mountains to join us Saturday afternoon where we bumped into her as we were leaving a store. Sisters is known for its scenery, small town charm and clusters of interesting stores. We rented a condo on the outskirts of town where it’s a pleasant walk to downtown. The others spent time browsing through quilt stores, dime stores, used bookstores, clothing boutiques, etc.

I took my spindle and sat on a bench in the Village Green and thoroughly enjoyed spinning whilst people watching.  A family with four kids were happily playing on the playground structure while the mom and dad sat on the grass next to the barkdust covered space watching over their children and quietly talking. The two older kids played tagged round and round, climbing the structure, slipping down the slide, a pole, swinging along the rings rarely vocalizing except to claim, “Tag!”. So much non-stop energy while their younger siblings also energetically climbing, scooted and descended in earnestness occasionally calling out, “Mom! Watch me!” Almost an hour pleasantly passed when it occurred to me how quietly and industriously they played. No shouting, screaming or yelling. They spoke nicely to one another in regular tones of voices, laughing briefly, joyously.

A mom brought a toddler over to play on the structure and though they continued their energetic game of tag they were mindful around the little girl. The parents announce lunchtime and the kids melted away from the structure following their parents’ wake to the waiting car. Mulling over how happily they had played together I marveled at their quietness and thought back to when our kids were grade school age a friend once remarked to me that we were a “quiet family”. I was surprised at the notion but soon realized what she meant. Watching and being near this quiet family and obviously happy family was very refreshing and soothing. Soon afterwards three boys came running and shouting to the playground where they immediately began climbing, jostling to be the first, the fastest, the best. Their voices carried to the far corners of the green, including their obnoxious name calling of each other.  Two polar families. Parent can teach their children to play and engage in wholesome activities without the need to be loud and pushy, they do it by example and setting the tone for quiet interaction within the family as the children are growing.

I took lots of pictures: my time in the park; the rodeo we attended on Saturday evening; small delights and pleasures. Tuesday morning I discovered that I’d lost the transfer cable somewhere along the way.  I ordered a new cable online, it should be here within a couple more days. Until then I’ll leave you with a picture taken last year in Redmond, a town about 20 miles from Sisters that knows how to celebrate and honor Flag Day.

After feeling like I’ve been in a tail spin for the past couple of weeks trying to figure out how to make the new website do what we need it to do, I have crashed.

It’s been insanely impossible to try working on the website while juggling orders. I’m at my wits end. If I ignore emails to concentrate completely on figuring out where to go with the site design then emails and orders get back-logged, bringing in some multiple emails wondering if the others were lost in cyberspace. I get that with emails have gone missing but it doesn’t help with my logjam of work. My stomach has been in knots for the past two weeks over the situation. I’m extremely grateful for all the orders and work but it’s just me in the office and Ed in the shop and there’s only so much the two of us can accomplish in a day.

With Black Sheep Gathering two weeks away we must concentrate on building up stock, recording and organizing the inventory and tending to the myriad of small details that goes into being adequately prepared for a 3 day show.  (Ed has just turned out the bedroom light. Another early night for him – 8:30pm as I write this- these days have been exhausting, and discouraging. )

Tomorrow I’ll try to coax the ancient computer beast back to life long enough to see if I can clear more memory and give it a bit extra life so I can post on the existing website that we won’t be working on orders until the end of June. I truly hope that the extra time will be the ticket to stop the nightmare of a partially functioning website and give Ed the focus he needs to be ready for BSG.

It’s scary to “take off” this time (we’ll still be working, though we hope not the endlessly long hours) since Jenkins Woodworking – spindles, hooks, needles, hairpin looms – provides our entire income. On the other hand Ed can’t afford to have a shop accident and I don’t want to lose my sanity.

Compounding things was having a venous ablation done on one of my legs to take care of the insufficient saphenous vein on the 22nd. (I’d like to post about this at length in the future.) From what I’d read it sounded like it wasn’t a big deal. For the most part it hasn’t been, it’s just one more thing to deal with during any already stressful time. The first two days I alternated between resting with my leg elevated above my heart and an ice pack on it for about 30 minutes and working in the office  for 20 – 30 more minutes, but it’s been very hard to take the time away to elevate my leg and ice it.

Wore the tight wrappings for 48 hours. I was amazed at how much it swelled even with the bandaging, tape and compression sock. (This will be the only picture of this.)

The 25th had previously been booked for filming of the spinning video. Jesse and his film partner, Shannon, had only that one day available to come down here from Portland. It was a very intense day that flew by way too quickly as we tried to cover everything in one session. I was so impressed with their professionalism and knowledge. Figuring out lighting and placement, working through the sections was a blast. We worked solidly with only a 15 minute break to eat some cheese and crackers for lunch. Then again as we neared the ending when the camera’s hard drive reached max capacity and we had to stop to transfer recordings to Jesse’s laptop. Bad timing, I’d been on a roll but with the interruption my train of thought evaporated; tiredness set in; I was concerned about my leg (no chance to rest or ice it at all). After that it was hard to pick up the pieces and get back in the groove.

Jesse setting up camera gear:
Shannon in charge of the sound system and lighting:

We began with the outdoor scene after this we moved into the house where I was too absorbed to think about getting anymore picture.
What a fun experience to work with Jesse and Shannon!

 

I thought my leg was doing extremely well since there was minimal pain. Apparently, so much lidocaine was injected all along the blood vessel that it took over a week for the numbness to wear off and the pain to really hit.  The following Tuesday, the 29th, I was absentmindedly carrying a 7 gallon container of water down some steps when I felt a burning in my leg and realized how stupid it was to carry that much weight (56lbs) so soon. It’s been burning ever since, always worse after sitting for more than 15 minutes.  Talked to a nurse about it a couple days ago and was reassured that it’s normal and that it could take a couple more weeks before the pain completely goes away.

Life feels very crazy right now. Remember the Girls’ Getaway I mentioned in the previous post?  It feels completely insane to be taking four days away from the office. My stomach somersaults just thinking about load of work that will greet me when I return. But, as I’d mentioned, it will be good to get away for a short time. Stressing about all the work won’t do me any good so I may as well enjoy the good change of pace and come back renewed in mind and spirit.

Some days trying to focus on the good is so hard!

Rain is bucketing down and the temperatures never climbed above low 60s today. A good day to stick a roast in the oven and let it take the chill off the house. My mom cooked the best roast dinners when I was growing up. Every year we raised a locker steer that filled our freezer with good meat for the following year. With four hungry kids growing up on a small farm this was an affordable way to have good meat. Growing up I never considered that we might be considered poor by many standards but looking back I know that money must have been tight at times.

On days like today, with a roast in the oven, potatoes boiling to be mashed, home grown and preserved green beans simmering on the back burner a sense of well-being and contentment filtered through the house. For the most part Ed and I like eating simply; a one dish meal is often the most satisfying for both of us. I’m fortunate – Ed’s an easy keeper! That man can get by on one meal a day with a handful of nuts to sustain him while working all day in the shop. But sometimes a full dinner is satisfying physically and emotionally.

We’re gearing up for Black Sheep Gathering. It almost makes me dizzy to think that it’s just around the corner. This next weekend is the annual Sister’s getaway that my three friends and I have taken the past half dozen years, or so.  While I’m very much looking forward to getting away for a long weekend and spending time with dear friends it’s rather daunting to contemplate being gone when there’s much that I’d like to accomplish in the next few weeks.

I’ll try to put all those tasks from my mind and take this opportunity to rest and try to do some much needed recuperating, and some spinning, and enjoy the companionship. I hope to start a new sweater for Violet, or perhaps some red socks for myself.

After three attempts at knitting socks for Violet and designing my own baby sock pattern, I gave up with the fancy stitches and knit a 2×2 ribbing that fits her feet with a bit of room to grow. This girl will not keep socks on her feet. Awake she’s in constant motion waving her legs and arms and stretching, her socks haven’t stayed on during those vigorous motions. I was hoping the 2×2 ribbing would help but it wasn’t long before they were flung from her little feet. Don’t be alarmed, she can snuggle quietly too.

One sock is peeking from under Aurora’s arm.
Next, it was impossible to get a picture without some blurring.

Though June has come in cold and rainy we had a very pleasant May which got the strawberries off to a good start. mmmm

How the years have flown. Can we really be this old?

Was it indeed that long ago that we were dreaming of marriage. Truth is, we didn’t take very long with the dreaming part.

Ed and I met while working at a local summer camp. He’d just finished four years as a Navy Seabee (Construction Battalion) when his mentor and fishing buddy, who happened to be the camp director, asked him to work as the summer maintenance crew leader. I was working my second summer there as assistant wrangler. First awareness came when he helped Lowell and I build a small blacksmith shop for Lowell, the head wrangler and certified blacksmith. We took to hanging out together and riding horses Sunday afternoons. Star Wars came out that summer. He went to watch it in the theaters three times. Each time taking a different camp worker. I was the last. (We’re still friends with the girl of his second date.)

By summer’s end we didn’t want to say goodbye. By the end of October we were talking marriage. November and plans were made to drive to my folk’s place in Flagstaff, AZ for Christmas. A good friend decided she should go too  since her parents also lived in Flag. We would drive her car which was far more reliable than Ed’s old pickup truck held together with baling wire. Car-less, I depended on public transportation.

I was a bride’s maid in a friend’s 7pm wedding, Dec 23rd, which took place in a town about an hour west of Portland. Driving straight from the wedding back across to East Portland to pick up Lydia we arrived at the hospital just as she got off her swing shift. She’d stashed her suitcase in the car earlier that day and without delay we drove the night away. South, down the length of Oregon, up and over the snowy Siskiyou Mountains straddling the Oregon/California border. Swinging east heading for Nevada, we encountered the heaviest, thickest fog I hope to ever drive through. Scary! Fortunately at that early time of the morning on that straight back country road there was almost no traffic. Driving, my head hung out the window as I desperately peered for the dotted line to keep us centered on the road. Ed kept a sharp look out for car lights ahead while Lydia watched for cars through the back window. We crept along about 10 miles an hour for what felt like hours. Then finally we broke through into sunshine. On through Reno, Las Vegas, over Boulder Dam and into Arizona, stopping only to gas up and grab a bit to eat as Saturday crept to a close. (Car food the rest of the time.) Speeding along I-40, finally winding up into higher elevations leading to Flagstaff we arrived stiff, exhausted ,yet exhilarated at 5:30 Christmas morning. 30 hours of almost non-stop driving, an early Christmas surprise. (Normally it took us 36 hours for the journey.)

21st Birthday December 26 Looking at my parent’s wedding album

Ed managed to get my dad alone. My dad knew what was coming and teased him by asking Ed all sorts of evasive questions just to make Ed squirm. That night he slipped the engagement ring on my finger and we celebrated with my folks and talked about wedding plans. Mom was a teacher at a small college at the time so we weighed the merits of a Spring break vs a summer wedding.

Jokingly I turned to mom and said, “we should get married on your anniversary.” Without a beat of hesitation she replied, “Yes, you could!” Ed and I looked at each other in utter astonishment and mounting excitement. We turned to dad who nodded and said, “Why not?”

Why not? Their anniversary was January 1st, in six days. Could we pull it off? Why not? Ed’s dad was a preacher and we knew that it’d be difficult for him to call in a back-up for that Sunday, which like this January 1st also landed on a Sunday. But, they should be able to fly to Flagstaff right after church. We moved the date back one day to January 2nd. (We were amused by idea of marriage on a Monday, and a date that wasn’t so wildly popular for weddings.)

Engagement picture January 1, 1978

Phone calls were made and plans quickly fell into place. I borrowed a dress, my dear friend since 8th grade flew from Texas, together we stalked up the flank of the Mt Elden gathering wild grasses, greenery and some freeze-dried red berries still clinging to their bushes – anything that looked like a possibility for decorations. A small cake was ordered as well as a head-piece and bouquets of daisies. (There were very few options at that time in Flagstaff!) A dear friend, also from High School days, willingly agreed to play the piano for the wedding. A back-up minister in case Ed’s dad didn’t make it, which looking more likely with each passing day.

Stay tuned for next installment!

Thanks to all who have left comments on previous posts. Your names have been added to the bowl(s) of your desire, drawing will be tomorrow evening about 7pm Pacific Time! If you want a chance to win:

1 Crochet Hook
1 Pair of Knitting Needles
1 Hairpin Lace Loom
1 Aegean Spindle
1 Turkish Delight

Today (until midnight) is the last day to leave a comment on the previous posts. (Please see previous posts, going back to Dec 18th, for rules and items.)

This year saw a major change to our Christmas tradition, we had our main Christmas Dinner yesterday. Aurora and Haymaker came for Dinner and an evening of gift giving and quiet fellowship. Having the Dinner and gift exchange yesterday gives us a day quiet rest and enjoyment instead of all the usual hustle and bustle.  We are headed out the door soon to help a young friend with a Christmas Service at a nursing home in the next town over.

One tradition was kept! Enough dough was made yesterday morning for dinner rolls and the Christmas morning cinnamon rolls.
Scrumptious!A blessed Christmas day filled with peace and joy to all my friends around the world!

Looking into sunrise/sunset times has me chasing down a rabbit trails when the clock is quickly clicking to Christmas. Lene’s Dances with Wool Dec 22 post took me on an even longer jaunt trying to wrap my mind around the vast variances in sunlight/darkness around the Northern Hemisphere. (basing it only on the NH since this is where I live.)

My simple explanation of the sun rising later each morning until January 7th while it is setting a tad earlier each day has generated plenty of interest. Really, it’s fascinating stuff, as a young friend will say. The earth tips 23.5 on its axis in relationship to the sun. As it orbits around the sun, this tilt makes all the difference in the world (heehee) between what time the sun rises and sets in your latitude and longitude  and how long it may take for the days to lengthen, how quickly the time reverses in both directions. (I’m at  the latitude and longitude of 45°2′31″N   122°40′2″W)
(Taken at 10:17 am on Dec 21 , when the fog was finally lifting.)

Where Lene lives near the Arctic Circle in Finland there are the sun rises and set at the same time for 3 days: Dec 21, 22, and 23rd – which they call the Nesting Days. After which the days lengthen at both ends.  Finland is on the sunward side of the tilted planet.

Point Barrows, the northernmost town in Alaska is on the dark side of the tilt during the winter months, thus they have an even longer period of Nesting.

On Nov 21, 2011, the sun rose at 12:54pm and set at 1:38pm and there it will continue to rise and set at the same time until Jan 21, 2011! Two dark months with scarcely one and a half hours daily of the sun skimming the horizon. Once that date is hit the change is very rapid there in Point Barrow, within three days the sun will rise at 12:08 pm and set at 2:59.

Fascinating stuff!View down our road at 10:45 am yesterday morning. We had a number of errands to run and so loaded the pickup and drove from our mostly sunny small valley (due to a ridge on the east the sun actually rose yesterday at 9:14, and sank behind the southwest ridge shortly before 3:30pm)

Looking towards the Abiqua Basin, picture taken about 5 miles from our place at 11:04am.As we headed further west into the Willamette Valley the fog became denser, skimming the ground. Later we drove north to Portland and passed through areas of frozen fog (not snizzle) where the temperature never got above 33F, finally reaching sunny and warmer Portland. How varied the weather in a relatively small area!

Even in the darkest days of December there is color in our area; the varied greens of winter and red tipped blueberry plants.

Tomorrow daughter and s-i-l, Aurora and Haymaker will be coming over for an early Christmas Eve dinner followed by attending the evening service at our Friends’ church in this village. Tonight we’re heading over to Haymaker’s parent’s to celebrate our granddaughter, Gail’s birthday. I need to stop here, run to town to pick up eggs I forget to get while out and about yesterday, bake brownies to take tonight and a pecan pie for tomorrow. I’ll wait until tomorrow morning to make rolls and all the other items for the dinner.  There are still presents to be wrapped and some laundry to tend. Good times!

Here’s a scanned copy of the promised picture that accompanied the article in the local paper which I mentioned in the previous post.Yes, Ed is smiling, his mustache gets in the way.

*******
The storm from Alaska brought a windy, drenching end to the long pleasant autumn.

Knowing the fine days were ending, and fearing an eminent fall of leaves from the catalpa tree in front of the shop, Ed moved swiftly to get the finish on a project for friends. His shop is too small and cramped for finishing anything other than small hand items.

While he spread a large tarp from the porch roof to his shop and across to branches in the tree, Cuddles jumped up to her recent favorite morning spot to warm in the sun.

Several years ago the catalpa tree shed all of its leaves in one day. There had been a hard, deep freeze during a mid-October night when the tree was still in full leaf. The following morning a few leaves began to drop then suddenly they poured down so fast we both rushed outside at the sound of the stems and leaves hitting the porch roof and ground. The air was filled with leaves. By nightfall not one leaf was left on a branch. It was the oddest thing that has not yet been repeated. After a  frost on Tuesday and Wednesday nights with the thermometer dipping slightly below 30 the tree was bound to loosen its leaves. The friends do not want leaf imprinted finish on their furniture.

Meanwhile, I was in the kitchen making and baking a pie for a birthday supper that evening before heading into the office.

Tarp set up, work space set up, generator running and the sun warming the air, Ed commenced brandishing the spray gun then setting each drawer in turn on the ladder to dry.
When we were decades younger Ed was a professional furniture refinisher. He took great pride in carefully, yet quickly applied layers of finish without drips or puddling. I enjoyed watching him deftly spray a thin even coat. There’s something about watching a master plying his craft: economy of motion and materials, a sure hand and eye and the conveyance of the joy of doing.

Quilted maple for the drawer fronts was harvested and milled by a local farmer.

By mid-afternoon the second coat had been applied.

The pie was cooling.

Today, the pie is only pleasant memory.

I drove home through the wind and rain from music practice this evening, tires crushing shiny leaves obscuring the road.

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