Knitting/quilting update and some holiday cheer.

December 10, 2020 – I have been both knitting and quilting away, as the days get shorter, the evenings longer. We usually watch one program in the evenings, and have made our way through the latest seasons of The Crown, The Great British Baking Show (including the holiday edition with the Derry Girls), and The Queen’s Gambit. Some of these require full attention, but the Baking show is pretty relaxed, so I can get a lot of knitting in.

I finished my Dissent Socks and another Ridge Washcloth.

IMG_2074

Dissent Socks, pattern by Tiina Kuu

IMG_2090

Ridge Washcloth, pattern by Hannah Maier

I joined the AdventureGnome Mystery KnitALong, and am also making one of her earlier released gnome patterns, just a little knitting on these every day.

IMG_2234

Adventure Gnome, pattern by Sarah Schira

IMG_2237

Here We Gnome Again, pattern by Sarah Schira

I am making good progress on socks and a hat that are holiday gifts.

IMG_2238

Rafa’s Hat, pattern by Joji Locatelli; Artists Garden Socks, pattern by Tif Neilan

And I finished the quilting on the Plaid Rectangles Charm Quilt. I just need to add the binding.

IMG_2150IMG_2155

Holiday Cheer – My knitting group, which has become an online knitting group during the pandemic, cleverly set up a holiday exchange, beginning last summer. Three of the 15 members collected twenty 10 gram mini-skeins of leftover fingering weight yarn from each member, and set up what were were promised as a Solstice Surprise, Advent Calendar, Hanukkah Miracles, or Pagan Pockets (to be ecumenical about it). They really outdid themselves, and we have been assured that they had a lot of fun doing it – despite having to collaborate remotely. I was expecting a bag with twenty balls of yarn, but instead was presented with this magnificent gift -bearing banner. Gifts in pockets, and ribbons with tied-on but hidden yarn balls. It has been so much fun to open one every day and see what my surprise is. I believe the plan is to save the banner and fabric squares for reuse in future years – so it is also a wonderful, reusable item. I am so grateful to these knitters, who I get to see twice a week on knit chat meetups, for helping  to pass the pandemic time so productively and supportively.

IMG_2124

My yarn “Solstice Surprise” banner.

IMG_2241

10 days of surprises, so far!

I have noticed lots of cheerful decorations around the neighborhood on my walks. We lit candles for the first night of Hanukkah tonite, joining our son remotely. Our Christmas tree is up and lighted – I have yet to unpack the ornaments – that will be next.

IMG_2117

Giant ornaments

IMG_2115

Lawn reindeer

IMG_2139

Roof reindeer

IMG_2122

Star Wars heroes

IMG_2141

Porch nutcrackers

IMG_2183

A beautiful sunset –

IMG_2229

reflected in the window.

IMG_2244

Menorah

Today, the first Covid vaccine was approved – we can begin to hope for the end of the pandemic – that is probably the most uplifting thought of all!

September – wildfires and smoke

September began with a heat wave, too hot for hiking. I went on my usual walks through the neighborhood, noting the late summer flowers and early signs of fall.

And I finished sewing my summer kimono robe.

We were planning some adventures after the Labor Day weekend, when the trails would be quieter. Instead, quite literally, all hell broke loose. In my last post, I expressed my “hope for a late summer without a local fire season.” I could never have predicted the late summer snowstorm in the Rockies that created an ‘unprecedented’ giant windstorm that swept westward across the continent, fanning the flames of wildfires in every combustible forest on the west coast of North America. We were safe at home, watching in horror, as the news kept getting worse.

Satellite photos from September 11th show the smoke being pulled far out to sea:

After the winds died down, the heavy smoke settled in, limiting visibility, and making breathing painful. We learned how to use the AirNow app to monitor our air quality, constantly refreshing the page, hoping for better results.

For six days I did not go out of doors at all – grateful to have a safe home to harbor in, knowing there were so many families evacuated, and many with their homes burned. Many have still not been able to return; meanwhile the firefighters, Red Cross, and all the social support services have stepped up to aid those in need. I have only gone out once, so far, to pick up a prescription and some groceries. Nobody is walking our neighborhood streets – the air has been too bad. Today it finally shows signs of improvement, and we may be able to step out in the next day or two.

September 16th – our first glimpse of the sun in more than a week.

Knitting

Once again, knitting to the rescue. I have had time to finish a few projects:

And make progress on other projects:

Awake and say
“What time is it?
What day is it? What season?”
No sun,
but not dark,
so…
daytime…

End of summer in a strange year
when all the cues are gone,
and now gone again.
Most things closed down again.
Wildfire smoke blankets our part of the planet.
Fall approaches, but is it the fall of our civilization? Or autumn?
Invisible viruses still pervade the air.
Not quite invisible smoke particles dim our sight, harm our lungs.

A metaphor for the insidious gloom covering our entire nation in an unprecedented election year, the outcome to determine how we will breathe going forward.

9/12/2020

Eleven Lakes and a bear in Indian Heaven Wilderness, and more pandemic knitting

We took two hikes in Indian Heaven Wilderness, a beautiful patch of the Gifford Pinchot National Forest between Mt Adams and Mt St Helens in southern Washington. A few small volcanic peaks rise above the rolling forested landscape that is also spotted with dozens of lakes, and covered with ripe huckleberry bushes in August.

Image 9-3-20 at 2.55 PM

August 20, 2020 – Indian Racetrack Lake and Red Mountain

DSC02483

Trailhead into the forest

DSC02510

Racetrack Lake – the only lake on this hike

DSC02572

Looking Across Racetrack Meadow to Red Mountain

DSC02522

View of Mt Adams on the way up to Red Mountain

DSC02525

Closer view of Mt Adams,

DSC02526

And closer.

DSC02527

Nearing the top of Red Mountain

Views from the top:
DSC02538

Mt Hood beyond Red Mountain Lookout

DSC02559

We climbed up to the viewing platform on the lookout.

DSC02549

Some other hikers pointed out a bear cub down on the other side of the mountain, eating huckleberries.

DSC02554

Looking back east at Mt Adams – clouds now covering the top

DSC02553

Mt St Helens to the north

DSC02561

And starting down again, we can see our trail dropping into the woods, and beyond we see the spine of Indian Heaven Wilderness: Berry Mountain, Gifford Peak, burned East Crater, and Lemei Rock.

Some details along the trail:
DSC02592

Lily pads and grass, Racetrack Lake

DSC02619

Falls Creek

Hike #57, 6.8 miles, 1500 feet

August 28, 2020 – Thomas Lake trailhead to Junction Lake

The other ten lakes were seen on this hike.

DSC02651

Once again we enter the forested wilderness…

DSC02653

Thomas Lake

DSC02654

Heather Lake

DSC02673

Dee Lake

DSC02681

Eunice Lake

DSC02685

Nuha Lake

DSC02690

Rock Lakes

DSC02704

Unnamed lake beyond Rock Lakes

DSC02714

View of burnt East Crater from the Old Cascade Crest trail segment

DSC02717

A glimpse of Mt St Helens as we cross the shoulder of East Crater

DSC02719

Unnamed lake near the trail junction

DSC02721

Junction Lake, our turnaround point

Some details along the trail:
DSC02759

Reflections in the lakes…

DSC02761DSC02708

DSC02736

Huckleberry bushes turning red

DSC02649

Mountain ash berries

DSC02732

Hellebore

DSC02754

Most likely the last beargrass bloom of summer

DSC02752

And another view of Mt St Helens above Eunice Lake on the descent.

DSC02751

Hike #58, 6.8 miles, 630 feet.

Meanwhile, we are floating along through more days of pandemia – some days we see no one at all, only virtual connections to the outside world. Our neighbors leave us tomatoes. We leave them apples and plums and wave across the rose bushes. Downtown is still burning up with civil unrest while I go on placidly through the days of late summer, of pandemia, of this administration… I virtually hold my breath, knock on wood, pray, cast spells, wish for a begin to a return to ‘normalcy’; hope for a late summer without a local fire season, hope for a scientifically tested efficacious vaccine, and hope for a fair election that will allow us to emerge from impending climate change, covid and facism. And I knit…

Knitting –

I cast on a hat and some socks…

IMG_1532

Rafa by Joji Locatelli, Malabrigo Arroyo, Blue green

IMG_1531

Sock, Berroco Sox yarn

Neighborhood sights:

IMG_1499

fern shadows

IMG_1525

Poetry Post

IMG_1526

yard sign

IMG_1544

neighborly tomatoes

And nationally…

My daughter attended the 57th March on Washington,

Image 9-2-20 at 3.23 PM

The march

Image 9-2-20 at 3.22 PM

Lincoln Memorial

IMG_0807

The Mall

-and this artwork crossed my social media feed:

118353867_10223211721502809_2846007427469729754_o

I am still struggling a bit with the new WordPress format….

Another couple of pandemic weeks with a birthday, two hikes on Mt Hood, and knitting…

8/17/2020 – I’ve had a birthday, which we celebrated with a hike and a socially distanced takeout Thai dinner with our two sons. Despite the palpable pandemic/political chaos tension in the world I have much to be grateful for. Although I am missing having our usual summer get togethers with extended family, so is everyone in the world right now. I am especially grateful that we saw almost every relation last year, between two weddings and a graduation trip to the east coast. My latest acromegaly lab tests all look good, and, we are eating homegrown tomatoes and basil almost every day.

Birthday cake, flowers from my daughter,
and a few lovely presents.

I have been knitting, knitting, knitting away on a few projects, fingers keeping the anxiety away.

My neighborhood walks continue to reveal signs of encouragement and solidarity.

Also in the neighborhood, late summer flowers, shadow play, interesting architectural elements, and tinges of the autumn ahead….

Two hikes on opposite sides of Mt Hood  –

Burnt Lake August 5, 2020

My birthday hike on the west side of Mt Hood was mostly through shady forest, on a hot day, with a few stream crossings, and late season flowers. The other time we hiked here the mountain was under a cloud, so today we were very glad to see the beautiful reflections of Mt Hood in the lake. Hike #55, 8.5 miles, 1500 feet.

DSC02347

The shady forest

DSC02424

Tree scorched in the early 1900’s.

DSC02383

Mt Hood, Burnt Lake

DSC02375

Mountain close up

DSC02374

Reflection

Notable flowers and plants:

Newton Creek to Timberline Trail,  August 10, 2020

We started from the Elk Meadows trailhead, then walked uphill along the Newton Creek Trail, stopping for lunch near the Timberline Trail junction where we enjoyed lovely views of Mt Hood and Gnarl Ridge. We then walked south on the Timberline Trail toward Mt Hood Meadows for a short distance before turning back. Hike #56, 7.7 miles, 1600 feet.

DSC02428

Moon over Clark Creek

DSC02482

Newton Creek trail

DSC02432

Ghost tree in the forest

DSC02434

Gnarl Ridge beyond Newton Creek

DSC02436

Upstream

DSC02438

Downstream, fireweed

DSC02442

Mt Hood ahead

DSC02444

Lunch view of Gnarl Ridge

DSC02445

Gnarl Ridge closeup

DSC02453

We saw a few tiny hikers crossing Newton Creek on the Timberline Trail.

DSC02459

Glacier closeup

DSC02472

The peak

DSC02471

Backside of pea gravel ridge, which we walked along as far as the descent into Clark Creek.

DSC02464

Return hike down Newton Creek.

Editing note – This is my first post with the New WordPress Editor, so there are lots of formatting inconsistencies. Not loving it, but I suppose I will get used to it as I continue hurling forward into the future, keeping my synapses sharp by constant novelty….