Birthday High

Instead of gifts, Christian and I take each other on a surprise adventure for our birthdays. We never tell each other where we're going - just what to wear and what to pack. (In past years I've taken him to a water park, biking on the Elroy-Sparta trail, go-karting and a demolition derby, beer tasting, gun shooting, etc.) 

This year I took Christian to the Adventure Park at the N.E.W. Zoo in Suamico, Wisconsin. We started by zip lining 1,000 feet down a cable from 50 feet up in the air. 

(Some other random guy waiting to zip)

Next it was on to the high ropes course - the real reason we were there. The course is made up of 3 levels. The 1st level is pretty easy and not very far off the ground. The 2nd level is where things got interesting.

The first obstacle on the 2nd level was a zig-zag swinging balance beam. You couldn't reach the next cable while still holding onto the other one so there was a moment in between where you had nothing to grab onto. Yes, it was a bit scary.

We went on a very windy day so we also had the challenge of trying to grab onto some of the ropes that the wind was blowing away from us.

On the 3rd level we were over 30' in the air. Trying to stand on small platforms/cables while they are moving is definitely a test of willpower. 

The obstacle that I was the most proud of conquering was a series of swings. The plank would tip if you didn't step in the middle of it which added just another element of suspense.

To get off of the ropes course, you clip into a quick jump and then step off of a 35' platform. After freefalling for 6', the rope finally catches and lowers you to the ground. Talk about a leap of faith! 

To finish off our adventure, we climbed around on the rock wall until our arms wouldn't hold us anymore.

All in all, we spent almost 4 hours playing at the Adventure Park and had a wonderful time. We look forward to going back and doing the ropes course again. I would love to try getting across a few more of the obstacles without hanging onto the cables. I am generally not afraid of heights but some of the obstacles definitely made my knees shake and my mouth go dry.

Have you ever done a high ropes course? If you haven't, would you?



After the Storm

August 2nd, 2015 at 5:22 p.m.

Only a little bit of hail and some brief heavy rain. The worst of it missed us.


Yarn Along: FO - Chrysalis to Monarch

I'm linking up with Ginny for this week's Yarn Along.

Knitting: FO - Chrysalis to Monarch
These topsy-turvy toys are so much fun to knit. And they are great projects for stash-busting! The center vein on the leaf gave me some grief but other than that, I enjoyed the pattern. The butterfly was constructed so uniquely. I am just blown away by how Susan thinks up this stuff! Hopefully my mom stays away from my blog this week because this toy is part of her birthday present.
Pattern: Chrysalis to Monarch by Susan B. Anderson
Yarn: Cascade Yarns 220 Superwash (Dark Green & Orange), Spud and Chloe Sweater (Brown) and Lily Sugar'n Cream (Light Green)

Do you have any favorite toy patterns? I think I'm hooked.


Yarn Along: Heartwood Chrysalis

I'm linking up with Ginny for this week's Yarn Along.

Knitting: Heartwood Cape
I bought this wool for a different project which didn't work out. After browsing around on Rav for a suitable project, I came up with this one which is right up my alley. Now that I know I'm going to stick with the pattern, I think I'm going to set it aside and save it for a long car ride we have coming up.
Pattern: The Heartwood Cape by Silvia Bo Bilvia (free on Rav)
Yarn: Cascade Yarns Ecological Wool

Also Knitting: Chrysalis to Monarch
This is the start of my second topsy-turvy toy. (I knit the Egg to Penguin last month.) My mom requested this toy for her birthday. She likes to raise monarch caterpillars and watch them turn into a chrysalis and then a butterfly. I'm having a bit of trouble figuring out how to put the vein on the leaf. I've tried 4 times now and keep ripping it out because I don't like how it look. Ugh! Frustrating.
Pattern: Chrysalis to Monarch by Susan B. Anderson
Yarn: Cascade Yarns 220 Superwash and Lily Sugar'n Cream

Reading: The Witness by Nora Roberts
I just finished this great audiobook. Super-smart teenage Liz has always followed every plan that her mother has laid out for her. Until one night when she doesn't. After witnessing a murder, Liz has to go into protective custody. Who can she trust? Liz soon discovers that she will have to run and hide for the rest of her life unless she can find a way to testify and take down the mob that is hunting her. Highly-intellectual Liz reminds me of Temperance Brennen if you're familiar with Kathy Reichs.

FO: Hannah Jacket
I just love how this toddler jacket turned out. I took a bit of a gamble in using such a crazy contrasting color for the i-cord edging but it turned out great. The jacket knit up really fast and I would love to make another one. This was my first time doing an i-cord edging and it's really not as scary as it sounds!
Pattern: Hannah Jacket by Nikki Van De Car
Yarn: Newton's Yarn Country Softball Chunky and Cascade Yarns 200 Superwash in Colorway 849 Blue-Green

What are you knitting/reading this week?


Hiking at Dells of the Eau Claire County Park

Christian and I are heading to Glacier National Park in Montana for 2 weeks this summer to do some serious hiking. In preparation for that trip, we've been trying to get as much dirt under our feet as time allows. Memorial weekend we took a day trip to Devils Lake State Park near Baraboo, WI where we hiked about 9 miles.

Snack break on the West Bluff at Devil's Lake State Park

Last Sunday we spent the afternoon on the Ice Age Trail in and around Dells of the Eau Claire County Park near Birnamwood, WI. The last time we were at the park was in August when the water was low. We got a few inches of rain last week so the falls looked quite a bit different!

The water was so high that we couldn't even get to the center island.

The hiking trails along the river were a little squishy due to the rain and we had a few puddles to skirt around including this one which was decorated with pretty pine needles.

Later on I spotted this guy perched on the edge of a trillium leaf.

Nature is amazing, isn't it? Tomorrow after work we'll be hitting the trails again for another little adventure.


Friday Wake-Up

May 1st, 2015 at 6:08 a.m.

Beautiful view from the deck this morning. I love it when the fog rolls around in the river valley.


2015 Garden Plan

Over the weekend I prepped the garden for another growing season. After weeding, I raked the soil all nice and pretty and Christian pounded in my new row stakes which my brother made for my birthday.

In the foreground (from left-right and front to back) you can see our rhubarb, lemon balm and sage (which both look dead but hopefully aren't), chives, tanzies, alluim, and a dead thyme plant. Oh yeah, there's also a row of garlic in there!

I planted a few cold-weather crops in the rows with the new stakes: Early Blood Turnip Beets, Lacinato Kale, Salad Bowl Lettuce, Ella Kropf Lettuce, Mesclun Mix, Dwarf Gray Sugar Peas, and Burpeeana Early Snap Peas.

Nights are still in the 30's here so I'll have to wait a bit longer before planting anything else. This year I bought some of my seeds as well as tomato and pepper transplant from Seed Savers Exchange. Christian and I visited their Heritage Farm in Decorah, Iowa a few summers ago. What a cool place!

Here's my master plan for this year's garden:

So much potential! We'll see what happens...