Yarn Along: Lonely Madalynn

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

Knitting: Madalynn Cowl
I picked up this yarn at the Madison Knit-In in February and I'm excited to finally cast on for this project. I used the recommended size 5 needles for the first go-round and my gauge was WAY off. So, I dropped down two needle sizes and now I'm at least in the ballpark. Yikes. I'm still a little loose but I'm going to call it "good enough". 
Pattern: Madalynn by Leah B. Thibault
Yarn: Quince and Co. Chickadee in colorways 108 Delft (blue) and 150 Sabine (Gray)

Reading: All the Lonely People by Jess Riley
Jess is a local author and I really enjoyed her first book Driving Sideways. This book started out a little slow but now it's showing the same wit and humor that Driving Sideways does. The main character has a falling-out with her family and doesn't want to spend Christmas with just her husband so she posts and ad on Craigslist for a "family" to spend Christmas dinner with. 

FO: Grove Mitts
The mittens are two different sizes but I guess that's what happens when three years pass between starting and finishing a project. At least they both fit and, in reality, you can't really tell they're two different sizes when they're on your hands. If I knit this pattern again I would pick a yarn that is a little more defined (less haze) so the texture pops more.
Pattern: Grove by Jared Flood
Yarn: Knit One, Crochet Too Linus in colorway 445 Copper

What are you knitting/reading this week?


A New Batch of Mushrooms

My old mushroom totems were no longer producing so this year I started a new batch. Growing mushrooms is a many-month process. Back in May Christian cut down a poplar tree from my parent's land that would become the new totems.

A trunk diameter of 10-12" inches is ideal. I picked a poplar because it would work for both the oyster mushrooms and the box elder mushrooms.

After preparing the totems (cutting into sections, sprinkling on spawn) they are wrapped up in garbage bags for a few months. (The oysters were ready this week but the box elders have to sit in the bag until October.)

And this is what the totems look like when you open the bag all those months later:

The wood is covered in a spongy fungus! One by one I hauled the totem sections into the old silo.

And now we wait some more! If the temperature and moisture levels are good, we might luck out and get our first harvest this fall.


5th Anniversary

Christian and I just celebrated our 5th wedding anniversary. We went for a hike around the ceremonial grounds and then went out for ice cream at our favorite place. Scoopers is where we went after we said our vows and each year we go back to take a picture out by their sign.


Marriage is nothing but easy but gets a little sweeter each year. I wouldn't want to go through life with anyone else. I think we are such a good fit for each other.



Yarn Along: A Walk in the Grove Cardi

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

Knitting: Grove Mitts
I'm working on finishing up two projects that have been sitting idle for years. I just have the thumb to finish on the 2nd Grove mitt and then they are done. Click over into my Rav page to see a better picture of the amazing texture on these mitts. The pattern has some crazy charts but I love that kind of thing.
Pattern: Grove by Jared Flood
Yarn: Knit One, Crochet Too Linus in colorway 445 Copper

Also Knitting: Yellow Flower Toddler Cardigan
The cardigan is finished except for the crochet edge. I don't know how to crochet so I'm hoping someone can show me how to when I visit my LYS on Friday. It can't be that hard, right? This was a pattern that my mom saw in a magazine and thought it looked cute so she tore it out for me. Unfortunately, the mock cable rows above the flowers on the body of the cardi are only written into the back panel of the pattern. I didn't realize this happened until it was too late. I really didn't feel like ripping back so I just left it. You can see what I'm talking about on my Rav page. I looked at the pdf pattern download on Rav and it looks like the problem is fixed in that version.
Pattern: A Touch of Lace by Susan Gressman (free on Rav)
Yarn: Baby Bee Sweet Delight Baby in colorway Sunny.

Reading: A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson
Earlier this summer Christian and I went on a 2-week hiking vacation in Glacier National Park. While there we picked up a book written by one of the interpretive rangers. Each night, while snuggled into our tent, I would read a chapter aloud for our bedtime story. Carrying on the tradition at home, I thought Christian would enjoy A Walk in the Woods. I read the book about 15 years ago and remembered the idiocy of the two main characters as they try to tackle one of the longest hiking trails in the world. These days I don't agree with a lot of the author's opinions but I'm still, mostly, enjoying the book.

What are you knitting/reading this week?



Be kind.

I've been thinking a lot about kindness lately. A local hooligan in a jacked-up red pickup truck has been terrorizing us. When we are outside the kid will drive by and yell things at us, peel out down the road, rev his engine, etc. We've had our mailbox smashed twice in the past two weeks and he drove down into our ditch and ripped up our lawn while Christian was watching out the kitchen window.

The mailboxes could have been smashed by anyone but we're guessing it was the same guy. This morning I had a nightmare that he smashed my Prius during the night. Ripped off a door, broke the windshield, etc. Clearly, my subconscious is telling me that I'm afraid of this punk. I hate that he's gotten into my head. 

But the real question is, why is he doing this to us? We just want to mind our own business and enjoy our quiet life in the country. We are nice people. So, every time something new happens, I keep asking WHY??!! I just don't understand. 

We need more kindness in the world. There's enough bad things happening that we can't control but we can control how we treat others. And we can start making a better world by being kind.

This saying was in our church bulletin. How timely and fitting!


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.