Consider the photo my nod toward truth in advertising. It’s still January here. And as good as it felt to hit 50 degrees yesterday for a few short hours yesterday, it still looks like this by four o’clock every afternoon.
I’ve been watching the light, waiting to feel that shift from the stasis of winter, the first tentative nod toward spring. We’ll reach the halfway point between solstice and equinox this week! I can see it in the afternoons, the pale light hanging on a little later but the mornings feel as dark and close as ever here. Then this afternoon, I was caught by complete surprise to find that the first soft, shimmery gray willow catkin buds have appeared, so that falls firmly in the “nod toward spring” column on my ledger.
Not surprisingly, the thoughts bouncing around my head today are awfully similar to those I wrote about a week ago.
After a few weeks of feeling overwhelmed by the increased sense of urgency around hike preparations, I’m settling into the rhythm of the daily tasks. And all those little daily steps are adding up to some real momentum. I have nearly finalized my meal recipes after a few successful trials this week. (Yes, grits can totally be cooked on an alcohol stove! And dried delicata squash is a success! Home dried brown rice was a bit toothsome, but totally palatable!) Today I cleared off an entire shelf in the pantry and loaded up the dehydrator with a big batch of blueberries… The next step is to stockpile all of the ingredients. We have a mountain of drying to do, but we are marching onward.
In the other sort of hike prep, I got out for a longer walk again yesterday. I did some more exploring from home and like last time, it was very gratifying. “The corner” is a little business hub about 3 miles from our home, with the only road option being the main highway. The shoulders are wide so it’s not bad by bike, but I have never considered walking it. Inspired by my last walk, I set out yesterday to see how I might get from here to there with as little shoulder walking as possible. And the answer turned out to be so much less than I expected – a couple hundred yards! My route involved our neighbor’s field, some state park land, a short established way trail to the dead-end end of a residential street, then said street, service roads through the school athletic complex, and a bit more field at the end. At 45 minutes, I couldn’t have gotten there any faster taking the highway and my alternate was quieter and much more interesting. So yeah, I’m still feeling pretty motivated about changing my perception of the walkability of our little town.
I also appreciated seeing these kindreds while I was out (ironically on the brief highway shoulder section):
In knitting news, I don’t have any photographic evidence but I can report there is sweater progress. Not entirely of the sort I planned, but that should be a surprise to no one, including me. Last fall, I started working on a sweater for Dean. Here it is in mid-November:
By new year’s that scrap of a body had slowly grown to about 10 or 12 inches. And I even more slowly accepted that it was not the intended size. Gauge! The trickster of the knitting world struck again. I had knit a swatch, a big swatch even. I knit said swatch in the round, because I have learned the hard way that my gauge is different between flat and round knitting. But… my needle collection is rather hodgepodge in certain sizes, including size 2. So my 16″ circular metal needle was a different brand/style than my 36″ circular metal needle. And, no surprise to you, wise reader, they produce entirely different gauges. So my sleeve (narrow tube, 16″ circular) was just fine, but the body (large tube, 36″ circular) was not. I even put everything on waste yarn and soaked it and then blocked it out and no, it really isn’t going to grow two sizes.
All of which should mean that I need to undertake the heartbreaking (but let’s face it, entirely familiar) task of unraveling a lot of knitting and trying again. But wait! I made a fateful decision to make this sweater from a “yarn” that mostly falls apart if you try to rip it out (unspun Icelandic if you really care, but mostly, just trust me). So that sweater is in a permanent holding pattern while I decide how/if/when to proceed.
Which means that I was able to work on a sweater for me, with very little guilt and it has been zooming right along. I finished the (very plain) body up to the armpits and am currently working on the first sleeve, and feeling pretty keen to finish two sleeves and join it all up. A fine consolation prize for January (if you’re me anyway, maybe less so for Dean), and I’m off to work on it right now!