We're under our third day of unhealthy air quality because of the combination of wildfires and hot temperatures and whatever happens in air patterns that suck the smoke into the Willamette Valley. It doesn't affect me breathing wise but it does make me feel a bit nauseous at times. Luckily the alpacas don't seem to care.
We are slowly adjusting to our new life without our Stella--taking care of her needs three times a day was ingrained into our lives and now that is all gone. It is astonishing how those patterns get in your muscle memory.
There has been knitting, but not as much as expected, but I have gotten going on this:
It is the "Dots" shawl by Casapinka. I do love a Casapinka shawl pattern.
It uses two yarns, and I'm using the Hawthorne yarn by Knit Picks.
Other than that, worry about Houston, North Korea, and the rest of the world. Let us have receding floodwaters and peace.
We're still a little raw at our house but couldn't miss the last Quora of summer.
1- What is the smallest plane you have ridden in? I've been in a 4-seater prop plane (in college, when hungover) and an 8-seater private jet (oh the heady days of working in advertising in the 1980s).
2-When was the last time you got a knitting compliment? Probably when I got my teeth cleaned and my hygenist told me she liked my socks. 3- Will you share your cream puff at the county fair? Is this a Wisconsin thing? 4- Have you ever seen a horse take a nap in the stall? I have now! 5- Do you know someone who strictly knits for charity? I don't think so. 6- Name one thing you are looking forward to this week- Old and dear friends are in town. 7-Do you text or talk on the phone more? Probably text? 8-Have you ever gone to the kitchen for a middle of the night snack? Not since I've been married. 9-Can you knit something in an evening? Yes, a baby hat. 10-Do you get a new calendar now or in January? I'm a professor, so generally now!
I had a bunch of little bits and bobs to share with you today but instead I need to talk about Stella.
We came home from lunch and a visit from Calypso to find she had crossed to the Rainbow Bridge while we were gone. We think she had a seizure and perhaps a stroke, we knew before we walked in the door that something was wrong---Pilot was barking excessively and something inside the house did not seem right. It probably went very quickly, whatever happened.
I met her when she was a few days old--someone had found her in a ditch, bleeding from every orifice, and taken her to our then-Vet's office. Our vet, Marnee, was carrying her around in her pocket. One eye was barely open, due to her injuries, and they were calling her "Marty" after Marty Feldman at the vet. Marnee had thought she was unadoptable because of her injuries, but after some lengthy discussions we took her home.
Our dog, Shasta, immediately adopted Stella and helped us take care of her during her first several weeks in our house. Shasta played with her a lot---it was a bit disconcerting to see Shasta's big jaws around the head of a little kitten, but they both loved it. Stella was never a purrer or a snuggler, but in her younger days did like being around people and dogs. She wasn't a big meower, she wasn't a normal kitten by any means, but she was our Stella.
She started having seizures when she was about two years old. Our vet at the time, Marnee, wanted to try some alternative treatments because the drugs on the market are not great for long-term use. So we did that for a few years, and it helped somewhat but she was still having a seizure probably every two weeks. She was stable at that level for a while. We changed vets as Marnee went back to school to learn more about eastern medicine, and then we started working with our wonderful vet Priscilla Gibson. Priscilla worked with us to get her on the lowest dose possible of phenobarbital--she's been on that for maybe 8 years, with having a seizure about twice a year.
Two years ago Stella started 'sunsetting'--pacing most of the night and forgetting where her litter box was. We thought about putting her down, and Priscilla suggested having her sleep at night in a dog crate. We thought she'd hate it, but she adapted very very quickly and it really worked. She sometimes would go in her crate all on her own.
She never seemed to really age, although we could see that she was losing some of her vision and she seemed to get confused pretty easily. She was a bit more effort than most cats--meds twice a day, crates, gates up in several rooms to protect her from the dogs (who want to play with her, and Stella don't play that) but we were honored to be able to help give her a life that she deserved.
So now our little Stella Luna is gone, and it will be an adjustment for us. I always fed her dinner right after the dogs--tonight I got all confused and almost got her food out. Taking care of her is second nature to us both, and so we need to figure that out. Oh Stella. We love and are sorry you had such a tough life. Mickey and Jasmine and Wendy and Oliver will be meeting you at the bridge.
This is Ann on the left (she owns the farm) and Catalina in the middle (and me). Catalina is one of the most photogenic alpacas at the farm--she has a gorgeous face and she adores attention.
I love this picture, because it shows how beautiful Ann is--she is beautiful inside and out and loves the alpacas so much! She is teaching me a lot this summer and I'm so fortunate to be able to learn from her.
It is not that easy to get a selfie with the Duke of Calypso:
I'll try for some better ones. He doesn't like to hold still, he has a lot to do.
Amazing surprises, including a hand made potholder (love), a handmade (pretty sure?) card (love), handmade earrings and stitch marketers, a coffee pin, Godiva chocolate, and then this adorable little knit kit (it is the tin with the buttons). There's all kinds of little knitting necessities in there. I love it! Everything is just perfect and so me! Thank you Deb! Thank you Kathy for organizing the swap and matching us up!
Not much to wrapup, really---I went out to the farm, we watched the moon block out the sun, it didn't get very dark, the alpacas didn't really care. But it was great to see and I'm glad it all over now.
I finished the front of this sweater:
As I've mentioned before, this is a modified version of a Debbie Bliss sweater called simply Fair Isle Sweater. I changed the white background pattern at the top and also am making this more of a V neck than a crew neck. I like it, and it goes fast since it is worsted. I'm enjoying knitting it and like especially how it looks from a distance.
I have a bit of a headache that came on after the eclipse (it could be from eyestrain looking through glasses) but hopefully it will go away soon.
*Are you watching the Solar Eclipse today? Yes! I'm going to the farm to watch what the alpacas do in the dark.
*What is the most expensive yarn you’ve heard of? Alaskan yak--we saw it in a store ten years ago (in Alaska) for $200 (I think)
*What is the most difficult knitting technique that you have tried or won’t even try? Brioche. I'm not good at it and just don't get it!
*Have you ever had a venus fly trap plant? No!
*Has a neighbor shared from their garden this year? Ann at the farm keeps a garden and I've brought home yummies from there (and put them in a shepherd's pie). And neighbors brought by apples for the allpacas.
*Do you like to eat sunflower seeds? (roasted, salted, chocolate covered? any ? All?) Frankly, it isn't anything I've ever thought about it.
*Which technique did I use for my beaded bag bottom? I'm eager to hear!
*How many football fields of yarn yardage are you currently knitting a project with? It's summer, Kathy, I don't do math.
*A carnival and festivities were part of this weekend. When was the last time you had a corn dog?I'm not sure if I've ever had one.
*Did you knit as much as you wanted this weekend, ? More than ? Less than? More--mostly due to the fact that Tim left right after lunch to head north for the eclipse.
Tomorrow is the Great American Eclipse! I think I've mentioned we will be at 99.3% of the totality.
Tim left a while ago to drive up to Corvallis--about 50 minutes from here, where he works. It is one of the first 'larger' cities in the path of totality--at about 30 miles from the coast, it has one of the better chances of being cloud-free tomorrow. He's staying with some friends and then he'll go into work til the traffic dies down.
I was invited but I don't want to deal with crowds and crazies. I will probably go out to the farm and watch how the alpacas react.
Yesterday we visited the farm, went to Falling Sky for lunch, and hung out (Tim worked, I read--I'm reading "The Blazing World" by Siri Hustvedt. The book came out a few years ago but I'm just getting around to reading it now. It is interesting. It is the story of an older woman artist who hired three young men to display her art since women have a hard time getting attention from the art world. It is told through a series of diaries and interviews, and is interesting. Not everyone's cup of tea though).
Today we took the dogs for a walk, ate breakfast outside, and then Tim packed up his provisions for his visit--snacks for his hosts and for himself in case the traffic is bad going into Corvallis. I washed the top layer of dust off my car and vacuumed, and now here I am. I'm off to the grocery and then will do some more straightening of the house and stuff before I settle down to some knitting.
I finished most of One&Done---I dropped the stiches! I've never done the lace border but I will attempt it with this one.
And I'm not sure if you know this, but I have a baby alpaca. :-) Of course you know. Today is Calypso's third week birthday! Happy birthday baby! He mimics his elders and mouths everything. He is our joy.
I took photos of my almost three-week old boy today--I took some videos but it was so bright I couldn't tell that the videos were on time lapse so they are a bit odd--I'll post them later.
But here he is (I was sitting on the ground at his level):
Here are some when Tink was looking at me very close up and he looks teeny tiny (he's not!):
The alpacas got to go to the 'big' field today (they haven't been there for about a month---Ann doesn't want a baby born down there because it is challenging to find them) and there was a lot of playing (I have it in time lapse. And slo mo). It was a lot of fun for a little guy, resulting in this:
And finally, here is photographic evidence that I'm pretty comfortable being around alpacas and they're starting to get comfortable with me. This is Chanel.
I'm feeding her an apple. I watched Ann do this a lot before I tried it today. It is a bit disconcerting. I think that is Lacie observing.
I don't have any new photos of Calypso today, sorry--I was at the farm and my friend Nicole was visiting with her two kidlets and I didn't get a lot of pictures taken. Sorry about that.
But there's this:
This is One&Done and my big feet. I have five 'sections' done and the pattern recommends seven. It has a fancy lace border that I did not do before but I think I will do on this.
Here is it close up: you can almost see the sparkles:
I also have done a lot on the front of the fair isle and also have a few more repeats done of the mock cable.
Things are getting a little nuts here with all the people coming to Oregon for the eclipse on Monday. The news is warning us of horrible traffic issues as well as a run on gas stations and grocery stores--I think the state is expecting several million people here. I filled up my tank yesterday (Tim did too) and we don't really have anywhere we have to go. I'll go out to the farm tomorrow but probably will skip this weekend and then go out after the eclipse on Monday--probably in the afternoon.
At the grocery store today, everyone (and I mean everyone) was talking about how they had to fill their cars up today. It was kind of bizarre. The Portland newspaper published a story about what roads to avoid--and it is basically all roads---all the dark blue ones are the ones you are supposed to avoid. We live in Eugene,which is at the top of the 'Y' on the lower portion of the map.
Life has been nice and busy and this is one of my favorite times of the year--we still have a month of vacation left while many other schools are already going back. It is always hard in May when colleagues at other schools are shouting "Happy Summer"from their FB feeds and wishing me a restful and productive break while I just finished midterms.
Anyway. Our contracts don't start for another month, and classes don't start for about six weeks and I plan to enjoy it all! I'm kind of in the mindset that I've done some stuff this summer, I've done everything that can be done on the stuff I've committed to, so anything extra is gravy.
Because this guy takes up a lot of time:
And then there's knitting: the front of the fair isle.
Today is Kathy's birthday (Kathy is the Mother of Quora) and so happy birthday friend!!
*Macaroons- love ’em or leave ’em? I'm kind of ambivalent. I have a huge sweet tooth but sometimes they are too sweet even for me.
*Give us a good tip if you are going to BE the house guest- Be independent!
Give your hosts a few hours every day of 'them' time by going for a
walk, running some errands, etc by yourself (or with your fellow
*What’s your smallest circular needle size? 0 but honestly once you go lower than 2 they are all the same.
*What’s your favorite charity to knit, crochet or sew for? I haven't really done a lot of charity knitting. I did a traveling blanket once for kids in foster care.
*Dropped stitch patterns, love ’em or leave em? Love them with all the fire of a thousand burning suns. One && Done, baby!
*Does the fear of a shark keep you from ocean swimming? Ha no! But I want to do an academic study on the correlations between fears of sharks and Shark Week viewing
*Name something you would never consider knitting- Swimming suit
*Someone is naming a yarn colorway for you…what are they calling the colorway? Calypso!
*Name a cake you can’t resist Man I love cake. Let's say carrot cake.
*Name a word you have trouble spelling…over and over : Niece. Right now I"m not even sure if that is right. Neice? No, niece.
I almost never talk about my sweet faced boy Atom, who also lives at Aragon Alpacas.
I've owned him for a while. At his previous farm he was not well socialized, and had a bit of an adjustment period at Aragon Alpacas (where he lives now) but now he is a happy part of the boy's pack. I've been at the farm frequently since Calypso was born and he is becoming much more used to me. He is a different breed of alpaca than Calypso and Tink. Atom is a huacaya, and Tink and Calypso are suris. Huacayas are more fluffy (and more common--about 90% of all US alpacas are huacayas). Suris are silkier with locks that grow straight down.
He is gelded (I helped!) and has lovely fiber.
Yesterday was a fun day. Tim and I went to the farm in the morning (it was a cloudy and fairly cool morning) and visited with Ann and Mike. Some families with young boys were visiting and they were adorable! We came home for lunch and hung out for a while, and then met up with friends for a late afternoon hike. There were ten of us--six adults and four kids--and one of the families was visiting from Colorado. We did the hike up to the top of Mt. Pisgah--a good local hike that is fairly short (a mile and a half one way) and really, straight up (there is a 1000 foot elevation gain from the start to the top).
We could see a pretty local forest fire from the top:
That fire is maybe 30 miles or so from Eugene? Lots of forest fires happening around here.
AND that causes more concerns for what apparently is now being called The Great American Eclipse and the paper is filled with warnings to get gas and water and food and medications because GRIDLOCK.
Anyway, after the hike we went to dinner at the Bier Stein and then went to Prince Pucklers for ice cream. We were pretty worn out (and dusty!) when we got home but it was a fun day. Mostly, we were happy we could do that hike and feel that we weren't killing ourselves. We've done it before and felt like our lungs were going to burn out of us. But we've been working out a bit and it was also a cooler day so those things worked together.
I feel good today--I pretty much hit the wall yesterday at 8am, went to bed, and slept straight through til a little after 5am, and then Pilot and I took a nap til a bit after 6. Today is a bit of a busy day (for me, in the summer), and includes a vet visit for Pilot at 9:15 and then a vet visit for this little guy at 1pm:
The alpaca vet lives in Corvallis (50 minute drive) and schedules a group of visits in our area when needed. There was another cria born at a nearby farm right before Calypso so he is probably going to go out there as well. That way, we share the costs of his travel. He'll draw some blood so we can register the Duke of Calypso with the Alpaca Owners Association.
Pilot is just getting his annual check up.
So in knitting news, this yarn is sparkly yarn from socks that rock:
And I'm knitting it into a cowl (well, it is really a scarf but I'll join the ends to make a cowl):
It is a faux cable pattern that is used in the Stroma shawl (and I'm guessing in other patterns as well) and it is a fun and straightforward pattern.
I didn't sleep well again last night--I was up at 4am again and then took a wee nap before getting up for good at 5:30. Two things were on my mind: I had forgotten to pay a bill (and thus couldn't go back to sleep til it was paid) and Stuff with a Chapter. So the chapter stuff: I had written what I thought was a complete chapter (it was close to 20 pages double spaced) for a book with a challenging premise, and I emailed my colleague managing the project to find out what reference style he wanted, and he dropped a tiny little bombshell that he expected the chapter to be 8-10,000 words.
The one I had thought was complete was only 5500 words.
So yesterday I added about 750 words and thought I had probably said all I needed or wanted to say. And then in the middle of the night thought of a few more things to put in there. So right now it is at 7829 words, including the references, and I still need to add some stuff to the references (like the word 'available' at least 20 times). So I imagine it can get pretty close to 8000 so that's good. I had said to myself last night that if I got it to 7500 I'd call it done.
Tim really needs to come home to save me from myself.
Should we look at cute stuff?
Here is the back of the fair isle sweater:
So here is one benefit of knitting magazine: I swapped the uppermost pattern out for another pattern in the same magazine (Debbie Bliss is kind of the queen of fair isle, wouldn't you say?)> And I like it a lot better. So that was good.
From a distance, I must say this looks pretty impressive. Yay me!
Even though finishing this off was pretty darn boring, I took some time yesterday and just did it.
You can see the little cubes (which aren't really little cubes, but whatever, it does add to the scarf I think). I didn't end up using the final hunk of yarn because it was just white and I don't think it added a lot. So that's done.
I also spent time working on the fair isle black and white sweater and also cast on for a new cowl. I'll show you those later.
I didn't take any Calypso pictures yesterday--not sure why. He's doing great--he has gained about 3/4 a pound each day (that's amazing) and all the other girls seem used to him. The other alpacas seem to enjoy my apples but Calypso's sister Georgia got a bit forward with me yesterday (she chest-butted my back). Luckily she's not that big but she is just a bit too familiar.
I slept awful last night--Tim is in Portland for a conference, it was kind of stuffy, Pilot heard a noise, and blah blah blah. We ended up getting up at 5:30 and taking a long walk at sunrise. That was nice. I may need a nap this afternoon.
...more pictures of Calypso, as well as some of the boys, as well as my man, and knitting. OK?
Tim and I went out to the farm yesterday, and we joined a few farm visitors to admire the handsome young Duke of Calypso. Tink still has on her 'maternity' bandana but it might help Calypso find her in a sea of brown alpaca aunties, so she'll probably keep it on for a bit. Notice here that Tink has white chin markings, similar to Calypso's black chin markings.
He's gained a few pounds in his first week of life and shows all the signs of being a healthy boy. Dr. Pat, the area's camelid vet based in Corvallis, will be visiting soon to do a new cria examination, including taking some blood so we can register him with the alpaca registry. His blood contains, of course, his DNA so his lineage is available for tracing.
He scampers around a lot, and tries to get the Aunties to play with him. They hang out with all the females now--the ladies have all checked him out and apparently don't tend to mess with him. He is a brave little guy---yesterday we saw him wander a bit away from Tink, who always seemed to know where he was. He had a tiny little look of concern when he realized how far away he was from her but then found her and was back to his happy self.
Tim took a lot more pictures, as soon as he uploads them I'll share them with you.
I've been taking out a bucket of apples every day. Our neighborhood used to be an apple orchard and the small park two houses down from us still has a few apple trees left. Unfortunately, the bad ice storm too some of them down but a few still remain. The apples are hard and green and probably sour but alpacas seem to enjoy them.
This is Tim standing in front of Kokopelli, Calypso's father.
Tim is a popular guy with the alpacas since he carved slices off the apples to make them easier to eat.
The horrifically hot weather broke Friday night--this morning we had breakfast on the patio and I had to put on a sweater when the sun went behind the clouds.
This is getting close to being done--I have three little balls left and the third ball is for the bind off, so really only two more balls to knit on the main portion of the scarf.
It is hard to see the cubes. Here is a fuzzy close up:
That's not much better. Anyway, stay tuned.
When I'm not staring lovestruck at Calypso, I'm working on a few projects---mostly taking care of my Deputy Editor duties for the Journal of Marketing Communication and doing some of the academic reading that's been piling up. I did finish "The Lying Game" (did I tell you?) which was good.