Washcloth

11:15 a.m.

It was -12C when I peeked out the kitchen window this morning, just after the sun came over the horizon. The sun did its magic, and the temperature has now risen to -1C. I plan on going for a walk again today, after lunch, when it is even warmer out there.

Yesterday I did get out for a walk, and it was lovely and sunny. But despite the above freezing temperature, the wind was strong and nipped at any exposed skin. The birds were exultant, in full song. I saw crows, chickadees, robins, blue jays, grackles and red winged blackbirds. The excitement of impending spring had captured us all.

Two packages arrived in the mail yesterday. One was the photograph project I had ordered online, I like the results, and that is a great relief. The other was my set of crochet hooks, and they are lovely. These hooks were recommended by Bex, and they make crocheting a lot easier.

Yesterday, after Attila got home from work, we made an excursion to pick up some fresh vegetables and some almond milk, which has replaced dairy milk in my diet. The tummy upsets have disappeared. I was relieved that I was able to tolerate cheese on my homemade pizza last week; it was our anniversary and we celebrated with homemade pizza. No more ricotta and bocconcini for me!

While we were out shopping we included a visit to Walmart, the only place I know of near us that sells yarn. I purchased some cotton yarn that I liked, Bernat Handicrafter, Stripes, and some Bernat Satin acrylic yarn. I also purchased a ball of yarn at NoFrills, as it was only $1.25. Now I have lots of medium weight yarn to play with.

This morning I have been practicing my crochet, the single crochet to be exact. I continue to learn. The tension is still giving me grief, because of the way I must hold my hand, the yarn keeps sliding off my fingers, making it impossible to control. What I discovered was that I could wrap the yarn around the base of my second finger, behind the ring I wear on that finger, and the ring holds the yarn where it needs to be. What a different this makes!

Using the cotton yarn, I began a washcloth. I looked at the pattern, started it, then frogged the starting chain. Starting again, I made a chain as long as I wanted the washcloth to be wide, and then began to create rows using the single chain stitch. I find the cotton yarn easy to use, and I like it because it is very, very easy to see what I am doing with this yarn, no fuzzy edges at all. It is good for learning.

DSCF0485 caption text

As you can see, I am still dropping stitches! I think I got it under control, in the 3rd row on the top, and the fourth row on the bottom. I am going to buy more cotton yarn and make washclothes until I get this perfected. I used this cloth to wash my face, and I really like it, imperfect as it is.

Weather

-3°C
Date: 11:00 AM EDT Friday 17 March 2017
Condition: Sunny
Pressure: 102.6 kPa
Tendency: Rising
Temperature: -3.1°C
Dew point: -14.6°C
Humidity: 41%
Wind: N 4 km/h
Wind Chill: -5
Visibility: 24 km

Quote

“If the only tool you have is a hammer, you tend to see every problem as a nail.”
Abraham Maslow
1908 – 1970

I now have a crochet hook!

Hemmer Foot

“In like a lion, out like a lamb.” That is what I always heard about the month of March.

Poppycock! This saying has proven inaccurate every single year of my life, so my poppycock assertion is wholly anecdotal, based on a small sample size, me, and yet I believe it.

March is to be a cold and wintry month, even the Farmer’s Almanac says so; Long Range Weather Forecast for U.S. & Canada from the Farmers’ Almanac.

This calls for a celebration, to celebrate that we are going to make it through March! The first thing that came to my mind was spring fertility, but at my age, and with my predilection for faithful monogamy, an orgy is out of the question. It does conjure images though, a seniors spring orgy in central Ontario, complete with chaise lounges, belly dancers, and grapes. I will leave that sort of pastime to our government, and the corporations that rule Canada and the world, although the visuals on that are even less appealing. I think Attila and I will stick to watching Netflix and enjoying a turkey dinner with lots of vegetables, and maybe even a few quiet evenings watching the snow melt.

This winter, although it has been the most severe weather we have encountered since moving to the country house, has been the most bearable to date. Only now am I beginning to notice occasional, sudden mood drops, symptoms of cabin fever. This is very late in the season to be experiencing these symptoms, and I am quite pleased by that. I know what these drops in mood are, and spend no time scrambling to resolve the feelings; the cause, the weather, is beyond my control. I keep busy, I try to stay connected with people I care about, and hopefully a change of scene sometime in March will get me through without too much suffering. Everyone around and about in this neck of the woods is well and truly tired of winter! So, it isn’t just me that has to keep putting one foot in front of the other, and is making the best of a difficult situation.

The apron project is proceeding. The hemmer foot arrived on Monday, Attila brought it home from the Post Office when he came home for lunch. I spent the afternoon figuring out how to use it, which, thanks to this YouTube tutorial, How to do a Rolled Hem on Sewing Machine, took very little time. I finished the hemming yesterday, and today I sewed together the shoulder seams and sewed on the cap sleeves. I am not following the pattern instructions anymore, as I abandoned them at the point they instructed the application of expensive bias tape. Each step now, has to be custom designed, so I take my time and ruminate over every “next step”. I hope to finish the apron by the end of the week.

It is the little things that make life bearable I think. Like Attila stopping in at the Post Office, on his way home for lunch, to see if my hemmer foot had arrived. What a kindness, a sweet consideration, to be cherished. When my mood drops these are the things that pop into my head, then I distract myself with a project, in case my mind wanders into unwelcome, climate induced, territory.

This week I have been approached by a glossy magazine feature writer, inquiring about an interview and photos concerning my beloved Grandparent’s General Store. This may or may not pan out, but it has been fun to contemplate. I love thinking about my Grandparents, and sharing fond memories of them with family members. This interview may or may not translate into a story in a glossy magazine; certainly my version would not translate well into the mass media, but I would not be writing the article, so no worries there. Not much of smoke and mirrors, bells and whistles about me or my writing.

As I was thinking about my Grandparents, my mind wandered to the great adventure that my GGG Grandparents undertook as they left Scotland at 8:00 a.m., on a Sunday morning, the weather fine with a fair wind, from the East Quay in Greenock, in July of 1820. The company of passengers were reported to be in fine spirits as they turned towards Canada, the Quebec port, and the future… the future that I am a part of.

I think about the role of Government, and the wealthy and privileged, who formed the structures of power in which my ancestors struggled to survive. I am heartened to read “About the months of April, 1820, a considerable number of individuals and families, formed themselves into societies, for the purpose of petitioning Lord Bathurst and His Majesty’s Ministers, for liberty to emigrate with their families to Upper Canada, and that Government would be graciously pleased to grant them one hundred acres of land, free of any charge, along with aid in money, implements of husbandry, and building materials, to enable them to get over the first years, until they could raise a crop for their support. The petitions of these Societies were presented by Members of Parliament, who knew the distress which existed in Glasgow and the neighbourhood at that time, and were well acquainted with the situation of the petitioners.”

Maggie’s Wee Rant: This is so very different from turning people off the land, to replace their way of life and subsistence farming, with commercial and corporate land uses, including mega-mono-cropping, like rubber plantations, tender fruit plantations, for example. I have been aware for more than forty-five years that plantation farming around the world has transformed healthy communities into labour dependent economies, teeming with poverty, subject to abuses of power, and dominated by commercial and industrial interests for profit. Economic theory sounds so very appealing, this competition and highest and best use line of economic logic. Theory is like a loaded gun, in the hands of the wrong people it can lead to some very unhappy outcomes. The black box of economic theory is greed.

Worldly Distractions

Weather

SNOW SQUALL WATCH IN EFFECT
-19°C
Date: 6:19 AM EST Wednesday 26 February 2014
Condition: Light Snow
Pressure: 101.1 kPa
Visibility: 15 km
Temperature: -19.1°C
Dewpoint: -21.2°C
Humidity: 84%
Wind: W 8 km/h
Wind Chill: -25

What’s Coming Our Way:

Wed 26 Feb Chance of flurries 60%
-14°C
Thu 27 Feb Flurries
-17°C*
-14°C
Fri 28 Feb Chance of flurries 30%
-15°C
-30°C
Sat 1 Mar Chance of flurries 30%
-6°C
-19°C
Sun 2 Mar Chance of flurries 30%
-11°C
-13°C
Mon 3 Mar Chance of flurries 60%
-10°C
-23°C
Tue 4 Mar Sunny
-9°C
-23°C

Quote

“…there, after I had toiled until I could toil no more, I would have the mortification of being a burden… here it is a fair prospect of independence…”

GGG Grandfather Andrew’s letter home to his sister in Glasgow, dated from Upper Canada, 24 August, 1821.

Garden Gnomes in Scotland

Some questions burn a hole in your day, they just have to be answered. Do they have garden gnomes in Scotland? Inquiring minds need to know. I went looking for garden gnomes in Scotland, and I finally found them!

I toured the streets of Glasgow, and the word that came to mind was “austere”. The buildings were mostly two story homes, with patches of grass and a paved drive each. I found no flower gardens, no flower boxes, no flowers. Nor did I see any place to buy food, or shop. Obviously Glasgow is a city that would demand a broadening of my world view.

Then I headed over to Edinburgh. Not quite so austere, much more greenery; shrubs and short trees mostly. The neighbourhoods I found felt warm and seemed charming. Again, no flower gardens or boxes, and no obvious places to purchase food, or shop.

Then I headed over to Inverness, and I found flower gardens, and flower boxes aplenty. Again, mostly two storey homes, and no obvious places to buy food, or shop.

At last I reached Port Ellen on the Isle of Islay; and there I found my garden gnomes. They were nestled into a small, well kept yard, by a two storey house. I even found a small shop, a food co-operative, down by the waterfront. This is a village I can relate to!

Little Garden Gnomes, happy at last.
ScottishGardenGnomes

I know there are glaring omissions on Google Earth, things we are not meant to see. There is quite a lot included though. I like to sit of an evening and wander about, projecting my fantasies of balanced communities onto the places I visit. And maybe, just maybe, somewhere I have visited is an actual healthy, balanced community, a place that I would love to call home. If I can imagine it, it could happen.

And the weather! There is quite a bit of snow to the south of us in the USA, but here it is sunny, and relatively mild. Of course, the snow we received since December is still out there in a seemingly endless expanse of white. Still, when the sun shines one can believe in spring.

Worldly Distractions

Weather

-6°C
Date: 10:00 AM EST Friday 14 February 2014
Condition: Mostly Cloudy
Pressure: 99.8 kPa
Visibility: 16 km
Temperature: -6.2°C
Dewpoint: -12.9°C
Humidity: 59%
Wind: WNW 9 km/h
Wind Chill: -10

Quote

“We are able to laugh when we achieve detachment, if only for a moment.”
May Sarton
1912-1995