Two days ago, I was having a thoroughly enjoyable homesteady Spring day. No, I wasn’t sipping tea in the sunshine on my back porch. I was cleaning out the winter accumulation of composted straw and er…fertilizer from my chicken coop. I was loading it up in the dilapidated wheelbarrow that was left behind by the previous owner and hauling it out to the garden plot to be worked into the soil when we are ready to till.
I created a brooding box for the new chicks that we should be getting within the next couple of weeks. I transferred our newly added female rabbit to a larger pen and moved it all outside so she could enjoy some fresh air, sunshine and fresh greens. When I was starting to feel the need for a lunch break I did a quick sweep gathering some fallen sticks and branches and added them to the pile we keep by our fire pit for the upcoming campfires I will be enjoying, occasionally joined by a family member or some friends. I was feeling the joy.
I’ve never been officially diagnosed with Seasonal Affective Disorder, but such a verdict wouldn’t surprise me. One mild, sunny day can change my mood on a dime. So if the phrase “If Mama ain’t Happy, Ain’t Nobody Happy!” is true, then it is in everyone’s best interest to get me some sunshine!! Living in the Midwestern United States our winters aren’t especially long, but long enough for me. So when the temperature creeps up and the sun breaks through I am more than ready to get to some outside work before the heat and humidity of Summer drive me back inside.
In spite of the heavy, sweating work of shoveling and the somewhat fragrant location of a chicken coop I was enjoying myself and making a mental list of all the things that were going to be done next.
And then. The Very next evening. I looked out my living room window to see big, fat, fluffy flakes of snow were falling. Our son came in from his room, looked out the window and looked at us with a perfect WTF! expression. Yes, Spring has teased me again. She does this every year. The first really fine day at the appropriate time of year and I think I can now get rolling on all the projects I’ve been planning during the winter months. In my blind eagerness to get out in the sun and just get started, I always forget how much She enjoys this game. It’s Lucy and Charlie Brown all over again. But at least I got a day of sunshine and a nice headstart on the things to come.
My lovely chickens are pretty excited about the nicer days as well. I have started letting them do some limited free ranging. This is my first flock and I am learning as I go, but I was hesitant to let them outside a protected shelter due to the fact that we have no fencing at all and our proximity to a highway, roads, and neighborhood dogs. But a couple of weeks ago on another nice day, I decided to let them out for a bit of a wander on the newly greening grass. Being the big Mama Hen I am, I stayed close by to make sure they didn’t get too far away. Now, any day I will be close enough to keep an eye on them (and there isn’t snow covering the ground!! again!! ) I let them out. They love it and I love watching them.
Besides getting my garden ready for planting, my next big homesteading project will the addition of beehives. This is something I have wanted to do for quite some time. The homesteading friend I mentioned in Lessons Learned is also very interested in doing this. So at the end of this month, we are going together to a beginner’s beekeeping workshop and start this phase of the journey. I’m excited about this. We rarely use white sugar so our family goes through a LOT of honey. I am conscious of both quality (i.e. raw, local, etc.) and budget. I prefer finding more self-sufficient or community-based sources for the things I use. This along with my homesteading inclination, well, beehives just seem to an obvious choice. Of equal or greater importance is my desire to help rebuild our threatened bee population and other pollinators. Along with the beehives I intend to plant some pollinator-friendly plants and flowers.
Now, I know this is a knitting blog. I am definitely a year-round knitter and even in the height of summer, you might find my practically sitting under my small window air conditioner still knitting. It’s just the way it is. But since I am a person of multiple interests that mostly seemed tied to seasonal activities you can expect more posts related to my homesteading, coincidentally starting around Spring each year. And here we are.
But since this is a knitting blog…..
I am a process knitter. I enjoy the rhythm and movement of knitting. It is enjoyable and relaxing to me and as I’ve mentioned more than once, very therapeutic. For years I knit just to do it rather than to achieve any final product. But now, having gained some new skills and learned some new techniques my knitting and my interest in self-sufficiency have happily intersected I spend less time knitting another shawl or scarf (as previously mentioned) and more time knitting with a specific purpose in mind. This may be the need for a specific item or the desire to add a new skill or technique to my toolbox.
As you know from Keeping it Together I have been working on a pair of mittens for myself. I was afraid I was going to get them completed just as the weather was going to make them unnecessary, but last night’s snowfall has at least given me the hope of using them a few times before being packed away till next Autumn.
As you know from my last post, I was looking for a good method for a jogless stripe join for the Tweedy Mittens I was working on. I feel I am getting close, but am not entirely happy with it yet, I may just need a bit more practice or the help of a real-life knitting friend to make that work. But hitting that wall gave me the opportunity to step back and ask myself just why I am working on this project. Am I doing it to gain the technique or am I doing it for the product? In this case, it is the product that is my real interest. I do intend to circle back (no pun intended, honest!) to becoming adept at jogless joins, but really I just want a good, functional pair of mittens for the cold early mornings we are still having. So I have temporarily set aside that pattern and just chose to do a single color pair of basic mittens. I am using the very basic Toasty Knitted Mittens from Lion Brand to complete my project. One mitten is completed and the other about halfway done, it should be finished by the end of the day. Sometimes just a good clarifying “Why am I doing this?” helps me get over that wall and on my way.
What I like about this particular pattern is how the thumb shaping is working up. When I have to increase a stitch I have chosen to use the Knit Front and Back (kfb) stitch. When I use this stitch I don’t have gaps where I’ve added but it creates a nice line defining the thumb that looks nice. This may become my go-to pattern for a good basic mitten when I just want to knit up a pair quickly. I’m planning to create a knitting cookbook that in which I will include favorite patterns that I may want to refer to frequently.
Wherever you are, I hope you are enjoying the season you are in.
Love and Peace,