Franny & Zooey

jenjoycedesign© Mt Veeder Raven.JPG
I have been thinking of names for our pair of lovebird ravens, predictably a famous couple, and  Franny & Zooey comes to mind.  A fictitious pair of genius siblings who are perfectly worthy of these smart trusting birds, and well, its just that I’m a fan of Salinger.    Here’s Zooey, on the wood pile, right next to our tiny house ….
jenjoycedesign© Mt Veeder Raven 2.JPG
jenjoycedesign© the-male-raven 1
He is preening and watching over his shy lady Franny, who walks on the ground at a greater distance in the Charcoal Forest.
jenjoycedesign© the-male-ravenjenjoycedesign© the-female-raven

But distance is relative, because I tell you folks, I was 20 feet away at the most, quietly inching forward ever so slowly before Zooey caught on to me, and took flight.

jenjoycedesign© the-male-raven-taking-flight
Beautiful birds, I just can’t get over them.
They have so far snubbed my yarn offerings by the way!

Out into Autumn

jenjoycedesign© October 21,2018 Out walking I see the Mayacamas mountains rolling southerly down into their foothills.

I am enjoying Autumn now that the leaves are beginning to cover

the blackened forest floor from last year

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This sparse ground cover is only the beginning of the leaf fall,

they will continue to flutter down until winter is here.

jenjoycedesign© October 21,2018 (2)

I woke today after having seemingly dreamed almost consciously about a new fresh start in life walking a little more every day,  away from stress of the wildfire,  restoring a positive feeling about myself  and my life, so that when the house is finally ready for us to move into it,  I will be rebuilt too.   Its been a rough year for me, hands down, and I have existed in a self spun cocoon trying to not think about the stressful things,  but I really do believe committing to walking increased distances will cure all that is wrong in my world.  Just one walk at a time.

Waning Summer

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Its the last days of summer, finally.  I thought I’d never get through them.

The Autumn Equinox is near, and I thought I’d enjoy a nice afternoon walk up the ridge and take some photos of the landscape in the waning summer.

Wild peas  continuing to bloom unusually late…
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As I got higher up the ridge where the bad burn is,

I notice so many sprouted trees, as this baby knob cone pine, about 8 inches tall …

jenjoycedesign© baby pine

Sprouted right beneath the scorched parent tree, full of pine cones….

jenjoycedesign© burned pine

In a blink it will be the Autumnal Equinox , only four days!  Knowing I am near to being in a far better place mentally with the anniversary of the wildfire so soon to pass, I am so very eager to be grateful again and excited about life’s good things.

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Out Walking

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This morning we got out earlier than we have been.

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I am hiking solo now, but sometimes I’ll drive up the road a little ways and give Emma a ride, then she waits in the car in a nice shady spot.

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She still looks so healthy, but she does not like to walk very far.  Isn’t she just beautiful?

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Today I had my Nikon and took some photos of regrowth in the landscape.  New shoots emerging prolifically from burned trees everywhere!

jenjoycedesign© black oak shoots

The wildfire burned so much foliage and shrubs on the ridge that I’ve been finding old dump sites and old roads long abandoned too, but mostly, trees are making a come-back , and the flowers bloomed as ever before…

jenjoycedesign©old dump

On the way back to our Tiny House, stopping where our house “was”.  Do you recognize the landscape beyond that I so often photographed from our deck?

jenjoycedesign© new ground

Many trees I am finding , are still alive with green crowns, so all is not lost. In fact, the big black oak which shaded our house and most of the deck in the heat of the summer afternoon, was so badly burned we thought no chance, but now it has green sprouting out of ash-grey trunk!  The wildfire brings so much perspective about potential of regeneration, that I must witness this as I walk through the seasons. I’ve put all my focus on the hill before me, and knitting as I go.

Life is good.

jenjoycedesign© solo walking

Afternoon Light

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Wildflowers lingering in the whitening grass.

My favorites are the tall wobbly blue Brodea,  and the dainty fragile wild roses, absolutely everywhere!

jenjoycedesign© native wild rose 2

The cheerful wild peas climbing up the garden fence…

jenjoycedesign© wild pea on garden fence

Yesterday walking about with Emma,

capturing just a few of the woodland wildflowers in the late afternoon sun .

jenjoycedesign© wild native flower in question

Quite a different mood & light cast from Early Light that very same day.

jenjoycedesign© brodea flowers

Brodea in small little gatherings , as they wobble in the breeze in unison.

jenjoycedesign© wild native Japanese lanterns

Everywhere these plump yellow-green shy flowers with their faces always cast down.

jenjoycedesign© Emma in May

Life is good, and everything in its place.

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Into the mist …

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Went for a stroll out in the drizzling rain,  and took a few photos into the veil of mist.  jenjoycedesign© mist2

The mist softens the blackened soil, but the grass is growing up through it in the open spaces now, hovering over and caressing the wound of the wildfire.

I am feeling a nearly unperceivable whispering heartbeat of optimism …

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… as if life might still be good after all, in spite of itself.

Tweed Chronicles: The color of fog …

March's entrance

photo from archives: Shades Of Fog

Fog is a huge part of life on the mountain, for me, and I just love the fog show …

jenjoycedesign© fog Jan 2015

fog in January, 2015

I love to watch it pour over the ridge from the Pacific, fluid and volatile, and into the valley,  or splashing up from it.  I also love it just thickly hovering about …

jenjoycedesign©blue oaks in fog

photo from archives:  Foggy

So naturally, my next tweed endeavor must capture the color of fog !

jenjoycedesign© fog white

It is my basic white,  well,  a near white, where like fog, you see faint color of images behind …

 

Just a tiny bit of the color-saturated neutral to start, then blended several times with increasing amount of white wool, so you’ll see flecks of blue, red and yellow upon close inspection.

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I really am enjoying developing a personal hand-spun color palette, and see no end to my combing wool in different combinations, racing obsessively from blending board to the spinning wheel, grabbing my camera to photograph, wash, dry, wind on swift, photogragh again …

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… then on to the next !

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Techy stuff for Fog (white)…

  •  Color Saturated Neutral recipe for approx 10-15% base, primary triad of blue, red, and yellow:  Blended thoroughly on blending board.   Note: for a more dramatic tweed, with gobs of color splashing through, blend only once , then continue.
  • Starting with white, layer alternately with neutral (see Blending For Tweed Simplified)
  •  Lift batt, divide as needed and layer again and again with more white, repeatedly fully hemogenized, more or fewer times until white/neutral values balance as desired.
  • Draw off rolags.
  • Colorway blend:  “Fog” .
  • See ALL color blending experiments & recipes archived in Tweed Chronicles

Tweed Chronicles: Wild Flax

jenjoycedesign© spinning by a window

Spinning by a window  …
jenjoycedesign© spinning Wild Flaxlight flooding in to  unwind my shadowy worries.

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I cast my mind to a warm landscape of wild flax …

 hoping to find the colors of the flowers in the wool blend …

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I have been doing a lot of fiber blending,  and a little spinning too, which is for now easing me slowly back into creative mood.

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( and am so grateful to “L” for the gift of a beautiful Ashford Traditional spinning wheel!)

♣     ♣     ♣

In closing,  FEMA clean-up crews have been working rapidly in Napa & Sonoma counties since the wildfire of October, and by the end of December, maybe a clean slate for us? Impossible to forecast the rebuilding ahead,  for now I find the cozy window here my joy of the afternoon.

♣     ♣     ♣

Techy stuff  for my Wild Flax Blue …

  •  2 g each of primary colors (6g tot) , for a base of color-saturated neutral ,  see this post; blend thoroughly on blending board 3 times Total 6g.    Note: for a more dramatic tweed, with gobs of color splashing through, blend only once , then continue.
  • 6g cornflower blue, layer very thinly one color at a time, with neutral base. Tot 12g.
  • Lift batt, layered again with 2g each of white, light green, teal. Tot 18g.

( I was trying to get more blended base, with a ‘dusting’ of brilliant blue on the last blend…)

  • Lift batt, and layered again with 2g  of cornflower blue. Tot 20g.
  • Drew off rolags.
  • Colorway of blend “Wild Flax Blue”
  • See ALL color blending experiments & recipes archived in Tweed Chronicles

Fields of Gold

oct-2-2016

Went out for a lovely knitting walk in the late afternoon today, and caught the golden fields at their height and most fragrant as the rain has come, and it won’t be long before they become dull and brown and beaten down by the strong winds up here on the ridge.

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Leaves falling along one of our newer trails, a shortcut home through the edge of black oak woods (can you see the sticks ahead which mark the path?).  Emma and I have really upped our game, and are walking religiously since day one of Autumn , and I’m knitting bunches as we walk.  Grateful that Autumn has greeted us with some cool weather and…. did I mention that it rained last night?   Everything is in its place, and life is good.

Gone Wild

jenjoycedesign©peak

At the peak

It has been a lovely morning up here on the mountain. Fog at sunrise, cool, crisp, breathing freshness into an otherwise stagnant stillness of our drying Northern California landscape. I feel as if my life has evolved into a new level of wild, as the days are punctuated mostly by the wildlife, or occasional trips into town, and the coming and going of ‘the man’.  Summer brings chickadees and hornets and straggling tough kinds of wildflowers, but mostly a platinum landscape of dry grasses, and oppressive stickery burrs along the trails which are a true pain to have to endure picking off of one’s self, and one’s dog’s fur. No wonder we have been lazy lately.

The dog and I decided to adventure up & out this morning, and so after weeks upon weeks of very little walking, we made it to the top.  Once near the top on the sharp and narrow knife-edge, the actual geological ridge cresting at a width of barely six feet wide in sections, and  covered in young knobcone pines, makes a lovely path to follow….

jenjoycedesign©geographical-ridgeA cliff drop to the east is Napa Valley, and a rolling descent to the west is Sonoma Valley, and from up here one can nearly feel the mountain’s spirit, as if the rock is slowly cutting through centimeter by centimeter, not stagnant but alive, with an energy about it which is luring, beckoning one to get the reward of being at the top. It is a special place the peak, at 2600 feet, and it really is almost less than a half-hour walk from our house if we hoof it, so we vowed to each other to get our lazy selves up there a lot more than we have, Emma and me.

Back at home, deliciously overcast clouds, and a breeze kicking up. While Emma continues her napping, I’m at the drawing board again on a new design, its endless calculations, and with delicious cup of coffee.

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I’ll leave you with a little slideshow of nice shots from our walk, and wish you all well until next time…

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Apple Blossoms

jenjoycedesign©apple blossom

We have an apple tree in our garden which has just begun to bloom, and for me that is very exciting!  There is a lot going on all at once, so there will be a flurry of posts forthcoming, I just wanted to break the silence and show off a little bit of springtime which is present here full tilt. I hope you are all enjoying yourselves in the midst of blossoms !

Tartan & Tweed Tam: The Pattern

jenjoycedesign©Tartan & Tweed Tams

Well folks, the pattern has been submitted,

and I am happy to finally show you the bunch of lovely photographs taken last month at our castle, modeling the design.

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This tam design is a little different, looking a little like a tweed cloth cap but also like a conventional tam.  Personally I think I’ve finally found my best-yet tam shape, and am excited to run with it.

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 Oh, and there are options in yarn weights, and well,

how could I not include a straight-sided toque option?

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I really think this tam is my best yet, and I hope you knit it !

Available for download w/ details on pattern page HERE & on Ravelry HERE

(matching Mitts pattern HERE)

jenjoycedesign©tam&mittens

A Storm On The Way

jenjoycedesign©manzanita in bloom

Emma and I were out for our morning walk but it was different today, it was deliciously foggy.   To end a seven-week-long warm dry spell of this winter so far, we are due to get hammered with a big storm tonight.  A storm which is absolutely longed for … so I figured we’d go out and take some photos in the drizzling fog and cooling air.  On the way up the ridge there was a pleasant surprise ~~ all the manzanita is peaking in blossom !

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One of the attractions of this time of year in Northern California mountains is the precious heart-shaped and very fragrant blossoming Arctostaphylos, or as we know it, manzanita. There are mainly two indigenous species which thrive side-by-side up on this mountain, and the most distinct difference is seen this time of year, when they blossom. One has pink blossoms, and the other white …

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Otherwise their form is very similar, but their leaves are also quite distinctive also. I just love to bury my face into a cluster of these sweet blossoms and inhale their fragrance. . .

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At the top of the ridge, Emma sniffed and I knitted as we meandered along the knife-edge where to the north-east is Napa Valley, and to the south-west is Sonoma Valley.  Just sniffing and knitting our way along.

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And then finally we reach the summit, and breathe in the cloud .

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We’re out a lot these days hiking & knitting, so we won’t mind staying indoors while enjoying the lashing rain forecast for the next few days.  I’ll be posting more as the tail end of winter bursts into action in the next weeks, on the mountain and on my needles!

offerings

jenjoycedesign©offering basket
A give-away of another sort.  It is now the end of a knitting project and I a ritual of mine is to go around the house and pick up yarn littered about the floor, as there always is quite a lot, and it seems to just float about and mix in with dog hair . . .

jenjoycedesign©yarn bits

It is entirely too wasteful to throw away the little piles of wool.

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So I lately I’ve been thinking of ways to make use of these snippings of yarns, and can’t think of anything better than to entice the woodland birds of the forest to making use, perhaps to line their nests.

jenjoycedesign©offering

Times before I would scatter yarn trimmings on the ground, or leave in a basket hung from a handle off the brand of a tree, both cases there was very little taken of the scraps.  Determined, this time I have chosen a more open basket (one that I made a while back actually) and just placed it snugly in the crotch of a dead tree.

jenjoycedesign©yarn scraps

There’s something just so magical living in the woods and in and amongst the wildlife, I am hopeful this time my offerings will be snatched up and line the nests of the woodland birds ~ of robins, woodpeckers, ravens, jays, junkos, chickadees.  If I ever spot evidence of the yarn scraps being used by the wildlife I’ll be sure to tell you about it !

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A Fresh Perspective

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Looking forward to a year full of artful angles and new perspectives.  For the moment I am feeling keenly drawn to the mundane, how could this be?  Upping the ordinary seems to be my cause for the new year, I feel it in my marrow this transformation taking place.

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Driving through St. Helena a few days ago, on my way home from a visit with my brothers family, I stopped in for a meditative cup of coffee with 2015 planner pages opened up, and as I pondered the mystery of empty calendar pages, imagining the notes I will scribble in between the bold numbers which represent a twenty-four hour portion of my life, I inhaled the aroma of cafe creme and also of hope for the year ahead ~~ how good and rich and wholesome it indeed did smell.

Back in my car to make the second half of the trip home, cruising along Oak Street this house just stuck out for me. It would not otherwise be noticed save for the time of day and the way the shadows played it up. How interesting ! It seemed to ask me to pull over, park, and dig my camera out of my stuff and take a shot.  So I did.

In 2015 I strive to detach myself from distractions of consumerism, and instead to slow down and ‘do without’… to Mend & Make Do if you will. It just seems so attractive to me here at the onset of the new year, and before dawn, to contemplate true simplicity. I have always longed for the slower-moving vantage point.

I close this post of the first day in January to ponder this idea of Less Is More, and I wish you all a very good year ahead to set out for what you long for.

Foggy

jenjoycedesign©blue oaks in fogI was out knitting & walking this afternoon and the fog was just floating in and around everything ,

it was a beautiful late Autumn landscape.
jenjoycedesign©douglas firs in fog

Oh how the last of the leaves are stubbornly hanging on to their twigs,

and they land sometimes seeming reluctantly so …
sky window
Tomorrow a huge rain storm is on it’s way, to hit in the night and thrash for a couple of days.  I have a hill-walking date in the morning with a friend, and we’ll go come hell or high-water!

On the knitting front, all is going well, more photos in days ahead of finished happy endings of knitterly things, bathed in wintery light of day, but for now, a sneak peek of what appears to be a candy roll of some tasty tartan & tweedy thing…

jenjoycedesign©T&T roll

Taking It In

002 (3)I’ve been knitting an insane amount lately.  This is a big part of my life, who I am slowly becoming, and I love how I’m involved in it.  Just now I was feverishly working a swatch for a new idea,  and I looked out the window to my beloved mist pouring over the ridge from the Pacific, and remembered that I promised myself to disengage after my last pattern (Penny Candy Winter)… to calm down and enjoy what is left of Autumn, and walk in it every single day. Well, today was one of those rare days I didn’t .  Up here in the California Highlands we’re getting rain, oh yes…

California Highlands… and now two months into Autumn in the mountains and we’re saturated in the mist and rain and the moss is vibrant and I am happy. So happy!  One month left of delicious Autumn to wander and watch the turning of the trees.

My Autumn project is to overhaul a few of my earlier patterns and so I feel at a restless in-between place presently. I’m finished with the last pattern overhaul & update of Dicey Highland Hats,  and now have a pause before starting the next big thing. I’m trying to be a good person and cook a nice quiche for dinner, while doing chores, and at the same time I just want to knit ! Knit!! Knit!!! But I must force myself to stop knitting, to quiet my mind and my racing ideas, and to look around me, because I find that the creative source does need to be rested and nurtured equally as much as it needs to be exercised and developed. Answers come in the void spaces most often, let the mist into the mind to obscure the sharpness, and to let my thoughts have a good rest.

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Knitting In The Wild

jenjoycedesign©knitting in the wildAnother glorious hike up to the ridge peak this morning. Shading the camera lens with knitting overlooking the ridge after ridge facing north-easterly.

Greeting the long shadows of morning as the sun’s rays shot through the pines on the crest of the ridge…

jenjoycedesign©019There was knitting the whole way, reknitting that is, of yoke of nieces’ Autumn sweater.

 Capturing the sun streaming through black oak leaves soon to fall …jenjoycedesign©003Greeted the Sleeping Princess (Mt Tamalpais) as she lay like rolling blue ocean waves in the distance…
jenjoycedesign©036And Mt. Diablo as we started up, a stones throw from the house… and you can see the yellow patches in the trees where there is Autumnal color starting.

jenjoycedesign©002At the rocky top,  another  view across the ridges which frame the upper Napa Valley …
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Most of all we enjoyed the contemplative early morning trek, with bright morning sun, mountain air, and knitting all going so perfectly together I think. Looking forward to another like it each day this Autumn, as we have been out nearly every single day . Turning of the season continues to be wonderful this way.  Life is good.

Knitting In Nature

019It rained again, and the moss is glowing !

We’ve continued our walks nearly everyday this Autumn.

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Out in the freshly rained-on moss, and romping around and smelling things.

( Emma tends to like to stick her whole head into tree caves…)

023The really remarkable thing is, that while we were walking in the woods, I was knitting the very colors of the moss on oak bark, and it took me by surprise how much I reflect the colors of my surroundings.

Presently knitting the sweater for this hat , in the colorway ‘moss on oak’…jenjoycedesign©green&grey

Knitting in nature is one of the things I love to do most of all.

Walking in Autumn

jenjoycedesign©out in AutumFirst, a lovely shot from our Autumn walk the last weekend.

And now just back from a walk, out rather late we went up the ridge a little ways, by the high vineyard, (um… which is sorely lacking a vineyard for the present)…

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Then we turned around , and went into the woods. Here , knitting poised on a log, and with not much progress from the last photo of it….

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Then we decided to explore and left the trail, began crawling through and over all sorts of things, collecting all sorts of burrs and stuff in our hair, to scout out new places.

 Oh look! Another huge mushroom growing from a dead tree!

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 And then….

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… we ended up at a rather tall henge-like rock out-cropping I did not recognize.

(I’ll take another photo of this place another time soon, in the mist, for affect).

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Seriously though, with different angles to the familiar places, I thought there for a few minutes we were lost. (not really that would be rather impossible) A glance easterly and I see Mt Diablo in the distance, a good bearing.

011Then I knew where we were exactly and that there’d be close by the old dilapidated bench from one of the abandoned old shacks nearby….

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Sure enough, after scrambling through a few bushes, there it was !

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A great little secret picnic & knitting spot, wouldn’t you say?

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Have you been out on any walks this Autumn yet?

Each Day In Autumn

jenjoycedesign©vineyard after harvest

Emma and I have been out walking (and I knitting while walking) everyday this Autumn so far, and plan to walk everyday for the remainder of Autumn, bringing camera and sharing photos often here and celebrate the best time of year !  Harvest is in process, finished in this particular vineyard a stone’s throw from where we live. We passed it along our forest paths near by.  Then Emma spied a big yellow fungus !!!

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jenjoycedesign©fungus in woods

On through hilly & hollow lands we walk….

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And with fragrances abound, Emma follows her nose rapturously…jenjoycedesign©wandering2

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And just around this bend (from the opposite direction of last hike posted) we end up back home …

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First Morning of Autumn

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knitting at the peak

I know two posts in one day. Its just that I wanted to share with you all my first walk of Autumn.  We were out in the early hourse on this first morning of Autumn, knitting while hiking about the woods a bit, then hauling on up the ridge to the peak of the mountain (at 2600′ elevation.) There were beautiful views of the distant ridges along the way up.  Mt. Diablo in the distance, rather southerly (to the right behind the trees)…
009Then higher up, looking more westerly, a grand shot of Mt. Tamalpais,  named by the indigenous Native Americans meaning “Sleeping Princess” (did you know Mt Tam is where mountain-biking was invented?) …
011Then at the peak, overlooking Napa Valley, easterly, and the sun was already high …
019We went down our favorite well-trodden paths on the way home…
026and our favorite short-cut deer trails…

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035Then across the last oak wooded section before landing back home. It was a glorious walk this morning, and I have made progress on a little knitting too !

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 I hope your start of  Autumn (or Spring) is equally as happy as mine.

What are you up to?

A Kiss Goodbye to Summer…

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Emma and I went out walking in the hot noon sun, and thought to capture the last day of summer, with the tall crisp dry grasses and pale blue sky in a photo.  Tonight the equinox occurs at 7:29 pm here, and we are so ready for Autumn !

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We didn’t walk far. We’ll go out again with regenerated spirit first thing in the morning to capture the first morning of Autumn.

Lazy Hazy Dog Days Of Summer

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Well folks, we’re in the dog days of summer.  Such a funny expression…. ‘dog days’ … let me look it up.
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dog days
noun
  1. the hottest period of the year (reckoned in antiquity from the heliacal rising of Sirius, the Dog Star).
    • a period of inactivity or sluggishness.
      “in August the baseball races are in the dog days”

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I can bet that Emma is as tired of them as I am.  Everything dry as parchment outside, and no rain in sight for another month.  Another month or longer !

This early morning we are pacing ourselves …
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At the very  least… er…most… there’s lots of knitting going on.
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How is your summer going? ( Or winter, if you’re in the Southern Hemisphere).

What are you up to?

Chaltén Beret : The Pattern

Chalten3I talked at length in previous post the inspiration behind this design, which I’ve named Chaltén Beret. Now with my lovely nieces having modelled in an absolutely stellar photo shoot yesterday, against the stone walls of a gothic Catholic church in St. Helena, with an intriguing landscape of grasses…. 053 I am finally ready to present to you the pattern !  You can find it on Yarnings HERE … or in Ravelry HERE. Either way, I hope that you knit it, and try out making the adorable chuflines (tassels) , because believe me, they are the most fun that I’ve had in a long time.

Eldest Niece is modelling the pattern prototype with dos chuflines, knit in Jamiesons Spindrift  (details can be found for this project on Ravelry project here, and Youngest Niece is modelling (a slightly larger) pre-prototype version with un chuflín, knit in Alice Starmore Hebridean 2ply yarn (details can be found on Ravelry project over here. Lastly, I have made a step-by-step photo tutorial on , found on my Tips From The Table on  How to make a “chuflín” tassel. Now I will leave you with many more great moments from our photo shoot yesterday…

Now, if you haven’t yet read the  PREVIOUS POST   about the inspiration and name-sake of this design, then you really must, as it really is such  a very spectacular  & special place, you’ll want to knit the beret!

jenjoycedesign©Chaltén Beret 2 - Copy

Back From The High Sierra.

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We three ~ Jeff, Emma, & me ~ went for a short & sweet trip to High Sierras over the weekend for our anniversary.  There was a little hiking, cooking, tea & coffee drinking, fishing & knitting, sniffing around….

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Restorative in many ways, as always, the alpine scenery soothed a yearning that only it can do. What is it about pitching a tent in the wilderness at high altitude to claim some spot in nature as our home for a few days?
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Something about the fragile alpine flowers …
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and gnarled trees.
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fast and furious rain storms …

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The granite everywhere and deep crystal clear blue lakes …

Granite Lake

wide horizon of jagged ridges and expressive skies.

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A storm is brewing!
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Windy thunder & rain storms which suddenly take hold for a couple of hours in the afternoon,

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sending us for cover in our cozy tent to wait it out.
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Granite Lake in Mokelumne Wilderness was just what I craved.  Bundled up quite puffy  in down and wool layers, knitting in the cold & windy pause between storms …

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Abandoned my knitting to go fire up the camp stove and make hot coffee!
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Jeff got to fish a couple of times, though he didn’t get even one bite, too stormy.

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Then it was time for trail coffee & tea !!!

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We found that Emma was perfectly able to handle carrying a doggie pack and hike as she did once before, and it was as if her little arthritic limp of late almost disappeared completely. 072007

She is in top form !

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Most importantly, this trip to the Sierras was to celebrate a very important mark in our partnership,

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We were so lucky to have Granite Lake all to ourselves, at near 9000′ elevation & less than three miles from the trail-head. It is my theory that the forecast dramatic thunderstorms cleared the lake for us. We were prepared to hike cross-country (off-trail) to another lake for privacy, but had no need, it was a total stroke of luck.

With only a little over 3 hour drive, we can be in the High Sierra, fishing & knitting at a granite bowl. It just doesn’t get any better than that ! Off we go back home, but we’ll be back . . .
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Off to the Sierras !

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The High Sierras beckon us this year on our anniversary. Last time we went, Jeff, Emma & I had a great time , it was in the Inyo National Forest of the High Sierras, on the McGee Pass trail, hovering around 10,000 – 12,000′ elevation. This  (slightly blurry) photo was taken while walking along a meadow on the trail, and it was in fact the last backpack trip I was on. Emma was a two-year-old packing puppy and that was seven years ago. Ages !

I can’t believe how long it’s been, and astonished at the pace life just races by.  Here is Emma waiting for me as we climbed over the pass, the rock in the trail so sharp she had to wear her boots.
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And just beneath the pass, resting a poor exhausted puppy Emma in the snow with Jeff looking a little impatient . . .
Jeff and Emma in snow, beneath McGee Pass

That trip was a stunning one, a beauty for sure,  but I’m not feeling very confident in my packing abilities at all now.   Though Jeff has promised me that we will go slowly and not far, for if I am going to want to backpack regularly ~ again ~  it is important that Emma and I do not get whipped by the trek.  Emma is already a little bit limpy with onset arthritis, and I’m not much better, worried about carrying a pack for any distance.

But hey , the altitude & elements I can handle ! How can I not crave to sit and knit for hours with camp coffee by high mountain lakes such as these . . .

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Fact is, I can’t wait !!! But just to give perspective, here’s a photo of me taken around 1990, during very likely my first backpack trip, resting & reading in camp over a glacier-melt filled bowl far below in the backdrop ~ Lake Ana in Trinity Alps . . .
Trinity's 1990 Jennifer Lake Ana

So interesting that being in the really high mountains has been such a part of me for as long as I can remember.  Jeff and I are making a vow of sorts, to go regularly again, and this is a bit of a kick-start trek.  Well folks, its time for me to go pull out all of my packing gear and assemble things ~ knitting included ~ see you all on the flip-side. Sierra Nevada mountains, here we come.

Glimpses From The Knitting Trail

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A big granite rock stack leads from our door out into the woods.

Recently Emma had a birthday ! She is nine.  Every year on her birthday I take her for a long walk and follow her wherever she wants to go.  There was a rather hesitant beginning as she contemplated what was down the road…

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Emma’s 9th birthday walk.

Then after we walked all over the place, unexpected places she led me, and I followed without question.  As our walk ended she found herself mesmerized in the sun beams of the forest, a little spellbound perhaps. There’s lots to think about when one is Nine.

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Emma in woods.

For those of you who have been visiting Yarnings for any length of time, know about my Knitting Trail, I talked about a while ago in this post.    I am gradually putting it all together, this spot and that, through forest and wood, through hilly and hollow lands.

Such a beautiful warm spring day!

Some silly photos as I try in vain to get a portrait selfie photo of Emma & me, but Emma was reluctant …

on the Fairy Trail

And  a little knitting happened too …

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One of several rough-cut benches along the Knitting Trail.