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 ….
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He is preening and watching over his shy lady Franny, who walks on the ground at a greater distance in the Charcoal Forest.
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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.

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Beautiful birds, I just can’t get over them.
They have so far snubbed my yarn offerings by the way!

offerings

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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 . . .

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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.

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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.

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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 True Robin’s Egg Blue

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I just picked this up from the duff of the forest floor. I nearly stepped on it while knitting along my woods path. In the woods we have a lot of robins , year round, so occasionally one finds a little shell cast aside, just like this, a stark contrast of blue shade against brownish tones of the leaves on the ground. Had I a camera with me I would have done well to photograph it against its natural setting, but I didn’t, and so I collected my little prize into my knitting bag and brought it home to photograph on some white linen.

This color blue, a greenish blue, is such a beautiful color, and I have it now here as reference when examining hues, if I may be forgetting what it looks like. Let it etch into my color memory, for I want to find a way to knit this color!

Morning On The Knitting Trail

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Emma and I took off for a walk along the old road, and then on the knitting trail to visit the woods with the green moss which is now absolutely glowing from all the rain.

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I have to say, of the many oddities one can find in the woods, this was the most ! I intend to include it in a knitwear photo someday.
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Well, it’s back to my knitting loft, with a new design adventure and happy pots of tea, for the sky is greying and rain drops are already plopping down on the roof again.  Happiness is rain.  Lots and lots of rain.

((And tea with home-made shortbread.))

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Fourteen Days . . .

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I am sharing all that I am ‘making’ through the holidays (and other noteworthy things going on).  Fourteen days left, and three hand-made gifts finished, with several more to go. A scarf much like ‘ribbon candy’ in wintergreen and licorice, made from some old yarn I can’t even remember what it is. Here, a quite roomy felted satchel made of stashed tweed wool o’ the Andes, and which has two thick 5-stitch icord straps.  The very artful steel cut & welded ‘coat’ hanger my brother made. It is a daffodil bulb,  and is mounted right at the doorway.

jenjoycedesign©felted-bag

Now, the Lovers Of Wildlife out there , you absolutely *must* see this ~~~ the pair of ravens which perch often right near our house, these are photos taken from upstairs bedroom window, literally 30 feet away from where I stood in the house (I zoomed in).  First you see Mr. Raven lone on a branch surveying his domaine, then his mate busying herself ripping some dead bark off of a dead oak branch, then she flew to him and they cuddled a while while they prattled loudly to each other, it was amazing to see such big handsome birds be so affectionate. (click first image in mosaic to go to slideshow).

They didn’t seem to mind me at all standing there photographing & admiring them. I am so grateful & lucky to live here in these woods with the ravens!

A Knitting Trail

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Emma and I have  been working on our home trail in recent weeks.

 It is to be a knitting trail ! ! !

Our trail begins right next to Jeff’s workshop…

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And takes off into the woods, just follow Emma.

It goes upwards very quickly…

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It meanders along old deer-trodden paths ,

which Emma and I  have enhanced with our footsteps.

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It passes by tall firs,

oaks & bays,

madrones & maples…

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You will see my short rows of sticks on occasion,

they are trail markers in sections where the knitting trail goes one way,

while the deer may go another…

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Emma is charged with purpose as she surveys the forest, and the wildlife.

There is at least one mountain lion which lives in the area, sighted many times, and  I often wonder if it is the lion which she smells.  I think I would like to put some places to sit (and knit) along the way.  Just sit, knit,  and listen to the wildlife.

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Some small sections are getting the shovel treatment, like here at the trail-head.

 (Yes, that is our house, and my car, which I try to drive as little as possible)

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So you see, I have been working like an ox lately, for this is the time of year I love most to be outside toiling away, among the falling leaves of Autumn. There’ll be more photos later, as the Knitting Trail is honed to perfection !

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But hey ! Its the last day of October today, and that means it is Halloween!   For the occasion I thought I’d post a photo of something remarkably ominous from the woods!   The raven’s cultural and somewhat spooky  symbolism  is not to be debated, however here they are just a cheerful and welcomed presence, and flock about year round. They make themselves very comfortable, eating the berries in the native trees, and fruit & veggies from our garden, and pick from our compost pile too.  I think they are fascinating birds,  possessing a truly amazing intrigue and even sense of humor (they like to tease Emma every chance they get), and they are the stewards of these woods all the same.  Here is a photo I took last week, zoomed into the branches of an oak while this fellow and his mate were making deep throaty chortling & clucking conversation…
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Happy Halloween everyone !

(( Note:  I am delayed with knitting projects due to interruptions life tends to cause. ))

Summer Breeze

It’s particularly quiet on the mountain this morning.

In the summer stillness of Northern California, there is usually no weather to report for months on end. Sometimes there is a breeze. Sometimes a little fog which swells up from the valley in the morning. Sometimes a relentless wind which cracks off dried branches from the trees in the forest and whips off tips of new growth, littering the country road.

The wind whistling through the tree tops is the most eerie up in the Rafters O’ Society, above the towns, overlooking ridges which  overlap , one behind another clear into the next county. Because in the breeze one hears a kind of silence which is felt in the restless sound of the trees quivering. The fact that one hears *only* the breeze, I guess is what makes it seem so quiet.

(Two pensive ravens perched in a dead fir tree, photographed with a zoom from my house, yesterday early evening.)

I do like rain, or even a lot of rain ~ in fact, I love rain.  But for now there’s blue sky. Lots and lots of clear, dry, and very blue sky.  This summer season makes me feel rather despondent, clear through September.  I must hunker down in the shadows.  It’s time to make a good strong pint of tea and stir things up.

In the dusty wild west, where things are a few degrees removed from finery, some of us pioneers, well, we devise our own way of doing things.  I do have a couple of small tea pots, but I have gotten into the habit over the years to brew loose-leaf tea in a canning jar,  sometimes a pint sized (to be pour’d into a pint glass) , but more times than not, I make up in a quart-sized jar.  What is left can easily be put into the fridge for cold tea later, which is a treat in the summer heat.

This really isn’t about tea, or the wind, or the ravens.  Its about my changing course,  about drinking in what nature brings to me, and waiting for the wind in my sails again.  Having  had a house full of family for an epic family reunion I am ready for something cheerfully  rejuvenating.   I am going to shake it loose and default to some good ol’ classic knitting ! So time to finish these…

I learn from my mistakes very clumsily,  like using a machete through the bush, I rip back and then knit forward, rip and knit, rip, knit.

Last night I had to rip back the mindless knitting I had apparently done while at a long break during a gig last weekend, I kept decreasing through the heel gussets (two at a time mistake) and ended up with far too few stitches. So, having fixed that, now I am merrily on my way again.

Snow Storm


Very recently it snowed! The biggest snow I have seen on the mountain since living up here. I find it fascinating the activity which is evident in the snow, which normally I would see no trace of, such as rabbit tracks….

This looks like turkey and fox walking together, but more likely fox is tracking the turkey.   Then the biggest tracks of all,  and Emma is following mountain lion tracks…

Mountain Lion paw print…

Finally, 2600 feet up, at the peak , so incredibly quiet.

 It was an awesome wintry day and one of the best hikes I can remember, from our own door …  a snowy & blissful winter wonderland!