Sunday, March 26, 2017

Northern California Coast Pt.2

The next morning, Connor and I went to do the Trinidad Head hike. It is one of the ones you can do as a Redwood Edventure. The museum where you could get the brochure was closed, so I loaded it on my phone from the website instead. We followed the clues, one of which took us to this magnificent view. 
I have since filled out the form for the patch. We will see how long it takes to arrive.

From there we stopped by Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park, but decided not to stay too long. I have been there before as that is where Fern Canyon is located. We also considered doing the Edventure that was located there, but time wasn't on our side. Besides, the spot I wanted to see most was still further north.
After another hour or so, we reached Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park. There is an Edventure there too, but we took a recommendation from the ranger at the visitor center and walked the Simpson Reed Grove Trail instead.

There were a bunch of banana slugs out an about. I don't recall seeing ones with brown spots before, but this guys had them.

Most of the redwood state parks in the area are also associated with Redwood National Forest. I think the Jedediah Smith Redwoods SP just might be my favorite. It seemed wetter and greener to me. I especially like all the moss and that ferns that sometimes grow out of the trees. 

Connor and I then continued on to Oregon. As we passed from California to Oregon, Connor saw in the rearview mirror that the California state sign was back up. The last time we had passed through, it wasn't there.

How silly is it to live in a state and not have a picture by the state sign? Despite the heavy rain, we righted that obvious wrong and stopped for our obligatory jumping photos.

From there we went reached Oregon and had a jolly time seeing family and celebrating with Oma.

We did end up with quite a haul in terms of patches and magnets. The patches have been added to the souvenir patch map for those who are curious about where to find them. They were acquired from Leggett to just past Crescent City in Hiouchi while following highway 101, then turning onto highway 199.

Friday, March 24, 2017

Northern California Coast Pt.1

Connor and I just got back from a trip up to Oregon to celebrate my Oma's birthday. Usually when we go up to Oregon, it is a pretty direct trip up and back. We pass by all sorts of things that look interesting, but don't have time to stop for. This trip we stopped.

After spending a night in Willits, we got up bright and early-ish to see what we could see. First on the list was the Drive Thru Tree in Leggett. There are several drive thru trees, but after one got blown over in a recent storm, it seems like a good idea to take advantage of driving through this one. It's five bucks to drive through the park, which includes some really impressive redwood sculptures.

The next place we stopped was Confusion Hill. It was confusing to find, so we made all sorts of jokes about the origins of the name. Also worth noting is that there are long stretches of the coast where there is no cell phone signal. We relied on signage to find the confusing hill. It turned out to be very similar to the Santa Cruz Mystery Spot. I wondered if the same architect of the Mystery Spot sold their plans to all the different vortex spots.
Although Confusion Hill and the Mystery Spot are similar in architecture, the big difference is that Confusion Hill is a self-tour, which is great if you want to take pictures unhurried. The Mystery Spot is more fun if you want to watch well rehearsed demonstrations. 

After getting really dizzy at Confusion Hill we kept going up the road until we found the One Log House.

It really is made out of one hollowed-out log. For a dollar, you can go inside. I commented to Connor that it looked bigger than our first apartment together.

At this point, we were on the Avenue of the Giants, which Connor and I had been on before we were married. It was dark when we drove it, so it was nice to see it during the day. We stopped at the visitor center to see if we could find a Humboldt Redwoods State Park patch. They were out, but we learned about a great program that is going on in the parks in the area.
Although this is geared towards children, the volunteers told us anyone could do this. Each of the participating parks have a little brochure that has clues in it. You go to a certain trail in the area, follow the clues, and by the end you have to fill in the last clue to earn a patch. Even if the visitor center is closed it is possible to go onto http://www.redwood-edventures.org to get a brochure. Once you find the final clue, you can fill out a little form to have them send you a patch. Of course it is a bit more fun when the visitor center is open and you can just do it in person.

A treasure hunt that ends in earning a patch? I was hooked immediately. We went to the Rockerfeller Loop Trail and followed the clues. It turned out to be quite educational. We learned about burls and snags. We also came across a large downed redwood that must have not been able to withstand the last storm

We also spotted a few things that weren't in the brochure, like this Trillium.

Near the end of the hike, I dropped my lens cap. It turned out to be serendipitous because as we turned to pick it up, we saw a Rough-Skinned Newt. These guys are really hard to spot. Kudos if you can see it in the picture I took.

If we had more time, we would have hiked more. As it happened, we had a dinner date with some friends a bit further north, so we headed up and met up with them. We talked so long that we closed out the restaurant. All in all, it was a great day. Connor and I fell into bed absolutely exhausted from all the fun we had.

Monday, March 13, 2017

Sock, Sock, Sweater

The weather has just turned warm, which means the two new pairs of socks I finished will have to wait to be enjoyed. Luckily I have my socks out on display, so I can enjoy looking at them while I wait to wear them. 
The first pair is my Hieroglyphic Socks. I started these in September and have been working on them on and off until now. They required quite a bit of attention when I started, but I found that once I got my rhythm, I could knit them at knit night or while semi-distracted. They never quite got to car-knitting level, though. I didn't like putting them down mid-round.

I did make some edits to the pattern. I didn't care for the recommended heel, so I put a heel flap in. And rather than leave it plain blue, I took a page from Stickfia's book and kept the stripes going. I did find that the golden stripe on either edge of the sock got a little gappy, so I sewed through the blue loops on the heel flap and anchored them with duplicate stitching to the blue stripes on the gusset. I was pleased to find that it worked just like I had hoped.

I'm also quite happy with my replacement rainbow socks. It sort of looks like a trick of the camera, but the sock on the left is the old, washed out sock. The one on the right is the new one.

I had hoped to finish while it was still raining, but wasn't quite able to make it. I thought it would be delightful to wear rainbows in the rain. Honestly, I would have been happy wearing rainbows in the sun, but I'm not so happy sweating in rainbows.

Now that both pairs of socks are entirely off my plate, I have been devoting all my knitting time to my Iceland sweater. I'm not quite done with the first sleeve, but I'm getting there. The recommended sizing would have the sweater fall off of my shoulders, so I am entirely ignoring the recommended sleeve/body width and am blocking my progress after every 20 rows or so to make it match my own measurements instead.

So far, so good. The pattern is pretty intuitive and has paired well with Netflix watching. Speaking of which, I have been watching Greenleaf. Or, I should say, Connor and I have been watching Greenleaf. After watching a few episodes by myself and talking about it, Connor thought he would watch an episode with me. We are both sucked in and now I need to find a different show to watch when he isn't around. 

Has anyone else got a show that has just sucked them in? I'd love to hear some recommendations.

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Catching Up On Crafting

I've been pretty productive with my various projects as of late. After realizing that I was not quite starting or finishing anything, I knew that I needed to make a list of what was causing each project to stagnate. It seems silly, but every project just had one step that needed to be worked on before I could go full steam ahead. 

For the Iceland sweater, I needed to swatch, so swatch I did. The swatch wasn't very helpful though. Since the pattern doesn't have a very good schematic, it was difficult to know how to successfully make the adjustments I wanted to. Eventually I decided that maybe I should just cast on. If it goes badly, I'll just rip it out and try again.

Next up is this test knit on my to do list for a while. It doesn't have a solid deadline, so I've waited until I had some brain power to put to it. I did my swatch, got confused over the stitch pattern directions, got clarification from the designer, and cast on. Of course after I got past the cuff, I realized that I had another question. This project will sit for a little while longer, but I'm glad to have gotten it started.

I recently wove in the ends to two different pairs of socks, but they still weren't being added to my sock rotation. I've mentioned in the past that I like to re-fix the color in all my socks before wearing them. If I have several pairs of socks close to completion, I'll wait until they are all done so I can do them together. I wasn't getting around to re-fixing the color and I realized it was because the Hieroglyphic Socks were a little too long in the toes. I wanted to fix the toes before re-fixing all the color. I don't know about the rest of you, but I wasn't really motivated to unweave in the ends and rip back color work. I finally caved and am pleased to say that both the Hieroglyphic and Rainbow socks are now re-fixed and drying.

My lavender sachet project also had been languishing. I often thought about embroidering, but kept putting it off because I needed to set up the fabric. After having a good think, I worked out the spacing I needed between each sachet. (2.25 inches) And to prevent myself from putting it off again, I'm sewing all the bag boundaries before I keep embroidering. It's going pretty well.

The last project that I'd been putting off was catching up on my comics. After Hawai'i, I was nearly two weeks behind. I've been slowly catching up by doing two comics a day: the previous days' comic and one from when we were in Hawai'i. Eventually I'll be up to date.

How has everyone else dealt with stagnating projects? Do you find a list helps or do you have a different method?

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

To My Husband On Our Second Anniversary

Oh Connor, who knew that this last year of marriage would be a tough one to get through. Not because of any friction between us... just that life decided to throw everything at us at once: illness, family deaths, loss of friendships. As it turns out, all that hardship has further glued us together.
The Death Valley trip we went on with Joe

Even through it all, you have been kind and compassionate even when I've fallen apart. You kept up on chores on the weeks I could hardly get off the couch. You've had a good attitude even when things we hoped for didn't work out. Thank you.
The time we went to the Rocky Mountains and took the wrong trail with your family on the way to Dream Lake. 

Despite it being a tough year, we still were able to have fun together. Looking back, I'm really surprised by all the travel we still managed to do. We made it to Colorado, Nevada, Arizona, Kentucky, and Hawaii together. We also traveled to different spots in California like Sequoia National Park, the Alabama Hills, Death Valley, Camp Layman, and Pinnacles National Park.
The time we went on that all-day canoeing trip in Kentucky. We chose the fiberglass canoe because it wasn't hot from the sun. It turned out to be superior because had a flat bottom and didn't get stuck on the rocks.

Looking back, I can now confirm that when we got married I got the better end of the deal.

 Happy anniversary, my love.
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