Like The Queen
Whatever happens to strike my fancy, but surely some sort of fiber content.


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Sunday, January 04, 2004  

If this don’t beat all! It's going to be nigh on to 70 for the next two days and then plummet to nights as cold as 17. This is real Virginia weather. Lawsee we are going to all catch pneumonia. At least, that would have been the thinking when I was a kid - that if you had sudden temperature changes you'd get sick. Never have looked to see if it were true. Besides, from October through May we have sudden temperature changes and there's nothing we can do about 'em.

Still, yesterday's glorious weather had me in the front yard, raking leaves. I live in the very edge of the woods - we cut down about an acre of pine trees, back in 1977, where we planned to build our house. After construction we let it grow up pretty much as it wanted. I did all the selecting and clearing, with intermittent help from the Ds. Nearly 30 years later we have some delightful trees, a big flower garden and the scrubbiest fringe of honeysuckle, greenbriar, trumpet vine, and broken trees circling the whole complex. The trees aren't all broken, of course, but there are rather a lot of broken ones, caused by Hurricane Fran in the mid 90's and Isabelle last September. You have not seen the power of Mother Nature till you’ve seen a tree snap off half way up and just fly away. Although the tangle provides a bit of wind barrier between the yard and the large field, it's grown particularly ugly over the years and this year, now that I have an energetic 20-something son looking for hard labor - I believe I shall tackle it.

I'd like to have a woodland garden with paths, bushes and trees, but I haven't had much luck growing bushes near trees. What likes shade tends to have shallow roots and hardly any of the babies I've planted could compete with the established tree roots during our long, dry, humid summers. I do believe, though, that I can clean out the deadfall, add a few more trees and perhaps get some mountain laurel growing beneath - perhaps even an azalea or rhododendron near the west side, where good light is possible. I'm not going to try to eliminate the vines - so perhaps I should abandon all thought of shrubbery - nobody has the time to conquer the invading army of trumpet vine - best to just incorporate it into the landscape. But when I see that darn stuff being offered in seed catalogs - my blood boils. It is the absolutely worst of the invasive plants. Tough woody stems, a deep underground root system that goes on forever, always trapping leaves, making clean-up impossible, tangling itself into everything else in the garden - GRRR!

Regardless of what I put in place of the mess, the results of a clean-up will be a Winter Bonfire Party. We've done this before, and since the adjacent field was in soybeans last fall, we shan't have far to drag the debris. The Ds can rope the fallen trees to the truck to get them out, I’ll wheedle consent from BD to take down the two still living, but scalped hardwoods - one looks to be an oak, the other I'm not sure of. Depending on how soon the guys get the pile built, I can even dump leaves in it. It'd be a bit of a haul, but the leaves ensure a bright quick fire start, and though I always make a mound of them in late spring, during my usual clean up, I never seem to dig them up once they're composted. I noticed last year's heap is covered now with Lunaria babies and I’m sure not digging them up.

Outdoor winter parties are particularly fun to invite families with kids to, and since we canceled our Christmas party, I can think of a couple of eager little girls who'd enjoy dancing around a fire. Paper bag luminaries mark the path from house to field, so people can come and go as they choose. All those yucky plastic chairs can be hauled out to the field with no likelihood of them suffering from the damp ground. (Note to Bess: Get rid of those darn things before summer.)

Well - this is still in the planning stage and everything depends on how much work I can get out of the Ds. But February is such a gloomy month, a great big bon fire might be just the thing.

After exhausting myself with the rakes yesterday, I settled down again with my notebook and began listing the ThingsIWantToKnit. Some of the items on the list were more ThingsIFeelObligedToKnit, and as such, may never get knit at all, but most of them stirred at least a little lustfulness. Especially the red cropped sweater out of Stars; a project I think will go swiftly. I also began toying with the calendar and ideas for classes. For some reason, I don't feel inspired to teach children this winter. Odd, but the energy isn't there and I'm not going to force it. I would like to teach another adult beginner's class and a 6 week class of self-directed projects. Students work on whatever they want and I will provide support, fixes, answers and demonstrations. Two other project oriented classes interest me - a 2 week sock session and an intro. to lace stitches. I'll work on these a little more and see if I can get the notice in the paper this week, with everything starting up in mid January.

Alas - I didn't get any knitting done on LD's sock yesterday so for sure I must put in a wee bit today. Next week will be horrendous with the jump back into work, major repair job on the library’s computer network, take-down of holiday decorations, and income tax stuff. I'm also acting as Greeter&Hostess at the WW meetings on Tuesday. Though South Beach and Atkins-for-life diets are the in-thing right now, and being pushed heavily at our local Wal*Mart, there’ll still be lots of new folk and returnees at WW.

So - the end of the holiday rushes in and I'll just have to float along on it's roiling tide.

posted by Bess | 7:31 AM