The Knitting Nurse

Rambles and Travels


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A Midlife Sort of Ketchup – Family, Sewing and Big News

40’s been knocking on my door.  In it comes next week.  A whirlwind of a summer I’ve had.  Blogging’s taken a back seat to it all.

A typical, randomly listed summary of recent events:

  • Almost 40.  I’m not upset about it.  This year’s ushered in life changing events, all welcomed.  I’ve moved to the place I’ve been looking for.  I’ve left hospital nursing and found a niche in Home Health Nursing.  Wouldn’t go back unless absolutely financially necessary.  It would break my heart to.  My faith in my fitting into the nursing profession is renewed.  It was crumbling away.  I’ve met a beau who’s been a long time coming.  And the biggest event…ready for it?
  • I’m buying my first home end of September.  Yup.  Exciting!  Thrilling!  Nerves…impatience…and all sorts of other emotions wrapped around this.
  • My nephew Lucca starts kindergarten next week.

This little guy is not so little anymore:

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  • I’ve had houseguests this summer.  Mom and dad came for a bit before their trip up to AK.  Here we have a walk at Fort Flagler on Marrowstone Island.

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  • My beau Peter’s son Zach came up to stay for a week.  Was good to get to know him.  He’s a good kid.  Haven’t had much interaction with 16 year olds.  Went well.

Here we have a walk on Hurricane Ridge with my dad:

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  • I’ve been sewing a lot, working on two Christmas quilts and some nest feathering projects before everything gets packed up, moved, and sewing takes  a back burner to it all.

All nieces and nephews get a quilt from me. That’s my goal.

Sammy has his. He’s not this wee anymore, either:

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Lucca likes learning about the solar system.  I spotted this panel and border print at a shop (pretty sure it was Fabrics Plus in Anacortes) on  Whidbey Island and thought he’d like it.  They have everything in that shop for quilting, garment making and home dec sewing.  I was astounded at what’s packed into that space.  Fabric line is Out of This World by Northcott Fabrics.  Top’s done.  Needs quilting:

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Lily (now a year and a couple months and talking up a storm) has a quilt coming to her this Christmas.  It’s pieced and ready to be quilted.  This four-patch quilt pattern is called Senior Prom, printed by Villa Rosa Designs.  I just ordered four pattern cards from this company. Their designs are more contemporary and easy peasy.

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I’ve also cut out a lap throw for myself in colors I’d like to decorate with at the new place (navy-blues-oranges-golds).  I’m nesting folks. I have it bad!

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  • Last summer’s interest in food preservation continues with making jam from a case of peaches, apricots, making pickles and several jars of Dilly Beans from my first picking of beans from the garden.

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  • The garden. Another post I’ll share on that.

 

  • Tennis elbow much better.  Knitting some.  Not as much as hoped for in my 2014 New Years goals but hey…still knitting.  More on that later.

 

That’s the biggies summed up.  Some folks have been following this blog a long time. I started it while travel nursing, in NM, in 2008.  6 years has brought much change to my life.  Now and then I randomly peruse a section from back yonder.  It’s a journal of sorts.

Thanks for checking in.

 

 


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Scott Jaster and Williwaw – An Artist’s Bike Shop

My old red Schwinn, I call her Ruby, started riding like one of those clown bikes you see with  wheels of unequal sizes.  Not pleasant.

A friend suggested I visit Scott Jaster’s bike repair shop.  It’s more than a bike repair shop, folks.  Scott creates sculptures using wood and old bikes/bike parts.

Peruse photos of his sculptures, hand-crafted furniture and other wood pieces and read more about Scott at his website, Williwaw.  Looks like he does commissioned work as well.

Ruby’s back.  Much more fun to ride, she is freshly tuned-up and sports new tires.  I over-inflated the rear tire the other day.  Nearly jumped out of my skin when it exploded.  Bang!  Prompted the neighbor to step out and check on me.  I survived changing the rear tire out. Lesson learned.

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Stepping into Scott’s shop, I was drawn to the hand-crafted pieces of furniture. I remember some are from oak from the Midwest.  He’s from Illinois. A fellow Midwesterner,  this oak reminds me of oak antiques and their distinctive warm, red color.

These certainly aren’t antique bureaus and wardrobes!

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I sat in all the chairs.  A tactile person, I couldn’t stop touching them – the smoothness, the way the pieces are fluidly shaped, and the way the chairs fit the way the body is shaped.  Fascinating.  Woodworking is something I’ve  associated with symmetry and pre-determined dimension.

That thought’s been challenged.

Sculptures.  Check ‘em out.

Enter the driveway here:

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A group ride meets you outside the front door:

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The group leader is having bike fit issues. This one I find humorous:

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Grand in scale:

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Off to the side yard this caught my eye:

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I nearly didn’t post this photo because the beauty of the suspended forms, hinged, moving, and organic is just not fully realized in this photo.  I could stare at this installment for ages – kind of like the kelp bed tank and jellyfish tanks at the Monterey Aquarium.  Mesmerizing.

Consider a stop in at Scott’s  place if you’re in or visiting Port Townsend.  Just off the Larry Scott trail, I’d like to pop in to see his pieces some more.  That will make a fun errand out of getting a kick stand for my other bike.

 


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Grand Ridge Hike – Olympic National Park

Hey folks.  I’ve been saving up plenty of pics and info to share.   I’ll try to catch up.

Today I enjoyed a hike in Olympic National Park with a couple of folks from a local hiking group.  The day started out blue-bird blue.  Some fluffy clouds came in later.  Temp was around 75 but a cool breeze kept it comfy.

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The Grand Ridge Trail leaves from the end of Obstruction Point Rd., an 8 mile dirt road that carries one away from the bustling Hurricane Ridge Rd.  I’ve shown you this place before.  Starting at 6,000′ it’s one of the highest maintained trails in the park.  It was pretty mellow, only 600′ elevation gain in 2.5 miles.  One can walk it through to the Deer Park entrance to the park. We did an out and back of 5 miles.

The trail skirts along Elk Mountain (to the left, out of the picture) Badger Valley is below:

 

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I noticed a pattern of rocky rivulets down the hillsides.  Where the terrain flattens, the rocks are distributed evenly.

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Three weeks ago I hiked on Hurricane Ridge and the flowers were in full splendor. I have oodles of photos to share of that hike.  Two weeks ago the flowers on the same trail were nearing completion.  Fortunately, some still graced our walk today.

I believe this is some sort of Saxifrage.  The bees were all over it.

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Thyme Buckwheat. The color varied from pale peach to raspberry.

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A Gentian of some sort:

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Mountain Owl’s Clover.  I have a thing for this one.

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I think this is a sort of Monkeyflower. It’s sticky and shaped as such.  The stripes on the flower caught my eye.

 

 

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This striking, black lichen thickly blanketed the rocks of a whole hillside.

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Shale is abundant up there.  I find it fascinating how it flakes apart in sheets.  Here, it looks like pages of a discarded and charred book:

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Well know Paintbrush, this specimen was fiery red.  Not in focus, just had to share the color.

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At times it feels like you’re walking along a knife-edge into nowhere.

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See the snowy peak in the background? That’s Mt. Olympus. There are glaciers up there.

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Pictures just don’t show the splendor.

Soon snow will fall up here.  Today was a reminder that I’d like to make more trips up before winter.


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Anderson Lake – A Local Hike – More Flora

Peter and I checked out a local state park the other day, Anderson Lake.  It is a state park.  The park’s web page does not tell you  the lake is completely closed to fishing, swimming and non-motorized boat use due to a blue-green algae containing toxic cyanobacteria.   Called Anatoxin-a and a neuro-toxin, it’s linked to the deaths of humans and pets.  The level in Anderson lake was almost 1,000 times higher than recreational criteria allows.

The day was grey and a bit muggy.  The lake is 70 acres large and is surrounded by 410 wooded and wetland acres.  It’s a pretty spot. Five acres of trails lace through the park.  We walked around four+ I figure.

 

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This post is about the flora. New to the PNW, I’m hungry for knowledge of my surroundings.  Snapping pics while out and about, I frequently look up plants and such once home.  Mind you, my info is gleaned from several reference books I have at home.  It’s not guaranteed correct. Please don’t go eating large quantities of something or using it for an unverified purpose without doing your homework.  Just have to throw that out there.

My favorite book is called Plants of the Pacific Northwest Coast by Pojar and Mackkinnon.  I find it divided into sections that are easy to navigate. Much info about plants’ cultural significance and practical uses are included.  This interests me.

Pond Lilies:  Most all parts of the plants were used for medicinal purposes by native Americans and First Peoples (of Canada):

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The trails varied from well worn paths through thinned forest (the area’s been logged) to tunnels through thick foliage to open and grassy meadows.

 

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Spotted mountain bike obstacles:

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On one end of the lake we passed through thickets of blackberries.  Oh they are tasty! BTW, differentiate blackberries from raspberries this way:  If you pull off a berry and there is a divot into the center of the berry it’s a raspberry. If the berry end is flat, it is a blackberry.

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I believe this is Nettle (didn’t touch it to find out) tucked into Horsetail.

 

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Robert Geranium” – Sorry…a bit fuzzy.

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Here’s a plant I’ve been noting but took awhile to look up.  Oceanspray  is also called Creambush.  They favor dry, open sites such as logged land, thickets, ravine edges and coastal bluffs.  Also know as Ironwood, the wood was once used for harpoon shafts, fishing hooks, and bows and arrows by numerous coastal groups.  The wood was heated to make it even stronger.  Sometimes the wood served as nails.  Come winter, the flowers will turn brown and remain on the plants through the season.

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Hardhack (AKA Steeplebush) surprised me. I’ve never seen anything like it. Then again, being new to the PNW means I’ve many of these encounters of wonder.  These plants like damp spots next to lakes, streams, swamps and wet meadows.  It’s in the Spirea family.

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Salmonberries:  Color varies from yellow to red.  I’ve noted their flavor to be mild.  Native peoples ate the berries as well as young stem sprouts (peeled and eaten raw or steamed). Quite watery, (almost mushy, I think) the berries weren’t dried but often mixed with other foods such as salmon spawn and grease.  I think the collar-like frill around the berry looks like  a crown. You can really see that on the red berry pic below.

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Red Elderberry – Here’s another common sight I finally looked up. The berries are brilliant against the green foliage.  These like steam banks, moist forest clearings and swampy thickets. I note them on road sides a bunch.  An important food source for coastal Natives, the berries must be cooked before consumption or nausea can occur.  The leaves and woody parts of the plant contain cyanide and are toxic.

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Nootka Rose:  Pete showed me how to turn the hips into tea once they are ready to be harvested. I’d like to try it.  These (thankfully) grow everywhere up here, especially in disturbed areas.  I just love the pretty pink flowers (these are darker pink than I’ve seen) in masses and grab a nose-full of scent when I can.

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Indian Pipe: I stopped dead in my tracks when I spotted this one.  This plant is fascinating.  It prefers shady, humus-rich soil in mature forests.  Having no chlorophyll means this plant  cannot make its own food.  Instead, the roots of this plant connect to tree roots via fungi.  Nutrients are taken from the tree.    Other names include Ice Plant, Ghost Flower and Corpse Plant.  Fascinating.  The plant blackens as it ages.

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I don’t know mushrooms.  Yet.

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Red Huckleberries:  It’s important to note there are other varietiwa of huckleberries.  I’ve come across Evergreen huckleberries on Vancouver Island.  I find the delicate, thin branches, pale green leaves and dainty red berries delightful.  Looking up through the bunch with sun filtering through is even more sweet.  Berries are edible though reportedly sour.  I haven’t tried any.  They like forests, especially ones rich with decaying wood.

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Have you noted a trend?  “They like forests” I seem to tap out frequently.  How I’m loving learning about this ecosystem new to me.

 

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