The Knitting Nurse

Rambles and Travels

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Farm Tour day one

It’s farm tour weekend here in Jefferson County, WA.  Sat., day one, was rainy and cool. We visited a couple places within stone’s throw of home.

Wilderbee Farm is a lovely little place that grows and sells lavender, blueberries, u-cut flowers, and pumpkins for the fall and is now building a building for making and selling mead.  They have many hives on the property as well as hens and sheep.  Their gift shop is a great stop for lavender-infused products and wood-craft gifts. Check out their website for sun infused photos.

These are a rare breed of sheep called British Soay. They originated in an archipelago of islands in the Outer Hebrides off the coast of Scotland. This remote place protected their genetics.  It’s thought they are relatives of man’s first domesticated sheep.  They are sturdy, hardy, agile and great mothers. Interestingly, they molt in the spring and their fleece is hand plucked, not shorn. They also lack a flocking instinct and will scatter if herding dogs attempt their duties.

Rams and Ewes have horns.



We noted an extra squawky hen carrying on.  One of the owners declared her a Bantam and suggested we avoid them if considering backyard hens.  He instead recommended Buff Orpington as they are docile and very quiet.

Chicks might be on the agenda in this household this spring…heads up!


The setting is lovely!


Do  stop in if you are in the area.


Next stop was Rosebud Ranch, literally through the woods from home.  The raise Alpacas.

Tucked into the trees is a pretty little farm. I can’t find a dedicated website but you can reach the owner via this information.


Here you see a few alpacas being guarded by their lone Llama second from the right. She is a diligent supervisor and protects the flock from intruders.



Alpacas are adorable, fuzzy things that make very warm fiber.



An exhibitor spun in a tent of her wares.  On site they had woven blankets and rugs, yarn  and a blacksmith with beautiful items for sale. Having a huge trip coming up, I refrained from spending.

Tomorrow we’ll visit our favorite farmers market vendors, Max and Chris from Onatrue Farm here in town.

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A fall walk – Anderson Lake State Park

Fall arrived and I am a happy girl. My favorite season, hands down,  our maritime climate allows a lingering fall.

In search of fall color I walked at a local state park, Anderson Lake, one I frequent.  It’s quiet. It’s rare to see anyone else while there. Sometimes I really need that.

The autumnal light’s hanging low theses days, casting a calm glow.



It’s a beautiful time of year.


Setting out after 5, I was conscientious of the fading light.  I approached the upper loop I usually favor for its huge maples.  No light filtered through the trees up there, it was d-a-r-k.  I closed my loop on the trail that encompasses the lake for it’s exposure to the sun.

I rather like examining the banks of the lake. Low-hanging trees and water plants provide habitat for many critters. Usually there are herons to watch. I saw none today.  I also looked for the parasitic  ground cones and Indian Pipe plants but cool nights must have sent them back into the ground from which they came.


Fall color can be spotted in the profusion of rosehips.

Like rubies they glow.


Big Leaf Maples are just starting to brown at the edges. Some of the smaller saplings are more decisive in their change to yellow.

The intersection of the Quimper and Cascade Trail marks some of my favorite specimens.  I stand and gawk upwards each time I pass.

With minimal light at this hour, you see just black tracings. Peek at this post for more revealing photos.

Such grand, primeval-looking trees.



The Indian Plum shrubs sport a peppering of yellow leaves.

The Memorial Trail has tunnels of them that glow. Note that due to the waning light I couldn’t capture the true haze of gold I saw.


As more fall gold appears I’ll do my best to share.



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Jefferson County Fair-Flowers, Stuff in Jars and Textiles

Plates and plates of fruits and veggies and vases of flowers filled a building.  Maybe someday  I’ll be an exhibitor? I think it’s a pretty neat concept, the judging of produce and such.

Prize apples:


Just one of several stands of  in jars. Note the lighting used? It made glowing gems of the jars.


And it wouldn’t be a fair be such without the largest zucchini contest? I forget the weights. They were huge!


Punchy dahlias.


The textiles building I saved for last. I was impresed by the variety of quilts. Some were traditional.


Some not. Here, detail of a very contemporary piece by a local gal I’ve had the pleasure of meeting.


Note the combination of hand and machine quilting.


Woven items:




Knit and crocheted items. I enjoyed the variety of items exhibited from simple potholders to fine, lace shawls.


I haven’t entered an item in a county fair since high school. Maybe it’s time I revisit that notion for next year?


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Jefferson County Fair-Draft Horses, Kid’s on Horses and Other Critters-Part 1 of 2

I grew up a 4H’er, Saddle Clubbin’, FFA (Future Farmers of America) kind of a gal.  We didn’t have a farm (man if my dad had let me) but I did have horses.  I was steeped and stewed in horses. The county and state fair were  summer highlights.

I missed the Jefferson County Fair, this year, due to a road trip.  Which cued my memory…

Last year year I took some pics and a video I’d yet to share.

The draft horse pull and horse show were the highlight for me.   The announcer did a fantastic job sharing info on the draft horses’ training, their weights, and the stories behind their handlers as well as histories of the breeds.  Sadly, working horses are a waning presence.  I applaud the breeders choices to preserve the breeds and the art of working them.

Interestingly enough, last night I watched a PBS special documentary by Martin Clunes (Of Doc Martin fame) involving him having his two young Clydesdales trained (and humorously himself). It was beautiful, as anything filmed in the lush, green English countryside is.

A trailer for the first episode:

The horses are so majestic.



And big.  Those are hinders are built to work.


I remember about 6 teams competing.  One team was young and green and were shy at the hook ups to the sleds. I remember the announcer explainng how the handlers have to carefully decide at what weight amount to stop at in order not to dishearten the horses if they fail to pull the sled.

This handler came out of retirement for this contest, I remember.


The games portion of the horse show involves barrel racing.

There were speed demons:


And wee ponies loping through:


A casual moment caught. I remember sitting just like this.


The animal barn is a must-see for me.



Chickens were not allowed at the fair that year due to some sort of avian flu concern. Theses chicks had special signage certifying them as healthy.






Sweet faced, squeaky clean calves:


And an impressive assortment of rabbits.


And cats. Seriously. There is a cat club with a whole building dedicated to them. The felines all had cages uniquely decorated.


Educational posters taught me quite a bit:


I had a ball at the fair. Up next…stuff in jars and handwork.




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Rialto Beach – Knitting, Napping, Beach-combing.

In early July my friend Olivia arrived for a music festival. We took a trip out to the west coast to camp and explore Rialto Beach. I hadn’t been in ages. Pretty crispy, I was ready for a trip. The agenda was simple-with R&R the main goal-involving beach combing, knitting and napping.

Both days were warm and grey but still requiring sleeves and a light windbreaker. I loved it. Sometimes I need that gray slate to rest my eyes on and relax.

It’s a beautiful beach. On the north side of the mouth of the Quillayute river, La Push is on the opposite side. One mile up the beach is the Hole in the Wall formation, a natural arch. Seastacks sit offshore.  The Olympic Peninsula has a wild and rugged coast.


Our first evening there involved naps and knitting.

Ever nap on the beach? It’s divine, as Olivia demonstrates. See her nose peeking out?


My Orbit shawl’s simplicity fit the bill. One skein of DK or worsted yields a long swath of garter-squish for the neck. I love it. It’s destined to be an old stand-by for gifts and special, single skeins. It could also be knit up in other gauges. You just knit ’till you run out of yarn.


Finished the next day:


We had a good giggle at our knit goods photo sessions. Olivia worked her shawl into pretty poses. You can’t see it. It’s in TML in a pale green the color of the water behind it.



The Hole in the Wall formation is about a mile walk up the beach. There are tide-pools galore.


More shallow pools are on the other side of the arch.


You can see how the coastline once stretched out, remnants remain.


There were plenty of critters to observe.

Vivid, lime-green anemones:


The ONLY sea star I saw:


A crab met its demise in an anemone:


Mussels with wee barnacles growing on them:

Goose barnacles. I have a hunch these are Pelagic Goose barnacles which began life living afloat in rafts in the open ocean, these now stranded on the beach.

Remnants of a squid (?or octopus?), closely watched from above by a group of noisy eagles.

There were remains of what I suspect was a huge fish of some sorts. The bones were quite soft and flexible. This one looked like a pelvis.

This a snout (do they call those beaks on fish/)

Vertebrae? For scale, this was long, maybe 3+ feet.

A fault line on the archway shows great detail of uplift, classic for this edge of the continent that is being thrust upward by the Pacific Plate.


The rocks are just beautiful out here – the colors calm yet defined.

I’ve missed my friend Olivia. What a treat to have some quality time with her, camping, walking, exploring.  This winter I plan to return to this area during off-peak time when the weather is  wintery.