A View from Sierra County

Small town life and politics, lots of knitting, and travels with and without my five burros

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Location: In the Sierra Nevadas, United States

I blog about rural living and social issues, and the creativity that comes from knitting, as well as post random pictures of the Sierras and my burros. "In order to be an artist, one must be deeply rooted in the society" - Simone de Beauvoir


Thursday, December 22, 2005

Typhoons and Indoor Trees

More Than Just a Little Rain

As you may well imagine from my name, I am quite fond of birds. We put out feeders, have birdbaths scattered about, and even have a tree for the birds some years. This will not be one of those, as we have had some of the wettest weather in a long spate of winters (at least all at one time!). The rain has been torrential for more than two days now, with the snow level very high, around 8,000 feet. This means that what snow was up there is washing away rapidly, and of course the river out my back door at work rose steadily all day.

View from office door

When heading to work in the morning, I noticed that the North Yuba was lapping at the low-lying campsites in Lower Carlton Campgrounds; when returning around 5 PM this evening, most all of the sites were full of fast-moving river.

When the river gets REALLY high like this, there is a different smell to the air. It changes from the moist, herbish smell of rainstorms to a deep, wet, earthy smell, of uprooted trees and washed out banks. Rivulets of water drop off the hillsides in all kinds of places, and seasonal, flash-flood type streams appear and thread their whitewater way down the steep mountains to reach the river and continue to swell its stretched out banks. It never ceases to render me awestruck, with the roiling, brown, fast-moving water inspiring a good bit of self-protective fear in me as well.

This is what highwater looked like along my commute this afternoon.

The rain has tapered off somewhat, and one of the rivers to the northeast of us, the Susan River running through Susanville, has already crested just a half foot below flood stage... I am hoping that what I saw this evening was the cresting for the North Yuba, with water levels diminishing overnight... I have seen the area flooded, back in 1997, and don't want to ever see such high water and the resulting damage again. There is still an avalanche warning in effect in the high country just to the east, as the rain destabilizes the snow in place; I was really hoping for snow and the chance to go snowboarding instead of wet and muck.

An Alternative Tree for the Birds

Since the weather has not been conducive to setting up an outdoor tree for the birds, I decided to fish out my reproduction feather tree and create an indoor tribute on Solstice Night. I have collected many bird ornaments over the years, more than could fit on this tiny tree, which is designed to mimic the indoor trees of the Victorian era, which were actually made of real feathers bound onto sticks. I have also collected some birdhouses and tiny knitted sweaters and mittens to embellish my annual "Woodland Tree", as well as a few ornaments for outdoor sports, such as a tiny fishing creel, skis, and an outdoor cooking tripod complete with miniature enamel cups and coffee pot. Not all the ornaments would fit, but the display is very festive, and adorns the sitting table in my studio.

Would You Like Some Pi With That?

I am feeling much better this evening, and now that my cold is abating and Christmas appears to be mostly under control (with the exception of the upcoming two-day cooking marathon), I decided to give some thought to whether I would participate in the Anniversary Pi knitalong on the EZasPi list. Now, I really don't need any new projects, but have been eyeing lace designs longingly for the past three months, and this could well be the impetus to get started. I have already decided to save my spring-colors handpainted alpaca for the Ruffled Shawl pattern (actually a shawlette) that Margene and Susan directed me to... so it doesn't count any longer, as I won't think about making it till February or March, when I get the desire to wear pastels once again.

I only have little projects waiting in the queue, and couldn't locate the yarn I had been considering for the blouse in Knitscene I favor... that search will probably have to wait a bit, too. Online ordering has made impulse project-starting so much easier, but didn't help me locate the substitute I wanted, nor did it make my Christmas gift from my DH arrive any sooner... the Bohus kit we both liked, Wild Apple from Kimmet Croft, is on backorder, so I have no idea when I will be able to start it. I also had the excuse of needing to order yarn for a felted purse order I received last week, so off to Knitpicks I happily keyed my way this evening.

I have been coveting this lovely Alpaca Cloud for a long time, and even though I haven't chosen my design as yet, decided to order enough yardage in Iris to make the Feather and Fan shawl in A Gathering of Lace, if I decide that I would prefer that design to the Shetland Tea Shawl from the same sumptuous book.

Now, I have made a Pi Shawl in the past, simply using the "recipe" in Knitters Almanac, and patterns of my own choosing.

This version was made from sport weight alpaca from Indiecita, at least a decade ago, with trim in light blue zephyr, mainly because I ran out of the brown yarn. From the center medallion, I primarily used the Old Shale stitch, which is remarkably similar to Feather and Fan, which makes me wonder why I wouldn't be choosing something completely different!

However, because of the heavier weight, this shawl is more an everyday one, not the fancy, lighter-than-air shawl I aspire to make, so I will be pondering designs, and re-reading EZ's chapters on Pi in the next week or so, while awaiting my laceweight yarn... I think I vaguely remember how to do the circular cast-on, but am sure grateful it's written down in several of my books.

I want to wish everyone a Merry Christmas, as I probably won't be posting again till then... in our blended family, Christmas actually starts morrow night, as our adult children gather to spend time with us. I will be cooking chicken mole and other Mexican delights (after all, we are native Californios around here), then we will have a family Christmas Eve dinner. Our children have departed on Christmas morning to see other parts of their respective large, extended families the entire time we have been married (going on twelve years now), and so we will have a quiet time of catching our breath on Christmas Day, and if the weather permits, might even be able to take a stroll with a few burros.

Many blessings to all.


Blogger Carole said...

Merry Christmas, Birdsong!

5:07 AM  
Blogger margene said...

We have rain but nothing like that! We won't have a white Christmas either so a trip up to the snow will be in order. Your shawl is beautiful and lace is just the thing to knit after the hectic holidays. Peace and joy to you and a very Merry Christmas to you all, Birdsong.

6:44 AM  

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