Archive for February, 2013

Winter Tasks

cast caps, snow, hat 008As I type this, it’s snowing. We need it. The last two years have been very dry, 2012 landing in fourth place for the driest years since they started tracking in Colorado Springs in 1895. Unfortunately, not only are we not making up for past years, we’re already behind for this one. As of the end of January, we were only at 57% of the expected precipitation for the year to date. That’s pretty bad when the average over the last 30 years is only .32 inches of precipitation or 5.6 inches of snow in January.

Aside from much-needed moisture, the snow is a reminder that it’s still winter. So what does a self-sustaining person do in winter? Can’t do too much gardening, and I don’t have any animals to care for, so that leaves indoor pursuits. This year, I’ve taken up knitting again. I started while I was in Maine over Thanksgiving, and that reminded me how much I like it. And how warm and cozy homemade things can be. The weather is more consistently cold in Maine than it is in Colorado, due to the higher humidity and proximity to the ocean, so the first thing was a shawl for sitting up at night and reading. Then, I got started in on hats. Obligatory plug for my Etsy store: here.

The hat's not bad for a first try, eh?

The hat’s not bad for a first try, eh?

So why knitting? Partially, because I still don’t know how to crochet. However, it happens to be something that can make very useful items with very little equipment. I don’t need a sewing machine, or a loom, or even a spinning wheel. I just need yarn and a pair of knitting needles. I’m still pretty much a beginning knitter, but I can make hats, shawls, and scarves, and I just finished a sock-knitting class at The Yarn Outlet down on 8th Street. I am currently the proud owner of one hand-made wool sock. I hope to finish the other one soon.

The heel is the hard part.

The heel is the hard part.

Once upon a time, winter was a time to tell stories, and to gather ’round the fire with friends and family. It was also a time to do those things that you didn’t have time for during the growing season, like making and repairing clothes for the family. Are you taking any time to sit and reflect this winter? Possibly occupying your hands with a craft that you didn’t have time for over the summer?

National Western Stock Show: Part 3

I have a tendency at these sort of things to wander through animal housing, so visiting the stockyards was just part of my wandering.

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Apparently, I’m not the only one that does so. The path was divided into the part for animals and the part for people.

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It’s too bad they don’t build them like this any more. Just because it’s a stock yard doesn’t mean it can’t be attractive.

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The walkway made it easy to see into lots of pens at a time.

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Naturally, lots of cattle. (I’m afraid that I only recognize the really distinctive breeds, so I have no idea what these are.)

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I do recognize buffalo, though! (Technically, American Bison.)

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Aren’t the little ones cute?

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Yaks are a lot smaller than I expected.

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This one just struck me as beautiful. Possibly clipped for a class?

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Then there were longhorns.

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Check out the rack on . . . her? It’s the steers (castrated males) and the cows that have the massive horns, not the bulls.

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His name is Henry. Named after Henry VIII because he rules. So said the sign on his pen.

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I love draft horses. Passing trains don’t even excite them.