Thursday, December 24, 2015

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Early morning ritual

My early morning ritual has included building a fire in the wood-stove.  One good fire in the morning warms up the house for the day.

A warm fire, some Christmas lights, some Christmas tunes, and it's all nice and cozy inside. 

(Kathy, the green candle next to my woodland Santa is battery operated.  As another side note,  I have both real candles and battery operated candles (on a timer) that I thoroughly enjoy.)

I ordered something special for the top of the stove from Plow and Hearth.  It's a cast-iron pot for water, but the top is really cool.  If the water gets steaming, the steam is supposed to escape through the holes of the fire pit.  I haven't found that it works all that well...yet.  As long as moisture gets back into the air in someway, it's all good.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Got it back...

I got my baritone ukulele back!  So far, no popping strings.  I asked Sonny to take out the pick-up mic, and he thought that was a good idea too.  So, we're hoping that whatever was putting the strain on the strings is at least somewhat addressed. 

This uke was a Christmas present last year, and I have really enjoyed playing it; I should spend more time with it, truthfully.  But I could say that about all my instruments! 

One of my ukulele students, a 10 year old boy, is quickly learning to pick/play  melodies in his lesson book, and he's getting pretty good.  He picks the melody, and I accompany him with chords.  We're working on preparing 3 or 4 pieces we can perform at Open Mic in January.  He's really excited about this prospect. 

Monday, December 21, 2015

Open Mic Night

One of my students, Hailey, performed at Open Mic Night, Saturday evening, at Mammoth Music.  The store hosts an Open Mic Night once a month, usually the last Saturday.  She sang "Christmas in the Sand" and "Santa Baby," and yes, that's me accompanying her on the electric piano.  She did a beautiful job.  She's in 7th grade this year, but has always been mature for her age, works hard, practices, and it all pays off.  Working with her is one of the joys of life!!

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

The sights and scents of Christmas

What a treat to get out some of my favorite Christmas decorations and to begin enjoying them anew this season.  I've been enjoying a few lights, some burning candles, some Christmas CD's, and some fine decorations sitting about.  I think I could enjoy them year round!

I just watched the movie,  "The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel" (I think I got the title right); it was a sweet movie, and I enjoyed it.  My family says I'd like the movie "Brooklyn."  Have you seen it?  And what about the new "Star Wars" movie...anybody already have plans for going?

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Guitar strings

I have had the most unusual thing happening to the last two guitar strings on my baritone ukulele.  First one breaks, and then another.  Well, the guy that's been restringing them has tried everything: he's checked for sharp edges, smoothed out all surfaces, made an adjustment on the pickup-mic.  After about 6 strings were replaced, we thought we had the problem solved.  And yet another string broke, just a couple days ago.  I took it in, and the guy tried tying a different knot on the bottom to see if that might work.  So, at the end of the week, when I was giving a lesson on my home piano, the student and I heard a pop!  We checked to see that where the noise came from...and the other string on the uke broke.

I know my guy at the music store is going to be scratching his head again...after what will now be an eighth string replacement.  The solution may be to take out the pick-up mic, even though that doesn't' seem to be the problem.  However, we will have to try something, so I guess I'll suggest it. 

Monday, December 14, 2015

A few sunny days

I have enjoyed these past sunny days, as they have helped melt my snow-packed/icy driveway and have made getting out of the yard a lot easier.  It's been unusually warm, actually, for a few days, and it is about to come to an end with a new cold front and snow storm moving in today. 

Yesterday, I attended (with a couple other gals) the "Art in the Afternoon" event in Lander; I really think it's the finest art/craft show of the season.  After shopping and visiting with folks we ran into for a couple of hours, we had lunch and drove back to Riverton.  We arrived in plenty of time to also attend the "Festival of Carols" at the college.  Beautiful music.  If I could have chosen the music, however, I would have preferred hearing the choral performers sing at least a few familiar carols.  Truthfully, that's why I attended; I wanted to hear beautiful renditions (in a live performance) of familiar and well loved Christmas carols.  I hate to say it, but I was disappointed. 

Nevertheless, it was a fine day, and I even got home in time to see the last half of the Bronco game.  Hmmm.  I thought that another win for the Broncos was in the cards....not so much! I don't know what was going on with the receivers, but they couldn't catch passes! All those fumbles kept us scoreless for the last half of the game. I guess we'll see what happens next week!

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Cowl #2

I finished the first Blue Water Cowl, although I haven't blocked it as yet.  I got right to casting on a second Blue Water Cowl, but this time I used the smallest size 6 needles (4.0mm), and I've noticed a difference...but it's not huge.  At first I thought the difference was going to be significant, but now that I've knit a few inches, I'm predicting that the difference is going to be minimal. 

It seems like the progress is slow...even though I'm working on it steadily.  I've been working with size 2 needles on I think I might have thought that working on 6's would actually be more like working with size 10!  Oh well, slow and steady...

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Pine on the Prairie

I planted this tree a few years ago and have been babying it ever since.  It is finally taller than I am, and it seems to be doing fine, despite the fact that it would probably like to be in an area that gets a lot more moisture.

I love the way the snow and wind creates white sculptures on the branches.  It's a wintry image that makes me smile.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Tracks in the snow

Oh man, do I have tracks in the snow: bunny tracks!!  Lots of them!  The buns have been busy playing in it and burrowing down to find a little grass to nibble.  They are adorable to watch.

Monday, November 30, 2015

Good weather for knitting

With the big snow storm that has hit WY (and we even got mentioned on national news!) the deep snow and icy roads have certainly not kept people from getting out and about, but it has given many a good reason to stay inside, keep a fire going, and just enjoy the first round of winter weather.  I find it a good excuse to cuddle up with a good knitting project! 

When I was in Port Angeles, WA in October, I got to visit a great little knitting shop!  I barely got in the door when I saw a knitting pattern hanging on a display of beautiful yarn.  The name of the pattern is Blue Water Cowl, by Shui Kuen Kozinski.  On the pattern it says, "This cowl is inspired by clear Blue Water."  Well, having been surrounded by water for two weeks, I thought that knitting this cowl  would be a good reminder of the Lighthouse Keeper experience.  I got Kathleen's attention and showed her the pattern and yarn, and she loved it too.  Seriously, when I looked at the pattern, I couldn't imagine how in the world it was knit, but the effect was so cool, I just had to try it.  How tough could it be???  I picked up a skein of yarn for myself, and I told Kathleen (who crochets) that if she bought a skein, I would knit a cowl for her.  She said she would also buy the pattern, and we had a deal.  The pattern had to be purchased from Ravelry, and a link to printing it off was sent to my email, ready to be printed when I got home.  So easy.  This pattern is knit in the round; it starts with casting on 280 stitches with the knitted method. 

At this point I am 2/3 of the way through the pattern.  It is the craziest thing I've ever knit; I can't imagine how the author of this pattern figured out how to make this design!  Seriously! The picture on the pattern looks like it was knit either with a little bit thicker yarn, or with smaller needles than called for in the pattern.  The fabric just looks more dense.  Mine looks a bit more lacy (although you cannot see it in this photo).  At first, I was not sure the more lacy look was going to work, but I think it will be fine.

I feel like I'm getting to the home stretch, and I am much more comfortable with the pattern now.  This is a good thing, because I have another one to make after this one is completed and sent to Florida!!

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Happy Thanksgiving

Today is a cold, snowy day in Wyoming...our first significant snow storm of the season.  How that contrasts with warm hearts that are full of gratitude and thanksgiving!

The chuckers visited me this morning, all puffed up and beautiful, searching the ground for seeds.  The furry rabbits are out; I saw a couple joyfully chasing each other in the deep snow around the woodpile.  Another contemplative bunny is sitting out in the yard, just watching a light snow filter down around her like powdered sugar from a sifter. I have plenty of firewood at the ready, and am about to start a roaring fire.  I am so thankful for a warm home surrounded by beautiful images from nature.

Yesterday, people were not in a hurry on the icy roads, but were careful and polite and patient.  Doors were opened for me at the post office, and at the grocery store, a lady insisted I get in line ahead of her because I only had two items in hand.  My music students were sweet, and parents all wished me a Happy Thanksgiving.  I am so grateful for all these acts of love; they are all around us!

Today will be a perfect opportunity to stay all tucked inside, pick up my knitting, enjoy the Macy's Day Parade and some football on TV, light some fragrant candles, keep the wood fire going, and enjoy a little turkey dinner. 

 And of course, I'm so grateful for my blogging buddies... Here's wishing you all a very Happy Thanksgiving.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Holiday dish cloths

I have been enjoying knitting up some holiday dish cloths for a beginning knitting class (3 sessions).  The gals are all knitting like crazy and are finding that they like the circular needles.  It is so fun to see someone learn to knit, enjoy the activity, finish their small projects, and look forward to the next step or skill.  Yes, the new knitters are purling now and not making many mistakes, switching from knitting to purling. 

By the third session, they should be confident enough to try one of these patterns, a reindeer or a bell.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

I have not abandoned my knitting...

All the while on the adventure as Lighthouse Keepers, I worked on a pair socks.  I nearly finished the first sock during vacation, but not quite. These are the first pair of men's socks I have knit, and of course, there's extra length in the leg and the foot...knitting on, and on, and on! Since I've been home, working diligently, I have finally finished up the pair...and they are ready for Christmas wrapping!  Whew!

Monday, November 23, 2015

Beautiful cards

Another craft we did one evening at the lighthouse was to make these cards.  I think they are so elegant and beautiful.  Pat showed us how to make them; she brought so many beautiful papers with her from her years of about a stash!

Everybody made at least two cards, some made more.  I can see how this could become another addictive craft!

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Drives to see some highlights

After we got back to Port Angeles, Pat was so good to take me (the only one who hadn't been there before) and the other gals on a tour of some of the interesting spots nearby.

I got to see the John Wayne Marina.  In the parking lot area, Kathleen led us to a Geocache, which was really fun to discover!

We also drove west of Port Angeles,  along the coast.

 And stopped at Joyce - the General Store there was most interesting.

We saw the where the dam was taken out so that the Elwha River was restored to its original flow, and the salmon are returning.
Elwha River

We did some shopping in Sequim and in Port Angeles.  Found some mighty fine yarn and a pattern which I'm anxious to get cast on the needles!

Pat took us to see Lake Crescent, which is an awesome place.  The temperate rain forest there is quite an experience to see.  It was nice to have lunch at the Lodge and take a short walk through the rain forest.
Lake Crescent

The fall colors were still beautiful here.

We got to take a ride up to Hurricane Ridge.  It was a cloudy day, but the road took us above the clouds, and we could enjoy the peaks and the cloud-filled valleys.  It's an outstanding view.  We were at the Visitor Center at the end of the afternoon, so the sun was bringing an end to our tour.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Leaving the Spit

Our stay at the New Dungeness Lighthouse came to a close early on Saturday morning, 6:00 am, October 24th.  We spent most of Friday finishing up our outside duties (for me, mowing grass) and cleaning the Keeper's Quarters for the next crew who would be brought out and dropped off as we loaded up to leave.  The reason for such an early morning pick-up was because that was the best of low tide for the trucks to drive out to the end of the spit.

We completely cleaned the house, washed all the linens and towels, and had everything put back together for the new Keepers.  Yes, that meant not sleeping in the beds that night, nor using any towels.  That was a long, uncomfortable night...just sayin'.

We got a phone call about 5:20 am saying the pickups were on their way, so we had about 30 minutes to close up our suitcases, finish packing the food from the refrigerator into our coolers, round up all our garbage from the week, and haul everything out to the road.  The new Keepers (two couples) were quick to unload all their stuff - and they told us this was about their 8th time to spend a week here.

We all wished we could have either arrived or left the lighthouse in daylight, but that didn't happen. Nevertheless, once we were loaded, it was an interesting ride back.  We saw that there was a sea lion that had washed up on shore, and the drivers of the pick-ups were happy to stop, shine their headlights on the sea lion and let us out to take a look at him.

One question that was asked is what happens when there's a week with no one at the Keeper's Quarters.  Amazingly enough, this is such a popular activity, nearly every week in 2016 (except for a few in the winter months) is already booked.  And if there is a week that doesn't get booked, usually two couples associated with the Lighthouse Association volunteer to take that week.  They will start taking bookings for 2017 in December.

It certainly can be a great get-a-way...filled with time to unwind, watch nature, escape stressful routines associated with home and work, and to live in the moment.

Monday, November 16, 2015


We watched a glorious sunset from the top of the lighthouse one evening.  This view is looking back toward the Olympic Peninsula, near Port Angeles.  It's a good view from the end of the spit that extends out 5 miles.