Another Portland Day

We spent this morning running errands, one of which was to Wild Birds Unlimited, down in Scarborough, for food for the many feeders in the back yard. This monk was outside, handing out these booklets. I like that he’s wearing rollers on his feet, and can go wheeling around! We also got to the farmer’s market, the food coop and Trader Joe’s, and the library.

This afternoon I finished the socks I’ve been working on; there wasn’t enough daylight left for me to get a good photo, so I’ll post about those tomorrow.

Succulent Blooms

Here in Maine, things outdoors are very frozen, white, and not blooming! But indoors, the succulents are flowering; they were an unidentified group won at an auction by my friend here, so she has no idea what they are, but they are cheerful and pretty in the midst of winter.

Portland, Maine – and SNOW!

I got to Portland about mid-afternoon on Sunday, after a dry (but very gray) drive over from Vermont. But I beat the snow – it started snowing that night, and by evening we knew life would be closed on Monday. The Quaker Knitting Goddess with whom I am staying works for the State of Maine, and all state offices were closed. So we had a quiet and peaceful Monday, knitting, visiting, knitting, mending knitting, warm and cozy.

Today had some sun, and the beginning of melting; to go out and run errands meant cleaning about 10 inches (about 25 cm) off the car. Here I’ve cleared to the center line of the roof, on one side:

Across Three States to Portland, Maine

Sunday, January 22: After a delicious breakfast of sourdough waffles (Brother-in-law makes sourdough pancakes or waffles nearly every Sunday) I left Jericho, on the western side of Vermont, and headed over to Portland, on the eastern coast of Maine.

The roads were clear (glad I didn’t wait for today, and the dump of snow that has even the Maine State offices closed!), but the overcast skies did not make for great photo opportunities. Across Vermont the secondary highways often parallel streams and small rivers; the icy waters dodged around river rocks with mounds of snow on them, both there and in New Hampshire. With poor conditions for photography, and no easy place to pull off, I didn’t take photos. On into New Hampshire, much of the middle of which is

The White Mountains are living up to their name – there were a few snow showers, and the wind had blown a lot of the previous snow out of the trees, but there was plenty of white around! I drove past Loon Mountain Ski Area at about noon; day passes were sold out, and the parking lots were full – at least they had a sign out by the road, so you didn’t drive in and be disappointed! The road crews in the national forest have done a wonderful job clearing not only roads, but also many parking lots and viewpoints. And they were well used! There were many hikers and people snowshoeing, and lots of people like me, just stopping for photos of the views. Not that one could see the higher peaks – the low clouds meant that places like Mount Washington and the rest of the Presidentials were hidden.

Hancock overlook, looking toward Mt. Osceola behind those clouds

View looking north from Sugar Hill Scenic Vista

And on a car window in one parking lot:

Red

I had traveled up to northern Vermont to visit my sister – and attend her first orchestral concert! Having taken  up cello after retirement, I am in awe of someone willing to put those new skills out in public like that! She is now playing with the Me2/ orchestra, “Classical music for mental health.” This group is designed for acceptance of differences, especially supportive for people with mental health issues, and also allies. We all, of course, sometimes have “issues” – but to have a group where the support is there to acknowledge those issues, and the level of diversity that brings, is a breath of fresh air. Held in the auditorium of the Burlington City Hall, the program was “A Viennese New Year” with pieces by three of the Strauss family – energetic, upbeat, cheerful – and probably the concert I’ve enjoyed the most in recent memory. 

The above photo was taken as we walked to the car after the performance; I guess it makes the building stand out? I’m glad I don’t have those red lights glowing through my bedroom window!

My wonderful brother-in-law likes taking photos of the many birds that visit their feeders. This one was on the other side of the house, surrounded and sheltered by the snowy hydrangea bush.

Good News, (Not Very)Bad News

I finally had a window of opportunity to borrow a 4WD SUV large enough to transport the new washer, and was able to drive up my hill, and a neighbor was available to wrestle it into the house, and I got the old one loaded and off-loaded at the transfer station. The good news: IT WORKS! The first load of laundry was run through it on Friday. It has more capacity than my last washer, but doesn’t do quite as good a job of spinning out the water – although that could be operator inexperience.

What’s wrong with this picture?

If you’re not a knitter, you won’t see it – but should be the same number of stitches on the needles right and left, but there are 8 on one, and 11 on the other! Knit group was spent knitting back to where I started the back of the heel of that sock, and starting it again. Second time was fine. Guess that’s the problem with knitting in company while watching British cooking shows!

Nothing Much

The above pretty sailboat was the one owned by my parents when I was born, and until my twin brothers came along a year and two months later. The Indian was a Herreshoff designed sloop, and Dad did well racing her when the wind was up. Three in diapers on a boat was more than my mother was willing to contemplate, though! But sailing was something my parents both encouraged, giving us the opportunity to learn in small boats on the local lake, and chartering larger craft on the Chesapeake Bay and the coast of Maine. This photo of a photo is the only picture I’ve taken since New Years, and it’s been that long since I’ve posted anything! Nothing much happening, nothing catching my eye, no completed knitting…

Speaking of knitting, I sat down to organize my thoughts about what I want to complete in the coming months? year? period of time?? I knew there was a lot on the list. Here’s what you all have to look forward to, in order (maybe):

pair of socks for middle granddaughter, the current project (late Christmas request)

a bumblebee pillow/toy for youngest granddaughter (to go with the tiny one I finished at Christmas, late Christmas request)

a pair of baby booties or two for the infant due to my goddaughter, due in February

pair of socks for one of the Quaker Knitting Goddesses, already started and #1 up past the heel (request)

some washcloths/dishcloths for a friend who likes using them

another cousin sweater, for the fourth cousin; he’s requested a mosaic knit colorwork sweater

hat for a friend who saw the Christmas stockings with colorwork trees on them, and wants that design as a hat

I have the yarn set aside for three sweaters for me; I’d like to do at least one this year; I also have yarn put aside for the Andrea Mowry Nightshift shawl, also for me, with yarn that was gifted. I probably will fit one of those in between knitting for others.

And then there are the UFOs. Things unfinished that I’d like to get off the needles include a linen stitch baby blanket that doesn’t have a designated baby for it; a prayer shawl, lace, but the intended recipient died before I could finish it; a sweater from homespun spun by a friend who requested a brioche sweater, and then dropped off the face of the earth; a very plain, warm and utilitarian sweater I am reknitting for myself, reusing yarn from one I knit decades ago and wore out.

ALL of the above I should be able to complete from stash. Most is already contained in discrete bags, with patterns if patterns exist.

 

 

 

 

Celebrating the New Year

Visiting my sister and  spouse in northern Vermont, the neighbors traditionally have a bonfire New Years Eve. It was quite warm, and the neighbors showed up from all around (but here, you can’t see any of their houses from any other!), and we watched it burn most of the way down before going in for food and drink. There was a killer chocolate cake – dense and rich enough that I had trouble falling asleep! Or maybe that was from the long nap I took in the afternoon…

One of our favorite Christmas decorations is this elf, perched on one of the braces on the framing:

Today was a busy day. After sourdough waffles for breakfast, we went into town to worship with the Quakers in Burlington, then went to lunch at a Vietnamese restaurant for banh mi sandwiches (excellent, and great value for money), went to a concert of Beethoven’s 9th, in which my brother-in-law was singing (he had to be there early, so I got quite a few rows of knitting done), and where we were joined by lots of friends, and then to the house of one of the friends for dinner, with intelligent conversation flying in all directions, drove another friend home, and finally returned to the house.

Mural outside the Vietnamese restaurant: