Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Knitting Progress

Dick took these photos in a bit of a hurry as we were on our way to the UPS store to overnight them.

I've finished three sweaters in the past two weeks. The first two were commissioned by a fellow member of FUSP and had to be complete and in her hands before Christmas. I thought I'd be able to finish the two on the cruise but they ended up taking much longer than I thought. I overnighted them to her on December 23 and the shipping tracker said they arrived on the 24th around 10 AM. It was pretty pricey but I had promised.

Today I finished Helena, a baby sweater I started back in October.  I was drawn to it because another member of my NJ knitting group was making one and it looked like a fun knit.  I got caught up in other projects and it languished for a while.  When I looked at it yesterday I realized it only needed the neckband, a button and button loop.  I worked on it as we drove down to Brooksville to catch a movie.  Note the rosebud button.  I think it's perfect for the sweater.  Today I got some photos and posted it on etsy.

I think my next project will be the Laughing Carrots sweater, also for a fellow UU member.  She bid on a sweater at the annual service auction.  It's coming along but still needs sleeves and a button band.  I don't think it will be finished in 2009 but early 2010 seems realistic.  I know the recipient has been waiting patiently.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Day Two in the Everglades

Here we are getting info on a snake on the road during our nature bike tour in the Everglades.  The volunteer ranger was incredibly knowledgeable so we learned a lot about the flora and fauna.  Development and agriculture are endangering the area.  It's such a complex issue with many stakeholders, but it's pretty clear that we need to protect these unique natural areas in our country or they will be gone forever.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

The Everglades

This national park is the 3rd largest in the lower 48 states, covering 2500 square miles. Since we're staying in Homestead the closest entry point is the Ernest Coe Visitor Center.

It was rather overcast and chilly this morning but we bundled up and headed over to the visitor center in the Everglades just outside of Homestead.  We saw an excellent film about the history and ecology of the Everglades.  The ranger recommended two wildlife walks, the Anhinga Trail and the Mahogany Hammock.  They were very different.  The Anhinga trail is a half mile boardwalk through a very wet area.  It was teeming with water birds.  We don't have a long lens for the camera so we had to settle for photos of birds that would let us creep up close to them. The anhinga above was very tame.  Obviously he's very aware that he lives in a wildlife refuge. Unfortunately we were not able to get a photo of an anhinga drying its wings.  Anhingas and Cormorants are unable to waterproof their wings by producing oil the way ducks do.  They sit for long periods of time with their wings spread.

Here are two cormorants that were sitting at the side of the trail.  They allowed Dick to get very close with the camera.

There were at least 50 Black Vultures in the parking lot and the wetlands area.  They soared overhead and settled on the roofs of cars and RV's.  There was a sign in the parking area stating the birds do damage to cars.  We weren't sure if they peck at the paint or just scratch it with their claws.  Our minivan is so beat up at this point I don't think we would notice any Vulture damage.

We got back in the car and headed to the Mahogany Hammock trail which is about 15 miles further into the park.  Small changes in elevation determine what kind of vegetation grows in a particular area.  Because this trail is higher, it's much dryer allowing hardwoods such as mahogany to grow there.  The trail was a half mile boardwalk through a forest with large trees and ferns.

Tomorrow we are registered for a two and a half hour mountain bike ride through the Everglades.  I'll report back and let you know how it went.  If the weather warms up the way it is promised to do, we'll book a nature cruise for Tuesday.

On the knitting front, I've finished the oatmeal gansey and am about half way through the oatmeal striped cardi.  I have to put them in the mail tomorrow so I have my work cut out for me tonight.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

I'm alive and well

Wow! It's been a long time.  I'm alive and well, just very busy.

I've been doing a lot of baby sweater knitting and have sold a number of them.  There was a Holiday Craft Fair at FUSP and along with selling three sweaters, I took orders for two more that must be finished by Christmas.  I worked feverishly this past week.  One is finished except for the buttons and the other is really coming along.  I don't have any photos to post at this time.  I'll get some up when I can photograph the finished projects, which has to be this coming Monday.  I am in Florida and the recipient is in NJ.  If I don't get to the post office by Monday I'll be toast.

We spent the last week cruising the Caribbean.  The trip was sponsored by The Nation magazine and there were many panels, lectures and ad hoc discussions.  Dinner table assignments were rotated each night and we got to meet a lot of interesting people from all over the US as well as a couple from Great Britain.  Howard Dean was along as well as Calvin Trillin and many of The Nation's regular writers.  Holland America always does a good job with the food and accommodations.  Since there is a major snow storm hitting the east coast from Washington, DC to Boston, we're very happy to be staying on in sunny Florida.  We're going to spend a few days exploring the Everglades and then meander up to Crystal River to take possession of the condo.  Right now the weather is sunny and 66 degrees. 

I'm going to sign off now because I have to get back to my knitting.