Friday, March 26, 2010

Biking the Withlacoochee

It's been a colder than usual winter here in sunny Florida and there hasn't been much incentive to engage in outdoor activities.  It's finally getting warmer although it's still more rainy than usual.
Becky, one of my neighbors here in The Islands suggested a group ride on the Withlacoochee Rail Trail.  The forecast was good.  Here we are first thing in the morning having just loaded the bikes on the back of the van.  Becky is on the left and her friend Jill is on the right.  We drove over to Inverness, unloaded the bikes and set off to the north on the trail.  We biked about five miles, arriving at Sabina's, a restaurant right on the trail in Hernando.  We decided it was far enough for the first outing of the year.  Sabina's serves a nice breakfast which we enjoyed.  We then hopped back on our bikes and cycled south.

A passerby snapped this photo of us.  All told, it was a ten mile ride.  The Withlacoochee is a wonderful trail, relatively flat, paved and a joy to ride.  We'll be back, perhaps to ride in the other direction as soon as we have a chance.

Monday, March 22, 2010

More Satisfied Customers

Quite some time ago I made Perry and Linny washcloths that had jack-o-lanterns on them.  Just looked them up on rav and see they were made for Halloween 2008.

When I was visiting Portland in February I noticed that they still used them at bath time.  I decided they needed some new ones. Perry and Linny are very interested in letters. They know what letters their names start with as well as that of their parents and grandparents. I searched on ravelry and found that Rhonda White, from Knitting Knonsense has designed free washcloth patterns with for every letter of the alphabet.  I did some stash diving and set about making a "P" and an "L" cloth from Lily Sugar 'n Cream Cotton.

This one is for Perry

This one is for Linny

And here's the photo that came today with the twins modeling their new washcloths.  Have you ever seen two cuter bathers?

Friday, March 19, 2010

Paddling to Pecks

One of the really fun adventures we have here at The Islands is a group paddle to Pecks, a seafood restaurant that is a bit south of Crystal River.  Pecks is in Ozello, about 17 miles by car from our place.  By kayak, it's about  4.5 miles.  Finally the weather is warm enough to paddle (it's been a long winter here in sunny Florida).  So, this morning eight of us set off in kayaks.  Five others planned to travel by car and meet us there.  It was a bit breezy which gave us some headwind, but it wasn't a difficult paddle.

I always find the hardest part of the trip to be getting into the kayak.  Using a kayak when it's on a beach is really easy.  Getting into a kayak from a dock is another story.  It always makes me anxious.  You have to go down the ladder, stand in the tippy kayak and then plop your tush into the seat.  I hate it.  The photo above shows me smiling in relief because I made it into the kayak without tipping it over and falling into the canal.  Once I'm in, paddling is no big deal.  This kayak belongs to another Islands resident who wanted to paddle one way rather than round trip.  That worked for me so I took her boat to Pecks and she paddled it back.

Here we are starting to form up in the canal that leads out to Dixie Bay.  I'm in the red kayak with my back to the camera.

Soon there were even more of us ready to start out.

This is the group arriving at Pecks.  I'm that tiny dot in the upper center of the photo.  It's a good thing I only committed to kayaking one way.  I'm not sure I would have managed the return trip.  Although, I will point out that we paddled into a headwind almost the whole way.  If the wind did not change, the trip back would be easy sailing with the wind behind the group.

Here I am relieved to beach the kayak and get into the restaurant.  Remember I said it's much easier to access a kayak when it's beached?  Well, I misspoke.  I had a lot of trouble standing up.  One of the guys offered to give me a hand but I wanted to do it myself.  Well, I lost my balance and luckily fell back into the kayak rather than into the water.  The second try I was successful.

And here I am ready to go into the restaurant.  Did I mention that Pecks specialty is grouper in an almond crust?  It's fabulous.  And, you don't need to worry about the calories when you've paddled there.  Once we ate and saw everyone back off, Dick and I drove back to The Islands.  This is what Florida is supposed to be.  We've waited for it a long time this year.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Progress--Two Baby Sweaters

Sam, a Cabin Fever pattern, knit in Sirdar Tiny Tots

A version of the Five Hour Baby Sweater called Pretty Baby Sweater knitted in Lion Brand Vanna's Choice.  It's not a pleasant yarn to work with but I bet it will wash up well and wear like iron.

I have three other baby sweaters on the needles (ADD anyone?).  I'll post photos when they are finished.

Nothing Like a Satisfied Customer

I don't know of anything that gives a knitter more satisfaction than a happy recipient of a lovingly made handknit.  This picture touched my heart...