Saturday, August 31, 2013

Saving Seeds

I usually miss picking a few pea pods when they're fresh.  They get lost in the glorious green tangle, and I don't find them until the seeds are getting a bit tough.  So I let them go.  They mature and dry out.  When I pull up the plants, I pick the crisp pods and save the seeds for next year. 
It looks like I missed more than a few pods this summer.  I'll have plenty to plant next spring.  Since I bought the previous seeds from Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds, I know the new ones will grow true.
 In fact, I think I'll plant a few right now, since they're already sprouting.  I've never tried a fall crop before.  Here's to a new garden adventure!

Tuesday, August 13, 2013


I was stitching this sashiko placemat at the church one evening this spring, waiting for the boys to finish their activities.  An older lady stopped by to admire my work, and said, "You must be so patient."

I'd heard that one before.

The first time I remember receiving that compliment was during high school.  I was at a track meet, whiling away the hours between my events with this cross stitch project: 

I usually ran in the very first and last races of the meet, so I had plenty of time.  One of my teammates stopped by to see what I was doing, asked a couple of questions, and ended with, "You must be so patient."

I don't think either of us knew that was a standard, ritualistic compliment for those engaging in fancywork.   She must have meant it.  I knew she meant well.  But it didn't seem quite right to me.

I've done plenty of public stitching over the years, and heard the same thing over and over, and said something like "Thank you" in return.  But I never figured out why it bothered me until that evening at the church this spring.

I don't stitch because I'm patient.  I stitch because I'm impatient.

I hate sitting and waiting with nothing to do.  D2's tee ball games were tedious when my hands were empty.  But when I took my sashiko along, the games were pleasant.  I accomplished most of that particular project at tee ball games, actually.

When soccer practice schedules keep me waiting, I need a book or a crochet project to keep me busy.  The same principle applies to church activities, traveling, even visits with relatives. (The stitching, of course, not the reading, so I can be available to converse.) 

Even at home, I need a distraction sometimes.  For example, today I supervised Rollo and D2 in cleaning their room.  This is an intensive sort of supervision to take on, as they will do absolutely nothing without specific instructions, and not much more without frequent repetition.  To keep my hands from strangling my beloved sons during the process, I wound six skeins of yarn into balls.  That's 47,520 inches of yarn.  Exactly 3/4 of a mile, as Dandelionslayer pointed out.  And yes, the room behind the balls is exceedingly orderly, when compared to its previous state.

There's something soothing about thread, and being able to accomplish something, little by little, when people or circumstances are beyond my complete control.   Or just when we're watching a video.  So, yes, I stitch because I am not patient, and it makes me happy.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Musical Monday

So, you've left the twelve-year-old in charge for a couple of hours.  When you come home, the ten-year-old rushes up and says, "We found something awesome on YouTube!"

What do you feel?  Fear?  Trepidation?  An impulse to throw away the wireless router and ban the twelve-year-old from babysitting?

Not me.  Not for long, anyway.  Rollo's not one to keep you in suspense.  And I know my boys.  This is what he'd found:

The Piano Guys' version of "Nearer, My God, to Thee."


Thursday, August 8, 2013

Visiting the Mormon Battalion

After winding our way down from Big Bear Lake and fighting our way through Los Angeles-area traffic, we finally arrived in San Diego.  We went to the Old Town and found the Mormon Battalion Historic Site.  At least three of my direct ancestors, and some other members of the family tree, marched from Iowa to California as part of the Army of the West in 1846. 

The engaging multimedia presentation tells about the recruitment, trials on the journey, and the ways the Battalion members contributed to the development of southern California and Utah.  It was very interesting.
Among those contributions, some Battalion members helped build a certain mill where gold was discovered.  So there's a gold panning station outside where visitors can try their hand.
In a sluice stocked with pyrite and other pretty pebbles, there's something for everyone to discover.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Big Bear Lake

After the festivities in Utah, we headed for southern California.  On the way, we stopped at Big Bear Lake.
We spent the night in this cool cabin.
In the morning we took a steep little hike,
where we met some lizards,
 and a log that looked like a rhino.
It was a beautiful place,
and it would have been fun to stay longer,
but we had other plans...