Yellow Tail

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This is Yellow Tail, by Taiga Hilliard. She’s Cashmere Junkie on Ravelry. Honestly, what I most like about Yellow Tail is the Caterpillargreen shawl striping yarn. This is fingering weight. Twenty percent is what’s described as “cashmere goat,” with seventy percent merino and ten percent nylon. I had some trouble with dye spill-over in the yellow. That was very disappointing. But Catherine totally made it right with replacement yarn. It’s possible none but the knitter’s eye will notice.

I find some projects fight with me. This was one. It’s a very easy pattern. But it’s written idiosyncratically. I did not rate the pattern highly and Hilliard contacted me and sincerely asked for feedback on the problems I had with it. I offered that feedback and she received it with genuineness and open spirit, which I much appreciated.

You can see that the pattern is easy peasy. If you like the design, don’t be put off by my critique of the way the directions are presented. You’ll be able to figure it out.

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Heck, you can practically just look at this thing and figure it out. It is a situation where the yarn makes the pattern. And, by the way, I ran out of yarn with about 40 rows left. It really doesn’t matter. You can almost end this thing anywhere and still have a finished object.

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Here’s a look at the yarn still skeined.

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This is going to be a lightweight, scarfy shawl. No photos of me wearing it though. It’s been around ninety degrees for days and days and it’s hard to even believe at this point that it will ever be cold again.

More Totalee Slouchee

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If I find a pattern I like, especially a hat pattern, I’ll often make more than one. That’s odd because I suffer from Second Sock Syndrome (and Second Mitten Syndrome) and I often have to push hard to get the second of something done. This is Totalee Slouchee by Jo-Anne Klim of KBJ Designs.

The pattern is incredibly simple. It uses an interesting slipped rib brim that progresses very quickly. And the rest is just totally wonderful mindless knitting. There are times when that’s what a knitter wants. Combined with Schachenmayr’s great self-striping DK weight, Merino Extra-Fine Color 120, this simple knit is enlivened. You want to see how the next row of color and the next and the next will line up. Soon you reach the excellent crown decrease.

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Recentlly I knit this one and then promptly cast on for another Slouchee in another colorway of the same yarn.

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And, to remind, this was my first.

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Great yarn. Great simple pattern.

To Jack’s Landing

Take M-32 east out of Hillman. From State Street, go 3.8 miles and turn right on Jack’s Landing Road. In another 5 miles or so, definitely not as the crow flies, you’ll be at one of the premier bass fishing floodings in the United States: Fletcher Pond. And Jack’s Landing Resort (“Cast out your vacation line”) is the gateway to a wonderful bass fishing adventure. A bit more on Fletcher Pond in a bit, but this post is mostly about getting to Jack’s Landing.

In mid-July the road to Jack’s Landing is enough to set your every allergy ‘ablazing. This road is making the pollinators very happy indeed. One farm in particular is a do-not-miss.

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The fence rows are filled with Everlasting Pea. It’s a native European plant, lathyrus latifolius, and it’s taken to our neck of the woods in a big way. Everlasting Pea, also known as Perennial Pea, is a rhizome. It spreads with deep roots and forms a dense viney mat. But, if support presents itself, it can grow to 5-7 feet. In the background are big cylindrical hay bales just recently mowed.

Here’s another view of Everlasting Pea:Jacks2_lowres

Montmorency County, Michigan, can be a study in contrasts. That long winding road looks like it would lead to some peaceful pristine spot. Not quite. There’s a very sturdy metal gate across the road just beyond these fenceposts. And something that looked like chemistry and drilling seems to be going on where the road winds to the left.

And this sign hangs on the gate:

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Hydrogen Sulfide. It’s a gas that’s heavier than air, very poisonous, corrosive, flammable, and explosive. Wow. I guess we’re lucky that it also smells like rotten eggs, so at least we will know if it’s released. We smelled nothing in the area that didn’t smell like it belonged, though.

Right next to the gassy lane, is a beautiful, incredibly well-kept home with acres of mowed grass, beautiful trimmed trees, and zillions of bluebird boxes. They’ve even made this novel use of one of their dead trees:

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Someone is spending a lot of time tending their piece of the planet. So, so pretty.

Keep your eyes peeled after you pass this garden paradise.  On the right, you’ll find this 12-foot long conversation piece. Today it was just after some big long black tire skid marks in the road.Jacks12_lowres

There must be an interesting story to this. I don’t know it. Our local rocket has been leaning at this angle for many years. Guarding something. Maybe. Pointing to something. Maybe.

Let’s get this back to the sublime. Here’s another winding road on the way to Jack’s Landing.

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More Everlasting Peas. Old Orange Daylilies and some Black-Eyed Susans. Here’s a close-up of the Peas:

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I’m not sure what that yellow guy hiding in the background is. I didn’t notice it until Steve finalized the photo. Even the foliage is beautiful.

Check out both the pea and the daylily closer up:

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About that daylily, Old Orange Daylily a/k/a hemerocallis fulva. Daylilies like these that are not true lilies (partly because they don’t grow from bulbs) have been cultivated in many varieties and colors. But these are one of the early cultivars. They are not wild, but since so many of them are growing by the side of roads, they might as well be. They aren’t native plants, but they were an early arrival. As the story goes, they traveled from the East along with settlers. Before that they traveled from Asia. They grow from a mass of roots and are so hardy they apparently got thrown in the backs of wagon and were planted and divided again and again among many generations of American gardeners. They are all over the country now. And Montmorency County, on the way to Jack’s Landing and Fletcher Pond, is as good a place as any to get an eyeful of these beauties.

So, sublime, ridiculous, back to sublime, and—on the way to Jack’s Landing–back to ridiculous:

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This chicken, which seems to be made of fiberglass, sits in someone’s front yard. It is about ten feet tall. We have no idea why it’s there. There are no eggs for sale. And it’s not a farm. But some people mark their spot with tidy signs like “Bucky & Deb’s.” Some people name their spot with signs like “Harry’s Haven.” And some people have giant chickens.

By now you’re getting quite close to Jack’s Landing. A few more twists in the road and you arrive:

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A big painted pike is one-half of the piscine pair that hang over the road and welcome resort visitors. And that’s Fletcher Pond in the background. Fletcher Pond is the 11th largest inland lake in Michigan, measured by surface acreage. The Alpena Power Company dammed the Thunder Bay River in 1931 to reserve water for its hydroelectric plant. The result is a 9000 acre flooding, complete with about 13 islands. It makes wonderful quiet nesting grounds for a variety of birds, including osprey. And did I mention the bass and pike yet? The bass are so plentiful in this lake that they practically just jump in your boat. We went there once to fish. They didn’t jump in our boat. They just jumped all around us and did the fishlips equivalent of “na, na, na, na, na.” They catch monster pike here, including through the ice.

Here’s a look at the Jack’s Landing Inn and restaurant:

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The food is homestyle and familiarly good. Service is always very friendly. Pick a seat next to one of the windows with a bird feeder and be entertained by purple finches and hummingbirds. That’s a busy purple martin house atop the pole by the electrical boxes. The adults were flying over the pond, snatching bugs, and bringing them home to the young.

There’s a small campground and a few cabins to rent. This is the view looking toward the row of cabins.

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There are places to lay your head. A well-stocked bait shop. And a place to clean all the fish you’ll catch (we won’t catch any, but you will).

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Amy Marie’s not dishcloths

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This is Eiffel Towel (pun intended). It’s one of Amy Marie’s (CornucopiAmy on Ravelry) newer patterns. It’s 11 inches by 19 inches and I am using it as the kitchen towel it is. I knit mine in Knit Picks Dishie. One and one-quarter balls of the main color (Swan) and three-quarters of a ball of the green (Kenai). I’ve never been to Paris, but I definitely enjoyed knitting the City’s iconic tower as a towel.

I could have blocked this straight, but decided not to bother. It’s a towel, after all. And it’s not really curling at the top. Eiffel Towel was long enough that I couldn’t photograph it in my small studio without it overlapping the place where the background bends upward.

Next is Amy Marie’s newest mosaic-knit design: Celebration Cake Trivet. This one is my Red Velvet version, again in Dishie.

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It’s just about 11 inches square and will look great under whatever cake I’m celebrating with. Some Ravelers decided to knit the flames in yellow or gold, but I stayed with the bare bones version.

And I so enjoyed the experience of knitting it that I decided to knit a dark chocolate version too.

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Dishie, and most of the major kitchen cottons, come in such a variety of colors that it’s tempting to knit up as many trivets as the kinds of cakes you bake. Let’s see, it’s actually very rare that I’d bake a cake. So, it’s tempting to knit up as many trivets as the kinds of cakes I’d buy.

For now, I’m well-satisfied with these two.

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Sticking to the non-dishcloth kitchen cotton theme, these are Amy Marie’s Some Bunny’s Bib.

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So sweet. And they are very serviceable items for the ever-messy babes in your neck of the woods. These are generously sized, about 9.5 inches wide and 8 inches to the neck bind off.

Two balls of Lily’s Sugar ‘n Cream worked up both these bibs, with about half an ounce of each color left.

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Dinner in the Long Lake nursery

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“Ahhh, mom. Not dragonflies again!”

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“No complaints. They’re nutritious and it’s all your dad and I can find tonight.”

The Eastern Kingbird nesting in our dock-bench cupholder seems to have three (or possibly four) hungry mouths to feed. Both parents are foraging and both bring food to the cupholder gang.

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In fact, the adults are now taking their parental roles a bit too seriously. They’ve decided we’re a threat as we walk to our pontoon boat, which is tethered to the dock. They’ve been dive-bombing us when we enter or exit the boat. Fortunately, no collisions (yet).

Quite the mess ‘o birdies!

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Those little tuffs of baby bird are just the best.

Meanwhile, the Eastern Phoebe nest is…well…

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…getting a tad crowded. I’m thinking a fledge or two pretty soon would be a good idea.