Ocqueoc Falls

ocqueoc_fallsOcqueoc Falls is just about the only honest-to-goodness, rootin’ tootin’ waterfall in Michigan’s lower peninsula.  The total descent is about five feet.  Downstream from the main part of the falls, the rock walls are about 20 feet high.  And it is only about 35 miles from Hillman.  We’re not talking Tahquamenon here,  but this mini-waterfall is beautiful in a quiet non-Upper Peninsular way.  In the fall, salmon make their way upstream for spawning.  Haven’t seen that yet.   Children who are good swimmers with about 8 years of height on them love to play in the pool at the base of the falls.  I’m (probably) too  much of a grown-up to enjoy that.  I might slip on the slick rocks and skin my knee.  I might trip on the boulders getting to the base of the falls and end up needing stitches on my noggin.  I might…I might try it some time.  When no kids are around to laugh at my timidity.

Illusion Knitting

catIllusion knitting is the trickster technique of the knitting world.  It can’t be new.  Nothing can really be new in knitting, can it?  But my first experience of it was  knitting Elizabeth Fallone’s Shadow Spider Scarf in Shelridge Farm’s worsted weight yarn.   Knitters would say that yarn has a wonderful hand. I knitted most of the Spider Scarf while Steve and I stayed at Insel Haus on Michigan’s Bois Blanc Island during a weekend in January.  We were the only guests at Christa and Shelby Newhouse’s wonderful rambling B & B.  Christa is a master knitter and regularly teaches or hosts knitting retreats at Insel Haus.  We lucked out and were able to take a ferry over from Cheboygan.  The winter was mild.  The Straits of Mackinac hadn’t yet frozen.  Someone on the island needed a piece of heavy equipment so we hitched a ride with it.  Had to charter a small plane to get back though.  That was an interesting flight, flying unpleasantly low over the waves.

So, the way you knit an illusion is you trick the eye with alternating contrasting  colors knitted (and purled) in sets of four rows.  When you look straight at the scarf, you see what looks like somewhat messy garter stitch.  But look at it at with your eyes scanning its length and the motif appears.  In Fallone’s pattern, the illusion motif is big spiders creeping the length of the scarf.  Debbie Stoller’s  edgy first “Stitch ‘n Bitch” handbook contains Shetha Nolke’s cool Alien Illusion Scarf.  You knit, and pretty soon Roswell type alien heads appear, big dark eye sockets and all.  Here, in Donna Druchunas’s Hidden Cat Scarf, it’s cat faces that emerge.  Fun stuff, this knitting.  My version of the cat scarf is knit using Michigan’s own Stonehedge Farm Shepherd’s Wool, soft merino wool spun in East Jordan, Michigan.  That’s on the sunset side of the state, not the sunrise side closest to Long Lake.  Still good Michigan wool.  I’ll imagine some of the sheep grow their wool on the sunrise side.  Could be.  Could be.

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Hillman’s Dogs ‘R Us

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I feel uncomfortable about this. Why is that Golden Retriever wearing a shower cap?  Is that Bailey…because Bailey told me they brought her somewhere to wash off that last skunk.  She told me it was a lot worse than the bathtub and the baby shampoo and the hydrogen peroxide.  And I don’t smell nearly as bad as Bailey did.  Even if she HAD to wear that shower cap for some reason, why did they take her picture? Promise me you won’t take my picture.  Promise.  Speaking of promises, if we leave now I promise I’ll behave in the bathtub at home.

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Is that supposed to be funny?  I could get off that in a minute if I tried. That Victrola mutt might have been too stupid to untangle himself while they painted his picture, but I am not going to have a problem with that.

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Oh yeah.  This place is just a laugh a minute.  Four on the floor.  Very funny. Healthy pets only.  That’s kinda inspirational.  I think I feel a major barf coming on.  I might even be able to manage some diarrhea.

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Two bucks is  overpriced for some cheap terrycloth drying towel, don’t ya think?  What is that thing in the middle?  Ear wipes?  Does that say ear wipes?  Are they out of their minds?  If you reach to put anything in that middle slot I will bite the fat pink thing you push around in that stroller.  And if you ever put anything in my ears I will chew the thumbs off both your top paws.

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I don’t think so.  I don’t think so.  You can’t make me. Even Cesar Millan could not make me walk up that thing.  Please, please.   I promise.  I know what skunks look like now.  I know what they do.  I won’t chase them anymore.  I promise.  I promise.  I’ll be good.   Take me to our own bathtub. Save your money for buying a toy for the fat pink thing in the stroller.

Knitted Memories

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I knitted this for my son while I was waiting for him to be born.  He’s 24 now and  built this blog for me this past Mother’s Day.  I remember knitting this set.  I had a lot of trouble with the intarsia tumbling blocks.  1-2-3-4-5, with 6 on the back. Intarsia is hard for me, and not much fun. Knitted patterns use the technique quite a bit in children’s clothing. A lot of work, but well worth the effort.  Like kids.  The last two photos are  my son, when he and this knitted set were both brand new.

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Fall 2009 on Long Lake

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Long Lake is surrounded by a mix of pine, birch/aspen, cedar and assorted hard woods, including  maple and oak.  This means our fall is a combination of yellows, oranges, and reds, all anchored by the steady green of the pines.  The fall colors were spectacular this year.

Today, November 7th, the deciduous trees are mostly bare.  It was 62 degrees and sunny.  More like September than November.  It’s already snowed here, but today we paddled our kayaks over to Ghost Bay and checked out Belly Button Island.  The sea gulls were having a convention at a few spots on the lake.  We rousted some Bufflehead ducks.  The water was very cold.  The sun was very warm.  After a long paddle I curled up under a warm wool knitted blanket for a nap.  Decadent.  Wonderful.

Oh.  This guy is a male Bufflehead.  His name is a corrupted form of “buffalo” head, so named because these duck have shaggy dark brown thick fur, long beards and once roamed the prairies in large herds.  No, so named because the duck’s big white spot on his head resembles the big white spot on the head of a buffalo.   Let’s see, why are these guys named after a buffalo?  I suppose  because both creatures have rather large heads for their body size.  Maybe?  Or else the naming guys were just joking.Buffleheadth