Long Lake Sounds Like a Synthesized Ruffed Grouse

lake_ice1Click here to listen at the Cornell ornithology site for the drumming of a ruffed grouse.  Click here to listen to what the lake was doing today.  As the ice cracks, especially with temperature changes when the sound isn’t muffled by a lot of snow, the entire surface of Long Lake becomes an acoustic membrane.  The lake sounds today didn’t suddenly start rat-a-tatting super fast, like the grouse at the end of his drumming.  And the linked lake recording by sound artist Andreas Bick was made through a hole in the ice that amplified the “boinging.”  So,  Long Lake wasn’t sounding as much like Han Solo’s light saber as in Bick’s recording.  But every few minutes the ice was singing in low, amplified burps of sound.  Eerie.  Beautiful.  A little like ruffed grouse.  A little  like Star Wars.  A little like whale song.  A little like nothing I ever heard before.


Summer Remembered

sunsetsmallIt hasn’t been a rough winter so far.  No extremes of temperature.  Less than the usual amount of snow.  But it is still late January and there are months of wintry weather behind and ahead.  The lake is beautiful, in its wintry ways. Somehow the snow pulls both sides of the lake more toward the middle and distances seem collapsed.  The wind blows the snow into drifts that leave ribbons of clear ice.  Last weekend a mini-murder of crows walked around the ice as if they were looking for something.  Somehow it set me to remembering summer.

Aunt Cecilia’s Mohair: The Knit Goes On

CeceliaNoteSeveral years ago, a co-worker told me that her husband’s elderly Great Aunt Cecilia died. Such news does not often make it into my workplace. Cecilia’s  yarn and other related knitting what-nots were en route to Michigan. My co-worker once had knitting aspirations. But a busy work life and I assume motherhoodedness and many other interests deflected her from the sedentary craft of knitting. Then there was the matter of a certain boring yellow garter stitch scarf. Anyway. Would I like to have Cecilia’s  yarn? ” Yes.” All payment was refused.

And so I was gifted with Cecilia’s boxes of mohair. Mass quantities of 100% Italian kid mohair. The softest mohair on the planet, spun from young goats. My co-worker gave me so much mohair, all neatly packed in fifteen or so clean original cartons, that I went to Home Depot and purchased a special plastic caddy of drawers to store the balls in. There was pink, orange, dark green, light green, varigated green, black, hot pink, gold, aqua. Bon-bon complete with the original ballbands. Lady Myra, all tagged, as if they’d just been plucked from my local yarn shop. I would open the drawers and marvel at the permanence of things. Serious knitters  plan for what will happen to their stash when they die. Should it go to a Senior Center? A knitting relative? Their knitting guild? I immediately  felt a responsibility to do right by all that mohair. Then, in one of the crochet booklets that I received and looked at last because I don’t crochet, I found a carbon copy of this typed note.

Cecilia knew she was up to her eyeballs in mohair. She knew her stash enhancement had gotten out of hand. I figure she  stashed mass quantities of mohair in the 1960’s when “Italian Knits” were all the rage. They were oversized, bulky, warm, itchy sweaters.  But we all looked beautiful in them. Everyone wanted one. Mine was powder blue. By 1977 no one wanted mohair sweaters anymore. You had to wear long sleeve shirts under them and the little mohairs still managed to tickle your daylights out. By 1977, Cecilia might even have admitted to herself that knitting with mohair is not as much fun as knitting with yarn that behaves itself. With mohair, you knit in a cloud of fuzz. If you make a mistake, it’s almost impossible to rip back because all that clingy fuzz impedes progress and obscures the individual stitches. I bet Cecilia knew the mohair trick of putting your knitting in the freezer for a few hours because it’s easier to frog (“rippit, rippit”) when the yarn is very, very cold.

Somehow, knowing that Cecilia had already decided to sell her mohair to a stranger lessened my obligation to it. I made lots of scarfs, including for our office’s charity auction. I knitted clothes for bears donated to shelters.  I added it to felted bags. I made koala ear tufts out of it. I knitted a black shawl that made me look so goofy I had to give it away to the first person who said she  liked it. And yes, I gave some of the mohair to other knitters.

I have about 15 balls left in assorted colors. Mittens are the current mohair stash-busting project. These are knitted with two strands of Bon-Bon.

vintagemittens2I plan on leaving a few balls unknit.  When I kick my bucket, Cecilia’s yarn can find a new good home, mixed in with my stash.

bonbongreen bonbonorange


puzzleThe only place I make time to do an occasional jigsaw puzzle is at the lake.   This 550 piece loon puzzle made for a fun quiet day at the coffee table.  Until.


Sealed-in-plastic puzzles never have pieces missing, do they?  Once, when I was a child, we got a thousand-piecer with one duplicate piece and one missing piece.  But that was 45 years ago.  There’s quality control now, right?  I looked everywhere.  The piece, it is missing.  Missing. As in not in the box.  How’s that for green apples?  Kim Norlien (“the painter of peace and tranquility” TM) probably cares.  Before he sold rights to his loon painting to the puzzle guys he must have made them promise that when they chopped it up into itsy bitsy pieces and packed it in a plastic bag before stuffing it in a a box and then wrapping the box with cellophane, that they’d not leave any peace out.