First things first though...
Tanis Fiber Arts fingering weight "Shadow" colourway. I can hardly stand how beautiful this yarn is. Is that silver or grey?... check out those shots of robin's egg blue that run through it...is that an overtone of lavender that just washes over everything? Its woolly but soft and its appearing to be the perfect match for Ms. Clarke's Retro Rib Sock...
I've got another inch to go before the heel...
The pattern is four rows and its very, very ribby. Lots of back and forth knitting and purling. My bamboo needles are too long and too bendy and are driving me crazy. I'm sorry now that I didn't pick up a set of 5" Lantern Moon Sock Stix when I saw them a few months ago at Romni.
Needle issues notwithstanding, it was great to work on socks again after a few months off and it was the perfect take along car project. Opening weekend is not exactly a relaxing one and once at the cottage, there really wasn't time or energy for knitting. If everything goes perfectly (I think it did once in the late 90's...) its a big job to open up a seasonal place and that first day is always a long one.
Opening day starts early and with no unexpected surprises goes something like this... A two and a half hour drive, retrieving the boat out of storage, launching it, getting it started, Loading an SUV full of stuff into it then crossing the couple of miles over the lake to our place , connecting the dock that has been tethered but disconnected from the main dock for the winter. Next its hauling everything up the steps and into the cottage, unloading the groceries and stocking the kitchen - I'm talking just the basics but I am always amazed at how much "the basics" consist of. We have to uncover all the windows, get the water running from the lake to the cottage, make all the beds, make the lunch, boil water for the dishes and cleaning the kitchen because it will be hours before the water heater is up to speed. Make a drink(!) make the dinner, make the fire as big as possible before making our way to bed. (At least now the kids help rather than add to the list of tasks requiring attention!) Still its only the next day that the real cleaning starts.
That's the essential list for day one - but additional things inevitably make their way into the process. Does the boat start when we launch it or must we sit beside the launch ramp for an hour until it is coaxed into running? Is the floating dock still attached to the tether or must we drive around searching for it? When the water turns on does it squirt out of walls or fill sink cabinets or just stream out under the cottage? Are all the windows intact or has a large game bird flown through one or two or them? Has the outhouse been crushed by a fallen tree? Have any of the local wildlife set up housekeeping in the linen closet?
The first surprise of Opening '09 happened before we even made it to the cottage in our encounter with Ontario Provincial Police. No we weren't speeding! We didn't get pulled over! We stopped to pick up coffee and were asked by an officer having a problem with his car whether we could give him a boost. In the end the problem wasn't with his battery but with his starter - My Beloved and another fellow - a mechanic who also offered to help, sorted it out for him and once again we were on our way.
At the lake the weather was grey and rainy, cool and a bit breezy.
Fortunately all that minimized the seasonal black flies.
(For the uninitiated - at this time of year, black flies are swarming in the northern woods. It is impossible to shoo them away. In bad years, moose and deer are known to be driven out on highways in an attempt to escape them. They are very tiny, unlike mosquitoes, make no noise and usually I don't feel them bite. My first clue I've been bitten is generally a tickling sensation - the blood oozing out of the bite and dripping downward. The next day intense itchiness kicks in, lasting for two or three days... Most years we open early to avoid the flies that last from early May through mid June or until there's sustained hot and dry weather. Fortunately, as I said, the weather conditions on Saturday meant the little stinkers were not even really evident - bonus!)
Once over at the cottage, the next surprise was a raccoon maternity ward recently established in the screened porch. A few gentle suggestions (and I do mean gentle!) with a broom convinced mama coon to step out for a breath of fresh air. Then My Beloved transferred the actual birthing centre (the fleecy lined BBQ cover, shredded and wedged in under the portable table saw for extra coziness) to a more suitable but still cozy location under the porch where mother and the lone and very adorable occupant were quickly reunited.
Apparently raccoons in labour crave wood....
And foam garden kneelers...
The cop and the coon were the only surprises day one. There wasn't even a single leak in the plumbing! Day two saw a huge wind develop that swept the clouds, rain and warmish temperatures off while continuing to keep the black flies at bay. Sunday morning we made coffee and lit a fire in at cottage with a 4 degrees Celsius (40 in Fahrenheit terms) temperature inside as well as out - is it a cottage or more of a wooden tent?! With more of the same in the forecast for Sunday night we decided, after a ton of cleaning (no knitting I might add) to close it up and head for home late Sunday afternoon.
On Monday I did cottage laundry, some baking, gardening, knitting on Tangled Yoke, watched a bit of the Jay's latest win, had drinks with my sister and her family, and enjoyed our traditional long weekend rib fest. Through the wonders of technology I also made a brief, knitterly "visit" to San Diego and "dropped by" a new LYS I'm quite excited about.
Splitting the weekend between cottage and home didn't make it feel chopped up as I feared it might. It actually felt a bit longer I think - what more can you ask for in a long weekend than that? Whether yours was long, looong or regular length - 'hope it was a good one! Thanks for dropping by!