Thursday, June 26, 2008

Not much knitting...

Well, as the title of this posts suggests, there hasn't been too much knitting going on. The weather here has been pretty warm/hot and we've been spending a lot more time outdoors working in the yard, going hiking, etc. I do have the sock started that I mentioned in my last post, but I haven't gotten a pic of it yet. I'll try to do that soon as I'm quite pleased with the Fair Isle.

So other than the knitting, we have been quite busy. Here are some pics (presented in no real logical order or fashion) to show what we've been up to. This is a shot of our two cats in their new outdoor enclosure.

They used to be outdoor cats but we were worried about them being out near the road and traffic. So we decided to build them a 'pen' that they could access whenever they wanted through a window in our basement. Though I don't have a shot of the whole thing, you can see that they are adapting well to their new outdoor experience.

This is a shot of a butterfly that I took in Newry, Maine which is near the New Hampshire border. It's where we were when we were visiting Grafton Notch State Park (for a second time!) and this little guy was just posing there, waiting for his picture to be taken!

Here is another little creature. He was running around while we were taking a break on Table Rock which is the summit of the mountain we had just climbed. He apparently has quite a racket going on, begging from hikers who stop here for a bite to eat before descending.

Not to mention that this is his view...not too bad, eh?

After the hike, we drove in to Rangeley to take a look around and the town was covered with lupines! To see them covering huge fields, all that deep purple, dotted with pinks and whites is pretty breathtaking! I had to stop and take a couple pictures, of which this is a favorite.

And speaking of flowers, I have recently gotten pretty interested in orchids. I have actually had two orchids for a while now, a phalaenopsis and a dendrobium, both of which I got at Home Depot on clearance. The were marked down because they had both just bloomed and I decided I would take them on and get them to bloom again. Well that was about a year and a half ago. And though they haven't done too awful much during that time, I never gave up hope that they would one day bloom. Well today, all that patience was rewarded with the first sign of a flower spike peaking out from beneath one of the large leaves. I was beyond excited which I know sounds ridiculous if you haven't gone through it yourself, but trust me, it was a big moment! Here is a shot of the new growth, but you'll have to look closely, it's very small. It shows up in the picture as almost white against the green, between the stalk and first leaf on the left side.

I'll surely post more pics of it as it's growing for any other orchid enthusiasts out there. I'll also show you full shots of the two orchids that I mentioned above along with my two latest additions, both Cattleyas. I know I still have a lot to learn about them, but I am enjoying reading about them and (at least for now being good and only) visiting them at the local garden centers.


I've been a fan of The Cardigans, ever since I first heard "Carnival" from their excellent Life CD. Though they've gone through quite a few changes in direction through the years, showing growth and maturity, they continue to deliver solid melodies and smart lyrics along with Nina's smooth-as-silk vocals. Here is a favorite from their newest album called "I Need Some Fine Wine And You, You Need To Be Nicer."

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Grafton Notch

Hi everyone! We had such a fun day today! We decided to go somewhere neither of us had gone before, which in this case was Grafton Notch State Park in western Maine. Ron read about it in the literature we got with our State Park Pass which is what prompted our interest in the first place.

We started the day out with breakfast here at home (veggie omelets!) and then packed up a cooler with food and water. We recently got a GPS while we were on our visit to my parents in PA so we didn't even need a map...just plugged in our destination and away we went! The ride there was nice, very scenic and took about two hours.

The first place we stopped when we got there was Screw Auger Falls. It was basically a picnic area situated along a beautiful stream with cascading waterfalls such as the one below.

After that we headed up the road to Mother Walker Falls where we did some off-path exploring of our own. It was a lot of fun and we probably got to see a lot of things that the average person wouldn't. This is a cool waterfall that ran kinda behind and under some large boulders and this is where it came out.

The next place we stopped at was Moose Cave. There was an actual cave there that had a river (well, creek...) running through it. It was so named for the unfortunate moose that fell into it long ago. You couldn't enter the cave but you could look down into it and see the water. At that same stop they had an area you walked through called the Moss Garden. It featured a couple different kinds of moss including this cool Reindeer Moss which was very stiff and in a way resembled coral.

The last part of our visit was to take a hike though the beautiful forests of Maine. The path that we took started with the Eyebrow Trail. Let me state here that we rather foolishly didn't look into the difficultly level of this trail before starting it. And if we had we might not have done it. But we did do it, and at least in this case, all's well that ends well. It started innocently enough as a level path through the woods, very nice scenery. Then we come to a stone staircase...

...which we head up. The incline was a nice change of pace from the beginning part of the trail. But as we're going along we realize that the incline isn't leveling out. We just keep heading up! And not only that, but it's getting steeper! Here's Ron as we've come to an area so steep that there is a guide wire to grip.

Then there was the next part with the ladder(!)...

..and then the oversized metal staples that someone helpfully pounded into the stone.

At this point we were about an hour into the hike and were were wondering if we had bit off a bit more than we could chew! But we had food and water with us and the weather was beautiful and being two moderately fit young(ish) men, we decided to trudge on.

We're really glad we did, because not too long after that we were rewarded at the top of the mountain with some extraordinary views...

The path then headed back down the mountain and at this point joined the Appalachian Trail! So we got to walk a mile of that which seemed very cool in a historic kinda way.

Here's a shot of Ron crossing one of the foot bridges along the trail...

After all the hiking, which took us two hours, we were pretty hungry. So we headed back to our first stop and made use of the picnicking facilities. And from there made our way back home. Overall it was a great day and we'll surely be heading back again for some more hiking...maybe some easier trails this time, though...

On the knitting front, I am working on a pair of socks from Charlene Schurch's "Sensational Knitted Socks." These are my first big intarsia project and I'll have more info on that including a picture or two in the next post.

LISTENING TO: GOSSIP - "Standing In The Way Of Control"

I was first introduced to Gossip on Charles' blog. This trio from the northwestern US rocks. An awesome mix of punk ideals and soulful vocals...something you might think wouldn't work well together, but they manage to pull it off. Check out the video for the title track.