Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Kaileigh's Blanket

Celebration Blankets 2019

The first celebration blanket this year went to our niece Kaileigh.  She did a 4 and out with a double major of French and Russian and minor of Political Science from the University of Alabama, Huntsville in May.

The blanket is deconstructed sweats found in thrift shops and on sale.  The back is polar fleece.  

Congratulations Kaileigh!!

 Spring Weaving Class 2019

I warped up my home made floor loom for throw rugs with an overshot pattern last Spring.  A few trips with the sled from the manure pile to the currants was not tolerated by my right leg.  The rest of the summer was spent hoping it would heal, then my Autumn and Winter were spent seeking help.  The damage was to the meniscus over a knee with an existing spur (per ex-ray).                                                                                                                              
It took a combination of physical therapy, chiropractor, miles walked in the gym pool, compression leggings and an awareness of not putting extra stress on the leg while the knee heals.  

By the time healing was to the point walking and eventually weaving on the floor loom was possible, I had forgotten how to proceed with this intricate pattern.  (Moving from the floor to standing is still not back to pre-injury condition)  Bless my friend Clara's heart.  She was investigating local classes in weaving.  We signed up for an evening class at Fiberwood in Wauwautosa,  

My table runner on the small shop floor loom is pearl cotton warp with a pima cotton filler.  I did not take a photo of this project in the finished condition.  The yarns swelled and a texture was produced by the differences of the warp and weft threads.  Soft and wonderful on the Wausaukee table.

I learned so much in this 6 week class.  The under the loom treadle attachment to the levers forming the tie up of my home loom are connected with carriage bolts and wing nuts.  The wing nuts loosen with the movement of the treadles and eventually fall off the bolt.  This caused problems with the tension and required me to constantly be under the loom re attaching the wing nuts to one of the 6 treadles. Locking nuts were the solution shared by our instructor Barb.  So off to Ace hardware I went.  

It is easier (not easy) to connect the treadles for tie up when the loom does not have warp on it because it can be partially dismantled.  Even then it takes some effort.  The locking wing nuts chosen to replace the ones that rattled loose  needed pliers on the wing and a ratchet wrench on the hex of the carriage bolt.  All while on my elbows and knees under a fully warped loom  Handsome distance runner and son of same put the 4 corners of the loom up on plastic milk crates.  Still not easy, but do able.  And, effective.

I am on the 2nd rag rug since the class.  Because of the knowledge gained in the class I was able to weave the pattern on the first rug with the pattern used in class.  Then, I chose another overshot pattern with the same tie up for the 2nd rag rug.  

There is enough material for the 2nd rug.  There is enough warp for a 3rd and 4th rag rug.  I think I will use the 10 yard piece of dark brown knit for the others.  I've noticed darker colors make the warp shine.
 You may wonder why I put such an effort into weaving on a large loom.  I will call it physical therapy that is not contingent on weather or people driving by me while walking shouting threats out their windows.  

I have to stand to weave on this loom.  The tabby is set up so alternating my feet with each throw of the shuttle is required for this overshot pattern.  I have to reach to throw the shuttle.  This adds my shoulders and arms into the mix.  

At present I am able to weave 1 repeat of the pattern per weaving session.  I believe that is around 40 throws of the shuttles.  20 from each side.  Not a lot of weaving, but rag rugs work up quickly.

Monday, May 20, 2019

12 15 2018 Launch of the USS St. Louis

December 15, 2018 Launch of the St. Louis

Between life getting in the way and changes to Blogger, photos I wanted to share were put in limbo to be rediscovered when I started taking photos of this year's currant crop.  

This photo checked off an item on my bucket list.

There was a newspaper article in the Marinette Herald about the river launching of this LCS (?) class ship.  I've wanted to see a launch from the Marinette ship yards since we bought the retirement house.  I just happened to be in Wausaukee that weekend. The mid December weather was dry and almost autumn like.  It was a beautiful day for the 35 mile drive.  Here was my opportunity.  

I drove to Marinette to witness and take some photos with my cell phone.  The link was sent by my cousin Wayne.  It is a Green Bay TV news article along with a nice link to the drone videos and professional photos (which I cannot figure out how to add to my blog). 

There was viewing available from the ship yard, if you knew someone who worked there.  (a tidbit shared with me by a woman behind me in church the next day).   There was public viewing in a park across the Menomonee river.  I was not up to the hike so settled for a location in the parking lot of Jack's grocery, enjoying the comfort of my car.   

Of note is the black truck in the foreground of my photo.  Shortly before the launch he put a drone in the air.  Amazing how quickly it disappeared into the sky.  Basis the credits of the link, I believe he was either an employee of the US Navy or Lockheed Martin.  Either way.  Whoever put the video together kept my attention.

The Menomonee River was ice covered near our house.  The launch is located near the mouth of the river into Lake Michigan.  There was just a skim of ice floating on the river.  I do love transition times of the year.

The other thing of note is the Marinette shipyard is one of very few that side launch into a river.  The launch was very quick.  Slide.  Splash.  Wobble once and slightly twice.  Then the ship was upright as if it had been in the water forever.
As a P.S. is a photo taken of Great Lakes car ferry Madison. One of the ones my grandpa Adam Hessil worked on. I am not a sailor as my grandfather, but I am memorized by the roll of the great lakes.


Sunday, May 19, 2019

Spring 2019 Currant Comparisons

This Spring has been constant change in the weather, at both West Allis and Wausaukee.    The photo below is April 15 in West Allis.  

These two photos were taken April 25 of the Pink Champagne bush.  Leaves were opening and blossoms were starting to attract pollinators.  Nice.

Here we go. April 28.  Easter morning.  Pink Champagne under snow, in full bloom. 


May 19, 2019 there are berries forming beneath the spent blossoms on the West Allis currant bushes.  It may just be a good production year.

 Now on to the Wausaukee garden the weekend of May 11 - 14.  While Phil planted black raspberry canes from the West Allis yard, I re-tagged the currant bushes for variety.

Keeping the 12 + varieties of currants in order has become a challenge.  Tags made from strips cut from yogurt containers and marked with a sharpie faded and disintegrated in a year.  Next I stamped canning jar lids.  Those are rusting and the tie wraps used to attach are disintegrating..  Sean of Edible Acres cuts up old soda cans and writes on them with a dried up ball point pen over card board.  This embosses the thin aluminum and does not rust. I used nylon cord to attach to the plants.

After the loss of the entire Wausaukee currant crop last year Phil and I have been intentional about how to keep the woodland plants happy.

Soil tests were taken and the results are a little low in nitrogen.  All else is fine.

We have decided to focus on the moisture in this sand pit the berries are planted in.  Last Summer we top dressed with wood chips and very old cow manure..  The plan is to continue top dressing with wood chips as handsome distance runner works his way through the Aspen cutting and underbrush of the groves on this property.

The other thing neglected last year was keeping an eye on the weather.  I now check the weather report for this house daily.  If need be a trip will be made to water from the well until the berries are picked.  Here I am discussing berries when last weekend the leaves were just breaking through.

Path to the Wood Chipper

Larry ordered a wood chipper.  It was the one he was looking at since the aspens were cut down last fall.  When the mail order company put it on sale he ordered it.  Happy Birthday, Mother's day, Father's day, Merry Christmas, Happy New Year 2019!!!                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
Phil took down the overgrown honeysuckle hedge in West Allis.  That will produce a nice thick hedge in 19 months when we sell the West Allis house and practice material for the new chipper.  The photo is both husband and son testing the limitations of the tool.  This April 17 test drive provided chips for the West Allis garden.

The chipper had to be drop shipped to a truck depot.  Depots do not want your stuff clogging their docks.  There was a finite amount of time to pick up the new tool.  

The trailer was snowed in, in the Wausaukee garage for the winter.  The snow blower was in the West Allis garage.  Just the right size to fit on the trailer.  Too big for the SUV. 

My tough distance runner hand shoveled the snow on March 17, 2019 to bring the trailer back.  I want to say the snow had too much freeze thaw in it's history to move it with the snow scoop.  The tool used was a shovel.  I am going to guess and say it is the plastic one in the Wausaukee garage that now has a horizontal crack in it was his tool of choice.

Yes the distance is about 2 city blocks long.

March 30, 2019.  My first trip back to Wausaukee since I dropped off the SMILE milk cans in January. There is still snow on the ground in Wausaukee, but the driveway was clear enough for my car.

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

How to get fuel up the icy driveway

We are setting up a retirement home in the back woods of Wisconsin.  There is baseboard heating, a propane furnace and an insert in the fireplace that will heat the house.

My handsome distance runner checked the fuel tank on the other side of the house the first weekend of February.  He determined more was needed and I contacted Hot Flame for a delivery.  

In the next two weeks of freeze - thaw - snow- wind - drifting and deep freeze the truck was not able to drive up the steep driveway because it was too icy.  They called me on a Thursday explaining why my fuel tank could go dry, causing all kinds of other problems.  

The original plan was to have a girl friend's weekend away from everything.  Instead...

A few phone calls on Thursday, and the situation was understood.  
1- Marinette County has a free-to-all sand pile that was gone.  There was a need beyond anticipated (because of the thaw, freeze, snow) for the sand and it had been used up.  More was anticipated the following week.
2- Once the sand was available, Bob would re-plow the driveway to remove the drifts and spread sand.  I'll repeat, the sand was to be delivered in 5 - 7 days... if they could get through the next snow storm.
3- Then his wife (Phyllis) would call the fuel company to let them know the driveway was passable and they could make the delivery.
4- Ever hopeful the girls weekend was not shot, I called my cousin Barb.  She lives in the next town to the north.  I asked her if it was possible to get my car safely up and down the driveway.  

What happened was.
1- Barb called her friend Phyllis to check out what could be done.
2- Bob went to the county yard to scrape the last grains of sand available and plowed the driveway, leaving the sand behind.
3- Phyllis called Hot Flame.
4- Barb called me to let me know the driveway was plowed and sanded.
5- I called Hot Flame and was told the delivery was to be added to the list.
6- It must have been a short list, or the dispatcher is another friend of my cousin Barb.  The truck got up the driveway and the delivery person dragged the hose to the tank on the other side of the ranch style house.  (The path had drifted over to a point of 2 foot deep since handsome distance runner shoveled it on February 3.)  Fuel was delivered.  The tank did not go dry.  All is right with our world.  And the villagers rejoiced!!  This is because a whole list of remarkable people went the extra mile.

Handsome distance runner decided to investigate the house and would make the 3 hour drive after work on Friday.  The photos below are how he found the property.  How he left it was with the path to the fuel tank re-shoveled, and both the garage and house roofs shoveled.  Yes, that is a 5 foot snow bank between the driveway and the garage.

Think this through...soon to retire man, alone, up on a roof with a shovel in a situation that could have him sliding off and landing in a drift with no one around to see or know until the thaw in April.  Of course, that excited him even more.  

 Photo of house from the garage below:
 Photo of driveway from the road below:

In our conversations since, he has expressed a desire to have a Komodo (?) to remove snow when we both retire.

The End.