Tuesday, December 29, 2009

70% sweater back

I took knitting with me tonight when we visited the city family crew. It was brilliant! I know it's a bit dicey to knit in public, or so I gather from debates about it on knittinghelp, but it sure was good for me even if it may not have been as good for others. This image was taken before an evening of fine dining, lots of knitting.

11-12 minutes a row. 18.75" and 20 rows equals 4" It's a painful sport for the immediate gratification folks.

Edit: Apparently things are improving on the speed front. I hadn't checked in a while, but I did today. 8:10 per row. 30% better. I'll take it. I feel so much better... not!


Sunday, December 27, 2009

Guitar and amp info

Here's some useful information on guitars and amplifiers. I thought this was brilliant. I wish I'd found this earlier.


From Rich at http://www.voxamps.com
This series of articles is exceptional - very readable with a wealth of information, covering guitar amps, effects, p/ups, valve v solidstate, power v volume, creating your own tone, effects order & much more - in fact, pretty much everything most folk ask about will be in there somewhere! Plus it has its own FAQ section.

Gustav Becker

I got to play in the shop all day. Tough to call it work when you get to go old school.

Missing wheel tooth on a winding gear in a very nice little Gustav Becker wall clock


Dovetail cut


Plug to fit


Plug sweat soldered in place


Tooth cut. Not a very flattering shot. Bah.


Botched and failed wheel solder job, not mine


Wheel shaft cross drilled and pinned




Christmas fun

Some Christmas highlights.

Rosy finally got a decent dog bed. After many years of lying on a frozen floor she's got a comfy place to lie down. It took her about five seconds to adapt to it. It's easy to wash too! It took the cat about 30. Patches is a little dim.


I finally figured out why we had never had sugar cookies. PU thought they were anemic things, but I knew them to be different. They have sold really well. Hasn't helped my waist (waste) line at all.


Santa is getting pretty hip apparently. I'm not sure they will be as flattering as I first thought. They certainly were a surprise in my stocking on Christmas morning.


Thursday, December 24, 2009

A house full at Christmas

The girls made it home safely and in good time today. We changed up the meal from the past few years and PU focused her considerable strengths into preparations for a classic French meal. A prime rib roast done to perfection was the feature, but the trimmings were pretty darn good too. There were several courses and some good fun and conversation were the prefect spice. These are my people.

There were Christmas carols enough to see us through the small mountain of clean up and three part harmony was heard. I'm yawning so badly I can't write. Time to try and recoup some energy before tomorrow. Having the crew together again is a great feeling. The vibe in the house is tremendous.
Kids rock.

Merry Christmas all.

Holidays, chickens and yardage

The holiday celebrations are upon us again. The chickens are laying so poorly that I'm buying eggs. Bah. It's been ages since I was in the city so haven't caught up with anyone there in ages. Bah. Life on the farm is fabulous. Yeah! I love shortbread. I miss my family. My mother in law is a boat load of fun to have around. I have lots of work. All the laundry is done. I get to have all my girls home tomorrow.

Knitting is clipping along. It's meditative. Well it's meditative after a certain amount of learning has been accumulated. I'm quite certain my first sweater project won't be too small. Whether I have enough wool to complete it or not is still in question.

Dad send shortbread. He's good. He's very good at making shortbread. Marmalade too actually. I'll have to figure out where to buy some Seville oranges here.

Zenshine tweet of the day - Own it baby


If you start to think the problem is ‘out there,’ stop yourself. That thought is the problem. ~Stephen Covey

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Friday, December 18, 2009

Knitting - highs and lows

Everytime I do part of this project over I learn something valuable so I won't snivel at having to begin again. It looks ugly though doesn't it? Today I got a hand with an M1 stitch that's far less obvious when completed than a simple yarn over. All I had energy for tonight was to cast on again.


Sweet little wooden knitting needles from Quebec. The patina on the working parts was very attractive.


Thursday, December 17, 2009

Racing backward through the knitting

Nothing replaces the value of experience, or wisdom is something you get after you need it. Whichever it is, I've been getting it in bucket loads as I try and wade through the necessary skills required to knit a sweater. My knowledge is coming, but wowzer, is the learning curve steep in the absence of a knitting friend close by to lean on. I'm about eight hours into this project and am still left with only a ball of yarn to show for my effort.

I can no longer count the number of times I've ripped this out. My yarn and tension comes up short so I'm having to adapt the pattern to the fabric I produce and that's meant a whole other realm of the knitting game that wants learning. I'm encouraged to know that so many bases are being covered, but it's getting to be time to actually produce some fabric now.

The first time I got almost this far it turned out I was making a sweater that was too small. This time it was obviously going to be too big. Maybe now the porridge will be just the right temperature. Sheesh. I can't believe it's all got to come out again.

I am really excited to see how tight and regular the stitching is now though and this keeps me motivated. If I can ever see my way through to the end of this project it's going to be a sweater I will love to wear. I love the yarn and the look of the knitting. I'm going to have nightmares about sleeve length before I'm done I'm sure and maybe neck hole size too, but my dance card is full with getting the back made and that's the easy part!

I wasn't happy with a simple yarn over to add stitches to the last row of ribbing, but I think I've found a local knitter to help show me the ropes of what is required to change that the next time through. Yeah!



East of Eden - Journal of a Novel

John Steinbeck's East of Eden holds a special place for me. It's where our last name, Timshel came from. This book remains one of the most potent pieces of literature I've read. I'm long over due to read it again.

I saw a quote this morning from a journal of Steinbeck's that reminded me how much I love this book.

John Steinbeck - Journal of a Novel: The East of Eden Letters

"I am choosing to write this book to my sons. They are little boys now and they will never know what they came from through me, unless I tell them. It is not written for them to read now but when they are grown and the pains and joys have tousled them a little. And if the book is addressed to them, it is for a good reason. I want them to know how it was, I want to tell them directly, and perhaps by speaking directly to them I shall speak directly to other people.

One can go off into fanciness if one writes to a huge nebulous group but I think it will be necessary to speak very straight and clearly and simply if I address my book to my two little boys who will be men before they read my book. They have no background in the world of literature, they don't know the great stories of the world as we do. And so I will tell them one of the greatest, perhaps the greatest story of all - the story of good and evil, of strength and weakness, of love and hate, of beauty and ugliness.

I shall try to demonstrate to them how these doubles are inseparable - how neither can exist without the other and how out of their groupings creativeness is born. I shall tell them this story against the background of the county I grew up in and along the river I know and do not love very much. For I have discovered that there are other rivers. And this my boys will not know for a long time nor can they be told. A great many never come to know that there are other rivers. Perhaps that knowledge is saved for maturity and very few people ever mature.

It is enough if they flower and reseed. That is all that nature requires of them. But sometimes in a man or a woman awareness takes place - not very often and always inexplainable. There are no words for it because there is no one ever to tell. This is a secret not kept a secret, but locked in wordlessness. In utter loneliness the writer tries to explain the inexplicable. And sometimes if he is very fortunate and if the time is right, a very little of what he is trying to do trickles through - not ever very much. And if he is a writer wise enough to know it can't be done, then he is not a writer at all. A good writer always works at the impossible. There is another kind who pulls in his horizons, drops his mind as one lowers rifle sights. And giving up the impossible he gives up writing. Whether fortunate or unfortunate, this has not happened to me. The same blind effort, the straining and puffing go on in me. And always I hope that a little trickles through. This urge dies hard."

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

The Miracle of a Locomotive

I like machines. I like steam powered machines and I loved this little glimpse into the past. This short silent film really puts the task in perspective. The engineering is remarkable. I can't imagine how long it must have taken to set up to manufacture this type of thing, but the tooling is sure big in the footage.

The Miracle of a Locomotive (Associated Screen News, 1928)

U of W student looking for a place to live

Middle daughter is looking for a place come January first. Anyone have any leads on a student place for a clean, quiet, budding educator type?

Thursday, December 10, 2009

I'm a runner. Yeah I'm different

If you're uncomfortable with a fit man's bare bum, you will be uncomfortable with the first image in the sequence. I hadn't seen this ad campaign for Adidas, but I sure related to it when I saw it this morning. It was posted to a thread on the Running Mania board.

I'm craving a run. Yes, it's a fridgid -27C out there, but it's been a week since I ran and I don't think I am fit to do it yet. I've hurt my knee. I'm not even sure exactly how, but last Saturday I did something on the stairs I think and now running seems like it's a ways away from my mainstream. So sad! Physio in my future? I think so. It's still tender to the touch. It seems strange to me that there would not have been some twinge to tell me what I had done wrong, but I guess I could have missed it. Bah. I suppose that this is all just a good excuse to knit more or do more core work. I wish I was closer to a pool.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

The most expensive liquids

This is why my printer and I have never really connected well emotionally.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Laura's Wild Edible Adventure

The vegan woman that hosts these things is a lot of fun and brimming with passion about living lightly and eating the jewels that Mother nature cultivates for us in the wild. I've taken part in this twice and both times I was amazed at the value of experience. It's cheap compared with what you come away with. Bring your questions! Laura is a fountain of wisdom regarding wild edibles and medicinal herbs.

The May Adventure

wild adventure poster_Gardenton_May'10

The July Adventure

wild adventure poster_Gardenton_July10

Sunday, December 6, 2009

For the love of winter

It's after 23:00 on a school night and here I am feeling the need to write. The days aren't long enough and I'm betting that life is going to be too short too. Some crisp tortilla chips and some of the hot sauce I canned this fall and I should have a good sweat on shortly. That should seem me through. At Ted's prompting I have taken to eating the hot sauce as salsa. I won't lie, it's dang tasty if you like the flavour of peppers and don't mind a bit heat. Yummers.

It's winter again finally. People around me complain, but I'm not feeling the winter hate this year at all. Autumn was so very graceful and the transition to winter was so very civil. There were no big ugly winds that brought dangerous ice storms. There was no early dumping of too much snow. It's just been brilliant.

It's been a long time since I felt welcoming toward the winter months. The winters of 1995/96 and 1996/97 really took all the fun out of it for me. Heading into the winter of 95/96 our ground was frozen solid on October 15. We saw temperatures as low as -50C that year. I was tending to a herd of goats in the barn back then and had a lot of outdoor work to do for them. That was the year I got a big fur hat. Spring was slow to come and it was just plain tough to get along.

My hat is something like this. The sides and back come down for better coverage if need be.

Our resident master trapper and all round country gentleman, Joe got hides for everyone of us, knowing we needed real warmth to cope. The kids got racoon skin hats and PU got an amazing beaver. I got a coyote and if it's not -50C I can't wear the darn thing or I'll cook, it's so warm.

The winter of 96/97 produced a big spring flood in the Red River basin. We had snow drifts behind the barn that winter that were as high as 4.5 meters. On one week shortly before the holidays, I over extended myself and ended up getting a really bad flu. I arose from the flu ordeal with a back injury. It took me ten weeks to get back to work. I was one very cantankerous guy for most of that time. That was, until I realized that I might have to live the rest of my life like that. Once that was understood, I lightened up considerably and set to work learning some silly John Prine tunes. It wasn't long after, that things began to look up.

A chiropractor saved me from myself and surgeons steel. I was referred to the chiropractor by a well respected surgeon, which I thought was outrageous. I'm not a believer, but I was compliant, earlier rather than later, ate shovels filled with crow after he saved my bacon and now I submit my respect. I still don't believe, but I've got a big stripe of oppositional behavior between me and most things.

Thirteen years it's been since winter looked to me like a good idea. I still don't have a snow blower that's working to it's potential and still I don't feel any anxiety with the forecast looking like we're headed for some quite seasonably cold weather. I love it. I love the smell!

There was a day last week where the humidity was snowing out of the clear blue sky. The wood will be tinder dry in no time at this rate. My thumbs are already developing fissures, but I really don't mind. I have my home made magic fixxy cream to glue those back together anyway. I just can't seem to shake the feeling that it's going to be a wonderful winter. Crazy right? I think I've finally lost my grip on the rudder. It feels fantastic though so don't pee in my oatmeal if you happen to dread the season of the dark. I'll be outside finding something to do there.

That sauce isn't going to last worth a darn.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Seasonal favourites

I've been grooving on classic audio books. Mp3 players are wonderful. Librivox has been seeing the most action. I sifted through the top 2700 downloads (UGLY!) and came up with the list below. Here are a couple of gems for the season.

The Gift of the Magi, by O. Henry

A Christmas Carol, by Charles Dickens

I've got a half dozen books downloaded. There seem to be many mundane tasks in my life that are better when I'm being read to. Some of my warmest memories are of being read to as a kid. It's like when someone else does the cooking. It's most often a pleasure for the differences in style. I'm heading into chapter nine of A Picture of Dorian Grey just now and loving it.

So many of these titles would never make the list again for me, but only because there are so many good books out there to read that I seldom re read anything. This is a great way to taste some of the classics again and not bite into my scant reading time.

Next is definitely going to be The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde for the haunting.

Image from Gore Girl's Dungeon - Hear Evil, See Evil, Speak Evil





















































Thursday, December 3, 2009

Snow blower

A detailed and lengthy effort to prepare a machine prior to it's duty cycle is no guarantee that it will be fit for service when required.

Machines can be vexing. Outside input is required. Fail.

It ran well enough to complete clearing the drive way, but the internal stresses were growing. On me! I stink like exhaust. Bah. Tea time. Watch and clock work is so much cleaner.