Wednesday, May 30, 2012

How I Spent My Summer Vacation

Ok, I recognize that this week was the official start of the summer season (and the solstice is a month away), but we have had the weather and the vacation already, so I am going to share.

The family and I decided to take advantage of the beautiful weather and take some much needed time away by camping out at the beautiful Lake Ouachita. The particular campground we chose is my absolute favorite place to camp. And I must add that this was the best camping trip I've had in years. So good, in fact, that it didn't bother me in the least when no one remembered Mother's Day. 

Part of the reason it was such a good trip is due to my hubby. This sweet man decided that since camping trips have traditionally been a lot of extra work - and hence no vacation - for me, he was going to make sure everyone pitched in and did their fair share. And he succeeded fabulously. 

I can't think of a better place to have morning devotions. Prayer takes on a whole new atmosphere, Bible study becomes deeper and more meaningful, and God feels so much closer when you are surrounded by creation. And the object lessons are out of this world.

While Hubby and the children did a lot of canoeing and swimming (cold, too cold!), I mostly enjoyed the scenery and the weather - which was absolutely gorgeous (with one exception, but that was timed perfectly, since the rain was overnight and while we were at church and didn't mar our outside time at all). I walked a bit, canoed a bit, rode my bike a bit - and knit a lot. I was on a deadline to finish a shawl for a friend's graduation. I chose Troy's Folly because it is beautiful and had a lot of simple stockinette to balance out the lace, which isn't my favorite thing to knit. (And it was the right size and yardage for the yarn I wanted to use.)

My sister, who is also the designer, blocked it for me when she came to visit (more about that in a bit). The yarn was hand dyed by me on a KnitPicks base. The colorway was totally an accident, the dye broke during the process, but oh, what a lovely result.

When I wasn't knitting, we went hiking together as a family. We found a previously unexplored (by us) trail with beautiful, huge trees and plenty of lovely scenery to admire. And as is usual in Arkansas, the relatively short trail meandered through several different biomes, each with its own unique and wonderful characteristics - so it was not only a thoroughly enjoyable hike, it was an interesting learning experience.
My son was afraid people would think he was hugging the tree. While he is a lover of the outdoors, I assured him that I would assure you it wasn't so. He is simply demonstrating the size of the tree.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch (ok, baby fowl do not qualify as a ranch, but I digress), our new babies were thriving under the care of our neighbors. Just before we left, we acquired a rather large number (for vegans with no use for chickens) of pullets, six baby ducks, and a turkey. Don't ask why, I can only say that I am not to be trusted in a feed store in the spring. I love them all. (While pullets aren't terribly expensive, building a coop with an attached run to protect them from foxes, stray dogs, and owls is. I scavenged as much as possible, but, um, whoa.)

Today was liberation day for them, the first time they were allowed to free range during the daytime. All went well, and all went peacefully to bed in the pen to be locked in for the night. Whew. (No comment on the nine tiny guineas currently residing in a box in the dining room. Not to be trusted, I tell you.)

After we returned, we helped out with some meetings and then the real fun began. My sister came to visit! I hadn't seen her in a year and we tried to squeeze as much as possible into the week she was able to stay.
The thing we were looking forward to the most was dyeing. Usually we dye yarn, but this time we focused on silk scarves and shawls. We tried wax resist, tie-dyeing, and anything else we could think of. 

It was so much fun, and so addictive I think I could happily do it for a living (and I may try that someday). After all was said and done, my sister took most of the finished scarves home with her (only fair since she paid for them, and I don't really wear scarves). My daughter and I kept our favorites, though.

Did I mention how much I love dyeing things?

Another thing we always do when she visits is go craft store hopping. It was a great opportunity for me to pick up some stitch marker supplies, and as a result I have added several new items to my Etsy shop. My absolute favorites are these:

Knitting mood markers! Each set of two beads comes with a fun chart to help you determine your knitting mood. Feeling stressed? Garter stitch scarves. Relaxed? Lace shawls. Plus other great suggestions. They are  a bit pricier than my other items, but totally worth it.

I hope your summer vacation is as fun and fulfilling as mine was, and that you encounter many wonderful object lessons from the Lord.

God bless,