Saturday, September 30, 2006

Beware of Falling Chestnuts!

It's that time of year again... when I brace myself either biking or pulling the two boys in the wagon down 10th Avenue, that I hope the chestnuts don't clonk one of us on our heads! There have been times biking home from work at night that I'll hear a mass of them fall on the hoods of cars sounding like a heavy hailstorm on a tin roof. I always thank my lucky stars that I've not been hit once since moving into this neighbourhood five years ago.

The boys and I were out with the wagon yesterday, which is what got me thinking about the chestnut hazard on the way to the library. The reason why we hauled our books to the library with the wagon was because our car had not just one flat, but two flat tires. Someone with way too much time on their hands and a warped sense of humour, decided to let the air out of my car tires (on the driver's side)and those of several other cars down my street on Wednesday morning. Just my luck. Oh well, the boys enjoyed the sunny autumn day by collecting a pile of chestnuts to and from the library.

As promised, above are pictures of some knitting that I finished on our vacation. It's my first ever pair of completed socks knit using the Magic Loop Method. You can still see the lines down the sock where the knitting was divided in half for the magic loop! I sure hope these lines disappear with some blocking or washing. Still, I'm pretty thrilled to have completed a pair of socks!

M's Socks

Pattern: Wendy's Toe-up Socks
Size: Calculation based on a 9" foot circumference
Yarn: Trekking XXL Color 90
Needles: Addi-Turbo Circulars (2.5mm)
Notes: Love this sock pattern! It's so simple once you get the short-row technique. The only trouble I had was picking up the stitches to close up holes, in a neat way, between the "live" stitches and the instep once the heel was completed.

Other projects on the go include my crocheted and embroidered hats. I just love the beautiful swirl created by this crochet hat pattern. I thought it was about time to update the shop with a few fall hats. I'm working slowly, but there's more to come, including the acorn tassel hats.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Back to Saltspring

Our cabana and the paddleboat that M likes so much.

I don't think I'll ever tire of going to Saltspring Island, which is why I wanted to finish our vacation here. It's such a lovely place! The Saturday Market, the local farms, the sheep, the spinners, the small town hospitality, St. Mary's Lake, Ruckle, the "hippy" shop I like so much near the Fulford Ferry Terminal, and all those apple trees, are all what makes this place so special. One more thing to add to this list, now that we've experienced it, is the Fall Fair, Saltspring's biggest community event of the year.

The last two nights of our vacation on Saltspring were spent at Lakeside Gardens. We stayed in one of their two cottages last year and loved it. Unfortunately, the cottages were booked by the time I phoned this year to reserve, so we booked a cabana instead. Cabanas, all wired with electrical outlets and equipped with coffeemaker, tea kettle, mini fridge, lighting, fan, and heater, resembled a doll house with a loft bed (complete with bedding) and small, comfortable sitting area that could be converted into sleeping quarters for two. Each cabana was also equipped for cooking and dishwashing on its deck overlooking St. Mary's Lake.

At Fall Fair for some old-fashioned fun--so unlike the PNE!

The highlight of our stay at Saltspring has got to be the Fall Fair. We didn't plan our trip to coincide with the fair, but lucky for us, we had the opportunity to attend THE annual community event, and eat the best pie, talk to spinners while they were spinning, see blue-ribbon squash, watch old farm machines work, and best of all, see D and R have a fun time. D actually forgot about his hand injury while playing with clay, watching the zucchini races (zucchinis "souped up" as racing vehicles), bouncing in the "bouncy castle", participating in a candy toss (hunting for candy tossed into a pile of hay), climbing onto some old tractors, and admiring the prize-winning, super sugar-laden cakes decorated by the preschooler to K group entries.

The boys with some quiet activity time after dinner in the cabana. Can you see that D figured out there were games on the cell phone?

So when D was asked his favourite part of our vacation, he did say, "going home," but I guess six nights is a long time to be away from home for a four-year-old. Besides, vacations are usually meant to elicit a greater appreciation for home.

Below is a ranking by D of our accommodations with #1 being the best.

#1 Cabana #12 at Lakeside Gardens (Saltspring Island)
#2 Tent camping (Site #14) on MacKenzie Beach
#3 Clayoquot Field Station (Room #7)--D remembered that some of the teachers and students there didn't offer him any pie the first evening

We're just happy that tent camping didn't end up being in last spot, as one of the intentions of this trip was to introduce the boys to camping. The only disappointment was not being able to have a campfire to roast marshmallows. Oh well, next time.....

A wee bit of knitting content to come in the next post.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Vacation and The Mouse Hand Injury

We're all very glad to be home in our own beds and bathroom. We're also happy to be living in Vancouver where there is no water shortage and no extreme water restrictions. It was one vacation which helped us to slow down and rest just a little, or as much as we could manage as D whined incessantly to go home the first four days while getting used to not having a computer and television to entertain him. In fact, it was quite an eye-opening trip as to just how attached D was to the computer at home.

This is the beautiful rocky beach that we reached via the boardwalk from the property of the Tofino Botanical Gardens.

The first four days of our vacation was spent in the Tofino and Long Beach area. We stayed in three different locations on our entire trip to keep things interesting for the boys. Monday, our travel day to Vancouver Island, began at the Horseshoe Bay Ferry Terminal where we caught the 12:30pm ferry to Nanaimo and then drove to the Clayoquot Field Station and the Tofino Botanical Gardens, our accomodations for our first two nights. We stayed in a dorm-style room (Room #7), which was made up of four bunks, and a small study area. Cooking, living and bathroom facilities were shared with other surfers, teachers and students. We originally wanted to book the teacher suite with our own private bathroom, but it wasn't available for our first night so, we just rented an entire bunk room to ourselves, which did us just fine. The Clayoquot Field Station is a new and unique facility for all those wishing to study and explore the Clayoquot area. Our two days here were spent leisurely exploring the beautiful Tofino Botanical Gardens (which incorporated many different forms of art and sculpture--including live wandering chickens and roosters), the beaches, and visiting the town of Tofino.

There was a moment on our second day of vacation, however, that just left M and me speechless. As we were checking out and reserving our campsite for Wednesday and Thursday at Bella Pacifica, D fell and scraped the palm of his left hand. As expected, he fell apart and took some time to calm down before allowing us to clean and wrap up his hand with gauze. Later that evening as we were changing the dressing on his hurt hand in Room #7 of the Clayoquot Field Station, he came to this sudden realization as to just how lucky he was that he had not injured his "mouse" hand, the hand with which he uses for navigating his online games using the mouse! Was I ever floored by my just-recently-turned-four-year-old's lightbulb moment response! I have to admit that I have a healthy interest in the computer, but I just didn't realize how much my interest was rubbing off on D. Boy, do I have to limit his time on the computer! This trip has also reaffirmed my feelings that we have to take more trips like this to "unplug"--at least once or twice a year, maybe more, so that the boys don't grow to miss the computer more than spending time with their family and friends or with their natural surroundings. We do have another excuse to go camping again, as we didn't quite experience the full camping experience. There was a fire ban throughout the island due to a dry summer, so the boys didn't even get the chance to experience a real crackling campfire with ooey, gooey toasted marshmallows.
Here is just a sampling of the art found in the Tofino Botanical Gardens.

Wednesday and Thursday was spent camping on a beautiful beachfront site (#14) at the Bella Pacifica Campground situated on MacKenzie Beach, a short distance from the field station on the other side of the highway. We had a very sunny, but windy day for setting up our tent, but the view of the beach was just breathtaking. D and R didn't play in the sand too much the first day, since the wind was so annoying, but the winds died down in the evening. D and R got used to playing in the tent and enjoyed using all our flashlights when the sun set. We had all of Thursday to enjoy the beach, swing in the hammock, laze around, and even knit. A big thank you to M for doing all of the cooking, even when it started to rain before dinner on our last night at MacKenzie Beach.Here is the view from our tent as M sleeps on the hammock.
Here the boys are having fun beachcombing and chasing waves on MacKenzie beach the morning before leaving our campsite.

I'll have to report on the last part of our vacation (on Saltspring Island)in my next post. I hear D and R fighting and screaming in the living room......

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Goin' Camping

Sorry, no photos today! We've been busy planning and preparing for a camping trip to Vancouver Island. We'll be gone for a whole week and it will be the boys first real camping trip with tents. We won't be in a tent for the whole week, but will be for two days, at least. We can't wait to get on that ferry tomorrow morning. I'll make up for the picture-less post next time.