Wednesday, July 28, 2010

addendum to making update

For some reason I completely forgot about the baby kimono for Irish Girl's little baby, who's due any moment now. Aaaannnnnyyyyyy moment...

But this addendum allows me to post a photo that cracks me up about my slightly "off-center" cat, Loki, who is caught here inexplicably licking a T shirt (fresh out of the laundry).

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

"making" update

Someone recently asked if I was still knitting since they hadn't seen any recent blog posts about stuff I'd made... I guess I'd been posting things on ravelry, but not the blog.

Anyway, for those who are interested... here are a few of the things I've made lately.

This is a notebook cover that I finished today, has a pocket for pens etc., and you can replace the notebook inside whenever you run out of blank pages.

These are freaking awesome socks that I finished early this spring. I love this pattern.

This is a vest that I got a little carried away knitting while listening to Paul Stamets' mushroom talk, consequently it ended up being extremely long...

And finally, this is my soon-to-be finished cardigan made from lambswool from Finland. All that's left is half of the button band, but I am awaiting one more ball of yarn from Finland in order to accomplish this.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Drunk Bug

Well, the story isn't very good, but the bug kept me occupied for an extended period of time one morning, and this is what happened.

J had several people over for dinner, and left pretty much one sole item out on the deck area. A small plastic cup with a small quantity of warmish wine in it.

In the morning, I saw a substantial (Bermuda cockroach size, only without the big wide cockroach top - it looked kindof like what I would imagine a naked cockroach to look like I guess) bug inside the cup. The bug, now established as a drunk, naked and clearly disoriented cockroach, did not look particularly comfortable in the cup. Well, I'm sure that many have awoken disoriented, still drunk, and possibly even naked, in an unknown locale...

Anyway, back to the bug. We thought we'd help it out by tipping the cup over so that the bug could walk (stagger) out to freedom. After an inordinately long period of time the bug made its way to the edge of the cup and started to lick (not sure if bugs CAN lick... but this is what it looked like) each and every leg and antennae, slowly and deliberately, but still inside the cup. Whenever a soft breeze blew by (frequently) the cup rolled around in circles and the bug would cling on until it stopped, then continue the licking. I was figuring that the bug was drying itself off from the overnight wine bath.

Eventually the bug made it to the outside of the cup, but it did not actually get off the cup, instead it perched on the lip and obsessively began "licking" its right antenna. Then a breeze would blow and the cup would roll around - on top of - the bug, which kept on hanging on (even though now it was outside the cup and getting onto the deck would have been very easy and convenient).

This went on. And on. Finally the bug lost its grip on the cup and I took it away, but even so, the bug kept on licking that one antenna... weird.

Bug. Continuing to lick? its right antenna.

And now for something completely different

A while ago I sent a square I made out of one of my derby T shirts (the one where my name was spelled wrong) to contribute to the Roller Derby Quilt project. My original submission is here, and you can see it sewn into the quilt (under a cat) here.

What's totally cool, is that this project is actually a collaborative art project for Dreadnaught's thesis somewhere in Boston! Even more awesome that our team is a part of it, and that I got an invite to the thesis exhibition... not that I can make it, but either way, the thought is what counts!

Further - she's going to try and self-publish this quilt project as a book, so if you feel like supporting her, I bet she'd really appreciate it.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Lassen 2010

When I first came to Bakersfield, I made it a sort-of goal to hike around all the places that I had lab assignments for my physical geology class. One of the less accessible, but more spectacular (in my opinion), locations on the list was Lassen Park - including: Bathtub Lake, Mt Lassen, Prospect Peak, Cinder Cone and the Fantastic Lava Beds. On my 2008 visit, I got around some of these places and a whole lot of others. This year, I was getting up Prospect Peak (a shield volcano), thus completing the circuit of the 3 different types of volcanoes one can hike up in the park.

Unfortunately, I somehow forgot about this year's unbelievable (but welcome) quantity of precipitation, and was not expecting my route through the park to be under 15-30 feet of snow. This caused some detours, WAY more driving, but did not hinder the Prospect Peak plan.

I first went to Warner Valley, a not-so-easily-accessible part of this already not accessible park, and hiked around Devil's Kitchen and Boiling Springs Lake.

The view of Mt. Lassen from Boiling Springs Lake.

A blond bear cub on my hike to Devil's Kitchen, this was a quick snap as I promptly kept walking (trotting) along the trail... only truly moronic idiots linger by bear cubs.

North of Lassen Park is Burney Falls State Park, so on my detour I went up to see the falls. The falls are pretty cool because there's a cap layer of volcanic rock on top, which the river flows over, but the main aquifer rock (vesicular basalt) is below the recent volcanic flow, and so loads of spring water from the perched water table gush out the wall of the waterfall too.

Then I went up Soldier Mountain to have a look at the surrounding area. Mt Shasta looked back at me tauntingly, and I could almost hear on the wind "haha you didn't summit me". Curse you Mt. Shasta. I'll be back. Just you wait.

And finally, on my last day, in a minor thunderstorm, I hiked up Prospect Peak.

The problem with Prospect Peak as a hike is that it is basically a forest on top of the shield volcano. So you're in dense trees hiking straight uphill for 3 or so miles with no reprieve OR VIEW until you actually get to the top. Once at the top you can see Mt. Lassen (behind me), Mt Shasta, and all other wonderful things - like in my case: giant thunderheads, lightening... Of course since I was also ascending in the high humidity of a storm, the atmospheric composition was something like 80% mosquitoes. Arrrgh. Well, the ONLY plus of the mosquitoes was that it prevented me from stopping and resting at all on the hike up, and pushing myself to hike at top speed (thank goodness I decided to bring my camelback this time), and reached the summit half an hour sooner than expected.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Crocuta crocuta

For the last four summers now, I've made a pilgrimage up to Plumas National Forest in the northern Sierra Nevada, near Janesville. The place is called "Crocuta" after the funny sounding name of the spotted hyena, named over 40 years ago, even before the cabin below was built by my friend J.

Late last summer J built a second outhouse to accommodate some 30 people camped in and around his meadow.

I thought the ladies' room was a little plain, so during this year's visit I decided to begin decorating it a little. I found this mosaic-y hanging at the Blackhawk Solar Cookoff, which was an awesome hippie festival in Taylorsville nearby.

I also ripped this out of a magazine because it made me laugh.

Crocuta is rife with your standard cute forest critters. This golden mantle was being a little odd on the deck I thought... but cute, and so I had to take a picture.

Behind the cabin is the "feeding rock", which is where leftovers that just didn't make it go, and where they are almost immediately gobbled up by squirrels, chipmunks, beldings, golden mantles, scrub jays... you name it. I love the body position on this little guy too!

A new discovery this summer was a tree fungus growing high up on Lodgepole - I know very little about fungi, but thanks to my experience at the LA Mushroom Fair, I thought that maybe, just maybe, this might be an Agarikon?

Deep in the wilds of backcountry driving Plumas National Forest we came to the "rose quartz mine" (it's not a mine) - this photo shows the colour best, it was quite remarkable. If only we had some dynamite!

Finally, J needed a haircut, and digging around the bathhouse, found a little something from 1938:

Coupled with these:

They were quite stiff, and I figured they needed a good cleaning, so I took them apart, and I'm pretty sure that a large part of the issue was the LIVE spider and FULL nest that existed on the interior. The spider was less than pleased to be extracted with my careful toothpick operation, but I didn't kill it (or its future offspring), so it should be happy enough...

Friday, July 16, 2010

Year of the (Wood) Rat

Among all the cute and furry woodland critters we see every year up at Crocuta, are the largely nocturnal and highly destructive woodrat. They're unbelievably cute!

However, this one (above) consumed an entire futon. So... well, he had to go. In fact, nearly every day of the two weeks I was up there in the northern Sierra Nevada, one of these (not-so) little guys was caught. Mostly they were caught in these "have a heart" traps and then released somewhere slightly more wildernessy than the cabins.

However, not all the rats were so lucky. Mikey (above) is a notorious rat hunter, believe it or not... this old, small, but fiesty, rat terrier lives up to his name, and one evening (during dinner of course) he came trotting by and off into the forest with a rat the size of his head in his mouth...

We caught this little guy, clearly in his awkward pre-teens, and set about releasing him where we had sent his (presumably) mama the day before. We were sure he wanted to be free, but clearly he was hesitant about life outside the bars (see video below). Believe it or not, these silly creatures actually go for CELERY as bait!