Friday, December 30, 2011

Storm Mountain: Marmot Mitts 502

This is a two-part mitten. The inside is polar fleece with a cuff. The outside should be made of a waterproof/windproof fabric such as Commander, Goretex, etc.

I made size adult medium. I found the width to be way too wide, so in the pair below, I narrowed the pattern by 1/2" on each side, and then cut the outer mitt from the inner mitt pattern. I find that the outer mitt is too short, so you may want to add 1" to the cuff.

On the outer mitt, I added a reflective strip the the back and used fold over elastic instead of making a casing for elastic. I made these mittens for winter running!

This is my first try at the mittens. I had to narrow the inner mitt because it was so wide. I don't remember if I narrowed the outer mitt. I use these mitts for outdoor horse chores, which is why they have hay on the cuff! I do find them too wide, and the outer mitt too short. My hands would be warmer if they weren't so wide.

The pattern package. I bought it at a thrift store for dirt cheap. :)
It's a great pattern, after some adjustments.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Next door chores

I took care of my neighbour's chores for about 2 weeks this summer.

I collected 15-24 eggs each day. Mostly brown, with a few tan and green ones. That hen there I called "broody hen." She was allowed to sit on her eggs, but they never did hatch.

Feed and water the chickens. I love the sound of stampeding chicken feet when you throw them a few strawberries! There are around 30 of them, and one ugly rooster with no tail. The rooster isn't mean, it keeps it's distance. That is him at the back of the middle of the picture, the one with it's head up the highest.

The greenhouse. It is huge - probably 16' wide and 30' long. I checked it twice a day and watered and sprayed for aphids once in a while.

My house is hidden by the bushes behind the greenhouse. Takes seconds to get here.

And I checked on cats, making sure they had food and water. They have probably 15-20 cats! I have the twin of the cat on the right, but mine isn't fluffy. It has siamese blood in it. The fluffy one in this picture is lovely to pick up and pet. It's like a living stuffed animal. :)

I enjoyed doing their chores for a while, but I was also glad when the came home!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Calgary Energizer Night Race 2011

This was the first Energizer Night Race to be held in Canada, and I bought Stephen and myself entries as his Father's Day gift. There was both a 5k and 10k, and we did the 5k.

This is me at the finish line, before the start. I'm all in white, wearing a Nike skirt, Lululemon Race Tech tank and my lime green and purple FuelBelt (love the crazy colour combination!).

Stephen at the start wearing the long sleeved non-reflective shirt we got. Some people were wearing short sleeved shirts with reflective logos and reflective yellow stripes on the sides. I wish we got those shirts instead. :(

The race started at 9:30pm, after the sun went down, but before it was fully dark. Everyone was required to wear their Energizer headlamps. The headbands on them didn't tighten very far and I was worried that it might not stay on. I was right - by about 3.5k the rubber padding on the back of the lamp was soaking wet and it started slipping. I just held it in my hand for the rest of the way.

It was neat to see all the bobbing lights, especially at the turn arounds when you are passing people going the other way.

I ran as hard and as fast as I could manage. I had a goal in mind - 25 minutes, and hopefully a shot at placing in my age group. I passed a lot of people - sometimes running on the grass to get past them. The race route was on roads, through parking lots and on bike pathways and was well marked with pylons and lights.

There were very few people at the finish line. According to my iPod, I ran it in 25:03. When I got the official time, it was 24:47!!


At the awards presentation, I was hopeful that I placed... AND I DID! They announced my name and I got a medal (at a side table, not on stage)!!

I did more than placed, I GOT FIRST IN MY AGE CATEGORY!!!


Stephen ran it in 25:29, which was 4th in his age category! Nice job for his first race. It turns out that he can run. :) He was ahead or beside me for the first 2k, then I passed him and didn't see him until he finished.

Overall, this was a great race. They had a beer garden where you could get a free bottle of Molsen 67 - I got one, but it turns out that beer on an empty stomach after a hard run is a bad idea - I stopped drinking before I got sick. After race snacks were water bottles, FruitSource bars, some sort of trail mix packages I didn't notice the name on, and bags of potato chips. Other races I've been to had better food, but what they had here was okay.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Collecting eggs

I am taking care of my neighbour's chickens, cats and greenhouse while she is on vacation. And that includes collecting eggs, around 19-20 everyday, a mix of dark brown, tan, green and one mini!

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Friday, June 17, 2011

Overnight field trip

Eric's grade 4 class (and the grade 5 class) went on an overnight field trip to Head-Smashed-in buffalo jump and Frank Slide. I went along as a driver for the luggage.

First stop, Head-Smashed-in buffalo jump. This is where for 5800 years the native people herded bison towards a cliff, stampeded them over the edge, then processed them on the field below. Up to 300 bison could be killed at once!

We ate lunch outside then went on a guided tour of the Interpretative Centre. The movie they play of the buffalo jump is excellent! Afterwards, we visited the gift shop (highly exciting to the kids! I bought some stone arrowheads and a small courage eagle metal) and walked the lower trail in our groups (I had a group of 3 boys, including Eric).

I've been there before, but there were 3 things I really wanted to see: the gathering basin, stone cairns, and the painted skull. I saw 2 of them.

Eric at the jump location. The cliff is currently 10 metres tall, with 10 metres of bison bone deposits at the base. You can see the lower trail.

The way the centre and trails are located just below a slight rise, you can't see over the rise to the gathering basin. And of course, you can't just leave the trail and walk where ever you want. Darn. :(

Luckily, there were stone cairns that you can see from the upper trail. The stones were gathered from the immediate area and were used to prop up tree branches to help direct the bison towards the cliff.

Lastly, I wanted to see the skull. According to the book "Imagining Head Smashed In" by Jack W. Brink, it was painted by Joe Crowshoe and is the most powerful object at the centre. It was painted for display purposes, but is now indistinguishable from one that would be used in the Sundance and other ceremonies. It has been blessed at local Sundances. Some native peoples think it is too powerful to be placed on display. Interestingly, the display case it is in makes no mention of the skull or the power it has. That is sweet grass that it is stuffed with.

The cliff from the lower trail. The interpretive centre is mostly built into the hill, and blends in well. You can't even see the centre in this picture, but right above the boy on the trail is the upper lookout from the first picture.

There are tepees in the field that can be used by overnight school trips. I liked this view because it hides the fence around them! The rocky mountains in the distance.

From Head Smashed In, it was an hour's drive west to the Crowsnest Pass, and Turtle Mountain, the site of the Frank Slide. I've also been to Frank slide before (twice).

At 4:10am on April 29, 1902, 82 million tonnes of rock fell from Turtle Mountain and buried part of the town of Frank. Between 80 and 90 people were killed, and only a few bodies were ever recovered. The slide covered 3 square kilometres of the valley in rock up to 30 metres deep. The mountain is still unstable, and the south peak (the left peak in the photo below), will also fall at some time...

Eric and the class on a walk through the debris field, with Turtle Mountain in the background. The part between and below the two peaks with no trees is the slide area. It is still unstable.

The debris field at the base of the mountain. The rock is hiding from view a river, rail track and the #3 highway. It's much more impressive in person. Especially driving through it on the highway. The slide also covered a mine entrance, trapping miners inside. The miners were able to dig through a seam of coal to the surface, rescuing themselves before the rescue party managed to dig out the mine entrance.

We spent the night sleeping on the floor of the interpretative centre. I didn't get much sleep between the hard floor and giggling girls! And then the sun woke me up early the next morning. The mountain in the morning sun was beautiful however!

And yeah, the gift shop opened in the morning, and the kids spent like crazy! I bought a pretty little half geode for Leah, a shirt and several rocks for Eric, and a fossil ammolite necklace for myself.

We spent the morning learning about two other disasters in the immediate area. First up, a tour of the Bellevue Mine. In 1910, an explosion killed 30 miners, and one rescuer. We put on hard hats, a head light and a heavy battery pack, and entered the mine with a guide.

Eric and I, ready to go in!

Inside the mine. Our head lamps are the only light. It's cold and damp inside, about 2c with water dripping from the rock and a stream flowing past on the left side behind the fence. It smells of sulfur.

The guide talking about the coal cars. This car has the miner's number written on it, and circled just above the number, his metal tag. The miners were only paid for the weight of coal they mined. They received no salary. Note the angle of the walls. At this point of the mine, the walls and ceiling were skewed, while the floor was level.

At the farthest point of the tour, we stopped and everyone turned off their lights to see how completely dark the mine is.

On the way out, we got to take a piece of coal. I am now the proud owner of my very own lump of coal! :)

And yeah, another little gift shop! Eric bought some more rocks, and I bought obsidian arrowheads (poorly made, but I've always wanted to have an arrowhead, and now I have two), and six magnetized hematite stones to use as cool and strong fridge magnets.

Next, we learned about the Hillcrest Mine disaster. In 1914, 189 miners died in an explosion. We were not able to visit the actual mine as it is now private property, but we did visit the general area and could still see the coal coming out of the hill where mine buildings used to be. Each kid was given a name tag with a miner's name and short biography.

We visited the cemetery where the miners were buried. The kids had to play a "game" where they answered questions about the deceased miners (what was his brother's name, how old was he when he died, what is the picture on their headstone, etc.)

The monument at the cemetery.

Eric was Dan Cullinan, a miner.

Dan Cullinan died in the explosion and was listed on the monument.

Dan Cullinan's headstone.
The view of Turtle mountain from the cemetery. You can see the slide area on the right.

It was a great trip, and the weather was just right. It was very windy at points, but that's normal for this part of the the province - there were wind turbines EVERYWHERE to make use of the wind. It didn't rain until we left for home.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Ugly Kitchen

Needed a place to put this picture to enter it in a contest! This kitchen needs a make over!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

It's a bit wet out here. Record snow falls this winter makes for water over roads! The county came out and cleared the culvert under the road, so it's not flooded anymore.

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Thursday, March 31, 2011

One Yard Wonders sewing book

From the One Yard Wonders book by Rebecca Yaker. This book is okay, just okay. There are a lot of baby and children's patterns, so if you don't have kids, or young enough kids to sew for, a good third of the patterns will be useless to you.

I tried 3 of the patterns: lunch placemats, smock and banana bag.

The front of my smock. It's pretty dowdy, not exactly something you will wear out of the house! Not that I would, I made to use as an apron to protect my good clothes while cooking. The instructions were easy and it turned out quite well. I used a rolled hem on all the edges instead of using binding or narrow hems as the pattern calls for.

I'm not happy with the way the smock closes at the back. The ties are just out of reach for tying them yourself. But you can pull up the shoulders to reach the ties and then tie them, ackwardly, behind your back. I might add velcro or snaps to the back as well since I'm thin enough that the back edges overlap and I could pull it tighter around the body.

I made the Bohemiam Banana bag, and it turned out nicely, but with lots of fiddling and handsewing to get it right! I couldn't find wide decorative ribbon at FabricLand, so I used plain black "carpet binding", and made it longer so it would hang just where I wanted it. If you use the length in the book, it's too short to put over your shoulder. The directions for adding the zipper are truly lacking. It just says to hand sew in the zipper! That's it. The pattern doesn't allow for easily adding the zipper, if you just sew it in, it pulls at the edges or leaves open spaces. I fixed those problems by using some of the strap material to fill in the gaps at either side and minimize the transition between the zipper and strap.

Lastly, I made the placemat with the pocket for cutlery and strap for holding down your napkin. It's a good, easy, basic pattern and I have no complains. Sorry, I didn't get around to taking a picture of it! I used some of the leftover fabric to make a matching cloth napkin.

I borrowed this book from my local library, and that's how I'd suggest you try. I don't think this book is worth the patterns in it, unless you will be using the baby patterns.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Snow day

The strong winds and snow on Saturday night and all day Sunday made some cool snow drifts.

My horse, Dizzy in the blanket, Twinkle the shetland in the foreground, and the black head just above her withers is Sunny, laying down.

The tallest drift is in the riding arena, the fence is 4.5 feet, and it's just slightly taller. The kids use this one as a slide.

Smokie the cat came out to play, climbed right on Eric, a got an Eric sled ride down the drift!

The drifts in the front yard. The snow fence did too good a job... Leah is sitting on a 3-4 foot drift.

This is the top corner of the pasture, the drift going right over the fence. Hopefully the horses aren't going to try to walk over... The snow is packed hard enough to hold our weight, but probably not the weight of a horse!