Showing posts from May, 2014

From the Bookshelf: The Faraway Horses

I do owe you a report/review on The Last Queen, which I promise I'll get to, but I need to get caught up on one final vacation read, Buck Brannaman's The Faraway Horses.  I picked this up (thanks to wifi at our rental house!) on vacation for a nice easy read.

If you aren't familiar with Buck Brannaman, he's the horse trainer who Robert Redford's character in The Horse Whisperer is based on, and he served as a wrangler/trainer/consultant for the horses in that film as well.

While I was mostly interested in this book for the horse-related anecdotal stories about his life (he began as a kid trick-roping prodigy with his older brother), as well as various horse-training tidbits, the human story of a kid who really had a tough go as a youngster and where he is today would be of interest to anyone who likes memoirs, I think.  His mother was a severe diabetic and wound up dying when her two boys were fairly young, although they had already entered the rodeo/trick roping c…

10 on Tuesday: Things I did this weekend

1.  Took some naps.  It was lovely - cool and rainy here for a lot of the weekend.
2.  Worked on my final men's-sized sample for The Book.  Almost finished!
3.  Knit on another Book sample - a shawl this time.
4.  Made some great pulled pork BBQ in the crockpot.
5.  Had a nice visit with friends for Memorial Day itself.
6.  Worked my first set of "real schedule" shifts at my new job post-training.
7.  Finished reading The Last Queen.  (Another post on that to come this week.)
8.  Watched a couple of good movies with D.
9.  Got accepted into the Heart of NM Fiber Festival in late September (woot!).
10.  Kicked back and relaxed!!  The whole point of a holiday weekend, I think!

Fairwater Cardigan

Finally some knitting I can actually talk about!  I finished knitting this sample LAST July, if you can believe that, but between one thing and another that took priority, I wound up putting this on the back burner through the winter but finally got the grading finished so it can be released.  

This is the Fairwater Cardigan.  It's knit with a laceweight yarn for the body, and a fingering weight yarn for the garter stitch stripes and bands.  I used Wooly Wonka's Thalia Lace and Nimue Sock, both merino/silk blends, in the colorway Ensign.

The cardi is knit from the bottom hem up to the armholes.  The sleeves are knit in the round, then everything is joined and knit up thru the yoke to the neckline.  I chose to just put buttons at the yoke, but it would work just as well with a row of buttons the entire length of the front.  The body of the sweater is slightly sheer, very lightweight and drapey, and the sweater has a pretty slight A-line shape to it for easy in layering over a t…

10 on Tuesday: 10 Things You Want to Try

1.  A really good, really old bottle of wine.
2.  High-level dressage.

3.  Freeform quilting.
4.  Weaving on a Jacquard loom.
5.  Making beef Wellington.
6.  Reading an entire book in it's original language - other than English.
7.  Designing a house.
8.  Watercolor painting.
9.  Horse wrangling for the movies.
10.  Knitting up my entire stash.  (HA!  The least likely to happen on this list!).


We had a lovely weekend here - just about perfect late spring weather.  D and I did some yard clean-up jobs and I am hoping the last of the snow/cold weather is done around here.  (Last week's upper 20s and flurries were very unkind to several things in the veggie garden!)  I replanted my basil, which hadn't made it thru 2 cold snaps, and I picked up a few plants to pop into the boxes on the deck and a couple of other planters we have.

This past week also marked the end of a long-time job for me - my last day was Tuesday.  While I will still be working, it'll be a new company (which so far seems to be MUCH less likely to make me crazy to the level I had been with the old one), and I'm cutting back to 24 hours a week, which is ALSO much less likely to make me as crazy as I had been with the prior schedule.  D and I celebrated with a nice cookout kind of dinner and some wine on Friday night, which was a great way to kick off the weekend as well.

Since my work schedule i…

From the Bookshelf: A Dark Dividing

While on holiday, I finished reading A Dark Dividing by Sarah Rayne.

I'm not gonna lie to you - this book is creepy and weird.  I'm not necessarily against those things, but the people in this story are really not right.  The most normal of the characters are the two sets of conjoined twins born 80 years apart that serve as the bookend points for this work.

I read another book by this author that combines historical mystery with historical fiction and some interesting intertwined story lines.  I really enjoyed that book (Ghost Song), which was just the right blend of spookiness and intrigue that I kept turning the pages.  I wanted to like the concept of this book - I just couldn't get there.

The basic storyline is follows a mystery surrounding a pair of conjoined twins born at the turn of the century, whose story unfolds in bits and pieces throughout the book from diary excerpts from their mother, and another set of twins, born 25 years or so ago, one of whom supposedly di…

10 on Tuesday: 10 Things You Wish You Knew More About

1.  Graphics.  I wish I had a better skill set for things like creating logos, doing layout, creating ads.  Working on it, but definitely a long way to go!
2.  Local plants.  Growing up back east, I spent a lot of time with my gram who loved to garden and knew the names of just about every plant you could point out to her, wild or cultivated.  Things are different here in NM.  Lots of local plants I just am not as familiar with as I'd like.
3.  Mechanics.  Most cars today are all run via computer, but it'd still be nice to know how to take a motor apart and get it back together with a diagnosis of whatever ails it.
4.  Math.  Exciting, I know.  I have a bad math phobia, helped along by a little numbers dyslexia.  I'd love to have an easier approach to dealing with math in all it's forms - I'm not talking quantum physics here - long division would be enough.
5.  Crochet.  I'll admit it - I have really limited skills here. It'd be nice to know something beyon…

Hawaii: Part 2

Wednesday, D and I decided to do a little driving tour, so we headed back up the east coast to just north of Hilo to take in a botanical garden.  There are several in the area - this part of Hawaii gets a lot of rainfall and it's definitely more tropical feeling than the Kona side of the coast, so a great place for tropical plants.  We opted for the one without the ziplines and Segway rides; just the plants for me, please.  This garden was originally an estate that has been donated into a trust and it's absolutely GORGEOUS.  It houses all kinds of trees, but also literally thousands of plants, nicely laid out and marked well.  You can spend as much time as you want wandering down the gorge to the ocean, and then back again.

From exotic plants like this hanging from vines....

To some gorgeous waterfalls from multiple little creeks on the property.....

To oddities like these dwarf ornamental pineapple plants.....

We really enjoyed our several hours here.  We finished off the day…

Hawaii: Part One

We are back from a week-long trip in Hawaii!  Long-time friends will note my last full week off was when D and I went to Ireland.  Which will be ten years ago as of July - FAR too long for an actual vacation for us!

We vacationed on the Big Island, flying into Kona last Saturday.  We had decided to rent a house for the week, which was actually much closer to Hilo (on the eastern coast), but since we were trying to use D's points with Delta to cover the tickets, we took what we could get and that got us into Kona.  Knowing we'd have about 3 hrs of driving across the island, we also used some of his Hilton points (yeah... he travelled a lot last year), and stayed at the Hilton Waikolola Resort for a night after we first arrived.  We got upgraded to a lovely oceanview room with a balcony for our 1-night stay there.

We woke up to some gorgeous early morning sunlight and hung out for a while on our balcony.  This is really a stunning resort - tons of walking trails and multiple res…