Fall

Things to Do With Your Husband #12: Yard Work

Whether it is landscape planting in the spring, mowing and weed-pulling in the summer, or leaf-raking in the fall and winter, yards require a lot of maintenance. This is work that can be fun if you have a little company. We have two very large oak trees in our front yard (and something like five in the back) that color beautifully in the fall.

Living among the gorgeous oranges, yellows, and reds is truly amazing. I am reminded each time I look or step outside that God is the greatest Artist.

Those painted leaves turn brown and crunchy, and a chill north wind blows through…

… and then I am reminded why we call this season

FALL.

before

before

The leaves have begun to fall. And when these two huge white oaks drop leaves… they really, really drop them!

Nate and I decided to tag-team this job. One of us raked and piled leaves while the other trekked to and from the burn pile in the backyard with the wheel-barrow. We swapped roles as my back started to hurt from raking, and then my feet tired of wheeling.

during

during

We raked and hauled fire fuel for about 6 hours that day… and only cleared the front yard of leaves!

after!

after!

The work was tiring, but enjoyable. We whittled away the time chatting and laughing as we plowed our way through the blanket of fallen leaves. There is something about hard work that does a body good.

And there is something about working together towards a common goal that does a relationship good.

The front yard looks again as if we never spent those 6 hours out there. Guess we need to do some more good, tiring work.

Year of Crafting: 2012 Comments

The YoC: 2012 post was getting quite long, so I’m publishing my thoughts on it all separately.

The project I am most proud of is JJ & Hilary’s Wedding Quilt. The design process was great fun, as was the actual work. For a first quilt, I think it turned out very nice, especially considering the size of it! Also, I have seen it in use at the recipients’ home, which tells me they like it, too.

The project I am most disappointed with is a tie between the QR Code Throw Pillow and Mason’s Blanket. The entire blanket was a disappointment, and it was made worse by the fact that I had doubts in the beginning. I knew right away that the pattern was not very good and the yarn was not a good match, but knit I did. It’s no wonder I was displeased with the result. But the Throw Pillow–ah, that’s a different kind of disappointment. I was so excited, so hopeful, that it would scan once knitted up and it did, at first anyway. When I finished the pillow form, though, it no longer scanned due to a small error of mine–I did not knit wide enough “borders” to accommodate the curve of the pillow! It was a project that began so well and looked promising until the end.

I am pleased that I knit more socks this year, as I had hoped. I completed four pairs! They took a cumulative 103 days to complete: the longest was Nate’s Socks at 51 and the shortest were my Rippling Ribs Socks at just 11 days. This tells me that with a lot of knitting time available, I can finish a woman’s pair of socks in about two weeks. 🙂 I’ve impressed myself!

Here are my craft-related goals for the new year:

  1. I’d like to sew more projects. I have a dress in the works that I ought to finish, as it’s been languishing for almost a year. It is a project that I can already tell is not turning out well, which makes it difficult to finish. I have fabric and a pattern for a button-down dress shirt for myself that I would like to finish in the new year.
  2. I would like to do more quilting this year. I hope to use up some of the fabric left from the Wedding Quilt to make a couple of wall-hangings, small pieces that will be good quilting practice. It is something I should have done before jumping into a queen-sized gift quilt!
  3. I have been watching videos recently of needle-turn applique, and it looks like something I would enjoy. I hope to learn that in the new year also–I might be able to practice it on one of the wall-hangings I make to practice quilting.
  4. I’ve been reading a lot about cold-process soap-making and really, really hope to try that in the spring (hopefully when we are moved into a new house!). The entire process and the science behind it is quite intriguing, so I have been taking notes and making plans for that. I don’t want to spend a lot of money just to try it, in case I do not find it enjoyable, which is why I am doing a lot of planning in advance.
  5. I have wanted, for a couple of years now, to learn bead crochet. It may have to wait a while, though, because soap-making and applique are higher on my list.
  6. In the knitting world, I’d like to try colorwork. It looks like a great opportunity is presenting itself, but as details are still being negotiated, you will have to wait to hear more about that.
  7. Also in the realm of knitting is more sock-making. I enjoy wearing hand-knit socks much more than I expected, and I find myself disappointed when my three pairs are dirty. I figure that’s a sign that I should knit more. 🙂
  8. I’d like to learn how to incorporate beads into knitted works, too. See number 9 for more details.
  9. I would like to knit another lace piece. I have a project planned that will use the rest of the lace yarn from my Swallowtail and will give me a chance to use beads.
  10. And finally, I want to finish the cross-stitch project I’ve had in the works for about 7 years in time for my sister’s birthday in June. She helped me pick it out so long ago, and I told her I would stitch it for her. I am over halfway done, and am expecting to finish it by June, if not  sooner.

Down Memory Lane

Things to Do With Your Husband #11: See it Again

It is great fun to return to a previously enjoyed place, especially at a different time of year. This weekend, we took a one-night camping trip back to our honeymoon location, Petit Jean Mountain. Our honeymoon was in August, and we stayed in a house. The mountain looked quite different this time around.

The mountains were brushed with burnt oranges, deep reds, and cheerful yellows. The weather was crisp and chilly, but a welcome change from the burning heat of the August sun.

We stopped at an overlook we’d seen previously–the one that gives a nice view of the Arkansas River.

We  visited another overlook that we’d seen before–the Palisades Overlook.

In this comparison, you can see the difference in the foliage. Also, the sky looks bluer because when we visited in August, it was rainy most of the time.

On Sunday, we had a couple of hours to spend before heading out, so we drove out to an overlook we didn’t see last time–the Mary Ann Richter Memorial Overlook.

Richter Memorial Overlook

It allowed some beautiful views over the Arkansas River Valley. Petit Jean River also flows through here.

AR River Valley

more fall foliage

After taking in the sights here, we headed home. On our way, we made a quick detour to visit my best friend and meet her new little bundle of joy. It was a great weekend. I highly encourage you to take a trip somewhere you’ve been before, perhaps at a different time of year. Being in a familiar place brings back those happy memories while you create new ones.

Hike to the Falls

Things to Do With Your Husband #10: Take a Hike

Over the weekend, we took a one-night camping trip to Petit Jean State Park. Since our honeymoon there over two years ago, I wanted to return and hike the Cedar Falls Trail that is rated “moderate” for its steep, rocky steps and path that leads to the bottom of Cedar Falls. After checking into our campsite and having a quick lunch, we drove to the trail head which begins behind Mather Lodge.

Mather Lodge overlook

Cedar Falls Trail head

We began the descent on steps cut from the rocky mountain face more than 50 years ago by the Civilian Conservation Corps. The first 1/2 mile is a winding path that ends 200 feet below in the canyon of Cedar Creek. We passed huge stacks of rocks…

looking up

… and came to a rickety metal bridge spanning Cedar Creek.

one-lane bridge

The creek wasn’t flowing very much, but we would occasionally spot small pools of green-blue water littered with orange, red, and yellow leaves.

leaves

Finally, the pay-off for the walk: beautiful Cedar Falls. The water falls more than 90 feet into the canyon with high rock walls, like a bowl holding a stunning, deep pool of green below.

waterfall

pretty pool below

There were many people around, but we took a rest on a large rock, taking in our surroundings. Then, we began the hike back up, which was noticeably more difficult, but totally worth it. I was so proud of myself for making the hike. We enjoyed the sights and sounds; we oohed and aahed over the fall foliage, trickling creek, and huge boulders performing balancing acts on the path’s edge.

Bonus photo: we spotted some tiny carpet rocks on the way back!

size comparison: toe of a boot

I am so glad we were able to hike this trail after two years of regretting we didn’t before. It was difficult, but completely worth it. If there is something you are regretting not doing, I encourage you to speak with your husband about it–see if it would be possible to try again. For a long time, I didn’t tell Nate because I worried about his reaction. I worried he would think me silly for regretting something like that. He didn’t, though. He understood and was eager to give me an opportunity to try.

Date at the Lake

Things to Do With Your Husband #9: Outdoor Date

(I’m giving you fair warning that this post is picture-heavy and may take a minute to load. Be patient. 🙂 The pictures are good.) Nate was working away from home this week, so we went on a spontaneous date at the lake for his first meal back home. We got Wendy’s (fast food hamburgers) to-go and brought some wine from home for a real fine dining experience:

fine dining

We sat at a picnic table to eat, then took the wine and glasses over closer to the lake. Nate spread out a blanket.

blanket spreading skills

He also poured the wine.

wine pouring skills

We arrived in plenty of time to watch the sunset. I took way too many pictures.

sun setting on a bush

sun setting on the lake

We saw jets. We saw four, but here is one:

jet sighting

We heard a large flock of geese take off from the water somewhere on the lake, honking and splashing. They passed close enough in front of us that we heard the flap-flap-flapping of their wings.

flap honk flap honk

We watched a small duck paddle along then quickly dive under water. We’d wait… wait… wait for the little thing to pop back up somewhere. We drank the wine.

empty

And then we packed up and headed home. Satisfied.

satisfied