Tuesday, 28 June 2011

Wild Roses

I was sitting out on my balcony recently and marvelling at the wild rose bushes along the fence behind my apartment building.
Nothing particularly remarkable about wild rose bushes, I suppose, but for some reason this year, I find myself fascinated by them.

I have also found myself thinking about the wild rose bushes around the perimeter of our Okanagan orchard.  Long ago wild rose bushes.  Long gone wild rose bushes. 

You see, the Okanagan Valley is very rocky.  Or China is very rocky and enterprising Chinese citizens industriously pushed their rocks through the core of the earth to the Okanagan whenever we weren't paying attention!  During the 1950s and 1960s, South Okanagan orchardists spent many many many hours picking up rocks and piling them around the perimeters of their property.  Rock picking was a regular part of every summer routine.  So when we moved onto our property in the mid 1970s, there was a 2 to 8 foot tall bank of rocks all around it.  I think we even added to the piles for a couple of years because every time we dug a hole to plant a tree or fix an irrigation pipe, MORE ROCKS surfaced ... did you know those suckers BREED LIKE RABBITS when you aren't looking?!? 

The rock piles were rather nice.  They were great playgrounds for kids.  They were wonderful habitats for cool critters like garter snakes.  As a kid, I climbed on plenty of them!  (rock piles and garter snakes!)  They let you know where you were, whose orchard you were on.  They were natural fences.  As a mom, I could say "don't go past the rock pile" and the youngsters knew where their safe boundaries were.  Wild roses grew on them.  Wild asparagus grew along the base of them.  Yes, they made it 'tight' to turn the tractor and other farm equipment at the end of some rows of fruit trees.  Yes, they meant you had to 'go around the long way' when you wanted to visit the neighbouring orchard, unless you were up for shinnying over the rock pile.  Those rock piles were just a fact of life to me, having grown up in the South Okanagan during the 1950s and 1960s.  Like the freckles on my arms ... just THERE ... just NORMAL.

Well.  By the beginning of the 1980s, my mate got to seriously looking at the rock piles and announced they had to go.  They were unwanted.  Unnecessary.  He calculated that without those rock piles, we could plant I-forget-how-many more fruit trees and I-forget-how-many more fruit trees would clearly mean MORE MONEY.  As well as more room to turn the tractor and other farm equipment at the end of some rows of fruit trees, and the ability to visit neighbouring orchards without having to 'go around the long way' or shinny over the rock pile.  So he hired a local contractor to haul away the rock piles.

I-forget-how-many truckloads of rocks got loaded and hauled away.  I suppose they became rock fill for some highway bed or something.  It took DAYS to haul them all away. 

The next thing we knew, we had unhappy neighbours.  "Your sprinklers are now sprinkling onto our driveway."  "Your chickens are now scratching over here in our orchard."  There is something to the old adage "good fences make good neighbours"!  My mate laughed and replied "what's your problem?  Half of those damned rocks were YOURS and I  paid to have them hauled away!"  (I'm pretty sure he never once thought about asking the neighbours if they wanted their half of the rock piles hauled away, but that's another story for another time.)  And the more money thing?  Nope.  I-forget-how-many more fruit trees really meant I-forget-how-many more fruit trees need to be watered, sprayed, pruned, thinned, picked and cared for, but somehow never really added to the company coffers.

The sad part of the entire thing is that by the time the last truckload of rocks rumbled away, I couldn't remember what the wild roses looked like.  Oh, I missed the asparagus every spring when it didn't come back, and clearly remembered what asparagus looked like in the field and on my plate.  But for the life of me, I couldn't picture what the 'gone' wild roses looked like!  How could something that was such a normal part of my existence just disappear without an indelible recollection of some kind?  I would even have been happy with a faint and fuzzy recollection, but, nope.  Nada.  Zip.  Just ... gone.

All this has been on my mind this spring as I've watched the wild rose bushes bloom.  It's like I've never ever seen them before ... and like I'm seeing old friends again for the first time in decades ... all at the same time.  Does that make any sense? 

On the knitting front, my red socks are done ...

... and feel DELICIOUS on my feet!  I have a pair of pastel pink and dark khaki "Infidel" socks started ...

Wait a minute!  What happened to my sock? 

Well ... I was happy with the colours and design, but not 100% pleased with the fit, so "a-frogging we did go, a-frogging we did go" ... back to the cuff.  It won't take long to re-knit what I ripped out.  It really is amazing, you know.  A half hour of knitting on the bus morning and evening, and I've got a finished pair of socks without any serious time commitment.  Sitting-on-the-bus time isn't REALLY productive time, so ACCOMPLISHING SOMETHING during non-productive time is a pleasant surprise.  Or is that warped thinking?

In the meantime, I treated myself to a new knitting book ...

... "Around the World in Knitted Socks".  It's very inspirational!  Great photography, easy to read directions, and ...

... socks with fancy patterns on the soles as well as the more visible sock parts!  How cool is that?  (I can hardly wait to try this pattern for Dutch socks!)

Occasionally Mizz Bootz climbs into my lap and bites me to tell me "enough with the knitting already, pay attention to ME!"  As soon as she bites me, she "kisses it better" by licking me as she really is gentle at heart.  

Happy last-week-of-June, y'all!

Tuesday, 21 June 2011


I'm scheduled to facilitate a Falls Prevention Workshop for Seniors tomorrow morning.  So I did some personal research on the topic ...

Monday, 20 June 2011

Golf Tournament, hunting and knitting

I survived.  No, I did not golf.  Golf is a totally pointless game so far as I am concerned.  My apologies to any golfers out there!  I was strictly in tournament organizing mode.  That made for a 12 hour day, a sunburn, and many many many mosquito and bug bites.  I am too old for 12 hour work days.  I am also not fond of sunburns and bug bites!  However, it looks like the tournament was a fundraising success, so I shall now quit my bitchin'!

On second thought, NO, I won't quit my bitchin' quite yet.  I came to the frustrating realization this past weekend that for the fifth Sunday in a row, I had to go hunting.  Some of you ladies know what I mean when I say "hunting" ...

'Hunting' tools ... tweezers and Oil of Olay ...
... "hunting" for those pesky obtrusive menopausal chin hairs!  I have generally considered myself blessed due to blonde and very scant body / facial hair.  Well!  Dang!  Those chin sprouters are like wicked wire!  Or maybe mutant boars' (sows'?) bristles!  I swear I tweezed out one that could have totally been utilized as a toothpick!  Gramma never warned me about THAT!  We.  Are.  Not.  Impressed.

We are, however, very impressed with this Austermann's "Royal" sock yarn ...
Geranium red!
It's a joy to knit, probably due to the 10% silk / 10% cashmere content.  Yes, I knitted at the Golf Course.  (What did you expect?  Wherever I go, my knitting goes too!)  Sock #1 done, Sock #2 started, and the little seedling geraniums in my balcony planters starting to bloom.

Thursday, 16 June 2011

Hockey and Knitting

Are you a hockey fan?  As in the Stanley Cup series hockey fan?  I don't own a television, but grew up on Saturday "Hockey Night in Canada" and do enjoy following the game. 
"Stanley" and I followed this year's Stanley Cup Series together.
I don't know about you, but I was truly appalled by the bad behaviour following the seventh game!
"No, Stanley!  Don't do it!  Don't jump!"
Stanley, upon news of the 2011 Stanley Cup Riot,
was extremely distraught.
So where were YOU and what were YOU doing during the 2011 Stanley Cup Riot?  I was knitting ...

A new pair of RED socks with a ruffled top edge...
Austermann's "Royal"
(60% wool, 20% polyamid, 10% silk, 10% cashmere)
I didn't think I was EVER going to finish knitting my last pair of socks ...

FINALLY!  Turning the second heel ...
... cuz there was a little WOOL INCIDENT.
"Wool?  What wool?  I know not of what you speak!"

"Oh ... you mean THIS tangled stuff?
Is THIS your wool?
Hmmm ... I wonder how this got up on my kitty tower?"

"Yelling 'WTF!  ANOTHER SKEIN!' is not very polite, Hu-mom!
I don't ever yell at you!"
Let's just say it took me the better part of a week to UNTANGLE after the above INCIDENT! 
It was enough to turn this hu-mom WHITE HAIRED!!!

Consequently, I had no time for knitting pink .  Fortunately, I managed to NOTICE pink so here is some pink images for the Milkman's Wife:
Pink dump truck

Pink songbook (for politically incorrect grannies!)

Pink wild rose

Pink blossoms
I have to go to a golf tournament tomorrow.  Hmm.  I don't golf.  I don't even remotely like golf.  It's a work-connected duty.  I hear there are mosquitoes and bugs out there.  Wish me luck!