It’s a Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood!

What a beautiful summer we are having on the lake!

Canadian Tiger Swallowtails were “puddling” in our yarn in June. This is a behavior that butterflies use in dry times to get moisture and some nutrients from wet spots in the yard. This is a small group but they’re sure fun to see!

Water activities include teaching cousin Jack to fish, watching the cousin Lili water follies on the t-rex, off the dock and swinging from the rope swing. Jack caught a beautiful specimen of a yellow perch which he also learned to fillet and cook. We have also had a few loon births now that it’s July. We have two pairs of loons who have had three chicks between them. What a wonderful miracle on our lake. Since loons can’t really walk way up on the shore, they nest very close to the water. We have had several loon nest failures over the past couple of years which means the eggs are washed out of the nest, typically by a boat’s wake. If out of the nest, the egg won’t survive.

The yard is abloom once again. The spring gardens have blossomed and wilted and the summer gardens are coming alive. The planters are planted and we’re starting to see the hydrangeas, hollyhocks and bee balm. We’ve also been enjoying pea season. We have shucked and eaten peas three times so far, in increasing amounts. First, 1 1/2 pounds, next 3 pounds and most recently 5 pounds. They’re so delicious! A Maine tradition starting around July 4th … and served with salmon.

Our hearts are full with wonderful and meaningful new connections and memories with family and dear friends. My aunt and cousins, my college roommate, my first friend, and our dear friends from Florida. Making memories is something we are both striving to do more of. We cherish time together and we honor and appreciate the time and money that our visitors expend in order to be here with us. We are so grateful for the efforts put forth to be here with us. Saying farewell is always difficult. This summer, in particular, all of our visits have ended too soon, leaving us wanting more time together.

I’ve been knitting and teaching and enjoying visitors to my knitting classes and to Yardgoods Center. I finished my Sunset Highway sweater after having to knit the body twice with two different yarns. The first colorway, while I loved it, didn’t look at all well with the colorwork yoke. So, frog it, I did. And re-knit it, I did. I am very happy with the new version and look forward to cooler weather so I can wear it. I’m working on several projects, one of which is the Sage Smudging Scarf for my friend and herbalist. It’s being knit in Manos “Allegria” in this beautiful golden curry or turmeric color. The scarf is a free pattern on Ravelry and there will be details on my Ravelry projects page (lindar). It’s a simple 4-row repeat and in some ways, it’s quite a boring knit but I think it’s going to be gorgeous when it’s blocked. And as the Maine Yarn Cruise continues into July, we are getting lots of fun visitors to the yarn shop. I work two days a week. I had a sibling group from Maine and Sweden who were just meeting for the first time and were sharing their love of yarn and knitting, new Colby College employees getting to know their new community, and so many visitors from all over the state and beyond. My knitting classes are on Friday and I had a very special visitor this past week. Little Piper is the daughter of Larissa. Piper is 8 weeks old now and simply edible! She’s such a sweet little nugget. I love babies and the other women in my classes do, too!

My sweet Littles are getting older and they’re having some health problems and aging challenges. Boq (left) has been diagnosed with heart disease. He’s on two medications for the inflammation and fluid on his lungs as well as a heart medication. We go back for a check up on Wednesday and I’m hoping for a good report. Lola (right) has no teeth left and her eyesight must be failing. She’s much more anxious than she used to be and she’s been barking at first light (um, hello! I don’t need to see 4:45 a.m. almost every day!) I am so grateful to them for helping me through some ugly and difficult life challenges and I hope we can continue to provide them with a safe and happy life for the rest of their days. I made them promise to live forever! (I’m only sort-of kidding!)

We are so blessed with a wonderful, full and healthy life! Gone knitting!

Finished Objects and You Never Know What Will Happen

So, I’ve finished the second design for the Prima Dogma for Queen Bee Knits line. An Irish knit sweater that I think I’ll be calling “Mac Tire” (pronounced “mock teerah”) which is Gaelic for wolf or, literally, son of the land.

As I’m new to designing, this sweater isn’t perfect yet but I think I’m on the right track. I love the cables that I chose and I am happy with the fit except for the length under the belly (it’s too short) and the chest needs to be a bit longer. So, back to the drawing board!

And while I have your attention, I wanted to show you a lovely natural phenomenon that we witnessed in recent days (well, before the rain returned!)

One day we noticed a patch of the new mulch was covered in these: 

Turns out that this phenomenon is called “puddling” and it’s male tiger tail butterflies who do it. It’s part of their mating ritual – they are sucking nutrients out of the mulch to give them what they need to reproduce. Cool, huh?

I counted up to 10 at one time, here in the mulch. One had a damaged tail but seemed to be doing just fine. We’d walk in and out of the house and they’d fly away and then return to the same spot. Over and over, all day long.

And then another day, we heard this strange sound up by the railroad tracks. The train didn’t seem to be moving. Well, upon further investigation, this is what we found …

Central Maine Railroad - New Rails

They were laying down new rails! The rails are one quarter mile long a piece and they slide out of this “train” like play dough out of an extruder. The process was rather interesting and left us “blocked in” because we have to cross the railroad tracks when we come and go … and this is what was at the top of the driveway.

No way, even with the truck, that we could drive over the rail. Luckily, though, the next step was for a big “digger” (backhoe?) to dig up the driveway and bury the rails on either side of the existing tracks. One of these days (and that’s a relative term) they’ll come back and put the new rails into place and remove the old rails and build a new crossing at the top of the drive.

Could be next summer! I love Maine!