Thursday, March 30, 2017

The Red Umbrella

Exactly a year ago, we were on our spring college tour, visiting colleges in Oregon and Washington that Kaefer had applied to. After we were done walking around several campuses (or, if you're more inclined to the Latin plural of the word, campi) we drove down the Washington and Oregon Coast, one of my most favorite drives in the Western states.

We stopped in Newport to have breakfast in The Coffee House (if you ever happen to be in Newport, go there!) which is right down at the harbor. After the breakfast we were in need of some movement before sitting in the car again, so we visited the harbor and looked around a bit.

We first saw these guys who rested on the wall and played in the water.

I also met the harbor dog, who was very mellow and even let me pet him. I wonder whether he likes crab which seems to be the main fishing resource here.

And then I saw the red umbrella.

I loved how the red color popped on those gray rocks.

But this was not the only color on this gray day. While walking around the harbor I saw more popping color, from yellow to rich green.

Beauty is always in the eye of the beholder.

Friday, March 17, 2017

Black Cows And Gorgeous Trees

Yesterday I met with my long time hiking buddy J. for a lovely walk in one of our regional parks, Crane Creek. The day started out overcast, but later in the morning the sun peeked through the clouds and eventually chased them away.

I love this park for its abundance of gorgeous trees. Most of them are oaks, but there are a number of other trees as well.

Many narrow trails crisscross the park and you can walk on some part of the land that is shared with black cows who spend the days grazing here. What a nice place to be! They are used to the hikers and walkers who share their space, but still prefer to keep some distance from any humans.

After J. and I had a lovely picnic in the shade of one of the old oaks, we made our way back to the parking lot and J. left. However, I didn't feel like going home just then and went back into the park, walking along a different path. Very soon I came to the creek that gave the park its name - and I was not alone here.

I do love cows. Very conveniently there was a bench where I could sit and watch these beauties. This was the first time that I actually saw water flowing in the creek, usually it is just a very dry creek bed. The cows obviously found quite some pleasure here as well.

When I finally arrived back in the parking lot, I noticed the geometry of the vineyard right across the park - and how very thoughtful of this red-winged blackbird to patiently sit on the fence post until I had taken this picture.

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Stitch by Stitch

You know that I love to knit - I showed a few of my projects here. However, I only now realized that I never showed you the knitted items I created over the past few months. Some of them were rather easy, others were more challenging.

The top photo shows the beginnings of a baby jacket I started at the end of September. I had just discovered this beautiful merino yarn from Australia and was eager to knit up a project using it when I found a free pattern for a cute baby jacket on Ravelry. Since this yarn is a superwash it's perfect for baby knits.

The sheep was from a different project, and I think it fits very well on this little cardigan.

When my neighbors had their first child last year in May I knitted a hat for the little girl. Since her parents love cats I decided that a kitty hat would be a good idea. Of course the hat was still too big since this is a pattern for a six months old baby and not for a newborn.

Baby hats knit up so fast and they're fun to make. When I discovered this pattern I fell in love with it and tried the newborn size of it.

The knitting starts with a provisional cast-on which I had never done before. It's quite easy, but I still had to unravel the hat before I could finish it because I didn't pay attention!

As a final touch I put a big button on the side. I love to use buttons as an accent.

I knitted some more hats, and I show you three of them here.

Seedling, a pattern by Alana Dakos:

This hat was a Christmas present for the daughter of my friend Jo. It is one of my most favorite patterns.

On Pinterest I found the pattern for this gorgeous owl hat. I knitted two of them for my little nieces in Germany, using the Navajo-Churro sheep yarn I purchased a few years ago. The perfect yarn for this hat! However, sewing on the buttons for the owl eyes was a real pain!

And last but not least the Baa-ble hat - this is a very popular pattern which comes as no surprise. The pattern was designed by Donna Smith for the Shetland Wool Week 2015 - Shetland Wool Week is a world renowned celebration of Britain's most northerly native sheep. This was a gift for Kaefer who models it in this picture.

If you look closely you recognize one of the sheep as the one sitting on the blue baby jacket that I showed you first.

After all these hats it was time to knit up some socks. I found this rubber duck pattern and had a really hard time with it - it drove me crazy! But I did finish the socks and could give them to Kaefer as a Christmas gift. I will never knit these socks ever again!!!

The next - and last - pair of socks was mere fun to knit. The yarn was lovely and the pattern is so beautiful. It looks complicated but is actually quite easy. 

Only I know where the mistakes are that I made...

I'm currently knitting a bigger project, but I can't say yet what it is since it is a birthday present for Kaefer. It is green - perfect for a spring birthday.

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Scene & Story - February 2017

February has been an uneventful month when it comes to my photography. It was raining a lot here, I had to work a lot - and taking photos just didn't happen very much except for the one weekend when we had family from Turkey over.

This photo was taken on the same weekend, on Saturday morning when Kaefer and I went to the Farmers Market to buy bread. One of the bakers sells delicious dark bread that is mainly baked with ancient grains like purple barley or khorasan (my personal favorite). As someone who grew up and lived in Germany for 40 years, bread is a daily food for me - not any bread, but dark, rich, whole grain bread. It is still difficult to find here, and any baker who offers wholesome bread that is also delicious gets my support. Unfortunately this baker only sells on farmers markets, and the one closest to my home is the Saturday market - when I usually teach at the German school. But that Saturday was the long Presidents Day weekend with no school on Saturday - I was able to go shop at the market and I bought several loaves that went into the freezer so that we can enjoy them later (now!) one by one. It makes me happy.

I also bake my own bread. There is something very satisfying in kneading and rolling the dough, seeing it rise and shaping it in form, letting it rise one more time. The smell that fills the house when the bread is in the oven is heavenly - and earthy at the same time. It is so basic, so natural. It connects to the essence of life (at least for me), it doesn't need much - flour, yeast, salt and water. The first cut to fresh bread after it has cooled is always exciting, because only then will I know how the bread has turned out. That first slice with a bit of butter, still slightly warm from the oven - it is the most delicious thing!

You can find more Scene & Story posts by clicking here.