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Archive for the ‘Environment’ Category

Yesterday I added a few more rows to my Aspen Grove Shawl and the “trunks” are beginning to take shape.  I’m finally getting into the hang of knitting this section.  I had a lot of trouble at first getting all of the yo’s in the right places.  And the sl2kwk1psso2’s were a real pain to tink properly when I had to go back. 

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Looking back over my blog and my projects for the last few months I have to ask the question, what is it with green?

In my Taos knitting group before I left we were asking that question, as many of us found ourselves working on green projects.

I am actually quite astounded to see how much I’ve been using green.  A number of the TIF projects have used green, although that’s not my fault, because Sharon picks the colors.

But I’ve made a green and pink shawl, a green scarf, green socks, more green socks, a green quilt top, a pink and green quilt top, and now this very green shawl.

On top of that I’ve put an area rug with green leaves in my living room, new green furniture in my bedroom, and I’m deciding on which green to paint the bedroom walls.

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One of my bathrooms is green, though, with no way of changing it, so that is sort of dictating some of my choices.  Green bathroom rugs were purchased to “blend” with the green tile.  I’m told all greens go together, so I’m going with that.  Plum and taupe are the other colors I’m using there. 

But green is really not one of my favorite colors, although I do find it very calming.  Yesterday I had to hold myself back from considering buying a set of green kitchen canisters I’ve been eyeing.  I don’t need green in my kitchen.  My accent color there is red.  Ooo!  My house is sounding kind of weird at this point, isn’t it?  

So what is it with green?  Is it because there’s a shortage of “green” with the price of gas and everything else going sky high?  Is it because we’re in a “Go Green” fad in North America these days, throwing out everything so we can go buy “green” to replace everything (that, incidentally was perfectly good, but not “green”) we’ve thrown out? No, I’m not doing that, I’ve just moved into a new (old) house and left most of my furnishings in my house in Taos. 

Or is it just that green’s been out for so long–remember 1950’s-60’s era avocado?–that it’s come back in again?

I don’t know, but I do have more green in my stash, so I think it’s here to stay– in my world, anyway–for a while.     

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My Bettna sweater made from Noro Silk Garden yarn came off the blocking board yesterday and I was able to wear it to Wednesday night knitting group.  It was a cool, rainy afternoon and evening, unusual for Taos, so it was the perfect thing to wear.

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The colors and style are a little different for me, so it will take some getting used to, but I love the yarn.  It’s a combination of wool, silk, and mohair.

This week I began reading William DeBuys’s book, The Walk.

DeBuys’s book, River of Traps, coauthored with Alex Harris, was a Pulitzer Prize finalist in 1991.  I’ll have to read that one, too.

The Walk is interesting to me because it is about, among other things, DeBuys’s walk through the fields and forests around his home in Las Trampas, NM.  Las Trampas is not too far from Taos, on the high road from Santa Fe, and is a singularly beautiful area.  And, I love to walk, so it’s a good read combination.  

Anyway, in yesterday’s reading DeBuys was talking about bark peels on the massive orange and black Ponderosa pines in the forest bordering his property.  It seems that the Jicarilla Apache would make a peel of bark a little less than a foot wide and about four feet long and extract the inner cambium for a food source.  These peels would not harm the trees and provided either regular or starvation food for the Apache people.  He noted how he had never even noticed the old peels on the trees around him until a retired forester friend pointed them out.

I thought this was interesting enough, but he also told how legend says the tanager taught this method to the Apache.  I wasn’t exactly sure what a tanager was, but I thought it was some kind of bird.

Lo and behold, this morning I was looking out my back door and on the wall between our yard and our neighbor’s was a most amazing bird.  It was bright yellow with a brilliant orange-red head and dark black wings.  I had never seen anything like it before, and it was colored so brilliantly it looked almost like a child’s toy sitting there.  But then it flew down between the houses.

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So I had to find out what it was.  I looked it up in one of my bird books–interest in birds is another thing I get from my family–and, you guessed it, it was a Western Tanager.  Wow!  This picture is from Birdnote.org.

‘Turns out this is a species of bird that winters in Central America and Mexico in the shade forests where coffee is grown, then migrates to western North America for breeding. 

You can hear the call of the Western Tanager and learn a little about the connection between the western tanager and coffee by clicking this link.  Yes, that’s the beautiful bird call I’ve been hearing the last couple of mornings.  

I think it’s pretty amazing that yesterday I was just reading about this bird and wondering about it, and today I see one in my own backyard.  I think I may try to lean more about the lore of the tanager.

I wonder what this little bird has to teach me. 

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Go Green

Well, the Swiffer covers struck a chord with some people.  One person suggested making them out of flannel.  Good idea for people who sew, not so good for my friends who don’t.  But I like the idea.

Then I got on an HGTV discussion board thread about shopping bags.  The Taos Town Council is about to consider whether to ban those ubiquitous plastic shopping bags.  I hope they do and I say Hooray! because I have way too many of them.  And not only do I dislike the fact that they end up in the landfill, but I really hate seeing them along the side of the road and particularly caught up in trees like wayward kites.

In Mozambique the children use plastic shopping bags to make kites and they really fly well.  In other places they tie them up tightly into soccer balls.  I digress…

However, do I remember to take my mish/mash collection of alternate bags with me when I go shopping?  Usually not.

Paus4quilts on the message board gave a link to a great tutorial for making bags just like the plastic ones, only out of fabric, so they’re easier for the check-out people to fill them.

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Not only that, but they (the bags, not the checkers) can be folded up into a small, attached pocket for ease of transport when empty.  One would fit nicely into a purse.  One person keeps hers all together in one bag made of bright colors, hung with her coat to grab when she goes out.  Great idea.

I think they would be great made out of lightweight, strong, colorful rip-stop nylon. 

I have some knit market bags on my list of things to make, but I really like the idea of these eco-friendly, cute plastic bag clones.

It’s the wave of the future.  Yes, you can buy the inexpensive re-usable bags now being offered at many stores, but I like the idea of making and showing off my own whenever I shop.  You could even get fancy and embellish them….Well maybe not, they’re just for shopping after all.     

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