Monday, February 6, 2023

A squirrel hotel

 It was one of those days. I still have a couple of quilts to trim, and that other quilt is almost off the long arm, but the top is still pinned to the leaders. It's lying nicely on the long-arm table, and I'll deal with it on the weekend. 

We had two AMAZING club sessions yesterday. One on EQ8 and the other on Digital Cutters. So much information and so little time, and I hope the participants get as much out of the sessions as I do. We had design exercises in EQ8, and it was amazing to see how each person interpreted a quilt that I asked them to recreate. I was stunned --- all were amazing, and none was wrong. That's what I love about teaching --- if you give a little bit of guidance and let them go --- people will soar! 

And the digital cutters -- well, I'm learning tons, and it's so exciting to see the group jump in to start cutting. Again -- lots of great tips to pass along. I'm taking a notebook to write down some of the ideas and agendas for next time while the ideas are still fresh in my head. 

After the clubs, I needed to get to work on machine embroidery. And when you have two projects and limited time, what do you do? You fire up TWO machines - that's what. 

Sending embroidery files to two embroidery machines

I was creating the components of the embroidery in the mySewnet embroidery software, and I was sending them to the EPIC 2, and then to the icon 2, and so on, until the embroideries were created. I edited them on the respective embroidery machine and hit START. 

It was a challenging couple of hours as I scooted from one machine to the other, changing threads, trimming, or whatever needed to be done. It was a feat, but at the end of the day, all five of those projects are done, or as done as I'm taking them for the moment. Cute? They are super cute!! 

Using two embroidery machines at the same time

The sixth project is cut out and in a bag to take with me. Yep-- I'm away all week (again!) but packing a sewing machine and other sewing stuff, so I hope to eke out a bit of time to do the sixth project. It can be done! I may be sewing in my hotel room late at night, but I will finish it. 

Never mind that I have some writing to do and lots of planning in addition to the fun we're going to have this week. It's going to be busy!

Then I had to take some time in the afternoon to finish the geocaching for this month. I was down 115 points, and the deadline was midnight. I decided to go for some Adventure Labs, which meant I had to walk to five locations and answer a question at each spot. I went down to the lakeshore (Lake Ontario), about 10 KM away. The temperature was excellent, and I walked by the lake with no hat, no mitts, and my jacket open. It was a STUNNING day even though there was no sun. 

I will NOT tell Lexi and Murphy where I went, but I want to take them there at some point. I started off in a HUGE leash-free zone with trees everywhere, and it's enormous! I could easily get my afternoon walk, and they could go crazy. There were also lots of dogs -- they would have been in their glory. I might take them more often if they didn't get so excited in the car. But then we have a leash-free park that we can walk to. But NOTHING like this one. This was the first time I had been to this park. 

The leash-free zone

The first Adventure was in the dog park, and I swear I was the only one in there without a dog, but it was so wide open I don't think anyone noticed me as I was aimlessly wandering around trying to find the right places. And all I have to guide me is a darn compass on my phone! But I found everything and answered all the questions correctly. 

Then I was onto the second Adventure, and it was close by (within 1 KM), so I just walked through the wooded area, and then here I was - at the lake and in a beautiful conservation area. 

Rattray Marsh

Now if I'm lucky to live where I do, with the wooded area behind me, the people who live close to this conservation area are BIG winners. This is a stunning place, and I could have spent hours walking around, but I was on a mission. Here's the Toronto skyline from the conservation area. It's hard to see, but there's the CN Tower -- you can't miss that. 

Toronto skyline

And there was a sign for Shingles Bar. That must be quite the place to have a view right on the lake. Well -- there was NO bar. The bar refers to these pebbles on the beach. WOW --- this was super interesting, and I could have spent more time looking at the rocks. I didn't bring any home, but aren't those the perfect shape to skip on water? Not that I can do that. There is an EARTH cache with more information on the area's geology, which I'll go back another day and do. 

Flat pebbles on the beach

There was very little ice built up at the water's edge. While there were people out, it was not crowded and a perfect time to explore. 

Not much ice on the shore

Many trails in this area are raised boardwalks, so you don't damage the vegetation, and it keeps people ON THE PATH. 

Raised boardwalks

And why not incorporate the trees into the boardwalk rather than go around them! 

An interesting solution to a tree in the way

It really was beautiful, and those boardwalks went on forever. Mostly, they were clear of snow, and walking was easy. Some less popular areas were covered with ice and snow, making for interesting footing. But it really was in decent shape, and thankfully, it was warm. If it had been cold, like we had a couple of days ago -- this walk would have been bitter! 

The boardwalks go on for miles

The marsh is gorgeous and would look even better in the summer. There is lots of wildlife (birds) around here as well, and I had to guess the first answer to the first question as I did not see a sign, but I was right! Great Blue Heron. And did you know that Asian Carp and goldfish are evasive species? I have a pond filled with goldfish, but they are contained, so they don't cause any problems. Hopefully, those herons eat the goldfish in the marsh, and that keeps them from visiting my little fish in my little pond! 

Looking out over the marsh

So when I completed the two Adventures, it was time to get back to the car. By this time, I had walked quite a ways and was hoping I could find my way back. I also needed to get ONE geocache to get all the points I needed. So using Google maps and the geocaching app, I knew exactly where I was going, and on my way to the geocache, I spotted this bench. How cool would it be to have a bench in your memory in this beautiful spot? 

A bench along the way

And thankfully, there was a little snow, so it didn't take long to find the cache, although I did feel bad as I traipsed through the woods rather than follow the path. I did NOT know the path circled around and passed right on the other side of this tree. Thankfully, there wasn't a lot of snow, so my feet remained dry for the entire walk. 

An interesting geocache

The container was at the end of a LONG, LONG chain. The top of the pipe was capped to keep the snow and rain out. 

The geocache hiding spot

And there was the path on the other side of the tree. Shoot --- I should have realized I didn't need to traipse through the bush. But sometimes -- well, you never know. 

The path beside the geocache

Once I accomplished that and headed out to the street, I walked back to the car. This is one of the areas where older houses (bungalows) are being ripped down, and larger homes are being built. This has to be the ugliest front door I've ever seen. It was HUGE, black, and so uninviting. And the upper story of this house was very narrow. I couldn't tell if the house was being renovated - a large dumpster was inside the fence. Anyway -- it was a bizarre house. 

An uninviting front door

Do you want to know the amount of walking I did? Close to 17 KM. I'm not going to let that little pace marker get ahead of me! But it was a lot of walking, and when I returned to the house (about 40 minutes later than planned), I was back to work to finish those projects. 

But everything got done as it was supposed to, and life is good! 

OH -- not to discredit my little forest (it's actually a woodlot, but to me, it's a forest), the squirrels were out in full force. I don't know how many of them popped out of this tree, but it looked like a squirrel convention, and they were all staying in the hotel! There's a hole near the bottom of the tree, and they came out of it. How do those weird holes happen? Something to do with a branch coming off? I've no idea. 

The squirrel hotel

On that note, it's time to get moving. I have to walk the girls and pack the car. The trip is only about 50 minutes (by toll highway, which will cost me a fortune), but worth it to bypass the Monday morning traffic.

I'm looking forward to the week, and there are a few adventures planned, so I can't wait. 

Have a super day!!!


1 comment:

  1. In the interest of learning something new, I decided to look up what causes a tree to literally “grow” a hole. I learned that they are called “tree hollows” and there are many ways that they can form from stress to bugs to wind to heat to lightening and so on. Very cool to learn!