Mother’s Day Cast-on, a Kestrel Program, & an Ella Mae Knits Update!

I should just call this post “Stuff,” but that seems to sum up all my posts lately…I apologize for being so scattered!  I cast-on a new knitting project for me yesterday as part of the Mother’s Day Cast-on movement (not sure that’s the right word for it, but, in any case, I got the idea from My Tangled Yarn Knitting Adventures & I love it!).  I chose the Waterrock vest & used some yummy Madelintosh I purchased last summer in the colorway Still.  Hopinghopinghoping I actually finish this…I’ve never knit myself anything other than fingerless mitts!  What is wrong with me, you ask?  Sooooooooo much, ha!  Thank you goes to Martha for the pattern inspiration–your version is beautiful!  I loved all your Instagram posts for it.  I also finished knitting a version of my June Belle beanie pattern for a dear, dear mama friend of mine who had a baby boy in March of this year.  Hoping the cap will fit him this next winter.

Coralee painted me two panels of a prairie scene to dress-up our 3-season porch using old shake siding panels (we have hundreds of these panels sitting under a tarp–if you’re interested in her painting you a set of something, just let me know, she’s unemployed & would love some side-work!).  I can’t wait to hang these.  Love my girl.

Harmon is sick.  Again.  Always.  Bleh.  I don’t know what else to say about that–I spent Mother’s Day caring for him off & on, in-between gardening bouts outside.  Brian, Coralee & June worked their backsides off yesterday on the property–I really REALLY appreciate all the work you all did yesterday, thank you!!!!  They painted a fence (to keep our naughty chickens out of the flower beds) white, mowed all over the place, tilled, planted, weeded…there is so much work when you live on a parcel of land…

Coralee spent Saturday morning teaching at our local nature center.  It was International Migratory Bird Day.  She’s working to educate the community about the decline of the American Kestrel as part of her Young Birder of the Year competition for the American Birding Association.  I never posted her results from last year’s competition–she placed FIRST in the Field Notebook Module & THIRD in the Writing Module!  She’s working to place higher this year overall.  This contest is wonderful, I highly recommend it!

She created from scratch all the materials.  The craft project was so much fun!  I was extremely impressed with the crazy amount of information my daughter knows about kestrels.  I had no idea!  The naturalist was impressed, too, & is hoping she will help out this fall with their huge field day for 5th graders & teach this activity again.

Yes, I made her siblings attend.  She needed more participants.

This was the culmination of the class.  We hope to donate the pdf for this activity to the American Kestrel Partnership for the Education materials section.  If you’re interested in using this activity yourself, just let me know in the comments & I’ll be sure to let you know when the link for it goes live!

And finally, Ella Mae Knits.  I began using my EMK Instagram account again around Earth Day.  Please follow me there if you, too, use IG!  I was inspired by the movie Moana (yes, an animated movie–it’s brilliant!!!) to change the way I operate EMK.  Going forward, I am going to donate every other item I knit to someone in need.  There’s a post about this change in my IG feed (which is public, so even if you’re not using Instagram you can still check it out).  I hope to get this going at summer’s end–once my daycare job ends & I find more time to sit & knit…I will carve the time out somewhere, hopefully.

Happy Belated Mother’s Day to all who celebrate & especially to our shared mother, Mother Earth! xo

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Yarn Along (not much knitting, new chicks, cat-chasing, old favorites renewed, & life changes)

I cannot seem to find much time to knit these days, which is a shame because my anxiety could sure use the medicine that is knitting.  Harmon caught a bug from one of my daycare girls & has thus been very clingy, very feverish, & plain old grouchy the last couple days.  I attempted to knit last night after he fell asleep, but he woke up practically the minute I picked up the needles, so, yeah, yarn along this week isn’t much of a yarn along.

Our chicks hatched!  Well, one egg out of five hatched.  Three were apparently not fertilized & the Cochin egg quit developing after only a few days.  So we hatched one lonely Iowa Blue chick & bought four Barred Rock chicks to keep him or her-Lucky Penny-company.  I do not like Barred Rocks at all–the roosters are nasty–but there were no other chicks available at our local feed store small enough to join our day-old chick.Harmon is not exactly enamored with the chicks–unlike June who bounds out of bed in the morning in order to play with the chicks.  He will air kiss the chicks when asked…

…but then he tries to shoo the chicks away.

Chasing the hens around the yard, however, is great fun for Harmon.

Until he sees something else…

Not now, Turken…

…there’s a kitty in the yard!  Too bad you’re allergic, Harmon, because you sure do love the cats around here.

I got out June’s old beanie–my original June Belle (pattern available for free on ravelry).  The brim is a soft fuzzy Malabrigo & the main cap is a super duper squishy Cormo from White Barn Sheep & Wool.  I love this cap, reminds me of many happy days spent with my baby girl June…


I have given notice to my daycare girls’ parents that I will be done with childcare at the end of June & my anxiety levels are lessening the closer we creep to that time…I will therefore be (fingers crossed!) reopening my etsy shop by the end of summer with some June Belle beanies for sale & another pattern I’ve been dreaming about designing for years, so I hope you will all join me for that release in late summer!  I’m also considering using my teaching license in a virtual capacity this fall & I continue to edit my father’s book.

I hope I can be a better mama to my own four children with this change in vocation…I’ve been extremely impatient & short with all of them for far too long, much MUCH more so on the days I babysit.  It’s hard work being responsible for someone else’s babies!  Kudos to those who successfully and lovingly run in-home daycares for years…I’ve spent the last 4.5 years watching someone else’s precious souls, but it’s definitely time to move on…perhaps this change will enable more “yarn” in my future “yarn along” posts!

Happy Yarning to all my knitting friends out there!  Joining in with Martha!

Spring Strolls…sometimes in a snowsuit

We were taking many spring strolls up until about a week ago…when the spring weather suddenly took a turn backwards & has been trying to reenter winter.  No snow, thank goodness, but it’s been too cold, much too WINDY, too rainy, too too yucky.  Uploading these photos this morning is making me miss spring…in May.

Weird Iowa/Midwest/Middle Lands weather is all I can say.

Harmon found a stick on this pre-Earth Day hike that he & I took one afternoon during the week before second naptime.  I found this picture-perfect patch of purple violets growing down by our creek under a still-dormant walnut tree.  Spirits were instantly lifted.  Made me very much appreciate my muddy slice of Iowa heaven…I reminded myself not every part of our property is covered in mud or chicken poo. 😉

The perfect capture!

Baby-bombed!

Hobbit hiking.

June, Harmon, & I took a separate hike one day after school while everyone else was at Coralee’s soccer game.

Mom, enough photos!

It was absolutely NOT cold enough for a snowsuit during this hike!  Harmon, however, is in love with his snowsuit & thinks if we put him in it he will automatically be allowed outside.  Snowsuit=outside time.  Smart one, that hobbit!

I hope we’re strolling into a stretch of better spring weather this week…no snowsuits required.

How’s the spring weather on your patch of earth?

3:30AM!

Coralee, Harmon, & I began last Saturday morning around 3:30AM.  (I think Harmon actually woke up closer to 3:50AM.)  Coralee was registered to attend an Iowa Young Birders event to count Sandhill Cranes with Bremer County Conservation as part of the Annual Midwest Crane Count along with over 1,000 other volunteers throughout the Midwest.  Unfortunately, we got word Thursday evening the trip was cancelled due to most of the young birder registrants being either sick or cancelling for other reasons.  But we are tough birders, the Bodekers, so Coralee & I decided to go anyway & emailed the Bremer County Naturalist ourselves Friday morning.  She sent us directions to a fire number on the southern boundary of Sweet Marsh State Wildlife Management Area.  We were to meet up with a seasoned crane-count volunteer at 5:30AM the next morning.  The drive would take us over an hour & I had no idea where it was, hence the 3:30AM wake up.

I made much coffee at 3:30AM.

This is Sweet Marsh closer to 6:30AM (I think sunrise was officially a bit after 6:40AM on Saturday).  The gravel on the right leads to the dike which is where Coralee was officially placed as a counter.  Marsh is to the left of the dike.

We were in site 2.

The count takes place every year around this time in roughly 90 counties in an effort to survey both Sandhill & Whooping Crane numbers.  Whooping Cranes are endangered, Sandhills are not, but both are equally beautiful & worthy of protection in my opinion.

Harmon slept most of the drive north from our house, woke up screaming when we arrived to the parking lot on the edge of the Marsh, in the PITCH BLACK, then fell asleep again about 10 minutes after Coralee took off to count (nursing to the rescue).  The count officially took place from 5:30-7:30AM.  We arrived at 5:20AM to the lot.  The other volunteer arrived shortly after.  It was a bit awkward to get out of the car and approach her in the dark…I worried I would spook her or she wouldn’t actually be who I thought she was…although, I figured, who else would be out here in the middle of nowhere at this hour…she turned out to be an amazing count companion for Coralee.  She is a teacher (a Talented & Gifted teacher like me) and extremely personable.  Coralee took off down the dike with her, binoculars & clipboard in hand, to count cranes (by sight and/or by sound) at promptly 5:30AM.  I tried for a selfie with Harmon when he woke up in order to document something, apparently his nose itched. 😉

Later, once the sun rose, Harmon listened to the countless geese honking in the Marsh just beyond the car’s windows.

Then he looked at books.

He also ate an almond butter sandwich & spilled water all over the car.  At least it wasn’t coffee.

Coralee & her count companion saw three Sandhill Cranes, heard none, which is apparently strange.  We are not sure how many in total were submitted from the entire count site yet, but last year our site submitted 63.  Coralee & I definitely want to visit Sweet Marsh again in the next several weeks to bird.  It is amazing habitat amidst a sea of corn.  I didn’t see much from the car, obviously, but upon leaving we spotted a Sandhill Crane flying low near the Marsh, so at least I added my FOY Sandhill Crane to my 2017 birding list.

Brian, Merritt, & June were at Merritt’s first soccer game of the spring season on Saturday morning.  Upon arriving home later, Coralee & I ate an early lunch & then went to bed.  I think Harmon & I slept for over two hours.  Good napping & good birding.

Edited to add: Numbers are in–64 this year!!!  One more than 2016!

April Awakening?

It’s been dull as tombs around here for most of March, I apologize!  Harmon was SICK.  I was SICK.  I missed posting about Harmon’s favorite things at 15 months as a result.  My goal is to post about Month 16 this week.  Fingers crossed the sickness train has departed for good now.  I’m still waiting on a call from my P.A. as to whether or not I truly broke/fractured a rib due to my incessant coughing over the course of three+ weeks.  I cannot believe I may have broke a rib as a result of coughing…the pain is so horrid, however, I absolutely believe it!  

Yesterday we visited the nearby Dudegon Wildlife Management Area to bird and hike.  Collectively we saw 19 species of birds including three Golden-crowned Kinglets, many Green-winged Teal, two Eastern Meadowlarks singing their hearts out, & a Yellow-rumped Warbler (photo below).  Iowa has been stuck in a literal cloud bank for over a week now…if we don’t get some sun soon I’m afraid the seedlings Coralee started for our garden this summer will get too leggy and die.  Pray for sun!  We all need an April Awakening!





Harmon’s cap is about the only knitting I’ve completed in weeks–another Garter Ear Flap Cap using Quince & Co’s newest le Blue Heathers collection.  I hope you’ll stay in touch with the blog this month despite my almost complete absence last month…lots to announce & some big changes in the Bodeker household taking place this summer!  Happy April!

Yarn Along: Garter Ear Flap Hat FO

Harmon’s been a bit under the weather this week, so when I snapped most of these photos on Monday he wasn’t in a knits-modeling mood, he was in a sleeping-off-my-illness mood.This is Purl Soho’s Garter Ear Flap Hat.  I knit two sizes of this pattern for June when she was a toddler.  She was still regularly wearing the larger version up until this winter…until she wasn’t because she lost it & I was instantly a sad sad knitter.  That particular hat was rather special to me because I made it just for her and twice-over to boot due to sizing issues.  Once I got the size right, it quickly became part of her winter persona in my mind, as silly as that sounds. 

She definitely doesn’t need anymore hats-June has inherited dozens of hats from both her older sister & older brother.  But lucky for me Harmon has zero knit hats made by his mama to wear at the moment (isn’t that a bit strange?), so I found myself knitting this pattern again after a four year absence. I still love the construction (I swoon for short rows for some reason) & especially the final product.  It just fits so well & looks so cute-if you knit the correct size, of course, which I did on the first try this time!I used Quince & Co Puffin in Honey.  I think this single strand wool is absolutely perfect for this pattern.  Fluffy and warm.  Soft, but hardwearing.  Blooms beautifully when washed.And makes the best fuzzy tassel!Following his morning nap, Harmon awoke in a slightly better mood &, as this boy does love his hats, he was quite willingly to oblige me several knits-modeling photos. Due to Harmon’s large noggin I had to knit the third listed size in the pattern.  Lots of growing room for next winter.

He’s learned to fake snap to jazz music this week.  No lie!  He’s extremely obsessed.  He’ll carry my phone around the house listening to the public radio jazz station app while fake snapping & shaking his torso to the music.  This could go on for hours if I let it.  But I promise I don’t.  Eventually we put the phone away & just listen to the jazz station on the actual radio.  Anytime he wants to listen to jazz he will start fake snapping now & wiggling his hips while smiling at me.  I’ve tried turning on The Muppets Movie soundtrack in lieu of jazz, but he wants no part of it.  Jazz only, please, Mom!

We went for a walk yesterday afternoon & it was quite uncanny how well the color of his new cap matched the buds on the juniper trees.  


Still hoping we find June’s lost hat, but in the meantime, joining in with Ginny on this Ash Wednesday.