Yarn Along (summer’s comin’ & my internet stinks…)

It’s Wednesday & that used to be Ginny’s Yarn Along day as most of you probably know (whether you knit or not), but Ginny discontinued the Yarn Along and, alas, I need to let go as well.  Blogging is something I really like doing–I don’t know if it makes me feel like someone out there is with me here in the trenches of motherhood when it can get kind of lonely despite the fact a mother is never alone or if I really just blog because I am TERRIBLE at documenting the childhoods of my children & feel like they will all disown me someday for not keeping a beautiful, meticulous babybook for each of them–but whatever the reason, I do like blogging, however, what I ABHOR is our horrible awful terrible ALLTHEBADWORDSYOUCANTHINKOF internet connection out here in the Iowa sticks!  Sorry for yelling, virtually, at you.  We cannot get highspeed internet.  The End.  Our neighbors have a satellite–it never works.  We cannot get cable, either.  We use our phones as hotspots & our phones barely work on windless days…this is Iowa, it’s always windy!  Argh.  I’ve been fighting this battle for going on a decade now & I am so over it.  We are NEVER going to get good internet, I’m sure of it.  We just aren’t.  Every time I write a post with photos it literally takes like ten minutes per photo to upload & with a toddler around I truly do not have time for that…my eldest is homeschooled & needs the computer constantly anyway.  I guess what I’m trying to say is that summer is coming & all the kids are going to be home all day, every day, so the blogging is going to really slip (like it hasn’t already, I know) & Yarn Along is definitely over forever now.  I have rediscovered Instagram using my Ella Mae Knits account & I really like using that–it’s quick, it’s pretty, it gets the job done.  And there are so many yarn/knitting holes to fall into on Instagram, it’s dangerous.  (Time sucks are real, people, I do recommend we all watch out for those.)  You can always check out what’s going on with us here at Being Bodeker this summer by stopping by my Ella Mae Knits Instagram page–it’s public so you don’t need Instagram to have a look & there’s a link on the right side of my blog page. 🙂

So most of these photos today have already appeared on my IG page.  I apologize if you’re like,”This is all old news, Ruby.”  I am currently test-knitting a pattern for Kathryn Folkerth.  I love it so far & I LOVE Quince & Co linen so it’s a win-win.  I can’t say exactly what I’m test-knitting as it’s a gift for Coralee for her birthday next month.  I’m also still knitting my Waterrock vest for myself.  Soon I will be casting on something to give to someone in need as I begin my project to knit every other thing for someone I don’t even know because the world could use a bit more love. xo

Finished Harmon’s shortie overalls this week & they are sooooo cute!  But he was sleeping when I went to photograph them today so this is the best I could do.  The pattern is a Debbie Bliss pattern called Florence.  It’s available on Ravelry.  Tomorrow I hope to take some photos of Harmon modeling his new overalls & I will post on IG. 🙂

Harmon really likes playing with cards.  And putting his sisters’ hair decorations in his hair.  Totally random facts I thought needed to be shared.

Coralee & I saw our first Sora ever last week at a wetland very near our house.  Hoping to bird a lot more once my daycare biz is wrapped up in an effort to help Coralee one day become the Young Birder of the Year.  Wouldn’t that be awesome?!!!  I think she can do it.

Harmon rocked some Lyle Lovett hair this week on IG and I playfully tagged the REAL Lyle Lovett in the photo (because I love Lyle & always have & tried to name Merritt after Lyle, but Brian wouldn’t let me)…then the real Lyle Lovett liked the photo so I can die happy now.

Summer days ahead!  Despite the fact I vowed not to sign my kids up for much we seem to have a never-ending pile of stuff to do all summer so I’m sure September is going to look really good come about mid-June.  Harmon turns 18 months in a week & I vow right here, right now to write an 18 month post for the hobbit, so let’s all meet back here in a week, ok?  Somebody virtually yell at me if I don’t show up. 😉

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

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!

Giveaway! Aviatrix Cap No.5

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In honor of Harmon smiling for the first time today (yippee!), I would like to give away his Aviatrix No.5 knit in sumptuous Blue Sky Alpaca Yarns ‘100% Baby Alpaca’ in a green-yellow colorway with a baby blue vintage button (& two button holes for adjusting).  Harmon will not wear alpaca, but I would love for someone’s baby to wear this cap & I don’t know anyone currently pregnant or with a new baby right now.  The color is a bit different, but the yarn is soft & the cap construction is one of my favorites.  Harmon has a fairly large head for an almost-two-month-old & this fits with room to grow.  I’m going to peg this at a 3-6 months+ sized cap–it all really depends on your baby’s noggin.

If you have a little baby in your life (or about to have one!) whom you think would love this cap, please comment below!  Comments will close & a winner will be randomly selected on Friday, February 5, 2016 at midnight (I’m positive I’ll be up, ha!).  The winner will be notified via email & announced within this post–so please don’t comment ‘Anonymous’ if you’d like to win.  I will mail the cap (shells & jar not included) for free anywhere in the world!  If only one person comments before next Friday, hey, you win automatically!

Happy Friday! ❤ ❤ ❤

Comments are Closed & the winner is #3–Katharine Blair!  Please email me, Katharine, at ellamaeknits AT gmail DOT com & I will get this Aviatrix on its way to you!  Thank you to everyone who commented!

In the bag

Jakway Forest Bird Blind, Buchanan County, IA

Jakway Forest Bird Blind, Buchanan County, IA

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Pine Siskin, Buchanan County, IA

Pine Siskin, Buchanan County, IA

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We spent the day in Buchanan County yesterday (one county north of our own). I was scheduled to volunteer at Buchanan County’s nature center in the afternoon, so we did a little birding ahead of time in Jakway Forest at the bird blind. The kids attempted to feed chickadees from their palms, but the time required for such an endeavor was too much. June enjoyed wandering in and out of the bird blind eating handfuls of snow (I do not condone this, I promise–she’s sneaky).

Coralee & I spent the afternoon at the nature center, knitting (me) & birding (both) & drawing (Coralee). Brian, Merritt, & June had errands to run. We saw a few House Finches at one set of bird feeders out the back windows of the building. Later, we thought a few female House Finches were visiting an old Gatorade bottle feeder that hung just outside one of the office windows. The feeder is within a couple feet of the window and almost hanging at eye level, so it was quite easy to examine the birds up close. Coralee noticed one of the finches had yellow on both sides near its rump. We thought it was worth investigating, perhaps we had some sort of House Finch variant? Long story short, neither of us has ever seen a Pine Siskin (that we know of) and we saw three at that Gatorade feeder. We were quite ecstatic to identify a new-to-us bird, quite accidentally as I flipped through the Finch section of the center’s bird book. Not sure we could have ID’d this species from afar & among all the other House Finches. The birding stars aligned on that one.  Bagged No. 41 on my 2015 list.

I am almost finished knitting the first draft of my pattern for Mountain Girl Yarns.  Still working on the strap.  June’s little stuffed mice friends turned up as stowaways in my purse while at the nature center.  We did not have any “real” visitors to the center, so I managed to knit quite a bit.  Visited the wild turkeys in their pen & the bison corral after locking up.

Moving on to Monday!

Playing with color

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Common Merganser, female

Common Merganser, female

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IMG_4601[1]Coralee &I have been experimenting with color as of late.  She’s been hard at work on her latest edition of “A Prairie Girl’s Notebook,” writing about the owl we spotted over a week ago.  She also labored for countless hours on her entry for this year’s Junior Duck Stamp Contest.  I think the duck species she chose–the Common Merganser–is just beautiful.  I was flipping through her sketchbook & found the rough sketches to be just as engaging as the final copies.

Camilla (at Mountain Girl Yarns) & I are collaborating on a pattern this spring.  I spent most of Sunday afternoon playing with two of her splendid new skeins.  I am so excited to partner with her again–fingers crossed I can come up with something worthy of her superior dyeing skills!  She’s currently giving 15% off all yarns in her shop using the coupon code VAL2015.  One skein is perfect for a soft, lovely newborn baby vest, I’ve found.  A gift any new mother would treasure. xx

As I sat & stitched yesterday afternoon, June played on the back porch with her kitties (instead of helping her daddy stack wood).  Pepper sure loves the attention from her colorful little friend.  Winter in the Midwest is biting back hard this month after lying dormant for so long.  Time to drench your soul in color.

Tiny {Yarn Along}

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bird feeders at rest, humbling sky

bird feeders at rest, humbling sky

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tosh tea cakes

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tiny flora’s tidy handwarmers

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in my etsy shop

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tiny newborn cap in Suri alpaca, in my etsy shop

I did not purposefully set out to find the tiny this week. I cast on some fairly hefty Christmas gifting projects this past weekend–a sweater for June & a starfish pillow for Merritt–but the yarn I chose did not match the projects as I had hoped & thus I ended up ripping out several hours worth of knitting by Saturday evening.

I found a box on Sunday of Madelinetosh Tosh Merino Light mini skeins that I bought last year around this time & forgot about, evidently. The box is called ‘Tosh Tea Cakes’ & it is a kit for garland from Jimmy Beans Wool. I thought about knitting the garland, but instead found myself knitting up tiny handwarmers with the mini skeins for the shop. Handwarmers so small they will probably never sell–what newborn wears handwarmers???–but it felt right to work on something tiny.  Tiny stitches.

I recently found the most wonderful shop on Etsy for tiny paintings of foxes. Foxes wearing handknits. Foxes hanging out by a campfire. Foxes hanging out by a cabin, by a cottage. And the best part is the canvas the artist paints these tiny masterpieces upon is sized 3 inches X 3 inches & each comes with a little easel on which to display your tiny work of art. Tiny beauty.

Our feeder has been receiving a very tiny amount of birds this week.  As opposed to the very large number last week. It’s cold, but there is no snow anymore.  Tiny visitors in tiny numbers.

I found myself knitting a tiny newborn cap yesterday in the softest Suri alpaca I’ve been saving from an alpaca farm down the road that went out of business.  Suri alpaca is just so soft, perfect for those new bundles that arrive Earthside, of which I’ve personally welcomed three living.  A tiny pleasure indeed.

So why the tiny?  I really wasn’t sure & then I read Leigh’s post regarding the beginning of Advent.  Thank you, Leigh, for making my random tiny-ness make perfect sense. xoxo

Joining in with Ginny.  Hope you find some tiny pleasures, too, this month.