P is for...

....driving up I-80 through Parley's Canyon, past Park City to Hi-way 40 through Heber City and around Deer Creek reservoir to the Provo River and  Provo Canyon.  At the top of Provo Canyon is the turn off for American Fork Canyon and Sundance Resort, but if you by pass that turn off you'll head down into a very wide, scenic and well traveled canyon.  The road often has traffic problems from rock slides and narrow roads and UDOT has been widening the road while being very careful not to adversely impact the Provo River

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Notsocoldyoucantwadeabit Smithdreamsoffishingintheriver Provoriverperfectforfisherman

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Along several miles of the river is the Provo River Parkway, a great recreation path for mountain bikers, hikers, and boarders. Provo River is also a world class fly-fishing destination.  Near the mouth of the canyon is the famed Bridal Veil Falls.  In 2005 this area was hit with a very large avalanche which shut down the tram and other facilities. Only a ghost of what was there can be seen today, but the falls are still as magnificent as ever. (The blue sky disappeared into large clouds that produced nothing-typical for this time of year.)

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After leaving Provo Canyon it's a quick drive up I-15 to the Salt Lake Valley and home.  The drive was a very nice way to spend Sunday morning.


O is for...

...this Wooden O (as Shakespeare called the Globe theater in Henry V).

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Adamstheatherbackofwoodeno For 27 years we have attended the Utah Shakespearean Festival in Cedar CityUtah.  It has been the highlight of our summers.  The plays are set in a Globe style, outdoor theater which is shaped like a large O.  The Festival started in 1962 and over the years has become world famous.  In 2000 the Festival won the Toni Award for Best Regional Theater.  It is a stand out in the rural, often backward, setting of Southern Utah. 

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This year we only attended one play, Hamlet, which was exceptional.  Brian Vaughn, who played the lead role, has become our favorite actor over the years as he runs the gamut from comedy to drama beautifully.

Willandistealakissatmidnight Julietlovedthebagandwantedtokeepthesock After the play I took a moment to have a chat with Will and steal a midnight kiss. He never fails to enjoy my company and admire my knitting. He always inspires me with his plays and poetry.
Juliet was especially beautiful when we returned the next morning for a brief visit.  She was taken with the beautiful quilted bag, which was created by the talented Emily (just in time to make the trip with me). She almost made off with my sock, but her lead feet were in my favor.  Poor King Lear is as angry as ever when he tries and fails to knit. I try each year to help him learn but it seems his brain is a little too far gone. 

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Should I try again next year or just give up and let him alone?

We will return to our favorite O next year to see Twelfth Night and King Lear.  Maybe if I give Lear a standing ovation he'll be more agreeable. 

If you get a chance to visit a Wooden O, do so...there is nothing like seeing the Bard's plays live.


N is for...

Nine Mile Canyon in Castle Country.

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StoriestoldinstoneHuntingdancinghoopswhoknowsCastle Country is in Eastern Utah and the area is full of unique formations of rock and landscape.  Nine Mile Canyon is actually over 40 miles long.  It has been used at cattle country from pioneer times until today and the treasures and secrets it holds are just starting to unfold.  A big problem looms as the treasures are as varied and, therefore are represented by two distinct and adversarial interests.  Oil and petroglyphs, along with other artifacts of the ages, do not make good bed fellows and there is a constant battle between the factions.

UniquerockformationsBalancingrockatninemileSmith and I made a trip there last year and found it a dry, remote and ruggedly beautiful place. The canyon is formed by barren rock and sandy soil. The main visitors today are tourists (or oil and gas companies).

Many of the little side canyons hold unique rock art left by the ancient Native Americans and some places have rarely been disturbed by man. 

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Nine Mile Canyon is one of Utah's rare and relatively unknown treasures. So, there you have it, yet another reason to visit our varied and unique landscape.


L is for....

La Verkin, Utah.
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As you turn off I-15 and head towards Zion Park, the first town you come to is Toquerville. Up the road a piece is the town of La Verkin (pronounced lavercun) and next to it is the town of Hurricane (pronounced hercun).  We often have fun pronouncing these two towns as one Hercun-lavercun  (There are many strange different town pronunciations in Utah). There has been an explosion of growth in La Verkin due to tourism and despite the fact that the mayor was successful in banning the UN from his town. Lest you think La Verkin is the only town to have 'strange' rules, the town of Virgin, just up the road, passed an ordinance stating that every citizen in town must own a firearm).

The best thing about this area of Utah is that you can easily drive right through on your way to Springdale, one of Utah's wonderful small towns, and gateway to Zion Park. Below is the "Watchman", one of the first hints of what you'll see inside the Park. The Watchman overlooks the  Visitors Center where cars are left behind and shuttles are taking into the canyon.

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The towering structure below is across the way from the Zion Park Lodge and near the trail head of the Emerald Pools, the only hike we had time to do on our trip.
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So there you have it, the only reason to go to La Verkin is to get to one of the most unique and glorious places on earth...let alone Utah, Zion.  More on the "Trek" to the Pools tomorrow.


K is for...

Kamas in Summit County, Utah.
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The Kamas Valley is mainly agricultural land with farms both large and small.  Deb, a friend who grows alpaca and llama on her piece of land in the beautiful valley, invited us up to help with the shearing her llama and alpaca pack.
FreshsnowonpeaksinkamasLlamalovelyladyinkamasThe day before, it had rained in the Salt Lake Valley but, the upper elevations (Deb is at 6400') had several inches of snow.  It was all melted by the time we arrived but, it was cold. We were properly dressed for the chill, thank goodness.

The animals were divided by gender and we herded the grrls in to the barn first.  I'm not sure this llama (I think her name was "A") would have been so happy had she know what was coming.

Readytoshearthegrrls_1ThisfleececouldbeaprizewinnerDeb had her eye on two fleeces she knew would be fabulous as they were from the two young alpaca.  Skye had a golden red coat that was just what Deb expected and this beautiful mottled gray fleece just may turn out to be a show winner, as it held together beautifully.   The grrls were quite the sight for the boyz as they paraded around 'in the buff' after their bit of grooming.
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LlamaeddybeingmanhandledThe llamas are bigger than the alpaca and it took several men to hold them down while a little extra grooming was accomplished.  Here is Smith helping to hold Grace while her toe nails are trimmed. Later he did get baptized with a bit of llama spit. He was a good sport but couldn't wait to get home and shower. Thank goodness it was the last llama.

It really was quite a day, almost like our own mini-fiber festival. Deb and her beau, Jim (who turned out to be an old college friend of mine), fed us everything from vegetarian chili to buffalo burgers.  The day was clear and sunny and couldn't have been more beautiful.
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Kamas is a bit of heaven.


J is for...

Jordan Pines Recreation Area in Big Cottonwood Canyon. 

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ordan Pines is an open area about half way up the canyon.  The large marshy meadow is covered with snow all winter and is the perfect place to snow shoe, sled, or Nordic ski.  We often run into many families as the gentle slopes are perfect for children to sled down.  As the name implies, there are pine trees everywhere you look.  Part of the trail is closed because of several mishaps that occured at Donut Falls, which is on private land. This has been a favorite hiking area and it's shame to have this unique place closed to the public.

Many of my Finished Objects have had their debut in Jordan Pines.  The road is plowed during the winter so, it is accessible for a leisurely walk to find just the perfect snowy ledge for a back drop.  Chickami was the first to have her day in the sun here. Seaweed and Oriel also showed off a bit for the camera among the pines.

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The snow is melting quickly in the lower elevations and we can now see the water rushing by.  When we pass Jordan Pines on our way up the canyon we know Silver Fork is very near.


I is for.....

Inches!

For most of my early years I was taller than other kids my age. In fact that is the story of my life as few women seem to be in the 72 inch range.

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Howhighisthesnowifim72inches In the mountains snow fall is  measured by inches. 500+ inches fell this year, which has packed down to a base of over 150 inches, mid-mountain. The parking lots in the resorts still have piles and piles of snow that will take a month to melt. If I am nearly 72 inches, how tall is the snow (and the peak behind)? The peak would be about 120,000 inches, just so you know.

Mimssocktwoandahalfinches As American knitters we produce inch after inch of knitting instead of centimeters as our knitting friends from other countries produce. Carrying a measuring device, or two, in our knitting bag is a must. We don't want to knit one more row than necessary.  At the moment Nancy's Knit Knacks Needle Sizer is my very favorite measuring tool. It is accurate and has ALL needle sizes, as well as inches and centimeters.  If you can't tell the difference between your size 1s or 1.5s, this is a must!  There is something wonderful about a sheepy tape measure, too.  As an embroiderer, I have several other favorite measuring tools. There is a need to measure fabric and thread length but, the best tools are just for decorative purposes. The 3 inch ruler is an old piano key that was etched with a rose bud and my name.

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Mountainstreamis47incheslongWhile I knit and enjoy each stitch there is little reason to measure inch by inch. 'The process' takes you beyond the need to see where you are and where you need to go so, you can just enjoy the moment.

Yes that is Mountain Stream in the blocking stages. Full disclosure tomorrow.


H is for...

...Hands, specifically hands that are knitting.

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Elizashandsknitting_2 Jessymnshandsknitting We, bloggers and non-bloggers are in Knit Blogland because we love to knit.   Knitting is a textural art.  It isn't always color that attracts, as the unsighted knit. The feel of  the fiber is what entices us, lures us, keeps us happily knitting. If your hands don't like the yarn it is difficult to continue knitting an item. Our hands form stitches from our first simple project and on through time as we become more adept. Often our hands act as if on their own (or so it seems).   

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Karenyshandsknitting Michaeleshandsewing We must care for our hands, the skin, muscles and tendons.  Pain free, happy knitting comes from making sure we don't over use, or injury our handsStretching, exercising, and stopping when the smallest pain arises, are the best ways to insure long term knitting.  Hydrating our hands and fingers, as yarn can dry the skin and nails, is also important to the health of our hands.  Take care of your 'tools of the trade' properly today so you can go into the future with Happy Healthy Hands.

Terishandsknitting  Laurieshandsknitting Heathershandsknitting

Gwenshandsknitting Erinshandsknitting

Leave a little homage to your own hands in the comments and a couple of you will get a little something to aid in the care for your hands.


G is for...

Many of you had some very good guesses for 'G'. Genealogy was a good one as the best Family History library in the world is here in Utah. Geology was a good guess too, as we have some of the most diverse and beautiful geology in the world here in Utah.  Grrlfriends was, of course, a great guess as that is one of the most important things in my life here in Utah and Utah Grrls rock!.  The best wrong guess was Green Jello from Julia. Check this link for recipes of favorite Utah Mormon dishes, like Green Jello and Funeral Potatoes.

But in my opinion, G must be for the Great Salt Lake.

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Most pioneers were heading to Oregon or California and didn't think of settling here because of the lake, which in turn made it 'the place' for the Mormon pioneers. They wanted to be left alone to build their own society and make the desert blossom like a rose.

Marinawithstansbury_1 Smith and I had a sail boat on the lake for many years and enjoyed sailing in the spring and fall.  The lake is beautiful once you leave the stinky shore.  It is a challenge to have a boat on the lake as the salt will eat everything and you spend extra time maintaining the trim, deck and motor. There are bugs during the hot months of summer...especially spiders and brine flies. This orb spinning spider is only found around the lake and they love the Marina where the ropes and rigging's are perfect places for their webs. I could go on and on about this, but there are no good memories involved, so we'll move on.

There are 11 islands in the lake (which is about 80 miles long and 40 miles wide, bigger than Rhode Island).The large islands in the southern portion are named Antelope (this was my 'A  '), Stansbury (in the picture above), Fremont, and Carrington.  The smaller islands are named Badger, Hat (Bird), and Egg.  The four small islands in the northwestern portion are Dolphin, Gunnison, Cub, and Strongs Knob. You can see the lake and islands on this map, which shows how big the lake is and where SLC is in situated.

There is a secret in the lake, too. It's not a monster, it's a beautiful piece of art, created by Robert Smithson, called the Spiral Jetty.  The location is rather remote (therefore we have never visited) and when the lake is high the Jetty is hidden from view.  It's best viewed from the air.

The lake is at a low point after several years of drought. The normal average depth of the lake is around 12' and now it is low enough that some of the larger, fixed keel boats have trouble navigating the shallow waters.  At the moment the beaches are very wide and if you click the shoreline photo above you can see the salt, moss and, not so nice, sand. It doesn't smell very good either.  The white in the foreground of this photo is also salt and the actual lake water is only a thin line. (click to enlarge)

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Ongoing conservation efforts strive to fix problems caused by man and ensure large wetland areas for migratory birds. Not only do we have California Gulls (our state bird) but, thousands of other birds live on the shoreline, including pelicans and a flamingo named Floyd (Pink Floyd...get it?). The link for Floyd has some other interesting information on the lake and also the story of how Floyd came to live on the lake.

This photo is of the Stansbury mountains to the south of the lake.
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The Great Salt Lake does get a bad rap for it's smell, salinity, shoreline ick and bugs, but it can be a very nice place to visit. Antelope Island is a State Park with a visitors center and you can bike, hike and see the buffalo who live there. The Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge is well worth the trip, especially if you are a bird watcher. Bald Eagles also winter in Farmington Bay  . We visit just to remind ourselves that the lake is a part of our Utah landscape.

Terry Tempest Williams book 'Refuge' is a beautifully written story of her mothers death and the demise of the bird refuge during the 1983 floods. It remains one of my favorite books and is worth reading over and over.

The winner of the contest (she got it right before last Friday's hint) is Sue M. in Spokane. I had no idea it would be so hard to guess and that so many Utah Grrls wouldn't know it either!  Thanks for playing along.   


E is for Embroidery

ZmyfirstsamplerAt the age of 8 my mother taught me to embroider. The first project was a green baby bib shaped like the head of a Cocker Spaniel.  It was mostly outline stitch, in shades of brown, with a satin stitch pink nose.  My memory is that it was never finished into a bib and I'm not sure I finished all the embroidery.  In the early years I also stitched pre-stamped samplers (the oldest one on the right) and pillow cases.  Embroidery wasn't a passion until my college years…you know the embroidered denim shirts and jeans of the 'hippie days'.  It was then it became a bigger part of my life. I worked in a needlework shop for a few years in the 70s, because I was a very accomplished hooker, and it was there I learned to knit. I also learned several types of embroidery. Like knitting, you can never know it all because of the many and varied types of embroidery.

12patchquiltstitchedin1987Japaneseembroideryphaseii In 1987 I joined the local Needlepoint Guild and fell in love with 'art needlework'.  My first class was a very extensive needlepoint piece of 12 Amish Quilt designs.  I loved it so much that it took me only 5 months to complete. From then on I took every class I could and traveled to do so when possible.  In 1991 I was introduced to Japanese Embroidery and studied it for 10 years. The teacher who taught this technique had a big impact on my life, as did the this form of embroidery.  It taught me so much about the process, and the discipline needed, to enjoy the journey of life.

Mywhitehousestocking1995_1One of the thrills during my needlework years was being asked to design and stitch a stocking for the White House Christmas Tree (as were 4 embroiderers from every State).  It was an honor and I was invited to the White House, with 10,000 others, to view the many beautifully decorated trees.  I found my stocking on the Blue Room tree and a friend was able to snap a picture.  I also did a large piece of embroidery for our Governor's Mansion (a dining room valance).

Basketmanneedlework Much of the needlework I've done has been given away to family members.  My album, SkatesantaNeedles With Eyes, has many of the 'smalls' I enjoyed stitching during the years that I studied counted thread. Several of my walls are covered with needlework but, only this piece, The Basketman, is in my living room. It is the one I love most of all.

For the last few years I have stitched only Santa's as Christmas decorations or teaching pieces. I have stayed  involved in the stitching community by teaching and also as founder of a local Sampler Guild.  Teaching has been a very enjoyable experience. My student's work is very diverse and they are all such lovely ladies.  All the years of study are put to use in guiding the students through the embellishment of painted canvases. The students challenge and delight me. I teach classes regularly and love to watch as each person grows and becomes a better stitcher.  They say a teacher is successful when a students abilities surpass their own.  My students certainly have accomplished that. You can see two examples below.

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Margaret's Geisha

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Iva Dene's Tea Ceremony

Late in 2000 I began to suffer with an upper back problem  which made it very uncomfortable to bend over an embroidery frame.  It was then I turned to knitting (which had been a part of my life since 1974) with a vengeance.  In 2004, when I started this blog, the desire to embroider evaporated almost entirely. I enjoy being a part of the needlework community and will continue to be involved.  I may knit at the meetings instead of stitch but, it is the people I go to see.

Enjoy your weekend. While March is a very unsettled month, the weather man did say that meteorological winter is over!