Sunday, November 29, 2009

November - The Green Month?!

So often we think of November as that brown, dreary month that we need to get through before the snow accumulates and we can get out to ski or snowshoe. I was going along with the collective wisdom until recently when I started tuning in to all of the green in the woods.

Now, I do live in an area with a lot of evergreens and I am not including those in my sightings. Instead I have been noticing the smaller things - moss, lichens, and lycopodiums (club mosses).

Moss and staghorn sumac

Oh, and did I mention the reds? Not only sumac, but mountain ash and highbush cranberry. Then of course, with the leaves and underbrush down it is so much easier to see the bright orange jelly fungus and various hues of lichens on the trees and rocks.

These are all small, easy to overlook items but bring a splash of color to what can otherwise be a monotonous background of shades of brown.

I arrived at Scharr's Bluff for the UMTR Awards Fest on November 14th rather early so went for a walk on the trails around the Gathering Center. The park is located along the Mississippi River just north of Hastings. As I headed out onto the trails a bald eagle flew by at eye level along the cliffs edge. So cool, but no time to get my camera out.

View from the bluff, north(?) along the river

I spent some time exploring the single track trails along the cliffs edge before heading more inland and onto the ski trails.

Some fungus emerging from the soil in a pine forest

asters in the setting sun

After my hike I settled into the back of my car with a warm blanket over my legs, sun shining in my face and my knitting to wait until it was time for the party to start. And it was a great party! Good company and the opportunity to meet/see a few folks I only know by names on race results. And the food! Went away well fed and impressed with the culinary skills of this group. The awards were all well-deserved and the artwork was amazing.

The next morning I met a few friends (Karen, Wayne and Leslie) for a run at Lebanon Hills and then, after a brief break to change clothes, eat lunch, buy kim chee (thanks to Leslie who spotted the asian grocer on her way to Lebanon Hills), headed to Battle Creek Park for another run. Yup - two running dates in one day! Gotta make the most of the trip to the Cities!

A friend had left a map of the park taped to the door of the building so I could find my way around as I have only been there once before. Never a good idea to take a new trail runner out and get them lost. Ended up running a hilly 4+ miles to add to the 10 that morning. About mid way through the run we were surprised by a large bird flying down the trail in front of us. Silent flight = owl. It landed in a tree ahead of us and we stopped to watch each other. My best guess is that it was a Great Gray Owl (based on size and activity during the day). So cool...

The Heart Blanket is finished - a day late! I had miscalculated how long it would take and despite knitting like crazy on the way south to the baby shower and knitting through the baby shower I couldn't get it done. On the bright side this means I could take it home and, once it was finished, give it a good soaking and block it - bringing out the lace pattern even more.

Finished off a pair of mittens that were a commissioned project. Got to use some Bemidji Woolen Mills "Homespun". Great stuff, feels wonderful to knit up and made a lovely pair of mittens that had me wishing they were for me! Tried to eek a pair of half mitts out of the remainder of the skein but, after weighing the skein, knitting up one half mitt (minus the thumb) and reweighing the skein I have determined that I will run short. Ah well, just means I have to fall back on the resources of the stash where I found a nice single skein of Knit Picks "Wool of the Andes" in a lovely blue (Sapphire Heather).

The hat is still waiting for completion (so much for the plan to have it done by the Awards Fest). I am being distracted not only by mittens but a search for a dove pattern (for church - they are looking for dove ornaments to decorate one of the trees).

Running is progressing well at this time. Feeling recovered from the ultras. Long runs are down to about 13 miles, anything less seems... well, pointless. Enjoying the time out on the trails. Wednesday night Lakewalk runs are back which means I am getting a weekly dose of speedwork ;-> One last race for 2009 (Bridge to Peace 5K) and then it will be maintenance mode until I decide what races I will do in 2010 and work out a training schedule.

An interesting quote from Stephanie Pearl-McPhee (aka the Yarn Harlot) which I find applicable to both knitting and ultra-running (with a little word substitution):

"If you are in a yarn shop and are distracting yourself from buying things by assisting your friends with finding beautiful yarn, there is a good chance that you will be called an "enabler". Enablers are both feared and respected, for they lead their friends down the path of temptation and cost them tons of money, but they really do find the best stuff. If you are ever called an enabler, just remember, if you think about it right, enabling means the same things as "helping".


Chris said...

Eeek! Kim-chee!

SteveQ said...

How many running knitters are there?! I can't even run and chew gum at the same time.

wildknits said...

Yumm! Kimchee - and so hard to find in northern Minnesota since the closing of our only oriental grocery store.

Steve - checked out the blog - thanks for the link. Oh how I wish (especially around gift giving time) that I could knit and run! I can knit and walk (and read and watch TV/movies - although not all at the same time).

Jean said...

November has been a strange month. I just ran in 44 degrees this afternoon!

I just returned from the North Shore, and I was really impressed with the mountain ash berries along the road from Lutsen to Grand Marais. They seem to be really thick this year.

Very cool owl sighting you had!

wildknits said...


So, being a birder - and a Twin Citiesan - what do you think? Great Gray?

It has been a strange month, though I did see snow flurries today ;-> Not quite as warm here and the wind looks like it is picking up.

Yes - the mountain ash berries are incredible - they really stand out this year. Will be fun once the freeze and thaw a bit, start to ferment and then the birds get at them. Nothing like drunk robins to entertain on a cold winters day.

Samantha said...

I can't believe the weather we had for November! It's going to completely spoil us, though. PS - I started my blogger site. I just went for since the names I really wanted were already taken. And mostly by people who aren't even actively blogging. Jerks.

wildknits said...

Welcome to blogger Sam! Now off to comment on your site ;->