Sunday, May 14, 2017

It May Be Cool and Windy But Spring Progresses

Temps hovered in the upper 40's - low 50's today with a brisk wind off of Lake Superior. The skies were clear, and if you found a sheltered corner the sun's rays would quickly warm you up. The hillsides are rapidly turning that special shade of green only seen in early spring. Living in an area with a long, sometimes harsh, winter leads to a real appreciation of the renewal that is spring.

Today was the NMTC Spirit Mountain Run. Unlike most of the events in the series it is held on the road; starting at Spirit Mountain and traveling west on Skyline Boulevard (which is 75% gravel) to Becks Rd and back. Due to the popularity of the race a few years ago the start line was moved onto Spirit Mountain, below the Chalet (better parking options at the ski hill) and the race became a 10 miler. Skyline twists and turns as it traverses far western Duluth so there were times that we were running into a headwind both outbound and inbound! I believe this is one of the older continuously run races in the Duluth area. As I have my first ultra of 2017 coming up next Saturday I took it easy today, treating the race as a long, easy training run. It gave me a chance to visit with a couple of running friends who I don't get to chat with too often.

Later in the day I got back outside to do a bit of yard work (knocking the tops off the dandelions in our yard). I took a few breaks to photograph what is blooming in my yard:

Bleeding Heart
This magnolia tree was planted 10 years ago after being rescued from a dump pile at a nursery. It took quite a few years to get established but is now looking pretty happy and provides us with abundant, fragrant blossoms every spring.

Viola species
Viola species
A few years ago the white spotted violet showed up in our side yard. I take special care to avoid them when mowing and weed whipping until they are done blooming.

As I was working in the yard I noticed a ruby-throated hummingbird visiting the bleeding heart and daffodils in the upper garden. Other avian visitors today including Goldfinches, the resident flock of Chickadees, Robins and Cardinals (we have a nesting pair in the neighborhood, not that many years ago they were not a resident this far north, a sign of climate change?).

I also took the time to clear the old hop vines from the front porch and reset the fencing we use for it's trellis. This years hops are quickly growing, with some vines already over a foot tall.  By mid-summer they will be over 25 ft long and cover our entire front porch, providing a nice privacy screen.

This evening my knitting group met. It is comprised of folks that have almost all met via the NMTC runs so we dubbed it the Northern Minnesota Knit Club. Since we decided to meet at Blacklist Artisan Ales it is also called Beer & Stitch. The past couple of months I have taken a break from the Biohazard Socks to do some baby knitting. My most recent project is a sweater (EZ's Baby Sweater on Two Needles; Practically Seamless aka the February Sweater) for a co-worker who is expecting in June and tonight I finished it off by sewing on the buttons exactly one month after starting it at a previous NMKC meet-up.

I had started the sweater using just one strand of yarn but decided it wouldn't be large enough so combined it with another fingering weight yarn. The original yarn was High Prairie Fibers Prairie Spun Journey, a hand-dyed/self-striping yarn. I combined it with some Jamieson's Shetland Spindrift (Sholmit/Grey). The buttons were a great find at Yarn Harbor. A company called Incomparable Buttons. The blue on the birds is a perfect match for the blue in the sweater.

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