March 2009


So things are not looking up for our national broadcaster (and my frequent employer). 800 jobs will be cut, as well as two regional bureaus. Programming will also be affected. I can’t imagine this country without the CBC, but I bet our current prime minister can.

On the bright, I have a new knitting pattern to start. The oh-so-talented Kate Gilbert has re-released her Sunrise Circle sweater. I’ve been lusting after this pattern for months.

the yarn spinner herself

the yarn spinner herself

Looking for something to do on a rainy day on Denman Island, my attention turned to an old spinning wheel. Susan-Marie had recently bought it from a friend. A big bag of roving sat next to it. T and I spent a half hour going back and forth between computer and spinning wheel to figure it out. It felt a little strange to be learning from a web site and not someone’s grandma, but in the end I was able to produce something resembling yarn.

I tried the “inch worm” technique of drafting the roving and tried to treadle slowly to avoid over spinning, but still ended up with a pretty high number of twists per inch. I then spun two singles together and tried to match my twist rate. This counteracted some excessive twist, but not even a good warm bath could relax all the curls.

For a first try, I’m very pleased with myself, but would really rather learn the finer details from a real person.

drafting the roving

drafting the roving

attaching another chunk of roving

attaching another chunk of roving

not bad for a first try

not bad for a first try

in march winter still has a hold on the yukon.

in march winter still has a hold on the yukon.

The most spectacular part of the drive down from the Yukon was the dramatic transformation from deep winter to spring. Over three days we saw the days grow longer, the snowbanks melt away and the land become green and lush. The baby lettuces are already edible on BC’s Gulf Islands. Emerging from the long hibernation I’m feeling lighter, happier and more energetic.

The scariest part of the drive was through the mountains around Muncho Lake. It was dark, steep and the roads are twisty, snow-covered. Bison were rooting for food on the edge of the road.

Exhausted after the day’s drive, I pulled the truck over in Fort Nelson and we slept in our seats. You know you’ve been in the Yukon too long when -24 seems a reasonable temperature for car camping. I slept poorly and woke up cold and sore and had to scrape the inside of the windshield.

many gas stations along the alaska highway close down for the winter.

many gas stations along the alaska highway close down for the winter.

my truck really didnt want to fight a bison.

my truck really didn't want to fight a bison.

i found my river to skate away on

i found my river to skate away on

I don’t remember exactly how it all went, but one day when I was about three mum was pulling me in the wagon on our way to the grocery store. It was a brilliantly sunny day and I said, “mom, what’s in the sunshine that makes me smile?” I didn’t know the science, but I was onto something.

It felt so good to get out of the Yukon for a little while, even if the destination was Winnipeg. The days were so much longer, and sunshine felt a little warmer.

For several years the city has been flooding the trails around The Forks National Historic Site, but this year the skating was better than ever. Take that Rideau Canal! The Guiness book of records recognizes the Winnipeg trail as the longest in the world.

the trail winds its way down the Assinaboine River from The Forks

the trail winds its way down the Assinaboine River from The Forks

The river perspective is not one you usually get, unless you happen to canoe to work. Down below the banks, we skated past people’s back yards, and the apartment buildings looked just that much taller.

No speed skaters allowed? Apparently there is a 37 km/h speed limit.

No speed skaters allowed? Apparently there is a 37 km/h speed limit.