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Another Snow Event here in the Puget Sound Area, and I really don’t  want to schlep out to get more suet cakes, yet worry about the birds finding enough to eat.  My jar o’grease that I keep in the freezer has very little in it, so I decided to make a nutritious goo of peanut butter, rolled oats, and Crisco.

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I stuffed this into the bird feeder and put it out in cherry tree in the front yard.

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I hope they like it!

Meanwhile, I’m inside busily dyeing Blue Faced Leicester roving to get ready for the Whidbey Spin-In,  April 4 and 5.  I’ll have a table on the 5th only.

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Got wool?  Oh, yeah.

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Whew!  I really haven’t been gone all this time, just not blogging.  Busy, preoccupied, not in a bloggy mood.  The thought of doing all the picture resizing needed to start on the WorldCon report is more than I want to do today, so I’ll start off small.

First, the baby birds flew away while we were in Denver, leaving us with

Empty nest

Empty nest

yes, an empty nest. A precursor to our status this September, when our daughter goes off to college.

I’m participating in an interesting phenomenon, the “doing something nice for someone you’ve never met in person” thing that the Internet has made so easy to organize.  An independant dyer on Ravelry has had liver surgery and others are organising a knitted blanket made up of squares  knitted by Ravelers and friends around the world.  Here’s my first square.

Pinned!

Pinned!

The requirements are: any washable fiber, green, 8 x 8 inches.  I’m taking this as an opportunity to explore some of the stitch patterns in  my new Barbara Walker Knitting Treasuries.   This is Halved Diamond, from volume one.  The yarn is Lamb’s Pride Superwash, color Midnight Pine.  Although I’ve never met the recipient, and haven’t chatted with her that much in the dyers’  forums, it’s nice to do something that will bring cozy joy to someone recovering from major surgery.
Now, off to the dyepots!  I’m dyeing the last yarn for the summer yarn club. No peeking . . .

The baby birds are getting quite large and feathered — teenagers, if you will.

Just resting

Just resting

The past couple of days when I’ve peeked in, they’ve been asleep, the parents off getting bird take-out meals to bring back. It’s hard work, growing up that fast — I’d need lots of naps, too.

While we were gone, the junco eggs hatched, and we now have three baby birds in the nest.

Three in a nest

Three in a nest

They are absolutely silent, but when they sensed me nearby, they popped up their heads and opened their mouths for food.  I snapped a couple of pictures and left them awaiting the mother bird’s return, and hope she’ll have some nice fat insects for them.  The plants in the basket are getting rather limp, as I haven’t been watering them at all, but there was a little rain yesterday.  They are just weedy volunteers and I’m not concerned about them,  but they do give a little concealing coverage to the nest.

I’m moving along on the socks I’ve been knitting.  I call them Seal Rock Socks Around the Clock, because the colorway is Seal Rock, and the yarn is Blue Moon Socks That Rock.  The pattern is a modified version of Ann Budd’s Mock Wave Cable Socks, from the book Favorite Socks.  Here’s the second sock enjoying the

Sock on vacation

Sock on vacation

 view of Los Penasquitos Marsh as we visited friends. It looks so relaxed, doesn’t it?

Occupied

Occupied

A Junco of some sort or other has taken up residence in a hanging basket in the corner of the front porch, building a tidy nest out of dried grass.  I think might be the slate-colored form of that bird — I didn’t realize there were so many types!  If you peer closely just left of center, you’ll see a hole in the foliage; to the lower left of the hole is a darker area with a yellow speck — that’s her head and beak.  She’s a bit of a nervous mother and doesn’t like people hanging out and leaning in within six feet for so, so just after I took that picture she fluttered up to the roofline and made tiny fierce “tick! tick!” noises to drive me off.

 Fiercely fluttering

As it was time for our annual Clarion Party yesterday, I moved the tubs of iced drinks off the porch, barricaded a large space around the hanging basket, and posted signs asking people not to linger in the area.  She’s still there today, so I hope to have pictures of chicks soon.  That same basket was nested in two years ago, but the brood had flown off by the time we held our party.  Nesting is later by a couple of weeks this year, probably because of the cool, wet, long spring we had.