Friday, July 22, 2011
Colors & Cashews
So maybe that's why I've been knitting up some more colorful stuff lately? (OK that's just an excuse because y'all know I love lots and lots of color in my work). Here are a pair of child's socks knit with a donegal (has little bits of colored slubs in the yarn) wool sock yarn. The pattern is my Hug Me Socks (a free pattern).
Next up is a square baby blanket knit from the center out to the edges with some of my leftover sock yarns. This was a simple mindless project that I could work on when socializing, playing Mexican Train
As I wandered around the grounds of Mario's Marina here to take pictures of my knitting I also took a few photos of some of the plantings. Seems like there's always something different blooming. The local folks who work at the marina have been busy adding new plants both in the ground and in pots.
Do I count as "local"? Because I, too, planted some things! In the back of the grounds is a large area where one of the fellows (Marvin) had planted some squash. To prepare the area, they simply cut down the big stuff, then burned out everything - the ole slash and burn farming method of the tropics.
The green squash germinated very quickly and I already have several plants. The yellow is still thinking about it. It is brutally hot working out in the garden in the full tropical sun! But the plants love it.
On the boat, I have a few little containers made from the bottoms of plastic soda bottles that are planted with tomato seeds. Yes, of course I can buy tomatoes here, but they are all the same type, the roma or plum tomato and I like variety in my life. So I planted a heirloom type (Brandywine) and two colors (red & yellow) of a little plum shaped tomato.
More knitting with color - ELEVEN different colors to be exact. I was fondling my big plastic bag of leftover worsted weight Knit Picks yarns one day. What could I do with such a bizarre assortment of yarn leftover from designing Christmas stockings?
orphanage in Kazakhstan of course! Plain stripes would have been easy - but the extra warmth from stranded color work would be much appreciated in that cold country. I knit in the round up to the armholes, then divided for front and back. This is way so much fun!
Here is one of the very few cashew fruits left this season - and it is in terrible shape being eaten by bugs as it lays on the ground. The "nut" part is just that one brown lump on the bottom of the fruit. We buy really big roasted cashews (no salt) from Diego, the local nut seller for about $6.50 per pound. They are so sweet and delicious and taste much fresher than those we have purchased in the states. Gee, I wonder why.
One more piece of news ... our new Shade Tree marine/boat cover has arrived! We ordered in from the company up in the states and had it shipped to us ($$$). Here it is - mounted on the bow of our boat. We've been so happy with the ShadeTree cover over the center section of the boat that we bought many years ago so we coughed up the bucks for another one to keep the V-berth area shaded. It sure has made a difference in the temperature inside the boat - not only in the V-berth stateroom but also in the galley where I spend
Tuesday, July 12, 2011
Hot Waterfalls Adventure
A group of us cruisers summering over here on the Rio Dulce in Guatemala tumbled into the marina's van and rode through stunning green cattle grazing lands for about an hour to these falls. Because the falls are on a little river which is the private property of a large agricultural plantation/cattle ranch we paid our 10 Quetzales ($1.25) per person fee before jumping into the waters. COOL, fresh water flowed through the ponds but it was HOT water that streamed down the waterfall. Heated by geothermal activity, the water was too hot to touch.
We swam underneath the waterfall to a small space behind the falls. This space was a steamy "spa" that we could fit at least 5 people into. So we stood on rocks on the bottom, with cool water up to our waists and enjoyed the bizarre contrast with the steamy air while looking through a hot water curtain out to the ponds.
While standing and chatting in one little pond, we realized that our feet were getting a special foot treatment! Occasionally, little bursts of steamy bubbles would spit out of the gravel on the bottom and toast our toes! Ouch, and yes, it did smell very strongly of sulfur - eeeew!
Next up...how about a waterfall inside a cave that you have to swim up the river in the cave to see? Sure! Just one caveat though, you have to hike through the jungle on a steep, slippery trail to get to this treasure of Guatemala. So we did of course. We started out wet from our swim in the hot waterfalls and stayed wet from the sweat rolling down every body part.
We had to hire a guide (Francisco) to lead us to the caves area and he sure earned his fee (another 10 Q or $1.25 per person). See him there in the photo carrying my basket? Yep, my knitting goes everywhere because, well, you just never know when you might have a few minutes to knit, and he earned himself a generous tip for lugging my basket. OK, not exactly a glamour shot of me (creeping downhill behind Francisco) but that was the view everyone else saw all day too.
What a treat it was to swim in fresh water after months of seawater swimming. It's so different! The sweet and woody smells of the nearby jungle filled our salty sailor nostrils.
So we trudged back through through the jungle to our van. At one point our guide showed us a cave which has petroglyphs etched on the walls. He said the cave was used for Mayan ceremonies. We don't know how old the drawings are (hundreds of years or mere months?) but it was interesting just the same even if we suspected it was for us touristas' enjoyment.
But wait, there's more! After lunch we headed back up the road to take a little trip up a nearby river gorge. Ahhh, this was to be a sedate tour with somebody else doing all the work - a good thing as we were all lethargic after our big lunch. After a little bargaining by Marco, our marina manager who is from this area, we settled on a good price and these boys paddled us in their cayuca canoe.This cayuca was once a solid piece of wood carved from a tree trunk, but it had been covered with fiberglass at some point in time to extend it's useful life. We also hired a second cayuca which was a fiberglass model.
So mellow, and cool in the shade from the cliffs. Water dripped down in many places making tiny waterfalls and a sweet dribbling sound. Again, the smells were incredible with subtle floral scents, wet rocks and simple earthiness.
What a marvelous adventure made even more fun with the company of like-minded folks who are always ready to explore what this beautiful country has to offer. Oh, and who also kindly share their photos.
Final thought for the day: When you live in the tropics and use an open air restroom facility, remember to apply insect repellent on ALL parts of your exposed skin (including your bum) before attempting to use the toilet. Ask us how we know.
Thursday, July 07, 2011
Knitting Ups and Downs
First I started with the leggings. I was worried about having enough yarn so I made a little nordic type design and changed colors for the foot. Well, there was enough yarn left over for a little vest too! I hope this will keep some little kids warm. That's one of the benefits of knitting for the orphanage - the items will get worn by many different kids. As each one grows out of their clothes another baby comes along to wear it again.
Now, for the knitting "downs". The knit really hit the fan today. For the first time in my knitting life, I have knit a pair of socks in two different sizes. Yep. I really screwed this one up and of course I had a time deadline for it too as the pair was for a cruising friend who is leaving to travel up to the states. The sock is a rather tedious mini cabled design which hurts my hands to work. This is a lesson to ALL KNITTERS: Do NOT let your first sock sit in the knitting basket for 2 years before beginning the second, matching sock, or else they just might not match. Solution? I'm going to rip them BOTH out and knit this beautiful hand-painted wool sock yarn up in a simple stockinette stitch pair of socks.
Friday, July 01, 2011
That is totally cool! We HAVE to have those. So, next time we go into town, we'll be looking for the plastic inserts. Jonesy can make the holes with his hole saw so we can do the project ourselves. Actually, these will come in handy as we always have water bottles with us that are impossible to keep from rolling around in the bottom of our launcha.
The other assorted types of egrets, cormorants and vultures acted like they didn't even notice all the activity.
I finished the little baby socks for Carmelita who works here at Mario's marina. These are knit from my "Tiny Treasures" pattern in a nice soft cotton yarn. Yep. It does get a little chilly here during the winter months, sometimes below 60 degrees F! A little baby needs some sockies then.