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Spring is coming…isn't it?

We live in Southern Ontario, which is a beautiful, varied piece of geography. Within an hours drive we can be swimming in either of 2 Great Lakes. Add another hour and we can be in a third. One more hour and Georgian Bay is also on the list. The US border is a 3 hr drive west and 90 minutes east. There are huge, amazing cities like Toronto and Ottawa, and tiny hamlets like where I live, and everything in between. We have lush farmland, extensive rivers and pretty easy access to what we call Northern Southern Ontario where we camp and paddle, which is heaven on earth as far as we're concerned. So we really excel when it comes to geography.

What we sort of don't excel at is weather. Summer is hot and sunny, sometimes humid and our many beaches, lakes and rivers are a saving grace for the heat that sits between 24-32C [75-90 for our American friends]. Spring and Fall are amazing - cooler nights, warm to hot days, storms, growth, colour - so beautiful, however short. But Winter. Oh dear Winter. It goes on forever. It's not unusual to have snow on the ground for at least part of every month from November to April. Count them. No, I'll help. It's 6 months. 6 months of snow boots, winter coats, mittens and hats. It's not uncommon to see people who live here wearing running shoes in snow, no socks inside winter boots, light jackets in freezing weather, simply because we convince ourselves it's warm out as a way to cope.

The positive is that we need a lot of sweaters, mitts, scarves and hats. And some people love the snow for skiing, snow boarding, tubing, snowmobiling. In a snowy month or if you're willing to drive north a bit you can do all of them in a day. We have dozens of Ash trees, which are all dead thanks to the Ash Borer beetle, so we also have an abundance of fire wood, although a lot of it is still in standing tree form. Winter weather means free heat when we're home to manage a fire. The negative is 6 months of snow. If you live in Florida you know about Snow Birds - 6 months of snow is why you get invaded every winter. We in Ontario spend all of the non-winter months planning vacations that will take us away from snow for a week or 2. It's our sanity. At work we brag about how many snow storms we missed while away on holidays.

The Alcazaba at the Alhambra in Granada Spain

We've just come back from a couple weeks in Southern Spain - 2 weeks of sunshine and warmth [and we missed 2 snow storms and an ice storm]. Ironically, my travel knitting was wool socks and a pair of stranded mittens, which I was making to experiment with different stranded techniques before starting a sweater. And while I wanted to master picking from 2 strands in my left hand [I said wanted to - it didn't go well] I find one strand in each hand is probably going to be my go to. Has anyone used a yarn guide? Did it make a difference?

Anyway, I was moving along quite nicely until we did a 3 night stop-over in Lisbon at a beautiful Art Deco hotel called Hotel Britania. Oh it was so nice - 5pm tea and sweets every night, amazing breakfast, incredible service, comfy bed, lots of water pressure [we don't have that here so it's a big deal!] off the main street, we highly recommend it. We came back to the hotel to find our room tidied, which is nice, but the person had put everything somewhere it wasn't. Like my mitten and 3 balls of yarn in the nightstand instead of on the table [I can hear you freaking a bit because a stranger touched in-progress knitting - I did too.] And they threw the pattern away. Gone. The graph with the markings and what row I was on and poof! Gone. I had an electronic copy, but I needed to be able to mark on it and can't follow stranded patterns on the iPad. I'm not upset really, just found it weird and as a result, don't have new mittens to wear. Well mitten. Progress was slow...

In website news, I've tweaked a few things while still learning how this stuff works, so if you find glitches please let me know. I've finished 2 projects this week that were sitting in the WIP pile for ages, both for the same reason. When they're both blocked I'll share how I dealt with the issue - for good or bad!

Have a wonderful week, and if you have sunshine warmth on your face, send warm and sunny thoughts to those of us still struggling a bit longer.

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