Spring. A Rant. Lace.

Yesterday, Canberra sang in the early Spring sunshine. There was light, there was movement. I’m sure I even heard the suburban hum of a lawn mower. And after breakfast, I looked out the window and saw that our newly pruned apricot tree was drenched in sunlight and dew. Out I went with the camera to do what I’ve done every Spring since we moved into our house in 2006.

Apricot blossom and chicken

See the chicken in the lawn down below? How they’ve changed our backyard in the ten months since they arrived. We have beds fenced off now so that they can free range on the days we’re home. It’s not necessarily how I planned to have garden beds – fenced off with wire but they’ve proven difficult to deter and what is it with chickens and bulbs? We’ve decided to lift all our bulbs after they’re finished this year and move them out the front. The Sister Hens simply can’t resist the lure of digging up the daffodils and tulips. So we’ll just remove temptation.

Apricot blossom against blue sky

Such blue sky. Such sunlight. I had blood tests recently that showed I’m deficient in Vitamin D, again. It was the same last winter. My doctor said it’s pretty normal for Canberra and it made me wonder about places where it’s really dark and dim all winter. In Canberra we do get lovely sunshine some days in winter but what about in northern Europe or America – what happens to your Vitamin D levels there?

a bunch of apricot blossoms

I’m having a week off work and will be getting out to grab some Vitamin D as much as possible. Me and the chickens will potter in the yard and I’ll plant some seeds in the beds we’ve left for them to dig over all winter. They’ve done a better job than we could have ever done with a fork or a shovel.

As always, I’ve planned more for my time off than I can ever realistically achieve. I do sometimes wish I could be a little more single minded in my interests. I’ve got Alice coming to spend one of the days with me and I somehow imagine I’ll find time to sew a quilt top, make a dress for Alice, strip and paint a cupboard and work in the garden, with some baking thrown in for good measure, as well as the usual amount of knitting.

(All of which means, according to the Huffington Post, that I’m not a tough girl. I know lots of us have seen that ridiculous post now. Good grief, as if aspiring to some single minded notion of toughness and strength is the only way to prove you’re not frail. If nothing else it was a great piece for getting women to stand up and be counted and remember that strength comes in all colours and textures and if you want to knit or take part in any other ‘domestic’ act then do it and tell women like the author of that piece to go jump. It’s how you live through the trials, how you grow and learn, how you live with yourself and other people that counts. End rant.)

apricot blossoms

My other fun project for the week is to get started on a special knit. This one’s for me. In November my little brother is getting married and it’s an evening wedding, in country surroundings. I’ve got a dress picked out and I mean to knit something light and airy from this yarn. Cascade Kid Seta.

Cascade Kid Seta

I just need to finish a cardigan for Alice in the next day or so then I’m free to kick off. How’s that for a deadline? Two months to knit a long piece of Estonian lace. I really did mean to start earlier.



27 thoughts on “Spring. A Rant. Lace.

  1. On the topic of rant and wanting to do so much and not having that single minded focus….I have that “problem”. Its like the unsolvable work/life balance “problem” as well. It’s here, it’s gnarly, it’s with us and we should acknowledge it and then we should go sew a quilt top (to be finished in another spare moment), and then bake some smackerels of something and then have tea in the garden and life will be full. Enjoy your week off. Your garden and hens are very pretty.

  2. It feels like summer never really started here in England.

    Fortunately you can get vitamin D from food: oily fish and eggs IIRC.

    A bit of lovely blue sky like that would be ideal though 🙂

  3. That yarn is divine, so fairylike and delicate, can’t wait to see it finished!

    I think most of us are vitamin D deficient. Even in summer because of the sunscreen. I desperately miss the sunshine! Never been happier to farewell winter. I’ve really felt it this year even if I spent part if it overseas!!

    Have a wonderful week off

  4. Oh those photos are stunning especially the one with the white flower and the blue sky behind it – stunning !
    Interesting about Vitamin D deficiency I hear about this quite a bit these days, very interesting. We are constantly told to not be in the sun and now I hear even in children there are Vit. D deficiency on the rise. I still think the sun is only good in small doses especially in Oz as the sun is so strong at times.
    Looking forward to seeing your lace project finished, pretty colour.

    • my dr said as little as 15mins of sun is enough to keep you in Vit D so I think we probably don’t need to be throwing out the hats and sunscreen yet!

  5. Lovely pictures. My cherry blossom tree started blooming 2 weeks ago as we have been having a lot of warm days here. In fact, winter had been too short.

  6. Ooooh. I’m loving Spring in Canberra too! My garden is a riot of colour and I’m loving it. Please tell us what Estonian lace project you are knitting! I’m busting to know! That yarn looks divinely soft and gorgeous! Hey, also about the vitamin D, I’ve had to take it for a few months as my bloods also showed deficiency. I’m now taking a combo calcium, magnesium and D supplement. The calcium is good to prevent osteoporosis. Happy Knitting!

  7. Lovely spring pictures! I really love the shade of your soon to be something light and airy – it looks like spun silver – pretty! Enjoy your ” timeoff” 😉

  8. I’ve been taking Vitamin D supplements and they’ve increased my energy levels. The Northern half of the US has the same problem as Canada–the sun hits us at the wrong angle for us to make enough D. The going outside bit sounds great, but in NYC, it’s hard to find a street that isn’t in shadow thanks to the tall buildings.

    I’ve also heard people say you should put on your sunscreen 15 minutes after going out in the sun, but I think it’s not always easy to remember to stop & do it once you get going.

  9. It’s so hard to get the balance right – as well as the cancer risk, sun exposure really ages the skin too. It’s funny though, in summer I can’t bear much sun exposure at all but in winter, a little bit of exposure feels good, so maybe I can trust my instincts.

    I am exactly the same about overcommitting my time off. You should see all the lists I made in my notebook at the start of my leave, and how few are ticked off. I always say it’s better than being bored.

  10. My Dr says that it is nearly impossible for Canadians to produce enough Vit D even in the summer – something about the latitude and angle of sunlight. I’m always deficient but apparently that is normal for Canadians.

  11. Hm. I am not up at all on my Vitamin D info. (Though I am very close to finishing my Vitamin D cardigan, which I love.) They put it in the milk here, which of course isn’t the same, but I suppose helps some. I’ve heard one only needs 15 minutes of exposure a day to get enough. But I don’t know – it could just be they’re really pushing sunscreen because they feel cancer is the more immediate threat? I don’t know. Interesting, though.

  12. I remember there was a tv ad when we were kids, all about vitamins, and I can never quite remember if it is vitamin D or C that “is good for your corpuscles, take a lot of me and I’ll get into your muscles!” heh heh.

    Lovely blossom photos, as always. Enjoy your week off, you never know, you just might cross everything off your list!

  13. I read the title of your post and thought “three of my favourite things!”

    I should probably have my Vitamin D levels checked. I burn in the sun in about two minutes (not kidding), I can’t hang the clothes on the line without getting red and ouchy! So I live in sunscreen – all year round. My boys do too, they have my skin.

  14. Vit D is crucial! Deficiency results in all sorts of trouble. I’m like Amy – I don’t put sunscreen on my kids unless I *have* to – if they can wear hats and stay in the shade a bit then that’s what we do – only if they are actually going to be exposed to the sun all day then they get sunscreen. Our skins are made to have sun on them – just not too much, especially if you are pale, but you still have to have some!

    Bells – that lace is going to be absolutely stunning. I can’t wait to see how it goes. You will look beautiful at the wedding

    • i’m inclined to agree. I’m mindful of sun on my face and chest but don’t spend nearly enough time in full direct sunlight for hours on end to warrant wearing it every second of every day!

  15. We have a huge Vitamin D deficiency here too, and with the hole in the ozone layer right above us, we have to stay out of the Sun. The Menzies Centre here is investigating our extremely high MS, and other illness, rates and believe it is related to low Vitamin D levels. Most people I know have to take Vitamin D just to maintain an average level, even in Summer.
    Beautiful blossoms and Alice will love having a picnic with Auntie Bells!!
    Pshaw to the Huffington. The whole point of feminism is for women to have equal opportunity. We don’t expect all men be boxers or in the SAS, similarly all women aren’t muscular and fighting demons at the Hell Gate. I’lll happily leave that to Buffy et al.
    It wouldn’t be a deadline if there wasn’t a race to the finish line, I am sure you can knit something gorgeously lacy in the time allotted!!

  16. I don’t know on my vitamin D, but I’m taking folate. No more enriched grains for me, you know, and I went and got deficient. I think I’ve told you that I’m not obsessive about the sunscreen? I admitted to our pediatrician a few years ago that I didn’t really start using it on the kids until summer proper & beach visits,and he said he’d just gotten back from a conference where exactly that was discussed–that parents should be going a bit easier on the sunscreen because of vitamin D deficiency. (I still remember the articles that advised us to put it on our children like clothes: Don’t let them leave the house without it! Ever!) We are all various shades of brown here, so hopefully we’ve soaked up enough to get us through the winter. My husband said if I didn’t start using more sunscreen on myself, he was peeling the beach parking sticker off my car. I told him I was sure skin cancer wasn’t the cancer that would kill me, and then he just glared at me, and I felt mean.

    Off to look up the Vitamin D/MS connection…

  17. I bet my Vitamin D levels are low too! I prefer my indoor pursuilts – sewing and computing are best done inside although knitting and reading are, of course, transportable!

    They say Vitamin D deficiency is also linked to obesity – another reason why I should get outside more!

  18. I think apricot blossoms are close enough to cherry blossoms to be doing some hanami with Alice on your time off. Backyard picnics FTW! http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hanami

    I know what you mean about vitamin D, I took one look at the sky outside and moved all my study outside and lapped it up. Looking outside now I think that was the best decision :-/

    • Viv you’re a genius. On the day she’s here, if it’s a sunny spring day, we’ll feast under the Apricot blossoms! She loves a picnic or a tea party outside! Thanks for the inspiration!

  19. Scotland has a huge Vitamin D deficiency problem. Scientists argue that it is this deficiency that has caused a big MS problem. So, well, people take it seriously here and we are urged to get as much sunshine as poss.

    • Oh well there you! I did wonder. I’d been meaning to research what a Vit D deficiency did beyond having my Dr tell me to get outside a bit more.

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