April 6, 2009

A Sprung Spring

Sideways snow, high winds, blizzard conditions, daughter driving through a horrible storm to get back to campus after a musical performance with her choir, evening church service canceled - not January news, but THIS weekend!! Ugh, ugh, ugh! The oddest part of all was that where we live, it snowed for 12 hours and was blowing so much that we only accumulated a few inches, but some spots in Iowa got as much as 10 inches. This is apparently very rare for Iowa in April, for which I'm so grateful! But I'm also grateful to have had a warm fire and a dear husband to cozy up with for the afternoon, and I'm grateful that our daffodils are still standing pretty this morning! Actually my Uncle J tells me that these are technically called jonquils because of the coloring. I like the sound of that word, so I'm changing over!

My sister sent me this photo to show what spring looks like on the North Slope of Alaska!Brrrrrr... This photo is from BP in Alaska. This is a herd of wild musk oxen and my sister wanted to point out that the drilling has obviously not deterred these animals from their normal migration habits! She and I share a distaste for the politically correct mumbo-jumbo that floats around the issues of drilling.

Here's some trivia for you. The underbelly hair of these animals is gathered and used to make very fine winter garments. Here's a picture of the yarn, called qiviut, and some scarves knitted from the yarn.

This photo is from the University of Alaska at Faribanks where they run a large animal research facility and raise these musk oxen. These products are sold by them to help fund the research. Also, native Alaskans in villages all over the state, knit these qiviut items to be sold in cooperatives and gift shops. A village will often have it's own distinct pattern that's knitted into the garments. This is considered to be a very successful and sustainable cottage industry - pretty interesting stuff! But if you're considering buying a piece - save your pennies because it's premium quality and VERY expensive! It would be lovely to have a garment like this, but for now I'm just going to be satisfied with storing the word "qiviut" in my little brain for the next round of Scrabble I play - hee, hee!

All we really need right now is for the weather to be nice enough that we can stop thinking about the need for warm clothing! Sorry sis, I know you've got a while before you're at that point. Wear your hat!

Well, this is all then.

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