Sarah Jane Humke

The life of a traveling, reading, writing, spining and knitting shepherdess.

Whale Hunters September 29, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — Sarah Jane Humke @ 10:40 pm
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Ok, so if you missed it, I would totally suggest* that you check out Whale Hunters by the National Geographic Channel.  I like that the documentary makers didn’t seem to “pretty up” any of the facts about the lifestyle of the Inupiat Eskimos that hunt the bowhead whales that pass near Point Barrow each year.  Check it out if you can….

*If you are a seriously squeamish sort, this suggestion isn’t so much for you.


Not Go-ing September 28, 2009

Tonight, after watching Micheal the monster mutt wrangle the goats into their pen for the night (that never ceases to amuse me) I came back to my brothers and taking advantage of the seemingly stable internet for once, decided to watch Brenda Dayne of  the podcast Cast-On taking her turn on the 4th Plinth.  It occurred on the 19th of September at 1 o’clock pm (for those of you who would like to look it up for yourselves).  I can’t even remember where exactly I was on the 19th of September to tell you the truth, but I remember thinking (since I knew at least it was Saturday) that I hoped that it had gone well and that she had good weather for it.  Now, I wish that I could have been there!  The weather looks as though it was absolutely fabulous and there was a good bunch of knitters there in Trafalgar Square knitting in support including Lucy Neatby!!!  Holy crap!  How freaking cool is that?!?!  Anyway, be sure to check it out when you have the chance (and good internet!).

Watching her work with needles that she got from Rachel John made me really want to get home and start using the gigantic crochet hook that I got from her back at the UK Ravelry Day back in June.  It looks as though it could use up a lot of yarn in a hurry (and I have a lot of yarn ready to be used up!).

Fall has finally come to this part of the world. My friend Sarah was looking for good ways to use up a lot of basil in a hurry, a sure sign that cold has arrived.  It has not only gotten chilly, but also quite windy here in the Midwest.  The sound of at least a million corn leaves angrily rustling is always an amazing sound to hear.  The wind has dried things out quite a lot so the sound of the corn has more of a raspy edge to it than it even did a few weeks ago.  The wind is so strong that it kept me awake most of last night with its unfamiliar sounds in my brother’s house.  Even Micheal was on edge because of it, waking up several times to bark at the phantoms of wind.

I honestly haven’t been doing a whole lot here in Ackley to tell you the truth.  I read a complete book and have worked on my knitting quite a lot.  Otherwise, I’ve been more or less a bum, which suits me fine.  After the last couple of weeks of non-stop go go go it’s nice to, you know, not go.  Especially since I know that I have a few more weeks of go-ing left before I am home again.


Y’all Know That Captain Kirk is Going to Be From Iowa Right? What More Do You Need! September 27, 2009

Driving up to Mason City today with my mom we passed a large group of wind turbines.  I, of course, had to stop and take pictures.  Be very glad that I don’t live closer to them, as this would probably become the “Look at these cool pictures I took of the wind turbines” blog pretty quickly.  I couldn’t go up close to any of them as there were technicians working on nearly every one of them that we passed.  I will, however, get the shot of one that I want yet; I just need to be patient….
This is probably one of my favorite shots as the juxtaposition of the old-fashioned red barn and farmstead against the towering modern wind turbine is just great.
Somehow, when I wasn’t paying attention, Iowa came along and joined the 21st century in a big way.  Between the push for sustainable energy with these windmills and the fact that Iowa, Iowa, allows gay marriage while that paragon of all things alternative California doesn’t, I have to say that Iowa has definitely made a lot of really major strides forward.  Not baby steps, no sir; these are gigantic leap-frog monster steps!
Way to go Iowa!*
*(This is not, in any way, endorsing the University of Iowa team in any manner.  In that area, if I am forced to choose an Iowa team to endorse, I will of course always chose Iowa State.  However, if I am allowed to choose a team to root for on the national level, of course I will have to say, “Go Gators!!!” [It was nice to finally go to a school that actually won stuff including a few national championships and party school of the year 2008])


The Glory of Love September 25, 2009

As I was driving back from the “20/30 Something Knit Night” tonight at Crazy Girl Yarn Shop (more on that later) I was listening to a Des Moines “Lite” Music station.  Now, this would not be my normal choice for music stations but it seemed that everything else that I could get on the radio was either really twangy country music or heavy metal.  Now, I have nothing against either genre of music.  I been both to a Garth Brooks concert as well as one put on by Metallica.  Anyway, neither were really what I was in the mood for and the “Lite” station fit the bill the closest.  On comes “The Glory of Love” by Peter Cetera and I find myself not only enjoying it but singing/yodeling along to it!!!  I’m not even sure when or where I learned the words to this particular song but here I was busting out with some, “I am a man who will fight for your honor.  I’ll be the hero that you’ve been dreaming of.  We’ll live forever, knowing together that we did it all for the glory of love!!!!”.  I mean, I was born in 1978 and this song was a big hit in 1986.  So did I actually somehow absorb the lyrics to this when I was 8?  How many brain cells has this song occupied for 23 years of my life???

So, besides the self-surprise at my proclivity for 80’s power ballads, my night was really nice.  Like I said, I went to the 20/30 Something Knit Night at Crazy Girl Yarn Shop in Cedar Falls with the lace stole in hand.  It was a relaxing evening with the ladies there.  I like the fact that you can buy a bottle of wine there or bring one yourself if you would like.  The Crazy Girl shop is really in a lovely space with brick walls and an impressive wall of Cascade 220.  Leslie, the owner of all 3 of the Crazy Girl shops was there as well as the lovely Bel who I got to chat with quite a lot as she has lived in the UK in the past.   It was a fun night and if you are in the Cedar Falls area on a Friday night, I would totally recommend checking it out!

While I was in the Waterloo/Cedar Falls area, I also got some shots of the gigantic parts for the wind turbines that they are putting up all over the area.  I think that I have mentioned how happy I am that these are being put in and just how cool (I think) that they look in the landscape.  Anyway, these photos will give you an idea of the scale of these puppies!

I liked this photo as you can see the car for scale next to one of the pieces of the bases of the wind mills as well as one of the actual blades.

I liked this photo as you can see the car for scale next to one of the pieces of the bases of the wind mills as well as one of the actual blades.

A bunch of the blades sitting on what used to be the track.

A bunch of the blades sitting on what used to be the track.

They are using a defunct greyhound racing park as sort of a staging area for the parts and personally, I can only think of a few things more karmically appropriate for the space.  It’s not that I am against dog racing in general, it’s just that the sport is so very wasteful of animal life.

And folks remember, please, spay or neuter your pets!


In Which I Wrap-Up the Alaska Trip September 24, 2009

I’m writing this from my bother’s house surrounded by gun parts, military uniforms and other manly paraphernalia with Top Gun on the t.v.  It is a seriously far cry from Badlands National Park in South Dakota.

If the Western part of the US has a desperate sort of beauty the Badlands are screaming bloody murder.  Their beauty is stark and cruel.

However, the prairie dogs are cute as hell!!!


We also got to see the other type of bison that once roamed free across our continent.  The bison that we saw earlier during the trip were wood bison, in other words, they live in the forest and these guys lived on the plains.



Say Cheese!!!

Say Cheese!!!

We also saw some pronghorn antelope chilling in a bean field.


But the real attraction of the Badlands is, well, the Badlands themselves.











We then moved on to the Corn Palace in Mitchell, South Dakota.  I had visited it many years ago as a very small child and it was, oddly enough, bigger than I remembered it.



All of the designs on the building are made with different types and colors of corn.




We then drove until about midnight to get the rest of the way back to Ackley.  It was really good to get back here.  Being on the road for that long is tough no matter what the circumstances.

So, today I decided to go visit a yarn shop in Cedar Falls that I had heard about and was pleasantly surprised to find now one but two shops located quite close to one another!  The first that I visited was Three Oaks Knits.  The owner, Beckie Scheel, was lovely to talk to and had a large range of different yarns.  I then wandered down the street to Crazy Girl Yarn Shop.  They had a beautiful wall of Cascade yarns as well as large selection of various alpaca yarns.  I don’t know if the knitters and crocheters in the Cedar Falls/Waterloo area have any idea of just how lucky they are to have two such great yarn shops!!!  If you are in the area, I would highly recommend that you check out both stores!  If I go back, I’ll try to take pictures!

(Don’t worry honey, I didn’t get much at either place!!!)


Random Things I’ve Learned On This Trip September 23, 2009

In no particular order:
1.)    I’ve learned that the past decade plus of being mostly alone has not prepared me well for a cross-country trip with my parents.
2.)    Canada is big.  I mean, really big.  Folks from the US have no appreciation of just how big our neighbor to the North (or the West depending on location) really is.  Let me tell you folks, it is big.  I thought that where I grew up was big because we had to travel 45 minutes to go to a shopping mall.  I have met more people in the last week that going to shop at a Wal-Mart means staying at a hotel overnight.
3.)    Swimming pools with water slides are really big in the plains of Canada.
4.)    I am not used to eating 3 meals a day.  If I fit into my pants by the end of this trip I will be utterly amazed.
5.)    Pizza with scotch is good!
6.)    Mountain Dew in Canada is caffeine free.  Sort of defeats the purpose in my opinion.
7.)    Driving to Alaska is very cool.  However, I wish that I could fly back….
8.)    Hotel heating and cooling is inexplicably incomprehensible.
9.)    I now know where I get my lack of patience.
10.)    Wildlife is much bigger in the wild.
11.)    I do get hit on more in areas of a higher guy/girl ratio like Alaska, the Yukon or Iowa State University.
12.)    Sometimes yelling does work quite well, especially if you don’t do it very often.
13.)    Scotch enjoyed with sour cream and chives Pringles is also pretty good!
14.)    Just because a hotel comes with a breakfast and costs more than $150 a night in the middle or nowhere doesn’t mean that you won’t be able to hear the guy in the room next to you fart in his sleep.
15.)    Driving in a train tunnel is nerve wreaking.
16.)    The Alaska Marine Highway rocks!
17.)    Wolverines are badasses.  Don’t mess with a wolverine.
18.)    It’s nice when you have one parent who is nearly deaf and another who really doesn’t care what kind of music you listen to when you are driving late at night and suddenly are overcome with a penchant for some industrial.
19.)    South Dakota’s offical state motto should be, “South Dakota, not nearly as boring as North Dakota.”  (I know, like I can speak, I’m from Iowa for God’s sake!)


Back in Iowa September 22, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — Sarah Jane Humke @ 9:48 pm

Over a month is much too long for me to be away from home.  I’m pretty seriously homesick right now.  The only redeeming thing going on now is that I get to cuddle with my eldest “puppy” who has become quite the blanket hog in my absence.

I am hoping that Florida will be better.

I’ll post pictures from the Badlands and our last days of travel when I have both internet access as well as juice in the computer.  It seems that these things are constantly at odds with one another (there is no good way for me to plug in the computer near where any of the internet cords are!).

Sorry it’s such a poopy post.  I think that I am tired of living out of a suitcase.