Tuesday, June 21, 2016

A Prairie Schooler, A Present, and Patagonia Pictures

Good morning, my friends! I hope June is turning out to be a wonderful month for each of you... I'm loving these extra hours of daylight--more good stitching time!  It's been good to have more stitching time to keep my mind off my youngest son who is happily exploring China. I worry about my guys when they are so far from home--do you do that, too? No matter what age, I suppose a mom is always worrying until her "chicks" are back in their own homes safe and sound...

Well, no one guessed what chart I was working on last month, although many of you had the designer correct... Yes, it is a Prairie Schooler and, guess what? I have a finish to share with you... This sweet scene is from the  Village Green chart (Book No. 89). Doesn't it bring to mind a warm, summer morning with the cute roosters gearing up to cock-a-doodle-doo their greetings to the world?

Some funky chickens

In the middle section is a soft yellow house (with a blue door, no less!). Don't you love yellow houses? I've always imagined that the people who live in them must always have smiles on their faces... And how about those bluebirds (giant ones, at that!) flying overhead?

A large yellow and blue house

The final part of the pastoral looking scene has an old burnt red farmhouse with a field of corn and a wooden wheelbarrow patiently waiting for the farmer to wake up and put in a long day's work. I'm not sure if that creature in the forefront is a dog or a deer, but he is very cute!

An old farmhouse and field

Would you like to see how the whole scene comes together?  It's hard to get a good photo of it because it is long and narrow, but I think you get the picture (you can click on the image to enlarge it, too). I thought the pretty border on this one was an unusual touch for a Prairie Schooler design, but I think it adds so much. I used all the suggested DMC colors on 40 ct. antique white Newcastle and plan to frame this one for my family room...

Village Green finish

My other finish is a birthday present which was sent off to England for dear June. This was a freebie from a beautiful large design which can be found on Les Marottes de Nathalie blog. I only stitched a tiny portion of it and turned it into a small pillow for June's gift using the soft colors that she loves so much.  I used a combination of overdyed threads and DMC on 40 ct. antique white Newcastle for this finish and I'm happy to say June received it in time for her birthday. I'm so glad she likes it!

Birthday gift for June

PATAGONIA PICTURES... On to--finally--my photos from our last stop in our great Argentinian adventure trip: Patagonia! Where to start, where to start?!  This is the fourth (and final) installment in my Argentina travelogue. If you want to read the previous entries, please check out these posts: Buenos Aires, Argentina (Part One); Buenos Aires, Argentina (Part Two); Uruguay.

Our November 2015 journey from western Pennsylvania to the capital of Tierra del Fuego, Ushuaia, (commonly known as the southernmost city in the world) was almost 14,000 miles long (round trip)! I've shown this graphic before, but, for any new readers, here is a better look of just how far we traveled way down to the very tip of South America...

Our flight from Pittsburgh to Tierra del Fuego

With the very first glimpse of the mountainous foothills of the Andes from our airplane window, I knew I was in for a treat in Patagonia. I love mountains! Some people love the beach--I love the mountains...

Snow-capped Andes Mountains

When we got to our hotel, this was the beautiful view that greeted us from our bedroom window overlooking the Beagle Channel (named after the ship that Charles Darwin sailed on in the early 1800s). I literally sighed the first time I looked out the window and felt myself begin to totally relax...

View of the Beagle Channel in Tierra del Fuego

Here is a look up at our hotel,  Los Cauquenes,  from the stony beach along the Beagle Channel...

Our hotel for three nights

The beach was very rocky and filled with mussels during low tide.

The rocky shoreline on the Beagle Channel

We had hired a guide for the first two days of our Patagonia trip and he was well worth the expense. Valentine was funny, knowledgeable, interesting, and did a great job of keeping our diverse group on task. You see there were people from all over the world in our small group of fifteen to twenty tourists: people from Italy, Great Britain, The Netherlands, and even a Russian couple who lived in Texas. Our trip was very physically demanding--long days filled with kayaking and hiking. We fell into bed each night, exhausted, but enthralled with all we had seen...

A family of birds watches us from the rocks

Some brightly colored homes sprinkled at the base of the       Andes Mountains

The so-called "flag trees" are shaped from the incessant winds that blow through Tierra del Fuego.

Shaped by years of wind and rain

While kayaking the first afternoon, we spotted this group of wild horses grazing along the lake.

The horses were totally oblivious to us humans!

We learned that wild horses sometimes breed with ranch horses and roam freely throughout the Patagonian landscape. The offspring of the wild horses and domesticated ranch horses have a rough coat like this young fellow. We were just hiking through the woods when we happened upon him! Such a surprise, but he didn't seem to mind us trespassing in his territory...

A sad looking little pony in the forest

Notice the many fallen trees in the background. They fall not only due to the high winds, but due to the giant beavers that have been decimating the forests. Much of the forest landscape in the Tierra del Fuego National Park looks like it is "littered" with fallen tree trunks. The trees are beach trees and often are blown over due to the high winds. However, decomposition takes an extremely long time due to winters that hover around the freezing mark and cool (40°s and low 50°s) weather in the summers. Therefore, the trees just lay there for years and years without decaying!

Can you spot the pony in the thicket of trees?

A lovely day for a hike!

These birds are called Cauquenes--what a pretty pair!

On the second day, our Argentinian guide, Valentine, thought the four of us (my middle son didn't go on this trip with us) were ready for a solo run. Yikes! It was very windy and the water level was very low so we kept getting caught on sand bars. It was a bit scary at times, but we made it! My youngest son told me I was doing more of a "Parisian paddle" than a "Patagonian paddle," though. Oh well... At 60, I was the oldest member of our group (my husband is 6 months younger!) and I'm really proud of my efforts!

Row, row, row your boat!

I had an incentive to paddle harder, though--we were finally going to see the penguins!! After landing our kayaks on a sandy inlet, a boat picked us up for the ride to Martillo Island.  It was a sight I'll never forget--a tiny island literally covered with over a thousand  Magellanic Penguins.

My first view of Martillo Island!

As we drew closer, it became clear just how many penguins there were; not only were they on the beach, but covering the hillside as well. Magellanic Penguins are only about 2 to 3  feet tall and weigh between 6 and 15 pounds.

Penguins, penguins, everywhere!

We weren't allowed to walk on the island, but the penguins weren't shy about walking right up to our boat, which was resting on the sand, to say "hello" and wave those little wings at us.

Aren't we cute?!

Some took a dip in the frigid waters...

Bath time

 While others preened and strutted about...

Notice how large his feet are!

I would have loved to watch them all day, but we were on a tight schedule so we were only there about an hour. Penguin island was a sight I'll never forget... Apparently, there was a smell you would never forget either. Luckily, I had a cold and couldn't smell a thing!!

Black and white as far as the eye can see

After our morning of kayaking and penguin watching, we were dropped off at Gable Island for lunch near this old sheep-shearing shed.

An abandoned sheep-shearing shed on Gable Island

We then set out on a long hike over the island--this little guy accompanied us most of the way!

Argentinians love dogs--we saw one in almost every yard

Such pretty scenery greeted us along our hike... I can see why the Argentinian flag is light blue and white--it perfectly matches this sky!

We couldn't have asked for better weather.

View on Gable Island hike: November 2015

View of Beagle Channel

Our last stop of that day was  Estancia Harberton, the oldest estancia (large ranch/farm/estate) in the province of Tierra del Fuego.

Estancia Harberton on Gable Island

Our final day in Patagonia was spent hiking part of the way up to Martial Glacier. 

An icy scene in Tierra del Fuego

The higher up we hiked, the more snow we saw...

Our snow covered path

Me, taking a breather!

The latter part of the hike was very difficult--we had to walk at a steep angle and there were lots of lose rocks.

Not the easiest hike I've been on!

But, the view at the end of our hike was worth it! That is the city of Ushuaia down in the distance.

View from the top!

The hike down was much easier and we treated ourselves to a hot drink in this quaint tea house at the bottom of the mountain. Don't you love the yarn-wrapped tree?

Knitting is universal!

Our final evening found us in the city of Ushuaia which has become the stopping off point for cruises to Antarctica.  You can see the city of brightly colored houses nestled in front of those majestic mountains.

The port at Ushuaia--notice the large cruise ship on the right.

I couldn't resist taking a picture of this cute penguin mural painted on the side of a local store.

The penguin theme is everywhere in the city

I'll leave you with my two favorite photos of our trip... The first was taken at the end of the first day of kayaking and hiking in Tierra del Fuego National Park. We all look so happy and proud! (The only thing that makes me sad, is that our middle son isn't in it as he chose not to go to Argentina). It was such an amazing feeling to think we were at the very tip of South America! From left to right are my husband, me, my youngest son, and my oldest son.

Happy smiles at the end of a busy day of kayaking and hiking in Tierra del Fuego National Park.

And this was the view from our hotel room at sunset. Every time I look at this photo I relax. I hope to get a larger print made and then plan to frame it. It is that special to me... I have to say this is my favorite photo of our trip.

The sun sets on Beagle Channel, Tierra del Fuego

I hope you've enjoyed my Argentina photos over the past few months... It was a trip I never thought I'd be making, but your kids end up enticing you to the most unusual places! If my youngest hadn't chosen to study in Buenos Aires last semester, just think of all these amazing sights I never would have seen. This was definitely a trip "outside my comfort zone." As I mentioned earlier, it was very physically demanding for me and I was proud of myself for faring so well after just coming off a serious foot injury. I took a chance and got a bit venturesome and it was worth it. You just never know where this journey called life will take you, do you?

Thanks so very much for visiting today... I want to welcome all of my new followers and say a heart-felt "Thank You!" to all of my loyal commenters. You really make my day... As always, I'm happy to answer questions--just be sure to leave your email address so I have a way to get back to you. Bye for now...