Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Awesome New Skills Week

In a way it seems kind of odd that the last few weeks of the semester, after most of the outdoor work is done, would be the ones that I'm learning the most new hands-on stuff. But that's kind of what this week has been.

Back in September there was the set of three Fridays with lectures on Workplace Safety. Now that we've all survived for a couple months longer, (having taken those lessons to heart), we get the practical part. Last Friday I spent the day doing training for emergency first-aid and CPR-B. At that level you don't get a huge amount of skill / knowledge, and it does assume you are in an urban area, with access to phones and an ambulance within 10 minutes distance. But knowing CPR basics, basic checks and steps for things like stroke and heart attack, bleeding, choking, heat stroke, frostbite...well, it's all good to have. And the booklet we get covers more, so I figure we can read up a bit on our own. There is apparently a wilderness first aid course also, which might be a good idea to take at some point. That one sounds like it might be better for us country types, since it apparently covers more of what to do if you don't have a phone or ambulance nearby, and the injured person will be on your hands for a longer time.

So I have a nice little card that labels me as having first-aid/CPR training, and today I added one that says I'm trained for Elevated Work Platform with Fall Arrest. Which basically means an amiable and garrulous trainer came in and taught us the safety procedures for working at a height, showed us how to  inspect and wear safety harness, and then made sure we each got a chance on one or both of the pieces of equipment brought in - a scissor lift (the little rectangular ones you see in malls and things, basically a platform on wheels that can go up 20 feet or so) and a boom lift (arm with a basket, adjustable length and angle up to 40 feet, sort of a cherry-picker type). Yup. I've gotten to drive both of them and play with the raising and lowering. Much better than I though it would be, given I'm not fond of heights. The trainer, I think, must have been quite brave or quite confident, since he parked his truck right behind the boom lift. No damage done, so it appears he was justified.

Exciting new skill number three of the week was winterizing equipment. I've never had much to do with motors - that's been dad's job, he's the mechanic, and I don't use motorized equipment at home anyway. So all completely new tasks, and I am very proud of the fact that I did most of an aerator by myself - changed sparkplug, changed oil, changed air filter, topped up gas, added stabilizer, cleaned and greased joints, and gave the whole thing a bit of a wipe-down before packing it away in the tool shed for the winter. Pretty cool. I think tomorrow we learn to sharpen tools. I hope so - I have pruners that could use a tune-up.    

Sunday, 25 November 2012

Off Day

Well, I won't say it was a wasted day, exactly, but I don't think I will be putting in for a table at the RA Centre sale next year.

I was trying to decide what to take of my stuff to the sale, and ended up taking everything but the rovings - there are enough knitters out there now that I've been tending to sell both yarn and finished stuff at each show. Three bags (with Mom's rugs), and the clothes-dryer for hanging things. I didn't know what the exact dimensions of the space were, but figured I might be able to put the dryer up at the end of the table. Maneuvered the whole pile out the door, and hauled them and myself to the bus stop this morning. Good thing about Sunday morning - even if the busses are running less often, at least they're not too crowded.

45 minutes and two busses later, I was plodding across the parking lot of the RA Centre. Found my table, and got set up. I couldn't put the clothes-dryer up, though. Might have been able to squeeze it in, but someone at the table next to me was in a wheelchair, and we needed to keep the aisle space free. Completely reasonable, but that was a whole bag and the dryer I could have left at home. Anyway, the extra got shoved under the table, and I settled down with my knitting.

And would you believe it? Not one sale all day -  a first for me! I really don't think it was the right crowd, though. They would look at my stuff, maybe try on a mitt or feel a rug, look at the price, and put it down. And meanwhile, the pipe-cleaner and bead ornaments beside me and the gift baskets of Avon products and ruffled net scarves across the way were selling. Definitely not the right crowd!

I did manage to get almost all of a fingerless mitt done today, though. And I certainly won't have to worry about re-stocking for the sale next week in Ste. Agnes. Which means tonight I get to tackle the design for the first of the commissions I have from school. They certainly don't seem to think my prices are unreasonable!        

Thursday, 22 November 2012

Mostly Mittens

I think there's a knitting book by that title. At any rate, book or not, that's what's been in my knitting bag for a few weeks now, and what will mostly be in it for a few weeks more. I've been having fun with colorwork and gotten 3 pairs done for the sales this weekend and next. Yeah, there was only supposed to be the one more, but Mom signed us up for one in our neck of the woods too. The rest of this week, I think I will be doing a couple baby things, since there seems to be a baby boom going on, so the demand ought to be there.

And then I have now 5 pairs in queue commissioned from classmates. Three are for Christmas gifts, so I certainly know what my study projects will be. (I need to have something in my hands while studying, or I tend to fall asleep over my books.) That sounds like a lot, but only 2 pairs are full-sized mittens, the others are two pairs of fingerless mitts and one pair baby mitts. We are joking that while our green shirts  are the official uniform, at this rate, my mittens may be the unofficial one in the Hort building.

Lest you think it's been all mittens, I will show you a pic of what last weekend looked like. I was teaching my very first spinning class at Johanne's last Saturday. You can't see Jo in the picture, or one of the students, Josee, but Chantal and Josee's daughter (Anne-Sophie, I think it was) and Jean, are all visible, in Jo's cozy studio. I hope everyone learned something. A first class is a bit nerve-wracking, especially if you don't know the language distribution. Turned out Jean was the only one mostly English, everyone else mostly French with some English, so I ended up switching languages a lot.

It was a fun afternoon, and Jo is talking of doing a dye workshop over the Christmas holidays...well, if that goes through, that's me teaching again!
In the meantime, Mom and I started Christmas prep, so I have a few delectable little fruitcakes in the fridge. Next time it will be butter tarts and mince tarts, as fuel for exams ;)

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Here and There

Whoops, disappeared for a while there. Been a busy week - Ex and Sale, group project for English, general studying and catching up...

We had a really nice weekend for the Ex and Sale, at least. A bit chilly, but not raining. I was really glad I didn't have to lug my stuff on and off the bus in the rain. And the colder weather makes people think of Christmas. I don't know if the attendance was as high as last year, but there were always people wandering around to booths and displays, demoing going on, and a buzz of conversation.

I made enough to make it worth coming back next year, for sure, and since most of the finished work went fast, I think that will be something to concentrate more on. I spent most of the time I wasn't talking to people in knitting and reciting plant names for this week's quizzes.

The cold weather coming in also means we need to get our outdoor work finished at school. I noticed when I was shoveling stone dust today that it was starting to freeze into chunks. But the walkway is progressing well, and we should hopefully have it finished in a week or so. Besides hauling stone dust today, I got to use the Core Cutter (the saw for the brick), help level stone dust, and lay brick. Can't you just see the frantic activity as we work? Like our uniform? Hort Couture, if ever there was. The big balding dude at right in one pic is our teacher, and he is very good at bellowing.

Yesterday I was helping with getting one of the water features cleaned up for winter, so between pond scum and stone dust, my pants and gloves have some pretty interesting residue this week!

One final thing the cold weather is bringing out, and that is the Christmas ads in flyers. I got the Canadian Tire one today. There seems to be a tacky tropical decorating trend I missed. Not only are there normal fake Christmas trees, but there are also pre-lit fake palm trees - and a lit pink flamingo and tinsel palm tree for the front yard. Oi. As if the normal pink plastic flamingos weren't enough!