Occasionally, I lift my head and realize that there’s a whole, big world out there going on while I work. This week, our friend and knitwear designer, author, and technical knitting anthropologist Beth Brown-Reinsel was in town to teach a couple of classes. If ever there was a way to break one’s concentration on mundane life, it’s a visit from an energetic and interesting friend.

And if that weren’t enough, we held Beth’s classes in Lansing’s Old Town Neighborhood. Old Town was Lansing’s original settlement and its original downtown area. In recent years, it has seen a great resurgence of commercial and residential investment, and there is a distinctly artistic bent to many of the goings-on there.

Beth’s classes were held at Studio 1210 is the heart of Old Town, and the venue was delightful. With our current space in a strip mall on Lansing’s west side, I forget what it’s like to have a streetfront window. We spent most of the afternoon today with the front door wide open with the sounds of street traffic, a nice, warm breeze blowing in (it got up to 66°F this afternoon—WOOHOO!), and passers-by walking their dogs and saying hello. It was genuinely wonderful.

It was also great to run around the corner with Beth for lunch at Pablo’s Panaderia (311 E. Grand River Ave.). If you happen to find yourself in the Lansing area and would like a little bit of good, genuine Mexican food, don’t miss it. We always eat well when Beth’s in town. First, Rob loves pampering guests, and second, Beth and I share a lust for spicy and exotic foods. Now, exotic is a little difficult to come by in Lansing, but we did have Mexican twice and one meal of sushi, so I won’t complain. It was all delicious, and Beth is an absolute joy to have around. If you have a chance to take one of her classes, do. If you don’t have that opportunity, check out one of her books or patterns.

Duckie aside

When I got up Tuesday morning to run pick up Beth to get her to her classes at Studio 1210 in Lansing’s Old Town, I noticed that the Wood Ducks are BACK ON GRAND RIVER!!

We live on the Grand River on the south end of Old Town, and we have Mallards year-round. A week or so ago, the Canada Geese started coming back through on their way north; the honking definitely gets your attention. But the Wood Ducks are actually pretty quiet. Well, to be fair, they’re more few than quiet. If you’ve never heard a Wood Duck bray, you could probably get a similar noise cow-tipping. It’s a deep, lowing honk that is difficult to imagine coming out of a rather fancy looking bird about the size of a large coffee mug. But there is was this morning as I brushed my teeth. I stuck my head out the bathroom window, and there were two drakes and a hen bobbing around in our little cove-lette at the base of the deck.


It won’t be long before I look out to see the eight-to-ten-foot wingspan of a Blue Heron soaring down the river. Ah, spring.


I was wrong! These little guys are NOT Wood Ducks! I looked up Wood Ducks specifically to show you a picture, and boy, was I wrong! I’ll have to get a picture of my little visitors so you can help me figure out what they are. I thought they might be Baffleheads, but I think they may be too small for Baffleheads. They’re about half the size of the Mallards we have. Hmm… a mystery!

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