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In Northern Wisconsin, where I grew up, small farms speckle the countryside, Holsteins graze in green pastures, and fragrant wildflowers sprinkle color around old wooden fence posts. From the maples, oaks, and evergreens that line the seldom-traveled roads, song birds chirp sweet musical offerings. A closer look in the trees will reveal the source of their contentment:

In my home in Kansas City, looking for nostalgia and warmth, I wrap myself in this:

My grandmother made the afghan for me when I was a child. The yarn in both the nest and the afghan came from the same place: The Yarn Lady.

The Yarn Lady, a widow with no children, lived a simple life. Her brother gave her yarn seconds from the knitting mill he managed, so she could sell them for a little bit of income. My grandmother often purchased yarn from The Yarn Lady’s little resale shop, a shack beside her modest house.

A few years ago, my sisters and I, walking the country roads back home, were lured to The Yarn Lady’s property by the abundance of peonies and irises she had once planted. Over the years, they’d spread all along the ditch in a colorful display.

Out of curiosity, we stepped through weeds to take a look around the abandoned property. We discovered tufts of yarn stuck to tall thistles and yarn lengths worming their way through cracks in the walls of the Yarn Lady’s shack.

Amazed and intrigued, we peeked inside the building to discover mounds of yarn–skein after skein of vivid colors. Like lava from a volcano, colorful strands poured out from the broken windows.

Thanks to The Yarn Lady, even today, throughout this area in Northern Wisconsin, yarn nests can be spotted in the trees.

The Yarn Lady, a woman with few earthly possessions, has been gone for more than a quarter century. But she left behind priceless gifts of vibrant beauty–blooming peonies and irises along a country roadside and bird’s nests woven in a brilliant rainbow of colors.

Tomorrow is O in the A to Z Blogging Challenge. Oh my…what shall my O blog be?