Friday, September 28, 2007

Oh happy day!!

“I have always been delighted at the prospect of a new day, a fresh try, one more start, with perhaps a bit of magic waiting somewhere behind the morning...” ~Joseph Priestley

This is going to be totally non fiber related, it's about a fresh start...The man has a 16 year old daughter. His ex and him have shared custody. She moved with his daughter about 7 years ago without telling him where. Financially he has continued to support his daughter but hasn't seen or heard from her. He could not afford the cost of detectives and lawyers and just hoped that one day she would call. Last night they spoke for the first time!!!!

From the sounds of it she has had a rough time and lies were told to her. She is not living with her mother but has a legal guardian. The guardian sounds fantastic and truely has her best interests at heart. Letters and emails have been back and forth for about a week but last night was the tops.

There will be a return to the usual fiber/animal stuff at another time....possibly Sunday if all goes as planned. Have a great weekend.
Everything is still in that nervous stage but he knows where she is and that she is safe so a huge weight has been lifted off of his shoulders. It sounds like she wants the relationship and I know he does so my fingers, elbows and knee's are crossed that all goes well.

So when the man is happy, I am happy as he really deserves this. If I knew how to dance and wouldn't look like a fat wobbly bowl of jello I would be dancing right now!

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Done making excuses

Excuses are the nails used to build a house of failure. ~ Don Wilder and Bill Rechin

I started the Hemlock on September 11 and finished it on the 19. Since then I have been making excuses for not blocking it and taking pictures. I had actually packed it away! I have never blocked anything other than a triangle shawl and how can one go wrong with that?

But yesterday I was forced to admit I was wimping out and so I set to work blocking. I can not tell you how many times I adjusted, re-adjusted and then re-adjusted again. I can still see where some of the points are wider or pointier than others and it irks me but not enough to go get a ruler and lose several hours of my time.
So how do I feel after finishing it? Relieved (the edging and blocking are done) Annoyed with myself (there is a mistake and after a losing a day and still not getting it to work I fudged it where I should have taken another day or two to do it right) Surprised (that it was so easy) Amazed (that I did it) and I am so still loving it. I will make more but first I have other projects demanding my attention. And one of them at this time of year is shearing...

Last night we started goofy arm says one a night or every other night will work just fine. Last night it was one of the Finn girls.

Filthy little girl! I don't know if I will send this out or just wash it myself. If I send it out I get it out of my way for a while...decisions, decisions!

Now I have to stop making more excuses and go get tires on the car.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Autumn Arrives

Harvest home, harvest home!
We've plowed, we've sowed
We've reaped, we've mowed
And brought safe home
Every load.- Harvest Home Song

Autumn has arrived. I would have to say I am torn between Spring and Fall as to my favorite season. The months they encompass are not to hot, not to cold -like the Goldilocks I like it "just right". But before the weather gets too cold there is alot of work to do. So this weekend was spent doing some of it as the weather was gorgeous.

On Saturday I shelled all the lima beans that I had drying, husked all the popcorn. I decided I need to finish my sweater so I set myself to carding the wool for it. While talking at spinning it seems we are all on a hunt right now for something we misplaced...I found mine Saturday. Mine was the skein of Trekkings that my son bought me. Now that it has been found it will hopefully become a pair of fingerless lace gloves for #2 daughter.

Today I gathered the LI Cheese squash and took that to my mother to process. She is the baker in the family and will process it to use for pumpkin pie and bread. I picked more broccoli to make into soup tomorrow. I cut down the sunflowers that were growing in the larger garden and put them in the greenhouse to dry a little. One of them was purple. I have to go thru my seed packets and notebook and see where I got them. I didn't grow any other sunflowers so I don't know where this came from but I might just save the seed and see if they grow true next year. I picked up more of the butternuts and black walnuts. Mom said I should get some hickory nuts also but I have to research which are the real hickory nuts and which are what they call pignuts. I remember it had something to do with how many leaves they had. I carded up some more wool so when I start to spin I won't have to stop until I have enough to finish the sweater. I also knit a headband. We were going to start shearing but the man was tired, sat down and fell asleep and I let him. He does so much and deserves to take an afternoon nap when he can. I made some Original and Hot & Spicy Chex Mix put it in freezer bags and then in the freezer for the guys to take fishing when they decide to go in October. I think the best dates will be the 12th-14th. I picked some apples and tomorrow I want to make apple pie in a jar. The man loved it last time we made it.

Needless to say the Hemlock did not get blocked but it is on the list for tomorrow.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Hemlock Done

You must finish what you start

I finished knitting the Hemlock. I thought that the edging would never end! .
It will have to wait until the weekend for the blocking and photo but it is done. Tomorrow is a guilt free knitting day so I will start the stocking tonight while watching Grey's Anatomy.

Countdown to Autumn

The golden-rod is yellow;
The corn is turning brown;
The trees in apple orchards
With fruit are bending down.

The gentian's bluest fringes
Are curling in the sun;
In dusty pods the milkweed
Its hidden silk has spun.

The sedges flaunt their harvest,
In every meadow nook;
And asters by the brook-side
Make asters in the brook,

From dewy lanes at morning
The grapes' sweet odors rise;
At noon the roads all flutter
With yellow butterflies.

By all these lovely tokens
September days are here,
With summer's best of weather,
And autumn's best of cheer....- Helen Hunt Jackson, September

The countdown to Autumn is now 3 days....the countdown to Christmas is 96 days. I need time to knit and spin but there is still so much to do. The temperatures are in the 40's at night and low 70's during the day. This is perfect weather to try finishing off the list of chores. Last night I caught the first wisp of woodsmoke in the air so it won't be much longer. The town up the mountain from us got a frost last week. Setting in the river valley saved us once again.

In fiber news....I had a problem on the Hemlock this weekend and didn't get anything done on it but I worked on it on Monday and last night and now I am binding off. I have seen pictures of it without the edging but I like it better with it so even though it is going to take a lot more time I am binding off with the edging. Hopefully I will finish it today. Tomorrow I have a guilt free knitting time so I hope to start on #2 daughters stocking.

This weekend while the guys were out having fun, #2 and I cut out this years canes from 1/2 the blackberry patch. We cleaned out the chicken coop preparing for winter. We finished pulling everything except some marigolds from the greenhouse garden and started working on the larger one . We picked up all the butternuts and black walnuts that had fallen. And we canned the rest of the pears. But it wasn't all work and no play -we treated ourselves to a chinese dinner while out shopping.

I have been dehydrating the apples which are falling off the tree. I am trying to ease into the applebutter, apple sauce and apple cider making time! I had previously hung the lima bean plants to dry so Monday night I finished picking all of them. Oh and look what I found crawling across the road Monday afternoon...
He/She is very active and didn't really go into the usual ball when touched. If the legend were true it looks like we would be in for a mild winter.

With the thoughts of fall comes the thoughts of shearing. I would like to do it this weekend if the man is going to be around to help or at least do one a night...which would be way easier on my back. I saw the Dr. yesterday and he still wants me to go to PT and gave me some muscle relaxers. If you know me you will know that I did not fill the prescription!

The guys did not produce anything but dirty laundry from their salmon fishing trip. They want to wait a couple of weeks and go back again. Upstate NY has been having a drought and between that and the warmer temps the salmon have not really started to run yet.

So now I am off to knit a little and then get motivated to work on that list of chores! Hope all are enjoying this marvelous weather.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Guys Gone Fishin'

Give a man a fish and he has food for a day; teach him how to fish and you can get rid of him for the entire weekend. ~Zenna Schaffer

The man, #1 and #2 son went on their annual salmon fishing trip. Not that I want to get rid of him but he will be gone the whole weekend. I told them they had to catch something this year- at the rate they are going the salmon is about $400/lb. Actually I hope they have a good time even if they don't catch something. The man really needs this time.

#2 daughter and I have a whole boy-free weekend planned...and some of it's going to be productive!. I have a wholelist of things I would like to get accomplished.

Tonight I am going to knit somemore on the Hemlock. I am on row 82 of 102. I would love to finish this during the time they are gone - that would be productive. It is suppose to rain tomorrow so maybe it will be possible. Right now we are going to watch "Wild Hogs" and have a bowl of ice cream. Hope everyone has a great weekend.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Beware, I am venting!

What is the difference between unethical and ethical advertising? Unethical advertising uses falsehoods to deceive the public; ethical advertising uses truth to deceive the public. ~Vilhjalmur Stefansson, 1964

Yesterday was a beautiful day. It was warm enough with a nice breeze that quickly cooled you down as you were working. We were working processing four batches of pear honey.

In between I was able to do laundry. It was a great day to dry clothes on the line. I was telling my mother I saw an ad for a “solar clothes dryer” aka clothesline. If you don’t believe me I googled it and found his… Clothesline just sounds so white trash but hey if you put solar dryer in front of it you get to help the world and that makes it okay. Truth to deceive. Basically it is for people with more money than brains.

Advertising may be described as the science of arresting the human intelligence long enough to get money from it. ~Stephen Butler Leacock, quoted in Michael Jackman, Crown's Book of Political Quotations, 1982

I read blogs where they are cooking for the one local summer. It is not a solution it is a quick 10 week feel good. Yes it supports local farmers but what are you doing the other 42 weeks out of the year?

Interweave Knit just had a bunch of articles on “organic” yarn and even explains why it costs more. Patternworks magazine jumped on the bandwagon offering “eco-friendly” yarns. Lion brand magazine states “go ahead, knit or crochet locally, but think globally. It can do a world of good” All these wonderful words recycled, renewable, organic are being put on everything and the price is higher. Recycled yarn sounds so much classier than used, secondhand or Sally’s. Now explain to me why it costs more if it is recycled, and hasn't wool, mohair and angora been a renewable fiber all along?

I guess my problem with all this is that $120 for a clothesline instead of $20-30 isn’t going to save the planet. It will make you work longer and be away from your family longer to pay for it but that is all.
Making a separate trip to the farmer’s market once a week after they have already been to the grocery store helps the local farmer but is not going to save the planet especially if you drove out of your way to get there. Buying wool stamped organic is a farce, it makes money but that’s it. People need to do real research…find out that sheep are not killed to get their wool or who decides what is and is not organic or how exactly is that natural fiber made.

I am extremely lucky. I am able to grow my own vegetables and meat. My chickens and ducks give me eggs. My sheep, angora goat and rabbit give me fiber. I don’t use pesticides on my garden unless the problem becomes too large to control with handpicking. If it comes to losing the whole crop vs spraying with something to stop that…I am going to spray. I hang my clothes to dry. Then I balance that with the fact that I don’t have time to make my own salt or grind my own wheat. I refuse to drive 50+ miles to JC Penney, Sears etc. to avoid Wal-mart that is only 25 miles away. I am not willing to go without toilet paper for a year or electricity. I love my indoor plumbing and taking hot showers after a long day in the garden. I could do without my TV but not my internet. I do these things because we have always done it this way not because it is the "in" thing. I do what I can, but refuse to spend extra cash to easy the pain of not being able to do it all. Local is great, natural is great, wanting to save the planet or make less of an impact on it is great but paying more isn’t. Research before you spend the $$$, realize you may be just lining someone’s pocket instead of making a difference. Are they promoting this to sell their product for more money? Is there a book deal in there somewhere?

So remember…. ”It used to be that people needed products to survive. Now products need people to survive.” ~Nicholas Johnson

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

The Hemlock Ring

Love: a temporary insanity... ~ by Ambrose Bierce ~
I am in L-O-V-E love! I was just surfing the blogs when I stumbled upon . I saw the Hemlock Ring and that was it. I was on a quest. I finally bought the yarn at the Endless Mt. Sheep & Wool- a 50% wool 50% alpaca. I looked at lots of yarn but chose the natural as I can use it anywhere. I am on row 47.

This is what it looked like at 41.... So far I have learned...
1. pay attention while knitting lace even if it is done with heavy worsted
2. do not to lay it down in the middle of a row when you don't know what you are doing
3. do not get cocky and think you know what you are doing.
I laid it down in the middle of a row and thought I knew where I was and so did a s1 k1 psso instead of a s1 k2tog psso and came up with an extra stitch at the end of the row....there is no polite way to say this....tinking back sucks. I had to go back about 1/2 way. Let us hope I learn from my mistakes, not that I have in the past!
Now I am off to learn how to read the chart that comes with it. Line 1 on the chart corresponds to line 47 in the pattern, so I can't go on until I learn. I should be finishing off the tomatoes but I am thinking of nothing but Hemlock. I am thinking that lots of other doilies could make nice afghans. I am thinking I have to go through all the old magazines and pamphlets and see what others I like. Lord knows I would never attempt to knit or crochet them with KnitCroSheen like my mother and aunts did I am far to lazy!

Sunday, September 09, 2007


The best-laid plans of mice and men often go awry~ Robert Burns
Well I had plans to finish off the tomatoes or get the beans and broccoli picked. It didn't happen. But....I did go in my greenhouse garden and I pulled the Delicata squash ( I got 26 in varying size), I pulled the strawberry popcorn (I got about 40 ears) I pulled my lima plants and put them in the greenhouse. I had the man cut the sunflowers that were ready and I put them in the greenhouse. All the vines and stalks went to the pigs and they made hogs of themselves. Ha ha!

Then I went down to mom's we labeled and put away the pickle relish we made the other day and we sorted thru the pears to get the ripe ones and made a double batch of pear honey, then we made a double batch of salsa. We grated up 20 cups of zucchini and froze it. We dug some potatoes for dinner and cut a cabbage and had cornbeef for dinner. I definitely earned my day of rest at the Endless Mt.

So I went to bed with visions of alpaca, llama, angora and wool then woke up with a migraine. I took two tylenol, did the morning chores and pushed forward to the festival. When we got to the fairgrounds I took two more but it didn't really help. I walked around and bought a set of size 1 - 8 inch Crystal Palace Bamboo dpn's from Maple Creek Farm, 1.2 lbs of worsted weight 50%wool/50% alpaca yarn at Times Remembered, a set of size #0 -5 inch Brittany dpn's and a skein of Shepherds Shades yarn in Everglade from Misty Mountain Farm. I wish I could have stayed longer and looked at everything more carefully but I just wasn't up to it. I slept most of the way home which made me feel better so I wound the yarn and started the Hemlock Ring while watching The Last Mimzy. I am up to row 17. The kids came home and I think #2 daughter has a sinus infection so we are going to the dr. tomorrow which will give me some time to work on it. How's that for positive thinking! Now off to get them showered and in bed so I can knit some more.

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Simple Living

The trouble with simple living is that, though it can be joyful, rich, and creative, it isn't simple.- Doris Janzen LongacrekiWouldn't it be wonderful to just glide along on a lake like that? There are days that I feel like I am gliding and then there are others when I feel the current is taking me away from where I wish to be.

Yesterday was one of those days. I had plans for canning and then dinner with #2 daughter. I got a call asking me to sit at a house and wait while the plumber came and did a job. I said I would do it but wasn't that excited about it as I was thinking about all the stuff at home to get done but other than the canning it all got done and while I was sitting at the other house I was able to finish an afghan.This is the afghan for #1's BF. I have cast on how many and she didn't like this or that and I ended up frogging them or making them into lapghans. This time I didn't tell her I cast on but told her that it was finished and if she didn't like it to give it to the Salvation Army but that it was the last one I was making. It has all the colors from the various ones I started...I think I have enough to do another but won't tell her that!

Today I am going to cast on for #2 daughter's stocking. I might have to dye some wool.
And speaking of dyed wool. I had dyed this a while ago and finally got it spun and plied.

Also in the cards for today is finishing off the tomatoes, picking the broccoli and beans and I might start pulling the squash. Tomorrow is Endless Mt. - I can not wait.

Thursday, September 06, 2007


No matter how old a mother is, she watches her middle-aged children for signs of improvement. ~ Florida Scott-Maxwell

My children aren't middle aged but I am still watching and listening in amazement that they are mine.

My daughter came home from school yesterday and took off her school clothes before she went out to play. This might not be a big deal to most of you but it is for this kid. She has days when she doesn't even come home but stops at Grandma's and then goes out and plays only to come home in filthy torn clothes. She is harder on her clothes than her brother. So this little thing was a huge thing for me.

Then last night my son was setting out his clothes for today and asked what color went best with red! My son cares about matching his clothes...since when?

Even with the older two I am amazed at times. #1 daughter will answer questions flippantly most the time but then she will surprise you with such a well thought out answer. I love when she calls to get my opinion on a writing assignment. While she is reading I get the impression she is going in one direction and then wham she broadsides you with a totally different ending. She has such a big heart but hides that from most people.

#1 son walks around like nothing bothers him, all happy go lucky. However when you set him down he is so much more. At 22 he is still a little boy in so many ways and so naive it is amazing. Although he is the one that acts the most content, it is him that I worry about the most.

“My mother had a great deal of trouble with me, but I think she enjoyed it.”~ Mark Twain

My little miracles are trouble sometimes, and when I have time to sit and think about what they have accomplished and what is still to come, I guess I could say it is enjoyable. Of course this could just be empty nest syndrome talking too, it could change when they come shoving each other thru the door to get to the bathroom first.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

School Starts

Learning is a treasure that will follow its owner everywhere. ~Chinese Proverb

School started today :^(#2 Daughter awoke early hyperventillating while #2 son wanted to sleep for a little while longer. They are soooooo different. Daughter works hard for every A while son just gets them without the effort.

I am always ambivalent about sending them to school. On the one hand we get back into a routine which is easier on all of us but on the other I usually enjoy having them home. Then there are times when they are home and nit picking on each other that I wish school went all year!

Needless to say things have been in a frenzy around here. Along with the school shopping, meet the teacher nights and hair cuts, we have been busy freezing and picking things. The beans are shelled and the lima's are picked and drying. The tomatoes from the big garden are all picked and needing attention. The elderberries were picked and the juice frozen until later. We picked the pears and they need doing and in a couple of weeks we will be inundated with apples.

And like a ray of sunshine for all this work I get a treat... The man is working on Saturday so I have to wait til Sunday but then we are going to Endless Mt. Sheep and Wool Festival. I got some birthday money which I was told to spend on fiber and it is burning a hole in my pocket. I stumbled upon a picture of the Hemlock Ring done in a heavy worsted weight yarn with #10 needles and fell in love. So I am on a quest for the yarn....I should finish the sweater I started for me and I still have three stockings to finish but it is like an itch and it has to get scratched! Everything else will take longer and drag on if I don't scratch it because it is not what I want to be working on. I know that is very childish but at least I admit it....I am a flawed, flawed, flawed human.

Now I suppose I should go do something about those pears....but tomorrow is a guilt free knitting a day.