Friday, September 30, 2011

Anyone selling sunshine?

Human beings will line up for miles to buy a bucket of catastrophes, but don’t try selling sunshine and light – you ‘ll go broke ~Chuck Jones

I think most people in PA would pay good money for some sunshine. It has been a while since we have seen any for any length of time. As I look out the window it is playing games of hide and go seek. It will disappear behind a cloud only to reappear for a few seconds before it disappears again. Happily the clouds are not dropping buckets of rain. Supposedly this reprieve is only going to last for today then rain is due until next Tuesday. Back in 1948 we set a rainfall record of 53 ¾ inches and we now stand at 49 ½ inches so I think we will break that record before the year is out. The electric company loves me since I have to use the drier to get any clothes to dry.

I have been wanting to get into the garden. Last weekend we were able to dig 1/3 of the potatoes. The harvest was dismally small so far but better than my neighbors, his never grew and the seed potatoes were found rotten in the ground.

Now I don’t know what changed…maybe it is the weather, maybe it is the kids going back to school but after going to the Endless Mountain Fiber Festival I seem to have gotten my knitting enthusiasm back. I came home and started knitting the Icelandic socks. Finishing them, I moved on to the Karen Shawl

and then I knit another pair of socks which #2 claimed even though it was not with her yarn. I then proceeded to finish Baby O’s turkey hat

for Thanksgiving and I crocheted a cover for a cup

which I modified to fit #2’s juice box. She has a thing for sock monkeys so when I saw this I had to make it. And I finished stuffing some knitted pumpkins and sewing them shut.

While reading Linda’s blog I saw a poncho with a collar and thought of some girls that would love it. She gave me the info and I ordered the pattern. On Tuesday the new KnitPicks magazine was in the mailbox and I feel in love with the Woodland Winter Mittens…and subsequently ordered the pattern.

While waiting on them to come in the mail I saw Lady Lovelace . I am not going to do the sweater but I did start working on the shawl as sometimes you just want a little something around your shoulders. Something that isn’t too long and allows your arms to move freely. Bulky yarn makes it a quick knit and we are ½ way thru it.

#1, Sir T and Baby O are coming up for the weekend. They have to decide on a stocking design for Baby O’s stocking so I will have it done in time….you do realize there are only 85 days until Christmas right?

And since it is going to rain all weekend I know where I will be. Now I just have to get working on the spinning mojo.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Fall & Apples = Falling Apples

"When the apple is ripe it will fall." -- Irish proverb

We got the calls to come pick the apples. One friend called as her trees are in the horse pastures and they have been taking wheel barrow loads out and thought I might want to come pick. The other call was from our yearly source. Although we have not received our first frost the apples are dropping by the bushel full. As the trees are so heavily laden this year, I wonder if the branches just got tired of holding them all up!

The apples we get are not sprayed and are definitely not something you would find in any store since they are not perfect and shiny.

They take a little work to get from apple to cider, jelly, pie filling, butter and sauce. But it is all worth it in the end.

We got ten different kinds. I don’t know what they are except one which is a banana apple and does have a faint banana smell. Most of the trees I pick from are 50+ years old and those that knew are no longer around.

While waiting on a batch of canning to finish processing, I have been sneaking in some knitting time. I am almost done with the Karen shawl. I have only to finish the edging on the left side and then we can block her.The edging is 12 rows repeated 18 times with only 4- 10 stitches per row - - very easy! Hopefully I will be able to finish it today but first I had to go finish the tomatoes in the garden. I got enough for several more quarts of sauce which is cooking down now.

It might have been because of the rain that started as I was carrying in the tomatoes, but it was eerily quiet out. I have spotted the bear twice and he has left signs of his handiwork

so maybe it was paranoia. But there was almost no bird song, no wind and only the occasional sound of a hickory nut or black walnut hitting the metal shed roof. Usually I embrace the quiet but today I am happy to be inside!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Yearly Fiber Festival

Advice for the day: If you have a headache, do what it says on the aspirin bottle: Take two and Keep Away From Children ~unknown

For whatever reason I have major headaches at this time of year. I remember having a headache last year and the year before that when attending the Endless Mountain Sheep & Wool Festival…one tradition I would be happy to break from.

At this years festival, many of the vendors were unable to attend because the area was hit by Irene and then remnants of Lee. Some places are still underwater and inaccessible. Headache or no headache I decided it was my duty to stimulate the economy. We got there late as the man had to work half the day. #2 daughter came with me and we browsed while he managed to find food and buy out their days supply!

Silvara Valley Farm had lamb jerky and now he says I should be able to make him some with the lamb in the freezer. As canning season is still not over I think he should have savored it until the time I am able to make him some. I think he also bought me the goat milk and honey soap from them.

#2 saw some merino, cashmere and nylon sock yarn in Ultramarine over at the Unplanned Peacock Studio booth. As I haven’t made her socks in a while she hinted that they would make a beautiful pair of socks. So the sock yarn and two patterns followed us home. The patterns are Ishbel by Ysolda and Karen byAmy Swenson.

A sock kit containing Icelandic wool from HeartsEase Farm joined the purchases. I was interested in how long they would wear. As they are already done I will let you know soon!

Then I saw earrings and bought two pair. One is balls of yarn with needles sticking out of them and the other will be a gift so we can’t say anything

I purchased some maple mustard, maple candy, and maple lip care from Loch's Maple Fiber Mill and on the way out bought my knitting bowl from Stillmeadow Finnsheep Farm , a fellow finnsheep owner. This is the one item I knew I was going to buy so I held off visiting this booth until the end. There she sat, a large bowl in a lovely shade of green as I have a thing for green. Then I almost didn’t get it as I was $6 short and they didn’t have an ATM nearby. I didn’t think to bring a checkbook which she would have taken. Thankfully Cyndy from Riverrim was vending there with Grace from Hatton Antique Spinning Wheels and I bummed the extra monies off of her. (Thanks again)

Now I am working my way through another headache and the kids will be home in an hour. Must go lay down and hope it is gone before they arrive.

Thursday, September 08, 2011

Rain, School, More Rain

“If there were no schools to take the children away from home part of the time, the insane asylums would be filled with mothers.” ~ Edgar W. Howe

Yes I will admit it, my kids can drive me crazy but I also have a knack of collecting other people’s kids.  There are days mine are at work and I still have four kids belonging to friends and relatives running around the house.  But yesterday all the kids went to school.  Daughter #2 started her junior year and son #2 started his sophomore year.  Thirty years ago I was starting my senior year and ten years ago #1 was starting her senior year.  How time flies.

The first school day started without electric once again.  Ever since Irene paid us a visit electrical bleeps and outages seem to be the norm.  It doesn’t help that the rains continue.  West of here they are evacuating 100,000 people so even though we have flooding it isn’t to the extent of what they are dealing 
with.  Some before and during pics of same house...

Baby O came for a visit this past weekend.  At four months he is 16 pounds 10 ounces and 26 ½ inches long.  He is a big boy.  His mom and him have matching hats for pumpkin picking this year.   

His dad said he would prefer Baby O have the chicken (turkey) hat versus a pilgrim hat for Thanksgiving so I need to get started on that and his Christmas stocking.  I am finishing the second of a pair of fingerless mitts right now.

Other than that the weather has been giving me headaches both literally and figuratively.  Annoying as they are I love the Spring and Fall as it isn’t the extreme heat or cold…as Goldilocks would say “it’s just right”.  The leaves are slowly starting to change and yesterdays high was mid 60’s. The hickory, butternuts and black walnuts are just starting to fall.  It is hard to find them with the high grass so as soon as it dries getting it cut will be a priority.

The rain has taken a toll on the garden, tomatoes are bursting on the vines.  Without electric I was unable to can  them so we lost a lot of produce.  I have about 25 pounds to process today and there might be more out there for tomorrow.  Then the weekend will be free for a sheep and wool festival.  Can’t say I need anything but you never know what you might find!