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August 2007
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October 2007

September 2007

walk with me wednesday

Full Moon and Rainbow

I went to sleep under a full moon and woke to a rainbow.  Sounds like a country western song title, doesn't it?

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The Farmer's Almanac calls the September full moon, the harvest moon.  Here, the harvest is all but over.  With the sky as clear and the moon as bright as it was last evening, I never dreamed that I'd wake to a full arc of a rainbow.  It is still warm enough (with this Indian Summer weather) that I poured my first cup of coffee and went straight away out onto the deck.  I do that in almost any weather, it is sort of my wake up and greet the day routine.  The pond looks peaceful, and quiet. Not so. Canadian Geese, maybe a hundred of them, land in the field closest to me, right through the woods.  They circle in over the pond, barking and making a general racket before settling onto the field where they socialize, and rest for the night.  We imagine them making plans for the trip and choosing who stands sentry duty while the others sleep. 

My walk was to do chores.  The weather looked ominous and so was the report.  The power was off most of the day, making the coming storm seem even more threatening.  We took the shade covers down and stacked them in the shed.  Construction on the new bump out on the barn was picked up, trenches filled, straw stuffed into the excavated hillside to control erosion.  I walked back and forth with a magnet, picking up nails from the dirt drive leading into the barn in case equipment or cars with pneumatic tires needed to be garaged from predicted hail.  Apples were picked, the trees shaken.  And we waited.  It was a day of changing light.

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As I passed this coming up the drive, I wondered what rabbit hole the creature who tasted it had fallen through...

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freezing apples

The hills are aflame.  You can't feel the autumn, not today, not yesterday.  This is Indian Summer.  Last week I slid on the icy deck, this week I am in shorts.  Everyone I talk to is waiting for winter.  They mean cold temps.  Northerners don't fare well in the heat.  Seems they revel in the snow and here, the bitter, bitter, cold.  Neighbors tell me that it isn't the cold that makes winter long, (I might disagree after a while on that point) but it is the endless darkness.  Days in the north are very, very short.  You have to prepare.  Think knitting, wood for the stove and apple pies.

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I mentioned putting up apples and was asked how to freeze them for pies.  Simple.  Peel and core the apples.  Slice them up the way you like them.  Bag them in freezer bags, enough in each bag for a pie.  I like to put 7 cups of apples in each bag.  Then add to the bag about half the amount of sugar and spices that you will want to use in your pie.  Shake it up.  Make sure to squeeze as much air as possible out of the bag as you seal it.  Freeze.  That's all there is to it.  When you want to bake a pie, pull out a bag and let it mostly thaw, add the remaining sugar and spice and pour it into your pie shell.

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If you don't add much sugar, it's great to have frozen apples for adding to oatmeal, or using in a pork dish.  I keep tons on hand.  Great for topping popovers for Sunday breakfast. 

When I was a child, I was told that a girl isn't ready for marriage until she can peel an apple, making one long unbroken peel. Today, as I peel apple after boring apple, I amuse myself by peeling each with one long peel.

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there and back again

It is telling that I finally received my Ravelry invitation on September 15th and my last blog post is dated the 14th.  Everything takes a bite of time.  Lately, the time eating monsters have been ravenous. 

There's always more to it.  Last Monday I hit the road and drove south to take care of business stuff.  Nice drive.  Here in the northeast, it is "high season", peak color should be this week and next.  All the way into Massachusetts the leaves were turning red.  In the south, the Swamp Maple shows the most color early, in the north, the Sugar Maples.  Seems early for so much southern color but the summer was dry for a lot of the northeast.  I've heard that forces early color.  Not my hill, to the contrary, we were wet.   While I was in the office, I took advantage of the FAST internet and finally finished loading the data, the jpgs (read that yarn), the software patches and all the other stuff that takes forever on dial up, into the new store.  Check it out, Ball and Skein now has a proper online shopping cart and address: ballandskein.com 
The pictures on the sidebar of the blog link to it.  Hopefully, without any problems.  Most everything is there now, the skein winders, the Spindler's Kate, yarn... all the stuff.

Note to Manise: You are amazing.  You should be a detective, you saw it immediately. And yes, that IS what I have been doing.  lol...!

The apples are "in".  I'm peeling and bagging apples for pies and freezing others already sauced.  It is so nice to be able to pull bags of 'pie ready' apples from the freezer all winter.  Takes most of the work out of it.  If I could only get the crust down...

I've been sticking to simple knitting, the monkey socks and the tashi scarf, things I don't have to think about.  The second sock needs a toe.  The scarf.... half done.  I'm playing with fringe ideas.  Beads, of course. 

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A present to myself arrived while I was out of town.. These are now my new favorite needles (from Knit Picks).  Wonderful finish, sharp tips and fun!!!

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The radio dogs are everywhere.  Seems the combine farm operator wants the bear out of the corn.  The hunters know about the mama and the three cubs, and they are all looking for her.  Damn them.

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tashi

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"tashi"

65% merino / 20% bamboo / 15% silk

I've been knitting a scarf with it and can tell you that the drape is terrific, it is soft and it is absolutely washable! I've also posted six new sock yarn colors.  Nothing like a wool festival to get me motivated. I spent an hour or so at the mostly 'local' library getting these pictures posted.   They have wireless.  My other choice is a slightly more local pizza place but then I end up drinking a wonderfully large glass of stout or something and lose my concentration.  Mrs. Paul just tapped me on the shoulder, time to go get Chinese for dinner.   


the spindler's kate

One of the items that C wanted to take to the VT S&W last weekend was the Spindler's Kate.  He pulled a board of spaulted maple from our wood pile and made six beautiful boxes.  That meant I had to get busy and spindle up a couple sleeves worth of singles to demonstrate.  When it came time to ply, I decided to bring along my Jenkins Turkish spindle.  It holds so much and the little center pull ball is very convenient for handling.  Here's how it went.  Perfectly.  That little skein? Not quite so little, there are 90 yd in it.  That was all the fiber I had in that little batt I'd carded.  Merino. Silk. Alpaca.  I'll make more, different, but more.

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The more I spindle using this method, the more portable I see my spinning becoming.  I find my spindle is traveling with me to the mail box, while waiting for skeins to wind, sitting on the bench across from the barn, wherever.  Perfect.

ps. I am STILL working on the new website.  The Spindler's Kate will be on it. As soon as I can figure out the shipping module.  Sheesh!  It's always something.


whew...!

The skeining and the dyeing is finished, for this week.  Tomorrow is organize and pack up for the VT S&W this weekend.  If you are planning on going, don't forget there is a $1.00 off coupon on there web site.  Or, you can go back to last week sometime ( I think last week, it's been sort of a blur) and find the link I had at the top of a post.  Another thing not to forget, me.. make sure you stop and say "hi". 

There hasn't been time to take pictures of the new yarn and the new colors.  Most of the old ones are still there and new ones added.  Next week.  The new yarn I decided to try is a merino / bamboo / silk blend.  Very soft, very durable and completely washable.  I wanted to see how it would knit up so started a little scarf.  The pattern is an easy to memorize 12 row repeat.  The picture separates the colors more than they are, making it look too busy.  I'll knit a bit further, it's a test knit, then decide.

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The Chicken Corn Soup recipe.  I don't have one.  Every time is probably a bit different.  I Googled it and there are lots of recipes.  My advice, use them only as guidelines.  This time of year, I don't use noodles.  The corn is SO good, I add more of it.  I never use canned broth.  Use a chicken.. you need the meat anyway.

The hummingbirds.... I still have females and some juveniles.  Not many, but a consistent showing. I expect that to stop by next week sometime.  Keep the feeders full, there are stragglers, and they will need them.



walk with me wednesday

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The early morning clouds sped off to the east and the Atlantic.  By 10 am the sky was clear and as bright a blue as any western sky.  The air was crisp, enough so that I feared I'd be cracking a skim of ice off the dye pot.  Luck held and temps turned back up at 34F.  The frost advisory that had kept me busy picking berries and peppers until dusk last night, was only that.  Whew!

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I knew that if I walked to the mail box this afternoon that I might be too late to catch the carrier.  I could have driven.  But.. I needed a walk, and it was SO beautiful.  Half way down the hill I heard her car.  She'll get my mail tomorrow. 

The light has changed, seems like overnight.  The shadows are deeper, longer, darker.  The sun, in contrast hurts my eyes, it is so bright.

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There was a book I'd ordered in the mail.  I stopped in the field to open the package and read a bit.  The sun was warm enough for me to take my heavy flannel shirt off and roll it up behind my head.  When was the last time you laid in the grass, not on a blanket, on the grass.  It smells so good.

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seasonal flavor

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Every season has it's flavors.  The end of summer, when the corn is full and the tassels brown, is the time for Chicken Corn Soup.  As a child I remember my Grandmother gathering quart mason jars to take with us to the local church fair.  I don't know what kind of car she had, but I remember one with running boards (that was before she got the hot red Thunderbird).  We'd bump along the dirt road from the farm to the black top, eventually turning off onto a steep winding hill, heading down to the bottom and the Paddletown Church Chicken Corn Soup Festival.   On the church lawn, not far from the headstones, sat a huge iron kettle of soup, cooking over an open fire.  There may have been other things to eat, chicken maybe, and corn, but what I taste, when I think of those times, is the soup.  Bowls to eat there, and jars filled for later. "Careful" my Grandmother would instruct the server, " don't screw the lids on tightly 'til the soup cools."  There were games.  I wonder if anyone still runs a three legged race?  Some of the kids would walk in the cemetery.  We all had relatives there.  We'd read out the names, calculate ages, and try to figure out familial relationships.  Funny thing, memory, and what kinds of things are triggers.. a nip in the air, a good ear of corn..the first red leaf..

My  father once remarked that everyone has their own "ethnic" food.  He's right.  Bet you can guess what's for dinner.


summer, now you see it, now you don't

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I'm still dyeing.  The weather has been perfect, cool, great light, and low humidity for drying.  If it holds for a few more days, I'll be in good shape for next weekend. 

It was 34F Sunday morning.  It felt like a soup day.  C thought he saw frost in front of the shop when he went down there, but I don't think so.  The beans were in good shape and I saw no damage anywhere.  Usually the ferns will brown up if they get hit.  I am about to give up on the idea of red tomatoes this year.  Maybe green tomato pickles are in order.  Fingers crossed.  The past few years we've gotten through September without a heavy frost.   I actually considered putting flannel sheets on the bed.   Imagine that.   


radio dogs

(caution.. rant to follow)

Most days I walk the 1/4 mile to the mailbox.  I have to be running terribly late, or be horribly busy or incredibly tired, to want to drive down and back.  Last week, one of those things came up and C drove the mail down.  Later in the afternoon when we went back to check the delivery, our neighbor popped out of her house, and rather excitedly, too.  This was not only a rare occurrence, but the only time she has ever come out to chat.  It seems she has been home recovering from a hip replacement and has had plenty of time to watch the comings and goings.  And well, we or I would be all of those comings and goings...except for that day.  On that particular day, just after C put the mail in the box and headed back up the hill, a mama bear and her three little cubs came across the drive in front of the mailbox, ducked under the barb wire, and ambled their way into the corn field.  Dinner, I suppose.  Imagine, THREE CUBS!  I would have loved to have seen them, from a distance, of course.  Which brings me to this... Today is September 1st, the first day of bear season.  BEAR HUNTING SEASON.  Not Here! Not when I can stop it.  There is a particularly odious sport, if you can call it sport, around here.  It involves radios, dogs wearing antennas, receivers (more antennas) sticking out the door of a pickup and a lazy ass hunter with a pistol.  The idea is to have the dogs run down the bear, tree it and then stand there waiting for the "hunter" to triangulate the dog's position.  Then the "hunter" drives as close as possible, gets out of his pickup, walks over to the tree, and shoots the bear.  They call it sport, and love it.  Makes me sick.  I hear the dogs chasing through the woods.  Every now and then one happens into my yard.  Even if I wasn't so vehemently opposed to using radio dogs to hunt bear, I would still be crazed at the dogs racing through where my cats are doing their thing.  One morning last week a dog did come racing through.  Poor thing was thin as a rail, ribs sticking out.  A sweet dog, and easy to catch.  I took off the antenna and the electric collar and put them in my truck.  Then I tied the dog up in the shade of a tree, with food and water and went off to find the owner.  I did find him.  I knew that eventually he'd follow the signal and come looking for the dog.  I just decided to find him first and have a talk with him about NEVER coming back and if his dog did happen to come back he would not be able to retrieve him here again and on and on and I think he knew exactly how I felt about my bears.  harrumph!  And now I find that mama has THREE CUBS!

the end.

ps. I think I'll sing a little louder these days.