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August 2009
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October 2009

September 2009

Vermont Sheep & Wool Festival !!


It is high color in Vermont this weekend.  There's no better time to see the hills than when they are aflame with autumn's color.  Combine that with the Vermont Sheep & Wool Festival and you've got a perfect reason to head for the hills this Saturday and Sunday.   The festival has changed location from the northwestern corner of the state to a much more centralized and far more scenic venue.  Tunbridge is near the junction of I-89 and I-91, making it an easy trip from the Boston area and points east on I-89 and all of you in southern New England coming up on I-91.  I drove there over the summer to get the lay of the land.  It is gorgeous!  Quintessential Vermont.  Red barns, white fences, winding back roads running along a creek and the steeply rolling hills. You couldn't ask for a more scenic location.

I couldn't find an autumn picture of the fairgrounds so I give you my own front yard to prove that there isn't anything like autumn in Vermont.

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It isn't a lot, but the festival offers a coupon for $1.00 off the admission price each year. You can print it out here.

Not that it is necessary, but a dollar's a dollar.  And, it is a wool festival.  I know I hardly need any other incentive.  I'll be there, with Ball and Skein in the main building.  Please drop by and say 'hi'.  If I'm busy, still say 'hi'.  I really look forward to seeing you.  By then, all the yarn should have been dyed, dried, and re-skeined. Whew!

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Up... down.... color everywhere!!

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still onerva

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Onerva has been good company while watching the season premiers of some of my favorite shows.  What a relaxing knit.  It's been the project I pick up for 'a few rows' before bedtime.  After a few starts, I got the hang of the pattern and stopped worrying about the center stitches.  The pattern's always handy, just in case.  With a 30 row repeat, a bit of planning will have to happen soon.  I've got 6 1/2 repeats done and I'm figuring another 8 rows of edging in addition to the 20 odd rows left in this section.  The pattern, written in Finnish, wasn't as complete as I'm used to.   Maybe if I could have read it, but then again.. I couldn't.  Ravelry knitters were very helpful if you poked around the finished project notes. 

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The pattern starts at the center point, shown here as a very much rounded 'point'.  Ahem..  Really, though.. I think it will all be fine.


walk with me wednesday..

house to the barn.. barn to the house.. how is it my world is already getting smaller?

The studio has been a busy place lately.  With less to do in the garden (did I really say that), or more accurately, less that I AM doing in the garden, beans excepted, Chris and I are spending more time working in the shop.  I get a batch of yarn steaming and run to the house.  A bit later, I'm running back to the shop to get the next run started and the finished one washed.  I don't miss going further.  There is much to see on this little walk, even more so now.  The view changes everyday.  One of my favorite spots each year, is a maple in the front yard, surrounded by ferns.  They were green only a few days ago.

 

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I have a new laptop that has one of the glaring hard finish monitors that they are using on all of them as protection against pointing, jabbnig fingers.  Nothing looks sharp.  The pictures looked crisp when I edited them.  But now.. not so much.  I'm walking a fine line with upload times and file sizes on dial up.  Enough for now, Onerva calls.

That little feedjit thing is fun.  I just saw one of my past posts showing a picture of a  wooly bear.  I haven't seen any this year.  Have you?



last sunset of summer

On a day of the equinox, the centre of the Sun spends a roughly equal amount of time above and below the horizon at every location on the Earth, night and day being of roughly the same length.*

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It was fairly light out when I stepped outside this morning with a cup of coffee.  It was also very warm.  Nice after the past couple mornings.  It was 6:30.  Last evening, C and I decided to celebrate the last sunset of the summer by taking chairs and a beer up to a neighboring field to watch the sunset.  It was about 6:50 or so.  Here's the chart for my area.. 


Tuesday 
22 September 2009 Eastern Daylight Time

SUN
Begin civil twilight 6:07 a.m.
Sunrise 6:36 a.m.
Sun transit 12:41 p.m.
Sunset 6:46 p.m.
End civil twilight 7:15 p.m.

Thank goodness for civil twilight.  We get almost an extra hour of daylight.  That is due to the part of the sun that is either above or below the center line, that part of the sun that is used for measuring. 

Sunrise and sunset are commonly defined for the upper limb of the solar disk, rather than its centre. The upper limb is already up for at least one minute before the centre appears, and likewise, the upper limb sets one minute later than the centre of the solar disk. Due to atmospheric refraction, the Sun, when near the horizon, appears a little more than its own diameter above the position than where it is in reality. This makes sunrise more than another two minutes earlier and sunset the equal amount later. These two effects add up to almost seven minutes, making the equinox day 12 h 7 min long and the night only 11 h 53 min. In addition to that, the night includes twilight. When dawn and dusk are added to the daytime instead, the day would be almost 13 hours.   and that's for the equator, I'm half way up..!)*

The last day of summer was today, the way I figure.  Autumn didn't officially roll in until an hour or so before sunset.  No matter, my mindset was already there. I spent the day dyeing and it was autumn as inspiration.  The colors are changing.  I see it reflected in the pond and across the hills.

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Fall is my favorite season.  The apples are sweet, the air is crisp and the smell of woodsmoke starts creeping in.  Wool feels right. 

I found this other little bit while poking around.  I suppose I never gave it much thought.

It is 94 days from the June solstice to the September equinox, but only 89 days from the December Solstice to the March equinox.*

Apparently the seasons aren't fairly distributed, summer IS longer than winter. Remind me of that little tidbit next winter. It sure doesn't feel like it around here. 

and so it goes...


*http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Equinox


Walk with me Wednesday.. better late than never

At the beginning of the summer, we promised ourselves that we would take Wednesday afternoons off and go somewhere.  It didn't happen. Things got in the way.  We were always too busy.  But after last Sunday's jaunt to a nature preserve, which we thoroughly enjoyed, we decided to make sure to have this past Wednesday afternoon free.  I was going to tell you about the picnic, the pork and sweet potato pie, and the chocolate cake, but there isn't room in one post.  We ended up in a magic forest.  It had to have been .  Where else would you walk through a field of dragonflies..?  Thousands of them, flying as a cloud around you, hitting each other with a clear clacking sound.  I tried to hold the camera and get a short video.  It's not much, and terribly blurry.  Watch it, then close your eyes and imagine, dragonflies, or fairies. 

The trail lead across the field.  There we entered a forest of twisted trees, limbs reaching overhead and across the path to meet their neighbors on the other side.  We passed through the wood, walking in a shadowy, sun spattered tunnel. 

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After nearly a mile, we came out of the wood.  In front of us was a huge salt pond.  Beyond it, the ocean. 

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There was an observation deck. 

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Across the pond, sat an osprey on it's nest.  Atop a nearby tree, sat the mate.  They were too far away to photograph with the camera I had.  

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  Let me help you..   Osprey detail guess you had to be there.

 

       Trustom Pond Wildlife Refuge.  Amazing place.

Here's a link to some amazing info on dragonflies.  Everything that I've read about swarms indicates that although food, mating and migration may be the answer, no one is really sure.  There was a lot of food around, and the time of year is perfect for migration. 

Don't you love a little mystery?



winding down

There is something about September.  I'd like to say that, after the summer, it is a more relaxed time.  That's probably not really true.  Depending on where you are, there is still much to harvest, made even more urgent by the chill of the nights and the knowing that the time left grows short. It's a gardener's roulette, impossible to predict which night will end the game.  If it were August, I'd be covering my beds on nights like these.  Seemingly endless tarps, dragged on at night, and off each morning when the sun reaches the point above the trees where the plants will cook under the plastic. By this time in September, I stop doing that.  Knowing that the end is in sight, somehow takes the pressure off.  it will be, what it will.  It is beyond my control.  I didn't always feel that way.  Ahead, there's the task of putting the summer's work to bed.  But now, I take what I can of what remains. (I feel a bit differently about the apples, they are just starting, another story.) 

C and I agreed that Sunday, we would finally take the VW somewhere and do nothing.  Wonderful!  I packed cheese and bread, almonds, cider and some rosemary crusted ham in a cooler.  Used to be, I'd have packed a bottle of wine.  I threw some walking shoes, books, my knitting and a spindle into a bag.  All for an afternoon, imagine.  I figure that covered all possibilities, any whim.  We headed for no place in particular, someplace out of the way, with as few people as possible and a bit of a beach.  We'd know when we got there.  We did.

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Got my ten minutes in.  I've been lax with my spindling.  Funny how sometimes you don't know how much you miss doing something until you do it.

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three days, whew!

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That not so long weekend went fast.  What was I thinking, that there actually would (could) be time for knitting on the deck.  I managed not more than 6 rows on Onerva and maybe 20 or so pages of one of the best books I've read in a long time.  More on that.  It was, however, a glorious weekend.  I picked an additional few gallon bowls of string beans, another of blackberries, and a bag of summer squash.  We lunched outdoors, on sandwiches of rosemary and olive bread, filled with melted local cheese, grilled peppers and thick slices of tomatoes and snacked on almost sweet apples that we managed to get before the critters ran out from wherever they're hiding to grab the drops.  Finally, after years of procrastination, the woods roads were cut.  Sunday morning, we put the brush hog onto the tractor, and with me walking ahead (pushing through the underbrush and high ferns) to scout out deep holes, uneven ground and rocks that we wouldn't want to hit with the blades, C drove 'Millie' through the woods.  It looks SO nice.  And it makes it SO easy to walk through the woods.  When I look back at what I'm writing, it sounds rather idyllic, but let me tell you, I am exhausted.  

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The book.  Last summer (it IS after Labor Day, so last is appropriate), I bumped into a friend that I hadn't seen in a year, at one of the local fairs.  I asked what she was reading and she said that she had just finished one of the most beautiful books she'd read in a long time.  Bel Canto, by Ann Patchett.  She was right.  I enjoyed every minute of this read.  If I had the luxury of reading it in one sitting, I would have.  I used every available free minute I had reading it.  The book isn't long and an easy read.  I'll look for more by this author. 

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Hurry up, slow down

Labor Day Weekend.   It is hard to believe.  The summer was so cold and wet, that the past two beautiful weeks feel more like the beginning of the season than the end.  The end it is.  Migrating species are on the move.  As Laurie mentioned yesterday in her comment,  the male hummers are gone.  Each evening I walk to the field to count the night’s Canada Geese stopovers.  The energy level has upped a notch.  It is palpable.  The surge before the fall.  Hunting, and gathering.  Preparations for the seasonal change.  The moon is full and unbearably bright.  The only thing keeping it from waking me at night is that it is low enough in the sky to partially hide behind the still leafed trees.  Red squirrels are busy eating and dropping the pine cones from the highest branches.  Watch out below.  You’re likely to get bopped on the head.  I’m in a constant battle with my apple loving neighbors.  The deer aren’t waiting for the drops.  I saw a rustle of leaves out of the corner of my eye yesterday morning and thought the blue jays were busy pecking at the apples.   When I stopped to scare them away, there, instead, was a young buck, on hind legs, pulling at the red apples hanging within reach.  The wild trees are full.  The deer know the cultivars are sweeter.


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With so much activity, I wanted a project that was fairly easy.  Something to take onto the deck with me at the end of the day to relax.  Onerva looked easy and it is after you get going.  I had a bit of trouble figuring out if I had all the information I needed to begin.  Thank goodness knitting charts cross language barriers.  The notes and expanded charts from other knitters on Ravelry helped. 


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I chose a new yarn I’m trying for Ball and Skein.  It is a silk / sea silk blend, lovely to work with and a pleasure to dye.  It isn’t up on the site yet, it will be.  Silk can be slippery.   I wanted to use a needle with a bit of grab.  Not much, but a little bit to keep the stitches in place.   Knit Picks Zephyrs are perfect.  The points are sharp and the needles are very light weight.  That they are transparent tickles me every time I look at them.  They are sure to become a favorite of mine. 


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It promises to be a perfect weekend.  I’m planning on deck time, some kayaking and maybe even a walk in the woods.  No traffic for me.

Have yourself a good one.



walk with me wednesday.. hmmm.

Men carry, Women Sing
Jupiter's dancing with the moon.

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There's no question that summer is winding down.  You can feel it in the air, not just the cooler temps but the energy has shifted.  Birds are on the move.  Flocks of them.  The crows are absolutely raucous.. loud and demanding.  Spiders are everywhere, and BIG, let me tell you.  I have to remember to put my arm out in front of my face to keep the night web that is spun in front of the door from my face.  On the way to the blackberries, just the other day, I came across the biggest pile of bear scat I've ever seen.  It was at least a foot in diameter.  I'd been in the field earlier that morning picking beans and squash and I'm sure it wasn't there then.  I would have seen it.  It was that impressive.  I turned around with my berry picking stuff in hand and headed back to the house.  No way was I thinking I'd sing myself through the balsams to the blackberry patch on the other side of the field so soon after he'd passed through.  Or had he?  I decided to drive.  The patch is at the furthest passable point on the dirt path that is our road.  On the advice of my telephone repair guy,  I shoved a bit of insurance under the driver's seat.  See what I mean..the season makes us crazy.  I never think that way.  Never.  It's just not me.  Two days and three gallons of berries later, I've come back to my senses.  That and a conversation I had with a neighbor the other night.  She also sings, has all her life, she told me.  Today, I drove up the road, opened the sun roof and the truck door,  put on a cd and played the blues.  Oh, and SANG!! 

This morning, about 8, a truck came up the drive.  It was a neighbor, his coffee in hand.  Have you  seen my bull? 

Your bull? 

Do you know my bull?  He's a white bull. 

hmmm... 

He's been gone a couple days, ever since I got rid of the horse that was his friend.  He's been lonely and has apparently gone in search of friends. I figured I'd better check to make sure he wasn't up here in your gardens.  

I thought.  Yep, I'd heard his bull.  It bugles and I'd heard it the day before.  I put on my sneakers and off we went.  Found it hugging the fence of a neighbor's herd.  Big bulls in there.  The size of my chest freezer, with legs.  Hoped they were friendly.  Getting him home wasn't going to be easy.  Opening the gate to let him in with the others was.  I can hear him tonight.  He's definitely not the alpha. 

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This particular lady has been guarding my tomatoes.  She's a Garden Spider and about 2 1/2 inches.  I had my head in there, picking away before I noticed her hanging upside down in the middle of her web enjoying lunch.  Whoa!!!  Deep breath.  Say 'hi' and resume, deliberately. 

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Earlier in the season we killed the pond lilies.  They are a nuisance, choking whole areas.  On the surface there are heart shaped leaves.  Under the water... roots like tree trunks.  Take a look at these.  The plants have died and the roots have floated to the top.  Sea monsters.  So glad I know WHAT they are.

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The moon is up.  Time to check out Jupiter.  Last night left, tonight right.  Bright and beautiful!