Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Golden days

I spent so many months of the summer complaining about the weather,  I feel doubly blessed right now to be enjoying a gorgeous autumn here in central Kentucky.  We've had a long stretch of nearly perfect weather.  Cool nights and pleasant,  sunny days have graced us and the trees have turned golden in the sunlight.  It would suit me just fine to continue like this right up until Thanksgiving.  (I like it cold enough to have fires in both fireplaces for the holidays.)
This weekend will bring cold and rainy weather,  which I happen to also like (I know ...  I'm weird).  I won't be here to enjoy it because I'll be in a place that's even colder.  Thursday,  Teresa and I are off to Chicago for Vogue Knitting Live.  This is my first time to attend a Vogue event and I'm anxious to experience it.  Years ago,  Teresa and I made an annual Christmas shopping trip to Chicago,  but we've both simplified our Christmas routines to the point where a big shopping trip is not really our thing anymore.  We hope to have dinner at Scoozi's one night.  I crave their butternut squash ravioli,  caesar salad and the bread is the best!  And, we'll be sure to get out for some Garrett's popcorn.   In fact,  we've been known to have Garrett's popcorn for dinner on more than one occasion.

I've signed up for some amazing classes with instructors I've been wanting to take classes with for years.  On Friday,  I have an all day class with Mary Jane Mucklestone (200 Fair Isle Motifs),  Saturday is all day with Beth Brown-Reinsel (Knitting Ganseys) and Sunday afternoon I'll get in a short visit with my friend,  Susan Anderson,  while I'm in her Top Down Baby Sweater class.  I think it's going to be a lot of mental stimulation for me.  Just hope I'm up to it!
(This farm lane is up the road from us - love those reds!)
I took this sweet picture of Holly keeping Olive's daughter company one day last week.  I love it when I see these scenes.  I like to imagine there is a conversation of some sort going on between them.

My plan is to take my laptop along to Chicago and hopefully I'll get to send you all a report of the goings-on.  Otherwise,  I'll see you next week.  Happy Autumn!

Friday, October 19, 2012

A thank you ...

Beautiful autumn weather has graced us the last few days.  Earlier in the week,  every time I looked up,  I wanted to grab my camera and try to capture the beginnings of color in the trees,  the crispness of the air,  the peace and quiet.  I do so love this time of year.

Thanks so much to all of you who made the trek out to see us on Saturday.  It was so great to put faces to some of the names I've seen commenting on this blog and to even meet a few neighbors that I didn't know.  I really do appreciate all of you and the kindness you've shown.  For those of you who have asked,  I'm starting to work on photographing some of the 2012 Sheep Dreams yarn and hope to have it in my Etsy shop soon.  Thanks to my dysfunctional Windstream internet service*,  it may require a marathon visit to my Kroger's Starbucks,  but I'll get it done!  (*Witness the picture below - I've tried about 20 times to upload it and this was the best I could do.)

I'm so sorry to not be going to Rhinebeck this weekend.  I waited until yesterday to cancel my hotel reservation because I kept holding out hope that somehow it would work out.   Rhinebeck is my very favorite festival of the year,  held in one of my favorite areas of the country.  Oh well,  one can always hope for next year.

This has been a week of introspection for me.  My last remaining uncle died on Monday.  He lived and full and happy life and would have been 92 in just a few weeks.  He was the last of my father's four brothers and one sister and,  ironically,  the oldest of them.  My father died at 54 from lung cancer,  so he has been gone a long,  long time.  Thinking about all this has made me realize that it is really the end of an era for my family.  In the last couple of years,  I've seen cousins that I'd lost touch with on several occasions .... all funerals.  As children,  we spent a lot of time together and it's sad to think about how busy we get and how we let those connections slip away. 

We're having a dark, rainy and cold day here in central Kentucky and that suits me just fine.  I've built the first fire of the season in my little Vermont Castings woodstove and have settled into the studio for a little bit of knitting therapy. 

Friday, October 12, 2012

Lucky me!

I got some wonderful news yesterday morning.  I won a fabulous giveaway on Susan Anderson's blog!  I was so excited because I never, ever, ever win anything.  So, I've decided my good fortune is going to be someone else's good fortune, too.  I already own all of Susan's books because I have ordered all of them before they ever are published.  Susan's books are beautiful to look at and always have the cutest patterns.  They are classics and ones I go to over and over again.  Anyway ....... the good news for everyone else is that I'm going to share.  As soon as I can get myself together (after my open studio/farm weekend),  I'm going to plan a giveaway.  So, stay tuned and we'll see how much joy I can spread around.

The time to celebrate is almost here!  This Saturday (that's tomorrow!),  from 11 am to 4 pm,  we are having a Yarn Harvest Celebration for our 2012 Sheep Dreams Home Grown - Fresh from the Farm Yarn and Roving.  It looks as though some perfect Kentucky weather is going to be smiling on Tanglewood Farm because it's predicted to be 74 degrees and sunny.  If you'd like to come out and meet our production team (the sheep girls and alpaca boys),  we'll be here to greet you with fresh apple cider from our local Boyd's Orchard and homemade cookies (from me).  If google maps doesn't make it clear enough,  please feel free to email me  or call 859-229-3195 and I'll try to give you clearer instructions.  (Please note that the operative word here is try!)  And, when you get here,  don't be afraid of the farm road.  When you turn off the main road (at the Tanglewood Farm sign) you'll go down a hill,  across a creek and up a hill on the other side.  I would say all but the lowest slung sports car will have no problems with any of it.

*If you're a spinner, feel free to bring your wheel and we'll set up some chairs out under the trees, where you can spin in the fresh air.  If you have a knitting project, bring it along and we can have our own "knit in public day"!

Friday, October 5, 2012

A day in the life of me ...

(These girls are working on the 2013 Yarn Harvest)  

These are the girls who were born in the spring and are what I refer to as my silly teenagers now.  They've been acting like teenagers this week - making mischief,  getting into and out of places they are not meant to be.  On Wednesday,  I went into town for a knitting get-together with friends and after only being there for about 30 minutes, I received a call from my husband,  telling me that our UPS man,  Darrell,  had left a message on our home phone that the sheep were in the yard!  (Yes,  we are on a first name basis with our UPS man.  He's a very important part of our life in the country. Because of my husband's veterinary business,  we get UPS deliveries nearly every day.  I talk to Darrell almost as much as I talk to my husband!)  Darrell knows when something is happening on the farm.  So,  back to the farm I rushed - which means 35 minutes or so.  By the time I got here,  the girls had gotten bored with wandering the yard and had gone back into the barn where they were loitering in the barn aisle and rearranging anything they could manage to move.  I didn't really worry that they would go down the farm lane and out onto the county road because they would have to cross the creek and sheep don't like walking through water.  I was a little worried that they would prune the bushes around the house and studio and maybe do a little "work" in the garden.  It didn't take a minute to get them back where they belonged,  but then I noticed a faint peeping noise,  coming from the somewhere in the hayloft.
(Holly said, "I told them not to do it!)

We finally got our hay delivered a few weeks ago and because I wasn't here to supervise,  it got stacked in a way that left me no room to reach the remainder of last years hay.  Of course,  that's where Mrs. Dandy had chosen to make her nest and was in fact sitting on it when the new hay was stacked around her.  I found a tall ladder and climbed up to see what I could find.  Mrs. Dandy was sitting beside her nest,  which had several broken shells in it.  There were no babies in sight,  but I could hear them peeping and the sound was coming from somewhere down in the hay bales.   Mrs. Dandy was not happy with me when I started unstacking the bales all around her.  It took three levels of bales before I reached the first two babies and two more levels before I found the other three that were still alive.  I climbed down,  got a bucket and put all the babies in the bucket,  brought them down and made a pen for them.  Mrs. Dandy and chicks are now in the dog kennel hotel,  inside the barn and the babies have a heat lamp,  food and water.  Mrs. Dandy is not actually inside the cage with the chicks,  but is staying close and standing guard.  The dilemma is that though Mrs. Dandy is a good mother,  she is after all a peahen.  Think about it ....  not a lot of brainpower available there.  If I turn the chicks loose with her,  they will surely get lost or picked off by other critters.  We don't really need any more peafowl,  but I can't in good conscience just let them die.  So,  just when I thought I had reached that point in the year when all my animals were mature enough to not need so much attention from me,  here I am with a new bunch of babies.

(Those of you coming out to the farm on October 13th for the Yarn Harvest Celebration, might find a little surprise in your car when you get home ..... a really special door prize!  Just sayin'....)
And, here's the ironic part of this whole "day in the life" episode.  In the deliveries that day was a book I recently ordered.  I'm pretty sure raising peachicks will not be covered in this book on how the simplify my life.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

The Yarn Tour

I've written before about how,  once Mike gets behind the wheel,  you may as well put on your seatbelt because you are in for a trip!  He doesn't drive too fast or anything like that (well,  maybe too far sometimes).  He likes to make a run at seeing everything.  One benefit of that mindset is that I can squeeze in some yarn shop runs along the way.  While we were in New England,  I got to stop at as many shops in our vicinity as I could locate on google.  They ran the gamut from just okay to great.

First,  I'll mention the shop pictured above which I visited back in June,  while on the way to Squam in New Hampshire.  It's in Camden,  Maine,  which is the quintessential New England harbor town.  Everything about Camden is picture-perfect and The Cashmere Goat is located right in the heart of the waterfront.  I was knitting on my Silk Moon Crescent shawlette and foolishly had not brought along enough yarn.  I walked into The Cashmere Goat, scoped out their Noro shelf and came up with the exact same dyelot needed.  Meant to be!  It's a beautiful little shop .... all shining hardwood floors, big windows,  relaxing places to sit and music that's interesting (not intrusive) and helpful (not hovering) people,  if you need them.  I couldn't help but imagine how cozy the shop must be on a blustery winter day.  Camden is worth the drive up the coast and The Cashmere Goat is a bonus.

Unfortunately,  I don't have pictures of the other yarn shops (you can get an idea of what they look like by clicking through the links).  I was too busy looking at what they had to offer.   My favorite yarn store experience during our September trip was KnitWits in Portland, Maine.  I'd read about the shop on several blogs (Soulemama, for one) and am so glad we took the time to look for it.  It's down close to the harbor,  where we saw the most enormous cruise ship that morning.  I wish I had taken a picture of it because it was huge!  I can't imagine getting on one of those things with all those people.  Anyway,  KnitWits is a sweet little shop and Suzie, the owner was so nice to talk to.  She was wearing a Miriam sweater (designed by Carrie Bostick Hoge,  who apparently frequents the shop) and,  when I admired it,  Suzie took it right off and offered to let me try it on.  (which I did and am now in the process of knitting my own)  She recommended a great little pizza place (Otto's Pizza) and the Bakery on the Hill (that had fabulous,  gigantic chocolate chip cookies),  just down the block.  (The pizza place made us feel as though we were in San Francisco, for some reason.)  I highly recommend timing your visit to KnitWits so you can eat lunch there and finish with one of those huge chocolate chip cookies!

Next up was Knit or Dye in Brattleboro, Vermont,  which I spied as we drove by.  There were a group of knitters and spinners out on the porch and inside was a homey little shop,  complete with a baby in a playpen!  I bought some beautiful, locally dyed roving there.  They had a good supply of Vermont handspun and hand-dyed yarn and some well-known commercial brands.

I don't know why, but no matter how many sizes and kinds of needles I pack,  I always end up having to buy needles when I'm traveling and this trip was no different.  I made a quick stop at Love 2 Knit Studio,  in Scarborough,  Maine to get what I needed.

Somewhere along the way,  we managed to check out two different Shaker communities,  Enfield, Vermont and Sabbathday Lake, Maine.  Enfield was where I bought a skein of Scottish Blackface yarn,  just because I'd never seen any before.  It's definitely an outerwear kind of yarn.  I'm not sure what I'll make with it.  Having seen several other Shaker sites now,  I think we have a real treasure here in Kentucky with Shaker Village at Pleasant Hill (only about 20 minutes from our farm).  It's a beautifully, restored Shaker community with a wonderful restaurant and overnight facilities.  If you are ever in this part of the country,  please take the time to visit.  I promise you won't be disappointed.

Moving on ..... I made a quick stop at White River Yarns, in White River Junction, Vermont.  That shop was packed full of so much yarn,  it was almost hard to concentrate!  I hadn't intended to buy anything,  but ended up with a skein of Jacob sheep wool from a local farm.

Last,  but not least,  when we were back in Burlington on the day we flew home,  I discovered the cutest little shop close by the farmer's market.  Nido Fabric and Yarn is just plain beautiful.  It's on the second floor of an old building,  with lovely patina-ed wood floors,  exposed brick walls and high ceilings. The aesthetic was clean and spare,  everything arranged in wonderful vignettes.  It was gorgeous and I hope to return when I have time to look at every single thing.  I bought a single skein of Swan's Island yarn (quite pricey at $30 and that's why I only bought one).

So, there you have it.  I know that I missed some really good shops along the way, either from bad timing or just not knowing, but my plan is to keep working on seeing them all!

Monday, October 1, 2012

Yarn Harvest Time

The harvest moon has been shining these past few nights and it's time to offer up some of my home-grown crop of fiber for those of you who've been asking.  I'm planning a little harvest festival of yarn,  to be held here at the farm on Saturday,  October 13th,  from 11 am to 4 pm.  I plan to have lots of freshly dyed and natural colored wool/alpaca yarn and a selection of natural colored wool/alpaca roving in the studio.  Most likely, I'll have a few small, handknitted items to offer and there will be fresh, local apple cider and home baked cookies to reward you after your journey out to Nonesuch.

Even if you are not a knitter or spinner,  you're invited to come to the farm to meet the sheep and alpaca boys and enjoy what I hope will be a beautiful fall day in the country.  We are approximately 30 to 35 minutes outside of Lexington,  in Woodford county.  It's a pleasant drive and you'll get to see some picturesque Bluegrass countryside while you are on the way.

Tanglewood Farm is located at 4565 Cummins Ferry Road,  Versailles,  Kentucky.  Please feel free to email me,  if you should need further directions.  Depending on where you are coming from,  there are several options.  I'll have a sign up at the crossroads in Nonesuch and there is a Tanglewood sign at the entrance to our farm road,  so you can't miss us.

If you'd like to extend your time in the country,  Shakertown at Pleasant Hill is a short drive from here (20-25 minutes) and lunch at The Glitz,  just a mile away from the farm,  is always a good idea!  

We're looking forward to seeing you soon!