Thursday, October 24, 2013


(glorious New England color)
This week, well actually this whole month, has been a bit of a blur and a slowdown is not yet on the horizon.  It seems we've either had some big activity going on here at the farm or we've been on the road, away from the farm, for most of October.  I'm thinking some quiet time settling into the coming winter will be a very good thing during the month of November.

Last weekend was the glory that is Rhinebeck.  Friday we drove 13+ hours to Rhinebeck, New York for a nearly perfect weekend of beautiful foliage, good food, wonderful weather, meeting new and old friends (it was so great to be reunited with my Squam cabin mates!) and the ultimate in fiber festivals.  It's surely a combination of all of the above that makes me love Rhinebeck so much.  I have gone to a lot of festivals over the years and this is the one that continues to top my list of events that I'm willing to travel long distances to attend.

(my 36 colors)
Saturday was my day to check out all the vendors and because we arrived at the fairgrounds well before the gates opened and were close to the front of the line, that was mostly accomplished before it became too crowded.  Sunday was devoted to the "36 Color Wheel Workshop", taught by Gail Callahan (The Kangaroo Dyer).  It was an eye-opening class for me and I think I finally understand the process of combining a few primary colors to achieve just the shade I'm looking for.  Gail explained and demonstrated the process in a clear and easily understandable way and then turned us loose to try it for ourselves.  It was fun and educational - the best possible outcome for any learning experience.  Gail has inspired me to be more creative in my color choices for this year's palette.  As soon as I can stay home for more than a day or so, I intend to pull out the dye pots and start working on the mountain of my "fresh from the farm yarn" that arrived back from the mill a few weeks ago.  (More on that in a later post.)

(buttons & detail of front)
My Olive "Antler" was indeed finished in time to become my 2013 Rhinebeck sweater .... just barely!  She made the drive on Friday, stretched out on top of the luggage in the back of the car,  feeling still slightly damp.  One of the best parts of the weekend were comments and questions from other knitters.  I love that walking around Rhinebeck in a handknit starts so many conversations with people you don't even know, who immediately become your friends.  For someone as introverted as I am, it's the best possible way to talk to strangers.  Even more fun, was spotting other "Antlers".  Because Olive was handspun and a little larger gauge than the pattern called for, she was somewhat different from other versions.  It's a great pattern to knit, easily adaptable and I can highly recommend it.

(the back view of Olive)
Tomorrow,  my friend Teresa and I are heading to Asheville, North Carolina for the Southeastern Animal Fiber Fair.  Asheville is such a great town and SAFF is a fun place to catch up with fiber friends in this part of the country.  It's an easy drive through beautiful mountains and I'm looking forward to a relaxing weekend of (more)food, (more)fiber and (more)friends!

Monday, October 14, 2013

My own "Old Kentucky Home"

(morning fog - view from our back door)
I am in love with my own old Kentucky home right now.  We have been having the most perfect autumn weather - warm (but not too warm) sunny days and cool nights (referred to as good sleeping weather around here).  We've had just enough rain to provide plenty of green grass and all the animals are still contentedly grazing in the pastures.  To my way of thinking, it just can't get much better than this.  It's no secret that fall is my most favorite time of year.  (Doesn't everyone love their birth month better than the rest of the year?)  After several summers of blazing heat and occasional drought conditions, this summer proved to be much more tolerable.  Because the weather is completely beyond my control, it feels very much like a precious gift when it's this good.

So, what's happening besides glorious weather?  We had a big event on Saturday when my oldest son's architectural firm had their fall outing here at the farm.  Mike and I have concluded that we need to schedule some big party event (just maybe not always a wedding) every fall to motivate us to get our act together.  While the farm can never be manicured and groomed in the way a city yard might be or like one of the fancy horse farms that are around our part of Kentucky, with the right stick being held over our heads, we can spiff ourselves up a little!  Luna and Marilla had a starring role when I penned them beneath the old catalpa tree for all the little people to get close to and the alpaca boys did their part by coming up to the fence to gawk at all the cars and people.

I've not been doing much cooking or baking lately, except for an occasional loaf of no-knead bread (using the recipe from Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day).  It is seriously easy and so, so good!  I nearly always have a container of the dough in the refrigerator these days.  I bake mine in one of my Le Creuset pots and it comes out perfect every time.  If you haven't tried it, you should.  What I'm really in the mood for is hearty soup, so last night I made this recipe (scroll down to the bean, kale, rice and sausage soup) from Heather Bruggeman.  Her blog is Beauty That Moves and she has terrific, healthy recipes.  This soup has become a favorite because it's delicious and good for you, plus I nearly always have all the ingredients on hand. 

On the knitting front - it's all about my Olive sweater right now.  I'm hoping to get some serious knitting time in the next few days in order to wear Olive as my Rhinebeck sweater during the weekend.  I'm so excited to be going to Rhinebeck again, after missing the last few years.  It is my favorite fiber show of the year in one of my favorite parts of the country.  The pattern is Antler by Alexa Ludeman.  It's in the book Pacific Knits and is available through Ravelry as a single pattern.  It's very well-written and I'm loving knitting all those cables on the yoke.  Of course, I'm having to make adjustments because my gauge is off, but what else is new?  :-)

So, what's going on at your house?  Any knitting or cooking to share?  Happy Autumn Days everyone!

Monday, October 7, 2013


Last week seemed to just roll over me and it's looking as though this week might do the same.  We  had a week of such highs and lows.  We gathered family together and held a celebration of my sweet mother-in-law's 90th birthday on Sunday.  There were four generations present who wanted to honor her and show her how very much she means to all of us.  She handled it all with her customary grace and good humor and seemed pleased (though she kept saying that she never expected to still be here on this earth for so long!).

On Tuesday, my 23 year old grand-daughter moved to California and my feelings about it are very conflicted.  It's an exciting adventure for her and I'm happy that she's having the opportunity to experience it, now while she is young.  On the other hand, I am, quite selfishly, very sad that she's so far away.  In the past few years, she's become more like the daughter I'll never have and I'm going to miss having her just an hour away.  It is a comfort to be able to stay in touch easily via email, phone and texts, so I can be grateful for that.

Late in the week, my youngest son's father-in-law quite passed away quite unexpectedly, after complications from surgery.   My daughter-in-law is part of a very close-knit family and it has been very sad for all who know them.  They chose to hold a celebration of his life, rather than calling it a funeral. He left a legacy of a family who never doubted for a moment that he loved them and the service was full of fond memories they have of him.

Two celebrations of life in one week - one for someone continuing to live a long and full life and one for someone gone too soon.  It's sobering to think how tenuous our life on this earth is.  None of us know what tomorrow brings or even how many tomorrows we have left.  I know I need to practice living each day to the fullest (and fullest does not mean filling it up with busyness), to avoid dwelling on negative thoughts and to tell those I love how much they mean to me more often.  Lately, I've been getting messages from different sources (even facebook, of all places) to slow down, simplify, be present and awake in my own life.  I've thought a lot about the concept of simplifying for some time now and it often feels as though the more I yearn for it, the more elusive it becomes.  Am I alone in seeking a more simple life?  I don't think I am, but I'd be interested to hear how others feel about the idea of it.  I'd love to know if you've managed to achieve a balanced life and how you accomplished it or if, like me, you're still trying to figure it all out.