It’s been so long

I haven’t written in so long that I don’t think I will even try to catch you up.

On the whole life has been boring, when it comes to blogging.  Work is stressful and overwhelming at times, but not unmanageable, given enough time.  Home is fine and restorative,as always.

And fall is upon us!

The colors were so muted for such a long time, then we had a gray week and they all popped out.

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The morning glories are struggling to bloom now, the sun is so low they are in shade most of the day. But late in the afternoon, the sun makes it past the house and they seem to glow.

I have been making lots of apple crisp the past few weeks, which I love, and it is so easy to make, yum!

Still need to do the fall yard work – dig up the carrots and plant the garlic, spread a little cow manure and straw about… but the cosmos and zinnias are still blooming, so I can’t bother them, can I?

There was ice on the windshield this morning.  Not frost, but real ice, from the heavy dew and very cold temps.  So this fall is clearly not going to last, and winter will be here before we know it.

So, we ordered our pellets for the winter – 4 tons.  With help from our BIL, we loaded two tons into the cellar yesterday, and will work on them each weekend until they are done.  Left to our own devices, we do about a ton a day, but with help, we were able to double that.  We both notice that this time of year, a bag of pellets seems so heavy (40 pounds) but by spring we think nothing of hauling a couple of bags up the stairs to fill the stove.

I have been knitting and spinning – knitting very focused on two things – the Down the Road and Back Again shawl, which SHOULD get finished this week, and is already sold!  Yea!

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And of course, socks. One of the things going on at work this time of year is health fairs.  I knit a lot at them, in between chatting with people about the organization.  One of them was so crowded (free flu shots!) that no one could move, and so I sat knitting and chatting with people – it turns out the knitting was drawing folks to the table. I might start keeping on knitting when people approach, instead of tucking it away.  So I finished one sock and have made a good start on the second.

Spinning has also been happening –

I made this yarn which will join some scraps and leftovers to become a shawl.  It is a two ply, one ply is Tasman Comeback, the other ply is Finn.

Then this yarn flew off the wheel!  It will likely be a hat, as there isn’t much yardage. It’s a bulky 4 ply, in Falkland.

Next up is some yarn that I hope will be for some socks – I haven’t spun for socks in quite a while. This is merino, bamboo, and nylon.

One last photo – leaving Whorls and Purls on Saturday, I looked up and thought that it looked like someone had floated a piece of roving across the sky.

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That’s it from around these parts – I hope you have been having a good month so far! What does fall look like in your part of the world?

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Important public service message

In these times it is more critical than ever that every eligible person in this country votes, but that is not enough.

As my cousin said three years ago, “it is no longer enough to just vote. We have to do more.”

We have to actively participate in our democracy. We have to volunteer to move the candidates or issues we believe in forward. We have to attend meetings, make calls, knock on doors, educate our fellow Americans.

We have to make sure that the people running our states and our country reflect the values and morals of the majority of us.

I took his words to heart, and volunteer at the local political office of my choice. I hope you will as well, and keep volunteering after the election. This is too important to not get correct.

Still here

Sorry for the low light photo, but wanted to share my shawl progress. This is the Down the Road and Back Again shawl I cast on when the Ravelry ladies were here. It is now about 26 inches long, and the scale tells me I am about a third of the way through the yarn. I think when I hit 30 inches I will begin the “back again” portion. If I have leftover yarn, I will knit up some matching mitts.

Things haven’t been too exciting here. Weekends spent doing household chores and errands, getting cars serviced, etc. With one nice exception, Mom had a picnic last Sunday. Just her kids and families, so it was nice to see everyone. I honestly think Christmas might be the last time we were all together! Not all the nieces made it, but E and the twins B and N were there, with B’s girlfriend C. This is the second time he has brought her to something, and she is very nice. 👍😊

Niece E is in 6th grade now, and after 2 years of homeschooling, she is attending a small private school, and seems to love everything except going to bed early and getting up on time. Sister C is ecstatic at all the time she has now to do all the things she is interested in. She is taking a class, planning to spend more time in her studio, etc. they still are studying music together, piano, violin, and fiddle lessons. Wonderful to see them both so excited about the changes.

Work has been really hectic, board meetings, grants, and strategic plans. This week wrapped up with what has felt inevitable for a long time. My former boss and dear coworker walked out on Friday. He has long struggled with changes that leadership has wanted from him, and a feeling that his knowledge, skills,connections, and experience are not valued by those above. It is a big loss for us as he is quite an amazing person, full of heart and empathy, and able to communicate that to our donors and grantors. So work will now be a bit more stressful and a lot less pleasant. If you are counting, that is two dear people leaving work in three months. Leadership is not agonizing over this like rank and file are.

We bought a couple of lottery tickets this weekend. Hoping for a big win.

Morning, Glory!

A bit late, I planted several different kinds of morning glories at the base of two trellises on either side of the screen porch. The seeds to the west have been growing gangbusters, but no sign of flowers until after Labor Day. Now they bloom more each day! I love the bright colors and am pleasantly surprised each day when something new blooms!

Today was twin day, apparently!

The ones to the east have not done so well. The soil I added is the same, but there is likely less of it there. Water is the same. Less light, though not by much in the summer, they get full light until the sun crosses over head. The west side doesn’t get any until then.

But today, that struggling little fellow showed that he has some gumption after all!

And then there is this valiant soul. This garden bed hasn’t been tended in at least two, but more likely three, years. Every year a volunteer comes along to make me glad I didn’t weed the bed!

I spotted a few more plants in there, if I remember, I will collect some seeds later on and put them where I want them next year.

And it seems I might gave to rethink my east side trellis… I could put it on the west side and grow more there. Or give the sweet peas their own space, they are really struggling to grow among all the glory. But they are also persevering, and may yet bloom! Then my Instagram feed will be full of them i stead of these cheerful glories. 🤗

The big vacation!

I know I have been absent for a while – but this should make it up to you!

As you know, A and I were working hard to prepare for the visit from three Ravelry friends.  Well, that visit has come and gone, and what fun we had!  The ladies arrived last week, and we got down to business right away!  I took the first two to arrive on a quick tour of some things they wanted to see in Bangor, specifically, the Duck of Justice a the Bangor Police Department

(you have to follow Bangor PD on face Book to understand why this is even a thing) and to see Stephen King’s house, with it’s fabulous gates.  We managed both of those things, and they back to the airport to pick up the third person.  By the time we were all together, they were checked into their motel for the night and back at our house for supper, it was way past my bedtime!  But I managed to stay awake, and we did a little bit of knitting, casting on our Friends of Knitting Sarah KAL shawl – the second annual such KAL.  This year we are knitting Down the Road and Back Again.  As usual, the colors we all chose vary widely.  Mine is fairly subdued compared to theirs, but that is what makes it fun!

The next morning we were off to Deer Isle, to Haystack for the long weekend.  We attended the Knit Maine 2018 retreat, put on by Knitting and Yoga Adventures.  The lineup of teachers was pretty incredible! I wound up taking 4 classes from Patty Lyons and 2 from Norah Gaughan.  Not that the other teachers weren’t great, but these were offering things I wanted to learn more about.They each are amazing, the things they know how to do!  I picked up lots of tips and new techniques, and learned more about how to design and alter sweater patterns so that sweaters will actually fit.  Always a good thing.

The 4 of us shared one small cabin, which basically was beds and a bathroom, so we weren’t in it too much.  Haystack is a pretty amazing place, but not exactly accessible!

And there aren’t too many common areas to gather and just knit… unless you don’t mind sitting on the floor.  Which we did mind.  So that part wasn’t great.  But as the schedule was packed full and our brains were tired, we survived that.

The food, from my view point, was FANTASTIC! There was lots of locally sourced food, it was all well prepared and there was plenty of it.

I thought that the weekend delivered all that it promised, but I relearned something about myself that will likely keep me from attending future events that are set up like this.  I need down time, to absorb what I have learned, and just unwind.  This weekend was full speed ahead at all times.  After a full day of classes, there was an evening program.  I only went to one, preferring to just have some peace and quiet after the long day.  the only time I knit was early in the morning, as I am an early riser, and my cabin mates were not, I headed up to the dining hall early every morning and sat with the other early risers and had coffee and knit.  This was way less knitting time than I am used to in a day, which sure felt funny at a knitting retreat!

Sunday afternoon we left there and got the ladies settled into their Air Bnb in Penobscot.  That house is quite adorable, an felt even luxurious after the spartan quarters at Haystack!

We had supper in Castine, and then in the morning I picked them up and took them shopping for the day.  We started at the Purple Fleece – OF COURSE!  Deb so nicely opened up on her day off for us.  From there we went to Belfast to Heavenly Yarns, which was fun as she stocks lots of Maine dyed and Maine raised yarns and fibers. After that it was lunch at Nautilus, then a bit more Main Street shopping before we headed down Route 1 toward Rockland, with a nice stop at Swan’s Island Blanket.  I have driven by it literally hundreds of times, but never stopped before.  It is a lovely place, and has wonderful products.  Yarn and blankets were purchased, and then we went on to Mom’s house for an hour or so  of knitting and chatting before heading home.  We were all tired so we stopped at the grocery store and got some simple food for supper at home.

Tuesday we were treated to heavy rain from “Gordon” though at that point everyone was only talking about “Florence” (Maine is really off the weather map as far as forecasters are concerned) so our plan to go to Acadia and Bar Harbor was delayed and truncated.  We did go in the afternoon to take a spin around park loop and get photos of rain, fog, rocks, and trees.

On the way back we stopped to visit with one of the women who went with us to Wisconsin Sheep and Wool last year, and who now lives in Maine, so she is a Whorler and Purler also.  Then out for our “last supper” at Glenn’s Place in Bucksport.

Wednesday they had to clear out of their house by 11, and I invited the Whorls and Purls ladies over for a knitting party, so the last day was fun and festive and had knitting in it, as it should.

A’s sisters and brother in law also came over, as sadly, they all attended a family funeral that morning.  So we had a houseful!

Then it was off to the airport, and they all got out safely ahead of “Florence.”  A and I came home, had party snacks for supper and fell into bed.  I slept a solid 12 hours!

I had so much fun with these ladies, and loved having them visit me here in Maine.

I hope that they also had a good time.  I do wish they could have stayed longer, there is so much more to see – and we could have done it at a slower pace, so we weren’t; all exhausted at the end of it.  But I think we made good use of the time that we had together.

Now I have one day off, maybe two, depending on how much work I can get done remotely here today.  Saturday I have to attend a big fundraising event that we hold each year, but then Sunday is completely free of obligations – might be a pajama day!

A knitting finish!

I am unreasonably proud of this colorful scarf. I dyed the fiber, spun the yarn, and knit the scarf. 👍

I typically will avoid linen stitch but this yarn begged for it. And I found a genius pattern that calls for knitting it in the round and cutting it apart when done. No purl rows!

When I dyed the yarn, I was doing some experimenting with colors. And then drafting created another color experience. The linen stitch created the third surprise, the colors are well and truly blended now. But still bright and cheerful, just not so in your face bright.

And you can’t tell but it is oh-so-soft!

Long Weeks and Bargains

So much to get through before vacation next week, plus a board meeting last night, work is just CRAZY!  Already on my way to 40 hours and it is just Wednesday…

A and I make little deals and bargains all the time – things like “If you take the trash to the transfer station, I will make you french toast for breakfast”  or “I’ll vacuum if you will do the laundry”  Usually there is something in it for the person proposing the deal – something they usually do but just don’t feel like doing this week, or something they want to do that can’t happen without a little wheeling and dealing.

For the past few weekends, I have been puttering away at chores put off all summer, getting things ready for company next week.  A has done some larger and stranger chores than normal, because she knows it will save me stress. Like shoveling all the dirt off the tarp in the front yard so I could finish the pathway.

Imagine my surprise when on Sunday night (after she worked 12 hours at one of her jobs) she said to me “I’ll make a deal with you.” I was intrigued… what kind of deal was coming?

“I’ll clean the whole house.”

Say what?  This was going to require some really odious task on my part, I could see it coming.

“Not all the fussy stuff you want done, but all the floors, the bathrooms, the kitchen, the loft, and my office.”

WHAT is the other half of this deal??? I was getting nervous.

“if you are OK with me taking Thursday and Friday off.”

Seriously?  This is the deal?  I don’t see how I could lose on this one!  Sure, she won’t get paid for the days, so there is some opportunity cost, but she already worked half her hours at one job, so if she works two more days, she will actually get paid more than a regular week. And she has to work on Labor Day, which is a drag.

“OK… is that it?”

“No.  If you make the appointment, I will take your car in to be serviced.”

A deal was struck, and what a good thing, as my week then went to hell.  I will still be doing loads of chores – all the fussy things like dusting and window washing that she doesn’t think is part of cleaning the house, and the yard chores.  But I know that when we are done and the house looks bright and tidy, it will be because of this sweetheart of a deal she struck. And I will be able to go to knitting without feeling like I should be home cleaning.  🙂