Sunday, July 29, 2007

Three Cardigans

This pattern is from knitty and is knit with Peace Fleece for the body and Slubby Nubby for the cuffs and collar. It's a really comfy cardigan and looks great closed with a sweater pin or stick. It was a breeze to knit and I love the contrast in texture of the Slubby against the body of the sweater.

I finally knit an entire sweater out of my Tango yarn, a soft 70/30 blend of wool and mohair, worsted weight. This color arrangement (I'm trying to get away from 'colorway' as I've read people are sick of hearing that word!) is 'Seaside' and the pattern comes from a Design Source book that I have in stock. It has a ribbed patterning on the sleeves and on the bottom of the pullover which forms an interesting "V" desgin in the front and back. The collar can hang open like shown or be fastened with a fashionable pin.

My 'Briar Patch' cardigan is a Peace Fleece pattern, the Everyday Cardigan. This will be one sweater that I can see wearing every day. It's a basic design, easy to knit out of Tango yarn. I've only had it on briefly as it's way too hot to wear it yet. I had to shoot this photo quickly as Nicole was becoming 'faint' from the heat. Oh, the annoyances of being a model!

Things We Do in the Country

After years of feeding sheep in front of the barn and them hanging out there most of the time, a great deal of sheep poo and composted hay had accumulated. My son, Forrest had been pitchforking it into the garden cart and hauling it to the gardens. I saw where this could take maybe a year to do, working 8 hours a day. Light bulb moment! Call my neighbor Terry with his wonderful Kubota tractor.

Terry hauled 20 loads in less than an hour. He would get a scoop and I would direct him where in the garden to dump it. By the end I was out of gardens and was just dumping it around shrubs.

This is the area up close and personal, quite a mess. I had to move the water trough out of the way and saw there was a huge toad underneath. She hopped out of the way and about a dozen teeny weeny perfect little baby toads no bigger than 1/4 inch (!) started hopping too, but not out of the way. Terry and I were down on our knees scooping up baby toads so they wouldn't get scooped up and deposited underneath a mountain of poo. I said to Terry that I bet he didn't think this was part of the job of hauling manure.

In the pic above notice our dog, Casey, inspecting what dropped off the bucket. He decided it smelled just fine and proceeded to roll in it. He definitely tore up his inside card for that night! Now I really have my work cut out for me spreading this around. I'll be hauling manure 'till the cows come home' or in my case, sheep.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Knit, knit, knitting Away

It seems I've been knitting these socks for forever! It's only been a week, but on size 2 needles it takes so much longer than size 6 needles. This is my new 'Sock Hop' merino yarn, great for the old footsies. It's soft, stretchy and machine washable, yeah! I'm sorta making the pattern up, with a nice little yarnover row for added interest. I'll have the pattern available in the fall.

Then.... my next project will be this delicious little ruffly cardigan from a new book I just got in, 'The Sublime Merino Hand knit Book.' I'll be knitting the body with my Salsa yarn and the ruffle in my Loopy mohair boucle in the color 'Mermaid.' Can't wait to get started!

And I may start on the purse pictured below out of this delightful new book that my UPS driver delivered. Whenever I hear the big brown truck, I run to the door because whatever Paul delivers is wonderful! Thanks Paul!

Camouflaged in Paisley

I went to the monthly Spinning Tales gathering Monday morning, my first in many, many months. We were celebrating Lizou's retirement from work at the Holocaust Museum in D.C. She was a textile curator and restorer for years at the museum. Congratulations Lizou! She has shared her knowledge of textiles from all over the world, especially South American textiles. That's Lizou hidden in her paisley covered papasan chair. Apparently she got a fabulous bargain on 12 yards of burgundy paisley fabric and has made a shirt, a skirt, curtains, a chair covering and still has yards left. Appropriately her farm is called "Paisley Fields."

Everyone brought incredible food for lunch. A few of the members are trying the 'Buy Everything Local' movement (except coffee, tea and rice) so most all the food came from farmer's markets or personal gardens. I love the summer bounty.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Big Shot and Mabel

I really did miss my chickens. That may seem weird but I like going out in the morning to feed them and as soon as I open the door, they come running in to see what I have for them. Gladys is especially friendly, and Molly is very shy, always in the back. And Big Shot is, well, loud. They cackle, cluck, chatter, chortle and prattle and make me smile. And they lay beautiful eggs.

I had forgotten about the rooster crowing at day break. Our first night home, I heard "errrr errrr errrr errrrrr" at 4:30 a.m. and awoke wondering where I was. Then I remembered Big Shot and his 'Purple Haze' sound of crowing. He's the only rooster I've had that sounds like the intro to Jimi Hendrix' song, 'Purple Haze'. We want to record it and do a remix of the song.

While in Robin Hood Bay, England, Garrett bought this wonderful old book of poems written by Walter De La Mare in 1913. (He was going to draw in the book until he started reading the poems and now he can't bear to.) The book is entitled 'Peacock Pie' and I was captivated by the poem 'Chicken.'
Clapping her platter stood plump Bess,
And all across the green
Came scampering in, on wing and claw,
Chicken fat and lean.
Dorking, Spaniard, Cochin, China,
Bantams sleek and small,
Like feathers blowing in a great wind,
They came at Bessie's call.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Party On!

The first night back we hosted our Sunset Party. Neighbors drop by with food and wine and we catch up on what's happening in our lives and lives around the world. Great fun! The sunset that night was fabulous, it went on and on displaying it's myriad of beautiful colors into the night. Then the fireflies took over as the light show. It's great to be back with old friends and the comfort of the farm.

Saturday night Tina and Jim had our welcome home party. They also hosted our going away party in February. I'm not sure what the whoosh is, but it brought good party vibes!

This looks like a carousel ride whirring around, but it's just my shaky hand.

This is Tina and Jim's porch where I spent most of the evening. It's an outdoor living room and very charming and cozy.

Looking from the back porch to Tina's studio. It's an old log cabin that has been relocated onto their property. Tina does her magical paintings in there and is part of our Countryside Artisans Studio Tour.

I gave this key holder to Seal and also got one for myself. "I only have this kitchen because it came with the house!" We both hate to cook.

Almost Outta Here

Had to post one more photo of us leaving. This is 5 months worth of our stuff (plus we had 2 smaller bags sent home with friends). Can't believe we got it all to fit, even my 6 paintings and ALL my jewelry! and beading stuff and knitting stuff and all Houston's electronics. Whew!

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Goodbye England!

The last five months have been an amazing experience. I will miss England, but am ready to go back to the farm. I'll especially miss having my bike be the primary mode of transportation. To just hop on the bike and dash to the market for some fresh, grainy bread is a treat. Back in Barnesville we are slaves to the car. Even though our local market and grocery store is close enough to bike (6 miles), most of us choose to drive. Granted, we don't have the bike paths that are so prevalant here in Cambridge and beyond. When we did need a car for our weekend sojourns, it felt strange. We did get used to driving and riding on the left. I just hope we remember to drive on the right back home!
I started my last day here walking around the college grounds, finding a bench to sit and read. Above is the view behind our flat.

This is the view from the bench, a peaceful retreat.

There are several large green spaces right in the middle of Cambridge. They have paths, the river, ponds and cows. Farmers lease the land for grazing. There are cattle guards on all the paths so the cattle can't make an escape into traffic. We sat at the pub (pictured behind the cows) and felt like we were right in the country.

Also seen in the park, colorful graffiti.

We rode out to our favorite village, Grantchester. On the way back, right on the trail, these two adorable girls were selling still warm flapjacks (only 25p!), a crazy delicious delight.

Another storefront window.

I brought over my leftover art paper and pastels and Josephine and Leopold started in on a masterpiece.

Goodbye to Clemens and Gaby, our dear friends in Cambridge. We have enjoyed many wonderful times with them. Thanks for everything guys!

Night Pubs

One of the things I'll miss most about England is the pub. These pubs are a gathering place, to meet friends and chat and have a good beer and good cheer. They differ from our bars, but it's hard to describe why. They are such a part of the culture here, some have been around for 500 years. Families are always seen in them. They are just casual and inviting. Last night we visited two of our favorites, both on the river, but miles apart.

This is one of our local pubs, the Granta, probably the one we've visited the most.

Monday, July 09, 2007

Grand Day Out

After weeks of cool, wet weather, the sun invited us outdoors and we jumped on our bikes and rode into the countryside on our last weekend here in England.

The wheat is nearly ready to be harvested.

These dishes reminded me of some sort of weird sunflowers that follow the sun throughout the day.

Looking back to Haslingford.

Round mirror.

We took a break and watched a cricket game held in this very large village green. I know nothing about the sport except the players look quite dashing in their whites.

The referees wear what appears to be a lab coat.

A thatch job underway.

This is what it looks like before the trim.

We were fortunate enough to see this vintage tractor rally. I LOVE old tractors!

At the end of a great bike ride, a pint for Houston and a half pint for Dalis awaits at our local pub, Hat & Feathers.

Bits and Bobs Part II

I knit Mia and Tatiana hats. Mia is modeling hers, but Tatiana was too shy.

Our friend Glauco was visiting for the week, working with Houston. We biked out to Grantchester for a brew at the Green Man Pub.

'Crawling Man' was out to break the Guinness Book of World Records by crawling 60 km. He was moving pretty slow.

Party On!

George (Gay-orge) threw a bash Saturday night. He's a PHD student where Houston works and this was his 'I'm Done, I'm Leaving and Let's Celebrate' party. His quote on Saturday night, "Anyone can go away on holiday, but I wanted to spend £600 on a party!!!" WOW!
I called this the 'Sideways Party' because his place was so narrow that we had to move around sideways, both inside and out. Even the bathroom was so tiny, I had to scoot sideways. In spite of the size of his flat and garden, the party was a huge success. George definitely fusses on the details. There were gorgeous flower arrangements, one was precariously set on the narrow stairs and somehow no one knocked it over.

He had kabobs, salad after salad, fruit, figs, tarts, crescents, and an endless supply of beer and wine. A jazz musician started out the evening's entertainment, then a pianist played for a few hours.

The grill was hard to get started and at one time George's friend was using a hair dryer to ignite the coals.

When it became too dark to see, he put tea candles on the grill, brilliant idea until they started on fire.
The evening was so pleasant though and the company so interesting, that we all had a great time. There were very few Brits at the party. I talked to people from Brazil, Spain, Germany, Canada, Sweden, Crete and many more that I couldn't place the accent.