Thursday, May 19, 2011

Diet Plan

I'm off on my big bike adventure from this Thursday to the end of May...10 days of biking, from Cumberland to Oberlin, Ohio. I'm riding with Tami, my friend from Alaska so all I have to do is carry about 50 pounds of my gear and keep up with her! I need to take off some of this winter fat so what better way to do it than ride for 350 miles?! We're camping along the way and she has it all mapped out. I've been crazy busy getting orders out from Sheep & Wool Fest so I've left the route planning up to her. I would occasionally think "oh yeah, I need a sleeping bag" and run to get it, then the therma rest and maybe my bike shoes so I wasn't sure if I even had everything I needed. I've been so scattered that it was hard to focus on getting all the gear together for a 10-day ride. And let's not talk about my legs and lungs, whooee!, I forgot to train for this ride. I told my legs that it'll be on the job training, so they'd better get to work and do their job! Houston (husband) and Garrett (son) are leaving Monday and doing the ride in just 5 days. They're manly and they have huge thighs to push those pedals. This is just a tiny little ride for them as they rode day after day after day from here to Oregon 5 years ago. But for me it's the longest I've ridden so I've gotta get my game on.  We'll be riding 140 miles on the Allegany Trail, a rail to trail path that I've ridden/camped twice in sections. I know how lovely this trail is so I'm looking forward to the natural beauty of it.

The hardest thing was deciding what knitting project/s I wanted to take. Small needles and a pattern that isn't too hard so I can sit around the camp and knit without furrowing my brow trying to figure out the stitches. I've decided on thigh high leg warmers. Not your typical camp knitting! Maybe I'll have them done by the time I get to Oberlin! Oops, forgot about all that biking time.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Garden Delights

 I just love this time of year when the garden is young and weedless. Next week may be a different story. The many plants I've bought at various places  are now in the ground. 

 I bought way too many plants though. I'd get some at Lowe's then Southern States when I'd get feed and see some heritage tomato plants at the Sheep and Wool Fest that looked awesome. The problem was that I was too busy to plant them right away so when I finally tallied up my flats, I had 16 tomato plants and over 20 pepper plants. We do like our peppers, especially the Thai hot peppers but I was a bit out of control this year. We even had to till another row to be able plant all the extras I got.

 Somewhere I read about vertical planting of potatoes. I happened to have these wire cages that I filled with sheep poo and old hay. Raising sheep has its rewards, in the form of worm enriched black soil that was once poo. I just take my huge garden cart out there and shovel up huge quantities of the rich stuff and move it to the bins. I stuffed the side with old hay from last year and put an 'eye' of the potato in each square. I was hopeful that they peek through eventually but doubtful too. 

But to my surprise, the little eyes sprouted and are trailing down the tower. Yeah!

My greens are taking off finally. I eat at least one salad a day, so to go out and pick the arugula and lettuce is a dream.

I have many little gardens around but I discovered that most of them have purple flowers in them. I'm not sure if it's the time of year or if I just pick purple producing flowers.

But you can't go wrong with purple and green!

Saturday, May 14, 2011

A Walk in the Woods

Since I worked so hard getting ready for, then selling at Sheep & Wool Fest, I rewarded myself with a little backpacking trip with Tami and Bev.
We left Wednesday and had gorgeous weather, 60's in the day, low 50's at night. Three days of hiking fun! We did the Mau-har trail, just off the Blue Ridge Parkway south of Waynesboro, Virginia and some of the Appalachian Trail (AT for those of you in-the-know).
We set up camp and Tami gave Bev some knot tying lessons. Our favorite knot is the 'trucker's hitch' or 'canoe knot' or 'tent knot'. Basically, it's a self-tightening knot, a very good knot to know. If you don't know this knot, you should. If you don't know how to tie a good knot, tie lots of them!

 Bev is really concentrating and was a very good student.

Our kitchen was set up under our little tarp with my hiking poles. They come in very handy, especially as hiking poles as this was a very arduous, rocky trail that was up and down and down and up.

 Thursday we hiked to the Harper's Creek Shelter on the AT. Bev and I had done this hike about 5 years ago and stayed at this lovely spot. We just did a day hike and had lunch here. The AT is is a 2181-mile long trail that thru hikers travel from Georgia to Maine (NoBo) or Maine to Georgia (SoBo), northbound or southbound. About 3000 hikers attempt the trail a year but only 25% finish the entire length. We met 'Deleware Dave' at the shelter. He'd been on the trail for 3 months and had 3-4 months left to go. Hikers take on trail names. Bev was 'Bayou' and I was 'Dakota' when we did part of the trail (section hiker) 6 years ago. 

 Log books are kept at each shelter, which the hikers write in daily as they're passing through or camping at the site. A 'family' is formed along the trail as the hikers bond to certain other hikers and news spreads fast among them. I've read about people falling in love along the trail and getting married at the finish. 

The journal is an interesting read, telling about the animals one has seen, the weather, how to locate someone but most of all, the state of mind of the person. By reading some of the entries, I saw that some of these folks really needed this break in their life. 

But we are happy to just hike for a few days in the woods, walking through the mist, listening to the twitter of the birds and the cascading falls of the creek.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Sheep & Wool Fest Madness

Last weekend was my biggest show of the year. I've been doing Maryland Sheep & Wool Fest for at least 25 years now. Tami and I loaded up the trailer (Trapper helped... not!) and took off Friday to set up. Luckily I'm just an hour away, so I can come home each night and get more stuff.
 I have the festival folks put up a tent. It's professional, sturdy, weatherproof and best of all, it's set up when I get there. It's 20' x 15' and I always wonder how I'll fit everything in. And I always forget to take a photo of the finished booth.

But here it is on the corner of Main Gate Lane and Livestock Lane. Mine is the big tent on the left, filled with lots of color.
 The crowds descended early Saturday morning. The fest is supposed to start at 9:00 but when we got there at 8:00 and pulled the sides off the tent, my space was filled and it didn't let up all day. We weren't even able to get all the yarn up on the rack.

The parking lot is a massive field and it was filled up by 10:00 and there 
were backups from all directions. 

 On Sunday I was able to get out a bit and walk around. I always buy a broom from the broom maker.

 I made a point of visiting the Jacobs as I want to get another one. 
These are from the samefarm that I got Brambles 16 years ago.

 I think I'll soon have a little one in the field again. Can't resist those spots and horns!

 "Ladies, hey ladies!" 

 I do enjoy the sheep barn but I have to say it is REALLY loud in there! 

We unloaded the trailer and truck and barely got some of the yarn put back on the shelves. This is where it stay cuz I'm going backpacking in the Blue Ridge mountains. It's hard to leave this mess behind but I'll be refreshed and will tear into it when I get back. Thank you, thank you, thank you to all of you who made this festival a success. I heart my customers!

and on the way home, we saw this beautiful double rainbow.
An awesome end to an awesome weekend.

Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Gittin' er Done!

 Because I played a few days, I'm paying for it this week. It's not like I was lazy before I played, it's just there's so much that I want to get done. My biggest show of the year is this weekend, the Maryland Sheep & Wool Fest. Nearly 100,000 (yep, that's fer real!) fiber-holics swarm the Howard County Fairgrounds so I gotta be ready. I always say, "If you don't make it, you can't sell it!" So I've worked from sunrise to sunset in the studio, down in the basement, in the office and I literally run to each spot. I pass by my beautiful little annuals and perennials, veggies and bushes that need to be planted and it's all I can do to not get them in the ground. Focus, Dalis! Oh, and the grass is over my ankles. Gah! I keep telling myself that I can relax and sit down to mow (mowing is my reward for being on my legs all day), but then it rains. Anyhootie, I finished a few knitted thingies, although most of them are scarves since they're easy and they knit up fast. Above is the truly awesome Frilly Scarf that is really rather an ugly duckling yarn but magically transforms into a swan of a scarf. It's my new fave. Knit with my hand dyed Frilly yarn.

 Can't you just see yourself wearing this to a summer soiree?

 This is a scarf that I've resurrected from the past. It was wider before and I like it better now. It's knit with my hand dyed Salsa. The background is 'Pansy' and the ruffles are 'Sorta Solid Violet'.

 Another boa type scarf, made with a magic yarn. I just can't get enough of these yarns. Knit with Triana yarn.

 One more for the road... knit with Rizos. I carry it in 3 colorways.

And this one is just too sweet, cute, adorable, awwwwww! It's a cotton yarn so it's great for summer and I added these little crocheted flowers to make it even sweeter, cuter, adorabler.

 But I think I'm the happiest about my new yarn, 'Happiness'. I can't keep my hands off it. I take 4 different yarns and skein them together. I'm using my old manual one as Abi, my professional skeiner-person has my electric one. So it's an arduous task especially because two of the yarns are really cranky. They keep getting tangled and mangled and making me angry. But then I get the whole skein finished, put the label on it, match it up to one of my fused glass pendants, and I smile. My goal was to get 50 of the done and I'm pretty close.


Inside the label is the pattern for this shawl. Sneaky, huh?

My fence looks pretty much like this all day, except when it's raining. Which it was today, about 18 times. I'd hang out the yarn, then it'd sprinkle just a bit, so I'd run out there and hurridly gather up all the skeins and fiber. Then 5 minutes later, it would quit and the sun would come out. Back on the fence it'd go just to repeat all of the above 10 minutes later. In out, in out, in out. grrrr
But it finally dried and I got it all bundled up, ready to be sold to some spinner at the Sheep & Wool Fest. This is my new Blue Faced Leicester or BFL if you're a fiber geek.

How can my studio go from this..... THIS?! Yikes. Time to pack it up.
and I get to use my cool mccool trailer that I just had blinged up for the festival. I park my trailer right by tent so it'll be good advertising. Ain't it purrrrdy?! Tomorrow is running up and down the steps day, bringing up my 80 crates to pack with yarn, tables, and heaps more stuff. I just hope it'll all fit!