Saturday, June 29, 2013

Hop To It!

Last Saturday we were lucky enough to be invited to Stillpoint Farm for their annual pig roast/blue grass/hop viewing party. And this year was the extra bonus addition of the super moon! My friends, Tom & Carol Ann are the owners of this lovely piece of property, Stillpoint Farm near New Market. They put in a few rows of hops a couple years ago and now they are opening their own brewery! Their hops are sought after by the local indie breweries, and the hops have done so well, that they've kept some for themselves and are now making two types of beer. Their tasting room is opening this weekend. They were the kick off for the Frederick Beer Fest last month.

We were wondering how they tend and pick the hops so high up, then discovered their awesome 'scaffolding' in one of the fields. Such a lovely truck. But I would not want to be the one on top of the platform while it's bouncing over the bumpy fields. 

Tom & Carol Ann also raise Leicester Longwool sheep, a rare breed from England, and a few horses. 

Michelle and Forrest were totally on board for the....
...hayride to hoppyness!

Chuck rounded us up, started the tractor and off we went.

Happy Hoppers!

Besides the roast pork and chicken and massive pot luck, there was down home blue grass played on the front porch. As the sun set, the super moon rose as a glorious huge orb over the pastures. We sat in the yard, enjoying the music, eating locally grown food and drinking beer from hops raised from plants we could see. Such a fine summer evening! 

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Longest Day of the Year

My favorite day of the year, June 21st. Most hours of daylight, least amount of darkness. I got up early (5:30) to enjoy every minute of light. It was a most beautiful day, with temps in the 80's and low humidity. I rode my bike to the mountain and back, visiting the Sugarloaf cows on the way.

I always enjoy the seasons of this pond at the courtyard at the base of Sugarloaf. Geese and their young are abundant right now. With all the rain we've had, everything is green, green, green.

The day lilies are out now on Harris Road.

When I started out, the morning mist was still shrouding the mountain.

But a bit later, it was all sun shiny.

Double bonus! The summer solstice and the full moon happened on the same day. A few of us were able to join in on our monthly full moon paddle. We put in at the Mouth of Monocacy which empties into the Potomac and head upstream for about a mile to an island.

Penny is ready to go.

This heron was watching both rivers with a keen eye for fish.

The moon came up early while we were paddling up. 

Finally made it to the entrance to our little beach area. My friends, Dick and John, had gone up the previous day with chainsaws and cleared out some of the logs, cutting stumps for stools. 

And there goes the sun for the day. This spot is so nice, to be able to see the moon and the sunset. We drank our wine, ate deviled eggs, pineapple and other goodies that we had brought.  A wonderful end to such a beautiful day.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Paint It Pretty

Yesterday was a painting type of day. I had to catch up on some orders, 
so painted a few skeins of yarn.

My friend, Anne, popped over just in time to have her hair painted. 

I was just about to throw away the bit of purple dye when she showed up and with her beautiful black hair, the purple and gold showed up nicely.

I'm finally getting around to painting some furniture for me. I've had these two little tables for decades and they were looking a bit dull.

So now they're just primped up a bit and I like them so much better.

They were in the upstairs hallway but I may just have to keep them 
downstairs a bit so I can admire them.

We've had these ugly beasts for 25 years. They've held up nicely, especially with 3 boys, but they are just plain Janes. I'm looking for new ones but they can't be wider than these at the base and I haven't found any I like yet. 

So they got a mini makeover. Will probably do something with the tops, but not sure what yet. But I like them this color better already.

While I was painting away, Anne was carding my Corriedale and silk together. 

My next show is July 20, the Fiber Farmer's Market in Vienna, Va. so we'll have plenty of these ready for the spinners.

If I don't spin them all up myself first! Yummy!

Monday, June 10, 2013

Just Biking Around

Was I ever happy to be able to bike with my girlfriends this past weekend. My stupid knee had been in its unbendable state for a month (well I could maybe bend it but you would have heard me screaming in pain!). It miraculously got better a couple days before the trip. I met 8 Cumberland girlfriends for a weekend of biking, drinking, eating, shopping in Shepherdstown, West Virginia. I brought both my mountain bike and road bike because I thought if I couldn't bike with the girls, I could hop on the CO Canal and do an
easy ride alone.
The view above is from Rumsey's Monument, an overlook in town, looking down on the Potomac River.

We lodged in style at the Bavarian Inn. Balconies overlooked the river in back.

Kate and Terry planned this trip, making reservations for the Inn and at various restaurants, planning the entire 125 mile route and making sure all the little details were attended to.  

Because it poured rain on Friday, we cancelled the 25 mile ride and instead went shopping in the stores downtown. One shop had a cute bike out front filled with flowers. 

We acted silly in front of this darling small house, a tiny replica of a stone house.

We took a walk down to the river...

saw pretty gardens...

and had good times eating at local restaurants.

And don't forget about the margaritas and wine! Shandy here is sampling the margarita for us. She went everywhere with us, having a fun time with the rest of us. She got as tipsy as we did.

But these girls have get up and go! Even though we ate, drank, and danced till midnight, they were up and ready to go to breakfast by 7:00, biking by about 8:30. No time for headaches!

The route was a century ride that was held 2 weeks ago, making a figure 8 with Shepherdstown in the middle. So our ride was 50 miles on Saturday, 50 on Sunday, both beginning and ending in Shepherdstown. It was mostly on rural backroads, passing farms, barns, and 1800's houses. 

Sue stopped to watch the family of cattle, Ma, Pa and the two younguns.

We took many breaks, which I was thankful for. This group of women is in awesome shape. Some did a triathlon a week ago and some are doing the Gran Fondo Masochistic Metric ride in Garrett County (a brutal 62 mile ride with 8000 feet elevation gain!) in a couple weeks. They have been training for months now and could ride like the wind. I, on the other hand, have ridden my bike about 5 times in the last few months with an elevation gain of about 50'. Not by choice though. But, I was able to ride with them for the first 30 miles on Saturday, which I was quite proud of. My quad on my 'stupid knee' leg has atrophied so I have no power in that leg. Yay for my right leg! 
At one point, Denise put her open hand on my back and 'pushed' me up the hill. We had our bikes side by side and I heard her whispering, "Come on Dalis! Come on Dalis!"
 I tell ya...these girls are supportive!

We tried to keep it under 35 mph!

We stopped at this old clothing mill in Westernport. Part of it is an antique store but I was enthralled by the rest of the building.

It was huge! It must have been such a thriving business in its day. It would make awesome condos or a great art center.

Passing through Westernport, we came upon this small town event, the soapbox derby races.

There were dozens of these cars that the boys and girls had built. They started at the top of the hill on main street and rode down about a block and a half to the bottom. A truck with a trailer would pick up the cars at the bottom and bring them back up. 

We talked to a few of the parents and everyone was having such a great time. Good to see that this still goes on.

I was lucky enough to have my friend, Judy, pick me up when I thought I had had enough. Really, I could have ridden all day, but my knee would have been very mad at me and I really wanted to ride on Sunday, so thought I should take it easy. Judy lives about a half hour away from where I ended, so she hopped in her SUV and rescued me. We went to her house for a couple hours where she fed me crab bisque soup and we sat out in her yard catching up while listening to the birds sing. It was a beautiful day and I was just one big smile. We passed under this railroad bridge and I snapped a pic looking up through her sun roof.

On Sunday I rode about 9 miles out and Kate said her knee was hurting so we both turned back then. We got back to Shepherdstown and drove her car to catch up with the other girls for lunch. Perfect timing. I said goodbye to everyone, hugs all around, and headed back home. I was content and happy, thanking my lucky stars that I have friendships like this and the time to spend with girlfriends and doing the thing I love best, biking. I was even happier when I spotted a yard sale and scored 3 fine chairs and an end table. A nice touch on a wonderful weekend.