For this, to begin, that Typepad remembers who I am, and that I didn't need to scrounge around for the password to let me into the long-neglected blog, to catch up .
That my cellphone still has year-old numbers stored in it - and that even with bad directions (the GPS, alas, spent Rhinebeck weekend traveling to soccer games in southern New Hampshire) I arrived at the festival just before they locked the gates on Saturday, and found friends.
That I finished my minimalist cardigan - this year's Rhinebeck project - in my hotel room Sunday morning. Never mind that it was too cold to wear it - the sweater meant for last year's festival stood in just fine.
That the same cold snap that weekend reached Hanover, too, and I came home to find the tomatoes and basil wiped out by frost. Stay with me here - I've always found it hard to decide when to stop running out with sheets to over the tender things as fall moves on and the nights get cold. Autumn was long and glorious this year (at least that's the way I'm remembering it, now that we're firmly settled in cold but no-real-snow-yet early winter) and it was pleasant to have the matter of declaring an end to the summer garden taken out of my hands.
That 400 tulips, 100 daffodils and another 200 or so crocus and snowdrops are safely in the ground, waiting for spring. I've got 5 months to plot how to keep the deer from the tulips...
That Eleven's soccer season lasted into post season play as far as the state finals - which made for a lot of knitting time. (For Thirteen, too.) And for the hockey knitting - thanks, Nine.
... and I would drive 500 more ... and throw in another 500 or so just to make sure we make it home.
We made our annual pilgrimage to the Outer Banks of North Carolina early in August this year, with stops in Washington DC and in Charlottesville (way too briefly) on the way. It already seems like ages ago.
Today's pressing domestic duties:
Removing a of patch first-day-of-school slug slime from the back of Eight's shirt. Apparently a very large (and evidently very gooey) slug snuck up on him during the class trip to the pond they'll be studying all fall. Word has it Eight's teacher peeled the slug off and tossed it into the tall grass once they'd all had a good look. Needless to day, he's crazy about his teacher already. (Seriously, the goo is NOT washing out - it's still as sticky and shiny as it was 2 loads and a good soak later. Is there a biologist in the house? What is this stuff?)
Figuring out what to feed Eleven, 2 days into the Wonderland that's orthodontia. This may or may not include small jars of exactly what I was feeding her roughly a decade ago. Already tiring of pudding, yogurt, soup. Thirteen is up next: 2 teeth on their way out next week. Must find blender.
Planting (at least temporarily) the boxes of plants (mostly daylilies and iris) I dug up from the garden in Charlottesville, which have been languishing for 10 days now, poor things. As if the ride up interstate 95 in the back of a U Haul truck wasn't stressful enough. (We've moved the backyard playset north. Note to self: phone mulch guys. And, um, find out name of local mulch guys.)
Filling in the rest of the first stack of forms that came home from school yesterday. The good news: have finally memorized the phone number of the doctor's office. And even better: you know the lines where you have to fill in the names of friends or neighbors who will bail out your children when you're late for pick up? Got 'em, cell phone numbers and all. One more sign that this place is feeling like home.
You know why? No frenzy. No too-muchness. Just enough.
(That's Eight running right down the middle.)
There was gorgeous roving, lots of tools and books, inspirational F.O.'s (including Icarus and Forest Canopy shawls on display at Spirit Trail - irony of ironies, Spirit Trail is from just up the road from our old home in Virginia), impromptu spinning lessons and of course, fiber-y creatures:
There was beautiful yarn, although somehow I managed not to come home with any, let alone photograph it; too busy visiting the rabbits and persuading the children that adding one to a household with two cats and a dog already in residence was Not a Good Idea. The only knitting purchase was a copy of the Paton's Street Smart booklet - yeah! And I ran into Norma just as we were leaving.
Not pretending that it's paradise - there was a cashbox stolen, recovered with the money gone and checks and credit cards left behind. New Hampshire Sheep and Wool is a very ordinary place: kids were playing in the dust of the barn aisle while the 4H sheep quiz bowl was going on a few feet over. But it's ordinary in a way where daily life includes animals, and hard work, and making beautiful things. Not everywhere is like that - being part of it made for a very good day.
The crew was off school last week, and just like last year, we made an expedition into Vermont.
The falls over the dam at Quechee are stunning right now, pure energy, loud and a bit frightening, really.
That's a long winter's worth of snow on its way out.
See: snow's gone.
What else? Gardening, or more precisely, the necessary prelude to it - the big clean-up. Grit swept off the drive, sticks off the lawn, the last of the leaves raked and bundled into the woods. Got a bit of a lecture from the therapist who's looking after my wrist, for overdoing it with the rake. (Fair to note that he was sporting blister-covering band-aids himself? Pot, kettle, black? On the other hand, he's not the one with the broken arm on the mend.)
Thirteen's birthday wrapped up the long run of cakes and candles (four family birthdays since February) with moment of drama: tall candles, long hair, and a too-close encounter while making a wish. (No damage done, thankfully. The fire went right out.)
Daffodils are opening while a few crocus still linger. It's spring all at once.
This is supposed to be "Itzim," a cyclamen-type with an orange center. The petals are starting to get swoopy as they should, but the trumpets haven't colored up noticeably yet. Have to wait and see. "Jack Snipe" is due next.
What's missing? A knitting project. I logged a few rounds at most on the blue stripy sock - but the search for a good spring project is on: paging through books and magazines, poking around in the (small) stash, pouring over Ravelry. (Suggestions welcome!)
A photo of Ravelry Bob (a raffle prize from the Ravelry party Saturday night), and a signed bookplate-substitute for my copy of Mason Dixon Knitting.
Another treat from Sunday's author event:
Clara Parkes's The Knitter's Book of Yarn is, in a word, genius. This won't surprise you a bit if you're already familiar with her Knitter's Review, the yarn reviews in particular. The initial parts of the book offer a thorough study of fibers and the yarns they become. What I hadn't been expecting, though, were the forty patterns that complement the wealth of her technical expertise. They're grouped by the yarn's ply, from singles on up. Clara writes about turning her readers into "yarn whisperers"; she knows her yarn, and wants us to speak "yarn" fluently, too.
But speaking of yarn:
From Persimmon Tree Farm, Greta Dise's "Pot Luck," 55% mohair/45% wool (the grays are actually greens, from olive to forest). A sweater's worth, I hope ...
Fingering weight brushed Suri alpaca by Frog Tree; handpainted superwash merino by Tina Bouton of Pinewoods Farm. What will they become? No idea.
The view on my way home along the Taconic Parkway in New York.
The Persimmon Tree Farm again, up close: the colors of Rhinebeck 2007.
Coming up next: the sweater (gasp!) that went to Rhinebeck....
Rhinebeck tip #1: Remember where you parked your car.
Maybe even draw a map. Or program a GPS thingy. Or leave a trail of bread crumbs. Because you will be distracted by:
(OK, the dogs weren't there for their fur. But take a close look at those blue eyes...)
full of yarn.
That's all just background, though, for the knitters, and the knitting -- knitbloggers and Ravelers, projects you recognize from the pages of Rowan and Interweave Knits and dozens of pattern books, all come to life and standing in line for fried artichokes.
(The MDK mitered square blanket skipped lunch in order to keep the book signing table cozy.)
And speaking of book signings, I finally (after two near misses on her earlier trips to New England) got to catch up with Stephanie Pearl McPhee.
Didn't stay for her talk, though -- not enough chairs.
Coming up next: Rhinebeck souvenirs - including books, and Ravelry Bob....
Ann, my friend, I think you took THAT PICTURE right after you lured us all here:
I have pictures of you in really big 1980's glasses and I'm not afraid to use them...
We all wore gloves on the way to school this morning - it's that much of a fall day. And the photo situation is a bit more sorted out. How about an extra dose of summer?
Sunrise at Duck, North Carolina.
My beach book - not in the usual sense of taken to the sand (that's a job for a magazine, I'd say) - but my souvenir from a fantastic independent bookseller in Duck. Lloyd Jones's Mr Pip and Ian McEwan's On Chesil Beach are the only two of the Booker Prize short list I've read. Jones and McEwan seem to be the bookies' favorites (that's the bet-takers', not necessarily the bookish folks'). Anyone who's read these, or any others from the shortlist, care to weigh in?
And souvenir yarn, too. (I didn't mean to drop it in the pool. All that lifeguarding back in high school came in handy.)
I sure do. Thirty years ago today I was a semi-sullen teenager untimely ripped from my pursuit of a suntan. Two weeks rolling through the misty mountains of Tennessee - in a Dodge Dart, no less, with father, mother and not quite teenaged sister - was not where I wanted to be. And then, suddenly, there was nothingbutElvis on the AM radio.
I'm headed south for a bit again. Just checked out 37 hours worth of books on CD from the library. Because you never know.
At least that's what it looks like on the calendar over there. So, another weekend update, this time Dateline: The Quechee Balloon Festival.
First glance, this was a run of the mill craft and fried food fair (not my favorite), until suddenly, around 7:00 Saturday evening, the wind shifted, the weather turned, and the waiting was over. The balloonists' trucks and vans started pulling on to the Quechee green; baskets unloaded, balloons unfurled, burners lit, and one after another, the balloons blossomed and rose up into the air - all while anyone who cared to was standing right there, right alongside the noise and heat and commotion - like being in the crowd when Dorothy took back off for Kansas with the Wizard of Oz.
(Now I don't know if it's quite right to claim a barn can blossom. We thought this one was Sponge Bob Square Pants when we first saw something yellow and definitely not round inflating among the other balloons.
It certainly flew with far more grace than Dorothy's farmhouse ever did.)
Domestic life continues when we're not off on our weekend excursions. Laundry day in, day out. Twelve is baking her way through the King Arthur Flour online cookbook; Ten transformed a stash of cardboard and duct tape into the Snapshot-O-Matic, a device to make Rube Goldberg proud; Seven's class skipped forward a few centuries, from Colonial Day to Beach Day. And thanks to a gorgeous paint job by D, the garage is the best looking room in the house at the moment (pictures to come). (The bikes are in the hall and dining room until the paint dries.)
We're on the brink of what feels like real summer starting: two more days, and school's out until the end of August. The publication schedule at work is about to slow down briefly, too, which means there's a window opening where I'll be home far more over the next few weeks than I have been since we arrived here, and I can't wait.