Friday, September 11, 2009

Finally Friday

Yesterday I finished up the last of the preemie 'Pumpkin Hats' that I have been knitting for my friend Michelene's attempt to get 50 hats done in time for Halloween. How adorable are they??

Next, I finished up my first pair of socks for the Mittens for Akkol project. " Mittens for Akkol" is an internet group that knits for an orphanage in Kazakhstan.. This was my first pair of sock knit from something other than fingering weight sock yarn. I used a pure merino DK and a strand of alpaca lace weight. This made for very cozy socks but they are much bulkier that what I am accustomed to knitting . It was a bit of a chore to get the sizing right and required some frogging but in the end I am very happy with how they turned out. Now to find a lovely Vermont postcard on which to write a short note to the recipient, package them up and send off to the distribution point.

On the house design front .... all is not well. Jack has known that he needed to get his Vermont license reinstated for months and apparently waited until August to reapply. Grrrrrrrr!!!! The state board meets very infrequently and they didn't approve his application at the last meeting because he hadn't provided them with definitive proof that he has no outstanding complaints against him. Syd has contacted two architects in N Bennington that were recommended to him by a friend. He is actually meeting with one of them this morning after he finished up with the appointment for Lily Rose at the vets.
We really do need to get this project underway NOW in order to be able to move into the garage apartment in June 2010.
We've heard nothing from Dale which indicates that his new excavator still hasn't been delivered. And that means that we are no nearer to having a driveway or septic system than we were three weeks ago. This will be a real exercise in patience and perserverance.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Tubs Rd

This just in!! Below is the "preliminary" site of the house and barns. There is still some debate as to whether there will be enough room at the top of the proposed driveway entrance to allow for my truck and horse trailer to make the 'corner'. It is more likely than not that I will have to use the lower entrance.

The other bit of information that I have gathered this morning. Comcast seems to believe that they will be able to provide us with cable connection for the TV and computer. We'll need to provide them with a house # as soon as we are assigned one and they will begin the process of bringing the lines up to our place.
The surveyors are at the property this morning to finish up gathering the last of the info needed to design a septic system.
Yesterday I spent a little time reading Jon Katz's most recent entries in his Bedlam Farm Journal. I learned that he has his farm up for sale and is looking to simplify his life to have more time for writing, photography, etc. His sheep and two donkey's have been re-homed. This feels a bit familiar. We too are feeling the desire to simplify
our lives for the purpose of having the ability to devote our energy to the things that are often pushed aside due to lack of time or money or both. I'm not sure that I'm willing to give up my horses just yet as they continue to provide me with much joy. Just the 'thought' that I may have a covered Round Pen area to work with the horses, no matter the weather brings a smile to my face.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Amen Farm on Tubs Rd

This is where we found ourselves at 11:00 this morning. This is the new site of Amen Farm!!
We met with our architect and our friend, neighbor and excavator operator to site the driveway, house, garage ,barn and machinery shed. The purpose of the test pits was to determine if there was any ledge extending into the meadow. The pic below shows Syd measuring an 8' hole and no ledge.

We will have two 'curb cuts' ...... one at the north end of the property that will be the access for the house and another further south to give access to the machinery shed and also make it possible for heavy equipment to access the area that will be our septic field. As soon as Dale gets the OK from the road boss he'll start the driveway construction.

This is the approximate location of the house.... looking southeast. The view from here is lovely!
To the east we see Mt Williams and Mt Fitch , to the south we see the back side of Quarry Hill( at least 80 acres on Quarry Hill is owned by the Nature Conservancy) and to the south west we see the Taconic Range. We are both very excited about this project and can't wait to start!!!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

new mown meadows

Finally, we are having a bit of sunshine. I couldn't resist including a picture of the Angel's Trumpet flourishing in one of my favorite pots on the deck. I have two others that are also doing well. I plan to try to overwinter them.

This break in the weather has allowed us to get some of the meadows mowed. In one of the pics you can catch a glimpse of the Kubota (orange) being put to the test in one of the most difficult to mow meadows. For years it was seriously over grazed and errosion has caused the rocks to remain while the soils washed down hill. In addition to the rocks there are a number of springs and streams to contend with. Next we'll tackle the Crosby Pasture to the south of the

house. The Bob o Links usually nest in the field and the first safe date for mowing it is July 15th.

By that date the young are safely fledged and able to fly.

Isn't the Buddleia glorious? I can't tell you how many time I've tried (unsuccessfully) to grow a Buddleia, first in Windsor, MA and then at our farm in Reading, Vermont. They would do beautifully during the summer but the following spring would find them dead as doornails.

Sunday, June 21, 2009


It's been a very long time since my last entry!! Spring has come and gone...... Poof !!! Today being the longest day of the year and the official start of summer. Let the Games begin. Because we stayed at home this spring I elected to try my hand at starting my own tomato seeds. I found a company in CA that specializes in heirloom tomato seeds and the rest is history.
Caspian Pink, Julia Child, Alaska, Crimean Rose to name a few. I'll be sure to announce my star tomato's and my flops. They all transplanted into the garden along with a handful of Epsom Salts ( gratis my father's tomato planting advice) and are growing pretty well considering the cool and wet weather.
Below is a pic of Cicero giving me a hand while weeding this afternoon.

Here we have a shot of the Green Bean TP's. They were errected today out of bamboo poles and baling twine. I have one more to construct ... tomorrow, when it isn't raining.

Here are the Sweet Peas.

And, here is a long view of the tomato plants. I am most optomistic that I'll have a bumper crop.
Knitting ------- I have picked up Tokyo which has been languishing in it's bag for well over two years. It is a fun knit and I'll be happy to have it on the 'finished' list.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Wishy Washy Wednesday

It is pretty cloudy here today but the temps are in the low 50°'s . As I sit here writing I see just outside my window and very beautiful male Red-bellied Woodpecker perched on the lilac. He is nearly close enough to touch!

I walked our property lines with Don Westall this morning in preparation for a walkabout with Mr Schmidt on the 29th at 5:00. We had a look at the Red-tail Hawk nest. I imagine that they are starting to repair the nest in anticipation of nesting this spring.

Ran out of yarn ....... Socks That Rock in the Spinel coloway. I had completed one and 1/2 socks !! I emailed Blue Moon and they couldn't have been more helpful. I took my sock and a half down to the Post Office and had them weighed ..... 3.5 oz rather that the 4.5 oz on the label.
They will send me yarn to finish my project !!!! Fabulous customer service!!!

No pictures today as blogger doesn't seem willing ????

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Oh fickle March

Yesterday it was raining and in the 50°'s and today it is sunny, blustery and very cold!!!
Last evening I managed to find enough silence to finish the gusset and get mid way up the heel.
The net result is resting on the windowsill. I started out knitting this sock in the large size but after a couple of inches i thought it looked very large. I measured it up against one of my earlier Seaweed socks and lo and behold...... it was much wider. I ripped it out and started again ..... this time a size medium.
On a horse related note , Mary Arena spent a couple of hours here yesterday helping Sonnet get ready to have her spring shots. Sonnet was her usual *STAR* self and was more than willing to cooperate. I spent a few minutes with her again this morning and she was terrific!!!
Jack was here earlier to trim all four horses. His first visit since his hip replacement. It was good to see him.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Knitting Tuesday

Tonight is Knit Night at the Pownal Library and I will be helping two members get a real start on their Tomten Jackets. One has cast on the requisite stitches and has worked the first ten rows and will be ready to learn how to do a 'short row'. A second is STILL in the swatching stage but I have hope!!! A third is still working on simple knit and purl stitches. Last week I explained how NOT to twist her stitches so we'll see how she made out.

Meanwhile here are a few photos of 'my' Tomten Jacket. Over the week I have finished up the second sleeve and perhaps tomorrow will start to
do the finishing work ..... still haven't found a proper zipper. I do love this construction! The

yarn is Ecological Wool from Cascade Yarns. I found it at Webs on one of my trips to the Pioneer Valley to visit Trader Joe's & Whole Foods. I love Ecological Wool!!! It is a dream to knit. I used some discontinued Berroco Smart Mohair in a fabulous 'tomato paste' red color.

Now that I look at the photos I'm considering trimming the opening with the 'red'. Perhaps I'll give it a try and see how I like it? Of course if the opening is red then I'll have to have a red zipper.
Perhaps it is fortituous that I didn't buy a brown zipper????

I've just started the gusset on my second pair of Wendy Johnson's Seaweed Socks and am using Socks That Rock in a lovely greenish blue ... almost a seaweed green..... from stash!!!

And, speaking of sock yarn! I have just scored three skeins of Cherry Tree Hill 'Nantucket Red'
merino sock yarn. What luck!!!

In a while I'll be heading over to Peru, MA to collect the dogs from the groomer. Today was their day at the spa and I know that they will be lovely and sweet smelling ..... for all of one day.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Can Spring be far behind?

Woke this morning to the sound of the Red-winged Blackbirds and Bluebirds. Such an encouraging sound in these gloomy times. The thermometer never dropped below freezing last night and is well above 40° as I write. The snow is vanishing and leaving behind the usual soggy ground. As you can see from the photos of the barnyard and meadows (snapped
this morning by me in my bare feet on the side lawn) there is a long way to go before the grass will beg to be cut.

The horses are still cleaning up most of the hay I throw in the feeder but it is pretty obvious that they are looking forward to the first green shoots. After doing a mental count of the number of bales left in the loft I too am hoping that the grass will come in sooner rather than later. I may well be buying 50 more bales just to give myself some peace of mind. I'm hoping that 'himself' will bring the tractor up either today or tomorrow to clean out the barnyard.

We've had a couple of coyotes hunting in the meadows over the last several mornings. I'll post pics later. They look very healthy due in good part to the plethora of moles, voles, mice and rabbits that this farm supports.

I've also been keeping a watch out for signs of a Bobcat crossing our meadow . So far no luck but will continue to watch.

As to knitting content. No pictures right now but I have finished two preemie hats to take to Michelene's Preemie Party at the end of March. She is trying to amass a good number of hats for the NICU at Albany Medical Center. The onlyrequirement is that we knit ONLY with washer/dryer proof yarn. I had forgotten how much I HATE nylon/acrylic yarns.

The Tomten Jacket is close to completion and is about as cute as a bug's ear. I'll be off to find a zipper for the front closure but not sure where to go. It's been years since I've bought a zipper for anything. I'll bet the last time was when the kids were small .... well over 30 years ago. Yikes!! Tempus Fugit !!

'Himself' just appeared to alert me to the flock of 40 to 50 turkeys that have just wandered through the yard.

Friday, February 27, 2009

44° and windy

The sky was red this morning and we shall take warning. The rain is due to commence after noon. Yesterday I asked Brady to come up this morning to clean out the barnyard in preparation for the monsoons. This is the absolute worst/best time of year here in southwestern Vermont. The days are getting longer and the bird song in the mornings portends of things to come.

I'm waiting for my seed order to be delivered and although it is a bit early to be starting tomato seeds I'm still very much in anticipatory mode. I've ordered a packet of Caspian Pink ..... an Heirloom Russian variety that we really enjoyed last summer..... and several others whose names I've forgotten.

On a knitting note, there has been significant progress on the EZ Tomten Jacket. Two of the women in the Pownal Library Knitting Group are swatching for the Tomten Jacket and I wanted to knit up the jacket as an example for them to follow. Granted, EZ's instructions are impeccable BUT these women are beginner knitters and reading a pattern is a new exercise for them. I've marked all of my increases and decreases for them to be better able to understand the shaping process. As of now, they have purchased the yarn for the project and are in the process of swatching to determine the appropriate needle size.

I am nearing the end of WJ's Six Pack sock#2 in Smooshy merino. It has been a fun knit and I do love that Smooshy. My only concern has been. Will I have enough yarn to finish sock #2 ? My current thought is 'just barely winnona'. By the end of today I'll know for certain. Perhaps THEN I'll feel inspired to get back to work on Fulmar??? It is such a beautiful pattern and I am really loving the fabric and color!! The yarn is Jan's Frangipanni gansey yarn in the Ocean Deep colourway. Ocean Deep is just that .... the color of the North Atlantic in winter.

The Red-bellied Woodpeckers have been at the feeders several times this morning. This year I am determinded to locate their nesting tree. Wish me luck!!

Pictures later.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

As promised, a little knitting content. Below is the progress on my Sixpack socks in Smooshy yarn ... Pansy colorway. The color isn't quite as light as it appears here. I love the yarn!!

Yesterday I drove over to the Pioneer Valley with a friend. We took Rte 2 (Mohawk Trail), the scenic route. As we passed through Charlemont we were both struck by the beauty of the dammed up ice on the Deerfield River. We made our way down Rte 91 and eventually over to Hadley where our first stop was Trader Joe's. I stocked up on nuts, dried fruit, brown rice, etc. We then headed over to Whole Foods to pick up some fresh produce and have lunch. What a wonderful supermarket !

Nexet we headed over to Webs to buy some yarn for Wendy to knit her grandson an EZ Tomten Jacket and for me to find a button for the wee baby kimono shown below. It is made from Noelle's Noodles fingering weight yarn , lovely and soft. However the colors aren't 'true'. In real life they are much softer. The perils of photography using a flash.

Here we have Brady and his brother over in the meadow where they have been trimming the old apple trees and are now burning the brush. I think that they are hoping that the trees will produce more fruit and therefore more feed for the resident deer population.

Today started out sunny but things have been heading downhill since late morning. Guess we are due for a few showers tonight and tomorrow.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

A February Thaw

It's been a bit of a gloomy afternoon as is evidenced by the pic taken this afternoon from the kitchen door.
I spent most of the day in the kitchen. We are having friend's for dinner tonight and I made Osso Bucco. Yum!!! Next I was faced with the 'dessert' challenge...... never my 'long suit'. Decided to try Julia Child's version of Apple Charlotte. I've had a tinned Charlotte mould for years!! This was a labor of love and it doesn't look all that pretty but I'll bet it'll tast pretty good covered with whipped cream!!!
'himself' took Cicero for a lovely long walk this afternoon and has just made a fire. Guess I'd better get a move on and finish up dinner preparations.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Finally Friday

Our resident Red-tails are enjoying the sun and the view just off the end of the barn. In the second photo one hawk is about to launch!!

And here we have a column of monks traveling through the snow to heaven knows where. I noticed them while I was out doing errands yesterday afternoon .... heads down, moving along with great purpose.

The ailing tractor is no longer occupying space in the garage and that is excellent news!! We can only hope that it will be returned in excellent running condition and SOON !!!

After I finish up here and throw out more hay for the horses I'll be heading over to Brattleboro to have lunch at the Riverside with my lovely friend Ann Firestone of Save Your Ass Long Ear Rescue in So Acworth NH.

Our local public radio station WAMC in Albany, NY has just accomplished what I consider an amazing feat. Their fund drive started on Monday morning with a goal of $800,000.00 Goal.

It is now Friday morning and they have raised $700,000.00 minus just a few dollars!!!

All for now as I seem to be running late.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Just an Ordinary Day

This is what it looks like 0°'s this morning! Brrrr

The bird feeders are empty which means that I will be heading out in a bit to replenish our supply of sunflower chips. This year we have been through well over 300 lbs of seed.... so far and it is only February.

One of the seals on our tractor 'let go' last week while 'himself' was doing diligence in the snow removal department. Since then it has been residing in our garage with buckets beneath it to catch the transmission oil/fluid??? And a couple of bags of cat litter on the floor to absorb that which missed the buckets! I am waiting for a friend to show up with his truck and trailer to winch it onto his trailer and drive it off to the tractor repair guy in Bennington. Thank fortune for good neighbors!!!

On the knitting front. I have just started the second SixPack sock using Smooshy sock yarn in the Pansy colorway. Pictures later.