Tuesday, April 22, 2008

A Mixed Bag

Under the heading, strange things seen while attending a funeral...

This public telephone sign is slowly being swallowed by the sycamore tree outside the tavern where we had the luncheon after my husband's uncle's funeral. (How's that for a run on sentence, like something you shouldn't do with grammar.) Weird huh? I thought so too.

Now instead of a sign saying "Public Phone", it says..." ic one". We were told people have been trying to buy the sign out of the tree but the tavern owner will not sell. I think he should sell tickets for viewing this anomaly of nature.

Here, finally, is the baby ensemble for your approval. My husband continues to say it looks like a clown outfit and I shouldn't give it to the intended newborn. I am still not sure. I think the accessories tone it down a bit, and it is for a baby who will probably only wear it once, if that often.

What's your judgment now, still too clown-like, cute, or throw it away and start again?

Just for the girls... a little front garden action. I will take some more pictures of the tulips tomorrow. They look really good this year. It has been a lovely spring in every sense of the word. Beautiful sunny days followed by wonderful cool nights. The flowers are just loving this as are the gardeners. The tulips look fantastic. And the forget-me-knots are starting to bloom, so pretty with the tulips.

A boy and his King Kong. He is very territorial about his Kong and will only share with someone who he knows will fill it back up with treats , that someone is me. Thus is true love earned.

It was a perfect day on Sunday and great friends came to help finish the mulching of the blueberry bushes. After the hard work was done Sasha tried out her fly fishing skills in our pond. She has been taking fly fishing lessons and tying flies lessons most of the late winter. Being a girl after my own heart, she showed up the boys and caught the first bluegill. However, also being a girl she didn't want any part of taking it off her line. That is what men are for right?

Isn't she the cutest angler, evah ?

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Just a Little Off the Top Please

Another rite of spring around Touchstone Farm is the shearing of the sheep. Since we only have 1 old ewe any more it took about 20 minutes. Quite a change from the old days when it took most of a morning and there were little lambs everywhere bleating for their mommas. Here is our hairy, Hayleigh girl before her yearly do.

Not her best angle. She has had too many lambs to have any false modesty.

Almost done... Little pedicure action and Bob's your uncle (I may be listening to too many podcasts from the UK)...

One bare sheep.

It was 25 degrees this morning when the poor old girl got her haircut so I'm not sure she was as grateful as some years when it is 70 degrees and she can't wait to feel the air on her skin again.

On the knitting front I am plugging away on a tiny little cardigan for my friend's first grand-daughter. I thought it would be sooo cute in big stripes of hot pink and orange. And it was until I wound the second ball of Cotton Classic and realized it was a completely different dye lot, maybe even a different hot pink than I had used for the body. I have mountains of Cotton Classic which I often use for my kid designs. I was not about to buy more.

So I have come up with what I hope is an acceptable solution. Which I also hope to tie together with the matching hat and booties or socks. I should be done in a few days so will let you all in on it and you can give me your thoughts. I think it will work,but then I love bright colors on little ones, and the brighter the colors the better if the little ones are really little.

How does it strike you so far? Is it too much even for a tiny little girl? I don't want her to look like a clown. I think I am OK and that it has more of a We Sing in Sillyville flavor to it. Of course, I am spending vast amounts of time with 5 and 6 year olds so my senses may be muddled.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Boo Berries

Welcome to our house

My fabo family purchased this beauty for me for Mother's Day and I wanted to share how pretty it is with daffs blooming at it's feet. DH worked very hard to install this, our farm isn't called Touchstone for nothing, much shoveling and digging and rock moving. I can't wait for the New Dawn roses I ordered to arrive so I can plant them to grow up and over. DH, however, doesn't want me to "whore" it up with plants. He thinks morning glories would be just fine. Silly man, doesn't understand a thing about vertical elements in the landscape. Keep tuned we'll see who wins this one. I have to admit, it is really beautiful even without the rose.

Th blueberry fields... Last year we purchased the adjoining field to our farm. Included in the sale were 450 blueberry bushes. We were thrilled as we love blueberries and it seemed like a fun operation.

This spring, DH, who is very conscientious, began the arduous task of pruning 450 blueberry bushes. He did a wonderful job and everything looks so clean and orderly. The bushes also need to be mulched with sawdust to reduce the backbreaking job of keeping the weeds and grass from competing with the blueberry bushes for nutrients.
So we had this delivered.

A small mountain of sawdust. (Duncan is in this shot purely for scale, not because he is the cutest Labrador alive.)

DH and I spent all afternoon spreading sawdust under the bushes and ended up with this...

That is one row, folks. So guess what we are doing this afternoon.The fun never ends at Touchstone Farm, aka Embraceable Ewe.

Cleaning house looks like a walk in the park compared to this. Wonder how many points I earned on Weight Watchers.

Girls, this one is for you, the view over the boo berry patch, sorry the horizon faded so much. I took this pretty early this morning.

Thought you might like some pictures of the only Embraceable Ewe left on the farm. We reduced our flock to one old ewe. Hayleigh is a sweetie like her mom. She is now about 8 and can't have anymore lambs. Last year when our own baby, DD#2 (Boo Bear), aged out of 4-H, DH asked me to sell the flock. I sold everyone but Hayleigh. No one would take her and she adds a certain wooliness that a knitter should have available at all times. Nice to see a sweater on the hoof, don't you think?

Anyway here she is, "her Hayleighness".

How proud am I ...
This is DD#1(Sweet Pea)'s first sock, purdy ain't it? She came up with the design all by herself with a little help from Priscilla Gibson-Roberts. The yarn is from Candace Eisner Strick's line of beautiful lightweight wools. Sweet Pea knows where I keep the "good stuff" and headed right there. Since it was for school she knew I would not refuse her. Smart girl, our Sweet Pea. She was knitting it for a design competition in the Architecture school. Unfortunately, she ran out of time and space. Never fear, she has other knitting in the exhibit and I should have pictures of the show for next week.

Thought you might like to see an oldie but a goodie

I made this sweater about 8 years ago and wear it all the time. Actually, I am wearing it out. If you look closely one of the clasps broke right off and the hem of the neck needs to be resown. I wear it often and receive tons of compliments.

Pattern:My Own
Yarn: Tahki Cotton Classic.

And before you ask, I did steek it and cut it even though it is cotton. Love Fair Isle in cotton and I have been cutting away at them for years. Just be sure to reinforce with very small machine stitching before you cut.

Update on Caty's Vest

I have been working a little at night, trying to make up for what happened earlier. I think it will be better this time around. I have some ideas which I like more than the original iteration. Difficult to work on at night because the colors all seem to blend together and I am too busy during the day (see above) to work on it. (Don't worry, Sweet Pea it will be finished before next fall.)

But this is what happens when I can't do one project during the day, obviously I have become ADD or maybe ADHD with my knitting. I have started 6 new projects in the last 2 weeks. Focus girl, focus. I think I am coming to believe I am a process knitter and don't seem to care if anything ever is finished.

I'll let you know how this all turns out.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Spring has Sprung

Double Daffs, don't they just make you want to smile...

Hellebores, one of my favorite flowers of spring . It begins blooming for me in February and is gorgeous into May. The flowers are downward facing so you have to slow down to enjoy the bloom. Always lifts my spirit that Spring is really here.

We have had the perfect Spring here in western PA. It has been cold but not bitterly so. The fruit trees and shrubs have been able to set their buds without fear of too warm days followed by freezing temperatures. Last year we had 80 degree days in March followed by the 20's in April. Ruined much of our apple crop and lots of ornamental shrub blossoms. Looks like it will be a real Spring. The fruit trees and lilacs are ready to burst.

And there has been knitting....

Pattern: Merino Lace Socks by Anne Woodbury from Interweave Knits Favorite Socks book.

Yarn: Sundara Sock Yarn, charcoal over evergreen, (I think, sorry Sundara, didn't think I would ever forget this color, I love it so.)part of the Seasons Yarn Collection from Sundara Yarns

The color is very washed out on this picture, the others are more representative of the wonder that Sundara does so well.

I was bursting at the seams this weekend because Anne from Knitspot mentioned me on her blog. Unfortunately, I don't think I fully conveyed how much I respect and revere what she does. Her designs are extraordinary and make me weak at the knees. So much talent, I am humbled that she noticed me.

I spend every Monday afternoon tutoring a group of kindergarten students at our local elementary school . They are absolutely the cutest and most endearing bunch of 5 and 6 year olds. I challenge anyone to work with these kids and come away in a bad mood. You get a weeks worth of hugs and adoration. I should be paying them, it's better than therapy.

Hope you all get a weeks worth of hugs.