Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Fiber (the wooly kind) Fun

The second part of the weekend was Jana and I going to the Southern Adirondack Fiber Festival at the Washington County Fairgrounds:
For the non-yarnies (Paul's most recent knitterly adjective) out there, a fiber festival is an event with lots of vendors selling yarn, wool roving (to spin into yarn), accessories for knitting, weaving and spinning; demonstrations related to all these things as well as sheep shearing and sheep herding.

We saw lots of great stuff!

This beautiful roving at the Foster Sheep Farm booth:
I was tempted to get it because it's totally my color.  But.... other things tempted me.  More on that later.

There were these totally adorable angora baby bunnies and their mama:
Cashmere goats:
Their fur was soooooooo soft, just like cashmere.  This one has blue eyes, which I've never seen before.  He looked a little creepy if you ask me- made me think of the Michael Jackson Thriller video with those weird contacts they were wearing.

And I always love to go visit the border collies, waiting to do their sheep herding demonstrations:
This one was at-the-ready, staring at the sheep being sheared in the sheep shearing tent.

Ok, then there was this most unusual but totally genius apparatus
An exercise bike that has been converted into a spinning wheel!  Get your exercise while you spin wool into yarn ---- I need one of those.

So, here are the goodies I got:

A very fall-ish home accessory:
A needle felted pumpkin!  (which is right next to my favorite cranberry chutney candle --- did I already say how much I love it?)

Some very pretty roving from Into the Whirled, who has a whole array of beautiful roving and yarn:
Don't you just love those colors?????  Somehow, I have to figure out how to fit some spinning time into my schedule.....

And, the piece de resistance.... an infinity scarf kit:
You totally can't tell how great this is by this picture.  The sample in the booth was in these blue colors and it was terribly pretty.  Jana and I both got a kit (but she got some earthy colors in her kit) and then we convinced Lisa, who we saw there, to get one (she got the same colors Jana did).

This is the thing about having a knitting addiction:  I totally want to start that scarf kit.  BUT, I'm working on my Dahlia sweater and two samples for classes I'm teaching, plus my lunchtime socks (which I knit on during my lunch breaks),  plus I want to finish my Brigid Jacket which I started during the knit-a-long this summer (but abandoned at the seaming part, so I could start something else),  and start the Umaro blanket that has been waiting for me and I COULD GO ON AND ON!!!!

Here is my Dahlia progress, by the way:
Pretty, huh?

I just went back and re-read this post and realized how many times I used "totally".  I'm totally sorry about that.  (But I'm not taking them out because that's how it came out, so that's how you get it!)  I'll totally try to pro-actively not put so many totally's in there next time.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Sharon Springs Harvest Festival and Beekman 1802

Saturday was cloudy and drizzly, but that didn't stop Paul and me from going out to Sharon Springs to their yearly Harvest Festival.

The focus is on local local local which is one of the things that makes it so great.  There were many vendors all up and down Main Street selling every kind of ware.
Vegetables of course, but also, local craftspeople of all sorts:  soap, cutting boards, bread, pastries, knitted and crocheted items, wool for spinning, herbs.....

There were also many agencies there with displays including SUNY Cobelskill and their agriculture program:
(that adorable cow is only 5 days old!)

And a local animal rescue agency:
There were also lots of other events throughout the day including a Harvest Feast, a Pig Roast, and a dance!

The Fabulous Beekman Boys are a big part of organizing this event.  They own the 1802 Mercantile which has loads of wonderful Victorian inspired goods (and goodies!).  If you don't know, Brent Ridge and Josh Kilmer-Purcell are the Fabulous Beekman Boys and I just love them and everything they are doing.    I could go on and on about them and their show, but I'll try to keep it brief.

They had a reality show on Planet Green - and I hear that they are in negotiations to have the third season on another network!   Great fun, watching two Manhattanites make their way in the country.  They have a whole lotta goats and make wonderful products with the goats' milk.  In additon they have a large heirloom vegetable garden. In fact they had a book signing for their new cookbook: The Beekman 1802 Heirloom Cookbook: Heirloom fruits and vegetables, and more than 100 heritage recipes to inspire every generation  We couldn't stay until the book signing but I came home and pre-ordered one immediately!  (click back there if you would like to see/order one -- it comes out tomorrow)    Don't worry, I'll be taking a picture of the postman delivering my copy and posting it here.  That's how excited I am to get it.

Our very first stop was the 1802 Mercantile because we knew it would get crowded.  We talked to Brent on the way out:
I told him I was the one who knit the sweaters their baby goats were wearing in their last episode and he thanked me for doing so, asking if I was excited to see them.  Before I could even answer, Paul said,"YES."  (He was very patient as I showed him over and over the adorable baby goats in their adorable sweaters on that episode!)  Here they are:
So cute, right?????  Then Brent asked me to make him a sweater and I said I'd look into it..... 

Our purchases from the festival?....

Blaak Cheese (60% goats' milk, 40% cows' milk; 100% delicious!), the Blaak onion jam (with balsamic vinegar - yum) and Sea Salt Fudge Cookies with goats' milk (OMG, sweet, salty, crunchy, chocolately goodness) ..... all from the Beekman 1802 Mercantile.  Also, that beautiful cutting board made in Canojaharie.  And Mu Mu Mueseli from one of the vendors.  So yummy with yogurt.

From there we drove to Cooperstown

 to Sal's who makes our favorite pizza!....

That's pretty much the only reason we go to Cooperstown.  Ok, that and the very pretty views.

It was a wonderful day and a beautiful drive... AND I was able to work on and finish my Baby Surprise Jacket in the car...

So, remember I told you it was knit all in one piece?
Then you fold it up and voila!:
An adorable baby sweater.  I left the sweater at the shop with these buttons and a bribe for Joan ($5) asking her to sew them on for me!

Stay tuned for my Sunday adventure with Jana to the Southern Adirondack Fiber Festival....

Friday, September 23, 2011

A recipe: Mmmmmmm..... Apple Crisp

There is nothing better on a fall day than apple crisp.  I'm starting to write this post as it's baking and the house is filled with yummy cinnamon-y, brown-sugar-y, apple-y goodness.

My go-to recipe for apple crisp, among other things, is in  The New Good Housekeeping Cookbook (click there or here:The Good Housekeeping Cookbook: 1,275 Recipes from America's Favorite Test Kitchen (Good Housekeeping Cookbooks)Cooking, Food & Wine Books).
My mom gave me this book in 1993 when I moved into my very first apartment.   I use it all the time, not only for apple crisp but for meatloaf (but I add more ketchup), banana bread (I add more bananas), macaroni and cheese, lemon baked chicken, lasagna, popovers (when I don't use the mix from Jordan Pond House).  It's got everything in it.  Love.  It.

See?  Here are all my pages turned down to mark my favorites:

I used yummy Honey Crisp apples, which I raved about in another post .  I have since found out, by the way, that this year the Honey Crisp apples are not as much in short supply and should be available throughout the season.  Yay!
While peeling one of the apples, I was able to get one, long peel without it breaking!:

Silly thing to be excited about.  Like I didn't have a whole bunch of other things to do than try to peel an apple without breaking the skin.  But still.... kinda cool.  I also love my apple peeler. (This is it:  OXO Good Grips Swivel PeelerPeelers)  I've had it for many years and it still peels!


I gave some to the chimney guys to take home. They are STILL here.  Working in the rain.

Here is the recipe (slightly adapted from The New Good Housekeeping Cookbook).:
Apple Crisp
8-ish to 10-ish cooking apples ( I just cut up enough to fill the dish almost to the top)
3/4c packed brown sugar
3/4c flour
1/2c old fashioned oats (I like these,but you can use quick-cooking)
1teaspoon cinnamon
1 stick butter, softened

Peel, core and slice apples.  Place them in a 9" X 13" baking pan that has been greased.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

In medium bowl, mix brown sugar, flour, oats, cinnamon and butter until it resembles coarse crumbs (lumps of butter is ok --- mmmmmmm).  Sprinkle evenly over apples.  Bake 45 minutes or until apples are tender.  Serve warm. Or refrigerate and serve cold/warm later.  Or warm it up and serve it with ice cream.  Or warm it up and drizzle with some caramel.  Or warm it up and pour a little cream over it.

Thursday, September 22, 2011


This may not be your kind of "FINALLY!" but it's certainly mine:
It took 8 YEARS for Mandy and Phoebe to lay this close to each other.  AND on the same pillow.  Grant it, I made Mandy "go lay down"  (which means, go lay on your pillow) when she was in trouble for barking at the chimney guys.  But, normally she would go over to her pillow, see Phoebe laying there, look all uncertain, and then go lay down a couple of feet away.  This time she just went and plopped right down like she normally might, just not right in the middle (probably because she was mad that she couldn't keep barking at the chimney guys).  And Phoebe didn't get up and run away!  Aren't they so cute????

Backstory:  Phoebe is 14 years old and I got her as a kitten.  Mandy came into the picture at age 3, when Phoebe was 6.  Phoebe lived upstairs for almost a whole year after Mandy came, only coming downstairs in the middle of the night or when Mandy was in her crate.  I always wanted them to be buddies and see Phoebe curled up with Mandy.  Ha!  She has only slowly come to "accept" Mandy and will even walk under her legs and let Mandy sniff her, but only a little.  This was big progress!

And speaking of the chimney, here is a progress pic:
I'm told they will be done by the end of tomorrow (Friday)....two whole days behind.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011


We are having our chimney re-done.  Every year, a few more bricks would break off and we finally decided we needed to address the issue.  We didn't realize we'd have to practically sell all of our possessions and take a second and third mortgage out on the house to pay for it.  Ok, so I exaggerate.  But just a little.  Of course, if we waited, it would be 10 times more expensive because terrible things would happen to the chimney liner and the whole rest of the house (again, slightly exaggerating).

Today is day two of trying to take off that big cement piece at the top.  It's taking MUCH longer than they anticipated.  I think that guy was in that same position all day yesterday and today.  Ugh.  They now have 4 guys working on it.

On the inside of the house is the crap craft room re-do.
This is only a portion (maybe a fifth) of what I took out of the room.  I was debating whether to show you the "before" of the room itself, but here it is.....
And that is AFTER I took a bunch of stuff out of it and set up those wire cubes.  I wouldn't dare show you what it really looked like "before".  It was awful.  A few years of neglect when one is busy running a yarn shop and oh-my-gosh.  This is actually in-progress.  It still looks like this.  You'll have to wait a little while for the "after".  Especially if I decide to learn/practice installing wood floors in here!  Yay!  Wouldn't that be fun?  You'll definitely get to see that process.

Mandy and I took our usual walk around the yard today, sniffing for interesting things to take pictures of.  We scared the HUGE frog by the pond before we could get a picture so we were left with the pictures of the chimney guys and this sign of fall:

It's cloudy out and a little chilly so..... we came inside, had some tea and lit my most very favorite candle ever:

Yankee Candle's Cranberry Chutney
Click here if you'd like to get one!: Cranberry Chutney - 22 Oz Large Jar Yankee CandleScented Candles)

LOVE. IT.  It's so fall-ish and home-y.  Makes me want to go do some knitting!
I'm working on the Baby Surprise Jacket:
(phoebe just can't resist)
This is a pattern from the late 1960's by Elizabeth Zimmerman who was a famous knitter, known for her outlook that knitting should not bring one to tears.  So she set out to write some books and patterns that would help people learn easy ways to make knitting intuitive.  By the way, the "surprise" is that you don't really know what parts of this one- piece sweater you are knitting, but at the end you just fold it up, sew two short seams and voila, a sweater. You'll see.  It will be done soon.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

A new (little) job!

I was at my favorite orchard, Indian Ladder Farms, the other day, buying my most favorite apples ever, the Honey Crsip (sooooooooo good.  I highly recommend them.  But get them quick because they are only out for a short time.):

 .....and I thought, "Hmmmm, I should see if they need cashier help since this is their busy time."  AND THEY DID!  The assistant manager, Laurie, asked if I was looking for a during the week or weekend position, and I thought, "Uh-oh.  They probably want people on the weekend because that is their busy time."  I said, "During the week."  (I'm pretty much done working weekends after the past 3 1/2 years)  Her eyes it up and said, "What days?" and I said, "Mondays and Wednesdays?" and she said, "I need someone for Mondays and Wednesdays."  YAY!!!!

Last Wednesday was my first day.  Since this is first-day-of-school season I was feeling like I should take a first-day-of-work picture.  Paul had already left for work. Only Mandy and Phoebe were around and Phoebe, being a typical cat, didn't give a hoot.  Mandy, being neurotic, was nervous about the camera so this is what I ended up with:
    Whatever.  I'll plan better next time. Because there will be a next time.  This job is seasonal and only lasts until December.    So far I love it.  Who wouldn't love the smell of warm apple cider donuts?  Seriously, I don't think I'll get tired of it.   I must have handed out 56 dozen (yes, dozen -- maybe more) donuts that day.  They are that good.  I just have to try not to eat them all.

Meanwhile, I was on a mission to make Paul a home-made Pilgrim sandwich and came up with this:
Almost as good, but not the same bread.  Gotta have some sort of Italian-y, sub-like or ciabatta-y thing, I think.

Today, I was doing this:
Making t-shirts for Deirdre and her Spinning Room crew to wear at the NYS Sheep and Wool Festival in Rhinebeck on October 15 & 16.  Deirdre will be having a great booth there, so if you go, look for those shirts and stop in and say hello!

Oh, and get this.... Paul and I were taking a drive through Berne yesterday and saw this:
How confusing is that????
We saw this going up a very, very long, windy and steep road, to the top of a little mountain.  At the top is a totally gorgeous view which I was so awestruck by, I forgot to take a picture.  I did think to take a picture of this sign on the way back down the hill, though.  Made us stop right in the middle of the windy road - hardly anyone lives up there so I wasn't too worried about other cars coming. Priorities, right? [Coming down the hill, you only see one arrow!].

This weekend has been gorgeous, really feeling like fall.  Great knitting weather! Love. It.