Tuesday, August 31, 2010


The vegetable garden is winding down.  There are eggplants to harvest and leeks and tomatillos.  
The pumpkins are fleshing out while the Mexican sunflowers raise the bar -
I brought in a bowl of fresh goodness and inhaled deeply.  I know that the season is coming to an end, and I'm not ready to say goodbye.  How could autumn be in the cards when I'm STILL picking -
And I won't subject you to yet ANOTHER image of cherry tomatoes!  Do you want to see what is happening in the brussel sprout patch?  Even if your palate is not enamored - you have to admit that there is a structural beauty to this particular vegetable's growth pattern.  
I promised myself that I would begin putting the gardens to bed this week.  Two things occurred - (1) the return of the 90 degree weather, and (2) the septic system went postal.  No water, no toliet, no happiness!  When I woke this morning Scott was already digging a hole and the plumber was in the driveway.  No pictures were allowed, but I can tell you that there was very little good cheer.  We put a new system in less than three years ago, so this 'setback' was not expected.  

On the fiber front, I finished sewing buttons on my featherweight linen top.  One might suggest that this choice was erroneous - not so, it was intentional.  I love the look of the iridescent green shell, it reminds me of dragonflies darting across a pond.
Sewing should be fun and I want my garments to reflect my sensibility instead of the endless theme seen throughout the Mall storefronts.  I'll never be considered a fashionista, and that's ok with me.  (I will confess to a love affair with ANYTHING Eileen Fisher - her clothing is timeless, but, unfortunately, not within my budget!)  I've made a white linen tank to wear under this shirt and a natural linen gored skirt.  NEED. NEW. CLOTHES.

The hydrangeas are turning rosy which always tells me that autumn is advancing.  The crickets are chirping mid morning now and I hold onto each day like a precious jewel, tightly, reluctantly releasing at dusk.  

Saturday, August 28, 2010


I tried to part with this old beauty, but no one wanted it.  It is faded and lacks luster and there may be a tiny bit of fraying going on around the edges.  It's probably nearly a century old, judging by the fabrics.  Or not.  Perhaps it was well-loved and reached for to the point of exhaustion.
It's creator was meticulous and purposeful in the placement of the blocks.  She/he also had a sense of playfulness and daring - do you see that green triangle?  
It floats alone in a sea of brown, blue and beige and rust.  It gives pause -  causing one to ruminate on the possibilities of one green triangle.  I like old things very much, especially fiber antiquity.  Whatever possessed me to want to send it away in the first place has passed.  I've come to revisit its beauty and charm and that one green triangle may hold a lesson that I need to learn.  

On a lighter note - what in the HELL is up with my carrots?
This one seems poised and ready to go skipping down the street!  Each one that I have dug has presented with multiple limbs!  Andrew seems to think that they were left in the soil too long.  Scott wondered about the rockiness of the bed.  I always remember my father leaving his carrots in until the first frost - proclaiming that this made them sweeter.
And they are gigantic - bigger than my hand!  The "black carrots" are, thankfully, normal -
I am just returning from a small hiatus and will have some fun to share, I promise, soon.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010


Don't make the mistake of assuming that all is well in the pumpkin patch.  If left to their own devices, my flirtatious climbers will be up to no good - and it happens, as we say, 'in a New York minute'.  That's speedy.
This vine has deposited a pumpkin in the middle of the korean boxwood.  And now, it is on its way across the lawn, seeking out - what IS it seeking?  The company of other pumpkins?  
If I left it alone and convinced Scott to mow around it, do you suppose that it would find its way out to the vegetable garden?  There's an awful lot of sexy stuff going on out there, what - with the birds and the bees and the co-mingling vines.  Take a look at these brussell sprouts - there's nothing remotely sprout-y about them now!
oops - these are cauliflowers plants, sprouts in the background.  Abundant!  We've been getting some good rain, steady and generous.  Everything seems refreshed, except for this huge sunflower who cannot raise its heavy head.
You can see that the garden birds are enjoying the spoils.  I have been knitting!  It feels to me as if this will be a grey and pink season.  I am tired of my signature browns and earth tones.
I've rediscovered Carol Sunday - she is one of my favorite designers and I'd tucked this little gem away when the weather got sticky.  You really must go and see her site - beautifully classic designs with contemporary shaping and the yarn - ooohh-la-la!  And the presentation - just extraordinary!  
Merino and cashmere deliciousness. . . packaged in the nicest little sack!
Leaving you with a juicy hosta bloom - 

Friday, August 20, 2010


Since I missed my daily blogging because of MS-I'M-IN-CHARGE-OF-EVERYTHING-MOTHER-NATURE, I guess it makes good sense to give up the ghost and resume the spotty posting that I'm good at.  I actually liked and looked forward to the daily pages, but fair is fair.  And truthfully, I have to do that yard sale thing again this weekend.  Eeeeewwww.

 I wanted to show you something that I found the other day.  Backing up ever so slightly - when Hilary was a child she used to come up with the most astonishingly articulate and mature expressions.  This should not have come as any surprise since she started speaking at nine months and was forming sentences by 12 months and basically, never stopped conversing after that!  Anyway - when she was about 3 or 4, she woke up one morning to rainy conditions - grey skies and clouds.  She looked at me and said, "Mommy, it's a gloomy day", and that became a Hilarism, something she always mentioned whenever the rain appeared.  To this day, I cannot rise to a 'gloomy' morning without seeing that sweet child in my mind's eye.
Is this fabric wonderful, or what?  And equally fun - a coordinate of raindrops -
Love it.  GREAT shower curtain fabric!  As I send bundles of cotton out to the yard sale tables, I find some satisfaction in clearing the shelves.  I do.  Once bitten by the need to cast out any hoarding instincts, one finds a remarkable calm, a peacefulness.  And the new space?  OMG - soooo much fun to fill up again!  Only kiddin ... sorta.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

NABLOPOMO, Interrupted

  Mother Nature is a bipolar beeitch.  One moment sunny skies, a nano-second later, near-tornado conditions.  The front of our house isn't supposed to look like this.
One is supposed to be able to walk down that path to enter the side door.
The top of our lovely 150yr old+ maple is not supposed to be missing. . . and it certainly isn't supposed to be lying on our house!  Oh - and the back yard?  Not exempt - this WAS my molla patio furniture before Mother Nature threw her hissy fit.  What could She have against outdoor furniture that She'd want to impale it in such a fashion?
I'm tellin' ya - She's not to be trusted.  The barn across the street collapsed when She sent the old cherry tree crashing through it.
On Monday afternoon I had the dogs out when the skies went dark and the repeat sound of lightning came rolling in from the west.  I lived in Louisville, KY for some time where tornados are as common as summertime swimmer's ear, and I learned to discern a tornado from a bad storm by the color of the sky - murky and uriney-yellow.  By the cruel wind which stings your eyes with all manner of debris.  By the sound of the cracking, cracking and a roar like a train.  Whenever the sky goes yellow in NYS, I make tracks for shelter!  I stood inside, looking out to the north when the ear-shattering crack of the maple ripped through the sky and the windows which were grey from four-directional rain suddenly turned and filled with green leaves and split branches.  An enormous CLUMP!  And then silence.  Eerie.  And of course, no power.

Scott surveyed the damage to the house and then we hopped into the truck to check on our neighbors.  Lots of emergency vehicles were already on the scene - trees down, power lines and poles splintered.  We made our way to the river where we sat for awhile and watched the evening gather over the water, still and gun metal grey.  No TV, no cable, no computer, no AC at home.

But sometime during the night the power resumed - pure grace, as far as I'm concerned.  I had to wait until tonight for the TV, cable and internet to be restored and I MISSED you guys.  Did I hear muttering and the word 'slacker'?  It wasn't my fault.  There was knitting - I finished my Cascade 220 Mara - another coup.  Cascade is, for me, what muslin is for my sewing.  Try out a new pattern in Cascade - and if you love it, buy the cashmere!  Don't I wish that I had some cashmere ... You know, I'm still goo-goo eyeing that Blue Moon Fiber.  It's hard to be a libra - everything has to be weighed - groceries or yarn?  Pedicure or yarn?  Dog food or yarn?  ONLY KIDDIN'!!!
I really love this shawl.  I'm considering doing it ONE MORE TIME, which is a travesty of my knitting code.  (you know, never, never, EVER knit the same pattern twice)
Look at that yummy 2x2 rib, which I can now do with my eyes closed.  Garter stitch is satisfying ONCE you finish!  It's boring as hell when you're stranded in the middle of it.  I have some dreamy cream alpaca that I scored purchased at Rhinebeck last year, and I think that it might be divine in this tried-and-true pattern.  What do you think?  Does anyone have any ideas or suggestions for my dk weight alpaca?  I have a lot of it - at least 1400 yards.  I am not adverse to cables or lace patterns or pockets!  I saw a gorgeous Brooklyn Tweed shawl, but I cannot read the chart.  Seriously.  This is one of the reasons why Anne Hanson hung the moon, in my opinion.  She offers charts AND the long written-out-row-by-row version.  She saves me.

So, the cable guy cometh.  He strung new line and gave me some computer pointers and even played with Harley.  So, he's ok in my book.
SusanB and Jelli - don't get your panties in a bunch!  Now that I have computer again I can send out your parcels.  I'm planning on doing that tomorrow.  

Sunday, August 15, 2010


Missed you all.  Sorry about that, but thanks Susan, for checking me!  I had to go over to my mom's house and rifle through collect things for my yard sale.  That's right - a YARD SALE.  WHAT WAS I THINKING???  I was all into making it a pretty event with fresh flowers and produce and quilts and yarn, etc.   And things were going well.  It wasn't that I forgot about you all, it was more like there weren't enough hours in the day!  My son came over and hung out with me and that was special.  He'd just come off night shift and was wound, so he talked to my 'customers' and played with Harley and just entertained the hell out of his grateful mother.  ANY time that I get with him is precious.  And rare.
I'm warning you ahead of time - THIS will be one of those 2-kleenex posts.  It takes an enormous amount of effort to put together a yard sale.  I had NO idea.  (WHAT WAS I THINKING?)
Scott helped me put the tent up and bring out some tables before dashing off to meet his T time.  He even rolled a small refrigerator out to the tent and stocked it with water - just in case I got thirsty!  (right hand corner)  A good man - lest I forget to mention it!)
Do you see that snowblower?  FIRST item to go!  Andrew pulled out our ramps and loaded it into the customer's van, and everyone was happy, happy.
Can you see the glass horses?  I grew up seeing this pair on the mantle - they were always just THERE.  They aren't valuable, or at least I don't think in any significant way.  But people were pawing them and going nuts!  They were a wedding gift to my folks in 1947, and I just assumed that they were pressed glass, nothing more.  Anyway, as they left with their happy new owners, I felt a pang of SOMETHING.  I can't tell you what it was.  This feeling continued and intensified.
My dad's waders and a few of the many fly and regular poles.  People - HOTCAKES.  They literally FLEW out of the tent.  The lures - OMG.  And the reels?  Who knew?  The dreadful sensation in my stomach grew as his 'stuff' left in droves.  (nobody was interested in my dried home-grown gourds!)  I felt like a traitor - like a bad daughter.  How could I allow my father's precious fishing gear to go to absolute paying strangers?
The ice-fishing gear was no exception.  I thought that there might be a fist-fight for ownership.  I started thinking about my poor old dad - lying up there in that nursing home - so far away from his beloved streams and lakes.  I was beginning to fall apart.

I started leafing through some books.  I had not sold a single book - hard or paperback.  This amazed me, being the lover of books that I am.  (What the hell?  Don't my neighbors READ!)  Anyway, a small card dropped out from between the pages of an old volume.   And suddenly, all of the angst and sadness and confusion that I'd been experiencing slipped away.  I remembered a lesson learned and forgotten - a long, long time ago ... "There are no coincidences".  Here is the reason that I held a yard sale - known before I knew -
You were 7 years old when you wrote this to me.  I'd stuck it between the pages of a valued gardening book.  I love you too, more than you will ever know.  You are my heart.

Friday, August 13, 2010

DAY 12

We have a winner.  Harley got to choose.  I made little slips of paper with your names on them, threw them into the air and instructed Harley to GET 'EM!!!!  The first name off his big silly tongue was SusanBknits.  Congrats, Susan!  You will need to send me your snail-mail address so that I can put this cherry treat in the post!  To everyone else, thank you so very much for taking the time to stop in and leave a comment.  Your thoughts mean the world to me.  I really enjoyed reading about why blogging is important to you.  I love that we all come to this creative venue from different places, but the bottom line is that we ALL derive a great deal of profound satisfaction from sharing our thoughts, our writings, our worlds.  Thank you.  
The season of the tomato is upon us.  Would it be overly boastful to admit to having some of THEE most gorgeous, unblemished tomatoes in Ulster County?  It's really true, mine are magnificent orbs - better than any other year.  I don't even want to know why.  The foliage on this cherry tomato plant reminds me of swiss chard - it's THAT green and starchy!  It practically smacks your hand when you go digging around in it for a treat!
Anne Hanson shared some tomato tips earlier this season and I pruned my plants, according to her instructions.  I was nervous about it, but hey Anne!  I think you are onto something!  People are clamoring for my 'mators!
My first cinderella.  You will become intimately connected with this group before the season is over.  Can you see the little cucumber poking out for its photographic debut?   There was another surprise hiding under the pumpkin foliage . . .
Imagine.  Hiding in the vegetable garden - away from prying eyes - my perennial passion flower.  (sigh)  It's very shy and very tenacious - good qualities in plants and in men.
My vegetable garden has made me a happy woman.  It started off poorly, if you recall.  The sweet orderly seedlings turned into a riot of color and shape and invited the weeds over for a slumber party.  They stayed and took steroids.  The rain ceased, the temperatures rose, I ran out of water for a moment and when I turned around the other night this intense grouping of green filled my senses -
Picasso said, "If I don't have red, I use blue" and like the great artist, I improvised freely.  When I ran out of landscape straw, I pilfered the lawn clippings.  No more tomato cages?  No problem, I found old wire and bent it into submission.  Arugula unproductive?  Ripped it out and planted mexican sunflowers.  I cannot remember ever enjoying the garden as much as I have this season.
There HAS been fiber-y stuff going on in small spurts.  Here's a hint ...

Thursday, August 12, 2010

DAY 11

Whoever created and produced the TV show 'Hoarders' is to be commended.  One or two episodes have changed my way of thinking and quite possibly my life style - my life-long addiction to collecting and gathering.  Observing the sad and pathological storing of stuff, as seen through the eyes of the afflicted, the helpers, the counselors, the clean-out crew, etc. has really impacted me!  Earlier in the week I started cleaning, sorting and TOSSING out!  I was appalled at some of the things that I discovered - such as a tower for a computer that hasn't worked in approximately 10 years!  And this - OMG.  I thought that I might like to learn how to hook a rug.  Okie-dokey!
This bag contains three pewter pieces - a tea set.  I am sure that it might interest one who collects pewter.  (clears throat) I do NOT collect pewter, and yet - here it is, proof positive that I am unable to say no.
In my defense, it needs to be said that some of this comes from my mother who is actively cleaning and clearing out.  She always seems so chest-fallen, so dejected, when I say no to things (like the PEWTER!).  Easier to say yes and throw it in the back of the SUV.  Anyway, I am having my first yard sale.  So if you are in the vicinity of the Hudson River Valley, Ulster or Dutchess county areas, c'mon over.  EVERYTHING is up for grabs!  And I mean everything from books to fabric to foot massagers to empty tins!  Cheep, cheep because you are doing ME a favor! Please, take it away!!!!
I spent some of the day making more shower presents for Hilary to take to her stepsister's event.  It makes me dizzy with happiness that she seems to enjoy the things that I create, as this has not always been so.  My little girl is beginning to show signs of genuine domestication!  She's always been very particular about her living space.  Her taste is sophisticated - clean lines, good fragrances, less is more.  She is expanding.  She is cooking!  She calls for fresh produce from my garden, "don't forget the basil" and while this may sound silly or insignificant to some, it is very potent for me.  We are discovering common ground.  I feel that our relationship is shifting and expanding and I treasure every moment!
Hot peppers with a hot mat in the background.
Hilary liked the apron that I made so much that she asked for her own.  And, speaking of aprons, tomorrow I will make little slips of paper with your names on them and then throw them into a bag.  High tech stuff.  I appreciate your comments so much!  It doesn't seem fair to choose just one person.  But that's how we roll!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

DAY 10

The lemon grass looks pretty good, despite the ridiculous weather we have been 'enjoying'.  I realize that everyone is complaining about this crapola summer, so let me throw my hat into the ring with the rest.  Where did those lovely summer days disappear to?  You know the kind that I'm talking about - a cool crisp start, a little dew under foot - the gradual rise of temperature, accompanied by a good breeze - big fluffy clouds skirting across an indigo sky - the total absence of humidity.  These are the days that I remember.  We're probably to blame, what, with our big fat wasteful footprints - no doubt we have melted essential glaciers and sent Mother Nature scurrying for a pass to Mars.  I don't know.  I do not know what is to become of us.  
Thank God for knitting and quilting - at least we have something to do with our hands while we wait for Whatever Is Next!!!!