Saturday, April 30, 2011

chops, sucks, blows

This last Saturday of April 2011 dawned bright and crisply sunny with a consistent breeze (take THAT you shad flies!) which made being outdoors irresistible.  Scott and I were both awake and moving about long before 6:00am, which is too early to start lawn mowers and such.  One has to consider the neighbors.  Scott has been creating a really lovely bookshelf for the upper hall and decided to move it into place without its hinges and glass doors.  The thought is that he can complete it on the next rainy day.
Such a dark little dismal image - this bookshelf measures a good eight feet across!  But you cannot tell this from my decrepit photography!
I wanted you to see it sans finishing elements.  The hardware arrived last week -  oooh-la-la!  Scott is an incredibly talented carpenter.  This bookshelf is made of mahogany - in two pieces.  The doors will feature small paned glass windows.  

Scott can envision the projects that I throw at him, turn them around and around, allow them to percolate, and always take them to the next level... case in point, a new bird feeder.  One to replace an old favorite which is coming apart at the seams.
Humble beginnings -
Some serious construction - 2x6 beam coming in ....
The beauty of this piece is in its design -
Scott wanted to create a feeding sanctuary where the birds could come and light in safety and peace.  We have aggressive red-tailed hawks which pick off the bird population on any given day -
The inner works - a removable screen and shelter from the elements for our birds.  We are filling the feeder with hulled sunflower kernels to combat the debris which leftover shells produce in the gardens and lawn.  I really think that Scott nailed it on this one!  Everything comes together to produce a thing of true beauty.
Since we are discussing Scott - here's a look at his newest 'toy'.
When asked what its functions entailed he replied, "it chops, sucks and blows."  Hmmm.  This is one 'toy' that may benefit the gardens, big time.  It can suck up the leaves and chop them into nice tidy bits for compost.  It can also gather grass clippings which I will use to mulch the walkways in the vegetable garden.  I think that I LIKE the Cyclone!
After a few swipes about the yard it is positively FILLED to capacity!  Who knew that grass clippings could be so exciting?
Here it is - the very first asparagus of the season!  We may have a hearty crop this year.  Oh - and speaking of good things - look what I found today at a yard sale -

Thursday, April 28, 2011

aprons for Apifera

Some progress on the Apifera aprons - but I am now reconsidering this project.  Perhaps this piece would be more suited to a banner for the pie event... something that Katherine could hang on Pino's Pie day -
After all, a good deal of effort went into this project and it might be wasted on an apron where the 'wearer' would be unable to see the image!!  Back to the drawing board ...

A quiet day - a day to admire the redemptive nature of spring -
When the temperatures spike, the tulips fairly jump out of the ground!  Their brilliance will be brief this season.
It bothers me when they shatter prematurely.  I want the tulip season to go on indefinitely.  
And - truth be known - I want the shad flies to rot in hell disappear as quickly as they came.  They swarm about my face and ears and make life generally unpleasant.  I wonder what their purpose is in the grand scheme of things.  This is one of the many questions I have - and hope to present, when and if, I meet my Maker!

Monday, April 25, 2011

part 2

In which I press the wrong button and manage to delete all of our Easter celebration images.  The Nikon Gods were not smiling upon me yesterday.  Worse, I realize that my sister is a WAY better photographer than I can ever hope to be!
This is Clementine - my sister's Cavalier King Charles Spaniel.  I believe that she may be the most adorable little dog that I've ever knownHer disposition is so sweet that I want to take her home with me.  And speaking of my sister - she is blogging!  Hers is a gorgeous blend of gardens and antiques and books and travel...(not to mention those glorious photographs!)  Go on over -  Oh, just in case you're wondering - I'M the baby in the family.  ME ME ME, ME! Just sayin' ...

There was chatter about our upcoming trip in June.  Rumor has it that Scott might even be able to come along -

Wait just a minute!  Can it be?  There are 4 golf courses on the island - two private, two public.  One claims to be the oldest course in the country ... hmmm, we'll have to do some research.

This image is small and blurry, but unmistakably  a golf green!  So I ask you - can you think of a single reason that he should stay behind?  Neither can I.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

easter, part 1

A new yarn, a new project.
Cecily MacDonald's 'Seaweed Cardigan' for mom.  Classic Elite 'Allegoro' in linen.  I like this cotton/linen blend for the warmer months.  Gentle waving lines make this a soothing knit, which is what I needed after Saturday's mishap - (CAUTION!  Following image is not for the weak of heart!!)
This is my reward for trying to separate Ms Bella from her obsession affiliation with the copy machine - Oh, don't even ask.    Every time the machine is turned on she appears and does unspeakable things to it.  I interrupted her foreplay and I won't make this mistake again. . . a prime example of why I prefer dogs to cats.  Look at this face -
This love-dove is not even capable of violent behavior.  Although, he does employ some pretty aggressive moves toward the squirrels.
We took the knitting outdoors this fine Easter morning and had a little walk-about.  The most exciting discovery was the appearance of the snow peas!
Now it's time to plant the second row to be certain that we have enough for ourselves and Mr. Peter Rabbit who has been sighted sniffing about.  I don't know when it happened exactly, but I gave up trying to keep the critters out of the vegetable garden.  A good steward plants enough for everyone.  (except the woodchuck, who is a true HOG)
I left these carrots in the herb garden thinking that they would be a tasty treat for some hungry burrowing creature, but apparently they were overlooked.  
It seems as though this is going to be a banner year for the european ginger.  I have a vision that involves the substitution of ginger for all ground cover here at Cloudwalk.  It's so beautiful and juicy - those glossy leaves remain perky throughout the dog days of August.  (I hope "Myrtle" didn't hear me say that!)
One more, or maybe two images of my cherished early risers -
Helleborus - only slightly upstaged by the diminutive GLORIOUS fritillaria - (I adore this plant)
I'll see you later - have a blessed Easter Day!

Friday, April 22, 2011

maundy thursday or the washing of the feet

Just so that you know, straight up, there was no washing of the feet going on around here today.  In the old days, when I was married to an Episcopal priest, there was much Last Supper feasting and foot washing to add to the litany of Holy Week events.  In those days, this was a week spent entirely in and about the church.  I do miss the high holy days.  And I sometimes miss my ex-husband too.  But that's a post for another day.

I DID do some washing- and please, please do not chalk this post up to irreverence or arrogance.  I am a person of faith- Holy Week is SIGNIFICANT.  I just want to keep this light - and fiber-y.
So here's today's washing-
My sister's shawl - the beautiful Hand Maiden Seasilk.
She's gorgeous and I can hardly wait to give her away.  The Damson shawl was moved and will be ready for gifting this weekend as well - I am so thrilled with the way it turned out - that little edge - just enough.
My knitting has given me much satisfaction these last few weeks.  So, I was really pumped up to receive my latest WEBS order - Cricket, by Classic Elite yarns.
Touted as a perfect summer knit - a combo of linen and cotton - a lovely seaside shade -
But there is a HUGE problem for me with this pattern.  It makes no sense.  There is no natural flow.  It's awkward and fiddle-y and NO FUN!  Knitting must be enjoyable - if not - OFF WITH ITS HEAD - OFF OF THE NEEDLES!  Seriously.  Life is short - knitting should be enormously satisfying.  I don't think that this is too much to ask.

My Blue Moon sock is growing, ever so slowly, but pretty, pretty - it takes the sting out of the unfortunate Faith pattern.  (I would be very interested in hearing from anyone who has made the Faith shawl and enjoyed it!) 

Sunday, April 17, 2011

this and that

Cashmere takes forever to dry!
This fiber made its debut months back, but in a different form.  It was slated for a Moth Wing shawl, but after careful consideration, I decided to frog it.  I needed something less intense - more forgiving.  And I had Ysolda's Damson, and it was good.  Very very good.  I LOVE this little shawlette.  
It is dreamy when knit in the mongolian cashmere!    I can hardly wait to see it perched on cousin Karen's shoulders.  There was a second skein -
Mom has been complaining about the spring dampness and I thought - cashmere, coiled about the neck .... what could be more comforting than that?  I went to Julie's blog, as well as her Ravelry page and found some inspiration for a garter stitch cowl.  It's going to fit the bill, hands down!  
I wish that you could touch this.  Knitting with cashmere has the propensity to spoil one forever.  I'm serious about this.  How do you return to fiber that has even the most subtle itch factor after spending time with mongolian cashmere?  I'm not sure.

Today was another really special Sunday.  Hilary and Carson and I went into New Paltz for lunch - delectible wraps, amazing smoothies, warm sunshine on our faces at the counter, dogs and children - everything that we love about this old hippy town brought together for a few moments.  Reasons to be grateful.

Carson had to go to work - you know, keeping those bad guys in line at the prison.  Hilary and I went shopping.  We were doing some serious damage  - we are really skilled at this.  JoAnn fabrics surprised the everloving spit out of me today!   I found, and acquired the loveliest cottons - dotted swiss and 100% seersucker cottons. 
It seems unreasonable to be so elated about synthetic-free cottons, and I offer no apologies.  These are the cottons of my childhood.  These are the fabrics (we called them 'materials') that we took for granted - the soft hand, the lovely drape, the STAPLES of our wardrobe ... ridden hard, laundered and thrown back into service - again, and again.
Envision over- sized shirts worn with capris - the perfect Nantucket uniform.
There was an acquisition - a bead event -
We have heard the Bead Siren call - and we will answer!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

dogs in the office

Sometimes I complain about the office.  But I never complain about my boss.  She agrees with my notion that every office should have its mascot.
O Maya, you are a vixen.
It's a huge responsibility to make all of the employees laugh - to cover their faces with kisses - to jump and leap and perform comical acrobatics. . . to warm even the heaviest heart.
All of that work can wear a baby girl out.  Naps required.
  On a different note - outside of the office and back at the homestead -
Spring has arrived.  
Rhubarb - it's going to be another banner year for this plant.  I'm determined to make cobblers and pies and stewed treats.  Maybe a jam or three...
Meanwhile, my trusty scouts are out patrolling the borders.  We have to make certain that the woodchucks know where we draw the line.