The Last Day of Summer

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Today is the last day of summer.  To celebrate, we made our yearly trek with my mother-in-law up to the Lake George outlets to get her favorite sneakers at the Easy Spirit store.  But really, it was an excuse to stop here for lunch:

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No lines.  No waiting.  We figured we better go before they close for the season (October 13, if you are local and interested).   I would have taken a picture of our ice cream, however because of the humid day, the rainbow sprinkles on my pistachio soft serve were abandoning ship like nobody’s business and I had to eat the ice cream in 5 seconds flat.

And also, a few days ago, we had to go here:

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…. because it WAS the last day.  Again, no lines.  No waiting.  And again, if I had remembered, I would have taken a picture before we ate it:

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I did get a picture of this sign, over on the right hand side, which you cannot read, but I will tell you what it says:

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“Money cannot buy you happiness.  But it can buy you ice cream, which is kind of the same thing.”

This guy also showed up again this weekend:

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I don’t think we usually see him this late in summer, but it’s always cool.  We watched him eat a mouse, which was gross.  I have a feeling we won’t see him again this season.

And while we were gone today, since it’s the last day of summer and tomorrow is fall, this seemed to happen all of a sudden:

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And I’m pretty sure, because it’s the last day of summer and we are going to grill hamburgers, the grill will run out of gas.

All this last stuff?  This is all ok with me.  I love fall.  I’m ready for it.  Goodbye humid, make-your-ice-cream-melt weather.  I can wait until next season for ice cream.  Bring on the pumpkin everything.  Bring on the chili, meatloaf, and other cold weather inside meals.

More soon.  Knitting, cooking, baking, reading.

Yet again

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It’s one of those days.  I wanted to write a blog post, but I’ve got nothing.  Despite it being pretty busy lately.  Maybe it’s because I’m telling you the same things.

Like, yet again, I made some tomato sauce:

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6 more jars.

And, yet again, I made something with apples:

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A really yummy apple crisp that I shared with the students in a class I taught this weekend (yet again).

And, yet again, I did some knitting, but not as much as I would have liked, so there is nothing really new to show you there.

Oh, but here is something new:  We went to GE Family Day on Saturday!  GE sponsored a whole day of rides, food, music, and building tours — all for FREE – for its employees and their families.  Paul and I went with the doodlebugs and their parents.  Despite the pouring rain for the first couple of hours we were there, we had some fun.  The kids couldn’t go on the rides or on the bounce house/slides because they were wet.  So we walked around, petted some animals, ate some food, listened to a little music and went into the building Paul works in and saw humongous steam turbine parts.  We also saw this:

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Four people parachuting with streamers and flags — it was thrilling to watch.

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Later, as we were getting to the car, the fireworks show began (starting with the same people parachuting – IN THE DARK- and having fireworks shooting from their feet!), so we stayed to watch that:

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A pretty amazing event for GE to put on for their employees.  I hope the next time they have it, it will be a beautiful day and we can enjoy all of it.

That’s it for today! Next post: Something More Exciting

It’s Starting

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It’s starting.  The its-beginning-to-feel-like-fall-so-now-I-really-want-to-knit-even-more-of-all-the-things thing.

I’m totally obsessed with this High Plains poncho pattern.  I’m going to knit it in this yarn that I’m also totally obsessed with.  I’m using the same yarn to knit my recently cast on Terra shawl:

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And it’s the same yarn I used to knit my Cozy wrap last year:

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I just love it because it is 50% alpaca, 50% wool and so soft and……..just nice.  And now I’ve got it in my head that the High Plains poncho would be a great thing to wear when we go to the NYS Sheep and Wool Festival (aka Rhinebeck) in late October.  Can you see where this obsession is headed?  I’m feeling like I’ve just given myself a challenge.  Stay tuned.

There is also this that I’m working on but can’t really tell you about yet:

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And, did you know that Christmas is coming and that if I want to make any knitted gifts I should probably get started?  There’s that.

And this week there was this:

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We think we’ve fixed it, but it was a little nerve-wracking imagining the plumbing/repair bills that may have seriously cut into my yarn budget.

The Knitting and The Cooking

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Pretty much nothing but knitting and cooking this weekend.   Not a bad way to spend the weekend!

The Knitting:

I finished my Kaweah hat and I. Just. Love. It.  It is cute and fun and cable-y and comfy.

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I had to make a pom-pom, which I always forget how to do, so I looked it up on the line. [Anyone see The Internship with Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson?  Funny movie.  He says in the movie, "Let's look it up on the line"  because he is sooooooo not tech savvy but he's trying to be, and it's just funny.]   Anyway, mine turned out pretty well I think:

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The hat (and pom pom) will be an upcoming class at The Spinning Room, after the new year.

Then, I finished my toes for my sock circle:

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Remember my Travelling Socks?

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They got sent all around the country (and to Canada) to be knit – I knit the toes- while I knit on everyone else’s socks as they got sent to me.  The Spinning Room is doing the same thing, just within the shop.  There are 8 people in a group (group #3 is almost full!) and as we finish each part of each sock, we bring it back to the shop to by picked up by the next person.  FUN!  This weekend The Spinning Room was full of sock knitter’s learning how to start their socks at the toe.

I also blocked some items for some Spinning Room customers:

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Note to self:  If you want to put a picture of things blocking on the blog, use the white towels.

And I’m making progress on my Black Cherry Lambic scarf, but no pictures since it would look pretty much the same, just longer.  Scarves are like that.  I’ll show it to you when it’s done.

Oh and I fell into the black hole of Ravelry this weekend, looking for something new to start knitting.  Has that ever happened to you?  Get on the computer to look up one thing and the next thing you know it’s tomorrow and you never found the one thing you were looking up.  BUT, you found a great new knitting pattern!  I started Terra but there are only a few rows on it, so not much to show you.  Next post.

The Cooking:

I went bananas on Sunday trying to cook all the things, so I could use up/save/freeze our veggies.  But first there was pick-your-own:

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It weighed 35 pounds. We knew this because….

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I made 7 pints of sauce:

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A whole lot of salsa – fresh, not canned:

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Then I cooked some Mashed Potato Kale Cakes:

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Mashed white and sweet potato, kale, bacon.  Pretty tasty although they look kind of sad.

And I made Spiced Squash Pancakes:

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Spaghetti squash, egg, flour, ginger, jalapeno, cumin, scallion.  A little mushy, but pretty tasty and they will be better today when I get some plain yogurt and cilantro to put on top.

Despite all that, these are still waiting for me to do something with when they ripen a little more:

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And a whole whack of jalapenos since I had this great idea to make my own poppers.  And a whole whack of okra because I’ve never had it and wanted to try it – fried or pickled.  And a whole whack of beets that I may try to pickle.  Ask me when I’m going to do all that.

I’m Eating Zucchini for Breakfast

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Our refrigerator has only vegetables in it.  Some may not see that as a bad thing, but I’m eating zucchini for breakfast today and I feel like that means we have somehow crossed a line.  I have no idea what the line is though.  Maybe it’s the we-are-SO-healthy-we-are-never-not-eating-vegetables-again line.  Or the we-are-SO-into-this-CSA-thing-we-should-take-full-advantage-of-it-to-the-extreme line.  Or very possibly it’s the I’m-pretty-busy-lately-so-I-don’t-have-time-to-go-to-the-store-to-get-something-other-than-veggies line.   Yes, that could be it.   We actually went shopping in my mother-in-law’s basement last night when we went to check on her house while she is away.  Peanut butter, canned beans, tuna.  You can do lots of things with those, and vegetables, right?

Speaking of vegetables, last weekend’s processing:

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Peas, beans, and tomato sauce (made with yellow cherry tomatoes, orange grape tomatoes and regular red tomatoes).  And flowers.

Meanwhile, there has been some knitting.  I’m making progress on my Black Cherry Lambic scarf:

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Interesting pattern with interesting cables that I have never done before.  For example: slip three stitches to cable needle and hold to front, K3tog, then knit three from cable needle.  K3tog????  And I think I may have done something weird in the middle of that cable section but I can’t really tell.  It looks kind of different.  But (surprise) I don’t want to go back.

And I started, and am already at the decreases for the Kaweah Hat:

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There is a mistake in one of my cable crosses about halfway up that I just realized was there.  Not going back. (Surprise.)  I love this pattern and the yarn (Kenzie).

And, for those following along, and who were wondering and dying to know, we finished our puzzle:

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And we’re on the hunt for another.  Man are they addictive.

In heartwarming doodlebug news….. they have been waking up VERY early in the morning and, being impatient, yelling to get out of their cribs, so I was helping their parents by having a little chat with them about what they could do to be patient before it is time to get out of their cribs.  I suggested maybe they could talk quietly to their stuffed animals or each other.  They thought this was a good idea, so I asked them what they would talk about.  Miss Ladybug said, “Books.” (Hooray!  They love books!)  Then Mr. Doodlebug said, “Hey, we could talk about YOU, Auntie Liz!” (Uh-oh.)  I asked what they would say about me.  Miss Ladybug said, “That you pick out good library books.” (Hooray!  They love books!)  And Mr. Doodlebug said, “That it is funny that you call me Mr. Doodlebug.  Ha ha.  And that you are funny Auntie Liz. Ha ha.”

FO’s and Just-Started’s

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This week I was on a mission.  For some reason, I was focused on getting two particular projects done.  I started them in the beginning of August when we went to Ohio.  Maybe it’s the idea that summer is ending and the cold weather is in sight, so I want to use them.  Or that I just want to start knitting all-the-things, which I apparently seem to think I will need immediately, despite the fact that the cold weather won’t be upon us immediately.  [Never mind the fact that I have my knitting Olympics project from February to finish, which would be great to have since it is a nice, cozy, hooded cardigan.  But let's not talk about that right now.]

So, I have two FO’s to show you!  [For the non-knitter's out there, "FO's" are "Finished Objects"]

First is my Wheaten wrap:

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It ended up being 72″ long and 22″ wide.  I. LOVE. IT.  It is so cozy and I just love the look of the lace/cable pattern.  AND I love the Kent DK yarn.  Now, I’m dying to make the Wheaten Cap and Mitts.  But other things await…you will see later in this post.

I also finished my Shattered Sun Shawl:

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I made this with the Kiwi yarn which has possum in it! The possum is from New Zealand and they do not look like possums here.

Ok, so those were done.  Off the needles.  Off my radar (except for the Wheaten cap and mitts).  I could focus on starting new things!

I’m now on to making the Black Cherry Lambic scarf for a class this winter:

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A fun and interesting cables and lace pattern.  Cables and lace?  Hmmm.  Seems familiar… *cough* Wheaten*cough*

And I’m also about to start the Kaweah Hat with new yarn that The Spinning Room just got called Kenzie:

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Cute hat, right?

And pretty soon, I’ll start the Terra shawl and/or the Peach Basket Slippers.

It always feels so good to start new projects.  New possibilities.  New challenges.  New YARN!

Oh!  And I must tell you about this great book my cousin told me about….. Extra Yarn  by Mac Barnett

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I bought it and the doodlebugs wanted me to read it no less than FIVE times in a row.  A great story about a girl who finds a magic box of yarn, knits sweaters for everyone and everything, but still has extra yarn. Who wouldn’t love that?  If you have a doodlebug, they might love it too!

Odds and Ends

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I don’t have a coordinated thought today, since this past week/weekend just wore me out.  So you are getting a list….

1) I taught the 2-in1 Socks class on Saturday.  Everyone got well on their way with their socks and loved the lunch I made.  Wouldn’t it have been great and made for a more interesting blog post if I had remembered to take pictures?

2) While I was teaching, Paul went and did pick-your-own by himself:

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Did I tell you that they always give us a little bouquet of flowers (and sometimes a gladiola) when we go to pick-your-own?  So pretty and they really brighten up the kitchen.

3) I have forgotten to water my house plants for about a month.  I just watered them and I hope they survive.

4) After teaching class, Paul and I went to babysit the doodlebugs so their parents could go to a grown up party.  When they were put to bed, we heard them talking on the baby monitor:

B: “Oh no, Peep [stuffed lamb] lost her blankie.” (read: B threw his blanket out of the crib.)

M: “Oh no, Peep!”

B: “Maybe Auntie Liz can help.”

M: “Well,  Auntie Liz is not in here right now.”

B: “Maybe Peep should call for Auntie Liz….  AUNTIE LIZ, SAID PEEP!  AUNTIE LIZ, SAID PEEP!”

I went and retrieved blankie “for Peep”.

5) We saw this on the way to babysit:

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6) Paul washed all the windows in the house.  He is so great.  (I cleaned the whole rest of the house so I’m pretty great, too.  But he is especially great because I just cannot stand to wash windows.)

7) I did this with our pick-your-own and CSA share:

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Tomato puree, dilly beans (never had them. hope we like them.), applesauce with some plums and pears thrown in (REALLY yummy); beans to freeze, more beans to freeze, broccoli to freeze, peas to freeze.  We may need to buy a supplemental freezer….

8) I was working on cleaning up the craft room and found my Downton Abbey Mystery Shawl that I never blocked (I finished it in February), so I blocked it:

Before:

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After:

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9) Jigsaw puzzles are a time suck.  We had lunch for two and a half hours yesterday.  We didn’t even know what happened.

10) Here’s where I’m keeping my ribbon for the next little bit:

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More interesting and cohesive thoughts next time.  I am this close (thumb and forefinger held really close together) to finishing my Wheaten wrap and I can’t wait to show it to you.

Fixing and Finishing

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A short post today since I’m short on time to get ready for another “2-socks-in-1 With Lunch” class tomorrow.  But first, thank you all so much for your congratulations about my fair ribbons.  It really was a great accomplishment for me and so heartwarming to read all the kind comments.

Do you remember the 2-socks-in-1?  It is a method of knitting socks one inside the other. Like so:

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I’ll be teaching but also preparing a lunch for the class, since it is 5 hours long and they will need sustenance!  For the lunch, I’m going to try and use as much veggies and fruit from our CSA share as I can.

Not too much knitting to show you this week.  I’ve mostly been working on my Wheaten and it is getting toward the end so I’m going to wait until it is done to show it to you.  This week has been busy doing some fixing and finishing for other knitters.  I blocked some shawls:

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I fixed some puppy-chewed holes:

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Sorry, forgot to take and “after” picture.

I also sewed together and knit the collar of a black pullover sweater.  If you’ve worked with black yarn before, you know how hard it is — like knitting in the dark, really.  So, you’ll understand if I didn’t take a picture, because you wouldn’t really see it.

And this weekend I’ll be working on sewing buttons onto this sweater:

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And knitting a collar onto this sweater:

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And then blocking both of them.

In homesteading news, I canned some applesauce and salsa, and froze more beans and a few peas:

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Then, we started this:

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…which is seriously going to cut into my knitting time.   It’s addicting.  But quality quiet time with my sweetie pie makes up for it!

Grand Champion!

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Just.  Wow.

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That’s my name up there.  Next to the big rosette. I still can’t believe it.  Grand Champion Wool Product.  Best of Fair.   I can’t stop getting teary-eyed when I think about it and I have no idea why.  I teared up when I saw it, I teared up when anyone congratulated me, I teared up when Joan said I made everyone at The Spinning Room proud, I teared up when Kathy said she was proud to know me, and I’m tearing up now while I’m writing about it.  It’s crazy.  I guess I’m pretty proud of myself.

But enough about that.  On to other fair things.  So here are my entered items before:

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And here they are after:

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Not too shabby.  I’m happy with all my other ribbons… one third place and three fifth place.  And I got fourth place in the Spinning Bee contest with 96 yards spun in 30 minutes:

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I spun 72 yards last year so I’m getting better.  My friend/biggest competitor/spinning nemesis Lisa got third!  I have some work to do to beat her next year.

After that excitement, Paul and I did our usual food tour to celebrate:

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I’m not showing you everything we got since that would be embarrassing.  But there may or may not have also been a cider donut and a gyro involved.

We really like to watch the horse competitons:

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And this was there, which I couldn’t watch without shrieking and almost having a heart attack because I was pretty sure they were going to crash so I turned around while Paul watched and narrated what they were doing:

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Could anything beat the excitement of the fair this weekend?  Well, there was the birthday party for my nephew, Nicholas, who turned 16. SIXTEEN.  He is so grown up and I just can’t believe it.  And I forgot to take any pictures.   We had pigs in a blanket and a yummy dessert and he opened presents and we all visited. Those are the pictures you would have seen.  But, I did ask if he wanted me to knit him something for Christmas and his eyes lit up and he enthusiastically said, “YEAH!”  So it was cool that he still wants to wear knitted things from his Auntie Liz.

And the other excitement of the weekend was another pick-your-own session at our CSA farm, for which I did remember to take pictures….

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(beans)

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(there are peas in there somewhere)

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(jalapenos)

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Cherry tomatoes, purple pepper, basil, parsley, sage, a huge zucchini which became bread, and a huge cucumber which, with some more cucumbers, became a million pickles:

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These are canned pickles instead of refrigerator pickles since we currently have a lot of refrigerator pickles and now we can keep these for a while.

If you can stand it, I’ll probably have more vegetable freezing/canning pictures since that seems to be overtaking my life these next few days.  Another thing taking up a lot of time are finishing/blocking/repair projects for customers of The Spinning Room.  Stay tuned for those too.  Somehow, these just don’t seem quite as exciting as recent events, but I’ll try to keep your interest.