Last weekend looked like this...
hands down, my favorite place to knit
and my favorite little buddy to knit with
i made this
and finished these
Here's hoping for more of the same this weekend. My husband is sick today, and I'm feeling a bit iffy too, so perhaps just the knitting part would do.
I'm almost done with this great beret pattern from Churchmouse Yarns & Teas and though I've cast on for Topiary in a lovely blue green wool, I think I mayswing by Hill Country Weavers right now to pick up an oatmealy Berroco Vintage so that the stitches will be more pronounced. Yep, that' sexactly what I'm gonna do. I'm not normally a big fan of a wool/acrylic blend, but this yarn is really great.
off to the yarn store!
We bought a Thanksgiving CSA from our friends Tim & Charlotte, they have a small farm in town. I swung by Tuesday night (butchering day) to pick up my basket which, in addition to the heritage breed turkey, contained fresh eggs, pecans, tatsoi, bok choi, lettuce, pumpkin butter, grape jelly, onion prickly pear sauce, rosemary, thyme and sage for roasting the bird...and also this feather.
Steve and I don't live near either of our families so we have a long established tradition of hosting Thanksgiving (and Christmas too). We usually have anywhere from 12-25 people. And there is usually at least one person I've never met before at our table. This year the gathering was smaller but still an eclectic bunch... a punk rocker, a lawyer (the punck rocker's wife), an acupuncturist, a massage therapist, a plumber, an insurance agent (the lawyer's aunt visiting from Connecticut), two farmers, and a 7th grader. And us. Everyone brought lovely food and beautiful pies. apple. sweet potato, pear, pecan.
Heritage turkeys have really long legs which present a challenge when roasting, but I just extended the roasting pan with some foil to catch the drippings from the drumsticks. I usually like to free up my oven by using a countertop roasting oven, but there was no way this bird was going to fit in it nicely.
I am not a fan of stuffing the turkey so I simply fill the cavity with aromatics such as celery, onions, rosemary, sage, thyme and fruit, this year it was an apple.
My go to recipe for dressing Cornbread-Sausage Stuffing with Apples from The Silver Palate Cookbook. I realize as I stroke this is that I am totally dating myself with this cookbook reference. I was learning to love to cook when this cookbook was published in 1982. This book was key in my learning to cook with new to me ingredients and i loved the charming Moosewoodesque illustrations... which also dates me.
I had a constant parade of dogs following me yesterday. Notice how they act all non-chalant when I turn around... "what, we're not following you."
I felt the feather deserved a place at the table. I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving.
Today being the 115th birthday of Amelia Earhart had me thinking of a song my father used to play written by Red River Dave McEnery, titled "Amelia Earhart's Last Flight". I have always been in love with this song and for some reason during my mid twenties I was on a quest to find a recorded version of this song. At the time I was living in DC and stepped into a small record store in Silver Spring, Maryland, just to browse. I picked up a copy of Freakwater's 1993 Thrill Jockey release Feels Like the Third Time. My youngest sister, Jess was with me, saw what I had in my hand and said, "oh, I think you'd like them, I saw them at Iota." I flipped over the CD to see the track names and right there on track #10 there it was… my song! My heart flipped and I'm pretty sure I squealed. I could not wait to get home and listen to it. What happened next is that I also fell in love with the band. I was so pleased that my quest for a peculiar, seldom recorded song led me to find a band whose weird voices definitely struck a chord. Synchronicity.
Catherine Irwin and Janet Bean have voices that are pretty in a Mary McCaslin, Alice Gerard and Hazel Dickens, Lucinda Williams, Victoria Williams kinda way. To me they are as crystalline and lovely as Allison Krauss and Patty Griffin, just a lot more honest, whiskey smoked and hard working. They are the voice of a woman who's tired like she's been waiting tables all day, has had it up to here with your shit, and has better things to do with her time.
I remember going to see Catherine Irwin at a SXSW daytime show and recounting that very story of stumbling across her music while looking for the Amelia Earhart song that my father used to sing... she smiled. Awkward. This reminded me of a night years before when I waited on Lucinda at the Ausitn Grill in DC and told her that I'd just seen Darden Smith the week before at The Birchmere and he was raving about her just released Sweet Old World, she stared at me with her heavily-lined eyes without blinking and said, "can I have a Dos Equis?" Again, awkward.
I still need to repaint the window frames and we now need a new screen door, but how sweet is this porch? I can honestly say I never wanted to live in a big fancy house, but always wanted to live in a red one.
This summer I have decided to look at the FO stash of things I never wear and decide which items I want to gift people and which I'd like to frog and re-knit. The deciding factor is the yarn, really. As was the case with this linen stole. I knit this feather and fan wrap when I was a new knitter and it is rife with errors. So much so that I never wear it, which is a shame because the wrap has such nice heft and drape. It's a gorgeous garment if you ignore the gaping holes in the lace pattern.
Oh, and while you're here... feast your eyes upon my new island countertop. My husband added shelves and a concrete top to extend my butcher block kitchen island. It's beautiful... more pictures when i've moved back into this space. I'm lucky to have such a talented husband. If you don't have one, you should get yourself one... they are good. Speaking of talented husbands, he took this picture for me, though I could not resist giving art direction by text from my car.
Saturday Steve had some business to tend to in Lexington, a town of about 1200 26 miles east of Elgin. Most around these parts know that a Saturday trip to Lexington must start with a trip to Snows
These may be small, but each little gem packs a lot of plummy goodness. This plum tree only fruits when it wants to, but when it does it's crazy how much fruit there is. Steve thought it was funny when I said the tree was heavy with fruit... I guess that did sound a bit goofy. I seriously need to lay down tarps and just shake the branches...the plopping is a funny sound. I don't feel the need to harvest all the fruit so will leave some for the birds. I think a plum galette would be great to try, though I may try using almond flour since it should be rustic.
Next week I am on a staycation which I plan to do a little printing, cooking, gardening, knitting, and a whole lotta nothing if I can manage.
It's one of those warm afternoons that make being inside nose pressed to a monitor PAINFUL. Luckily we have plenty of those days here. I want to be home throwing the ball to Callie and smelling my tomato leaves. I'm already dreaming of tomato pie, dilly beans, and quick pickle cucumbers.
Had a great visit with my little sister last weekend.
We spent some time at Universal Studios costume department
Ate lunch at Forage a Silverlake restaurant that buys food from local farms and a network of backyard gardens and fruit trees, which they call their home growers circle
Huevos Divorciados. Funny name for a dish that would make anyone love the person who made it for them even more.
Left to Right: lemon chiffon meringue cake, flourless chocolate tort, strawberry rhubarb galette.
Visited this yarn store for more Koigu spent a little time knitting up some more of these squares for my Barn Raiser Quilt.
aaaand had Jessie model my recently finished Nefertem... lovely on her, but it's all mine.
There are many reasons to love my adopted hometown... notably the local artisans, volunteers, warriors, and pit masters that make Elgin a better place. In the next few months, on a semi-regular basis, I plan to spotlight anything and everything that inspires me and makes me proud to call Elgin My New Hometown.
In the spirit of full disclosure... I was born in Detroit.
As I write this post I realize that today, March 21st, is World Down Syndrome Day... Serendipity indeed.
INSPIRATION & CREATION
I recently had the opportunity to visit with Jerry and Judy Horton of Down Home Ranch, a working farm and ranch community for people with special needs. The Hortons' daughter, Kelly, was born in 1984 with Down Syndrome, and they soon found themselves wondering about her future, and ultimately the adult lives of others with intellectual disabilities. As educators, their quest for knowledge and understanding drove them to learn all they could about Down Syndrome. Among their inspirations were L’Arche communities, founded in 1964 by Jean Vanier in France. The Hortons dreamed of a working ranch where adults with intellectual disabilities could work and live in a community of love, support and opportunity.
Down Home Ranch is a working farm and ranch community of about 40 adults and children, with and without intellectual disabilities, live and work together in their many greenhouses, gardens and pastures growing food, raising livestock and the daily chores that this requires of everyone. The Horton's are working toward this being a self sustaining community... feeding themselves and others.
TAKE A DAY TRIP
Anyone within driving distance should hop into the car and visit Down Home Ranch to shop for drought tolerant plants.
For those of you that are not close enough to visit in person... I encourage you to watch this video
This is Donkey Hoti, Roscoe's current longtime companion.
First there was Polly Polka Pants. His first love.
She knew she was just a rebound romance, but just couldn't walk away.
Apparently Roscoe, once he met this little chicken.
A few days ago one of my mother's oldest friends emailed me, my sister and a few others to see if we were interested in honoring her memory with a walkway board at the wild animal sanctuary where she had worked. Since then I've been looking at my mother's old photos on line and came across this gem that was written exactly 107 years ago, today.
My great grandmother invited Susan B. Anthony to her 12th birthday party.
Sadly she was too busy to attend. She did, however, promise to have someone at headquarters send her a new photo of herself. I'm guessing that to Ruth's twelve-year-old self she was as cool as Lady Gaga is to my friend's twelve-year-old girls. My twelve-year-old self had Stevie Nicks... but that's another story for another day.
Turns out, the parcel with the new photo did not arrive in a timely fashion, so Ms. Anthony wrote her a short letter to explain what had happened...
I see that Ms. Anthony did not have in her school the vertical writing. This letter is not plainly read.
I'm not sure if she ever did get her picture... but if not, it was not for lack of trying.
The other day at lunch with one of our print sales people, we were all talking about how while we all may embrace digital content online, on a tablet or our phones, we are still drawn to holding a piece of actual printed material. That we're still attracted to the tactile experience of flipping through pages. I think most of us are. One of us mentioned being on a flight and watching a teenage boy wrapped up in his ipad tuck it away eventually and pull out a magazine to flip through.
Most of you know that I work in publishing, so of course am keenly aware of the impact digital content has on the printed word. I know that those of us who work in production and are involved on a day to day basis with printers have had some worries over this, but when it comes down to it... someone has to produce the content, whether it's for print, web, tablet or phone.
The reason I even bother to bring this up is that while we were having this conversation over lunch, I was thinking about how I was still waiting to savor this book I'd received earlier in the week. I'm seriously one of those people that will not crack open a book or magazine until I have a proper moment to do so. This usually means a weekend morning with a strong cup of coffee and, if not outside, in my favorite red chair in the living room, in the corner with the perfect light. You see, it's still all about the whole tactile experience for me.
Oh, and by the way, if you have not ever seen Tif Fussell's blog Dottie Angel, you need to PDQ, or your day will be pants.
Today is Elgin's Hogeye Festival, and I will be hawking tickets for Cow Patty Bingo. Don't know what that is? Google it. I know you're jealous.