Pumpkin Day, and Spinning Love

After I bought a bag of wonderful fall-colored roving at Rhinebeck, I could not stop thinking about how I needed to spin it!


Though I am still very new at spinning, one of the things I learned is that it makes it easier to keep practicing when you are spinning with fiber that you love. So, caution (and thoughts of saving it for when I am an expert) aside, I jumped in and spun that baby up into three spindles.


Once I had three spindles of single-strand I couldn’t wait to see how it would look all plied together.


Boy, it did NOT disappoint! I am so in love with this yarn I have made!  It isn’t a very large amount, but definitely enough for a nice autumn-y cowl. Now I can’t wait to get my wheel going again!

In the meantime, Halloween is very nearly upon us, and the kids kept reminding me of the many things that needed to be done, like pumpkin carving.


This year I let Oona do all her own tracing and cutting. The only help I gave was removing the pieces, since it was a bit fiddly for her.

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They made such a glorious mess.

You know who wasn’t complaining about that, though? The pigs! Pumpkin day means it’s time for their annual treat of pumpkin guts.


They loooooove pumpkins. In a few days (before total rotting can set in), they will be given the Jack o’lanterns as well. But for now, we are enjoying our day of handiwork!


Emily’s Raven, and my “Nightmare Before Christmas” theme.


Oona’s pumpkin


Neve’s pumpkin.

Now that Pumpkin day is accomplished, there is only really Trick or Treating left. Tonight we’ll watch Hocus Pocus and bask in the last remaining glorious bit of October before it is done.

Autumn Birthday

Sunday we drove out to our friends’ house to celebrate their son’s 7th birthday. Thankfully the weather held,  and we were able to mingle outside and enjoy grilled bratwurst and fresh oysters.

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And did I mention it’s beautiful out at their house in the fall?


Kirby, the welcoming committee.

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Paul and Emily missed out on the fun, due to a bad cold that is making its rounds. Paul is actually still down with it, and home from work today. I’m trying to power through today, and make some garlic chicken soup to aid in recovery.image image

Neve helped with the marshmallow roasting.

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Oysters! I actually got Neve to try one; she wasn’t thrilled with it, to say the least!

Lisa and Will always throw one heck of a party, and being out among the changing leaves on a mild October day with a great group of people……well, how can you go wrong?

The Best Weekends Are Fall Weekends

It’s Monday morning, and boy am I feeling it. I packed a lot into the last few days, and I fear that the cold Paul and the kids have been dealing with may have finally reached me.

For most of Saturday I worked on baking and spinning. That luscious Blue-Faced Leicester roving was calling to me and I couldn’t tear myself away from the wheel!  I’ve got almost two spindles full; when I’ve got three I’ll ply them together. I can’t wait to see how it all blends together!

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I mean, those colors!!!! When Neve and I were wandering around Rhinebeck, I realized we kept grabbing the same colors. The colors of fall!  I had to make a conscious effort to look at other colors as well. There’s just something so homey and comforting about the golds, oranges, and reds of this time of year, though.

To match that coziness, I tried a recipe from King Arthur that I’d been eyeing for awhile: Cranberry-Pumpkin rolls.


I left out the cranberries this time; Paul isn’t crazy about them, and I wanted to see how they’d do as plain pumpkin rolls.


The result? Absolute deliciousness! I crammed them all into a 9×13 pan as suggested by the recipe, but I actually had dough leftover as it wouldn’t all fit. Cranberries would have been delightful in them, but in all honesty they do well enough without them as well.

That evening I met my sister out for my birthday gift from her: The Avett Brothers in Charlottesville.


They are so good live, I can’t even tell you. Maddie and I had such a good time; I have the best sister!



Hudson Valley Weekend Part 2: Barton’s Orchard

The thing about Sunday was the weather.

Neve and I were very much looking forward to a day at a Hudson Valley apple orchard, spending time with my stepmother and aunt, taking pictures and enjoying hot apple cider and cider doughnuts, and hearing my dad’s band.


We did get to do those things, but not as much as we had hoped, and Neve was downright miserable and grumpy.

Because this happened:


Snow. On October 19.

We had brought sweaters and coats and winter accessories, but we never imagined it would actually snow. And, in all honesty, it didn’t bother me all that much. But the cold took hold of Neve and turned her into a grumpasaurus in the same way it did when we were in Scotland. I could have easily managed it and stayed for the entire day, but we were forced to bail early lest Neve freeze entirely.


During the brief moments of sun we visited the animal enclosures and pet the goats and mini ponies.

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You could buy handfuls of grain to feed the goats and alpacas. I can’t imagine this at home; my animals would be suffering from extreme bloat!

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The band played all day despite the weather. Good thing they had a covered stage!

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Neve perked up a little when we got her back to the house; she even grabbed my camera and went out for some pictures.

My father and stepmother live in a townhouse overlooking the Rondout canal, and the views are spectacular.

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I think she captured some really nice images!

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Neve fell fully in love with the scenery, as I always have. I really need a good week or more to re-explore the area and capture all of the beauty.

On our way out of town we stocked up on birch beer (can’t get that down here), and Keegan Ales’ “Mother’s Milk” stout for Paul and I.

Many hours of driving later we were home, and despite the time it takes to get there, I really need to get back there more often.

Hudson Valley Weekend, Part 1: Rhinebeck

Sorry it’s taken so long to post this. Although I brought my computer with me, it died the first day. And by “it died”, I mean I now need a new computer.

Sad face!

Only Neve ended up making the trek north with me; Emily was anxious about leaving the animals, and Oona was torn over not being with the new kittens for that many days.

It’s been many years since I was in the Hudson Valley for fall; I think perhaps last time was for Rhinebeck as well. I love the feeling of going home and seeing all the familiar things.  This time I had one of my children with me, and she has a new understanding of how and why I get homesick so often.

As for Neve, she was gobsmacked by the festival. She’s been to the Montpelier Fiber Festival, but really, it can’t hold a candle to the size of Rhinebeck.  The crush of people, the sheer amount of all things fiber, the food, the trees. What an incredible reminder of why I love this world.


I was thrilled to be able to meet up with some of the Juniper Moon Farm aunties and friends, and also lucky enough to run into a few other people, like Virginia from Gather Here (who recognized me first, and I’m glad she did, because I was so off in my own world I would’ve walked right by and missed her), and the always delightful Pam Wynne, who was sporting a windfall new capelet she will soon be releasing a pattern for on Ravelry.

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We couldn’t get over the felted pumpkins, so we bought two. I really need to learn needle felting!

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All of the alpacas and llamas made us miss Jerry. He was such a butthead, but such a character.  In the future I wouldn’t mind a smaller alpaca; Paul might kill me.


I think Neve will do great if we can get her into shearing school in the spring!

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This lady looks just like our Border Leicesters.

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I cannot get over how big some of the sheep were. It’s not an exaggeration to say some were the size of small ponies.


I bought Neve her very own crook.

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Maple cotton candy is an absolute must.

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We loved these felted lamb ears!


Neve spotted her yarn!

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Neve has decided she needs a Shetland sheep of her very own, and I have decided we really need to do this every year.

New Pen, Nearly Complete

Paul has spent a lot of time outside working hard to get a new fence in place.  As of this evening, it’s about 99% complete.  Paul has some finishing “Orzo proofing” touches to put on it first. And by “Orzo proof”, I mean, “cross your fingers”. We think we’ve got it worked out, but we don’t want to be overly cocky.

It’s a fairly small pen, given what our needs are, but we are going to do it one section at a time, as we can afford it.

It did make me very happy to bring the flock up and put them out on fresh grass this evening while Lucy ran around and played without being tethered.


A very impatient Orzo surveys the progress.





Oona likes how the new gate is looking.


Lyra and Willoughby



Alabama and Carina


The flock and dogs will spend the winter in this pen while we work on the remaining fencing and property.  For now, I am going to enjoy sitting on the front porch and watching my lovely flock graze.

Tiny Bits of Progress

Despite the terribly wet weather, Paul managed to get some work done.  He set some posts in place and started stringing up lines to mark where fencing will eventually go.



10.05.15cHe’s also been out on the tractor clearing a wider swath though the trees so the fence won’t be a difficult to place as it was last time.

I’m frustrated with how slowly it’s happening, but there’s limited time and money, so I’m going to have to suck it up and be patient.

The sun actually came out today for the first time in what seems like years, so I will be doing my best to knock out the rest of the dyeing that needs to be done.

Dyepot, ho!

October, But No Fest

Today would have been Oktoberfest at the Frontier Culture Museum, but the weather had other ideas.  I’m pretty sad to be missing out on Bratwurst, beer, and Oompa bands.  They’ve rescheduled it, but it’s on a day I’m not sure I’ll be able to make it. So, to console myself I made pretzels and bratwurst, and I’m going to enjoy a good pumpkin ale brewed locally.


The recipe is from Sweet Paul, and it’s my favorite soft pretzel recipe (and yes, I’ve tried quite a few).  If you make them, it’s worth it to be sure you have some pretzel salt (or coarse, or flake….just not regular ol’ table salt) on hand.

The rain is still coming down in buckets, and I’m still trying to slog through yarn dyeing.  I can’t use the multi-burner stove we have outside, so I’m down to one pot going at a time, and between the humidity in the house from the steaming dye water all day on the stove and the solid walls of water coming from the sky, the yarn is not drying well. Very. Slow. Going. Still, it IS going.

Paul is out gathering fencing supplies for the front yard. We are having to start very, very slowly, and small, given the expense. Even so, just seeing any amount of progress is comforting. These poor dogs are so OVER this lockdown nonsense. It has been heartening, just how many neighbors and locals I’ve talked to that have been supportive. It’s also kind of frightening just how many of them have been seeing coyotes. Giving the dogs the ability to be outside a bit more is going to be good; even so, we are nowhere near being able to enclose the entire acreage.

I’ve been drowning my sorrows in food, as usual (my baking knows no bounds lately!).  Paul, on the other hand, had a different idea.

A crazy idea.

An idea that I cannot believe is happening.




One of his coworkers found a bunch of kittens abandoned in a dumpster. The situation ended up being “we need to find them homes or they are going to the SPCA”.

One coworker took 1, and I found a home for 2 others with my sister.  The remaining 2 evidently are staying with us. All I can say is this: thank heavens I have a fantastic – and affordable – vet.



The black one appears to be female and the other male. I say “appears” because they are only 3 weeks old, and all of the vets and techs at the office couldn’t agree.  So, we haven’t settled on any names yet.


I think it’s a crazy idea to take in two more cats.  But then, Paul thought I was nuts to bring home chickens, goats, sheep, and several more dogs, so I guess I really have no footing here, do I?

The kids are over the moon, and i will say this: the little sneezeballs (as my hilarious and allergic friend Lisa calls them) ARE pretty warm and snuggly and a nice way to spend a cold, dreary October weekend.