Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Birch Legwarmers and the Fluidity of Knitting Mojo

I've noticed a pattern. Every spring/summer, I worry that I may have lost my knitting mojo for good. The idea of sitting still long enough to knit seems like a lot to ask of my body that wants to bike, garden, go to the dog park, walk around a lake with friends and so many more outdoor things. I think about the things I could knit and I just can't think of anything I need or want. I worry that maybe I own all of this yarn and I am not going to want to knit it.

And then, the leaves fall from the trees. The garden dies in phases as the days and nights get colder and colder. The sun spends less time in the sky and the darkness becomes present on both ends of my commute. What was my outfit in the summer becomes a base layer upon which multiple other layers are added. And, with all of this, the urge to knit returns.

It usually returns with such force that I have to hold myself back from casting on a dozen projects all at once. All of the sudden, I have need for hats, wristwarmers, sweaters, shawls, mittens and more. My most favorite spot in the house becomes one with plenty of warm blankets, a pot of tea, a good lamp and options for podcast listening or Netflix watching. I am often joined by a purring kitty under my blanket and a napping dog at my feet.

I don't know why I forget that this is how it goes each year. With a new season, comes a new focus. Each season brings with it a renewed energy for the pastimes that best fit what the season has to offer. With spring and summer, come long days of activity, boundless energy and a connection with the larger world. With fall and winter, a slower pace, a smaller sphere and lots of knitting.

 I did work on a little bit of knitting in the warmer months. These legwarmers were made with the idea that my fall bike riding would benefit from a little extra warmth over leggings. And, it did!

Yarn: Cherry Tree Hill Supersock Merino in Birches (this colorway was well named!)
Pattern: I modified the Leaf Lace Socks pattern
Ravelry Project Page: Here

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Up North for the Fall Harvest...and Kittens!

I am quite certain that those who monitor weather statistics would agree with me that Minnesota was treated to an amazing summer and fall this year. The weather has been mild and the transition from one season to the next was gentle. I have been enjoying the unusual flexibility Mother Nature is allowing me when it comes to harvesting the last of my backyard garden and getting the chickens ready for the winter.

We also had time to go up to my dad's house to help (and benefit!) from his fall harvest. Our trip up to Wisconsin came with the very fun bonus of meeting his 2 new kittens!

I wasn't sure what to expect because these cats have a role that is quite different from our Fanny's life. These cuties are outdoor, farm cats who are expected to earn their keep by hunting mice and other pests. My dad named them Shakey and Fatty based on how they presented themselves when he first got them. I was super pleasantly surprised that they are as curious and affectionate as can be with outsized purr motors!

Uli got to meet them as well. Shakey was a lot more interested in playing with Uli than Fatty was.

It was an entertaining site, watching them try to figure out how to play together. Shakey's attempt at catching Uli were slapstick as she only jumped at him well after he had zoomed past her.

Fatty kept his distance likely wondering why his sibling wasn't more afraid of this newcomer.

They alternated play sessions with sniffing breaks and timeouts under the car where Uli couldn't get at Shakey.

The kittens slowed down our harvesting productivity quite a bit with their adorable antics.

Photo credit to Paul

I am glad my dad has some new buddies around and I certainly enjoyed having the opportunity to love them up. Powerful kitten purrs are good medicine.

We usually take a few walks when we visit and this time Fatty wanted to come with us!

He still didn't want Uli to get close to him, though.

Cat in the tree!

Uli had a grand time once again, running and playing on the acreage.

Unfortunately, we didn't bring any treats with us to reward his recall. As the weekend wore on, he got less and less responsive to us and more and more wide in his range around the woods. It got to the point where he wasn't coming back at all unless he wanted to. We let that happen to each of us once and then to the tie out he went. Thankfully, as soon as we got home and intermittently rewarded recall with treats, his consistent obedience returned. He didn't much enjoy his confinement, so hopefully he put together a little bit of cause and effect for future reference.

"I got up here but I don't know how to get down! Help!"

After the harvest, we loaded the car up to the brim with awesome veggies and cases of honeycrisp apples.

Since we got back, the dehydrator has been humming away drying apple chips, the oven has been busy roasting root veggies, potatoes and squash and our appetites have been satisfied.

Friday, August 7, 2015

Paul's 2-Day Birthday Extravanganza

Another wonderful year in the books! After we got back from our cabin trip, we had a day or two to settle back in (and go pick blueberries, in my case) and then we were on to celebrating Paul's birthday.

We ate very well, as we love to do. I made the Baked Huevos Rancheros from the Smitten Kitchen cookbook and a batch of cornbread to start the day off. Paul fixed himself up a pretty plate topped with jalapeno dust.

After breakfast, we started a knife skills class through Craftsy. We haven't gotten to the hands on lessons yet but we have already learned a lot including that we haven't been going about sharpening our knives correctly.

As is tradition for Paul and I with birthdays, we know we are in for a day of fun but the details are kept secret. This year I put a little extra secret into the mix by surprising him with the arrival of a group of his friends for a mission at Escape MSP. Our clever group successfully completed Mission 1! We celebrated afterwards with drinks and brats at New Bohemia. It was a lot of fun to do the mission but even more fun to watch Paul's surprise and happiness with the arrival of each of his friends. Kudos to the crew for keeping the secret!

Since I know Paul loves blueberries, I went picking the day before we celebrated and made this tart for us in lieu of a birthday cake. I confess, the crust is not homemade, but he doesn't seem to mind.

For dinner on birthday celebration day 1, we went to a newer restaurant called La Ceiba Bistro. This restaurant is a reincarnation of El Meson, a restaurant that Paul used to frequent when we first started dating. He took me there on a date once and I enjoyed my dish enough that I still remember it this many years later. Thankfully, this incarnation of the restaurant uses some of the same recipes as the previous place so I got to eat that dish again. The food was great but the space is a bit small for the live music and dance performance that was happening that night. It was a bit overpowering so we ate and took our conversation needs elsewhere. Paul was excited to be able to revisit this cuisine again, but if we return, we would go on a quieter night.

On his actual birthday, I had to work but we spent the evening celebrating. To start out, we had a picnic dinner beside the river on the edge of downtown St. Paul.

From there we walked over the river to the Wabasha Street Caves.

Somehow it had escaped Paul's beer-loving radar that it was Tour de Fat week. I surprised him with tickets to the sold out Sour Symposium hosted by New Belgium Brewing.

Before the symposium started, we were given a tour of the historic caves. We learned about gangsters, speakeasies, mushrooms and hazardous waste.

The symposium included a lecture/slide show, a generous amount of New Belgium Brewing beer, a cheese and charcuterie platter, opportunities for Q & A as well as a hands on tasting/mixing experience.

The mixing portion of the evening was a bit lost on me as I could not pick out the differences in the beer that had been aged in different casks to bring out different flavors. The beers are all used as the base for La Folie so to my untrained palette, they all tasted like La Folie! Paul could tell the difference and mixed a variety of his own blends to find the flavor and tartness that suited him best. He rightly calls it La Paulie.

After we had consumed all of the sour beer one person can consume in an evening, we were just an Uber ride away from the conclusion of Paul's birthday festivities...until next year, that is!
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...