Spinning, Knitting, Crocheting, Organic Gardening, Living off-grid, and chasing sheep - because- I'm, like, NOT SANE!

Monday, September 22, 2008

In praise of coffee and sunshine.....

Sheep in a MeadowWow! Is about all I can say in regards to the sunshine bit. This weekend was a perfect blend of chilly fall breezes and bright sunny days - perfect fair going weather as it gave everyone an excuse to sport their knitted wares and generally think loving thoughts about yarn, root crops, wool, warmth, and that comfort in knowing and learning more about how to live sustainably and more independently. So, the fair was much fun and inspiration - as it always is for our family. It's the place we go to to remind ourselves that we aren't soooo freakish that there aren't thousands of people like us, or in a way different but with a mingling sort of life spirit that makes us still feel very much in common with one another. It's the realm that we can talk about things like compost, solar panels, battery banks and the cats who love to disconnect wires from them just to mess with our heads. A place where a sheep chase is a story you share while laughing with other small farmers about the insanity of what it is we have chosen to mold our lives around. We walk away from it brimming with ideas and enthusiasm and, for at least a few days to a few weeks, we begin to think that we're not so wacky after all. Fortunately, there's no chance in us getting swollen heads or rampant ego action about it because winter's right around the corner and when she smacks us with her paws of reality - we pretty much remember that we're mildly insane to design our lives in such a complex and guaranteed to be challenging way (wink). Things 1,2, and 3 and I wanted to do one exhibit together in the exhibition hall this year - as last year was a total mom meltdown challenge with each Thing picking a different medium to work in and all needing some help. This year, we got out our Jan Messant book and made a little sheep in the meadow display - complete with a pond that thing 1 crocheted and some goldfish to swim in it. Everyone worked together on it and, if you've read the previous post, you know that hubster sacrificed a fingertip for it as well so that made it a truly family project. We won 2nd place and all are thrilled to have our sheep back at home, safe and sound - because even knitted sheep need protecting.

The coffee bit is a tribute to my serious caffeine deficiency suffered over the weekend. See, this is where the barbed tail of my utter love and support of the Common Ground Fair is really tested. While I cherish their goal to have the agricultural products shown and sold at the fair come from ACTUAL local farmers and be true Maine products, as well as supporting them in trying to attract good, organic, local food for their food alley - coffee is a sticking point - as we cannot grow it in Maine so....urrr, we can not haz it at the fair (meows loudly and sucks on paw while crying)! So, after I realized that I did not have a brick on my head this morning, I began gulping jugs full of the heavenly brown elixir - organic, still, of course and I am finally starting to feel as though I could possibly form a complete sentence. Please, oh please, oh please, may someone soon develop a coffee plant that can survive Maine winters.....

A real highlight to the fair was hooking up with Loribird of From The Wool Room. We meandered over to the fleece tent whereupon I discovered my inner snob. Honestly, I am not a 'fussy' sort of person. If you could see my kitchen and living room right now, you'd know just how true this is. But, geez, take me into a tent of fleeces and I will pick through them finding something wrong with half of them. It was an enlightening experience for sure. I'm so glad it happened with Lori, though, because if anyone is gracious enough to overlook my obvious tendency to be a total grease fleece snob, it would be her. I take the evidence of the yummy maple sugar heart that she left at the booth for me later in the day when she came by and I wasn't there to be proof that this is so. I lurved her for it.....because it really completed the sort of inappropriately sensual experience I had with my cup of strong, black, steaming coffee with morning.

malachite knitting needlesI also got to visit with so many blog readers, wool lovers and generally fascinating people I am fortunate to call friends that I cannot even begin to list them all - still, I can't not say - hey, it was great to see ya'll and laugh, spin, chat string/life/the way of things! I loved seeing Karen and Sharon of Autumn Hollow Farm as I do every year. What a couple of talented people they are. The first time I held a pair of their knitting needles I knew I would have to have a set all of them. They make them by hand on a lathe and finish with a flair that is indescribable - a combination of gemstone, beautiful beads, silver, ahhh! - they are the penultimate experience of beautiful needles! I've been fortunate enough to make a pair mine this year and I can honestly say that NO ONE else has been allowed to touch them. Hear me say this because I know ya'll are used to me sharing my things and generally encouraging people to touch things but you don't want to be caught touching these - they are guarded by beasts that would make the Eye of Sauron seem like a carousel pony! Malachite in silver on a Cocobolo wood. Size 7's and, did I mention, MINE!

my lootOh, it was such fun! And just what we needed to boost our spirits and give us that extra energy to get the winter preparations on the farm under way. Then, surprise of surprises, I came home to this lovely card and cowl. My dear friend, Anne, who is such an inspiration to me as a knitter and a dyer - had asked me a while back (did I mention one of her virtues beyond being inspiring is that she is also one of the most kind and patient people I've ever known?) to make a larger skein of some lace yarn I'd sent her in a 'new' colorway I was working on. Well, I finally got it in the shop and it is on it's way or in the warm knitting palms of Anne at this very moment. So, because kindness weighs heavily in the virtues of my super knitter friend - she sent the cowl she'd made of the first yarn to me - yeah, to me? I mean, how lucky can you be as a person to have friends who inspire you, encourage you, support your farm and lifestyle, and then make you cool stuff like this cowl that Kitty is wearing at the moment but will be warming my neck when I run errands in town later today? That is a fortune I hope to never lose - the richness of knowing so many awesome people. Thank you, Anne. You made me smile, and cry, and smile again - you are truly awesome!

Carol won the Great Giveaway so I'll be passing on these vibes of fiber loving strength and caring to her in the form of a skein of yarn spun just for her! Congrats, Carol!