A new month

September is usually winding down month on canning, but there are so many green tomatoes on the vines, that tomatoes will still be canned; the grapes are finally ripening, so grape jelly is still to be made; the ground cherries are just beginning to bloom so jam from them will be prepared; there are so many Tomatillos forming and blooms still developing that some will be made into green salsa, some frozen or canned in halves. Usually September is Asian Pear marmalade and applesauce time. I went out Sunday afternoon to check the ripeness of the Asian Pears, and they are gone, every last one of them from the top to the bottom. There are few apples, maybe one small batch of sauce. Because of a later frost, there weren’t a lot of pears or apples, but certainly enough to make a few batches. I don’t know what happened, I have gotten so many pears in the past that I have shared them, pressed them into cider, made the marmalade and pear sauce. Not this year. I will buy enough at the Farmer’s Market to make one batch of marmalade, that is my favorite jam, and enough apples to make a canner full of applesauce jars. This wasn’t a fruit year in our gardens.

It was fall like temperatures and very rainy yesterday. I had submitted orders to Eat’s Natural Foods and to Tractor supply for curbside pick up of some groceries for us and feed for all the critters. On Sunday, I sold the monster Stihl line trimmer on Craigslist after wearing myself out trying to start it and then daughter who brought her kiddos over for a masked socially distanced visit also tried. It started once and cut out. I was tired of fighting with the Herculean task of using the professional sized monster, so we had ordered a mid sized Stihl battery powered one and the larger battery, that was to be picked up too. When daughter and grands came over, granddaughter presented me with a pair of new socks that she insisted her Mom get for me because they were definitely ones that according to her “Mommom will love.” They are adorned with gourds and down the side is written, “Oh my gourd ness.” For you NP. As I dressed to go out in the cool rain, I donned my new socks.

Yesterday I posted my start photo for the Jenkins monthly spinning challenge, I had started knitting mittens with some of the yarn spun last month. I will be spinning the same fibers, to finish the Shetland/silk braid and work on through the blue Tunis.

About 3 inches into the mitten cuffs, I decided the yarn was just too fine for mitten weight fabric, so I “frogged” them and rewound the yarn, began again holding two strands together to get a better weight. That meant I was going to need at least that much more yarn to make them, so last night I challenged myself to spin heavier yarn on my heaviest spindle. It won’t be counted in the challenge, but will be knit into the mittens. I think it may be heavy enough, I hope.

I will finish this spindle full and another and ply them to see. I am not usually very successful with this spindle except to ply finer yarns as it is heavier than I prefer and my yarn singles tend to break if I get any yarn weight on it. So far I am doing okay with a heavier spin. Time will tell.

I made a difficult decision about Cabin Crafted Etsy Shop. I am paying personal property tax on equipment and stock and with no craft shows upcoming due to Covid, paying relisting fees on Etsy, as I have a fair size stock that is just sitting with no income. All yarn, knits, and weaves in my shop were drastically marked down to materials cost with no markup for labor. I need to move the stock I have made and then decide whether Cabin Crafted as a cottage business is going to continue on or close up and just knit and make soap for my family and me, or for friends that make specific requests. I enjoy the process and even setting up for events, but the times are tough right now.

Stay safe everyone. with the University in town opening two weeks ago, cases of Covid had soared, from 5 to nearly 200 cases just on campus in those two weeks. They are even on the rise in our very rural county as folks work and shop in the town. We are back in full isolation with only curbside pick up of necessary goods.

Another disappointment

Though this one was somewhat expected. Since his retirement, with our children grown, hubby decided he wanted to take up motorcycle riding. He scheduled the state required safety class. The day before the class, we were on a bicycle ride after having had his bicycle serviced at the local bike shop and on the Huckleberry Trail where we often walk, there is a hill with a turn at the bottom. On the way back to the car, so going downhill, he had an accident that later appeared to have been the result of a serious miss adjustment of his brakes. He ended up breaking his left humerus very close to his shoulder. We were able, under the circumstances to cancel the class and they even gave him a refund. About a year later, two months after his 70th birthday, he signed up for the class again, stayed off the bicycle and successfully completed the class on a small Honda motorcycle. After the class, he located a similar used Honda and we bought it.

Now you need to understand that we live in the mountains, two miles up a macadam road, two tenths of a mile down a gravel road, and another two tenths of a mile down a gravel driveway, so not the flat parking lot that he took the class on. The motorcycle was picked up on a rented trailer and unloaded at home. He learned to deal with the gravel, and the twisty mountain roads and would disappear for hours, Zen riding as he put it, no destination in mind, sometimes, not even knowing where he was. His exploration lead him to places that we later visited in the car, sometimes looking for new adventures for him.

After about 6 months, he sold the Honda and got the Harley Davidson he really wanted and rode it over a very mountainous rural road the hour plus home. Going out Zen riding was his pleasure. Though I didn’t like to be a passenger, it was something I supported as it made him very happy. He even rode it to Florida one summer to visit our daughter when she lived there, with Grandson 1 and me as his support vehicle.

Two years ago, riding became uncomfortable, causing neck and back pain and he was only able to ride for very short periods of time, then mostly not at all. Last week, the Harley was past due on state inspection and in need of annual servicing as well as having a mirror repaired, so he rode it to the city. The mirror held up the return until a call yesterday that it was ready, but it was raining. This morning, we rode to the city to either pick it up, or sadly for him, to sell it to the dealer, a decision he had a hard time coming to. The dealer bought his bike, the end of an era for him. He is understandably sad this afternoon.

Leading a ride at the local rally.

Disappointments and Silver Linings

Each year in the late summer, early fall, I attend a fiber retreat. One of the ladies I met at the one I had attended for several years decided to organize one that some of her fiber friends nearer to their home might attend and I started going to that one. The first one I attended was at Roan Mountain, TN and went there for several years. Last year the event moved to a better overall venue at Black Mountain, NC. This event is a highlight of my year, usually the first event of the season at which I also vend in addition to being a participant. I had decided that this would probably be the swan song of me vending at events. This year the event was going to return to Black Mountain and was moved a bit earlier to try to avoid some of the school and church groups that attend events at the same facility. That meant that I would have left home yesterday for the event, yesterday was hubby’s birthday. He was okay with that. The plan was for me to make his favorite meal, a homemade Mexican feast the evening before, kiss him goodbye around lunchtime yesterday and head southwest for the weekend. Like so many other events, this one was wisely cancelled. It was a disappointment, but it meant I would be home for hubby’s birthday.

Because of very limited being in public, I didn’t get him a card, but I had ordered a new T shirt on the internet and it came in time to hide away until yesterday morning. We went and got carry out lunch at his favorite burger place and the Mexican feast was prepared last night instead. We are at an age where the years are ripping by and are pretty indifferent to celebrating, but it was nice that he got messages from all three kids and several grandkids yesterday in the form of texts and calls.

The repairs are completed on the Big Bad Harley, but it is too rainy today to drive to the city and have him ride it home. But since I’m not away after all, we can drive over tomorrow.

To each disappointment there is a silver lining. I am grateful we have each other and have stayed healthy so far.