A Spirit Lifter

After not seeing Son 1 and family for almost a year due to COVID, we arranged a socially distanced meet up on the Skyline Drive in the fall. We met again at Natural Bridge State Park just before Christmas, and again today, this time at Douthat State Park. Each of these meet ups has been around lunch time with a picnic where we both provide part of the food and condiments, and the two state park meet ups also included a walk.

We walked along the creek at Natural Bridge to the falls and back and today, we hiked around the lake at Douthat.

Son 1, Grandson 1, and Hubby after lunch, letting the meal settle in a bit before our walk.
Hubby and me at the top of the dam as we walked around the lake.
The beach on the opposite side of the lake is where we had our picnic.

Son 1 took a couple of selfies of us lined up down the path with all of us in the photo, but I haven’t gotten any of them yet.

The drive was just a couple of hours, with about 3 1/2 hours “together” outdoors to visit and share a distance picnic spread out between a couple of tables. We took a totally non Interstate drive home which took a bit longer, but was a pleasant drive getting us back to the town near home before it got dark.

The after dark lock up of the hens provided a pleasant surprise.

After having to buy eggs for about a month, it looks like production might be ramping back up. It will be nice having eggs from our own flock again.

On the way out the door I grabbed a skein of yarn and a long circular needle, hand wound the skein into two equal balls and cast on a pair of fingerless mitts for me. I was going to knit them with the second half of the Parrothead BFL, but it spun up too fine for the pattern and I had plenty of gray Jacob spun last year and they can be worn with any coat or jacket. I didn’t get a lot done, but I’m doing them two at a time so when one is done, they both will be done.

These meet ups, even without being able to hug are spirit lifters for hubby and me. Weather permitting, we will look for another meet up at a park somewhere between their house and ours in February. Sandwiches and chips shared, a walk or hike together, conversation, and just knowing that they are ok is wonderful.

Happy New Year

The year ended with business paperwork showing an abysmal year for the shop. A putting away of last year and a clean house to start the new year. The last of the Christmas roast that had been frozen was thawed and warmed for supper last night with Huevos Rancheros on the schedule for the morning. We stayed up to watch the ball drop over the empty Times Square.

I started my double challenge spinning while watching another 30 minutes of new year festivities after midnight.

Yesterday, I knit the first square for the blanket as a test, using wool spun in November and December, and though it will be part of the finished blanket, it doesn’t count in the challenge. The wool I am starting with is BFL, 2 ounces each of the two colors above, Parrot Head and Kingfisher. One will start a new square after enough is spun and that will be my official one for the challenge, the other will be added to the square under them to provide the finishing corner of the blanket when all the quadrants of 4 breeds each are sewn together. The two spindles are “new” (within the past 5 weeks) and the fiber new at Christmas, so that satisfies the second challenge.

The morning brought an awakening thought that I had no eggs, so no Huevos for the Rancheros. He got cheese enchiladas and sausage instead. Our weekly curbside groceries were ready shortly after and again, the substitution or lack there of was a problem. It is frustrating that simple common sense can’t be used in offering substitutions. But it did get me the collards and black eyed peas that I will enjoy tonight as hubby has ham, au gratin potatoes, and something green. I enjoy corn bread with it, but have gotten frustrated that I make an 8″ skillet of it and half ends up going to the chickens before it all gets eaten. Maybe I should look for a tiny cast iron skillet and divide the recipe so that there are only 4 slices instead of 8.

The new year started rainy and cold but the rest of the week looks lovely. Tomorrow there is no official Farmer’s Market, but a few vendors have offered pre orders with a short window pick up. We will drive in to get eggs and some veggies. Next week, the winter markets begin.

Let’s hope that the vaccines get distributed fairly and quickly and that there are no more incidents of deliberate waste of them. Let’s also hope that the “adults” that hold positions in our House and Senate, act like adults and move the election result to completion. This year has to be better than last. A new grandson last January, socially distanced meet ups with our children and their families a few times, and my spindle spinning and knitting have gotten me through the past year.

Yes, I am alive and well

A friend reminded me that I had been silent for a few days. Time spent with hubby and via phone and video chat with family, time spent finishing my December spinning challenge, trying to finish a shawl as a finished project for the same challenge, and getting ready for the start of the new year, spinning challenges and mentally preparing for even more isolation as we are seeing about a dozen new cases of COVID in our county each day (56+% of the cases in the county since December 1) and between people travelling and gathering for Christmas and New Years, it will get worse.

When I went to the Farmers Market on the Saturday before Christmas, part of my goal was to obtain a Christmas roast for our Christmas dinner, we still have Thanksgiving turkey in the freezer. The vendor apologized that his abattoir had not gotten his latest beef back to him, but he expected to pick it up on Monday. He made a stop on his way home and let me buy a 3 pound rib roast. It was a much more expensive cut than I would usually purchase and wanted it to be cooked perfectly. When we have family here or that we can visit with, we usually have Italian food at Daughter’s on Christmas Eve, and Turkey, ham, and all the sides on Christmas day here. As a younger married, I would prepare either Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner, my Dad doing the other and extended family gathered. The Christmas dinner was always on Christmas eve and we grazed on left overs and other goodies on Christmas Day. Traditionally, I make Huevos Rancheros for hubby on Christmas and New Years Day mornings. Because it was just the two of us, I did prepare the breakfast then later in the day, prepared the roast that I had seasoned the day before. It was perfect and delicious. We have eaten about half of it over two days, the other half frozen to be pulled out in a week or so and enjoyed again.

We woke to a white Christmas with continued snow showers all day. Gifts had been exchanged with our children and grand children via distanced meetings or mail. We celebrated with just the two of us. My gifts included items lovingly chosen based on my interests, fiber to spin, a Jumbo flyer for my wheel, a travel Lazy Kate, a leather tooled pocket notebook cover, counter top herb garden with grow light, hand made pottery planter made by DIL and bee barn from them as well, wool socks and a wool tee shirt to keep me warm. It was a calm, lazy day filled with too much food, but no in person family except hubby.

My December spinning got side tracked when I started knitting the Peacock shawl, but I still finished with plenty for the challenge.

Yesterday was spent plying yarn, the “Redbud” ended up about 450 yards of light fingering weight and the Jacob (the gray) is this month’s and last month’s plied together to about 115 yards of light fingering weight.

The fiber hubby gave me is the left of this photo and will be the breed I begin my January challenges with, both the “Something New” challenge and a Breed Blanket.

After several frigid icy days, the sun is out and the snow and ice are melting, the temperature finally above 40 degrees, so we ventured out to take a walk, figuring the paved rail grade being the safest path. For the most part it was clear or wet, but there were some areas like this below.

Some of the areas that looked wet were black ice, but it was good to get out and stretch our legs and get some fresh air.

I have about half an ounce of yarn left before I have to use the rest to do the picot bind off. I’m hoping it is enough to finish the repeat I am on.

I’m very pleased with how the gradient blends until it gets to the purples and the gradient isn’t as subtle there, almost like the purples were reversed, but I spun this yarn on spindles and was very careful to keep them in the order they came off the braid. It is still a pretty shawl. Once finished, washed and blocked, it will go in my shop.

I hope you had a safe Christmas and will have a safe New Year.