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Delicious Autumn

Delicious autumn!  My very soul is wedded to it, and if I were a bird I would fly about the earth seeking the successive autumns.  ~George Eliot

Today is a perfect September day.  The sky is the special shade of blue that only comes in fall.  It was chilly this morning but still hot in the afternoon.  Days like this put me in a cozy mood.  I start contemplating root veggie stews, home made bread, and pulling my collection of knit and crochet afghans out of the closet to drape over the couches.

Days like this inspire me to raid the garden and freeze or can everything, so we can enjoy harvest flavors in the dullest parts of winter.

In the spirit of autumn harvest, I contemplated our booming, bee-laden crop of lavender.

(Full disclosure, this is not at my house.  We’re house-sitting at The Farm again.)

Armed with kitchen shears, I gathered a small ball-jar’s worth of lavender flowers, and lay them out to be de-bugged and photographed.

Just add honey

now all I have to do is wait.

Maybe I’ll make some Lavender Shortbread in the meantime.

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Guess what’s been keeping me busy?

Well, yes.

But there’s something else, too!

During the Estes Park Wool Market I got a lovely little spindle from Magpie Woodworks.  It’s deliciously warm and smooth, and amazingly balanced.  I think I’m in love.  In fact, I may have slipped and fell at Gypsy Wools

… and possibly at Shuttles, too.

I also learned that I need to either invest in one of those pet-hair-rollers, or dress to match my fiber.

On that note, I leave you with this.

Housesitting is a little like a vacation in the KnittingSprite family.

Maybe this is because we only house-sit for my Dad and StepMom, in the house I grew up in.  This house has many cool things, such as The Comfy Chair

This is THE perfect chair.  I can nurse comfortably.  It reclines.  I can have all the necessities at hand for when I am pinned by a sleeping WeeSprite – knitting, tea, remote control, and laptop.

And it is comfy.  Oh so comfy.

There is also Joe;

Sheepies;

and a grill.

There’s the joy of having a big house to ourselves.  The comfort of listening to all the music I heard growing up.  The smell of my old bedroom.  We are playing ‘house’ in a way.  This is a lot like the life we imagine for ourselves in the future.  Land, a  big organic garden, lots of animals (although I do not envision myself with a Joe), a quiet place in the country.

I imagine a future with sheep and goats, alpaca and chickens.  Sometimes I dream of bees.  I have daydreams of WeeSprite running around where’s there’s room to grow and explore and catch snakes and rabbits.  Of having big, lush green areas all around.  Sitting in a big sunny yard with lots of trees, knitting or playing guitar and sipping a homebrew.

I dream of these things, and I also wonder when this became my fantasy future.  In the fashion of teenagers everywhere, when I lived this life I took it for granted.  I had big city plans and was going to move as far away as soon as possible.  At some point I was old enough to do things *my way*, and I found out crowded buildings made it hard to breathe.  Long stretches of pavement made me sad.  And going out to bars all night was only fun with the right people at the right times.

These days I’d rather have a nice meal with friends out in the sun, or go on a walk.  I’m more caught up in ‘dance parties’ and singing with WeeSprite than rubbing shoulders with the drunk and fabulous on the dancefloor.

Rather than having an expensive studio in downtown Wherever, I am budgeting and planning, and dreaming of my cozy little house in the country of the future.

Dreaming and planning – perfect occupations for The Comfy Chair.

Two posts in one day!!  I must take advantage of this time – I’m curled up with laptop and WeeSprite, cozy in my dad’s favorite comfy chair.

I’m currently house-sitting in the house I grew up in.  It’s fun playing real life “Farmvillle”.  There aren’t as many animals as when I was a kid, when we were taking any and all animals that were rescued and needed a new home.  Now we’re down to a dozen chickens, three geese, two Shetland sheep, a dog, three cats…. and an insane blue-and-gold macaw.

The macaw’s name is Joe.  He was rescued from a neglectful home long ago, and in the way of macaws, will live for-freaking-ever.  I really really hope one of my brothers inherits him.  He’s loud, has separation anxiety, and will sneak up and bite you if he gets the chance.  That beak? Yea, it could EASILY take off a finger.  That’s the macaw version of a joke.

Despite the negative qualitites, I did discover one fun thing about Joe.  Joe likes music.  And Joe likes to dance.

Dance, Joe, Dance!!

Sorry for the shaky video. Joe likes to have a dance partner, you see.

Oh, hey.  I remember this thing.  It’s called a Blog, I believe.  *cough* funny how the time flies between posts.

Being  a mom could be my excuse – Lyra is sleeping less and demanding more playtime these days.  We can just ignore my more-than-daily Facebook visits and the fact that I manage to keep up on other people’s blogs.

So what have I been doing all this time away?  Too much yarn winding, for one.  This lovely skein of handspun, hand-dyed laceweight has been calling to me.  Telling me it desperatly wants to become a beautiful Laminaria shawl.  Sadly for me, the yarn shop did not offer to wind this into a use-able ball of yarn (I hope this was an oversight by the person working at the time and not the standard.  ALL of their yarn comes in hanks like this).  I sat down to wind it by hand.

Bad. Idea.

Several hours (and shredded strands of my sanity) later I managed to get this:

One thousand, four hundred, and sixty yards.  Of laceweight.  This little ball of yarn is now full of the hate and bad words that I poured into it as I wound around and around and around.  It will be a little while before its  karma has repaired itself enough to be knitted.  On a happier note, isn’t that a cute pencil case I used for a winder?

I also finished my first pair of socks for Mr Knitting Sprite. He loves them so much that he hasn’t given me a chance to block the second sock.  I used Lions Brand Mens Grey Sock pattern (I can’t link it because you have to sign up for a free membership to see the patterns).  I really recommend it for a first sock.  Its worsted weight, and while plain stockinette can get boring, being new to socks made the whole thing interesting enough.

I think the secret to my FINISHING the socks was the Magic Loop technique.  I love this so much because it broke my previous sock knitting rut – knit two inches down the cuff, drop stitches on the ends of at least two DPNs, give up and pretend the sock never existed.  I love Magic Loop so much that I just checked out a book from the library about knitting two socks at a time on Magic Loop.  No second sock syndrome!!!

In beer news, my first lager is in the second stage of fermentation and will be bottled very soon.   I used Rocky Raccoon’s Honey Crystal Lager as the base recipe.  I used Colorado wildflower honey instead of clover honey, and added 3-4oz of fresh grated ginger.  I’m looking forward to a light summer beer.  Once it stops snowing, that is.   (You hear that, Colorado?  It’s May! No more!)

addictive little hats

It seems to be a rule that if you know one person having a baby, you know lots of people having babies.  This has been the case for me.  I went from being the only person in my close group of friends having a baby, to going on 3-times-a-week walks with other moms and seeing pregnant women everywhere.

This is, of course, a perfect knitting opportunity.  One of my walking buddies had a post-baby-shower a few days ago, and I whipped up this little hat in a day:quackquack

I loved the hat and the colors, so the next day I started a similar version for WeeSprite.

The second one really took two days, but it would be a one-day project for anyone who doesn’t have an almost-two-month-old baby around. (The one-day version for my friend was made on a day that DaddySprite was home).

I don’t know if it’s the yummy color combination, or the thrill of instant gratification, but I just want to make more and more hats.  WeeSprite was nursing with the hat on, and when I looked at her I just got to thinking;

I could make one with more stripes.  And maybe an I-cord.  Ooooh, k1p1 ribbing!

Next thing I know, this has happened…

Several episodes of Ugly Betty later (and some nursing/playtime in between)…

Tadaa!

I may be doomed to a never-ending cycle of tiny hats. I could just keep making them until she’s old enough to refuse to wear them.  Then I would tuck them into her school bag and hope…

Hmm.  Maybe I should go clean some beer bottles until I work this out of my system.

There is something homey and comforting about brewing beer on a snowy night.

Crystal malt toasting in the oven, a big bubbling pot on the stove, chatting with roomates (and wine) as we wait for the wort to cool for the yeast.  Good times indeed.

Last night Awesome Roomie J took the initiative to start a new IPA.  Yes, we love our hops in this house.  With toasted malt and oak chips steeped in, this one should be a whole different style from the Bouncin’ Baby IPA.

Awesome Roomie J keeps late hours, so this was a brew that went into the early hours of the next day. Awesome-ly enough, the wort didn’t get to a true boil till Midnight.  And I mean exactly midnight. In honor of the witching hour, we had no choice but to name the brew…

Witchy Woman IPA

Here’s some of our resident witchies stirring the cauldron of goodness.

(in order… Awesome Roomie J; KnittingSprite; Awesome Roomie M; wort boiling; wort cooling)

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