fall.

I just looked over at Boh snoring next to me on the couch, and thought you might want to see a little bit of what we’ve been up to the last few months. I’m not knitting very much, but I’m hoping that my fingers will want to work on something simple and help me catch up on the wedding gift knitting in my queue. Things are very busy around here — fellowship applications, the academic job market, the dissertation. I can’t promise there will be much blogging, but I am still here, still reading blogs, and still very much appreciating the internet community of knitters and spinners. Happy fall to all of you.

4oct01

Boh enjoying one of our favorite places to walk.

4oct02

And wade.

4oct03

We enjoyed watching this flicker look for treats on the stone steps outside the enclosed porch.

4oct04

Scrambed eggs, avocado, and salsa on corn tortillas: lunch of dissertators (champions?).

4oct05

Negroni on the porch.

4oct06

I had the flu a few weeks ago, and Boh took care of me.

4oct07

A self portrait in the very fancy bathroom of a new building on campus.

4oct08

Sitting on the dock.

4oct09

My mom came for a quick visit, and she brought me a pumpkin!

4oct1

Farm flowers. The gladiolas this year were gorgeous.

4oct13

Happy, happy dog.

4oct12

4oct11

Fall has begun. I love it, and I think Boh really does, too. Maybe there’s something about the smell of leaves?

4oct10

Fancy shoes and a manhattan help with proofreading, right? (One of my goals for this fall is to become a little bit more proficient in the land of mixing drinks.)

4oct2

A view of the lake from campus on a clear, sunny day.

Thanks for reading, friends.

golden weekend.

In surgeon-speak, a “golden weekend” is a weekend you’re not working or on call. For my dear friends in St. Louis, these back-to-back days of family time are precious — and noted as such on the calendar that hangs in the kitchen. I had a golden weekend of sorts. I managed a kind of balance between writing the dissertation, playing in the kitchen, prepping class, and walking with Boh amidst golden light and fall leaves.

Oh how I love fall.

Fennel slaw from The Sprouted Kitchen: A Tastier Take on Whole Foods. Do you read their blog? You should. And you should totally consider purchasing their gorgeous cookbook. This fennel slaw was simple and unexpectedly delicious. And after spending a couple of evenings flipping through the cookbook, I was inspired to make this pot of white beans:

Even though I didn’t have all of the ingredients called for, these beans and leeks are amazing. (And I say “are” because I’ve eaten them for two meals, and I’m psyched to have them again for lunch today, maybe this time on toast.)

I dug out my Agnes to wear while I worked on Sunday morning before the sun warmed the house up. I tug at it a little bit — it is slightly short, and the neck is a bit snug. I don’t think I ever blocked this, so once my dining room table is free (I’m slowly moving everything back into the kitchen), I think I’ll give it a good soak and pin it out to dry!

I almost wore my Kerrera on the walk I took with Boh, but I decided I’d be too warm. (That turned out to be a good choice. Soon…) It also needs blocking, or at least the collar does.

And in the knitting department, I present to you Yoda Thorpe! Since snapping this photo, I’ve used the sides of a coated green hanger to thread through the ears, and now it needs some more seaming to support the additional weight. I think M. is going to be a fabulous Sexy Yoda for Halloween.

There’s a pile of grading waiting for me today, which means that instead I’m making granola, doing laundry, and generally catching up on life this morning. Pretty soon I’ll have no choice but to sit down to comment on papers…

signs.

I don’t watch Game of Thrones, but I’m pretty sure nothing says “Winter is coming” like a baby mouse scurrying around my dish rack. (Filled, of course, with no longer clean dishes.) This guy hid in this jar-shaped glass when he saw me. After I took his picture, I escorted him to the bottom of the driveway. And then I began the process of investigating for evidence of mice, and scrubbing and disinfecting everything. My love of old houses  means I’m familiar with this process, but I was a little cranky about discovering this mouse late on Tuesday night just as I had finished all of my prep for my Wednesday morning class. Sigh. I understand that the mice are just looking for a cozy place to hunker down. I’m willing to negotiate: they can have the basement (which has an earthen floor — there’s no way I can keep critters out of there), but the kitchen is off limits. Hopefully I can convince them that it is in their best interest to agree to my terms now, before the cold really sets in.

But enough about that. How about some pleasant signs that cooler weather is upon us?

I wore my wurm cowl yesterday. And I totally want another one.

I drank my Thursday morning latte pretty quickly at the coffee shop yesterday. (And finally finished a workable draft of that fellowship application I’ve been complaining about!)

I wrapped myself in my stripe study shawl and sat on the porch with my first cup of coffee this morning.

Aren’t the leaves lovely?

I’ve been spinning! These are Targhee singles in the Sprout colorway from the Hello Yarn Fiber Club (April 2011). In the background you can see what are probably my last snapdragons of the season. Even if winter is still a ways off, the first frost is near. I picked those at the farm on Tuesday afternoon. Happy Friday!

FO: kerrera. (also, fall break.)

Actually, how about Fall Break first? I stopped to snap this picture on my walk to the coffee shop Friday morning. The leaves and the light are so lovely right now.

A lovely latte at one of my favorite places to work. I’m almost happy with my fellowship application, after lots of struggling and a two-week time-out.

Can you see that snake in the grass? Boh totally didn’t see it. (It was right in front of us on the paved path we walked on Friday, and then it slithered off to the side.)

Bright red leaves from my yard. Hello, fall.

Fall is for vests. Especially vests like this one, snagged from my mom, who wore it so well in the late 70s.

And here’s my Kerrera! I’m calling it done, even though the collar could use more of a blocking than the rest of it received this morning. (I put it in the bathroom while I took a hot shower and left the fan off.) The left arm is a little looser than the right between the wrist and the elbow, but I think I can live with that!

I absolutely love the length, and the way the double garter stitch edging hangs, especially in the back.

And of course, I love the patch pockets. I think this is going to get lots of use this fall as a cozy layer for working at home and as the perfect thing to throw on as a light jacket for walking Boh or sitting on the dock with a cup of tea! I think this is the most complicated knit I’ve attempted, and I’m really happy with what I’ve learned. This was the first time I knit anything with short row sleeve caps or patch pockets, and I think both turned out pretty well. (I also learned that I should take better notes — I clearly modified the decreases on one of the arms and did not write that down.) I used not more than 5 and a half skeins of Berroco Ultra Alpaca, which means I’ve got almost half a bag left — enough for another sweater!

Okay, back to commenting on papers. Happy Monday!

more fall (this time, with handknits).

Yesterday afternoon I met up with dear friend T. and her very handsome son W. for a walk in a nearby state park. Boh was so excited to be on an adventure that he could barely hold still to have his photo taken!

The weather is growing cool and crisp, and these awesome birthday mitts from brokeknits were just what I needed. Hooray for mitt weather!

After our walk, it was time for me to get back to work, and there was no way that was going to happen curled up on the couch with a very happy dog. I put on my wurm cowl and headed out to a coffee shop.

I think this is going to get a lot of wear this fall and winter. Thanks, you guys, for convincing me that the colors wouldn’t be too crazy for me. Off to yoga!

fall.

I meant to post these earlier in the week, when they were still an accurate representation of fall here at the lake house. It is colder now — we’ve had a first dusting of snow, all the plants are now on the porch to avoid frost, and I’m back to wearing my uggs as my around-the-house shoes. There’s a sweater on the chair next to my bed, so I can slip on a cozy, warm layer as soon as I’m out from under the covers. I even trapped a mouse (using a jar and my bench scraper) and let him go at the edge of the yard.

Oh, and I made this amazing cauliflower earlier in the week, maybe the same day I snapped all these pictures of the dock and the yard. I think you should drop everything and make some at your house. Seriously — a friend on Facebook said this recipe changed her decades-long dislike of cauliflower. If that isn’t a ringing endorsement, I don’t know what is. (And I didn’t even add the yogurt sauce or the pomegranate seeds.)

And then there’s this guy. Silly, silly dog. I think he’s pretty happy that I’ve declared November a research-trip-free month. I’m hoping to get into a rhythm, finally, of everything: writing, knitting, cooking, walking with Boh. I think we’re both creatures of habit, and I’m ready to settle into a balanced routine.

Happy weekend!

boh knows best.

I left off yesterday by saying that I owed Boh a good, long walk. All this reading, writing, and grading has meant a slew of shorter-than-they-should-be walks for my favorite four-legged companion. I was thinking about it as something for him — but really, it was exactly what I needed, too. (Funny how that works.)

Late afternoon light.

Intrepid adventurers?

I love this tree.

The reservoir, late fall.

We needed that. (Way more restorative than the fancy coffee drink I splurged on yesterday as I headed home from campus.)

the cheese trail.

Yesterday was an epic Sunday. I went to an early morning yoga class, where my teacher mentioned that in addition to an artists’ open studio event happening in and around town all weekend, that the local cheesemakers’ association was also inviting folks to visit their farms and taste the different kinds of locally-made cheeses. That was enough to rearrange the day. We hopped into the car and headed to farm country.

The trees everywhere were golden and honey-hued, and oh, the light! Yesterday was a clear day, and everything just looked warm. You know?

We met some cows. I think this one down in front is named Gina. At least that’s what her ear tag says. We learned about how local farmers make gouda and jack-style cheeses, learned about different ways of aging rounds or blocks of cheese, and tasted a generous amount at the two farms we visited. We settled on what I think is a raw milk cheddar, and a hunk of (local) beer-soaked, wood-aged gouda.

Last night for dinner, we might have just eaten cheese, bread, pickles, and some leftover coleslaw. But that’s because the cheese trail was only the beginning. (I’m going to break Sunday’s adventures into two posts. Stay tuned!)

WIP smart.

Sorry about that. I can’t help myself. (Seriously. Last week I taught a section on Marco Polo, and it was all I could do to not begin class with: Maaaaarcoooo! And yes, you’re right. I do not work on 12th-century China. The class I’m TAing covers a lot of ground.)

Anyway, back to knitting. This weekend, I took a mini-vacation to my friend K’s apartment. She had minor surgery on Friday, so Boh and I went to keep her company and help her with things that are tough to do one-handed. (You know, like open those child-proof pill bottles.) She’d certainly have managed without us, but I think our plan was more fun. I tell you all of this to explain that on Thursday night, I found myself deliberating not over what books to pack, but over what knitting to bring with me. The weather has turned fall-like, and as such, I’ve been in a sweater-knitting mood. And then, while digging for my notions bag, I came upon my (rather embarrassing) pile of unfinished cozy sweaters (which even includes a neglected, and thus totally unhelpful test-knit). As soon as I touched the Ultra Alpaca fabric of my Kerrera, I knew that was the sweater that would be coming with me.

I discovered that I was a lot further along than I remembered, and this weekend I knit the reverse stockinette portion of the back and both fronts. This morning I did the three needle bind off to seam the shoulders, and slipped it on to get a sense for the fit. So far, I am very happy. (I decided to do the bind-off on the right side, as I’m not sure the pattern suggested which way to do it. I figured the raised, but clean, seam on the outside would make the sweater sit more comfortably on my shoulders, and mirror/echo the fake side seams on the body. The wrong side looks really great — an invisible seam — and I was probably supposed to do this the other way, but I think I like the choice I made.) You can’t see the shoulder seams in this pictures, but since I’m knitting this as part of a relaxed KAL, (Hi, Mick and Laura!) maybe this info will come in handy.

Next up? Sleeves! (Actually, a big pile of reading first, then the sleeves.)

yellow.

It was a quiet Friday, spent trying to catch up with the week: lots of list-making and stock-taking, but also a longer walk to the reservoir with Boh to clear my head and stretch his (okay, our) legs.

yellow1 six mile creek

yellow2 six mile creek

It was a proper eve of Halloween — the sky was grey, the wind, howling, and the familiar scent of leaves settling and decomposing whirled about us. The seasons are starting to turn again, but there are some leaves, branches, whole trees, even, that seem to resist. These solitary bursts of yellow made me smile, and I found myself looking for pockets of color in the muted beauty of these woods.

leaves six mile creek

leaves2 six mile creek

wind in weeds six mile creek

late fall six mile creek

Everything always seems more manageable after a walk along this path.

ming muffins1

ming muffins 2

The oven helps, too. A friend of mine from college has this gorgeous cupcake website that you should all check out, and yesterday she posted a recipe for savory cheddar and scallion cupcakes. Moments after reading this, I was in the kitchen melting butter and measuring out flour. Yum.

winter storage first bobbin

I also finished the first bobbin of Winter Storage, and I’m hoping to start the next one this afternoon — but only if I can get some writing done today.

boh admiring himself

I’ll leave you with a bit of Boh humor. I caught Boh admiring himself in the mirror yesterday. He was so engrossed in his own reflection that I was able to snap a few pictures before he starting looking at me in the mirror. Silly, silly dog.