so, this is happening.

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It feels like I just got home, but I’m leaving for a month in Chicago on Sunday. And I’m packing my life into a big rolly suitcase and a tiny carry-on. I’m renting a mildy furnished studio close to the library I’ll be working at, which means I’ve been making tough choices about what to bring. (Believe it or not, my favorite cast-iron skillet is buried deep in my bag. (All of my backpacking/expedition planning has prepared me for this. I might have spent Wednesday pouring laundry detergent, dish soap, cleaning solution, and conditioner into tiny bottles…)

But you don’t want to hear all about that. How about some pictures of the last few weeks?

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My dear friend K. came to visit — and by came to visit, I mean showed up and took care of me. We ate delicious things, and she caulked the windows on my porch, sewed a curtain for the closet in my guest room, and cuddled Boh every morning.

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Her visit was just what I needed.

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Sweetness from this guy.

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First flowers from the yard.

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And then I took a quick trip to Philadelphia for a taxidermy lecture and demonstration, which was incredibly cool. (Don’t worry; I won’t post any pictures of that.)

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Home again.

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And then a whirlwind of a trip to New York for a dear friend’s beautiful wedding. And the Met, for their Civil War photography exhibit. And a treat: a manicure and pedicure with an old friend/gracious host.

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Boh seems a little anxious about May. He’s not coming with me to Chicago, but he’s got plans that are equally exciting. No fewer than three of my friends are helping out by hanging with Boh while I’m away, and I think he’s going to have a fabulous time.

And now we’re all caught up! I’m certainly incredibly excited about this research opportunity, but I’m also really ready to settle back in on the porch and spend my days writing, cooking, and taking breaks in the lake. That’s what June is for, right?

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research.

On Sunday, we went to the zoo to do research. (My friends and their children were so kind to indulge and accompany me.)

The penguins? Well, these guys were just for fun. (Side note: It has been years since I’ve been to a zoo, and I can’t remember the last time I went with little kids. Watching them was half the fun!)

After our research excursion, we stopped for lunch at a place that makes and bottles its own root beer, cream soda, and ginger ale. This ginger ale float was amazing.

I spent Monday morning traveling, and arrived back at the lake house after lunch. Time to focus on settling into a summer routine — which will most certainly include knitting! (I am so close to being done with my stripe study shawl.)

dogs and catalogs.

This dog knows how to pose for close ups and wide angle shots. Where did he learn that?

You know your friends are having more fun than you are when you flip through the latest patagonia catalog and do a double take — because they are IN the catalog. (This made my day, you guys.)

When I was at my parents’ house for turkey dinner, I did my usual quick rifle through the closets, and found a few tops that were my mom’s when I was a little girl. For fun, I tried them on, and hooray — they fit me perfectly. She let me take them home (along with lots of leftovers, a stack of envelopes, some duffel bags from under the bed in my old room — which will be super helpful when I move in late May– and a ream of printer paper), and today I’m wearing one of them. This is a button-up-the-back blouse that was part of a cream/navy polka-dotted suit. (Which was cuter than it sounds.) Anyway, I cut out the shoulder pads (yes, it was the early 80s), and dressed it down. It is freezing out, so I’ll throw a cardigan on over this, but I love it. Wait ’til you see the red one…

Also, for the record, putting on a shirt that buttons up the back all by myself feels like a victory this early in the morning. Happy almost weekend, folks.

 

boh gets a visitor.

This is the kind of week we had. Me: scrambling to stay on top of things. Boh: patiently waiting for attention.

See?

And for once, all that sitting waiting wishing paid off. Our dear friend P. (you may remember her from her former north country farm fame) arrived last night for a quick visit.

Somebody was VERY happy to have her around.

Boh and P. went for a walk while I went to class. Sounds like a pretty good deal to me.

And when she left this afternoon to continue driving south and west, Boh assumed a contented position on the couch. (And so did I. So good to see dear friends. The north and east will miss you this spring, P.)

treats.

Several treats have arrived here at chez Rooster over the last few weeks, and I am overwhelmed. (I’ll have another to share once I’ve settled on the best way to display it!)

haber fiber

A dear friend found herself at the Common Ground Fair in Maine in September, and picked up six ounces of gorgeous wool/merino blend fiber dyed in lovely blues and greens from Friends’ Folly Farm. It arrived over the weekend, and I can’t wait to get this on the wheel.

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Last night, Boh and I headed over to see our favorite greyhound and his people. Popcorn was popped, NPR was switched on, and  I started my third seaman’s cap. This one is out of the dark green polwarth from Southern Cross Fibres that I spun a few weeks ago.

stripes too warm

Yesterday morning I pulled on my stripes! sweater, thinking that maybe it was getting cold enough that I’d need the warmth as I sipped my coffee. I was too warm after only a few minutes…but soon!

reward/recovery.

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Thank you for all of your happy thoughts about Tuesday’s lecture! I finally was able to do a bit of knitting and spinning last night in order to recover from all of the week’s stress and extra adrenaline, and I decided to reward myself by spinning a special treat: a gorgeous batt from Amondale Farms that Lisa Knithound sent my way as a Rhinebeck souvenir. (I was going to try to crack a Halloween joke or two about batts/bats…but I won’t.)

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I know, Boh does not look pleased. But these are his colors! Lisa said that this batt reminded her of the southwest, and I agree: these colors make me think of the gorgeous sunrises I witnessed almost every morning when I lived there.  I did a little bit of reading about spinning batts, divided the 1.5 oz. batt into two equal chunks by unrolling the rectangle and splitting it down the middle, and sat down at the wheel.

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I mostly used the long draw technique to spin this, but I did a lot of smoothing of the single before I let it wind on to the bobbin, so it certainly wasn’t a “true” long draw. I let the singles rest an hour, and then plied them together!

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Here’s the plied batt on my niddy noddy…

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And here is my finished skein: 51 yards of lofty 2-ply that runs a bit thick and thin, from dk to worsted.

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I’m already thinking about turning this into a calorimetry for me!

Spinning and plying this batt last night just made me want to get something else going on the wheel. It was so much fun to try something new — this is my first batt! — that I decided to take my fast flyer out of it’s plastic wrap and put it on my wheel.

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This is Finn, from the Hello Yarn Fiber Club, in the Winter Storage colorway. I’m aiming for a 2-ply light-fingering/laceweight.

Happy Friday!

 

rustling.

(Not cattle. More like leaves, branches, half-thoughts, glimpses of moments past.)

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This is one of my favorite paths to wander along, as those of you who’ve been reading for the summer, even the last year, are well aware.

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The wind in the beech trees, the water pouring over the spillway, even the distinctive vibration from the trucks on the state road I walk to get here; these sounds stir me. I see and hear echoes of words I have felt, said, thought. My memory surprises me. These walks are harder on some days than others, but always strangely restorative.

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Yesterday’s walk (and the walk I took last week, with our houseguest) was different. After an incredibly delicious mushroom-leek quiche (everyone should find friends who will bring breakfast to your house) that I wish I had photographed to share here, we bundled up and headed out the door with Boh and Coltrane. I guess I write all of this to say that it seems important to experience solitary places with other people. It’s not that the reservoir was transformed by the company; more that I noticed new things around me, and at the same time, rustled up a little less. It is nice to turn my regular route into a space filled with chatter, storytelling, community.

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One of the great things about friends who are also early-risers is that you can enjoy an indulgent brunch and take a relaxing walk AND have plenty of time left over for productivity, of both the academic and fiber-y variety.

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In between bouts of reading and writing, I sat down at my wheel and spun up two bobbins of luxurious polwarth from Southern Cross Fibres in the Boogie Wonderland colorway. This was incredible stuff to spin, and the depth of these greys and greens is stunning.  We’ll see if I can get through today’s pile fast enough to start plying this today.