Tag Archives: vermont

Mmm, maple

maple sugar house

Vermont’s maple open house weekend happened last weekend. It’s been so SO cold the sap has only run a few days so far. A lot of the local sugar houses weren’t open because they simply don’t have anything to boil yet, and they may or may not have anything left from last year to sell. It’s just been a weird winter…

But Boyden’s was open, and as usual, the place is shockingly photogenic…

maple doormaple chandelier

And of COURSE we couldn’t go eating all that sugar on snow without sharing any. Windsor has had a little yogurt on a spoon so she sort of knew what to do when we offered her some sweetened snow:

maple first

That’s her “new flavor” face. Trust me, she loved it. She started reaching out to the bowl of snow with both hands! Then after just two stops she got tired and it was nap time. But all in all, a successful outing!

maple sign

Summer School with Kim!

Vermont Public Radio’s summer school program* learns to spin yarn this week! They visited my friend Kim Goodling over at Grand View Farm.

grand veiw farmer

VPR recorded an audio postcard for you! Listen to the MP3 on their site. You’ll hear Kim talk about carding and spinning her wool. It’s a great little spot for one of my favorite local farms.

*I love my local public radio. These Summer school tidbits come on at the end of the lunch hour and cover all sorts of fun things from throwing a curve ball to tying a fishing fly.

Maple weekend

I think it’s pretty telling of our cold spring that Neil and I took the Vermont Maple Open House weekend tour back on March __ and we’re STILL in sugaring season now.

the road

No, it hasn’t been the bestest season ever, there’s been so much cold that the sap stops running for days at a time. But I think everyone can agree that it’s FAR better than last season, when the whole thing was done by that third weekend in march.

sugar house

The actual weekend of the open house was so cold that most of our local sugar-makers didn’t even have sap to boil for display. One family actually laughed and told us they were boiling sap straight from the trees – whereas usually they put it through the RO machine first to cut the volume and save energy.

taste test

But they’d already had enough of a sugar season to provide plenty of taste tests, flavor comparisions. And my favorite sugar on snow.

sugar on snow

Because we still had plenty of snow at that point!

As you can tell, maple sugar is a bit more modern than those pictures of the horses and metal buckets that you see on syrup jugs. But with any luck (and I need all the luck you can send me) this evening I’ll be heading out to a sugar bush where they still collect sap the old fashioned way. I have a book photo shoot I NEED to finish. But this weird, cold weather keeps forcing us to postpone…

Equinox

It’s winter here in the north country.
Snow’s so high it’s up past my knees.

snows past my knees

Car won’t start and the wood pile’s low,

wood piles low

everything moves so slow.
And it’s so cold,
maybe I’m just getting old.

So I’ll hunker down for another night,
eat my supper by candle light.

supper by candlelight

And it won’t
be long
’till summer’s here again…

Lyrics from Won’t Be Long by Susannah Clifford Blachly

Grand View Farm

Everybody loves a sale right? My friend Kim, over at Grand View Farm, has one you’ll probably like.

She’s offering some percentage discounts and some gift certificates for folks who want to visit the Bed and Breakfast. Her place is gorgeous, her classes are wonderful, and the workshop is amazing (it makes me want to weave, just standing there surrounded by the looms)

Grand View in winter

Grand View B&B

Pretty much if you read my blog you’d love a visit to Grand View. She’s got the animals, the local foods, gardening, chickens, fiber arts… What’s not to love about a vacation like that?

promoting farm yarns

Kim Goodling e-mailed me asking if we could help her out a little. She says:

I am trying to raise money to convert our little milkhouse that is in the driveway to a small yarn shop selling yarn from local farms and to provide a meeting place for local knitters and shepherds to come together. Thanks!!

So please could you help her out? All you need to do is GO HERE and click the “vote” button. You don’t have to register, you don’t have to fill out any forms, just vote! And if you really love farm yarns, vote every day :-)

You all know how much I love farm yarns. They’re unique, created with care that can’t be duplicated. Dedicated farmers care for the animals, harvest the fiber, create the blends, and bring us knitters truly special yarns.

I’ve worked with Kim of Grand View Farm to create patterns that show off her unique farm yarns to their best advantage. (Sheep Herder’s hat, Grand View Gansey, and now my November Guest cowl)

If Kim is able to convert the little milk house she’ll use the space not just for her own yarns, but as a place for other farms to sell their yarns too. The little house will become a space for fiber artists to gather, and a place to educate new knitters on the wonderful yarns, sustainable practices that are behind our favorite farm yarns.

Ramble on…

If you’ve been reading for any amount of time you’ve probably heard me mention on and off how I’m working on improving my photography. Well this last year I feel like I’ve made some major improvements! And with the gift giving season coming up I was thinking it’d be fun to share some of my work with my family. One thing lead to another, and I ended up designing a little calendar:

Calender cover

I’m actually pretty proud of this. I only started using the fancy layout software last spring. This calendar projects was a fun thing that combined my new layout skills and my new photography skills and I think the whole thing came out really well.

calender sample spread

Each month has a feature photo and a little photo. The calendar includes all the standard bits: previews of last month and next month, holidays, phases of the moon…

calender back page

The content is more of what you see here, there’s knitting and some other crafts, views from around Vermont, from my garden, and even some chickens!

And since I’m using MagCloud to print some copies for gifts it’s easy for me to make the calender available to you as well. If you’d like a little sampler of Vermont to hang on your wall click on over and help yourself!

Autumnal Spring

Last spring I took you on a visit to the water without price spring in Craftsbury Vermont. And now I’d like to take another little trip, this time to a spring in Mongomery, VT. This spring is not as fancy as the first, it’s a simple spigot on the side of a little back road. And what a back road it is.

uphill

This is a town maintained road, but further uphill it get too steep to maintain safely in the winter. This road is closed from the first snowfall to the last. But the spring runs year ‘round. In the winter you can visit it (and people do) by parking just below the plow truck turn around and hiking up the trail.

from a distance

When you get there you’ll find a little wall built up to support the spigot. Water runs downhill through a pipe to get here, and it runs fast enough not to freeze during the winter.

up close

Who, I wonder, went through the effort of putting in a pipe and a wall? Who uses this spring, who maintains it? No signs give us any hint to the origins of the spring. But here it sits, providing water to any who desire it.

Stammel sweater

I’m excited to say that I have just released another pattern! My Stammel sweater:

stammel main portrait

Details, as always, on its page here, or on Ravelry.

Stammel is a very simple pullover with a few fancy details. The cap sleeves are gathered at the top and the hems are all trimmed with handspun yarn in a pretty broken garter pattern:

stammel hem and shaping

Like I said, I used handspun for this sweater, but I’ve also swatched several commercial alternatives: Green Mountain Spinnery Mountain Mohair, Peace Fleece Worsted, Harrisville Designs Highland, and Brown Sheep Lamb’s Pride Worsted. In fact, for most of the sizes there’s enough yardage in the Cascade Eco skeins that you could knit this up in just one color if you preferred!

stammel hem options

I have a lot of deadline knitting going on these days, so much so that I didn’t even know if I’d have time to finish a whole sweater this fall (even a short sleeved one)

stammel smooth back

But I’m really glad I found the time for this. I’ve been LIVING in it the last two weeks. If you saw me at the VT Sheep and Wool festival (and I wasn’t wearing my coat) then you saw this top. I’ll be wearing it at Rhinebeck too – assuming the weather cooperates.

stammel back view

Champlain Valley Fair

Sometimes it’s good to take an evening off from homework, knitting work, garden work, etc… And go to the fair! where I can look at other people’s knitting work, garden work, preserves, chickens, etc…

We had a taste of spring in the form of maple cotton candy
maple cotton candy
you know, like regular cotton candy, but maple flavored!

And a taste of fall
cider slush
Mmmm, cider

There was old fashioned farm equipment
hay baler

And other people’s farm animals
caution farm animals

The 4-H and farm animals are so much better than the petting zoo animals
miniature horse

saddles

oxen
Why yes, that ox does weigh over a ton. Bovines are BIG.

It started to get dark, so we went inside to see the prize winning veggies, crafts, and art displays.

The best way to see the midway is after the sun goes down. At which point I had to switch to my cell phone camera, as I couldn’t find the flash override on the fancy one…

Ferris wheell.jpg

View from the top.jpg

After the rides, we had some funnel cake. It’s like fried dough, except better. Because they pour the batter in through a funnel. Which means it’s full of nooks and crevices = more surface area for sugar!

Funnel cakes.jpg

Merrygoround.jpg