Autumn is a lovely time to be in Vermont. We headed down to the local winery to play tourist during their harvest festival. It’s the sort of place that really is fun, even for Windsor. We all took a ride in the hay wagon
But we didn’t get to do much of the winery tour itself. Turns out that’s too boring for a hungry little girl who was promised grape juice…
They have a gorgeous old farm wagon set up for decoration. The patriarch of the family came out to tell us about it while I was busy taking photos. His story is that they used these wagons, pulled by horses, to harvest corn when he was very young. Then the wagons sat, neglected, in a barn for decades. Until someone thought they’d make pretty decorations. Someone was right:
The tractor pulling the hay wagon was a bit of a scenic piece too… Windsor loved it.
But possibly her favorite part was this little garden path. Not really related to the harvest fest, but kids are so good at finding places to play when you give them a little space!
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…
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:
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!
Vermont Public Radio’s summer school program* learns to spin yarn this week! They visited my friend Kim Goodling over at Grand View Farm.
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.
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.
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.
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.
But they’d already had enough of a sugar season to provide plenty of taste tests, flavor comparisions. And my favorite 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…
It’s winter here in the north country.
Snow’s so high it’s up past my knees.
Car won’t start and the wood pile’s 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.
And it won’t
’till summer’s here again…
Lyrics from Won’t Be Long by Susannah Clifford Blachly
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 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?
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.
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:
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.
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…
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
I’m excited to say that I have just released another pattern! My Stammel sweater:
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:
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!
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)
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.