Sunday, November 17, 2013

This has been a pretty full teaching year – and thank you everyone who’s been patient with me! I promise to be better at keeping up with things. I do, I do! There’s been a lot going on, so I really do have a lot to say. In the second half of the year, I taught in Amherst NY (Buffalo), Chelsea, Michigan, Salt Lake City Utah, and Cambridge Ontario (Canada) with a lot of great things going on in between, so I’m going to try to catch up in stages. At home there was a lot of writing work and the occasional glitch – like the two months when everything in the house seemed to break down needing either repairs or replacement, from the kitchen faucet to the light over my desk, bathroom appliances, the wood stove… well, you get the idea. Even the cat became extremely ill and seemed to be ready for that last ride to the vet – and then bounced back. So did most of the appliances; except another one that suddenly needs an expensive, more special replacement, through no fault of its own. In the shop, I got into a reclaimed-yarn dyeing project with my friend Sarah, who designs and makes gorgeous sweaters – all to be mailed away to the poorest people she can find. She’s shy about her ongoing good deeds and intentionally held everything up over her face. For the garden, I made five trips to my neighbor’s farm for a generous supply of sheep poop, and things burgeoned and grew, apparently loving the cooler, often rainy weather.
Of course, Bill's beloved flowers bloomed their little hearts out. Everything did well except the tomatoes, but we had lots of sauce still in cans from the previous year. The freezer became so packed with goodies there was, a few weeks ago, literally no space to put anything. We’ve started digging into our food stash and now there’s just a little room. I spent weeks, it seemed, processing stuff, including (if anyone’s hungry) enough eggplant for about 6 pans of eggplant parmigiana. We’ve finally gotten in the last garden stuff – two bushels of beets and about half a bushel of parsnips. I emptied and spread the contents of last winter’s compost bin and we’ve begun the one for this winter. (The summer bin is waiting to be topped off so it can simmer along until next spring.) There were a few funny surprises in the garden. I planted the squash twice because the first batch didn’t come up consistently – until it started raining and then the seeds that had been lurking underground had a change of heart. Some of the potatoes we planted that were not specifically seed spuds must have been irradiated because they lay there like rocks.
Another friend, also named Sarah, gifted me with tomatillos and jalapenos and I made quite a bit of salsa verde. This was my introduction to the stuff and I discovered I really, really like it. Every fall I’ve written quite a lot about wood and photographed the woodpile, which I don’t have to do again, but trust me, it’s gorgeous. I stacked most of it myself, with a little critical guidance from the old, wise one. And then I drove the old, wise one – twice – to the Cleveland Clinic where he got a new pacemaker and a better outlook on life. He came home and promptly began planting more flowers for next summer.
I produced – ahead of schedule, a new booklet of tatted star patterns called “Twinkle, Twinkle.” That was the result of a LOT of tatting, and I have to say I thoroughly enjoyed it all! Besides that, I’m particularly pleased that I won’t be struggling with cold weather, winter flu and a book at the same time in 2014. This is starting to sound like a Christmas letter, but it’s not yet Thanksgiving, so the year’s not over.
So you get to see part of the woodpile anyway. What can I say? It's that time of year. And good things are happening in the yarn shop. I did a bunch of dyeing… this is some of it… for sock yarn and a bulky that’s great for hats and fingerless mitts. And I made a facebook page for the yarn shop At the moment, I’m in pre-craft-fair production mode, so I leave this tale for the moment for the studio below where more things need to happen!