Monthly Archives: November 2011

Homework Dress

Three, sir.


(Remember this sweater I made, way back before Ian was even born?  It finally fits him!)

Ian is 19 months old now (in fact, today is his 19 monthiversary!) and he is just exploding with words.  He talks ALL the time -- a lot is still just gibberish, even to us, but his list of understandable words has grown to the point where it would take me quite a while to come up with anything resembling a complete list.  (And of course, being the stellar mother I am, I haven't been jotting down his new words as he learns them.  Someday, he'll ask when he learned certain things, and I'll just have to admit that I'm not as awesome at record-keeping as a librarian really ought to be.)

What's really neat to watch is that he's beginning to be able to express concepts, not just nouns.  He LOVES to go outside, and he will now go stand by the door and yell "Outside! Outside!" while trying to work the doorknob.  And he knows the whole routine that goes along with that too -- before going outside he'll retrieve (well, try to retrieve -- he can't quite reach) his jacket from the coat hook ("acket! acket!") and then wander around the house muttering "shooooes, shoooooes" until he finds his shoes.  And his tocks, of course.  You can't put on your shoes until you have your tocks on. 

He loves his books, too, and has started to have very definite preferences for what you read him, and when.  We used to be able to read him pretty much anything at bedtime, but now we have a selection of five or six books (mostly by Sandra Boynton) that he finds acceptable.  (Thankfully, other books are acceptable at other times.)  His favorites are The Going to Bed Book, Perfect Piggies, Oh My Oh My Oh Dinosaurs (which he very cutely calls "My My") and, of course, the perennial childhood favorite Goodnight Moon (he likes to point out the kitties on all the pages on which they appear).  He's started to memorize some of the books, too -- in The Going to Bed Book there's a section "And when the moon is on the rise, they all go up to exercise" and he will often yell EXERCISE! (or something closely resembling it, anyway) at the right time. 


What's really hilarious, though, is his counting.  He's starting to learn his numbers.  I'm not sure how much of it is an actual understanding of the concept of numbers -- I think at this point, he's still mostly just repeating what he hears us say -- but he can count to five relatively reliably.  If you start counting and then stop, he will say the next number in the sequence, usually very loudly and with great enthusiasm.  My favorite is FWREEEEEE!  But if left to his own devices, he counts "doo, doo, FIIIIVE!"  Which makes me giggle every time.  So young, and already making Monty Python references.  That's my boy!


seed saving

moonflowers in bloom this summer at chez farm:

we need to plant more of these next summer – they bloom in the late afternoon (nice for gardeners with day jobs) and they’re beautiful. and thanks to my laziness in clearing up the garden this fall, i totally forgot about the plant until it looked like this:

which means it went to seed:


which means we have more seeds to plant next year!


The weather has just been so strange these last couple of months.  Yesterday it was nearly 70 degrees. A month ago, though, this is what we had to deal with.


(Ian's reaction when he looked out the window: "Whoa!"  Yes, indeed, little dude.  Yes, indeed.)

The snow started here just after noon on Saturday, October 29.  Our power went out just after dark (and it would stay out, though we didn't know it yet, until the following Sunday night).  All that night, all we could hear were branches snapping all over the place.  Usually weather doesn't phase me too much but I was more than a little nervous during this storm.  We woke up in the morning to clear blue skies and nearly two feet of heavy, wet snow.


Definitely the craziest October weather I ever remember.


Because it was October, there were still leaves on the trees, which is what caused so much damage -- the poor trees just couldn't take the weight.  My poor lilac was one of the casualties.


It needed a good pruning, but it didn't need to be THAT good.

On Sunday we ran the fireplace all day (mostly useless for heat, although i did make some awesome baked potatoes in it).  We decided to venture out to my library -- there's a generator there because the community center (where the library is located) is the town emergency shelter, and since we had no power, no phone, no internet, and no cell service, we really wanted to get an idea of how bad things were, not to mention check in with our families.  That night, it was supposed go to down into the 20s, and we weren't sure how to keep Ian warm when we got to the library and discovered that they were opening up the shelter, we decided to stay there.  But since we're not residents, we didn't want to use cots and other supplies that we weren't entitled to -- plus, why not take advantage of whatever privacy you're able to get? -- so instead we set up camp in my office.  I have often joked about sleeping in my office, but I assure you, I never thought I would actually, literally, sleep there.  We had Ian in his pack-and-play, and Jim and I slept on an air mattress.  Crazy. 

Truthfully, it's too bad Ian won't remember this whole episode -- because what kid doesn't secretly want to sleep in the library??  Here's our little camper, in his jammies in the library very very early in the morning, long before other people came in:


We slept in my office, cooked and ate in the staff room, washed hair in the sink in the story was an adventure, to be sure.  And I worked.  A lot.  We kept the library open lots of extra hours -- for a time, it was, literally, the only place in town with power -- and holy smokes, was it busy.  People coming in to charge things, check their email, use the phone, get coffee (we were brewing it by the gallon), and just warming up....I couldn't believe how many people were in the library, literally crammed into every available space.  It was quite the experience -- we'd keep the library open till 9:30, I'd go change into pajamas and read for a while, we'd set up the air mattress and go to bed, then I'd roll out in the morning and empty the bookdrop while still in my pajamas....Surreal doesn't begin to describe it.

The storm and power outages effectively cancelled Halloween, but the town parks and rec department organized trick-or-treating for the kids staying at the shelter.  So Ian got to rock his little robot costume after all (and we didn't have to trick-or-treat in the cold and dark! WIN!)



The senior citizens who were handing out candy declared Ian absolutely adorable.  I was handing out candy in the library so I didn't get to walk around with him, but I am told that he was very polite and well-behaved, and even though he's too little to say "trick or treat" he DID say "BEEP!" whenever prompted, just like a good little robot should.

Luckily Jim's mom got her power back quite early -- on Halloween night, actually -- so our library camping adventure was relatively short-lived, and we stayed at Camp Grandma until our own power came back.  It was a crazy week-plus, let me tell you.  But I have to say -- everyone was in the same boat, and the whole experience really brought people together.  Our part of CT was the hardest-hit, and even after the power had been out for a week people were still, by and large, cheerful and optimistic and looking out for each other.  On the Friday of that week, as the library crowds were dwindling as more and more people got their power back, a man who had been there working daily (needless to say, telecommuting was not working from his house!) said, wistfully, "we should have a reunion in a few months! This has been fun!"  And you know, really, it was.  It was a giant pain, to be sure, but there's nothing like some good old-fashioned Yankee stiff-upper-lip and can-do and a healthy dose of community spirit to give you the warm fuzzies.

But it is REALLY nice to have my power and internet back.  Really nice.

Cherished Moments 2011-11-27 06:16:00

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Current Projects
I feel overwhelmingly lucky that I get to spend my days doing a lot of things that I enjoy and taking pride in some of my greatest accomplishments.
  1. I get to spend time with the most adorable two year old I know,
  2. I can knit for as long as I want,
  3. and I can do all of this in the comfort of my own home.
I dream of the yarn store and I dream of expanding this little business, after all, I did get an MBA and I want to know that it was worth the time and the effort.

 I've got an order for 10 hats from my brother-in-law and hat #3 is under way.  Peanut modeled one hat for me, so that I could show that the hats would fit almost anyone, from a kid to an adult.  I think he's pretty much used to me snapping pictures of him, so he poses for the camera without prompting now.

I'm also experimenting with different yarns and knitting stitches.  I've been stocking up on more of the Debbie Bliss Baby Cashmerino (thanks to Fiddlehead Yarns), which I've decided is my favorite yarn right now.  I've also been researching patterns that contain measurements for the different sizes and looking at industry standards for design and sizes.

I do all of this so that I can start the task of getting my own designs and patterns out there and finally start earning money with the business.  I plan to post some free patterns here soon!  In the mean time, I'll be sharing some easy project ideas.

For those who read regularly, what would you like to see more of?

Coming Soon
More winter items to get us through these cold months!

my new favorite yarn

i’m obsessed with juniper moon farm’s new commercial yarn line, especially willa. 60% merino, 40% superfine kid mohair – the softest, squooshiest yarn i’ve knit with in a long time. and a range of gorgeous colors, including pomegranate and steel:

juniper moon farm yarn  juniper moon farm yarn

you’ve already seen me in my warriston sweater, knit with willa. it’s my go-to sweater for fall days on the farm – any farm.

warriston sweater in juniper moon farm willa

and now i’m knitting another sweater in willa – aidez (ravelry pattern link). i’m way behind, but i’m participating in a knit-along organized by allyson at the sweatshop of love. progress is slow, since farmer woob keeps harassing me to finish knitting her socks instead, but i’m looking forward to finishing another cozy sweater out of willa.

juniper moon farm yarn willa

i love this yarn!

sheep shearing, or where the hell have i been lately? part two

part of my bio says i’m a ‘wannabe shepherdess.’ since sheep are currently not legal in NYC and since chez farm’s square footage wouldn’t support sheep anyway, i have to get my shepherding jollies away from home. i visit my friend shepherd susie at juniper moon farm as often as i can and i never miss a shearing celebration.

angora goat at juniper moon farm  

i went to sheep shearing school last spring (to learn how to shear sheep, natch). shepherd susie has a professional shearer, but she’s usually kind enough to let me shear a sheep or two so i can get experience.

sheep shearing is hard work, but great for your triceps and hamstrings. and abs. and back.


not to mention – good for the sheep. i’m looking for more sheep-shearing opportunities.

all photos except the last one were taken by farmer woob with her iphone camera. the last photo was taken by my friend amy, aka wooly mama of merry magpie farm.

So much to be thankful for

As much as I might be inclined to whine about how stressed or tired I am,  I can’t forget that I have so much more to be grateful for than not.

As I’ve been hearing so many people angst about family drama on the holidays, I think the thing I am most, most thankful for is my family.  We’re not perfect, but I really genuinely enjoy my family, despite our differences and am immensely grateful that I still have them and that I get to spend time with them often.  I really only have my mother in law on Wiley’s side, but she is great too.

It’s easy to forget how lucky I am  in the day to day, but it is a lucky, lucky thing.



November Nestings

As the weather gets colder and days get shorter my desire for the apartment to be comfortable for long periods of time grows. So we have been busy nesting: furniture and kitchen supplies brought from Ann Arbor, stalking craigslist and freecycle, figuring out how to get some furniture from a ridiculously generous co-worker...the list goes on. I'm a bit overeager to be done with, to be honest.

Our latest find was a futon frame for our front room/office/guest room (we really need to figure out what we're going to call the rooms) that fits the mattress we have perfectly! I'm super excited to have the frame for two reasons: it's where I sit a lot while I wait for my desk and now the futon mattress isn't oozing out into the room all the time making me angry that it's so messy and weird.


On the knitting front I made a Girly Bib

For my friend and her new little one. It's a bit big for a newborn, but it will help contribute to her hand knits collection as she grows. Plus it's delicious organic cotton from Pittsburgh and I only wish I could get more! I was happy to find a perfect project for it.

I also just finished up Reversible Biking Hat for my dad to go with his mittens and scarf.

Matching set! The other side of the pattern is pretty cool, but with the stripes it's not as neat looking as this side.

For Thanksgiving I made my great aunt Stasia's apple pie recipe. I had a bit of a melting butter issue when I was rolling out the top crust (pre-heating the oven plus some other cooking going on made our kitchen pretty toasty), but overall it got good reviews. Vasya and I went to the Wintertime Farmers Market (can I just say I love names like this that avoid apostrophes altogether? Dear FarmFresh RI, it's Farmers' Market, but we still love you. Dragan) to get some of the apples. This semester many of my hours overlap with the farmers' markets, but I will be able to go to many of the winter markets! The winter market is held in the Hope Artiste Village, which I think is a great thing - the market gets an indoor location for the coldest months and the artists get some great exposure.

Next up: Make We Joy's 30th Anniversary Performance! I will be stilting, dancing and reciting a poem. Come see us: Sunday December 4th, 4 and 7pm shows (get there early for the 4 o'clock) Harkness Chapel, Connecticut College.


Not mine.

It belongs to my niece Merete. 

My first visit with Merete (has it really been 26 years???) when my brother and his family moved to New Hampshire from Berlin Germany.

I am so proud of her.

I have been building a beautiful blog post in my head all week.  I just can't seem to put into words what I want to express.

After graduating from Naropa University in Colorado my niece has been working as a journalist, working on various projects, writing and editing for other people.  THIS project is her very own.

This is no time for my writer's block, so I will let her work speak for itself.

After watching the video there is more info here and here.
Take a look!