Wednesday, October 7, 2009

The Healing Properties of Balloons

Monday's cookie-chocolate-all meals dessert  crisis has been resolved.  Unfortunately, the expedition to the grocery store--which is best treated like a battle-- was not without its casualties. Private Matthew DogSweater suffered a grievous wound to his right ring finger while attempting to down enemy signage in the produce section. Major Mommy failed to appreciate the full extent of the injury until several of the dogs on the sweater were decorated in blood, at which point medical supplies were requisitioned from the field hospital in Aisle 2A and the wound was cleaned and dressed.    Unfortunately, no amount of "Magic Cream" (aka Neosporin) and BandAids could treat the emotional trauma induced by the event.  Sympathetic locals, unable to bear the wailing, were forced to administer pink balloons to the poor little soldier, which were found to be most efficacious.*  He is reported to be feeling much better now, and is almost certainly plotting his next "injury" in the hope of receiving more pink balloons.

On the domestic front, the family made the fall pilgrimage to pick apples a few weeks ago.  We were pleasantly surprised to find that the last of the season's raspberries and blueberries were also ready to be picked and pick we did.  We came home with two giant bags of apples (mainly honeycrisp, which are outrageously tasty but at $1.65/lb --only 30 cents cheaper than the market price-- sort of defeated any economic arguments for doing the picking ourselves), a basket of blueberries, and several baskets of raspberries.  It is suspected that several of the pickers consumed a full week's worth of fruit along the way and are now completely anti-oxidized.

In celebration of this unexpected bounty, we made 6 jars of raspberry jam (seeds removed; they just spoil the whole thing for me) and 6 jars of blueberry preserves.  Although we were afraid initially that the raspberry stuff would not gel past the syrup stage, within 48 hours the stuff had firmed up to a respectably spreadable condition, which we will try to remember about next year.  The world's best applesauce followed; it is the only time my poor deprived children get applesauce with sugar in it, so they really really appreciate it.  I do too.

After the berry farm, we headed to Lake Ontario.  The whole field trip had been recommended to us by some friends who had done the apple picking/lake shore combo the week before and raved about it so much that my husband pretty much insisted that we had to go too. And who should we meet at this remote lake shore park but the very same friends who had sent us there.  This might seem like a small thing, but the part of the lake we went to is over 30 miles away from home and, at the time we were there, was inhabited by a grand total of 8 other people. 

We did what we always do, which is throw rocks in the lake.  All of the other people at the lake were doing this too. Most of us go for the wonderfully smooth, flat, and slightly rounded stones that litter the lake shore.  They make really great skipping rocks and even if you don't skip them well, they break the surface of the water with a satisfying PLONK.  Some of us, however, fear that the lake level is getting a bit low and feel compelled to boost the water level by heaving in boulders that are bigger than our heads. 

What you can see in all three of these pictures is my very favorite thing about the lake:  that it seems to go on and on forever. It has the mood of the ocean without the saltiness and (in most places) without the stink.

In spinning news, there is no spinning news.  I'm totally doing the knitting thing right now, although I have been washing  more bits of my Corriedale fleece now and then. In knitting news, I have started seaming my Central Park Hoodie. I realize that this is a tactical error.  The hood is not done and the button (or non-button, in this case) band is also still to be done; adding the sleeves on at this point will just give me a lot more sweater to deal with while I am adding those last features.  But, the flimsiness of the unjoined pieces was starting to bug me.  I've been working on the sweater for a long time and I really want to see a sweater now, not a collection of pieces.  Plus, sometimes when things around you seem to be coming apart, you just need to have something that is coming together.

I'm far enough along in the sweater that I can imagine it will be done soon and that has started the brain gears working on the next project.  I went on a sock riff in the spring, which has been tamed in the sense that I no longer have a burning need to knit socks.  I still have some on the needles, but I'm thinking sweaters now. I have had the pattern for the Patons Must Have Cardigan for a while, and just last week I bought enough pink Patons Classic Wool to knit the whole thing.  And then along came the Old Way Gansey by Ann Budd, one of this week's freebies from Knitting Daily.  I am absolutely smitten, and if I had the yarn I would knit it immediately. Since I am already up to my ears in spinnable stuff, I think I'll consider Rhinebeck a grand opportunity to scout some independent yarn suppliers for the perfect yarn.  If I don't find it, I know I can use one of the yarn shop staples (Galway? NatureSpun?) for this sweater.  Or (and no, I'm not really this ambitious now that I think about it) maybe I'll spin the yarn for this.  Or not (and please try not to guffaw in my ear like that). I'm thinking (relatively) instant gratification here. Doesn't that idea just make you laugh when it comes to knitting a sweater?

*BTW: Many thanks to the Extremely Nice Lady at Wegmans who was kind enough to supply the balloon.  It did the job admirably.

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