It feels like Autumn turned off the summer switch and plunged us directly into fall here in Western PA. Late Wednesday afternoon some storms pushed through bringing rain, winds, and much cooler temperatures. Thursday morning was all about the layers for Sherman’s morning constitutional. I was so happy to have a cozy sweater to put on!
Fall brings the return of some of my favorite things (besides cooler days, that is!) I made a happy discovery on Monday morning when I opened my podcast queue to see that The Slowdown has returned! Yes, it is back with a lovely new host… Ada Limón. (today’s episode is especially moving!) And for all of you Pádraig Ó Tuama fans, he returns with Poetry Unbound on Monday!
I was fortunate to watch Nadia Bolz-Weber interview Pádraig about In the Shelter this week and it was such a lively, fun, beautiful conversation. I have since started re-reading In the Shelter with new eyes and it is helping with those feelings of discomfort, angst, etc that I have been feeling. (The Chapel has been the best thing I decided to do this year. It has brought a renewal of joy to my life. And it is decidedly “un-church-y” and is missing all of that Uber-religious-sanctimonious-fake bs that I have zero tolerance for.)
I might have stumbled on they key to returning my missing Knitting Mojo… I had been talking to Steve about Sherman needing a new sweater … a lighter weight layer rather than the “winter wooly” he has for those super cold mornings. And then, serendipitously, I saw this on IG Wednesday night. I am purchasing the pattern today and I have some well-aged hand-dyed red sock yarn in my stash that I think will make the perfect Fall Sweater for Sherms!
In the realm of Completely Weird and Definitely Wrong I need to talk about my lilac bush. In the middle of August it started dropping a few leaves and then as the month progressed more leaves dropped and it started getting some dark brown spots on the leaves. I did a bit of a Google search and decided that it might have bacterial blight… except that the branches did not wither or die at all so I figured I would solve this problem *after* we returned home from our little vacay. Fast forward to our return from Erie and my entirely de-leafed lilac had a plethora of new green leaves on the top 12-inches of all the branches… like ALL the branches. And this week it began blooming. Dozens and dozens and dozens of blooms. Seriously, easily 6 dozen lilac blooms. It looks like some strange Seussian plant with pale green leaves and a riot of pale purple booms on a long stick. I have no idea what on earth is wrong with it… but if you have any ideas please share! Lilac blooms in October is something I never ever imagined. lol
Finally, I have this urge to bake.all.the.things. and have been looking with longing at all you who have sourdough starters you are reviving for the fall. Sigh. I have never had sourdough starter success. Ever. And I have tried. But I reminded myself that I have successfully baked very good bread… so instead of wishing for something I am not likely to be successful with, I have put “bake bread” on my Monday To Do list and I am excited to renew my relationship with Peter Reinhart. (and some freshly baked bread will be the perfect accompianment to the left over chicken soup I made yesterday!)
That is all I have for this week… I will see you all back here on Monday with my September update for my word. Have a wonderful weekend everyone!
…brings a return to ‘normalcy’ with the end of a brief, but spectacular, vacation.
Normalcy… what a word, huh? Perhaps not the best since I have been feeling anything but normal these days! I confess that I have been struggling a bit recently… Feeling off-kilter. Unsettled. Unfocused. Just going through the motions. (and yes, likely a bit depressed…which don’t think I would have recognized without having read these wise words)
But I have had some amazing lifelines this week (besides all the fresh air and hiking!) I don’t know who said they had read Braiding Sweetgrass (Jane maybe?) This book has been a balm to my day. The stolen moments I spent listening to Robin Wall Kimmerer were so amazing… it almost feels like I am sitting down with a cuppa to listen to a dear friend share stories, wisdom, and anecdotes. I have about 4 more hours of listening along with my ‘normal’ Monday List (although, perhaps not so normal with what feels like a metric ton of laundry!!)… but listening to Robin will make all of that much more palatable! Ha!
I brought my laptop for the sole purpose of joining the Read With Me discussion of Unsettled Ground… I can’t express how much more a good discussion lends to the enjoyment of a book, and Bonnie, Carole, and Kym have cultivated a very good group of ladies! That discussion had me thinking about Unsettled Ground again in some surprising new ways! Thank you all for making reading so much better!
Another good thing was all that fresh air and hiking! As I shared in my IG postcards last week, we had spectacular weather – yes, we had some occasional rain during the day but it was never enough to deter us and the couple of times it rained harder at night made sleeping in an unfamiliar bed easier! We saw so many birds, which I love! I also saw a few we had not seen before, thanks to a pair of binoculars! (A Green Heron across the bay, a pair of Gray Catbirds splashing in a puddle, and two shorebirds – a Solitary Sandpiper and a Semipalmated Plover!) We perfected our “quiet walking” and came upon a deer visiting a pond. I loved how she did not bolt, but rather just eased away into the forest.
And finally, coming back home! After more than a year of Pandemic Living one might think you get sick of being home and while it was good to be away, it is even better being back home… especially back to my own bed. A good nights sleep also helps combat the off kilter feelings, for sure! (as does the return of a “normal” routine!)
And with that, I am off to get going on that Normal Routine! See you all back here on Wednesday!
Just to show you all how completely out of sync my brain is… I thought that today was the day to update you all on my word.
Good thing that I have one more week for that so that I can try and do something with my word this month because I have basically avoided my word this month despite my inner-self trying to get me back on track:
Self: Hey… you should be moving forward with something on release.
Me: Lalalalalalala… I don’t hear you!
Self: How about ANY.THING?
The theme for this month… one bite at a time… so in this last week of August I am going to try a bite or two on my word. Maybe. Hopefully….?
Anyways, I am back and it feels good to be back despite not really accomplishing momentous last week. I had over-achiever goals of having a blog break filled with epiphanies! And… I confess that there was not a single epiphany. Nope… but what I do have is a whole lotta bupkis, drowning in the Sea of Overwhelmed.
Is it just me or does it seem like All The Shite is hitting the fan at.the.same.time. COVID numbers are once again insane. Voter Suppression is alive and well and expanding in America. The news seems to be all bad and on steroids… even my 15 minute Up First fix in the morning is overwhelming. I don’t know about you but my stress level is moving to the Off The Charts range once again. Sigh.
In the plus column for my week away… I have a well-cleaned refrigerator thanks to 18 hours without power. The freezer fared much better with only a few things lost, whew! I taped two “pattern puzzles” together and got them both traced off! I have a finished “neutral” shawl for the fall (big reveal on Wednesday!!) and I also have finished the knitting of my second test knit sweater… it needs a soak, a little blocking, and some button bands (I am going with crocheted bands this time) and then a bit of needle felting the steek – so while it is not completely done, it sure feels like the biggest part of it is! And for once, I do NOT have a new project ready to cast on! Instead, my plans for this week include getting two pairs of pants and a shirt cut out, marked, and begin sewing!
That is all I have for today! How was your week?
I will see you all back here on Wednesday to Unravel some reading and knitting!
Are beautifully overcast and almost chilly enough to need a sweater!
This morning it feels like a switch has been turned off as August ushered in some much cooler nights. This paired with the now noticeably darker mornings and earlier darker evenings brings the knowledge that summer is not here to stay.
(Outside of my gardening woes) It has been the most glorious summer I can remember in quite some time. The pace at which I have been savoring summer has been perfect. I am not rushing to the “next thing” and while I am very disappointed in my gardens lack of productivity… my attitude of “it is what it is” is helping ease that disappointment. One thing I love is puttering in the garden in the early morning hours and productivity or not, that is where I like to be.
The outside time has brought another treat this summer… I have been enjoying the antics of a pair of Hairy Woodpecker’s brood of chicks and their unceasing demands for “more food…NOW”! Watching their parents fill the hungry mouths has been a delight!
One thing growing that has been on “hyper-growth” this year are my herbs… particularly my basil! And while I am sad that Kym is not having the same success… I am thankful that she shared a link for Basil Bombs. That bushy plant is about to get “de-leafed” and my freezer is waiting for those little green treasures. I don’t have an ice cube tray but I think I can make it work with “snack sized” ziplock bags.
One final very good thing from the weekend was an Amazon delivery that has brought things into focus… lol. Yep, I got an Ottlite and have been doing some stitching this weekend. What an incredible difference *seeing* makes! This stitching project is eons old (and I think it might almost qualify as an antique!) But, I made some very good progress yesterday once I got the right distance figured out! This is my “trial run” to see how it goes, and if it goes well… I have my eye on a couple of patterns from Etsy. (namely this and this)
And that is all I have for today… I will see you all back here on Wednesday!
…is a respite from The Very, Very, Incredibly Busy Weekend.
It was full. So full.
My weekend started with some al Fresco-soak in the sunshine-sip a couple of beers dining. Yes, sunshine!! Temperatures that were well above freezing! Gosh, it felt so good and was the perfect way to welcome the weekend!
Saturday we headed out to find some asparagus (we didn’t) and get plants for both the flower containers and the vegetable garden (we got a few…sigh). Our local vegetable/garden center was a huge disappointment. A huge, gigantic disappointment. They had plants… lots of the same kind of plants. Perfect if you want pink petunias in every container. Less than perfect if that was not the look you were going for. Oh… and there was not one single impatien. So… on my list this week is to get out to another greenhouse for some variety for our shaded patio!
The remainder of the weekend we spent working on some major changes to the current garden beds. We lost a couple of shrubs over the winter, which has given us the opportunity to rework a couple of garden beds. Plus I have a few things that needed dividing… and once we started, we just kept on going… until we were about ready to fall over on Sunday afternoon! (and no, we did not finish, but the remaining little garden beds just need a wee bit of weeding. Oh, and we need so.much.mulch…ugh)
So that brings me to Monday… my take a big breath and ease into a busy week day. On the top of my list is to give myself a little rescue manicure this morning. (a desperately needed manicure thanks to the weekend!)
And the only other thing on my list today is to put together a bag for tomorrow when I am helping at the polls for our election. It is an entirely local election for us this time and so it won’t be busy… (how sad is that!) I need to have some things to knit and some things to read so I need to get that sorted today.
I hope your Monday will be amazing no matter how many things you have on your list. I will see you back here on Wednesday (albeit a little later than usual) for some Unraveling!