We are home from an early fall visit to my parents’ cabin in the woods. The little navigator steered us right, all nine hours there and nine hours back. She really was a star in the car, happily keeping herself occupied and only occasionally watching a DVD. Once at grandma’s house she had a blast. She loves the river.
Today after lunch Mimi and I sat down to play. We played with blocks for a long time and eventually I laid down on the floor to watch her build towers. She saw that I was “sweepy” and ran for a pillow to put under my head. Then she piled blankets on top of me and tucked in the edges.
Next she ran for her toy flute, and sat beside me gently blowing into it for a while. Not too loud at all.
Then she put one of her many plush frogs in my hand and told me several times “everything’s fine. Everything’s fine. Here’s your froggy. Go to sweep.” She ended the reassurance by kissing my arm (the only thing not covered in blankets at that point).
Then, and I had to work hard to suppress the delighted giggles because I was supposed to be “asweep”, she turned off the lights and sat beside me with a book, which she pretended to read aloud for my bedtime story.
It was frankly one of the most relaxing things that has happened to me in quite awhile. As good as a spa treatment. She has a special touch, my very special girl.
Summer has had the biscuit. We’re looking at one undignified 90-degree day this week, otherwise the highs don’t surpass the low 80s and nights are 60 and below. Mimi and I are taking walks again, all the way to the koi pond sometimes, saying goodbye to the fish and the waterfall and the swingset before the inevitable cold weather comes. Sometime in July I reflected that I had thoroughly enjoyed summer, and indeed, I did. We all did. We went on field trips, took walks, swam in the kiddie pool, went to the zoo, and gorged ourselves on garden-fresh corn and tomatoes and green beans. We grilled hamburgers. We hosted friends en plein aire. We chased fireflies. We drank caipirinhas.
And now, we rest.
This was the first time we’ve been there in the fall. The grapes were ripe and falling from the vines, so we didn’t feel bad about eating a few–they were delicious, a sweet Concord type. Mimi had fun spitting out the seeds. The apples were gone from the espaliered trees. Mimi approached the fish from the front this time. We also took time to explore the folly and the fu dog garden for the first time. Sparks climbed the staircase in the folly, and on the way down discovered that it isn’t anchored at the top. Eeeeeek.
It just won’t quit. In the 90s every day until Friday, here, then a forecasted cool off that becomes progressively less cool as it gets closer. How can it not rain for over a month and still be so humid? It’s like a sauna outside. A sauna with crispy brown grass and dead flowers.
I have the late-summer blues. I just want to stay inside and look at pictures of fall and winter on Pinterest. I’m sick of sweating and ready for sweater weather. Please, please cool off already.
Irish poet and Nobel laureate Seamus Heaney has died, age 74. I’m so sorry. In my very first English class in college we worked with his translation of Beowulf and his bog body poems. It has all stuck with me ever since, a permanent part of the inside of my head. Goodbye, Seamus. You will be missed.
His poetry is easy to google. Here is his poem about the Tollund Man. I hope you made it to Aarhus, old boy.
Out here in Jutland
In the old man-killing parishes
I will feel lost,
Unhappy and at home.
Thirty months ago we put the finishing touches on the nursery. This morning we dismantled it, and in came the Big Girl Furniture. Ohhhhh my. Mimi is at school, and will come home to find her room completely different. I hope she freaks out in a good way.
As I drove her to school this morning Sparks broke down the crib. When I got back, I moved her old bookshelves and all the other stuff into the guest room and cleaned the floor.
At 11:00 the delivery van showed up. I walked around outside while they moved the furniture in, happening across two grasshoppers gettin’ jiggy with it and also some slime mold.
Then the delivery men were gone, and the furniture was in. Mimi’s beautiful new furniture, her big girl furniture, her gotta-live-with-it-till-she-moves-out furniture. My my.
Bye bye, baby. Hello, big girl.
My fall clothes are just sitting around waiting for you to go away. SO GO AWAY.
Day after hopeless day of 90+ temperatures, high humidity but no rain. No open windows at night. No walks. Gardening is a punishment. Going anywhere isn’t much fun, it’s so hot in the car. Plants are going to start dying permanently. It was this way last summer and the dead trees are being cut down this summer… there will be more of that next summer I’m sure.
Is there a single thing about autumn not to love? I mean, if you live in a place with extreme seasons, you are glad to kiss summer goodbye. You’re ready to open windows and take walks. You’re ready for fresh air and sunshine that doesn’t burn you to a crisp. You’re ready to not sweat. You’re ready for some deep hibernation-type sleep, the kind you can’t get in hot weather.
I love the leaves changing colors. Love, like crazy love, take a million pictures every year love. I love the winter fruit and vegetables coming in. I love wearing dignified long sleeves and long pants and socks again after all the months of summer over-exposure. I love the gentle tumble of holidays. The cool air stirs me spiritually–in the fall I want to get closer to nature, to do yoga, to meditate, to think deep thoughts. It also spurs me to make warm cozy things like socks and quilts. Unfortunately, it also spurs me to shop. Got to squirrel away sweaters and statement necklaces for the long cold winter ahead, right?
The phrase that has always come to my mind is “a turning inward”. We’ve been out of our burrows all summer, now it’s time to go back in and snuggle. The thought of being snowbound still seems romantic (unlike in February, when it makes me want to scream). It’s time to look for good things inside, both inside our houses and inside ourselves, after a long season of enjoying all the good things outside. It’s a time to rest.
Also, it means Christmas is coming. YAY!
Late August. The armpit of the year. The cool spell is over, it is dry and roasting hot out there. It hasn’t rained for weeks. Maybe it will never rain again. Mimi complains when we get into the hot car. What are all those long-sleeved tops in my closet for? It’s been so long I’ve forgotten.
Almost nothing blooms now. Coneflowers, sunflowers, mint, rose of sharon, and the morning glories. The morning glories are a delicious delight.
Soon. In a month it will be cool again. Soon.
There it is. Mid-August might seem a little early for my thoughts to turn to wool socks, but the stores are selling candy corn and chrysanthemums so here we are. This is KnitPicks Stroll Tweed. I bought KnitPicks sock yarn way back when, in the early early days of KnitPicks when their sock yarn was 100% merino. All of those pairs of socks fell apart years ago. This is 25% nylon, though, so I ought to be fine with it.
It is a very “me” color palette right now. It matches a lot of the fabric I’ve been buying and sewing with. I think I’ll do a simple stripey motif at the top of each pair using all six colors, otherwise make the socks plain stockinette. Oh come on, who am I kidding, let’s just sit and see if I knit a single pair of socks with this yarn! I need to finish that afghan before I start anything else, for sure!
It seems like almost every state in the US has a sizeable Amish population; certainly every state I’ve ever lived in has. It isn’t unusual for there to be Amish-run and themed attractions for the English to enjoy. The one nearest us, however, is actually a park for the Amish to enjoy. And they were. See those buggies below? Those aren’t for show and those aren’t park employees. Those were half a dozen Amish women with a couple of dozen Amish kids, at the park for the day.
There were buggy rides and this little “train” ride.
A very nice playground with this gorgeous wooden train
Lets see the whole thing!
The playground had the little-kid stuff on the ground and this huge, very high big-kid platform with a steep slide for making quick exits
There was an old-fashioned boardwalk with stables…
And some false storefronts and workshops…
And a one-room schoolhouse. This one was fancy, with a teacher’s office and supply closet at the back.
There were goofy photo opportunities like this. Also pony rides, a petting zoo, several gift shops, an ice cream parlor, a restaurant, and a museum of Amish culture and history. Unfortunately it was a hot muggy day and none of us dealt with the heat very gracefully… still, it was an interesting little place.
Yesterday afternoon I sat down in my sewing room and made this start to finish without stopping. I took a lot of risks–it was the first time I’d used a decorative stitch on this machine and the first time I’d tried elastic around the middle of one of these shirts–but it paid off. I absolutely adore this shirt. Everything about it. Mimi even let me put it on her right away.
Not much to show you… though I am doing a lot. This morning I washed a load of our white towels, and they came out day-glo yellow. I have no idea what happened. Either some unexpected rust was in the water and Oxiclean reacted strangely with it, or Mimi threw one of those water-soluble washable crayons in the washer when I wasn’t looking. I’m sick about it–I love my white towels–and am doing a long soak with detergent and more Oxiclean to try to rescue them.
I am crocheting my afghan. I am building up steam to sew the next shirt for Mimi. I scrubbed the bathrooms and made banana bread. I bought groceries. Dinner last night ended up being salmon, green beans, and butternut squash soup. The soup was improvised and successful. I skillet-steamed chunks of squash with white wine and curry powder, then blended it all up with chicken stock and a knob of butter. I served it with yogurt and toasted squash seeds and it was dee-lish.
Tonight was this quiche with garden tomatoes, bagna cauda and toast points. I think we are fed. It’s amazing what I have the energy to do when I’m not dealing with Mimi for the whole day.
The weather is unseasonably cool (about 65 at night and 80 during the day) but the humidity is so high that I don’t want to take walks. The summer is running itself out, though. In a month the temperatures will begin to cool down for real.
I have more time and space to think and to make now. Sparks takes Mimi from 2-5 so I can do my thing. I am crocheting an afghan–another Simple Times afghan. This time I am trying Caron Natura in Light Green. The last one was made from Red Heart, and I made it in… is it really possible? 2003 or 2004. Ten years ago. I remember parts of the pattern though. Goodness.
I am also done with experimenting for Mimi’s winter clothes and am into the serious sewing. Here is the first little blouse. It’s yet another Oh Suzanna, with the sleeves lengthened by 7″ and the body pieces narrowed by 1″ apiece. I made the body 2″ longer, also, to give it a more smocklike feel and maybe extend its life to a second winter. I found pink spotted ribbon that matched the little pink toadstools on the print, and finished the bow with an owl button that I hope to goodness goes through the wash well.
My mother-in-law saw the taupe-on-white napkins I bought myself in May, and brought me some more. They were her mother’s. It isn’t the first time that her mother and I have liked the same sorts of things. I also have six dozen German glass Christmas ornaments… I’ve been afraid to use them what with the little rascal running around, but some year soon I will.
Yesterday everything tasted especially good. Have you had days like that? I had wheat toast and bacon and fried tomatoes for breakfast, roasted tomato soup and pasta carbonara (without bacon) for lunch, and a rotisserie chicken with caprese salad and sauteed sugar snap peas for dinner, and it was all sublime. Later in the evening Sparks and I started on the blueberry crisp–made with lime juice, because that’s how I do it–and it was exceptionally good also. Today things still taste good, but it isn’t quite the same.
Dinner tonight still hasn’t been decided upon. There will be sauteed brussels sprouts, but I don’t know if they’re coming with garlic sausage and pasta sugo crudo, or baked salmon and German fried potatoes.