Archive for October, 2010

October 31, 2010

The 2010 New York Sheep and Wool Festival

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October 16th looked like it would become a perfect fall day. The forecast was for sun with a few clouds and some wind. It was going to get up to the mid-50’s. The leaves were turning nicely and the scene was set for the New York Sheep and Wool Festival! The third weekend in October is always the New York Sheep and Wool Festival. And even those Frosts who don’t knit turn out for this annual family pilgrimage.

We piled into the car at 8:30 and the cars were streaming into the Dutchess County Fair Grounds when we got to Rhinebeck after 10. It was brisk and a hot beverage was first on Ellie’s list while I purchased my annual t-shirt. Each year much is the same about Rhinebeck. The vendors have the same locations, we follow the same path through the barns and even eat the same foods. That is part of what makes it all so wonderful.
We walk around and see all our favorite vendors. The fellow who makes the fantastically warm and soft sheepskin slippers, Ellen’s 1/2 Pint Farm, Nanney Kennedy’s Meadowcroft Farm Seacolors, the woman with the gorgeous and colorful blended yarn from Vermont, Green Mountain Spinnery and the folks with the huge supply of Socks That Rock Yarn. Even when I don’t buy, I love seeing the fabulous yarn and crafts these artisans have on offer.
Each year Peter is bound and determined to return home with an angora rabbit. He sees the women spinning fiber right off their bunnies and he goes wild for a soft, furry bunny.  This year there were puppies for sale and Ellie was possessed by a desire unfulfilled by even her great love for Dakota. They were really cute and if Jim hadn’t been along and if I didn’t know that Dakota has no desire to share, I might have fallen.
Jim is patient, but bored and heads off to sit quietly in the 4-H booth with a cup of hot cider and his book. The best place for him at this point. We walk up and down the rows looking at the booths and break for lunch early. The chicken pot pie line gets really long and one year they ran out for a while…I enjoyed a roast lamb sandwich.
After lunch we wandered over to watch the dogs in the Frisbee competition and then hit the barns to oggle some sheep, goats, llamas and alpacas. It is fun to watch the sales going on, but visiting the animals in their pens is even more fascinating. Here is a whole agricultural life about which we know little, but the sheep are clearly well cared for and loved. Their owners wait patiently for the judging and tend to the animals while probably wishing the dumb city folk would stay out of their way. It isn’t an easy way to make a living no matter how romantic it looks from the outside.
All too soon critical mass has been reached and the voting is to return to the car and make our way home. I wonder what it would be like to spend an entire day or weekend at the fair? Somehow even after just a few hours, the car feels warm and comfortable and it is tough not to doze off over yarn and needles as we head south in the afternoon’s darkening light.
It was a good day. A day anticipated for many months and enjoyed in the best of company. It will be another year until Sheep and Wool and yet, it will be very much the same as this year. A turning point as summer truly fades into autumn and the world prepares for winter. A good day’s outing in the country and a chance to enjoy the fresh air, animals, some good food, my family and lots of yarn and fibre. It doesn’t get much better than that!
October 17, 2010

A Fantastic DC Walk!!

There is no denying that the parallels between the Susan G. Komen 3-Day for the Cure Walk and childbirth are inescapable. Of course, anytime you put 1,900 women into the same community, that kind of observation is bound to pop up, but that does nothing to alter its validity.

Take training. Twenty-four weeks of walking, fitness training and preparation. It may not be 39 weeks of gestation,  but all one’s efforts are aimed at preparation for the big event. Blisters, muscle pulls, fatigue all have their pregnancy parallels.

But enough of that…the walk was fantastic. Once we hit the holding pen before the Closing Ceremony, the cold, fatigue and aches faded and all that was left was the ecstatic feeling of having completed the walk, of having spent three days with a group of strong, committed women (and men)  helping to bring an end to breast cancer throughout the world. There were tough moments, both physically and emotionally, but it was a phenomenal experience.

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October 7, 2010

Heading to DC…

All our bags are packed,

We’re ready to go

Taxi’s waiting,

He’s blowing his horn…

Well, actually Jim will be bringing us to the Amtrak train at New Rochelle. We’ll hit DC just around dinner time–a late Continental dinner.

Packing and last minute prep has been extensive. We have a weight limit of 35 lbs., but they can’t be serious. That is to include sleeping bag, mattress pad, pillow and all clothes and equipment. Even packing light, I know I exceed that. We have a brightly-colored plastic table cloth to decorate the outside of our tent and to help us locate it amongst the sea of tents. We have extra plastic tarps to protect us from the damp ground. Flashlights, extra plastic bags to keep clothes dry, bunny ears and pink boas. What else does a girl need to walk sixty miles?

Well, we have shorts and t-shirts, lots and lots of thick socks, a hat, two pairs of shoes, shower shoes, comfy clothes to wear in camp in the evening and a jacket and sweat shirt. 35 pounds? Who are you kidding?

Knitting has, of course, occupied my mind. What does one take for knitting? It has to be small and portable, fairly simple. I need it for the train up and down and in case I have any energy in the evenings. There won’t really be many lounge chairs so I bet we just lie down and go to sleep after dinner. I have decided socks are appropriate and fitting as a knitting project. They last forever, take up little space and what else would one make on a walk?

I am so happy Ellie is going with me. It won’t feel like being away having her around to hang with and take care of. I will certainly know my tent mate and have someone to keep company. Ellie wants to lie in bed and tell ghost stories. Aside from brushing up on a few well-chosen stories, I have to wonder who will be asleep first?

All we have to do now is keep on walking, one foot in front of the other and in a few days, we’ll have this nailed. I hope I remember to take some pictures. Jim is usually much more likely to do that than I am. It is so fantastic to think we are close to our fund-raising goal. There is a shot we might make it, but we’re a lot farther towards our goal than I had expected we would be.

DC here we come…

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