Sunday, August 30, 2009

Adirondack Mini Retreat

We have the wonderful pleasure of being able to stay at a cottage in the Adirondacks most any time we choose.  Dear friends own it, dear friends who have moved from Ithaca, NY to State College, PA who hire Jim to do most of the renovations and upkeep.  It's a tough life being able to stay at a nice cottage on a quiet (no wake) lake only 180 miles north north east of here.

We left the buns and house in the care of Cole, a young man entering his senior year of High School. 

For those of you who do not live nearby here is a location map.

The Adirondacks were designated a preserve many many years ago.   A map was drawn with a blue line surrounding this precious area.  We now call it living inside or outside of the Blue Line although I could not find an online map that showed it in blue.  It is so precious that real estate prices double or triple inside that line. sheesh.  Really, I cannot see much difference from one side to the other....................

Our destination was about 4 hours away on 5th Lake.   Usually we go up route 81 and then take the NYS Thruway for a while before heading north from Rome.  This time we decided to be on vacation as soon as we left Ithaca (after picking up coffee, snacks and bagged lunch).  Jim loves to meander and has such a fantastic magnet in his brain that he never gets lost.   We wound northward and eastward through small towns, through Cazenovia and Morrisville and up through Holland Patent, eventually to Old Forge.   

I love this river. It changes and meanders even more than Jim driving on vacation. Above is the Moose several miles south of Old Forge. Below is the Middle Moose on the southern end of Old Forge. Do you detect a hint of fall in the leaves and foliage?

The Fulton Chain of Lakes begins in Old Forge with Old Forge Pond and 1st Lake (yes, very creative naming) then in to 2nd, etc, through our tiny larger than a pond 5th Lake to 6th and onward to 8th. 
 The Moose River runs in there too.  Actually this is the beginning of the Great Adirondack Canoe Classic every September. A 90 mile 3-day staged race for 200 kayaks and canoes.

About ten miles by road, north of Old Forge, is the hamlet of Inlet right at the top of 4th Lake and next to 5th.  We drove into the driveway, happily off loaded between rain storms, put a few things away and immediately went out onto the dock to drink a beer, eat lunch and relax.   RELAX become the pertinent word for our weekend.

Baz was one very happy camper.

And the banner is of my design. I made it many years ago, and then have repaired it as the wind and sun change it into shreds.  It is always hung up when someone is in residence making a nice waterside welcome to boaters.  See those 4 steps?  That is all there is to getting from our downstairs digs to the dock.

I brought:
KNITTING - my sister's sweater to be reknit, the linear shawl I am designing and the socks for the September Sock Hop to complete.
SPINNING - 4 oz of Panda in both Blueberry Pie and Blueberry Patch to spin for heavy socks, Black Cherry bfl to complete spinning for a sweater and some purple merino to spin and then ply with some already spun llama/pygora.
BOOKS -  2 - one in the middle (book 3) and the sequel (book 4) in the series.
COMPUTING - revamping several of my website pages which can easily be done offline.

After lunch we decided to take naps.  After dinner we took our wheels onto the deck, sat mesmerized seeing a neighbor's new dock being swung and placed
and spun a bit, watching the sunset mostly behind clouds.  5th is a quiet lake so we mostly saw kayakers, canoeists, ducks and fishing boats.   Some even came over to see what we were doing and chat a bit.

Oh and I have not mentioned that the only place in Inlet that has cell service is on the town dock.  If I wanted internet at the cottage I would have needed to use dial-up.  I used that as a good excuse to only check mail once a day. I loved the idea of actually being legitimately separated from my computer for lengths of time.  

Saturday morning, after a leisurely read with coffee on the dock, I shouldered my computer back pack and walked about a half a mile in to Inlet to sit on a nice bench in front of the Library which has WiFi.  I was joined there by several other people doing similar high tech vacation stuff.  Then I went across the street to the grocery store to pick up a few paper supplies, check out some other interesting stores and wander back across the bridge to the cottage.

We then went, all three of us (me, Jim and Basel), for a paddle before lunch. After lunch we sat on the dock until the rain started and were "forced" inside to read and nap.
Do you see a bit of a pattern emerging here?    Sleep, eat, drink, paddle, spin, eat, drink, sleep, knit, walk, nap......

Jim wanted to walk around Moss Lake but the weather and our inertia put a delay into that.

Saturday evening we did bestir ourselves enough to get dressed (that does not mean much in the Adirondacks) in clean clothes and drive a couple of miles to Eagle Bay to have a nummy dinner at the Hard Times Cafe.  Jim showed me a printout of his 1989 race win which is included in a poster on a wall of the cafe..
Saturday evening was a repeat of Friday, minus the dock launching because it was raining.   We spun near the open door to the dock until the wind changed and the rain came in through the screen.
Sunday was more of the same delightful no pressure leisure, with me going in to Inlet to check on mail while Jim and Basel took a walk around 5th Lake together.  After a wonderful brunch of bacon, cheese and onion omelettes I sat down to knit while Jim went to Moss Lake to walk.  He should have been gone at least 2 -3 hours but came back in about an hour because part of the trail was underwater and he was not wearing hip boots and it was raining again.   Oh sigh, an afternoon of popcorn, reading and knitting and napping. 

On Monday we leisurely packed up, cleaned the cottage and headed in to the Old Forge Arts Center to see the National Exhibition of American Watercolors Show.  A really incredible exhibit to find up there with famous painters hanging on the walls.

After lunch we started home and decided that since the day was only overcast, not really rainy  we would again meander through the countryside to get home.  One of the neat things we saw this time, because Jim did take different roads, were the Windmills in Madison County.  I find them calming to look at and not at all intrusive.

All in all, with all our side stops and road driving the mileage was within 5 of taking the major highways and less than half an hour more in time. We were also much happier as that kind of driving home extended our relaxed feelings. 
We came back to happy bunnies.  Cole will be caring for the buns and Baz and the house while we are at Hemlock in September.  It is such a relief to us to have found a responsible person to do this for us who also enjoyed walking our woods and fishing in the pond.   Thank you Cole.

Oh and in case you were wondering.  What did I get done on my to do list?  Well, my sister's sweater gained several inches and the sock went past the heel. And I finished one book and started another.  One bobbin was filled.  Otherwise the list stayed as it began.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009


Most of my adult life I have been the companion of at least one dog and some of my adult life the caretaker of a cat.  In general I have found cats to be a bit more independent and aloof than I want in a companion pet. I don't like fawning dogs either but something in between.
That was all true until I picked up a tiny skinny half feral brown tiger kitten from Winderwood Farm three years ago.   He was not litter trained and had lived outside for his first 12 weeks among the other barn/yard cats there.  However he was definitely friendly so home we went.

It was an interesting 3 days trying to get him to use a litter box and also trying to tame him before we let him go out on his own. Eventually when he went by I just picked him up for a few seconds, then put him down.  Those seconds turned into a minute, then several minutes, etc. He was so full of life and joy and fun that I named him Sparkles 'cause I could see the light sparking off him.

Basel was not as enamored of this kitten as I was.  Generally because Basel really did not appreciate having his tail attacked every time it was wagged or being jumped on as he walked by.  But Sparkles persisted and started licking Basel's ears and head too.   While waiting for breakfast or dinner to be set down, Sparkles would roll himself up in Basel's place mat, then when Baz' dish was set down, lick Baz and then scamper over to his own dish.

SmokeyBlue liked him and helped with his training too.  I wrote about that here.

Sparkles played with anything and everything, yet not destructively.  He was the perfect fiber/ knitting cat.  I could give him his own fiber and he would then leave the majority of my basket stash alone.  
For such a playful feline he also left hanging strings on knitting alone as well.

We came to adore this kitten.  He came to love being held and often slept between my feet.
In the last few weeks, his newest trick was to sit on the top of Jim's chair, then when Jim moved forward for  second or two,  would slide behind him.  He would keep doing this, purring all the while, until he was way down behind Jim's back.

We do not like to cage our animals.  I know the risks involved very well.  But we feel quality of life is way better than longevity.  Sparkles used Basel's doggie door to get in and out with ease. He grew into a long sleek slinky hunter.  He reduced the burgeoning chipmunk and mouse population to manageable levels.  We probably saved, on average, at least 3 birds a week too.  I didn't like his catching them very much but he was fairly agreeable to giving them up and I always reminded myself that he was just being himself.

He was always himself.  Fun, loving, joyful feline Sparkles.  And a perfect hat tester.
He made me laugh at least once a day with his antics.  He taught me a lot about letting go and just seeing the best in things, having a good time, yet also loving my people and dog and buns.

Last Monday Sparkles ate dinner with Baz but did not sleep with us.  In the morning we called him but he did not show. It was a hot day so we thought he might be sleeping somewhere cool after a night of prowling.  He did not show for dinner nor at bedtime. The next morning we called neighbors and the SPCA.  One of our neighbors had seen him playing with a feral cat a week before so we thought he might be off on a romp (although in 3 years he had not done so before).  We did hear coyotes Monday and Tuesday nights fairly close by.   All week no tiger cats were taken in by the SPCA.  I put notices in mailboxes and gave one to our postal carrier.
He might still be out on a romp but I feel it is time to let go and move on a bit.  I miss him everywhere I go on my property and in the house.  I can see him playing on the railing, coming out from a bush to scamper down the steps with me, sitting on the AC unit outside the shop window to ask to come in, sleeping on the deck under a bench while the bunnies hopped about. I have good memories and loving thoughts.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Proud Gramma

I live on the opposite coast from my incredible son, delightful DIL and their 3 amazing children.  I miss them bunches but one of the plusses of the internet is receiving pictures and news from California close to when things are happenin'.

This past weekend my 15 year old granddaughter, Alicia Irie who has been loving and playing soccer forever, participated in a Youth Soccer Tournament (under 16 years old, Division 3 high competition).  Her team the, Livermore Elite Earthquakes, did magnificently.  They played 4 games over 2 days and came out well.

The last game went into double overtime. Alicia made some amazing game saving stops. The game went into penalty kicks and my granddaughter stopped two shots to win the game!

Just a Few Words from Me

I think the blogs that I have linked to have really covered the retreat wonderfully. I know Cathy and I could not have been more pleased with the group and how the weekend went.

While we were thunking this all up we made ourselves a list of what we liked and did not like in workshops we had been to. We tried to arrange the weekend so that it would be pleasant, fun, instructive and relaxing for all of us. I came home on Friday evening on such a high. I expected to be exhausted but instead was so energized. The weekend exceeded our expectations and we would like to thank all of you who participated for making The Spinning Bunny Pamper Yourself Knitting/Spinning Weekend #1 such a success.

And they are:

Betsy from VA

Louise and TeAntae, a mother- daughter team, from MD

Sue and Megan, another mother- daughter team, from PA and NY

Kelly and Char, friends, from upstate NY

L->R: Jenny from ID, and Jane, Kristin's grandmother, both from NY

Diane and Ashley, both from NY

Delia and Jane, sisters, both from NY

Ann-Marie(l) and Michelle(r), sisters, from Ontario and NY

Many of us, Saturday evening, enjoying each other and dinner at the Boatyard Grill.

You can also find us on Ravelry continuing our fun online.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Spinning Bunny Pamper Yourself Knitting Getaway

Since I have not yet had time to post about the wonderful exciting fun delightful weekend and knitters/spinners please go to the Geritol Gypsy to see her take on the event.

And for a Canadian viewpoint go here.