Saturday, October 16, 2010

Shiney floors

Beautiful Fall Mushrooms in Denny's yard
Fall has arrived at the homestead....later than normal, we had snow this time last year.  One can always tell when its fall here, and no, its not the beautiful red oak leaves that have fallen from my beloved oaks onto the woodland floor.  Nor is it the arrival of the Blue Jays,  crows, ravens, and eagles that sail in the wind, composing a rap songs of the coming snow clouds. A momentous occasion occurs..... I finally wash the floors, where all the scraps of the previous canning, freezing, drying fervor made the floor look like a crazy quilt with out the stitches, are scraped free. The canners are put away in the garden shed, along with all the extra jars that may have taken their place on the counters, chairs, table, and any other space available.  Jars of dried herbs, are actually neatly placed on the shelves, and the smell of baked bread is now wafting thru the house, rather than the smell of drying onions that can be sniffed all the way down to the mail box. The windows are full of plants that have been brought in, secure from the frosts that are sure to put the blooming flowers in my garden to sleep.  The winds are singing lullaby's to last hardy roses, and  Mother Nature is filling her cupboards with the heavy snow clouds soon to be distributed with abandonment through out the grasses, and corn stubble, and old Jack Frost has been painting the ponds with his magical wand, and ice filled paintbrushes. The pure blue skies will soon become heavy pillows of gray fluff, with the winter winds blowing boldly singing the last hurrahs of fall.

Fall in the North country brings on harvest festivals, and finally after many years of procrastinating, we attended the Cranberry Fest in Eagle River a few weeks ago.  Traveling down the Highway 70, embraced by the colorful leaves swirling around the roadside, we reached our destination to be greeted by hundreds of cars, lined up like the Chicago rush hour, trying to find that ever elusive parking place.  We however, traveled on a few miles across the line to Michigan to meet the kids, and and swap cars to travel back and park in that special place that only residents of the area know how to find. 

The entire small city of Eagle River was carpeted with white Tents holding the most coveted arts and crafts, and goodies that had been put together with love and devotion,  and now displayed proudly on racks, shelves or ground with care.  Main street held  smells of old, new, and not so new thrift sections, while the cafes were busy selling brats, hot dogs, hamburgers, and cranberry beer, along with cranberry chocolate, and just plain ole cranberries by the pound.  There is something to be said for the North country people, they are jovial, considerate, fun loving and very talented.  Well  ya have to do something during those long winter nights, and Eagle River Cranberry Fest displays it all.

Mother Nature tried her best to discourage us with onsets of showers mixed with the sun...and yes snowflakes, but no one minded her, even tho she sent her best cold winds to shoo us quickly on our way.  We just ducked into one of the hundred of tents which covered the fairgrounds and checked the treasures that they held, trying to resist the temptations that awaited with beckoning smiles.

But the temptation became too great however when we walked into one of the barns, and there before our eyes, hanging from clothes racks were long skeins of wonderful  hand spun Alpaca and llama yarn,  dyed the soft colors of fall leaves, and tantalizing baskets overflowing with multi-colors of Fiber just waiting to be touched , hand dyed to perfection, with sweaters, mittens, scarfs lining the edge of the cubicle, each one a deity of patience and wonder.   Each skein was dyed to the imagination of the young lady who created these small miracles, and as she said "once a particular dye solution was gone, the recipe was never kept, so each selection of colored skeins were never repeated".  Well, thank goodness she took debit cards, because, after the second visit, and my husband saying..."you will regret it if you don't go back and get what you want"..... was mentally check our bank account..since normally I do not carry that much cash, so as not to be tempted.  An hour later I was the proud owner of cuddly, warm, hand spun alpaca fiber, that could be crocheted into the objects of my imagination. My husband sat in the chair provided for husbands for the moment, and would say," better get that color if you like it", and the ladies there, along with some customers helped match the various colors, making the collaboration complete.  So on this particular day one of my dreams had become reality, going to a Cranberry Fest in Eagle River, and acquiring ounces and ounces of alpaca fiber, and meeting new friends in the process.   Shady Haven's Fiber Designs and Llama Adventures will be holding a fiber boutique between Spring Green and Arena outside of Madison,  in November and hubby says yes, we can go....hang on bank account...this may be a disaster.

Our ride home was guided home by the bright setting sun, amid the showers, and  flocks of  dining turkeys gathered along the roadside eating gravel, about every five miles of the route. Highway 70 has always been a favorite of mine, setting adventures to the high side, with never a repeat scene regardless of the season. Even Tim, who travels thousands of miles a year agrees, that this movie never repeats itself.

Speaking of Tim, we finally have his sleeper berth decorated to his advantage, with a small table for his computer, and all the necessities needed for traveling comfort.  Since he spends anywhere from 3-5 nights in his rolling hotel room, its nice to have some comfortable commodities. One night when he was high in the Appalachian mountains, he was unable to get phone service to call at his usual time, and as the hours went by, this homesteader became worried, wondering if anything was wrong.  However, his computer, which has a different phone service was able to finally get thru. He was parked in a tiny 6 truck parking ,  truck stop, and tho the service kept being interrupted, at least I knew he was down safe for the night. While I will never stop worrying, as its my nature, I know that he  is comfortable in his job, and loves the road,  and doing what he loves to do.....cept when he graduates and gets out of the rig, and goes to his second love which is computers.   By the way he passed his college algebra with a C.....will wonders never cease. The third semester is on now, which Computer repairs, and College Comp....I will be studying the English Composition with him and so far, find it a wee bit boring...but oh well, like algebra, I am bound to learn something.

Along with fall arriving, and my kitchen clean, comes the the disrobing of my sewing area.  This is the area I hardly visit during the spring and summer, and stays kinda neat.  The next 6 months however will be disarray of everything from material, thread, scraps,...and now the addition of yarn....Lisa and Allona found an old knitting machine that had been lovingly used by someones aunt for a pittance, at a rummage sale and now it is sitting here by my shelves.  I have always wanted to learn how to use one, and  here in perfect shape is the chance......this will be my new opportunity for January, to learn something new as has been my custom now for years.  But now it is more important than ever, to look forward to a new challenge.

The clouds are rolling in now, rain is forecast in a couple of days, the cool wind is settling the rest of the leaves off the trees, tucking in the last of the seeds of summer, preparing for the season not far off.  The deer have changed their coats to dark brown, and rummage among the fallen acorns of the oaks, and the coyotes have divided into two packs now, I imagine due to the good supply of pups this year and sing on both sides of the ravines.  The other day coming up the driveway, I saw a beautiful black mink rushing across down to the other side of the slope.  The spry little chipmunks are carring every sunflower seed that falls from the feeders, to their winter habitat in the green house, unaware that I know where they are stashing their winter supplies. Every critter is preparing for the onset of Mother Natures cloak of snow,.... along with me, ....are cleaning their dens, making room for the long hibernation from the sun, settling down to wait for the transformation of the seasons.
Tim, Somewhere in Kentucky

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