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A few of my favorite things

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When I was a little girl in school I joined the Glee Club and one fall season we learned some of the songs from Mary Poppins and The Sound of Music. One of my favorites was the "My Favorite Things" song, which we performed during the Christmas show when I was in sixth grade, before my family moved from North Carolina to Los Angeles. Today that song, those lyrics, are on my mind ... Last Friday my husband and I drove down to Bath, New York for the annual pig roast at his nephew's place. His nephew bought a 100 acre farm property ten years ago or so in a beautiful setting in the hills, surrounded by hilly farmlands, woods, mountains, and plenty of beauty. The nephew is not a farmer, but his wife keeps a small garden and he plants a field of corn every year to attract deer and geese. They hunt, and some of their friends hunt, so you can imagine why they would want to attract game. I am a vegetarian. I understand some people like to hunt, and I do my best to accept that fact graciously, without judgment. I go to the pig roast because I love my husband and want to be supportive of his desire to spend some quality time with his family (he is not a hunter either, just so ya know). The setting is gorgeous, and the camping is fun. I try to tune out the parts that are just so completely 180 degrees away from who and what I am and focus instead on the positive. We take a tent, as do several other families, and camp out for a couple of days there on his lawn. This time we also took Blu with us, which was a wonderful experience for all three of us. My husband borrows a big party tent from our church along with some tables and chairs and we go the day before the "event" to set up the tent and help out with whatever else might need to be done. My sister-in-law and her husband also go the day before, and we enjoy that first quiet evening camping out with just them. On the big day there are plenty of other things that have to be done to prepare for the feast and party, so we stay busy most of the day. My husband cooks his famous salt potatoes -- fifty pounds of them. This year his salt potatoes were the best I have had so far, and there were plenty of left overs so we could bring some home. They make the best home fries, yum yum yum. A favorite thing. It was an interesting experience for Blu because he has never spent a night away from home since we first brought him to live with us. He got to camp out in a real tent with his two favorite humans and he got to socialize with half a dozen other dogs of varying personalities and ages over the course of the weekend. My husband pointed out that by Sunday Blu had noticeably matured; I agree with that assessment. One of Blu's new experiences was getting bit by another dog. That was not fun. Evidently this particular dog bites pretty much every dog she meets and it seems to be a somewhat accepted reality. I did not accept it however, so I spent a good deal of time observing the dogs and how they were responding to each other. I struck up an agreement with that one dog: she would not bite Blu any more, and I would maintain better control of his nervous energy. We both held up our end of the bargain and there was no more biting, lucky for Blu. Blu did have a great time all in all. On the drive down along an old country road we saw the amazing carriage house you see in the photos. It is aged with a lovely patina just like a beautiful old barn, yet the design and details are incredibly lovely. Neither of us had ever seen a building like this before. As pretty as the setting was, as much as we enjoyed getting out on a mini-vacation, there isn't quite anything like arriving back home, putting everything away, and going on with our kind of normal. You know I love and appreciate my home, this farm, the river ... all of it. Coming back after being away for a little bit I want to run all over the yard hugging the barn, the willow, the cats, the hostas, the porch, the river. Hug it all close to me, hold on tight, take a deep deep breath. Two nights ago we had a windy rain storm that came through here, and the rain must have come in horizontally because our air conditioner filled up with water and we had to turn it off. Yesterday when my husband came home from work he asked me if I had noticed we lost some limbs on the willow tree. I was so busy inside yesterday I had not seen any downed limbs. We took a walk out there together to get a better view, and it was so sad. Three of the largest limbs had broken off, and one good sized but smaller limb. Four limbs in all, on the side of the willow that faces the house. It looks like one very heavy limb fell and when it did it brought down the other three limbs with it. By the time my husband gets it all cleared away, I fear the silhouette of our lovely willow will be greatly changed. So sad. I suppose I need to be grateful that I have been able to enjoy the grace of that gentle giant for three summers now and focus on that gratitude rather than the sad loss of the mighty limbs. I plan to gather as many of the whips as I can and get them wound and woven into wreathes and other pretty shapes so that at least there are tangible pieces of our lovely, grand willow gracing the world in spite of death of some of her best limbs. You know what I just heard? Canadian geese flying over head. It is mid-August and we already have signs of autumn. Leaves are already changing on maples trees throughout the area, geese are already beginning to arrive. The breezes, winds and weather have changed to very cool for the most part (although we still have an occasional warm and humid day). Autumn is my favorite time of year. The feeling of change from summer to autumn is most poignant of all season changes, for me. Perhaps it is all tied up in childhood memories of school starting (which I loved), the weather cooling down and refreshing my soul, the raking and piling of leaves to be jumped into, tasty persimmons ripening, pumpkins, hay rides, the march of holidays, closeness of family and friends. These are a few of my favorite things ... Here it comes again, and those wonderful feelings of excitement and wonder get all stirred up inside of me again. In preparation for cool and cold mornings ahead, I designed and knit myself a scarflette I am calling "Cuppa Joe". The yarn I used is a dainty, soft wool blend that is the color of a cuppa black coffee -- one of my favorite things. I am designing a pair of fingerless gloves to match and I will use this set to keep my neck and hands warm as I sip my morning cuppa Joe this autumn. I used a lightweight yarn in a loose knit because I want a bit of warmth, not confining heat because these items are for indoor use. Soon as I finish the fingerless gloves I will put together a pattern for the set so others may follow suit if they so choose. I am knitting up a baby blanket using that same quilt stitch pattern I used for my Biscuit Blanket. This is going to be a cuddly, scrumptious baby blanket keeping someone much more precious than a biscuit warm. Babies ... another of my favorite things. A pattern for this baby blanket will be available soon. I do have another Christmas Stocking pattern available. I shared a photo of this one a couple of weeks ago, but this is a much better photo so here it is again. The printed version and the online download are both available in my Etsy store if you are interested. You know what else is on my list of "a few of my favorite things"? You. The comments readers leave on my blog, the emails I receive, the customers I have the pleasure of serving ... you are all so warm and wonderful. I am so completely grateful for you, for the friends I have gotten to know a bit about, the other blogs and creative things I have been exposed to because of this connection. It is all so beautiful and rich.
(Psst: Where would we all be if AlGore had not invented the Internet?)
This week I want to share a connection with you that I have found to be very dear. There is a lady who reads my blog -- one of many very special readers. I am singling her out today because autumn is on the way and autumn represents all things beautiful to me. This lady's name is Beverly, her blog is "Tea Time and Roses". I love her sense of aesthetics and her ladylike view of life. She even has an Etsy Shop of her own where she sells paper products (cards, tags, etc.) reflecting that pretty sense of aesthetics and style that is all her own. Beverly lost her beloved mother this year, and it broke my heart to read about her loss and grief, but life does go on and Beverly demonstrates that in the continued loveliness of her own creativity and spirit. As time goes on, I plan on giving shout outs to other bloggers and online shop owners whose words and creativity I admire ... a few of my favorite things. Oh, and another favorite of mine is that client I have been doing surveys for over the course of the summer. He is in the Bay Area in California, and tells me that when he and his wife were walking around their yard last weekend he also noticed some leaves already beginning to turn. So, I suppose autumn is coming early in California as well. He, by the way, is a very good and interesting man. I love working with him because he is smart and decent, and truly cares about helping people. If you haven't already participated in the survey, I invite you to give it a go if you would. And, please see if you can get the man/men in your life to participate as well -- we need more male voices involved in the subject. This month one lucky participant will get to choose between a $50 gift card to Home Depot or Lowe's, or $50 worth of patterns in my Etsy Store, or a signed and numbered print of my "Bosc Pears From Local Farm Market" oil painting. So, if you already participated but your husband, father, brother, male-friend, etc. hasn't, ask him to and maybe if he wins he'll share the prize with you. (You do have to be a U.S. resident to participate in the drawing-sorry.) And of course, my husband is one of my very most favorite things. No matter where we are or what is happening around us, we are most happy when we are together. It is phenomenal to find that, even (or especially) a little bit later in life. :)

When the dog bites, When the bee stings, When I'm feeling sad, I simply remember my favorite things, And then I don't feel, so bad.

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