sheepy fun

I didn't mean to leave the blog on such a downer for over a week! But we've been busy. Last week, Stuart had a huge midterm and a birthday, which meant I spent an evening getting the kids to bed solo while he took his test, and the next day cooking a big special birthday dinner and cake for him. We're not going out to eat anymore because of the new car, so I figured I'd go all out cooking for his birthday, and I did. Roast beef (his request, oddly enough), roast vegetables (potatoes, carrots, cauliflower), gravy, and cake (always from scratch, never ever from a mix). It took all afternoon but it was pretty damn good.

Saturday was the solo and ensemble contest for area high schools. I got lots and lots of accompanying requests -- and I turned every single one of them down because it was the same day as the Madison Knitters' Guild knit-in. For the muggles out there, this event was one glorious day at a Catholic retreat center where knitters got together to take classes, share stories, explore the vendors and, of course, knit. I'm not a Guild member (formal knitting groups make me feel extremely shy for some reason), but fortunately non-members could register because nothing and I mean nothing would have kept me from the opportunity to meet both Meg Swansen and Stephanie Pearl-McPhee in one fell swoop. Meg Swansen, daughter of the late great Elizabeth Zimmerman, runs Schoolhouse Press, designs knitwear, writes books, makes videos, and is really high up there in my list of knitting idols. It turns out she is warm, elegant, gracious, witty, and just terribly nice. Daniel has watched a couple of her videos I've checked out from the library, and she was pretty tickled to hear about it (though I maintain it's mainly an excuse to get the TV turned on).

Stephanie Pearl-McPhee is THE notorious Yarn Harlot, the world's only knitting humorist, a rock star of knitting. She's been on the New York Times bestseller list, and deservedly so. She's an excellent writer, a compassionate human being and she's been doing some reading and research lately about the physiological benefits of knitting. Knitting can make the world a better place and can improve the human condition. Don't believe me? Read her latest book. She's also raised over $600,000 for Doctors Without Borders through her blog, which is clearly no small potatoes. And she's funny, funny, funny. Funny on her blog, funny in her books and extremely funny in person...but there's no way I can recreate any of her hilarious stories here, so you'll have to take my word on that.

Both of these women, these paragons in the knitting world, signed books of mine, which was enough to make my day. But on top of that, I got hours of uninterrupted knitting time and a chance to be away from the kids for, like, 6 whole hours. Very good for the psyche. Not only did they and Stuart survive the day without me, I think they all managed to mostly enjoy themselves (one tantrum notwithstanding).

I also biked to the retreat center. It was sunny, clear, and warm(ish), in other words, perfect biking weather. Except for the sore bum that is inevitable when one bikes 3.6 miles uphill after a 4-month biking hiatus, it felt really, really good.

As if the knit-in weren't enough excitement for one weekend, the whole family went out to visit a farm Sunday afternoon. This place raises tons of sheep, plus a variety of other animals. I think they're raised mostly for meat, though they shear the sheep and send the wool to a mill in Argyle (I bought some.) (Just a little bit, though.) . Anyway, it's lambing season so they've opened the barns to the public. We saw bunnies, piglets, chickens, turkeys, chicks, and lots and lots and lots of sheep. Daniel, inexplicably, was particularly drawn to the Pekin Duck, which was the only animal not doing anything whatsoever. The other animals were moving around in their funny ways, pecking for food, bleating, baaing and so on. Except that duck. He (or she, I'm not sure) sat in his (her?) cage, head tucked under wing, suspiciously eyeing the throngs of small children running about.

After some coaxing, Daniel petted a lamb.

There were spinning demonstrations, as well as a few vendors. I bought a bit of wool from the host farm, as well as a skein of pure mohair (spun from goat fleece) from a neighboring farm. I really like this idea of locally-produced fibers. If I'm not careful, I could get interested in spinning and/or I need anymore hobbies.


Andre said…
This made me smile!
canadahauntsme said…
That boy of yours is certainly (pardon the pun) sheepish when it comes to animals =)

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