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Archive for October, 2010


Happy New Year FY11!

Dear Ellen,

It’s already 6 days into the new year and I still can’t get over the fact that FY10 is over and done with.  And I didn’t even stay up to watch the continuing resolution drop from the dome of the Capitol Building.  Frankly, I really don’t have the energy to stay up for much lately — work is really sapping my will to live.  Eventually I’ll move on from this staff job — a necessary evil.  I look forward to the day.

I’m also looking forward to our home construction getting started — and we’re making concrete progress on all the paperwork and administrivia that accompanies a construction loan and the sale of our Vienna townhouse.  Hurray that the townhouse is finally under contract!  If all keeps bubbling along at the pace of the last week, we may actually close on the sale AND on the construction loan by the end of the month.  The big dig will start very soon after and then I’ll bore you with constant updates about the construction process itself.  In the meantime, be bored by even more pictures of the farm.

dsc01119.JPGdsc01098.JPGThe corn field behind us has been harvested.  I have never seen one of the massive combines in action (real life that is) before.  It’s really pretty cool.  I am fascinated by the fact that this building of a machine can just cruise across the corn field, consuming corn stalks, stripping kernels from cobs, keeping the grain and leaving the rest behind it as it goes.  dsc01105.JPGdsc01107.JPGSomehow I imagined they moved at about the speed of a slow walk…not true.  You’d be hard pressed to keep up without breaking into a brisk jog.  I want to see the inside of one.  Preferably one that is turned off.  And has no gasoline.  And has the engine removed.  I hate to think what would happen if one were sucked inside.  dsc01102.JPGAfter the combine finishes its work, then come the balers to pack the stalks, cobs and sundry scraps together into huge bales of what will then be swathed in white plastic so that it can become silage.  The amount of field debris that can be packed into a single bale is amazing.  I can’t imagine how much one of these babies weighs.  The dogs thought the square bales made pretty good perches.  The round bales make me think of geologic layers that capture fossils and leave a historical record.  Next up for harvest will be the soy beans.

dsc01086.JPGdsc01072.JPGdsc01121.JPGdsc01126.JPGColors at the farm right now include goldenrod with various butterflies and bees, mousy brown dsc01132.JPGdsc01135.JPGand warm patch of sunlight.   As you can tell, Dale worked very hard on our last trip up there.  He started the day sharing some coffee and donuts with Ruby, but the effort of clearing another 100 feet of tree line (yes, I helped) really took it out of him.  It was definitely worth it though…dsc01136.JPGwe can actually imagine the day when the big clearing effort will be done.

dsc01129.JPGdsc01133.JPGOn the knitting front, I finished a sock (#2 well underway) another sample of the pattern I was going to submit (but didn’t get finished in time), the second of the Hsssssy Fit Mitts for Corey’s brother, and this little newborn hat — salvaging a stupid mistake I made while working on the second mitt.

Sigh…past bedtime already.  I’m so looking forward to a few years from now when I hang up these spurs and can spend all my time at the farm playing with my animals (including Dale!) and my yarn.

Love, Jan

We ARE Already Winners!!

Dear Ellen,

dsc01141.JPGDespite the fact that Ed McMahon isn’t at my door, it’s evidently true…you won at your retreat and as I mentioned in an earlier post, I won a contest in support of the Energy for Life Walkathon to benefit the United Mitochondrial Disease Foundation.  Here’s my massive loot collection — 2 skeins of Brooks Farm Four Play, a skein of Socks that Rock Lightweight, 6 skeins of Morehouse merino and a fabulous skein of handspun by the woman who was doing the fundraising.  She’s looking for critique — I told her I thought it was gorgeous, but that after I make something with it, I’ll send you the scrap yarn to evaluate.

I’ve got material for another post, but it will have to wait.  I’ve been working evenings and on the weekend and have no choice but heading to bed or I’ll not make it through Tuesday.

Love, Jan

Dear Jan,

1.jpgAt our corporate leadership conference social hour, someone thought it would be amusing to read the auras of the scientists and engineers.  I was amazed at how long the line was in this highly technical audience.  My aura showed high physical energy and spirituality (and maybe a little obstinance, but hey, who believes these things, anyway?).

3.jpgA little bit prettier around the neck, or at least more obvious to the casual observer, my version of Stephen West’s Windschief.  It is knit from Alchemy 50/50 merino silk, one skein with a few yards left.  It will be a gift to a friend at work who has had a rough year, something to keep her warm going into the winter.  I started it one evening last week and did the bulk of the knitting on Friday at the retreat I attended last weekend.

2.jpgAlso from last weekend, but far from finished, a doorprize I was absolutely delighted to win – the Blackberry Ridge Spider Queen shawl kit.  Each of the four of us who planned and taught the retreat won a prize – happy coincidence!

I hope your weekend is full of happy coincidences, too.

Love,

Ellen