Friday, October 31, 2008

Halloween! It's Spooky.

All I have for you is the beginning of a poem. If you would like to add a stanza or two, send them to me in the comments.

T'was the Nightmare before Christmas
And all through the hovel,
Not a banshee was shrieking,
Not even a Muggle.

Hope you a planning a fun-filled 'Ween!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

The Saddest Day of October

Today was the saddest day in my world. Our good friends and neighbors packed up the U-Haul and headed east to Missouri. It is a good move for them to be closer to family and long-time friends. For Pedro and I, it leaves a hole in our world.

Pedro spent the afternoon going to their porch and waiting patiently for someone to open the door so he could go in and visit like he used to do.

Our best wishes to our friends, we will miss them!

Saturday, October 25, 2008

From Gussets to Glory!

It was a successful conclusion to my sock class in Woodland Park. I think everyone had a good time and did learn some basics of sock construction. I know we giggled a lot over the two afternoons we met. I blamed it on the high altitude, the shop owner referenced liquid refreshment. So if Diet Coke and high altitude are to blame, then we did good.

I returned to a beautiful sunset and an anxious pussycat who wanted to go out and watch the stars come out. Those days are coming to an end rapidly since it will soon be too cold and dark when I get home to go outside. He is enjoying these last mild days before it is time to build his kitty igloo.

Thanks to all the brave and wonderfully fun gals that joined me for the sock class. I have requests for more classes in the future and am working on those proposals this week. To all you fiber nuts out there -- Happy knitting!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Porch Re-Do

Pedro is checking out the new upgrades to our porch. My neighbors gave us the outdoor rug to spruce up our porch. The sad note is: they are moving the end of the month. Pedro and I are sad to see them go. They are good friends and neighbors and, Pedro says, great cat-sitters. Best of luck to them and we will stay in touch with all the technology we have these days.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Grey and Spooky or Time to See Frankenstein

Fall family traditions for my folks and I include:adding polar fleece to our wardrobes, setting out more mouse traps (some mice are left for Pedro to chase at Thanksgiving), baking pumpkin bread, knitting daily for gift giving and attending the annual Halloween-themed melodrama in Cripple Creek at the Butte Opera House.

This year they staged the Cripple Creek version of Mary Shelley's Frankenstein. When we arrived today in a mountain thunderstorm complete with multiple lightning flashes, I remarked that TATC (Thin Air Theater Company) have really improved their special effects.

The play was wonderful. And after the play they have a themed olio with singing/dancing and costuming all Halloween based. It was really fun. This is such a small group that produce these events that you can be served popcorn and a drink by Frankenstein himself. It was so much fun. This is our third year to attend. We have seen the Vampire of Cripple Creek and Dr. Jekyll - Mr. Hyde.

We are planning to go to the Christmas production as well this year. It will be the Cripple Creek version of Miracle on 34th Street. Since Cripple Creek is only 20 miles from my folks house, it is an easy trek with the high fuel prices and potential winter weather.

Hope you are finding fun entertainment in your backyard!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

October Days to Celebrate

Not only is October my favorite month but I have found there are several things to celebrate besides fall leaves, cooler weather, pumpkins and spooky Halloween things.

I picked out a few to mention. We'll start with World Habitat Day on October 6th which I personally celebrated a few days later when I went out with my office to do our annual volunteer work with Habitat for Humanity and got to hang siding on some new homes at the north end of town. Always a good time.

Then there is Angel Food Cake and Cake Decorating Days on October 10th, I can remember my grandmother's first attempt at angel food cake, a family favorite, after moving to Colorado, the high altitude issue. It was decorated as a volcano and it was very tasty.

October 15th brings us National Grouch Day which I am certain many folks will participate in as we continue to watch what is going on in the world.

Next up are some more food days with National Pumpkin Cheesecake Day on October 21st and World Pasta Day on the 25th.

All you married folks can plan to celebrate Mother-in-Law Day on October 26th.

And for a history lesson: The Statue of Liberty was dedicated on October 28, 1886.

Finally, as we get closer to the end of the month we celebrate National Candy Corn Day on October 30th just in time for the big day, Halloween on the last day of the month.

Hope all of you have great ways to celebrate all the good things in life and remember to be spooky!

Monday, October 6, 2008

Prepping for My Sock Class

While I was in Taos this weekend I received good news that I have seven students for my "Mastering the Art of Sock Construction" (no hard hat required). So I spent this day off at home making sock parts for class examples and gathering supplies. I think of it as packing for a trip without the need for the quart baggie, unless I need to go through security between my house and Woodland Park.

The new shop, Nuts and Bolts, in Woodland Park is coming along nicely. They are already bringing in yarn and complementary supplies due to vocal customer demand. I am excited about that. They have provided a large, airy and well-lit classroom space that is in the front of the store near the windows. I think that will be good advertisement as folks driving by will see there is something going on in there.

I can hardly wait to meet my students this Saturday, and utilize these new facilities to share my love of the craft and the secrets to socks. Hope you are planning more fun fall activities for this weekend!

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Victory Alpaca Ranch = From Fleece to Finish

Today I woke up to rain and grey in Arroyo Seco. Had breakfast at the Taos Cow just up the road from the Snowmansion Hostel. Food and coffee were great. When I come to New Mexico I am looking for New Mexican breakfasts. I have to say my favorite was from Dori's in Taos many years ago when they were still in business. It was a pile of hash browns smothered in green chili, cheese and topped with two eggs your style. Yummy!

I met CatWithCats at her hotel in Taos and we caravaned over the pass to Angel Fire, left a car there and teamed up to drive the 30-some miles south to Mora and the Victory Alpaca Ranch. The information says it is the largest fiber farm of its type in the southwest at 1100 acres and over 200 animals.

I have to say that I could have stayed right there, happy to work hard for food, board and fiber. What a beautiful place. We got there before they opened the gate to visitors and just sat and took in the view.

Once in the gate we stopped first at the pen with what looked to be the youngest members of the herd. Found out later that the youngest one in there was six days old. As Cat commented: they are so little, they don't look real. We also met the barn cats and commented how small all the cats that we have seen in New Mexico are so small compared to our large felines.

Finally went into the ranch store and discovered that they know how to do retail as well. It was tough not to say "charge it!" They offer everything from fiber from their own animals, labeled with the name of the donor so you know which one to thank when you go on the tour, to finished products for all ages, plus really cute and cuddly stuffed versions of baby alpacas.

We got to see the gals responsible for Shear Spirit before they were off for one more day of book-signing at the Festival. They had been signing all the books in the store, drinking coffee and eating scones. Nice way to start your day.

And then we got to go out to the "kindergarten" pen and feed the critters. It was lots of fun. As Cat discovered, it was quite a crowd that gathered to munch on feed.

We reluctantly left the ranch and drove north to pick up the other car and have lunch in Angel Fire. Then it was run for home and back to our respective lives. On the way, we got to see the buffalo herd at the Vermejo Ranch owned by Ted Turner, antelope everywhere and drier with blue sky weather.

I hope everyone had fun experiences this weekend.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Taos Wool Festival 2008

The day dawned grey and cool. The prediction was for sunny and 75, however the sun only showed itself late in the day for a weak moment. This made for more knitwear viewing as I toured the festival grounds. I got there early to find a treasured free parking spot. Those are about a block and a half walk from the park where the festival is held. I managed to find a place in the free lot that was also hosting the weekly farmers market. It was a colorful site on a grey morning.

Some festival tents were the simple white, four-legged covers while others found creative and free ways to decorate their spaces. This one with the aspen branches was really fun.

I met CatWithCats around noon and she was sporting the much coveted and commented shawl from Shear Spirit. If you have not seen this book yet, go get one! It was fun because the ranch that had provided the shawl pattern for the book was there and they found her to make a fuss over. Then we met the author and photographer for the book. They were there to sell/sign books and to visit one of the fiber farms featured in the book, Victory Alpaca Ranch from Mora, New Mexico.

What I discovered about this festival is: if you like dogs you will see every breed, shape and style; there are not as many fiber animals to see as the Estes Park Wool Festival; angora rabbits are BIG (popular and size-wise); and here be mohair locks. Now, if I can just figure out how to knit the bright colored locks into a scarf I will be happy. It sure looks like fun.

Hope your autumn is providing bright-colored fun events for you!

Friday, October 3, 2008

Road Trip: Taos

They say that the journey is the best part of a destination. I happen to agree. I left Colorado Springs before sunrise today headed south for New Mexico. I realized that I was sharing the highway and the beautiful sunrise in Pueblo with the balloon crews headed for the big rally in Albuquerque.

My early departure was intentional so I could stop in La Veta, CO for breakfast with my favorite western author, Eugene Vories. I met him several years ago through the Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers group and have followed his stories ever since. We had breakfast at Sammie's Cafe and caught up on our individual writing pursuits. I mentioned to him again that if we could find a way to send his first book to Tom Selleck, I think it would make a fabulous movie. The scene with the cows in the bank would be an Oscar nomination for sure.

After leaving La Veta, I headed across Highway 160 towards Fort Garland and saw beautiful fall colors and, to my delight, the San Luis Steam Train out for a morning run.

My trip south from Fort Garland took me through the oldest town in Colorado, the little community of San Luis, circa 1851, home to a hillside Stations of the Cross. Further south I found Questa, Ne Mexico where they are known for their honey and their Stupa.

The place I was reminded to slow down and be deliberately present was at the Rio Grande Gorge Bridge. This place is not for the faint of heart. You walk out on the bridge and between the height and the fact that you feel the bridge tremble every time a car or truck drives across makes you realize how deep that gorge is. A gentleman stopped me on the bridge (I was in a hurry and tried to resist but he insisted he had something to show me) and pointed to a spot near the river and there were nine bighorn sheep. He told me that these had been transplanted from Colorado near Canon City when their population was getting too large.

If you look real close at the narrowest part of the river pictured you can almost see three of them. I swear it is true. The guy went on to tell me that he and his wife sell authentic Indial jewelry at the bridge every week and he has seen the big rams on the gorge edge and a variety of other wildlife. He reminded me that being in a hurry keeps me from seeing and being. It was a great experience.

While at the bridge we were all reminded that the political push for the upcoming election was not over yet. And American sentiment is everywhere for the looking.

After all this excitement and calm, I headed to downtown Taos to visit the local yarn shops and figure out where I could park tomorrow for the Wool Festival. Taos is an interesting town to navigate and you must be prepared to walk because parking can be difficult at best. I lucked into a space near the Plaza that put me within a three block radius of the three shops I wanted to visit. First on the list was a place to get postcards so I could get them written and mailed from here in the AM. Most times I buy them and bring them all the way home before they ever get posted. This time I planned to do it right. I found the Mercado on the Plaza which is where you can sit for an hour and watch the whole town walk by. This fall Friday was no exception.

I visited La Lana Wools, and The Yarn Shop, both near or in the John Dunn Shop complex just north of the Plaza. Both places are small and sell handspun and hand crafted knitting supplies and yarn. I walked into Weaving Southwest and gaped at the wonderful weavings of art and clothing. This is the place in Sue Henry's book The Tooth of Time that got me started knitting a little over two years ago.

My next stop was the little town of Arroyo Seco where I am staying two nights at the Snowmansion Hostel. This little village is on the road to the Taos Ski Resort which was quiet and beautiful today. I also visited the Taos Sunflower yarn shop that is closing this weekend after the festival. They will now just be an online yarn shop. They had a fabulous shop housed in a 200 year old adobe hacienda. Shame to see that one close. I called it a day and settled in for the night. Tomorrow is the big day at the festival.