Wednesday, April 29, 2009

The market

The market starts this Saturday and I can't tell you how excited I am for the season to start. If you're anywhere near central VA you should come for a visit. It's a laid back, friendly, peaceful, not to mention beautiful rural market with outstanding produce and some craft vendors as well. They focus on the food and I can tell you I take lots home every week. From chicken and eggs to bison and steak and of course any kind of veggie you could want. This time of year they'll have great berries and preserves, honey and I forgot about the flowers -- heirloom varieties as well as great table bouquets that will last for at least a week. Hope to make even more new friends this year, so if you read this and visit and I don't know you yet, please say hi!

I know it seems like all I make is baby booties and maybe some jewelry here and there, but I thought I'd show a smattering of some of my other creations. I have tons more stuff at market than I can possibly put in my online shop. Here goes.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Well intentioned

She came walking in my room quietly, and with a sheepish look and a bashful tilt to her head she handed me this note.

"I love you too," I said, and gave her a big hug. I'm pretty sure I know what she means.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Tweet tweet

I often do things backwards. Case in point: apply to PT school in Virginia before ever going to Virginia, start a business when selling and business owning are concepts about as foreign a as becoming a politician, start an Etsy shop before you even know how to get the pictures off the camera and onto the computer, start a blog when you don't really know what one is, and my latest, join Twitter when you have no clue how to tweet or before the cable man buries your cable. I must say though it's been fun so far in the past 24 hours and you're welcome to follow along with me by clicking on "follow me on twitter" in the left sidebar, or just look for knitsimplyknit on twitter if you're inclined to do such things.

Saturday, April 25, 2009


It's a completely quiet morning. So rare. It's because of our late night whiffle ball/kick ball/some kinda ball games we've been having on these recent warm weekends I know. Few things feel better than knowing your kids have played hard, eaten good and slept like logs. And watching grandma and grandpa play, well, that's priceless.

I took oodles of jewelry pictures last night and hope to list some in my shop through the weekend. That is, after baseball, having friends over, scraping and painting porch columns. Oh yes, I've been at the painting again. I've finished with one of the porches and now it's so bright white and new looking it doesn't even feel farmhousey anymore. Well, okay I guess it does. It needed to be done. Kevin is painting the entire roof otherwise I would have asked him for help. I keep trying to let me help him with the roof painting but he says I'd die. At least I tried.

In case you were wondering, I love my chickens. Kevin was all worried about the kids getting attached and now I'm thinking I might need to be the one to worry about. And about another dog, well after yesterday's sticker shock from taking Sunny to the vet has knocked me down a few pegs. Since when has Frontline like doubled in price? 1-800-PET-MEDS here I come.

Have a happy weekend!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009


In light of Earth Day I feel it necessary to talk about earth friendly concepts.

So, no, the dog really doesn't have anything to do with Earth Day, you're right.

But she knows a lot about energy.

Someone just needs to fill her in on the whole notion of conservation.

The Kong has become King here lately.

And every once in a while she stops. Briefly.

I've been a little bit devious I admit, employing the kids to talk up the notion of a second dog, especially in the presence of Daddy. Supposedly Lauren told him they should get me one for Mother's Day.

"I can't believe you're soliciting the kids to talk me into getting another dog!" he remarked the other day.

"What? Who, me? I'm sure I have no idea what you're talking about" I said with a big grin. But she sure could use a playmate of the canine sort.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Life in the slow lane

"Hey lady, what do you want?"

"We're tired, can't you tell?"


Despite the squawking, chirping and flapping of wings, they're more like babies than I thought they'd be. Eat, poop, sleep, repeat. A routine highly reminiscent of the baby days.

While I was at work yesterday the girls made a sign for the coop,

Kevin installed a short door and half wall between the storage space and where the birds' nesting boxes and roosts will be,

and John helped a tremendous amount, so the story goes, nailing up paneling inside and helping install the roosts and this guillotine-style hen door that will lead to their yard.

There is an irony in this whole process that I hope is not going unnoticed. The chickens are getting great care from a certain man who has told me more than once, "These are chickens, not pets, we will not get emotionally attached, we are not naming them" and so on and so forth. Yet, he reports to me about their various personalities and habits and has dedicated great thought, time and care into their dwelling space. I'm thinking he cares more than he lets on.

Much to his dismay they all now have names thanks in great part to one of my nieces. They are: Peck, Dorothy, Spot, Chirp, Cloud, Sleepy, Snowy, and Lucy. Fortunately I'm managing to keep them alive.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

At the end of the day

At the end of the day the white on the hostas jumps up at me.

The iris say hello to the barn,

and the dogwood makes me think of a child at her parents feet.

At the end of the day I am tired and I think back to the whirlwind that comes with Spring.

The weekend was packed and seemed brief, my body finally settling into a chair and slowing to a reasonable pace. Saturday morning began early with baseball pictures, a game and opening day ceremonies. I had a farmers market meeting (can't believe it starts so soon!) and the rest of the day was a blur with cousins and whiffle ball games and tractor rides and chickschickschicks, dinner and the final collapse. I awoke early again only to work at the hospital all day, happy to come home, immensely grateful for my health and starkly reminded that these are the greatest of times, paving the road of our future as a family.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Chicks gone wild

(is that the look of a city mouse or what?)

If it's chick entertainment you're looking for I have one word for you, earthworms. Yesterday after the kids came home from school I set them to the task of digging up worms in the garden so we could feed them to the chicks. They were on it with such excitement you'd think I told them we were going to Busch Gardens.

It was all out pandemonium at feeding time. I'm pretty sure they'd never seen a worm before but it took about 2 pecks and 3 seconds before feathers were flying, beaks were pecking with reckless abandon and they were racing around the bin I have them in. The squawking was at an all-time high as if each chick was saying, "It's MINEMINEMINEMINEMINEMINE! gimmeegimmeegimmeegimmee!"

Worms were flying, getting chopped in half, chicks were all over top of each other and getting stuck behind feeders and such, each trying to flee from the other. At one point a worm landed on this one's back and she kept searching around for it as it dangled from her wing.

I must say they are rather easy animals to care for at this point. Their only requirements are food, water, a clean environment, warmth and safety from predators. That's it. They definitely don't want any more of me or the kids than it takes to fill those basic needs.

But of course I've been a tad neurotic about the whole thing, especially that first night. Kevin and I were sitting up watching t.v. after the kids went to bed and I heard him say, "Earth to Amy, where'd my wife go, what's gotten into you?"

"I'm paranoid that they're too cold, that they're going to freeze to death, that the light bulb is going to catch everything on fire and the whole tool shed is going to burn down (we don't have them in the coop yet, no electricity down there), or that the light bulb is going to burn out, and that my new ferns and peonies are going to die because it's going to freeze tonight. Does that answer your questions?" I replied.

I think he shook his head, muttered an "Oh great!" and then said something like "Why don't you just go check on them?"

"I think I will. And I'm bringing my plants inside while I'm at it."

But to myself I was just laughing at the clear difference in the way some women and men are wired. I know why women have babies and men do not. I see clearly why some men are stronger and can build great chicken coops (or houses) with ease and actually like it. I realized quickly why I'm the one responsible for keeping the chicks alive, when from the moment they came home and I sat quietly looking in their bin, watching their every movement, listening to their contented little peeps with a growing warmth in my chest that only comes from caring for another living thing. I'm glad I'm me and I'm glad he's him and I will happily keep it that way. The world needs both sides of the equation if you ask me.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

The prediction

Ten years ago today we bought our house and being the city girl I was at the time Kevin had great fun joking with me, saying, "One day honey you're gonna have chickens and do crafts! Mark my words."

"Pshawww, yeah, right!" I think was my response, "Chickens and crafts, I wouldn't know how to operate a hot glue gun if I tried!" And that is still true today, however the knitting needles, crochet hooks and yarn get quite the workout around here as you may well know. As for the chickens I never had poultry dreams or any notion that they would be a good idea. After all, we had already started gutting our farmhouse before we moved in and both worked full time. We spent months without a kitchen and a year and a half renovating all while living in a construction zone and loving (almost) every minute of it. Then came the kids. One, two, three, boom, boom, boom, just like that all in three years time. Chickens were nowhere on my radar screen as you can imagine, life was crazy enough.

But now that things have settled down somewhat and my youngest will go to big school next year, I'm looking at our life here through different eyes. Kevin has again joked with me that the chickens would be astronomically expensive ones had we to pay someone to build the coop that he built but it's really not about that. To us, it's about truly experiencing and actively participating in our lives here. The animals, the landscape, the garden, they all enhance our experience and we become intertwined with this place. It means so much more to me than the mall (although I really like having an Anthropologie close, don't get me wrong!)

I asked Kevin last night if he had any more predictions for me since he hit the nail on the head with his original two. "I have two words for you...churning wait and see" he said.

Ummm, I'll just leave you with that to ponder for a while.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

A timely reminder

There are times when our days are clear and sunny, we know which way to go, our direction is clear and there is nothing impeding our forward motion. Life is good and prosperity follows.

Then other days seem just the opposite. We become engulfed in our surroundings, our situation, our troubles and can't see past them. We lack perspective or wisdom or a light at the end of the tunnel. We think life may not be so good after all and we are humbled by this notion, sometimes even scared and uncertain, fearful of what we may have to endure.

But even in the muck we remember from past experience that although the outside covering may be bumpy, hard, dirty, gross and ugly, there just might be something special lurking inside if we could just uncover it.

And maybe what we need to do more often is daydream, become lost in a good world for a while, ignoring or giving no weight to the heaviness that surrounds us. There is no place for ugliness in a world of dreams, and there is always the hope that we may catch something really big if we try but more importantly if we just believe.

Still there is something to be said for hard work and determination, knowing that our shovels may just unearth pure gold.

And if we try hard enough, stick around 'till the very end and have the patience to let others flit on by, we may get the chance to wear the really big gloves and have the fun all to ourselves.

I was reminded of all these things and more during the recent visit of my very dear friend, this one is dedicated to her.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Happy Easter

I'm writing during the lull between activities, or more like during the calm before the storm. The Easter Bunny brought baskets of sweets, books and outside activities for everyone. A real kickball, a whiffle ball/bat, a butterfly net and buckets, scoops and watering cans have kept the kids well occupied while I readied the house for guests. Six kids and six adults, food and a really, really big egg hunt should have us all well worn out by nighttime, contented and grateful that we can be together here.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

I'm not the only one

We're moving right along on the coop (or, rather, Kevin is) and we should be ready for chicks/chickens soon, very soon. It seems I'm not the only one with poultry dreams lately, the pioneer woman has a funny little post about it only I'd like to think she's a bit more obsessed than I and I'm quite sure she has better pictures and some of real chickens although I can't see them on dial up and I haven't seen hide nor hair of the cable man or even Miss Utility to mark the phone and power lines and it looks like we just might never be able to get cable. But I digress.

I hope I'm wrong about the cable company and that they will really keep their promise to give us access. I've been wrong about many things in my life and most recently it was doubting the US Postal Service. Wouldn't you know those 12 little booties I tried to send to northern California turned back up in my mailbox today? They took a little detour through southern California and then another trip cross country but came safely back home. I'm not even going to venture a guess at how that happened.

I have some pretty river pictures for you from our little trip the past few days, but I first want to share one of the most exciting things I learned while my friend was in town with her two boys and her two big dogs. And that is, Sunny really needs a doggie companion. I'm starting to work on Kevin, don't you worry and I took a little stroll through today. There are some very promising prospects.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Piecing it all together necklace in the shop today!... bigger pendant this time.

I've been gone and without time to post. I'm still trying to assimilate all the pictures and my thoughts. Seeing a best friend just a couple of times a year is a wonderful but difficult thing. Our times together are so brief yet jammed with as much depth and late night talks as we can possibly muster and I hate to see her go. I'm trying as always to get her to move back to Virginia. One of these years it just may work.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Take me out

Sitting on metal bleachers when it's 40 degrees with 20mph wind for an hour and a half seemed more like an endurance test than baseball practice. It was worth it though, in a mom sort of way, to see him stand up a little taller, walk a little prouder and nod to his coach with all the seriousness of a big leaguer. There are things a mom can't teach and for that reason, I'm thankful for baseball. I remind myself also that I'll be melting into those same bleachers come June.

The knitting came along, providing much needed therapy for shoulders and hands so tired and in knots from crocheting. A newborn sweater, the size of which takes my breath away and causes the baby memories to flood back in.

And in all the fun I was having, I missed a rare opportunity. Kevin called me four times to see if I'd eaten and if he could take me out on a date after practice. He gave up after the fourth time when an elderly man answered the phone.

"Where's your phone, babe?" he asked me when I came in.

"In my purse I'm pretty sure, why?"

"Because an old man answered when I called you. They cancelled bible study tonight and since my parents were lined up I thought I'd take you out. Seriously, where's your phone?"

"I left it in my purse in the car while I was watching practice."

"Doesn't do much good there, does it?"

"Oh I called at 5:33, 5:37, 5:49 and 5:50. Maybe I have a stowaway in the car answering my calls."

We have this conversation often. Whenever I have my phone with me I get calls from telemarketers, which reinforces my belief that I only need it for emergencies. That's why it stays in the car for things like baseball practice. No emergency, no cell phone required. Anyway, I'd already eaten.

Monday, April 6, 2009

The baby bootie factory style just added to the shop today...

I picked up some knitting needles the other night to take a break from the personal baby bootie assembly line I have going and it felt so foreign, making my blog title and Etsy shop name misnomers indeed. Things have been going really well this winter and spring, but with an increase in business there is also a greater chance for things to go awry as I found out they had on Saturday. It seems that one of the wholesale orders I sent a couple of weeks ago made it about 95% of the way to their destination and then vanished. 12 pairs of handmade booties, all organic, so much hard work, poof!, gone. I really hope the post office can find them but I don't really have my hopes up.

But as one yucky thing happens, other good things happen too, it's a secret right now but when/if it happens I'll be sure to tell you. So I'm trying to condition my brain to accept the bad just as freely as I do the good, because that's life. Yin/yang, light/dark, good/bad, happy/sad, it's all part of being here, right?

Saturday, April 4, 2009

The chicken coop cometh

Start with one able-bodied husband.

Add an ulta-organized work trailer,

the likes of which Martha would even approve,

an old salvaged door from when we remodeled our house

and in six hours you have it,

the skeleton of the chicken coop with a papered-in roof.

I continue to be amazed at how much he can accomplish in such a short period of time, not to mention the quality.

Only thing I might have to do is confiscate that pretty doorknob for the addition when the time comes.