For many years, my life revolved almost exclusively around home and family. Then, beginning when my son was in his early teens, that expanded to include going back to college and grad school. That led to a few years of working, but when that became a barely break-even process, I began to stay home again.
Somehow, I discovered knitting again, which led to blogs and Yahoo groups, which led to actually getting out and meeting real knitters in real life. At this point, I can't imagine not having knitters in my life, and being part of the knitting community, both real and virtual. I've gained so much through these relationships, and wouldn't give it up for anything. After all, if I didn't have the support of all my knitting friends, how could I ever have knit 148 pairs of socks?!
Paca-Peds yarn in the Harvest colorway. The yarn is only 20% alpaca, so it's not as soft as the label might imply, but it has lovely stitch definition, and I'm thinking it will soften some in the wash.
But now, after (and including) all that knitting, something has expanded my horizons even more. That, of course, all began as a lark almost two years ago when my friend suggested we take a dude ranch vacation. Next up, riding lessons. And now I'm starting to make friends at the barn and take part in activities that support the conservancy group which efforts support and supplement what the County provides for growth and maintenance of the barn's needs.
Yesterday, I spent the day helping at the Pony Ride Day fundraiser. It was hot and muggy, but the rain stayed away, and we had a fabulous turnout. People started lining up at 1:00, and there was never less than a 30 minute wait to ride, right up until we cut off ticket sales at 3:45. I greeted people coming in, shooed away curious horses in the adjacent pastures, hoisted kids onto horses, and led one of the ponies around the ring. By the time I got home, I was exhausted, but very, very satisfied.
I brought along my new camera, and took quite a few photos of the horses in the fields, but the prize picture of the day was this one....call it "What do you get when you put the littlest kid on the biggest horse - AMAZEMENT!"
Isn't that great! Here's a picture of Sport in his stall earlier in the day.
I don't know how many "hands" he is, but I'm 5'5" and my head does not reach the top of his shoulder. But he's a sweetie - and a big beggar of treats.
So, now I'm wondering what the next exciting thing to enter my life will be. I can't wait to find out!
Around noon last Friday, I picked up Diana and Pat (who conveniently live in the same apartment building, just blocks from my house) and we headed for Highlands, NC. Diana had won a weekend at a co-workers mountain house, and while we were thinking "cabin," it turned out to be "HOUSE!" It was a beautiful day for a drive, and we stopped at a few roadside attractions on the way.
First, the always lovely Tallulah Gorge State Park. We took one of the trails through the woods, and although we weren't up for the hard part at the end (1009 steps down and then up in order to get to the river at the bottom of the gorge,) we did enjoy a lovely view of the L'Eau d'Or Falls.
After admiring all the ancient beauty around the gorge, we stopped at a more recent, and more whimsical, spot. Goats On the Roof. Definitely a tourist trap, complete with over priced do-dads and hillbilly themed junk, it's still fun to see the goats, who are indeed, on the roof.
Finally, we made it up the mountain to the town of Highlands. With an elevation of 4,418 feet, this little town qualifies as high altitude around these parts. But we stayed a bit further up, in the exclusive confines of the Cullasaja Club. A planned community of lovely landscaping, beautiful homes, golf course, and clubhouse, all we were looking for was a comfy place to sit and knit. And we found it - complete with world class view.
The house had a fabulous wrap-around porch (two of them actually, one for each level) and we were able to sit and knit for about an hour before our fingers began to go numb from the cold. (this photo was taken the next day.)
But we enjoyed the comfy living room just as much, and stayed up too late talking and knitting.
Sadly, overnight the weather turned from bright sun to clouds and drizzle. And if you don't think we were at a high enough altitude, look at this - we were right in the middle of the clouds!
Before we headed out for the day, the clouds lowered a bit, but never cleared completely.
While the area around Highlands offers many opportunities for scenic hiking, the weather was not good for such activity, so we drove through the Cullasaja Gorge to Franklin, NC. Objective - Silver Threads and Golden Needles - a yarn/fiber shop. It's a lovely little shop, and the owner was extremely welcoming. I bought two skeins of Spud & Chloe sock yarn (enough for a pair) and some pretty rayon chenille to weave into a scarf. Then, at the owner's suggestion, we went to Cafe Rel for lunch. We were told to look for the Hot Spot, and that the Cafe would be inside of it. We didn't realize that the Hot Spot was actually a gasoline station!
We were dubious at first, but it turned out to be a very lovely, and DELICIOUS, French restaurant. It was an odd juxtaposition, though. Particularly the restroom facilities, which were in the gas station and came complete with a *ondom vending machine. (* included to discourage spam - I'm not that delicate!!)
After a wonderful lunch, we headed back through the gorge, and stopped at the spectacular Cullasaja Falls.
This is one of my favorite places in the area. Jim and I have stopped by many times, and it always looks different, depending on the season. It's on a hairpin turn, so viewing it isn't the easiest thing to do, but there are safe spots to stand, and it's always worth a stop. Then, we spent the evening knitting, chatting, watching movies and listening to the rain drum on the roof.
Our last morning dawned just as cloudy as the first.
We had hoped to do a bit of hiking before heading home, but the skies were just too threatening. Instead, we headed back home, stopping to do a bit of junk shopping at Middlecreek Barn Antiques. Wow, what a lot of "stuff" they had! Most of it dusty and cobweb covered, but some of it was interesting. In fact, I found a very cool metal sheep bank that had to come home with me.
It has a slot on the top big enough to put a quarter through, and a screw on the side that presumably allows it to split in two to get the money out. However, I'm not going to attempt either. Instead, he will sit on the shelf in my craft room with the rest of the herd.
As for knitting accomplished, there wasn't a lot. I did finish a scarf, which was supposed to be a shawl (damn that gauge thing) and almost finished a pair of socks (which I did not start on this trip.) Pictures of both soon.
It was a fabulous - and lazy - weekend. I had a great time with Diana and Pat, and hope that Diana wins a trip to that house again this year. I'll start working on how to rig the raffle.