Saturday, May 30, 2009

Final Sail

Today started as lovely as any day you can imagine.  The sun rose in a clear sky, there was only a gentle breeze, and we left the river on an ebbing tide to sail to Mystic, where we will leave the boat for the next two weeks.

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This odd combination of attached cottages was Katherine Hepburn’s summer place. It sits at the mouth of the Connecticut River.


Our sails were set ‘wing and wing’ for the trip east. Unlike last Friday, when there was not a single other boat on the water with us, today there were plenty of sail boats and power boats out to enjoy a beautiful weekend.  There was a flotilla of fluffy cumulus cloud vessels in the blue sky, and the water beneath us was almost the color of the Caribbean.

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House on “Little Dumpling” Island in Fisher Island Sound.

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            Entering the Mystic River.

Bob’s big chore on arriving in the Mystic River was to find the sunken lines on a friend’s mooring which we could then use until our return.  Bob got in the dinghy with his grappling hook and began dragging the mooring field near our friend’s usual spot. Memorial day cruise 2009 193

Hours went by….Bob made a few phone calls to our friend in Florida who owns this mooring.  More hours went by.


Just before the sun sank behind the trees on shore, Bob finally had the mooring up in the dinghy….probably the worst mess I’ve ever seen.  There was still work to be done adding lines and a float, more work to be done cleaning the dinghy and  Bob.  We may have to throw away his clothes! It’s 8pm and we’ve had nothing to eat all day. Neither of us feels like going ashore for our last dinner as planned, and cooking at this hour will be Spartan at best.

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Tomorrow will bring its own challenges as we struggle home with large duffle bags in a variety of transportation modes which will include a dinghy, two trains, and two cabs before we reach our car.  Is this the fun part?

Friday, May 29, 2009

The Connecticut River

Some sights along the Connecticut River, where we’ve sailed for over 30 years.  It’s a bucolic area, so lush after the sandy, somewhat barren look of the outer end of Long Island.  There is an osprey on the nest in the second photo.  I might crop it when I get home so you can see her better.

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Memorial day cruise 2009 120 Gillette Castle with ferry






Memorial day cruise 2009 126Approaching the Goodspeed Opera House



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The swing bridge at Haddam, next to the Opera House.




Photos I missed: lots of ospreys, lots of swans, a duck taking flight right next to our boat, and a bald eagle in a tree.  Oh well.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Greenport, NY

We are sort of stuck in Greenport, which is a lovely place to be so I’m not really complaining. I am complaining about the wicked East winds and nasty chop.  It’s too rough for either reading or knitting at this point, and it’s very risky business for me to get on and off the boat in these rough conditions! 

Memorial day cruise 2009 067 Greenport, which looks like a ghost town on this last week in May.  Merchants have told us that Memorial weekend was ‘hopping’ but you wouldn’t know it now!


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Bob and I did the self-guided walking tour of Greenport today.  I want a house like this when we retire!



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The deserted marina.  We are the only visiting boat here.

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Memorial day cruise 2009 056 The gardens here are so ahead of what’s in bloom at home!  The roses are full of flowers, the iris are at their height, and as you can see there are cranesbill and daisies blooming.  This must be a luscious climate for gardening!

Now and Zen is here!  It’s always nice to come ashore and find a yarn shop! I bought two skein of Blue Sky alpaca/silk and a coordinating Koigu to make a scarf. 

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Projects On Board

These are the things I’ve brought with me to work on this week. When the weather is fine I get a lot of work done, and when it’s not I get cranky.  I don’t know how my husband stands me! 

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This is a KAL (knit-a-long) from Goddessknits.  She’s giving one clue every Sat. for a total of five clues.  In this photo I’m probably midway through clue 1.  Now I’m a couple rows into Clue 2.  It’s fun!

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This organic, ruffly bit of nonsense is a pattern from Brenda Papita (hmmm..couldn’t find a website for her) which I bought at Just Our Yarn at MDS&W earlier this month.  The concept is short rows which only work half the row at a time with a bit of lace right at the edge.  A 10-row repeat gives one section of ruffle and lace on one side of the scarf.  It’s easy to memorize and easy to do….but….I’ve now completed 50 repeats of the pattern which is only 25 repeats on each side and the scarf is less than 12” long.  I bet I have to do 500 repeats to get enough length to actually wear this thing.  Not sure I have the stamina!

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And here is my soft corrie, combed and dyed by Misty Mountain.  Each time my little Golding spindle gets full I wind onto a bobbin.  I’ve divided my 4 oz. of top in half and plan to fill two bobbins so I can ply one long length of lace weight yarn for a shawl.  As I spin I dream about what type of shawl I want to knit with this!

When I bring projects on board I have agendas and goals for finishing whatever I’ve brought with me.  When the weather is fair I probably knit for about 6 hours a day.  I spin in the evenings while Bob reads aloud, or in the mornings while having coffee.  This week Bob is reading to me Treasured Islands, a biography of Robert Louis Stevenson, that covers the period of his life when he sailed to Samoa on a 90 ft. schooner with his wife and her two children from a previous marriage, and his mother, as well as the boat’s crew. 

On my own I am reading Catch-22 and The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, both of which I’m reading sections aloud to Bob and enjoying immensely! 

The weather these past two days has not been good for much beyond reading, and I can barely do that.  I am not of strong enough constitution to do much when the winds are howling and the boat is heeling, even at anchor!  Looks like we are in for this dramatic weather through tomorrow, which will be Thurs.  I will not meet any of my goals for finishing projects at this rate…

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Cedar Point Lighthouse off Shelter Island.

Sunday, May 24, 2009


It’s open season for sail now, and we are initiating the summer with a sail to Eastern Long Island Sound.  Our next stage of summer sailing will be Narragansett Bay and the Cape, and our final sailing grounds will be Penobscot Bay area of Maine.  I always provision the boat with lots of projects, so I will continue to post about weaving, knitting, and spinning.

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Middle Ground: literally halfway in the sound,both East/West and North/South.  We are headed for Mattituck Inlet, near the Hamptons on LI

We were virtually alone on the water Friday!  We saw one tug pulling a barge, but we did see lots and lots of helicopters heading out to the Island.  Some people still have enough money to travel in style!

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Entering Mattituck Inlet, a long narrow inlet with lots of interesting bird life.


After anchoring and preparing dinner during sunset, we spent the next day ashore, taking a 2-mile walk to a local winery which took us through a neighborhood of modest, lovingly maintained houses and gardens (rhodies and lilacs in bloom).  We bought cheese at a local shop and had it for lunch with wine on the deck of the tasting room, amidst a Mediterranean style garden (pinks and nepeta in bloom and buds on the lavendar) overlooking the vineyard.
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Goats at a small residence on our way to Shinn Vineyard.




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Sod farm barn across the street from the entrance to Shinn Vineyard





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Shinn Vineyard, the only bio-dynamic vineyard on the Island at present



Water front activities
We’ve seen lots of ospreys and babies in the nest (is there a name for a juvenile osprey?).  One interesting sight was a particularly aggressive osprey who chased an egret in flight all around the harbor.  The next day that same osprey chased a little plover all over the sky.  I’ve never seen an osprey do that.  Motoring back out of the inlet we saw a bald eagle sitting in a tree, and an osprey sitting on her nest with two swans in the water right below her.  Such bucolic sights!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

V-22 Osprey flyover

From my son Chris, who was on the roof of a building at school.  The tower is Riverside Church.  Click to enlarge, and you’ll get a good view of those interesting planes!

fleet week nyc flyover


What a confluence of astounding events occurred as I delivered my little tapestry.  My drive into NY was full of portent if I believed in that sort of thing!

Driving down the Palisades Parkway right along the western edge of the Hudson River, the two large V-22 Ospreys came into view!  They were flying up the Hudson in what seemed like slow motion!  I’ve never seen them before, and they certainly look like a strange mix-up of helicopter and plane!  Those rotors were so gigantic!  The traffic on the Palisades almost stopped as all eyes were focused upwards on those amazing planes!

I’ve never been tempted to take photos while driving until that moment! Why didn’t I open the sun roof and stand up and get that shot? I didn’t do it (damn!), and now I can’t find any photos on the internet (really, how can you have news coverage without photos??).  So I’m posting this because it was such an awesome experience for me….even without pictures! (Though you can always count on YouTube!)

It was a brilliantly clear day so the view of the Hudson was magnificent, and I’d forgotten that Fleet Week was starting.  People were lining the walkway on the bridge to photograph both the F-18 Hornet fighters and the Ospreys as well as all the ships coming up the Hudson.  It was quite a celebration!  I drove into Manhattan down the West Side Highway, which is right at the eastern edge of the Hudson (just the opposite river bank from the Palisades Pkwy), so I had great views of the ships for the entire ride.  The park at 125th was also filled with people, all excited to be watching these events!  Such a different mood than the last, unnanounced, flyover!

My son and a few friends knew how to get on the roof of their building at Columbia Univ. (which I will not name since it’s supposed to be inaccessible!), and Chris got photos of the flyover, as well as some great shots of the city skyline on a perfect spring day! He hasn’t sent them to me yet!

I then spent then next hour and 15 minutes looking for a parking place!  It was also graduation for Columbia College students, and it was an incredible log jam!  Roads were closed, out-of-towners were everywhere, and even the parking garages were full! I won’t say I wasn’t in a high state of frustration, but I did enjoy seeing all the young faces in their blue mortar boards!  I finally settled for a spot with 1-hour metered parking, and Chris ran back to feed the meter at the end of the first hour!

After a lovely lunch with Chris, celebrating the completion of his first year of physics doctorate, I headed uptown to deliver that tapestry along with our funky group piece called “Not Gone for Baroque.”

Monday, May 18, 2009


Booyah! I’m finished! Hemmed and mounted before 11 pm today!

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Well, there is a flaw I must fix, but that must wait ‘til tomorrow. It would have been better to fix it before mounting, but I was too tired to see it. On the left side, in the first long branch of leaves behind the boat, the sky dips down too low into where the water should be. (Don’t tell anyone, but I’m going to needle weave it to fix it.)

Must sleep now…


11th and 1/2 Hour

Time flies. My historic tapestry reinterpretation should be delivered next Wednesday, officially five days from now. I’m not done weaving, but I’m close. Unfortunately, weaving is not the only thing left to do. It has to be hemmed and mounted. Mounting involves stretching heavy linen on stretcher frames that I have not yet bought. Meanwhile, I am hosting an instructor at my house for a guild workshop. Do you think she’ll mind if I just weave? No chance of that!

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There is progress on the Hudson River piece also, which is not ‘due’ until July 1. I will take it on board next week for a little weaving on the water….. a little plein aire weaving.

This week Jennifer introduced me to TED (Technology Entertainment Design) which has free videos of lectures on many subjects. Being a fan of Elizabeth Gilbert’s book Eat, Pray, Love, I particularly enjoyed this lecture she gave on creativity. And as an aging classics student who never gets to talk about the ancient world, I was thrilled to hear Ms. Gilbert talk about creative genius!

I never posted this last week. Now I am just about finished with the historic piece! I think there is about 2 more hours of weaving, then I hope it will be hemmed and mounted in another 24 hours!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Who Does She Think She Is?

Doesn’t that sound like a loaded question?  And I guess it is.  If there weren’t so much on my to-do list I’d be driving to Connecticut this afternoon to see this documentary on women in the arts.

With regret, I have decided my time is better spent staying home to work on my tapestries and some other unfinished business.  Ah, well….  I have left my name on the website on a list for future DVD sales.  Hope it won’t be too long! My interest is piqued!

If you want to check out if you can see this film locally or get on the list for possible DVD go here!  Aha!  Planned DVD release for November, 2009!

To-Do List

What better way to spend Mother’s Day than visiting a garden? Actually we visited a garden on Saturday as part of the Garden Conservancy’s list for Open Days. It gave me just the inspiration I needed to get down to work in my own garden. Garden May 2009 003 There will be another Open Day in June at a different house. I hope to visit then as well! This garden was in deep shade until two years ago when a large tree fell and destroyed almost everything. Now the gardener has completely redone the garden with more sun loving plants. It’s a beautiful oasis in an otherwise pleasant, but unmemorable suburban neighborhood!

My own gardens are giving me a lot of pleasure this year, the second year in a row when I feel there is not much work to do. There is an old saying that if you are happy with your gardens, it’s probably time to move! In my case, I hope to enjoy this satisfied feeling for a few more years before having to start over!

My work for this week includes finishing the historic reinterpretation tapestry (you can bet I’ll take photos when I celebrate the cutting off!), attempting madder dyeing again with my next batch of roots (from Hillcreek Fiber Studio), and spinning more corrie on my little Golding spindle. A great way to spend a week, right?

Monday, May 4, 2009


Every year the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival shows me a different aspect of all the people who contribute to my obsession with fiber, spinning, dyeing, weaving and knitting. One year I only took photos of crowds. I was completely appalled that the festival was so crowded that you couldn’t easily walk through the pathways between the barns, much less get into the barns and booths….

This year the word ‘devoted’ kept running through my mind. We the spectators were willing to schlep through mud and muck (of course the shepherds are always willing to do that!), willing to be patient in the face of huge crowds, willing to be inspired by the devotion of our heroes who raise the animals, clean and process the fibers, dye the amazing colorways, and create such finished works of beauty that we’ll spend the last of our savings on handwoven, hand felted, hand knitted and hand spun items. The whole festival was a feast of inspiration that stemmed from devotion to a calling.

I am in awe of the shepherds, processors, dyers, designers, and artists who laid their wares before us. I spent a lot of money that I can’t really afford, but if it helps the economy of fiber farmers and fiber artists to continue their devotion then it’s entirely worthwhile!

Here’s a taste:
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MD SandW May 2009 006Husband and wife busily grooming their Border Leicester before going into the ring.

MD SandW May 2009 013First place Corriedale with proud teenage owner sitting nearby. The mother told me that her two teenage sons are entirely responsible for the care of this champion sheep!

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My new Golding spindle lying cozily on a pillow of hand-painted Corriedale top from Misty Mountain.