Friday, November 23, 2007

A sure sign that summer is over

Snow on the barbeque. Those long, lazy days of summer are certainly past.

Old Man Winter is on his way. We've had our first flurries of snow today, with just a dusting over everything. Time to knit faster...

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

There are no shallots in this town!

One of the things I love about living in this small town is the slower pace. I went to the grocery store today to pick up the last-minute ingredients for our Thanksgiving dinner. I made a point of going early--mid-morning--to avoid the mad scramble for food that always happens the day before Thanksgiving.

The cashiers were harried, frustrated, and tired, as you would expect on this crazy day. But the crowds? Where were the crowds? The "crowds" consisted of three--count them, three--people in each checkout line. Oh, the madness!!

But there is a downside to being in such a small place. I've always taken for granted that I can get what I want, when I want it, from the grocery store. In Boston, I lived within a few miles of three different Whole Foods stores. In Austin, I was a short walk from Central Market. Here, we have Wegmans, which is a fabulous store--but it's a half-hour drive away.

But here, our options are so much more limited. Shocked to discover that our local grocery store was out of what I consider basics--fresh mozzarella, shallots--and shocked to see that all their so-called fresh herbs were brown and wilted (and still being sold for $1.99 a package!), I had only one other option: Walmart. And we all know how much I love Walmart... :(

Amazingly, Walmart actually had the mozzarella, but no shallots. There isn't a shallot in this entire town.
[image source:]

Oh, how I miss Whole Foods! Oh, how I miss Central Market! Mr. Wegman, please oh please open one of your stores here! We NEED you.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

A beautiful sight

No, someone didn't egg our house. This is the sweet sight of an insulation installation. The last week has been chaotic, with workers swarming around the house, drilling holes, mixing the foam, and filling our walls with goo. (Actually, it's not goo, it's Air-Krete, a moldproof, rodentproof, fireproof insulation for walls) It's left our landscaping trampled (okay, there wasn't much landscaping to deal with, fortunately), and it left my patience wearing a little thin at times (such as when I had teleconferences for work and had to keep hitting the "mute" button so that my coworkers in two different states didn't have to share the noisy joy with me.) But it's done, and now we can look forward to a toasty winter.

It's hard to believe that people having been living in this house since the 1870s with no insulation in the walls. Do you know how cold it gets in the winters in the Finger Lakes? Well, I don't know yet from firsthand experience, but I've heard it gets COLD. (As a side note, there was an infamous Civil War prisoner-of-war camp in Elmira, just south of Seneca Lake. There's a reason the Confederates named it Hellmira, and it wasn't because it was hot!)

Anyway, the house looked like it's been in a street fight, what with all the patched holes for the insulation to go in. But it's worth it! A toasty house AND a lower fuel bill this winter. Can't beat that with a stick!

Of course, I still plan to keep warm by knitting. I'm about 2/3 of the way through my scarf project (begun in August! :( but I am stubbornly refusing to put a new project on the needles until this one is done. (Of course, that doesn't stop me from buying yarn for new projects--I just can't start them yet!)

Monday, November 05, 2007

Natural beauty

When I first moved to the Northeast, I was so disappointed when we moved beyond peak leaf season. The blaze of color was so amazing to these color-starved eyes that it was just downright depressing once the leaves started falling and the brilliant colors started to fade.

But after a few years of that, I began to look beyond the obvious beauty of the peak of autumn toward the more subtle delights. Here are a few that I saw the other day at a nearby park.

This bark reminded me of an Aran sweater. There are several trees that have this kind of twisted bark facing the lake, but the bark on the opposite side is linear. I wonder if cold winter winds caused this to happen? Nevertheless, it is quite stunning.

I've always loved the look of bare-limbed trees against a brilliant blue sky. Nature's lace.

Even though we are well past peak here in the Finger Lakes, this stubborn crabapple tree is hanging onto its leaves and fruits.What delightful color!

And this one just made me giggle. All the picnic benches lined up in this way reminded me of dancing poodles in a circus. I'll bet they'll look even more like poodles once they have snow on them in the winter!