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Months after casting on, I finally finished Brad’s socks.

Pattern:  Stansfield #11 from Charlene Schurch’s Sensational Knitted Socks

Yarn:  Cestari 100% wool, worsted weight in Spice Heather.  Used approximately 190 yards per sock.

NeedlesKnit Picks Nickel Plated dpns, US size 3 (3.25 mm)

If I can get them away from Brad long enough, I might block them.  Or not.

I am also enjoyed new wool socks.  When I ran to REI before our camping trip to purchase wool socks for the kids, I couldn’t resist getting a pair for myself.  My first pair of SmartWool socks.  I justified the purchase by claiming I would never knit myself knee length socks.


Apparently, I had a serious case of first sock syndrome. Poor, long-suffering hubby has been waiting patiently for new wool socks for months. Luckily summer fell in the middle of that period and he didn’t need wool socks. Not even in Minnesota.

I cast on last winter and got just beyond the heel before I set it aside. Knitting the required length for the foot was more than I could deal with. He wears a size 13 shoe. His foot is literally a foot. Maybe it was our recent camping trip and the need for wool socks that prompted me to revisit the sock on the needles. I powered through and finished the first sock.   I’ve even gotten a good start on the second. I’m in the middle of the gusset decrease. Let’s hope that I don’t stall out before the end this time.  It’s getting to be wool sock weather around here!

Last night, I made apple crisp for dessert. I followed Erin‘s lead and used Ina’s recipe. So yummy! It was hard for me to resist having some for breakfast this morning. The only thing stopping me was that fact that my children would want some too and I didn’t want to share.

Between the apple butter (btw, here’s the recipe), crisp and each family member eating multiple per day, we have officially finished our haul from apple picking. I am kind of disappointed that they are gone. I didn’t make a pie. Or applesauce. Surely, we need another crisp soon. Guess I’ll have to get a couple bags from the co-op. There is more cooking with apples to be done!

Sarah’s language acquisition has taken a slightly different trajectory than her sister’s did.  (What was that about being a third child?)  When Lizzie was Sarah’s age, we made her language development into a party trick.  “Say, ‘epistemology'”.   What can I say?  We are geeks.

With Sarah, it is not hard to see who has the most influence on her language and it isn’t her over-educated parents.

  • Whenever she sees something related to Star Wars, she yells “Obi!”  (as in Obi Wan Kenobi).
  • What child can resist talking about poopy diapers, especially when it makes big brother laugh hysterically?
  • She has been known to refer to a person as “guy” or “dude”.

And then there is Lizzie.  She’s moved far beyond parroting our 10 cent words.  How do you respond to questions like these?

  • “Isn’t sex a bad word?”
  • “What is the difference between Methodists and other churches?”
  • “Everyone can go to heaven, unless they killed someone, right?”
  • “What about if someone commits suicide?”

Most of these left me sputtering and incomprehensible.  (You might have thought someone asked me what newspapers I read on a regular basis.)

Anyone have a copy of the parenting handbook?  I think I could use some backup here!

Let me count the ways:

  1. the start of school makes me giddy (sorry kids, but you know you love it too)
  2. being outside without sweating or shivering
  3. can you think of a better time to be a knitter?
  4. hot tea
  5. fall foliage
  6. sweaters
  7. curling up under a quilt (to knit a sweater, while drinking hot tea)
  8. apples (apple picking, apple cider, apple butter, apple crisp, apple pie, etc.)

A couple weeks ago, we made our annual apple picking foray with friends. It is not the cheapest Saturday folly, but it is truly fun for the whole family.

Sarah was downright giddy as she walked among the trees, yelling “apple” at every turn.

She seemed to enjoy the tasting portion of the day, too.

The big kids enjoyed searching the trees for the best looking Honeycrisps.

Brad was a few rows over filling a bag with Haralsons.

Honeycrisps for eating. Haralsons for baking and apple butter.

Brad spent quality time with the Haralsons while watching the debate last night. (I was too busy trying to get Sarah to sleep while simultaneously swearing at the t.v.) He cored, peeled and quartered about half of what we brought home. The apples went into a pot and onto the stove for a few hours to end up as apple butter. Brad canned 3 pints and 1 pint went straight into the fridge for (almost) immediate consumption. You’ve got to love a man that cans!

We’ve been making apple butter each fall for the past 10 years. The smell of apples simmering with cinnamon, ginger, clove, cardamom and nutmeg may surpass the smell of fresh baked bread in my book. You can argue with me on that point, but you definitely can’t go wrong with a combination of the two!

A few years ago we earned quite a reputation with regard to our apple butter consumption. We had spent the weekend with a group of friends and cooked apple butter over an open fire in a huge cooper pot. It was a friend’s family tradition and a glorious one, at that. A beautiful October Saturday spent sitting around a campfire, taking turns stirring the pot of apples with a giant wooden paddle. What could be better?

I can’t remember how many jars we put up that day. It was A LOT! Anyway, we came home with around 10 pint and 2 quart jars. I think we were the only family to finish our share before the next October. The next year, we came home with a few extras. 🙂

Over the weekend, we headed up nort’ with some friends. Given my lack of enthusiasm for camping, it might surprise you to know that we went camping in Itasca State Park. I have to admit, it was lovely. Really lovely. The first night was a little on the chilly side, but the majority of the family had very warm sleeping bags and no complaints (thanks, Anna). It seems the effort of getting long underwear and wool socks for the kids was not a waste. (Frankly, given the estimated price of heating this winter and the resulting low temps set on our thermostat, the kids will definitely get more use out of those!)

For our city kids, it was a weekend filled with wonder. The stars alone made the trip worth it. The kids were trying to count the stars and quickly gave up. They looked for constellations and made up a few of their own. I think Joshua’s involved a rocket ship coming from Orion’s belt.

Lizzie’s internal clock, which is set ridiculously early, gave her (and Brad) the privilege of witnessing the mist on the lake at sunrise.

We heard owls at night. We saw and heard loons in the morning. We saw trumpeter swans. Sarah broke the quiet sunrise moment by proclaiming, “DUCKY! WATER!”

We climbed to the top of the Aiton Heights Fire Tower and enjoyed an amazing view. How often do you get to see fall foliage from 100 feet up? I wasn’t sure if I could stomach the trip to the top, or more accurately the trip down, but the view was worth all 100 feet. Brad took Sarah up with him and she was pretty excited. Joshua managed to go twice (no wonder he slept so well).

We also went to the Headwaters of the Mississippi River. As a native of Memphis, I was blown away by the fact that Old Man River starts out so small. Unfortunately, I didn’t get a chance to go across since I was busy trying to keep Sarah out of the water. Once again, Joshua managed to go across twice (that kid is nothing if not enthusiastic).

I almost forgot to mention the apple and pear crisp cooked in a cast iron dutch oven on the camp fire. Oh my, it was yummy!

Good friends, good food, and a gorgeous setting. I guess camping isn’t so bad, after all.