Thursday, May 28, 2009

Maine Apple Picking

In the area we live in, almost every town has an apple orchard nearby. I can tell without doing any research that apples are a big industry for this area. It's been a family tradition of ours for years and we've always had to drive a pretty lengthy distance to get to apple orchards. I cannot wait for apple picking season and feel very lucky to live in a prime area to do so.

Here are just a few listings that we're excited about visiting:

Thompson's Orchard in New Gloucester
Sweetser's Apple Barrel and Orchards in Cumberland Center
Moulton Orchards in Standish
Ricker Hill Orchards in Turner

Yes, I do believe we're going to be up to our ears in apples this year!

What is a Grange?

Many small towns in Maine have a very prominent building in the middle of town labeled GRANGE. We did not know what this was so I had to google. Here is a link to the Maine State Grange page.

Camping

You can make online reservations to camp at Maine State Parks at: http://www.campwithme.com

Also check out:

Hermit Island Campground
Camp Maine

PYO Strawberries

... so I'm starting to accumulate links for things in Maine that my family and I are interested in checking out. I thought maybe some folks stopping by the blog might also find them interesting...

Get Real. Get Maine: Maine Dept of Agriculture has a great search engine for finding Maine food and farms: http://www.getrealmaine.com/index.shtml

I went here because I was looking for a place to pick my own strawberries, in particular, a large strawberry farm that I drive by all the time in Cape Elizabeth: Maxwell's Farm.

We can't wait for berry picking season!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Maine Apple Picking

In the area we live in, almost every town has an apple orchard nearby. I can tell without doing any research that apples are a big industry for this area. It's been a family tradition of ours for years and we've always had to drive a pretty lengthy distance to get to apple orchards. I cannot wait for apple picking season and feel very lucky to live in a prime area to do so.

Here are just a few listings that we're excited about visiting:

Thompson's Orchard in New Gloucester
Sweetser's Apple Barrel and Orchards in Cumberland Center
Moulton Orchards in Standish
Ricker Hill Orchards in Turner

Yes, I do believe we're going to be up to our ears in apples this year!

What is a Grange?

Many small towns in Maine have a very prominent building in the middle of town labeled GRANGE. We did not know what this was so I had to google. Here is a link to the Maine State Grange page.

Camping

You can make online reservations to camp at Maine State Parks at: http://www.campwithme.com

Also check out:

Hermit Island Campground
Camp Maine

PYO Strawberries

... so I'm starting to accumulate links for things in Maine that my family and I are interested in checking out. I thought maybe some folks stopping by the blog might also find them interesting...

Get Real. Get Maine: Maine Dept of Agriculture has a great search engine for finding Maine food and farms: http://www.getrealmaine.com/index.shtml

I went here because I was looking for a place to pick my own strawberries, in particular, a large strawberry farm that I drive by all the time in Cape Elizabeth: Maxwell's Farm.

We can't wait for berry picking season!

Monday, May 18, 2009

Perfect Weekend




Saturday: farmers' market, Reid State Park, iced coffee, scrabble.




Sunday: gem hunting, mud puddles, air hockey in Bethel, tears in my eyes at Mt. Blue.

I get choked up looking at these photos. We just had such a great time this weekend. It seems that this is how we love to spend our weekends -- ocean one day, mountains the next. It doesn't get any better than this.

We all woke up on a high from the weekend -- it was great to see my guys bouncing out the door refreshed and in a good mood. It doesn't hurt that we're all so looking forward to our first family camping trip this weekend. We're so excited! It'll be the first time I've ever camped overnight so I'm a little nervous but with my two boy scouts with me, I know we'll be just fine.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Perfect Weekend




Saturday: farmers' market, Reid State Park, iced coffee, scrabble.




Sunday: gem hunting, mud puddles, air hockey in Bethel, tears in my eyes at Mt. Blue.

I get choked up looking at these photos. We just had such a great time this weekend. It seems that this is how we love to spend our weekends -- ocean one day, mountains the next. It doesn't get any better than this.

We all woke up on a high from the weekend -- it was great to see my guys bouncing out the door refreshed and in a good mood. It doesn't hurt that we're all so looking forward to our first family camping trip this weekend. We're so excited! It'll be the first time I've ever camped overnight so I'm a little nervous but with my two boy scouts with me, I know we'll be just fine.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Ten on Tuesday

10 Favorite Places to Shop

1. Shaws - the more I spend there, the more I save on gas.... and with their discount card, I still save big bucks on groceries. The other day I saved 60 cents per gallon on a full tank of gas. It adds up.

2. Whole Foods - I don't get my big groceries there, but I always stop by if I'm around. I always pick up mangoes and whatever unique produce catches my eye. Recently I picked up some pansies that they had out front... they are my absolute favorite annuals this year and they smell amazing. They also have fantastic brick oven pizza and bakery cookies.

3. Halcyon Yarn - The local yarn superstore. It stocks lots of basic wools which are my favorite. Plus, it's BIG and stroller friendly. bonus! Also, the staff is huge, knowledgeable and very friendly -- and not just in a courteous way.

4. Speaking of friendly, I love shopping at Purl Diva so I can visit with Ellen, who most of the time is the person I actually converse the most with face to face other than my immediate family. I always kind of leave feeling embarrassed because I tend to rattle on to her about every detail of my life. She's like a bartender... keeps feeding the fine fibers and counsels as well. But seriously, Purl Diva has such a warm, intimate feel and it's literally bursting at the seams with the most wonderful yarns.

5. EMS (Eastern Mountain Sports) - The best outdoor gear store around. Plus, their stuff is guaranteed for life. The zipper on Eric's EMS gore-tex coat had broken and we recently took it back there to have it repaired and even a decade later they hold true to their promise and fixed it for free. If it's not repairable -- they replace it. Plus, they repaired the sternum strap on our Kelty Kids backpack for free! Such awesomeness.

6. Target - It was just sort of the standard discount store in Iowa, but here they're few and far between. There is one in the Portland metro but I prefer to go a little farther north to the one in Topsham. There are no Super Targets out here, either.

7. LL Bean - the store. We live about 20 minutes from Freeport which is where LL Bean is based. They have a HUGE flagship store that is open 24/7. Their stuff is also guaranteed which is nice. I have always shopped by mail order... then the internet... with LL Bean and am thrilled to live so close. I love that I can go there at 2AM and shop if I want to (not that I do, but I could). Plus, they're really involved in the community and always are having events which is nice.

8. any thrift store I can find... for obvious reasons!

9. Pineland Farms - the best fresh produce and local cheese and so many more goodies!

10. Farmers' Markets - nothing beats locally grown produce, friendly faces, and sunny Saturday mornings with neighbors. Our area has a GREAT farmers' market. It's small and friendly. I can be in and out in a half hour if I want. The last time we went, I spoke to just about everyone there. Everyone is SO nice.

So there you have it. What's your 10?

Monday, May 11, 2009

Ten on Tuesday

10 Favorite Places to Shop

1. Shaws - the more I spend there, the more I save on gas.... and with their discount card, I still save big bucks on groceries. The other day I saved 60 cents per gallon on a full tank of gas. It adds up.

2. Whole Foods - I don't get my big groceries there, but I always stop by if I'm around. I always pick up mangoes and whatever unique produce catches my eye. Recently I picked up some pansies that they had out front... they are my absolute favorite annuals this year and they smell amazing. They also have fantastic brick oven pizza and bakery cookies.

3. Halcyon Yarn - The local yarn superstore. It stocks lots of basic wools which are my favorite. Plus, it's BIG and stroller friendly. bonus! Also, the staff is huge, knowledgeable and very friendly -- and not just in a courteous way.

4. Speaking of friendly, I love shopping at Purl Diva so I can visit with Ellen, who most of the time is the person I actually converse the most with face to face other than my immediate family. I always kind of leave feeling embarrassed because I tend to rattle on to her about every detail of my life. She's like a bartender... keeps feeding the fine fibers and counsels as well. But seriously, Purl Diva has such a warm, intimate feel and it's literally bursting at the seams with the most wonderful yarns.

5. EMS (Eastern Mountain Sports) - The best outdoor gear store around. Plus, their stuff is guaranteed for life. The zipper on Eric's EMS gore-tex coat had broken and we recently took it back there to have it repaired and even a decade later they hold true to their promise and fixed it for free. If it's not repairable -- they replace it. Plus, they repaired the sternum strap on our Kelty Kids backpack for free! Such awesomeness.

6. Target - It was just sort of the standard discount store in Iowa, but here they're few and far between. There is one in the Portland metro but I prefer to go a little farther north to the one in Topsham. There are no Super Targets out here, either.

7. LL Bean - the store. We live about 20 minutes from Freeport which is where LL Bean is based. They have a HUGE flagship store that is open 24/7. Their stuff is also guaranteed which is nice. I have always shopped by mail order... then the internet... with LL Bean and am thrilled to live so close. I love that I can go there at 2AM and shop if I want to (not that I do, but I could). Plus, they're really involved in the community and always are having events which is nice.

8. any thrift store I can find... for obvious reasons!

9. Pineland Farms - the best fresh produce and local cheese and so many more goodies!

10. Farmers' Markets - nothing beats locally grown produce, friendly faces, and sunny Saturday mornings with neighbors. Our area has a GREAT farmers' market. It's small and friendly. I can be in and out in a half hour if I want. The last time we went, I spoke to just about everyone there. Everyone is SO nice.

So there you have it. What's your 10?

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

I Heart 6-ply Sock Yarn

On-Line Supersocke 6-Ply "Relax"

It's no secret, I LOVE to knit socks. I knit fancy socks for sport... I love sock patterns. I love squooshy fancy unique sock yarns. I love everything socks. I just do. But when it comes down to knitting socks for function -- warm, hard- and long-wearing, and soft... my true and basic love is for 6-ply sock yarns. Not to mention my husband wears size 13 shoe and if he gets handknit socks, it's got to be 6-ply.

6-ply sock yarn is typically DK weight. I knit it up on size 3 needles. 3's feel like giant sock knitting needles to me. Knitting up 6-ply socks on size 3 needles also means that they're a speedy knit (I started this one last night).

I have one pair of 6ply socks for myself and truthfully, they're the first pair I reach for when my feet are cold or need comforting. I think BMFA STR Mediumweight would also be considered DK weight sock yarn and therefore it jumps in to that uber-functional and warm category.

The sock pictured above is knit with a yarn that is new to me and I am in love ... crushing so hard that it inspired this blog entry. I found it at Seaport Yarn yesterday when I was on a walk in downtown Portland. These will be for my husband. Fortunately, they had a shelf full of other colorways... I'll definitely be getting more!

Online Supersocke "Relax" has a blend of Aloe and Jojoba in it (ala Austermann Step). I have always sort of rolled my eyes at this concept of hand-soothing goodness blended in with the yarn but it is the real deal. It's hard to describe... the yarn... and the sock is just softer. I'm curious to see how it will feel after the socks are washed.

My tried and true stand-by is Opal 6-ply. My husband has a few pairs, and my brother, too. It's the only other 6ply sock yarn I've used other than the STR Mediumweight. I'd love to knit up more of this Online Supersocke, I've also been eyeing the Regia Kaffe Fasset... other than these, I'm not aware of many other self-striping 6ply sock yarns. If you have any others in mind, please let me know. ...and wouldn't it be great if Trekking made a DK weight?

So here I am having a quick affair with my lovely 6-ply sock yarn while a nearly completed sweater is languishing not far away. It'd be lovely to wear to the NH Sheep and Wool Festival on Saturday. But there it sits. I'll have to break away from my sock affair long enough to finish this baby off. All that is left is a half inch on one of the 6" sleeves, plus the other, and the button band which I'm feeling undecided about. I've flown through this project, so it is definitely worth keeping up the momentum and finish it.



Then I think I might just have a summer-long affair with 6ply sock yarns. Ooh la la!

ETA: I remembered that I have another pair of DK weight socks that I knit up ages ago... I used Strapaz Ringel Color that I bought at Three Oaks in Cedar Falls, Iowa. I've never found this yarn again in a store, however, I just found it on the Seaport Yarn web site! I love these socks and they're still one of my favorite pairs even after years of wear and wash. I'm so happy to see that it is available locally.

I Heart 6-ply Sock Yarn

On-Line Supersocke 6-Ply "Relax"

It's no secret, I LOVE to knit socks. I knit fancy socks for sport... I love sock patterns. I love squooshy fancy unique sock yarns. I love everything socks. I just do. But when it comes down to knitting socks for function -- warm, hard- and long-wearing, and soft... my true and basic love is for 6-ply sock yarns. Not to mention my husband wears size 13 shoe and if he gets handknit socks, it's got to be 6-ply.

6-ply sock yarn is typically DK weight. I knit it up on size 3 needles. 3's feel like giant sock knitting needles to me. Knitting up 6-ply socks on size 3 needles also means that they're a speedy knit (I started this one last night).

I have one pair of 6ply socks for myself and truthfully, they're the first pair I reach for when my feet are cold or need comforting. I think BMFA STR Mediumweight would also be considered DK weight sock yarn and therefore it jumps in to that uber-functional and warm category.

The sock pictured above is knit with a yarn that is new to me and I am in love ... crushing so hard that it inspired this blog entry. I found it at Seaport Yarn yesterday when I was on a walk in downtown Portland. These will be for my husband. Fortunately, they had a shelf full of other colorways... I'll definitely be getting more!

Online Supersocke "Relax" has a blend of Aloe and Jojoba in it (ala Austermann Step). I have always sort of rolled my eyes at this concept of hand-soothing goodness blended in with the yarn but it is the real deal. It's hard to describe... the yarn... and the sock is just softer. I'm curious to see how it will feel after the socks are washed.

My tried and true stand-by is Opal 6-ply. My husband has a few pairs, and my brother, too. It's the only other 6ply sock yarn I've used other than the STR Mediumweight. I'd love to knit up more of this Online Supersocke, I've also been eyeing the Regia Kaffe Fasset... other than these, I'm not aware of many other self-striping 6ply sock yarns. If you have any others in mind, please let me know. ...and wouldn't it be great if Trekking made a DK weight?

So here I am having a quick affair with my lovely 6-ply sock yarn while a nearly completed sweater is languishing not far away. It'd be lovely to wear to the NH Sheep and Wool Festival on Saturday. But there it sits. I'll have to break away from my sock affair long enough to finish this baby off. All that is left is a half inch on one of the 6" sleeves, plus the other, and the button band which I'm feeling undecided about. I've flown through this project, so it is definitely worth keeping up the momentum and finish it.



Then I think I might just have a summer-long affair with 6ply sock yarns. Ooh la la!

ETA: I remembered that I have another pair of DK weight socks that I knit up ages ago... I used Strapaz Ringel Color that I bought at Three Oaks in Cedar Falls, Iowa. I've never found this yarn again in a store, however, I just found it on the Seaport Yarn web site! I love these socks and they're still one of my favorite pairs even after years of wear and wash. I'm so happy to see that it is available locally.

Monday, May 4, 2009

walk with me...

We used to take some fantastic walks around Des Moines... the trail system through town is fantastic and the metro really has it together to keep them in pretty decent shape. That has been something I was truly going to miss. However, I think I am starting to fill in the gaps. Today was no exception because we took a fantastic walk.

This morning started out sunny and CHILLY in the house. It is that time of year when there is really no point to turn on the heat... it's comfortable in the house most of the time. However, when I leave all the windows open at night (whoops), it can be quite cold in the mornings... so we bundle up while we watch cartoons...

My Grama crocheted this afghan for us for a wedding present. Big Love.

After we got going on the day, we headed down to Portland. I needed new running shoes so we went to the Maine Running Co. where I had a foot analysis done and was outfitted with the perfect shoes (yay!) I also checked out their BOB jogging stroller and loved it but just.couldn't.part with the $350 for it. All of the sudden my stroller doesn't seem too bad. ;) After that we went to EMS where they fixed our kid carrier. YAY! This was great because we use it all the time. The sternum strap had broken and we'd just been using a d-ring belt. I was really thrilled with their willingness to help me fix it despite that I didn't buy it there.

After THAT... EMS just happens to be around the corner from Whole Foods, and it was getting close to lunchtime. SO...


I threw together a picnic lunch -- nutty cookies, mango salsa and blue corn chips and pizza. Way too much food, we ate less than half but it was yummy and will be dinner, too!

"look! wow! boat! choo choo! fwane!"


Saturday, May 2, 2009

All together now "ahhhhhhhhh"


Spring is here! It's so great! My heart bursts every day with all of the spring going on around me. We left the window open last night and it was so nice having a cool breeze come in... then this morning the birds woke me up before dawn! They didn't win though, I drifted back off to sleep for a couple hours.


After a slow start to the day, we went down to the first Farmer's Market here in town today and it was so cute! SO SMALL in comparison to Des Moines but it is early in the season. Still though -- I made friends (!!), I bought this beautiful hanging basket of flowers, handmade soap, and a clay magnet. Fun!
Afterward we went down to Portland and met Eric for lunch. Then we headed down to the Head Light for a walk. THEN we were heading back in to SoPo and I happened to drive by a yarn store! Of course I had to stop. It was The Stitching Mantis. I got some Opal sock yarn in the Dumbledore colorway. So after that we headed back out to Cape Elizabeth. Drove down to the lighthouse past Two Lights and I just parked and knit for about a half hour while the big boy played DS and the babe napped. So nice! I listened to a funny gossipy convo. between to men throwing the football on the beach. Srsly... all they think about is you know what!


So after THAT we wandered home over the river and through the woods so to speak and it's so delightful outside right now. The trees are all leaf'd out. The windows are open. The deck is beckoning (that and the babe nagging me to go out). That late-afternoon into evening warm sunshine is awesome. We're going to just hang out tonight and relax. Tomorrow morning we're headed out to go hiking and who knows what else!


Seriously people. I'm starting to LOVE IT here! It's just a huge playground. Ahhh.... Yay!

All together now "ahhhhhhhhh"


Spring is here! It's so great! My heart bursts every day with all of the spring going on around me. We left the window open last night and it was so nice having a cool breeze come in... then this morning the birds woke me up before dawn! They didn't win though, I drifted back off to sleep for a couple hours.


After a slow start to the day, we went down to the first Farmer's Market here in town today and it was so cute! SO SMALL in comparison to Des Moines but it is early in the season. Still though -- I made friends (!!), I bought this beautiful hanging basket of flowers, handmade soap, and a clay magnet. Fun!
Afterward we went down to Portland and met Eric for lunch. Then we headed down to the Head Light for a walk. THEN we were heading back in to SoPo and I happened to drive by a yarn store! Of course I had to stop. It was The Stitching Mantis. I got some Opal sock yarn in the Dumbledore colorway. So after that we headed back out to Cape Elizabeth. Drove down to the lighthouse past Two Lights and I just parked and knit for about a half hour while the big boy played DS and the babe napped. So nice! I listened to a funny gossipy convo. between to men throwing the football on the beach. Srsly... all they think about is you know what!


So after THAT we wandered home over the river and through the woods so to speak and it's so delightful outside right now. The trees are all leaf'd out. The windows are open. The deck is beckoning (that and the babe nagging me to go out). That late-afternoon into evening warm sunshine is awesome. We're going to just hang out tonight and relax. Tomorrow morning we're headed out to go hiking and who knows what else!


Seriously people. I'm starting to LOVE IT here! It's just a huge playground. Ahhh.... Yay!