It's been a long, long winter...
And we got another taste yesterday, with great heaps of snow, strong winds, and cold temperatures lasting through today, but spring is coming, and it will be here very soon. Until then, we have melting snow, mud, and potholes to work around. I have to admit, and please don't hate me for it, but I have loved every minute of this cold and snowy winter, and I'll truly be sorry to see it pass. We've seen every type of snow, from powder to heavy, wet, snowball-snow, and we've seen some extremely cold days, but it has been quite sunny and nice, mostly, and I do love a good, cold, snowy, sunny winter!
I have been given some treasures from my childhood. The house in which I grew up is being sold, and my father has cleaned out all of the last remaining reminders of my youth. Here are two very silly little mementos that I will cherish.
My mother was a normal, hardworking farm wife and mom, but she loved to throw a party. In days past, before the advent of disposable paper party-ware in every imaginable color and style, one used dishes like these. Every woman I knew had a set or two or three, and my mom was no exception. If it was a really large party, all of Mom's friends would bring their party dishes to share, and sorting them out after the party was part of the fun of using them.
Mom had several sets, and we knew there was going to be a PARTY! when the party dishes came out. I have eaten countless sandwiches, slices of cake, scoops of sherbet, cups of fruit from these plates, and sipped many, many servings of punch from these cups. There was usually a little paper cup of mints and mixed nuts, decorated to match the theme of the party, and perched to the side of whatever treat was served on your plate.
One of my fondest memories is of sitting carefully on a folding chair with my party plate and cup balanced on my lap, trying not to spill my treats on my party dress...I was so happy when Dad gave me Mom's party dishes! Some day, perhaps, I will pass them on to my grandchildren, but we might have to have a little party or two, first.
This little oddity is another very fond memory from my childhood. This is a popcorn-ball mold. It appears to be made from Bake-Lite and is in pretty good shape, considering all the popcorn balls we made with it! Mom would pop huge quantities of fresh popcorn, and then she'd cook butter and sugar in a saucepan until it made a thick, caramel syrup. She'd pour the syrup over the popcorn, and we'd dig in with buttered hands or, if we were lucky enough, the popcorn-ball mold, and shape the sticky treat into lovely, delicious balls. They were a favorite treat for school Hallowe'en parties.
It is odd to know that my childhood home will no longer belong to my family. My parents and three siblings lived in a garage and a camping trailer through the summer of 1955, while they tore down the old, ramshackle farmhouse in which they'd lived since my sister was born and built a new home for their little family. When the 'new' house was completed, my grandmother came to visit one day, and said to my mother, "Now remember, Beverly, you must be very careful...new houses sometimes bring new babies!" and in 1956, that new house brought me! That house held laughter and tears, celebrations and grief, but most of all, it held a family.
It will now hold a family, once again. The young woman who will live in the house with her new husband grew up a mile to the west of us. We watched her grow up and raise many flocks of sheep. She was one of 'my' kids when I ran our elementary-school library. My mother knew her and her parents, and loved them, and I know that Mom would be happy to see them settling into 'her' home. They are doing major renovations on the house to bring it into a more modern state. Dad has promised to take me down to tour it as the construction progresses, and I'm eager to see it.
I am so happy that another family will live in that house, that it will once again hold laughter and tears, celebrations and grief, and I am very, very happy indeed to know that once again there will be sheep on 'my' farm! It's been thirty years since baby lambs ran and jumped in the barnyard, and I can hardly wait to see them there again.
And yes, of course there has been knitting! This pair is on its way to my friend, Dale, in Texas. The yarn is a blend of sheep's wool and buffalo down, the soft undercoat of the American bison. Dale's wife, Suzi asked me to knit them for him, and provided the lovely yarn. She also very generously included enough yarn in a gorgeous blue to knit a pair for myself!
Last fall, I donated a coupon for a pair of hand-knit socks to my public library's annual fundraiser raffle. The winner is a giant of a man, 6'8" tall, with size 14 or 15 feet! These socks are the result of a test of a pattern that was designed by a Swedish woman, who is a member of the international Internet group Ravelry .
These are the finished socks shown with one of my 'normal' sized socks for comparison:
A pretty pair for me
This pair was knit using leftover yarns from other projects in my favorite combination of yellow and blue. The color arrangement was completely random, but when I posted a picture of the finished socks at Ravelry, several people mentioned the 'landscape' that I'd knitted. Do you see it? The yellow is a beach, with the blue-and-white section the waves meeting the shore. Behind that is the ocean, with a blue and cloudy sky above it. Pretty cool, and entirely by accident.
And my most recent pair, finished at around 4:30 this morning (got insomnia much?), for the first round of Sock Madness 8. It's my third year in the competition. The first year, I was eliminated in the first round. The second year, I made it almost through the third round, being eliminated just moments before I finished my socks. We'll see how far I make it this year!
And a winter picture:
Be well. Be strong. Be happy.