All posts by S. GRAVES

Blu Oat Yarn and Grandpa’s chair

bluoatwheelI’ve been spinning some yarn for my daughter, who loves to knit. And having been separated from the wheel for the better part of a year, it feels good to be back at it. My parents gifted me an old rocking chair that my great grandfather had made long ago. He was so proud of his chair and the work yarnhe put into it, from turning each spindle, to the engraving, to the sewing of the cushion (yes, my great grandfather was the seamstress in our family).

The thing about the chair is that it sits low, which I find quite comfortable. Moreover, it’s at exactly the right elevation for the wheel, making it ideal for long hours spinning. And it’s something to think about- the process of making a chair and how similar that is to the process of making yarn; how one cradles the other. That point is not lost on me.

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Exciting News!

shiaappleThis morning I was hosing off my shoes after completing a nasty rear hall renovation project on this old house and decided to water the apple trees while I had the water going. One of the trees we presumed had not made it looked like it had a plump terminal bud. I bent down and realized not only did it have a swollen terminal bud, but there was a tiny leaf sprouted off the trunk, well ABOVE the graft. Excitedly, I checked the other tree that we had presumed dead and it was LEAFED OUT! This means EVERY graft we made, apart from the one our dear, sweet son plucked out, is ALIVE!

[[[┬á For those who know me, the use of all caps is strictly forbidden under nearly every and all circumstances, so this is obviously an extremely momentous occasion… ­čśë┬á ]]]

Thirty-nine Shiawassee Beauties brought back from the verge of extinction!

The Shiawassee resurgence

We made a great discovery this morning. While checking on the trees, I discovered new growth on the trees I hadn’t thought made it. I kept them because I can still graft to the rootstock later, and I never imagined those scions would show signs of life at such a late date, but I saw a swollen bud on one and when I examined the trees, found several that had made a resurgence. So, while I thought we had only 29 Shiawassee trees, we now have somewhere in the mid-30s again. Maybe the move to Upstate NY was good for them? I removed the rootstock suckers and Chris is rooting them for future use.

Had the good fortune of traveling to Vermont yesterday for a visit to the Scott Farm. Wow. That’s all I have time to say, but please look up the farm and if you’ve never been to VT, go now. It’s incredible. This week alone, we’ve traveled to CT, VT, MA, and tomorrow we head to Maine for the day. Loving NYS life.

The Farewell Storm

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We’ve stayed in Michigan through this time in June to celebrate a few events, including my middle daughter’s birthday yesterday, with friends and family. This last week has become kind of a farewell storm of gearing up for the big trip and meet-ups with friends and family. And the last few days have been especially fun.

Thursday eve was graduation. My girls have had the good fortune of attending a wonderful school in northern Michigan with a heavy focus on outdoor education. The educators are like family, and the girls so closely bonded with friends there. I think of the Greenspire School as a junior high where the difficult years are met with support and respect between students and among students and teachers. It was the one thing that held us here until the very last proverbial bell of the semester rang.

Yesterday, my daughter turned 14 right where I turned 14 (I’m suffer from a condition known as extreme sentimentality), on the shores of East Grand Traverse Bay, braving the chilly water to escape┬áthe thick┬áJune air. I could barely keep my toes in the water, but these kids stayed in the water for upwards of an hour swimming! My little fishies.

The evening prior, a dear friend I’ve known since high school, and the son of my farming
mentor, invited us to his farm for a send-off gathering. Following one of the best potluck dinners ever, we were met by a wall of wind and water in one of the most wicked storms I’ve seen since last August. We took shelter in the old greenhouse, seated on old wooden benches lit by candlelight. There, we told ghost stories and ate pie to pass the evening until the rain subsided enough for us to partake in the cannibal hot-tub. (Chris is now convinced we need one of these).

This cannibal hot-tub is made like an over-sized barrel with a submerged aluminum wood-fired stove. The water was a consistent and comfortable 98 degrees. Whenever we got too warm, we simply laid our heads back and let the cool rain wash over our faces. Lightning flickered in the distance and the low rumble of thunder shuddered over the churning waters of West Bay. I couldn’t have imagined a better send-off than that.

In the next few days, we’ll be loading the trucks, prepping for the long haul, and by Tuesday eve, arriving back home in New York. Having weathered the storm of this past eight months, it is finally┬átime to put down our roots. Home awaits.

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