Savoring Summer

Yesterday after work we began the 6 1/2 hour drive to the coast of NC, which somehow turned into only 5 1/2, and even that felt short.

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Maybe because I had so much knitting to do! I’ve come to love road trips, as Matt always drives, and that usually gives me plenty of free time to get into a nice rhythm of moving the needles. I actually finished a project I’ve been working on since last Thanksgiving!

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So today I plan to sit, read, enjoy the sand and the waves, and savor the last bit of summer. I realized that Labor Day never meant much to me as a kid, but now I am craving the long weekend as a transition to fall. I am going to soak up ever last bit of summer sun, and then I am going to whole-heartedly embrace fall.

Recharging

It feels like it has been a whirlwind of a week. We went on a little vacation to Denver, CO for a long weekend, and although we had a blast, we are both recharging. We have a completely packed September, complete with lots of travel, so we are trying to rest up whenever possible. I feel like I have been fighting off a cold for several days now, so yesterday after work I took it pretty easy. I had lots of hot tea and laid on the sofa alternating between knitting and napping. The good news is that I’m almost finished with a lace scarf I’ve been knitting since Thanksgiving. The bad news is that I didn’t get the tomatoes made into sauce and I didn’t get the peppers frozen. Oh well, I’m hoping that paying attention to my body’s need to rest will pay off.

Until I get the 1,213 photos from our trip sorted, let me share this one with you.

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Just looking at this photo reenergizes me and makes me feel calm and peaceful.

Sugar Grove Music Festival

This weekend we continued our tradition and attended our 3rd annual Sugar Grove Music Festival. I have come to realize that I love going so much because of what the festival symbolizes for me – the beginning of summer. I definitely love the music, but I mostly love the act of sitting outside, on a blanket or a chair, eating festival food, and relaxing in the warmth of the day. Everything about it is pretty much perfect.

This year we only went to the last three shows on Saturday. We heard The Kruger Brothers, The Carolina Chocolate Drops, and Doc Watson. It has been such a privilege to have heard Doc Watson on several occasions. It is amazing to me how people overcome adversity and accomplish greatness with their lives. He was blinded by an eye infection before his first birthday, yet he overcame he challenges and is now recognized as one of the best bluegrass players and guitar pickers in the world.

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Since we didn't get there until late in the afternoon, it was already pretty crowded and we didn't get seats very close. I love that so many people come out to support bluegrass music and local vendors. One interesting observation – I don't think you'll ever see more people wearing chacos in one place except for MerleFest!

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I have to tell you that we LOVE our camping couch that Uncle Marc and Aunt Bonnie got us for our wedding. It is so much easier to carry one chair than two!

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One of my favorite things about the festival is the relaxing atmosphere – plenty of time to sit and knit! I made good progress on my Autumn Leaves Stole – it has been a side project since Thanksgiving, and I am ready to get it off my needles!

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There is always a lot of dancing going on at the festival, but this is the first time I've seen hula hoop dancing. It was quite entertaining.

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I'm so thankful that we had the opportunity to see one of our favorite bands – The Carolina Chocolate Drops!

Roan Mountain

We recently went to Roan Mountain to go to the Rhododendron Festival, but unfortunately we were a little late and it was starting to sprinkle, so the vendors were packing up. Thankfully it wasn't raining at the top of the mountain so we were able to go on a nice little hike. 

We stopped for a while at the first overlook and watched the fog roll in. I've never been able to watch the fog move into a valley like that – it was such a cool experience. 

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Linky Love – Gardening

I have to confess that of the gardening blogs I follow, there is only one that I truly love. 

Chiot's Run – Susy Morris is the writer, photographer, and real-lifer behind Chiot's Run. Her posts are incredibly authentic, practical, and inspiring. She is an organic gardener in NE Ohio, so her growing climate is similar to ours. I have learned so many practical things from Susy, but here are a few of my favorites:

Honestly, I could go on and on with links to Chiot's Run, but I'll leave it at that for now. Trust me when I say that you will never find a more down to earth, comprehensive organic gardening blog, with some cooking, preserving, and simple living thrown in. Second only to SouleMama, this is one of my favorite blogs! Even if you don't garden, you will love this blog, and I bet you'll be inspired to at least put some basil in a pot on your front porch.

Farmers’ Market – May 14

There was so much good stuff at the farmers' market on Saturday!

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Spinach and mixed lettuce – $4.30

2 pints organically grown strawberries – $5.75

Spring onions – $3 

1 lb. broccoli – $4

Strawberry lemonade – $3.50

Total: $20.55

 

The strawberries were among some of the best I've ever eaten. The were bright red throughout, juicy, and oh so sweet. I would rather eat just 2 pints of locally grown strawberries in season than grocery store strawberries every day. 

IMG_1170At $3.50, the strawberry lemonade was a complete splurge but it was absolutely delicious! In fact, it was so good we made our own strawberry lemonade yesterday. 

Did anyone else have good farmers' market finds this weekend? 

Farmers’ Market

Saturday marked the annual opening of the farmers' market. I have to confess that I was beyond excited for this. I was practically giddy to go. Since I go to the market every Saturday I am in town, and I believe in supporting local agriculture, I thought I would start posting what I get after each trip.

I know it is more expensive to buy produce at the local farmers' market, but it also tastes better, is better for you, and supports local business. Since I go to the market regularly, I've gotten to know quite a few of the venders, and I want to support them. I always buy at least one packet of ravioli from The Pasta Wench, even though its $8, because it is delicious and is such a treat for us to enjoy. I am so proud of how she is growing her business, and I want to encourage her to keep going. If we have our own business one day, I hope people will support us.

I also buy something from the family at the end with a bazillion kids. Some of the kids are young – maybe 5 or 6, but they can talk to adults, count back change, and explain what the produce is. I want to support that. Plus its hard to say no when one of the little ones holds out a container of something green and says, "Don't you want to try a pea shoot?" in their most cute and convincing voice. I think I even paid $5 for a tiny bouquet of hand picked wildflowers from one of the little girls once because I just couldn't resist. 

Yes, I spend more at the farmers market than I would at the grocery store. But it encourages me to get out and build relationships in my community, it makes me think more about eating seasonally and locally, and it helps me support local business. Plus I ran into my friend Athalia whom I hadn't seen in way too long. 

So, without any further ado, here is what I got at the market on May 7th:

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1 bag of spinach and spring mix – $3.50

1 bag of arugula – $3.50

1 head of romaine – $3.00

Spring onions – $3.00

Sun dried tomato with goat cheese ravioli – $8

Two packs of roasted red tomato and basil fettuccini – $10

Framed artwork by local photographer – $25

Total Spent: $56 ($31 if you don't include the artwork which was a complete splurge and isn't edible.)

I must tell you that it was worth every penny. That first salad I had with the arugula and spinach was incredible. After months of eating few greens, crunching on those first local greens was like tasting spring. 

10 Things

1. I think I woke up on the wrong side of the bed. At 4:15 am. I've felt like I'm walking in a daze all morning. 

2. Last night we had a frost because temperatures got down to the low 30s. On May 5th. 

3. I've wanted to put my plants in the garden for weeks, but now I'm glad I've been patient. 

4. I'm not a very patient person. One time I started carrots indoors 6 weeks before our last frost. You can't do that. 

5. Last night I dreamed that I had been shot in the back of both my knees but the hospital wouldn't treat me. I woke up very confused. Somehow I was still able to walk in my dream. 

6. My strawberry plants already have a fungus. I want to cry. 

7. I just made a to-do list. It has 19 items on it – none of which I can cross off today. I just threw away said to do list in honor of my sanity. 

8. To combat my general sluggishness, I sat in my car during lunch with the sunroof open. This was my view. Everything is so green. 

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9. While car-sitting, I did some knitting on a sweater I haven't touched in a month. It was therapeutic. 

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10. I'm back inside. At my desk. The air is stale. My eyes are sleepy. At least I can be inspired by my chive flowers. 

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