“Artisan Village”

A Christmas Day run, then a Christmas Day walk, and my favorite farms:

The Jessup Farm House

The Jessup Farm

Jessup Farm, main house

Jessup Farm, main house


chicken coop

Equipment building

Equipment building


loafing shed



The developers are also responsible for the Bucking Horse “townhomes community,” built around my favorite bank barn:

Johnson Farm

Johnson Farm

Johnson Farm bank barn

Johnson Farm bank barn

The complex is currently known as the “Bucking Horse Urban Estate / Johnson Farm Innovation Campus.  Really.  The developers have grand plans for the Jessup Farm – Johnson Farm: it’s all about healthy and sustainable living, with produce/herb gardens, farm to fork restaurant, yoga studio, bike shop, wine cave, cheesery, bakery . . . .  Meanwhile (two years and waiting), the buildings are still deteriorating, but hey, the Jessup Farm Artisan Village has a concrete parking lot!  And, the Bucking Horse townhouses are going up at a pretty rapid clip:

Craftsman Bungalow townhomes!

Oh look, Craftsman Bungalow townhouses!

. . . .  with fake side-swing garage doors!

. . . . with fake side-swing garage doors!

Well.  Ummm . . . .  wow?

Knitting in the Winter: Svalbard

Svalbard cardigan

Svalbard cardigan

Back chevron detail

Back chevron detail

Pattern:  Svalbard, by Bristol Ivy, from Brooklyn Tweed Wool People 6.  I fell in love with the “chevron increase” detail in the back, and also liked the idea of an easy-going, no closure swing jacket.

Yarn:  Elsebeth Lavold Silky Wool, in teal (discontinued colour).  This is my first time knitting with this yarn — indeed, with any yarn from the Elsebeth Lavold brand.  I like the slightly slubby texture of the yarn, and the silk content gives the knitted fabric a very nice drape.  I did not enjoy all the little pieces of hay and other scratchy bits left in the spun yarn; they were a nuisance while knitting, and I can still feel them when I wear the sweater.  Over all, I probably will not knit with this yarn again.

Modifications:  My yarn is a DK weight, so I used the directions for size 42.5 and ended up somewhere around 38-plus.  It is definitely quite roomy, and long — but I am quite short.  The armscye was a bit tight before blocking, and although fine now, this is a cardigan for wearing over a light top.  I should have tapered the arms more, but having never worked with Silky Wool before, I didn’t know that the yarn would relax as much as it did with blocking.  Oh well.

Thoughts:  Bristol Ivy is a thoughtful designer.  I love the ingenious shoulder and body shaping she achieved with her chevron increases, which resulted in lovely stylized hearts on the back yoke and under the arms.  Not that anyone is going to look under my arms, but the design details are there, and I know they are there.  The cardigan does have a bit of a bubble shape to it, even after blocking.  I would not recommend this shape for someone who is any combination of big/ busty/short, because the shape adds width (this from a 100-pound woman).  But, I will wear this because the color is pretty, it is comfortable, and I’m past the age when I actually give a damn about looks 🙂

You Mean, Aside from World War II?

The quote of the day, from reviewer “Shomeret,”commenting on Jacqueline Winspear’s Birds of a Feather on Goodreads (April  2012):

“Until recently I thought that World War I lacked any enduring significance.”


The reviewer is/was studying library science and has a book review blog.  I gave her credit for the “until recently” part of the sentence, which would seem to imply a change of heart.  Maybe she read some good history books, I thought.  But no.  She apparently changed her mind because “. . . . some of the most interesting historical fictions I’ve been reading this year take place during that period.”

She changed her mind because of works of HISTORICAL FICTION?!  Well, I guess it’s better than nothing.

Hey, Shomeret!  Ever heard of (among other things) the crippling reparations the Allies demanded of Germany after WWI, Hitler’s rise to power, the complete change in how wars were fought in the aftermath of the Great War, and a small event called WWII?

Of no enduring significance.  ARE YOU KIDDING ME???

BTW, I found Birds of a Feather tedious, and as others have noted, Winspear did not adhere to one of the cardinal rules of good mysteries: All clues, however obscure, must be available to the reader.  Sheesh.

Red Chair Reads: H. M. Pulham, Esquire

I no longer remember where I bought H. M. Pulham, Esquire, by John P Marquand.  It sat in my bookcase for a while, and I only remembered I had it when I read Jeffrey Eugenides’ The Marriage Plot, and the title popped up in a throw-away line.  I finally got around to reading the book during my mini-vacation in the mountains — what better time and place, really, than in a snug cabin, feeling warm and secure while the wind howled outside?  And it was about security: Harry Pulham, brought up in security, decided on a life of security, a security defined and delineated by his class, his upbringing, his education, his job, his wife.  The couple of times he stepped outside himself — first for the Great War, then for Marvin (the girl who got away) — he did not quite know what to do with the new world order he saw and barely comprehended.  Harry was completely decent, and only wanted to do the right thing.  If he knew, vaguely, that he lost something along the way, one must always give him credit for being true to his essential self: the man who understood that it was right and honorable to sacrifice his dreams for the happiness of those he loved, and did so with minimal fuss.  In a defining scene, Harry’s father said, “It isn’t any news that any of us are going to die, but we like to think we’re going to be remembered.”  At the end of the book, Harry finally completed his life story for his class reunion, and it was indeed as conforming and banal as all the personal histories that had gone before him.  Harry knew he would not be remembered, and perhaps that was as it should be.

Do we really want to be remembered?  My book was owned by a Freda Jackson (signed  December 13, 1945) and by Winsor W. McLean, who must have liked the book enough to take it with him when moved from Los Angeles to Glendale, California.  Being a nosy historian, I naturally googled Winsor W. McLean, and ended up on the Wimberly family history site.  He was the only son of Neil McLean and Annie Laura Wimberly McLean, born in 1897 and named after the man who married his parents.  The family history website had a fair amount of information on Neil McLean, but nothing other than Winsor McLean’s birth and death dates.  But I love small coincidences: he died in 1974, in Van Nuys, California.  I imagine that perhaps at some point, I may have bumped into him.  Who knows?

Tula, thinking about H. M. Pulham, Esquire

Tula, thinking about H. M. Pulham, Esquire 

Mountain Happiness

A few days ago, I watched one of Stanford University’s “Classes Without Quizzes,” programs offered during Reunion Weekends for alumni, sometimes by alumni.  Fred Luskin (Ph.D. 1999), director of the Stanford Forgiveness Project, gave a talk on “The Science of Happiness.”  Despite the title, the talk was short on science, but nevertheless was interesting and — dare I say it — useful.  An example Luskin gave:  you walk into a coffee bar, and instead of buying into the marketing message that happiness is in a perfect cup of coffee, you say to yourself, “Wow, how cool is it that I live in a country, in a city, in a neighborhood, where I can have my choice of 40 different types of coffee drinks!”

I thought about Fred Luskin’s message as I walked around Estes Park this morning, searching for a cup of latte.  As the 40 mph gusts nearly blew me over, I knew I was the crazy incognito woman (face mask! hood! double gloves!) wandering up and down the main drag, travel mug in hand.  Caffee Collage, closed Monday to Wednesday in the winter.  Kind Coffee, closed for remodelling until tomorrow.  Red Cup Paperie and Coffee Bar (home of delicious pastries, formerly Long’s Peak Coffee and Paper House, formerly MacDonald Papeterie when it was sort of associated with MacDonald Bookshop, which is still in business) had a hand-printed sign proclaiming December hours as open daily at 9 AM — but clearly not open today.  Finally, I pulled into Summitview Coffee, home of the Chicken Fried Latte® — but as the owner assured me, it’s just a goofy name for a blended drink and has nothing to do with chicken, fried or otherwise.  Happiness this morning: I got to be in Estes Park (Highway 34 is open, and weather be damned), and I had a choice of all these coffee places to patronize.  And not once did I feel thwarted.


Not My Business

New Year’s resolutions, a month early.

I had a moment yesterday morning in the laundry room: The Teenager had stacked the wet workout clothes from the night before on top of the washer.  The clothes were still wet, of course, but one had to admire the neatness of the stacking job.  She had apparently “forgotten” to hang them up.  I love the all-purpose teenage excuse of “I Forgot.”  I lost my temper, and just as quickly regretted losing my temper — not because she didn’t deserve the tongue lashing, but because I had wasted my breath.

And then there is DH, who had a plan called Thirty in Thirty (that would be thirty pounds weight loss in thirty weeks).  Among other changes, he is trying to reduce the amount of carbohydrates (from grains) in his meals, but changes are difficult because DH is also something of an expert at self-sabotage.  This morning, we came back from breakfast, and he had an early (as in, less than 90 minutes between meals) lunch of two servings of cereal.  Me, in the background, rhetorical question: “Is that cereal?  Is that a second bowl of cereal?”

Yes, I wasted my breath on that one too.

If I truly believe that the only thing I have control over is what I do, then I need to stop having futile expectations.  Or expectations in general, because expectations are always in the future.  I cannot expect “reasonable” behavior from The Teenager, because she is indeed a teenager, and everyone knows “reasonable” and “teenager” do not mix.  But the act of expecting does not change just because my daughter is a teenager, and my husband is not.  Ultimately, his diet or her silliness are not my business.

This is the year I learn to make myself quiet.