Monday, August 30, 2010

Home from Peru!

Welp, I'm back. It was such a fantastic trip that I felt none of the usual 'I've been gone long enough, I'll be glad to get home again.' I just feel melancholy.

Jill and Kate on the Amazon.

We saw and heard marvelous creatures in the jungle, oohed and ahhed at pink river dolphins making brief appearances above the surface of the Amazon, walked up and down temples where young girls were sacrificed to old gods, got all our bones jangled in tiny moto-taxis (I called them putt-putts), watched condors wheeling over Colca Canyon and climbed up Machu Picchu (the mountain the city is named after, that is). The food was far better than we were expecting (surprisingly veggie-friendly), and I've never laughed so hard in my life.

So here are some random highlights—I won't start blogging in earnest until next weekend, when I get to download Kate's pictures.

It vants to suck your blood.

Rum is YUM.

[Oh, and for the benefit of those few readers—if any, bwahahaha —who are not related to me, I should clarify that Kate and I went with Kate's boyfriend Elliot, his mother Jill, and his brother Spencer. It was Jill and Kate and I for the first half—when we did a bunch of pre-Incan archaeological sites like Chan Chan and Huaca de la Luna, then spent four days at a jungle lodge on the Amazon—and then we went back to Lima to meet up with Elliot and Spencer, and that's when we did Machu Picchu and all that.]

This is what happens when you fall asleep in the taxi.

At Machu Picchu. I don't know what is going on here.

Spencer, Jill, and Elliot, waiting for our flight to Cuzco. Elliot finished Petty Magic on the trip. I get four and a half stars.

Cool doorknocker in Trujillo, our base for exploring Huaca de la Luna and other archaeological sites. We disapprove of the Spaniards for all the disease and violence they wrought upon the natives, but must admit the colonial architecture is splendid.

I love this doorknocker in particular because of the ring. I wore my grandmother's ring on my finger for most of the trip because Lonely Planet says it's not a bad idea to invent a boyfriend or husband.
Kate: How's your marriage going?
Me: Great! We never fight!
More soon.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Something Jolly

I'm having an awesome time in Peru! Really excited to check out the textiles at the Cuzco markets, and in the meantime I've got this to show you:

I really needed something colorful to knit on after my grandfather died. Starting a scarf out of Donegal tweed at the end of May didn't make much sense, but just looking at it cheered me up. And now that I'm moving to Vermont I'm glad to have it, because everyone keeps telling me how cold it gets up there in the winter.

I used leftovers from other projects, so it matches my Gretel beret. Kilcarra Tweed is so awesome—it may be a bit scratchy, but the colors are delicious and the yarn softens with washing anyway.

Pattern: V-Striped Scarf by Lise-Lotte Lystrup, from Vintage Knitwear for Modern Knitters.
Yarn: Kilcarra Aran Tweed in pea green (1), teal (1.25 balls), and purple (1.5 balls), and Donegal Studio Tweed (same as Kilcarra) in fuschia (1).
Needles: #7s.
Raveled: here.

And here are basic pompom instructions.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Harmony Homestead Dispatch #8

Nick and Niki with Lilypads.

The polebeans really took off once we got the teepees set up.

Cattle crossing at the Larsons' farm. Oh, rural life.

Here we are (Niki, Nick, Gail, and Paul) at our favorite snack stand, chowing down on the BEST sweet potato fries ever. Mr. Wicksticker's is set up in the owner's own front yard, and it's right down the road from our favorite swimming spot. Because we have gotten to be such frequent customers, Mark (a.k.a. Mr. Wicksticker—he also makes candles) has taken to giving us free stuff. That day we got a jug of his very own maple syrup (and we gave him some beer), and the day before I left he gave us beer and peppermint schnapps. (Yes, peppermint schnapps, at two in the afternoon.)

Paul and Niki with Queenie, and Avalon peeking out from behind. I'd intended to take many more pictures of the animals, which I'll do when I get back in September.

Kate and I are leaving for Peru today and I wasn't organized enough to autoblog this time, so the blog is going to be pretty quiet for the rest of this month. There'll be plenty to blog about when I get back!

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Harmony Homestead Dispatch #7

This isn't going to be a useful post or anything—just some photos of us all having too much fun.

Paul makin' the bacon. (Yes, that is a mohawk'd Nick in the background. Ben had shaved his head the night before.)

Ginevra and Niki were the pancake queens: blueberries and raspberries (from the garden), banana, and banana with chocolate chips! I'm not much for pancakes, but I think I ate more than anybody else that morning. They used pumpkin pie spice, which made them that much tastier.

He's got pizzazz even while he's washing the dishes.

More tomorrow!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Harmony Homestead Dispatch #6

Well, I'm back in New Jersey for a few more days until we leave for Peru, and I'm missing Harmony Homestead terribly. Seven weeks passed in a blink!

Whether we were working or playing, every minute was fun.

We stopped for ice cream after an afternoon at the Manchester farmers' market (where Paul was playing) and a good long browse at Northshire Books (where Linsey picked up a blank book entitled The Wit and Wisdom of Sarah Palin. Bwahahahaha.) From left: Jasmin, Gail, Paul, Nick, Linsey, Niki, Sal, and on the bottom, Geneviève with Grace and Luna. If you look closely you can see that Sal isn't wearing any shoes. That's because his only pair got smelly beyond any possibility of continued wearing, so after ice cream we went to a shoe store, where they had JUST locked the door (it was about 7pm by then). The woman looked down at his feet, unlocked the door again, and ushered him inside. The rest of us sat in the car and laughed and laughed.

A few days later (July 17th, to be exact), we went for a ton of interesting sustainability workshops, good food, awesome live music and contra dancing at Solarfest. Above, Leslie is leading us on a 'weed walk,' where we learned a lot about the medicinal uses of wildflowers like yarrow and stinging nettle.

And of course, we spent most of each day in the garden:

You will notice that we were way behind in the planting, and there's a very unfortunate reason for that. At any rate, everything got put in the ground eventually and we're hoping for the best.

This is why they're called polebeans. Paul showed us how to lash, and then Birch Bark Jim (he's the best, I wish I'd gotten a picture of him) helped us construct the tee-pees. That was the most fun I've had in the garden so far.

More photos soon!