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I Love New York

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Wouldn't it be nice to sit down together, have a cup o' joe, iced perhaps, and chat about a thing or two. Shall we sit out on the porch, or would you like to come inside? From inside we can look out across the road at the trees growing along the bank of the river. They, like everything else around here right now, are alive with the early yellow-green of spring leafing nearly fully engulfing their swaying branches. The lawn is also vibrant with that yellow-green of spring grass, decorated with perfectly shaped healthy dandelions scattered throughout it. The willow, our grand willow as I like to call her, is plump with new leaves as she sways gently in rhythm with the breeze. Come, sit with me on the porch to enjoy not only your cup o', but the sounds of spring as well. As we sit and sip together, you will hear the wonderful voices of many different song birds and flights of Canadian geese coursing by at times. At times you will hear the river flowing softly down below and at other times you will hear the gentle rustling of millions of leaves as the inevitable spring breezes and winds ebb and flow. Isn't it all so lovely. The flowering trees here at our place and all over the area where we live were loaded down with an ample supply of blossoms this year, indicating it seems that they all enjoyed the early spring weather. Our crab apple tree was glorious with her heavy load of crimson blossoms that faded to a lovely, deep pink before falling to the ground in a colorful springtime carpet. Our lilac tree is in full bloom today with purple blossoms reaching high into the sky, some dipping lower to the ground. The fragrance is so intense you can smell it even if standing twenty five feet or more away in the open lawn. There is a deep sense of peace and satisfaction I get when strolling about the yard this time of year. Although I love the cold of winter and the beauty of snow, there is a precious feeling of comfort that arrives with the warmth and colors of spring. This is the changing of the seasons I so longed for when I was living in Los Angeles; the marking of time through distinct and delicious changes in season is ingrained somewhere deep inside me and I could never feel at home living without it. I have to say this-- though I never would have thought I would--I love New York. It is such a surprise to find that New York was the home I yearned for, not NYC, but New York the state. I longed to live in the country, in a rural setting, with the changing of the seasons, a brief and tolerable summer, lots of snow, barns a plenty, and good down-to-earth people to live in harmony with. New York is all those things and more.  I know that now after living here for four years. My husband and I just celebrated our fourth wedding anniversary, and Sunday will mark my fourth anniversary of living on the farm. Four years ago when we arrived "home" from our honeymoon, I sat out there on the back stoop watching my new husband mow the lawn on his tractor and waved to him as he passed in front of the barn. It was a strange little moment back then, to sit there a little bit stunned by my change in circumstances and really having the first opportunity to sit and think about what I had just done. I had married a man I met online only three months earlier, I left behind almost everything I owned and drove across the country from Los Angeles to rural upstate western New York and landed on a farm ... with a husband ... on a tractor ... and a barn. Up until that moment when I was sitting there on the stoop everything had been such a whirlwind that none of it had really sunk in. That was the first quiet moment by myself, and it just started dawning on me and I said the words in my head, "I live on a farm. I live on a farm and my husband drives a tractor." Now, four years later, it is still remarkable to think about. We are so very fortunate that it all has worked out, and that we are even better for each other than we thought we would be. I know things don't always work out that way for people, but it did for us and we both continue to be grateful on a daily basis that we were touched by the grace of God and found each other and had the courage to make the decisions we made, seemingly in haste, that brought our lives together. It is strange also how this blog has become such an integral part our story, our lives. I started writing it just about three months after I arrived at the farm and it quickly became a part of my work-a-day life. There is always this on-going dialogue with my readers even when I am not actually writing. Whenever I see beautiful, interesting, intriguing, and new things in my life, I think of how I would write about it so as to share it all with you, dear reader. You are my friend, and I always want to share whatever is happening in my life with you and the many others who open up my blog for a read and a chat. And speaking of you, I have something exciting for you if you are into knitting, which many of my readers are. I have been working in consultation with Kimber Baldwin (Kimber Baldwin Designs, maker of Fiber Optic sock and lace yarns) on a very special project. What I love about Kimber's yarns is that she make low-contrast sock yarns. I have to be honest with you, I am not a fan of high contrast colorways in yarn. I do not care for striped or blotchy looking knitting items. All of my designs are based on solid colors with accents, but no variegated colorways. The exception to that is the Little Violet Who Christmas Stocking, which I designed using two of Kimber's low-contrast colorways. The low contrast technique she has developed results in a nice subtle variegation in the yarn so that you have the benefit of an interesting texture to the color without the jarring contrast of high-contrast alternatives. Kimber and I have been searching for synergistic ways to work together, partnering up my knitting pattern designs with her beautiful low-contrast colorways. Earlier this year however, we had a new idea that sprang up a bit ahead of spring itself. Kimber is designing a series of twenty four (two per month) of her low-contrast, scrumptious colorways inspired by my blog, my farm and farming community, my photography, and my works of fine art. The series begins with May flowers from my farm, the two colorways for May will be Lilacs and Rhoda -- Rhoda, if you remember, is what I named the gorgeous antique giant tree peony I found blooming in our yard shortly after I moved here back in 2006.  I fell in love with her graceful twelve inch blossoms and have continued to photograph her each year as her buds evolve and her blossoms open just before Memorial Day weekend.  I have featured her in paintings, and this year have created a 48" x 24" oil painting of a portion of one of her elegant blossoms as the centerpiece of my upcoming art show. As Kimber releases her new colorways, I will design patterns using her yarns and I can hardly wait to design and knit a beautiful pair of socks for myself using the Rhoda colorway. The winner of May's Fiber Optic Yarn Give Away will get to choose between which of the two colorways to receive ... so get ready!  To enter in the give away you will need to sign up here.  We want you to help us get the word out about this exciting new yarn series, so by sending other knitters to the giveaway you will be entered in the drawing multiple times, increasing your chances to win.  Just have your friend(s) mention your email address in the "Friend" field on the signup form. Soon I will be able to announce the details of my summer art show.  I will have at least ten brand new pieces on display that I have been working on over the past several months.  The show will run from June 18th through July 28th, so if you are interested in visiting a truly beautiful country byway sometime this summer come to my neck of the woods and enjoy the land, the people ... and my show! Meanwhile, step outside and find something lovely to look at this fine, mid-spring day in May! ~firefly Copyright © 2010 J. L. Fleckenstein ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

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