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Summer time and the living is easy

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20140805-143208-52328702.jpgThat line from the old song is very appropriate for the summer we have been having on our old farm in Upstate New York. The weather has been amazing, the flower gardens have been resplendent, and the farms seem to be thriving. Of course there is always much work to be done, both inside and out, but even with the normal day-to-day chores of living that must be attended to and the inevitable difficulties and problems life poses on a daily basis, we have managed to enjoy the past couple of months as if we were partially on vacation and that has been magical. This spring and summer I have been enjoying two new love affairs ... hold on now, it isn't what it sounds like. 20140805-143514-52514273.jpgThe first love affair is with designing and knitting lace shawls. I have created four designs over the summer, and am releasing the first pattern this week, "Rise Up Singing" (featured in today's photos) is already available in both my Etsy and Ravelry stores for instant download. I wrote text directions as well as charted diagrams; both styles are included in the one download so you can knit it either way. I specifically designed this piece to be easy and quick to knit, even if you use the text rather than charted directions. I will start working right away on patterns for,the other three shawls and will share photos of them as I make the patterns available. There is something about knitting and blocking a lace shawl that is a special kind of magic, and I hope with my patterns I will be able to help many others learn and experience that magic. Speaking of magic, last summer we visited a nearby farm where a lady raises Daylilies. Until I moved to Upstate New York I had never heard of Daylilies. Perhaps they are grown in California, but if so I never heard them mentioned. Here they are grown and treasured by everyone it seems. There is another daylily farm somewhat near our place that everyone refers to reverently as "the daylily place". Oh my ... it is the most magical, enchanting garden I have ever seen in my life. From the road you would never suspect that such a veritable Garden of Eden thrives just beyond the drive. Then, you walk in and ... well, you just feel like fainting or something because of the sheer aesthetic magnificence you are suddenly surrounded by. As it turns out there are something like 1,000 or 5,000 varieties of Daylilies (I can't remember exactly because I was too delirious from beauty overload when they told us) and the couple who created the garden seem to have each variety in their collection along with myriad other luscious plants mixed amongst them. There are pathways to stroll along and benches placed here and there creating a welcoming atmosphere for visitors. They even have a spectacular oversized cactus and succulent garden that surpasses any such garden I ever saw in Southern California. How, I ask you, did they manage that? I was actually so overwhelmed by all of the floral eye candy that I didn't shoot much photography while we were visiting, and the shots I did manage to click off didn't even approach doing justice to what I had witnessed. That was two or three years ago. Last summer we visited the other lady I mentioned above during a Garden Path Tour and she was selling some of her varieties at economical prices, so we bought nine varieties and planted our own little daylily garden right next to our pergola. After nearly one year of waiting, they started blooming in early July and are still producing a few more flowers. Starting on the morning of the first blossom, I began each day visiting with "the ladies" as I came to think of my dear Daylilies and checking out their latest blossoms. If you are unfamiliar with this species of flower, as the name infers, the blossoms last only one day. But of course each plant may have many blossoms, so as some fade away one morning, others are just opening up. Some of my plants have just bloomed profusely for about three weeks. They bloom in July and then you wait another eleven months before you get to see them again. A20140805-145848-53928045.jpgs I photographed them, I did what I love to do ... zoomed right inside the flower as close as I could. And, I made a wonderful discovery about this special flower. The way they are constructed at the base allows light to come right in and light everything up inside. I shot some of the most beautiful floral photographs ever, and this one actually brought tears to my eyes because it was so extraordinary. Another thing I about them is that some varieties have petals lined with incredible ruffles. Well, the long and the short of it is that I fell in love with these flowers this summer, in my own little garden with only about nine varieties. By the way, if you have not visited my son's Etsy store lately, he has some very awesome neighborhood typography maps now as well as two,or three styles of vintage eye charts. That's Flying Junction at Etsy or visit his company website. There are so many more things I could write about from this sweet summer we are having, but now life is calling me again and I have to end off. It was quite nice visiting with you a bit, and I hope to see you here again very soon. ~firefly


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