On Saturday, Pk, El and I took a trip to Lancaster, Pennsylvania. It is home to one of the largest Amish populations in the United States. There are buggys and horses on all of the roads and women in plain dresses with white aprons and hats covering their hair which is always pulled tightly back. I could not bring myself to take anyone's photo. It seemed disrespectful somehow. The Amish are very private. I'm sure that people ask them all the time but I couldn't bring myself to be one of the ignorant. This is a picture of one of the fields we drove by. You can see the hay bales lined up ready to harvest. It's hard to stop for photos. The speed limit is high and there is no place to pull over and then get back on the highway without causing an accident. There are hills (what passes for hills around here!) and sometimes you come around a corner and the vista opens up and you can see the neat squares of fallow fields. It's a nice drive.
Our first stop is Clyde Weaver's. It's where we buy hams and unbelievably delicious slab bacon and wonderful handmade breads and unusual tea. Iron Goddess of Mercy tea, anyone? We got a ham for the holidays, some other bits and bobs and then headed out for other pursuits.
Pk went online and found Labadie Looms (although he couldn't remember the name and seemed to recall it as "ladies of the loom", close enough). When you walk in the door, this colorful sight greets you. Looks like a candy store, doesn't it? This was a whole room full of rovings of all manner of wool. I bought some merino/silk blend and some local Lancaster coopworth wool. I've never seen coopworth in person and it's soft but not as soft as merino. I bought two bumps of soft grey and beige colors. I perused the yarns and ogled the spinning wheels. There was a thousand dollar Kromski wheel. It was beautiful but not worth a thousand dollars. The woman behind the register was friendly and wonderfully helpful. I didn't want to leave.
But we left and moved onto the Bird in Hand (Lancaster is full of delightful names such as Intercourse and Bird in Hand and Gap) farmers market. We bought some herbs and teas and honeys and jam. It's also the place we buy cherry apple cider. It's really, really good. I love this place. I think it's a good thing we don't live closer. I'd weigh over 300 pounds!
As we left there and were on the road home, we passed this truck with a van full of Sheep! Can you see the little sheep face looking out? There were lots of them looking at us and I tried to take the photo before the truck passed us on the road. Pk figured they were on their way to become dinner somewhere. I wanted to go and let them free. "Be free, little lambs!"
See this wall of rock? This is what it looks like all through Pennsylvania. They cut the Schuykyll (skookill) Expy through the rock. There are signs saying "falling rock" all over the place. I've never seen rocks actually fall but they loom over the road in a menacing way.
We drove through Philadelphia to come home. One of the really neat things about Philadelphia is the mural arts program. Years ago, they decided to have local kids put their grafiti talent to work and there are murals all over the city. This is on one of the main roads through the city. I like walking around the city and being surprised by photos on the sides of buildings.
It was a lovely day. We came home tired but satisfied. I got some lavender and goat milk soap for my aunts and am now making my first face cloths to give to them for Christmas. I'll get some nice lotion and wrap it all in some pretty ribbon. I'm also almost finished Pk's socks. I picked out the cast off on the first one because he told me he wanted them to have longer cuffs. I have enough yarn to make the cuffs a few inches longer for him.
It's been a tough week at work. There are a lot of people for whom the holidays are not pleasant, happy times but times full of pain and sad memories. It takes a lot of emotional energy to listen and be as helpful as I can and to maintain my usual upbeat manner. And to make sure I don't make it any harder than it already is.
I was thinking of Christmas trees and family traditions and had a funny memory. When El was little, about 2 or so, we always put chocolate ornaments on the tree. Well, she found an ornament and of course, being a 2 year old, put it in her mouth. She was delighted to find out it was chocolate. So, she pulled another one off the tree and put it in her mouth. It was not chocolate but wood (there were only chocolate and wood ornaments down where she could reach). She started to take off the ornaments she could reach one by one and taste each one. She was mightily disappointed that they were not all chocolate.
Wishing you all a chocolate filled week.