Wednesday, June 2, 2010


I wanted to tell you all about my trip to Tennessee.  It was GREAT!

Before I give you all the details about my trip I will provide you with a little back story as to how I know the wonderful people that I went to visit.
I met the Winemans (Wes and Rama) a long time ago, in fact, nearly 10 years ago.....WOW that doesn't seem right, but anyway.
A few years back when I was a sophomore in college I found myself looking for the perfect summer job.  I knew I didn't want to go home to live with my parents for another summer and I needed to make some cash.  After some searching around in papers I found an ad looking for someone to work at a brewery.  I thought to myself that there could be nothing better, this would be the summer job that all of my friends wished they had. I drove down to Bar Harbor to find out more about this job. This is where I ended up, Atlantic Brewing Co. I walked in and enquired about the job. Mr. Wineman gave me an application and asked me a few questions.  I think they were hesitant about hiring me since I was only 20 but I was determined to work at ABC. 
To make a long story short, I got the job and Mr. Wineman became my boss.  I ended up working at the brewery in the gift shop every summer until I finished college.  Wes and I worked together for 3 years, the first year his wonderful wife Rama also worked with us.  I couldn't imagine working with better people.  After the 3rd year some circumstances came about and the Winemans ended up moving back to their home state of Tennessee. 

I have wanted to visit TN for a while but the timing was never good.  This year I made it happen. 

I left Bangor this past Thursday at 7am and arrived in Tennesse around 3pm that afternoon.  I was so excited to see my friends, it had been far too long.  It was a very relaxing vacation, we roamed around the Tri Cities area visting a few places here and there and also consumed some of the best food and drink I have had in quite a while.  I have to admit, Wes is probably the person who single handely turned me into a beer snob and with a little time and arm twisting would probably be able to turn me into a wine snob as well. 

On my first full day of my trip we were BUSY! Wes and I started out by heading over to Bristol Motor Speedway.  I am not into NASCAR and I barely know any ove the drivers names, but this is a sight that everyone should see!  The place is HUGE it can hold somewhere around 165,000 people and if I remember correctly it is one of the largest or possibly the largest sporting arena in the world. 
Next we went to Bay's Mountain Park, there are some really nice walking paths at this place and a few animals to see, including Wolves, Otters, Bobcat's and some Raptors. 
After completing some errands we headed to Depot Street Brewing to taste some beer and fill a couple of Growlers so that we would have plenty of beverages to go with our Pizza on Saturday night. 
That night we went to a wonderful resturant called Giuseppe, we had the best waitress ever and the food was amazing.  I was SO FULL after that meal.

Day 2 was spent with Rama since Wes had to work. We started our day by heading to Starbucks to get Wes a coffee and then delivered it to him at the liquor store.  We visited the farmers market, which I loved, and we also went to Warriors Park (I hope that the right name), where they hold FUNFEST, I would love to go to this sometime.  That afternoon Wes' daughter came to visit and brought her little girl so that we could go to the pool.  It was around 90 that day so the water in the pool felt great.  We had pizza and the beer from Depot Street that night.  We also got a chance to talk to Wes' son Matt on the phone (he lives in St. Croix, another destination I will have to visit at some point in my life). 

Day 3 was probably the most exciting day.  Both Wes and Rama had the day off we headed to Abingdon VA to go to a play at the Barter Theater, we saw ANNIE. 
While we were there I won a prize. The tradition is to give a prize to the person who is visiting for the first time for the farthest distance.  It was between me and some girls from Dallas TX.  We all got a nice little momento, a coffee mug and some gift certificates.  Turns out Bangor Maine is further away from Abingdon that Dallas Texas just incase anyone is wondering. Once Annie was over, we went across the street to the Martha Washington Hotel and had a lovely dinner. 

The next morning I woke at 4am to catch a plane at 5:50 so that I could be on my way home.  Overall it was a wonderful visit and I am very glad to have seen my friends, I miss them already and can't wait to go back again for another visit. 

I hope you enjoy reading about my trip!  I will be doing another post soon to show you all what my garden looks like, it has grown tremendously in the past couple of weeks.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010


I have not been knitting, not even a little bit.  I haven't even as much as looked at a ball of yarn or a pattern in a few weeks now. 
This is the time of year where I usually put up the knitting and start spending as much time as I can outside in the sun reading or working in the garden.  Plus its just too hot to knit even in Maine.

There have also been a two major things and a few minor things that have been keeping me from my "normal" routine.


1. My little brother is scheduled for heart surgery this week.  Tomorrow he will be enduring a 4 1/2 to 5 hour proceedure to replace a valve in his heart.  I have volunteered to stay at home during this time to care for my parents 2 parrots and 2 dogs, so I am keeping my fingers crossed that everything goes well.

2. Providing that my brothers surgery goes as planned and there are no complications, I will be flying to Tennessee this Thursday to visit some dear friends whom I have not seen in a long time.  I CAN'T EVEN WAIT!  I have been planning this trip for a couple of months now and then all of a sudden the date has crept right up on me.  I have barely started packing but I think I can manage to throw everything in my suitcase before Thursday morning.  This is a solo trip so the upside is I don't have to worry about trying to make sure that my significant other and dog have thier stuff together. 


Dad and I have been putting a lot of time into our garden over the past couple of weekends.  It looks AMAZING.  I think it is probably the best garden we have had yet.  We managed to get all the planting done last weekend and I think we are both pretty proud of it.  I love telling people about the process that we have gone through to get it to where it is now, and I have been offering "tours" to friends so that I can brag about all the things we have done. 
Here is what we have growing in our garden:
Potatoes (blue fingerling, red, and white)
Bush Beans
Brussels Sprouts
Tomatoes (Big Boy and Roma)
Swiss Chard
Peppers (Bell and Banana)
Sun Flowers

I have been reading up a storm!
Currently I am working on reading the Into the Wilderness Series by Sara Donati.  If you like historical fiction, you will love these books. To date I have finished Into The Wilderness and Dawn on a Distant Shore, next up Lake in the Clouds.

I also just finished up The Brief and Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz, which was a book that was chosen for my book club. 

Today I have planned to start reading the current book club selection Cutting For Stone by Abraham Verghese.

Happy Knitting/Gardening/Reading!

Monday, April 12, 2010

Satisfaction by Humiliation

I have been part of the Chihuahua Mix lovers group on Ravelry for a short while now and thought it would be nice to start a KAL (Knit-A-Long) for this group. 

I put a message up on the board telling the members that I wanted the group to knit something for our furry friends.  The moderator thought that was a good idea as well.  I picked a nubmer of patterns and we decided on the pattern called To Humiliate the Dog.  If you are not a member of Ravelry you can find this pattern on The Yarn Loving Couples Blog (see blogs I read), its in the free pattern section. 

This is what I ended up with:

Becca really loves it I tell you, and by love I mean HATE.  She trys to rip it off after about 3 seconds.

I think the only reason she let me cram the thing on her head and take photos was that she was feeling a bit under the weather.  We found out on Saturday that Miss Becca has an infection. Shes on some antibiotics that make her belly upset. 
She has been lounging around on the back of the couch in her favorite spot minding her own buisness and I sort of ambushed her. 

But seriously, she looks so CUTE! 

Happy Knitting!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

How Does Your Garden Grow?

Since I am a "city dweller" and don't have a yard of my own I have been helping my dad with his garden's.  My parents have a huge yard and there is nothing I love more than spending time out there digging around and planting things.  We have been totally spoiled up here in Maine this Spring. The year started off with a nice mild winter and then before we knew it, it was 60 in February. This has made me really eager to get outside and get my hands dirty.

I have to give you a short history of the Plourde gardening effort before I can talk about this year.   My dad has always had a garden of some sort for as long as I can remember, but I never remember really having a lot of fresh veggies around that he/we grew on our own.  Things start off in the Spring moving along with a lot of gusto and then as the season progresses everyone seems to lose interest. 

There are four of us in my family and it seems that Dad and I are the only two who can manage to keep up with the task eventhough the other two people love to reap the benefits of it.  I compared this to the story of chicken little.  You go around and try to get them to help out but they don't really want to, and then at the end of the summer when there are beautiful veggies to be had everyone wants to eat them but never bothered to help with the growing process.  I digress....

Last year was the first year that we really put in a hard core effort to grow some things.  After much deliberation Dad told me that he was game for anything when it comes to planting.  I searched around the internet for gardening ideas and came across the Square Foot Gardening (SFG) technique.  I bought the book by Mel Bartholomew and brought it out to my parents place.  I could tell that dad was not convinced that it would work, but we went for it anyway.  Dad built (3) 4'x4' raised beds, and (1) 4'x8' bed.  Next we positioned them in the yard (mom actually helped me cut up the sod and remove it bfore putting the bed frames down) and filled them with Mel's Mix (a soil recipe from the SFG book).

(These are the raised beds, the big bed in the back has a fence for climbing veggies, and a number of strawberry plants.)

We planted seedlings and waited to see what would happen. I spent a lot of time at my parents house last summer checking on the veggies, pulling out weeds, and watching things grow.  The result was AMAZING, we ended up with HUGE cherry tomatoe plants, a ton of summer squash, strawberries, carrots, beans, peppers, etc.  Dad is a believer now, and he tells everyone about the SFG technique and how well it worked. 

Now for this year.... 
For the past 2 weekends we have had beautiful weather with temperatures into the 70's.  I have had the gardening itch like crazy but I have to keep telling myself that its still really early and to not get my hopes up. 

For the first weekend Dad and I spent a whole Saturday cleaning up the yard and getting things ready.  I raked out all of the flower beds and gave all the perennials room to sprout out of the ground.  Last fall I planted some garlic and I also added some Crocus bulbs to our front flower garden, both are coming up nicely. 
Garlic (all but 2 bulbs sprouted)

I thought these purple Crocus would be bigger but it turns out they are of the tiny version. The flowers are only about the size of a quarter, so cute!
The white crocus are normal size and also beautiful.
We also decided that we would like to try to fix up the original garden that was in place when my parents bought their house.  Dad has tried to plant things in it every year but the soil is TERRIBLE, its mostly clay and rock hard.  We planted potatoes and zucchini in there last year and they grew well but we decided that there needed to be a change. 
This past weekend we measured off the garden and gave it a more uniform shape. We will be amending the soil with some vermiculite, compost, and loam to make it more airy and much easier for things to grow in.  We also added in another big fence, partially to block the view of the neighbors (and to keep thier/our dogs from spending the day barking at eachother) but mostly so that we can grow pole beans and other tasty climbing things.
(There is my dad putting the staples in the last pole. The garden is 20'x16' which is a nice size that should be easy to manage.) 
That is pretty much all for now, not bad for 2 Saturdays worth of work.  I think we will be building another raised bed this year so that I can have a little Salsa Garden.

I will leave you with a couple of photos of the flower gardens. 
This is a crop of paperwhites that come up every spring, they are all over the yard, but particulalry like to grow around this tree, these are some of my favorite flowers to cut and put into a vase.   This photo isn't great but its our large flower bed that you drive past when you come up the driveway.  Its filled with tulips, iris, crocus, daffodils, peonies, tiger lily, and my favorite Black Hollyhock's. 

I am going to try to keep you updated with my gardening efforts since this is my second favortie hobby next to knitting. 


Tuesday, April 6, 2010


I managed to get around to taking some photos of the things I have been knitting. 

I have had this yarn forever, I bought it during an Eat.Sleep.Knit binge.  It is Fleece Artist Sea Wool in the colorway Peacock.  The pattern is Clapotis, which appears to be one of the most knitted patterns on Ravelry. I am about half done and I am really proud of this scarf so far. Stay tuned for the finished product.

These socks are my most recent FO.  The pattern is from a book that I recieved for my birthday.  The book is Knitting in The Round, which I mentioned in a previous post.  The yarn I used is left over from one of my Six Kingdoms Yarn Club shipments.  Its really lovely but a bit slipery.  Also, as promised, a photo of the finished Kathy's Socks, which I have been calling Laugh Socks since that is the name of the colorway. 

Now for some Monster action.  Here is Sammie, Daphne and Delilah. 
I made Sammie to keep Francis company in my office, but he got so caught up in all the books on my book shelf that he is still currently living at home.  Technically he is supposed to be wearing socks to cover up those cutie monster feet but since its getting warmer outside he decided that he didn't need socks right now and that he wouldn't mind if I waited a while to make them for him. 
Daphne and Delilah were made as a gift for my friends daughter on her 2nd birthday. They now reside in Marshfield Mass. 
All the monsters I have made are from patterns designed by Rebecca Danger, the yarn I use for them is Vannas Choice.

Happy Knitting!

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

A Number of Things

Once again its been over a month since I have posted anything on here.  I just can't get the hang of blogging often.  I always feel like I should have to have something to show on my posts. 

I have been knitting quite a bit, but have no photos to show for it.  I will have them soon, I promise.  Once the rain stops and the sun comes back out so that I have good light for pictures.  So far this month (incase anyone cares) we have had almost 5 inches of rain here in Bangor.  

Currently on the needles I have my final 6 Kingdoms Yarn Club project.  Its an adoreable lion named Reggie.  I have finished his legs and arms but got stuck on the stomach so I have to frog and start over.  Reggie still doesn't have a body, I put him on hold for a bit.  Hopefully I will be able to work on him tonight.  Once I am done grocery shopping and cooking dinner.

Last night I managed to finish my first pair of ankle socks. The pattern is from a great book that I recieved for my birthday entitled Knitting in the Round by Jeanne Stauffer.  I may not have picked this book on my own but it turns out there are a lot of little things in there that I can't wait to make. 

The Laugh socks are finished (the socks that my monster knit for me in the previous post).  I think these are giong to become my favorite pair of socks. 

I have been trying to work diligently to complete my goals for this year, and man is it going slowly.  I feel like I haven't used up any yarn thus far. I have stuck to my guns though and have not bought any yarn.  I have even visited a couple of yarn shops and still managed to resist the temptation!

I cleaned out/reorganized my knitting corner on Sunday and realized that I had some yarn that I had forgotten about.  Its a beautiful tencel yarn from a local farm called End Of World Farm, I remember buying this yarn because it was on super sale at the LYS.  I only have 2 skeins which equals about 526yard so I think I will be making a nice lace scarf with it. 

Photos soon!

Happy Knitting

Monday, February 1, 2010


Well Francis is finished.  I had such a fun time making this monster, and posing him.  At first I thought this was going to be a female Francis because of the purple color, but this Francis is a boy, as you can see he is wearing a tie, so that he can be dressed properly for the office. 

I taught him how to knit ha ha ha

Happy Knitting!