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Last week I shipped off a hefty bit deadline knitting, breathed a big sigh of relief and decided to take a mini-break from knitting for the past week. In the interim, I’ve been doing a fair bit of spinning, just in time to enable a fresh batch of fiber purchases at the 2012 Maine Fiber Frolic.

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While I didn’t come home with a full fleece (though Lynn did!), I did pick up two hand-dyed 4 oz braids and sweater kit I regretted not picking up last year.

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In addition to checking out the vendors, we chatted with the lady running the great wheel demo and snorgled (or got nibbled on by) some furry creatures.

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After we got our fill of fiber, and just as the rain starting falling, we headed into Gardiner and stopped for desert and tea at the A-1 Diner.

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Friends, fiber, and food – what more could a girl ask for??

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Lamb

It’s been two years since my last visit to Fiber Frolic. I’ve been spinning for nearly two years! I fell for needlefelting! Both of which open my Fiber Frolicking world!

Baby Bunting Cardigan at Dirty Water Dyeworks

While there were tons of beautiful yarns I didn’t pick any up this year (though it was all I could do not to buy this Sweet Bunting Cardigan kit on display at Dirty Water Dyeworks, but since I don’t know any babies or soon to arrive babies to knit for I held off).

Aimee and the baby lamb

similarly, I think it was all Aimee could do to not walk off with this 4 week old lamb.

Purple Fleece braidsAfter having been to a number of fiber festivals, it was nice to see some great stuff from vendors I hadn’t seen before,like this roving from Purple Fleece, which I didn’t pick up and this menrino/tencel braid from  Highland Handmades that I did.

Highland Handmades

I must have been in a whimsical mood on Saturday, because my other two purchases where these charming needlefelting kits Off the Beaded Path (I’ve already started one) and the frog and bead stitch markers from Enchanted Knoll Farms

Needlefelting kit

Fortunately I still  had some funds left over for the superb fair food (gyros and sweet potatoes fries – yes please!!)

Lunch

After lunch there were more friends and fleeces to snorgle

Ram

Look who we spotted!!

And look who we found in the rabbit barns!!

Show Fleeces

Can I say for the record, these fleeces were lovely and make me want to move up to a wheel so I could justify the poundage?? Fiber frolic is such an enabling event, for reals. Good thing I have Tour de Fleece coming up soon, so I can get back into some serious spinning!!
Baby lamb and its adoptive family

(PS -for another take on this trip, in which my right shoulder makes a cameo- visit Aimee at 52 weeks, 52 hats)

Since we weren’t able to make the Common Ground or Cumberland County Fairs this year, Mr.Cleaver and I headed up to the Fryeburg Fair to get our fall fair fix.

The Fryeburg Fair is HUGE. There are tons of people who come in RVs and stay for the whole week. We went on Sunday, which was opening day, and there were people everywhere.

Firemen,

Fireman's MusterBarbershop Quartets,

Music ClassAlpaca Farmers,

SnackingBlacksmiths,

Turning the link

Chicken Judges, and  Judging

4-H -ers.

Polishing Up

But of course I don’t go to the fair for the people, I go for the animals.

Llamas, with underbites only a mother could love,

Only a mother could love.

Sweet bunnies (I want a Mini-Rex soooo much!!)

BunnyHungry Piglets,

Lunchtimeand chicks still damps from their eggs.

Newborn

We saw a lot and had a a lot of fun, and oh yeah, indulged in a little fair food 🙂

Fair Food

So far the votes from the last post are 60% for both  of us and 40% for me (sorry Mr. Cleaver & puppies), so in honor of your vote, here we are together:

Lil' one

But who took the photo, you ask?

Why this lovely lady, who accompanied us on our annual apple-picking adventure.

Beneath the apple tree

As other Maine bloggers have mentioned, the apples are super early this year. Since my favorite apple type (Jonagold) ripens a bit later than the first apples, we waited until mid-September, still several weeks earlier than usual, to take our annual trip to Ricker Hill.

The day was warmer than we imagined (hence the short sleeves), but it was a lovely day for apple picking (or slinging).

Beautiful Day - for slinging rotten apples!

Lazy Day

This trip is nothing is not full of traditions, so as per usual there were many dozens of mini apple cider doughtnuts,

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plenty of tasty apples to pick,

PIcking Apples

Cherry Apples

(these look like cherries and taste like apples!)

a trip into the depths of the corn maze (dry enough to traverse the whole thing this year) —

Children of the Corn

including making it out alive (!!),

Made it out Alive

a race over the obstacle course,

Obstacle Course

Winner!

and cute farm animals.

Little Jersey

And I get to look forward to days filled with apple pies, crisps, muffins and sauce!

Half full

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For Memorial Day weekend my friend Kasey came out from Chicago for a visit – we got to do some catching up, get in some shopping, eat some seafood, and soak in the sun.

Baby Mallard

We had a picnic at Evergreen and saw baby ducks and snapping turtles.

Can't believe Mom let me get this close

Played a string of candlepin and a few bucks worth of pinball.

Candlepin

Caught the sunset at Prout’s Neck

Sunset at Prout's Neck

Picked up lupines and local food from the farmer’s market – including some tasty greens from my favorite farmers.

Lupine Lady

Hula Hooping Skills

We did some shopping for clothes in Freeport.

Twinsies

And some shopping for shellfish in Portland

Selecting Steamers

Caught a game at the ballpark (the first time I ever saw the Seadogs win!)

At the Ballpark

Beer at the Ballpark

Made a fabulous local feast – including  Mr. Cleaver’s scallops, Kasey’s lobster and clam chowdah, and my first (quite successful) attempt at crab cakes

Ready for his closeup

Crabcakes

Local Feast

Lobster Tail

A trip to the chilly beach and a slightly warmer lighthouse.

Braving the Icy Waters

And don’t worry – Mr. Cleaver didn’t miss out on all the fun – he just didn’t make it into all that many pictures!

(and thanks to Kasey for the great time and the use some of your photos – you’re welcome back anytime)

With four apple picking adventures under our belt, I present the Cleaver’s Guide to a Successful Apple Harvest Trip:

1. Pick a beautiful fall day
Fall Color

2. Get apple cider doughnuts first. It’s no good picking on an empty stomach.
Apple Cider Doughnuts

3. Eye your prey
Our Prey

4. Don’t be afraid to use tools to get the best fruits.
Up High

Up High

Down Low

5. Pick the Most Photogenic Wagon to Haul your Harvest
Hauling the Harvest

6. Don’t be so focused on the apples that you miss out on other marvels.
Grasshopper

Pitch of the Patch

7. Waste Not, Want Not. Rotten apples explode fabulously when flung from a slingshot.

Apple Slingshot

Letting it Fly

8. You’re never too old for a petting zoo.
Kidding around

Happy Sheep

Conversing with a Cow

Any More Hay?

9. And never too big to stop being silly.
So Tall!

10. Pick up more apple cider doughnuts on the way out. It’s only once a year!
Worth the Drive

As if the Common Ground Fair on Sunday wasn’t enough, this Thursday I skipped work an hour early and Mr.Cleaver and I headed to the Cumberland County Fair.

There were cute kids on rides (check out the tongue action on this “Biker Chick”):

Biker

Up to the Super Slide

Fair Food for Dinner:
Fry Lover

Prize Winners:
Handspun Winners

Baked Goods

Cute Animals:
My Egg

Please Release Me

Supper Time

Pancake the Cow

4-H Pig Races (worth the price of admission alone):
Aaaand they're off!!

Snack Break

an International Ox Pull
Ox Pull

and sneaking it all in before it started to rain.

Ominous Winds

With a rainy Saturday, the Mr. and I took a trip over to Westbrook for Candlepin Bowling and $2.25 worth of Pinball:

Maine is Candlepin Country

Down the Center Line

Focusing