I Love New York

May 7, 2010 at 2:37 pm | Posted in art, blogging, country life, country living, dating, family, flowers, free knitting patterns, gardening, knitting, Life, love, marriage, Mother's Day, photography, relationships, romance, socks, travel, yarn | 22 Comments
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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!


Copyright © 2010 J. L. Fleckenstein ALL RIGHTS RESERVED


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  1. Dear Firefly,

    What a beautiful, sweet picture you paint with your words describing your New York home and the great life you have there. Thank you for doing that so well. The farm is a peice of ‘Heaven on Earth’. Thanks for sharing it with us.

    Good luck with the art show and the new adventure with Kinber.


  2. Dear firefly,
    Oh the magic you weave into words all of us have available to us and knit them into calming, soothing, cooling thoughts to ponder and you regale us with the beautiful serenity of “the farm”.

    Thanks for sharing your beautiful creations with so many of us!


  3. What a nice visit I feel I just had with you. Very peaceful, beautiful and relaxing!

  4. I remember the early blog posts and how amazing I found your transition to NY and cold winters. It is so lovely to know how your relationship has blossomed as well. And how is the sweet little one doing?

    • Yes! New York state is lovely, isn’t it? I lived in California for 29 years, Nevada for 5, and now I’ve lived outside of Buffalo, NY for 17 years and wouldn’t trade it for anything, especially since for the last two years my husband and I have lived on a little farm of our own. We have the loveliness you described and always I feel as though I’ve been transported to the 1930’s as I daily gaze out our windows to our orchard and barn and meadows. Keep sharing the news that New York state is not to be confused with New York City! Blessings, Debra

  5. I love your words, and the comfort you bring to a daily life in need of a moment of respite.

    Our spring is arriving a few weeks ahead of yours, so our Crabapple is now deep green, and the irises are beginning.

    A local friend has a similar story to yours, so I will let her know of your blog.

    The email address above is not the one I usually use for your notices to me, but is valid, and the one I prefer to share.

    Susi in NW AR

  6. I love reading your blogs. I have two questions.

    #1 Is the pattern for the hat with Emily’s sweater available? Or is it in the new patterns being released soon?

    #2 Are you going to be a vendor at the fiber show in Rhinebeck in October? I plan on going with an internet group, wae are renting a house becuase we are fron several different states. I hope you are there so I can meet you.

    You have beautiful patterns, I really love the Christmas Stockings and I am going to order them soon.


  7. dear Firefly… I tried to enter the wonderful give-a-way for the scrumptious yarn and since I heard about it through your message instead of another friend it won’t allow me to leave it blank…what would you like me to enter in that field – am I having a brain cramp or is there something obvious that I’m not seeing?
    always, robin

    • Thank you Robin, for letting me know about this. I fixed the form so that the “Friend” field is optional, not required. Good Luck! ~firefly

  8. Thanks for your blog-a nice read as I take a break from getting ready for my local farmer’s market. I too enjoy a nice 20 acre farm my husband and I moved to 2 years ago. Along our journey we have learned new skills including driving tractors, shearing sheep, gardening on a large scale (we’re still working on that one,) and caring for chickens. For 13 years I lived in Louisiana-where there are only 2 seasons-cool and HOT. I do love enjoying how seasons change in central Virginia-seemingly each day-a new transition. Thanks for sharing your experiences-I especially love your pictures.
    Kat in Virginia

  9. I too met my husband online. I moved from Missouri to Kansas, and became a farm wife. That was almost 2 years ago, and they’ve been the happiest 2 years of my life.
    Come visit our farm in Kansas.

  10. Spring has been wonderful this year. I live “just down the road a piece” as they would say where I grew up, but have lived in Greece NY for 36 years. This year has been beautiful. I loved being able to open my windows, even overnight, and have the fragrance of my lilacs fill the whole house. I have been lovingly presented with dandelion blooms by my younger grandsons. (At least those blossoms won’t set seed!) The only thing missing is the farm I grew up on. I can live vicariously through you blog. Thank you. And please share with Kimber that her yarn colorways are absolutely breathtaking. I am not much of a pink fan but I lust after the one you showed on your blog.

  11. Thanks for the contest.

  12. Congratulations on 4 years! I remember finding your blog around that same time. Thanks for continuing to share with us! ann in indy

  13. Dear Firefly,

    Your writing is as beautiful as your works of art. Thanks for another beautiful entry. Never heard of Kimber’s yarn before, but it sure looks beautiful. Like you, the subtle vareigation intrigues me. Heathered yarns, too. OK, maybe just yarn? (grin) Thanks for the contest.

  14. I was born & raised in Upstate NY. After college I could not wait to get out & see what the rest of the country had to offer me…now I spend my days desperately trying to get back. Indeed, there is no place like home.

    • I got all choked up at this post until I read your post and I felt like you might know exactly how I feel. I left beautiful upstate NY for adventure after college. I was preoccupied for a number of years but now I desperately wish to return to NY. I see friends post pictures of every day mundane activities but what I see is the lush green grass, the rolling hills and the soft warm sun. I have an ache in my heart to get back and will just not soon enough. Alaska is beautiful but NY is my home.

  15. Hello, Firefly. I am a first-timer on your blog. I also live in Western NY but in the city. I am a teacher who knits to unwind.

  16. Hello Firefly, I live in the oak-wooded and open rolling hills of the farm country of Western Oregon. I too am an escapee from the madness of Los Angeles. We have four season here too, and right now are in the midst of glowing shades of green–every one that you can think of! All the trees that produce flowers are doing that, and the sides of the roads and some entire fields are covered in a deep purple haze of the flowers of Camas, a plant which was treasured by the native peoples for thousands of years for its tuberous root and medicinal uses. We also have tiny wild iris in both purple and yellow that always pop up here and there just in time for Mother’s Day. Spring is such a gift! Glad you enjoy yours too–I have been to Western and Upstate New York and it IS lovely! Thanks for your great blogs and website. You inspire me to do one of my own. (And the new yarn is intriguing–I want to see more colors!)

  17. thank you for sharing your lovely place, listening (reading) to you about your live and your farm is so nice and relaxing. The yard looks beautiful in spring, actually it looks beautiful whenever you photograph it in all seasons. The pink in the yarn is just gorgeous, it reminds me that light pink is very nice, as I do like brighter colours as well.

  18. I live in Phoenix, Arizona. It is supposed to be 109 today. But my husband and I just drove up (2 1/2 hrs) to our home in the mountains. It was 105 when we left Phoenix; it was raining when we arrived. The temperature on our deck is 60 degrees and it is still pouring. All our flowers and bushes and hundreds of pine trees are waving in the rain – as if to say – thank you, to God. Sitting on our deck is like being in a tree house, surrounded by age old Ponderosa and Pinion trees. some 100 feet tall. I have never responded to your beautifully written blog before, but when we arrived here today I read your piece about your farm our loud to my husband, who is a master gardener. How wonderful to have been married four years and love where you live. It sounds so beautiful where you live. We love upstate NY also and have spent many summers there as our daughter went to college in Poughkeepsie. You are indeed blessed. I wish for you all the happiness and peace we have found in the forest – after 32 years of marriage, three children and two grand children. Thank you for your amazing writing. Mary

  19. I stumbled upon your blog through Ravelry. I have to tell you it is nice hearing you say you love NY…the state. I have lived here all my life and it is a wonderful place. I was born in Manhattan, raised in Queens, then moved to Long Island as a 20 something year old. I love the beach, the mountains, the bright lights of the city. It’s nice to hear that someone who came from another beautiful state feels the same way. Welcome to New York!

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