Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Come What May

Happy Cinco de Mayo! Absolutely everything always seems to break loose in May roundabout Exit 151, at least for those who cycle and knit and garden, and this May is no exception.

As a bribe proactive measure to keep the cookie monsters at casa Jersey Knitter mollified whilst I traipse about the countryside,Chocolate chip cookies I baked a batch of chocolate chip cookies using the recipe in the May/June Cook's Illustrated (boldly titled, "The Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookie"). Gentle readers may recall that previous experimentation invariably led to ignominious failure (which did not eliminate R&D, merely moderated its pace). These were pronounced Better Than Tollhouse. I'm still recovering from the surprise.

May is National Bike Month, with lots of events in NYC and the Tour de Montclair closer to Exit 151.Tour de Montclair 2009 button The theme for this year's TdM is "Complete Streets," meaning town planning that accommodates pedestrian, cyclist, auto, and mass transit use of township streets. It's a timely idea – townships with shovel-ready Complete Streets projects are eligible for federal economic stimulus grants. But enough philosophy and politics – this year the TdM is on Sunday, May 17 and has a child-friendly, car-free route and a challenging route for more experienced riders, on-site and online registration, nice T-shirts, and live music at the finish.

The first weekend in May is always the mighty Maryland Sheep & Wool Festival, largest in the country. Attendance seemed down this year, perhaps due to an unhappy combination of the bad economy, overcast skies, and this year's T-shirt (which actively repulses me). Nonetheless, my carpool had a grand time. Nancy's first MDS&W included posing with alpaca...

Nancy and alpaca

... while Risa bought a wheel. I'll leave it to them to tell the stories of their festival experiences.

Risa and wheel

Kitchen crafter that I am, I think I was most excited to have my trusty old chef's knife rehabilitated by my spinning teacher's father (shown with a pair of garden shears) in their booth, G&W Sharpening.

Stacey's dad

The knife had gotten rather dull, but now is literally as sharp as a razor. It's almost alarming how happy that makes me [slices gleefully]. There are few pleasures like having a good tool restored to working well.

Upon returning from Maryland, I rushed off to a symposium on global warming. One of several highlights was hearing Dr. James Hansen,James Hansen a leading U.S. climate scientist who was censored by the previous administration. I was moved to hear his motivation for speaking out, even when it was so costly – he did not want to have to tell his grandchildren that he knew what was happening to the planet, but did nothing to stop it. Never underestimate the power of a grandfather's determination to secure intergenerational justice.

With so much gallivanting going on, it's hardly a surprise that I'm out of the running for Sock Madness 3. It had to happen sooner or later – even without distractions, I can't match the obsessive speed of some SM knitters. I'd still like to knit the Sock Madness patterns non-competitively, perhaps for Summer of Socks 2009, which is officially on and starts on the solstice. That should give me time to set out my tomatoes, right?


Jaime said...

I was at MDS&W too. :) It was my birthday present, since the Saturday of the fest fell on my actual birthday this year. I'm surprised to hear attendance as down; I thought the barns especially were unbelievably crowded. I had a good time though, and bought more cormo and bamboo (and cormo/bamboo blended together!) then you can shake a llama at.

Bezzie said...

Hmmmm...I don't know. I don't think it's a matter of the recipe but the right factors. The timing of the bake, the heat of the oven, how long you cream the butter and sugar, the temperature of the dough...it's an art form. And of course it also depends how you like your CCCs--crispy? Chewy??

Looks like a fun time at MDS&W! Just be reading the blogs it doesn't seem like as many people went for whatever reasons and the hauls seem smaller too.

Julie said...

Yum, I'll have to look for a copy of Cook's. I'm a diehard Fine Cooking fan but I do like the occasional Cooks as well.

Good grief those SM ladies can knit fast can't they? I hope I can compete again next year but I have no illusions that I'd ever get any further than perhaps round 4 if I was lucky and in a slow div. I always love the patterns though and it's great that you get them all.

Carole Knits said...

Looks like you've been having a great time! Did Risa score a Reeves?

Deborah said...

Risa bought a wheel? you baked cookies and another bike tour is yet on the horizon? oh, and not to mention our modern yarn is closing and i so hoped to have bumped into you at one of my attempts at trying to act normal.

Kim said...

It was good to run into you and the other NJ peeps at MDSW. Be careful with that super sharp knife! Although I hear that a dull knife is more dangerous to use than a sharp one.

stacey said...


Thanks for stopping by, dad said it was nice to meet you:o)

Please be careful with that knife!!!

Daniele said...

Loving that stripey green sock!

Looks like you had a wonderful time at Maryland Sheep & Wool Festival. Wondering what the T-shirt said? ugh. ;)

See you in Summer of Sox!!