Fall and winter pastimes

With the change in the weather I become involved in different pastimes. Now on Saturdays and Sundays I enjoy the football games.

Although I enjoy watching football I cannot just sit and watch so the knitting projects come out as well. I can easily follow my pattern and still know what is going on during the game.

I really enjoy watching college football the best. It seems like the competition is different. Last Saturday I could not find a decent game to watch. It was not because I did not like the teams, the games were just too lopsided. One team was way out ahead of the other so it was not interesting at all.

The professional games were nail biters this week. If you did not hang in there until the end you could not be sure who won.

During the fall and winter I always have a couple knitting projects going. If I am in a spot where the piece is cumbersome to carry around, I take the other project with me to my volunteer station. I do not like hauling big projects or projects that require a lot of counting with me. It is too easy to get lost and not keep the pattern when you take the project up and put it down while you help people.

Another thing that I do when it is not so nice outdoors is puzzles. I like the crossword puzzles the best but I do other word puzzles as well. I have also gotten interested in some computer games. I play some of the familiar board games on line because I can play them against robots. It keeps my mind sharp, but I do not have to go anyplace.

I have always been good at entertaining myself. Our lifestyle on the farm necessitated that. My husband left early in the morning sometimes not to return until after evening chores. Of course in those days I had plenty of chores to do around here. It was a challenge to keep the house clean, cook meals, and keep up with the canning and mending.

Mending was a chore that I really disliked. I let those piles of work pants pile up until my husband and children had none to wear to the barn. Even then I disciplined myself by saying that I could not begin a sewing project until the mending was cleaned up.

I had a jar where I kept my “to do” projects. When I pulled out the paper that said mending I was not a happy camper. It would be a dull day or two before I could do anything else.

Mending seemed like a chore that did not accomplish much. Most of my mending chores involved putting patches on the knees of the barn pants. At that time my husband did not wear jeans. He wore the old style work pants. I will say that mending the regular work pants was a lot easier than mending jeans. Those double stitched seams were more difficult to handle.

Sometimes the snap would come out at the waist. If that happened I replaced it with a button and made a button hole. It was not easy, but it worked well. It rescued many pairs of pants that would otherwise have become useless.

Once my husband began wearing jeans I found that they lasted longer. That jeans material was more durable. It was a long time before he wore through the knees on those. Shirts were another story. He was always catching a piece of shirt on some barbed wire fence and tearing a hole here or there. I finally bought a new sewing machine that had a sleeve surface you could put into a sleeve to mend. That made mending shirts a whole lot easier.

Do people mend any more today? I am really not sure. I know people who cannot even sew a button on something if one falls off. Of course, they do not know how to hem things either. Sewing is a skill that pays dividends. When the children were small I made them many articles of clothing simply from scraps from other projects. I even made a yoyo bedspread for each of their small beds. The children loved matching up the pieces of cloth that they recognized from my various sewing projects. Once the small beds were gone I put the two spreads together and added more yoyos to make a spread for my daughter’s bed.

Then, there is reading. I love to curl up with a good book on a cold dark day and read. I must admit that I do not read as fast as my granddaughter, but I can finish a book in a little more than a day if I get really interested in it. I read mostly for recreation. I am not into deep material. I did enough of that in the days when I was studying for various exams. Light reading that is fun is what I like. Am I wasting my time? I do not think that way. It is very satisfying and keeps me from feeling sad or depressed.

I am preparing for those dark days of winter by contributing to my yarn stash and by finding books that I hope to read. Even during the bad weather I get out and about. I go to lunch with friends and go shopping. I visit the library. I also go to my volunteer stations. I have said it before and I will say it again, volunteering is good medicine. It often does more for the person giving of his/her time than for the person receiving the service.

Ann Swanson writes from her home in Russell, PA. Contact at hickoryheights1@verizon.net