Wednesday, September 21, 2016

In which I surface after not blogging

I've been living life off the computer (or at least off the blog) and when I went looking for a photo of a project to use, realized that perhaps I should surface, upload some photos, and then dive back down into life. 

The garden is saying farewell -- at least, the tomatoes and cucumbers are.  I really should pick some jalapenos and figure out what to do with them. 
Some friends took a photo of my State Fair entries, and I had a suprise viewing of Summer Nights, by Arenda Holladay. So did she.  She had no clue that anyone else had, or would ever, knit the sweater.  I'm curious to know if the knitter followed the directions and worked the stranding back and forth, without steeks, like Arenda did.  

My State Fair entries came back, and the next day was BEAUTIFUL weather for wearing a wool tunic, so on it went.

The yarn for my clogs came in, and they are now finished.  Except for a bit more felting. 

I finished a pair of legwarmers, too.  (Are you noticing a winter theme here?  Unfortunately, those legwarmers need to be at a photographers in November.  On the plus side, they match, in color, a sweater which is at another photographers, so I will be all toasty warm AND coordinated when they're back at my house.) 

I have a new refrigerator, whose door closes.  My heart is happy every time I hear it not running.  And I'm also happy to think of all the new organizational possibilities.  We lost 2 cu ft, a shelf, and a drawer (and somehow, the dimensions are almost identical -- an inch taller, and a half-inch narrower.  What did they do with fridge design in the past 21 years to make that possible?)  Now I get to hunt for nifty wire shelves to make good use of the vertical space just LURKING in there. 

And did I mention, the door closes?

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

More Pickles

I'm running out of pint jars around here.  Actually, I have run out of pint jars.  I have one, single, solitary widemouth pint jar that I just unearthed from the back shelf of the bottom of a cabinet this morning ... but I could have used 12 pint jars yesterday in my canning adventures, during which I put up salsa (3 1/2 quarts), garlic-honey jalapeno pickles (5 half-pints) and bread and butter pickles (2 quarts). 

The gallon of tomatoes - washed, cored, quarters, and squished in the hands, then put in a cloth-covered time-out for 5 days...

became a half-cup or so of tomato conserve. I am still figuring out what to do with the 3 quarts of juice - fermented tomato juice, I would assume. Tomato wine?
A brioche cowl that came off my needles

Julie's Slippers, drying

Comfrey leaves
And now, I've spent so much time wrestling with the pictures I forgot what I was going to say!  Lots going on -- knitting, learning new things, transportation, gardening, etc, etc, etc.

Until next week...

Wednesday, August 24, 2016


More pickles
Gentle reader, my pickle cabinet overfloweth. 

And my tomato conserves are thinking about fermenting on the counter.

And my "to-knit" list is expanding.

And my family is healthy (since seasonal sniffles and lung-wrenching coughs from Jalapeno fumes do not interfere with health)

And I have 5 lbs of locally grown honey.

God has richly blessed me.  For, even more than those things which are going well, He is with me. 

He will be with me when the cucumber vines die.

He will be with me when the tomato conserves are gone, or grow pink and green mold instead of white mold.

He will be with me when the knitting deadlines are looming, or when the yarn runs out.

He will be with me when my family is not healthy (and through the sniffles and wrenched lungs)

He will be with me when the honey runs out. 

He is more than enough.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

In which I post pictures, comment briefly, and run

Gloves, the ends for which are now woven in

This is why my Zinnias have issues.

This doesn't help any. 

Today's Garden Haul

The squash

The Cucumbers (Orange?  Really?)

Boothby's Blonde Cucumbers

Why am I commenting briefly?  Because I suspect that the items on my kitchen table, pictured above, (let us not forget that huge 21 oz tomato.  Twenty one ounces) might take over the kitchen if I am gone too long.  And because God has seen fit to keep my days from being idle. 

First - let there be a trumpet fanfare - Filius passed his road test last Wednesday, and is now a Fully Licensed Driver in the state of which we are residents.  Ahhhh --- HOME DAYS!  He can get himself to/from work on the three days a week when Filia isn't volunteering at the historical society.

But wait!  Let the fanfare continue, with great putting-together of heads.  Just scant hours after he left on his first solo trip to work, Filia received a job offer!  Two Filii.  Two jobs.  Starting times of 8:00 and 9:30, ending times of 2ish and 4:30, in towns which, for simplicity's sake, form a lovely triangle with our town of residence, 12 miles per side.  (give or take a few miles.) 

What was I thinking about home days?  I am not thinking that any more.  I am thanking God for my mother, who has loaned us her car to ease the logistics and remove 80 minutes/day of transportation duties from my regular schedule.  Life is, shall we say, in flux.  Filius has 7 more days of work before the college term resumes, and we can manage flux for that long.  Right?  Of course right. 

The project on the needles is Hitofude; slippers are still awaiting yarn.  Two items have been shipped off to the Minnesota State Fair.   Many projects on the computer call me.  The Conference about the Bookcase should happen in 2 weeks or so.  Service Dog Project saw 8 newborn pups born yesterday.  Life is full.

Until next week!

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

In which I have knit slippers

I love weeks with scope for usefulness.  I also love schedules, and being tidy and organized, and having everything go as planned.  This past week had quite a few dubious moments. 

Since it was too hot for bike rides, I knit a lot.

Filius' first pair - Too big


Filius' 2nd pair - just right

Still waiting for my slipper yarn

The garden is flourishing, and there's always kale and swiss chard for a salad, and cukes for whatever I might want cucumbers for.  There's a quart of quick dills in the fridge right now (made with today's haul) and another 2+ pounds of sliced cucumbers waiting to become bread and butter pickles.  And a pound of fresh cucumbers for lunch.  The squash is flourishing, but not producing much fruit.  LOTS of flowers, just not many female ones.  It is very space-greedy, too.  While I weeded the garden today, I determined that the volunteer vine on the bean trellis was a watermelon.  And I pulled it up.  If it's Minnesota, and the biggest watermelon you have is on a female flower bud that hasn't even opened, and it's almost August ... chances of seeing it live to edibility are not good.  I've got lots of jalapeno and black hungarian peppers, though, and  a few bells, and my Orca Beans are happy, and the pole beans are just about ready for picking (although I don't see any Christmas limas yet).

And it's hot, and humid.  I am so glad that God made seasons.  I can enjoy this one and know that winter is coming.

Until next week!

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

A hot day in July

Today is an excellent day for sitting the air conditioning, sipping iced tea, and reading a good book. Unfortunately, I'm rather fond of finishing my to-do lists, and those things are not on the agenda. Drat. Tomorrow may come a bit closer, as I will be gadding around the county and unable to work on the normal to-dos.

Here, we have a sample (admittedly, the worst one) of a portion of our 'turf restoration'. For spraying seed in November, it's pretty bad. For spraying seed in June, it's not that great. Although it wasn't the fault of the landscape guys that they sprayed the seed the day before or morning of a nice 5+ inch rainstorm. And that much of the seed washed away into my newly mulched flower beds. 

I finally finished the socks I started during Canis's second surgery.  They're for me, I think, and I rather like them.  I'm having doubts about using superwash and non-superwash wools in the same item, though.  What was I thinking?  Time will tell.  The current projects are felted clogs.  One pair for Filius is done and felted and too big, one pair for Mom is knitted and not felted, and today I hope to cast on a smaller pair for Filius.  My pair is on hold until I get the yarn for the upper.  Three soles are done for mine, though!

Here, we have an unusual picture.  In the 6 years we've had Canis, he has Never Once took a nap while touching another dog.  He'd rather not touch another person, either.  He likes his space.  Unless there are food dishes being filled, and then he will do whatever is necessary to get into the proper spot to watch.  But yesterday, after he came in from his rounds, he sacked out TOUCHING mom's dog.  (The floor fan is about 3 feet away from the other dog's nose, off towards 2 o'clock.) 

In other news, life is busy, I made another 3 pints of bread and butter pickles, a quart of pickled onions, and have 4 pounds of cucumbers sitting downstairs that I picked today.  Time to go figure out what to make!

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Of pickles and velcro

I went out to the garden last Friday, intending to see if I could find a cuke or two for my salad.  When I came in with over 2 lbs of the little fruits, I headed to the internet to find a pickle recipe.  Mmmmm!
1.2 kilograms on Friday

This morning, my cucumber foray yielded over 4 lbs of cucumbers. 
More cucumbers on Wednesday
Now, there was a question about how I harvest (and weed) things in my garden with my handy-dandy rabbit fences.  The answer is ... VELCRO

The magnificence of Velcro tape
The panels themselves are 2' high.  Each garden corner has a piece of rebar or other upright, (hopefully) sturdy object.  I run a piece of velcro tape around the the PVC pipes and the rebar, and voila -- the corner is fairly secure.  And the friendly bunnies see that they are not welcome, so they don't force the issue.  When the time comes that I want to do a serious cucumber search, I undo the velcro at a corner or two, swing the panels away (if they're still attached at the other side), and start hunting.
Oh where oh where oh where are the cukes?
This removal of the panels is only possible because for a few weeks earlier in the growing season, I went out twice daily to remove any enterprising vine that thought the chicken wire was going to be PERFECT to cling to.  (Enter more velcro tape.  It's great for redirecting vines to the trellis, or simply keeping them from leaning on the chicken wire.)   Now that the vines are taller, a check every day or two seems sufficient.  I am wondering about the 5' vines on the Bushy Cucumbers.  They've topped my trellis, which is over 6 ft, and it's only July. 

The rabbit fences work without corner stakes, too, as on my bean trellis (and clothesline).  You can see the velcro tape in the lower left corner.  The beans seem quite happy.  Limas and Green Beans, they are. 

Today's cucumber haul is going to become dill pickles.  Happily, I have dill!
I'm supposed to put one head of dill in the bottom of each pint jar.  Problem is, I think one head of dill will fill a pint jar.  Or maybe a quart jar.  This head is as wide as my forearm is long -- from elbow to crotch of thumb.  I'm glad there is an equivalency given for dill seed.  I'll just use that.  Somewhere else I read that a head of dill is 3-4" across.  My dill was not informed of that.  (The plant behind the volunteer dill is summer squash.  Early white scalloped bush, or some such order.  I'm still waiting, but there are flowers!) 

This morning's bike ride was cancelled on account of threatening clouds during the cucumber hunt, and it's a good thing.  I was debating another 30 miler, and there was ping pong sized hail reported along the route I would have been on.  Yeowch!  Thanks to the rain, I crossed 'water garden' off my to-do list. 

Biking-wise, I did put in 34 miles on Saturday, and had fun.  Actually saw two other cyclists!  Mom and Pop's Ice Cream store is only 21 miles away -- I may yet bike into town for some ice cream.  Or not.  We shall see!