Saturday, July 29, 2006

Monday, July 24, 2006


Curiousity prompts me to ask.

I have been, more or less, tagging my posts to Technorati. I figured that if someone liked what I was writing about they might be interested in reading what others had to say about the same subject.

But I confess it's a bit of a pain to tag each post (especially since I tend to break up my day into mini-subjects) and decide what the appropriate posts are. Does anyone reading this have an opinion? If so please share. Do you like tagging? Do you not like it? Do you not care?

Waiting to hear.

berry good

Today I managed to pick two quarts of raspberries. It looks like some jam making will soon be in my future. The bushes we so loaded and the berries so ripe that just moving the canes caused some of the berries to make a headlong dive into the thicket. Despite this sad and mournful loss I collected a goodly amount.

I also picked about a pint of blackberries. These things are as big as the first going on my thumb. And tasty? Oh my. MMMMMMMMMM, I think there's going to be some of my favorite blackberry pie soon too. Of course if the peaches hurry up I might even be able to make my Mom's blackberry peach cobbler.

The elderberries, which are planted in the same enclosure, look very happy. I'm hoping the amount of growth that they are putting on means that they will be producing their first crop of fruit as early as next year.

I really feel very fortunate to have such a wonderful abundance of fruits right here in my back yard.

camp days

We dropped D off for camp yesterday (with thanks to my cousin T who helped us narrowly avert a bathing suit castrophe). I think she's going to have a great time. She's going with a friend and it's two whole weeks of fun and sun and kids...what more could she want. The campground is really lovely, 167 acres with it's own lake. Swimming, hiking, canoeing, arts and crafts, etc. All good stuff.

When dropping her off in her cabin, my friend Rita (mother of D's friend A) and I noticed two other girls talking about the arts and crafts. "Wait till you see what I did" squealed the first one dragging out a pair of jeans. "I embroidered the pockets." And, might I add, they were very cute, well done, colorful, just the fun sort of camp activity you might expect. Then she flipped the jeans over. "And I shredded them myself! With a seam ripper and sissors!"

Rita and I looked at each other horrified. My first thought was 'I just bought those jeans." We're hoping that our daughters are not similarly stricken by talent. But at the end of the day as long as she has a good time I guess that's all that really matters.

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Wednesday, July 19, 2006

family fun

We had a great family fun night tonight. After dinner we half-played a rousing game of scrabble. I say half played because suddenly in the middle of the game it was decided that we needed to go down to the town park instead to play basketball. The others assured me that it had nothing to do with the fact that I was whompin the heck outta them but that they felt a need for more energetic activities. Uh huh. I think they're planning to sell me a bridge tomorrow.

So off to the town park with the dog in tow. S brought the big exercise ball and great, hilarious fun ensued with some sort of kickball/soccer game with the rules being made up as the game went along. After everyone was really tired from running around we went over to the basketball court and played an awesomely bad game of horse. We really are pathetic basketball people, but we have fun doing it and that's what matters most. Tobi had a great time running around with us. When it got too dark and too many mosquitos were out we finally decided to head home.

The giggles and laughter and fun made it a perfect summer evening.

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stitch sisters

Was last night but I seem to be running late these days with my posts. It's a busy summer.

One of the sisters agreed to have it at her house because she has AC and the church where we meet does't. It made a nice change. We had a really good turnout, collected some more hats and had a thoroughly enjoyable evening. I taught one of the sisters how to make the hat pattern that I am making and she did an awesome job using handspun wool (she didn't spin it though); it turned out to be an amazing hat.

It was fun to visit and we got to see the sister-in-questions' new pet. A bunny named Nutmeg. It's rather amusing, they keep Nutmeg on a leash and he really doesn't seem to mind. Sort of like a dog run thing. The chickens are afraid of him apparently. He's very pretty and very soft.

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works for me wednesday

WFMW is the brainchild of Shannon over at Rocks In My Dryer. Every Wednesday you post something that works for you.

When we bought cordless phones for the house we go three and they all look alike. To remember which one belongs in which cradle we put a clear piece of tape on the back, wrote the room on it and covered it with another piece of tape. This way we always know where the phones belong for a recharge.

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Tuesday, July 18, 2006


Wow! A new cookbook resource. I love it!!! I actually found this thanks to Chili und Ciabatta which I am laughably trying to stumble my way though (having forgotten LOTS of German in the intervening years). But the pictures are nice and every now and then I find a gem. Like this link. What fun to start trolling through this one.

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puerto rico

My Mom just got back. Here's the link to her adventures complete with gorgeous photographs (she's so talented). Truthfully Puerto Rico has never been high on my list of places to go but having seen these pictures now I want to go too and experience it for myself.


Sunday, July 16, 2006

knitty love

The new issue of Knitty is up. I love this magazine and always eagerly look forward to it's new issues. I also love trolling through past issues. Too many things to knit! The articles are fun too, I like the end tag on the home page this issue, you'll have to check it out for yourself.

Patterns that caught my fancy this time? Perdita and Fetching. I really really want to make Perdita. Of course that just adds one more to the list. But it looks like a good, light, hopefully quick project for the summer. We'll see what happens. Of course I need to finish the hat I'm currently working on and Perdita would require a purchase (shhhhh....) but it would be so cute.


Saturday, July 15, 2006

travel dreams

While visiting with Meg and Sam today we started talking about vacations, past and planned for the future. With vacation time being so precious it is sometimes difficult to know where to go. In our case it's getting harder because the kids have different ideas than we do. Plus I seem to be getting more adventurous in my advancing years and want to try all sorts of new things like eco-vacations, vocation-vacations, girlfriend getaways, yoga retreats, language immersion vacations; the possibilities are endless...unfortunately I'm not retired and independently wealthy so I have to plan a little more.

I found a new site to play with. When you're dreaming and planning seems to be a pretty good place to go. I like their format because you can choose what kind of vacation and where. Time to start dreaming some more.....

lovely day in the garden

Today I met up with friends Sam and Meg for a really lovely afternoon. We went to the Glebe House and Gertrude Jekyll Gardens.

We started our afternoon with a lovely picnic under a shady tree, chatting and eating leisurely while we caught up with each others news. Then we started our tour, receiving a docented tour of the house which was fascinating. Among other things I learned that a Glebe House was a house that was owned by the church. All this time I thought that it was named for a family named Glebe. Now I know different.

After the home tour we toured the garden (twice) and then headed back to my house for further conversations. I really enjoyed the day, it was great to spend it with my friends. We're already planning a couple more garden-themed trips in the future.

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I was talking with my brother yesterday and he told me a number of his favorite quotes. He collects them. Some of them were very good. Actually my Dad started our fascination with quotes creating a random quote generator that he would fill with quotes and every morning when he fired up his computer he would get a new quote.

Unfortunately I can't seem to remember any, I love quotes but not many remain in my brain. However I do have a some favorite quote sites including this one which includes a very applicable quote for this time of year (it's listed under the gardening section in case you want to find it on your own):

“Gardening requires lots of water, most of it in the form of perspiration.” Lou Erickson

Too true!

Friday, July 14, 2006

home harvest

Just a few currants clinging to the bushes. I'll try to harvest them and just put them in the freezer for later use of some kind.

The raspberries have really started to ripen with a vengeance. I'm picking over a pint a day which is really fabulous. They're so tasty that at this point we're just eating them raw or in smoothies.

The smaller of the two peach trees ripened. D actually was the one who tried the fruit, thereby beating the squirrels this year. I've picked what I could reach, there are a few out of reach but I'm hoping to shake them loose in a day or two. The larger tree is just chock full of peaches. It's going to be time to make peach jam one of these days soon. Mmmmmm.

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garden helpers

This was my first week with my hired garden helpers. I managed to get a total of 5 hours of help and it's amazing how much got done in that time. Well worth the price, especially with the weather encouraging the weeds so much these days. All the rain followed by hot, sunny weather.
Turns out Tobi will eat weeds indiscriminately from plants. I don't think he's trainable to eat only weeds, nor do I think he can eat enough to make a difference. So it's hired help for now. If we can just make some inroads into the gardens around the house I'll be happy. The hill will have to wait. Part of it is going away in the future but it would be nice if it didn't look quite so overgrown. We'll have to wait and see how far we get.

The woods have successfully been returned to their natural woodlands state without much help from yours truly. I think I have managed to rescue the vast majority of plants that were in the woods, the rest will just add "woodland interest" as they bloom. We're in the process of hopefully widening another path this year, it's slow work with all that has to be done but eventually it will get there.

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friday farm day

Today is blisteringly hot. 95 degrees F and I'm not sure what the humidity is but it's enough to melt you into nothing. It was hot work at the farm. Gleanings on the peas were available and I picked a salad bag full, some to eat fresh some to dry for soup. Also one quart of beans and a bouquet of snapdragons. The hot picking work took me over an hour.

Miss D decided she was so hot waiting for me that she poured water all over herself in an effort to cool down. Unfortunately that was the water that I was going to use to keep the flowers from dehydrating and wilting on the way home. I wrung her out (just kidding) -- there was another bottle of water that I was able to use to protect them.

Inside the barn the pickings included lettuces, cabbage, bok choy, garlic scapes, tomatoes, zucchini, broccoli rabe, swiss chard, and broccoli. All very delicious looking and some great dishes will be gracing our table this week courtesy of our lovely farm.


Thursday, July 13, 2006

works for me wednesday

WFMW is the brainchild of Shannon over at Rocks In My Dryer. Every Wednesday you post something that works for you. Today's post is showing up on Thursday because I didn't get to it on Wednesday, but it still works for me.

When I get invited to a wedding I always give the same gift. It's usually never on anyone's registry list and yet it is always appreciated. A cake plate. It's so simple, so useful and works for me.

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Wednesday, July 12, 2006

day late dollar short

This is the Tuesday post. Of course this is Wednesday Thursday but we won't pay any attention to that. Wednesday Steve bottled up the wine. He's been letting it sit or steep or whatever it does in that bottle with the funny thing-y on top. It smells delicious. Now it just needs to sit in the bottle for two to three months and then we can taste it. He got 28 bottles, a bad investment. S and V have elected themselves in charge of the labeling and are busy designing the label for a Privee Reserve.

Garden. uh. Still weedy. I actually went so far as to hire a high school kid to come help me. He showed up. One-half hour later it rained absolute buckets with a horrendous thunder and lightening storm to go with it. Not much weeding going on there. I've also hired a couple of neighbor boys to come and help me get some of the lighter stuff done. My kids won't work for me but I guess other kids will.

Stitch Sisters was great. We are up to 21 hats whoo-hoo!. We've got till November so at this rate we should generate quite a few. I did more de-stashing and donated the remnants to the group for people to use for making hats. Serves a great purpose twice, what an awesome idea.

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Wednesday, July 05, 2006


There are two donkeys that live down at the bottom of our neighborhood. My grey and white spotted friend, Spooky, and Teddy, the miniature donkey who lives a few doors away from Spooky.

Tonight while sitting on our beautiful screened-in porch, listening to the crickets, enjoying the bug-free breeze Steve and I heard a braying coming up the hill. I shared with Steve that Teddy's owner told me how when one starts braying the other answers back. She calls it d-mail, we thought that was a pretty clever description.

jammin' two

While visiting my in-laws this weekend my Mom generously gave me some sour cherries from a farm near her house. They look absolutely luscious.

I've decided to make Sour Cherry Walnut Conserve with them. It's meant to be used as a filling for cookies or cake.

3 pounds fresh sour cherries (about 2 quarts after pitting)
2 medium oranges
2 lemons
1/2 C. water
1 C. walnut halves
5 C. sugar

Stem, rinse and pit cherries, saving all the juice, place in a pan
Grate zest of the oranges and one of the lemons, add to cherries
Pare off membrane from oranges and lemons, cut out pulp. Chop and add to cherries with all the juice
Add water to the fruit
Set pan over medium heat and simmer uncovered until cherries are soft 15-20 minutes
Heat oven to 350 degrees F.
Spread walnuts on a baking sheet and toast them until they are fragrant, about 10 minutes
Cool nuts then rub with a cloth to remove loose skin, chop coarsely
When cherries are soft add sugar, raise the heat to medium hight and cook until the syrup has thickened
Add the walnuts, return to boiling and cook 5 minutes longer
Ladle into jars, seal and hot water bath

Mmmmmm, sounds yummy, can't wait to lick the pot (purely for testing purposes) after making this.

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Steve helped me pick even more currants today. Then we finally stemmed, cleaned and rinsed them to prepare them for jellying. It was really nice to have the help and certainly made things go faster.

The recipe I use is from Preserving by Oded Schwartz:

For every 2 C. currants add 2 1/2 C. water
Bring to a boil
Simmer 30 minutes
Hang in a jelly bag 30 minutes
For every 2 C. juice add 2 C. sugar and 3 T. lemon juice
Bring to jelly point
Jar, seal, hot water bath

Today was so busy that I only had time to make the juice. I'll process it tomorrow. We have quite a bit and there are more berries ripening so I should get a nice amount of jars this year. Definitely more than the six that I got last year.

There is something ultimately satisfying about preserving fruit that you grew yourself. Somehow any preserving effort is good, but having grown it yourself makes it even more special.

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fabulous fourth

We had a really great Fourth of July celebration at my in-laws. As usual they did a bang-up job creating a great party with good food, good company, and a good time was had by all. Lots of friends and family, including my folks, were there.

This year we made family history by remembering to eat the watermelon. In past years we have had so much dessert that we have forgotten to carve and serve the watermelon, leaving my poor mother-in-law to eat it all by herself the day after. Although we remembered the watermelon...we forgot the rolls! Maybe the tradition is that we're supposed to forget to serve something, I don't know.

The fireworks were great, we all crammed onto the boat and the dock to watch them. Tobi was a little afraid at first but then calmed down and watched them with us. That was great because it meant we all got to enjoy the show instead of one of us having to hide in the house with a nervous dog.

After the holiday we drove our niece and nephew home so that we could admire our newest niece, Miss K. She is so precious and beautiful. I managed to get in a good baby fix, it's so miraculous to me how perfect they are, how tiny, and how sweet they smell. There's also something really amazing about that cuddle they have; melts me everytime.

Saturday, July 01, 2006

h/t to Misty for this.

This web site for is awesome, or, as my kids might say, way kewl. It allows you to plot out your distances and keep routes. I'm definitely adding this to my keepers list.

weekend update

It's been a busy time here in our little town. Lots going on, so much that I've been far to busy to blog and it all seems a blur at the moment.

Stitch Sisters this week was wonderful, as always. Funny enough three of us were working on hats for our charity project. I had decided that I had quite enough of the blanket at the moment and turned my attention to something smaller and, more importantly, lighter...a hat. One sister realized that she had yet to make a hat so she started one. Another sister needed a mindless project for a bit so she's making a hat. We're up to 12 completed hats at the moment. I imagine that there won't be too much activity over the summer but expect a flurry (hah!) of activity once we get to September.

Farm day was fabulous. Gleanings of strawberries, we managed to get two quarts. One quart of amazingly delicious peas. Bok choy, broccoli, salad, garlic scapes, kohlrabi, salad turnips, radishes, mmmmmm, happy tummies in our house. We had steamed peas and broccoli with our dinner on pickup night, it's amazing how much better this fresh, local, organic stuff tastes.

Garden activity...hah! you need to ask? It's been awful! The weeds are everywhere. In good garden news however the currants have been producing like gangbusters. We're harvesting a little at a time and hope to make jelly next week. The raspberries are starting also. Just enough to eat and savor, not enough for a pie...yet.

In other good news it was someone special's birthday this past week. I don't think they want to be mentioned by name to the blogiverse at large but I wanted to wish them a

happy birthday!

Last but not least we have been cleaning out. Taking a cue from my Mom who has been decluttering and, obviously, paying much more attention than I to her surroundings. Our local library has a barn sale every year. We loaded up the van and drove it down, making a rather substantial "stuff" donation. I hope someone else finds a good home for it. Next we went back home, loaded up the trailer with JUNK (and that's with all caps no cutsie que on the end) and hied off to the recycle center. $50 and well worth the price to be rid of the various doorstops (aka old non-functioning computers) and odds and ends that are of no use to anyone. Next on the list is freecycle for the stuff that's not quite good enough for the library but too good to throw away. It feels good to be paring down. So much so that it has encouraged me to delve *ack* once again into my books. I've purged twice in the last few years but I think I need to be more ruthless, possibly even viscious! Argh! LOL But seriously I need to work harder at denying my inner packrat non-accumulation.

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