Saturday, November 24, 2007

still digesting

We had a lovely Thanksgiving, hopefully everyone else did too. Six adults, three college kids, three teenagers, one toddler, two dogs and an enormous amount of food. I read somewhere that the average American eats 5,000 calories on Thanksgiving Day! Wow! While I don't think we ate that much we certainly had an abundance.

I think one of the reasons this holiday resonates so much for me is because it is getting together with loved ones, eating a wonderful, seasonal meal, and relaxing, playing games, reading books, talking, all great down time activities.

While the day after is a personal horror (I confess to having shopped a couple of times on Black Friday but truly don't like it and avoided it like the plague this year and hope to continue to do so from now on) the overall holiday has not been over commercialized. There's only so much one can do with food after all.

We did receive a Happy Thanksgiving card which shocked Steve and he asked, in a horrified tone, "We're not sending THOSE are we?" To which I replied no.

I'm sorry to say that I'm seeing signs of Christmas already though. After Halloween the decorations went up, the music and lights have started and I dread the countdown to overconsumptive excess. But I'm not going to think about that right now, I'm going to bask in the warm glow of a fun family Thanksgiving just a little while longer.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

the first

snowfall of the year. More of a sleet fall really but it's white and it's sticking so it counts. Definitely late for a first dusting. The funny thing is that the maples are still in full flame colored leaf and the calary pears are still firmly green leaved. Wonder what will happen.

Looks like I brought the rosemary in just in time. Most of the garden is done for the year, just a little more trimming to do, hopefully after Thanksgiving.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

popping in

I haven't posted in a very long time. Life has been full and busy and good. Lots of wonderful things going on. As I get ready for Thanksgiving I find myself thoughtful and meditative about all that I/we have been blessed with.

I confess that I miss blogging, I miss some of the "routine" things like Grateful Grains and Tackle-It-Tuesday (boy could I really use one of those right about now!). But I know that with the ebb and flow of my life I will at some point get back to it.

On the sad news front I have to report that my farm share is over for the year. We're very sad about it. Last Friday was the last pickup. It was a good one though, the haul included a large bag of spinach, celeriac, beets, potatoes, red cabbage, red onions, garlic, hot peppers, parsnips and lacinato kale. Mmmmmmmmmm. I have a freezer full of goodies from this year's share plus a bunch of jars of canned goodness. I'll miss seeing the farm folks every week and miss the peaceful serenity of picking in the fields but I know it will come again next year.

Goods new abounds however:

S & V are coming home from college this week! I am so excited to see them. It's hard to believe the last time I laid eyes on them was in August! Of course it's also hard to believe that they are both in college. I'm not sure how that happened, they were little not so very long ago. V is bringing a guest; the Japanese exchange student from her college is coming with her. It should be wonderful and we are looking forward to meeting her.

D won an essay writing contest for the Veteran's Day assembly here in town. The Veterans Association is giving her a $50 savings bond and two people called to ask for a copy of the speech. I'm trying to get her to let me post it here. Only two essays were chosen, it's really an amazing achievement.

My knee is almost completely healed. I can't sit on my knees the way I used to but with stretching and yoga I am slowly gaining back some of the flexibility I had and believe it will all come back.

We (ahem...read Steve) finished ripping out 1/3 of the garden in the back. It's cleared and grassed over and looks much better. Steve also managed to get one of the two terraces in the middle section done. The other will be done next spring. Then to clear the final third and rebuild the walls around the two sections we are keeping. We (and this really does mean we) also managed to rearrange the "vegetable" garden (don't know why we still call it that since it no longer has vegetables) and it looks much better. It should also be easier to maintain now that everything is more clearly grouped. Unfortunately I forgot to plant my elephant garlic this year so we won't have any next year; we will have garlic from the farm so it's not a total loss.

We got to see my brother and his family last week. It was great to spend time with them. My brother was so helpful and converted some old family VHS stuff to DVD. Much better. Tobi had a great time playing with his cousin dog, the neighbor dog, and the dog down the street. He was sad for two days after we got home! While visiting them my sister-in-law very kindly took me over to the farm to visit my niece's 4-H cows. They are both Jersey's; Pumba is the sweetest, jumpiest, silliest little thing. I got great enjoyment out of watching my niece trying to walk Pumba with Pumba jumping in the air, legs splayed at different angles, and then charging in the opposite direction pulling my niece after her. Bittersweet, her other cow, is going to be bred as soon as she is in heat. Truthfully she is so small I was surprised to discover that she was old enough to breed. This pretty lady is t-i-n-y. I bet she'll make a cute calf though.

We're heading off to my in-laws for Thanksgiving. Should be a lot of fun. My brother-in-law and his family with be there. So we are going to be 13 people, one a just-walking toddler, two dogs, and an upstairs under construction. Should be fun.

I hope all of you have a wonderful, happy, safe, blessed holiday and that you are with those you love.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

cookies

In a vain attempt to conquer my sugar addiction I have once again banned all cakes, cookies and candy from the house. Unfortunately this means that my family suffers along with me. After lunch today Steve wistfully looked around for a cookie so I made a batch. This recipe is based on those found in Small Batch Baking but they have been modified to fit our whole grain baking lifestyle.

Chocolate ChocoNut Cookies makes 10-12 cookies

Preheat oven to 375F

mix together:
6 T. fresh ground flour (I used hard red and spelt)
2 T. sucanat
2 T. cane juice crystals
1 heaping T. Ghiradelli Sweet Ground Chocolate
1 t. ground flax seed
1/4 t. baking soda
pinch salt

add in:
2 T. + 2 t. melted butter
2 T. egg
dribble of vanilla
mix well

add in:
2 T. coarsly chopped dark chocolate (I used 80% dark)
2 T. coarsly chopped walnuts

Drop by teaspoonfuls onto greased cookie sheet
bake 8-11 minutes
let cool 2 minutes on cookie sheet
transfer to wire rack to cool completely
enjoy!

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

still here

but taking a break.

Thanks to all who have emailed wondering where I am. I made a decision over the summer to go back to school. I know, I know...send two kids to college and decide to go back yourself...what was I thinking?

I'm studying to become a Nutritional Educator and have to say that I am really enjoying using my brain cells in this new (old) way. Having to write papers, do homework, listen to lectures, read about and learn about all sorts of new and interesting subjects; it's all very cool. Doesn't leave me much time for blogging though. I'm still trying to visit my favorite blogreads but have come to accept that posting is probably not going to happen for a while.

For those who read (and comment) thank you!! I will be back, I just need to reprioritize and refocus for right now.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

hum

I did something today I've never done before. I joined the church choir. I was surprised at being asked to join because I am haunted by the memory of 5th grade choir when I was politely told that I was tone deaf and perhaps I would prefer orchestra. So although I sing I do so fairly quietly and hope no one notices. Later in life I was told that I was a combination of alto and mezzo but with only half a range, useless as far as the other person was concerned.

Well guess what!!! It doesn't matter. Not only did I have a whole lot of fun, the choir master put me in the alto section and seems to think I sing pretty well. I was able to not only stay in key but to keep my descant going properly with the melody and the drone going at the same time. Wow! I'm so excited about this, what a wonderful activity for me and a way to participate more in my church, I like that.

produce update

Went to the farm this week and got my usual haul of goodies. We are sure enjoying all this fresh food. Luckily this week we were able to again "help ourselves" to saucing tomatoes. I love this!! I took 15 pounds home with me in addition to the bag of corn, the bag of veggies and the basket of tomatoes, herbs and flowers. How fortunate we are to have access to this farm.

I took the 12 ears of corn and parboiled them, cut them off the cob and froze the kernels to use in the winter.

Cooked another batch of beets but left this one out to be eaten since D has discovered that she likes beets.

Made 3 quarts of tomato juice (the best tomato juice you will ever drink if I do say so myself) and 8 pints of barbeque sauce. The sauce tastes a little sweet for my taste but then again it's not meant to be eaten by itself straight out of the pot. If I make the recipe again I think I will also add more garlic as I didn't think there was quite enough.

Canning can be hard, hot sweaty work but we are always grateful for what we have once the canning season is over. As I was making the sauce and the juice I was reflecting on how very grateful I am to not have to feed my entire family with the results of my labors. If I had to grow all the food and then process it to ensure we had enough to eat I'm afraid we might starve. Although I produce enough for us to enjoy for the year and a little to give away as gifts I certainly do not produce enough to be our sole source.

My Mom has her business Creek Road Crafts and has at this point in the season made, I think, 300 jars of preserves. That's a lot of preserves.

Bottom line is that I am grateful for the produce, the knowledge and the skill to keep this "craft" alive. And also grateful that I can do it because I WANT to and not because I HAVE to.

wow

This is a creative and very organized Mom. Of course I don't think college kids want you making book covers much less those that match their book bag and I KNOW that 8th graders don't. But it's still very sweet.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

grains of gratitude



Started by Christine. It's been a while since I've posted one of these.

Today I am grateful for:

A wonderful sermon at church and a great coffee hour afterwards. Funny moment, I met my 9th grade math teacher there! That was a blast from the past. Even funnier was introducing D to him -- she thought that was just too weird.

A good walk with Tobi. He loved getting out and even got to see his friend Colby who lives down the street. I got in a walk before it rained.

A lovely harvest of blackberries and raspberries from my garden. So delicious.

Quiet time spent with S this evening. I'm going to miss her once she heads back to college.

AC - it has been hot and humid the last few days and I am so grateful to be able to sleep in cool comfort -- which is where I am headed now.

free camera


See that cute child? What about the adorable puppy? How would you like to be able to take pictures like that? Well...no guarantee that you can but DevDad is giving away a free camera and some accounts to SmugMug.com, allowing you to try to take such wonderful photos. Mike is a SAHD (Stay at Home Dad) who works from home to be able to raise his daughter Alex. I apologize for the borrowing of the photo but it was the only way to illustrate the point -- hope that's okay.

Of course this post is a shameless plug, who wouldn't want to win a free camera, not to mention one of those power user accounts? If you say it's not you I won't question that statement, better odds for me.

As for the rubber duckies Mike? I vote you write everyone's name on a duck, dump them in the tub with your adorable Alex and whichever one she picks is the winner. It would help if the duckie's name started with an M and ended with an A but I'm sure she can figure that out with a little help from you.

new toy

O N M Y M I N D

Isn't that cool?

h/t to Ima on (and off) the bima for this link. Build one yourself at Spell with Flickr.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

saturday special

Oooh, another meme....

This one is The Saturday Special which I found via Ask Laane.



1. Quiet evening at home or Out on the town?:
Quiet evening at home...I don't have the energy for a night on the town these days.

2. Watch a movie or Reading a good book?:
Can I pick both? Depends mostly on my mood but I will confess to a preference for books.

3. Order a meal or Cooking one yourself?:
I love to cook.

4. Going for a walk or Taking a ride in the car?:
Walking is a great form of exercise and something that I like to do, especially if there is nice scenery involved.

How about you?

catching up

One thing about being away is the backlog at home. I'm still catching up on podcasts and blogfeeds. It's great because I get a huge feed at once and bad because I get a huge feed at once LOL.

I'm also once again pruning through, trying to bring my blog reads down from the 176 currently on my list. Oh my goodness is that hard. I like them all for different reasons. Part of the problem is that I keep adding new ones! I love these little communities that form through blogging, if only I could read faster.

Friday, August 24, 2007

cool calendar

h/t to Lifehacker

for sharing this link to make dodecahedron calendars.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

wmfw - project notebooks



I just handed off a notebook to a friend of mine who has young children. It was from when my children were young and we don't need it anymore. In it I kept all sorts of ideas for games, projects, craft ideas, snack recipes, anything to do with the kids. A lot of those ideas became family favorites like how to make a mini-journal out of one slip of cut/folded paper or how to make origami animals. But now she can use it and I'm on to making other notebooks.

As adolescents my kids aren't that into projects with mom but I have some ideas for when they do want to do stuff together. Fun crafts, interesting projects, little games, they're all in there, just geared toward bigger kids.

I have a project notebook full of decorating ideas for the house and future houses. I go through it regularly and reshape it room-by-room to keep the ideas flowing and to see where my 'home thoughts' lie.

I also keep a separate notebook with the girls awards and certificates and clippings from the newspaper. I'm not one of those moms who keeps a lot. School papers? gone. Projects from elementary school? gone. I just don't have space for all of that (well, I do really, but it's overwhelming to try to keep up with all of the paperwork from the past let alone all the junk we own).

Each of these notebooks doesn't get added to very often but when I need them they are there and that works for me.

To see what works for other folks head on over to Rocks In My Dryer.

hp7

I've finally started reading, I know I'm a little behind the pack on this but it's truly the first opportunity I've had. Wow I'm enjoying this book. Unfortunately I didn't follow my usual pattern of reading from the beginning before I read the new book (because I don't have that kind of time right now) however I am finding that I remember certain things from past books and can appreciate some of the foreshadowing that goes on. She is a very complex writer when it comes down to it, lots of interwoven story lines.

Cool, cool, cool. Now I'm going to have to make time to re-read the whole thing (whenever).

jars and jars and jars

Today was sort of cool and rainy. With all the produce I had from the farm it seemed like a perfect day to make stuff. So make stuff we did. Steve helped from start to finish and we have now added significantly to the pantry:

3 pints of cucumber pickles
5 pints of zucchini pickles
8 half pints of dilled carrots
5 quarts of tomato sauce
3 quarts of shredded zucchini in the freezer (too tired to make more pickles)

Whoof! That's a lotta work. But it all went well and we had fun working together in the kitchen. Sasha was our official taster and pronounced everything satisfactorily edible. Next week there'll be more......

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

stitch stitch stitch

It was so much fun to be back at Stitch Sisters. We laughed and joked so much, it's a wonderful way to spend the evening.

The charity blankets are coming along. The multicolored one is very pretty, and is still making the rounds of the group. The aran blanket is almost done, a few more squares and then it can be assembled and presented to the Dream Come True Foundation. We're thinking about ideas for another charity project when this one is done. I really like that we have a lot of personal knitting and great interaction time but that we also have this one communal charity project every year. This is our fourth year as a group and our third charity knitting project. It's also kind of neat to pick a different organization or effort each year to support as I think it keeps everyone's interest up. If we were doing the same thing all the time it might get a little wearying after a while.

Tonight we were joking about having a lock-in meeting. We would all come in our pj's and knit until we dropped. Of course we would have to be careful to put down our needles before we fell asleep or we might wind up having to call 911. In our small town half our members have husbands on the Volunteer Fire Department. It might be embarassing to wind up with one of them on the phone, "And what is the nature of your emergency?" "Well...we have someone here who fell asleep and impaled herself on a knitting needle." "Phyllis, this isn't funny, don't bother me at work."
"But I'm not joking."

Of course when half the town shows up and we're all in our jammies the picture of startled knitters in pj's and curlers might wind up on the front page of the Small Town Gazette. Hmmmmmm, perhaps we should rethink this idea. But in the meantime we'll continue to enjoy our Tuesday nights.

foodie day

Today was definitely a foodie day. It started with my co-op pickup this morning. I have recently joined an in-town food co-op. Once a month a truck comes to the local church and delivers our order. I haven't been ordering huge amounts but can see the possibility for doing a lot more of my shopping this way. It saves time, gas and is frequently cheaper than the cost of similar items at the grocery store (especially for the vegan items for D). One big score today was a case of her favorite cereal



Barbara's Wild Puffs. No artificial ingredients, organic, tasty. What more could you want.

This afternoon was farm day. In the rain, not pouring but definitely coming down steadily. Even though we all know I am a wimp when it comes to rain I picked anyway; I wasn't going to miss out on all those luscious goodies. Pick your own was plum tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, herbs, flowers and sunflowers. The share was carrots, watermelon, corn, garlic, onions, summer squash, kale, peppers, yukon gold potatoes, kohlrabi. Plus they had a "help yourself" box of saucing tomatoes. I brought home a full grocery sack which will be made into sauce soon.

As soon as I got home I sliced up the plum tomatoes and three red peppers and set them to dry in the dehydrator. Next was making two batches of pesto. One for tonight's supper and one to keep for sandwich spread in the fridge.

Tomorrow I'm hoping to do some canning and make pickles. I'm also planning some yummy meals like Portuguese Potato and Kale casserole. Love this time of year, it's so delicious.

Monday, August 20, 2007

off and running

We dropped V off at college this weekend. As we drove up to the college Steve and I resisted the temptation to try to shove last minute parental admonitions into her ears. She's going to learn, or not, on her own at this point and it's part of our job to let go.

Obviously she was far more ready to let us go. We realized that if she hadn't needed us to hike her stuff up to her fourth floor dorm room we probably would have been dismissed three blocks from school. "No, it's fine, just drop me off here. I'm sure I can find my way around, why don't you head back home; don't worry about me, I'm fine." The age-old parent-young adult conversation as they wend their way into the world of higher education.

We did manage to leave her with one very important piece of information as we finished dinner together (a true test of parental love, paying to eat dorm food with your child instead of going out for a nice dinner in a restaurant): always take a pice of fruit when you leave the dining hall. Other than that, I guess she's on her own.

kov

Knitting On Vacation. A wonderful thing to do. Passes the time, enjoyable, relaxing, a GREAT reason to visit new "local" yarn shops. I did actually manage to squeeze in some knitting "stuff" along with the hiking. The Lilac Lily was staffed with some wonderful, friendly people providing very enjoyable conversations and laughter. Beautiful yarns, lovely buttons, great accessories. They even had a husband waiting area, how thoughtful.

I was fortunate enough to have a fabulous conversation at a Farmer's Market with a woman who owns eight fleece producing animals and who grows, shears, cleans, roves, spins, plies, dyes and knits all of her own fiber. She had some amazing stuff. I didn't buy any but my sister-in-law did and it was gorgeous stuff.

In Bar Harbor we managed to stop by Bee's Inc. . They have some truly fabulous yarns at really great prices. Lovely stuff. It's hard to explain to a non-knitter why it's so much fun to fondle yarn but trust me...it just is. This shop also carries a wide variety of candy to appeal to the non-knitters in your entourage party.

Lessons learned from knitting on vacation:

1. A pencil will not stand in well for a cable needle. This necessitates a trip to a knitting shop to buy a cable needle and a possible yarn purchase to soothe the anxious knitter.

2. Do not knit cables while driving on curvy mountain roads. Straightaways and highways are much better.

3. Instead of saying, "Wait till I finish this row" find a better euphamism. When you find one please call me so I can use it.

4. It's better to innocently walk past a yarn shop and then remark, "Oh, look, yarn." Than to wake up first thing in the morning with a yarn shopping plan in hand before your spouse has even had his coffee.

5. Bring phone numbers of knitting friends back home so that when you realize line number 42 is missing from your charity knit square pattern you can call someone for an emergency reading.

going my way?

We brought our GPS on vacation with us. With all of the twists and turns to get around the area we figured it would help. At one point, for a goof, Steve started looking at different languages and we would play the "guess which language this is" game which was pretty amusing.

Then he found Canadian. It wasn't what we thought. What did we think we'd get? Something along the lines of

"Turn left ahead eh"

Instead it was Canadian French. Perfectly understandable but not the regional language we thought we'd get. We started talking about different types of English (possibly prompted by thoughts of the PBS program "Do You Speak American?". This lead to a discussion of different accents and then we hit on the best GPS variety of all...Jamaica GPS. "Oh mon you go dey wrong way...dat's okay, no worries" "Ya mon turn left up ahead" "Okay mebbe turn right"

I think I've just hit on another GPS function that could make millions for the manufacturers. If interested contact me for more details and a mailing address for that check.

back in the saddle

We went away for a vacation to Maine and have just returned. It was lovely, wonderful, marvelous, I wish we were still there. The house we rented wasn't much, no insulation, on stilts, sort of a painted handy-man special. But it was big enough, dry enough and had a fabulous view. Even better it was just around the corner from my brother-in-law and his family who were also on vacation with us.

We spent a lot of time in Acadia National Park. It's so beautiful there and the hiking is just wonderful. I didn't go on any of the strenuous hikes, but still managed to get in several good hikes while we were there. The blueberry picking was great, we picked and ate handfuls of the luscious lovelies. Amazingly none of them survived the journey down the mountain to be turned into blueberry pancakes this year.

Of course we made the obligatory stop at Jordan Pond House for popovers.....mmmmmmmmmmmmm.

We had many wonderful meals while on vacation but the one I definitely want to mention is a simply marvelous meal we enjoyed at Red Sky Restaurant. The food was amazing, the service impeccable and the atmosphere truly lovely. The servers were extremely attentive bringing Miss K and her lovely little one-year-old self an impressive number of spoons as hers kept jumping from the table with alarming tendency. The chef sent out the hugest most delicious carrot we've ever seen for her to gnaw on. Everyone loved their meal. I had a lovely celery soup as an appetizer and for my meal combined two appetizers, a polenta, swiss chard dish and a leek and tomato tarte. For dessert I shared a lemon tart and a Belgian chocolate pudding. Both were good but the pudding was incredible.

It was one of those vacations that sort of melts away, leaving you feeling as if you are on a different time cycle.

Now it's back to life as usual but with a smile on my face.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

filling the freezer

Being too tired and too busy to do much canning up to this point I nonetheless have lots of produce that needs to be taken care of. Today was designated "the day" and I chopped, sliced, diced and prepared for the freezer. I almost got rid of the freezer thinking that we have two adult-sized children leaving for college and it wouldn't make sense to keep it. Hah! Hah I tell you. When you start freezing stuff suddenly there doesn't appear to be as much empty space and one might have otherwise expected.

I prepare all of my frozen items in freezer bags, laid flat on a cookie sheet to chill and then stacked sideways to take up less room. I learned this trick from Amy Dacyczyn of Tightwad Gazette fame.

New packages gracing our shelves include:

3 quarts of shredded zucchini
2 quarts of shredded yellow squash
2 quarts of salsa
pesto
3 quarts of fresh picked blackberries (some of these are as big as my thumb!!)
1 quart of kale
1 quart of swiss chard
3 quarts of green beans
1 quart of beets
plus I have a red cabbage dehydrating on the back porch

Whew! I'm tired. Somehow looking at the list does not adequately describe all of the preparation that goes into putting this food away. But I know that in the frozen depths of winter we will surely be grateful for this bounty.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

more than one

Melissa's moving, K is running and more. Lots of people seem to have more than one blog. It's an interesting thought because I've sometimes wondered if I should start another one...but then I wonder what I would write. Then I wonder why I write.

I know some of the people who read this are family and friends. Just keeping up with me and my musings. Some people find me because of the meme's that I irregularly participate in. And then there are those who find me by accident.

When I first started writing it was to document what was going on in my life. Life got really busy and I began to post less and less "thoughtful" posts. I confess that I mostly use this blog as a "happy place." I don't tend to talk about the not-so-nice stuff that is going on in my life. It's a sweet reflection of all the good things. I sit down occasionally and browse through the good bits or the funny bits and it makes me feel better. I do wonder how many people really care about what I got at the farm or how my knitting meeting went, etc. But I'm writing mostly for me and so I don't get worried overanalyzing that.

I do have some favorite bloggers who write long, thoughtful, interesting posts and I wish I could be more like them, especially bloggers like Dawn. I have other favorites who are so funny I can't wait for their next post like Laurie and BooMama (please write faster I need all the laughter I can get) and I certainly wish I could be more like them.

Every now and then there is a rant but not often. Most people who respond to my posts do so off-blog (which I find pretty funny).

I don't know how people find the time to write so much. I would like to write more but then I wonder what I would write about. In addition to blogging I journal. I've recently started an art journal with thanks to Hanna for sharing such a lovely list of inspiration links. I have a couple of other journals including a daily journal that I just got inspiration for from craftster. I find that I'm really enjoying the creative aspects of journaling. I've never included a lot of photos or graphics on my blog; as I've mentioned I don't have time to scrapbook. But the journaling is done in small bits so it seems easier to handle.

I find that I keep thinking the if/thens of life. If I get this organized then I'll have more time. If I make it to this point then things will calm down. Never seems to happen. But I certainly don't blog that much, probably don't have time to create another blog, have no idea what else I would blog so I guess that answers that.

wfmw - scrapbooks



It's been a while since I've participated in one of these, but life has been pretty hectic here. Not much sleep, let alone blogging going on. But I always check out the tips at Rocks in my Dryer.

Given that time is so tight these days and that I am about two years behind on my scrapbooks I have finally come to accept that they are not going to get done (at least not now anyway). My new idea is to make sure that I have collections of photos for those things that are really important to me, vacations, holidays, special events. I upload everything to my Snapfish account and build a memory book. I can do lots of layouts, different backgrounds, etc. The difference is that I leave blank pages for those things I know I need to put down (handwritten bits, souvenirs, etc) and if I want stickers I can add those later. I can even add handwritten journaling if I want. It's faster, easier and most definitely works for me.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

teen complaint

"I have nothing to wear"

This is the current complaint from Miss D. She's wearing a shirt she just received from my Aunt that says "Fashion is not a luxury!" Very cute shirt, looks good on her, not a sentiment that I can get into. I told her the shirt looked good on her and her response was...it's just about the only shirt I have. I think I only have four shirts, I REALLY need to go shopping for more clothes. Really? And the three baskets of your clothes that seem to have taken up permanent residence in my room?

I guess it's a teen thing and I just don't understand.

stitching slowly

It was very hot at Stitch Sisters tonight. Although there was a fan and we opened windows and doors there was definitely a feeling of lethargy...in the knitting...talking...even in the laughing. It was all done in slow motion.

We celebrated a birthday tonight and the sister who brought dessert brought frozen chocolate confections that are a no bake recipe. Very smart on her part, very delicious for the rest of us.

the heat

Urgh it's been hot. We've had the AC on for three days now and I am so very grateful to have it. Not looking forward to the bill for the electricity but happy for the ability to sleep in a cool bedroom. It makes me wonder how we managed before. I remember having window box fans when I was a kid. No AC in sight.

Picking at the farm, sweating like a pig (no glowing here when it's that hot) it makes me wonder how the migrant workers manage to pick and work all day. I asked the local farm apprentices how they did it. They told me that they take frequent breaks for water and shade and they wear big hats. I still don't know how people can do that. We've become to accustomed to our luxuries, like air conditioning and not having to do hard physical labor to earn a living. Not that I want to go back to that as a way of living, believe me I like my running water, indoor plumbing and other luxuries, but I do question how distant we've become from the source of our food labor.

A startling thought that comes to mind is the lessons learned from history about when cultures become too soft and luxury bound the barbarians come charging over the hill, take over, become luxury bound and here come more barbarians. Could it happen again? Who knows. But I do believe we need to be more aware of, and appreciative of, those who work so hard to provide the food that graces our table and fills our bellies.

farm update

The farm has, as always, been great. This is the time of year when I start feeling abundantly blessed to have local, organic produce right "down the way." I also know that I am getting far more than the $28 per week that it is costing me. The recent haul included:

8 ears of corn - fresh and delicious
zucchini
tomatoes
yellow squash
broccoli
salad mix
garlic
cucumbers
onions
carrots
lacinato kale (sorry Mom you left it here...we ate it)
cabbage
flowers
herbs - this week we only took basil and cilantro

It's getting to be a challenge to use all this produce each week so I'll hopefully start up the canning machine soon and start cranking out pickles, tomato sauce and the like.

too much?

I've not been blogging much lately as we busily count down to back-to-school. With two heading off for college it seems even busier than I would think. That seems to be taking up most of my time.

But...

I found myself starting to reorganize my craft closet (still trying to reorganize, reduce, declutter) and realized that it's gone too far. You know you have too many knitting projects when you start hanging the bags on hangers in the closet!

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

wfmw - dating



Today is the WFMW Parenting edition. Don't forget to check out Rocks in my Dryer for more advice from others.

Not being an expert but having survived so far I have one real piece of advice that I share with anyone who asks for advice is...date your spouse. Make sure that you go out a minimum of twice a month without the children. It doesn't have to be fancy, a picnic at the local park, a coffee at the coffee shop, a free concert at the town center, go out for breakfast, etc. The important thing is to go out without kids and just the two of you away from home.

We didn't mostly due to my husband's schedule and my feelings of guilt at leaving the kids. The mistake? When they became adolescents and we needed that break we not only had no foundation for it they were not used to it and played the guilt card big time. They're better about it now (and so are we) but it is very important to remember that without you (the two of you) there would be no them. And happy parents make for happy children. jm.02

Monday, July 30, 2007

wha?

h/t to iHanna for this

I'm really not a Simpson's fan. I don't watch the show and probably wouldn't get most of the humor if I did. Steve took V and D to see the movie, I stayed home. So why did I feel compelled to come up with this?




go here to get yours.

Friday, July 13, 2007

she's home

Miss D is back from camp. Banquet was tonight and they gave out all of the awards and everybody had hugs and pictures and goodbyes. It's wonderful to see how much these kids love being at this camp and what great friendships they make.

D had such a wonderful time that she decided she didn't want to go to the Wilderness Camp and begged us to sign her up for another week of Bible Camp. Ummmm...okay. She's happy there and having a great time, what's not to like.

So once again we've packed up all of her belonging from the bunkhouse, brought it home to be washed, dried, folded and repacked so that she can go back on Sunday. I'm stunned by the sheer volume of STUFF that she seems to think she needs to bring with her - two suitcases so full that you need to sit on them to close them -- comforter, sheets, three (3?!?!) pillows and assorted hair products that wouldn't fit in the suitcase. I'm thinking she may not grow up to be a light traveler but that's okay, she's having fun and fun is what sleep-away camp is all about.

beach baby

Today I spent some time at the town beach with a friend and her young daughter. It's a nice little lake beach. The town brings in a truckload of sand every year to refill the shore and make it more beachy. It was a gorgeous balmy day, perfect for hanging out down there. It was wonderful to have a little picnic (my friend made guacamole but added kalamata olives into it which was a really nice addition) and watch all the kids running around squealing, digging, swimming and generally having a good time.

Admittedly it felt a little strange to be there without a kid of my own (because my beach baby is at camp) but I think I can handle it.

One funny observation, there's a new food truck in town, a hot dog stand. It was set up there for about two hours. Then it left and five minutes later the ice cream truck came by. They must have some sort of deal so they are not competing for the same customers (remember this is a small town and a tiny beach). But I thought it was pretty amusing that if you timed it right you could get lunch and dessert without having to leave the beach. That's big news around here believe me.

fine art and the farm



Today I went to the farm. Lovely as always. It's so wonderful to run into people I know. It's even wonderful to run into people I don't know. Everyone seems to smile a lot when they are at the farm. The kids are running around barefoot and dirty footed having fun. The adults seem to slow down a bit, it's a leisure break that is also productive.

Today's share was amazing to say the least. Pick your own was peas, flowers and basil (more yummy pesto coming up!). Then in the barn we selected lettuce, salad mix, zucchini, cucumbers, five tomatoes (mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm tomato sandwiches mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm), carrots, garlic scapes, fennel (I took one even though I am the only one in the family who will eat it -- not sure what I'm going to do with my prize just yet but it will be delicious I am sure), and broccoli. I am certain that I got more than my $24 worth but believe me I'm not complaining.




The image above is called Country Road by Lene Casey. Found on Art.Com.

frittata



It's Favorite Ingredients Friday (Healthy Edition) from Overwhelmed With Joy. In the summer we usually eat foods that are a lot lighter. Since we belong to the CSA our menus also incorporate lots of fresh veggies, yum. One of my absolute favorites is a frittata. Here's the recipe:


In a large cast-iron or other heatproof pan lightly grease and heat.

In a separate pan lightly sautee thinly sliced onions and minced garlic

In a container mix together:

3 eggs, lightly beaten
1 t. mustard beaten into eggs
pinch of salt
generous pinch of herbs de provence

pour egg mixture into pan.

top with:

thinly sliced fresh veg
favorites are asparagus, spinach, tomato, summer squash, combinations of the above

top with grated cheese

Turn oven on to broil

Cook over medium heat until bottom of eggs are firm

remove pan from stovetop and place in oven under broiler until top is firm (usually 2-3 minutes)

Remove from oven, slice into quarters and serve.

Delicious when paired with a fresh spinach salad and a hearty whole grain bread.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

kids/zits

Okay, Jerry Scott and Jim Borgman are geniuses. However I'm starting to get concerned. Do they have a secret camera in my house?

Want proof? Look here, here and here.

gardening today

Steve and I worked in the garden today, weeding mostly but a little bit of transplanting and trimming as well. I have come to realize that my idea of an ideal garden has changed dramatically. I used to dream of big, lush, overflowing gardens. Riots of color and nooks, meandering, etc. All those lovely magazine type ideas come to mind.

The areas of the garden that now bring me the most pleasure are my herb/fruit gardens and a section that has flowers in it. I do take care of the rest of it to the best of my abilities but having ripped out a large section of the garden I have come to the stunning realization that I am not a large scale gardener anymore. I am looking forward to the redesign of the back yard and then possibly considering redoing the front yard to make it more manageable and allow me to concentrate on the areas of the yard that I enjoy the most.

I know so many people who garden constantly and are continually on the prowl for the newest botannical score. We were attracted to the house in part because of the garden but it has proven to be more than we can handle. Amazingly enough I find that I am not sad about this as I had thought I would be.

last night

was Stitch Sisters. It was REALLY hot!!! I brought a standing fan to the meeting to help us all stay cool. It was a really fun meeting (of course when are they not fun?). One bit of silliness...we celebrate birthdays. I got someone's birthday wrong, brought a present and made someone bake a cake! In this hot, humid, awful weather yet. Turns out her birthday is next week. So it was a big surprise. Oh well.

I finished seaming up the sweater. It's too tight!!! I'm setting it aside for now and will start working on our charity blanket square. It's too hot to do the neck and waist bands. Unfortunately I can't take out the seams and put in panels as one sister suggester because I have run out of the purple yarn. Also unfortunately I have gained 15 pounds since I started the sweater over a year ago. Not sure who will be the gift recipient when it is done but I admit to a twinge of sadness as I had wanted my first sweater to be for me. Another oh well.

Monday, July 02, 2007

my evening

The bread came out fine. Very tasty, not as hole-y as the all-store-bought-flour version but very tasty nonetheless.

The red currant tart was delicious!

My latest google search? Look here and that will give you a hint of what I've been doing this evening. Now it's time for bed.

Sunday, July 01, 2007

strange

I often hear about people who have odd searches that lead to their blog. This usually doesn't happen to me. Today in checking my blogstats I did see one odd search that lead to me

can a weimaraner eat water chestnuts

I don't recall ever mentioning weimaraners on my website (although I love Oliver. I'm also wondering why someone would want to know this...most dogs eat anything whether they are allowed to or not.

Well, it made me smile anyway.

whew, i'm tired

It's been a long afternoon evening. I've made 9 jars (8 oz) of Rhubarb Apricot Jam, so I've gotten my yearly allottment in. Not sure if I'm going to make another batch of Rhubarb Lemon since I'm the only one who likes it. Last year I made Rhubarb Blackberry Jam using frozen blackberries that I had on hand. This year I've cut up the rhubarb and frozen it for use when the blackberries are ready.

I also picked more currants. It's beginning to become a contest between me and the birds. I did get enough to make a red currant tart tomorrow. I'm hoping the rest will ripen enough that I can get them tomorrow as I really want to make some red currant/raspberry syrup.

In going through my cookbooks for recipes I started re-reading my Mom's book. Preserving Memories: Growing Up in My Mother's Kitchen I really like reading this book in part because she's a great writer but also because I love the stories. The recipes are neat too. I'm trying to decided between making her Rhubarb Ginger Jam and trying Rhubarb Pickles from another cookbook. The pickles sound interesting but I'm not sure if anyone in my family will eat them. I should confess that I still have two jars left from the Watermelon Pickle that I made a couple of years ago. I'm the only one who likes it and even I can't eat an entire widemouth pint jar of the stuff.

While I was in the kitchen I started another batch of kombucha. Not hard to do but it kept me busy washing pots as I moved from one activity to another.

Then I began a batch of the no-knead bread that is still going around bloggityville. I confess that I think my experiments with making this bread completely with fresh ground flour are grinding to a halt. It's not working well and I'm getting fed up with not being able to figure it out. Half fresh ground and half store bought seems to be the best I can do. Usually I make it with spelt flour but decided to try using half Ezekiel flour and half store bought. We'll see how it turns out. Research has not come up with anyone else who has successfully made this bread completely with fresh ground flour (unless they're not telling) althoug a few people have blogged about trying or wanting to try. In any event the bread is delicious and my family loves it which is all that really matters.

It has been a busy evening.

grains of gratitude



Started by Christine this blogprompt has certainly begun to spread it's way through the blogosphere. I love reading other posts and really to enjoy taking the time to think about what I am grateful for (even if I don't post it every week).

This week I am grateful for:

  • The wonderful weather we have had. Yes it has been hot at time but it has been sunny and beautiful, the birds are singing, the butterflies and bees are out. It's really been fabulous.

  • D having such great camps to go to. Last week was a career camp to try and convince girls to consider careers in math and science. They had a fun field trip, did a confidence course at a wilderness center and had a great time doing experiments and making new friends. Today of course she is at Bible camp for her second year and so happy to be there.

  • Having the opportunity to do community service. These days it doesn't always happen or if it does I find myself feeling overwhelmed by it. Filling the gaps here and there seems to work best for me.

  • All of the fruit that we are starting to harvest from our property. I LOVE that.

  • My hard-working wonderful husband who comes home from a long day at work and still helps pick currants and fix raspberry fences.

  • My farm share. Reconnecting with the farmers, other share members and the peaceful quality of my time there. Not to mention the yummy food. Our dinners have been great lately because there is so much fresh produce to work with. We all love it.

  • My ipod nano. I have been listening to several very thought provoking and some very funny podcasts this week (catching up). I'm really glad to have this little device that allows me to listen to my shows when it is convenient for me instead of being tied to the radio or the computer on a schedule.

    There's more, there always is, but this is a great list of things to be grateful for. The fact that there's more is even more of a blessing.

    check out what others have to say

  • camp

    I have dropped D off at camp. She's thrilled to be there. Some of her friends from last year were there already. One of her counselors is the same as last year. She got a top bunk (and these things are three beds high!). And I bought her lots of vegan goodies for Chef J to store in his kitchen for her. What's not to like. Two weeks no parents no sisters in a real old-fashioned camp. There's nothing like dropping off a happy child. She'll come home for one night in between and then return the next day because they need that day for clean-up before the next session.

    On the way home from dropping her off I stopped and bought a magazine, a puzzle book, chips, cookies, and a disposable camera. I was going to send gum but she already had her own private stash of 4 super packs so I figured she had enough.

    I can't wait to hear about her camp adventures when she gets home.

    church

    D and I volunteered in the nursery at church today. It was not that difficult as we only had one customer...a beautiful curly-headed, blue-eyed chubby blond. She is 11 months old and very sweet. We had lots of fun playing, reading, giggling. It was great.

    When church was over on the way out I notice a huge box marked "Summer Reading" full of freebies to take. Wow! I restrained myself and only took three books:

    Return of Merlin because it looked interesting. I didn't know he wrote fiction.

    Georgiana: Dutchess of Devonshire which also looked interesting. I always like period stories and this one sounds pretty good.

    Chang and Eng because they were interesting. I really don't know anything about then other than the fact that they were famous conjoined twins who lead remarkably full lives.

    Reading continues apace this summer. I'm finishing up How Doctors Think which was recommended by my sister-in-law's sister. It's a fascinating book and certainly gives you pause for thought when thinking about medicine and medical matters. It also underlines that the few times I have had to practically stand up and shout at a doctor to be heard I was right to do so.

    I also started reading The Historian which my other sister-in-law had lent me. It's quite good and I am enjoying it very much but I am saving it for bedtime reading so I'm not getting through it very quickly.

    It's funny, I have dropped out of the reading challenges because I felt overwhelmed by how prolific these other readers were and how thought-filled their lists seemed to be. I now realize that I don't need to have a "challenge" in front of me to read. I love to read. It's more a matter of making the time in my busy life and making sure that I am reading what grabs me at the moment.

    Even funnier my local library misses me, when I run in to drop off magazines and plunder the magazine basket they remark how long it's been since they have seen me and ask me what I'm reading. I guess I'm very fortunate to have all these wonderful books flowing into my life these days from whatever source they arise.

    What is anyone else out there reading? Just curious.

    Saturday, June 30, 2007

    fruitilicious

    Today has been about fruit. Steve and I went to the garden and picked a huge bowl of red currants. All the ripe ones. There's still twice as many berries on the bush so over the next few days we'll be picking them trying to stay ahead of the birds. Tomorrow I'll start washing and freezing what we have as I do not have the time to make jelly right now. I plan to make jelly, syrup and tarts with the berries when I am done with the rhubarb.

    Speaking of rhubarb I ran out to the garden tonight and grabbed a huge bunch of stalks and have a container of Rhubarb-Apricot Jam starting on the counter. I'll process it tomorrow.

    The gooseberries are doing very well, getting plump but still green. I think there will be enough for a pie. Not bad since I only planted it last year.

    I then wandered over to the raspberry bed (on the other side of the house) and found the first few ripe raspberries. There was an unfortunate accident on the 20 steps back to the house and somehow none of the raspberries survived. However it looks like a good crop is forming so we'll start picking those soon.

    The blackberries are setting an unbelievable amount of fruit. Every branch inside the fence is loaded. The ones outside the fence? I think the deer have been nibbling. Good thing the fence is up.

    Tuesday, June 26, 2007

    farm again

    Farm day again, how lovely it is. I really find my time on the farm to be very calming. It's so serene and peaceful out there. Amazing to think that people used to (and some still do) live that way. It's a lot of hard, hot work but there are benefits to be sure.

    Todays share was:

    strawberries - the last of them *sob*
    spinach, garlic scapes, salad mix, buttercrunch lettuce, curly kale, salad turnips, radishes, a huge tomato (brandywine?), and basil. Boy did my car smell good driving home.

    canning again

    Today I made a small batch of Rhubarb Lemon Jam. So tart and tangy. So delicious. No picture because it wouldn't look that different from yesterdays.

    Recipe? I'm glad you asked

    Rhubarb Lemon Jam

    2 pounds of rhubarb
    1 thin peel of a lemon (no pith - the white stuff)
    1/2 C. water

    bring to a boil then simmer covered for 30 minutes

    add 2 1/2 C. of sugar

    raise heat and cook on medium-high for 20 minutes

    process in sterilized jars in hot water bath for 10 minutes


    Mmmmmmmmm.......

    knitting around town

    While doing my banking today I was knitting in line at the drive through. I have started keeping a small charity project at hand for just such an opportunity. I managed to get three rows done.

    At Stitch Sisters tonight we sat outside for the first hour as it was VERY hot inside. We had two new people show up. One is a crocheter and the other brought her spinning wheel! That was pretty cool. She has a flock of sheep and this is her own fiber.

    We had our usual fabulous meeting time. I'm done knitting the sweater. Just need to sew it up and do the neckband and the waistband. I'm really bummed because one sleeve is a couple of rows shorter than the other due to the fact that I ran out of that yarn. No ball band and I'm sorry but I'm not buying a whole skein of yarn just to do two sleeve rows. I think it won't show too much and it's supposed to be a beach throw-on anyway so I think it will be fine. Not happy with the way the seaming is coming out so I'll need to experiment with different methods until I find one that looks the way I want it to.

    Monday, June 25, 2007

    just because



    I don't normally put pictures up here. Too busy/distracted/lazy to get out the camera, transfer the pictures, upload the pictures...oh well. Today for some reason I happened to be at the computer with the camera and the stars aligned so there are a lot of pictures coming to blogityville. This one is of Chloe, just because, because she's cute, because she's a silly cat who sleeps on paper, just because.

    berries to come



    While wandering around the yard today I noticed that my blackberry bush is in full blossom. It's so pretty and will provide a lot of tasty fruit later in the year. I'm starting to plan now for all of the yummy crisps and jams that will come from this bush.

    weeding with a chainsaw

    Steve and I got out into the garden today before it got too hot. I was weeding and noticed that a couple of things needed to be moved. Then I noticed that a couple more things needed a haircut -- badly.

    Steve obligingly came over and move a rhododendron (a small one) and then tried to move a couple of barberry bushes that I no longer want. They've gotten too big and are impinging the other plants around them. They are so big he had to get the chainsaw to hack them down. I'm not putting anything in their place other than mulch as I figure the tree and remaining barberries will fill in and the hole will not even be noticeable next year.

    After that he gave the juniper a haircut; also with the chainsaw because the branches were too thick to cut with shears. Now I'll need to separate out the hosta and fill in the blank. Hopefully it will all look good when I'm done.

    rhubarb marmelade



    That time of year again. The rhubarb calls.

    I've made a lovely rhubarb cake, yesterday, and a wonderful batch of rhubarb-apricot jam from Steve's grandmother's recipe. Mmmmmmm, we love this stuff. And just in time because we finished the last jar a few weeks ago.

    Recipe? Of course.

    Take a bunch of peeled and chopped rhubarb
    take the same amount of sugar
    let the two sit overnight
    take a handful of diced apricots and let them sit in a little warm water
    put rhubarb mixture and apricots into a pot and start to cook
    bring to a boil and boil 10 minutes
    can in sterilized jars, process 10 minutes in hot water bath



    Enjoy!!!

    yippedy dippity



    It's Miss K's birthday!!! How wonderful to have this little bundle in our family. Her very first birthday surrounded by lots of loving arms to hold her.

    thanks to Barb's Pics for the graphic

    Saturday, June 23, 2007

    graduate



    Yippee! She's done it! She went and graduated! V has joined the ranks of graduates, the class of 2007. She has worked so very hard to get to this point and now will be heading off to become the class of 2011. Hard to believe that two out of three are one foot out of the nest.

    Congratulations on a job well done!

    where's the food?

    small rant coming up.....

    I'm probably dating myself but I do very clearly remember the Where's-The-Beef? lady in the Wendy's commercials. These days I'm beginnig to wonder where the food is? It started with trying to remove MSG and all it's aliases. Then came colors, preservatives; things with numbers. Now it's High Fructose Corn Syrup and folks, I've got to tell you, I'm shocked at how pervasive this stuff is in our diet. Then I find out that almost all HFCS is made with GMO corn. YUCK!!!

    Read this list and see for yourself. It's getting harder and harder to find real food. Why is the public unable to convince agribusiness that we do not want this stuff? Probably because most people go for cheap and convenient over more expensive and harder to obtain. We don't think we have time in our busy lives to pay attention to what goes into our mouths.

    As I learn more about this stuff I find myself wishing I had known a lot of this earlier so that I could have been more proactive for my kids. It also makes me talk to them about food, hopefully helping them to make better choices down the road.

    book backlog

    Currently reading too many books. I just finished Animal Vegetable Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver. It was really good, very thought provoking. Made me realize that although I believe there is a lot that I am doing right in our diet there is a lot more that we could be doing and should try to do. Not that I plan to raise and harvest our own meat animals and not that I plan to give up my farm share. But we could and should be more conscientious about our food supply miles.

    I'm also reading Annie Freeman's Fabulous Traveling Funeral -- given to me by my sister-in-law as a birthday present. It's okay but I'm not enjoying it as much as she did. I don't know maybe I'm not in that reflective a mood to be able to appreciate the story as much.

    Next on the reading stand, started and eagerly waiting to get back to:
    The Historian -- lent to me by my sister-in-law. Seems great so far. It's also a really big book! I love those, you can get lost in the story.

    And, as the rest of the world is, we are waiting for The publication of the last Harry Potter. I think there's a feeling of unreality about this book because no one wants to believe that J.K. Rowling would actually stop these stories. But that's what she's said she'll do. My modus operandi is to let the kids fight over who gets to read it first while I start all the way back at the beginning. Obviously this means it's going to take me a long time to get to the very end...woe betide those who try to tell me what happens because I DON'T WANT TO KNOW until I've read it for myself.

    Gonna be a busy summer for reading.

    'tis that time

    To make Nina's lovely Rhubarb Hazelnut Cake. My rhubarb is growing very well this year and we're going to a party tomorrow. Should be a lovely thing to bring (along with perhaps some whipped cream?)

    Here's the recipe in standard measures as Nina very kindly translated it for me:

    Nina's Rhubarb Hazelnut Cake

    2 C. chopped rhubarb
    1/2 C. ground nuts
    1/2 C. brown sugar (I use sucanat)
    7 oz melted margerine
    1/2 C. milk
    2 C. flour
    2 t. cinnamon
    1 t. vanilla sugar
    2 t. baking soda

    I forgot to write down my baking directions so it's 350 degrees F until done unless otherwise specified in my house. Works for most things.

    Friday, June 22, 2007

    farm farm farm farm

    farm farm farm farm FARM Loverly Farm, lovery F-A-R-M.

    Today's share was Broccoli Rabe, Chinese Cabbage, Radish, Lettuce, Spinach, Strawhberries, Sugar Snap Peas, Arugula, and Bok Choy. Yummmmmmm

    national chocolate eclair day

    Ooooh, yummmmm. Today is National Chocolate Eclair Day. I LOVE chocolate eclairs, craved them when I was pregnant with V. MMMmmmmmmmm. Eat one today!

    Wednesday, June 13, 2007

    awwwww

    We were treated this morning to the sight of a fawn nursing from it's mother. Given how wobbly it was on it's feet I think it must be very young. It was tiny, spotted and very sweet.

    back to the farm

    Yes folks, the CSA has started up again. Our first yummy share was broccoli rabe, bok choy, arugula, three kinds of lettuce, the most fragrant and delicious strawberries and snap peas. Yummmmm. Tonight was are having stir fry for dinner. I'm so happy to be going back to the farm, it's really wonderful.

    Thursday, June 07, 2007

    too funny...

    and too true!

    this is not to be missed.

    Wednesday, June 06, 2007

    funniest phrase of the day

    Overheard:

    "Don't make me kung fu your dupaw."

    gimpy weeding

    In spite of my still-bum-knee I was able to get outside and get a little weeding done today. Mostly in the front yard. The weather was wonderful and I blessed each and every yoga class that allowed me to have the flexibility to bend in half to snag those darn weeds.

    Steve bought some new fencing for the raspberry beds. The deer have been romping through the tender shoots in the absense of the fence but it should be completed soon and I think the raspberries and elderberries will survive. While the fence was down was a prime opportunity to get rid of all the unlovely weeds that manage to inveigle themselves in amongst the greenery; mostly bittersweet, Rose of Sharon (from the tree nearby) and multiflora roses). I pointed out all the weedy stuff for him to dig up, trimmed what needed to be trimmed and then went to rest my knee while he put up the fencing. It's looking good; he always does great work.

    Hopefully this weekend I'll be able to get some more weending done in there. I'm thinking about borrowing V's skateboard and skootching along, leg outstretched, on it as I weed. Standing up again may be a problem but I'll figure that out later.

    wfmw - whole grain breakfast



    Time to get back into Works for Me Wednesday; don't forget to check out Rocks In My Dryer for other WFMW tips.

    Everyone knows we're supposed to add more whole grains to our diet. Especially in the morning to give us a good boost and fuel the furnace in the morning. This is not always easy. Whole wheat on one cereal package, multi-grain on another. But truthfully neither of them is whole grain.

    I've started making my own breakfast cereal by making sure that when I cook whole grains (such as wheat for chili) I make enough to have the leftovers with breakfast. Then I assemble this easy muesli-style cereal that can be served hot or cold. It's a quick and easy way to nourish your body before heading out the door to enjoy summer activities.

    1 C. cooked whole grain (such as wheat)
    1 C. rolled cereal flakes (barley or oatmeal)
    1/4 C. chopped nuts (such as almonds)
    1/4 C. diced dried fruit (such as apricots)
    1 t. dried cinnamon
    soy or almond milk to taste (how gloppy do you like it)

    mix together, heat or serve cold

    makes two very hearty servings

    Tuesday, June 05, 2007

    idea for deer

    Steve came up with a marvelous idea for the deer in our back yard. Well, more for the ticks that accompany the deer. Set out a salt lick, hit the deer with something to knock them out, apply tick repellant solution, let the deer wake up. The only problems? Adult deer can weigh up to 400 pounds. This could get tedious on a monthly basis (not to mention expensive). You'd think that the deer would figure it out after a while.

    On a similar but related idea one of our neighbors had expressed interest in the idea of a salt lick laced with birth control. Apparently this is not a new idea as the following information from Deer Facts shows:


      Fertility agents
    • They are experimental
    • They don't affect the current population size
    • Have potential impacts on the gene pool
    • Costly and impractical ($150-$500 per deer)
    • Have problems with dosage control and ingestion of anti-fertility agents by non-targeted animals and humans.

      According to a study conducted by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, the cost of administering contraceptives exceeds $500 per deer treated. This study assumed:
    • No deer left or entered the herd being treated.
    • The contraceptive was administered with a single shot and was 100% effective.
    • The efficiency of autumn darting was similar to winter sharpshooting over bait with a high-power rifle.
    • All deer were infertile with a single treatment. (Not possible with contraceptives available today).
    • No deer were accidentally darted twice.
    • It was possible to distinguish between male and female fawns before darting.

      Since it is doubtful that any of these assumptions would hold true, the actual cost would far exceed the estimate of $500 per deer treated.


    They're cute it's true. Just destructive, overbreeding, and carry ticks. We're looking into making some changes in the yard to try to reduce the conditions for ticks (such as possibly putting in a tick barrier between the lawn and the woods) but given where we live we'll just have to continue to live with it like everyone else does.

    star stitchin'

    There was a previously planned function at the church so we had to move to another location for tonights Stitch Sisters meeting. We chose *buck$ so that we could get ourselves some of those frothy, frivolous drinks and lounge around on their comfy couches. We were serenaded by their latest CD-for-sale, Paul McCartney, all evening while we laughed, knit, ate, chatted and knit some more. It was a really fun evening and a nice change of pace.

    Several people seemed very intriged by the fact that we were sitting there in public knitting but although there were many sidelong glances no one came over to enquire. Of course if they had we probably would have pressed needles and yarn into their hands to encourage them to give it a try for themselves.

    One of the sisters gave me a ride since I am still not able to drive with my bum knee. She got a brandy-new car; an Impala. It's very cool, has it's own phone number (I didn't know cars could do that), and under the passenger seats has a yarn stash space. What more does one need in a car? It could be the emergency stash for when the drive doesn't want to stop at passing yarn shops to resupply your need. Of course if there are passengers in the car this might present a problem at highway speeds but I'm sure the resourceful knitter could figure out how to deal with that minor inconvenience. It was a nice ride and I got a snootful of that lovely new car smell, hard to believe they still haven't figured out how to manufacture that.

    Saturday, June 02, 2007

    project list

    Just writing about falling off the yarn wagon made me really think about the projects I still have on the needles. No pictures, sorry I'm really bad about that, but they are:

  • stripey sweater - almost done - working on the last sleeve now
  • blue striped hat - a stash busting project
  • purple crochet blanket - coming along slowly
  • red, orange, yellow granny square blanket - also slow
  • charity blanket square for Stitch Sisters
  • ipod/cellphone purses for Knitting Ministry Bazaar at church

    Better than it used to be but still a lot.

    The "I want to knit this pattern" list? Too long to bear documenting. At least I'll never run out of things to knit.

  • off diet

    I'm still on a self-imposed yarn diet but today managed to fall off the wagon in a spectacular fashion.

    Giving in to momentary weakness I was wandering through ebay and stumbled across this



    and this



    over 3,000 yards of yarny goodness. Do I have room for it in the stash closet? ummmmmmm no. Do I know what I'm going to do with it? Not really. I am hoping to turn the sari silk into a sweater which I think would be really cool, hopefully that's what the yarn wants to be. The Jojoland Bloom I am thinking of turning into a blanket, we'll see how it knits up.

    My stash has been considerably reduced, I am down to ahem six projects on the needles and haven't bought yarn in far too long so I suppose I was overdue.

    garden-no-more

    The crew showed up at 7:30 this a.m. and started by removing the cotoneaster from the front yard. I've never really liked it. When I tried to dig it out I couldn't...took them 30 minutes to get all 5 bushes out.

    Then they moved to the back yard. The hill has been denuded (which, as someone pointed out to me seems to be an oxymoron, shouldn't it be nuded?) of all but trees and large foundation grasses. I'm looking at a bare pile of dirt and rocks! It three people 10 hours to undo what probably took the previous owner years to put in.

    The funny thing is that I am not sad about this at all and I had thought I would be. I have given away so many plants to so many people (11 to be exact) and am reducing my garden to a more manageable size. Plus I believe that the beds I am keeping will stand out much better against a lawn than against a tangled weed thicket. It's all good.

    Tuesday, May 29, 2007

    stitch sisters

    It was a lovely evening at Stitch Sisters; we started by knitting on the steps of the church so that we could admire the lovely country view, the sunshine and pleasing temperature. As the light dimmed and the bugs came out we moved inside.

    It being so close to my birthday my wonderful stitch sisters had a cake for me made by G. A heavenly confection of thin layers of the most decadent buttery cake, whipped cream, fresh raspberries and thin layers of meringue. One could become quite zaftig enjoying such delicious decadence. It was absolutely heavenly and as birthday girl I not only got the biggest piece I also got to bring home the leftovers.

    I was gifted with a sweet card full of loving thoughts, a pair of handmade socks (like hugs for the feet!) and cilantro. An ecclectic collection you may think but one that makes perfect sense to us.

    We ate, we crafted, we laughed, and I came home to discover that Miss D had vacuumed the downstairs and cleaned the bathroom! Wow! What a night!

    gratitude

    Having injured my knee I am currently left unable to drive a car. Given how far out we live and that there is no public transportation this presents a problem. Luckily for me there is an organization in our town that drives people to doctor visits if they are unable to do so for themselves. Usually they drive the elderly but sometimes they get people like me.

    For every single driver who has volunteered one day a month to provide transportation for others I am exceedingly grateful. How wonderful to live in a place where people can be that willing to volunteer.

    Monday, May 28, 2007

    almost birthday

    Yes, it's almost my birthday. Since Steve has to work that day we celebrated early.

    Went to pick up my present, a fire pit, and dinner from Panera Bread yummmmmm. After dinner and loving presents from Steve and the girls we sat out on the deck and enjoyed the firepit along with a bottle of Steve's homemade wine. Nothing could be better. Crickets and bullfrogs in the background. Lazy conversation and hypnotic flames, it was very relaxing and wonderful. What a great family I have, I am so truly blessed.

    memorial day weekend

    We spent the weekend with my brother and his family. It was really great to see them. A barbeque on the beach, a lovely Japanese restaurant dinner and lots of conversations. Plus I borrowed two books, how cool.

    It's always great to see them and this weekend was no exception. Usually we are busy going places and doing stuff but with my gimpy leg it wasn't an option this time. We still had a great time and hopefully they did too. Happy Memorial Day to all!

    The books? Glad you asked, The Historian
    and
    How to Read a Book (A Touchstone Book)

    Monday, May 21, 2007

    advice for the day

    If you think your life is so busy you can't manage. You're not getting things done the way you want. You feel like things are a bit overwhelming.

    Don't trip over the dog.

    How do I know...well, as you may have guessed, I did just that. Medial Collateral Ligament torn on the right knee. A brace, a cane, no driving for a bit. I'm tempted to say life just couldn't get anymore interesting, but then again I don't care to tempt fate so I wont say it.

    One good thing is that the Manny, the guy who is coming with his crew to rip out half of our garden and replace it with grass came by. They're starting in two weeks. While I have loved this garden it is simply too much to take care of. I will still have the entire front, both side gardens and the top band of the back garden. But the rest will no longer be there. I am giving away plants to whoever comes to get them and looking forward to less physical and mental stress as I will no longer have to watch the back garden be overrun by invasives and weeds.

    The rest of life is still a bit chaotic but hopefully it will come under control soon.

    Monday, May 14, 2007

    sorry sorry

    For those who have emailed wondering where I am....

    Life has been very hectic here lately. Lots going on, one graduation coming up, allergy season in full swing, one coming home from college (really gotta make her bed before she gets here), the white flag of surrender has already gone up on the garden, and on and on.

    I'll write when I can but for now I can't, please understand.

    Wednesday, April 25, 2007

    wfmw - magazine recipes

    It's Works for Me Wednesday again. Don't forget to check out all the wfmw goodness at Rocks In My Dryer.

    I have a rather impressive collection of food magazines. Some of them are Cooking Light from when I had a subscription. Quite a few are Bon Appetit or Gourmet or that ilk collected from my library's Free Magazine basket. If you have magazines you don't want you bring them to the library. Take the ones you want, keep as many as you like. That works for me (hey, this is turning into a twofer).

    My biggest problem with the food magazines is remembering which recipe is where. Such as my favorite Texas Chocolate Cake from Cooking Light. I know I could go online and print another copy but the waste of paper really bothers me. So after I've read a food magazine and decided to keep it I write down all of the recipes I like and their page number on an index card and staple the card to the cover of the magazine. The collection has gotten so big that my next step is to organize them by season instead of by magazine and put each season in it's own magazine box. It makes finding favorite recipes quick and easy. It works for me.

    Tuesday, April 24, 2007

    books

    Speaking of books in the last post I somehow started reading two books at the same time. Given that my reading time has decreased to a painful sluglike pace I'm not sure how this happened.

    The first one is Marley & Me I keep snorting with laughter causing my children to believe that I have finally gone round the bend. When I share passages with Steve he laughs too. I think it's laughter of relief. While Tobi is rambunctious and unrestrainedly lovable in his own special way he is not quite as...um....destructive energetic as Marley appears to be. This gives us hope because after all Tobi came to us completely un-housebroken and with no manners. He now IS housebroken and has manners. His only *ahem* challenges are learning that not everyone is dying for big wet sloppy puppy kisses and that compost is not meant to be edible. As you can imagine the book is very humorous, I like the writing style and am enjoying it tremendously.

    The other is Not Buying It: My Year Without Shopping I picked it up because I had seen a blurb about the author and thought the premise of the book was interesting. She and her partner decide not to buy anything that is not essential for one year. Of course his idea of what is essential sometimes varies from hers but that just adds to the entertainment. On a more serious note I've only read up to February and it's making me think about how we view ourselves and our spending; not to mention the over consumption going on all around us. Well written and definitely enjoyable.

    birthday knitting

    Not my birthday, but one of the Stitch Sisters. We had a surprise cake, a surprise birthday plant and a (surprise) lovely card designed by D. Amidst the knitting of the stash blanket, the scarves for a project and personal knitting everyone stopped to enjoy a fabulous Boston Creme Pie. Ooooooooooh, haven't had one of those in years and boy was it delicious!

    The stash blanket is looking lovely. It was passed onto our stashless sister tonight...along with donated stash so that she could work on it. When it comes around to me again I'll take a picture so that people can see it. It's a fun project. We're not sure what we're going to do with it though. I thought the original purpose had been to donate it to something like Project Linus. Now a couple of members are saying that perhaps when it's done it goes to one of us and we start another one until everyone has a blanket that has been worked on by the entire group. I confess that while Project Linus is a VERY worthwhile endeavor there is also something appealing about having a lovely blankie made by the whole group. I guess we'll have to see how it turns out when this blanket it done. It may be the no one wants it..."No dear, you take it I don't mind waiting for the next one", "I'm sure those colors suit you much better than they do my poor sallow complexion", "We think you should be the first one to experience the love." On the other hand there may be a flurry of needles and yarn as everyone dives for it...who knows.

    Today was also apparently bookswap night. We have a club book that is going around (I forget the title, when it's my turn I'll let you know) plus some paperbacks that some members were trying to foist onto share with the rest of the group. My only problem being that I haven't learned to read and knit at the same time and how the heck do you flip the pages anyway?

    peepity peep

    It may be a blazing 85 degrees outside today. It feels like we have gone from winter straight into summer. I confess that I love the warm weather and the cool delicious evenings. What I love most is that even though it may not feel like spring the peepers are back. Their little chorus is definitely music to my ears.

    Monday, April 23, 2007

    here there be dragons

    With today being St. George's Day I thought you might like to see this fun link.

    http://www.sonic.net/~ronnie/dragon.htm, a dragon's head made from cat food cans.

    1564-1616

    Today is the day of William Shakespeare's birth and death. I imagine not many people die on their birthday but it does happen.

    I read a lot of Shakespeare in college (Theater major, English minor, it's expected that Shakespeare would be on the curriculum). One of my favorite quotes is

    Now join your hands, and with your hands your hearts

    It's from Henry the Sixth. Unfortunately it's not truly a love scene as the two characters being asked to hold hands are Warwick and Clarence, but taken out of context it is a sweet thought.

    Sunday, April 22, 2007

    happy earth day

    Whether you are doing something special to celebrate the day or not it's good to remember it as this is the only Earth we have.

    Wikipedia info here.

    horsie

    D and I went to volunteer at a local horse rescue operation today. It was absolutely wonderful. The organization takes in all sorts of abused, abandoned, neglected or subject-to-slaughter horses and cares for them. It rehabilitates and then finds good homes for them.

    We went for our initial tour and were set upon by horses eager for treats. They've obviously been well trained that people come with horse "cookies". We went through 10 pounds of apples and carrots before we got to meet all of the horses. We were then set to the task of grooming under supervision.

    D's grooming customers were :



    Mogul



    Breezy



    and Bronson.

    Many of the horses are either Premarin mares (forced into successive pregnancies under harsh conditions), the results of Premarin pregnancies (which are usually unwanted), abandoned race horses, damaged show horses or horses that people don't take care of. There are currently 35 at the farm and I have to say they all look pretty content and are certainly "people" trained. A few of them will be leaving for new homes within the next month or so and then others will come.

    We thoroughly enjoyed our time there and plan to go back.