Saturday, June 30, 2007


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


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


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


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


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


"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.


    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.