16 December 2009

a musical interlude

it's log, it's log!
it's big!
it's heavy!
it's wood!
it's log, it's log!
it's better than bad, it's GOOD!

Thank you Ren and Stimpy.

And thank you to my aunt who wrote to me on day and told be that on an official date she picked out, thus blog became a log.

What can i say? I have been busy.

There is work. There is holiday knitting (29 gifts done, 1 to go). There is charity crafting. (21 preemie hats--go me!) rW and I hosted his mother for Thanksgiving, and hat was also a lot of work.

Since I last wrote I have also designed two shows, visited Ohio, made applesauce and canned it, made tomato sauce and canned it (with the help of rW!), put up a Christmas tree, and blessedly reconnected with my friend penguingirl.

I also made this, which was a lot of fun-but-time-consuming work.

This is the best thing ever...

"oooohhhhh no! i have a pumpkin head! Dad, why are you laughing!?"

10 September 2009

enough.

i have remained silent to almost everyone around me about the health care debate, but i have finally heard idiocy that trumps all other idiocy in my mind. this trumps "death panels" for me (in part because i put enough faith my my fellow Americans that they are smart enough to realize they are being lied to about "death panels") because of the blinders one must be wearing to make such an idiotic statement.

a heard on the radio a woman say she wanted congress to vote down the insurance reform provision that would prevent insurance companies from denying coverage due to pre-existing condition. her argument (paraphrased)...

"this is like letting people go without car insurance and then be guaranteed coverage AFTER they have been in an accident."

no it isn't, you moron.
as much as i want no one to experience a health problem, i would find it amusing to see this person have to call on their current coverage for a serious illness and then switch jobs and try to switch insurance with that job. she would probably be denied new coverage (or only offered coverage with exorbitant premiums and/or deductibles) under the current system due to pre-existing condition.

my money is on this person quickly switching her tune if she were diagnosed with cancer or a chronic condition like MS and found herself unable to get new coverage in the event of job switch or being dropped by her current company. go talk to the woman who was dropped from her insurance the same week she was supposed to undergo a double mastectomy because she "failed to report" a pre-existing condition. what was that condition she failed to report? acne. she was being treated by a dermatologist for acne.

i can only assume that the naysayer has never been sick a day of her life and no one in her family or friend group has ever had cancer, arthritis, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, or a chronic condition like MS. i wish i had this person's life. (i'm almost 30 years old and still have acne. i hope i don't get breast cancer!)

health insurance is not the same as car insurance. take off the blinders.


okay! done with the anger.
back to the regularly scheduled yarn.

24 August 2009

favourite new thing

bereti have been striving to match my stash to hat patterns to start my new crop for winter 09-10.

here is the first newcomer of the season!

Green & Twisty
#04 Cabled Beret
designed by Debbie Bliss
published in Debbie Bliss Magazine #01

knit in approx. 3 skeins of Elsebeth Lavold Angora (60% angora, 20% wool, 20% nylon color "lime") on size US 5 and US 7 needles.

started: 08.06.09
finished: 08.08.09


i bought this magazine for this pattern, and i bought this yarn to make this hat. that was last fall, and somehow it never exactly made it to the finish line last hat season. i corrected that after i cleaned and sorted my stash bins and realized my oversight!

this may be the perfect finished hat. it combines most of my favorite things... green, cables, bunny fiber, and a beret shape. if it smelled like coffee and made me look thinner, i would never take it off.

like most Debbie Bliss hats, this one is written to be knitted on two straight needles. i dropped 2 stitches from the cast on and knit it in the round because i am lazy and i admire Elizabeth Zimmerman. i also decided to knit the ribbing in 1x1 rather than 2x2 because berets in a 2x2 rib always seem to stretch out too much for my taste. finally, i knit one or two fewer rows of ribbing to ensure that i not run out of yarn.

i had plenty of yarn, and i realize now that there was no need to work fewer rows because when i dropped the 2 extra "sewing-up" stitches, i worked 124 fewer stitches in the body of my hat than the original. it seems silly, but when i thought about that, it sort of blew me away. working the hat in the round saved me having to sew the seam and saved me knitting 124 more stitches. when i see that in writing, it looks like a lot.

now i need to take more pictures of my newest finished projects!

23 August 2009

i have readers?

triangle scarfhi. i know you are still out there. well, at least i do now!

yesterday i saw 3 of my favourite knitters when i dropped into the shop to buy some wool wash. i got the mini-catch-up and they sent me home with wool wash that somehow one of them bought me (i am still trying to determine to which friend i owe a coffee!).

in honor of knitters and knitting friends, this post is all recently completed work. i was on a roll of creating things that have to live in a vacuum until they go to their new owners. after a bit of that, i turned selfish and began to make a few things for me.

first, some crochet!

Autumn Triangle
aka "Floaty Fall Scarf"
designed by Susan Jeffers
published in Crochet Today! Sept/Oct 2009

crocheted in 2 skeins of Koigu PPPM (100% merino wool, color P337) bought at K+S=B, with a size F hook.

started: 08.08.09
finished: 08.10.09


i never buy this magazine. never. i always hate the projects, or i like... one. maybe. this month i bought it for four projects. wow. go Crochet Today! i barely changed the pattern either! i just worked 15 fewer rows to make a smaller scarf with the quantity of yarn i had on hand.

i am on a stash yarn project kick, and i have enough stashed sock yarn to make about 12 pairs of socks. i am not as prolific when it comes to sock knitting as i am when it comes to sock yarn loving. now i am on a mission to find projects in fingering weight yarn to use my sock stash.

this is trickier than it sounds because i like hand painted sock yarns, but i am typically opposed to variegated garments and accessories. this scarf really fit the bill for something that looked good in a variegated yarn, used fingering weight, and is wearable.

i have already worn it! AC in meetings is brutal to me, so this is the perfect. can't wait until fall when i can wear it with my vintage brooch collection.

cowlLicorice Allsorts Cowl
aka "Dragonfly Fire Cowl"

designed by Mia Valcarcel
published at her blog

knit in 2 skeins of Claudia Handpaints Fingering (100% merino wool, color: John B.) on size US 7 needles.

started: 08.11.09
finished: 08.12.09


i have been told that this does not look like red licorice allsorts, and in the picture i would tend to agree. in person that is what the colors remind me of. maybe i am just hungry!

this is incredibly fun. the Claudia's is bouncy and sproingy and doubled up and knit on a larger needle, the yarn is even more yummy. and soft! and it is a cowl! what more can one desire in life?

this was another project for stashed sock yarn. i like the doubling of this yarn because it blends the colors more than the yarn worked single. big bonus in my non-variegated book.

socksEyelet Spiral Socks
aka Anastasia Socks
designed by MintyFresh
published at pepperknit.com

knit in 2 skeins of ShibuiKnits Sock (100% merino, color "Orchid")purchased at K+S=B, on size US 0 (zero) addi tubro circular needles.

started: Christmas 2007
finished 08.18.09


this is officially my longest running WIP. i have completed 98 other projects since i started this pair of socks. among those other projects are another pair of socks, two pairs of slippers, and two pairs of bootees. obviously it was not that i opposed knitting for feet. these just got off track.

i put them down (1st sock done, 2nd sock being imagined) when my cousin announced her pregnancy. i then knit a lot of her little boy, christmas gifts, blah blah blah. it gets harder to pick up a 2nd sock when you have had too many reasons to knit gifts instead.

last quarter i knit a different pair of socks on the train to the school. i decided this quarter i had to knit the 2nd of this pair, and my work commute is perfect. because the Red Line has had so many issues and delays, the 2nd sock was my saving grace. it proved a fine companion when i was in a day-long professional development session last week.

now the question becomes, more commuter socks? i am considering these.

coming soon: more sedately colored projects.

03 August 2009

crack

updating. i can do it.
after my garden was attacked by deer, i have had little desire to write about it. i can't write bout most of my knitting because it is stealth, and rW has been busy with a show, so we have not gone out and taken pictures of our shenanigans.

but!
rW did take me to his show and rewarded my willingness to drive to Frederick with a gelati at Rita's, mexican food, and a trip to a yarn shop. we also hit an antique store that had some mid century and bought a magazine rack.

i think Mad Men is making affordable mid century hard to find. the rack was a sweet deal.

however!
we came home to leaking ceiling that just got worse and worse. this was supposed to be repaired while we were on vacation. clearly i am now irritated. i already hated our kitchen. this does nothing to help.

my pots and pans are all out of the cupboard. everything from the counter top is stacked on our dining table. i have piles of smelly damp towels everywhere, and these little insects have invaded us. boo!

failing to have created good news to report, i will share some older pictures. i finally sorted and uploaded the pictures we took on vacation and when we picked blackberries and peaches. rW has a radical hair change from one album to the next!

Vacation July 2009


blackberries and peaches 2009

22 July 2009

stuff and how much it costs.

some things cost way too much for what they are. this is something rW and i talk about a lot, and i feel that a portion of the list must be brought to light.

all of this comes from my needing shampoo and conditioner and deciding to go to the co-op to buy it because 1. i can ride my bike there. and 2. at least if i am going to be riped off, it will be with a good quality product. so.....!

shampoo and conditioner.
total rip off, but they have those of us who choose to keep hair totally under the proverbial thumb for the sake of good hygine and social graces. (by the by, my co-op stuff was the cheapest there and it works better than a comparable price drugstore product thus far.)

dental floss.
again, something we are threatened if we don't use. AND to add insult to injury, the cost of the stuff keeps going up without any noticeable changes in the actual product. the quality and utility has remained flatline whilst the price goes up up up.

breakfast cereal.
what gets me about this is that it is a totally open secret that this is a huge rip off. what is cereal made out of? usually corn or wheat. these are two of the most subsidized crops in the USA. this means that companies making cereal are able to buy the raw ingredients at below the cost to grow them AND charge you near on $5 per box. jerks.

razors.
this one is the opposite of dental floss. razors suffer from too much technology. now unless you want 4 blades, you get a crappy razor. i am convinced that standard 2 blade razors are being made poorer in quality so we all have to upgrade to 3-4 to get the same quality a 2 blade had in say... 1996.


think i am bad? rW has a whole list of "things that should have improved by now".

21 July 2009

madness

(this picture has nothing to do with the post. i just like it. bees are awesome little creatures, and rW caught this one hard at work the day we picked blackberries and peaches.)

i have a pot of vegetable stock cooking on my stove right now, and the aroma is driving me mad. i know it would make a poor soup to just eat the pile of scraps that are currently in the pot, but it smells that good.

sunday at the farmer's market my favourite organic grower had beautiful carrots. they were still wearing their tops. the carrots themselves were no bigger than a finger and a beautiful ruby red color... like beets. when you bit into one, they were an electric orange color. amazing.

notice the past tense. they didn't last. but! the tops are living on in a stock*.

how to veggie stock...


in a 6 quart pot, combine...

tops of roots like carrots or beets, trimmings from your week's veggies (carrot tips, squash ends, tomato tops, scallion or onion greens, etc), any veggies past their prime (i used two orange and yellow peppers and a yellow squash), a whole bulb of garlic, two bay leaves, and a healthy dose of peppercorns.

top with enough water to cover but not overflow when the water boils.

cover and bring to a boil. once boiling, reduce to a simmer and allow to cook for 1 hour. salt if desired.

strain off vegetables and aromatics and allow to cool

freeze in manageable quantities.


*i, personally, would not add tops to a stock unless i knew where they came from. tops are where the pesticides are sprayed on root vegetables, and i would rather not deliberately cook pesticides into my stock . i know, i know... i can be such a hippie, but i hope to be an old hippie one day.

13 July 2009

stupid stupid.

rW and i went blackberry picking on sunday. aside from blackberries, look what i brought home!


sunburn

10 July 2009

baaaaack!

rW and i came home on monday night, and i have been busy busy ever since. garden is still alive i knit in ohio. i made banana jam, and i have a new project....

an etsy shop!
i am selling vintage, antique, and handmade items. i don't have any up yet, but soon i will list some jams.



i wish i still had use of my desktop computer. it had photoshop and i could make myself a nice banner for my shop. boo.

26 June 2009

bzzzz! bzzzZZzzZz!

i have been busy bee. right now i am in ohio visiting with my cousin and her family. (arrived wednesday night) next stop, my parents' place for a bit. then rW arrives and we spend the 4th of july all together.

this means that excluding the backlog, no new garden news, and there will be none until i return to the east coast. i am knitting on the road, but some of my projects are secret projects! news on the knitting front later.

Day Twenty-Seven
saturday. in which we alternate.

it rains. no wait! the sun shines! i am sure the garden is glad for the latter, but the former is doing it no good. the soil in my containers has not been 100% dry since... oh... maybe Day 3.

to make matter worse, rW and i planned to pick sweet cherries today, and the weather is making that impossible. this is very disappointing because the cherries are only on the tree for a bout week, so you have to get them while they are hot!

aide from the rain, i caged my cucumber plants last night. cukes an get very viney and grow all over the place. i am training mine to grow up! we'll see how the little tendrils of vine do latching on to the cage.

vineDay Twenty-Eight
sunday. in which we finally have sun.

finally, no rain. just sun, and cage news!

cucumbers grow quickly, and mine have taken to the cages right away. little vine tendrils quickly lashed themselves to the cage structure and curled on tight. i hope the plant take well to this. the lowest layer of leaves has turned to a yellow color, which is a bad sign in my book. same this happened to my melons' leaves, however, and they are hanging in okay.

Day Twenty-Nine

monday. glamour shots

i decided you needed some glamour shots of peppers. i have some forming on the jalapeno, and some impressive ones on the Early Big Bell.

i am excited about the EBB because they are supposed to get HUGE! (8" peppers!) i have high hopes that one of the later rounds of peppers from the plant will be enough to allow me to make red pepper spread. yum yum.

peppersright now the peppers are smallish (2" range) and still green. they are supposed to turn red when they are mature and ready to be picked.

rW speculates that it will be shortly after we return from the trip. i think it will be longer. maybe i am a pessimist, but this whole gardening thing has been a very slow row to hoe.

Day Thirty

tuesday. vines are funny.

the vines n the cucumber plants are scrambling to be the #1 vine on the cage. they are very funny because they lash together in clumps, and some of them are "strangling" the plant as they tie branches of it down to the cage.

they grow so quickly, inches over a span of a few hours--i wish i could watch them and see it happen!

Day Thirty One.
wednesday. RIP.

drat.
i lost a pepper in progress.

i was looking at the jalapeno, and he seemed funny. one of the connector branches was getting a bit yellow. i reached to see the pepper better and it fell off in my hand. and he is still tiny. boo.

he he was in his glory before the drop... (pepper in the background.)

peppers

19 June 2009

Too beautiful!

I love heirloom tomatoes because they are goofy looking. check out these pictures here. And here. (two whole pages on that second link!)

All grown at the Love Apple Farm in CA.


also food related yet not at all related to tomatoes... last night I worked a party for one of the theatres i am involved with, and i wanted to share that the food was awesome. I (of course) had none of the meat, but the side veggies were intensely flavourful and delicious and there were cupcakes.

topped with blueberries.

did i mention handmade chocolates? as well as cupcakes?

okay. here are the details.
the food was done by Oliver Friendly (yes! that is his name! and he is!) and his business is called Eat & Smile. he does private parties, meal delivery, weddings, cooking lessons, and so forth! the website is here. totally lived up to the raves the hostess made before he arrived!

neglect

curli am powerfully tired. this last week has been a lot of fun, but it has also worn me out. i have clearly been neglecting the garden updates, and honestly... little knitting has happened.

quick overview!

Days Nineteen and Twenty
thursday and friday.

i was sick both of these days with wht appears to have been a sinus infection. it was painful and draining, but now it is gone. i was the short of functional sick that allows you to get out of bed and go teach a class, but when you come home, you don't really remember teaching the Northern Renaissance or riding the train home.

i think i dragged my miserable body out to the garden both days, but my thoughts didn't go much beyond "ahh. plants".

Day Twenty-One
saturday. pumpkin blossoms!

i am still sick, but this is the only day rW and i can go out to pick tart cherries. next weekend he is going on as an understudy, so cherries must be picked.

we hit the garden first on the way out and i finally caught a a pumpkin blossom while it was fully open! (above) i also took a picture f the little curling vines on my pickling cucumber plants. (below) cute!

here are pictures from the cherry picking trip. rW took most of them because i wasn't feeling so hot by the end of the adventure. i wouldn't let him take pictures of my face because i was scowling about the sun and my congestion all day.

Tart Cherries 2009


Day Twenty-Two
sunday. peppers?

i am having suspicions that some insects managed to pollinate a few of my peppers when it stopped raining for a few days. the little leftover green bits look like they may be growing into vegetables!


Day Twenty-Three

monday. and tomatoes!

i think (and hope i am not getting myself too worked up over nothing) that i may also have a tomato forming on the cherry tomato plant. it seems possible because the few dys it did not rain, there were many insects visiting my garden.

Day Twenty-Four

tuesday. blossom drop.
flower
so, it is true. i have both peppers and tomatos forming in the garden, but the pumpkin plant seems to not get the insect visits it needs to make little pumpkins. the flowers are pretty , but they close up and fall off the day after. boo.

Day Twenty-Five

wednesday. gah! rain!

more thunderstorms, and this time the rain was so hard that it shredded my pumkin blossoms! it was so sad seeing a tattered one try to open up and attract the insects who are all probably bailing water out of their homes.

maybe when i am in ohio, the pumpkin will get pollinated and i can have a surprise when i get back.

Day Twenty-Six
friday. poor peppers.

conditions this seson are not that good for peppers. my green pepper looks like death. the poblano is losing leaves all over the place and won't make more blossoms. my red bells are trying to blossom, but who knows if we will have enough dry days to get them pollinated. my anaheim pepper is in the same boat as the reds.

two have peppers, however! the jalepeno and the Early Bell (supposed to be red, but i fear it is green) have tiny fruit on the plants. the bell lost one pepper over night. i am not surprised. he was not growing at the same pace as the other two.

so right now i have jalepenos, bells, and tomatoes producing. we shall see if the garden kicks some butt while i am in ohio. i really want it to dry out enough that i can apply some fertilizer to a few on the plants. i leave next wednesday and i am not back until after July 4th--that is a long time not to see my plants! rW will have some garden sitting on his plate!

10 June 2009

finishing--i can still do it!

bunny slippersbelieve it or not, i can still finish my yarn craft projects. it take a lot to get me going, but when i just bite the bullet, accomplishments abound!

these are a pair of bunny slippers that i have wanted to make ever since i bought the pattern in September of 2006. i scoped out the yarn at the shop in March of 2008 when started working there, and i started them in April 2009 because we finally put that yarn on clearance and i had to buy it before it was gone. the crocheting took about 3 days. obviously the sewing up took a bit longer. ahem.

but they are done! next!

blanketi finished this baby blanket yesterday. no baby to give it to right now, but i am sure the perfect one will present itself to the world and demand to be kept warm. this is a small one--about the size of a receiving blanket. i have doubts that i could have made it much bigger because it was worked in mostly fingering weight yarns with a little sport and dk thrown in here or there.

i love all the colors. for some reason i just cannot exactly capture them in a picture. ah, well!

garden...

Day Sixteen

monday. the sun doth shineth.

finally. sun. my plants are happy because their soil is drying out nicely. everyone is looking a little perkier.

today i cut the bottoms off of some 2L bottles i emptied. after removing the labels, i placed them around my two pickiest plants--cantaloupe and honeydew. they were probably not hardened enough when i put them out and the intense force of the rain has been tearing their leaves. my hope is that the bottles will limit insects and keep out "angry rain".

Day Seventeen.

tuesday. i am tired all day.

at 6am a huge crack of thunder simultaneously woke up 90% of the DC metro area's population. we were all grumpy for the rest of this wet wet day.

i checked my plants briefly. if they could have given a planty finger, thy would have. at least i put those bottles over the two melons. they were not damaged by the storm. the 2nd round of pepper blossoms has fallen off, however. peppers are picky, and they are not getting their way.

good news: one pumpkin blossom has pulled ahead in the race and is bigger than all of its siblings.


Day Eighteen
wednesday. mixed bag.

when i trotted out to see the garden this morning, i was greeted but a pumpkin blossom that is getting orange! and bigger! i think it may open this weekend. speaking of blossoms, they are opening on the cherry tomato plant.

also, my Early Girl is rallying for the cause and the new growth has doubled in height since i took the last photo on sunday.

right now as i sit here typing this, thunder is rumbling outside. sigh!!!!

indoor gardening
allsorts.

all of rW's herbs have sprouted. mint is very tiny, but basil is forming a second tier if leaves and cilantro wants to be very tall. i think he is getting a little impatient for finished herb products, however.

i transplanted arugula over the weekend to thin it.... i think i did more harm than good. lots of sprouts around transplant sites are dying off, but the other guys are forming a second set of leaves. time will tell.

07 June 2009

a welcome creature!

turtlei went out to my garden today and made a new friend. well, i wanted to be friends, but he was not as interested.... a box turtle! isn't he cute? (his head is in the upper part of the picture... you can only see the ti of his nose.) i wanted to pet him but i settled for scratching his back with a stick. he was only tolerating this and moved on after i let him be for a while.

still!
a fun backyard discovery!

growthnow! in garden news!

Day Fifteen

sunday. discovery day.

lookie! my Early Girl tomato is regrowing leaves after the deer devastation. lots of little new shoots are growing in the joints of the remaining old leaves. it is very exciting. my hope is once again renewed that this plant will make it.

Mr. Stripey is rolling along with very little change. we'll see if we get some progress this week now that the rain has tapered off and the sun is peaking into the picture.

in fact, today the the soil on the top of my containers is finally drying out. turning the soil with the cultivator was a good move.

blossoms finally, we have the cherry tomato that is growing well. in fact, there are future blossoms! (they re the little green things in the middle of the picture.) they are not open yet, but they are forming. i hope they make to the blossom and fruit stage.

yum. yum.

tomato growth and turtle friends, this is the kind of gardening day i like.

06 June 2009

planting and wishing

plants and stitchesDay Twelve
Thursday. in which i rampage.

i tore out another marigold, put one to pasture in a separate pot and jumped up and down shaking my fist at the bastard slugs. thatisall.

Day Thirteen
Friday. in which enough was finally enough.

okay. enough is enough. i took away the slugs' preferred candy so they are transferring to my pepper plants. specifically, they are attacking my poblano pepper. it is shedding holey leaves and the first blossom fell off. slugs will not stay off it no matter how much pepper spray i put on it or coffee i pile around the base.

time to buy some big guns.
okay... not inorganic animal dangerous big guns. moderate guns. just slug killer

Day Fourteen
Saturday. in which i recomposed myself.

last night i bought some plants to fill in holes and provide a balm for my bruised ego. some more peppers and some pickling cucumbers. i also acquired iron phosphate pellets to deter the slugs and cages to stake my tomatoes.

finally the rain has stopped and we have sun. to dry out my soil, i tried to break the surface and turn it over to get more air down there... it was so compacted from the rain. i planted my new plants and staked the tomatoes.

rW made his contribution in the form of elevation... specifically he raised the containers up off the ground on pieces of wood and removed the water trays that came with the planter boxes. we hope this will allow the rain to drain away better.

herb update

and other indoor friends.

we now have 4/5 plants showing up to play: basil, oregano, cilantro, and rosemary.... spearmint is still lollygaging.

i transplanted some of the arugula into other containers, trying to thin my big red tray. we shall see how successful i was in that venture. time will tell! ps- i have been knitting and my arugula likes it!

my blender and i are no longer on speaking terms.

peaspeas are one of rW's favourite vegetables. the local english peas are fresh on the vine right now, so i went out to the orchard where we picked strawberries to pick some peas. (season is short, gotta be fast!)

lately, the weather in the greater DC area has been trying to reenact the great stories of the bible.... or relocate itself to seattle. needless to say i was the only picker out in the PYO pea field in the rain. rain boots and an umbrella helped a lot, and i came away with 5 unshelled quart containers of peas. i shelled those babies as soon as i got home (watch a PBS documentary--it makes shelling fly by) and my 5 quarts yielded 5 and 3/4 cups of peas. what to make!

right away i blanched 2 cups and stashed them in the freezer for real peas post season. then i put a cup away to cook and eat tomorrow. tonight--a fresh pea soup!

after reading a few pea soup recipes online, i decided to wing it with what i have on hand. i wanted this to be simple and let the peas shine.

all was going very well until i moved to the blending phase of operations. my only options in pureeing are a traditional blender or a tiny mini food processor used exclusively for pesto and small batch jam.

blender it is.

little did i know that when one blends a hot soup, the top wants to explode. after sealing the blender and holding the top on, i was sloshed with pea soup. i tried again, holding on very tightly.... same. i managed to force all of my weight on top of the blender lid and i was able to blend the soup. however, i was covered in soup. as was my counter and kitchen floor. and i was burned. but just a little.

the good news is that the 75% of the soup that remained was delicious. here is my recipe...


shelledFresh Pea Soup
2.5 cups shelled English or garden peas.
1.5 cups (approx) organic vegetable stock
2 big cloves garlic, crushed
1/3 cup mild onion, diced
2 tablespoons butter

First, shell the peas, and dice the onion--have everything ready for a quick prep.

Saute the onion in the butter until just translucent. Add the crushed garlic and saute until lightly browned. Add stock, scrap down the sides of the sauce pan and bring to a boil.

Once boiling, add the shelled peas and boil for approximately 10 minutes or until they are tender. You will hear popping as the peas beak their skins and they will start to wrinkle slightly.

Once the peas are tender, remove from heat and allow to cool for 5-10 minutes to prevent kitchen doom. Reserve a few tablespoons of peas to garnish. Then puree peas with an immersion blender or food processor. Return soup to sauce pan to reheat slightly if desired. Serve immediately. Garnish with a drizzle of olive oil, fresh ground pepper, or shreds of parmesan cheese.

soup

03 June 2009

garden track: the ups and downs

containersgarden photo is from last wednesday. it gives an idea of my set up--there are been plant developments since this was taken.

Day Six
Friday. slug day.

as i mentioned in the previous garden post, i have planted a garden that slugs are powerfully attracted to. add to that the fact that The Ark should be appearing on my street any moment, and we have a problem.

i removed all of the slugs and now i am entering a research phase. i don't want to kill things other than the slugs, so i must be careful. i keep reading about people killing their plants trying to get the slugs off them. slat is bad for plants. at least in slug lethal quantities, i am learning.

Day Seven
Saturday. pumpkin buds.

rW and i went out bright and early before berry picking to check out the garden. no slugs to be found, but the weather was dry last night (comparatively speaking at lest. hold that order for an ark).

instead we founds lots of pumpkin buds! i should count them. i am a bit afraid our one little plant will make 10 pumpkins and what on earth would i do with that many? rW is concerned that because the little buds have appeared this early, we will have pumpkins in august. i think it will hold out.

Day Eight
Sunday. Coffee and Beer.

slugs are back, and they have eaten the entirety of one of my marigolds.

i am fighting back with coffee grounds on the soil around my edible plants (at first... the marigolds with get coffee as i drink it!) and beer traps.

Day Nine
Monday. Waterlogged.

all i want is one sunny 90 degree day. i need it for the pots to dry out! i went out this morning and discovered tiny mushrooms have sprung up in my tomato pots. i don't think they are bad, per se... but they can't be good.

only one slug in my trap this morning.

Day Ten
Tuesday. Escar-GO!

again, only one slug in my trap. it has not rained since the weekend, which may be the cause of this lack of slug activity. i still baited the beer traps and i continue to spread coffee grounds after every pot i make.

i will drive them away!

i am becoming very worried abut my poblano pepper plant because of the dampness. i think it wants drier soil and short of my going out there with a hairdryer, it isn't happening. the leaves feel flaccid rather than perky and smooth. it even dropped a few. boo.

Day Eleven
Wednesday. good news. bad news.

the rain came back last night and it brought the slugs along for a visit. to add insult to injury, the rain washed away my beer traps, and the slugs ate another marigold.

i asked the two nibbled plants to make a sacrifice for the good of the group--i dug them up and flung them into the woods beside my garden spot. i added more coffee and set more traps.

the only "up" side to this slimy, waterlogged situation is some pepper blossoms. both the jalapeno and the poblano have beautiful little white blossoms that opened this morning!


Herb Update
indoor gardening. allsorts.
rW's herbs are joining the party. he has three seedling of basil and two seedlings of oregano. i'm not sure if i am supposed to tell you this, but he has been naming them.

i am personally overrun with arugula seedlings and i think i must thin them out if i want a decent salad. still deciding what to do and where.

finally, i think i failed to mention the carrots. they were a shot in the dark. i planted a perimeter of carrots around my arugula in the dish and they have now sprouted! i believe the first carrots appeared on saturday morning. more developments as they happen.

01 June 2009

fruit favoured weekend

strawberry boozerW and i had another weekend of activity, and i think, good times. we went out to the Butler's Orchard and picked strawberries on saturday morning.

it was lots of fun. right off 270 is this little nook of farmland with berries and flowers and happy people helping city dwellers pick fresh spring treats.

rW and i picked approximately 6 quarts of berries and i turned them into...
  • freezer jam (3pts total)
  • cooked jam (3 pts total)
  • frozen smoothie berries (1/2 pt)
  • two meals of dessert (strawberries in Liqueur 43)
  • a breakfast of delight
  • Fragolo (pictured)
Fragolo is strawberry liqueur, and rW and i are making some. this is his pet project and the incentive rW has for taking me out to the country, picking berries, and carrying things for me. isn't the color pretty? all natural too.

in addition to the strawberry jams i made, i also cooked up some orange-lemon marmalade, apple jelly, and spiced honey. i have been a canning fiend.

to see pictures of all our fun and games, go here....
Strawberry Picking


garden updates soon! things have been pretty active around here!

29 May 2009

marmalade, slugs, and dumplings

peachonce a show opens and i have enough time to do some things that are fun, i go for it!

last night i made peach dumplings! it sounds like a lot of work, but it really wasn't. first, the recipe was small (yields 4 dumplings) and second, the low fat crust ingredients are easier to work with than regular crust.

granted, there is nothing like an all-butter crust made with traditional flour, but i can handle whole wheat and a few alterations.

the filling was made of brown sugar, butter, raspberry jam, vanilla, and lemon zest placed in the hollow of a pitted peach. yum!

in other "yum" news, i am trying my hand at marmalade. lemon-orange marmalade. this is the first cooked fruit spread i have ever made. i was having a conversation with my mum earlier in the week about cooking spreads and she wished me luck but reminded me that the preparation takes a long time.

she wasn't kidding!
i spent an hour and twenty minutes, peeling oranges, chopping oranges, slicing orange peel, slicing lemons, and banishing seeds! now i am on hold for 12 hours while the simmered mixture sits. (i think this is how the pectin in the fruit pith joins the party.) while i hurry up and wait, i am going to get some different jars. i have pint jars, and i think no one wants to open a whole pint of marmalade. need something smaller!

speaking if things no one wants...
i have stupid garden slugs! gah. i planted marigolds at the ends of my containers because some animals think they are not yummy. well, slugs love marigolds, it seems! they also love all the other leaves on my plants. i have been reading anti-slug pages online, and now i just have to decide which technique i want to employ in conjunction with my deer repelling tricks.

28 May 2009

48 hours in the life of a sprout

Day Six
arrrrugula.

yesterday evening when the arugula sprouted, i had no idea it would continue to grow so quickly! here is a picture of it from this morning around 8am...

early sprouts
lots of sprouts!
and that elevated center portion? that is the spot where the seedlings are forcing the soil up so they can get out. cool, huh?

evening sprouts
this was what i came home to this evening around 8:30pm. way beyond what i imagined would be welcoming me!!

yumyumyum.
can't wait to eat these! must be patient!

27 May 2009

late breaking news!

sproutthe astute blog reader may remember that on monday i planted arugula seeds in a dish with the intention of attempting to grow some of this delightful green inside my apartment.

the package told me that i would have to wait 7-14 days for the seeds to germinate.

well, my seeds were busy bees while i was out today. look a that!!

this is very exciting. i was prepared to stare at a barren dish of soil for two more weeks. here's hoping they continue to kick some youknowwhat!


still.

i know that tonight i will have dreams about headless tomato plants.

deer, oh, deer!

 no deerDay Five
in which in rains. and rains. and i boo-hoo.

remember that haircut?

apparently i should have saved the abundant clippings because when they are spread about a garden, they repel deer. i never knew that, and boy do i wish i did now.

the deer chomped the top off of one of my tomato plants. Early Girl will be rather delayed if she comes back at all.

my garden is located adjacent a wooded area where rW and i like to watch the deer. well, they came out of hiding, and the empire had to strike back. thank goodness for the internet because there are many recipes for organic deer repellent from which to pick your poison. or rather your stink....

that is the goal. make something stinky the deer won't like. since i threw away all those inches of beautiful red deer hating hair clippings, i improvised a recipe based on what i have on hand based on a few available on the site above.

Deer Repellent
4 cloves garlic
2 tablespoons red pepper flakes
1/4 cup hot sauce
1 egg
3 cups cold water

process in a blender or food processor. pour into a spray bottle and apply to plant leaves and all over garden containers.

now i need to buy rW a new indoor plant mister because i stole his spray bottle for this adventure. he deserves better mister anyway.

herbsspeaking of rw.... he planted his herbs!

cilantro, rosemary, basil, spearmint, and oregano.

in other garden news, the peppers are very happy. all 5 pepper plants have what appears to be the start of little buds. yay! also, my honey dew has finally taken his prozac and lifted himself off the couch to play with the other melons. all of my melon vines seem to be recovering from the pounding the thunderstorm rain gave them. i have some leaf damage here and there but they are shrugging it off fairly well. pumpkin is extremely happy!

and outside the garden...
today i was called to jury duty. actually i was called on may 11th and rescheduled. i am very glad i did because i was #92 and on may 11th they called 240 people. today they called just 70. now they can't bug me for two whole years!

i also knitted for the first time in about three weeks. just a few rounds on a sleeve while i waited for trader joe's to open this morning. i hope i can get back into the swing of the needles!

26 May 2009

stormy weather

 snip sniprW cut my hair for me on saturday.

yep.
a real honest to goodness haircut. we're talking between 6 and 8 inches depending on the layer your measure.

i tricked him into it.

see, i got him mentally prepared to trim the ends off my hair. i then read up on a layered 'do and walked him through it. about a third of the way through the layering, he had the revelation that he was giving me a real haircut.

turns out he isn't at all bad at cutting hair! and he didn't seem too worried doing the layers. i just kept telling him i could always cut it off short if it turned out poorly. which it did not. i wore the new cut out saturday night to my opening and lots of people commented on it including two of my friends who work with hair and they were pleasantly surprised.

this whole post makes it sound like rW is not good at new things, which is totally untrue. his previous haircutting experience can mostly be summed up in the buzzing of one's hair to less than an inch. round of applause!


now.
the garden.

Day Two
sunday. research day.
in the spirit of leaping before looking, i planted and then did my research. i didn't do too badly in my plant selection, containers, or the actual planting. the only thing i did not realize is how much space tomato plants actually need. i didn't really give them enough--time to replant.

rW and i needed a few things from ikea and they usually have good garden shop items so i looked for pots when we went there and settled on an improvised solution. rW bought for me three FNISS wastepaper baskets and punched drainage holes in the bottom. perfect!

also moved my the gardening spirit, he got for himself several small glazed pots and the seeds to grow herbs on our kitchen window. he has not planted yet, but i will report the progress when he does.

finally, after getting new containers and soil to fill them, i decided to pick up a few more inexpensive experiment plants to fill the spots the missing tomatoes would leave in my planter boxes. i came away with a jalapeño pepper, a honeydew melon, and a cantaloupe.

i know that these vine plants sound crazy, but i hope that because they are restricted to a certain amount f space in the boxes, they won't go crazy and give me 18 watermelons and 22 pumpkins. you know... like these things do when left to their own devices.

Day Three
monday. memorial day.
planting: part 2

rW and i had a day trip planned so i scurried out early to transplant the tomatoes and get the other new friends into the planters. all went well and rW gave everyone an initial watering before we left.

while out all day, it rained. yay! i checked everyone when we got back and the soil was nicely damp. i was thinking i would have to water the tomatoes a second time, but the rain took care of it for me.

the tomatoes seem to have accepted the transplant without complaint and the jalapeño and cantaloupe perked up right away. honeydew was still looking cranky about 12 ours after planting.

of the plants i put to soil on saturday, the poblano pepper and the watermelon are showing the most change. both are perky and the watermelon leaf stems are noticeably longer.

i also sowed some arugula seeds in a dish inside. i read that salad plants are good for indoor gardening and arugula tastes better when grown in cool conditions. we shall see if window light and A/C are the right conditions. another experiment!

Day Four
today. tuesday. rainy day.

after checking on everyone last night, we had a thunderstorm!
it was loud enough that it woke both rW and myself. i was worried about my plants big time. it was really coming down and i was afraid all of my soil would wash away or my planters would be upset by the winds.

none of this came to pass, but i had bad dreams all night about huge weeds attacking my plants and other surreal garden destroying nonsense.

i ran out first thing and check on the planters even though it was still raining. everyone is intact, and the watering bucket i left out yesterday has collected several new inches of water. only two other changes... leaves everywhere!

i had to scoop fallen tree leaves out of the planters and watering bucket, but at least it is not giant psycho weeds. also, my vine plants looked bruised. i am afraid the force of the downpour bruised my melon plants. the pumpkin seems happier (and bigger!) after the rain. i hope the melons don't die. honeydew does not look happy at all.

23 May 2009

a new chapter

i have been hard at work teaching the next generation and opening one hell of a show. Crazyface opens tonight, so i started a new project today.

i have a container garden.

right out back under our bedroom window.
it is an experiment.

i come from a family of gardeners. my parents grow tomatos, peppers and asparagus. my dad's mum had an amazing tomato patch for years. my mom's mum grew everything imaginable. from rhubarb to carrots and broccoli to melons, grandma grew it. when i was little my parents humoured me and let me plant a little hill of corn. that was some of the best corn i ever tasted.

i plan to track my progress here and see what comes of this new adventure.

today i spent $65 and this is what i got....

  • 3 plastic 23 quart containers (long window box style).
  • 2 bags (32 qt each) of Miracle-Gro Organic Choice Potting Mix
  • 1 bottle Miracle-Gro Organic Choice Plant Food Concentrate
  • 2 yellow marigolds
  • 2 orange marigolds
  • 2 red/orange combination marigolds
  • 2 red bell peppers
  • 1 green bell pepper (for rW!)
  • 1 poblano pepper
  • 1 "early girl" tomato
  • 1 "husky cherry" tomato
  • 1 "mr. stripey" tomato
  • 1 watermelon
  • 1 jack'o'lantern

not bad for $65, right?

on the optimistic side, here is my maximum goal (hoped for yield) for my little container garden....
  • 1 watermelon
  • 1 pumpkin
  • 4 red peppers
  • 1 green pepper
  • 1 poblano pepper
  • 20 cherry tomatoes
  • 5-7 big tomatos

i anticipate there will be losses, however. i expect to lose at minimum one pepper plant and one tomato plant. everyone keep their fingers crossed for Mr. Stripey! he is my heirloom tomato plant and i really want him to make it.

now.
we must have a moment of true confession.
i have done very little research before starting this project. i know. i am terrible. but plan to research as i go along and treat this as an experiment. so here's the report....

Day One
i came home from the store and set up the pots, filled them, and planted my new friends according to the directions on the tags. it was early evening, so i went ahead and mixed up the plant food and watered everyone. and away we go!

02 May 2009

piles

today i found this post i forgot i started on... um... monday... 4/27


i have not been blogging lately because i simply have had no time for it. i am creating neither content or posts to contain it because the new job has been pretty intense. i was hired very shortly before the new quarter began, so i have been developing my classes week to week.

summer quarter will be better because i will have a quarter under my belt, and i have 3 extra weeks to refine the 2nd go round.

i plan to be very non-specific about my new job because i had to sign my name to 8,000 sheets of paper and i am pretty sure one of them frowned upon blogging.

our apartment looks like a war zone. piles and piles of stuff. first, we have piles of grading.

then we have the other major culprit for the lack of knitting.... piles of sewing. for shows. i have a big one coming up, and the only way to tackle it is to buy, borrow, and build.... a lot. the sewing has been simple and enjoyable. i am just not looking forward to all the finishing and hemming.

in addition to the pile of cut out garments on the left, this photo also features the model tote bag i stitched along with my students. it is my new favourite purse.

yesterday was hot and beautiful.


...and that is where it ended
. i am relatively certain i was going to tell everyone about the day i had sunday when it was very hot.

rW and i went to Lake Artemesia and walked around the lake for awhile. i think we would have stayed much longer if we had brought some water along. never the less, it was fun and beautiful. we saw a turtle sunning himself on a log. he looked great--what a life! stretched out, eyes closed, leaning into the sun.

ahh!

and
one more picture for you....


i call this a "pattern piece tumbleweed". this final pile is what happens when you leave you pattern pieces poorly weighted on a surface overnight and neglect to close the window.

i am so s--m--r--t.

27 March 2009

at last!

i got the official letter today. now i can shout it out for all to hear!

guess who is returning to the head of the class?

college students.
first quarter college students.
wish me luck on that one!

16 March 2009

still life with crochet hook

crochet hooki have been crocheting.
i know! she's kicking it old school! it has been very fun, and i think i need to crochet myself some slippers.

several things...

my mum broke her wrist. please send positive thoughts/prayers/whatever in her direction so she can get back to work and back to her own knitting quickly! (hey. at least i put work before knitting there.)

this weekend rW and i started to watch Mad Men on dvd and i am rewatching with him Six Feet Under, which i adore.

clipping coupons has become very addictive, and i have two new favourite related things... Redplum and Restaurant.com. the former is good for coupons as well as free offers, tips, and suggestions. the later is better for folks in a high population density area for best selection.

okay.
i have a confession.
i have been reading.
reading instead of updating. i have kept the crafting, but because i have been reading i have had less blogging time. there. i confessed.

and now i will say there will be few updates again for a bit because i tech a show at the end of the week.

06 March 2009

knitting for rW

scarfrW has it really good. i am relatively clean. i can cook. and bake. and i knit for him. here are the latest goodies....

(note: he would take exception if i did not mention that the mutton chops seen in some of these photos were a temporary involuntary facial hair style. they are no longer with us.)

brownie
aka "men's rustic scarf"
designed by Joelle Hoverson
published in Last Minute Knitted Gifts

knit in Cascade 128 Tweed (7625 "camel", 7617 "grey", 7623 "coffee", 7622 "olive" 90% Peruvian Wool, 10% Donegal) purchased at K+S=B on size US 10.5 needles.

started: January 10, 2009.
finished: January 20, 2009.


i knit a black and grey version of this scarf for rW and gave it to him on our 6 month anniversary. it was the first cold day in DC. he loves that scarf and is trying really hard to wear it to death. so i made him another. this one is in colors to wear with his 1960s vintage camel dress coat and his 1970s brown leather/sheepskin mobster coat.

i like both scarves very much, but i think this one is going t hold up better for the long haul. the alpaca gets stretched out, and the wool is nicely bouncy with plenty of memory.

hatobnoxious new wave hat
aka "tychus"
designed by Brooke T. Higgins
published at knitty.com

knit in 1 ball Karabella Merino Superwash (winter white, 100% merino wool) and 2.3 balls of ACA Supreme Pure Angora (black, 100% angora) on size US 8 needles.

started: january 23, 2009.
finished: a few hours later.


rW loves to wear a hat. he owns many caps, but he only has a few knit hats, and i think that number has dwindled since he was given his first hand knit hat. i think i am spoiling him in this regard.

after i made my angora toque, rW wanted a black and white angora sweater. i told him how crazy that idea was and he agreed a hat was a better choice. his requirements: must be black and white. must be obnoxious.

i think this fits the bill.

the hat gets fuzzier the more he wears it, and when he is out in public people often have to take a good long look at the hat. mission accomplished.


neck warmermanly muffler
aka "envy"
designed by John Brinegar
published at yarn ball boogie

knit in 2/3 of a skein of Lamb's Pride Burly Spun (BS-06 "deep charcoal", 100% wool) purchased at A Tangled Skein on size US 11 needles.

started: february 14, 2009.
finished: february 15, 2009.


another scarf.
i was making cowls, and rW really liked them, but i needed a more manly pattern to make him something cowl-like. i think that this works well in the deep grey and the bone buttons.

rW helped me pick the buttons, and i think they are one of my favourite parts of the project. they look rustic and old. this neck warmer looks particularly good with rW's motorcycle jacket.

04 March 2009

muffins are tops

muffinsi made whole wheat muffins with raspberry jam centers. fast and delicious!

these are real muffins. not cupcakes masquerading as muffins. dense. very little sugar. satisfying.

and small!
i hate those oily otis spunkmeyer muffins the size of my face. these are two bites each. yum. yum.

let's see... and now something i crocheted. yes! crocheted!

Crochet Circle Mat
aka "quick! it is cold down here!"
designed by kittything

crocheted in 850 yards of various worsted weight cottons held six strands together with a size S crochet hook.

started: january 28, 2009.
finished: 2 hours later.

mati made this to go with the bathmat i knit for rW when he moved into his new place. i picked up some more colors in the shower curtain i sewed for him and made this as the mat to step out of the shower onto. the knit guy has been transferred to the space in front of the sink .

this was super fast. literally 2 hours from digging the yarn and hook out of my stash to uploading the photos on ravelry. and it is cozy too! six strands thick and cushy, and it has held up well in the first washing.

more old projects to be reveled over time!

26 February 2009

several things

okay okay.
enough prodding. i've had things to do, folks. they are many. let's review.

1. go see Roundheads and Peakheads. running through March 15th at the Atlas Center, it was produced by Catalyst Theatre Company. buy tickets here.

2. Constellation Theatre Company, a theatre i am proud to be an Associate Artist of is being awarded the James Aniello Award for Outstanding Emerging Theatre Company at the 2009 Helen Hayes Awards. okay. so i didn't actually do anything when this announcement came out. jump and down and stuff... but i had to share.

3. deer are awesome and have natural camouflage.
Looking Out My Back Door


4. i have decided i really need to sew through some of my fabric stash--especially the things i have already cut out to make for myself. see my sewing here.

5. i read The Friday Night Knitting Club. not as good as i had hoped. only it sort of was because my expectation was to not really like it as much as "i should". still i read it because customers are always coming into the shop and telling me "oh! you would LOVE it!". yeah. because i knit i will automatically like chick lit about a knitter? um. actually, you don't know very much about what i like beyond knitting, so it is hard to say i will like a certain book. yeah. so it didn't change my life. and the totally unrealistic portrayal of opening and running a yarn shop was a bit trying.

6. i have become a selfish garment knitter. my needles have focused primarily on vests and sweaters for me, and so far i am loving what i have made. all. for. me. muwahahaha.

7. okay. so i may have knit rW another hat and scarf.

8. owls are neat.

9. my mother sent me an awesome red hat for valentine's day.

10. on the homefront, rW and i went out the friday of valentine's and had a yummy dinner. then we saw my show on saturday. i gave him a neat-o tie and he gave me an excellent back massage to combat the serious neck and shoulder tension that my work and hobbies create.

11. rW's record collection (see right) has helped return my love of taking pictures. the geometric shelves make a great backdrop for my fabric creations.

12. i have been trying some new recipes and adapting a few old favourites to be vegetarian. pumpkin bread. i couldn't find my version of my mom's recipe so i may have tried Betty's.

not bad.

13. best text message i have ever received: "Whenever i take Collin's socks off he has lots of fuzz between his toes. I always tell him we re going to send it to Aunt Yvette so you can make a sweater."


14. and a great knitting-related email.... "OMG, another tempting cablelicious project to tempt me! I sometimes wish I were an Indian god with multiple arms."

and that is life for now. i have a lot of knitting i should post. i realize that 2009 has been a very lax year for me actually updating the knitting content. i am still producing, it just isn' t making it to a blog near you.

i will try to be better.

02 February 2009

because i never meme

i saw this one over at wendyknits and it amused me because like wendy, i was given a name that starts with a letter you hate to get stuck with when playing Scrabble.

Use the first letter of your name to find a word for each of the following:

Your Name - Yvette
Four letter word - yoke
Boy name - Yves
Girl name - Yolanda
Occupation - yeoman*
Color - yellow
Beverage - Yoo-hoo
Something found in a bathroom - yarn, knit into two bathmats
A Place - Yugoslavia, the former
Reason for being late - youthful shenanigans
Food - yogurt.
Something you shout - Yippie!


* i love "yeoman" because it ties back to my name. it has a lot of meanings through time, but my favourite is the archers. yeoman archers were english war archers who used longbows made of yew trees. the continent picked up this technology and the name "Yves" means "archer" from the teutonic for "yew". Yvette is the feminine of "Yves". fun. with arrows!

14 January 2009

i now understand the 1980s

combswhenever i wear hair combs, the first one always goes in very well and looks great the 2nd is an absurd s.o.b. of a hair ornament.

i now see the brilliance of those ladies in the 1980s who wore one in just one side and made it a trend.

i salute you.