Sunday, December 5, 2010

Birthday... extended

I had a great birthday this year. It was officially on Thursday, December 2 but has extended through this weekend. I received cards and calls from family and friends on December 2 and 3 - all much cherished. Kristine had been gone on vacation with Kent for 2 1/2 weeks and I sorely missed her. They got home on Thursday night and Kristine stopped by the office on Friday for a short visit. I really was looking forward to spending time with her to hear about their trip and catch up on things. We spent most of Saturday together running errands and doing some shopping. Kristine took me to lunch at Black Eyed Pea and we had a very nice day. I got to hear about the trip and it sounds like she and Kent had a really great vacation and Thanksgiving. Today I went to their house to do some felting and spend more time with her while we learned how to operate our new craft thing-a-ma-cricut. Here's what I found when I arrived this morning:
 Chef Kristine was busy in the kitchen making a birthday cake for me - isn't that sweet? She made my favorite - white cake with white icing. The cake turned out perfect. She baked two round layers and they were both exactly even and stacked without any layer gaps. Amazing!
I took my teapot and a flowering tea pod so we could share a pot of green tea with acai berry. The blossom in this pot was pretty but not nearly as dramatic as some of them have been. Never fear, Kristine. We'll make more pots over the Christmas holiday when family is here. I'm sure we'll get a few more breathtaking results as we work our way through more pods.
We spent time crafting, too. Here's a picture I took of Kristine taking a picture of the things we were creating. We fired up the Cricut and got out the instruction manual. The manual started out by saying that it would take 30 to 60 minutes to get familiar with the machine. Now, we're two pretty clever girls when it comes to crafting, but it took us more than 60 minutes to get to where we were comfortable with what we were doing. We cut some pretty nifty designs and only tried three different cartridge kits. One of the themes we worked was birthday (hmm, wonder why?) and we ended up with a bird, a dragonfly and some text that worked nicely on the birthday cake. Check out Kristine's handywork on the cake decorating.
 Anyone who's known me for any length of time knows that I've often wished my nickname was Kate instead of Kathy so Kristine gave me my wish by using "Kate" on my cake. Very cool and very fun! 
  We also made layered rooster creations. I didn't get a good photo of that today so I'm hoping Kristine posts a photo of it on her blog. You'll have to jump over there and see if she does.
   Thank you, everyone, for such a nice birthday! It was so much fun, maybe I'll do it again next year :-)

My Heart Belongs to Sam

This is my favorite photo of Sam, from among the many great shots Shannon took in PA in late September. I found a terrific deal on a wide format printer this weekend and got it to use for printing 12x12 scrapbook pages and special things. I was able to print Sam's photo in a 13x19 format and framed it in a frame I found at Michaels yesterday. Now I can see it every time I walk through the center gallery! Thanks, Shannon!!
 Val is coming for the holidays, with Amol & Sam - Yay!!
We all know Val's affinity for bandaids... is it genetic? Will Sam love bandaids? I thought I'd better stock up - 'nuf said:

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Snow on the Way?

Look at this dark sky - I think the forecast for some snow is going to play out this time! The first photo was taken toward the northeast direction and the second photo was taken toward the east. The sun was still shining through clouds to the west just before sunset.

 In the meantime, I made a trip to Costco today to lay in some provisions for the family coming for Christmas time. I found this on DVD... (drum roll, please) and I think it will cause a bit of excitement with some family members who will see this posting. I'll start watching it tonight and let you know if it lives up to my expectations. I hear Ken Follett actually has a part in the miniseries.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Really - It's a Cheese Cave

You may look at this photo and say "Hmm, it sure looks like a wine cooler." Here's the secret - this cheese cave that is masquerading as a wine cooler has a thermostat and can be set to just the right temperature for aging home made hard cheese. 
I've made soft cheese for years and was disappointed when I decided to try my hand at hard cheese only to learn that I didn't have a suitable environment for the aging process. A normal refrigerator is too cold and a cool garage is too warm. The temperature should remain consistent and cool for the aging process to work and produce a truly tasty cheese. I've been looking for a used wine cooler for a year and a half. I've come across quite a few but they were too expensive for my frugal pockets. I found this one on craigslist this weekend and I think it will do the trick!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Tea - Beautiful to the eye as well as delicious to drink

I came across an interesting package of tea today while Kristine and I were in Denver running errands. I was intrigued as soon as I saw the lovely photo of a flower within the tea pot. According to the packaging, all you had to do was to put one of the pods in your teapot, cover with boiling water and watch the flower unfold as the plant rendered the water into a delicious pot of green tea. Here is one of the individual envelopes from the box:
 And here's a photo of the pod in my hand and then waiting in the pot while I brought water to a boil:

I had my doubts that this hard, grey-green pod could become the beautiful flower that was pictured on the packaging but I was wrong... Oh, SO wrong:

Isn't that a beautiful flower? This particular pod brewed a delicious green tea with vanilla flavor. I'm enjoying a cup now - come join me for a cuppa! I think I'm going to like this!!

I went out to the Primula tea website and found this information:
What are Primula Flowering Teas? Primula Flowering teas are hand-sewn individual tea leaves combined with delicate flowers. Flowering teas are sewn into small clusters and unfurl when placed into hot water. Flowering teas dance around while brewing. The tea brews while the flower blooms. 
How many cups of tea can one flower make? Each Primula Tea Flower can be brewed 3 times. Since our tea pot holds 5 cups of tea, each flower can make 15 cups. 
How do I re-brew my flower? We recommend using each Primula Tea Flower up to 3 times in a 24 hour period. After you have enjoyed your first pot of tea just pour hot water back over the flower and allow it to brew to your desired strength. Many people say that the 2nd pot of tea actually produces the best flavor.  

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Positively Perfect Pumpkin Repast

If you have a pie pumpkin from the fall harvest, have I got a recipe for you! This is SO good that, if you don't have one, you might want to track one (or several) down while there's still a chance to find them.

The recipe is "Pumpkin Stuffed with Everything Good" from Dorie Greenspan. The recipe is from her new cookbook, Around My French Table. I heard the recipe earlier this week in an interview with Dorie on NPR radio.

I took a photo of my little pumpkins after I'd emptied the insides but before they were stuffed and baked.
 I included the garlic in the photo to give you an idea of the size of the pumpkins. The one on the right was 2 lbs. and the one on the left was nearly 1 3/4 lbs. They were the last two left at the market so I had to use them in place of the 3 lb. pumpkin listed in the recipe ingredients.

 I saved the seeds and here they are, bathing in the brine so I can roast them tomorrow - yummy weekend treats!

So here's the recipe. I used a sage sausage as the meat in the recipe. I browned it before adding it to the stuffing. My cheese was a smoked Gruyere and I added some chopped pecans that I had oven roasted earlier in the day. I forgot to take photos after the pumpkins had finished baking but they looked just like this one that was prepared by Dorie Greenspan. My stuffing did go all the way to the top of the pumpkin. I baked them on a Silpat lined cookie sheet and was able to move both of them to a large platter for the table presentation. I served them by cutting each pumpkin in half and plating the halves. It turned out that 1/3 of a pumpkin would have been a very good portion size. I would guess 1/4 of a 3 lb. pumpkin would do the trick. I'll be having leftovers for my office lunch tomorrow.

With no further ado, here is Dorie's wonderful recipe:

Pumpkin Stuffed With Everything Good
Makes 2 very generous servings
  • 1 pumpkin, about 3 pounds
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1/4 pound stale bread, thinly sliced and cut into 1/2-inch chunks
  • 1/4 pound cheese, such as Gruyere, Emmenthal, cheddar, or a combination, cut into 1/2-inch chunks
  • 2–4 garlic cloves (to taste), split, germ removed, and coarsely chopped
  • 4 strips bacon, cooked until crisp, drained, and chopped
  • About 1/4 cup snipped fresh chives or sliced scallions
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh thyme
  • About 1/3 cup heavy cream
  • Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with a silicone baking mat or parchment, or find a Dutch oven with a diameter that's just a tiny bit larger than your pumpkin. If you bake the pumpkin in a casserole, it will keep its shape, but it might stick to the casserole, so you'll have to serve it from the pot — which is an appealingly homey way to serve it. If you bake it on a baking sheet, you can present it freestanding, but maneuvering a heavy stuffed pumpkin with a softened shell isn't so easy. However, since I love the way the unencumbered pumpkin looks in the center of the table, I've always taken my chances with the baked-on-a-sheet method, and so far, I've been lucky.

Using a very sturdy knife — and caution — cut a cap out of the top of the pumpkin (think Halloween jack-o'-lantern). It's easiest to work your knife around the top of the pumpkin at a 45-degree angle. You want to cut off enough of the top to make it easy for you to work inside the pumpkin. Clear away the seeds and strings from the cap and from inside the pumpkin. 

Season the inside of the pumpkin generously with salt and pepper, and put it on the baking sheet or in the pot. Toss the bread, cheese, garlic, bacon, and herbs together in a bowl. Season with pepper — you probably have enough salt from the bacon and cheese, but taste to be sure — and pack the mix into the pumpkin. The pumpkin should be well filled — you might have a little too much filling, or you might need to add to it. Stir the cream with the nutmeg and some salt and pepper and pour it into the pumpkin. Again, you might have too much or too little — you don't want the ingredients to swim in cream, but you do want them nicely moistened. (But it's hard to go wrong here.)

Put the cap in place and bake the pumpkin for about 2 hours — check after 90 minutes — or until everything inside the pumpkin is bubbling and the flesh of the pumpkin is tender enough to be pierced easily with the tip of a knife. Because the pumpkin will have exuded liquid, I like to remove the cap during the last 20 minutes or so, so that the liquid can bake away and the top of the stuffing can brown a little.
When the pumpkin is ready, carefully, very carefully — it's heavy, hot, and wobbly — bring it to the table or transfer it to a platter that you'll bring to the table.

You have choices: you can cut wedges of the pumpkin and filling; you can spoon out portions of the filling, making sure to get a generous amount of pumpkin into the spoonful; or you can dig into the pumpkin with a big spoon, pull the pumpkin meat into the filling, and then mix everything up. I'm a fan of the pull-and-mix option. Served in hearty portions followed by a salad, the pumpkin is a perfect cold-weather main course; served in generous spoonfuls or wedges, it's just right alongside the Thanksgiving turkey.

It's really best to eat this as soon as it's ready. However, if you've got leftovers, you can scoop them out of the pumpkin, mix them up, cover, and chill them; reheat them the next day.

Greenspan's Stuffing Ideas
There are many ways to vary this arts-and-crafts project. Instead of bread, I've filled the pumpkin with cooked rice — when it's baked, it's almost risotto-like. And, with either bread or rice, on different occasions I've added cooked spinach, kale, chard, or peas (the peas came straight from the freezer). I've made it without bacon, and I've also made and loved, loved, loved it with cooked sausage meat; cubes of ham are another good idea. Nuts are a great addition, as are chunks of apple or pear or pieces of chestnut.

Lots of Great Quilt Ideas - and Giveaways!

If you like quilting or just enjoying looking at quilt squares, you definitely need to check it out!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Adoption - A daunting decision

I was pondering my secability this evening while tending to a healing cut on the palm of my hand. I wanted to make sure the wound was no longer open since I plan to spend a great deal of time in the kitchen tomorrow. I have plans to cut up red, yellow and orange sweet peppers for the dehydrator and prepare an isangelous meal of "Pumpkin Stuffed with Everything Good."

Did you spot a couple words in there that aren't familiar? I found a most fun website tonight and adopted the words secability and isangelous. If you love words, I encourage you to go to and adopt some words of your own. These are words that have fallen into disuse and are being removed from dictionaries. You have to promise to use the words in speech and written communications to the best of your ability. The words call out to you to be picked - REALLY! Click on the word and you'll get the definition, part of speech and used in a sentence. Once you adopt a word, you get your own little party on screen. Here are a couple screen shots of my parties:

Just in case you're wondering...
Secability - noun, capability of getting cut
Isangelous - adjective, equivalent to the angels

Have fun and let me know what words you adopt!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Fabulous Floor is Finally Finished

(I love alliteration, do you?)

Another finishing project in the list of chores for the house is done. Take one empty floor with a layer of Killz primer on it:
Add two enthusiastic DIY girls (Kristine & Kathy):



And, about 4 hours later, you get one fabulous floor! 
We spent a bit of time laying out tiles and deciding the best way to handle the angle where the room wraps around the house. It worked out great. It's been one day so far and all the tiles are staying in place nicely!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Time to say goodbye to a dear, dear friend

I know it's been ages since my last posting. My daughter and sister have been prompting me to post something new. I've made excuses that I didn't have anything interesting to post but it's time to face the truth, say goodbye, and move on. It's been a month since the last post and there is a reason. At the last post, I was preparing to leave for PA for a visit with Valerie, Sam and Stephanie. I had all sorts of great ideas for posts on my return. I remembered to take my camera to get photos for my post ideas. My blog helper, Becca, was spending the week with Kristine, Kent and her boyfriend, Bear. 

The first four days of my visit were wonderful! Sam seemed to recognize my voice and face from his photo book. He was comfortable with me right away and we were having a great time. There was never a dull moment with Valerie and Stephanie. I arrived in PA on my best friend's birthday and got to give her a birthday hug ON THE DAY for the first time since 1988 - how cool is that?

Then things crashed down around me. My dog, Becca, had been ill when I left PA but I had taken her to the veterinarian before leaving on Friday night. The vet had treated her and expected her to recover, which she seemed to be doing. Kristine reported that she was mostly back to normal by Sunday and Monday. Becca started having symptoms again on Tuesday and Kristine took her back to the vet. More meds for the intestinal problem and she started to do better by the end of the day Tuesday. But on Wednesday morning, Kristine and Kent found that Becca had passed sometime during the night. I can't imagine how hard it was for Kristine to find Becca that way in the morning and I'm sorry she had to go through that. The call came and Valerie was the one to answer the phone. I was on the deck enjoying my morning coffee. It fell to Valerie to break the news to me. I remember little of the environmental details of the next half hour but have a very clear recollection of the words I heard and the emotions that followed. Becca was gone. She couldn't be - I needed her to be there when I got home. She was my bright spot every morning, my motivation to take a walk each day. She thought I was a rock star every time I came home from work. My car looked like it was upholstered in white fur because she went everywhere with me, except to the office. She listened to me whenever I wanted to talk. How could she be gone? She was only 5 1/2 years old.

The girls did their best to keep things cheery but the rest of the week just sort of slid by for me, as I anticipated the hard part coming up - returning home and not having Becca there. It's been a hard few weeks getting adjusted to not having her around but I'm making progress and am ready to move on, quit feeling sorry for myself and make a great effort to turn my reflections to the good memories. I want to be thankful for the years I had with Becca and lose the thoughts that keep me asking "why?"

I'm grateful that Becca was with family that week instead of being at a boarding kennel. I know she received the love she craved right up to the last. And I'm grateful to my veterinarian, Dr. Terry Stephens of Evergreen Animal Hospital. He sent me a lovely condolence letter after I returned home. He had taken the liberty of performing a necropsy on Becca because he couldn't understand why she had died. He found that her passing was not related to the intestinal problem we were treating. Becca had hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. This is a genetic disorder that causes sudden death and has no symptoms. Dr. Terry said that dogs with the condition often die in their sleep and that it is a quick, painless passing. I'm thankful for the blessing of knowing that Becca didn't die because of any neglected problem and I'm thankful to know that it was a peaceful passing for her. Thank you, Dr. Terry, for your time and compassion to learn this from Becca and to let me know.

So why haven't I blogged in a month? There you have it. At first I was in a funk about losing Becca. And then there was this thing we had about blogging. I've posted before about how Becca was my blog assistant. Turns out she was, more than I knew. I had a habit of getting Becca to lay by my desk while I wrote my blogs. I would give her one of her favorite treats - a retriever roll - to keep her occupied and then I would do my thing. It seemed that I just couldn't motivate my brain to write if she wasn't in her usual place. 

This post is my tribute to Becca, intended to help me turn the corner and move on. Thank you, God, for the time you gave me with Becca. She was an amazing dog and a great companion.
                              Becca - December 2004 - September 29, 2010

Monday, September 20, 2010

For Sam I Am

There's a new sweater in a new size for Sam - just in time for the fall weather and cooler temperatures. I finished the sweater on Sunday after going back home from one week stay with Kristine & Kent. 
I'm excited for this coming weekend - I'll be delivering the sweater in person! I leave for Pittsburgh at 12:55am on Friday night/Saturday morning and will be in Linesville by early Saturday afternoon. Whoohoo!! Becca doesn't get to go on this trip - she's staying home with Uncle Ken & Aunt Perla.

The slippers will also be going to PA so they can be felted and warm some cold toes.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Makovers, Anyone?

It's been nearly three weeks since my last update and busy weeks they have been! I can't even recall all that was going on the first week and a half other than to generalize that I was having more work done on the roof finishing and outside decks. Inside, I was starting the prep work for the floors refinishing. I started the week before the refinishing with boxing up books, photo frames, etc from all the furniture in the living room, center gallery, kitchen and laundry room. There are a lot of boxes stacked in the craft room now!

On Saturday, September 11 Kristine came to help me move furniture. EVERYTHING had to be moved from the rooms that would be refinished. I started working on moving anything I could handle myself early Saturday morning and thought I had made a good dent in it. When Kristine arrived a couple hours later, she saw how much I had moved and thought that it wouldn't take long for us to finish. HA :-)  It took us another six hours to empty the rooms and we only took a couple short breaks to rehydrate when we started getting light-headed.

We managed to move ALL of the furniture into the office, craft room, extra bedroom and sun room. The refrigerator would only fit through one doorway in the house - the FRONT double doors. It is now residing on the deck and is doing fine but will probably be happy to be back in the kitchen eventually. I should have taken "before" photos just for future comparison. Now that everything is moved out, I've decided there's a lot of it I don't want to put back in place. The floor refinisher says it takes 12-14 days for the finish to fully cure so it would be best to wait a week before putting the furniture back in the rooms, although we can walk on it now.

At the end of the day we were pretty tuckered out but Kristine suggested it might be a good time to paint the laundry room while it was empty. I agreed whole-heartedly and wondered why I hadn't thought of it. We planned to meet the next morning in my laundry room to tackle that task. Kristine has all the stuff for painting since she's been doing so much of it this past year. She brought all her tubs of tools down and spread the most spectacular drop cloths first thing Sunday morning. Here's a photo of me, taken by Kristine, while I was working on the second coat around one of the windows. Isn't that a cheery shade of creamy yellow?

We finished the room early Sunday afternoon and it looks great! I'm so happy she suggested we get it painted that weekend.

I went to work on Monday with my car loaded to go stay at Kent's & Kristine's house for the week. Since the floors couldn't be walked on while the work was taking place, I would only be able to access my bedroom and that wasn't going to work very well, especially with Becca needing to be fed and getting bored with being closed in one room. I had a fun week staying with Kristine & Kent and am so grateful for their offer to come and stay with them.

On Tuesday, I stopped by the house to pick up more work clothes and was able to snap a few photos from my bedroom doorway and from the front door of the floor as it was being prepped for the finish. Here's a photo of an area in the kitchen that shows "before" and "after". The previous finish had been stained but a lot of the dark color is due this being a very high traffic area:
 Here are more photos of the floor partially sanded:
The edges were all finish sanded on Wednesday after I took these photos. There are three coats of polyurethane finish on the floors. I chose to leave them natural and I think the results look great with the rest of the wood colors. That was my biggest concern but I don't think it's a problem and the lighter floor color lightens up the rooms even more. Here are photos of the finished floor as it looks today. I enjoyed my week with Kristine and Kent but am happy to be back home.

The floors weren't the only thing getting a makeover this past week. Both garage doors were replaced on Tuesday. The new doors are EnergyStar with metal exteriors and high insulation count in the core. I had considered having doors with windows this time but then found out that they'd no longer be considered energy efficient and wouldn't qualify for the federal energy tax credit so I went with solid doors that have a design. Here you go:
The damage to the finish on the house isn't repaired yet. That will be done in October. I''m hopeful that I'm still on track to have all repairs completed by the end of October and then ready for a more relaxed fall and into the holiday season.

On another note, The leaves were still green when I first went up the mountain to stay with Kristine and Kent. Each day that I drove to work and then back at the end of the day I noticed more and more leaves taking on a light green cast, then a turn toward yellow. By Saturday, there were distinct patches of yellow aspen among all the evergreen trees in their valley. I took this photo on Saturday - by Sunday morning the small yellow patch on the bottom right corner had become a deep golden shade. I believe Autumn is upon us!


Thursday, September 2, 2010

Progress on the Slipper Front

As soon as I finished the Yggdrasil blanket I pulled out the wool to make the felted slippers requested by Valerie for her family. It was fun to get started on a new project. The wool yarn gives it a different tactile experience and the smaller sized project is SO MUCH easier to balance on my lap.
I finished Amol's slippers on Saturday while Kristine and I were visiting at my house. We were enjoying the new back deck and a day of uplifting friendship. Kristine - you were more help than you know and I appreciate your love that let you give the day to me instead of being too busy when I needed you. When the slippers were finished, Kristine snapped this picture so I could share the funny-looking unfelted clown slippers with you. I'll post a picture of the handsome felted version as soon as all the slippers are finished.
I ran out of navy blue yarn for the last two rows on the bumper of Amol's 2nd slipper :-(  Oh, well, at least this way it will be easy to tell the left from the right.

I started working on Val's slippers the same day. I completed the first one last night and will start #2 today:
 The eyelash yarn knitted into the wool around the cuff should add a fun look - it picks up the purple, yellow, and a few shades in between. Kristine and I discussed the merits of adding the eyelash fur to the whole sole to create "floor dusting" slippers. Then I thought that if I also added it to the bumper around the edge, they'd be handy for cleaning the woodwork trim above the floor. But, alas, all the shag would probably make them too slippery or get caught on floor imperfections and become a tripping hazard.

Tomatoes are Turning!

A few of the tomatoes are starting to turn red!!! The first one to ripen is only about 2 inches in diameter but it's still very exciting to me. Our nights have started to turn much cooler - last night was in the 40s. I'm not expecting to see much more growth due to the cold nights but am hoping the warm days allow the fruits on the plants to ripen.
Here's a photo from Sunday, August 29 when the tomato was just getting enough color to attract attention through the leaves:
And here's a photo from today with lots more red:
 I see a tomato sandwich in my future - maybe by this weekend! Yum, yum, yummy!!

A Visit from a Distant Friend

On Friday, August 27, we had a visit from Jackie. She is a friend of Perla's from way back and has become a friend of the family. Jackie now lives in Atlanta and was in town for a conference. Luckily, she was able to fit in time to visit Perla & Ken. We first met Jackie a couple years ago on a Father's Day/Rodeo weekend. The first friendly thing she did was wipe up the Scrabble board with Kristine and myself! :-) We knew she was a Scrabble fan as soon as we saw the cool Scrabble t-shirt she was wearing. What a fun way to find new Scrabble players.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Time for a Celebration!

I had a wonderful day today. I spent it with my youngest sister, Kristine, at her home. I also had a momentous occasion while I was there. I completed the Yggdrasil blanket that I've been working on for Valerie, Amol and Sam as their house-warming gift. We paused a moment and cheered as I knitted the last stitch.
I think I spent nearly a half-hour trying to tie the last knot in a way that it would be securely finished off. That half-hour seemed a bit longer, as Kristine and I were both hungry for lunch and planning to eat as soon as that little knot was done. As it turned out, I finally called it quits for awhile and we had lunch. And a very delicious lunch it was - grilled portabella mushrooms stuffed with mozzarella cheese (seasoned with garlic and oregano,) toasted bagels with seasoned cream cheese and topped with fresh sliced tomato, and Kristine fixed a salad with blueberries. It was a lunch fit for the beautiful day we were having. I did manage to successfully tie off that little knot after lunch. So, with no more ado, here are some photos of the completed blanket. 
Here's a shot of (nearly) the entire blanket. Kristine helped me spread it out on her bed. We fitted her with a safety harness and suspended her from the ceiling fan so she could get a good shot of the whole thing. I would have done it but you know my fear of heights...
 This next shot is a close up of the border detail:
 The blanket is large - about 6' x 6' so this last photo puts it in perspective with me standing to the side of the bed. Hi Val! Hi Amol! Hi Sam! Hi Elmo! I hope you like it :-) It's been a long but fun project, especially since I was making it for you. Thank you for all your help and encouragement, Kristine! And for the great photo work, too.
The yarn really is all one color - grass green - but the light hitting the different types of stitches adds a nice shading effect, don't you think?

Sunday, August 8, 2010

This Weather is (REALLY!) for the Birds

I heard on the radio news report that our local weather is about one month ahead of schedule and has been, ever since our late-arriving spring kicked in. Normally, early August is hot, hot and then showers move in very late in August during the last few days of the month. I remember late August, 1993 when I first moved here. The days were pleasant and then we'd have showers around 5pm, just like clockwork. By 7pm the sun had dried the deck and we were in for a great evening. Not only is our weather about a month ahead of schedule but it's also providing more rain than usual. We've been having thunderstorms on a regular basis and days filled with rain, then sun, then rain, then sun, then more rain. I got a photo of this flock of birds in my neighbor's tree on Thursday during one of the breaks in the nearly day-long rain. I'm not sure what type they are but it's not a bird that frequents my feeders.

If you recognize this bird, let me know so I can look it up in my bird book and see what it looks like when captured by a real photographer!

My tomatoes are protected by the house - enough that they don't benefit from the frequent rains. I've had to start watering them more in the past week because they're really using up the old H20 in their efforts to grow the 'maters to maturity. I hope the "month ahead" on weather doesn't do them in before they've been able to give their best. They're doing a good job. Here's the current status of some of the tomatoes. (I feel like a mom posting photos of her little one.)

These are photos from just four of the nine plants. Even Junior, the plant who thought to die right after the transplanting, then decided to dig in and grow a couple weeks later (after I'd given it up for dead for at least a week) now has it's first blossom. The other four plants also have tomatoes and I can't wait to see the Howard German tomato. I currently have only two green ones. The larger is just a wee bit over 1" long. Here's what they'll look like in a few weeks:

I still haven't done any sewing on the serger or done any further work on the Tuscan quilt. I've been knitting every spare moment on the Yggdrasil blanket. I turned the corner today so that I'm working the border on the 4th side. Let's see... there are 16 rows to a set of pattern and 23 repeats of the pattern set; then 42 rows on the last corner, so I only have 410 more rows to finish. Yay!! :-(  It's been an interesting project but, I must say, this final border has been boring.

I did make a batch of strawberry ice cream this evening. Here's the bowl I'm enjoying while updating this post. So yummy, made from the fresh cream from the farm and delicious strawberries I found at the market yesterday.

It's only soft-serve consistency right now but I couldn't wait for it to get hard. Besides, I prefer my ice cream on the soft side anyway.