Friday, July 30, 2010
Wednesday, July 28, 2010
However, I had grown a bit bored with the Tea Leaves cardigan and was in need of a project to get me motivated to knit again. A package came from my sister at just the right time to help pull me out of my knitting funk. A fellow knitter, she sent me two skeins of super soft Malabrigo yarn, possibly in response to an email I sent her with this attached (only fellow knitters and Twilight readers will really get a kick out of it). Also in the package was a mostly completed light-weight jacket for Isaac. Ironically, the pattern, called Duck Soup, has been on my own knitting "To Do" list for quite a while. All I had to do was seam up the hood, block it, and add a toggle closure. Ta da! Nearly instant knitting satisfaction!
Chunky Isaac really fills it out, but will hopefully get a little wear out of it in the coming months. Since I finished up the jacket, I have been making an effort over the last week or so to fit knitting back into my daily rhythm. I sneak it in during those precious minutes when both the boys are napping, or after they go to bed at night. After much searching for the perfect pattern to use for a winter jacket for Isaac, I decided to use the Duck Soup pattern with a few modifications. The first time I saw this pattern, my intention was to use it to knit an oversize jacket and then felt it. Instead, I am going to make it to size and then line it with fabric. That is the plan anyway. I have never done a combination knitting and sewing project before and I really hope it turns out.The jacket is knit seamlessly (except for the top of the hood) from the top down with raglan sleeves. I should have done a provisional cast-on so that I could have seamlessly sewn up the top of the hood when it is finished, but the yarn wasn't cooperating. It is Brown Sheep's Lanaloft, a single ply, 100 % wool yarn in a color called Roasted Pepper. Overall, it is working pretty well, but it is loosely spun in parts and a bit splitty. There is also a lot of plant debris in it. The sheep must have had a good roll in the grass and weeds before it was shorn.
Monday, July 26, 2010
Thursday, July 22, 2010
In the few minutes after he wakes up and eats, Isaac is agreeable to being put down for a few minutes. He is working on sitting up, and is pretty good at it as long as he holds himself up with his hands. He also has two new teeth and his little tongue is constantly going in and out like a little snake as he uses it to explore them. Here, he is thinking, "Gee, brother, I would really like that toy, but if I reach for it..."
Curtis arrived back home yesterday after a long car ride from Ohio after his flight was canceled due to the storms and tornadoes that rolled through last night. I hope he is rested up, because I head back to work tomorrow and need a break from these two adorable, rather exhausting boys!
Tuesday, July 13, 2010
The Scarlet Runner Beans grew up the tepee and then back down again. I did not realize how tall they would get! The sunflowers are getting tall as well. Maybe a little too tall. I think they are providing too much shade for the zucchini growing beneath them.
The two varieties of cosmos starting blooming this week. I planted them with the hope that I would have enough blooms for a couple bouquets of cut flowers. The dill is also getting really tall. These were volunteers from last years crop and they are more sturdy than ever. I think they look like little yellow fireworks bursting open in the herb garden.Soon we will have some little cucumbers to nibble on. Or rather, I will have soon cucumbers to nibble on. So far, I am the only one in this house that likes them in their natural, pre-pickle state.Curtis is waiting patiently for the tomatoes. These are a yellow pear variety, good for snacking. We also have four plants with a larger heirloom variety that are doing quite well.A couple weeks ago I pulled up a carrot, just to see how they were coming and was surprised to see how big some of them were already. The Cosmic Purple and Amarillo Yellow carrots are pretty and tasty too. Along with the carrots we have harvested bush beans, onions, and Swiss chard. And last week I went out and harvested most of the basil, but not because I wanted to...The Japanese Beetles are back in full force. It is so frustrating! Every day we go out with our pail of soapy water and handpick dozens of the nasty little things. They are especially fond of Genovese basil (they leave the Purple Opal alone, for the most part), runner beans (I tried a new variety this year hoping they wouldn't like them, but no such luck!), and the strawberries. So before they destroyed the entire crop of basil, I decided to go ahead and harvest most of it to make into pesto.
If you would like to make some pesto, good on sandwiches (Curtis uses in his paninis) and adding to pasta sauce, here is my 'What To Do When The Japanese Beetles Are Eating Your Basil' Recipe:
3 cups basil
4 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
4 tbsp olive oil
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 tbsp lemon juice
1/4 cup pine nuts or walnuts (optional)
salt to tasteIn a food processor (or with a stick blender) blend together 1 cup of basil, garlic, nuts and olive oil until a thick paste forms. Add the rest of the basil, Parmesan cheese, lemon juice, and salt and continue to blend. Add more olive oil as needed to reach desired texture. Adding just part of the basil to start makes it easier to blend the garlic well. The lemon juice keeps the basil from turning brown in color. I then spoon the pesto into an ice cube tray and freeze it. Once frozen, you can store the pesto cubes in a freezer bag and just take out one or two cubes as needed.
Despite the beetles, it is really a treat to be able to go outside and pick our own organically grown vegetables for dinner. I like searching for new recipes and building our meal around what is in season. The best part is when Noah actually eats what I have prepared. It makes for one proud mama :)
Monday, July 12, 2010
Despite the hot and humid weather, we kept somewhat cool in the shade. I got in some solo swinging before being joined by Isaac. He was mesmerized by the trees overhead, and cooed and talked to them in his new sweet, high-pitched, puppy dog voice.Isaac is always aware of his brother and watches his every move. Noah likes to act goofy to get Isaac laughing. Together, they provide quite the entertainment.On Saturday, we all got dressed up for a country wedding, complete with sunflowers, an outdoor ceremony under a handmade arbor with storm clouds overhead, and a horse that really did not want to carry the bride down the aisle. Most importantly...two people in love and looking very happy indeed.The weather cooperated, just barely, waiting until after the ceremony before down pouring. Isaac snuggled with Curtis under the huge tent as we waited for the rain to pass.Before long, the sun came out again and I got a chance to visit with some of my siblings and extended family. Isaac charmed lots of people with his easy smile before getting a little sleepy. So what do you do when you have a heavy, sleepy baby and need to give your arms and back a rest? Hand him over to his Uncle Colin, who will walk him around the fields for a good long time before returning with a drool-covered shoulder and sore arms of his own.
Each summer, our parents stand in a long line and buy boxes of peaches off a truck straight from the south. All weekend, those peaches ripened in the dark basement, until Sunday morning when they were the perfect juicy ripeness. So before driving home, I spent Sunday morning with my Mom, peeling and slicing peaches for freezing. My goodness, she was fast! I think she peeled and sliced about three peaches in the time it took me to do one. All those hours spent canning as a young girl, she says. I think it is some Grandma superpower or something. We will enjoy those frozen peaches in the months to come. For now, we also have lots of fresh ones to eat, and today I made peach cobbler. Tomorrow, peach pie. Isaac, wondering where the endless supply of arms and laps has gone now that we are back home, demanded that he watch the process from his sling.
So, despite being a little tired and having lots of laundry to do, I am glad to begin the week feeling refreshed by family, music, and lots of good food.