Sunday, July 18, 2010

Gnomecoming-part II Gnomeageddon

Ok, not really but I'm going to try this post again on my own computer where I know what the hotkeys will do and can see Flickr without waiting minutes for pictures to load in.  Seriously, I am glad I don't really remember how slow dial up was.  :p

So yesterday Maegwin and I went to the Farmers' Market after our Mommy & Baby yoga class.  We had a great time and found a lot of good stuff.  Our intention was to buy a tomato, granola, apples, plums, and anything else that struck our fancy.  I sauntered over to the apple vendor who had no less than ten varieties of apples with him this week, most of which I had never heard of or tried.  There was a woman there sampling an apple.  She proceeded to tell me right in front of the farmer how it was SO tart that it wasn't good for ANYTHING but sauce or pies.  She didn't say this just once but multiple times.  Now, as a rule I don't believe anyone who is a. without an internal speech filter and has no clue that they are insulting a person's wares literally in front of their face and b. assuming they know what I like.  The farmer was obviously noticing because he started warning people it was the first harvest and they would change over time.  I asked him for a sample of the same apple the woman was having and oh boy, IT WAS AMAZING!!!  Like the perfect cross between a Granny Smith and a Fuji.  It had the right crispness, tartness, and flavor.  I felt like turning to the woman, who was by this time continuing her antics with someone else, and saying "Whoa there Nellie!  Not all of us like our fruit tasteless and insipid.  Why don't you go find yourself a Red Delicious and leave the nice man alone?"  Of course I didn't (see point A. above) but I contented myself with singing the praises of the farmers' apples, especially the Wealthy variety.  It is apparently an heirloom variety you don't really see anymore.  He definitely noticed because he loaded my bag up with apples well above where the others were and I had at least two maybe even three pounds in there.  We also got a great loaf of wheat bread from Lucky Cat bakery in Pataskala, OH which is very close by.  We tried a loaf of her focaccia last week and it made the most fabulous egg salad sandwiches.  Finally I got some cheese.  Oh the cheese!  I selected a chive & garlic chevre roll, which we enjoyed on egg, avocado, and tomato croissants for breakfast, and some ranch cheddar curds.  They were both so delicious and came from Blue Jacket Dairy in Bellefontaine, OH-near where my mom & dad live.

So here I was with a couple pounds of apples and some peaches from last week's market that we didn't get to.  The peaches were still good but at the point of ripeness where you have to share some special bonding time with your kitchen sink as you crouch over it to catch all the peachy juices.  While I love a good peach, they were just unmanageable to eat.  I had read on the Smitten Kitchen blog about a peach blueberry cobbler and had an idea.  I would make a peach apple crisp.  She suggested cutting a small cross in the bottom of each peach and dipping them in boiling water for 30 seconds to remove the skins.  I tried this and oh my goodness!  If any of you knew about this little piece of wisdom, don't tell me because honestly you've been holding out on me.  This sort of thing should be shouted from the proverbial rooftoops.  Not only did it make peeling them a snap but it also made it ridiculously easy to remove the pits.  We are definitely keeping it in mind next time we make a peach or nectarine mead.
peaches and apples
I made a triple crumble topping recipe because honestly there can never be too much crisp.
ready for delicious
As you can see, my favorite cookbook is a little *ahem* well-loved.  It basically comes apart in sections now.  Really it is an advantage since I can just grab the part I want and I know which sections I use the most because they have batter on the pages I like.  I also could throw out the meat sections if I had thought of that before just now.
sad cookbook
The crisp turned out so good that we both ate two helpings and had to stop ourselves from eating more.

At last week's farmers' market I also stopped into the garden store that is one of the hosting locations (they let the farmers use their patio).  I had seen a lawn gnome in there last year that I fell absolutely in love with.  Let me preface this by confessing my abiding adoration for lawn gnomes.  It is the only word that I know how to say in four languages.  I have loved lawn gnomes since I was a child and always imagined that when I had a house it would have a gnome.  The one I found was the ideal gnome with the perfect mix of mischievousness and sweetness in his expression.  When we went back to purchase him though he was gone.  I special ordered him three times but to no avail.  Well this year when I went in there he was.  I went back to talk to the owner and bought him.  She found my special orders, tucked away in the catalog by her temporary help from last summer, and apologized profusely for not getting it for me.  Good thing I was persistent.  Let me just say he is heavy!  He's made of solid concrete and we had to go back and pick him up so Josh could carry him.
gnomey goodness
My mom also bought me a smaller gnome that has a little lantern to absorb sunlight all day and glow at night.  I keep forgetting to look and see if it works.  He is nestled up amongst our shasta daisies, coneflowers, and black-eyed Susans, and bee balm by the house.  I love looking out and seeing him there while I do dishes.
nestled gnome

The garden is finally really taking off after the magical combination of rain and hot weather we've had.  I literally planted the corn like three weeks ago and it's already over a foot tall.
corn beans & squash
This patch has corn, black beans, and butternut squash in it.  We had, or thought we had, bad luck with the butternut squash seeds this year.  We had given up on all the ones that didn't germinate and threw them out on the porch to be torn up and added to the compost.  Well, we got busy and honestly forgot about them.  When we looked out there the other day lo and behold they had all sprouted!  I guess they just needed rain and sun and a lot of time.
butternut squashlings
The green beans are all the way up their teepees and the limas are climbing.  The peas are on the smaller lattices and have flowers on them so we will soon be enjoying sugar snap pea pods.
green & lima beans and peas
Our potatoes have completely filled up their plot and we will have gallons and gallons of them this year I think.
The tomatoes have also finally got a foothold and I think after getting rid of the baby groundhog that was trapped inside the fencing and installing pinwheels to deter others, they might finally make it to give us tomatoes this year.  They aren't as big as other people's but we grew ours from seeds so I think this is about where they honestly should be this time of year without the benefit of a greenhouse.
We've been harvesting lots of arugula (seen here in the middle of the front plot) and our cantaloupes are filling in.  Our cucumbers are also just starting to get on their lattices.
arugula cantaloupe & cucumbers
The asparagus ferns are growing, but we won't get anything from them until next year.  This year is all about strengthening their root system.
asparagus ferns

Whew, that's what is going on around here for now.  I think I got most of my initial post re-created.  See why I was mad that I lost it?

Saturday, July 17, 2010


Well I had a post all written but it got deleted.  I'm pretty pissed off right now so more later I guess.

Sigh, stupid blogger has an autosave so I had a great post about how we went to the farmers' market and how I made a crisp and all about how awesome the stuff I got was.  Sadly hours of work just went down the drain with a little tap of the backspace button on this stupid laptop I am using because Josh's computer decided to die.  See, this is why I don't post all the time.  When I make a post it takes me literally hours to get all the formatting right, think of what to say, lay it out, etc.  It is the reason that I try to comment on all the blogs I read.  I want people to understand I know the hard work they put in and that I appreciate it.  Anyway, this is going to be picture heavy and not nearly as witty as the one I just wrote.  Maybe I'll recreate it later when I'm in a better mood.

Maegwin has been sitting up though not on her own.  We put her in my chair with the Boppy and her expressions were priceless.
big girl sitting
I think this one looks like she is doing ballet arms.
ballet arms
i'm in mommys chair

Yeah...sorry I'm just not in the mood to write now.  I'm going to go knit.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

This one's from Maegwin

oh hi
Oh, hello! I'm Maegwin and I wanted to take a few moments to speak to you about the importance of good oral hygiene. Even though I don't have teeth yet, I know it is never too soon to start practicing.
start at the back
It's essential to use a soft bristled brush. Most dentists don't even know why they make any other kind. (I've seen Daddy wash dishes with a toothbrush so maybe that's what they're for.)
getting the proper brushing grip
I use Preserve brand toothbrushes. They're made from recycled number 5 plastic-that's yogurt cups! They're good for your teeth AND the environment.
twist off the cap
Equally important is toothpaste selection. Hold the tube thusly and twist off the cap using your newly developed pincer grasp.
just bite it off
If you haven't mastered this skill, just bite it off.
relax while you brush
After a thorough brushing you can congratulate yourself on a job well done.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Knitting along

Fair warning for those who only come here for baby posts. I really don't have any new pictures of Maegwin or much of any news. She continues to be adorable and the joy of our lives. No progress really on talking or crawling; she still scoots around in circles. I'll even frontload the blog post with her so that those who have no interest in my knitting can flitter away knowing that I haven't put anything else of interest to you in this post.
the wheels on the bus are in my crib
Oh and lest ye all think that I don't love the dogs anymore, I caught this moment on film. Their other beds were in the wash so they improvised.
desperate times

Ok-are they gone? All of you still here, you know what I'm talking about. The good stuff-the knitting. Not that baby stuff isn't good stuff. Of course it is. I've got a wee case of cast-on-itis and thought maybe sharing what I've got going might help.

First up, Hippo from the fabulous book Itty Bitty Toys. This is my first toy attempt and I'm really enjoying it. I've got the head and body sewn together and am working on the arms. The pattern calls for holding two strands together while knitting. This has a two fold benefit of both using up sock yarn (of which I have a lot) and also of giving a mighty interesting mottled look. The yarn is Knitpicks Imagination in the colorway Gingerbread House.
hippo in progress
I found some bamboo stuffing that I'm very happy about but I think I should have stuffed the body a bit more. Maybe once the arms and legs are on though it will be fine. It did make for easier sewing on of the head.

Second on the needles is my first crochet project, Santorini. Yes, I am that crazy. Not only did I just learn crochet but I thought "hey, I can totally knit a sweater so I'm sure I can crochet one". I've managed all of one row so far but I knit the gauge swatch about ten times so I feel pretty confident that I both have gauge and know the stitches. It's in a lovely white cotton/tencel blend that has a nice drape and has apparently withstood getting ripped out ten times. Rowan's crochet book has totally changed my focus and I now am looking for ways to combine knit and crochet.

Third on the needles is French Quarter Socks in Burgundy Cherry Mousse from Craftsmeow. She still has some of this yarn at her Etsy shop so go check it out. It is shiny and soft and a dream to work with. I'm making the 72 stitch version and though the pattern calls for size 0 needles I got gauge with a size 2. I'm thinking that perhaps Anne Hanson of knitspot must be a looser knitter than I am. This pair of socks is for the July Sock Knitters Anonymous challenge. I'm still a part of this group on Ravelry though I've yet to complete a pair of socks this year. It seems that Maegwin keeps getting in the way. ;)

Fourth on the needles is Josie's wedding afghan. I'm on the second repeat and everyone compliments it when they see it. I'm doing three to four rows a night and should still be on target to complete it the weekend before we head out. If I can get ahead of the game I will try to do so but there are so many distractions, both knitting, work, gardening, and housework related.

I'm still part of Stashdown in my Yarn Snobs group on Ravelry. I ended Q1 and Q2 in the green and am heading into Q3 with a lot of projects planned to complete. Yardage out only gets to be counted when a project is cast off so there will be lots of that if I can get all aforementioned items completed.