Sunday, September 30, 2012

Cabins

 
 
I've been pondering an ongoing feature that I want to start.
 As you know, I live in the Sierra Nevada mountains in California. This community has been a vacation village for many years and has some charming cabins. Some are old, and some are brand shiny new. The older cabins are my favorite, and I wish that I could have tours of the insides of them. I like to take drives at night when the interior lights are on so that I can see some of the old fashioned charm. They are knotty pine, stone fireplace treasures. Some have pine tree stumps as foundations. No cement, no earthquake retrofits, no insulation, no heaters, no nothin'. No nothin', but charm. I'm thinking of posting one photo every Sunday. No addresses or names, just a single photo. What do you think?
 
Please comment. I have viewers, but no commenters... I'm starting to get a complex!
 
 
 


Saturday, September 29, 2012

Pesto

 
I grew one basil plant this summer. It wasn't in the best spot in the garden. A couple of volunteer sunflowers popped up in front of the basil when I wasn't paying attention and it didn't get enough sun.  I was still recovering from my spine surgery, and I couldn't bend over or move the flowers. Anyway, I just love sunflowers so I couldn't remove their sunny faces. They're so happy!
 
My basil plant was sort of puny, and had little leaves. I pinched the buds off all summer, and eventually had enough leaves to make one batch of pesto. I don't know what happens to basil when you add garlic, cheese, olive oil and pine nuts, but I do know that it's magic. Magic that I freeze in ice cube trays and then place in ziplock bags. Magic that I can have on homemade pizza or pasta in the middle of winter when we have snow on the ground.
 
It's magic.
 
3 cups basil leaves
 
1/2 cup olive oil
 
1/2 cup parmesean cheese
 
1/2 cup toasted pine nuts (toasted is WAY better)
 
Three or four garlic cloves
 
Salt and pepper
 
Place whole, peeled garlic cloves in a food processor and pulse until finely chopped. Turn processor off and add basil leaves, cheese, toasted pine nuts, salt and pepper. Pulse until almost smooth. Slowly drizzle in olive oil and when incorporated turn off the processor. You don't want it absolutely smooth. A little character please...
 
Back to business... Spoon the pesto into old fashioned, plastic ice cube trays. Place in freezer until frozen. Then pop the pesto cubes out of the trays and place into ziplock bags. Delicious!
 


Friday, September 28, 2012

Never Give Up

 
 
I told you that I had to start over with Pea Vines. In fact I had to start over twice. I discovered that I actually only have enough yarn to knit the mini size, and I had cast on for the medium. So, the second attempt was frogged as well... I don't know about the rest of you knitters, but I really do not like to rewind my yarn and start over. I think of the time lost. The time that I spent on that yarn. The stitches that were perfect, until I made an un-recoverable mistake. It just frustrates me. Makes me mad at myself. For not paying enough attention. For trying to do too many things at once. For being distracted.
 
Removing the errors in knitting is what has made me able to knit at all. I spent the first year or two of my knitting career starting over. Then, I couldn't "read" my knitting, and I couldn't see where the mistake was. I only knew that I was off a stitch or two. I couldn't get the stitches back on the needles if they had to be taken off. I would have to take the needles out, re-wind my yarn, and start over.  Let's just say that after a lot of practice, I'm usually able to see the problem.
 
I am my Fathers child. I never let anything stop me if I want it bad enough. I have a single minded focus if I need it that helps me learn, and improve, and move forward. I wish the focus was always engaged, and then I wouldn't make the mistake in the first place. As Dad used to say... "You just didn't think". He was right. A little more focus on the knitting the first time around would prevent that horrible frogging.
 
The only good thing, is I'm getting pretty good at "nupps". Practice is a good thing...

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Fade

 
 
 
The last blast of summer is here. It is going to be warm the next few days. The air conditioner will be on in the afternoons. The weather man says we should be having a "cool down" starting in the middle of next week. I can hardly wait. My garden doesn't have one thing blooming except the Japanese anemone. They are purple jewels in the midst of a parched and dry landscape. Everything else looks sort of crispy around the edges and tired. Ready for a long nap.
 
I am always ready for autumn and even winter. I like storms, but not the ones that knock trees down. We had one of those last winter. There were pines through roofs all over this little village. The dentists office was completely rebuilt, because a massive tree sliced it right through the middle. There were patients in chairs and all of the staff in that building. Truly a miracle, that no one was hurt. There were adorable old cabins and not so adorable cabins that thankfully weren't occupied when trees sliced them open.
 
I'm just ready for a fire in the stove, candles and hot chocolate. My garden looks ready for a rest as well.
 
I did plant a few winter vegetables. Broccoli, cabbage and garlic. I have never tried growing anything through our snowy winter. We'll call it an experiment, and see what happens. I'll be in the house with my knitting. I have two quilts that need to be quilted as well, and I can't wait to get to work. 

Monday, September 24, 2012

So

 
 
 
 
So, just when I was really proud of myself for not making a mistake in my knitting the fates gave it to me. I had completed about four or five inches without having to resort to the lifeline. I moved it about every four rows just in case. Last night when I knew I was too tired to be knitting at all, much less knitting lace, I made a mistake. I ripped out two rows to my life line. I decided to do one more row before calling it a night and guess what?. I was one stitch short. I ripped it out one more time...
 
That stitch was not only missing, but I had not run my life line through it and there was a BIG hole where that stitch should have been.
 
I was not a happy camper. I pulled the whole thing out and re-rolled my yarn.
 
Today, I have started over. No smugness any more... Oh, No. I've learned my lesson. It also kept me awake all night, so I had a double lesson.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Bounty

 
 
 
 
 
This time of year I spend a lot of time working with pears. I love pears and it's a good thing I do.
 
 The property I am lucky enough to live on used to be a pear orchard. Used to be, almost one hundred years ago. We have found rusty horseshoes when digging holes to plant more apple trees, or my personal favorite, more ruby gems. Maple trees. I think that there are eight pear trees. They are knobby and crooked and ancient. They are starting to think about turning golden yellow.
 
Back to the pears...
 
I have baked three pear pies. Simmered three gallons of pear sauce. Canned four pints of pear jam. I have four more pints of jam to go, and I will have another pear season under my belt. If you haven't tried pear jam on a warm buttery biscuit, you have seriously missed out on a delicious pear experience.

I didn't even mention the green beans, and the dehydrated tomatoes. I've been working with them too...
 
 While I have been immersed in sugary pear heaven, I have also knit a row or two here and there. I've also completed the applique portion of my pumpkin quilt. I have to sew the borders, and then it's on to my first experiment in machine quilting. Nothing really to photograph, but I'm still working.
 
 
Oh. I have a puppy that I've been spending quality time with. One of my best friends...
 
 
 


Monday, September 10, 2012

Working

I've spent the early morning training my puppy, and walking one of my other dogs. The dog run is clean. I'm on my third load of laundry. I need to vacuum my sewing room, and then I'm going to knit and work on my Autumn quilt. I wish the weather would become autumn like. The light is changing. The sun is lower in the sky, and more golden. The finches are very busy at my feeder outside the sewing room window. They have bright yellow breasts, and they twitter as they position themselves for a feast. I think that they would be happier as well, if it wasn't so warm.
 
Do you see that green life line? ...and all those stitch markers. I am unable to knit lace without them. I need those stitch markers to know where I am. I also use one of those stitch counters. You know the red ones that you click the top of to count? I have to keep track of my repeats with it. Don't you think that I could count to seven? Nope. Not without my clicker.
 
Have a lovely day. I hope its crispy cool where you are. I wish it were crispy cool here too...
 
 








Sunday, September 9, 2012

Swamped

It's been a week since I posted. I've been swamped. How can I be swamped when I live in the mountains, and I only have myself to take care of? Oh yeah, and a husband, and three Golden Retrievers, and a garden, and a house that doesn't clean itself. I also have "groups" that I belong to. They require my presence. I love them, but they take time.

My projects take time. Time away from posting... Now that's funny, since this is supposed to be about my projects.

I spent all morning dealing with tomatoes and green beans from my vegetable garden. The tomatoes are in the dehydrator. I sprinkled the the slices with olive oil, and salt and pepper. The green beans are cleaned and snapped. They are in the freezer.

Anyway.

The lifeline on my Pea Vines by Ann Hanson has come in handy, as I knew it would. I had to rip out four rows this afternoon. I spent all afternoon knitting, while I watched football. I could have spent half as much time, or knit twice as much. That will teach me not to knit lace when my Forty-Niners are on the television. Who can count and cheer at the same time?

It is going to be very hot this week. I think I'll be spending a lot of time on my lace knitting.

I also have a beautiful puppy to spend time training. That first dog show is starting to get close. Just about six weeks away... That grooming table is the biggest hurdle at the moment.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Welcome September

It's almost my favorite month.




 
 We have to get through one more warm month to get to October. Where I live, in a tourist town ,we have to get through this weekend. This one last weekend of being overrun with vacationers. They are here. Believe me they are here. They are noisy, rude and overwhelming. We drove through town last night, and there was a concert happening. While the music was inviting, the parking was not. There wasn't even standing room. There were only tourists... Every cabin had multiple cars filling driveways, and narrow mountain lanes. There were charcoal barbecues sending up choking amounts of smoke, and believe me we do not like smoke this time of year.
 
October on the other hand brings quiet, and hopefully lovely rainy days. Quiet days spent knitting and quilting and butternut squash soup. Apple cinnamon doughnuts and weekends spent with girlfriends doing what we love best. Quilt shows, and dog shows. My dear husbands birthday, and this year is a big one. I think we'll have a party.
 
Get back to me on Tuesday, after the tourists go home. I'll be hiding until then.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Pea Vines

I took the plunge and cast on to knit Pea Vines. It took one hour of furrowed brow concentration to cast on and knit one row. One row!

 
 
Today we are going out of town for a birthday party, so I won't be knitting. Maybe on Sunday I will be able to knit row two...
 
It's going to be a long project, but I'm ready. I haven't knit a lace project in the longest time. I had to deal with the effects of my neck issue and the drugs that I had to take for survival. Those drugs made counting and concentration impossible. I sort of just sat... I read, but don't ask  me what I read. Nothing sunk into my brain. I sort of functioned on a basic level. I cleaned and cooked and baked and read, but I don't really remember a lot of the last year. I also knit and quilted, but nothing complicated. Nothing that required thinking. I couldn't sit at the sewing machine. I couldn't bend my neck. Or turn my head. If I spoke to you on the phone, I don't remember our conversation...

Oh well...

I'm so thankful to have myself back to normal!