Tuesday, September 25, 2012


"Delicious autumn! My very soul is wedded to it, and if I were a bird I would fly about the earth seeking the successive autumns."
George Eliot

I love Autumn…the wonderful daytime temps, the colors, the crunch of the leaves as your walking, the smell of smoke from burning leaves or someone’s wood stove, the fog that hides the mountains in the morning…a long with early Spring it has to be as close to heaven as I would like to get for some time.

It makes it much nicer to do autumn chores. Earlier in the summer the man stopped at a yard sale on his way home from work.  He came home and said you have to come with me.  So back to the yard sale we went.  His excitement was a 9 tray Excaliber dehydrator for $25.  Well I have had it running recently earning its keep.

I never picked all my garlic last year and this year each clove on the head produced its own head so I had lots of garlic but all small cloves.  By rubbing them between my hands while running water over them I could easily remove their skins, run them through the food processor and lay out trays of minced garlic for drying.  All vampires in town went on vacation, it was very odorous!  I also dried multiple trays of oregano, thyme, sage and basil which was much easier to handle. 

We still have not received frost but a short drive up the mountain they have.  The river running through the valley will continue to protect us for a short time, which is good because the beans are still producing about 6 pints every two days.  The green tomatoes that were pulled are now relish, the reds salsa.  Still lots more out there so I may try my hand at ketchup.  Oh and the raspberries are still producing so I may get enough for another batch!!! {insert happy dance}.

I knit Baby O a candy corn hat.  

I hate candy corn but it is symbolic of Halloween and I was informed this year’s hats had to be different.  He had a pumpkin hat last year.  I also finished a Saroyan with Caron Natural merino/acrylic blend that I was trying to use up.  #1 daughter bought me the tatting shuttles in the last post but I haven’t had time to use them.

The yearly test to see how long we can go without turning on the heat continues although it is a little chilly when taking a morning shower!  This means instead of sitting with a second cup of coffee you need to get right to work to stay warm!  Tomorrows top chore is to can the sauerkraut.  If there isn’t enough to last the year I still have time to pick up some nice heads of cabbage at the farmers market.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Berry Bash

“Your best shot at happiness, self-worth and personal satisfaction – the things that constitute real success – is not earning as much as you can but in performing as well as you can something that you consider worthwhile.” ~ William Raspberry

What a coincidence to find a quote like that, written by Raspberry when that is exactly what today is all about.

Let’s start at the very beginning.  A very good place to start. (Sorry I have the Do Re Mi song stuck in my head)

I LOVE RASPBERRIES!  When I was pregnant with #2 daughter raspberry anything was consumed along with butterscotch candies.  For some reason they did not give me heartburn where everything else did.  Although the very thought of eating anything butterscotch now makes me gag my love of all things raspberry still burns strong.

So several years ago Cyndy was thinning out her canes and gave me several.  I thought I was planting them in a decent location but in following years they were run over by kids on lawn mowers, snowmobiles and a truck.  I got lots of runners growing up in the lawn but very few berries.  The children on their way to their grandmother’s house would nibble along with every other beast known to man.  If I ate a dozen berries in all those years I was lucky.

So three years ago I decided to salvage what was left by planting them in the garden.  The first year they put down roots but didn’t put out any berries.  The second year they sent out runners, which I shared with others.  They did produce some berries but they were few and far between.  When I noticed berries forming this year I tried not to get my hopes up.  When a couple ripened, I ate one and froze the rest hoping against hope to get enough to make jam. The beans and tomatoes kept me busy in the kitchen but when I could I would go out, pick several raspberries and freeze them.  The kids were under strict orders and threats of losing fingers (I would have started with the pinkie which is basically an unused appendage) to not touch them unless they were bringing them in to freeze.

This morning I went out to the garden and picked the balance needed to make raspberry jam.  The green beans I picked were put on hold while jars were sterilized, fruit mashed, sugar measured and lids put on the ready.  The smell was divine.  I started to drool while I stirred.  I had to run and get one of grandson’s bibs because a puddle  was starting to form at my feet.  The jars were filled and put in their hot water bath and then I was free.  Free to wash the pan ….with my tongue.  OMG I am going to hide every single jar as soon as they cool down.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Bird Brain

Use the talents you possess - for the woods would be a very silent place if no birds sang except for the best.
~Henry Van Dyke

I have birds on my mind.  I guess it starts with the new chickens which should start laying soon.  Then it moves on to the turkeys we are raising for Thanksgiving & Christmas dinner; are they big enough yet or should we let them go another couple of weeks.

Then it meanders like a flooding stream to this little bird. 

#2 son nicely paid for him after he broke my last knitting bowl three weeks after I bought it.  I acquired him this past weekend at the Endless Mountain Sheep & Wool festival.   He is still just a passing acquaintance as I have yet to sit down and have a conversation with him. 

The garden is being a very domineering child, demanding my full attention.  I had been dealing with approximately 100+ of tomatoes and two grocery bags of beans that we picked late last week so I felt confident that ignoring the garden over the weekend would not be a problem. 

But like a spurn lover jealous of no longer having my attention it went crazy, inundating me with three more bags of beans and 50+ pounds of tomatoes. 

Not willing to give into these jealous fits, I said to hell with it and I went out Tuesday night in pursuit of yet another fiber hobby, tatting.   

 It is one of those things that is beautiful and I have wanted  to learn but didn’t pursue further.  When the chance was given to me to have hands on demonstrations (read HELLLLPPP!!!)  I jumped.  

So far I have only learned the double stitch.  I attempted a picot (yes that small thing that looks like a pimple) before we had to call it a night.  I still need a ton more practice to get the stitches more even and my picots more defined but this is a very portable craft.  My socks were evicted from the sock bag so it could carry my cotton, scissors and shuttle.  And check out these Handmade tatting shuttles…beautiful!  I think they would love to come live in my sock bag! 

Handmade Ceramic Tatting Shuttles, Set of Two

So Wednesday morning I woke to nightmares of being buried under tomatoes.  I sent the man to work and the kids to school.  I entered the kitchen determined to beat the tomatoes into submission only to find I no longer have any empty pint jars!  But I was not to be beaten by that minor detail, salsa tastes just as good in a quart jar as it does a pint, so does V8 and tomato sauce. 

Today finds me still at the tomatoes, I would say I was making some headway but I did sneak a peak into the garden while walking by.  The jealous fits continue, but in a weaker form.  I will not be defeated, I will not give in, I will emerge ready to knit, spin, or tat again. 

It would happen sooner if for once the kids did NOT listen to me and left the garden gate open!  

Tuesday, September 04, 2012

August is gone.

"August rushes by like desert rainfall,
A flood of frenzied upheaval,
But still catching me unprepared.
Like a match flame
Bursting on the scene,
Heat and haze of crimson sunsets.
Like a dream
Of moon and dark barely recalled,
A moment,
Shadows caught in a blink.
Like a quick kiss;
One wishes for more
But it suddenly turns to leave,
Dragging summer away."
-  Elizabeth Maua Taylor 

Ahhhh the last weekend of summer or more rightly summer vacation is now done and over with.  We had a pig roast to celebrate #1 daughter and Sir T’s birthdays, Labor Day and the end of summer all rolled up in one big shebang. Got some alone time with Baby O while his mom and dad went yard sale hopping and fishing respectively and then went to dinner.  Wish I could harness just a small drop of his energy!

And regardless of the school shopping, the temperatures cooling, spiders and mice trying the su casa es mi casa trick and the leaves falling, I am still shocked that “summer” is over and school will be starting tomorrow.

As much as we accomplished this summer the to-do list is racing through my mind with a million things I want to get done before the snow flies.  I realize it will be some time before that truly happens but I don’t want it to catch me as shockingly unaware as school starting has!

When the night temps started dipping I went to work on socks for #2 daughter.  They had been long promised and kept being put on the back burner.  One is done and the second is on the needles along with a scarf.  There is the inevitable list of things I would like to knit if I only had more hands and time.

The garden is producing.  The squash are doing great which is amazing since I ignored that part of the garden.  The canning continues; green beans and carrots yesterday with tomatoes getting done tomorrow.  The pigs are getting big and will be leaving in about a month.  We bought ¼ share in a 4H steer so the freezers and shelves will be packed full soon.

The man and I went for a walk yesterday to check for elderberries near one of his old fishing spots.  

The birds had long taken the bounty but it was nice to just relax , talk about the weekend, the summer and what else needs to be done.   In some respects summer flew by and in others it has been soooooo long.  

With the change of the calender page #1 daughter is looking forward to cuddling up with hot cocoa but #2 daughter is starting her senior year so is bouncing between sadness and joy.   Ironic how we long for things and then when they arrive we barely have time to enjoy them before they are gone.  She better hold on tight this school year is going to have wings.