Monday, July 20, 2009

A Knee Sock - Voila

So, I only have one done, but I decided to share! I did make a whole entire stocking but when I tried it on it was very itchy from the knee up, so I did the frog dance (rip it, rip it, rip it) and made it a knee sock again. I can see myself wearing them with my tall black boots and a denim skirt, or under a dark wool pleated skirt... they'll be a cheerful color extravaganza on dull winter days. I need some penny loafers!

I mean, look at that color! Guaranteed to brighten up the day!

One final thing... I have rather severe body image issues, but, really... these gams just don't quit!

Here's the next one, on the needles. Isn't the yarn gorgeous! Every half inch is a revelation!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Farmer's Markets

Our first real initiation to a farmer's market couldn't have happened at a better one. San Luis Obispo's farmer's markets are kind of legendary, really they're rather more like carnivals with really fresh food. Street musicians, fresh flowers, magicians, street corner preaching, and prepared foods joined the fresh food in vying for our attention. Our local markets are less complicated, but they've got plenty to satisfy our hunger for local food and farm products.

We bought lots of yummy veggies and some berries and some ground lamb and lamb sausage... ground lamb mixed with ground beef for hamburgers is really good... I only wish we'd gotten some fresh goat cheese to stuff those burgers with a la Eat Make Read. Ooooh, also this cocktail... mmmmmm.

I even bought yarn! and some fiber covered soap from the Dream Keeper Farm in Orlean VA. They had 220 yards of hand dyed worsted wool yarn from their sheep (not handspun). Fun! For $10 a skein! Score! I bought a loverly bluey, lavendery, aquaey variegated skein for my friend's 6th baby. OK, I'm knitting a gift for said baby with said yarn. Actually, I'll probably finish knitting it tonight after I write this. More on that later! Those half gallon jars are for our milk from our cow shares... we start getting at least two gallons a week next week. And look at that cool bag I got from the Dream Keeper booth, just for free with my stuff!

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Hi! Look What I Made!

I made: a box for my Latin vocabulary flash cards out of two sheets of 12x12 scrapbooking paper.

A blouse from Weekend Sewing:

Summer Afternoon Blouse
Size L
Modified neckline and sleeve length.
JoAnne's brand cotton lawn
Also, ipod cozy, from leftover orange sock yarn (Zitron Trekking and Knit Picks Palette) and vintage blue button.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Waves of Blue

Well, these were started ages ago... I had no trouble knitting the first sock, but then I got a really bad case of SSS (Second Sock Syndrome) and I didn't cast on that second sock for a really, really long time. But I did, finally, and slowly knitted away, when I didn't have anything else to do. And I finished them, and I tried them on, and it was a LOT smaller than the first one, it was a whole size smaller, 20 stitches smaller, to be exact. I had to rip and cast on that sock, again, a second time... it was slightly demoralizing, to say the least. Still I plodded on, and finished that sock again... course I still had to re-knit the toe... this sock is not hard, I don't know what the heck had gotten into me! Anyway, they'll be warm and toasty on my tootsies come cold weather. And a cheerful blue that will keep the "blues" away! Oh, hey, I took these pics myself! I do yoga. Sometimes.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009


We are locavores, when at all possible. We like to eat stuff that is grown around here, which is really easy in our area because we're very rural, but near a city, so there are tons of small farms and farmer's markets, etc. very near. Monday morning we went to Hartland Orchard and picked blueberries. We have the luxury, being at home to go in the morning on a weekday, which is the best time because it's cool, there are fewer people, and the bushes are less picked over, which is common on a Saturday anytime after the first hour a u pick it farm is open. Anyway, the people there are just as friendly as can be, and helpful, and eager to answer questions, which is wonderful. Soooo, here are our five pints of blueberries:

What to do with all those berries? Jeremy had picked up a bargain cookbook featuring food from Maine and I used a recipe for a blueberry crumble pie... yum.

The Prairie Princess made the crust for me and put it in the fridge this afternoon.

I rolled it out and fluted the edges and popped it in the fridge.

Mmmmmmmm, blueberries, flour, baking powder, and a pinch of black pepper!?!

Next the Crumble! Flour, dark brown sugar, and lots of butter...

And very small people to help.

Baking the pie crust, using dried green peas as pie weights

More crumble-ing, and little baby helpfulness:

The finished crumble all, um, crumbly

I popped this all into the pie crust, put it in the oven, and made a little tart with the leftover filling and crust... to give to the neighbors. What do you do with the leftover crust and filling.

All served with a litle iced cream, warm and tangy sweet, with that nutty, molassas flavor in the crumble, wonderful! I'd have added some oats and maybe some nuts to the crumble, but it was really good.

It's absolutely amazing, a bit of summer on your tongue.

Of course, I forgot to plan supper, so we didn't eat till 9:30 pm, cause we're a little short on cash right now and hub says no eating out... and the kids went to bed late and were grumpy all morning, but the pie was worth it.

Monday, July 13, 2009


Did you ever get the feeling that something is wrong at the heart of your soul? That you've missed some essential, foundational point that is necessary for contentment? I've been feeling that way lately. It's sort of like an itch on my psyche... and I can't seem to scratch it.

I look at my life and see many areas that are being neglected, but the most important are always the most difficult to take care of. They take planning and self discipline and time and effort to tend. I was struggling for awhile with really taking the time to enjoy my kids, but I think that is starting to be much more of a habit of thought, I do enjoy my kids more... Lately I've had this body image/fitness conflict raging which I think is only a symptom of the deeper, subtler angst that I'm starting to face now. I usually find a lot of spiritual fulfillment from making things, from creating, from making things beautiful, or from making a really great pie, making a dress or blouse: make, make, make. I used to see it as an act of Worship to take what is mundane and make it sublime. Lately, I haven't even wanted to create. I've clung to my knitting like an addiction, a need to be filled, but found so much less joy in the accomplishment than I used to. My cooking lately: uninspired, bland, and plain boring. I hardly even walk in the garden. I am no longer worshipping, I am drudging, slogging, out of habit or duty or something.

Something is wrong. The truth is this: souls can starve. Mine needs some nourishment. Most of my readers are moms, so you'll probably recognize this habit. We make the kids lunch, and we make it good for them... we balance the menu, thinking about protein and calcium and fruit and veggies, we include a bit of whole grain in there somewhere and finish it off with some organic whole milk... We make really healthy kid food: simple, boring, and as whole and unmeddled with as possible. And for our own lunch? We eat whatever the kids left on their plates so that food is not wasted.

I think spiritually, I've been eating whatever is left after the family has had their fill.

Clear as mud?

So, the "what to do" for me, is obvious. I need to eat. The problem is: I've lost my appetite.

So, I've decided to institute a sort of invalid diet of psalms, proverbs, a Gene Livingston Hill novel, and tv restriction (because, as we all know, junk food ruins your appetite for what is wholesome), also an early morning prayer and meditation time, which I've neglected for a while because of babies and a lack of routine. So, in with routine and out with unfettered free time. In with wholesome, simple spiritual nourishment in the hopes it will increase my appetite again for more complex and sophisticated fare. And for mercy's sake, more writing!

Friday, July 10, 2009

Summertime and the Livin' is Crazy

Wow! I'm going crazy here... there is so much to do in our life right now and waaay too little time to blog about it. We have gone camping, to Williamsburg, and to the Hill Country and Odessa in Texas. My in laws have some wonderful river front vacation rental property and a bed and breakfast (Bend O' the River) where we always love to go. Plus the grandparents are always highly desirable to visit for the children... of course! And my honorary parents have a backyard pool! Plus I got to visit with my best friend Addy, who introduced me to the Twilight books and movie and... wait for it... Edward. Ohhhhh, Edward!

I've been neglecting the garden, in favor of house cleaning, much to the garden's detriment, it looks awful. It's about time to plant some fall greens and carrots and beets, and we're about to get a whole lot of tomatos for popping in the mouth, slicing, and turning into sauce. I wonder how the potatos will turn out? I've gotten three heads of broccoli, all with little green worms which were easy to pick off, but yucky. They were all good eating, and welcome to the table, since all of us are broccoli fans. The onions seem to have trouble staying put in the raised beds, they keep pushing their way up to the surface.

I've been contemplating a name change for the blog... I realized that the name I chose for our cottage is really the lesson I'm continually learning in my life. Contentment. I believe I'll change the name of the blog to reflect it. Also, we're planning another move, which is typical behavior for me. I'm pretty much assured we'll move as soon as I've got the house about half settled. It's our modus operandus.

On the needles: the blue sock... again. I finished it, tried it on and was surprised at it's snugness, then realized that it was made in the smaller size, so it had to be ripped out, in it's entirety and reknitted. I re cast-on, began again and I've turned the heel and finished the gussets, so it's in the home stretch now. Again. Also, a stranded colorwork vest, which probably it all wrong for my body type, but I don't care. It's a knit picks kit, on size 2 circular needles, in teal and gold. I've already knitted an inch of ribbing, but I had to rip it out as I forgot those very important words when joining in the round "being careful not to twist." So I decided to go ahead and do a gauge swatch... just to play with the colors... I'll cast on again when I cast off the sock.

Piper had her "procedure" yesterday, and is recovering by napping in the girls' bedroom right now. She's been an admirable mother, and we were able to get good homes for all the kittens, and kept our two favorite Black Susan and Hamelin, who are busy learning to hunt, ruining my sheer curtains in the guest room, and practicing their pounce and wrestle technique.

The children are making leaps and bounds, the baby is practicing his manners, trying to say please in the following variations: large cheesy smile, "meeeeeeeeeee", "peeeeeeeeeeee", or "teeeeeeeeee". Very sweet. Little J has graduated to a bike with training wheels and is triumphantly peddling around in circles in front of the house. She is a wonderful talker now, telling us stories in her preschool lisp: "Mommy, he tan wide his bite wifout the taining wheels!" JW has learned to ride without training wheels at the ripe old age of 5, he's been endeavoring to steer at that terrifying speed that comes with that new liberty and has been wearing his helmet voluntarily. He and M (who is mostly learning to do her hair this summer) are excited about taking swimming lessons starting on the 20th and the Prairie Princess and Dauphin have been taking theirs already and making marvelous progress. Also, they've been trying to read up the whole library and are frustrated by any censorship on our part. The possibility of evil doesn't really seem real to them in the library. My oldest (12 yrs) ascends from the pool after lessons with this incredibly large grin, which is so wonderful to see as he was the most terrified toddler in the world of water. He even was afraid of his bath. Now he thinks he might want to join a swim team! Who'd have thunk it! It almost, almost makes me want a swimming pool... perhaps it will be a positive instead of a negative in our house hunt that begins in January, along with the packing. Ugh.... packing!

Soon to start: some sewing lessons for the Prairie Princess and a neighbor (who recently moved onto the farm). Our first project will be a small skirt, just rectangles and a bit of elastic for the waistband, easy peasy, with a topstiched hem. I'll perhaps start to get some of my own summer sewing done, maybe, then some winter jumpers for the girls, then I'll pack away the stash in anticipation of the move.

Also soon to start: changing the workroom to a workroom/bedroom for the Dauphin... he made a very good argument for having his own room, and at 12, needs to have a little privacy, especially in a large family that occupies a small house. Also he digs the orange walls! Yay! So I need to move my yarn stash OUT of the dresser in that room and INTO something else... perhaps a plastic storage bin? Something I can access up until we load the truck in March, because, as we all know, I and my yarn cannot be parted for long, much like my hub or my kids or my Bible...

Can we all say OBSESSION?

Finally, a pic of the night sky and a crescent moon, and it's pretty.