Sunday, July 26, 2009


Just an update. I probably won't be writing for a few days. In the spirit of no good deed goes unpunished, in the process of doing some volunteer work for Girl Scouts I did something to my shoulder. I either sprained it badly, tore the ligaments, or tore my rotator cuff in my right shoulder. The x-ray showed that there was nothing wrong with my bones so I need an MRI and have to see an orthopedic specialist. Meanwhile percocet is your friend.


Tuesday, July 21, 2009


Nothing beats fresh green beans! We harvested about three times this. We were eating them right off the vine. These are the only three that made it into the kitchen.

Yummy scallions. This is the last of that patch. I will trim these and throw them in omelets or something. If I don't eat them first. I've got one more harvest from the loose leaf lettuce and I'll dig that bed up and plant beets and collard greens.

Our fist zucchini! There are two more green ones that will be ready in a day or two. There are also three yellow ones that will be ready in two or three days. The acorn and spaghetti squash vines have started flowering and I expect to see fruit growing on those vines soon.

Look how well two of the tomato plants are doing. One vine has at least 4 tomatoes and the other has 5 that I could see with plenty more flowers on both. Amazing how well they do when planted next to the compost pile.

My only real disappointment is my romaine lettuce. It is supposed to form heads. It didn't. They decided to bolt. I think they got too much sun, because it hasn't been that hot yet here in Baltimore. Next year I will plant the romaine in a shadier spot in the garden. Truth is it's not too late to try that now. I will have to think about that. Meanwhile I am going to dig them up, salvage the leaves that aren't too bitter and harvest the rest of the loose leaf lettuce next to them.
This week's recipe is Mushroom Barley Soup.

1lb white mushrooms, sliced
1lb baby bella mushrooms, sliced
1 large onion, diced
2 medium carrots, diced
5 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 C barley
8 C vegetable broth, I like Trader Joe's
2Tbs olive oil
2Tbs butter
Salt and pepper to taste

In large soup kettle or stock pot saute onions and garlic in olive oil and butter until clear. Add mushrooms and cook for about 10 minutes or until mushrooms are cooked through. Pour in broth, add carrots and barley. Cover and simmer for 45 minutes. Stir occasionally and season to taste. I like to add a pinch of fresh chopped dill right before serving.

Soup in the summer you say? Try it, it's refreshingly light. This recipe is good for the crock pot too. I would suggest sauteing the onions and mushrooms first though.

Heading to the basement now. If you don't hear from me tomorrow, send a search team.


Monday, July 20, 2009

Playing Tourist

Okay, so maybe his parents don't think I'm certifiable. We had a blast, and I was having too much fun to drag my knitting out. The funny thing is I shlepped it with me, I had a sock and a scarf in my little canvas bag. I tucked my wallet, phone and keys inside and off we went. I didn't pull it out once. Weird, I know.

And yes, that is the Stellar Bamboo Lace Scarf on the right. I did a few more inches and had too many mistakes to keep going. I frogged it and started over. It's a quick and easy knit so I'm not worried about finishing it.

The left is a sock I started a month ago, almost finished it and then frogged it. It's my first attempt at a toe-up sock. I realized a few weeks later that I had made a mistake on the heel wraps. I couldn't understand why I had to YO while I was bringing the old YO and stitch pairs back into the sock. It didn't make sense to increase stitches while I was trying to decrease. Had I read the pattern all the way through... And so, I didn't follow the advice of another knitter. At any rate I kept going and almost got to the cuff (it was supposed to be a knee-high) when I realized that I had forgot to increase needle size (twice) in the lace pattern to accomodate my chunky calves. And neither of my older daughters have stick-like calves so I couldn't even give the finished socks to them.

Larry and I were watching some show about alternate and parallel universes on the History Channel when I started ripping the sock. He stared dumbfounded as I tucked the toe of the sock under my hip and started winding it back into a ball. I told him my alternate, and evil self made me do it. I just happen to agree with the advice of Grumperina and her five favorite techniques. As funny as it sounds, unabashed ripping can feel good. I know when I start that pattern again, or find a different pattern for that yarn that it will turn out better than expected.

So what did we do in the lovey city of Baltimore with Larry's folks? We wandered around Inner Harbor and then took the Water Taxi to Fort McHenry. For those of you who don't know Fort McHenry is where Francis Scott Key wrote the National Anthem.

We got lucky on our timing too. It was a fee free weekend and we could not have ordered better weather!

I think the really exciting part was the fact that they had reenactors in the uniforms of soldiers of the war of 1812. I love that geeky kind of stuff. They even fired the cannons, well one anyway.

Only two of my kids came with us. After looking at the pictures the other three wish they had come too.


Thursday, July 16, 2009

Visitors From the Windy City

Larry's folks arrive today. We're picking them up at the airport this afternoon. So of course we spent the last two days cleaning like mad. Housework is not my forte. I keep telling Larry I want my own housecleaning slave. His response is, "Yeah, I'll get right on that." Then he tells me, "It's not that you're bad at housework, you're really good as a matter of fact. You just don't do it often enough." I'm still trying to sort that one out. Anyway, the first floor is neat and tidy, and the upstairs bathroom is clean. We will shut the bedrooms' and basement doors.

Which brings me to my next project, the basement. I've got a Bar Mitzvah coming up this fall and I need to have a place to put people. On top of that I just want my living room back. Right now it's the office, playroom and TV central. I've been in the house three years and the only thing I've used the basement for is storage. Which is a shame because it's a nice sized, finished room. There is this path from the stairs to the laundry room, which reminds me of my bedroom growing up. Nuff said.

My goal is to turn the basement into a nice place to hang out. I want to bring the computers down there and set up an office space. I want to bring the TV and video game stuff down there too. There is a large area covered in linoleum. I want to set that up for crafts. It would be nice to have a dedicated area in this house for crafts and sewing. It would also be nice to have a place to play boardgames. So, for the sake of accountability I am going to document my progress here.

I started this Reversible cable and eyelet scarf from Luxury One Skein Wonders. I am less than thrilled. Usually cables aren't reversible, but they make the cables out of a 1x1 rib. Rather clever I thought, but at least to my eyes, not quite what I thought it would be. Now you should know that I did not use the yarn they suggested so that could play into it, but I'm still not impressed. Just for grins I did a few more inches and two more cable twists. Meh. I frogged it.

Instead I started the Stellar Bamboo Lace Scarf, from the same book. Again, I'm not using the yarn called for, and I added an extra repeat in the lace pattern. I'm liking this a lot more.

I wanted these pictures horizontal. I've no clue why Blogger turned them vertical. Blech.

Okay, quick run to the grocery store and off to the airport. Rachel has a date with Bubby to go swimming this afternoon, she'll be here in a few minutes to pick HRH up. And this evening Larry's folks are taking us out to dinner.


Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Knitting With Kittens

That's MY yarn. Do you see how they're looking at me??

They're on crack.

Here are some new pictures of the garden. It's growing wonderfully. I can't wait to harvest! I'm already planning next year's garden. I should write a book, Gardening with ADD, or Learn to Wait Darnit!

So here is my squash bed. Back row is yellow and green zucchini. Two center mounds are spaghetti squash and the front three mounds are acorn squash.

Here is the lettuce and onion bed. The Romaine is forming nice heads. We've already had at least four harvests of the leaf lettuce. It's almost expired. Once the leaf lettuce and scallions on the left are done I will plant beets on that side of the plot.

This is one of the items I made from the yarn I purchased from Wendy Bernard of Knit and Tonic when she was having her grand destashing sale. The Rowan Damask in colorway Molasses, oh lovely green and gold/brown is a rayon, linen, acrylic blend. It is a It's a shame it's discontinued, it's a lovely yarn to work with. I still have 8 complete balls to work with, about 920 yards. I could make a lovely shawl, or a scarf or two, or a shell/tank top.... What to do, what to do.

The pattern is from Knitting Little Luxuries. It's a pretty little drawstring purse. I have some pale teal silk I dyed a few years ago that I will use to line the purse. It's about 6"x9". It's also my first attempt at lace. Not too shabby I say.

I also made a bonnet for Eden, my friend's new baby. She is adorable, and I don't often say that about newborns. This is the first time I've ever crocheted anything other than granny squares. Yay me.

There are a bunch more items going on needles in the next few weeks. However, I'm in a quandary. I want to show off my work but some of what I'm knitting are going to be holiday gifts. So here is what I'm going to do, I'm going to show the items, and talk about them but I'm not going to say if it's a gift, and I'm certainly not going to say for whom I'm making it.

Now about the The Scarlet Letter contest. My pattern is lovely but I think I overestimated my willingness to knit a garment in fingering weight yarn. To the non-knitters who read this blog, I'm knitting angel hair pasta on toothpicks. I like the pattern I've designed so I'm going to keep it but use a heavier yarn. Meanwhile I'm going to start over with my TSL pattern. I think I will go for fingerless gloves instead of a full hood with short cape attached. There are still a few weeks left so we will see.


Wednesday, July 8, 2009

June was a Wash

To my faithful followers, all two of you, I'm sorry.

Chicago was awesome. I wish that there had been more time to see more of the city. I finished my purple socks the evening before we left. I'm positive Larry's parents think I'm nuts. I knitted in the car, I knitted while watching TV, I knitted while visiting with them, I knitted while waiting to be served at the restaurant. Whatever, the fact is I finished THOSE purple socks and wore them home! Yay me!Remember that second skein of yarn that I had whined about? It turns out that I only needed enough to finish the toe on the second sock. I ran out of yarn about three rows before the toe decreases began. I have almost a full skein of this yarn. Unbelievable.

Tons more to write about but I'm pooped from spending way too much time trying to get this new blog theme to work properly. Don't get too attached to it folks. If I can't get it to behave it's gone.