Wednesday, August 26, 2015

peaches


I planned on splitting one 20# box with a friend. Circumstances & misunderstandings left me with one and a half 20# boxes.


Starting early in the morning, I dutifully blanched 20#s in one day. It took hours just for that step.


Blanching is supposed to make the skins easier to remove. Ha! I'd say 25% of them were easy to remove. Maybe I need to work on my blanching skills. In any event, blanching 20#s of peaches in my tiny kitchen was quite the feat!


First up was cardamom peach pie filling. Then I went to my two favorite peach jams: peach cardamom jam, and peach jam with brown sugar and rum.


But I still had so many more blanched peaches leftover! So I dug into my fridge and found about 2 cups of raspberries that had been macerating in sugar for awhile. I used those to make a peach jam with raspberries. So much jam was made that day! Everyone is getting jam for presents. Maybe I'll take some jars to school and put them on the staff table with a "free to a good home" sign. I still have about 5#s left (I sent a few peaches home with anyone who would take them).

Let this be a reminder to me for next summer: small batch canning. Small batch. No one needs 30#s of fruit all at once.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

road trip
















This summer Joe and I headed out for a two-week adventure: Museum of the Rockies, Yellowstone National Park, the DIG Field School near Hell Creek State Park, and finally Glacier National Park. We camped along the way, read books to each other as we drove, ate a ton of ice cream, saw wildlife up close, learned about the local geology, and dug up dinosaurs. It was also the perfect way to celebrate seven years of marriage and twelve years as a couple. I can't wait for next summer.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

goodbye Boomer kitty

Boomer (L), Athena (R)

Boomer (L), Athena (R)

Athena (L), Boomer (R)

Boomer (L), Athena (R)

Boomer (L), Athena (R)

Boomer

Boomer - the night before her biopsy appointment

Friday was the worst day ever. It was preceded by a couple of pretty hard weeks full of various vet appointments, diagnostic tests, and medications. Cancer took one of our amazing kitty-sisters, Boomer, and much too soon. And now, for the first time in her whole life, Athena is alone. We adopted these sisters four years ago when they were barely a year old, thinking that we'd get to spend ten or more years with them. I wish I hadn't taken their presence for granted. I wish I had taken more pictures of their cute antics. I wish...

And now today we head out for our epic road-trip, leaving Athena's care to two of our wonderful friends. I know she'll be okay but my heart worries. I can't help it.

Saturday, July 18, 2015

project 52: week 45

What is Project 52? It's a little like Project 365, but instead of the goal of posting a photo each day, I'll post a photo or two each week along with a short update. Really I just need a little push to post something every week. Since I like to keep this space positive, posting every week forces me to look back and find something shiny to talk about (ten points if you get that reference). Some weeks that's a piece of cake. Other weeks it's more of a challenge, and those weeks give this task true meaning.



What's New?
This week was filled with kitty-related stress, and yarn. We took that adorable cat to get a lump biopsied only to discover that it's cancerous. So now we are faced with figuring out next steps. Our kitties are only 5 years old so we never imagined dealing with cancer so soon. The bright side is that right now the tumor is not affecting her overall health at all. She's happy and (relatively) healthy.

The yarn part of my week involved a long-overdue trip to Tolt Yarn and Wool in Carnation, WA and Quintessential Knits in Duvall, WA. I've heard such good things about Tolt, specifically, but hadn't made it out there to check it out. I came away with yarn for two projects: Tin Can Knits' Bonny top in Quince & Co Piper yarn, and Zuzu's Petals in Malabrigo Sock.

Currently Reading
  • The Bone Clocks by David Mitchell - This book is long! I'm reading it on my Kindle so I didn't realize just how long it is. Plus, it's weird, which makes reading a little slower. There are many times I have to slow done so that I can process what the heck I just read. Body-jumping, immortality, and strange interconnections... all of that amidst a story that jumps through time and narrators sometimes jarringly. But overall I enjoy the read.

On the Needles
Still plugging away at my Earth & Sky shawl. I've put the Wood Hollow Vest aside for a bit, but I imagine I'll pick it up again before our road trip so that I can at least finish the front.

Looking Forward To
  1. Our road trip!
  2. Another CSA box
  3. Getting my hands dirty with gardening

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

a few things

:: I had the pleasure of reading this book by one of my former coworkers Megan Morrison! A fun adventure story that is a bit of a twist on classic fairy-tales. I bought two copies at her book signing: one for me and one for my school, since I work at a K-8. I think this book would appeal to 5th grade and up.


:: So far I've really enjoyed my weekly CSA box. The CSA season runs through October, so I have many more to come. This week, while looking at the contents, I think I see a plan: bruschetta! There are other things in the box that I'll need to plan for: carrots, potatoes, kale, and something completely new to me... fennel.



:: This year I've only made two small batches of jam. The first one was strawberry balsamic, and the second one was blackberry apricot. My blackberry apricot recipe is adjusted from here to be a small batch. I have a bunch of raspberries in the fridge that need to be processed today, but I haven't decided just what to do with them yet.

Blackberry Apricot Small Batch Jam with Cinnamon
  • 4 cups fruit pureed (roughly 2 cups blackberries, 2 cups apricots)
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 10 minutes in the boiling water

4. Those tomatoes have really taken off. They are now taller than the tomato cages and don't show any signs of slowing down. There are countless blossoms, and many baby tomatoes, growing on each plant. There are three plants, in three colors: red, orange, and yellow. I can't wait for ripe tomatoes fresh from the garden.


Monday, July 13, 2015

on the needles

Earth & Sky

Pattern: Earth & Sky by Stephen West
Yarn: Madeline Tosh Pashmina in worn denim, victorian gothic, astrid grey
Notes: This is my summer splurge knit. I seem to average three skeins of Tosh each year. Last year they ended up as three separate mini shawls. This year, I'm going big.


Wood Hollow Vest

Pattern: Wood Hollow Vest by Kirsten Kapur
Yarn: Cascade 220 Superwash in celery heather
Notes: I frogged my tea leaves sweater, since it never really fit well, and am using the yarn to make this vest. I've started this project three times. Once as written, the second time attempting to knit it in the round, and this third time (third time's the charm?) again as written. I really want to be able to wear this vest this autumn, which is my motivation to knit it up so quickly.


Hue Shift Afghan

Pattern: Hue Shift Afghan by Kerin Dimeler-Laurence
Yarn: Knit Picks Brava Sport (purchased as a kit)
Notes: I started this afghan in 2013 (yikes!) and am finally started the third block. Once all four blocks are complete, they are sewn together and the edge stitches are picked up in order to knit a border. This is a really good TV knit, since it's all knit stitches, the center decrease is easy, and the pattern is repetitive.

Saturday, July 11, 2015

project 52: week 44

What is Project 52? It's a little like Project 365, but instead of the goal of posting a photo each day, I'll post a photo or two each week along with a short update. Really I just need a little push to post something every week. Since I like to keep this space positive, posting every week forces me to look back and find something shiny to talk about (ten points if you get that reference). Some weeks that's a piece of cake. Other weeks it's more of a challenge, and those weeks give this task true meaning.


What's New?
I dragged my dining table and chairs outside in order to get a few pictures. That same day, a nice young man came by to pick them up. That's it - they now belong to someone else. Part of me is sad. I have fond memories involving that table, but the truth is that we haven't had space for it since we moved into this apartment four years ago. Yikes. A small kitchen island is getting picked up today by another stranger, and next week I'm going to list our small loveseat. After reading Marie Kondo's book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, I've been itching to get rid of superfluous things in my life. It's hard, each time I watch something that's been a fixture in my life go away. But afterwards I feel a weight off my shoulders. It's a good thing.

Currently Reading
  • The Bone Clocks by David Mitchell
  • Grounded by Megan Morrison

On the Needles
So much is on the needles right now that I'm going to share pictures in a separate post. I'm mostly working on my Earth & Sky shawl and my Wood Hollow Vest, but there are a few other projects sitting on the needles that I pick up now and again, like my Hue Shift Afghan.

Looking Forward To
  1. berries from the farmer's market
  2. bouldering