Tag Archives: summer

Jam!

This Wednesday is not wordless. Oh well.

Two weeks ago we made pickles. This past weekend the girls and I made jam. On the left is peach jam with cherry brandy. On the right is plum cardamom.

The cherry brandy was not the good stuff. It was literally the dregs of a bottle of cheap brandy that tasted like cough syrup and had been left behind by the previous owners when we bought our first house in 2006.

But it adds a decent, not overwhelming. amount of cherry to the peach jam. And I can finally recycle the bottle. Phew.

The plum cardamom is a redo of the jam I made on a whim a few years back. Sadly I didn’t have any dried orange zest this time. So it’s not quite as good. But it’s still really tasty. It’s just blue ribbon jam and not best of show jam.

Also? The date 9/9/18 is really fun to write over and over.

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Pickles

It’s been years since I made pickles. And I’m not really sure why… They’re so easy! This long weekend I made up for that oversight in a big way.

First the cucumber pickles. These are classic dill with a twist. There’s ginger in the spears, and the coins have a zesty orange chili blend in them (along side the usual dill, garlic, and mustard.)

These are refrigerator pickles. I’ve tried canning cucumber pickles a number of times and they always end up mushy. I figure I have space in the back of my fridge for a couple tasty jars. I use the old farmer’s almanac recipe except the vinegar is half white and half apple cider (because I ran out of white.)

Next up: dilly beans! Are you sending variations on a theme? I had purchased a large bunch of fresh dill, and wanted to use up as much as possible.

Beans, garlic, shallot, dill, and mustard seed. I followed this simply canning recipe.

I didn’t have 4 pints of green beans, so I used the same brine to make:

Pickled cauliflower:

with dill, garlic, shallot, and corriander.

Pickled romanesco:

with dill, garlic, shallot, and green peppercorns.

And pickled carrots:

with dill, garlic, shallot, and clove.

I checked that the processing times for all these veggies was still just 10 minutes (it is) and switched up the spices as labeled. I think they’ll all be delicious. I’ll have to resist opening all 4 at once to compare flavors…

New hair!

Let’s see, this weekend was a busy one:

Planted fall lettuce, raddishes, and beans with Windsor.

Went to a couple awesome yardsales (and now Windsor wants to sell stuff in our front yard too)

Made 2 lasagnas, one for dinner and one for the freezer. Put tomatoes and zucchini from the garden in them.

Started drying tomatoes on my dashboard, but it wasn’t hot enough. So I’ll be the weirdo in the parking lot at work with tomatoes in my car.

And, of course, got my sassy new haircut!

I’ve been working on the stripy cardi, too!

Summertime

And the gardening is easy,

Well. Easy may be the wrong word. But at least the harvest has started!

The tomatoes are finally producing faster than the squirrel can eat them. Although the Matt’s wild cherry tomatoes live up to their amazing reputation. Which is to say my girls are now eating them all straight off the vine. Maybe by the end of summer I’ll get to dry some.

The bean pole tent is also growing to plan! I think it has somewhere between 10 and 20 bean vines, which produce just the right number of beans for us. At least for now…

I imagine I’ll be over run with cucumbers soon too.

I can’t wait!

Drinks

The first thing I did with those currants is steep some in a good, local, vodka.

The rest will be handed off to my Dad who makes amazing hard cider. He’s tried wild grapes, and always makes some with cranberries. So black currants seem logical too.

I’ve been making some really nice fizzy, fruity drinks too. That one is fresh blueberries with mint.

This one I left out the mint and added blood orange bitters. Also this is a great chance to use up those artisanal ice cubes I made last spring.

Blueberries

I took the girls blueberry picking the last weekend in July. This is becoming a tradition, I remember taking them last year when Willow was just 3 weeks old.

This year the berries were so plentiful there were clean, ripe ones literally falling off the bushes. So that occupied Willow. With Windsor’s help I picked seven quarts.

Next came one of my favorite times of year. The week when we all just eat as many blueberries as we can stand. It’s amazing.

But this weekend,,, whole week out from the harvest some were starting to go soft. So I sorted them, put the best quart back in the fridge for snacks, and put the rest into jam:

Five pints of blueberry cinnamon jam. It’s been a long time since I dug out the canner. It felt good!

Late summer

The corn in the field on my way to work is tall. So are the weeds. Everything looks green. You can smell the green as you walk. But the browns are there too.

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Plants going from bloom to seed. Leaves curling under. Squirrels collecting acorns. Wait. Acorns on the ground, that’s new.

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Burdock, aster, jewelweed, perrenial sunflower. I am learning the plants around me again. Like meeting old friends in a new location. We, plants and humans, are preparing for fall. It’s coming. And I can’t wait to get some more knitting time too.

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fruits of labor

My garden has been very neglected this year. By which I mean, I harvested some peas back in June – and that’s about it. My energies have just been focused elsewhere this year. Luckily for me, we still have something to harvest. All those fruits we planted a couple of years ago are finally coming into their own. The elderberries started to ripen two weeks ago, and man do the birds eat those quickly!

The plums started to ripen around the same time, a few are still left on the trees

lone plum

And you can spend an entertaining couple of minutes watching the chickens search out the concord grapes still on the vines

hidden grapes

I’m working on elderberry jam – or jelly maybe, anyone have a recommended recipe? Honestly so far I’m working on picking those tiny little berries off their clustered stems. Maybe I’ll make grape jam again this year. Last year’s batch is almost gone, and it is (was) delicious. Not sure what we’ll do with the plums. So far eating them fresh seems to be the fastest option.

Rattlin Brook

Saturday was an absolutely gorgeous day for the 30th anniversary of the Rattlin Brook Bluegrass festival.

bluegrass festival

There was music, there was food, there were friends and knitting and sunshine.

bluegrass hot mustard

bluegrass instruments

It was sunshine-y and gorgeous (did I mention that already?) and I missed sunscreening the inside of my right ankle. So beyond the nasty sunburn (and now I can make great references to my achilles heel) I have only good memories of the day.

bluegrass bass

And then, of course, it rained on sunday…

long time coming

I published a new design today, my Nymphaea shawl. This little shawl is worked from the top down. Designed specifically for self striping yarns the pattern directs you to work an eyelet row whenever the colorway changes.

nymphaea zoomed

Each shawl made from this pattern will be unique, and will perfectly match the colorways in the yarn! You can favorite and queue it on Ravelry here.

nymphaea tip

This pattern has been waiting in the wings for a looong time. Crystal Palace sent me the Sausalito yarn back when it was first released. That was 2010. I know, I know, I said it was a long time!

I knit the shawl up quickly enough, and then I thought it might be different enough for Knitty. Sadly Amy Singer couldn’t find space for it (although it was held for consideration twice!)

nymphaea arc

By then I’d moved on to other projects. I knew I wanted to release it in summer, and last summer I was kinda busy with my e-book of fingerless mitts. So the poor little shawl just kept waiting.

nymphaea gaze

This summer I knew it was time! But when my editor saw the PDF she kindly informed me that my photography had improved so much I probably shouldn’t use the original photos*. I had kept the shawl over the back of my favorite chair, where I can pull it over my shoulders any time I feel a bit cold. Before I could take any new pictures I had to wash and re-block the shawl.

nymphaea looped

Once it was washed I remembered how much I love this pattern! Nothing like a bath to spruce up a bit of knitting. Neil and I took it to nearby Metcalf pond and got some pretty new photos and I’m really excited to share this shawl with all of you!

nymphaea artsy

Nymphaea is a really simple shawl to knit up. I loved working on it when I needed a break from patterns that were draining my brain power. This small shawl uses 3 skeins of Sausalito, and you could knit a full sized shawl with 4 skeins.

*it’s a good problem to have