Friday, June 29, 2012

{this moment} - early morning foraging

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. See Soulemama to play along.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Yarn Along

I'm finally on to new knits this week.  How exciting! I actually cast on 2 new knits this week and both of them are coming along quickly, which is a nice change of pace.  The first is the Silk Smoke Ring in Malabrigo sock yarn.  This is the same pattern that I used last year to make my qiviut cowl, with lace weight qiviut acquired on our trip to Alaska.  The texture and drape of this cowl will be very different from the qiviut, but I really like the colorway of purples, greens, and yellows. I really wanted a cowl similar to my qiviut that I could wear to places and at times that I might worry about the qiviut.  The pattern is fabulous to knit, as it was last time, and I'm enjoying the knit just as much this second time around.

I've only just started on this memoir, but it's a really fascinating story of a woman in Maine whose husband passed away and she decided to become the first woman chaplain to the Maine warden service.  I'm really enjoying it so far and hoping to get a chance to read more over the next week.

I also started a drop-stitch scarf for Elizabeth, intended to be a Christmas present.  Knit on size 15 needles, this is going very quickly, but I hope she'll love it.   The yarn is Mango Moon's Chakra yarn in Delta Blue, bought at Purl's on a trip to Asheville back in January.  Everything about this yarn screams Elizabeth, the color, bright blue with flecks of other bright colors, and especially the little stone and glass beads woven into the yarn itself.

It's an interesting feel to knit, that's for sure, and I hope Elizabeth will really love it!

What are you working on right now?

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

::right now::

::herbed summer squash and potato torte (first seen here, recipe here)::

::random heart on a living room painting by an undetermined reflective source::

::best watermelon of the current season::

::early morning herb-watering helper::

::forts in the library::

::cities consuming the living room::

::trying to decide if the new mantle display works...enjoying the antique masons in the meantime::

::enjoying the view from the breakfast nook window::

Saturday, June 23, 2012

a lettuce feast

Finn helped me pick lettuce from the garden this evening, and then had a veritable feast in the kitchen for his bedtime snack.  Oh that we could always derive such joy from a simple leaf!

Friday, June 22, 2012

{this moment} - Lego mask

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. See Soulemama to play along.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

garden update

This weekend will be busy with houseguests, I thought I'd do a garden update this afternoon.  We'll start with the tomatoes, since those have been worrying me the most lately.  We've had tomatoes on a few of the plants for a month now and more have developed during that time, but so far, none have ripened.  I don't know why that is, but I do know that in addition to no ripening tomatoes, the tomato plants have completely taken over that bed, effectively overshadowing all of the pepper and lettuce plants.

After a conversation with a friend this morning, I decided to prune the tomatoes and better stake a few of them so that the peppers and lettuce could breath, and hopefully the tomatoes will continue to develop and ripen now that there is less foliage for the plant to feed.

About a quarter of the carnage:

I hope this was the right solution, that the plants won't go into shock, and that I'll have some tomatoes to pick soon.  Much like my daughter, the tomato plants now look like gangly preteens.

But hey, there are some flowering pepper plants in there!

Another area of infringement that I tried to correct this morning was the butternut squash that is invading the garden pea teepee.

Of course, what was wrapped around the pea pole, but a little butternut squash himself.  I sent the butternut squash plant headed back into his territory but didn't want to compromise the little squash so left part of the plant threaded through the peas.  Don't these veggies know to stay in their own section of the bed!

While I was out there, I noticed some of the garden peas were ripe for the picking.  My first harvest of garden peas probably only amounted to a half cup of shelled peas, but I'm happy about their sweet juicy taste and hopeful for the many peas yet to ripen.

And of course, there's the summer squash.  I must pick 2-3 every day and we've been eating them about that often too.  We've eaten zucchini boats, zucchini fries, squash-crust pizza (I just thinly slice the squash and drizzled it with olive oil then baked it for 30 min before adding sauce and cheese, but next time I'll try this one), and squash sauteed with butter and onions.  I know most people get tired of their squash, but I kind of like those easy-to-grow little guys.  They are like a little reward for even the most amateur gardeners. :)

This next photo has nothing to do with my garden, but is the new view from our back window.  A portable clothesline has been drying about 1-2 loads of laundry nearly every day for us.  It sort of shades that window as well...added bonus!  The kids think I'm nuts for skipping the dryer in favor of hauling the wet laundry downstairs and hanging it all on the line.  But I don't mind the extra work since it's my choice and I still have a dryer for the sock loads and rainy days.

What's happening in your garden right now?

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Yarn Along

For Yarn Along this week, I'm finally finishing the scarf that I've been working on for a few weeks.  I worked on it a bit while we traveled and a little since we've returned and now I'm about 90% finished.  I'll be ready to move on when this is finished too!  I have several new projects rolling around in my head, most of which I can't really work on over the summer when there are so many kids at home with me!

One of the projects I'm ruminating on is the 2-color zigzag baby blanket in A Knitter's Home Companion.  It's Finn's turn for a Christmas blanket, and I've never tried color work in a blanket (or much of anywhere).  It seems like a nice challenging Christmas project to work on through the autumn.  Maybe in a carnation red and chocolate brown?  What do you think?

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

blackberry heaven

The day after we arrived back in town, I realized that the blackberries had started to ripen, a solid week ahead of last year.  I headed out to the back fence, where they grow wild, and even crossed into the pasture behind us to pick a few. The blackberries are always prettier on the other side of the barbed wire fence. ;)

There's nothing like having a fruit that takes absolutely no effort to grow right in your own backyard and takes little effort to collect and store.

Finn spotted my work and came running.  Blackberries are his favorites, as evidenced in previous years, and he never passes up on a chance to pick, and eat, a few.  The trick is keeping him out of my bowl! 

Even through only 15-20% of the berries were ripe, I still managed to collect about 9 cups of berries on Saturday.   

I hadn't really planned to do any canning that day, but since the last jar of blackberry jam is currently in the fridge, I decided to go ahead and make more jam out of the 9 cups I picked.

By late Sunday a few more had ripened so I picked those for pie making.  I collected another 5 cups of berries without much trouble (in my cute little Fire King find from last month).

I couldn't really find a blackberry pie recipe that was exactly what I wanted, so I ended up making this crust, but halved the recipe since I only wanted a one-crust pie.  The pie filling came from this recipe, delicious, if very tart.

A dollop of whipped cream always helps with the tartness, and no one seems to mind that!  A perfect dessert to end a summer day!

Monday, June 18, 2012

a beautiful Father's Day

After church and a simple lunch of Paul's favorite flatbread and smoothies, we headed out on a lovely clear morning for a walk around one of Paul's favorite local trails.  We only had one kid in tow after just returning from a trip, but I think he enjoyed this quiet, simple Father's Day celebration anyway.

A beautiful day to celebrate a beautiful relationship...and some of the most wonderful men in my life.  Happy Father's Day to my husband, my father, my brother and to all the other amazing fathers out there!

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Bermuda adventures

Our time in Bermuda was filled with so many adventures, not the least of which was the rocky boat ride home.  The glass-bottom boat ride over coral reefs and a shipwreck was the first we embarked on. We headed out immediately on our first morning in Bermuda and first took a tour of the islands by boat, then leaned over a wall to watch the underwater wonders through the glass floor of our boat.

Our guide pointed out many types of coral, too numerous to remember.  This one was aptly named brain coral, making him easy to remember.

We saw hundreds of fish, of many variety, swimming among the coral.

Then we approached the shipwreck.  We did a bit of reading about the HMS Vixen before we left home for Bermuda.  In fact, Finn was so taken with her story and pictures that he spotted her rusted hull poking out of the water while we were still a half-mile away.

This was easily the highlight of Finn's trip and he still talks about seeing the Vixen both above and underwater, where she was covered with coral.

Our next adventure, a favorite of the older 2 kids and myself, was snorkeling among a few of the uninhabited islands.  We traveled by boat (that didn't even dock, but just stopped in a lagoon) for a chilly wade out to a deserted beach.  We then geared up and dove right into the chilly water for some snorkeling.

Paulie and Elizabeth took to snorkeling like pros.  I joined them for a while and it was a beautiful sight in those shallow waters near some of the rocks and sea floor to see coral and the beautiful tropical fish swimming nearby.

Paul tried snorkeling with both Philip and Finn, who could never quite get the hang of it and ended up frustrated with sea water either in their masks or snorkeling tubes.

Finn was just as happy to play in the sand on the beach though.

The water, as with many of the islands in this area, was so clear and blue.  The sand was coarse, like tiny rocks, instead of the sand we're familiar with on the East Coast.  We didn't make it to any of Bermuda's pink sand beaches, which means we'll have to make a return trip one day!

I was also amazed by the life growing up from the cracks and crevices of these rocks that make up the various tiny islands of Bermuda.  To be classified an island in Bermuda, the rocks or land has to support a 4 ft tree.  That's it.  And it's easy to see how that forms on so many of these islands, first with these tiny little shoots.

These rocks below weren't actually classified as islands, what with only 2 ft trees, but they were fun to snorkel around, rich with coral and cute little fishes.

When we exhausted our snorkeling nooks and crannies, we spent some time exploring the sound by kayak.  Finn had his first kayak experience and proved to be quite a paddler!

Philip enjoyed this much more than snorkeling and headed out in a kayak with anyone who would accompany him.

Paulie and Elizabeth, pro paddlers from their canoeing classes at camp, took the sound by storm and worried me only a bit, as this sound does open out to the sea.  They never ventured too far out of sight and returned frequently to reassure my motherly worry.

They skimmed between the rocks and around the islands with relative ease.  I was so proud of their adventurous spirit and adept handling of their kayak.

The last adventure during our time in Bermuda took place inside the Bermuda Maritime Museum, inside the old Royal Naval Dockyard.

These old imposing doors were fun to photograph, and especially fun for the kids was entering through the tiny door inside the larger door on the left.

And inside the museum, we spent about 45 minutes swimming with a couple of dolphins.  This experience was a surprise for the 3 older kids, and they could not have been more thrilled.

We spent some time swimming with them out in the water and watching them underwater with goggles. Then we each got to use a hand signal and have them do a trick with us.

We spent some time petting them and playing with them.

And they performed a few tricks for us.

I think the kids really appreciated their time in Bermuda and enjoyed some great life experiences.  I hope they reflect back on their trip with fondness and great memories.