Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Homemade Pickles

One of my goals for this year's garden was to make pickles, so I planted tons of cucumbers as well as dill, and for once, everything thrived. I'm not sure if the pickles will end up tasting good - I still have to wait a few weeks for them to brine in their jars. Even if they are gross, though, experiencing the smell of freshly cut cucumbers filling the kitchen was worth all the work.

It was so fun making my own pickling spice, using dill from our own garden, letting Moses fill up the jars with cucumber slices. I enjoyed every step of the process.

And there was something SO fulfilling about stacking 11 jars of pickles in the cupboard. Man, did that feel good. Looks like we might make it through the winter...

Monday, August 30, 2010

A great start to his winter wardrobe

The other day I was looking through some dusty boxes of yarn and found a huge pile of unfinished sewing and knitting projects (no big surprise there). One of them was a really nice gray scarf that was about half as long as it needed to be and had been left on the needles for about 2 years. Moses was scurrying around the room while I sorted through things, and looking at his skinny little neck gave me a great idea - I bound off the scarf right then and there, and voila: a kid scarf! Happily, this was knit using a 100% cotton yarn, so he won't complain about it being itchy. It was such a great feeling to finish something that had been collecting dust for years. (And nice to get my hands on a pair of knitting needles, even if it was only for a minute or two...)

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Summer Treat

Moses thought up these watermelon pops the other day and they are SO yummy! Just cube some melon, stick them with toothpicks, put them in the freezer for a bit, and enjoy! Pretty much the easiest treat I've ever made.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Farm Update

As usual, I have been a bit remiss at updating the blog, and for that I'm sorry. Usually when things get busy I neglect the housework - that way only my family knows I am a flake. When I neglect this blog, however, all of you readers (notice how I have deluded myself into thinking there are tons of you) know it, and that's just plain embarrassing. Anyways, things HAVE been busy around here. Perhaps a more fitting word is "farmy." Things are very farmy right now, and I am loving it.

In addition to the usual watering of gardens, harvesting of and cooking / canning of vegetables, taking care of various poultry and training a crazy puppy, we now have Uncle David and his girlfriend Heather in town for an extended visit. If you know David, I don't need to elaborate on that, but for those of you who don't, allow me to explain. David is a beer-brewing, tomato-growing, extreme-sport-loving, caffeine-fueled scientist who spends about 13 hours per day doing experiments on mouse brains. Since arriving on the farm, he has shot and killed both jackrabbits that have been eating my dad's garden, as well as 17 ground squirrels. He has convinced my dad to plant ipecac (did you know that was a plant?) around the outside of his corn field to deter gophers, driven through In-N-Out Burger about 6 times, and basically become my oldest son's personal hero. It is all I can do to get Moses to come inside; he would rather die of exhaustion outside next to Uncle David than stop for one moment to eat lunch or even drink some water.

David's arrival was also the impetus my dad needed to "released the geese," who up to now were confined to an indoor area. They are now big enough to defend themselves against potential predators, and seem to be adjusting well to living in my dad's garden. Here they are: Hot Shot (the fast one), Bitey (the mean one), Lebron (the tall one), and Kobe (the other one). Between picking blackberries with Heather and doing experiments on the chickens, David also built the geese a new house and taught them how to swim in their "pond."

All in all, the "outside world," as Moses used to call it, is just absolutely fascinating right now. I have all kinds of blog posts planned for this week but might not get to any of them due to running around outside with my kids and the geese.

(Oh, and I'm sorry to disappoint you, but these awesome Incredible Hulk glasses are only available at the Modesto County Rodeo, so you'll have to wait until next year to get your own pair.)

Friday, August 13, 2010

Future Number Crunchers of America

This afternoon Moses took great care to plan his uncle's future:

"Mom, in three years Uncle Michael will graduate from college! Then he can just, like, buy himself a house or something. He can find one that has a sign that says "Fifty Dollars," and when he buys it, he will get Seventy Five Dollars back, and THEN he can buy himself a car! *sigh* It's going to be a great house."

It seems Moses has inherited his mother's skills at math. And logic.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Sisters' Reunion 2010

Every other year my mom's sisters and all their daughters and daughters-in-law meet up in Ashland, OR for a reunion. Aunt Dolly hunts up a new fantastic house for us to stay in each year, and this year's was the best yet. Every room was painted a different bold color with the walls filled with paintings by the woman who owns the house. It was so inspiring - I came home wanting to paint the inside of our house purple or something (but I won't).

Of course, the best part of the reunion is the company - it was SO wonderful being with my four aunts, so similar to being with my mom. It was like filling up a little part of me that has been running on almost empty. We went to Shakespeare's Twelfth Night one evening, and spent the entire rest of the time sitting around chatting, doing a huge jigsaw puzzle, perusing the shops down town, listening to Kerry and Susie play piano and flute duets, and working on unfinished hand sewing together. Just lovely, and since I've never even had one wild oat to sew, it was my perfect weekend.

This year my cousin Jen of An International Tea Moment brought all the goods to host a fabulous tea party. I'm not talking about a big pot of Red Rose tea, either. She brought three types of very rare loose leaf tea and taught us the best way to brew them. She also made all kinds of tea sandwiches and other treats. Aunt Dolly had been scouring local thrift shops for tea cups and saucers, so we all got to drink out of our very own "Ashland 2010" tea cup.

Every second of the trip, including the drive, was relaxing and sustaining, and I came home feeling totally revived. I feel so blessed to be part of such a wonderful family of strong Godly women - I'm already looking forward to Ashland 2012!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010


Today my friend Deni dropped off a stack of Ladies' Home Journal Needle & Craft magazines from the 70's for me to have. These things are amazing!!! I picked up the first one, opened it at random, and saw my next project:

Isn't that long rug to-die-for?!?! I am determined to make it (of course, I should probably finish the 7 other big projects that are sitting around first to keep my husband from having a panic attack...) It is made using a knitting spool - did you have one of those when you were little? It looks like a mushroom with 4 hooks around a hole in the top, and you basically make a thin knitted cord with it. My mom bought me one when I was in Jr. High (maybe that's one of the reasons I'm drawn to this rug). You make something like 900 lengths of cord, curl them up into round coaster-like "patches," then sew them all together. I adore it! The colors, the texture... everything about it is perfect.

Of course, the magazines are full of awesome and sometimes funny sewing projects. I thought these hikers were pretty hard core. (If I ever wore a bandeau on a hiking trip I'd get poison oak for sure, so this chick impresses the heck out of me.) And this girl just cracks me up with her heart knee socks - so cute!

I'm so glad I wasn't too snobby to assume these magazines would be full of "old fashioned" boring projects. Each one is a treasure and an inspiration. Thanks for thinking of me Deni!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Perfect Summer Salad

Here's my latest go-to salad:

Chevrie Goat Cheese, crumbled
Sliced fresh peach
Dried Cranberries
Candied Walnuts or Pecans
Light Champagne Dressing

Tastes like summer. It's so good - even better when the lettuce, peaches, and walnuts are home-grown! I made a big "batch" (is that what it's called?) the other night for a family bbq and it was a huge success.

(And I couldn't resist putting this picture in - not the best photography, but isn't it a cute moment?)