Its Rhubarb Time!

I love it when Dadcat hands me a pile of fresh picked rhubarb. Its the best kind of gift, something edible and knowing that someone thought of you.

Over the years, I have learned that placing my mandolin over the bowl is by far the best method for slicing it. I once spent days chopping a 20 lb box of it by hand, with a knife.

Afterward, I thought to myself, “there must be a better way.”  Somehow I thought to try my mandoline and it is much quicker, neater and of course evenly sliced.

This batch yielded about 10 1/2 cups, with 3 cups going immediately into a buckle.  Then I placed 3 cups each into two quart baggies and stuck them in the freezer (for more buckle, naturally.)

I had a remaining 1 1/2 cup so I tossed into a small sauce pan, added a splash of water and some brown and white sugars, a little cinnamon and a splash of vanilla and stewed it.  I intend to try it on ice cream.  Should I let you know the results?

My Rhubarb (or any fruit) Buckle is here:

A walk around Reed Lake

After finishing the Top Ten Burger Crawl, Jeff and I realized we really needed to do something healthier, so we took up walking.  We’ve walked the bluff in Oregon City and around Meldrum Barr and the Nature Path around Stone Creek Golf Course so far, taking turns choosing where to walk each week.  This week I had picked Chrystal Springs Rhododendron Garden when Jeff passed on a little walking booklet from his sister Brenda.

Its about walking through Portland and includes various bits;  history, nature, geology, waterways, all mapped out into different walks from short to long and easy to difficult.


I discovered Chrystal Springs in there, and it included a side trip up the road to Reed College where Reed Lake feeds the springs.  Having never been there, of course I had to go.  So Jeff and I set course for Reed College, which is just as well, as the park was fairly heaving with visitors.

We had a lovely walk through parts of the campus and all around the lake, which is very marshy and not very full of water at this time.  We saw loads of ducks and birds and Jeff remarked that the habitat seemed ideal for turtles, with all sorts of logs laying about the water, only we never saw any evidence of turtles.

The day was lovely, everything was green and warm and sunshine-y with birds singing, a perfect walk, really.

Summer Flies on the Garden Gate

So, went outside for a photo op with latest shawl projects and had a bit of an adventure.


This is the Mizzle shawl knit in Dream in Color Starry called “Deep Current.” 

The gate closed and latched shut on me. The only way back in was to hike thru the bushy pond growth and somehow throw myself over the fence on the side by the road.

This is my third Summer Flies Shawl knit in Cascade Ultra Pima in the color “Buff”. 

I had on sandals, singularly inappropriate for hiking and fence climbing. Add to that middle-aged, overweight and out of shape and you have the makings for an embarrassing incident.

Awwwww, Well, I have some pretty shawl pictures anyway.

I won’t tell you how out of breath I was when I made it back inside the house.

Hail Storm in June

A loud Crack! followed by rolling thunder and then the electricity went out.

It dumped hail so hard and so fast that it looked like snow…in June…it was ridiculous.

In the front of the house cars stopped on the side of the road and a gully washer formed and flowed quickly, going down the hill. Did I mention this was within seconds?

So glad we were inside, but feared for the garden, which now sports big holes in our leafiest plants. However, they raised back up just fine after being pelted so hard, for which I am very glad.

Isn’t it amazing how quick and furious Mother Nature is?
And how adaptable life is?

My Little Pretties

I picked up these lovely little Lantana’s  called “Sunrise Rose” at Serres Nursery just down the road a ways, they are so colorful and bright, they remind me of sherbet.    Usually I go for purples in my planter box, but this year, the yellow, reds and oranges spoke to me.

Of  course I still have my beloved Nemesia, this year they are “Papaya” a pretty, cheery yellow with a spot of purple in the middle.  In another planter, I planted some purple nemesia that I’ve had before, called “Sachet” .   You didn’t think I would abandon my purples entirely did you?

Everything in the planter box:  Lanatana, Calibrachoa, Japanese Blood Grass and Nemesia.

While we were at the nursery, Chris negotiated a deal for two of last years large clay pots, they are beautiful and brighten up the patio.  We planted a bushy tree called a “buckthorn”  in one, which is not thorny at all, its more fern-like., and of course, my ubiquitous purple and white alyssum.

In the other pot was planted a new-to-me oriental grass called “King Tut”  which have these interesting tufts of grass that sprout out of the long stems.  I also added my fave, a purple fountain grass, the Sachet nemisia, some creeping phlox  and more alyssum.  In between the pots are my herbs and some “Bright Lights” Swiss Chard.

Now for some sunshine, so we can sit back in the adirondack chairs and enjoy it all.

Make It From Scratch

As many who know me, I am a big advocate of the cooking from scratch camp. I cook and bake and feed people all the time.

I share tips and recipes, I invite peeps over to my kitchen to teach them and I am a active moderator in the Cooking From Scratch Group on Ravelry.

Let me say, I have stacks of cookbooks, on the counter, in the cupboard, in boxes out in the garage…and yet I don’t sing all their praises. This cookbook gets my praise.

The Homemade Pantry: 101 Foods You Can Stop Buying & Start Making is a great book. It has all the basics to get you started on the road to cooking from scratch without being intimidated.

If you are an enthusiast like me, you’ll love it, if you’re a novice that has basic kitchen skills and you’re willing to try, you’ll love it. This cookbook is very approachable and hands on. This isn’t about fancy-pants stuff that takes forever with specialty ingredients.

This is just making basic stuff, but its your own, not some giant food corporation that puts who-knows-what preservatives in it.  Minus the packaging and advertising expenses too.

Try making your own graham crackers or cheese or bread and soup or chocolate sandwich cookies, you’ll see.

Here is my white sandwich bread, which turned out beautifully with very little effort. One bowl, two bread pans, one bamboo spoon, that’s all I had to clean up. I kneaded it in the bowl, didn’t even get the counter dirty.

I started it, put the bowl in the microwave to proof and took a long walk with my friend Jeff.  Came back, turned the oven on to bake my Triple Chip Cookies, turned the bread out of the bowl, shaped it into two loaves, stuck them in the loaf pans and set them on the stove top.

By the time the cookies were done, the loaves had risen beautifully from the warm stove top, and I popped them in the stove and set the timer.

26 minutes later, Beautiful Bread. Easy Peasy.

Go get this book:

Colour Lovers

Colour is one of our greatest expressions of ourselves when we choose to knit or crochet, so how do you choose what colours you buy and crochet or knit with. Have a look through your stash and see if there is a predominance of one colour.

Do the same with your finished projects – do they match? Do you love a rainbow of bright hues, or more subdued tones. How much attention do you pay to the original colour that a garment is knit in when you see a pattern?

Tell readers about your love or confusion over colour.

Well, I have no confusion over color, or colour, as the case may be.  I love purple.  Or any variation of purple, or reds and blues, which, make…purple!  Pictured above is a skein of yarn that features nearly all of my favorites, except the red.

This is one of my favorite purple combo of all time, and this is how it looks knitted up and worn.

see how it has bits of teal amongst the purple?


Top Ten Burger Crawl

Jeff eating a Mike’s Double Cheeseburger Basket.

Sometime back (January?) Jeff and I were discussing an article listing the Top Ten Classic Burgers in Portland. Well, actually, it was more like an argument, if you must know. 

Jeff’s argument was based on the premise that how could anyone truly know what the Top Ten was? After a while I became exasperated and suggested that to be qualified to discuss it at all, one must surely eat at all of these places and Then discuss it.

Jeff agreed and the Top Ten Burger Crawl began. Every week or so we visited one of the places on the Top Ten Burger List. It was really fun to plan and discuss where to go each week, it gave us something to look forward to, that’s for sure.

We went to every place on the list except for one, which I swapped out, because I had then found a second Top Ten list and felt it was important to drop one that received many bad/mixed reviews and add one that had many rave reviews.

I dropped Stanich’s for Foster Burger and I have no regrets about this. Foster Burger remains my pick for the Number One Burger in Portland. While Jeff argues that it didn’t truly qualify, because it was a Pub and therefore, not a classic drive-in sort of place.

I don’t care: Foster Burger had handmade buns from the bakery next door, your choice of toppings–Five Guys style and Poutine, they are the best!  This is the only place I have returned to, with Chris and I had to remind him to taste his food because he was wolfing it down so fast!  When Chris and I went, we shared a Coffee Shake and it was everything a shake should be, cold, rich, creamy and served in one of those over-sized metal cups.

After talking with Jeff at length, he finally admitted that his Number One Burger would have to be the Double Double Bacon Bacon Burger at Humdinger’s. He says it wins based on sheer height and bacon-ness. I have to admit, their burger was a classic and their shakes were awesome.

I had their soft serve chocolate marshmallow shake, and they don’t skimp on their flavoring, lots of chocolate topped off with a dollop of marshmallow cream.  Three other people saw my milkshake and decided to order one themselves, including the guy who was waiting for his to-go order.

Humdinger’s Double Double Bacon Bacon Burger and the Chocolate Marshmallow Shake

When we visited Humdinger’s in March, it decided to snow that day, so it was not the best day for milkshakes, and I plan to make a return trip this summer, when they are holding one of their outdoor checker games.  Jeff says we’ll go in his old Buick Convertible Skylark, as soon as its running reliably again.

Our other favorite burger, running at Number Two would have to be the Burger Barn on Glisan.  It was a sub for Canyon Burgers which is owned by the same people, only why drive to Beaverton if you don’t have to?  This place didn’t look like much, was run by a single guy who seemed unsure of what to do,  but boy-howdy!  We had to ask for forks to finish eating these enormous, sloppy,  burgers with juices that started running down our arms with the first bite.

We also shared a Caramel Milkshake and it too is done by hand and served in the over-sized metal cups.  It was really good and I had to ask what caramel flavor they used and he said it was Ghiradelli’s.

The biggest burger surprise has to go to Roake’s, which is an institution as far as Coney Island Long Hot Dogs go.  Jeff has been going there his whole life and he took me there as our first real date many moons ago.  Both of us have Never Ever eaten a burger there, so it was with some trepidation that we had one.

We were pleasantly surprised, Roake’s does make a very good burger.  I had the Rich Roake that is served on a French Bun and Jeff had the Roaker which is served with their famous coney sauce.  Of course their fries are the usual hand-cut greasy fries that we love.

Mike’s Double Cheeseburger Basket

Jeff and I wound up our Burger Crawl at a local place, Mike’s Restaurant, we went to the Sellwood location so that we could hit up East Moreland Park for a picture shoot if the weather was good.  It wasn’t, as you can see from the pix I did take. Gray, cloudy, splats of rain, bleh!

Mike’s has three locations around where we live, and I now have officially been once to all three.  They make a decent sized, good, classic burger, its just not a great burger.  But many people love Mike’s, and that’s O.K.

All the remaining places on the Top Ten list were each good in their own way, but neither of us are sure we would go out of our way to eat their again.  They are:  Giant Drive In, George’s Giant Hamburgers, Dea’s In & Out, Helvetia Tavern and Skyline Restaurant.   Well, Jeff said he would go to Giant Drive In again, he liked the old curmudgeon owner and the old-fashioned style of the place as well as the huge everything burger he had there.

Now that we’re done, we’re discussing a round-up of the Top Ten Diners…of the American style comfort food sort.

I’m making a list.

First Yarns

For those of you not on Facebook and haven’t seen this already…I give you my first hand-spun yarn.

These are very over-twisted because I really need to master the art of letting go, and really lumpy, because I don’t let go very evenly, but its a start.

The yarn is lying on the batt that I spun it from, so you can see its starting point…from fluffy stuff to twisted stuff resembling yarns.

I was given, not one, but two wheels and recently learned to spin and ply.  The one pictured is a Country Craftsman wheel which is modeled after a traditional old world wheel commonly called the Saxony.  Since this wheel looks like an old-fashioned one, its sometimes used for Living History or historical re-enactment events.

Unfortunately, the wheel was warped and needed some major TLC beyond my means, which left me sad and disappointed because I had become excited over the opportunity to learn to spin…and then couldn’t.  So I was at Urban Fiber Arts one knit nite telling this story and asking what to do (I was told it was not worth the expense) when a very kind man quietly drop spindling away spoke up and told me he’d give me an extra wheel he had.

Well.  I was beyond astonished.  I mean, its quite something to be given one wheel, and here is another offer!  Long story short, he ended up giving me and my friend Rachel two Ashford Traditional wheels, both with some missing parts, so that one good working wheel could be sorted from the two.

Here is a pix of myself and Rachel at Oregon Flock and Fiber Festival on her birthday.

Rachel fixed and oiled and sorted and then brought me the wheel and assorted batts and started teaching me to spin.  Later, I hauled it down to Make One and had some more lessons with Melissa.  Eventually, I started to get the hang of it.  Now its all practice, at least that’s what they say.

Tazo lying on a green batts of fiber that Rachel gave me…I gave her bunches of sock yarns in exchange.  It was a win-win as she wanted to make a blanket that uses all sorts of leftover bits and I had tons.


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