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: https://goodfruit.wordpress.com/2008/11/17/rhubarb-buckle/

Humbug Camping Trip

Here is our tag marking our site, which was conveniently number 49,  so all I had to do to remember was think of the team, The 49ers.

Unfortunately, I became quite ill with what became a kidney infection and we packed up two days early and came home. Anti-biotics changed my world!

We ended up having as much fun as possible in three days, so we didn’t mourn the loss too much.

Day One: Samuel H. Boardman Scenic Corridor and Jedediah State Park/Redwoods Drive

Chris at Jedediah State Park Redwoods Drive

The first day was pouring rain, so we jumped in the truck and headed south, to California, where we thought it would get better…weather-wise.  It didn’t.  It poured down rain and obscured all scenic views.

this is one of the scenic views, back beyond the truck is the ocean, the travel pamphlet said it was “spectacular” we’ll never know…cause we couldn’t see a thing.

this is part of the Samuel H. Boardman Scenic Corridor, this particular beach-head was home to some Native Americans at one time.  I would have read the plaque but I didn’t want to get drenched.

So, we kept driving, and it kept raining.

We passed the Chetco River, saw a few hardy souls fishing.

we finally reached California (still raining) and took the drive thru the Redwoods, which were so big, so many and so dense, the rain hardly reached thru the canopy

whole forts could be made in some of these trees!

It was a beautiful drive, and so narrow in some places, Chris had to do some deft maneuvering of the truck to get thru.  Obviously they took down as few redwoods as possible to make the road passable.  One particularly tight spot showed scrap marks on the side of the trees where some vehicles mis-calculated  or were too big.  Chris said it was only about 14 feet of clearance .

We came out at Elk Valley/Crescent City, and guess what?  It was still raining!

Made another attempt at one of the scenic viewpoints:

stopped in Brookings for gas and a wander around Fred Meyers to kill some time…and pick up some things…found a Quilt Shop, bought some fabric…meandered back to base camp, and Guess What?

Yep, it had stopped raining back at Humbug.  Figures.

 

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: http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_ss_c_1_8?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=homemade+pantry&sprefix=homemade%2Caps%2C225

Second Yarns

From this: 

To this:

To this: 

I’m happier with my second attempt, although obviously I still need to learn more and practice lots.  I’m already spinning my third and fourth yarns, so I’m getting the practice in.  Stay tuned for more.

My Knitting Hero’s

My first knitting hero would have to be my Grandma H. who taught me to knit in the first place.  (Personally, I think all teachers should be called Hero’s, but that’s a subject for another day.) Grandma taught me how to cast on, knit and cast off when I was fourteen years old.  Even though there were long stretches where I didn’t knit, I kept returning to it again and again because knitting is like therapy for me.

After Grandma H. it would have to be my good friend and Make One LYS owner, Melissa.  She is the reason I am a better knitter today than I was five years ago.  And not just because she taught me some knitting techniques or gave me good advice or answered all my questions or showed me how to do stuff either. (She did do all that.)

She’s my Knitting Hero because she is kind and patient and always willing to wait until I reach the point of readiness or of “getting it” even if that takes a while.

She also is my friend and therefore entitled to tell me straight up when I’m about to commit some act of knitting stupidity.  Being able to tell someone they are about to be stupid  is a great attribute, but not one everyone gets to employ, its acquired over time and you can’t find it in a book.

Melissa knitting 

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