Saturday, June 28, 2014


Well, I did it again. Read the the direction wrong on the 4 times a charm cardigan. The buttonholes are on the wrong side. Started on the right side (rs) not the wrong side (ws). Knitting talk. Ohhhhhhhhh!

I'm more than half way done and I'm not ripping out. And yes, I only notice it now, when I was admiring my progress. 

I guess there's a reason things I like things hand-made. They have character from the little [and not so little] mistakes. It's destiny that this cardigan will finally end up with buttonholes on the wrong side. It took 4 tries and many years of sitting into my in-progress project basket to become this close to a finish product. 

Hope to take this on my vacation and get close to finish. Got a train ride to get some knitting done. Hope wear it in the fall, so all can come and admire the my buttonholes. 

Maybe I start a new trend of buttonholes on the left. 

Friday, June 27, 2014

For the Plant Whisperer

The Plant Whisper comes for a visit every year with Farmer Joe and they fiddle around in my non-tropical garden yard. One of her favorite things to do is to go to the garden center and look for at the distressed plants to nurse back to back to healthy state for my house. 

This year the racks were bare or with just really dead plants. You have be more than a plant whisperer for those kind of distressed plants.

Anyway, went over to the garden center a couple of weeks ago and the racks were full. Got an Alstroemeria [Peruvian Lily], 2 six-paks of New Guinea impatiens and 3 marigolds for $18. What a deal. The plant whisperer show me the way to bring them back to life.

So for all of you who read my blog and see the plant whisperer, please share these pictures with her [I think farmer Joe would like to see them, too.]. I'd really appreciate it. 

New Guinea Impatiens for my hanging basket and window box
Yellow blooms are coming in on the Alstroemeria
The geranium isn't from the distressed plant rack. From seeds, that PW planted last year
Last but not less petunia that self seeded from last year

Saturday, June 7, 2014

A Festival of Strawberries

Guess who brought home 8 lbs. of strawberries then a couple days later 4 more lbs. plus 4.5 lbs of blackberries [I think he thought I used up all the 8 lbs by then]. Yup, you got it. I don't know what WG think I have in time to make jam and dessert but he sure must think I have a lot.

Prepping 5+ lbs of strawberries 
So today was a festival of strawberries after I finished my 1/2 day Summer Fridays [haha at 4pm, not so quite a 1/2 day Friday]. Here's the list of recipes that I hoped to whip up. 
  • Strawberry Orange Jam [new recipe] 
  • River Cafe Strawberry Sorbet
  • Strawberry and Cream biscuits 
  • Or my Strawberry cake recipe
My first recipe was the Strawberry Orange Jam from The Joy of Jams, Jellies and Other Sweet Preserves by Linda Ziedrich. I've tried several good recipes from this book and it has lots of great informations about jams and preserves. I figured I would find a new recipe for strawberries as I already made a batch my strawberry jam.  

Here's the recipe and below are the modifications I made. 

1 medium-sized orange
3 lbs  strawberries, hulled
4 1/2 c sugar

Remove the zest of the oranges in thin shreds. Squeeze out the juice and put it and the zest  into a preserving pan. Add the strawberries to the pan and mash them if they are firm. Cover the pan and simmer the strawberries until they are soft

Remove the pan from the heat and add the sugar. Stir the contents over medium heat until the sugar is dissolved. raise the heat to medium-high and boil the jam, stirring and skimming off the foam, until a drop mounds slightly in a chilled dish.

Ladle the jam into pint or half-pint mason jars. Add lids and rings, and process the jars for 10  minutes in a boiling-water bath. 

I didn't change up the recipe too much. I just added 1/2 cup less of sugar [I always add less sugar because I don't like so sweet] and add part of the juice orange to a cheese cloth and added it to the jam when I added the sugar [the last batch of marmalade that I made I did this and love the way it thickened up]. I chopped the strawberries instead of mashing it. I had already chopped them the night before [out of habit from my strawberry jam recipe].
2 pints and 3 1/2 pints ready to be eaten
I most definitely will make this recipe again. It smelled great as it was cooking up. I think the orange zest and juice made the scent of the jam not as sweet as the straight strawberry that can be overly sweet smelling at times. And it really tasted great. I guess that what happens when you use sweet fruits as both the strawberries and the oranges were very sweet. It's a chunky jam. I think my mom would love this one.

Next up River Cafe Strawberry Sorbet that I got from Food52. I made this last year and what and intense flavor of strawberries and lemon. Really good with a drizzle of condensed milk. You blitz a whole chopped lemon skin and all with the sugar in the food processor then add the strawberry puree and lemon juice. Then put it in your ice cream maker. This time I was lazy and didn't blitz the lemon and sugar enough so the lemon pieces are a bit chunky as is the strawberries. I guess I was losing steam from not so 1/2 day Friday. 

All ready for the ice cream maker

So I started to prep my strawberries for biscuits or cake, when I realized that I need to make creme brûlée for the restaurant. Then I realized that didn't have enough eggs to do both. I decide to eat dinner, then run out to get some eggs.

I guess this will have to wait till tomorrow
And maybe I should stop at to see the distress plants at Lowe's [the plant whisperer--my mom got me in the habit of visiting this rack first to see what we can save. Both money-wise and plant-wise] and get something to wash my car. 3 marigolds, 2 6-pks of impatiens, and 1 peruvian lily later, I'm too tired to start making biscuits or cake or creme brûlée. So I guess the festival of strawberries continues tomorrow with special guest of Blackberry Vanilla Jam. Stay tune for more strawberry goodies.

I hope it's in my blood

Just a quick post about my garden. A while I was asking my dad about my grandpa--his dad. He passed away before I was born. He's always been a mystery to me. He told me about vegetable garden and the gobo (burdock) he grew. 

Well, I'm not that stage in my garden life. But I am having a few success what I've growing from seed my lettuce, Swiss chard, cucumbers and soy beans are comind up. And my haricot vert beans are blooming. But these green onions I'm totally impressed with. I started the last summer into fall from cut bottoms from the restaurant and they lasted all winter till I harvested this morning. Not bad for an amateur. Hope farmer Joe will be impressed.

The plant whisperer maybe impressed with what I picked up from the distressed plant rack. 2 6-pack of impatiens and Peruvian lily. 

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Gifts for 2

This shower gift started out as a a yellow and white chevron blanket. Until I found out the baby I was knitting for (this is one time FB came in handy) were twins--boy and girl.

So now the gift is bibs that I hope brightens mom and dad day when they are feeding the little ones. They made me smile knitting them.

Pattern: Baby Bib O' Love from Mason*Dixon Knitting
Yarn: 100% cotton mill ends from Lion Brand Outlet
Colors: grass green/lemon yellow; orange/purple