Sunday, August 12, 2018

Open season

I mentioned "creative cooking season" in my last post, referring to the constant scramble to find tasty ways to use the bounty coming from the garden – especially summer squash. Here are some of my latest makes:
Smashed green bean salad

Greek salad

Chocolate orange zucchini cake

Truth be told, every season is "creative cooking season" here, as I strive to utilize what is IN season or on sale (usually one and the same) as the mainstays of our menus. In other words, I don't shop around my menu, I build my menu around what is readily available at the best price at any particular time. During the summer, that means free garden produce.

We don't have peach trees, though, and we do love our fresh and frozen peaches. This year the small orchard on our hill is closed to the public, so the hunt was on. I couldn't find a reasonable (in distance or price) source for the Canadian Harmony variety we love so much, so I followed the recommendation of a friend to a farm not too far away. There I scored four boxes, three of Finnicum Red and one of HUGE 007 peaches. My MIL wants half a box of the Finnicums; the 007s aren't as ripe and should last long enough for my parents to enjoy later this week.

I'd better start blanching and peeling at . . .

Friday, August 10, 2018

No real relief in sight

This was broadcast Monday night; we've hit high 90s three more days since. Tomorrow is supposed to provide a one-day respite and maybe a shower to muddy the dust, then back to hot:

This morning it was so dim when I awoke that I thought we had cloud cover already. Instead, "smoke from a distant fire" had turned the sun blood-red while draining much of the color from the rest of our world:

Seems like everyone is suffering from the weather in one form or another. I wouldn't trade our dry conditions for the steaming sauna of Sara's or Susan's (but then again I'm not being threatened by wildfires like Theresa). It's too dry here for rampant weeds, and I can target-water to keep garden and landscape plants alive. In fact, my little garden is doing quite well this year. Not as productive as some; one of my neighbors has given us a LOT of summer squash – smaller, tender ones for human use (it's "creative cooking" season) and overgrown giants to give to the chickens.

The chickens approve; my guys are skeptical, but haven't staged a hunger strike yet. Good thing, as they've been working hard on the new fence. It's all done now but for hanging three gates.

Not that there's any grass left to graze on in there.

That's it for now from . . .

Tuesday, August 07, 2018

The Town Mouse and the Country Mouse...

...or mooskit in the Shetland dialect, as in the color of a mouse.

Today my ridiculously friendly musket girl Brigitte got to be a town mouse for awhile. I had been asked some time ago if I could bring a sheep to VBS and do something with wool for craft time, and today was the day. Lacking something more suitable (i.e. smaller and less costly/cumbersome), I hitched my pick-up, camper still loaded, to my three-horse trailer, and hauled Brigitte to church. We waited for the groups of kids in the courtyard, which Brigitte found interesting but not frightening.
I think my beautiful 'blond' girl looks rather like her namesake,

although more like the famous sex symbol in her younger days.

What do you think?

Well, the kids all thought she was fabulous! The youngest group swarmed around her, all hands on deck, which didn't bother Brigitte in the least. The older kids spent part of their time making friendship bracelets from yarn they thigh-rolled from some commercially prepared roving I provided; I should have taken some photos but was too busy helping. They all seemed pleased with the results, though.

During one of the breaks I availed myself of the snacks being served – popcorn and apple quarters. On a whim I offered Brigitte some popcorn – and created a greedy monster! When I ran out of popcorn I offered her a bite of apple, and that was consumed just as eagerly. No photos; I was too busy fending off her mouth and feet!

I am so proud of my friendly little Shetland; she was absolutely perfect in every way. And truth be told, I think she enjoyed herself!

Speaking of mooskit, I got Braveheart's TdF singles plied. They were overspun, but the two-ply seems well-balanced; I'll know for sure once I skein it off and wash it. Then it will be time to ply Browning's rich chocolate singles – if I can get all 8+ ounces on my ball-winder! (Sara, I need your mad ball-winding skilz!)


It's still hot and dry, dry, dry here. Fall can't come too soon, and the summer is zooming by. Tomorrow I'm taking Brian to the doctor (sports physical), dentist (cleaning, fixing a molar he chipped at camp), and optometrist (he wants contacts this time) in preparation for school starting three weeks from today. Before that, my parents are coming for a visit; hurray!

That's it for today from . . .

Friday, August 03, 2018

Would you like mustard, too?

Because this is a ketchup post. 😉

Seems like there's nothing to post about and then a machine-gun of 'postables' goes off with no time to sit down and compose my thoughts. When I do sit down, like right now, I feel guilty because of all the other stuff I should be doing. Actually, right now I'm buried under a mountain of melancholy (more about that later) so composing a post might help distract me, so here goes. Lots of catch-up . . . and you may need some Kleenex, too.

First, here's the final shot from the Tour de Fleece showing all that I spun on my horn spindle and miniSpinner for the event:
I am continuing to spin alpaca on my horn spindle, and plan to start plying the Shetland on the miniSpinner soon. I want to get it done so I can spin THIS:
That's an unexpected treat from a friend that arrived just when I was feeling the need for some pink accessories in my wardrobe. In fact, I'd just ordered this:
Obviously my friend is a long-distance mindreader!

On Tuesday, thanks to my friend Kate, I delivered Butler to his new home in Auburn, WA. Here he is after I took his coat off before loading him in the truck:
On our way back, we stopped at the Black Sheep Creamery to buy some sheep milk cheese, and then visited the farm itself:

Kate has been investigating getting a few dairy sheep, and after meeting some of the ladies at Black Sheep, she's sold! She's become quite the knitter in the last year; I foresee spinning in her future, too.

Fortunately for Butler, the weather moderated in time for our trip. It was hot and smoky right up until the day before, making for a weird sunset during my evening ride around the vineyard, and an odd sunrise that morning:

Then we had a couple of pleasantly moderate days followed by two days of cool clouds; it was cool enough this morning to have a big, hairy lapdog,

and it even sprinkled a bit! Not enough to really settle the dust, but enough to make the dust stick better to a certain chunky mustang who likes to roll. 😏

Harvesting in the garden is now a regular, if not overwhelming, occurrence. The other day I picked our first zucchini and more tomatoes,

and this morning I went out to pick the first green beans but ended up burying them under cucumbers and snow peas, plus a few cherry tomatoes and peppers. Not more than I can carry, like this bee,
but enough to make a wilted cucumber salad and a smashed green bean salad (a new recipe a friend let me sample; yum!), along with deviled eggs and a chocolate orange zucchini cake as soon as I post this.

As long as I don't start watching videos again, I should be fine.

Last night Rick showed me a video on Facebook – and suddenly I GOT what my co-worker asked me yesterday! She asked if I was following "Kelley's kids" on America's Got Talent, and I said no, because I rarely have time to turn the TV on in the summer. I didn't realize she was talking about the Humlie kids, whose mother Kelley was a homeschool co-op board member, co-worker and friend until she died way too young from cancer a couple years ago. Her talented trio attended homeschool co-op with my son (I designed Manny's senior yearbook page!), performed locally, and now they are on the national – yea, international stage with songs they've written. These videos break my heart every time I watch them – and I've been watching them a lot since last night . . . because Kelley can't.