Friday, July 30, 2010

one thing i love about summer...

everyday gift: vine ripened tomatoes

presto! pesto!

my basil really took off this summer. i love the spicy smell as i pick large bouquets from my herb garden to make pesto sauce. i have purple basil growing as well... i wonder what it be like to make purple pesto?! maybe i'll try that someday.
i have been re-establishing my herb garden at our new house. chives, thyme, and feverfew made the move from the old house. in this picture i have rosemary, sage, apple scented geranium, purple basil, and sweet basil

mollie katzen has written some of my favorite cookbooks. it is her recipe from The New Moosewood Cookbook that i use to make my pesto. fresh basil, pine nuts, lots of garlic and parmesan cheese make this recipe so flavorful!

i put some in jars to use right away. pouring a little olive oil over the top for storage will keep the green pesto from turning brown. i also made a few batches to freeze for later.

everyday gift: fresh basil pesto

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

a noste-who-ee?

a nostepinne! well, actually, it is an antique spool that has been re-purposed as a nostepinne, that is, a Norwegian ball winder. i can wind my skeins of yarn into a handy center pull ball. clever!

from skein to ball

i finished spinning the rambouillet wool/angora blend roving that i purchased at the iowa sheep and wool festival. it was very nice to spin. the angora gives it a very luxurious feel and will make my cowl even warmer. i found this easy pattern at crazy girl yarn shop and adjusted it slightly making it several inches shorter. i didn't want quite so many folds. around my neck.
i got a few strange looks when i knit this cozy neck warmer while the sun was blazing in july and temperatures soaring in the 90's! but i was hoping to knit some of that heat into my project. come january, i'm going to need it!

the finished product
everyday gift: storing up the summer sun :o)

Monday, July 12, 2010

snap shots of a summer adventure

a glorious week on clayter lake.
sailing, canoeing, swimming, snorkelling, rowing, water skiing.
a summer to remember.
i think C is the last one in the last canoe.

sunshine on my shoulders makes me happy
sunshine in my eyes can make me cry,
sunshine on the water looks so lovely...
(sorry, i just couldn't resist breaking into a john denver song)

the dock

umm. i guess they weren't really "roughin' it", now were they?

the rocket, pulled by a speed boat

a beautiful sail boat.
C tells the story of their first day out in the sail boat when a storm popped up. the wind was keeping them from making any progress toward the dock and at one point the boat was almost capsized! i'm not sure, but i think he actually enjoyed it. or maybe he just enjoyed telling the story and how he had lived through it! ;o)

C learned to row and really fell in love with this sport at camp. living right on the mississippi river, he may have the opportunity to pursue this new interest. i'm looking into it.

his incredible week of water sports ended with a bang. the night before heading home, C caught his hand between two boards tearing his finger, requiring an ambulance ride to the ER and 11 stitches. now i know why i was praying so hard this week! and despite the injury, i know that God protected him. C's tendon was exposed from the cut. had his tendon actually been cut, he would have needed surgery instead of just stitches! so we are thankful for the silver lining.
C in the ER
"yes, mom. i'm really okay!"

everyday gift: C on an exciting adventure... and safely home!

lemon blueberry bread

i love the summer tradition of picking berries; strawberries, raspberries, blueberries... all in their turn, with the sun on our backs, the kerplunk of berries in the bucket, and pleasant conversation buzzing like the bees around us... forgive me for being a bit sentimental, but that really was the lovely time we had at Beacon Woods Farm. thank you, chris, for the delicious berries and the warmth of your friendship!

lemon blueberry bread

1/3 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
juice of 1 lemon, zest of 1 lemon
2 eggs
1 1/2 cup flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup milk
1 cup fresh blueberries

2 Tbl lemon juice
1/4 cup sugar
preheat your oven to 350* and grease an 8 x 4 loaf pan.

combine the flour, baking powder, salt in a mixing bowl, and set aside.
cream the butter and sugar together in a large mixing bowl until light and fluffy. add the eggs, one at a time, beating well. mix in the lemon juice. add the flour mixture and milk, alternating. fold in the blueberries and lemon zest. pour the batter into the prepared pan.
bake at 350* for 60 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. combine lemon juice and sugar to make a glaze. pour over the top of the bread while still warm.

everyday gift: bursting blueberries

highlights from the weekend

this is actually about 4 blog posts rolled into one, but as you may have noticed, i have not been very good about sitting down to my computer and getting things logged in. life happens around here faster than i can type, it seems! so in a whirlwind post, here are a few pictures and highlights from our weekend..
i recently came in contact with a local alpaca breeder while trying to find a shearer for our alpaca. we had a nice visit about raising such interesting animals and i mentioned that since we lost our llama last year, i was concerned that she didn't have another friend of her own kind to hang around with. sheri remembered that comment and called me last week when she decided to sell her gelding. i had to do a bit of negotiating with mark, but i decided to bring him home. he has got the softest fluffiest fibers! isn't he cute?!
meet "Thorn".

i spotted this carding table at the alpaca farm and snapped a picture. it is a frame with a bottom of wide screen. it allows you to sort through your fleece and fibers while the dirt and vegetable matter fall out. i am hoping to convince someone to build one for me!

another opportunity came our way in the form of a free rabbit! an english spot rabbit to be precise. B is delighted with her new friend. she named her "Violet".

B learning some tips on raising english spot rabbits

a bunny farm

my new friend sheri, from the alpaca farm gave me these pumpkin blossoms with instructions to prepare them like morel mushrooms. that is to say, lightly breaded and sauteed in butter with a little salt and pepper. i love trying new things!

the weaving and spinning guild held a color/dye workshop this weekend with abi hutchison teaching and demonstrating some techniques for hand painting yarn, roving, and warp. what a really neat time we had experimenting with colors and working on ideas that will fit the theme of the aurora borealis. what an incredible inspiration in nature to use for a workshop on color, don't you think?
roxie's cheviot roving
dyed in a progression of colors: yellow sun, spruce, emerald, sky blue, and brilliant blue.
i am really looking forward to spinning this!

everyday gift: new friends

Friday, July 9, 2010

zucchini blossoms

please excuse my absence. i've been lingering in the garden...

everyday gift: the summer sun nourishing my garden