Saturday, August 12, 2017


 Every morning I go out to feed Smudge (the black cat, who stays outside). He is always eager and sometimes comes a foot or so into the house, though he knows he isn't allowed to stay. Then I take his food and water out and he u-turns and goes right for it, and Muffball follows me out onto the porch. Sometimes there is a very brief acknowledgement of the other's existence, then Muffball sniffs around the porch and patio before being persuaded to return to being an inside cat.
 I am finally cutting up this old t-shirt for rug yarn, but it was hard. Those are Daniel and Peter with me in the picture, and it was one of my better Father's Day presents if I do say so.
 More yarn came in the mail for me, from Knit Picks. I wanted yarn for a few specific projects and ended up with enough that the shipping was free. Sometimes it works that way.
While casting on a new project, I took stock of this hibernating Rosalind sweater. That bit on the needles that was 2" is now more than 9", half as big as it needs to be (the right front, similar to the left front on the right). It was hibernating for at least 3 years. I don't know why I do that. But I keep swearing I will change.
It was cool today, so I went to Salmon Creek park to pick blackberries. I met a couple walking their dog on the way in. "You're optimistic, that's a pretty big bucket," the guy said. "Well, I won't know what the picking's like until I get there," I said. This is 5 quarts (in a 2 gallon bucket) and represents a little over an hour of picking.
 I've been busy keeping the dehydrator filled with plums and plum leather.
 This is the original reason for my yarn order: Quarta is a huge fan of Hamilton and I heard about the Hamilknit Hat on the Knitmore Girls podcast - because yes! I now have an iphone and have figured out how to listen to podcasts, and it's cool! She picked out Honey for the lettering and stars and Hawk for the background, in KnitPicks Gloss. Casting on with a crocheted provisional cast on, and joining "being careful not to twist" for knitting in the round was the work of one evening. It always looks so awkward, and I used two size ones because I hadn't yet bought my 16" size twos.
 Yesterday I knit the inner band, which is in the negative color configuration to the rest of the hat, and I used a chart with more than just "Hamilton" four times, but with Angelica, Eliza, and Peggy Work! Which apparently increases the coolness factor, if you are a 15-year-old Hamilton fan.
With 1 quart of the blackberries, and some pears, nectarines and plums I made this pie for tomorrow. Next week I will concentrate on making preserves from the plums and maybe more blackberries.

Last night we watched Into the Storm, the excellent 2009 biopic of Churchill during WW2. A month or two ago we watched the related picture, the Gathering Storm. They have completely different casts but are both well worth looking up if you have Amazon Prime. I particularly enjoyed Brendan Gleeson's portrayal of Churchill in Into the Storm, and its suitably heroic portrayal of Britain during the War. It was just right.

I am going to watch something and knit. I will probably not cast on something new, but the temptation is almost always there.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Chasing Summer

Summer tends to run away from us. There have been several instances of family movie night: this was Nine Lives. Muffball was disdainful of any screen portrayals of cats that were not her.
Youngest child Quarta is now Fifteen. I Am Thai is a great restaurant, whether your occasion is "early birthday" or "I don't want to cook tonight."
 This series of photos was the result of my instructions: "look happy and dignified."

 Gooey Chocolate Caramel cake, with Heath Bars and Cool Whip.
 The county fair, as it looked when I dropped off the Farmer's Wife Quilt two days before opening. I have always said I don't want to go on any ride that is delivered by a truck.
 I discovered by chance, while looking through quilt books, that Tertia was awarded the Elder Wand for good conduct at school back in June. This seems like a dangerous precedent, but so far no Death Eaters have dogged our steps, and she is the first Hufflepuff, to my knowledge, to gain this distinction.
 We have had some record-breaking temperatures this summer, and last week we enjoyed this idyllic afternoon at the Washougal River with some friends who own property there.

 The dog, Argos, was the sweetest ever, playing the fetch game with Tertia, dropping and rolling the toy to her over and over, and pointing at it if she was slow to pick it up.
 The Farmer's Wife Quilt won a red ribbon, which seems to be the best I can get out of the quilt cabal at the fair, and is in a place of prominence. To its right is a 50-state star quilt made by a lady who was in my informal beginner's quilt class more than 10 years ago. It was so nice to bump into her again and see her still going strong!
Plum season is in full swing, after a slow start because of the cold winter and spring. I can always pull up my plum recipes by the tag "plums." I'm not picking quite as diligently because the tree is so much taller now. There are a lot of bugs around too. But we have one dehydrator load almost finished and enough to start another, and even though we have some still in the freezer from 2 years ago, I should get busy and make pflaumenmus and plum jam and freeze a few bags at least. I don't think I'm up for picking hundreds of pounds to donate to the food bank but if anyone wants to come, they are welcome to pick for themselves.
This is what plums look like when they are dropped in boiling water for a few seconds, then drained. The skins slip off easily, leaving what I used to tell the boys were "elephant eyeballs." They never believed me! But then you can puree the plums after the seeds are removed and use the puree for plum leather in the dehydrator. It has been a long time since I did this, witness the fact that the girls were ignorant of the "elephant eyeballs" thing. So we'll see whether the plum leather is worth it.

This has been kind of an extended Randomday, trying to catch up with neglected blogging. I'll have more, including knitting, next time, but it's already a fairly picture-heavy post.

Saturday, August 5, 2017

Randomday - Playing Catch-up

Yikes, that was a long blog hiatus. Summer is hot, life is busy, the blog goes begging. Sorry about that.

 I did not document the 4th of July here... but it was good.

 I finished a few knitting projects... this T-yarn rug for Charissa's wedding on size 15 needles...
 ... and these Stashbuster Spirals socks for a Christmas gift on size 0 needles.
This is one of the three new pairs of socks I have cast on, but the only one I've photographed so far. And I have placed an order for more yarn with KnitPicks. I should really do a stash report, but that would require me to do math. And I have plans to cast on a bunch of things besides socks. Most recently I have decided to try the Hamilknit hat for Quarta.
Here is the (about) 70-year-old Hydrangea bush in our front yard. Did you know you can root new Hydrangeas from cuttings in water?
This is how you do it. It doesn't always work, but if you keep a green leafy stem in water for long enough, it often sends out roots. And then you can plant it in a pot, and then you can set the pot in the ground over the winter, and then you can plant the whole plant the next spring. We now have a yearling start that's in its own place, and a potted cutting that is doing well (pictured above before I potted it), and a new cutting that is just starting to grow roots.
This photo was taken a month ago... the yearling plant has two blooms now. They are pink because there probably needs to be more acidic material added to the soil. But I am proud of being able to grow these. Our landscaping, along with everything else in our house, is aging and some of it is at a stage where it needs to be replaced. Maybe this little plant will be around for another 50+ years!

It is bizarre that it is August already. I need to get started with all the back-to-school shopping, and paperwork for Tertia, and doctor's appointments that have been put off.

I will call a halt to Randomday for today and determine to pick up the blogging of the incredible fleeting summer soon.