Friday, July 31, 2009

Home and the Garden is Thriving

I came back and the garden had gone crazy. I harvested almost 10 oz. of rhubarb this morning. I need to harvest a ton of peas. I deadheaded the daisies; weeded the driveway bed, corn/squash, and in front of the timbers; and developed a game plan for what to do next.
Banana Pink Jumbo Squash
Black-eyed Peas
Corn with Shelling Peas climbing
Mint that I almost killed and replanted here with a single, 2" green nub two months ago. Random dill is growing up around it.
The basil! The basil that I was sure was dead since it didn't do anything past it's spindly beginnings for weeks. Yay!
Edamame pods
Cabbage and carrots
Cherokee Purple
Peas with one radish that is bolting and we're saving for seed.
Giant Red Celery, hiding among the peas
Turnips with some parsnips and cauliflower trying to hold their own.
Beets, rutabagas, and broccoli
Broccoli from which a nice 10 oz. head already came, producing more.
Driveway bed: lettuce is going crazy, dill and fennel are too, a few rogue parsnips and a couple of calendula.
The lettuce tree - don't you just want to hang lights and little glass balls from it?
Calendula - I really like the variety we got. I'm going to let it go to seed and see if I can get some started.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Laura Ingalls Wilder House

The new batch of photos is up on Flickr, documenting our trip to the Laura Ingalls Wilder House and Museum at Mansfield, MO. She, Almanzo, and their daughter, Rose, moved here in 1894 and she lived here until her death in 1957. All of the Little House books were written at this farm. We also took a quick trip up to Arrow Rock to see family and enjoy the quaint little village. Our cousin there was kind enough to give us a home-cooked meal, a place to stay for the night, and a private tour of Arrow Rock (where she works) the next morning. Tonight is our last night on the road. We'll arrive in Denver tomorrow and I fly back to Oregon on Thursday. We have had so much fun but it will be nice to get home again.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Into each life a little rain must fall...

...and onto each camping trip. We have certainly gotten our share. We were at the Minuteman Campground, just outside of Boston, on Thursday night and had just finished cleaning up dinner when the first drops began to fall. It proceeded to pour for the rest of the night. It rained so hard that it sort of kept us half-awake all night, murmuring about rain in our sleep. In the morning it had not let up but we had to be on our way. We dashed about in the rain in bare feet and our lightest clothes, hurriedly trying to pack the tent while protecting the dry-ish inside as much as possible with the fly. We were soaked and a shower had never felt so good when we drove up to the bathhouse. It stayed rainy all day and we hoped we could possibly out run the weather.

We got to southwestern New York and our hopes rose. There was definite sun peeking out and we got a site. A low rumble of distant thunder made us nervous as we got back into the car to drive to the site. Another rumble greeted us as we finished parking the car and got the rain fly out from the backseat floor, where it had sat, soaked through, all day. A few light sprinkles fell and we tried to start getting unpacked that much faster and then, all at once, the sky opened up and rain pelted down. We'd been out of the car for all of 45 seconds. Mother Nature apparently has a good sense of humor. We dashed the fly and footprint back into the car (all we'd had time to remove) as fast as possible and then sat in the car as it poured on us yet again. Everything seemed soaked - every part of the tent, clothes and towels inside; everything else in the world outside. I just started laughing and laughing. I think I worried Mom for a moment but when she saw that I wasn't having a nervous breakdown she relaxed. What else can one do in such a situation?!

We went up the road to cell service and made calls and when we got back the sun was peeking out. We slept in the car that night and a few rocks slept in the tent as it aired out a bit, although it didn't really get any drier.

Blissfully, when we got to Indiana yesterday the sun was shining and we were actually HOT under the cloudless blue sky. We are again dry although the locusts are so loud here in Missouri that I'm afraid that we won't be able to sleep. It's almost deafening. We made our first camp fire
- and it only took one match!
At our Indiana campground in Whitewater Memorial State Park. They had a horse barn and this mama and foal were very photogenic.

Our campsite at Whitewater Memorial. We were so grateful for sunshine and everything dried from soaking wet to warm and fresh in about an hour.
Overnight the dew was so heavy that the tent was covered in water. This slug was trying to hitch a ride to Missouri.
Drive-by tourism. I took this at 60mph as we crossed the Mississippi River into St. Louis, Missouri. It is an amazing feat of architecture.
Camp in Missouri and Mom feeding the miraculous fire.
Me roasting our smoked sausages over it. Those tasted remarkably good.
When I get home, we need to make a point of going camping more often. I've enjoyed it so much - we've slept in the tent for 10 of the last 12 days (the other 2 were in the car) and I'm still loving it. Besides, I'll have to show my new fire starting skills to Q.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Coffin and Hearse Socks Finished!

I had quite a bit of trouble getting these worked up but they are now finished. The pictures aren't very good since we're still traveling and the purple is darker in real life. They will require handwashing due to the type of sock yarn and the silver thread but they are quite unique.

Flickr's Up Through Concord, MA

After a big work binge in the car today, all the photos I have, through this morning, are up on flickr. We are just approaching tonight's camp in Indiana and the sun is shining - finally!

Friday, July 24, 2009

First Trip Flickr Update

I've got the first part of the trip up on my flickr account. More to follow, hopefully tomorrow. Just now going to go make dinner at camp in a beautiful New York twilight.

Monday, July 20, 2009

We made it to PEI

We went to all of the Anne of Green Gables/L.M. Montgomery sights today - Mom and I were in raptures. I love being stupid happy. More pictures will soon follow on flickr of Gene Stratton Porter houses in Indiana, idyllic camping by a New York lake, Maine moose, and many more pictures of beautiful Prince Edward Island. Tomorrow we go to the beach, the dunes, and Charlottetown.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Antiquing in West Des Moines, Iowa

We had a bit of a lazy morning and then, after lunch, all us "girls" (2 aunts, mom, and me) went antiquing on the old main street of West Des Moines. It's a nice little strip of old buildings that houses a mix of art galleries, shops carrying decorating trinkets, and vintage/antique stores. There was one fantastic store that specialized in midcentury modern, A-Okay Antiques, that was really great but I forgot to take a picture of the front. The prices seemed really, really good. It's amazing how much that seems to vary depending on what part of the country you're in and whether a place is metropolitan or rural. I got the pillowcase below for only $1.50. I don't know how old it is but I love the fabric and it's in great shape. I'm pondering if I can make a valance or something for the laundry room and then have some white sheers below, just to dress up that window a little. I hope it's the right turquoise but fear it's too cool.
Afterwards, we were totally exhausted. I was the most tired but I tried to console myself that the older ladies had gone to bed earlier the night before and hadn't run 3 miles first thing this morning. We got to rest in auntie's beautiful sun room.
Mom taking a rest
The other side of the sun room with its cheery nasturtium bouquets
Tired feet. Tomorrow we drive again - on to Geneva, Indiana and the home of Gene Stratton Porter.

Monday, July 13, 2009

We're off!

We did the first leg of the road trip today and drove for 10 hours, from Denver to Des Moines. We're staying with my aunt and spending the day here tomorrow. It's only in the mid-eighties, thankfully, since the humidity is so high it makes me feel a little wilty, even at those temperatures. No pictures yet but I'm making sure I keep the camera close. I don't know what we're actually doing tomorrow but we aren't leaving until Wednesday, when we go on to Geneva, Indiana.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Garden Grazing

I just ate my way through the garden for most of my lunch - peas, lettuce, and radishes with strawberries and blueberries for dessert. I hope that the person who's checking on the cats while we're gone took the admonition to take anything that's ripe seriously. I think that anyone skeptical about starting a garden should be treated to a lunch like I just had and see how they feel then.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Rewards for taking the long way

I had a doctor's appointment today and so my morning bike ride was extra long but it was so nice and cool I decided to add the little extra mile up to the next bridge on the bike path. It was totally worth it - I saw two herons and an egret! I hadn't seen any along the path for awhile, so I was quite relieved. Sixteen miles on the bike today and leftover tom kha for lunch after last night's dinner at Ta Ra Rin. All's right with the world.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Keeping Busy

My first wholesale order from Brown Sheep arrived yesterday. I bagged it up with the patterns each yarn is destined for so I can more easily pack for the three week trip we're leaving for on Friday. The front three and the middle left with the photocopied vintage patterns are orders. Unfortunately, the jacket on the far left is missing it's body color at the moment. It's on backorder. Hiding in the middle row is the baby jacket I'm designing and some pretty green yarn for an owl baby sweater. The back left is a sweater for Q and the back right is the throw blanket I'm going to make for the guest room reading nook. I'm glad it's a road trip so I'll have lots of opportunity to keep my hands busy!

I got the guitar I'd been wanting on Sunday! I've tried to learn before but failed miserably. I felt like a lot of it had to do that the size of full-size guitars. It sort of always felt like it was attacking me or something. :) This cute little guy is 3/4 size, a.k.a. just right for little me. I can already play C, G, D and A7 chords although I'm still not super fast at switching between them. My repertoire currently consists of Polly Wolly Doodle and Amazing Grace. I was pretty proud of myself because I took the chorded version of Amazing Grace that I found and figured out a running finger picking pattern to play to it as well. I think I'm going to like fingerpicking. I'm a sucker for that sound in music.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Returning to the Garden

I spent the week in Sacramento and when I got back, wow! We apparently had a lot of warm weather while I was gone and everybody got growing like crazy. The tomatoes especially really started to get fruit production going. It's cool and cloudy again today but I hope it doesn't last long. It's hard on the garden.

First, the best news, the edamame seems to have righted itself. Notice the bottoms of the stems where all of the leaves had gotten yellow and have now fallen off. Tops seem to be off to being green and healthy again.
My finest cucumber plant; it's currently about five times the size of the other three.
Q's favorite patch of lettuce varieties
Peas and radishes; we're getting so many radishes it's starting to feel like a children's story, where they start running out of places to put them. I can just picture charming illustrations of tops and roots coming out of kitchen cupboard. Thankfully, we haven't gotten a few pages further, where they're under a mattress, bumping it up all funny.
Turnips and parsnips
Broccoli, beets, rutabagas, onions
Beginning of a broccoli
Cabbage, carrots, and onions
Corn with peas starting their ascent.
The eggplant has grown by leaps and bounds. No real beginnings of eggplants yet, but the blossoms have fallen off.
After actually sitting down and searching yesterday, now that we know what the blossoms look like, we've decided that this is creeping bellflower. It's considered a weed because it's so invasive, but I read one comment suggesting that it doesn't show those tendencies as strongly when planted with other "thugs". It's just back in the unlandscaped part right now, duking it out with a patch of violets. We'll see who wins. It will probably have to go sometime just because it's pretty good at blocking the path but I just have such a weakness for stalks of purple flowers.

In the internet search we also found the answer to another nagging question regarding what this plant was...
It is Herb Robert.
It is, in fact, considered a noxious weed, but apparently it got to the west through use as a landscaping plant, further proof of how weediness is just being in the wrong place at the wrong time. :)