It's pouring rain outside. It's been raining for a week now, which is lovely lovely, save that I have a bit of work to do to prep the raised bed for plantlings.
New home. New garden. New life. It's been a while.
Easy Infinity Scarf in Rowan Lima
A special project that I will write about when it is done (the recipient knows about this here blog, not that anyone still checks here after all this time, but just in case I'm gonna keep it secret for now).
A scarfy shawly thing I'm making up, based on a Zimmermann blanket pattern from Workshop. Using Yarn Place Graceful. It's turning out hellof pretty. It's much bigger now than this picture shows, but you get the idea:
I was up through the wee hours last night due to a bad clam, so have crawled back into bed to listen to the rain and stay cozy. Duchess and Frank are in their bed snuggling under the covers. I've spent the morning looking through cookbooks getting ideas for what to make for dinner out of my produce box. I still have two heads of Napa Cabbage from last week that need cooking, but I haven't found too many recipes for Napa specifically, so if you've got one, or a lead on one, send it my way. Tonight's dinner will be way simple and stomach-friendly. Thinking about baked Sweet Dumpling Squash à la Deborah Madison's The Savory Way. Then some steamed collards, arugula, and spinach with some garlic and herbs.
Almost time to rise, shower, and head out into the rain. Welcome back, me.
bsb (bakesale betty) gives out tiny tastes of their lemon bars. an itty bitty square that's about 1/2"x1/2". that's about all i can handle and usually that's too much. soooooo lemony, why?
i am obsessed with making all kinds of frozen desserts. be warned. next up: frozen yogurt (plain, ala our pinkberry) with saba. I'm also wanting to make Fleur de Lait (plain sweet milk ice cream) and sprinkle salt and olive oil on top.
i'm OUT OF CONTROL
head lamp. greg needed to get one for his brother for a gift and they were on sale at elephant so i picked one up, totally forgot that i did that, and by the time i remembered he didn't need it anymore and now they're closed so i can't return it. HA! i wish it was for a costume "I'm a spelunker!" more like "i'm a dummy!"
i realized today that i haven't posted on this blog since, like, 2008. i'm tempted to just copy and paste random emails for FUN and ENTERTAINMENT*. why not? and random pictures. speaking of which, i am in trubble.
Angora Fingerless Gloves [official title of this pattern: Gardening Mittens] from Louisa Harding Gathering Roses Accessories booklet needles: US 5 & 6 yarn: Louisa Harding Kimono Angora
That's right, angora yarn for "Gardening Mittens". It must be the kind of gardening where you sit at a table in the shade drinking tea telling your landscaper what to do.
I'm just stoked to have another finished project. Jesus Mary! That's two finished items THIS WEEK! (I haven't blocked my Lacy Ribbon yet, so its finishedness is yet undocumented.)
More sideways pictures. I keep foregetting about the lameness of my iPhone camera. I will try to remember in the future and use my other camera for further documenting. It's just usually in the other room—SO inconvenient!
I love the way cauliflower looks and generally buy it at the farmers market. Downside is that I don't tend to reach for it when I'm doing sautes or steams, so often it just sits around in the fridge and doesn't get used. At the farmers market last weekend I spotted some lovely ones: orange, white and purple. I was encouraged to get the purple one, so I did. And determined I would use it this week. But I need a good to-to technique for using cauliflower and I think I've found it.
Soup for dinner.
Saute an onion and some shallots, throw in an entire head of purple cauliflower and a chopped up baked sweet potato. A thing of veggie stock, some fresh thyme and a bay leaf. S & P. Simmer for 20 minutes or until everything is softish. Take out the herbs. Use your hand blender and make it all smooth. Throw in a couple handfuls of cheese (or not). Put it in a bowl and pour some really good olive oil over the top (I used leftover chile oil from when I made hummus) and a splash of vinegar if you're so inclined (I usually am).
[Okay, I just spent WAY too much time trying to figure out how to rotate this picture and in the end was unsuccessful. I blame the iPhone (yes, be warned—many pictures of feathered friends using the cameraphone, what a jerk I am). I know how to rotate pictures in general, but for some reason the iPhone pictures won't rotate using iPhoto and I can't figure out if there's a way to do it directly in Typepad (if you know how, please comment). So, until then, y'all get crooked pictures. Does the crookedness affect the cuteness? I think not!]
So one of the things Greg and I cute out on in terms of ducks is the way they attach. We all know the image of the mama duck and her little ducklings all lined up in a row following her. Well, we were pretty darned excited to be mama to our babies. When you get them as itty bitty babies, they tend to attach to you, even though you're human. So we talk to them and hold them and in general smother them with love and affection. Greg is the master of holding them at this point. They're pretty big now, and when you hold them the just sit in the palm of your hand. My hands are about half the size of Greg's so it's a bit harder for me to hold them comfortably in my palm. But I try!
What I can do, however, is lull them to sleep. Check it out: way back when they were really tiny (three whole weeks ago), Greg and I were sitting with them and he was lamenting that the timbre of his voice tended to freak them out. So we were playing with them, but being on the quiet side. I happened to have just listened to this hilarious podcast and had "Head over Heels" stuck in my head. I started humming it, as I am wont to do when I have annoying songs stuck in my head, and lo and behold: all the ducklings stopped, clustered together, sat down and fell asleep, their little heads nodding off to the side. I shit you not, true story! I looked at Greg and whispered, "Did that actually just happen?!" and he concurred. And admitted that it pissed him off cause while I could hum them to sleep, when he opened his mouth all that happened was that they got freaked out.
I am obsessed with urban homesteading. I blame it on my personality
combined with my glorious discovery of this book*, about which I've already
waxed rhapsodic. I also have seemed to rubbed off on two of my best friends, lucky me! Leslie is now obsessed with wild yeast starter for bread as well as container gardening, and my friend Greg with both backyard fowl and sustainability in general (he and I have a lot of rad projects going on which I will try to be good about sharing as they come along).
I've now read the book enough that it is battered, oh glory be. I've only had
it since July, a true testament. It seems to have uncorked a long
stopped-up craving to 100% completely DO IT ALL! I, of course, think
that everyone used to fantasize about living on a farm, waking up early
to milk and feed the animals, making huge breakfasts, etc. I now know
better (not everyone thinks that sounds like paradise) but
surprisingly, there are plenty of us. And a lot of us also know we need different culture and activity than life on a farm can provide. Thank
goodness clever folks have helped spearhead a way that we can HAVE IT
The downside of my fantasy is that I'm not much of a gardener. Not that
I'm not interested, I'm just not experienced. But if there's one thing
I've learned it's that practice does make - if not "perfect" than at
least "better". So I've dived in. My square foot garden from last year
has been reborn this year with 4 lovely and producing tomato plants, 2
scarlet runner beans (so pretty!), basil, oregano (from seed!), and
yellow zucchini. My compost is working and we now have lemon, orange,
and lime trees in the yard. Next plan is to design and begin to
implement raised beds in the front yard, which gets more light than our
back yard. And some lasagna mulching where the old pine tree used to be. So ... good!
So many projects have been done and are in the works (jams and butters,
rabbits, spinning), but posts on those will have to wait. Today I
introduce you to our first flock of farmyard fowl, our ducks:
Here are some pictures from the first day they arrived, when they were only one day old! (They turned one month old today).
Greg and I got 10 ducks and shared 4 of them with some other local duck enthusiasts (the more ducks that come at once the better). They ended up shipping us 11 instead of 10 (standard procedure is to ship an extra in case one dies! So sad!) so now we have an extra duck. Although I think we've since found a home for her, which is great. So we have 6 ducks and they live at Greg's house. [Rabbits are next and they will live with me. As will the upcoming chickens.]
We got all females and they'll all be layers. Anyone out there who loves ducks, tell me your stories! I'm also keen on finding recipes that use duck eggs.
More pictures to come (so so many). So we have six ducks and have named four so far. Greg came up with the genius cute idea of letting Edie name a duck (so cute). What we've got:
Two Chocolate Runners: Tilly and Clementine "Clem" A White Layer (Edie's duck): Buzz Two Cayugas: Trevor and yet unnamed Cayuga Golden 300 Hybrid: yet unnamed
Get ready for some cute pictures of the fowl adventures around these parts! As well as upcoming knitting (!) and spinning stories.
(I had a hard spring and summer, but I'm coming back. Thanks for the encouragement, those of you who've been my cheerleaders, btw. Means the world.)
*Mrs Urban Homestead is doing a book signing at Modern Times in San Francisco tonight, 10/15, at 7:30 if anyone is interested....