Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Abi's Little Sister Dress

Abi's Little Sister Dress
Originally uploaded by wenjomatic.

Pattern: Little Sister Dress by Tora Froseth, 12m size (altered yarn and needle)

Yarn: Beyond Bold by South West Trading Company in rose, white and chocolate
needle size: US4 circular 24"

Cast-on 8-8-08 during the Opening Ceremonies for my Ravelympics Challenge this is Abi's completed dress. It took exactly 16 days and I crossed the finish line off during Closing Ceremonies. And what a joy to knit! The pattern is a super easy top-down, no seam pattern. Written for an infant size, I sized it up with a worsted weight yarn on size 4 needles. It made for a modest fabric with good body and not too much stretch, which is often problematic with 100% cotton. I am super happy with the final fabric.

Abi adores it and was the fit is just right! It's great for late summer on it's own and will move into fall and winter with a shirt and tights underneath. And if we don't hit a growth spurt, perhaps spring as well!

I highly recommend this project for those of you with girls OR for a quick baby gift, as the pattern is written!

Abi's Little Sister Dress Abi's Little Sister Dress Yoke Detail Little Sister Dress Button Detail

Monday, August 25, 2008

Ready for Kindergarten

Ready for Kindergarten
Originally uploaded by wenjomatic.
Today, Andrew became a kindergartener! He was ready... he's positively thrilled. I'm not so sure I was ready.

How did this day get here so fast?

It was a very fun morning, just as we getting dressed we were hit with a heavy rain. The first real rain we've had here in more than a month. Timing is everything right? Thankfully it subsided just as it was time for us to take our walk down the street. Moms and Dads stayed with the children today, just for a short morning of school. Tomorrow will be a regular day.

Mrs. DePatto had them do a scavenger hunt of sorts, finding the areas of the room. They found the reading center, activity center, math center, the art center and so on. We also went for a walk to find the cafeteria, the office, the playground, the library and the bathrooms. Andrew feels more comfortable there now, knowing his surroundings.

I think I am comfortable too. I'm sad that he's on the school track now. Our lives will be very different... schedules, activities, meetings. Abi's playtime will be very different now too, I hope she's not lonely. We surely know how to keep busy... so that's just what we'll do.

Andrew's Desk At School Andrew and Mrs DePatto Andrew Alphabet

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Harvesting: An Onion Dig

Onions, Can You Smell Them?
Originally uploaded by wenjomatic.

Dig is not really an accurate word for what I just did with my onions. I learned that when onions are ready the greens lay down and begin drying. Mine started this process 7-10 days ago. Also, what I read said that once ready, they practically spring out when you tug on the foliage.

Sure enough. They do. It took me all of 3 minutes to snatch them all out. There were a few that could have remained another week or so, but overall they were ready. They were co-planted around my broccoli and peppers (big plant in the center of the square, 8 onions in a halo around the edges of the square) so I had to get down on my hands and knees to reach around the center plants, which are still producing. This is my first one-time/full sort of harvest and I was smiling ear to ear. I kept giggling to myself that if one of my neighbors happened to come out at that time they’d have thought I’d lost it (again) seeing me all crouched down like that grinning.

Oh well. My onions are happy so I’m happy. There’s quite a variation in size here, which will be VERY convenient for cooking, depending on what I’m making and how much I need. I do wonder how they can vary this much all in the same garden box, all planted at the same time, all getting watered together. Surely sunlight must be the answer. The ones on the outer edges of the box, less blocked by bigger plants, are the jumbo ones. But not without exception, some of the innermost were bigger too.

So now to dry… they are laying out back now, on the newspaper. I left them in full sun for this afternoon. The dirt was pretty damp and needs to dry so I can brush it off before they lay out and cure for a couple weeks. Then to storage for winter. These will get us a far way into winter, but not all the way through. I’ll definitely plant more next year.

Onion Harvest 2008

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Seed Swap

Seed Swap
Originally uploaded by wenjomatic.

I'm packaging up some burpless cucumber seeds to go off into the world. My Folia has a very nifty feature that lets a gardener post their seeds stashed for swap. I had plenty cuke seeds so I marked them as available. And right away I heard from a gardener in NC who was interested. She's trading me some sunflower seeds for my cuke seeds.

It's all very exciting. In a dorky-gardener sort of way. I can't wait to find out they are received and I look forward to seeing how they do down the road.

Monday, August 18, 2008

What does a gardener look like?

If you grow anything at all and haven't stumbled upon Folia.com yet, you have to check it out. It's an incredible way to journal your own gardens, plus meet others and discuss what's growing... around the world.

Last week a journal entry sparked the most endearing and fun conversation about What Gardeners Look Like. I hung on every word and found so much comfort in what Kat Powers shared. I grew up much like she did and am trying to impart the dirt-in-your-toes philosophy to own my children. It's tempting, in the electronic age, to just plug them into something and do what I want. But it's so terribly unhealthy for their little minds. I'd rather them be out chasing bugs and digging in the dirt. More work for me of course, more water for baths, more band-aids required. But the pay-off is exponential.

So grab a cup of coffee and read this wonderful journal entry about her garden life... and all of the great replies that came after. And by all means, register for Folia if you're got anything in dirt around you! Just add me as your gardening buddy!

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Inflammatory Breast Cancer... Have You Heard?

Originally uploaded by wenjomatic.

WATCH THIS VIDEO NOW! komonews.s3.amazonaws.com/ibc/komo_ibc.wmv

If you think you know breast cancer, you'll be surprised to hear about this OTHER kind of breast cancer that mammograms and monthly breast exams don't find. This is important for you to know, and for those you love! GET THE WORD OUT!

Research can be found here at The IBC Research Foundation

Friday, August 15, 2008

Making Pesto

Making Pesto
Originally uploaded by wenjomatic.
Today I harvested all of larger basil plants from the square foot garden (the ones blooming). I was SHOCKED when I realized that there were 8 cups of leaves to process... and I mean 8 firmly packed leaves. It took two batches, but I was able to put up, in ice cube trays, 48 little blocks of pesto for the freezer! Plus there was just enough for tonight's dinner that didn't fit into the tray.

All of it from only 2 square feet in the garden!!

Into the blender... 2 batches of:

4 cups packed pesto leaves
1 cup Parmesan cheese
1 cup olive oil
1 tbsp minced garlic
1 1/2c walnuts
salt and pepper to taste

Basil Harvest

Drying the Basil

Pesto Crazy

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Cicada Fully Emerged

Cicada Fully Emerged
Originally uploaded by wenjomatic.

This morning we walked over to a neighbor's yard to watch some construction across the street. While waiting for the big dump truck to drop the gravel, we noticed some cicada shells on a pine tree. Looking closer, we saw that some of them were actually molting at just that time. It was so incredible!

This one was already molted as we walked up and was drying his new wings on the back of his old shell. As we stood and watched, he began moving around on the bark. The children were able to touch his soft wings without disturbing it.

This was one of those moments that makes me so happy about our parenting decisions. If I were a working mom, these kids of moments would be so much fewer and farther between.

Of course... we had to bring some shells home:
Cicada Shells

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Sneaking Out for Breakfast

Sneaking Out for Breakfast
Originally uploaded by wenjomatic.
They didn't hear me go out the back door...

I was quiet.



I sat for as long as I could and watched the birds working my neighbor's sunflower heads. There were a few out in my back fence garden too. For a minute I was worried they were picking my seeds out, just planted yesterday. But I realized they were going for all of the goodies we turned up in the soil. It had been unworked for years.

I wish I knew the history of that spot. There was improved soil (probably topsoil, didn't see any vermiculite) in that new spot we turned over by the fence. I bet someone had flowers there sometime ago. Maybe herbs... there is some apple mint growing close by.

Mr. Stripey tomatoes and basil from the garden, mozzarella and a splash of vinegar for the bite, salt and pepper of course.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Bruschetta with Foccacia

Bruschetta with Foccacia
Originally uploaded by wenjomatic.

My two very close friends.... I had them for lunch today. I love summertime, this is my favorite use for sweet 100 tomatoes.

Fresh Bruschetta:
handful cherry tomatoes chopped
1/4 tsp minched garlic
4-5 leaves sweet basil, chopped
tbsp olive oil

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Ravelympics Little Sister Dress... yoke in progress

Ravelympics Little Sister Dress... yoke in progress
Originally uploaded by wenjomatic.

I have mostly been knitting socks lately and I've stalled out a bit. I decided to get into the run of Ravelympics (Ravelry's knitting Olympics challenge) and knit a fall dress for Abi.

I cast on during the Opening Ceremonies in Beijing and hope to be done by Closing Ceremonies. The yoke is 2/3rds done, I have one more set of the 3 colors do do, then I'll bind off the arms and workon the body.

I think I can... I think I can... I think I can... I think I can!!

Pattern: Little Sister Dress
Yarn: South West Trading Co, in Beyond Bold, pink brown & white

Seedy Mail

Seedy Mail
Originally uploaded by wenjomatic.

I ordered a few more things for the fall veggie garden and they just arrived yesterday in the mail. I love getting seeds, it’s like Santa came! Squeeee! I can’t wait to plant my fall garden but I’m trying desperately to be level headed. We’ve had a nice snap of cool weather for early August and it has me itching to plant. But, everything I read says wait until later in the month, even until Labor Day, to plan leafy goodies for fall. It’s so hard though… finding that perfect window… not to hot for the sproutings… not to late to mature. A real nail biter!

I do think I’ll sweet-talk Don today and see if I can get him to remove some sod by the back fence, to extended that garden… I want to get these peas in now so they will hopefully make before the first killing frost. (crosses fingers)

Friday, August 08, 2008

Goodness Gardening

Originally uploaded by wenjomatic.

Oh man, some days are just mouth watering when you garden, aren’t they? Gosh, I knew I needed to do some harvesting today, but I really didn’t expect to fill up the bowl. Is 9am too early for a salad???

My broccoli started coming in a week or so ago. Thankfully it’s taking its time and spreading itself out. We are getting about one head every 4-5 days… perfect pace for enjoying it. 3 out of 6 plants have now been cut.

The tomatoes are all starting to ready themselves now. Right now they are coming in at a eating-fresh pace, but in another 10 days or so I’ll be looking at preserving them. Definite salsa plans on the horizon. Perhaps some sauce… we shall see just what I have to deal with.

The cukes are coming to an end. I already canned 8 pints of dills last week. These are the last 2 larger ones… the ones still on the plant are the irregulars, but still yummy and growing. Once they are done in another week, I’ll be removing the plants and doing some fall goodies.

My neighbors are so jealous! I should probably share ;)