Joyknits!

Knitting, spinning, pets, food and other thoughts


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Still catching up!

Lately, I’ve been searching for summer squash recipes, and found a couple of keepers. squash sauteSautéed Baby Squash with Basil & Feta – I had small, but not baby pattypan squash, so I cut a white one and a yellow one into wedges and sautéed them until lightly colored on each side (this pretty much eliminated the excess moisture I get with most squash preps), subbed green onions for the leeks, cut up a couple of Roma tomatoes, and totally forgot to add the cheese, but it was yummy and will certainly be repeated. Sweet peppers would be good in this too!

squash skilletAnother keeper was Skillet Mexican Zucchini – the original recipe is meatless, but I sautéed strips of chicken breast (cleaning out the freezer), then added them at practically the last minute. I skipped the pickled jalapenos, and I’m not sure if I remembered the cheese, but I did stir in some sofrito and chili powder with the garlic and onions, which gave it a bit of zing.

Yellow pattypan squash.

Yellow pattypan squash.

Volunteer butternut squash.

Volunteer butternut squash.

Since there are more squash in the garden, these may get replayed soon 😛

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Not just beans …

there are other things growing here too, like the Disco Belle hibiscus hibiscusand cucumbers, which are just starting to come in. These are a pickling variety, but they’re also very good to snack on 😉 cukesBut there are plenty of beans – I’ve already put some in the freezer to enjoy next winter, and I fixed some of the little French fillet beans (Calima) with shallots, diced tomato, toasted pine nuts and fresh herbs (thyme, parsley & basil) the other night – yum! These beans are producing very well and are definitely on my plant-again list. beans


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Birds …

The big excitement this week has been centered around the bird feeders. In previous years, rose-breasted grosbeaks and orioles have made brief stops in the yard, but never stayed. So far this year, they’ve been hanging around. The grosbeaks seem to like both the sunflower and safflower seeds, and the orioles (at least 2 pair – yay!) started out with the suet cake, which they’re still working on, but have also decided the grape jelly feeder is a good deal.

Oriole on suet cake, grosbeak on seed feeder.

Oriole on suet cake, grosbeak on seed feeder.

grosbeaks 2

I finally tried a recipe I found a while back for Spicy Chicken Thighs with Apricots and Olives.

chicken 1

Fortunately I’d saved it in Pepperplate, so I could find it, and it turned out as good as it sounded – I was a bit careful with the heat level and will add a bit more the next time. It’s really easy, as you put the chicken in a bag with the marinade and let it sit for 24 hours, then cook it in the oven, and serve over rice or cous cous – yum!

chicken 2

Toby went to the groomer today, so he’s nice and soft and a bit less furry – when I picked him up, there were drifts of fur out in the reception area that had just rolled under the door from the grooming area 😉 toby 0413b

toby 0413a

Another bit of spring – the sassafras trees are in bloom. sassafras


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April showers …

in this case, can cause problems! Starting way too early this morning with a wake-up call from Toby because it was storming (time for his Thundershirt and Rescue Remedy!), it kept raining most of the day (almost 4″ in the gauge), and a pond that’s nearly overflowing. We’re usually lucky to have a foot or 2 in it! pond

At times like this, we’re very happy to be 200-300 ft higher than the highway, because the creek running next to it went over the road in at least a couple of places (pictures on Facebook), and it was even worse in a number of areas around the St. Louis region.

While I was over by the pond, I sneaked a peek into the bluebird house, and saw what looked like a blue tail sticking up on the left, but didn’t want to disturb her, so it’s not a very good photo. bluebird house

Meanwhile things are blooming, and I saw the first hummer of the season this morning, though only briefly.

Serviceberry (top); flowering quince (left); lilac (right).

Serviceberry (top); flowering quince (left); lilac (right).

I tried a recipe from Essential Pepin today; Red Snapper with Leeks, Mushrooms & Shallots – with a few substitutions, that is. The recipe said it was suitable for any firm-fleshed fish and I had a piece of flounder, green onions, dried shiitake mushrooms and 1 red sweet Italian pepper, so I sliced, diced and seasoned a bit, simmered everything but the fish in a cup of white wine, then put the fish on top of the sauce, simmered until the fish was just done, and the recipe’s definitely a keeper! dinnerTalk about getting out of one’s comfort zone! Anyone who knows me knows that I don’t crochet very much – my skills there are pretty minimal, but a friend asked for help with his Mom’s treasured afghan. She’s in a nursing home, and the afghan had been sent through the big washer. Unfortunately, some of the yarn in it was wool and didn’t tolerate that at all well.

Granny square: before.

Granny square: before.

It would be nice if it were possible to insert rows/rounds into crochet like you can with knitting, but as far as I can find out, crochet doesn’t work that way, so I ended up taking the square out, adding 2 rounds with new yarn, then recycling the original yarn for the last 2 rounds. She was very thrifty with her ends, so it wasn’t easy 😉 Hope I don’t need to do it again!

Granny square: after

Granny square: after


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The Ides of March …

or at least it will be tomorrow – it’s amazing how fast the year is going by, though not quite as fast as the amaryllis is growing. It’s really shot up in the past week.

18" and still growing!

18″ and still growing.

Thanks to everyone who’s Liked Joyknits designs over on Facebook – please keep visiting!

My pal Maggie’s really a serious hindrance when it comes to making the bed. She always wants to snuggle and cuddle, and all that cuteness is hard to resist 🙂

Maggie

Maggie

Nothing like a nice big pan of mac & cheese when the weather’s cool, and having the leftovers is sure handy!

Mac & cheese.

Mac & cheese.

There has been knitting, in fact I had trouble putting it down. What I have here now is a caterpillar – once it’s blocked, I hope it will be another butterfly. knitting


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Something new!

Joyknits designs now has its own Facebook page for new patterns, published designs and whatever else seems appropriate. My thanks to everyone who’s read promo copy (which doesn’t come easily to me!) and offered encouragement!

Profile photo for Joyknits designs.

Profile photo for Joyknits designs.

And a small teaser of some coming attractions teaser

Our weather’s still on the roller coaster – on Tuesday we had snow, which Toby really enjoys. As cold as it looks, he wasn’t in a big hurry to come in. By the weekend, it’s supposed to be around 60, then rain.toby snow

Then inside today – only someone who lives with a camera-phobic pet will appreciate how hard this was to get; bribery WAS involved. 😉

toby 2With the cooler temperatures and some really nice country-style ribs, I couldn’t resist making a big pot of pozole with the ribs, hominy, black beans, tomatoes and southwestern seasonings – yum! And it only gets better after a couple of days in the fridge.pozole 1pozole 2

And finally, an amaryllis update – there’s a lovely chubby bud coming up!

8½" and growing!

8½” and growing!


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Trying to catch up …

and it seems like one of those the faster I go, the behinder I get deals. Does that happen to everyone?

The car is back, it looks wonderful, and they completely cleaned the inside too!!! I was almost as pleased by that as by having it fixed 😉

It's back :)

It’s back!

I also finished a pair of socks for a friend – the yarn is Rachel’s Dyeabolical sock (color: Themyscira) – love that the heels are fraternal twins. They were a big hit!

Dyeabolical socks!

Dyeabolical socks!

I was in the mood for stir fry the other day, so we had a nice big batch of Ma Po’s Tofu – of course now I’m out of tofu, so will have to get more.

Yum!

Yum!

The critters continue to be great entertainment – this new box has gotten a lot of attention from both cats, though Amber seems to be more interested that Maggie. The fact that it’s probably bison-scented may come into that.

New cat toy.

New cat toy.

The weather’s been a real roller coaster, from highs around freezing or below (more normal) all the way up to around 70 (definitely not normal). We’ve had a little bit of snow, more rain, a few storms, and I think there’s more of the same likely in the next week.

I’ve gotten out to trim bushes and see what’s coming up when it’s been nice; found this great little nest (about 3″ across) over near the mail box.  nest 1 nest 2Does anyone know what kind of bird builds like this?

ETA: I think it’s most likely an American Goldfinch’s nest – size and location seem to fit, and we have plenty of them around!