Knitting, spinning, pets, food and other thoughts


Plum Cobbler: Take 2

I thought the previous plum cobbler was a little short on filling, so I tried again with about twice as many plums. It’s a good thing I put the dish on a foil-lined baking sheet!

Plum Cobbler – Take 2

And closer …

Annie suggested turbinado sugar for the top, which I don’t have, so I used Demerara sugar for some crunch instead.

Turns out Annie and I are both working on sweaters from (or in my case, inspired by) Gladys Thompson’s Patterns for Guernseys, Jerseys & Arans. Go and take a peek at hers, which is made in some really yummy looking handspun! Mine, which I pulled from the UFO pile, is Satakieli from Schoolhouse Press. The body is done, and I’m now working on the first sleeve, so there’s progress! The color in the photo isn’t even close—my beloved greens (this is actually a pretty dark green) do not photograph well 😦

The weather’s been pretty good lately; much cooler, and we’ve been getting rain, which has made the plants much happier. This spring, I planted some scarlet runner beans in a big pot with a wire cage, and they grew a bit, then sulked when it turned hot, even though I kept watering them.

Scarlet Runner Beans

Look what I found hiding in the leaves! I have no idea if it’s still edible, but it looks like would almost feed a small family 😉

And the rosebush is blooming again – I think there are 7 buds this time. This has been the brightest spot in what has otherwise been a rather dismal gardening year 🙂

Prairie Sunrise rose.


Signs of Fall!

There are starting to be red “mittens” on the ground, a sure sign of fall. After such a dry year, I wondered if we’d have any fall color at all, but at least the sassafras tree is putting on a show. The cooler weather has also revved Toby up — he was running big loops in the yard.

I’ve also been doing some baking — the plums looked so good at the store that I ended up making a plum cobbler; it has a biscuit-type topping sprinkled with cinnamon and sugar. The only change I’d make would be to use about double the amount of plums; 2½-3 lbs instead of 1½ lbs, which was a bit skimpy.

There was a lovely sky the other evening, not exactly fall-like, but definitely out of the ordinary!



Cindy and I have been trying to get together (again, after meeting once for lunch in St. Louis forever ago), and she was able to come down for a visit on Thursday. Fortunately, other than the heat, the weather cooperated, so she got the full yard and garden tour, as well as the house tour (which H loves to give). Toby was excited to have company, Amber was polite, and shy Maggie even came out to visit. In addition to yummy dog treats for Toby, Cindy brought me a lovely lavender plant, which smells wonderful 🙂

It was such fun, and we visited and compared notes on our stashes of Rachel’s and Joan’s fiber and yarn (she’s got 1 of Joan’s I just may not be able to resist!).

Even more internet connections: Carole had mentioned having salmon with a yummy sounding glaze, and she kindly shared the recipe on Facebook, so my riff on that (balsamic vinegar instead of wine vinegar) was on the menu, plus little Yukon gold potatoes, and dessert was Cappuccino Crunch Bars* which I found a while ago on Noble Pig’s food blog, from which I’ve collected several good recipes. Have I mentioned that the more I use Pepperplate (free), the more I like it? My iPad is becoming my go-to cookbook!

It was over much too quickly as she had to get back and get Grover from doggie day care, but we did get a photo. I can’t wait to get together again!

Cindy, Joy & Toby.

*Recipe mods: I use dark chocolate chips instead of white chocolate as given in the recipe, and go just a bit heavier on the instant coffee and cinnamon.



I’m watching you!

There’s a bluebird house just beyond the garden. I haven’t gone very close, but she watches whenever I get over that way – good thing I’ve got a zoom 😉

House wren.

This wren has been singing a lot very close to the house – they’re in a bird house just off the left of the frame.

The toad in the lettuce—the only time I’ve seen him/her bail out is when I got a little carried away watering it, but he’s back.

Now blooming: Peonies and iris – the iris start was given to me by a friend and I don’t have a name for it.

Peony Festiva Maxima.

And more food–corn muffins with cheese (part in the muffins, the rest on top), bacon and sautéed scallions. Yum, but next time I need to use liners in the cups!


Garden & other goodies

We finally have the garden done, complete with fence and gate – I just need to add a layer of chicken wire to close up the gaps left by the rounded corners on the gates. The new asparagus (along the right edge) is starting to poke through, I got a few seeds planted yesterday and a fairly good idea of where the tomatoes will go once we’re past the likelihood of frost. The oval highlight in the left background is where the bluebirds seem to have settled 🙂

Garden - finally!

Over on the other side of the yard, what started out as a single mock orange shrub has multiplied into a large clump that’s currently covered with lovely fragrant blossoms – I love the smell!

Mock Orange.

I enjoy watching America’s Test Kitchen, and found a really good recipe – French-Style Pot-Roasted Pork Loin (I think you have to sign up to see the recipe, but it’s free). As with many of their recipes, it’s a bit fiddly, but worth it, at least in this case. You butterfly the roast (cut 1/3 of the way down lengthwise but not quite all the way through, open, then cut remaining part in half) and spread sautéd garlic in it, then roll, tie and season it, brown the outside, cover and roast in the oven at 225 deg.

French-Style Pot-Roasted Pork Loin: Browned and ready to go in the oven.

Since I didn’t have Herbes de Provence on hand, I subbed an Italian seasoning mix, which worked very well. It’s a great technique that I’ll use (and vary) again – yum!

Roasted and sliced - first cut is at the bottom, 2nd cut in the middle.


The start of something …

yummy for this year’s garden (all heirloom varieties). I also ordered asparagus crowns which I must now get planted!

Peppers - Jimmy Nardello Italian, de Arbol chilis; Tomatoes - yellow Riesentraube (grape-type), pink Brandywine & Dixie Golden Giant.

My 3rd design is now up on Patternfish; I’ve been working through the previously published ones for which I still own the rights. They’re all getting new charts and schematics.

Cabled Hearts Pullover

I haven’t much stir frying lately, but fixed a batch of MaPoTofu yesterday – very tasty (even better the 2nd day); I need to do it more often. The recipe is from Chinese Cuisine, which I got at one of the Asian markets in St. Louis. I like the book, but the recipes assume at least a fair knowledge of how it’s done, so I’m glad I’d watched a lot of episodes of Martin Yan before I tried it.

And of course,  a cat photo …


Too bad …

that blogs can’t be scratch-and-sniff, or I could share more than just pictures of this

which turned into this

resulting in the whole house smelling very yummy indeed! What surprised me was that the larger loaf was done in the same length of time as the 2 smaller ones.

We were fortunate that most of the rough weather missed us, even though we got a burst of small hail the other day. In spite of that, there are more daffodils all the time, and the quince buds have started opening 🙂

A different daffodil.

Quince blossom & buds.

ETA: We had some with chicken soup for supper. Based on a 2-loaf white bread recipe; subbed some oatmeal and KAF white whole wheat flour, then added bread flour until the dough felt right. Also added ~1/3 cup dry milk with the liquid.


Cats, colcannon & crazy weather

When we were bringing in the groceries other day, I heard a peculiar noise and turned around to find both cats “mugging” the bag of cat food I’d just set on the floor. I was only able to catch 1 mugger – Maggie had already scurried away.

Amber - caught in the act!

The weather’s still been on a roller coaster, *up, down; rep from *. The warm spells have gotten the bulbs revved up …

Daffodils and thyme.

and then it does this sort of thing

Iced purple kale (last summer's planter).

I love watching this redbud through the seasons.

Redbud with snow.

Colcannon with kale and sautéd onions.

I had some nice kale that needed to be used, so decided to fix a batch of colcannon (it can be made with kale or with cabbage. Evidently there are 2 distinct schools of thought on this – I’ve made it both ways). My version uses mashed potatoes, onions and at least on this occasion, chopped kale that’s been simmered briefly in the the potato water, then drained and stirred in. I also put the whole business into a non-stick skillet and brown it like a giant potato cake. I’ll leave the turning over process to your imagination, but it was very tasty, and didn’t last long 😉