Knitting, spinning, pets, food and other thoughts



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.


Baking, decorating and knitting …

There’s been baking, but I really need to put some away for later, so we don’t eat them all 😉

Lots of snickerdoodles.

Snickerdoodles closer.

And I’ve been having fun with the Christmas decorating. I moved the nativity from its home shelf to a spot just inside the door. It took some furniture shuffling, but I like it here. The next thing you see is the tree, and a new ornament I couldn’t resist—it’s got my name on it!

New ornament.

Then there’s the wreath our daughter Mary gave us last year; it lost a couple of cones, so I now have a new glue gun 😉

And of course there’s been knitting! I persuaded Maggie to model the modular scarf (Not her favorite activity!);

and I’ve been playing with some of the Zauberball. I think it might turn out to be a stole.

Zauberball swatch.



This was the view through the window this morning, and it made me glad that we didn’t have to go anywhere, though at least the ice was just on the trees, not on the roads. It seemed like a great day for a nice warm casserole, so some of the leftover turkey, plus sauce, green chilis, tortillas and cheese went from this

to this, which will be even better tomorrow 😛

Here’s our Thanksgiving group – I think Toby left after about the first or 2nd photo.



Turkey & Pie, oh my!

Fresh turkey (21#) from Soulard Market ...

With 2 kinds of stuffing, mashed potatoes, mixed vegetables, and cranberry sauce.

After all that, we waited a while for it to settle before having dessert:

Chocolate Kahlua Pecan Pie.

Recipe from Dierberg’s, a St. Louis grocery chain – I tried it one year, and it’s been expected ever since 😉

Next day was more visiting, more food, a nice walk in the nearby State park, and putting up Christmas decorations together with family – lovely visit!

Hope everyone had a great holiday!


Getting ready

Thanksgiving (U.S.) dinner is looming ever closer and when Baker’s Banter (King Arthur Flour) posted a dinner roll recipe, I had to try it. Not only a new-to-me recipe, but also the first time I’ve used my KitchenAid mixer to make bread and both were a definite success! I still want to try freezing the unbaked rolls as explained in the recipe, as none of this batch made it to the freezer. I took most of them in for our fellowship time after church today (zero leftovers), along with a relish dish of olives, cheese and artichoke dip, but I plan to make another batch for Thursday.

It’s gotten much more like November here, rainy, windy and chilly, but I found this bright spot in my photos 🙂

Aromatic sumac.


Bits & pieces …

I’ve been working on patterns, and finally got this beaded bag ready to put up at Patternfish.

Crystal Beaded Bag

I hope to add more designs soon, including the shawl Amber’s modeling here (once I get the pattern written).

We had an abrupt change of weather overnight. This morning there was no doubt that it’s November—perfect soup weather. I got a couple of nice big stewing hens when we went to Soulard Farmers’ Market in St. Louis on Saturday, so I made a pot of soup (chicken, rice, carrots, onions and mushrooms) with the broth and most of the meat from 1 and put the other in the freezer for later.

I also came home with some squash that I’ll probably roast, though I might just cook the acorn squash in the microwave and put the usual butter and brown sugar on it.

The rest of the tomatoes are slowing turning color, so we still have a few left 🙂

The last ones ...


Garden’s end (for now)

Since the weather folks kept issuing frost warnings for our area (and freeze warnings not that much farther north of us) I decided to pick everything instead of dealing with covering it again. As you may guess, there was no frost way up here on the hill, even though other areas around us did get some. So apart from sone earlier peppers, yellow pear (salad) tomatoes and a couple of larger tomatoes from the planter, this is what we got from the part of the garden I got planted this year.

The tomatoes are all Brandywine (red and yellow, which I will definitely grow again), the larger sweet peppers are Jimmy Nardello, and the little dish is de Arbol chilis of as yet unknown hotness. While it’s not a large yield, considering how late I got the plants into the ground, I’m happy to have gotten this much. As they say, next year … 😉

Some of the tomatoes are showing enough color I think they’ll ripen, but I still want to make a batch of relish with some of the green ones and the peppers. Meanwhile, I made pepper jelly yesterday. For some reason, my math skills completely deserted me, and I came up 4 jars short of having enough for all the jelly, so the 4 jars on the right (clean, but not sterilized or processed) are in the fridge  (sigh …)

Pepper jelly - the whole batch.

Along with the frost warnings we got cooler weather, perfect for making a big pan of lasagna. We either need to have more company, or put some in the freezer for later – it freezes well.

Ready to go in the oven.


Beautiful clouds today.