Aidez: Status Update

I’m making some progress on my Aidez cardigan!  Left front is now complete, and the right front is on its way…the KAL with CelticCastOn and Co. is really keeping me focused.  I keep wanting to hop over to all my other projects, but the finish line is keeping me from straying, which is fantastic!  I would actually love to have this done by the 19th of November, so I can take it with me on a week-long sojourn to Vermont.  I’ll  just have to keep my fingers crossed that I don’t get “sleeve-itis” and lose motivation.

I had some serious fun winding this giant hank of Cascade EcoWool – it has to make the biggest yarn ball I’ve ever seen.  And this picture is reminding me that I really need to find my stitch markers, or invest in a new set!  (Right now I’m using one real marker, an old 50-cent cocktail ring, a key ring, and a piece of scrap yarn tied into a tiny loop.  Sigh.)

Tomato Harvest and Aidez KAL progress…

I have finally started in on another part of Aidez!  Cast on for the left front last night, and zoomed through a couple inches of ribbing.  I’ve been really busy with work recently, so this project will be my motivator to get things done before the wee hours of the morning (my bedtime has been stealthily moving later and later…) in order to have time to sit on the couch with a pile of wool in my lap and just chill out at the end of the night.

We just had our first frost out here, much earlier than usual, so I now have a ton of green tomatoes and cherry peppers sitting on my kitchen table.  I have no idea what to really do with the tomatoes, but I think I’ll make an effort at pickling the cherry peppers – or maybe marinating them, if I can figure out how to do that.  But just to remember the good times (as in, when it was warm and there was still hope of red tomatoes) here are a couple pics of my harvest from the container garden:

First, a couple gorgeous Black Krim tomatoes – really great taste, a little sweet and salty:

And now a nice conglomeration of Black Krim, Green Zebra, San Marzano, and Yellow Pear tomatoes (with two lemon cucumbers thrown in for good measure).

Aidez KAL – a confession

Yes, I have already finished the back.  But don’t think that it’s because I am a lightning fast knitter!  I started in on my Aidez last Spring and then lost motivation once it was time for summer dresses and breezy cotton.  So I’ve joined in on this KAL to get off my lazy butt and finish this sweater in time for Fall and Winter!

In reality I am a terribly slow knitter, so I’m not too worried about barreling ahead of you all – still, I’m waiting a bit before I cast on one of my fronts.  I’m still trying to keep some focus on my Georgia:

I made this!

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Cute placemat courtesy of a good friend (bday present!)

Isn’t it gorgeous? (if I do say so myself…)  A friend and I went blueberry picking, and we stopped at an orchard on the way home to add peaches to our summer fruit stash.  Unfortunately, we had pretty much no idea what we were doing, so we ended up with some not-so-fantastic fruit, but the ones that went into this pie were gems.  I actually think I should have used peaches that weren’t quite so ripe since I ended up with a cup of juice floating around in the filling, but it certainly didn’t ruin the flavor!

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Close-up of a crust that looked delicious, but tasted less so

I wasn’t all that impressed with the crust (when I was really into making pies, I had a standby pastry recipe from my mom’s Mennonite cookbook, but I don’t have my own copy on hand), so I’ll try something else next time.  Still, the filling was delicious (I used this recipe) and it was a perfect summer dessert.

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Works in Progress and Good Eats

My official work “season” is over, so for the last couple of days my husband and I have been fully immersed in eating, drinking, and enjoying a short stint of sunny weather.  (It’s now back to gloomy, rainy spring outside.)  I harvested my first crop of broccoli raab and actually came up with a good way to use it – in pasta!  The flavor of broccoli raab is so distinctive and strong that it seems to need some sort of neutral vehicle (although I still enjoyed it as its own dish the night before).

 I used a technique from Foodnetwork.com to prepare the greens – Giada said to drop it in some boiling water and then an ice bath immediately after, so I followed her instructions.

I love how vibrant these greens are!  It’s really satisfying to pick things in the backyard and then eat them an hour later.  I don’t know if I’ll grow broccoli raab again, since it really doesn’t produce all that much, and so much of it is inedible (I had to trim off a lot of the stalk because it was so stringy), but now that I have a better idea of how to prepare it, I may be motivated to grow more next year.

Next on my list of updates: knitting and knitting and more knitting.  I’ve joined several Knit-alongs on Ravelry, so I’ve had more motivation than usual to finish projects, particularly because I keep finding new things I want to knit.  Right now I still working on Sophia, a mesh off-the-shoulder top…

 …and Georgia, a simple and modern cardigan by Jane Richmond.

Sorry that’s not a great picture – I really need to work on my camera skills!  Here’s a closer shot of the yarn, which is gorgeous!

It’s Sweet Georgia Yarn Tough Love Sock in the Cayenne colorway, which is exactly the yarn called for in the pattern.  I know it’s not particularly imaginative of me, but I’m glad I went with my gut, because I’m really enjoying it!

I’m really trying to stay focused on my already-started projects, but here are my current obsessions:

I’m going to a wedding soon, and I need something to provide a little warmth – I love the shawl (the Whisper Wrap from Purl Bee), but I think it would take me forever, so the Emma shrug (from Quince & Co.) is probably the more practical option.Oh, and the last thing on my mind right now….

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Time to Catch My Breath

It’s been awhile since I’ve had a minute to sit down and write a post – work has taken some serious concentration recently, but the season is winding down now, and I’m trying to reconnect with the outside world again.

The weather has been warming up, although today was disappointingly cold and windy.  On the bright side, my cold-weather plants (fava beans, broccoli rabe, curly kale, peas, parsley and dill) seem to like the brisk cloudiness.

Fava bean coming up!

Sorry so blurry! These are my mini broccoli rabes!

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My array of pots…

Inside the house, my tomatoes, peppers and clusters of basil are starting to look like more than just seedlings now that they’ve been transplanted from little peat pods into my makeshift plastic cups that serve as little pots (with holes poked in the bottom for drainage).  I’ll post pics soon, hopefully with my higher-quality camera!

Until then, here’s what’s on my needles right now…I’ll leave you guessing as to what it might be…

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Spring in Walla Walla!

This past weekend my husband and I made a quick trip to Walla Walla, WA, which is a cozy little town full of wineries and gorgeous countryside.  If the name sounds familiar, it’s probably because Walla Walla is also known for growing sweet, candy-like onions that make it to markets around the country.

Our trip was mainly inspired by the occurrence of two consecutive days off from work (for both of us!), and although we could only stay one night, it was absolutely worth it.

Here are some shots of the first winery we visited on Saturday, K Vintners:

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Those little guys on the lawn are the guard dogs of the establishment – quite intimidating.

Can you tell that this guy is wearing a little ponytail?


Our next stop was the Woodward Canyon winery, which had a lovely garden just behind the tasting room.  I couldn’t believe how lush and beautiful everything looked; even though we live a short 3 hour drive away from Walla Walla, our spring is only just beginning.

Our adventures the next day included visiting a free aviary in a local park:


And one of my favorite parts of our whirlwind weekend: satisfyingly authentic Mexican food.  This taco place had pretty positive reviews on Yelp (there was a taco truck with higher marks, but that was nowhere to be found on a Sunday afternoon), so we drove a couple blocks outside of the town “proper” to check it out.  I loved that the hot salsa was actually hot (it tasted like creamy jalapeños), and that our background music was the futbol game of the day.  We tried 6 different tacos (I took this picture after we had already wolfed down the carnitas one), one of which was called the Walla Walla – it was stuffed with steak, melted cheese, avocado and grilled, sweet Walla Walla onions, and reminded me of a Philly Cheesesteak.

And now it’s back to reality!  Next time I’ll have a garden update – things are starting to sprout everywhere and I’m feeling more spring in the air!