august?

Time for more apologizing. (And for getting used to a new version of WordPress. This is fancy!) I don’t know why I’m not knitting, and I don’t really know why I’m not blogging. But I’m not quite ready to give up on this space, and I hope you’re not ready to give up on me. I’m hoping to get back into a groove one of these days.

Until then, though, you get pictures of what we’ve been up to, both here at the lake house and further afield. Since I last blogged (in June?!), I’ve TAed an intensive 3-week summer course, joined my family for a week on the gulf coast of Florida, spent a weekend in the Catskills saying goodbye to a dear grad school friend who is moving/moving on to take a postdoc, given a paper at my first non-grad-student conference (yay!) and visited my younger brother in Colorado. (Whew!)

Want to see some of that? Here you go:

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During that three-week course, Boh spent a lot of time entertaining himself.

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And there were strawberries.

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Cuddling the papers to grade…

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Frolicking at a nearby park on our way to the farm.

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First farm tomato!

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Delicious.

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Writing.

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Bird-watching, coffee-drinking, breakfast-eating, all from the balcony of the condo my parents rented on the gulf coast of Florida.

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Seashells collected on morning walks with my mom.

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Beautiful beach.

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A snapping turtle greeting me (and Boh — see his nose in the lower left-hand corner?) in the Catskills!

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Catskills relaxation.

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And some more.

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Sam, my brother’s horse.

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Colorado National Monument.

And now — just today, actually — home again, this time for awhile. Time to settle back into lake house life, which I’m hoping will include lots of writing…

Thanks for reading, friends.

asparagus everything.

The farm I joined for the spring season had a festival celebrating all things asparagus a few weeks ago. This is beer-battered, deep-fried asparagus. Yum.

And this is asparagus ice cream. Also delicious.

And this is the farm. So lovely.

Can you spot the snake in the lake? This is the biggest one I’ve ever seen here. Don’t worry, I googled extensively the first time something I thought was a stick turned out to have a tongue. There’s nothing here that is aggressive or poisonous. Still, I was glad to be on the dock.

This guy was too busy focusing on the breeze and the sunshine to worry about snakes in the lake. Stay tuned for knitting and spinning. Promise.

more agnes.


Getting ready to bind off the body stitches this morning.


Bound off! I added 2.5 inches to the length, below the pockets, so that this would hit me just below where most of my pants sit on my hips. I’m both stunned and pleased that my back-of-the-pattern math seemed to yield a sweater that fits me well! (I’m a little anxious about the blocking — it might just get steam-blocked due to shower-proximity rather than a full out soak, as I don’t want it to grow too much.)


We’re trying things with the cone off today. So far, Boh has been mostly good about not licking his still-healing scar.

And then I made pancakes. These are a little grey/blue because of the blackberries in the batter, and they were delicious. I made a whole batch, and just finished off the rest for “lunch.” I didn’t even add any syrup to these — the berries were enough. (So good — the first from the farm this season!)

Here’s one more dark hallway shot of the first sleeve in progress. So far, my math guesstimating is working out well. I’m trying to be good about writing down how I’m adjusting the pattern so I can make the right sleeve match the left.

Time to put down the knitting for awhile — friends of ours (two-legged and four-legged friends) are on their way to hang out and take a walk along the path in the backyard. And the sun is out. A new week has begun.

FO: altitude.

188 yards of 2-ply that plumped up into a worsted-weight yarn. This yarn is deeper and darker (think true blue) than it looks here on the porch! A quick, satisfying spin — and oh my, do I love those bits of mustard yellow. It really feels like I’ve been making up for lost time at the wheel! Maybe the next thing I spin will involve thinner singles, or more than 2 plies.

And here’s a beautiful loaf of bread that I did NOT make. Instead, I picked it up with my farm share on Tuesday. One of my ABD presents to myself was the new bread share at my CSA. Locally grown and milled grain, locally baked. (And incredibly delicious.) It doesn’t get much better.

Except that it does! Carpooling to the farm means great conversation and company in the rows of flowers and veggies. We picked our first quarts of sugar snap peas yesterday. (E’s comment? “This tastes like summer.” So true.)

Also, how happy does this guy look? Very happy, maybe because he doesn’t have to get back to work? (Or happy because of the nice walk we took this morning?)

Now that I have a coffee table to work at, there’s no excuse. Time to start mapping out the dissertation. How about a look at some of the other rooms in the house?

You’re looking at the dining room, more bookshelves in my office, and my grandmother’s hutch (which I’m using as a dresser in my bedroom). I still have a list of little things to do — hide those cords, get an everyday tablecloth, decide on the layout of the guest room, etc., but on the whole, Boh and I are feeling pretty settled here. Back to it!

 

 

bachelor buttons.

First farm flowers of the season.

(Also, a hint as to my new toy: an iPhone. Thank you, Apple recycling program, for the gift card you sent me when I mailed you my old, unhappy MacBook. Public Service Announcement: You get more in trade-in value if you keep all of the pieces — power cords, OS software disks, etc.)

Also, everything might look cooler with Hipstamatic — even a table full of bachelor button bouquets. Happy weekend, all!

exam (knitting) prep.

So this morning I made an important decision: I settled on my exam knitting project. I know I said I was going to get going on the second sock, but I’m decreasing the first toe right now, and I just don’t think I’m going to feel like kitchenering and knitting the ribbing on sock #2 before Tuesday. Which means I need something pretty and soothing to knit on, just a little bit, this week.

Lately I have become obsessed with Veera’s Stripe Study Shawl, especially the versions that are made in neutrals. I want this one — but I want to knit it out of my stash. This morning I went stash-diving, coffee in hand. I came up with some gorgeous color combinations, but I’m just in love with the idea of natural/grey. Ideally, the grey would be less severe, but this Trekking Pro Natura in a charcoal-ish tone is what I’ve got in the right weight and yardage, so I’m going to give it a go. This natural yarn is local, organic wool, and I’ve got almost 800 yards, which means I’ll be able to use it again in another stripey shawl. Yay!

Unrelated, but I snapped some pictures of Boh making his crazy face.

It might look like he’s not having a good time, but trust me: this is the face he makes when he is very happy about being scratched. He almost looks like he has bug-eyes! Silly dog.

Last night some of my cohort got together for a delicious dinner at E.’s place: homemade pizza and two colors of Jello! I made salad with farm spinach I picked in the greenhouse last weekend, and it reminded me of how excited I am for spring and summer vegetables. Today I’m going to try to crank through the big ideas of a handful of books so that I can keep my plan of a book-free Monday. Knitting, dog-walking, yoga, good food: all of these are on the list.

long overdue mitt repair.

Last night, after taking way too long to read a relatively short book, I was itching to have that great feeling that comes with crossing a long-overdue task off of my list. Out came my thanksgiving day mitts: knit three years ago in a purple-y shade of Cascade 220, these were my go-to mitts until Boh managed to attack one of them in fall 2008 or winter 2009. Since then, they’ve sat patiently on top of a bowl of yarn odds and ends, waiting to be mended. And yesterday was the day. I dug out my very special set of knitting needles (from a woman I think of as an honorary grandmother) in order to find a set of size 5 dpns. (So great to be able to look up what needles I used on ravelry!)

And then I re-knit 15 or so rows, including the thumb-slot, and bound off, all while my dinner simmered away on the stove. The discerning eye can tell the old from the new sections, but after a bit of wear, and the gentle felting that happens to well-loved mitts, I think it’ll be hard to tell that anything was ever the matter with these mitts!

The dinner I spoke of (soon to be today’s lunch as well) was this potato-leek soup. Simple and delicious, all from farm food. I sprinkled some smoked paprika on top just before savoring this comforting bowl of soup. Can’t wait to heat up the leftovers!

And here’s Boh, sick of me putting the camera in his face and tempting him with dinner in order to get him to look at me. (He can be surprisingly — and adorably –stubborn.) I think he knows that we’re back to school today, and his routine is about to change for the worse. Shorter cozy reading sessions on the couch, more time alone at home…poor Boh. (Little does he know that once the semester is over, he’s getting a lake house! Thanks for all of your kind comments about that. It is wonderful to have that to look forward to, as this is going to be a crazy semester for me.)

Off to campus. (Sigh.)

the forecast.

The farmers at the CSA I belong to send out an email with the week’s “veggie forecast.” This week’s report suggested that the nights are getting cooler, and that a lot of the crops available for picking will likely last only until the first frost…which might be here sooner than we think. So, yesterday, instead of knitting sleeves as a break from my reading, I decided to spend an extra hour at the farm. I gathered at least 15 quarts of paste tomatoes, a canvas bag full of green beans, and a few handfuls of tomatillos for salsa — all in addition to the week’s share (onions, peppers, cabbage, cauliflower, tomatoes, salad mix, basil, parsley, potatoes, leeks).

Looks like that veggie forecast has turned into a bit of a rooster forecast — I think I know what I’ll be doing this weekend! (Preserving. I just saw a recipe for tomato jam that looks pretty yummy, I’d love to can a few more quarts of tomatoes for the shelf, and I can always use more dilly beans…)

Also, I couldn’t help myself. I picked a huge armful of zinnias — the fields are still practically overflowing with them. Yesterday was the first farm day that felt like fall, and the cooler temperatures made it much easier for me to linger in the rows of herbs, flowers, and veggies.

I had about a quart of handpicked paste tomatoes that had ripened nicely in the fridge yesterday, and the plan was to make a small pot of sauce. I actually finished the book I had set out to read yesterday, so I decided to do something more elaborate — homemade noodles. This was the first time I’ve ever hand-cut noodles to a fettucine-ish width, and boy, do I need some more practice. Despite their irregularities, the noodles were delicious. We ate them immediately, with some homemade sauce. (And I didn’t even think to take a picture. My stomach was too excited about dinner.)

I do, however, have some non-pajama action shots of my textured shawl to share.

This is slightly too scratchy to be worn super close to my neck, but draped a bit more loosely, it adds a nice amount of warmth. It is also perfect to wrap around my shoulders while curled up on the couch. This will certainly be in my rotation of warm things this fall and winter — and I think it might look really nice with my Kerrera! Extra motivation to start those sleeves later today…

canning/cowling.

On Wednesday night, I blanched, peeled, and cored about a gallon and a half of paste tomatoes. And then I went to bed, more tired from the start of the semester than from the hour and a half of tomato labor! Thursday morning, before I put the water on for coffee, I filled my canning pot, gathered together some jars and lids, and set to sterilizing. 4 quarts and 2 pints of tomatoes had been raw-packed and processed (45 mins in the water bath, according to the scanned cookbook page my parents sent me, complete with my mom’s tiny, perfect notations about the number of tomatoes that fit in a pint or quart jar — love it) by mid-morning. I’m hoping to do this again next week if there are still tomatoes to pick when I head out to the farm on Tuesday.

I’ve also been cowling, which is how I’m referring (aloud, to no one in particular) to the act of knitting the cowl portion of idlewood. I am in love with the way this fabric feels and drapes in this gauge. I think I’ve got about ten inches, so I’m about two-thirds of the way there. If I can finish a book this morning, I’m going to let myself watch last night’s episode of Project Runway and do some cowling. Happy Friday!