a broad margin.

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” I love a broad margin to my life.” I’ve been reacquainting myself with Thoreau this week, and this particular line from the opening paragraphs of “Sounds” in Walden (Beacon Press, 2004) was rattling around in my head as Boh and I took a nice long walk through the local preserve that surrounds the reservoir for New Home’s drinking water.

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This place is, quite literally, in the margin of the physical space I occupy here: a bit further afield from our daily walks, and in the opposite direction from campus, but part of my world all the same. For me, a broad margin suggests a willingness to review, reflect, comment, engage; in my reading and writing, the margin is the place for conversation, questioning, response. This place, not far from my door and yet far enough, seems to provide me with critical distance from (and at the same time, intimate connection to) myself.

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It might not look like fall out my bedroom window, but in these woods, autumn is everywhere. The rustling of the wind in the trees, the scent of leaves drying, the gentle crunch under my sandals: this is my favorite season.

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Our walk turned out to be more important than I realized when Boh and I set out on Friday morning. You see, after we returned, I set about my day, which included a bit of grocery shopping. I park my car on the street in my quiet neighborhood, and really relish the fact that I use it only a few times a week. It seems that sometime in the last 36 hours, someone crashed into my driver-side mirror, smashed the glass, and drove away. No note, no nothing. The damage is slight, and certainly repairable — really, I think it just the mirror that needs replacing, and I have complete coverage on my car, so it isn’t really about the cost. I’m just so disappointed that someone decided that it was okay to not take responsibility for their actions. I think our morning walk made it easier for me to take a few deep breaths and continue on with my errands.

pickledbeets

And so, in an effort to feel better about the universe, I decided to finally tackle the big bag o’ beets in my fridge. (How’s that for a transition?) I found a recipe in The Joy of Pickling that was intriguing: cider vinegar, cloves, all-spice, cinnamon sticks, etc. I slurped up a spoonful of the brine before I poured it over the pints of beets, and it was tasty. I’ll let you know in about three weeks, once these beet slices are appropriately pickled!

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I realize this post is becoming a bit epic, but I figured you might want to see what I’m knitting. I started a pair of toast/toasty in my Hello Yarn handspun in the Five Plum Pie colorway. I’m using 6s, and I’m hoping the fabric will be dense enough to keep my hands warm as morning and evening temperatures continue to drop.

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Also, I’m swatching for a super-exciting KAL that has been in the works for awhile now: Mick of Much-Adored, Laura of Happy Trails and I are going to knit the garter yoke cardigan. We’re beginning on the first day of fall, so I’m plotting and swatching so that I am ready to go. I’m thinking of using my Hello Yarn handspun romney in the Alpine colorway (browns, blues and greys) with some soft brown Cascade 220 heathers. I got stitch gauge (row gauge slightly off) with 7s in the Cascade 220, and now I’m thinking about the handspun. I’m thinking that I might knit the yoke with 6s and just keep trying it on to make sure the sizing is okay, because my handspun is occasionally uneven (read: thinner), and I’d like a dense, neat-looking garter stitch. That seems reasonable, right?

Thanks for indulging my Thoreauvian ramblings on this fine Saturday morning. Time for another cup of coffee and a bit more quality time with Mr. Henry David himself.

sauerkraut!

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It is delicious. Victory! I let this sit on the counter in my one-gallon pickling crock for 5 weeks (7/18-8/25), occasionally skimming off anything that formed on the surface, and rinsing the cheesecloth and brine bag weighting down the cabbage.

It might be time to go looking for really good reuben recipes!

farmflowers

Here are some of the flowers I picked at the farm yesterday, along with my haul of tomatoes, red peppers, hot peppers, cucumbers, eggplant, A LOT of beets (to be pickled?!), lettuce, onions, dill, mint, basil, cilantro, 1 precious cup of blackberries picked from the fields, and, of course, zucchini.

And, lest you think that I am not knitting:

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Another inch or so of my plain and simple pullover test-knit has appeared.

Happy Wednesday!

kip: kraut-in-progress.

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Exhibit A: 1 gallon pickling crock, acquired on ebay.

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Exhibit B: Kraut-in-progress. (Note: this is not an exercise in instant gratification. While sauerkraut requires regular checking, skimming, etc., it takes several weeks to be ready to enjoy.) This is my first attempt at kraut, and I am so excited. I always LOVE kraut made by friends (including those pictured further on down the post), and can’t wait to have my very own supply.

treman falls

To celebrate being home, Boh and I met up with friends (of the animal and human variety) for a lovely hike through a local state park.

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We followed up the hike with ice cream, beer, homemade bread and fancy cheese. Not a bad Sunday afternoon, if you ask Boh. (I would agree.)

Finally time for a knitting update, don’t you think?

onhold ip

I must confess that I did not touch my on-hold socks while galavanting ‘cross the nation. Sorry, Boh. I knit a few more repeats this morning out of guilt, and the rows seemed to fly by. Have I mentioned yet that I love this yarn? And that I am actually enjoying reading the chart? I know I still have eleven days to finish the pair. In all of our recent travel and excitement, Boh seems to have forgotten about his supervisory role. We’ll see how long that lasts…

mara ip

Mara continues to be blob-like. I’m into the second skein of beaverslide, and I’m going to keep increasing until I’m at the recommended width of 46″. I’m at about 40″ now. I’m okay with a shorter ruffle than the pattern calls for, so long as the wrap is a good size. This is turning out to be great TV knitting, if only I could keep my hands moving during on-screen suspense!

vanillasock ip

I managed to knit a few more inches on my plain vanilla toe-ups, due to some car maintenance that took a bit longer than it was supposed to. I’m just about ready to begin the heel, and I think I am going to attempt Wendy’s gusset heel. Despite a sort of annoying join on these needles, these socks seem to be moving right along. My current sock obsession may necessitate more short circular needle acquisition of the knitpicks variety…

loveart spinning

I also managed to sit down at my wheel this weekend, and it felt good to get reacquainted with my current spinning project: Spunky Club corriedale/nylon blend in Soul Windows. I finished the first bobbin of what I hope will be a 3-ply sock yarn. I know the yarn is way out of focus in this picture, but I really like the way this shot turned out — my lazy kate is on top of a pile of cookbooks on top of a bookshelf.

Coming down the pike:

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This lovely Fleece Artist Merino 2/6 sock yarn is soon to become Laura Chau’s Milkweed Shawl. The backwards loop group over on Ravelry is hosting a KAL that began on July 15, and once I make more progress on my on-hold socks, I intend to cast on and tackle my lace anxiety!

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Here, I present my only yarn purchase of the trip — 8 balls of Queensland Cotolino, on sale at my old LYS. These are destined to become Buttercup — the modified version with slightly longer sleeves and a slimmer shape, I think.

It feels good to be blogging in “real time” again. Happy Monday, all!

taste-testing, peas, pesto.

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Strawberry-balsamic jam on a slice of fresh-from-the-oven homemade bread. Not a bad start to Sunday morning.

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Strawberry-rhubarb-fresh mint compote over plain, local yogurt. A mid-Sunday morning snack.

pickled sugar snap peas

Deb does it again — saw this recipe for pickled sugar snap peas over at smitten kitchen, and had to mix up a batch. I can start eating them this evening…

pesto

More green in a jar. In the spirit of eating everything in my share, I chopped up the remaining garlic scapes, picked my basil stems clean, tossed a few walnuts and a generous helping of olive oil into my mini-cuisinart and began blending, adding more olive oil and some salt and pepper to taste to get it right. My new favorite sandwich, courtesy of the folks up at P’s farm, is toasted bread (in a cast-iron skillet), cheese, pesto and as many greens as you can fit into a sandwich — fried egg optional. Yum!

But where are you, you may be wondering, on that sock? Is there a chance you’ll make the KAL deadline? I don’t even want to show you what Boh looks like this morning. He’s concerned. Very concerned. He thought the weekend’s canning adventures were over, and then yesterday he watched as I left for about an hour, Border’s coupon in hand, and returned with 2 more books on pickling and preserving…

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I did get a few solid hours of work on sock number 2 in yesterday, thanks to the very last episode of Season 2 of The Wire, and some knitting podcasts. I’m in the midst of the gusset increases, and if I can turn the heel and get an inch or two of the leg done today, I just might be able to eek out a full pair before it becomes July.