twist and shout

Because I just never shut up

Watching out for Peter Rabbit and Peter Cottontail April 25, 2011

Filed under: laughter,life — kathy @ 2:15 pm
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Yum! Basil! Yum!

Last week, Bug and I decided we were going to try one more time to find suitable places to plant little crops of tomatoes, beans, zucchini, eggplants, cukes, and basil for summer. I’d given up the last couple of years, but I thought we’d give it another go.  Love homegrown veggies. Also love saving some $$ on food.

The problem is we never have figured out where it’s best to plant in our yard. We haven’t had luck with tomatoes in the past–doesn’t stay warm at night here in the summer, so we have trouble with ripening–but we have had some luck with zucchini and cucumbers.

Unlike our last place in the woods of New Jersey where I made a 10′ x 15′ garden of raised beds in a sunny spot, we have very little land here. What land we do have is taken up with a swimming pool, a patio, and lots of trees. The local community garden has no spots available, so that’s a no go.

Instead, we did a survey of where the sunniest spots were, borrowed CR’s big strong muscles to dig up some unused spots with some so-so landscaping, and rolled up our own sleeves, too.

Before...

We accomplished quite a lot in our spaces. Used some containers to plant in, too.

...After.

Unfortunately we also found out that the snails that live in our yard have a penchant for eggplant and basil. But since the Bug is also known around here as “The Snail Queen,” I can’t do too much snail removal other than diatomaceous earth, or my personal favorite: picking and whipping them over the fence into the street (don’t tell the Bug). Besides, I don’t want any poison by our veggies.Listen, I think snails are cute and all, but I like eating pesto and eggplant a bit better than escargot, so they’d just better knock it off.

Hmm. That give me an idea…

Fair Warning.

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Wonder of wonders, miracle of miracles… April 15, 2011

Filed under: laughter,life — kathy @ 11:06 am
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Miracles of miracles!

As some of you friends may know, I’ve always loved homey sorts of tasks: knitting (yeah, I know), sewing, cooking, gardening (especially veggies and berries), canning…heck, I even love cleaning (but not ironing! Sorry, Mother). But I’ve never shown much promise in the baking department. And I also know that this has quite a bit to do with the fact that I don’t properly follow baking recipes. Not to mention I have this funny dislike for the horrific mess flour makes. It’s a weird peeve I have…what can I say? Anyway, I decided it was time I got working on this problem I have with baking; considering the sad mess this country’s in lately, I figured I’d better learn to be as self-sufficient as possible.

So, just the other day I was searching for a really kick-a** bread recipe. Now, while I love bread (it’s possibly my favorite food, especially when its got butter, another favorite food, on it), I do not love making it. I think my biggest problem with it is the kneading part of it. I just never seem to do enough of it, even with the dough hook. That’s pretty sad, I must admit.

Then I found this recipe: No-Knead 100% Whole Wheat Bread on the King Arthur Flour Website! They also have a version for white bread too, for those of you who prefer white bread. Oh yes, and what looks like a gorgeous recipe for Brioche…

Straight from the mixer...

It’s so great; you just mix the ingredients together, mix it for a few minutes with your mixer, scoop it into your greased bread pan, let it rise, pop it in the oven, and bake! Ta-dah! Done. I know it sounds suspicious, but trust me, it works.

Okay, let me just say that I have no illusions that my bread is beautiful. It actually looks like unbaked brains. However, the bread this yields is truly the moistest, yummiest bread I’ve ever made, and I will be making many more loaves, so with practice, perhaps it’ll start looking like actual bread. 😉

...after 70 minutes of rising...

One note: I highly recommend letting the bread cool completely before cutting, as it is extremely moisty (yes, moisty) and when it’s warm, it crumbles easily. Of course it was impossible for us to wait for it to cool completely, but what was left the next day sliced perfectly. Yum! Look mom, I can make bread!

I can’t believe I did it!

Oh wait, that’s a different musical… 🙂

...hot from the oven!

 

Back to the needles April 7, 2011

First, thank you all for your kind wishes and comforting thoughts regarding the loss of my beautiful mother-in-law. On a sweet note, her birthday was Tuesday, and Wednesday morning, the Bug announced that she’d had a dream the night before where “Grandma was snuggling with me.” All I can say is, that to me, the two had a lovely visit on Granny’s birthday. I just believe that. When you love someone that much, I don’t think they ever really leave us. Gives one pause…and hope that our souls go on.

On that note, did you ever see “Truly, Madly, Deeply” ? Wow. That has to be on my list of top 5 favorite movies ever. And certainly the first that ever truly madly deeply made me cry. And no, the crying had nothing to do with hormones. In a teensy nutshell, Juliet Stevenson is pining away for her lost, dead lover, Alan Rickman. So much so that he comes back to her. Okay, totally modern fantasy. But it truly is a special movie about love, and the people who are left behind after someone dies.

Anyway…I digress, as usual.

I wanted to blather on about knitting projects and sewing projects and my big focus, writing projects.

Okay, I look totally ridiculous, thanks to 82 degree weather and some extreme art direction by my photographer, Bug. Still, I'm pleased as punch about this one.

Happily I finally finished my own Big Herringbone Cowl (yeah! I got it to work). And thanks to my darling cuz who first introduced me to the pattern. Yes, it took me forever, and yes, I’ve missed all the really cold weather, but at least I finished it. Which is more than I can say about my  “Global Cables” Coat. I just took that sucker back out and am once again, really enjoying it. The downside to that project is simply its lack of portability. Hey, I am a girl who’s always on the go; what can I say? 😉 And this is one big-ass (sorry, I said a**; it’s just the best word) project.

But back to the Herringbone Cowl. I really love it. The yarn…oh, the yarn…most aptly named Luscious Single Silk by Blue Moon Fiber Arts. Ahhh. It feels like clouds against my neck, and the color is heavenly, for me, anyway.

I know a few of you friends are contemplating or in the midst of this little project, and I’d just like to share a knitter’s little helper that I figured out when I knitted the small version cowl I made for Captain Romance. When you have to rip back, and believe me, there’s a good chance you will, you’ll see that tinking herringbone stitch is a PITA, and free-ripping will drive you insane. Ask me how I know.

Oh yes, to do this most easily you need to use interchangeable needles. A gin and tonic or a nice zinfandel couldn’t hurt, either. Here goes:

Using a new cable, place a US 4 or 5 tip on one end, and a cable end on the other end.

Starting at or just before the stitch you want to rip back to, slide smaller needle behind the front slanted leg of each stitch, going in from left to right. Go all the way around  your knitting until you get back to where you started.
Then remove the working needle at the top of your work and rip away! When you have ripped out to your new cable, replace the smaller needle tip and end with the old working tips. Proceed to knit!

Speaking of gin and tonics, have you seen that new, free sock pattern called, what else, Gin and Tonic? Why didn’t I work out a pattern called that? Anyway, looks like it might have to be on my short list of portable, lightweight, warm-weather projects…

But first, I’m gonna really try to finish what I’ve started, namely that Cabled Coat.

To you Ravelers: What is up with some of those folk who have. like 50 projects on the needles? Listen, I came across one just the other day, so I’m not making that up. Forget wondering how they can afford doing that; where the heck do they keep it all? And my dad calls me Capricious Kathy.

Oh well, on that note…better get to knitting. Got a few projects to finish up.

 

Remembering a most lovely soul April 3, 2011

Filed under: life — kathy @ 11:40 am
Tags: ,

Captain Romance and I have always had a running joke about both of us lucking out in the “mother-in-law department.” I myself  have always said that those mother-in-law jokes don’t apply to me.

It’s been two weeks since we got the call that my dear mother-in-law was suddenly taken to the hospital, and even though she’d had a way of rallying each time she’d gotten very ill in the past couple of years, without pondering it too much, CR and I both realized that it likely wasn’t going to turn out to be one of those times. And even though we knew this horrible day would come, none of us were ready for it, even though I think she was.

On Monday, March 21st, our dearest Mother, Mother-in-Law, and Grandma joined her beloved husband in the Sweet Hereafter.

I have struggled the past couple of weeks over whether or not to mention her passing publicly; she was a private person and to that end, I worried that by speaking about her, I might be doing something she wouldn’t like.Besides, I certainly don’t think my point of view could truly do justice in tribute to such a lovely soul.

But I felt deeply that I must mark her passing in some small way here.

I wish I would’ve had a chance to know her better, or maybe “better” isn’t the right word…deeper, might be a more accurate way to put it. Living so far away and her difficulty with traveling over the last 15 years or so made spending lots of time with her tough. Plus, I didn’t call her as often I wanted since I always worried she was napping (and I myself hate being woken by the telephone). But when we did spend time together, she was a delight to be around, with her quick wit and straightforward way of looking at things. We vacationed together quite a few times over the years, and always we enjoyed being together. How many people can you say that about?

Like I said, Mom was a private person, and when it came to other people’s lives, that’s just how she treated things. Even though she had an opinion, she’d never give it to you. Sometimes you could eventually get it out of her, but it took lots of cajoling, and even then, you’d likely only get a vague sort of comment, regardless of the matter.

She had a mind that was razor-sharp to the end. Besides being able to handle whatever the NY Times Crossword puzzle folks could throw at her, Mom was a card shark. She could be found many days playing Bridge and rarely, as she put it, “losing the family inheritance.” The only people she ever lost card games to were likely her grandchildren, and even then she didn’t give up a game of Crazy Eights too willingly. She had a wicked sense of humor, too—great with the one-liners!

Clear-sighted and practical about life in general, she was always sweet, gentle, and loving, too. So many people deeply loved her and enjoyed her company. At her wake, as family and friends shared stories of  times spent with Jeanne, so much laughter and joy filled the room and carried far out into the lobby of the funeral home, people from the two other wakes in the place would come down the hall just to see what was going on.

There are many other things I could share, but as I said, she was a very private person, and I must honor that.  I will say, however, that the wonderful children she loved and raised are further evidence of how wonderful she herself was.

And for now, until I get to spend time with her again, I will remember her in the way I overheard one of my brothers-in-law say at her wake: dancing in heaven with my father-in-law, finally together again.

Jeanne M. McCue Guttosch

April 5, 1927 – March 21, 2011

 

 

 
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