Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Tomato Soup

Another ode to the in-laws:
For a dinner this week Nate and I had homemade tomato soup. We had some home grown yellow pear tomatoes in the freezer from the in-laws. I bought some tomatoes last week that we didn't get to, so I thought they would be good in soup since they were getting a little mushy.
The recipe was adapted from my Joy cookbook.

olive oil, fresh garlic (yum), onion, fresh basil (from the garden!), tomatoes (frozen and fresh), crushed red pepper flakes, chicken broth (that I made from the chicken bones in my freezer), salt, and pepper.

cook the first part of the list in the olive oil, add the rest and boil for a while. Salt and pepper while it is cooking. I really think when I get into this habit it will push my cooking over the edge.
The broth! The rest of it is in the freezer!

We also had white cheddar bread. Needless to say it was awesome.

This is the finished product sliced. I would have taken a picture of the loaf whole, but then I would have had to share it with you and due to a mishap between the wood cutting board, the cornmeal, and the heated pizza stone, it was not camera ready. I have since made a beautiful loaf, but like many foodstuffs here it did not survive long enough to be documented.

Thanks Mom and Dad W!!

Monday, March 28, 2011

Musical Monday

It's a thing around here now.

I'm listening to this:

I'm listening to a different version, but this one goes into blog easily.

I'm thankful for:
Rostropovich's giant hands
parents who took me to see him and Yo-yo Ma (not at the same time)
discriminating taste, no small thanks to this guy:

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Daffodil Festival

I went here when Nate went into work over the weekend. It was awesome. I'll save you the narrative, it's pretty self-explanatory.
My favorite. I think it is whimsical:

Saturday, March 19, 2011

It's not all about me; Weekend Gardening

Before I launch on into my story about our sunny little lives down here, I think it would be wrong and callous to ignore what's happening on the other side of the planet. So I wanted to ask:
Have you done anything for Japan? Anything to help those who can't help themselves? Like Jesus asked us to? Or if you prefer, because we can?
The blog-rolls are all over this, so I just wanted to pass along some of the ones I'm interested in.
World Vision
Red Cross
Do you want a crafty or artsy reminder of the past week? One whose proceeds will help those in need?
These guys will give 90% of the proceeds to Red Cross if you purchase this print. It is very pretty, and they have already raised so much! It's incredible.
Alicia Paulson (I don't know her, but she answered a question I asked on her blog! It was exciting!) compiled a list of crafters that are supplying or hosting donation opportunities. I think she will keep adding to the list.
My friend Mandy is participating in a raffle by supplying prizes.

Have you encountered any other opportunities for giving?
Anyways, just a couple ideas. I know we've all been thinking and praying about it.

This post is for my in-laws.
For my in-laws especially. They are gardening fanatics, so I know they are interested to see what we do. And Roger is, evidently, the biggest fan here at hookyarnsinker. (Nate says: Like BIG, Molly. Bigger than your mom, and I know how big of a fan your mom is.)
So, everybody, here's what we did!

More gardening this weekend. In fact, I had quite the botanical day, but I think that should be another post in itself.
Nate borrowed a tiller so he tilled the vegetable garden out back.

Our seedlings are still in the trays and aren't big enough to put in the ground, hopefully in another week or two. Instead we planted seeds.

Nate picked up these carrot and beet seeds for me yesterday! Very exciting!

First we had to figure out the layout.
We put three beds in the front, then rows along the back.

Don't even worry about my awesome gardening-ware.
I don't was to get a rash from the grass, and I don't want snakes nipping at my toes.
You all and the neighbors can deal.

The front three beds from left to right: carrots, beets, and onions.
The row all the way over on left will be Blue Lake Bush Beans (green beans on a bush).
The rest of those rows will be tomatoes, peppers and basil.
I'm really excited to see how things turn out!
I'm a little disappointed about the onions, though. Nearly everything else (in this bed) we have planted has come from seed. So you get one thing, and it turns into something else. I would even argue that for the cold frame. We got some things that only have leaves, and they will grow heads, bunches, and crowns. The onions are already onions, they'll just get bigger. It seems kind of anticlimactic, but I won't complain when I don't have to buy onions.
In other garden news, remember how sad the parsley was? And I said that I blame the mint if it dies and I have to pull it out? Well, I checked it everyday last week and I wasn't seeing much action.
Now, it wasn't turning more brown or drying up, so I thought I would let it go and see what happens. These are the regenerative powers of mother nature we're talking about. Winter always turns into spring, as things die new life continues to pop up. Always, always, so I wanted to wait.
On Friday morning I came out to check and water, got down real close and realized that there was new, fresh parsley popping up! New growth under the old. I immediately got the scissors and cut off the old crap to make way for the new. Here's a little close up. They have already grown! Parsley after all!

Have a great rest of the weekend!

Friday, March 18, 2011

New Curtains

Sewing cafe curtains for our front door was my other main project last weekend while Nate was fishing. I was so productive that my father-in-law thinks Nate should take off more often and "see what happens." Ha ha.
I was glad to get these done, though.
The best part? This whole project was mostly free! Save a spool of thread and a magnetic curtain rod. The sewing machine was a hand-me-down from someone at mom's church, mom bought be all the specs for the machine (bobbins, oil, lube, seem-ripper, etc.), and the fabric came from Nate's trip to Africa a few years ago. So it matches, it was free, and it is special to us.
Months ago my friend Carrie helped me figure out how big I wanted the panels and valances to be (I have another valance to sew for our dining area) and cut everything out. I had it all ready to go!
I bought and printed the manual for the machine, figured out how to thread it, and got to work last Friday night.
Although Nate was gone, as you can imagine, I had help.

This (obviously) didn't last very long:

So I put him on my lap:
He was pretty entertained with the fabric on his head. Turns out yarn isn't the only crafty thing he likes. With sewing there are tiny tools to bat around, thread being pulled and disappearing, machines to figure out, not to mention the fabric itself. Everything is a new toy or bed for Loki (present company included).

I got this part done on Friday:

And the rest on Saturday evening:
We are really pleased with it. It really lightens up this window, and this corner of the house. Before we just had a different and darker panel of African fabric hung up there, so this is a little more "finished."

I didn't take any close-up detailed pictures of the curtains, because the details aren't pretty. I had a really hard time with the corners because this fabric was very silky and I couldn't get it to feed through the machine very gracefully. I'm sure most of it was user error, I'll get it figured out.
Regardless, I'm happy with the final product!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

It's easy being green.

Happy St. Pat's Day! Are you wearing it?
I had a very productive weekend last weekend while Nate was away doing this:

I did some sewing, but in honor of St. Patrick's day I thought I would share the green things I did. And it was a lot of work, and I was worn out when I was done. It was hard in that I was exhausted. I'm not sure if my efforts will bear much fruit, so I can't say if it was difficult or easy, you know?
I wanted to get the herb garden done, separate and transplant daffodils and daisies, and plant flower seeds. That's three beds in all.

1. Here's the herb garden before. I didn't take a picture before the weeding. Imagine this overwhelmed with mint. I couldn't tell it from looking at it, but once I started pulling things out I realized that the mint roots were everywhere. Nate found this mat for me to kneel on, isn't that nice? So first I pulled everything out of the garden. The mint had survived, but we had already bought another mint plant so I just pulled it all out.

The oregano and parsley all survived the winter as well (I think). I divided the oregano and put it in two different spots. I untangled the parsley from the mint and I hope it will survive. If it doesn't, I blame the mint.

I left a rosemary and mint plant in planters and partially buried them. (That way we can take them in in the winter, and the mint won't take over as bad.)

I bought a sage plant and a planted another rosemary plant because I want it to get outrageously big, blow in the breeze, and spread its beautiful smell around.

Oh yeah, I also got a basil plant to tide us over until our seedlings are big enough to transfer (more on that in a sec).

From left to right: mint w/oregano in front of it, parsley, sage, potted rosemary w/oregano in front of it, basil, and rosemary in the ground.
2. Flower bed 1
We had some daffodils. They bloomed, and then they looked a little wilty. I read here that you could go ahead, separate and transplant them. Again, I didn't take a picture before I dug it up, but here is after that.
Here's the pile o daffs.
I thought there were only a few, but when I started replanting I realized that we had maybe 40 after separating the bulbs. I couldn't even find a place for all of them.
Here's the bed afterwards. The daffs in the front, daisies in the middle, and under the sand in the back are posies and snapdragons (in seed form). We'll see how the seeds go.

3. The other bed
It's only seeds in there, so it looks like a pile of dirt. I'll spare you

Speaking of seeds:
We started seeds in a seed flat. We keep it up on top of the fridge because it is pretty warm up there. We are having the best luck so far with tomatoes and basil. Hopefully the peppers will pop up soon.

I made some new friends last weekend when Nate was gone.

This guy kind of had a death wish. And he was camouflaged. It was a bit dangerous with him and me and the spiky tools.
This guy was pretty skiddish, but I got a picture of him.
And this guy.
I didn't scream at all when I found these guys!

Sorry, one more thing.
These are getting huge! And fast!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Happy Birthday Dad!

Its not just the Ides of March, but also my dad's birthday!
I got a lot of things from my dad. My sense of humor, a lot of my outward genetic make-up (see pictures of him as a child and pictures of his sister at my age, it's a little weird).
Once, when I was in college my parents came to visit me and wandered around campus while I was in chapel. As I was on my way out of the building to meet them one of my friends (who had never met them) came up to me with a confused look on his face.
"Molly, is your dad here?"
"Yeah, my parents got in late last night. They should be around here somewhere."
"Oh, ok. I just saw them and though, 'That guy has GOT to be Molly's dad.' I mean, I can see it in your mom, too, but wow, your dad!"
I love that story.
I did not inherit his mustache, though, thankfully. And unfortunately not his obsession with, I mean passion for running.

I thought I would tell you a few things about him and tell you a story, because he sure is worth knowing.

he loves dogs, of all kinds, especially big, goofy ones

he wears this on Christmas day (the rest of us often wear pajamas all day, too),
and was excited when my mom found all the pieces of this ensemble, isn't that sweet?

He brings Nannies from the nursing home to their only granddaughter's (lady exclusive) bridal shower,
and subsequently relates EVERYTHING to her because she can't see or hear that well.

And a story:
I need to give you a little back-story, speaking of weddings and bridal things.
For the wedding favors, we decided to make homemade jams, jellies and the like to put around at the place settings. Some of them were complicated and some were a little easier. All three of us worked on it over the course of the summer (me, mom, and dad), but mom and dad did most of them. I was busy undertaking ridiculous projects of my own.
My cousin Sarah came up to hang out a few days before our wedding this summer. I think that she was the first out-of-towner to get there with her sweet baby boy. They stayed at Mom and Dad's until the rest of her family got there and she joined them in a hotel.

So the story:
In the days before the wedding, Dad was in charge of taking things down to the reception site in the mornings before work because the place was close to his office.
One of these days (Thursday? maybe even Friday?) he dropped some things off. The staff had gone ahead and set the tables so he got to look at it. There was a problem, though. One of the ladies asked where the rest of the jellies were, they were about 20-30 short. Sarah and I were busy with place-cards and making sure dog didn't traumatize baby when he got home. He came in, told us, and we all counted in our heads and realized that, yes, we could see how we could be short that much.
So he went down to the fruit room, got the canning stuff and the juice, came into the kitchen and got to work. He canned the rest of the jelly. While that was going on the stove and he was waiting, he went and found the baby and played with him for a while making funny faces and elephant noises, I'm sure. And probably whistling a tune the whole time (probably the Irish Blessing).
Sarah looked in the kitchen from where we were, got real close to me, and said, "You're wedding is in two days [or one, I can't really remember]."
"Yes," I said.
"Your dad is making jelly and taking care of my baby."
"Yes," I chuckled.
"He's not even freaking out a little bit," staring wide-eyed.
"Huh, yeah."
That night, my parents hosted a cook-out for everyone who had gotten in town.
That's how it is. In fact, I've never seen my dad "freak out" in such a way that she was probably referring to, and I've probably seen the best and worst of times, along with the rest of my family. Stressed? Sad? Overwhelmed? Sure, but no drama, no freaking, no worries. Just doing what needs to be done, if possible with a smile on his face and a tune on his lips.
We love him, we're grateful for him, he's such a good example.