Tuesday, July 02, 2013

No Idle Hands

Bird life at Bournes Pond
This week marks my yearly change from knitting for myself to knitting for gifts. I hate deadline knitting - the only way to avoid the rush is to start early. Last week I finished a baby gift for a member of my knitting group. This week I will finish the last of the "selfish" projects, a nice pair of plain socks for myself. I will not have these socks on my feet until fall, but by the time it is cool enough to wear them I will be deep into holiday knitting. I actually have yarn purchased and patterns chosen for most of my gift knitting. For the ones not yet queued up I will select from stash and my library of books and patterns. In a way, my christmas shopping is largely finished already!

This week I have a few days off in a row, with a couple of non-knitting projects planned. They will be garden decor items for the new veggie and sunny flower garden, and I think maybe Shana will enjoy doing them with me. I had thought to do them outside, but since paint and wood are involved I think maybe the forecast of all rain all the time all week is not going to suit us. We have had thunderstorms every day for a week. The temperatures have been cool, which has made the humidity less oppressive and the lettuce willing to last a little longer (although the basil is less happy about it and may have to be started over once the weather dries up a bit). This will not last. Temperatures are rising.  I am resorting to wearing shorts to work like the men. Jeans are out of the question for the duration, and some days even my khakis are just too hot to be thought of.

Today's project is a simple rhubarb syrup to add to lemonade (about even parts rhubarb, sugar and water, boiled down to a light syrup). I want to plant some rhubarb, but since it is a large and long lived plant I want to be sure we will enjoy using it before I devote a lot of space to it. I know I like rhubarb, having grown up with it, but Shana is not familiar with it. I want to ease her into the rhubarb love gently. I picked up a few stalks at Coonamessett Farm yesterday, just enough for my experiment. I did pop the remaining leaves with a bit of stem into the ground - we are having thunderstorms every day, so it is just possible it will grow for me. I'd love to have some around to add to an apple or pear pie, or to make some rhubarb applesauce.

Swan family life
Canning is in the near future at The Little House. If we get a decent yield from our cucumber plants Shana wants to make some pickles. She made her first batch a few years ago and they were very good. After my last jar of marmalade I think I will be making my own soon. I had not purchased any for many years. The most recent jar surprised me with how little peel and little flavor it had. It was not a bargain brand, and it just was not good enough. I don't think it would be too difficult to freeze up citrus peels until I have enough for a batch of good marmalade. I am also feeling a nostalgic craving for watermelon pickle, which is very easy to make. I am lucky enough to have been exposed to a fair amount of home canning and jam making when I was young. I know it is something we will be able to do, and do well.

No comments: