Friday

[vermont] Eshqua Bog Natural Area

Took a quick trip to Woodstock to check out the blooming Showy Lady's Slippers at Eshqua Bog Natural Area:

Eshqua Bog

It's a nice little spot and handicap accessible. It was a beautiful day- perfect for the first day of summer:

Eshqua Bog

The boardwalk isn't too long- the trail does extend into the woods and loops back around but I didn't have time. I just came to take pictures of the rare orchids:

Showy Lady's Slippers

The really do look like adorable pink slippers with white ribbons you can tie around your ankles:

Showy Lady's Slippers

I should take a look around the marsh/bog areas around my house and see if there are any... probably not but I can dream.

Showy Lady's Slippers

I returned home via Pomfret so I could stop by Cloudland Farm and buy all the meats. I got some ground beef, chorizo, beer brats and a large bone-in, maple cured ham. Oh the things I'm going to make with that ham. 

Thursday

[quilting] More squares...

Last weekend was too hot to crochet, so I went back to quilting. I had several piles of pieces that I cut a long time ago, all I had to do was sew them together:

12 inches:

Too hot to knit or crochet, I decided to get back to quilting. Forgot how much ironing there is... 😅 #quilting

9 inches:

#quilting

8 inches:

#quilting

Basically all the squares I've made so far have been 12 inches or larger. I was working with whole fat quarters of fabric. Now I've got piles of smaller pieces and so the squares are getting smaller. I have a book of quilt block patterns that range from 6 inches to 15 inches- I'm starting to have to cut pieces for smaller squares. Which is nice, right- it means that there's a finish line... somewhere? 

Wednesday

[crochet] Lost in Time

After finishing the green socks and Fox Paws, I went back to a long neglected crochet project:


Lost in Time shawl. I really missed the boat doing this shawl in many different colors (was worried about too many ends to weave in- Fox Paws cured me of that) but I am enjoying the subtle shades of grey. 

This is sock yarn I got on wicked sale at Webs ages ago- I think I bought six 200gr balls and I'm on ball four or five. Will keep going until I use it all up- the rows are taking forever to complete at this point but it's really chewing up the yarn quickly. I plan on doing the border in a contrast color just for a pop of something different.

This is what happens when I get up from the couch and don't call fivesies on my seat:

Aaaaaand I lost my seat.

Actually, it still happens even when I call fivesies. Penny.


Tuesday

[gardening] Mid-June Flowers

Things blooming around the house since the end of May.

Yellow irises, should probably dig 'em all up and divide this fall...

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Common Siberian irises:

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Dianthus, which smells so nice. My mom said she wants some of these.

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A rose bush that survived the winter:

Rose bush survived the winter. Given to me last year by my uncle at my dad’s memorial service, it’s a nice reminder- especially since it’s bloom time seems to coincide with Father’s Day💞

There are a couple iris that I planted years ago (bagged root from a big box store) and have been waiting for blooms ever since. This year- they both bloomed!

Iris

Iris

Sooooo ruffley. #iris

Worth the wait. They're very large, showy and many blooms per stem. I hope to see more of the same next year.

Last year I brought home all kind of iris divisions from work. They all seemed to survive the winter but just one bloomed and it's a stunner:

The only iris to bloom from a pile of divisions that I brought home from work last year. Hopefully more blooms next year! #iris

First daylily of the year popped open:

First #daylily of the year! 👏👏👏

Here's one of those starry/constellation petunias:

Woodchucks really did a number on this #petunia when I first got it but it has come back after moving to the #flowerbedbed. 🌌

When I first brought this home from a local garden, I kept it on the ground, behind the garage, at the end of the hosta bed, to keep it out of mid-day sun until I found a place to plant it. It was too enticing for the woodchucks and they chomped it all the way down to the dirt. I still brought it down to the flowerbed bed and put it in. And it has come back, which I am so happy about. I love how unique it looks.

Columbine:

Columbine

Some sweet william volunteers popping up here and there around the front flowerbed:

Sweet William

Green Wizard coneflower.

Green Wizard Coneflower

I've been diligently spraying the regular purple coneflower with stinky liquid fence, to try to dissuade
the woodchucks and hopefully get a nice show this year. We'll see...

Native oxeye daisy blooming (while I wait on the shastas):

Oxeye Daisy

Silvery lamb's ear on the left. Yellow loosestrife on the right:

Lambs ear. Yellow loosestrife.!

The lamb's ear is juuuuust starting to bloom and I can't even say how much the bees love it. The flowers were absolutely covered with big bumblebees all last summer.

New to me this year (I can't remember planting it!), false indigo:

#falseindigo new to me this year. Can’t say I remembered planting it... ‍♀️

We finally got some much-needed rain yesterday. I was getting pretty sick of carrying jugs of water down to the flowerbed bed every day.

Monday

[misc] New Fire Pit

One major task I wanted to complete over the Memorial Day vacation was to re-do the firepit in the back yard. 

Fire pit before demolition

Bricks stacked along the inside, random rocks (barely) held together with poorly mixed cement around the outside. Over grown. Never used. Just generally looking crumby. I went to Home Depot and bought a bunch of retaining wall pieces and a sledgehammer. Time to smash:

Sledgehammer time

The new firepit ring is smaller in diameter- actually completely fitting inside the old ring. 

Outer ring removed

I set aside all the bricks and started to finalize placement of the fire ring. I wanted to leave a portion open to have an "attached" grilling area for outdoor cooking.

New fire pit and grilling station

The grill is (rusty) cast iron, given to me by my uncle. 

Tidied up a bit with some more sand poured around:

New fire pit and grilling station

I used it for the first time a couple weekends ago:

Got the fire pit going

That's a nice little fire. I even did some outdoor cooking:

Cast iron cooking outside

I think this outdoor area will evolve as I use it more. It's a little tough to keep an even heat going under the pan... I'm not sure if I should lower the grilling side and use charcoal briquettes. I'm also currently obsessed with the idea of kofta kebaps. I've never had one but I've been watching videos on Instagram and omg, they look amazing. And it's got me wanting to forage for staghorn sumac this fall to make some of my own sumac spice.

Friday

[knitting] Fox Paws

I've been working on this project since January but I finally finished Fox Paws:

Fox Paws


I used Knit Picks Palette yarn- one ball each of five colors. The yarn is currently on sale for $3 per ball, which makes this a project (if you use the same yarn) that only costs $15 for yarn and $6 for the pattern. 

Fox Paws

I'm not quite ready to jump back into doing this pattern again but the urge is there- it's an ingenious design and I want to see how it would look with another combinations of colors. I think instead I might pick a different pattern with stacked stitches by the same designer. After I'm done admiring this:

Fox Paws

Right side:

Fox Paws

Wrong side:

Fox Paws

Blocking:

Fox Paws

It's folded and put away- to be entered into the Fair in September. Then I'm sure I'll we wearing it nonstop all winter...

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TGIF. Was teaching this week- looking forward to a chill weekend. The only obligation is a nephew's grad party on the other side of the state. Going to cut some rhubarb at my mom's after work today so I'll be making a rhubarb something.

Thursday

[knitting] Nomia socks

Finished:

💚💚 #knitting #sockknitting


I did the 66 stitch size and they are a little large (I used US 2 needles)- perfect for winter bed socks (which is where I wear my handknit socks anyway)- I can hook a big toe into the top cuff and slide them off when my feet a nice and toasty.

These progressed quickly once I got the pattern down and focused. At the moment I plan to enter them into the Fair but I think I might try to find another sock pattern to do. These are nice but the twisted-stitch cable pattern on the front and back of the leg are kind of lost in profile after blocking.

Pattern is free from Knitty: Nomia.


Tuesday

[cooking] Mint Chocolate Chip Bread

Another busy week teaching... just wanted to post another herb quick bread I made over vacation- but sweet this time rather than savory. I used the same recipe as the last post but changed some things around to make it sweet.

I am dealing with mint spreading everywhere it shouldn't, so what to do with all the picked mint. Mojitos? Always. Mint in iced tea? Fine. But I want to use a lot, not just a sprig or two. 

Mint. Chocolate chip. Bread.

Mint. Weeded from the flower bed.

I used a whole cup of chopped mint:

Mint chocolate chip bread

Mint chocolate chip bread

This is just regular old spearmint I think. I imagine peppermint or chocolate mint would be great as well.

I used a scant 1/2 cup of mini chips and poured the batter into the loaf pan:

Mint chocolate chip bread

Baked:

Mint chocolate chip bread

Next time I would only add 1/3 cup of mini chips. 

Mint chocolate chip bread

Overall, it was great. Totally mint-chocolate-chippy. Perfect for snacking on while lazily swinging in a hammock.

I enjoy these quick breads after they've spent a day in the fridge after baking. They are easier to slice and toast.

Friday

[cooking] Quick Herb Bread

I recently feel in love with quick herbs breads. No yeast, just mix and pour, and an abundance of whatever herbs you have gets used up. In my case a couple weeks ago: chives.

The inspiration for this recipe is from RecipeTin Eats. I used the same wet/dry ingredient amounts but went with a full cup of chopped chives and a myriad of shredded cheeses (rather than slices). 

Cheese and chive bread

I don't always have buttermilk on hand but I've started keeping a bag of dried buttermilk to reconstitute when needed. It worked out perfectly in this recipe.

I mixed everything together (no layering/swirling) and put into a loaf pan:

Cheese and chive bread

Baked:

Cheese and chive bread

This was so good. A full cup of herbs was not too much at all. This was wonderful toasted- it would make the whole kitchen smell tasty:

Cheese and chive bread

This is the bread I used in yesterday's picture with the ricotta. It was also good with eggs for breakfast. 

It is quick. From the moment you start pulling out the ingredients to the moment you're pulling it out of the oven is only an hour. It is versatile- I made two more loaves using different herbs.

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RIP Anthony Bourdain. I've mentioned him a few times on the blog here and there, when I was watching No Reservations or Parts Unknown. He was such an inspiration. Great chef, great writer, great mind, great sense of humor. One of my favorite chefs, I've been so heartbroken this morning. I can't imagine what his family and friends are going through. Much love to everyone in the world.