Sunday, August 30, 2015

Putting by

On Saturday, we spent time outside at the wading pool, but hiding in the refrigerator was an enormous bag of cucumbers!  One of the Professor's grad students...has an uncle with a farm.  The farm had a bumper crop of cucumbers..something like a shopping cart of cucumbers every day.  After delivering cucumbers to everyone in the family, this kind grad student brought some to the lab.  How much?  When the Professor took the box home at the end of the day, after others had taken what they wanted, I think there were roughly 9 or more pounds of cukes!

For those who know us, we eat a lot of cucumbers around here...but the household favorite, year round?  Pickles.  So, I had a hot (literally) date Saturday night with the canner and 8 lbs of cucumbers.  Six pints of dill pickles and six pints of sweet cornichons later, I think I'm calling it quits when it comes to canning dilly beans and pickles this it is on to chutney, with perhaps a side venture to salsa if the tomatillo plants produce more.  
Meanwhile, I wrote this article, which came out on the CBC on Saturday as well:
Timely, but completely coincidental...
About 10 more days until preschool starts, but who's counting?

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Friday, August 21, 2015

Scenes from August

What does August look like?
A locally grown tomato sandwich...
On homemade spelt bread, with mayo (cause I could not ever skip the mayo), that one perfect heirloom tomato, homemade basil pesto, and sharp cheddar.
Here it is again, in case you needed a close up of the pesto dribbling everywhere.
Also, today was the last morning of camp, or any kind of childcare, until preschool starts after Labor homemade challah?  Is hard to find time to make.  For the first time, I tried the bread machine.  It is definitely world's funniest looking loaf, even upside down, as in this photo, but it tastes good.  Obviously need to fine tune my recipe for the bread machine, but it's a start...and it all works for French toast, even if it isn't braided!

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Monday, August 17, 2015

women's health...and August

August is here, and I alternate between being very busy with twins and completely stalling out.  This past weekend, I came down with laryngitis that incapacitated me for an entire day.  (I had no idea I had such a vocal parenting style until I could not talk!)  We also had a heatwave (for Winnipeg) which made life steamy for a few days.  It is now sunny, crisp and cool again and I have a brief moment to post one of my recent articles.  This came out on the CBC Manitoba website this past weekend:

Should Kim Kardashian be giving women medical advice?

This is already sounding funny for those who know me....I don't watch reality TV or have time to follow much via social media.  However, the issue at stake is really about how drug companies advertise, and whether women have access to good medical support and information about the right medications when they need them.  Particularly, it is about Diclectin, (Diclegis, in the US), an anti-nausea drug that helped me get through twin pregnancy.  Yes, I was stoned, unable to drive, and fuzzy all the time, but it helped me keep food down...and I was lucky to have it.

There are no weird photos of drugs here or of me, trying desperately to talk to 4 year olds and only squeaks coming out...but alas, we've been back from the lake for 2 weeks now, so it was time for a real-life update!  How are you?  How's August treating you?

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Thursday, August 06, 2015

Images from the lake cottage

Did you see the hummingbird?  :)

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Tuesday, August 04, 2015

7.5 hours in the car--with twins

We went off grid.  Away for the August long weekend...(Canadians have a holiday August 3) and travelled to see a friend at his family cottage in Minnesota.  It was billed as a 4.5 hour trip by the directions that the Professor printed out.  Our friend said, well---maybe up to 6 hours.  It was 7.5 hours -- each way...with four year old twins.  In between multiple interruptions, I did some knitting on the Turkish Lace Camisole while the Professor drove.

What was the delay?  Road construction, a little line up at the border crossing, and about 50 billion pit stops.  We had to visit every rest area and water every tree and plant between here and Minnesota...and a second time on the way home.  No kidding.  However, I am the first to proudly say: we had no accidents in the car!

Meanwhile, while away from the Internet for the first time in eons, the CBC published my opinion piece.  Due to the holiday weekend, I'm not sure many people read it, but it's live here:

Environment Canada air quality system needs a megaphone

Although the skies here are now clear, this has been a terrible forest fire season--and Canada does not have nearly the air quality alert system (or the weather warning system) that the US has.  I was reminded of this when we were alerted by weather radio, early Sunday morning, to a big storm near the lake cottage where we visited.  This is something the US is doing very well!  Maybe Environment Canada/Provincial/local governments/health care systems can learn from it.

I wanted to share fun lake photos of boys digging, but the Professor (and possibly his camera) have now rushed off to a conference at UC-Berkeley.  Here's a brief description I wrote, in part, to a friend earlier today:

We just returned from our friend's family cottage in northern Minnnesota.  It was gorgeous in terms of location and really a fascinating old family retreat, full of family treasures dating back over 100 years.  (Including working pump organ, hymnals from 1908, and other amazing handmade woven, braided, quilted, rug hooked, wood working treasures.)  Downside is that a 320 mile trip took 7.5 hours each way because of construction, border crossing, and two boys who needed to make a ton of bathroom and food breaks.  It was a very long trip! We stopped by the road and watered the plants many times between Winnipeg and Ottertail, MN. I also saw the inside of every single rest stop.

We really enjoyed seeing our friend though and the boys spent many happy hours digging into the sand, wading in the water, taking a boat ride, and checking out the cottage and lakeside wildlife.  

There is nothing like rushing out to see a blue heron on the dock at 6:45 AM!  Well, maybe playing with minnows in a bucket (a close second) and watching all the water come alive in a temporary lake water aquarium in the cottage living room... 

That...and s'mores.  The boys had s'mores for the first time this trip, and it clearly was an enormous hit. :)
Hopefully, I can share a photo or two sometime soon.  

In the meanwhile, Happy August!

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Tuesday, July 21, 2015

A summer camisole

It has been a super long time since I've knit this camisole.  I just checked my files, and I think I designed this as "lace camisole" for Knit Picks in 2006, when they had just started their design program.  They asked me to use a novelty yarn, which resulted in a red camisole and a neon yellow/green one.  Then, when the copyright reverted to me, I released it on Ravelry as the Turkish Lace Camisole.

I seemed to remember it as a quick, satisfying knit...and bear in mind, 4+ years without sleep means I can't remember much of anything!  So, when I happened upon some lovely linen yarn at a local yarn shop's sidewalk sale, I decided to give it ago.

I've started a knit-along in my Ravelry group in case anyone wants to join me for a relaxing knit and summer chat session...but for now, I'm finding it delightfully airy, cool, and fast.  Who knows?  I might even get to wear it a couple times at the end of the summer, if summer hangs on long enough in Winnipeg!

In other news, I'm canning.  So far?  Apricot, Nanking Cherry, and Blueberry-Plum-Vanilla jams.  I'm hoping to fit in some pickles, salsa, and chutney later on.  As the summer progresses, I'll be doing more chasing of twins, as we don't have much childcare all bets are off as to how much will actually happen!  We might have to go to the wading pool instead...and I might have to wear a new cover up.

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Monday, July 13, 2015

Heat and knitting

It got a little steamy around here this weekend.  Hot enough so we went to the wading pool and certain twin preschoolers got to have ice cream from the ice cream truck for the very first time!  Both the professor and I have memories of hearing the truck going down the street, the music playing, and rushing up to stand in line to buy something cold on a stick.  (I used to buy mine at the swimming pool, too)  Both boys concluded that it melted too fast and that the stick approach made it all "floppy loppy."  They seemed to prefer good old ice cream in a bowl that they get at home. :)  
We also spent a lot of time in the yard, feasting on the Nanking cherries (the bush is covered with ripe cherries), snow peas and gooseberries from the garden.  I'd say that we alternated between enjoying the heat and having absolute meltdowns because of it.  Bear in mind, it was only about 25-32C here, (mostly in the 80s if using Fahrenheit) but it was humid, and the local weather predictions called that a humidex of 40.  (104F.)
It was hot, but it wasn't all that hot, since the professor and I used to live in hotter places like North Carolina and Kentucky.  That said, we don't have air conditioning, so when it cools down at night, we position the fans in front of open windows just so.  During the day time, we close the curtains to keep in the cool.
Except, not all of our windows have those kind of darkening curtains.  You may remember this Knitted Curtain from my book?  Well, it fit really well in a window in my house in Kentucky.  It doesn't fit so perfectly on the window here, but I hung it anyhow because I love it!  Here it is, above, doubled up to keep out the heat.

I'm also running a little sale over on Ravelry for people who have favorited or queued my designs, but I'll let you in on it too....until the end of July, all of my patterns (including my eBook, Three Ply!) are on sale for 20%.  Use this coupon code:

to get the discount.  

In the meanwhile, if you're in a hot place, well, stay cool!  Drink iced tea.  Sit in the shade.  Splash in the pool.  And, if you are twin over here, try not to melt down too much into a tantrum.  We had one doozy which involved a kid screaming.... "IT'S TOO HOT!  TURN ON THE COOL!  TURN ON THE COLD!" 
Little Canadians--indeed. :)
PS: I'm still knitting, of course. :)  A little heat doesn't deter me from spinning (wool!) either.

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