Wednesday, August 01, 2007

growing things

Lisa K. commented that "Growing things always blow my mind." I'm totally down with that. Things are productive around here, but I find hotel reservations, travel arrangements (for more October festivals-- Rhinebeck and SAFF) and even plans to meet up with family don't have a tangible feeling of accomplishment. Nor do trips to the pharmacy, grocery store, and health food store, all of which I had to do twice this week. No matter how much arranging I do, it's not much of a blog entry, either!

The Farmer's Market, the library, or the post office? Those errands always are enjoyable! The personal interactions are better at these places, and I'm getting something good or sending something good away, a physical sense of accomplishment! For several errands, it's less than 2 miles away...sometimes, if it's cool and there's not too much to carry, I walk, and that's lovely too. The produce - an heirloom tomato (Mr. Stripey or Pineapple) and the "pre-Salsa" ingredients, were grown by Chad, a student in the professor's department. Chad's family farm sells at the farmer's market and he knows who's coming to dinner at our house. He often slips in an extra treat based on which professor is eating here!

So, let's do some food talk, since all my knitting is stealth work for the book... Last night, our friend John (one of Chad's professors!) came over. We ate locally raised, free range chicken, roasted with salt, pepper, za'atar and olive oil. Inside the pan, I roasted potatoes and carrots. The drippings aren't good for you but they sure do taste good! For extra "seasoning", we had homemade salsa and plum/apple chutney. Side dishes included a Turkish eggplant and banana pepper salad, seasoned with garlic, lemon, salt, dill, red wine vinegar and olive oil, and a sliced fresh tomato salad with a few okra pickles.

I've accomplished a lot in the canning department. Here are dilly beans and okra pickles..I've fit in time for 10+ pints of pickled things this week, plus another 5 pints of salsa canned and a quart in the refrigerator. These treats are fabulous in the winter time; I can always have another guest at the table by going down to the basement and getting an extra jar or two. Unfortunately, I've practically worn out my canning pot and need to buy a new one now!

All the presents have been sent off to their new owners. Jan, here's your carpet warp, ready to travel to the Dakotas! Deb's ribbon and carpet warp is winging its way to Colorado, and Lisa's pink yarn? off to Idaho.

One of the funny things about living in an old house in a small town? Discovering all the flowers and architectural details we have in common with our neighbors. In a fit of energy this past weekend, I chopped down weeds until we could see our old spring house foundation, now a planter, in the backyard. I can now see these rain lilies from my office window. We have a big yard, with lots of interesting plantings, most of which we didn't do. Our neighbors have many of the same flowers, porch swings, and light fixtures. One can imagine that 50? or 100 years ago, someone shared their bulbs and cuttings with a neighbor. A truckload of swings or doors or fixtures arrived? Everyone bought the same ones. This is still true...we have the same chandelier (from Home Depot or Lowes?) as another spinner friend who lives a few blocks away. It looks great in her dining room. It's way too big for ours!

When a university town empties out for the summer, things slow down so I can pause on my walks with the dogs and see the details. I like to watch the gardens change and grow. The students' cars (and beer bottles) don't line the streets. It's a slow time, a quiet respite from the bustle we'll see in three weeks, and there's still time for those personal exchanges at the farmer's market and post office.


Blogger Peggy said...

Yummy looking foods!!!! You have certainly been busy. I've heard your lilies called different things, back home we call them resurrection lilies because of the follage coming up in the Spring, dieing in the early Summer and then around August over night the flowers popping up out of bare dirt.

August 1, 2007 at 12:23 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Joanne I just added 'Empirical Division' to the pattern database on Ravelry as part of putting up my FOs, and provided the URL to your site...FYI
I hope you are on the list to get on, there is a big designers' group and Norah Gaughan just jumped onto it this week...

August 1, 2007 at 2:30 PM  
Blogger Joanne said...

Thanks, Caroline! I'm excited to have the pattern on Ravelry even if I'm not yet! I'm on the waiting list...but I only signed up recently so I'm sure I'll be waiting a while...

August 1, 2007 at 3:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

MMmmmm, my mouth is majorly watering at the moment! Those pictures are great. Your package hasn't made it out of the house yet, but soon it will be.

August 1, 2007 at 4:53 PM  
Blogger Deborah Robson said...

Oh, goody, I love mail. Most mail {grin}.

August 1, 2007 at 4:56 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Pretty carpet warp! Would you believe I just finished spinning a peach/pink/gray-brown silk blend for socks. The color-planets are aligned.
Your jars of canned goods are prize winners. Mouth watering!

August 2, 2007 at 4:52 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Beautiful produce! Dog's habits really crack me up. We have a full parade at my house every morning to let the pets out.... Fast labrador, fast cat, slow lab, slow cat. Nobody gets out of line or misses the outing.

All the food sounds delicious!

August 2, 2007 at 5:06 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Joanne, you and I have a lot in common with our old houses and college towns and our love of food. BUT I never, ever can anything. Too lazy, I guess, or too reluctant to fire up boiling water when the humidity's so high. My hat's off to you and your canning!

August 2, 2007 at 7:13 PM  
Blogger Cathy said...

I miss the magic lilies. I simply have to order some to plant. Soon.

August 3, 2007 at 9:26 AM  

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