Monday, August 31, 2009

Project 365: Day 150

Jessy Shares

Jessy came over tonight to pick up her veggies and blackberries. She was nice enough to share some of her blackberries with the dogs. She is their new best friend.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Project 365: Day 149

Breakfast with Grandma Shirley

My Grandma Shirley also lives in Wisconsin not too far from my dad's house, so when I was planning the trip, I made sure to arrange some time to spend with her. She baked caramel rolls from scratch for us to eat for breakfast. We ate caramel rolls, drank tea and chatted away the early morning. I rarely get one on one time with her, so it was great to be able to talk to her without the distractions of a large family gathering. We talked about her creative pursuits (quilting, crocheting rugs and knitting) and my creative pursuits. She was interested in hearing about the relationship between knitting and the internet and about my upcoming trip to the New York Sheep and Wool Festival. I also had the chance to ask her some questions about her health. Most of the information I had been hearing about her had been coming to me secondhand, so I was glad to hear directly from her that her breast cancer has now been officially in remission for 2 years!

Project 365: Day 148

August 29, 2009
Buckets of Blackberries

One of the main reasons for going to Wisconsin this weekend was to harvest wild blackberries. According to my dad, who closely monitors these things, this is the best blackberry season in Wisconsin since 2003. Add to that, the fact that our family friend Al found a legendary patch of blackberry bushes on 120 acres of land for sale near his family's cabin and had gotten permission to pick it, I just had to be a part of it. We were in the blackberry patch by 9am and didn't come out until 1:30pm. It was cold and rained on us a little, but we stuck it out. In that time, my dad and I managed to pick 17 quarts of blackberries. We also managed to get scratches all over our bodies.

Those thorns are NASTY. Some of the bushes were so thick and tall, they were almost ripping my clothes off as I tried to make my way through them. Despite being fully covered in clothing, I still ended up with little scratches all over my hands and arms, some long scratches on my legs and puncture wounds on my thighs. It was so worth it, though, because I am now in the process of freezing nearly 2 gallons of blackberries for use this winter. I won't even remember the scratches when I am making blackberry pancakes in January.

After spending the first half of the day in the woods, we went back to my dad's house, washed our wounds, changed into dry socks and started harvesting produce from his garden. I picked all of these things:

Green, Red and Banana Peppers
Green Beans

And, after all of that, I allowed myself some time to read my book under the warmth of a quilt.
A hard day's work on the weekend, but fulfilling to spend that time and energy engaged in activities that directly connect me to the food I eat. I feel lucky to have a dad that has so much experience foraging and gardening and is willing to teach me all about it.

Since there were some blog readers that helped out with my earlier plea of tree identification, I am hoping there is someone out there who can either confirm or deny my guess that this is a chokecherry tree:

What do you think? Chokecherries or no?

Project 365: Day 147

August 28, 2009
Friday Date in Fast Forward

When we lived in Boston, it sort of became a Friday night tradition for Paul and I to go out to dinner together. We haven't been doing that here for various reasons, but we would like to start doing it again when we can. This weekend I went up to my dad's house in Wisconsin. Before leaving, Paul and I had a little Friday night date night in fast forward. We went out for a dinner at Punch Pizza. Their Margherita Extra pizza tastes like the pizza I ate when I was studying abroad in Italy and that makes me happy.

As much as I enjoyed the dinner out with Paul, I paid for the delayed start to my drive to Wisconsin with a really late arrival. I was so sleepy driving down the dark country roads late at night that I had to keep shaking myself back awake. I consumed nearly an entire pack of Bubble Yum gum because blowing bubbles helped keep me awake. Luckily I made it there safely.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Como Park Pics

Friday, August 28, 2009

Weekend Recap

Since I am out of town this weekend and can't post until I get back, I am going to share some things from last weekend so you don't get too bored with my blog.

Last Sunday morning, Sally, Mike, Paul and I all played disc golf together. We played at the 12 hole course at Plymouth Creek Park. It is a really nice course, with a good balance of easy and tricky holes. This was the first time that Sally and Mike have played disc golf. I hope they enjoyed it enough to want to play with us again, because Paul and I had a good time.

While we were there, we saw this mammoth dragonfly. It nearly lost a battle with a bee, so while it was recovering, it held still long enough for me to take a photo.

I have been busy trying my best to preserve a bunch of produce my dad gave me recently before it is past its prime. It is a lot of pressure to have so much produce that you have to deal with immediately. All of the information I read about freezing, drying and canning all stress that you have to process things immediately after they are picked or else it won't taste good. I made dill refrigerator pickles, sundried tomatoes and dried peppers. I love the aesthetic of stuff in mason jars.

Words of wisdom from a church in my neighborhood.

Free Things (With a Catch)

Remember the 5 Things project I am doing? I am narrowing down what I will be making and will be sure to have them in the mail before the deadline. So, if you signed up on my blog, be assured I haven't forgotten about you!

If you were interested in it and didn't get a chance to sign up yet, you have another chance. My friend Beth who, among her many talents, is an excellent photographer, just posted the 5 Things offer on her blog. Go on! Get while the gettin' is good!

Thursday, August 27, 2009


I haven't had a chance to properly document the Yarntasting experience, but luckily for me, other people have. So, yeah, ditto to what they said in the article. For now, I'll just show you my photos and once I get around to photographing my swatches and deciding what I am going to make, I'll post about it again.

Project 365: Day 146

Appreciation Day

Today was Employee Appreciation Day at my work. We took a chartered bus to Como Park and had a great picnic catered by Three Sons. After the picnic, we had plenty of time to roam the park. There were a lot of beautiful things to see including an amazing butterfly garden, many blooming flowers in the conservatory and a SLOTH in the rainforest garden. I had a great time hanging out with co-workers Sarah and Pam and taking in the beautiful day in a beautiful place. We even carved out a little time to sit and knit in the sunken garden. Bliss!

It was totally the day for eating outside. For dinner tonight, we met up with some friends to check out Minnehaha Falls and eat at the Sea Salt Eatery. This place is so ridiculously close to our house, it was about time I finally went there. We followed the advice of the sign and drank our beer from the beer/ice cream line while waiting in the food line. It was necessary because it takes a L O N G time to wait in line, order and get your food from this place. A word to the wise (or just a word to the spicy food wusses like me), the veggie tacos are really spicy!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Project 365: Day 145

Train to Canada

I should go there sometime. I hear it is quite nice.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Project 365: Day 144


I got a tour of the new TCF Bank Stadium today. I was fascinated by the turf. It is created in a way that allows it to drain easily. They use ground up tires to assist in draining the field. Very cool.

Other shots:

Monday, August 24, 2009

Project 365: Day 143

A Little Bit of Backyard

This little peak at my yard shows my Caroline raspberry patch which is going to yield an amazing amount of berries within the next month. I am such a newbie that when the raspberry bushes started sending out tall stalks a month or so into summer, I asked my dad if I should trim them so they didn't take away from the fruit the smaller, lower branches were growing. Luckily he clued me in that those tall stalks would bear my fall crop of berries. And, holy cow, they are full of green berries! You can also see my little honeycrisp apple tree and a bit of the firepit ring.

I love our little bit of land. It is small enough that we can easily maintain it but large enough to pack in a lot of the things I love and provide a great space for the dogs. Although, when I sit out in the yard, the dogs don't tend to take advantage of the space. They tend to hover right around my chair while eating dirt and munching on sticks. Weirdos.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Project 365: Day 142


Since it is late, I will have to wait until later to write about the Yarntasting event I attended. For now, here is a view of some of the great Artfibers Yarn we swatched with.

Project 365: Day 141

August 22, 2009
Mall of America

I am in desperate need of new clothes to wear to work. My wardrobe has slowly dwindled due to things shrinking in the dryer, fabric getting worn out and the occasional stain. I have been putting the task of shopping for new clothes off for a REALLY long time. At first it was because I was focusing my money on other priorities. Then it was because I dreaded spending my precious free time shopping. This weekend I finally sucked it up and went shopping because my sister said she would go with me. We went to the Mall of America because it is the only location of H&M in the Twin Cities. In the past I have had good luck at H&M so my thinking was I could probably get what I needed quickly if I shopped there. No dice! They didn't have the same sort of stuff I remember them having (i.e. pants options other than tapered leg, skinny pants).

In addition to striking out at H&M, I found that The Mall of America and I do not get along. I am not a person who generally likes malls or big box stores. There is something about them that makes me feel like a shopping zombie and the Mall of the America makes me feel like that to the extreme.

Out of all of the clothes I tried on, I only found one pair of pants. And, to make matters more complicated, I found those pants at a store that was having a "buy one get one free" sale on their pants. So, I had to basically try on every pair of pants in the freaking place because the second pair would be free. After literally trying on every pair of pants in the store, with the exception of the tapered leg skinny pants, I reduced myself to survival mode, grabbed a second pair of the exact same pants and went to the register. I exchanged 3-1/2 hours of my life and $40 for two pairs of pants that are exactly the same. I now understand why someone would hire a personal shopper!

Luckily Paul and I had a date that evening so they day got much better. When Paul and I were very first dating, one of his most prized possessions was an original VHS tape of the Goonies. Paul is not someone who prizes possessions, but he was very protective of his Goonies tape. He was so protective of it that I was not allowed to borrow it. So, when I saw that the Goonies was being shown this summer, I knew we had to make a date of it. The Goonies was playing at a park in our neighborhood, so we were even able to walk to it. I love the experience of watching movies in the park. Plus, what a great deal! We watched a free movie and bought a big bag of popcorn and two AirHeads bars for $1.50!

Friday, August 21, 2009

Project 365: Day 140

Emergency Knitting

I started my emergency knitting project on my lunch break today while listening to an episode of Cast On. My emergency knitting project is a simple pair of toe-up socks out of Cascade Fixation knit on one long circular needle. I have tried in the past to make toe-up socks. At the time the figure 8 cast-on instructions that I was trying to follow didn't make any sense to me and I ended up abandoning them for another top down sock pattern. This time around I just made up my own version of a cast on. In fact, I am just making up the pattern for these as I go. As for the Cast On podcast, I think it is reliably good in terms of content and sound quality. It consistently inspires me to think about interesting topics, knitting and otherwise. If you aren't already a listener of this podcast, I would recommend giving it a try.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Project 365: Day 139


You know what sucks? What sucks is that we had to get our car fixed and when the mechanic finished fixing it he told me that I should be aware that my alternator may break soon. He explained that it wasn't throwing a charge to the level they like to see but it is OK for now. So, of course, I asked him how one might predict when an alternator is about to break, so that I could bring it in BEFORE it breaks. He told me that you can't predict it, but I will know when it is broken because the check battery light will go on. Then, after further questioning from me, he told me that after the warning light goes on, I will have just enough battery power left to pull over to the side of the road. So, now I feel like every time I drive the car, I have the potential to become stranded with a busted car. I HATE this feeling! Since it is a $450 repair and an old car, we are not really interested in repairing it preemptively, so I have to learn to cope with it.

I have identified a few possible ways to help make myself feel more prepared for a random breakdown and all around less stressed out about driving what I feel is now a ticking time bomb. For starters, I signed both Paul and I up for AAA. I am planning on starting an emergency knitting project that I can leave in the car in the case that it takes AAA a long time to come with a tow truck. I also make sure that every time I drive somewhere I have my cell phone in my bag. Somehow these things make me feel a lot better.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Project 365: Day 138


Since Tchazo got to do so many fun things last night, tonight was Jack's night. We went on a walk through the neighborhood and I let him pee on all of the trees he wanted to pee on. To Jack, that is the best walk ever. We are trying out a new halter for him since he has been able to get out of his Halti. I am not a big fan of it so far because it turns him into a 35 pound sled dog.

We had crazy storms in Minneapolis today. There was a tornado that touched down in the neighborhood we just moved out of. From the reports that I have seen, it hit just south AND just north of our old apartment building. My favorite excerpt from this article about the tornado is this:
Sam Bolin was clearing drains at the corner in anticipation of the downpour, when he "looked up and saw things flying down Portland. And when I say 'things' I mean trees. My cap blew off. I started to go get it and then I thought, it ain't nothing but a hat."
Well said, Sam.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Project 365: Day 137

Dog Park

The weather was perfect for being outside this evening, so Tchazo and I went to the dog park and then to my dad's garden. Since my dad is out of town and things are going to go bad before he gets back, I went to pick everything that was ripe. While we were at the garden, my dad's neighbors were outside with their 2 new puppies. They were fluffy, made of rubber and cute as can be, which is generally applicable to all puppies. After filling up my bags with the garden goods and rubbing the puppy bellies, I went home to make a tasty dinner with the spoils. All in all, it was a great evening.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Project 365: Day 136


Sunday, August 16, 2009

Project 365: Day 135

Seward Coop Cafe

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Project 365: Day 134

Mill City Farmers Market

Friday, August 14, 2009

Project 365: Day 133

Calzone Night

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Project 365: Day 132


Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Project 365: Day 131

Veggie Grilling

...zucchini, portabello mushrooms, onions, corn on the cob, plaintains...yummy dinner.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Project 365: Day 130


Monday, August 10, 2009

Project 365: Day 129


Clifford (aka Oblique made in red yarn) made me angry. Over the past 5 months I carefully knit it, carefully seamed it and carefully blocked it. I even made a swatch, washed it and measured it before starting. All that and IT DOESN'T FIT! This fact makes me unhappy. I will write more about it when I am not so unhappy. I might even show you pictures. Heck, I might even put buttons on it. But, for now, it will be in a tote bag on a long time out thinking about what it has done wrong.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Sock Summit

I'm bummed that I wasn't able to be a part of the Sock Summit, because, man, did it look like it was fun!

Not only did they organize a big ol' giant party for knitters, assemble a jaw-droppingly awesome roster of teachers and arrange a marketplace of epic proportions, they also broke a Guinness Record.

Three cheers for Stephanie, Tina and all of the ST members that worked so hard to make this great event happen!

Project 365: Day 128


This weekend was just what I needed it to be: relaxing.

Project 365: Day 127

August 8, 2009
The Rewards of Grocery Shopping

After a morning of running errands, I got to come home, unpack the goodies and arrange this little display of produce on my countertop. Having so many fresh, local ingredients right there in my view inspires me to cook. Although, the blackberries didn't last long. I ate them all by the end of the day.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Project 365: Day 126

Saffron Threads

I found a great deal on a little tin of saffron threads at the Caspian Bistro Market. I've followed many recipes that called for saffron and have always substituted the much cheaper turmeric in its place. To make immediate use of this fancy new ingredient, Paul and I cooked up a yummy dinner. I made the mexican rice with saffron and Paul concocted an off the cuff dish that included chicken mushrooms, cherry tomatoes, purple bell pepper, red onion, garlic, capers, turmeric and some other stuff he added when I wasn't paying attention. We opened up a good bottle of Zinfandel and had the most flavor packed dinner we have made in a long, long time.

It is a very relaxing evening around here tonight and it is just what I need.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Project 365: Day 125


It works! We replaced the power cord tonight. See those little red lights? They mean it gets HOT! And, as a bonus, we also finally replaced the light bulb above the stove. OK. Now I hope you won't have to hear about my oven again for a long, long time. I'm off to bake cookies or something!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Project 365: Day 124

Labor Ain't Cheap

I have an update on the rebellious kitchen. I had to take a half day of vacation time today to be at home from 1-5, because apparently the repair people do not believe in scheduling appointments for any less than a 4 hour span of time. Grrr. Anyway, the very friendly and chatty repairman came and looked at our range. Apparently, we were fortunate that we didn't burn down our house. The oven stopped working because the power cord was installed improperly and had been arcing the electricity for so long that it finally melted and broke apart. The cord was completely detached from where it is supposed to connect to the stove electrical terminal. $166 and one electrical terminal later and it still isn't completely fixed. Our next step is to get a replacement power cord, install it, plug it in and hope that it works properly. Our bill was for a $6 part and $160 of labor. He was at our house for less than an hour! I need to get more versed on homeowner DIY stuff, because, man, labor is sooo expensive.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Project 365: Day 123

Just Browsing

Jamie and I took a walk through my neighborhood this evening. It was National Night Out, so there were lots of people out and about in the streets. We spent a good chunk of time browsing the community garden plots at Dowling Community Garden. We behaved ourselves and refrained from picking other people's flowers, strawberries and raspberries. It was mighty tempting, though.
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