Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Project 365:Day 180

Farmers Market

With the season change, the farmers market is nearing an end. I have enjoyed the opportunity to stroll a nearby farmer's market on my lunch break. It was especially enjoyable today with the sunshine warming the cool air and the bright blue sky.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

PRoject 365: Day 179

Home Before Dusk

Monday, September 28, 2009

Project 365: Day 178

Bye Bye Ferrets

Jessy came back from Hawaii today! She came to get her ferrets tonight. She was happy to see them, they were happy to see her and I am happy to have my crafting room back. Everybody wins. The ferrets made it through the 10 days without any adrenal gland failures, bloody urine, intestinal blockage or any other of the myriad of ailments that ferrets can get. The resident dogs and cat have been shut out of the room the ferrets have been in for these 10 days for the safety of the ferrets. When the ferrets left this evening, Jack, Tchazo and Fanny all came into the room for a long smellfest. The photo above was taken in the spot that the ferret mansion used to be in. There were a LOT of smells left there for their sensitive noses to investigate.

I tried to get one last photo of the ferrets, but they all looked like a squirmy mass of fur. For example:

Whew! I am glad that my ferret sitting allowed my sister to take her vacation, but man were those little creatures a lot of work! For anyone who is thinking about getting ferrets, you should be warned that they are HIGH MAINTENANCE pets. You really have to love them, naughtiness and all, to be a good caregiver for them.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Project 365: Day 177

Birchwood Cafe

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Project 365: Day 176

Alpaca Farm - KITTEN!

Sally and I went to one of the farms that is part of the Alpaca Farm Tours this weekend. We went with the intention of spending some quality time with the alpacas.

But, we ended up being much more smitten with kittens! There were three orange tabby kittens that were so adorable and little and fluffy that we ended up spending much more time with them than with the alpacas. One of the kittens had 6 toes on each foot!


We had a perfect day for hanging out on a farm. It was sunny with blue skies. I didn't buy any fiber but I did buy a jar of homemade concord grape jelly and a jar of elderberry jelly.

Project 365: Day 175

September 25, 2009
at Home

Mixed greens with roasted beets, heirloom tomatoes, walnuts, Donnay Farm's goat cheese and homemade balsamic vinaigrette. Goat milk sourdough bread with Sunnie spread. Red wine. Delightful.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Project 365: Day 174

Backdoor Sunrise

The season is definitely shifting. I now get up before the sun rises. This was my view when I let the dogs outside this morning.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Project 365: Day 173

New Shoes

I haven't had new shoes in a LONG time. My mom bought these for me as a really early birthday present. I like them because they are comfy and they show off my fancy handknit socks.

If you love Born shoes like I do, you might want to check out the newly opened Nordstrom Rack in Maple Grove. The shelves are stocked with Born shoes. Also, when my mom and I were shoe shopping over the weekend, the lady at the shoe store convinced me to try on some maryjane shoes from Naot. Wow, do they feel good! Does anyone own any of these shoes and want to share their opinions? Since they run around $180 a pair, I wanted to do a little research before buying them.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Project 365: Day 172

Play Date

The ferrets had a visitor this evening. Jill, my friend and former ferret owner, came over to have a little playtime with the weasely ones. A good time was had by all and the ferrets got their daily dose of exercise and intellectual stimulation. It was a win-win-win situation.

Memory Lane

On this day, the Autumnal Equinox and my 600th post, I wanted to take a little time to reflect on my little piece of the internet. I started this blog on March 17, 2007, which means I have been blogging for 2.5 years. The blog resulted from asking Paul how hard he thought it would be for me to create and use a blog. He suggested we look into it and, less than 15 minutes later, I had this blog.

The original motivation for having a blog was to create a place to record my completed projects. I wanted an intangible place where I could post project information and photos to share with others and to record it for my own reference. Two and a half years later, I still post about knitting projects. However, with the existence of Ravelry, the need to record knitting projects on the blog is lessened. Ravelry records it in a way that it is far more superior than my blog posting records. Project posts are still a part of the blog, but are not what drives the blog at this moment.

Last year what drove my blog was cooking with some splashes of daily life. Many of the posts were a result of my New Year's resolution to cook new recipes. Since then, I have gone back to those posts countless times in search of a recipe that I discovered during that year. It is a great reference when trying to pinpoint the magazine, book or website it came from. The year of structured exploration has definitely instilled some new habits for seeking out and trying new recipes and it greatly expanded my arsenal of go-to recipes.

My passion for cooking and food has not dwindled, but this year's drive is about Project 365. My version of the project has definitely achieved the desired result of inspiring me to post regularly. At over 170 days into the project, I will admit that sometimes I am tempted to excuse myself from the task. But, like with exercise, sometimes you don't want to do it, but you have to do it anyways. And, normally afterwards you are glad you did it, because it is good for you.

I have never been one to write in a journal, so it is actually quite a surprise to me that I have stuck with blogging. I really find value in recording parts of my life in this space. I do it for my benefit, but I also do it because it is fun for me to share with you, the blog visitor. I do it because it is nice to show you things and to read your comments. And, just like with looking at old photo albums, sometimes it is really fun to take a little trip down memory lane. This blog is becoming my ever-evolving Memory Lane.

(The photo in this post is a snippet from my pre-blogging days. Paul and I participated in The Photo Booth Chronicles. We were 23, baby-faced, dreadlocked and newly in love. The photo was from an actual photo booth where you have to hang around and wait while the print gets developed inside of the machine. So old school!)

Monday, September 21, 2009

Project 365: Day 171

Ferret Mansion

The ferrets are here! The ferrets are here! If I were a ferret, I would want to be Jessy's ferret. Her ferrets live a life of ferret luxury. Check out their 6' ferret mansion! It is multi-layered with hammocks and tunnels and platforms. It has an eat-in kitchen with plumbing and a separate dining room. There is also an over-sized bathroom on the ground level (although, despite its enormous size, sometimes they still miss the toilet).

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Project 365: Day 170

Home Improvements - Foundation Edition

Paul was quite the go-getter this morning. I was up late last night, so I slept in a little later than usual. By the time I got up, Paul was already outside working on our big project for the day.

We recently discovered a hole in the exterior of our foundation. After a little research, I think I determined the reason our lower exterior foundation is disintegrating. The door that goes to the walkway on the side of the house was the main entrance and exit for the people that worked in our house when it was the location of the previous owner's business. My guess is that the walkway was heavily salted and that the salt has caused the concrete blocks to start to break down. We are hopefully going to be able to patch it up and stop the deterioration from going any further.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Project 365: Day 169

One Way To Do It

It was an exciting morning at the Mill City Farmers Market today. Each week is themed and this week was Oktoberfest, which meant Paul was willing to accompany me to the market. We got to taste a bunch of delicious foods and sample some craft beers (Brau Brothers makes great Stout and Flat Earth makes great root beer!). We had our breakfast at the market and it turned out to be a rather odd breakfast including beer and momos (tibetan dumplings).

We ran into Charleen, Jamie and Sylvia who were listening to the Elk River German Band and their "Umpah-pah, Umpah-pah" music.

We also got to see this demo for roasting red peppers. This woman was spinning a drum full of red bell peppers over a set of propane powered torches. It was a loud and intense process, but it got the job done in a hurry!

Even before we went to the farmers market, we hit up a neighborhood church basement garage sale. Those are the BEST garage sales. We got a load of awesome stuff for $8. Included in our finds was a huge aluminum canning pot (hot water bath, not a pressure cooker), a stovetop belgian waffle iron, two BBQ grill baskets, an ice bucket for the wet bar and some other miscellaneous treasures. Eight bucks!

Friday, September 18, 2009

Project 365: Day 168

Knits - Finished and Started

Tonight was a glorious night of finishing a few knitting projects and swatching, planning and starting new ones. For those that make gifts for people, the Christmas season is fast approaching and, as of this week, I have started to think about my list of loved ones.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Project 365: Day 167


Tonight, under my dad's tutelage, I overcame my fear of pressure canning! I have done canning in hot water baths, but have never used a pressure cooker. The one my family used when I was growing up was the kind that didn't have the gauge on it (or at least that is how I remember it). On those you use the little weight thingies to measure the pressure levels, so I always thought it was a complicated and dangerous process. Turns out that the new pressure cookers have a gauge that tells you the pressure so it is pretty straight forward as long as you watch the pressure closely. We canned some of the heirloom tomatoes my dad grew this year.

Washcloths Galore

I've craved some easy knitting lately, so I went on a washcloth bender. I've made so many of these to give away, but I don't have a ton to use myself. I wanted to create a stash of them of them for us to use. The results are now in the drawer, ready and waiting to wash, scrub and clean our house.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Project 365: Day 166


I spent my evening at a worm composting workshop put on by Eureka! Recycling at the Edgcumbe Recreation Center. I've had my worms for just over two months. The instructions that came with the Worm Factory make it seem a lot more high maintenance than the instructor at the workshop made it seem. So, with looser guidelines, I am ready to really get those worms working in the factory. If I can get a lot of compost created over the winter, I will be setting myself up to be able to establish a great garden this coming spring with lots of good compost.

The instructor made a lot of great arguments for home composting. Here are a few for your consideration:
  • Home composting reduces your carbon footprint, as you have less garbage that must be trucked to a landfill or incinerator.
  • Incinerating compostable materials requires energy and the process results in harmful gases that are released into the environment.
  • Putting compostable materials into landfills results in it decomposing in a way that produces methane gas, which contributes to the greenhouse effect.
  • By not composting, you are losing the opportunity to turn your waste into nutrient rich soil.
So, you can take your food scraps, feed them to worms, put them into your soil, add seeds, grow your own food, take your food scraps, feed them to worms....and so on! It sounds like a pretty slick arrangement to me. If you want to read Eureka Recycling's detailed argument for composting, you can click here. Go Red Wigglers, Go!

Basic Training

My sister is going on vacation. My sister owns 3 ferrets. When my sister goes on vacation someone must take care of her ferrets. That someone is me!

Ever since I was carefully selected for this position, I have been being subtly schooled on the ways of ferret caretaking. Jessy takes VERY VERY VERY good care of her animals and knows that nobody can/will do what she does for them, but I am being prepared to be the best substitute for her that I can be. As part of my training, I went over to her place for some hands-on learning and to receive the specially written ferret manual. This manual includes 1 full page about ferret poop. I kid you not. I learned about "flat ferrets" and bloody urine, both of which are very bad things.

I also learned that one of her ferrets enjoys a good drink from the shower from time to time:

Ferrets are a lot of work. They are, as Jessy puts it, "like 2 year olds on speed." But, I think her training has well prepared me for the 10 days of poop, play and mischief.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Project 365: Day 165

Daily Harvest

For the past two weeks or so, I have been able to harvest this amount of berries each day. I've been enjoying them plain, on ice cream with Nutella and on cereal.

I think that part of the reason my berries are so plentiful is the crew of bumblebees in my yard. They are always buzzing around from flower to flower on the raspberries branches. I thank them for their hard work each time I pick berries and I try not to piss them off. So far we are happily coexisting and nobody has gotten smashed or stung. I hope we can continue our symbiotic relationship.

Home Improvements - Deck Edition

One of the things we knew we were going to need to get done this summer was to stain the cedar deck in our backyard. It was really worn when we bought the house. It barely had any stain left on it and was pretty gray and weathered. We did some research and learned what was needed to get the job done. Without taking into account the researching and shopping time, this project took two weekends. The first weekend we washed and scrubbed. Then we let it dry until the next weekend when we did the staining. Luckily for us, we got the weather we needed to be able to get it done without rain interfering with the drying. We were worried about the weather so we ended up postponing our start time to the point where we were racing against the sunset. It took the both of us almost 3 hours of hard work without breaks to get it done by sundown, but we did it! My paint-brush-holding-hand is still sore.

We took some before and after pictures. The before shots are actually after we did the washing and scrubbing but before the staining.



We had to use a dark stain in order to avoid having to take a belt sander to the bits of remaining stain that were on the wood. It is quite a color change, but I think it looks fresh. Plus, it will help the deck last longer.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Weekend Misc.

A few more shots from the weekend. This is what Fanny did while we toiled on the deck:

She has taken quite a liking to sleeping and looking at us with her head upside down. She is an odd one.

We also received another vegetable delivery from my dad. In this shot I am washing a sink full of celery. This celery tastes like a really strong concentrate of grocery store celery. The flavor is almost unbearably strong!

Project 365: Day 164

Jack on the (Stained) Deck

Project 365: Day 163

September 14, 2009
Walking Tour of the Riverfront

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Project 365: Day 162

September 12, 2009

We started out our Saturday at one of our favorite Saturday places, the Midtown Farmers' Market. Each week at the market a different event/theme is featured. This week was all about Scandinavian. We got to eat Æbleskiver (Danish pancake balls) with strawberry jelly for breakfast. The picture above shows how they are cooked and the one below shows them in completely cooked form. They were really tasty, like a pancake shaped like a ball would be.

The Midtown Farmers' Market is in the running to win a national farmers' market competition. If you would like to help them, you can vote here. I voted a long time ago and so far they haven't sold me out, so it is probably safe.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Project 365: Day 161


Straight from work today I headed to a pub for the monthly gathering of knitters called Drunken Knit Night. I had a great time knitting and talking with my tablemates. This group is usually very sizable (20-30 people), so it really matters who you end up sitting by. I've been there once before and it was an unpleasant experience. Luckily for me, I gave it another try and tonight I sat near people who provoked some good Friday night belly laughs and some engaging conversation.

After the knitting night ended, I set out for home. Since I took the bus there from work, my plan was to walk the 1.3 miles home from the bar. This was the first time I have walked through my neighborhood by myself at night. And, guess what?! I felt safe! I walked the whole way home and for the most part it was a pretty quiet walk. A few people waved at me from their yards and a few people said hello as we passed on the sidewalk.

This might sound like an unremarkable thing, but it made me very happy. The neighborhood we lived in before this one was not safe. Even when I walked through the neighborhood during the day with two dogs, people said nasty, perverted stuff to me, I saw people shooting up drugs in empty lots, crazy homeless people yelled at each other while blocking traffic, people slept in cars outside of boarded up houses they had been evicted from and loitering people sized me up when I walked past them on the sidewalk. The few times I walked home by myself after dark in that neighborhood I had that hair standing up, hyper alert feeling and I knew that I was putting myself at risk.

What a difference a few miles makes! Our new neighborhood is definitely still urban. It is still ethnically and economically diverse. There are still city-sized lots and modest houses. But, boy does it feel different. Of course, I still know that I need to be wise about my surroundings and that feeling safe doesn't guarantee that I am safe. I am just thankful that I didn't feel the need to have an escort to get home after Drunken Knit Night!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Project 365: Day 160

Thursday Lunches

It is mighty nice having a standing Thursday lunch date with my friend Sally. Being able to catch up over lunch and being sure that we will see each other at least once a week are both great benefits of our regular lunch date. I really value my friendship with Sally for many reasons, including that she is an intelligent, witty and caring person with whom I always have interesting conversations. Whether you know Sally or not, you may want to check out her great blog called Already Pretty. She is an active blogger with a ton of positive and interesting things to say. And, sometimes she gives away stuff, too!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Project 365: Day 159

Romas Ripening

As soon as these are ripe, I am going to make them into sundried tomatoes using my dehydrator and some fancy salt. Yum yum.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Project 365: Day 158

Buttons for My Lady

My buttons arrived! I ordered this set of beach stone buttons from madeforfun's Etsy shop. I am going to use them on my February Lady Sweater. They are the perfect size and the color will work well with the yarn color. I finished knitting it on Sunday, so as soon as I block it and sew these buttons on, it'll be done and ready for the fall weather.

I am really happy with the buttons and with the seller. The seller sent them quickly and included a nice little note and cute packaging. I always like it when I order something and it comes in creative packaging. My last purchase from Etsy was a terrible experience, so I am glad to have had my faith restored with this transaction.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Project 365: Day 157

Day at Mom's

On the last day of our 3 day weekend, Paul, Jessy and I went to my mom's house for a day of fun, family time. We had a delicious lunch on the deck. It was a FEAST! We all helped to make a Baked Penne with Corn, Zucchini and Basil. We also ate a caprese salad, fresh baked rolls, fruit, chocolate cherry cake and coconut macaroons! Before Jessy had arrived, Paul and my mom had a chance to "talk shop" about her new computer while I petted Ginger and did a little knitting.

After all of that, I was really having a hankering for a nap, but instead we walked around my mom's yard and talked about her plants. I have a lot of learning and planning to do in order to get our yard into better shape. Our front yard is basically a blank slate. It is exciting and overwhelming. I have never considered these types of things before, so I have a lot of catching up to do before I feel ready define any type of "vision" for the space.

After getting back from my mom's house, there was still enough time in the day to spend a few hours in my craft room sorting through some old projects, finishing up some quickie things from the to-do pile and planning options for what I will knit next. I have been working on so many big projects lately that it has been a very long time since I have had a clean slate to start new projects. I guess I better get some selfish knitting done quickly, because I imagine holiday crafting is going to start creeping up on me really soon.

Project 365: Day 156

September 6, 2009
Crafting Day!

I had to threaten to beat her up to get it to happen, but I finally got to spend a day crafting with Jamie. We had a great time together, as we always do. I knitted, Jamie worked on felted sweater mittens, we made lunch, we planned our trip to NYC and we did a ton of catching up. I am so happy that, despite being a new mom who works full-time, Jamie is still able to find time for some one on one with me. I know it isn't easy balancing all of her roles, so when we get to spend almost an entire day together, I am really grateful.

After Jamie and I finished crafting, Paul and I got dressed up and went out to Al Vento, a local Italian restaurant. We have been saving a gift card his work gave to him as a thank you for all of his overtime and hard work on a particularly long project and to me as a thank you for putting up with his long hours. We decided to use it last night as a celebration dinner to mark having been back in Minneapolis for a year and to reflect on what we have been able to accomplish in the last year. Despite having to do so much work on our last apartment and having been job searching/temping for the first 6 months we were back here, it is quite amazing that we are now happily employed, homeowners. Hooray!

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Project 365: Day 155

September 5, 2009
Visitor From Our Old Hood

Arturo came for a visit to Minneapolis. He made a stop at our house to catch up, eat lunch and get a tour of our new place. It was nice to see him and to get up to date on all that has been happening with Sam and Arturo since we last saw them. In addition to Arturo's visit, we also prepped the deck for staining and I did a volunteer shift at the Cedar Cultural Center. It was a full, fun and productive day!

Friday, September 4, 2009

Project 365: Day 154

Night at the Movies

The Riverview Theater was finally showing a movie that Paul and I would both be interested in seeing! We have been keeping an eye on the current shows since we moved to our house. Our movie of choice tonight was Up. It was good. We especially loved the dogs.

I also really loved the theater. The lobby was decorated in the 1950s and it has been kept that way since. It is such an awesome throwback, except for the seats. The seats are new and comfortable and there is plenty of leg room. Another bonus for us is that the theater is a 10-minute walk from our house. It was a beautiful night to stroll over and back through the neighborhood. Hooray Longfellow!

This gave us a little laugh on the way to the theater:

And, thanks to some gift certificates from Paul's work, the night at the movies was free for us! It was a great way to start off the 3 day weekend.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Project 365: Day 153

Doing Laundry

After draping some of our bedding over the porch to let it finish drying, I went inside. Less than 2 minutes later, I looked out the door to see Jack and Tchazo happily sunbathing on our bedspread. To say that the dogs are enjoying the yard is a complete understatement. They LOVE it! Sometimes Tchazo wants to be let out just so he can stand on the deck in the sun with his eyes closed.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...