Wednesday, April 13

My chunky rhubarb sauce

I did not know until very recently, that rhubarb is actually a vegetable. Of course, tomatoes are a fruit for goodness sake, so go figure. I am very lucky to have access to two very large rhubarb plants, and I understand the first thick stalks are almost ready to harvest.


If you've never had warm rhubarb sauce on vanilla ice cream, well, you just haven't lived. Believe me, even if you think you hate rhubarb, you will love this sauce.

  • 2 pounds rhubarb,tops removed, ends trimmed, and cut into 1" pieces 
  • 3/4 cup raw sugar or more to taste if you don't like it tart (I do)
  • 1/3 cup fresh-squeezed orange juice 
  • 1 teaspoon grated orange rind
  • 1/4 teaspoon fresh ground nutmeg (or more if you love nutmeg like I do)
  • dash of sea salt

Rhubarb Measure Conversions:
1 pound of rhubarb = 3 cups chopped rhubarb
3 cups chopped rhubarb = 2 cups cooked rhubarb
15 medium stalks of rhubarb = 6 cups chopped rhubarb (approximately)

In a 4-quart saucepan, combine rhubarb, sugar, orange juice, orange rind, nutmeg and salt. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer until thickened, stirring occasionally - about 15 minutes. Cool to room temperature.
Or, if you just can't wait, spoon it immediately over some vanilla ice cream.  Yum, yum, yum ... YUM. 


vigorous, juicy and full of vitamin C (remember, the green tops are not edible)
crunchy green inside, ruby outside
smell the sweet-tangy orange-rhubarb goodness!

Monday, April 11

Pixie Dust

A sweet name for a very sweet yarn that just arrived from Fern Fiber Naturally Dyed in Asheville, NC. A Merino/Silk/Stellina hand dyed with Madder root. A nice, squoosy DK weight that will make the most delicious cowl, perfect for cool Spring mornings when fog horns echo in the harbor. I couldn't capture it's true color, somewhere between ballet pink and peachy blush, sparkling with bits of soft silvery flecks.  I am so happy with how it feels in my hand, can't wait to get it on my needles.

I am also on the look-out for a good audio book.  It's just so relaxing to be read to when I knit, and when the weather allows, I can put my earbuds in and knit on the front porch.


Sunday, April 10

The back story

Today, while looking for something else, I found a thrift store quilt top I'd hidden from myself in a old brown leather suitcase under my bed. I've had it for a year or so, and bought it with the intent of finishing it into a small quilt to put in my Etsy shop.  The top is a mix of old wool plaids, tweeds and corduroy. Handsome enough to deserve a little TLC, and sturdy enough to be quite useful.  But, when it tumbled out of the suitcase (that darn latch never would stay shut) I saw for the first time, the back of it. The pink stripe, most certainly used to be red stripped men's flannel pajamas,  as was the brown checked.  The navy pin-striped with red, looks to have been a child's flannel PJ and the orange and cream a remnant of a threadbare cotton blanket.  It's a little crooked, and messy with dangling thread ends that were never trimmed, which makes me curious as to why it was never finished.  It surly could have been intended to be a winter quilt for a baby, for it's the perfect size for an old fashioned baby carriage. Perhaps, it was deemed to be too homely, too second-hand to have been welcomed by the new mother?  Or maybe, since the top of the quilt is so definitely masculine, a boy baby was hoped for (as was so often the case in the early days) but the sweet babe turned out to be a girl?  I love a mystery, and in the absence of fact, I am quite satisfied with making up my own story.  Isn't it wonderful to be able to imagine things?

So, I am going to clip the threads, square the sides, and stitch a backing on. Somewhere, I've the perfect fold of gray and white plaid wool, and I do believe I've some leftover red wool yarn to tie it with.  Yes, I will be putting this in my shop.  It will make a fine baby blanket or lap quilt, and this story will have a very happy ending.


Tuesday, January 19

With a gentle hand

I knit. I sit quietly, relax the tension in my neck and shoulders, take a few deep breathes, and gather my knitting. I hold the needles just tight enough, guide the yarn gently, I force nothing. I am thankful for the resilience of bamboo and the generosity and forgiveness of wool. And when the stitches fall from my needles, perfectly joined, I feel their promise of warmth and comfort on my lap.

The marigold scarf is almost done.

Monday, January 11

What to do about supper ...

Had a pretty substantial lunch today, so supper tonight was a bowl of the unsweetened, pink applesauce I canned last summer, and some favorite cheesy biscuits.  Perfect when you're just a little hungry, and the food budget is a bit thin.  If you have a biscuit recipe you like, just add about 1/2 to 3/4 cup of finely shredded, good quality, extra aged cheddar. I usually add fresh snipped chives, but my chive plant didn't survive the last freeze we had. You could also use dried chives. These would be amazing with a slice of ham, or an egg. Hmm, breakfast tomorrow?

Off to a bit of knitting and tea before bedtime.


from Robin Mather's book - The Feast Nearby
use good flour ... I like King Arthur's All Purpose
A good aged cheddar makes all the difference - Tillamook Extra Sharp from Oregon
tossing the cheese with the dry ingredients helps to distribute it evenly
my grandmothers biscuit cutter
a buttered pie pan works good for biscuits - they should touch one another
crispy outside, tender inside, and nice an cheesy!

Sunday, January 10

Things could be worsted

Day 10.  The yarn, Fern Fibers naturally dyed (marigold), organic merino worsted. The pattern (yet to be determined) from Lisa Carnahan via Ravelry.  Inspired by the rainforest, paw of approval by kitty.
I put away the fingering yarn and the circular needle and the shawl pattern.  I am not ready yet.
I am giving myself permission to stay in the shallow end of the knitting pool, until I feel ready.


oh, the lovely colors and textures
Marigold by Fern Fiber
ferns, lichen and old growth fir
just because he's such a dear and handsome fellow
(note the catnip mouse in background, his latest conquest)

Monday, January 4

Easing into a winter night

After yet another harried day at work, all I could think of was getting home, putting my feet up, and sinking into some mindless mindful knitting. Something simple, something familiar, something that I could do with my eyes closed. I cast on 33 stitches, then with my bamboo needles slipping softly through some snowy white alpaca, the cares of the day began to evaporate. After a few dozen rows, my wrists starting complaining (need to get some of those support gloves for knitters) so I decided to set it aside for a bit. I then grabbed up my camera and began snapping photos of what I'd done so far, playing around with the settings, the lighting and the zoom.  I was soon joined by one very fluffy orange tabby, who adores having his picture taken, and detests being second fiddle to anything. Then we were joined by two tawny hares that frolicked across the pages of my grandmother Baxter's Audubon book that lay on the coffee table. Clearly, these photos had become much more interesting with the thick, fluffy wool at kitty's feet, and the angora-like alpaca atop the bunnies. Interesting contrasts, I believe, and the muted soft colors are so restful after the riotous hues of Christmas. I am ready for subtle, even fuzzy images. I am ready to rest my eyes and still my soul. Instead of dreading, what has been for me in the past, a very forlorn time of year, I am so looking forward to long, dark days where everything sleeps and the natural world is pared back to it's bones. It's time to put out suet cakes for the tiny winter birds, and tuck some more straw around my herb pots on the porch. It's time to study the tree branches, count geese in the sky, and make one last trip to the apple farm.  
I think there is much to love about January.

Good winters night dear readers.