Monday, September 14, 2009

Monday Monday

When we get to this point in the year, things seem to move really fast. Maybe it's the chill breeze in the air, but in the fall I feel like I can't get everything finished in a day or a week or a month. This afternoon I'll be making yogurt and picking up farm share vegetables and just trying to take a breath. I saw a meditation poem on another blog late last month (unfortunately I can't remember which one), and these simple words, repeated with each in and out are really helping me to slow down and calm down in this busy time. Try it:

in, out
deep, slow
calm, ease
smile, release
present moment, beautiful moment

Ah. Isn't that nice? Above is a wee little kangaroo vest that I made (from the book Closely Knit) when I was pregnant with Henry. It's the one-year-old size, done up in Malabrigo worsted, and it's fitting him now, finally (although the head is a little bit of a tight squeeze). I love seeing my baby in things that I've made for him.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Zig Zag

We spend a lot of time on the floor lately. Henry crawls and bangs things together and ignores his toys in favor of much more exciting things like outlets and electrical cords. I sing and bang things together in an attempt to make his toys look interesting and thwart his constant attempts to electrocute himself. These days, camping out on the floor is how we fill our time between naps and meals and occasional trips to the farm.

So there couldn't be a better time for a new floor quilt. Papa calls them H's "activity mats". This one measures about 40" by 47". I wish it were a bit bigger, but I love its bold pattern. Later, I hope those zigs will become rivers and the zags roads and mountains. For now, H wads the quilt up with busy knees on his way across the room or allows me to drape it over his head for a game of peek-a-boo. He examines the patterns and fabrics in the quiet moments before naptime, and every so often he actually pops his thumb in his mouth and lays down his head, ever so briefly. Good enough for me.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009


Inspired by Jennifer's great new site Putting By and by Liz's amazing pantry photos, I've been trying to can more of summer's bounty this year. My mom and I made bread and butter pickles last month and planned to do more, but life has gotten in the way. We use a mandoline to cut the cukes as thin as possible, as my mom's Mimi did. Mom winged the recipe from memory (and of course taste and smell) and they turned out just great. We've already eaten through the refrigerator jar. (The last jar filled, not quite full, which isn't processed and is instead eaten as close to immediately as possible-- the next day if you can wait that long for the flavors to meld. Does everyone do a refrigerator jar?) It was great fun to can with my mom.My Granna makes damson preserves each year that she can get good damsons. This year my grandfather picked up a couple of quarts for me, and Granna told me her recipe. I only tinkered with the ingredients a little (reduced the sugar), and followed her procedure (which involves standing over the pot and fishing all of the pits out one by one) exactly. These preserves are great, too. I love the way the skins taste. I also loved getting a word-of-mouth recipe from my grandmother.

The last thing I made for the larder is those little jars of pizza sauce you see in the middle. We've recently started a Friday night homemade pizza tradition, so those should come in handy. I got the recipe for this sauce from the Ball book.

The stash is building and I love seeing those bright clean jars stack up. I'm itching to pressure can some Brunswick Stew next, but we'll see if I get any time over the next couple of weeks. I think some multi-colored quart jars would look just dandy next to my current jar soldiers, protecting my family from winter hunger. I'd be interested to hear what other folks have canned or preserved recently.