Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Normal

Last weekend, much to my delight, my life returned to a state of almost normal.  I spent the entire weekend at home and doing those early fall things that I do enjoy so much.  I didn't do very much textile work through the week though, so I'll have to make more of an effort to find time for that...after all, I still haven't had time to really figure out that sock knitting machine and not finding that time has been a source of disappointment for me.

There was a couple of trips out to the vineyard (giggle), well...the "back of the shed trellis" is more accurate. It is just dripping with pounds and pounds of delicious, purple orbs.



They are so full of flavour and just sweet enough.  They make really, really good jam too.


Perfect for cold winter mornings on hot toast. I like using these jars to barter for other goods, like fruit that I don't grow or preserves that I don't make.....I received about 10 pounds of plums yesterday from my neighbour, today he gets grape jam in return.  This trade between us has been going on for a few years and I'm very grateful because my plum trees are still a little immature to produce.

The smells in the kitchen this time of year are incredible, sugar, fruit, vinegar, spices....ooooo, it really is my favourite time.

There's a certain smell in the air around my community too...it's the scent of potatoes and earth.  Very unique and when it arrives, it's just one more signal to me that Autumn has arrived.


My wheel barrow of gleaned potatoes...cuz that's they way we roll around here.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Thoughts On A Thursday

Nothing particularly exciting has happened this week, one day seems to just fall into the next without a whole lot of change.  That's usually a good thing for me as change kind of messes me up.  I like the slow rhythm of life here in the country just for that reason, change usually happens around here with the easy turn of day into night, season to season.  Although some would not agree, I find that the little things that change in our little world to be just about the right amount of excitement I want in my routine.  Take for example the harvest, the harvest starts in late spring with some berries and rhubarb and it goes on for months.  One of the last things to be harvested here is potatoes, it's no secret that I live in potato country (where some of the best root veg in the world is grown) and this week witnessed the early varieties starting to come out of the ground.


These huge tubers are Shepodys, and I have to say they do make an excellent French Fry which is exactly what they were grown for.  After the field behind our house was "dug" the other day, Mr. and I went out and gleaned about 30 pounds.  You don't want to try and store too many of these guys as they don't have any amount of skin on them so I'm sure they won't keep well.  Delicious.

My own wee veg plot has been churning out delicious things, I can't believe how pretty this striped variety of beet is, very tasty too.  I think I still like the darker, long beets best but these beets don't bleed very much when you are adding them to other things, making the dish a little less "muddy" looking.


These one's are not destined for the canner or the pickle pot, I think we'll just continue eating them fresh until they're gone.

Of course what would a blog post be without a little knitting!  I was making a hat the other day and was getting bored so decided to change it up a bit, the fabric is nice but I'm not sure about the overall result.


I think this weekend will be spent in the kitchen.  Mr. and I have not been eating very well these past few months and it's time to get back into the rhythm of early Autumn with soups and beans and stews and pies...mmmmmmm that really sounds good.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Just Trying And Doing The Best That I Can

When I see a beautiful new collection of patterns made available to the public for purchase, I always have to look and ooo and aaaahhhh at the talent I see.  I also feel in awe of the designer's (or their photographer's) ability to take amazing photographs with just the right light and just the right shadow and just the right background in just the right location.  What I find mind boggling however, is that since these designers are famous in the knitter's world, the rest of us "cottage" designers and our work are often over looked by the general population.  I noticed a beautiful new pattern by a famous knitwear designer that looks an awful lot like my Sweet Cherry Pie hat.  It is a little different, a little more slouchy but all in all, the same general construction.  This new pattern will probably be well received and purchased many time over, becoming a hit in my global knitting community.  That really is a very good thing and if I didn't already know how to make something similar, I would probably buy that pattern myself.  What I wish, what I wish and hope and dream is that all patterns, especially on Ravelry, get the same amount of attention paid to them.

Us small time, cottage crafters don't always have the same resources at hand, but I'm sure the majority of us that are charging a fee for our work have completed at least the making of several projects with their pattern, have had it test knitted by a reliable and non bias person or persons and have put together a well written and photographed finished pattern.

Please give the work of small time designers a look and a chance, we work hard at what we do also.

Thanks

Friday, September 6, 2013

The Produce Isle

Don't you just love it when the closest produce isle is 20 feet from your back door!


A medley of garden veg (carrot, potato, beetroot and onions), seasoned and oiled and ready for roasting.


There's also a little snack to munch on through the evening, I still can't believe that I grow deliciously edible grapes in my own back yard.  I recently watched an episode of The Victorian Kitchen Garden (not sure if I remember the title correctly) and the gentlemen was explaining that in the times of the Victorians and Edwardians, bunches of grapes would be cut and the stems placed in water bottles much like cut flowers.  This would keep the grapes reasonably fresh for months if the water was changed and/or topped up often.  When the cold room in our basement finally is finished, I will have to try that.  I do wash, stem and freeze them to be able to eat fresh/frozen grapes all year, but I think fresh/fresh would be even nicer.  I haven't bought grapes in three years now!

I've been churning out hats...I'm up to 15 now and am eagerly awaiting a call from the mill to deliver, there's something to be said for being prepared.

I've been dreaming about preserves and know that I won't really have time to make anything this month, I truly hope there are still some things that I can do late in the canning season.  I was reminded of just how wonderful these home made gems are last evening when the Mr. and I smothered our ham and scalloped potatoes with mustard pickles and rhubarb relish.  I know I won't be able to make as much as last year but I would still like to get a couple of batches of salsa, cranberry sauce, grape jam and mustard pickles made...maybe I'll just have to count on the larders of generous friends and neighbours this year.

What are you making, feel free to drop by the blog and let us know.