Wednesday, December 30, 2009

2009 can sod directly off

I am officially done with this year.

The last straw was taking Nehemiah to the vet for an emergency visit this morning.  His glucose was off the charts and he was having a diabetic crisis.  He stayed at the vet for a few hours getting fluids and wolfed down the majority of a can of cat food.  We now have a bag of fluids to pump into him for the next 3 days and he got his first shot of insulin.  We are going to get very good at handling needles and test strips.  He even has his very own glucose meter.   

Naturally that didn't cost anything at all.... :sigh:

He pee'd all over me on the way home and is now cuddled next to me in the breeze of the laptop exaust.  The vet is confident that he will be ok so we are relieved to know that.

Still, 2009 can go f' itself.

Sunday, December 27, 2009


I am loving this quick knit.  I have completed 3 pairs in 4 days. 

The yarn is Berroco Ultra Alpaca, worsted weight. One skein made 2 pairs of fetchings. I made a 3rd pair from some leftover Cascade 220 worsted. 

I'm inspired to see if this design would make a good coffee cup sleeve.  I've been considering such a project from my worsted scraps and maybe that would be a fun gift for my knitting group?

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Winter is here

The snow has finally stopped.  It certainly was a proper storm, haven't seen it's like for over a decade. 

West St Paul is much better at clearing the streets than our old neighborhood.  It was a stark contrast when we ventured out to the east side to tend to another home under our care.  We were the nice people ("saps") who agreed to shovel out 2 homes over the holiday for their absent owners.  It wasn't too bad on Thursday and Friday but today there was a giant layer of ice everywhere.  Ick. 

My parents and sister made it on the roads for Friday.  We ate way too much (cannot stop eating frosted cut out cookies), even with the snow shoveling I did not burn up the extra calories this weekend.  Oh well.  I did work out today and will again tomorrow.  Hopefully I can push the cookies off on the gamers coming Sunday.

The winter snow emergency is lifted and while we may be getting a few more flurries this week, it won't be the foot plus that we already have.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Last minute knitting

I finished a second linen washcloth, which I will either gift or keep, we will see where it will be needed.  With the approach of WEATHER I went out to get essentials today: basalmic vinegar, cheese, pickled herring and yarn.  We are supposed to have 8-10 inches of snow by this time tomorrow and when i'm not shoveling I intend to enjoy the food I love and knit.  Honestly I have plenty of stash, but I needed specific weight and colors for a couple projects.

I started my first pair of fetching.  They are intended for my sister.  Considering that my socks for her fell flat last Christmas, I'm trying something for her hands instead.  I'm knitting with a lovely alpaca and wool blend that is super soft.

I'm making a pair of mittens for another friend and a hat for a third.  I have some fulled gauntlets that need to be embroidered, but that can wait a bit.

I'm curious to see what the morning will bring and how high the snow drifts will be.  I'm sure the rabbit in our back yard will need to dig deeper to access the parsley buried under the straw mulch in my herb garden.  There were little green stems sticking out of the snow and a flattened area created by a furry butt.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Special Delivery!!!!

There is nothing like having a surprise delivery from your cousin and open it to see a giant bag of FUTGES!!!! 


Naturally I heated up 2 right away and sprinkled some sugar on top (then I worked out for an hour...).  So good!

Futges is a tradition in our family and it comes from my maternal Grandma's German heritage.  Unfortunately I have been unable to find any info to support the German providence.  My uncle had very similar fritters on a train when he was traveling through Denmark in the late 50's so it could be a Danish food.  I was told that the word Futges is Old German for fritter.  If any of my German friends would like to weigh in, that would be great.  Regardless I'm sharing the recipe.

Futges: Irene Thompsen Goodoien
(makes approx 40)
1 lb of pitted prunes, soften in hot water drain and set aside
1 heaping cup of raisins, plumped in hot water, drained and set aside

For dough:
dissolve 1 pkg regular yeast (do not use rapid rise) in 1/4 cup warm water
Heat 2 cups of milk to luke warm and add to the yeast
Add 1 cup of sugar
Add 1/4 c. softened butter
Mix well and add the following:
1 T (or more to taste) ground cardamon (fresh ground is best)
1 t salt
2 beaten eggs
4 cups all purpose flour with 1/3 cup removed and added to the raisins.  Incorporate the flour covered raisins to the dough and let the mixture rise for 1 1/2 hours. Stir down gently and let rise again, roughly a second hour.

The futges is deep fried in 3 lbs of heated oil, smoking stage approx 400 degrees.

Take a medium sized spoon, scoop up a portion of dough and place a prune into the center of the dough and flip the edges over it to cover.  The dough blob is pushed into the hot oil and cooked until brown.  Test with fork to make sure it is not doughy in the center.  To eat, break open the warm fritter and sprinkle with sugar.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Christmas Knitting

I finally knitted up the Rudy kit that I won in the auction at the Minnesota Knitters Guild last December.  It is SO cute!  I stretched the yarn to make 2 and I want to pick up some more wool and make several more.

One went to K&L's daughter and one went to DJ.  He promptly flung it about and had a lovely time at my birthday party.  (He did a smashing job as Deep Thought.....)

I also made a hat for another friend's baby (which I hope to surprise them with when they are in town). 

I have a dishcloth on the needles and I need to cast on a pair of stockings for my friend.  I also need to weave approx 3 yards of trim for another friend.  Good thing I have plenty of time on my hands, hopefully that will change in 2010.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Turkey Day!

Psst..... don't mention to Sunni that we are eating a giant bird for the holiday.  He is sensitive.

We are having our traditional meal at my aunt and uncle's home on Friday so today was spent lounging around and watching lots of tv. 

I did finish 2 knitted reindeer toys.  They are absolutely adorable!!!!  I'm seriously tempted to make 6 more they are that cute.  They look exactly like the Rudolf from the annimated special.  I know 2 little kids who will be getting reindeer for 12th Night.

Friday morning I am making a apple pie and a batch of lefse to take to Lonsdale.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Aeolian Shawl

Blocked and beautiful!  I am in love with this shawl and I have a fan blowing on it so I can remove the pins and wear it ASAP.

The picture does not do the beads justice.  There are 2200+ faceted crystals on this thing.

The yarn is lace weight alpaca and I purchased it from a local seller at the Shepherds Harvest Festival this Spring. 

This is the shawl prior to blocking and it's already a good size.

Sunday, November 08, 2009

Warm weekend

The weather was unseasonably warm this weekend, like in the 70's.  Just lovely!

Tim worked on getting a large # of leaves into bags and then off to the compost site to drop it off.  I took advantage of the sun and washed the bedding and dried it on the line.  Probably the last chance to do this before the weather turns.  I made 2 trips to Menards over the weekend  so you can see that I had projects.

Tim packed up most of the Halloween decor that was downstairs and I vacumed and dusted everything.  I also took advantage of the corn stalks out back and did some autumn decorating out front, once I took down the Halloween lights.

Tonight Timmy has gaming and I'm going to knit; starting the main edging on my lace shawl.

Saturday, November 07, 2009

Wood working

Considering how nice the day was I spent time outside using Buzz to rib down 3/4 and 1/2" plywood to make 3 new hubs.  Since I no longer have access to the uber band saw at Big Wood, I needed to find a new way to create them.  I think they will end up octagonal instead of round. 

Tonight I'm taking in a movie at the cheap theater.

Friday, November 06, 2009

Red stockings

I returned from our local summer event and checked the Calontir website to discover that my friends Hirsch and Magda won Calontir's Crown Tournament.  Weeeee!

Naturally I had to make her stockings so I set out to find the perfect red.

I ordered the yarn from 3 Kittens Yarn Shop and spent about a month crafting them into knee high stockings on size 0 needles.  The clock detail is a crown and a red scallop shell.

I delivered them, along with other presents, to their Coronation in September.  I managed to surprise them with my presence and she was delighted with the gift.  Fortunately they fit her perfectly as I was guessing on the measurements.

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Germanic American Institute

The GAI is located on Summit Ave in St Paul, MN.  A friend of mine told me about it and the fact that they serve a Saturday morning Kaffeestube from 9-12 for a suggested $5 donation.  Tim, Tosten and I went a couple weeks ago and it was lovely. 

Naturally I wore my durndl.

The building is beautiful and located near the walking tour of Summit Ave. and not too far from the stores on Grand Ave.

It was the weekend that we had our first snowfall.

The caffe stubbe runs until ealry December and it's a really nice place for a bit of brot und kaffe and eine kleine Deutsche.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Knitting update

When I wasn't making stuff for Halloween, I have been knitting.

I finished my Rolling Thunder socks by designer Sivia Harding at the end of September.

I purchased the yarn at Shepherd's Choice in East Bethel, MN in July.  There are small beads on the cuffs and I love that touch. 

I started a pair of socks for Tim. The Retro Rib sock by Evelyn A. Clark knit in Knit Picks Gloss.

I have been working on a new lace shawl.  I purchased a skein of lace weight alpaca from After the Sheep Fiber Arts at Shepherd's Harvest in May.  The yarn is a silver color and I'm adding faceted crystal beads. 

The pattern is the Aeolian Shawl from Spring Knitty 2009.  It is beautiful and I can hardly wait to block it.  I'm beginning the edging, but I'll need to work on it sparingly since I need to sew up 2 tents for a mid Nov delivery.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Raking up

I spent a couple hours raking up the hay in the backyard.  With the rain prior to Halloween we laid down a base of hay to combat the mud.  It did a good job keeping people's shoes dry and it also did a good job keeping the grass healthy.  I raked the majority of it onto the perennial beds. 

A number of our props have been loaded into their bins and put away, just a few more to go.  They are predicting temps in the 60's this weekend so we have time to work on the yard before it truly turns cold.  It also gives us more time before we turn on the furnace.

We received a lovely thank you note from one of our neighbors.  That was a lovely surprise.

Monday, November 02, 2009


The simple act of lifting a shovel of dirt and rotating to put it back in the trench in which it came out was enough to nearly put me out of comission during tear down.  I took 3 Ibuproven and pushed through but I'm walking like I'm 70 today. 

The house needs a thorough cleaning.  Lots of mud, grass, leaves and straw got tracked in from the back yard with people coming in and out.  Me and my back are going to be washing dishes, doing laundry, mopping the floors and vacuming.  Or, I'm going to brew up some coffee, put in a healthy dose of Baileys and sit and work on my lace shawl.  We'll see how everything goes when I take the hamper down the stairs.

Sunday, November 01, 2009

Don't Blink

We created our Haunted Maze at our new home.  To say that we were a hit was an understatement.  Our neighbors got in on the act.  One was our gate keeper for the maze and the other brought us coffee, home brew and pizza while we were finishing set up.  Pretty nice.  We returned the favor by scaring the crap out of a bunch of folks.  Good times.

After years of being a guide I wanted to be part of the action.


My costume was inspired by the Weeping Angels from the Dr Who episode "Blink".  Some people didn't think I was a person, no one guessed it was me and I even managed to startle the person who made my wings when we were completing set up. He thought I was a statue .... until I spoke to him. The effect was pretty good, especially with the strobe.

Our neighbor took a video, but the parts in the grid were too dark to show up.  We'll see what she got.

Happy November!

Monday, October 05, 2009

Apple Butter Day

I'm cooking up a bunch of apple butter from the applesauce I made last week. There is a bag of apples waiting on the counter to turn into more applesauce, a rubbermaid of apples in the garage, and there are still apples on the trees. Oy. Anyone need apples?

I'm making a batch of green tomato chutney as well. The temps have turned cool and the garden is done, although I still have green onions, beets, swiss chard and fennel. The garden bed is all prepped for the spring, although I'm tempted to see what I can cultivate during the winter, especially if I cover a portion of the bed with a homemade green house.

Sunday, September 06, 2009


I canned 13 pints of applesauce, using the apples from our tree naturally. Our tree is a Harelson and the apples are abundant this year. I've frozen 2 gallons of ziplock bags and 1 gallon of dried apples.

I found this site to be especially helpful for canning applesauce.

The recipe I used:
3 pounds of apples, peeled, cored and sliced
3/4 c water
2-4 T sugar
2 T lemon juice
1 cinnamon stick

Cook over low heat until it's mushy.

Wednesday, September 02, 2009



I have been canning a lot of my vegetables this summer.

So far I have made:
Pickled beets
Pickled zucchini
Dill pickles
Pickled melon
Thai pickled beans
and bread and butter pickles, which I made on Tuesday.

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The recipe is from Mom.

Bread and Butter Pickles: Mary Pearson
For 8 pints

4 qts sliced cucumbers (not peeled) approx 12 large
1/3 c canning salt

Add salt to the cucumbers, cover with ice cubes and let sit for 3 hours.

Drain and add:
4 medium onions sliced
1 green pepper sliced
1 red pepper sliced
3 cloves garlic, whole

Combine the following ingredients in a large pot and bring to a boil.
3 c distilled white vinegar
5 c sugar
1 1/2 tsp tumeric
1 1/2 tsp celery salt
2 T mustard seed

Add the cucumber mix and bring the whole thing to a boil. Fill steril jars with liquid and process in a hot water bath for 15 minutes.

I added some new shelves to the basement and have moved my food storage and canning down. Looks like a proper Mn basement.

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MN State Fair 2009


Ahhhh the MN State Fair. Food, people, Food, fun, Food, milk for $1, Food.... did I mention Food?

P and I went on Friday. We started off at Channel 9 and caught it just as it was ending the morning news. We then went to the 4H building and then the Fine Arts Building. Congrats to Ellen for her Honorable Mention for her first entry. That was awesome!

P's stamina (or lack there of) meant that I did a lot of things on my own. The Moo Booth, the butter sculptures, Horticultural Building, and Heritage Square.

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Heritage Square was mostly full of "historic" junk, but I did enjoy the wood turner, the blacksmith and the log house.

I did get a lovely surprise by discovering my stockings in the "special case" with all the other honories. I received the Best Socks ribbon sponsored by Needlework Unlimited.


That was a huge thrill! They are the first things you see when entering the main door of the Creative Activities Building!

I entered my stockings in the "textured socks" category, but I did not receive any ribbons for that category. I will be interested in seeing the judging sheets. I can already predict the comments.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Ilga's socks by Nancy Bush

I finished these for Liz and gave them to her at Schutzenfest on Saturday. They appear to be a bit tight around the ankles, but that may improve in the wearing. They are a super wash wool so they will not shrink.

This is the Ilga Sock by Nancy Bush from the Favorite Socks book by Interweave Knit. I used Lang Jawool and Cascade Yarns Heritage Solids.

The pattern is Latvian in origin and I just love it.

Beets Galore!

This massive beet is roughly the size of a baby's head.

......mmmmm babies......

I picked, cooked, peeled, and canned 9 pints of pickled beets on Sunday, and there are still beets left in the garden. Yummy!

I used a recipe from Cooking Alaskan that uses allspice, cinnamon and whole cloves along with vinegar, sugar and water. It smelled and tasted divine. I can't wait!

Monday, August 17, 2009

Things to do when it's hot...

Canning all day is probably not up there on the list, but it's what I did on Friday.


The produce has exploded in the garden and I've reached the point of stopping strangers on their evening walks to load them up with zucchini. The heat and sun from last week has finally encouraged the tomatoes to start turning. I have several ripe tomatoes waiting for me at home. I've already shredded and baked a batch of double chocolate zucchini cookies, 2 loaves of zucchini bread and 4 freezer bags of shredded zucchini ready for more baking.

I focused on green beans, cucumbers and zucchinis for the initial canning.

I made Thai green beans (recipe in my co-op newsletter), Dill Zucchini chips (from Cooking Alaskan) and Dill pickles from Grandma Alice's recipe. She canned her dill pickles whole, but my cucumbers were so massive there was no way.


I installed shelves in the utility room and moved all of my food storage downstairs when the lids popped. The basement is looking like a proper MN basement. At least I know we have food to keep us set for the winter.

This week is beets and melons.

Monday, August 03, 2009

Warning sirens

Last night I heard the severe weather sirens at our house for the first time. Good to know they work, good to use they are used, good to know that we can hear them when they are used. The sirens were sounded to warn us of Thunderstorms. Fortunately the extent was a lot of wind, a lot of rain, a lot of lightning, and not much else. Considering there was predictions of .5-2" HAIL I was glad that we got none of that.

My garden was soggy this morning but no worse for wear. There are a whole bunch of green tomatoes that i hope will ripen with the warm weather coming later this week.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Silk Stockings for the Sock Museum

In 10 days I've managed to knit the cuff and leg of the first of pair #4 of Eleanora's stockings. I'll be starting the heel flap tonight. If I can get the heel shaped and foot started by Thursday, I will be doing very well.

My goal was to have this stocking completed in time to enter with the remaining mate from pair #3 in the State Fair on August 16th. Looks like I will make my goal with time to spare.

Good thing too as I have queenly stockings that need completion....

Monday, July 27, 2009

More garden....I'm boring

I think I may need to call for reinforcements. It's a good thing I like zuchinni and tomatoes as we are going to have a bumper crop (knock on wood).

Photobucket This is our garden as of Friday. From the back left moving forward are pumpkins, zuchinni, summer squash, cucumbers, dill, swiss chard, fennel, and lettuce. From the back right moving forward is raspberry bushes, tomatoes, sunflowers (almost blooming), beets, peas, beans and onions.

I'm loving going out to my garden and picking dinner. P and I went to the Farmer's Market Saturday morning and I discovered that we had both been tallying the value of our produce when wandering the aisles. We went with another couple to act as native guides (and show the sneaky way to the free parking). I got coffee and a bagel and P picked up some cherries and blueberries. It was a lovely morning and we met up with other friends.

Photobucket Our snap peas have reached the eave of the garage, ~ 7' high. I think the crop of peas is winding down, but the beans are reving up. I finally had enough beans to steam for dinner. Love!

Photobucket We don't have any red tomatoes yet, but we should soon. We have a plethora of flowers and small green tomatoes on the cherry tomato plant and I can't wait.

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The zuchinni and squash have been slowly coming along and I have a couple big zuchinni that I'm going to grate for bread.

Photobucket The cucumbers are starting to come in. I have slicing cucumbers and pickling cucumbers. So far I like using the tomato cages to trellis the cucumber vines.

Photobucket This is the North side of the garage and it always reminds me of Grandma G's garden in Minneapolis. She had tons of ferns.

Here is another look at the east side.


Tuesday, July 21, 2009

On being crafty

Link from Wendy, Knit and Tonic's blog.

I want a shirt that says "I can also make fire..."

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Perennial Garden

A lot of the flowers in the beds that make a 90 degree turn around the North and east side were there when we moved in. The whole bed was actually quite overgrown and the inspector suggested that we thin it out, which I did with Duchess E last Fall.

This is how the beds looked during our initial walk through.

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This is how the east bed looks now.


We cleared out a lot of the flox and I transplanted some perennials from our duplex. I cleared out some hostas and divided up some of the other plants and spread them around. I also brought over a couple bushes and one is added to the corner of this bed and the other is added to the new herb bed. Both bushes and most of the flowers seem to have survived the move just fine and they should really flourish next year.

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This is the herb bed that I added to the west side of the house.


It's near the back door and I filled it mostly with herbs, although it has the other bush that I brought from Hillsdale, some Dyanthis and whatever this bulb is.


I transplanted lavender and planted lovage, sage, rosemary, tarragon, flat leaf parsley, savory, chives and cilantro. The cilantro really went nuts. My basil and oregano seeds did nothing. Such a shame. Next year I will add more plants.


I decided to re purpose my pots and grow some decorative annuals. I planted the pots in April and all 4 are doing quite well, despite my infrequent watering.