Monthly Archives: May 2010

The Garden, On Its Way Into Memorial Day

We made a vow this year to be better about documenting our garden’s progress, and now that we’ve got something planted in every bed it seems like a good time to take stock.

The big turning point in every planting season, when the garden switches from being adorably early-planted to being a full-on bumper crop factory, is planting the peppers.

Baby Peppers

Last weekend we decided it was finally warm enough to toss our little babies out of the nest and let them fend for themselves. We’ve got Nardellos (which we grew last year), Marconis (a sweet frying pepper we’ve never grown before), Black Hungarians (a purple jalapeno type that’s new to us), and Sestito (Puente) cayennes (also new). These are the most robust seedlings we’ve ever grown, and they took to being in the bed like fish to water. It’s always such a relief to be done with tending to things in the cold frame.

Speaking of tending to little infant plants in the cold frame, our tomato seedlings were a bunch of over-the-top drama queens this year. They flourished as wee tiny newborns, then, when they got big enough to move into the cold frame, started acting all, “Oooh, we’re totally going to die now, and you’re not going to have any idea why!” They started wilting from the top down, so we decided, a few weeks ago, to transplant them. Sure, it was just Mother’s Day weekend, and sure there were frost warnings, but seriously, they looked ready to give up the ghost anyway.

Baby Tomatoes

It seemed touch-and-go for a few days, but now that the weather’s warmed up, they are chugging along the way tomatoes should. We’ve got Ramapos and Black Plums, which we had enormous luck with last year, and new varieties Gold Medal, Green Sausage, and Fox Cherry. We got all the seeds from Seed Savers Exchange and Seeds of Change, as we always do, except for the Fox; that one we picked up from the Hudson Valley Seed Library, and dude, it’s crazy. It’s like plants that are supposed to live in this part of the world will thrive here, or something. The Fox is literally twice the size of its siblings.

Fox Cherry Tomato

Similarly glamorous, but less prolific, is the pea crop. We have never grown peas before, and what we’re beginning to realize is that you probably need to put in a lot more plants than we did. So this summer will probably yield a scant handful of peas, but they will have been photogenic along the way.

May 24 2010

Our garlic, even with having been thinned by about half (mmm… green garlic), is explosively enormous.

Sea of Garlic

And now we’re moving out of the green garlic phase and into the scape phase.

Scapes and Weeds

Honestly, garlic is the gift that keeps on giving, and requires zero work at all. Why it’s not a staple of every home garden is completely beyond us.

We’ve got two small beds of veggies that are not at all photogenic — onions and broccoli. The onions look hale and hearty, but aren’t really worth taking pictures of until they’re harvested, but the broccoli is a bit of a question mark. We also got it from Hudson Valley, and it’s not exactly replicating the success of the Fox Cherry. Yet. We’re cautiously optimistic that one of these days we’ll step outside and discover that it’s figured itself out. Because frankly, it knows more about growing broccoli than we do.

Finally, we’ve got our bean crop, which is the usual mishmash of soup beans. We planted them last weekend, along with the peppers, and were sort of freaking out because there were no signs of life. On Monday morning Schnookie scrupulously examined the beds before going to work, and Pookie did the same that day at noon, and there was nothing to be seen. Then, at 5:30, when Schnookie got home… it was a beanstalk miracle!

Zounds!!!

So now those are cooking along nicely, too. All in all, it seems like a strong start to the summer.

Chives Via The 10-22mm

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365, Another Week

May 10, 2010

May 10 2010

How’s the Imbolc lettuce doing now, you ask? Delicious!

May 11, 2010

May 11 2010

This is the only picture we took today. It’s a surprise pot of oregano growing in the garden, as seen through the fence. Exciting!

May 12, 2010

May 12 2010

It’s been cold and rainy and miserable, but the irises are still blooming. The lovely specimen irises our neighbor had put in have all been relocated, but it seems the scavengers missed a couple. –Schn.

May 13, 2010

May 13 2010

I got a shipment of fabric (shocker, I know) and Matsui promptly took up residence in the box (which is sitting on top of a box full of Rancho Gordo bean, of course). — Pookie

May 14, 2010

May 14 2010

It was the first day at the farm today, which means PYO strawberries! WOO HOO! Of course, we’re out of practice, so we got all the way to the strawberry field before realizing we’d neglected to bring the pint container with us. So it was back to the market barn, then driving back out to the berries. We might look like newbies, but this is actually our eighth season. Heh.

May 15, 2010

May 15 2010

If this was fabric, I would so buy it. It’s like where Elizabeth Bradley meets Kaffe Fassett. –Schn.

May 16, 2010

May 16 2010

The Imbolc lettuce has turned out to be delicious. We just might have to redo this whole plating-on-grandhog-day thing again next year!

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Blodd Money City: Living The Dream

I have long been promising myself I’d actually write a post about one of my finished quilts for a change (I tend to finish them and then forget all about them, blog-wise), so here it is: Blodd Money City.

Blodd Money Completed

Yes, I know — that’s a dreadful picture. But you know what’s really hard? Getting good pictures of finished quilts once you’ve put them on your bed and don’t want to take them off and find a nice sunlit place to shoot them outdoors, especially when you took this picture weeks ago when it was rainy and dusky and cold, and yes I’m full of excuses. Also, Favre would. not. move.

So, many months ago I fell in love with the “Ice Cream Quilt” pattern in Kaffe Fassett’s “Quilt Romance” book. It is one of the very rare patterns in a Kaffe Fassett book that I’ve looked at and thought that I could actually make it look better by using different fabrics; in fact, I love the sort of giant log cabin/housetop concept so much that I decided I needed to make a million of them. I became completely obsessed by the idea of it. I’ve got three different permutations of it up my sleeve, and the first one to be executed is this one.

Favre Models Blodd Money

The fabric is French General’s Rouenneries, and the fact is that it is impossible to make an ugly quilt out of this stuff. I had been resisting it on principal for a long time (I think my reasoning was that it wasn’t spicy enough, or that everyone was using it, or something stupid like that), but when I walked into Pennington Quilt Works one day and saw it in person, I promptly pulled all the bolts off the shelf and started planning the order of the rounds on my rooftop log cabin extravaganza.

A quilt like this is almost moronically easy to put together, especially when you’re helped by the pattern in “Quilt Romance” that tells you all the measurements of all the strips you’ll need. If you piece by machine, it would take you about 45 minutes to put this whole thing together. If you’re smart and sophisticated like me, and piece by hand, it’ll take you about an hour and a half. (I should mention here that the pattern in the book makes a dopey size somewhere in the neighborhood of 78″ square, so I planned to add four rounds beyond what was charted. My big plan included a four-inch wide outer round of big, bold, crimson floral print, and the finished size would be a voluminous swath of housetop awesomeness. Right before I got to attaching the last set of strips, though, I freaked out because the quilt top seemed enormous already. We spread it out on my bed and decided it was plenty big, so I put the big, bold, crimson floral print into my stash and called it a day. When the quilt came back from the quilter, though, it seemed significantly smaller than before. The moral of this story is that I should never try to second-guess my quilt planning when I’m in that “Hey, if I don’t add this last bit, I’ll be done already!” mentality at the end of a big project.) The only real trick to this is keeping the seams straight and keeping the whole quilt from getting warped and wonky-shaped. I was mostly successful at that, and had just a little bit of bowing to trim off the edges after it got back from the quilter.

Swirly Quilting

As for the quilting, Mary did an amazing job picking a soft, elegant swirly design that I think plays perfectly with the fabrics and the linearity of the design. For the finishing, I bound it with one of the cream fabrics with small red flowers; it was meant to have a huge contrast with the show-stopper huge red floral that was going to be outer round, but like I said, I chickened out and pulled the plug before it got to that. Regardless, I think this binding choice looks great.

At The Corner Of Blodd Money And Squaresville

If you look very closely at this picture, you can see all the cat hair matting on the surface of Blodd Money City already. This quilt is like crack for the cats. They velcroed themselves to it as soon as it arrived home from the quilter, and haven’t gotten off it since.

So that’s Blodd Money City. The only other story to it is its name. For starters, we have a long-running joke about the blood/blodd typo, so we always ironically spell it incorrectly. (Yeah. It’s ironic now. That’s totally it. It’s not a case of us having written it that way so many times that now we aren’t really sure which way is right…) And I work at a company that does pharmaceutical research, so sometimes the people in my department need blood (blodd? No, the first way’s right) samples to make sure their experiments (or whatever) are working right. (Can you tell I’m not one of the scientist researcher types? Heh. Nope, I’ve got no idea what any of those people are up to. They might just be vampires for all I know.) Those of us who are in the volunteer blodd (no, blood) “donor” pool get reimbursed for our efforts whenever we have anything drawn. And the reimbursement is quite generous, all things considered. Enough to keep a girl in quilt fabric. It just so happened that right after my impulsive purchase of the mountains of Rouenneries, I was called upon at work to give a pretty hefty amount of my precious, precious bloodstuffs, which paid for the whole project.

Rouenneries

From big mountains of fabric, beautiful quilts grow.

Ahh, blodd/blood money. It’s such a beautiful thing.

[Posted by Schnookie]

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Week In, Week Out, 365-Style

May 3, 2010

May 3 2010

Look who’s home from visiting KtG! WOO HOOO!!! The party’s back on at Maple Hoo!

May 4, 2010

May 4 2010

WIG?!

Oh. Yeah.

May 5, 2010

May 5 2010

When we moved to Maple Hoo, there was this strange, stragly shrub where we wanted to plant pumpkins. Four years later, the pumpkin patch didn’t work and this shrub is now really tall and bushy and is covered in gorgeous white flowers.

May 6, 2010

May 6 2010

This is who we trust to run the kitchen — someone who can’t pull of a piece of tin foil without messing up! Shessh! She’s just lucky she made us a delicious green garlic and pecan pesto for dinner, otherwise Boomer and I might need to find a new kitchen hausfrau. –Pk.

May 7, 2010

May 7 2010

Friday night is not the most inspiring time for photos. This is some lace Boomer brought back from her travels.

May 8, 2010

May 8 2010

We’re going through a bit of an “obsessed with all things Northern Europe” period lately, so we were very excited for Boomer to bring us salty licorice from the Netherlands. Of course, we’re kind of afraid to try it, but the color of the week at least motivated us to open the bag. Baby steps, people. Baby steps.

May 9, 2010

May 9 2010

Stay away from the garden and we’ll all get along juuuuust fine.

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What Else Is Big Grocery Not Telling Me?

You know what’s really, really, really easy? And you know what my grocery store was hoping I’d never find out? It is insanely easy to turn a bone-in, skin-on chicken breast into a boneless, skinless one, and it costs literally less than half as much! This has completely blown my mind, and I want to run out and tell everyone in the world this new, amazing chicken secret. Please, take pity on me and don’t tell me that you already knew this.

[Posted by Schnookie]

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Like Sand Through An Hourglass, This Is Our 365

April 26, 2010

April 26 2010

It’s no sexy Italian plane, but the rain kept us indoors and off the flight deck. — Pookie

April 27, 2010

April 27 2010

There’s a lot of downtime at the conference I went to today, so I brought the Gopher and spent a few hours taking pictures on the beach. It was cold, windy, and sometimes rainy, so I had the whole beach to myself. It was lovely. — Pookie

April 28, 2010

April 28 2010

It was a slow photography night around here.

April 29, 2010

April 29 2010

CAPS LOSE! CAPS LOSE! CAPS LOSE! Our marbles can run free!

April 30, 2010

April 30 2010

It was a cranky day at work, but shockingly good for Scavenger Hunt 101. I ate lunch at a foreign food restaurant so I got a picture of that, and then later took a picture of a somewhat unusual license plate (even though I took it from far away with the less zoomy of the two p&s cameras I had with me. I hadn’t asked my coworker if it was okay to take a picture of his license plate, and I’m not supposed to take pictures at work, and I was kind of in that “leaving work on Friday” haze, so I just snapped this from halfway across the parking lot and figured it was good enough). –Schn.

May 1, 2010

May 1 2010

Have I mentioned that I love pairing dandelions with the 100mm lens? Because I do. –Schn.

May 2, 2010

May 2 2010

Last summer, Schnookie won a free petunia as a door prize at work. Yesterday, I snagged a free petunia from a community fair at work. Woo-hoo! While Schnookie’s came pre-planted in a hanging basket, mine is unfortunately in a too-small pot. Good thing the darling little pinwheel makes up for that! — Pookie

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