The blues and the bees

Ugh.  Seasonal changes and we all have minor colds.  I’m grateful that it’s not flu, believe me, but I’m still a little tired of feeling under the weather.  On the other hand, my classes are going pretty well, Entrechat is well on its way to release, and I have something of a jump on holiday gifts because I was smart enough to start knitting them over the summer.  My hat production continues, with Gabriel the next victim recipient.  Actually, he really needs a new hat, since he loses every single one I ever make for him almost as soon as he receives it (grr!) but I’m hoping for better luck this time.  He’s had his eye on the lovely Jitterbug I got from Mai’s blog contest some time back, and so I held the yarn doubled to make Stephen West’s new hat pattern, Windschief.

Not the most flattering picture of the boyo, but he looks adorable in it.  And I love the way the yarn knit up.  Jitterbug has really grown on me.  Some of the colorways are really spectacular.  I love how this one gives an overall impression of blue, but still has strong greens and reds in it.  The hat is ready just in time for hat weather, so yay!

Here’s a sneak peek at a Christmas present project, about which I shall say little. I’m just so happy with the color (Malabrigo Sock in Cote d’Azure) that I had to share.

I’m on a blue kick, as you see.  I don’t really wear blue, but I love it, and am very happy to have other people in my life who can be provided with blue things.  The above blue makes me think strongly of Japanese indigo dyed fabrics, and I am enjoying it immensely.  I’ve actually had my eye on the skein for months now, and I was lucky because no one bought it before I could get to it.  It was one of only two skeins of Sock left at the store!  How no one else came along and snapped up this beauty I will never know, but I’m very happy that I’m the one who got it.

We’ve been very busy with planting the winter garden and starting to get ourselves ready for the upcoming holidays.  I love working in the garden, even if I’m only a half-competent gardener.  There is nothing more rewarding than cooking with food you’ve grown for yourself.  Yesterday, in service of the cold Mr. Kninja and I are sharing, I made a tortilla and albondigas soup using the last of the heirloom tomatoes, and celery, cilantro, and oregano from the garden.  We have two varieties of oregano right now, as I accidentally purchased hot and spicy oregano on my first time out.  It’s very tasty, but the kids want nothing to do with it, so I had to get a second plant of the more traditional Italian variety.

I made pickles with the baby green tomatoes we harvested, but now no one wants to eat them.  They taste marvelous at first bite, but have an odd aftertaste that makes us unhappy.  I’m disappointed, especially as I finally perfected my pickle brine recipe.  (Hint: lots of vinegar.   Most kosher dill recipes I’ve found just don’t have enough for a truly sour pickle.)  However, I’m very thrilled with the plant that produced the tomatoes, and know for sure that it’s a variety I want to repeat.  They were Sun Gold cherry tomatoes, and holy moo, but that plant made some amazing fruits.  They were about the sweetest tomatoes I’ve ever had, and they came in profusion.  The color was marvelous too – a yellow that bordered on orange and sometimes crossed over.  So if you happen to be on the lookout for a good tomato variety, I’m going to put my word in for the Sun Gold.

We’re lucky that our climate supports a winter garden.  It’s not as profuse as summer, of course, but we’re putting in a lot of lettuces, spinach, and arugula, plus the aforementioned celery, herbs of all sorts, onions, peas, and I need to pick up a few more plants.  The artichokes have begun to replenish themselves (they are plants that love abuse – after a growing season you hack them to bits and then they rise, phoenix-like, from the debris) and the fennel is working overtime to take over the yard.  Our strawberries are an alpine variety, so they’re happily still at work, trying to produce autumn berries, and sending out runners every which way.  And then there’s my tree.

I was on a walk with Nora this summer when I saw a sign, “Free apple tree” and not being a person to look a gift apple tree in the mouth, I managed to half carry, half drag a wee potted apple tree home with me.  It was in a rather sad condition, but after some weeding and watering, it perked up pretty well.  We’ve yet to plant it, so it remains in its pot, looking small and withered, but cheerful.  It went so far as to blossom, even, though that was clearly a premature attempt at adulthood.  So there’s that, too.  The yard remains a rather sorry looking place, but I’m proud of all the work we’ve done so far.  It’s solely in our care, which is quite a privilege for apartment dwelling renters, and I truly think we’ve fixed it up considerably from the time we moved in.  It’s slow going, and we’re not the best at it, but it’s such a pleasure.

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One Response to “The blues and the bees”

  1. Rebekah Says:

    I’ve always wished I could have a winter garden, but we are too cold. Although they do grow winter wheat behind my house 🙂

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