Musings on the Garden in July

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The garden is going strong as July winds down. I harvested about a third of our carrots today & the cherry tomatoes are progressively beginning to ripen.

I seem to have squashed the squash bug uprising by disposing of any leaves harboring their shiny, copper-colored eggs & squishing as many live bugs as I could find {too morbid? apologies!}. We continue to reap about one yellow zucchini/squash per day.

The Waltham Butternut squash seem to be doing well, hidden among the tall grasses that invariably grow in & around our squash/pumpkin patch every year. Coralee planted what we thought were mini “spinning top” gourds, from seeds she collected herself last fall….these “mini” gourds are now the size of bloated softballs, bright yellow-orange, & basically look nothing like her original…more on that mystery in the days ahead, I’m sure.

Our two dwarf Honeycrisp apple trees have been in the ground here for going on six years. We finally have apples this year…THREE apples, to be exact, & only on one tree. Coralee hand-pollinated the one tree using crab-apple blossoms we pilfered from a tree in town {gasp!!} this spring. She says she dusted at least fifty blossoms….not the greatest payout, but I’m just thrilled we finally have something to show for our apple-tree-planting efforts.

I made Carrot Top Pesto with the green mound of tops I had left after I cleaned the carrots this afternoon {no, I do not consider carrot tops poisonous}. I had never made this pesto before, but I feel so wasteful just throwing out all those greens every year to the chickens. I froze two small Mason jars of the pesto and kept a third in the refrigerator. I plan to try it on toast/crusty bread tomorrow as suggested by the recipe.

Summer is sailing swiftly by here at the Bodeker House.

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Yarn Along

Kit Camisole

I am currently in the doldrums of my Kit Camisole. Lots & lots & LOTS of stockinette in the round, briefly interrupted by a handful of half-linen stitches across the back. I had high hopes for this knit. Hopes that I would be wearing its silky smooth linen most of the summer. Not likely at 6/7 stitches per inch & over 300 stitches per row. I’m just not that fast of a knitter. I also think I probably cast on one size too big which will make this a camisole worn exclusively under a cardigan (per my usual, I suppose). I’m using Quince & Co. Sparrow in the colorway ‘Truffle’ which I thought had a slight metallic purple to it, but it is basically in the deep grey family.

So many books are stacked up in my reading basket, waiting to be waded through…instead I find myself poring over my three newest pocket guides. I am determined to find myself fluent enough on our hikes through the Iowa countryside to identify most of the wildflowers I see. We spend a lot of time at Koutny Pond as the (unpaid, amateur, default) land stewards and thus I want to be well-versed in the prairie plants, too. Growing up in Wisconsin, I was able to identify most of the flowers in the Northwoods. I seem to have lost most of that knowledge, sadly.

Joining in with Ginny this week. Check out her wonderful blog for more knitting/literary inspiration!

Golden Zucchini {Squash} Bread “by” June

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Zucchini Bread_June

Zucchini Bread_June

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Zucchini Bread_June

My name is June. I’m three years old. I dressed myself today. I love Ninja Turtles. My mama let me help bake zucchini bread (first time!) using two of the (she says) “fifty million Golden Zucchini squash” we have growing in the garden right now. There are squash bugs taking over the patch. She said tonight we will go out and try to squash a bunch of the squash bugs before they devour anymore squash. I measured & mixed, but my favorite part was holding the eggs (probably from my favorite chicken Margaret or maybe her sister Marianne). But I really liked putting the chocolate chips on top. (I shared some with my friend Nora who is here visiting today.)

I ate my delicious bread next to a vase of flowers my mama picked yesterday. The End.

An Overdue Thank You: Catalina Mountains, AZ

Back in May (May!), Coralee, June & I flew to Mesa, Arizona to visit my parents (snowbirds) and attend the wedding of my cousin. We had never visited their new home near Tucson.  {Merritt stayed in Iowa with Brian (dad/hubby) due to his severe motion sickness & Brian’s need to work.}  The girls had never been on an airplane before & they fared perfectly!  There was quite a bit of turbulence on both our departure and return flights due to massive thunderstorms over Iowa.  At one point during our flight from Iowa to Mesa, as the plane was rocking & tossing, June (age 3) started HOLLERING, “I don’t want to die!”  Yikes!  She wasn’t really scared, just loudly making a point.  The passengers around us were fairly amused, thankfully.  The first set of photos is from our time waiting at the airport in Cedar Rapids, IA.  June was beyond giddy at the prospect of flying.  She is a relatively fearless child. {Click on any photo to view it full-size–looks much better that way, too!}

Arizona May 2014

 

Arizona May 2014

 

Arizona May 2014

 

Arizona May 2014

 

Arizona May 2014

 

Arizona May 2014

 

Landing in Mesa near midnight! It is such a neat experience to both depart and board a plane outside in the night air. June was looking out the window for my parents, her Nana & Papa Hammond. She couldn’t quite understand why they weren’t sitting right there on the tarmac.

Arizona May 2014

 

The next day we set out with my parents early in the morning to see all the wonderful natural areas that surround their community. The (Santa) Catalina Mountains rise up just beyond their neighborhood. Stunning. The birding was excellent. Coralee added many birds to her Life List. As my father (an avid birder), Coralee, & I looked for birds, my mother & June hiked behind us playing in the sand & just generally enjoying one another. We saw many Saguaros (the tree-like cactus species that is found throughout the area). Those stately beings are truly impressive.  Massive trunks of water.  We also hiked a trail that showcased some of the area’s archaeological treasures.

Arizona May 2014

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Arizona May 2014

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Arizona May 2014

 

Who’s that hiding on the desert floor? 😉
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My parents’ front door with a family of Gambel’s Quail trailing across the bottom. We saw Gambel’s Quail EVERYWHERE around their community. The chicks with their tiny topknots are so captivating.

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One of our favorite activities was relaxing in my parents’ backyard “spool”–a hybrid pool and spa.  I could have stayed in it forever!  June wore a life-jacket and decided she is now a fish. It was difficult to coax her out.  She just kept swimming back and forth across the tiny length.

Arizona May 2014

 

Coralee took this photo of a female Black-chinned Hummingbird approaching the feeder. She spent close to two hours on Thursday, perched just beyond the hummingbird feeder, watching silently as the many different individual birds paid a visit. She took dozens of amazing photos with her iPod & identified five different species of hummingbirds.

Arizona May 2014

 

Friday morning birding along a trail that runs the edge of my parents’ community (at the base of the Catalina foothills).

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Yes, this is me. I was here, too!
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On Friday (we landed in Mesa late Wednesday night), we headed toward Phoenix to a golf resort for my cousin’s wedding. Coralee, my father, & I went hiking early Saturday morning in the foothills behind the resort. The bugs were awful. We scampered back down once we reached the top of the trail very quickly.

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A Cactus Wren & my new favorite bird.  I’m not exactly sure why, but I just fell in birder-love with this species.  The biggest wren in North America & Arizona’s state bird.
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June & Coralee ready for the wedding Saturday night. Coralee still LOVES to match June’s outfits & June, of course, loves to match her big sister.
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I must admit that I threw quite the adult pathetic hissy fit when my parents started living in the Southwest during the coldest winter months. I fought visiting them (in Arizona) for several years. I am so glad they gave my girls & I the opportunity to fly down & experience the breathtaking beauty that is the Santa Catalina Mountains. I cannot wait to return! Thank you immensely, Mom & Dad!
Arizona May 2014_birding

Arizona May 2014

Sweet Home{coming} Dress

Sweet Home Dress

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Sweet Home Dress detail

Sweet Home Dress edging

Sweet Home Dress

I sent this newborn, ‘welcome home’ dress on its way from Iowa to California this week. My dear friend is due in early August with her second baby, but all signs are pointing to an early delivery {hopefully not until the end of July, so fingers crossed!}. I used Quince & Co Sparrow in Nannyberry, a 100% organic linen yarn. I no longer want to knit with anything but linen, specifically Quince & Co linen.  I’ve been spoiled.  Both Sparrow & Kestrel {another Quince & Co linen blogged about here) knit up like a dream & wash up even better. Kestrel works best in the washer & dryer on delicate/low. Sparrow is a cold-water handwash, lay flat to dry, & then iron–looked brilliant afterwards. My friend & I chose linen for her baby’s coming home outfit due to the crazy summer heat in her neck of the woods. I used vintage buttons at the back close. The pattern was based on this, loosely. I had some trouble finding a suitable newborn dress pattern that would work with linen. I altered the pattern considerably {after knitting up a different pattern with Sparrow & realizing the pattern was not newborn-friendly & not linen-friendly}. I went down to a US Size 1 needle and decreased the stitch count in various places, as well as the dimensions. Linen really has no stretch so what you see is what you get, making the finished dimensions vitally important as you can’t block linen into a different size, nor shrink it. I hope hope hope this Sweet Home{coming} Dress is a good match for the little one about to make her debut Earthside. I tried to think about her & her mama while I knit, stitching calmly so as to impart nothing but positive energy into the dress. Silly? Probably, but the world is brimming with negative energy today. I like to think each stitch we knitters make with our hands is an act of love sent forth into the ether with determined faith.

A better place, one stitch at a time.