Hi, remember me?

Pumpkin Bundt CakeSaw this glamour shot on Pinterest, but needed a translation of the recipe. I’m a sucker for pumpkin! Getting to be that time of year.  Now, if I can just find an awesome bundt pan like that.
original website here

Google Translation:

PUMPKIN AND SPICE BUNDT

ingredients:
4 cups cake flour
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
240 g butter at room temperature
2 cups + 1/2 brown sugar
4 eggs
1 cup buttermilk (you can substitute yogurt with a little lemon juice)
1 cup + 1/2 pumpkin puree

development:
Prepare the mold, for this you must grease it with melted butter and flour or use nonstick spray.
Preheat oven to 350º F.
Mix in a bowl the flour, salt, cinnamon and ginger. Reserved.
Mix the buttermilk with the pumpkin puree and set aside.
Strongly Beat butter and sugar until well blended, add the eggs one by one.
Finally we will add the puree and mixing of flour, we alternatively, always ending with flour.
Bake for 45 minutes, wait a few minutes and cool down on a rack.

Central Texas Yarn Crawl Recap

Open Letter to Central Texas Yarn Retailers
 
Dear Yarn Store Merchants,
 
I want to thank you all for collaborating on a great Yarn Crawl concept and execution this year!  I know some of you personally, but not all.  As a knitter for 40+ years, a knitblogger for 5 years (returning from a life hiatus) and a lover of all things yarny, I want to let you know what a great outing (or series of outings) this year's event was.  This was my first time to participate. We couldn't get a seat on the bus so we devised our own route and recruited riders.  It was a long day on Sunday in the rain and drizzle and we put over 300 miles on Frank's car, but it was totally fun!
 
Things I liked about the Crawl:
  • The prizes were VERY much an incentive.
  • I found some new yarn stores! – visiting a minumum number of stores was a great idea because many were not on my normal travel routes, but this event got me to them and now I will return to the ones I really liked when I can.
  • Most of the folks running the shops were really nice and helpful.
  • Each store had it's own flavor and culture – diversity is good.
  • Just about every store had something unique that wasn't found at another store.
  • I love the fact that the store owners worked together to pull this thing off and I hope it benefitted all of you.
  • It seemed most of the passport holders tried to find something to buy in as many stores as possible (knitters need yarn stores to succeed!)
  • Reasonable fee on the Passports AND bus (the ones we couldn't get on).
  • The store freebies were a nice touch – I will use ALL of them!
I wish we had gotten a seat on the bus, but we managed, we made 6 stores on Sunday!  It just would have been great for someone else to do the driving so we could all knit.  Next year, if there are more busses or even 15 passenger vans leaving from different locations, I think they would get filled with enough lead time and promotion.  And prehaps next year, enlist the help of the knit-bloggers.  With a little coordination, I'll bet other knitbloggers in the area (besides me) would be happy to help get the word out.
 
Can't wait to find out who wins the yarn prize goodies.  Can't wait for next year!  It's been a real inspriation to start blogging again.

Nobody here but us chickens

Roosting
Yarnmaven appears to have developed an unhealthy obsession with something called Twitter, and Facebook, and GovLoop and Flickr and though we heartily endorse her complete and total immersion in all things Ravelry, we just don't quite get this new perversion she has developed.  Honestly, we're lucky if she feeds us everyday.  We are considering an egg embargo as a protest.  Of course, we don't know how to lay eggs yet, but all options are on the table.  Join us by registering your protest in the comments.  Don't be gentle, she needs a serious dose of kick in the butt tough love.

Hen_eye

Keepin’ it Wierd

I have no excuse.  Except that I am in a total fog.  It has crept up on me very slowly, but I have felt it rolling in for some time now.  Maybe it's just a phase – maybe it's my age – Wh_beehive_sm maybe I have too much going on in my life.  I have all but dissappeared from here and that was never my intent.  I have been deeply engaged in several social media efforts on top of all the volunteer work I do and then there's the job and family – things are getting exciting.  After attending SXSWi in the middle of March, I went to Washington D.C. the last week in March to participate in Government 2.0 Camp with about 500 other government types who embrace social media and want to use it to better serve the public.  I hadn't been to DC in 14 years and never during Cherry Blossum season – it's awesome!  Every American should make at least one pilgrimage to DC in their lifetime if possible.  It's inspiring.  Did you know that the Whitehouse has a beehive to go with that shiny new garden?  I didn't either, until I saw it, thru the drizzle and the saucer magnolia.  How sweet! Don't you just love this President? 

Coop_sm The last time I posted, we had new chicks.  Unfortunately, they met a sad end – I had to go to Dallas to stay with my aunt for a week to let my mom come home and take a break.  I sent the chicks to stay next door with neighbors, as they already had chicks, I assumed they would look after them.  Not so much.  Anyway, since that time, my friend Tami and her husband helped me recycle an old shed we had at the back of the property into a fine little chicken coop.  A new batch of eggs with my name on them is incubating right now.  They should be ready in a couple of weeks.  In time for the weather to warm up, I hope, since Tom made me promise "no more livestock in the bathroom", so you see, I HAD to build the coop.  It will protect them from predators and careless humans. 

This weekend is the Austin Funky Chicken Coop Tour!  I am not kidding you.  20 urban chicken coops are going to let hoards of curious backyard chicken fanciers tromp through their yards to inspect their unique designs and share some of their chicken love.  I am really excited.  And my neighbor, Anna (spasmo on Ravelry, where we met) is going with me.  I hope to get some good ideas for improvements.  Chicken-lovers doing their part to Keep Austin Wierd.

My garden is started and only a few of the squash were damaged by the cold snap we had a couple of nights ago.  I think we're done – this week is the historical last possible freeze date for our area, I was gambling with the squash.  But everything else is fine.  there will be periodic updates on the garden as things get going well and I won't be able to contain myself. 

This weekend is the grandboy's birthday party!  He's turning two.  And the next day is Easter and we're celebrating with the extended fam.  Cooking for a crowd:  I just love it!   Knitting has been fleeting and sparce, but it has occurred.  I have really missed you guys!

And one month later…

Capn_crunch Here's an update of what's been going on since my last post:

  1. We have a new Prez (praise be!)
  2. Girl Scout Cookies have invaded our house
  3. I started planting my garden early this year (leeks, green onions and peas, peas, peas)
  4. We got some new baby chicks (Silver and Golden-laced Wyandottes)
  5. my aunt Martha finally left the hospital in Dallas and is home now

  6. I finished the sweater for Cooper, plus a few random accessories

Scrunchable_scarf SXSWi is looming and I reactivated the wiki I created last year for SXSWi Knitters to communicate and share info and organize a gathering or yarn crawl during the conference.  Feel Free to join in if you plan on being in Austin during the festival.  I know Stephen is coming because he submitted a Core Conversation.

Now, before I go I just want to say…Ravelry is coming to town!!!  This Saturday at the Knitting Nest.  And Caro too.  Can't wait!  Hope to see you there.

Blogiversary 4

They always seem to sneak up on me.  Today I've been blogging here on Typepad for 4 years.  Typepad itself just celebrated it's fifth year.  I've been thinking a lot lately about my blogging.  I sort of resolved (NOT a resolution – I don't do those) this year to get back into blogging more regularly.  I fell out for a while for lots of reasons, but the fact is, and I've mentioned it before, I missed it.  Writing isn't exactly a gift with me, so I have to work at it a little more than some, and I'm not particularly disciplined at it, but I felt the loss of connection to my knitblog friends so I thought I would just try and do it regularly on weekdays, with weekends off.  That was pretty optimistic.  I didn't even make it a full week. 

It could have been the fact that I was trying to write at night, after getting up at 5:30AM, working all day, coming home and cooking dinner, getting the kiddo to bed and tending to the many little things that pile up on a mother's plate every day, and honestly, I wasn't in the best "place" to be creating witty, clever chatter or even relaying what the heck I had done with my day.  Not my most creative time of day.  I was about th chuck the whole idea and berate myself for abject failure when I came across this article on Slow Blogging that I saw on someone's tweets that I follow on Twitter.  It made a lot of sense to me and I think what happened to me has happened to lots of people. 

Over the last four years that I've been blogging, lots of things have evolved online, new tools and applications have been introduced and since I tend to be an early adopter of much that is Social Media, I began using some of these tools and I think perhaps a lot of what I used to do solely on my blog, I am now doing on Twitter, Facebook, Flickr and Delicious – sometimes I even poke my head in Plurk and LinkedIn, oh and the Queen Mother of them all…Ravelry!  Each one is great for some of the small focused activities that I had previously done just through the blog.  So, the Slow Blogging concept is pretty appealing to me now that I step back and consider the sanity of it.

I guess I want you all to know that I am still here, but sometimes its easier to say what I gotta say in a photo or 140 characters at a pop.  I am not going to abandon the blog, I am just going to be realistic.  I can't do everything, much to my consternation, so I do what I can.  Join me anytime on any of these other sites, or here on the blog when I can put it all together enough to write a coherent paragraph.  My account links follow.

Twitter
Flickr
Facebook
Delicious
Ravelry

Thanks for sticking around with me. 

Obvious Lack of Self-Control

Pullover_yarn
I went to the Nest today at lunch and I couldn't help buying a little something to whip up for the grandson before spring (look, Kandis, it's machine washable!) Yes, I have several UFO's lying about, but this shouldn't take long…really.  He outgrew the last sweater I knit for him and it could still get cold in February.  It's been tough to adjust to the early mornings again this week.  Hope next week will get easier. 

My aunt was supposed to have her third surgery today on her face, but they postponed it because she has a sinus infection.  I will get to visit her in late January when I am in Fort Worth for a symposium.  She's never far from my thoughts these days. 

Now, I think I'll go cast on a sweater.

My Friend Frank

Frank came to work for the agency 3 or 4 years ago.  I don't recall exactly.  As a new web administrator for the agency, he automatically became a member of our web team and was encouraged to attend SXSWi like many of us.  We got acquainted while waiting for panels and  started hanging out together picking panels and going to lunch with some of our coworkers and friends outside the agency who were also attending the conference. 

Frank is a great programmer.  But he is also an artist.  And a flyfisherman/fly-tyer, and a cattle rancher, and a grandpa, and he likes to read, a lot.  His wife's name is Frankie, (Frank & Frankie) which I think is the cutest thing in the world.  Frank was always a little curious about my knitting habit which I exercized through many a web team meeting.  He was especially curious about my sock-knitting as that was my preferred meeting project.  I tried to explain to him the joys of wearing hand knit socks.  One day I presented him with a pair of his own.  I guessed on the sizing, since it was a surprise, I didn't exactly want to measure his foot, but I think I got pretty darn close.  It seemed like every time I saw him, he had those wool socks on.  Not a little surprising since we are after all in Texas and I think I gave them to him in a warm part of the year, but I was the one who told him wool breathes and that I wore nothing but wool or at least hand knit socks. 

So, Frank kept asking me questions about knitting, how do you do this? or how do you know when to do that and how do you pick a yarn or a needle.  Well, as you may have suspected, Frank was on that slippery slope to becoming a knitter.  I think I've told people that I taught him, but honestly I don't remember teaching him to knit so much as handing him my Stitch N Bitch book, answering his questions and showing him a couple of things and, oh, maybe introducing him to the owner of a yarn shop.  He's made himself quite at home at The Knitting Nest, even if I don't go with him.

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Well, now I'm so proud of him that I want you all to know about him and take notice. He has done a hat, several scarves, for himself and as gifts. He wanted a felted sleeve for his fabulous new Netbook, so he figured his own pattern, and when the first one shrunk too much, he recalculated and knit and felted another one which was perfect!  Go look at the thing!  Then he came down to my office the other morning to show me his new mitts.  He found a pattern on Ravelry and made the pair in just 2 nights of knitting.  Y'all, this man is a Knitter.  And he is fearless.  He is this far away from knitting his own socks.  And besides all that, he's a really nice guy.  

You can find Frank in several places online, check him out at his blog:

Artistic License (and you can get his pattern for an Asus sleeve)

Also on Flickr

and Ravelry

and of course, Twitter.

His daughter Marguerite (Rete) is also a knitblogger and quilter and I met her when the Yarn Harlot came to town. 

Be sure and say hello to him sometime, I'm sure you'll run into him somewhere.

Winter Garden

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We still need rain really bad even though it rained today.  Here in Central Texas we are in a severe drought cycle.  The only things left in the garden right now are kohlrabi and Swiss chard.  Swiss chard will grow here pretty much year round.  The kohlrabi I planted because it is so interesting looking and apparently hardy.
I put it in soups and casseroles.  The Swiss chard I put it in soups and stews too and saute the ribs in butter and add cream and Parmesan and it makes a lovely pink pasta sauce.  Yum. 

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I tried to plant lettuce and spinach seeds before the soil got too cool and before the days got too short. The drought was just too hard to deal with.  I couldn't keep the soil at the right moisture level for germination for those seeds.  This year the looper worms were a real nuisance and took my spaghetti squash plants.  Normally I grow it earlier in the year and don't have any nibblers, but I delayed everything waiting of rain this year. 

Sometime around March, I'll start getting antsy and looking at seed catalogs online, making lists and eyeballing the current dimensions of the garden for further expansion.  I keep meaning to plant a couple of Hansen Bush Cherries, I really should have done that by now, and some asparagas crowns but something always comes up and I lose that train of thought.  Tom shows no interest or sympathy for my garden pursuits, he thinks it's a waste of time with grocery stores full of food just a short distance away.  I do try to visit the local farmers market that opened up nearby – she even carries the local Bastrop Cattle Company organic, grassfed beef. 

For now, I'm happy to see the kohlrabi and chard, but there's not much do in the garden now but dump more leaves in for mulch and wait for longer and warmer days…and rain.