“Hot ’nuff for ya?”

Summer_sky I personally hate that expression, but I know that there are a lot of people whining about the heat here in Texas the last oh, say 2 months or so.  Yes, it’s hot.  It’s August and that’s typically the hottest part of the summer – Triple digits for I don ‘t know, almost 30 days or something like that.  And no rain. 
Drought severity map – people, it only goes as high as "extreme drought" and look at the map!  Can it get any worse?
Yes, the outlook isn’t good.
But wait, there is hope: Did you read this? And you know what that means?  That’s right, we are definitely going to need the Perfect Sweater, even in Texas!  Ann, Kay, ya’ll there?  When you get done with that shawl, can we talk?

Shortly I am leaving for the coast, it will probably rain there.  I packed a bag of yarn and projects.  I figure, if I have 4 days where I don’t have to bathe, dress or feed somone else, I’ll have tons of time to knit.  Expecially if it rains at the beach.  I’m taking the laptop if anything blogworthy occurs, like a hurricane.

Wanted: Rainmaker

The ground is parched. The cracks in the earth are big enough to lose a poodle in.  Everything is crispy.  The insects are dissappearing, at least those that aren’t setting up encampments in the house around the sinks like some public watering hole.  The hummingbirds have stopped fighting over the feeder and are tolerating each other as if they are in disaster mode. They’re conserving their energy for finding more food as opposed to fending off competition.  The only real wildlife I see are the spiny lizards and wasps.  Heat I can handle.  It’s the lack of water that’s driving me nuts.  It may seem contrary, but the airborne mold levels can by sky high, even when there is no moisture.  A rain would help wash some of it out of the air for a few minutes.  Every morning I hope for a heavy dew.

Garter I have a division meeting next week in Port Aransas.  It’s good of the suits to pick a coastal vacation spot for an annual meeting of inland fisheries folks.  Unfortunately, there will be marathon meetings.  I am packing lots of knitting.  And speaking of knitting; What have I been knitting?  Lots and lots of garter stitch.  There was a time I looked down on the garter stitched item as a beginners project.  I have grown a bit.  I appreciate the squooshiness of a soft cotton garter stitch baby blanket now, like I never did before.  Not to mention the elegant simplicity (and economy) of the Mason Dixon bibs and kimonos.  I am beginning to tire of the cotton knitting though.  I am trying to remember how it feels to knit with wool.  I did pick up a pair of UFO socks last night and now I’m on the toe of the second sock.  Still, I am starting to think about sweaters.

I followed Ann and Kay enthusiastically while they were dreaming and plotting and polling and swatching for the Perfect Sweater.  I even bought my yarn.  Then their book came out and they started touring and the summer arrived and they started vacationing then there were the bluebirds and well after all, those porch chairs really did need painting, but hello, Ann/Kay, the summer won’t last forever, even though I know it seems that way right now.  We still need a perfect sweater.  Was I the only one taken in by this tease?  I was so excited to knit a sweater that was designed via a thoroughly democratic process.  We see precious little true deomocracy these days.  So, Ann and Kay, I am putting you on notice! 

Let’s finish the Perfect Sweater Pattern and celebrate democracy by the November election!  How is that for a deadline?  November 2nd.  Hurry and I can wear my perfect sweater to cast my vote for the next governor of Texas.

Who’s with me?  Shall we make it a mandate?

Have a great weekend, y’all!  And pray for rain!

Happy Birthday Tom!

Babytom_1  Random things about Tom:

  • He knows more about Roman, military and world history than many college professors who teach it.
  • A full time student on a path to teacher certification, he is a far better student than even he thought he would be.
  • Not one to be constrained by traditional gender roles, he gladly vaccuums the carpet and processes laundry.
  • He lets me do the yard work and handle the power tools. 
  • Though he doesn’t share my interest in nature, he encourages me to share it with our daughter. 
  • Tombeach2_2 He reads stories to her every night. 
  • He is the most loving and attentive father in the world.
  • He can hold a grudge for a really long time. 
  • He allows me to drag him along on family camping trips even though he hates camping.
  • He also allows me to drag him along on shopping trips even though he hates that more .
  • He is a veteran.
  • Story_1 He loves the Simpson’s and pasta and chocolate chip cookies. 
  • He is  the most decent man I have ever known.
  • He is 45 today.

Tom Happy Birthday Sweetie, I love you huge!

(BTW, he’s blogging now)

Grandma

Pears My grandma(Nanny) always had homemade preserves in her home.  She typified the East Texas Southern Grandma in many ways.  She sewed, crocheted, gardened and "put food by".  I mimicked her by learning many of the skills she possessed.  It was always something we shared;  an appreciation for the home and those we love and a creative way to express that.  My Mother always said these talents skipped a generation, as my Mother was a professional with 3 kids, she rarely had time for crafts.  My Mother is immensely talented in her field and one of the finest humans to grace the earth, but she can’t sew a button on straight.

Ever since we moved into our home I have longed to make pear preserves (like Nanny’s) from the fruit of the 40 year old tree beside our house.  Every year I was thwarted by inattentiveness(mine) and nature(squirrel predation).  This year as I was able to start gardening, I focused my attention more on a solution to the pear problem.  Or more specifically, the squirrel problem.  Several options were discussed and struck down as impractical.  Finally a friend was consulted and agreed to help.  The solution, in my particular case, was to thin out the squirrel population.  I was going to shoot squirrels.  Try not to freak out over this.  Remember, this is Texas and hunting is a long revered tradition AND a land management tool.  I do not own a gun, so a friend who hunts loaned me two .22 rifles (one has a scope) and the bullets to go in them.  Now, I hadn’t fired a firearm in over 30 years, so my friend, Tami refreshed my memory of where the safety was and how to load the cartridges.  Since I intended to keep the meat (no waste), she advised me on several techniques for "processing" my animals(I had never skinned anything before). 

As I lined up my first target in the sites on the gun, I wondered if I could still hit anything.  I could.  One shot.  Even knocked the pear he was eating right out of his mouth.  The first squirrel took me almost an hour to process.  My knives weren’t sharp enough and I was a novice and unsure of myself.  But I managed and when I was done he went in the freezer.  One is not enough for squrrel stew.  As the season progressed, I got 4 more.  There are plenty more of them out there.  But I must have done some good because I was able to harvest some pears this year for the first time.  I spent all day yesterday canning pears and pear jam.  I’m a little out of practice and I still have jars and pears so there will be more canning this weekend.  Pear preserves(jam) is one of my absolute favorites.

One of the things that seemed symbolic to me about buying this house with a pear tree, besides my love of my grandma’s preserves, was that Tom’s last name is Poirier.  In French, Poirier means pear tree or person who grows pears or lives near a pear tree.  I don’t usually use his name because nobody can spell it or pronounce it, in fact, HE doesn’t even pronounce it correctly, he uses the Anglicized pronunciation (POY-ER), because he claims there’s nobody in the family alive that speaks French anymore.

It seems appropriate that I should be thinking about my Grandma this week since I just learned that I am going to be a Grandma too.  My oldest daughter, Kandis is expecting in April.  We are very excited and I didn’t waste any time, I cast on immediately for the first baby garment for my first grandchild.  The Baby Kimono from the Mason-Dixon book.  There will be others, lots of others.  And who knows, maybe the craft thing will skip another generation and this child will like to do some of the same things as  Grandma. 

I Love a Parade!

Parade1 Parade2 Not only did the sock get to trek to the Bastrop Homecoming Parade on Saturday, it got to be in it.  Or more precisely, I got to be in it.  Well, me and Abby.  We were part of the Kinky Friedman for Governor entry.  I held a banner and a sign.  I only knitted on the sock waiting for our turn to fall in line.  Abby rode in the truck for a while and then got out and handed out bumper stickers.  She doesn’t look all that happy in the photo, that may be because she thought two t-shirts was a bit much for a parade in August when the temp was about 116.  Parade3 Or so it felt.  Whose idea was it to have a parade in August?  Anyway, it didn’t last long, it started about 10:30 and we were on our way home in an air-conditioned van about 11:30.  Main Street isn’t very long in our small burg.

It was a busy weekend, what with the parade, my son-in-law, Rob‘s birthday dinner and pear collection.  I have been trying to get a few things off the needles so I can start new ones in good conscience.  Still there are 3 pair of socks unfinished, one baby blanket, and I think I started my mom’s Cece, because I figured the second one would be faster to knit than the first.  I seem to have gotten past the obstacles I had to the pattern in the first one, yet I remain a remedial lace knitter.  If I don’t start reducing the yarn stash soon, I may never be allowed to buy yarn again.

I also really want to sew again.  I have been inspired lately by a couple of knit-blogger friends (Rete, look at that bag!, and Janet and her uber-cute halter dress, and Sarah’s knitting bags and Caro is gonna be on TV! ) and though I may not be doing cute crafts with Amy Butler fabric, I do have a bunch of fabric and patterns for dresses for Abby and she starts Kindergarten in a week or so.  I also need to complete some outfits for me that I have started and not yet finshed.  Sewing at my house means converting the kitchen to a sewing room and all the complications that can cause, like having to move a project so we can eat dinner and food stuff getting on half-completed garments.  So it makes it feel like I have to do turbo production in order to get it all done and then turned back into a kitchen.  All this at the same time as I need to start canning pears.  They are coming off the tree in buckets!  I may need more jars.  Any local gals who happen to have a case of two of canning jars and lids just sittin’ around, holler, I’ll take them off your hands.  I may also need more sugar, I only bought 10 pounds.  Honest, I don’t want to waste any of this fruit if possible.  I may feel differently after a few days of canning every night after work. 

Apple_peeler To make my job a little easier, I bought a peeler/corer from Applesource.  I haven’t bought a kitchen gadget in ages, but I could not face hand peeling all the pears that are piling up in my house.  I knew I would never get any knitting or sewing done.  I hope it gets here soon.  Anyone who donates jars gets their choice of pear halves or pear preserves to brighten up a winter meal.

It appears Stalker Angie is organizing (or should I say plotting) an October Texas Knitters Meetup (hmmm, can we use that term if we don’t go through Meetup.com?), so if you had as much fun as we did when the Harlot came to town or you missed it and are still kicking yourself, check out Angie’s blog for info about where all we want to meet and let her know if you can come. 

Oh and don’t forget that our one and only (I think) Texas Fiber Festival Kid N Ewe and Lamas too is November 10-12.  Last year I met up with Christine and Katy Blogless there and there simply must be more knitters there this year.  It’s a small show and that means that nobody knows about it and you can get yarn and roving and spindles there and you can pet an alpaca.  And it might be cooler by then.  Are you getting excited yet?