Monday, February 24, 2014

I finished!

Actually, I ran out of yarn. So I'm calling it done! It's more square than rectangular, but it's a baby blanket after all, so I think it will do just fine. I really love the pattern now that I can see the whole thing, rather than having it all scrunched up on the needles. It looks so intricate, even though it is just four repeating rows, and only one of those required any sort of counting and attention. 

There were times, however, in which I felt I was stuck in some sort of extreme knitting distraction reality show. I mentioned how I've been knitting while the kids play on the floor, which in reality goes something like this; I sit down, knit three stitches, and the little girl has to go potty. Put knitting down. Take care of potty. Pick knitting back up, and knit three more stitches. Then someone needs a drink, starts crying, or insists that since I'm sitting down, it must be time to read a book. I continue knitting (more fervently now) trying to get to a good stopping place before the next distraction strikes. At this point I really need to count stitches aloud so as not to lose my place. "One, two, three..." And my echo yells, "Three, four, seven, sixteen..." Then the baby makes his way over to my spot and yanks on my yarn. You get the picture. The blanket has mistakes. But, I'm not going for perfection here - just some nice, peaceful crafting time to keep my sanity. Obviously. 

Well, the baby seems to like it and it's still very much winter here, so I'm not too terribly late in getting it to him. Now I can start on a shawl or maybe an Easter sweater I have in mind. Nothing too complicated, though! What's on your needles?

Saturday, February 22, 2014

ordinary everyday


Up with the baby at dawn for a lazy nursing session before heading to the kitchen to let the pups out and start a simple breakfast

Little girl rises late, so breakfast prep is put on hold to help her transition into the day

Breakfast, then washing up while the little ones play on the floor 

Out for chores if daddy hasn't done them already

Starting cheese or bread or rice for the day

Washing the clothes and hanging them out to dry (I always have little helping hands for that)

Then playing and reading and eating and cleaning and baby snuggling and naptime (and even a little knitting!) all happen on the very good days

Late afternoon family milking outside if the weather is fair. My favorite time of day, when we check on all the animals, look for bees, make plans for the garden, and linger by the stream or in the sandbox until little hands and noses get too cold

Dinner and the nighttime wind down before we all crash into bed

Just my kind of day.

Monday, February 17, 2014

signs of life

A little reprieve from the cold, and a chance to spend a late morning outdoors. Dreaming ahead with thoughts of Spring - Girls in flowery dresses and Easter and baby chicks and sprouting greens!

Sunday, February 16, 2014

a couple simple egg recipes

A breakfast one and a lunch one, really.

Cheesy Eggs

A staple here, often topped with salsa, hot sauce, or even a little ketchup. (Does anyone else like eggs with ketchup? I seem to be the odd one that does in my family!)

1. Beat together about 6 eggs with a little salt and a good splash of milk.
2. Melt a Tablespoon or so of butter in a skillet and briefly fry a couple of diced green onions, just until softened.
3. Add the egg mixture, turning down the heat to low.
4. Dollop bits of cheese all around the eggs in the pan. Use a soft cheese like chèvre or Brie, along with some cream cheese. Be generous with the amount of cheese you use!
5. Stir the eggs, gently and continuously, until cooked. 

The key to getting this right is really the cooking method, I think. The eggs must be cooked slowly on low heat, and paid attention to so they don't over-cook. That's how they become so melty and creamy.

Egg Salad With Pickled Jalapeño Peppers

I don't know if I'm just on a bit of a spicy kick, but since adding peppers to potato salad, I've been trying them in other things here and there, and I must say they really seem to elevate the taste of what are typically very basic dishes. I didn't even have any other veggies to put in this egg salad, and it was still yummy as can be. 

1. Hard boil, peel, and dice 6 eggs.
2. Mix with a couple Tablespoons mayo and a couple teaspoons mustard.
3. Add two small finely diced pickled jalapeños.
4. Our favorite way to eat this is with crackers or soft braided bread

I'm really looking forward to the garden this year, when I'll hopefully have peppers and all sorts of other vegetables growing in abundance!

Sunday, February 9, 2014

homestead chattiness...

We've been battling a nasty chest cold these past few days, no doubt a remnant of last weeks' many family gatherings with sticky-fingered, snotty-nosed cousins! We're making short work of a big box of oranges gifted to us (especially with some orange juice and honey ice pops for our sore throats), and thankful for that sweet treat. I think I need to be better about getting the kids outdoors for more fresh air every day, but it's been challenging with these days upon days of bitter cold. Yesterday I cracked a small window and swept and mopped the floors in an effort to shoo this illness right out the door!

For the most part, though, I'm just trying to get us all resting (myself included) as much as possible. The kids have fallen asleep at random times and places this week, with that furrowed-brow-trying-hard-to-stay-asleep look on their faces, so they get it. But I have to make myself sit down and rest. I've been knitting, even if just for a few minutes, each day while the kids play on the floor. I finished the doll blanket (which is basically just an oversized washcloth), and I really love how the colors came out - so vibrant, but calming, too. It's inspiring a little play space makeover, which I have to admit I often do. We don't have mounds of toys, and I've noticed that just changing things up a bit gets my little girl creative and excited again about her "important work" of play, as she so often calls it. A bench becomes an oven, little round crayons become beans for soup, and countless other delightful things she dreams up.

I've been doing plenty of my own dreaming too, mostly about spring. I'm usually very content during winter, but this year has my aching to get into the garden. There's a lot of work to do in there once the snow clears, much related to the damage caused by The Flood. So much was washed away that we'll need to start building up the soil again. I'm looking forward to it!

The other thing I've been contemplating a lot lately is how to further reduce our reliance on electricity. It is just so expensive, this convenience we have. I quite like the idea of candles at night instead of electric lights....

A light broth soup, Vietnamese-style "canh." This one is a pork stock with carrots, potatoes, and green onion.

I'm feeling especially grateful these days for our homegrown foodstuffs - fresh eggs, meat, and milk. The baby is eating food now, and when that transition begins, I'm always reminded of the importance of good food for our babies. I pulled out a stewing hen from the freezer a few days ago and made a HUGE pot of stock. We decided to not breed Spring, and milk her through winter instead. She's such good stock, that one, that I do hope we get some does from her next year to carry the line. Hopefully we'll be able to purchase another Nigerian in a few months, and then we plan to alternate breeding and milking, so each doe has a break and remains healthy.

So that is what's happening around these parts. What's going on in your neck of the woods?  
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